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2008 Blue Heron Farm Updates

Sign announcing Wasilla, AlaskaAlthough we are rarely able to get away from the farm for prolonged periods, we were fortunate to be able to take a trip to Alaska in May. The trip (University business for Bill) saw us flying to Anchorage, and then taking the Denali Star train up to Fairbanks. The train trip took twelve hours, and provided fantastic views out every window. We even went right through the center of Wasilla, which I can best describe as a strip mail with a railroad track running through it!  The meeting I attended was held at the Chena Hot Springs Resort, 70 mile north of Fairbanks and where the road actually ends. We’d encourage folks to visit there to enjoy the springs and stay at the lodge where they are able to grow a huge amount year-round in greenhouses heated by the springs. They also maintain an ice palace with some truly phenomenal ice carvings, again using the energy from the hot springs. We’ve put up a photo gallery of the trip for anyone that’s interested.

Beauty and danger in the ice stormDamage to the farmhouse caused by an ice stormThe biggest event for us in 2008 was a once-in-a-lifetime (we hope) ice storm that hit this area as well as other parts of the state on Dec. 11-12, 2008. At lower elevations, the temperatures were higher and therefore the precipitation fell as all rain, with almost none freezing. By the time one got up to where the farm is, we woke up to find that there was about an inch and a half of ice over everything. The farm suffered major damage to the sugarbush, fencing and even the farmhouse itself that took literally hundreds of hours to clean up. We were without power for over five days, which necessitated draining the pipes in all the houses. We ended up having to haul water for the animals until the power came back on and used a lot of firewood trying to keep the farmhouse (and ourselves) from freezing up as well.