Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adak Again – August, 2010


I took my mother, Bonnie Wartes, to Adak this time.  I hadn’t been there since November, 2009, and I was anxious to get back, not only to see Isaac, Crystal, and little Rhianna, but to also enjoy the beauty of Adak.

Mom joined me in Anchorage and we spent one night with Kerry Bennett (Nick’s wife) before catching the long flight to Adak.  We were in Adak for a week and much of that time was very windy with low clouds. Isaac had hoped to take us out fishing in his boat, but weather didn’t allow that.  We did get to drive around on several occasions to show Mom the town and surrounding area. Adak 013small

Of course, Rhianna had to go to take care of Daddy. How she loves to go riding with Dad, whether it’s truck, boat, snow-machine …or whatever.





Plus we got up in the hills twice when it was sunny enough for beautiful views around the island. The last day we even caught a few fish at a gorgeous pool with a small waterfall. It is a favorite fishing hole of many locals for good reason.

Monday, October 4, 2010

July 2010 continued…



My brother Mark, Denise, their son Marwan and granddaughter Matia were the only other Alaskans at our Wartes Cousins Reunion in Seattle besides me.  My mom and both sisters came from Spokane area.  Many others came from all over the Pacific NW and as far east as Denver. My mom was the oldest present at the reunion and I came from the furthest to attend.

The event was hosted by my cousin Barry Rodda and his wife Jan at their beautiful home overlooking the Puget Sound in Burien. Seattle area_July2010 063  The view was breathtaking and so was their beautifully landscaped yard.  Flowers everywhere drew me like a magnet.  I could fill a large photo album with all the flower pictures I took during the whole Seattle area trip.



These flowers were just a few samples of ones in Jan & Barry’s yard:


This reunion was based on my Wartes grandparents and all their progeny. Since Andrew and Lena Wartes had 8 children, the gathering was big even when many members weren’t able to attend. My dad was 6th of the 8 children and he had 6 children himself.

Wartes family tree2010

Just the part of the family chart showing all my parent’s progeny covered a large part of the entire family tree chart.





Here are just a few of the many pictures taken during our fun gathering:

                                                                                                                  Seattle area_July2010 068Sister Merrily getting camera advice from Chris Wartes with cousins Barry and Bill looking on.




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More cousins. Such fun was had by all.  The time went by too fast.








A reunion of family from Mom’s side of the family followed the next day north of Seattle at a beautiful park in Marysville.

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It was the largest gathering in many years and my first time since a teenager.Orsborn Reunion All the Gang_2

Mom, Teena, Mark & Denise_Orsborn Reunion_2











More pictures as we looked through albums and family history and enjoyed the food:

Seattle area_July2010 106 Mom & Mark


Seattle area_July2010 003 Mom & Teena at Orsborn reunion_2

Mom and Teena                                                 Mom, Denise and Mark



After the Orsborn Reunion we were able to visit my Uncle Eldon (Mom’s brother), who was unable to attend the reunion.  He lives a little further north in Sedro Woolly, and  I had never been there before. It was wonderful to see Uncle Eldon and Aunt Vera and their interesting home full of amazing keepsakes of every kind.

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Uncle Eldon, Mom, and me.








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Uncle Eldon’s house is a double Geometric dome house.









Another very special visit made during this Seattle Area trip was to see my college freshman-year roommate, Marianne Henderson.

Teena & Marianne_July2010

She is one of the few school-days friends I have remained in touch with through all the years.  It was wonderful to see her, and visit together on her  well shaded deck tucked in between some giant fir trees that also surrounded her whole house.  The greater Seattle area was having a heat wave, so Marianne had been enjoying the relaxing time on her peaceful deck.





Earlier on the day we returned to Alaska, my brother and I spent a few hours enjoying the sun on Alki and Lincoln Beaches, places we have fond memories of from high school days in Seattle.

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I made it home to the Colville to Muskoxen 005be with Jim by the end of July and we celebrated Jim’s birthday a few days late. 

Our summer guests, the two muskoxen continued to be very photogenic as they grazed and slept in our yard.




Fall at Colville 003

Friday, October 1, 2010

Catching Up On The Colville With Teena - June and July 2010

My goal today is to finally get another post up on my blog.  This chore has been neglected way too long. The summer has flown by and there have been many things I could have been sharing.  I will just hit the highlights for now.


Most significant was Jim and my 40th Wedding Anniversary. Jim gave me a homemade card.

Jim is holding one of our little sled-dog puppies in the early 1970's.

The month was generally uneventful, except we enjoyed the usual bird activities ramping up, summer flowers coming on, and our muskox cow and calf still hanging around.


July was a pretty full month, starting out with our oldest son, Derek, coming to the Colville to help out so Jim and I could get away on a little outing.  Bad weather prevented us from fulfilling our original plans of a camping trip inland, but we did have a gorgeous July 4th trip upriver on the Colville in our super cub, The Golden Plover.  We landed at numerous locations to enjoy the scenery and masses of flowers beginning to bloom.  

Colville River Bluffs - east bank

"The Golden Plover" on a Colville River sandbar about 40 miles above delta.

Lapland Rosebay (Rhododendron lapponicum)

Looking out at the Colville Bluffs from the cub
We flew along the Colville and the water levels on the river were still quite high, yet our usual sandbar landing spots were available.

Field of Lupine

Jim in the pilot's seat. Blue-bird day.

Another July event was carrying on with usual summertime guests - mostly birders and people who love adventure in unusual places.  Among other guests, we had a delightful group of birders the first week of July: Jon & Peggy Traver, George Archibald, Sara Simmonds, and Matt Campbell & Carol Kasza.

Sara Simmonds, Jon & Peggy Traver, George Archibald
Muskox cow and calf wandering by lodge

They were treated to "close encounters" with our special summer guests,  Mama and son muskoxen.  (As I write here in late September, the two muskoxen have stayed near our home for nearly 5 months now.  They first showed up May 22 , when the calf was only a few days old.)
Sara and Teena on departure day


July 6th was warm and sunny and a large caribou herd came by our place. We took the opportunity to harvested some much-appreciated fresh meat.  It is always nice to have our fresh meat delivered to the backyard so conveniently.

Fresh meat delivered to backyard

Ruby's first fresh caribou meat

On July 13th we were treated to a special "first of its kind" event when our son Jay flew up to the Colville from Fairbanks with his 3 young children also aboard the Cessna 172.  It was the first time one of our boys had piloted a plane into the "old home base".  It was something Jay had been looking forward to for a long time, and it was exciting for Jim and me to have them here and exciting  for the kids to be at Grandma and Grandpa's house again.  Especially Natasha had been asking her parents repeatedly about when she could go to G-ma's house again.

Ride with Grandpa after arrival at Colville

Also aboard the plane was Jon McIntyre, our long-time friend and aircraft maintenance expert, who had come to help Jim prepare the C-206 to be flown to Fairbanks after several years of sitting idle at the Colville. After Jon got the C-206 prepped to fly, he and Jim left for Fairbanks. The C-206 was headed to a new home.  Jim was to return by commercial airlines and Jay picked him up in Deadhorse with the C-172 and returned him home to the Colville a few days later.

C-206 on take-off run at Colville
Grandma had to bundle up the kids to go for a walk on a blustery day.  Dad had forgotten how even summer days on the Colville could be quite chilly, so Grandma had to rustle-up some warmer gear.

Elisha, Melody, and Natasha

Kids watching TV with hot choc after cold walk

Kids with Grandpa

Natasha, Melody, Elisha at counter

 Time flew by and the day to head back to Fairbanks came too soon.

Dad getting everyone settled aboard the C-172

Grandpa and Elisha

Natasha in co-pilot's seat

Elisha and Melody not too happy to leave.

Good-by Jay and kids. Thanks for the visit!

The next major July event for me was a whirlwind 5 day trip to Seattle.  It started with one day in Fairbanks to connect up with my brother Mark and his wife Denise.  That one day included time for enjoying a few events and friends at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO).  I saw friends from Barrow, Nuiqsut, and especially my friend Doreen Simmonds, a childhood playmate going back to the 1950's in Barrow.

Mark, Denise, and Doreen at WEIO

Friday, July 23, 2010 was a long day starting at 4 AM, flying from Fairbanks to Seattle, meeting more family in Seattle for lunch, and then driving to Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula with my older sister Merrily and her husband Steve, ending up at my dear friend Brenda Williamson's house for the night.

Brenda lives in a paradise of beautiful plants and flowers.  Since the last time I had visited her, the house was newly built sitting in a large empty field, so it was delightful to see the results of Brenda's green thumb and hard work. Timing was perfect to enjoy lush patches of bright flowers and plants of many kinds and colors.  I felt I was in an elaborate botanical garden or famous arboretum.

Part of Brenda's yard

Merrily and Brenda by front porch

Flowers galore


Brenda, Teena, Merrily

The stay with Brenda was short because the main reason for the Seattle trip was to attend two family reunions, so we returned to Seattle after only one day on the Olympic Peninsula.  The weather was beautiful and I reveled in the green scenery and beautiful mountains all around.  Mt. Rainier was spectacular the entire time I stayed in the Seattle area.

Crossing Hood Canal Bridge with Mt. Rainier on the horizon

This posting is getting too long, so I will continue in another installment, sharing pictures from the Wartes Cousins Reunion and my Mom's Orsborn Reunion.