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Alaska Wittig Family Blog
Friday, May 25, 2007
The Lay of the Land

Some of my [Michael's] meanderings around the yard are done with a clipboard rather than a rake.  I've been observing the shape of the ground and the flow of the creeks, looking at dips and marshes, and I sketched out a rough contour map to refer to when contemplating what to do with the property.  I also decided to make an electronic version of the map, the first draft of which is represented here.

The map is drawn on a one-foot contour.

At this stage, the map is more representational than accurate.  As time goes on and I gain familiarity with some of the more intricate details of our property I'll probably move some contours around and add a few more, but for folks who want to know the general lay of the land, this should serve as a pretty good reference. 

Posted at 9:06 AM YDT
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Getting Around

After a short time of hauling brush it became obvious that we needed pathways to get from the creekbeds up to the driveway.  Two things made the need apparent: the difficulty of trying to carry brush up the steep hillside, and realizing that the plants living on the hillsides didn't like the abrasion of feet and branches going over them.

The trail on the left was built on Mother's Day.  I [Michael] decided to build it after watching a short segment on television concerning building stone walls.  There is in fact a small rock wall under a short section of the trail.  The trail on the right went in last weekend and was a much more concerted effort, involving a lot of rock work to make the trail wide enough for the two-wheeled wheelbarrow.

The two new trails make it much easier to get up and down the hills, a point the kids are especially happy about.  The adults are also happy with the result.

Nope, these projects don't do anything for the house itself, but they do improve our enjoyment of the place.  They were a lot of fun too. 

Posted at 3:58 PM YDT
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Here It Is

Here is the big surprise.  The following appeared in this morning's (May 16) edition of The Juneau Empire, our local newspaper:


Posted at 7:45 AM YDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 9:40 AM YDT
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Happy Mother's Day


Two mothers.  Two children.  That makes four, right?  Okay then, four pictures for Mother's Day.  Here they are.  We love our moms, even on those days (like today) when eloquence fails us and we're left with very little to say, but the sentiment remains.  Happy Mother's Day to our moms!

Posted at 9:59 AM YDT
Updated: Sunday, May 13, 2007 10:01 AM YDT
Monday, May 7, 2007
Visitors to the Ponds

We had some visitors to our ponds this morning.  They were very reclusive and flew off when little Michael and I [Michael] came toward them.  I hope they come back, but I have to doubt that they'd find very much to eat in there; perhaps I can encourage something to grow in the ponds that will entice them to return and stay, but I guess that should be low on the priority list.

We were also playing with the still picture capability on my digital camcorder.  Despite the age of the camera and the small (by today's standards) 1.3 megapixel size, it is still better than our new digital still for telephoto work, such as the pictures of the ducks (the new camera's larger format doesn't make up for the meager zoom they put on it, as with most still cameras).  The camcorder also does a better job in marginal lighting situations where a flash is not desired, and tends to produce sharper images at low light levels.  I believe this is because the camcorder utilizes the larger aperture size of the lens on the unit, gathering more light than the mediocre lense on the still camera.  Not bad for a six year-old camcorder.

Here's another funny thing about pixel size.  New cameras keep getting larger picture sizes (some consumer cameras are running eight megapixels these days), but these resolutions are only needed for printing on paper.  The pictures on the right, for instance, each use about 0.23 megapixels out of the 1.3 megapixels that came out of the camcorder.  If I took these pictures with an eight megapixel camera, they would still be about 0.23 each by the time they got posted on the internet.  That's the way it works.

Oh, and did I mention that the kids really like the flip screen on the camcorder?  It lets them look at themselves when they're in front of the lens.  It's a fun diversion.

More yard cleaning on the docket.  Only a trace of snow remains on the ground in two places in the yard, and I expect these to disappear by the end of the week.  I am also running the utility trailer over to our old house: now that the snow is mostly gone we can get to our lawn furniture, canoes, kids outdoor toys, and all the other remnants of our old life before we moved.

Lastly, I've got a surprise coming.  I'm not going to say what it is, but all will become clear after May 16.  How's that for a teaser?

Posted at 11:00 AM YDT
Updated: Monday, May 7, 2007 11:08 AM YDT

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