Winter is nearly over, and we are still waiting for it to begin. We had some of our coldest temperatures this past week, and two days ago we had a dusting of snow, but it has already melted. I know many of you in the lower 48 have had another tough winter, while we have basked in temperatures in the 40’s. I’m not complaining, because I consider any winter when our water line doesn’t freeze a good winter, but the lack of snowfall in the mountains could be a problem if we have a dry summer. Without runoff from snow or ample rain, the water in the streams may be too low for salmon to swim upstream to spawn, and without salmon in the streams, bears will be dependent on berries, sedges, and other vegetation for their nutrition. They count on the protein that salmon provide to fatten them up for their winter hibernation. On the other hand, the warm winter has been great for the Sitka black-tailed deer on the island. We had two deer in the yard the other day, and they looked fat and healthy.
Mike and I flew to Hawaii in February for a winter break. We spent ten days in Kona on the big island, where Mike’s mom lives, and past guests will be interested to hear that while we were there, Marcia Messier, who cooked for us from 2004 to 2011, flew over from her home in Arizona to visit us. We consider Marcia a member of our family, and it was wonderful to spend time with her again. I can’t remember when I’ve laughed so much. After Kona, Mike and I flew to Kauai for a few days and then began the long, slow trip home. We spent several days in Anchorage buying supplies and two days in Kodiak running errands. We had a gorgeous floatplane trip home, and even though we’d only been gone a month, it was wonderful to be back! We had the best caretakers in the world (Ryan Augustine and Ruby Fortner), and our home was in great shape and our cats spoiled rotten.
We are already getting anxious for our summer trips to begin. We are thrilled to announce that Mary will be cooking for us again this summer, and her sister, Emma, will be helping her. Mary and Emma’s parents are coming up for a visit in July, so it will be nice to meet the wonderful folks who raised Magic Mary (as some of our guests anointed her after tasting her culinary creations). Mary spent the winter working as a sauté chef at a very popular restaurant in Anchorage, so I can’t wait to see what new tricks she learned.
Our 2015 summer season is nearly booked full, and we only have a couple of openings for this July. If you are considering a trip to Kodiak in 2016, start making your reservations soon. I will be happy to answer any questions for you, and you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I am starting another blog about Kodiak wildlife, living in the Alaskan wilderness, and writing. It should be up and running in a week or two, so if you are interested, check it out at www.robinbarefield.com and be sure to leave some comments!