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Chicken Scratch Poultry

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Farmers Head North To Alaska

Just before Christmas Larry and I headed North to Alaska for a quick visit.   Larry's family all live in  North Pole Alaska expect for one brother who lives in Oregon.  Larry's parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and we decided to make a surprise visit.
Larry and I met in Fairbanks Alaska during high school, my father was in the military and we moved often. Larry's parents had just moved their family to Alaska at the same time looking for work.  After Larry and I had dated for 2 years my dad was on the move again and we were leaving Alaska.  Larry decided to follow us to our next destination Pennsylvanian.  Shortly after that move we were married and began our own family.
It was an honor to go and celebrate Larry's parents 50th wedding anniversary and they were very surprised to see us to say the least.  This is only our second time to return to Alaska since we left in 1986.
I can't say December is the best time to visit Alaska but it was absolutely beautiful.  We were blessed with good weather, just after we left the temperature dropped to -41.

Larry and I were welcomed into is brothers home to stay for a few days and received some absolutely great hospitality.  The photo to your right is Larry's brother, Shane, his wife Andrea, and their 3 children, Kyle, Brody, and Leslie.  Shane and his family live a life almost completely self sufficient.  I say "almost" because it is pretty difficult to be completely self sufficient.  I do however admire their way of life.  Andrea home schools their 3 children and takes it very seriously.  They grow all of their vegetables, kill a moose every fall and catch enough Salmon to last all winter.  They grow their own meat birds, turkeys ,rabbits and goats for milk and cheese.  I'm sure it's a great deal of work but they are truly blessed and happy.   I see a work ethic in their children that you just don't see very often anymore.

The long winding lane up to their house is absolutely breath taking, the trees are all flocked in glistening white.  Larry's parents live on the same lane and Shane keeps the snow plowed and cleared.


Larry and I shipped Shane and Andrea hatching eggs around 4 years ago.  They still have a few of the hens.  This is one of the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte hens, they say she still gives them a few eggs.  The hens are housed in a very nice coop.  The coop is kept warm with an old crock-pot.   They sit their waterer on the crock-pot to keep the water from freezing and the crock-pot also keeps the coop warm.  When we opened the door to take a peek at the girls, it was so warm in the coop that the air inside filled with a fogginess as the cold air rushed in

 The hens stay in the coop for months on end since the winters are so long and the ground is always snow covered.  As most of you know, hens aren't to fond of snow.  They have plenty of room in their coop and the girls seemed content to stay indoors. 
We were there on the shortest day of the year, they had 3 hours of day light that day, the sun wasn't able to get high enough to even peek up over the horizon and then it took another dive and it was dark again.   It gets day light around 10:00 a.m. in the morning That bothered me more that the getting dark early. With such short day light hours it is important to provide artificial light for poultry.

Next we were off to see the goats.  I very much wanted to be able to milk the goat while I was there but as it turned out, they allowed her to dry up.  For some strange reason they didn't want to milk the goat at -41, I just couldn't understand that.

The goats are very sweet and eager for attention.   Andrea's doe will freshen or kid in February and she looks like she could have 3 kids in that enormous belly!
Brody's doe is a first timer, it will be interesting to hear how many kids she will have.

Kyle's wether has a great disposition.  Kyle show's him at the fair and he always shows very well.  The wether will even pull Kyle on skis, I would have loved to seen it!  
Shane and Andrea heat their home with wood.  I was curious as to how much wood it takes to get through the winter.  Kyle was happy to show me and explained that this winters wood and next winters wood was stacked and drying, ready to burn.  This photo is only showing half of the wood.  I can honestly say I've never been so toasty warm in a home. Since our home is heated with all electric we try to keep the thermostat  turned down low, brrr. Kyle does a great job keeping the wood brought into the house.

This is the cute little kindling shed.  I found it all so interesting, I poked my head in every little building I could find.

That same day just as it was getting dark, which was only about 3:00 in the afternoon.  We decided to go take a look at all the beautiful Ice sculptures in North Pole.  It was amazing what they had made from ice. The ice is taken from a rock quarry full of water.
They cut out large slabs that are probably 
8ft. x 5 ft. x 12in and crystal clear.

This is a couch of ice, they tried to talk me into sitting on it with Larry so they could get our picture.  I was already half froze and couldn't bare to sit my rump on the ice.  

There were 4 ice slides and Larry had to give them all a try.  By this time I could no longer feel my face, hands or feet and ready to head for some heat.

North Pole is an interesting little town, as I'm sure you all know, it's where Santa lives.  We took a quick drive past his house but we didn't stop in since it was just a couple of days before Christmas.  It looked as though he was very busy.  I'm sure he was checking his list twice.  I had taken a tour of his lovely home many years ago so I passed on it this time.

Santa's town, North Pole is decked out all year long. The streets have neat names like Candy Cane Lane, and St. Nickolas Lane.  The roads are white as snow, oh yeah that is snow.   The gas prices are a little high in his town.  I don't know if you can read that sign to the left but it's $3.73.   Now I know why he rides a sleigh.    


Even the McDonald's sign and street lights are striped like candy canes.


The Chicken Scratch Poultry farmers feel blessed to have spent time with our loved ones who live so far away.  We made some new friends while visiting in North Pole, Larry met a couple of bush pilots and is dreaming up a fishing trip.  I met a nice young man named Samuel and will be sharing some Chicken Scratch Poultry hatching eggs with him very soon.  Happy hatching Samuel! 
Happy New Year!!
Larry & Angie

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed looking at your pictures! They were beautiful and it is neat to see how your family lives. I want to visit Alaska some day and may have to go check out Santa's house!