Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cats and the Happy Light

Someone once said, "Dogs have masters, cats have servants." I tend to want to believe this but when the happy light is on all 3 of my cats migrate in front of it. One even meowed at it. So it is nice to know the tables have turned, and I am once again the master.

Shh..don't tell them.

So here they are, my better hallves( though I reserve the right to dispute that.  Curly Q, Skittles, and Bernice.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Arctic Turkey

I wrote this story last year around Thanksgiving, Although the events of the story happened a long time ago, the moral is still the same.

The Arctic Turkey

When I came to Alaska all those years ago, I had heard of this Arctic Turkey (turkus arcticus). I knew that my being part of the land meant that some day I would have to hunt this great creature. Even though I had never seen one, in my heart I knew I would never hurt one, but for me to be one of the Great Hunters, I would have to kill one. I knew that if the Gods felt me worthy I would be presented with one for Thanksgiving.

I knew this great bird would sacrifice itself to me as long as I respected the land.

Like many animals in the North, it can change its color in the winter to almost pure white, and then in the summer, it would change into a different color. It was just trying to hide fron the Great Hunter I was soon to become.

The first winter in Alaska, I was determined to show my Father, I was INDEED a Great Hunter. And so with not one hair on my nuts, I chose the shotgun, and I ventured into the woods. I had never actually seen one of these Arctic Turkeys, but I was sure I would recognize it when I seen it. Apparently I forgot it was pure white, but I was determined to prove to my Father, and to this new land, I was a Great Hunter,  and so I ventured down the trail.

I walked for hours, alone, in this new wilderness that suddenly was now my home, soon I will have killed the Arctic Turkey, and my initiation would be complete. Soon I would be a Great Hunter.

Everything was white, quiet and still as I ventured through the woods. Suddenly I heard a movement, and I jumped, it was a Snowshoe Hare, they too turn white in the winter. It scared the shit out of me, and when my heart return to a normal state, I continued on. If I was going to be a Great Hunter, I could not return to the cabin without an Arctic Turkey in my pack.

SWOOSH!!! There it was. I seen the snow move and I remained still, I wasn't able to see anything, all was white. It wasn't lack of hunting experience, but fear that kept me motionless, I knew they could see ME, and so I waited until the snow settled. And then I seen it, a small black eye against the brilliant snow. And I waited silently, and I waited, and waited, when I realized I had to breath it darted off, it was the Arctic Fox, they also turn white in the winter. I was starting to realize that hunting this Arctic Turkey wasn't going to be so easy, especially now that I figured out almost all the animals were white, they could see me coming and would surely warn the others of my approach.

In order to be a Great Hunter, one must come home with an Arctic Turkey. I ventured on. I would not disappoint my Father, myself or this seemingly confusing land where the animals all turned white. I vowed not to return home until I had an Arctic Turkey in my pack.

It was becoming dark and I turned back to the trail I had come from, my head hanging low. Today wouldn't be the day I became a Great Hunter. In the far North, trying doesn't give you something to eat. It was going to be a long walk home. With frozen tears streaming down my cheeks, I knew I wasn't worthy, but I knew I must make it home, and so I ventured back up the trail. This Thanksgiving we wouldn't have an Arctic Turkey on the table. Although I was quite hungry, I was going to be happy for whatever Pop could come up with, beans, or whatever. How could I face him? He sent me out to become a Great Hunter, and now I was returning home with not even a good excuse.

After 5 hours or so walking in the woods, I had seen nothing to take home for the table. Maybe I wasn't worthy afterall, and I had pissed off the Gods that ruled the animals.

I turned the last corner of the trail, and I could smell the wood smoke. I was almost home, a broken defeated young man who may never be a Great Hunter.

And then I seen them. THERE THEY WERE!!!! About 30 of them, and they were indeed white, every last one of them. They were birds allright, not quite as big as I imagined, but surely these were the Arctic Turkeys!

They were beautiful. I had never seen anything like them in my life. I could tell they were a family, a covey they call it. They knew I was there, but they didn't fear me. And, I, of course, had no reason to fear them. But for me to be a Great Hunter, I would have to take their life. I slowly removed the shotgun from my shoulder and pointed it into the middle of this innocent group of beautiful white birds.

I thanked the Gods for sacrificing these beautiful Arctic Turkeys for me. I closed my eyes, and I pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened!

I, the Great Hunter, forgot to load the gun before I left the cabin.

When I made it home my Father was waiting with a great meal prepared, apparently while I was out trying to become a Great Hunter, he was busy making sure the table was full.

I was thankful that day, thankful that my Pops loved me, even though I didn't get the Arctic Turkey,  thankful for a warm place to call home and thankful for something warm in my belly.

After we ate, my Pops explained to me that there is no such thing as an Arctic Turkey, what I seen was Willow Ptarmigan, our State Bird. I asked him why he thought I forgot to load the gun. He told me, "Becoming a Great Hunter is something you earn, not something you wish for."

I hope everyone remembers to be thankful for the small things,  because the big shit doesn't really matter.

Its having someone to love and having a warm home to come back to that matters the most.

Fuck the turkey!
I case you haven't figured it out one is a picture of this beautiful bird in winter, and one in its summer plumage.

Happy Light

Yesterday, my good friend Mark presented me with a Happy Light.

(click on image for a larger view)

Acording to the literature provided by the manufactirer, VERILUX, the Happy Light is  a Sunshine Supplement Light System.

Because it mimicks the same spectrum as natural sunlight, exposure to this light for 30 minutes a day can counter the effects of S.A.D.

What is S.A.D?
"Seasonal Affective Disored is a medically recognized type of depression. It is characterized by abnormal mood episodes that occur at the same time of year on a regular basis.

S.A.D. has been associated with the hibernation cycles of animals. Research has shown S.A.D. is triggered by a response to seasonal decreasing light levels. As the days grow shorter and light becomes less intense, the desire to "hibernate" increases.

Typical S.A.D. symptoms include:
-Depressed mood, despondency
-Lethargy, excessive tiredness
-Social problems, social withdrawl
-Weight gain, carbohydrate cravings
-Difficulty concentrating
-Decreased libido

Apparently using this light for only 30 minutes per day can help decrease some of the symtoms associated with S.A.D.

Having lived in the North for over 30 years, I can attest personally that these symtoms are real. Many studies have been associated with this disorder and this type of light therapy has been proven to counteract these symtoms.

These natural spectrum bulbs are available for your standard lamps and come in many different bulbs to fit your existing lamps.

Although Spring is just arount the corner in the Far North, I will not be able to give you a qualified report until next spring. I intend to use this, however, until June, when the sun never sets. On the opposite side of the coin, on December 21st here in Fairbanks, we only recieve about 3 hours of sunlight per day. Points farther North the sun sets and doesn't reappear for several months.

I remember reading that in Siberia, the schoolchildren are required to go into a room where this type of light fills the room for 30 minutes or so. I remember the picture of all these school age children standing in a gymnasium wearing eye protection.  Although this type of light isn't harmful to the eyes, like any type of light, staring into it directly isn't good.

After plugging in and turning on this light less than 20 minutes ago, I am begining to see how this sort of light therapy could be beneficial.

I encourage anyone interested in this to visit the VERILUX website to get a better understanding on how this type of light can be beneficial to your overall health, whether or not you live in the Far North or not.

You can visit the VERILUX website by clicking here.

This is an encouraging way to get the light you need during the long winter months.

I hope you all take a minute to learn a little bit about full spectrum lighting and how it can help you stay "happy".

Tell them I sent you, maybe they wil advertise on my site.

I will look into seeing if this type of light is good for growing things indoors.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Bee Trap

So many people have asked me about this ingenious way to capture those pesky bees that I decided I had better explain how easy it is for you to create your own. Truthfully, I don't remeber who taught me this. I can promise you one thing. IT WORKS!!! And it works well.
Pretty simple. Take an empty plastic jug (the example shown of course is a milk jug), but any jug will work. Milk jugs seem to work the best. I f you live in an area where bees are especially bad, one could certainly make one out of a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. But if you have bees so bad you need a giant bee trap....MOVE!! Get the hell out of there!!! LOL
But seriously. Just cut a couple holes in the side of the jug as shown. I think my example only shows 2 holes, but 3 are better. You don't really want to do 4, you want a little rigitity  left. Poke a small hole in the cap and feed in a small wire. Tie a washer or something to keep the end from sliding through.
Fill the bottom of your trap with regular old water and give it a couple shots of dishwashing liquid.
Tie some sort of raw meat to the end of your wire and let it hang just above the soapy water.
The bees will buzz around inside and eventually come in contact with the water, they only have to touch it slightly and they are done.
In all the years I have used one of these I have noticed very few bees come out once they enter.
The key is to keep the bait as close to the water as possible and keep the water level up to the bait. The stinkier the better!!!
(authors note: I once had only one or two bees fucking around, I made one of these bee traps, and in less than 15 minutes the entire surface of the water was covered. I didn't see that many bees when I set it out, but they sure came. Perhaps it was to help their distressed bees. Don't know, don't care. Build it and they will come.)