Tank Farm Stories

Now that I am back out in the village my morning routine is in place.  I am such a creature of "the routine."  I am up at 5 a.m. M-F, down stairs with the dogs, get their breakfast set up, then out the door for dog duty.  This is when (often) I walk the dogs under dancing northern lights.  If the lights are not on, then I am at least under stars. The stars are so bright and close I could grab a few and put them in my pocket if I wanted too!  I am so grateful to be able to see the lights and the stars at this northern latitude! Thrilled beyond belief---really!

Once the dogs have eaten and I have had one rather strong cup of organic coffee from Grounds For Change.  We get ready for the morning walk to the "Tank Farm" and "Lynn's Sign Post."  "The Girls" as I jokingly call Sadie and Tally and I hit the road!  We are walking now in full on darkness out and back.  I wear a headlamp, carry my phone for two reasons, and bear spray (a new addition, read below).  My phone (light) is as I have found out a backup if my headlamp dies, also I listen to podcasts like: KnitBrit or Powder Magazine.  I also listen to audio books that are along the line of mindless, relaxing and easy to follow.

About 3 weeks ago, I was walking and my headlamp picked up some eyes in the distance along the slough.  The dogs picked up on something as well.  We have seen a fox out there before but it was well down the road and it ran once Sadie gave her Akbash warning bark.  I figured that the eyes belong to a fox as they were close to the ground.  Higher off the ground would be a bear or a wolf a bad thing. The eyes didn't move and were pretty much fixed to that spot.  As we got closer the second set of eyes started to move off a bit to the south.  The first set of eyes moved closer to us.  I heard the most bizarre sound ever!  It was a screech, not a woof, bark or growl but rather the animals made a sound more like a raven bird back and forth.  This is the point at which I thought, "Wait a minute is that a bird?"  I kept on walking with the dogs.  Tally who isn't always with it was looking wildly around.  Sadie on the other paw was hair at full attention from her neck to her docked tail, prancing around, ears forward and ready to take on whatever that sound belonged to bird, fox . . . It was eerie and unsettling.  The screech became louder and louder and we kept on walking as now we were pass the animals.  We headed into the little turn-around loop at the Tank Farm when we saw full on that the animal was a fox! This brave little gal/guy was heading right into us!  Still making this screeching call and I have 150 pounds of dog on leashes heading full force into this fox.  I am yelling, dogs are barking, and all at once my days of working with horses came right back to me!  I quickly throw the leashes around a metal post with a few loops to secure the dogs!  I picked up rocks and started heaving them at the fox! Finally, the fox slammed on his/her brakes, banked south across the road and across the tundra.  This is why I now carry bear spray with us on our early morning walks.  I got the girls and we started back home.  Sadie was on major full alert! I was glad for this though, and her side kick Tally was all ears and eyes.  We made it home just fine and have yet to run into the fox family again.  I am always scanning the tundra for eyes and now carry my bear spray that I take for my longer tundra hikes for some added back up.

I mentioned Lynn's Sign Post.  My friend who used to teach out here and now has moved on to being an organic gardener, and librarian in a small town used to walk to this spot, touch the sign post and head back home. I now touch the sign post as it is the thing to do!
This was Friday's morning walk 9/23/16.  You can see the dog leashes, Lynn's Sign Post, and how dark it is at about 6 a.m.
Here is your typical barge in Alaska that is delivering fuel to the village.  Barges bring in a wide variety of items: houses, building supplies, trucks, snowmachines, 4-wheelers, fuel basically if it fits they will carry it for a price!
Once the fuel arrives it is pumped in pipes to the Tank Farm.  That is where I walk to in the mornings it is a 2.04 mile walk.
For years I take and record things like the first frost and snow. For the record we had snow on Friday Sept 23rd.
After the walk and we are back home before 6:30 a.m. it is time for the sit-up routine, the morning yoga for my back, the shower, and breakfast. Christian is and has been on breakfast duty for years!  I gave it up after we moved back to the states.  Off to work we go . . . with a thermos of tea for the day and the huge commute about a 30 second walk to the back door of school.  Yes we are spoiled, but do remember soon this walk will be in -30ºF often!

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