I did not take the above photo this winter, I took it four years ago, the last time we had a cold winter on Kodiak Island. If I posted a photo from this winter, it would show torrential rain and heavy wind. I’m not complaining about a warm winter, because there is nothing fun about hauling water after the pipes freeze, and life takes a nosedive when the sewer freezes. The worst part about a cold winter here, though, is not the inconveniences of everyday life, but it’s watching the wildlife suffer as they struggle to find food and keep warm. Four years ago, we had deer die in our yard or die curled up under one of our buildings from cold and hunger several times a week. I knew when a deer was about to die because he’d look at me with glassy eyes and not even bother to move out of my way when I walked down the path past where he was standing. Sitka black-tailed deer were introduced to Kodiak Island, and the winter climate here is often on the edge of what they can tolerate to survive.
The deer have had good winters the last few years, and this may prove to be the warmest yet. When it is very cold, we have several deer in our yard, searching for grass that may still have some nutrients. This winter, we’ve seen few deer in our yard, because it is warm and there is no snow on the ground. It was 46⁰ the other day in mid-January, but the weather has not been pleasant this winter. We’ve been pounded by one low-pressure system after the next, bombarded by high winds and heavy rain. One storm out of the north in December slammed waves into our dock and sent a 55-gallon drum full of gas and two 100-lb. Propane tanks into the water. Mike has had to repair the dock twice from storms, but luckily, many of our storms have been from the south, and the cove where we live is protected from a southerly swell.
The ceaseless wind and rain make doing anything outdoors unpleasant, and the heavy clouds accentuate the already dark days. I love the peace and quiet here in the winter, but I am beginning to dream about going someplace sunny and calm and maybe even going out to dinner and a movie (I know, now I’m getting carried away). Luckily for me and my psyche, we are leaving on vacation next week!
While we are away, our friends, Ryan and Ruby, will be staying here, battling storms and catering to the whims of our very spoiled cats. Ryan and Ruby are the best caretakers we could ask for, and we don’t worry about our home while they are here. Our cats love them (possibly more than they love us!), so I know the furry little beasts will be even more spoiled when we return.
Once we leave here, we are flying straight to Las Vegas for extreme culture shock and a hunting and outdoor show, where we have a booth. That’s a week of hard work and stress because we go from talking to no one to talking to strangers all day. Vegas is also a great deal of fun, though, because we will see several friends and spend many hours laughing. After Vegas, we are flying to New Zealand for a two-week hiking, biking, kayaking tour of the South Island, and I am excited about that. I’ve never been to New Zealand, but I’ve only heard good things about the breathtaking scenery and the friendly people. After we return from New Zealand, we will spend some time in Anchorage and Kodiak, buying supplies and running errands. We’ll be home by mid-March.
I have a few posts planned for while I’m away, and my good friend, Marcia Messier, has agreed to write some guest posts for me. I’ll try to send a post from New Zealand to let you know about that adventure, but I may miss a post or two, so I’ll apologize in advance.
My next Mystery Newsletter will be about the biggest mass murder in Alaska history. Be sure to sign up on my home page if you want to receive my monthly newsletter.