Norwegian Naust

July 4th, 2014

Net Shed

Our net shed is full of stuff, mainly boats so I decide to build a traditional Norwegian “naust” or boatshed.  You can see what one looks like here.


There is only one way to do this–take advantage of the annual Alaska “personal use permit” for lumber.  I fill out a permit for 10,000 board feet of lumber and the Forest Service’s cruiser comes out and measures each tree, marks them with a brand and I’m off to the lumber yard.

Alaska Logging 2

When we first drive up a logging road here on Mitkof, I discover this fine example of drunk logging.  An old wet, rotted, hemlock snag with this peculiar notched out area.  The forest service guy with me was bewildered (he was from the lower 48) but, after scrutinizing this ‘cut,’  I suggested looking uphill….

Alaska Logging

Yup, beer bottles, snoose and shotgun shells.  These ‘loggers’ would drive up on Friday night, stuff their lips, drink a couple bottles and then log by shotgun.  That’s Alaska.

Andy 3

But not us–we take the high road.  Here my logging buddy with his 36″ bar Stihl approaches a tree dutifully marked by permit.  An old growth yellow cedar which will yield about 1000 board feet.  Let’s get going!

Andy 2


Andy 1

…..this tree has my initials on it……  Let’s go!

Close Call

When all the dust settles, one tree misses the truck by 10 feet.  These trees are 140 feet high and 3′ diameter at the base….. Yikes!

After Work

Well, after a hard day’s work, what’s there to do…..drink a beer, of course.


Then put some crab on the table–my first pull of the season–30 crab–I keep the best 10.

Ranger Beer

Here’s a toast with Ranger Beer–Vitamin R.  Love that hat….!  Stay tuned!


Home Again

May 31st, 2014

arriving by ferry

We’re home again and what a beautiful arrival with full afternoon sun and Devil’s Thumb greeting us across Frederick Sound.  All passengers were on deck when we docked.


We schlep, schlep, schlep about a dozen boxes up the beach, then go back for more.  How can we carry so much with us for 7 1/2 months?  Astounding.


We’re greeted by our old friend, Rusty, our pet black bear with a reddish forehead.  He has taken over the place so we watch carefully when we walk about.  I spend a day replacing all sorts of washers, light bulbs, tightening pipes, etc.  The Fridge washing machine didn’t drain so it froze for the third or fourth time–do not buy a Frigidaire.  We heated the house all winter remotely and it worked (with the able assistance of our nearest neighbor down the beach).  This winter we’re staying put.


First thing we do is acquire this handsome, yet dead, 27 lb. white King salmon–this is one of the nicest fish I’ve seen but we’ve been gone all winter.  We’re half way through it and the other half fits nicely in our freezer.  Oh, I forgot; we also put up a nice 26 lb. halibut.  We’re ready for summer!

Martina kayaking

The second thing we do, given the beautiful weather, is paddle up Petersburg Creek and join our neighbors for the annual Memorial Day picnic.  It’s good to be home!


We all arrive at noon, drifting upriver, on a flood tide–we’ll leave in about two hours and take the ebb back to our house.  Our NuCanoe is the yellow kayak in the middle of this raft–we love it.


All the shooting stars are in full bloom.  We walk around this meadow and discover lots of bear sign–OK, poop.  Fish are beginning to move in and the eagles are there to keep an eye on them.


This is our group–what a potluck picnic–even strawberry shortcake with whipped cream!  Petersburg Mountain is in the distance which overlooks our cabin to the right, about a four mile paddle.

Kayaking home

We invite some of our friends home with us for gin and tonics at 4 pm after drifting out of the creek.


Whoa!  Sticker Shock sets in again.  Check out these prices!


Want a lime also?  Why not just call it Two Bucks!


And check out tonic water.  Schweppes is outrageously over-sweetened and overpriced!  We’re switching to Indian Tonic Water or Seagrams for our mixer.  We shipped a pallet of wines/olive oils, etc. up from Seattle and it cost us $1/bottle for shipping.  That’s Alaska.


Boy oh boy, it’s good to be home (have I already mentioned this?).  Here our ferry returns south past our cabin after a trip up to Juneau and Haines.  Come up for a visit!

Ranger Doug goes to Washington–Part III

May 11th, 2014

DOI Steps

This is my third trip to Washington and this time I get the royal treatment from the Department of the Interior.  My 20 years of republication of WPA National Park posters and contemporary works are now on exhibit at the DOI Museum.  I am elated to finally get to tell my story.  Jason Jurgena, Museum Director and Ranger Doug stand on the front steps.   Let’s step inside…..


The exhibit is called “Posterity” and features every one of our reprints and also six originals.  It will run for one year.

Presenting Hat

I requested a meeting with the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and we spend our allotted 15 minutes in her office.  Here, she receives a “Ranger of the Lost Art” hat with “I Ride With Ranger Doug” on the back band.  She is elated!  We compare our Co-op numbers and then launch into Alaska politics, geology, and of course, this unique poster art.

Secretary of the Interior

After our meeting, we invite the Secretary for a personal tour of the exhibit and spend another 30 minutes with her.

Corey Exhibit

The staff did a wonderful job of interpreting this art, even a center exhibit of our screen printing process and Scott’s 20 years of pulling screens.   I kept hearing myself say “wow!”

Summit Register

Sally Jewell is the first to sign the “summit register,” and Ranger Doug is next.  Third on our rope is co-author and computer guru, Brian–it’s been a long trek to this summit.

DOI Museum Staff

Here is the staff:  Jason, Tracy, Diana and Kayla.  They even set up a screen press to print the DOI poster and their logo on handbags.  Great job!


Then I tell my story about the discovery and reproduction process that spans nearly 40 years.   DOI also tapes a 3 hour oral history about these prints and I leave nothing out.


Here is a postcard version of the poster print for the 75th anniversary of the DOI building which coincides with the Museum opening after four and one half years of closure due to Congressional sequestration.   The entire DOI building was built in the WPA era in only one and a half years.  It took Congress one year to approve the lighting just for this exhibit !   Let’s go for a tour…..


Over 3000 custom brass doorknobs featuring the bison head and eagle escutcheon adorn the doors in this building.  Today, only 50 knobs remain, the rest given away as retirement gifts or pilfered from the public domain.  They fetch up to $1000 on ebay and if you find one, my foundation will buy these back.


On the top floor there is an ice cream parlor with hand painted murals everywhere you look.  The building was designed so employees would actually want to go to work–each room has a window to the outside.  On the rooftop plaza outside the ice cream parlor two cannons were placed for defense during WWII.  One discharged during cleaning and blew the “W” off of “Wisconsin” on the Washington Monument–the only time it was fired during the war……

Washington Monument

We lucked out with the cherry blossoms and the weather.

DOI Roof

Well, time to ride off into the sunset…..that is, Amtrak back across the country and head for home.  Thanks to all of you who made this possible!   Stay tuned.