Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today, a raving ramble

Sometimes, you just have to wonder what is going through a persons' mind when they put their horses on the market.

There are so many examples online across the nation, it's a tragedy-or a comedy, take your pick. We are not immune to this up here either, weirdness abounds. I'd like to say it's because the brains are fried under the Midnight Sun, but alas, with our cloudy summer this excuse doesn't apply.

Yesterday, I was chuckling when I read an ad on Craigslist for an "Appalussa" horse for sale. I was mildly interested so clicked on the ad and no information as to age, sex or height was included. A few hours later the ad was revised to include a lousy picture, age of 7, and a mare who seemingly has done quite a lot. Topped off by a cowboy in large hat, chaps or chinks, white shirt and vest *rolls eyes* The gear was so big and the photo so poor, you couldn't see anything of the horse for sale. Priced at $3500, well over the going market.

We have some locals attempting to downsize for whatever reason....money, hay supply, lost interest-there are as many reasons to sell a horse as there are people, and few are doing a very good job of it.

One gal I know has 3 for sale....she attempts to get ads on CL regularly, and they just as quickly get flagged down. Its pretty obvious that both riding horses are very well trained, but someone has a vendetta against the seller so the ads are replaced about as quickly as they are flagged off. Unfortunately, her action shots don't show the horse(s) conformation well, are too distant for true assessment, and she uses the same ones over and over. Until she either adjusts hew asking price or works at better marketing photos, she will continue to feed them.

Another gal has a very pretty grulla mare for sale, and a grulla yearling filly. None of her sale photos show the horses well groomed and posed, and her prices are fairly steep considering their pedigrees and training. One is currently lame too, the one I have attempted to email the seller about *four* times over the past two months. The seller will not reply to me-so yes, I got it-no sale to me, period. This is the same seller that refused to take in a new boarder because of me, and this blog. *rolls eyeballs* Now, you'd think income from a boarder, who contacted her on my own recommendation, would be worth a reply-but nope. Better off not to sell the horse, or have a boarder.....right? But hey, it's her horse(s), she can do business as choses and it's no skin off my nose but you gotta wonder about someone's mind set when they categorically refuse contact based on......what? One does not know, and I surely don't-heresay, I would bet.

Then another local breeder is downsizing....about 18 months behind the curve of selling. This person has been shameless at self promotion (hey, nothing wrong with that!) and since she got in a snit about something she did to herself, she now uses CL as her primary marketing tool. Her ads get flagged down asap, because of the content, but at least her pricing is more in line with the current market. This person also likes to think rather a lot of herself and her position within the horse community and has been known to post some rather strange things on CL from time to time, all for "community service" or whatever. So while the rest of us are scratching our heads over the content of her ramblings....the phone is still not ringing-who wants to do business with someone who seems unstable, at least in print?

The horses that are selling, are the ones under about $1500....I have been watching some ads come down and down in price over the past three or four months. If they had just started at near their lower threshold to begin with, they wouldn't be facing feeding them all winter-but it's their own conviction, that their poorly bred, unregistered mutt with marginal training must be worth a bunch because after all, it has color (or whatever)....I feel for the sellers who no doubt have a legitimate need to rehome these horses-but can't seem to grasp that the market here is tanking.

So here I am, idly "in the market" myself, and the one mare I had a mild interest in-the seller won't do business with me. Hey, not my problem, no harm no foul, but seriously silly. So I kept looking, and by chance I stumbled across another mare. It turns out I know the owner, a little bit. I eventually manage to make time to go see this horse in person. What a nice impression she made on me, good enough that I think we'll have a new resident at my barn, just for me. Pretty pretty girl, with loads of Appytude to boot ;) It will be the weekend before I can get pictures here, so stay tuned!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A productive weekend!

Gosh it was a pure delight to have two sunny (now three!) days in a row, wow! I did not have enough time to enjoy being outside in it as much as I would have liked-was rather too busy in the kitchen this weekend.

Well, the tomatoes are finally gone from the freezer, cooked down into a wonderful italian sauce for quick spaghetti dinners-it just took hours to cook them soft, then run it all through the spiffy KitchenAid juicer, and thence into a large pot to reduce. Reducing took about 7 hours, and the canning another two, but I think it will be worth it :)

On Saturday, my wonderful neighbor dropped by with the potatoes-including two new varieties I haven't tried before. Unfortunately the name escapes me on the one-very unique looking, rather like ginger root of all things-but supposedly very flavorful. While I was busy with the tomatoes, we got started on the moose scraps, and on Sunday we did up 14 quarts of savory moose stew-and hope to get another 14 quarts done this evening. Over the next week I will be trying to get one batch of spuds canned every evening....lots of cleaning and chopping ahead for me ;)

For outdoor chores, the firewood project is done done done, at last. My poor husband has worked at this for months, but we should have plenty to spare all winter long. I am not sure how many cords are now split and stacked, but it's a bunch! My son, who does not really like chores (how many kids do? lol) will tell you straight up he does not like doing firewood-but he sure appreciates being warm! He's very good about helping me stock the wood stove too, another plus.

The chickens are laying eggs, but I sure wish they'd find another spot to roost. Sigh. No arguing with chickens, they will roost where they chose and that's that. This week I need to get them a heated water bowl, and also more wire so we can get them penned in a little better. To my neighbors within ear shot-I apologize that I have one rooster that insists on crowing at six am-when it's still dark! I swear I do not know what his problem is-I simply must have a light on in the barn, darn it! The hens within reach are getting better and better about their morning strokes and pets, and each evening they come to their stall as soon as they hear my voice.

The hony and his princess are doing very well, the hony's mystery diarrhea has cleared up, hopefully for good. Next week is vet visit, let's hope a couple simple tests will reveal what his problem is for sure, so I can accomodate his disgestive tract without upset. All I have done is cut out his grain completely, and upped his hay considerably....he's putting on a little additional weight and looks just right for heading into winter-even has a layer of fat now. I am hopeful this will help him cope with the cold, as he has previously been very sensitive to anything under about 40 degrees. And yet, it's been 27, 28 degrees in the morning when I go to feed, and so far-no shivering.

Of course everyone is a muddy mess....day after day of wet and rainy, it was bound to happen. If I can get a handle on the canning this week, I plan on spending some hours doing some intense grooming-they all need it, lol

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Horses, of course

So I have been thinking about the horse situation up here quite a lot recently. Maybe I have a heightened awareness because I am getting so many calls for hay, any hay. Maybe it's an understanding of the supply/demand situation, maybe it's just a worry about what this winter will bring-who knows. But it stays at the forefront of my mind-how bad will it get?

I don't know. I am apprehensive, that's for sure.

I am trying as hard as I can, to get prepared for whatever happens. I never know how many horses I will end up feeding over the winter anyway, boarders or rescue types. I am finding it hard to say no to people who desperately need clean dry hay, even as I am trying to build an inventory of my own. Thus, several tons that I would normally hang onto, went into pickups or on trailers to grateful folks instead. That's okay, I have more vans coming, but I worry just the same about all the horses out there whose owners can't find decent hay.

Now, having said that, there are quite a lot of round bales to be found. Some are better quality than others, but it's out there. This works great for those that are set up to feed them-but I am not. In hindsight I sure wish I had given some more thought to feeding rounds, but if I had to I could manage.

No snow on the ground, and none expected for a couple more weeks, and already I have turned down three horses for free. Vets and farriers have lists of people willing to give away, or sell for next to nothing, a wide variety of horses. There are some on CL looking for companion homes, a bunch for lease, and a lot on the market for sale. Not much adjustment in price here in Southcentral, but I am seeing ads for riding horses for under $1000 fairly regular now-a first in my memory.

Hay production was very poor this year, at least for dry horse hay. Yeilds were down due to a very cool spring, and then it has pretty much just been rainy for about three months. Some farmers never even got a first cut on some feilds, some were fortunate and took their hay early (in June) and are hoping for one last dry spell before the snow flies. A lot of what would otherwise be horse hay, ended up round baled into haylage or turned into silage. The Delta area, long a savior to these parts with a great amount of hay harvested (typically!), did not fare so well either. I've been hearing the same gloomy news from across the state although some folks did manage to do pretty well. It's not just the weather, it's that there aren't enough acres in hay to meet the needs of the livestock here.

This has lead to a couple of feed stores being out of imported hay. Less local hay means more demand for imported, whatever the source. The largest hay broker in the PNW has had supply issues also-the hay is available in the Columbia basin, but the cost is up as much as $80 to $100 a ton since this spring. They too, had a cool spring and yeilds were down-and a bunch of them moved to more profitable crops such as wheat and soybeans-meaning less hay is being produced this fall down there too. Add in the outrageous freight charges to bring up hay, and that explains the prices you see posted-a small sliced bale of timothy going for $21, one of the main hay suppliers in Anchorage is at $668 a ton now, and so on. It's only going to get worse, and horse owners just have to accept that the cost of feeding them is going to keep increasing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall chores

Gosh I swear I don't know where the weekend went! Spent nearly all day Saturday at work, unloading hay-and just had to have Sunday for what needed doing there.

So I got a fairly early start, and with my sons' help, we managed to pretty much strip the garden out. The only things left standing are the half a dozen brussel sprouts which I happen to know can stand a light frost-and frost it did! Boy what a sodden mess, pulling up everything and getting it over to the compost area, wow. We were both soaked and muddy in nothing flat, lol I found about another dozen or so largish zucchini, and picked the last little bit of broccoli and I found some sweet peas still hanging on also. I pulled what remained of the beets too, but was disappointed that I found no more pumpkins, darn it. Of course I did not find out until late in the season that I was supposed to pinch off the vines-but oh well, live and learn!

Just after we got all the produce shuffled to the house, we propped open the gate and the chickens had a great time, going over the entire garden. Heaven knows what they found edible, but they must have for the amount of time they spent in there. Next up was working on the firewood pile. My husband had spent an hour or so earlier, cutting to length so I ran the splitter while my son stacked. The sun was actually out and it was fairly pleasant, if cool. We got about three quarters of the way done and I happened to notice that the hony and his princess were both laying down in the barn. Because of their size, they fit comfortably and we cozied up in the sun....the hony facing it and the princess with her back to the panel.

About ten minutes later I glanced over to check on them, and saw the princess having what I first thought were dreams-she was twitching her legs. Then, as I was watching, I saw her head start to move, and then the rest of her and I thought: Ut oh! Something is wrong! I watched for about another ten seconds and it continued to increase in activity and I stopped what I was doing, motioning to my husband to look. (He of course, paid no attention) After about another minute with no let up I am now concerned there is a serious problem (seizure, maybe? colic? or?) and I convince my hub to shut down the splitter and we dash over....and rouse the two to their feet.

I am abashed to admit I over reacted ;) Not 30 minutes later the owner happened to drop by for a visit and much humor was made over the princess' *normal* sleep pattern. Apparantly she even whinnies in her sleep! This I can't wait to see for myself, haha....but I am sure sorry I woke everyone up from their beauty nap!

From there I got a message about potato picking so even with guests showing up within the hour I headed out to the neighbors to help them get the crop up. Four or five different varieties, all organic too, it was a good crop and I think they got about 2500 pounds or so. I managed to pick around 8 five gallon buckets before I had to head home and play hostess. (And I won't describe the totally bogus "I should have been a blond" boner I managed to pull getting off the field either, but trust me, it wasn't my finest moment ;))

Today, I am back at work with more people slated to arrive to get their hay. If the weather co-operates of course, always an issue. It's been very busy at home since my husband got in, we've barely had a moment to talk that isn't on the phone. Such is life when it's fall, trying to cram in everything all at once. Most important our home list is getting the NG hooked up so I can get to canning, and soon!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Winding down and etc......

37 degrees this morning, and for the first time in weeks, I could see the moon when I headed up to the barn. Fall is well upon us and this weekend it's time to strip what remains in the garden...although what I am going to do with that much cabbage, I am not quite sure, haha We may need to invest in a crock for sauerkraut, which takes 25 pounds...the rest, will be canned plain I think.

The resident hony and his princess seem to have settled in just fine, and they handled the departure of Wingnut without too much fuss. Wingnut has left for good, to a new boarding situation which suits the owners' budget and her needs very well. I was rather sorry to see her go, as I do miss her antics and personality. She walked right into the trailer without hesitation and then promptly had "hot feet" once inside, lol Took a few minutes to get her calm and clipped and then they were off.....apparantly arrival and unloading went well even if she had not been backed off a trailer before. Smart girl, that one. And many thanks to the wonderful horse person who hauled-you are great!

The hony has had some sort of digestive thing going on for quite a while. I finally just dropped all grain, and increased the hay by quite a bunch and I think I am getting a handle on it after nearly two weeks of that. I'll want to do a little testing before I even think about deworming. The hony's appetite and attitude are just super though, which is reassuring. I sure love being welcomed when I arrive, a complete chorus from all residents-including the chickens ;)

Speaking of chickens, we are finally getting a few eggs. I have a hunch one bird is laying somewhere we can't find-but we are getting small blue and green eggs very regularly now-right, of course, on one bale of hay. Nevermind the box I have mounted to the stall wall, naturally. Three of them have decided to roost way up in the barn rafters so that means we will need to enclose them here pretty soon. Once they are up there, you can't dislodge them either, goofy birds.

Kicking around the idea of adding a cold roof down the length of the barn-which means we could move the stall walls themselves out from under the barn proper. This would free up a lot of space for storage, etc, which I desperately need. If there is some way to swing it, I hope to get it done before the snow flies. The metal roofing material is sure expensive! More stall mats are on the list to come up with a van of hay, that's about a month out or so. And of course we need more gravel which I hope to get in next week.

Old Chubs is doing very well....so well, in fact, that we have elected not to put him down. It seems all this exercise over the summer has been just what his crippled up knees needed-he runs, bucks, rears, and trots around without any overt signs of distress so what can you do? He is happy as a clam with a "herd" of his own mares-who keep him quite nicely in line too. Thankfully I am somewhat relieved as I was not looking forward to that. I am donating some extra fencing supplies so that a winter paddock can be erected next week. Lucky old boy, he is.

So as summer winds down into fall, we are all very busy getting the last minute stuff done. Of course, a lot more would actually be done if the weather would improve just a little bit-we are all tired of the rainy weather. Soon enough we will be complaining about snow and ice, right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The hay wars

Once again, our local Craigslist has become a battle ground about hay. You have to have at least high speed DSL and all day to sit in front of your computor to keep up with the postings-before they are flagged down by the (rightfully) annoyed and frustrated. I can only imagine what I have missed, lol

This is turning into quite the soap opera, with she/he said, she/he said and accusations flying as fast as the rumors, my goodness one needs a score card to keep track of all the players there-only a few of which are brave enough to sign their names. One side is firmly convinced that all hay farmers are out to rip off hay buyers. Another side thinks anyone who imports hay is "nasty". Yet another seems to think that Alaskan hay is the best thing since sliced bread. Still another lays out the situation as they see it. Then someone else will come on and whine why their post was flagged...and so on and so forth. They should take it R&R where they can have it each other nonstop, instead of clogging up Farm & Garden with such tripe.

These eruptions seem to happen about once or twice a month, and run for a couple of days. In the meantime, folks selling hay, or those needing it, are ignored or flagged, or both. Many posters don't allow a personal response....just yesterday, I took pains to respond to one person who complained about how the cost of hay should only be three or four bucks. I told the poster my own experiences with that, from the early 90s, but of course got no reply. I know they got it because it did not get kicked back from the CL remailer. They either were thankful they had their eyes opened (one could hope!) or they were so consumed with bitterness they just got angry and deleted it-either way, at least I did try.

Now I am not quite as dumb as some people like to presume, and when I have friends and acquaintanences calling or emailing and asking about what's happening on CL...well, I have to tell them the truth-I am not posting there. So all those flying off the handle and presuming I am....well, have fun with that! It's much more entertaining to just read and smile, or giggle, or feel sorry, or sympathy or any number of things.

If this is any indication of what is come over the winter months, it's surely going to be interesting!

Popcorn, anyone?

Monday, September 15, 2008

The season of change

September here in Alaska has always been one of my favorite months. Its that time when flying insects disappear, the trees begin their rapid slide into dormancy, and the mornings become cool and sometimes foggy. It rains, we have sunny breaks, and residents begin working in earnest to prepare for the winter months ahead.

For horse owners, that means trying to secure a good bit of a winters supply of hay.

I don't recall that it has ever been so challenging, not ever. The rainy pattern has continued right on into fall-and I don't see any signs of the jet stream moving, taking along these low pressure systems with it. Naturally, this has made it impossible for most farmers to get a second cutting. In fact, I heard over the weekend that one farmer never even got a *first* cutting! And that's a farm that puts up 1000s of squares too. There just is not much horse quality hay, anywhere, and what is available is very expensive due to the rising costs of producing it this year. I feel very fortunate to have the quantity of local hay that I do-many were counting on second cutting to fill their barns.

For months, I have been telling people to be prepared-the prices of imported hay and grains is going to skyrocket. This is due to information I know about the hay production situation in the Columbia basin, and what is really happening with hay down in the PNW. I have mentioned here before that a number of farms are converting to more profitable crops-such as wheat and soybeans-instead of going for second or third cuttings of hay. Voila! There is a shortage of hay on the open market. Anderson Brothers, the largest hay broker in the NW, will not ship hay to any person who is not already an established customer. They don't have any excess to sell, and even if they could get some, the prices are up at least $60 to $80 a ton at the farm. Then add in that fuel surcharge I have been talking about, and there you go. Its priced right where I thought it would be.

One particular reader here takes great issue with my bringing in this hay-even going so far as to whine about it on Craigslist, calling me a cheat and that I rip people off. I wonder what she's saying now that it is common knowledge that imported hay from Washington state is.......

Ready for this?

Sitting down?

Set your beverage down too, okay?

A whopping $630 a ton on Craigslist (no I have no idea who that is, sorry!) and is $41 a bale at the local feed store!!! For a 100 pound bale, that works out to how much??

Eight hundred dollars a ton!

Yep, you read correctly....if that isn't catastrophic, I don't know what is. I don't know many people who are able to handle this without a blink-it's very scary, and with tight or nonexistent local hay supply, this is going to be a really rough winter for a lot of horses.

And that's the thing that my ever-so-vigilant critic/enemy/nemesis does not seem to grasp. I don't do this hay thing only for myself. I don't do it to make a bunch of money (as I already posted here, its not exactly profitable to do it). I don't do it for ego, or for reputation, or for power or anything else.

I do it for the horses.

That's it, pure and simple....its the horses that need to eat, regardless of whats happening with bank accounts and the economy. Its horses that rely on our pitiful harvest this year. Its horses that depend on their owners to find something, anything to keep from starving. With local hay already being in the mid $400 range for squares off the field....my $575 a ton is not so bad. At least this hay is DRY, with no mold, no gravel road dust, no weeds, no debris, nothing but beautiful grass with wonderful digestibility, protein content, etc. Its every bit as good as what Anderson Brothers ships offshore to Dubai, Japan, Indonesia, etc-which is where the premium hay goes anyway.....Alaska gets second or third grade in the feed stores.

Naturally as this is sinking in, other changes are happening too-although probably not enough, quickly enough. Some people still have unreasonable expectations about what their horses will sell for (because they are NOT selling, yet). But I am seeing a few, here and there, under $1000. I got offered a free horse over the weekend as it happens-but I cannot take in that particular horse, even if my heart sats otherwise.

It's going to be a long winter.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thanks, State of Alaska!

This morning, all qualified residents will find an extra $3269 in their bank accounts for those that chose direct deposit.

$2069 comes from the Alaska Permanent Dividend Fund. I appluad those farsighted politicians who created the fund back in the 70s. Origainlly started as a rainy day fund, it is now enshrined here. We say, you may not touch our PFDs, not ever ;) The fund grows tremendously each year, thanks in large part to its investment strategies and some judicious participation in individual projects/stocks. The amount is calculated based on the previous five years earnings (I think with a portion set aside for inflation proofing) and distributed to qualified residents anually. Usually, this takes place in mid October and it fuels an amazing boost to the economy.

Not too long ago, the PFD was in the $1100 range...the growth is from gains made as the markets ramped up just prior to the correction recently. The PFD allows people to buy houses, purchase better vehicles, pay off debts and of course, some just blow it partying or buying luxuries they have long coveted. For myself, I have always used the PFD to stock up the house for the coming winter and pay ahead on the heating oil bill. Some years, I managed something small for myself, such as new clothing-or, it helped with Christmas shopping. I am sure many people are the same, but lots will buy motorized toys and games and big screen TVs and you will not find me within a half mile of ANY store today, lol!! It will be a zoo and I have sympathy for retail employees and the tellers at the bank who will be swamped.

The additional $1200 comes from an appropriation from the legislature this year. It is in direct response to the crippling cost of energy here in Alaska. In some areas, diesel for heat is $7 a gallon, or more. For people living in Bush Alaska, this is a godsend...there is also relief at the pumps, when the state tax of eight cents a gallon rolled back the first of the month.

Of course, gas is still over $4 a gallon ($4.19) and diesel is outrageous at $4.87 a gallon. I know when we topped our heating oil tank, the bill was stupendous and I can't imagine using 150 gallons a month in the winter at $4.69 each. Very scary. Naturally, the local gas utility has applied for another increase also, 22 percent. The commission that oversees that has never seen a rate request they didn't approve, so that totals something like 70% in a year and a half for those on gas heat.

For us, I am not sure what we are doing with the extra money, aside from sticking some away for the taxes we'll owe on the additional income. We have one major project to do-get this house converted to NG, which is going to be a large expense based on the system we have now. And of course, make a hefty payment to the heating oil distributor ;)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Harvest time!

Yesterday, I started the garden harvest and took a good look at what I have remaining in the garden proper.

There were enough peas and beans for a number of meals, and tonight it all gets blanched and vaccum sealed. I found a dozen and a half peppers on my super bushy plants (buried in the foliage) and I will be keeping at least one for seeds. The carmine pepper did well, and I have one of those set aside for seeds as well.

I saved three large tomatoes from the heirloom plants, they are perfectly ripe and I will save back seeds from those too-they performed exceptionally well and were just loaded with fruits-mostly unripe but then we've been eating them for months, lol 14 more cucumbers in the fridge, and about 40 pounds of green tomatoes are now nestled in newspaper to ripen in the garage where it's cooler.

From there, I took a careful inventory of the garden. It looks like I will have plenty of large zucchini to make relish with (yay!!) and to eat also, lots of babies coming on. There is still some broccoli to pull, amidst the forest of blossoms on the plants, lol The cabbages are getting some serious size and I will definitely need to locate a good crock to make another batch of sauerkrout this fall. As usual, the brussel sprouts are coming on very slowly-I have a hunch that they require rather more food than the rest-or an earlier start perhaps? At any rate, they are pretty small but since I have nearly a month to go, I snapped off some lower leaves to help with growth.

My biggest triumph is a personal one. I have been trying for many years to grow a decent pumpkin. Earlier last month I found one that was already turning golden, under a bushy vine. I assumed this was the only one I had and I steeled myself for yet another disappointment.....but yesterday I found a big one! A real, pumpkin sized pumpkin! The plants are sugar type, great for pies, and I carefully removed some foliage around the fruit so it can get some sun to ripen on the vine a bit more. It's easily the size of a basketball, and if I am lucky I will find a few more. I am sure you are thinking-what the heck, doesn't she know whats growing out there? Well, honestly I am not sure....the pumpkin vines are *everywhere* throughout the garden and it's a bit of a challenge just walking around without trampling it, lol Note to self: Do not plant pumpkins anywhere but edge of garden in the future!

Of course we won't go there on the astounding amount of weeds all over, heehee, even through the plastic mulch. I yanked up some chiogga beets on a whim, and those are doing very well too, much to my great surprise. There may be some carrots in that row too, but I'll wait on those to start digging around. Tonight I will go ahead and pull the dill plants and get them hung up in the garage to dry.

So I guess while some things were a bust (peas and beans) other things did very well indeed. My freezer contains easily three times as much broccoli and cauliflower as in previous years, and I still have a bunch to put up. I did not root around to check the spuds-I'll wait until my husband gets home for that-we both love fresh potatoes, roasted with a bit of olive oil and garlic....yum! My wonderful neighbor called over the weekend and they are about to start harvesting their very large patch of spuds. I am delighted to get several hundred pounds of those wonderful Alaska red eyes to can this fall, woohoo! Of course this means I am going to be busy canning for several weeks for sure. Now that it has cooled off it will be time to process the salmon in the freezer too, now that I think about it.

So if you don't hear from me over the next month or so, it will be because I am in the kitchen, canning like a crazy person :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The heat intensifies

The heat is intensifying in the Presidential campaign, a blow torch of media frenzy has been turn upon Sarah Palin....and of course, Wasilla too.

Can you imagine? Al Jazeera is here. That's how big a deal this has become. I am kind of embarassed, really. Wasilla is truly nothing more than retail strip malls and subdivions-nothing like "Small town" America with graciuous courthouses and town squares and ancient trees and a history spanning centuries. It's a brash, in your face type of place where commerce is king-right alongside recreation.

I can't recount here the numerous slanderous attacks on our Governor I have read online. It's unending, relentless, vicious and mostly, just ignorant. I find myself constantly reassuring people, telling them how I see her adminstration and its boondoggles, its legal troubles, what ACES and AGIA really mean. What the TransCanada "license" does and does not do. I try to explain what Wasilla was when she first gained a seat on the City Council, and what it is today. I even have to revisit the library flap for some, who are outraged without knowing the facts.

Sigh. Of course it isn't my job to enlighten, inform, or otherwise straighten out errorneous conclusions but some of the stuff is beyond belief. Somehow it feels like my responsibility as a resident of Alaska that I must also be an ambassador for our state. And that it is important that I do so, as eloquently and eruditely as this author can manage under scrutiny. Somehow, by implication, all Alaskans are under the same microscope.

I have even had to defend BP, the Yu'pik people, and Todd Palin, the North Slope and its many contractors, etc. Seriously, this choice of Sarah has created a whitehot frenzy as I have never seen before. It polarizes, it capivates, it divides, it is of historic importance to our country as a whole (Geraldine Ferrero aside).

It's amazing and astounding and I was very proud of the speech she delivered to the RNC, and I think Senator Biden is going to fall on his face at the debate to come.

So, on a somewhat lighter note...a longtime online friend of mine was inspired by the speech to create this:


You will have to cut and paste the above into your browser, but I hope you will share with your friends. I imagine I will see some of these very shortly, around Wasilla.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Palin Speech

Wow! What a speech!

I was glad to see someone take a good swipe at the media's biases, Obama's lack of experience, and so forth.

Mostly I am just stunned at the fallout following. Listening to the national talking heads stumble (Brokaw, Williams, etc) as they could not figure out how to respond to the speech, and were obviously stunned by their own responses. I am pretty sure they had their jaws dropped-as did a lot of people-myself included.

I knew her as an effective speaker, and this was a perfectly delivered gauntlet tossed at the feet of the Democratic's darling chosen one. Does he have the guts to pick up the challenge? No one knows yet.

If nothing else, she has energized and caused great debate across the nation. This is a VERY good thing. I think McCain took a huge chance on his choice, but I have no doubts she is up to the challenges to come-including those of the office of the Vice President.

As an Alaskan I am proud of the points she made, as we often feel like most of America views us as a forgotten nation park that should be locked up forever.

As a woman, I am proud that this hostoric event is happening in my lifetime.

The days to come will be her baptism in the fire of media scrutiny. She's tough enough to handle it, don't you think?