Alaska Highway: Whitehorse to Watson Lake, December 2, 2013

Day 1:

day 1 map













This is the Alaska Highway: 037

At 10:45 in the morning my car’s thermometer is pegged at-30: as low as it will go. I do not know how cold it really is, only that it is colder than 30 below. After an hour on the road, there is still ice on the hood of the car and the clutch is still as stiff as tar. 040 042

I am driving East, into the rising sun, with everything I own. 032

when the road ahead
is drenched in molten gold
i know to raise my hand
in anticipation of being blinded
until the road slides west
and sunrise

behind me.

044outhouse in December
some one has left the seat up
amber icicles


driving east,
sarah brightman
eases the pie jesu
into the rising sun

as brilliant bursts  of liquid bronze and gold
splash champagne,
and shadows
chase the sweetness
of the melody
across the hillsides.


telephone poles stretching
one after the other,
t-braces white with frost,
a thousand messiahs
with knees and feet of alabaster

and frosty brows bowed down,
connected by living wire,

carrying my whispered voice
from christ jesus
to christ jesus

until it reaches

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Earth Day Presentation at Yukon College

…because sometimes I DO write about things that have nothing to do with quilting!

Today at lunch I went down to the “pit” (our Yukon College common area) to listen to a noon-hour presentation by the Kitchen-Kuiack family, who were the winners of the Canadian Geographic Energy Diet Challenge. 

Marguerite and Brian and their two daughters, 17-year-old Simone and 12-year-old Marika, came to share what they learned and how they did it. But they didn’t just talk, they also shared several of the two-minute videos that Simone had made as part of the project.  In total they were required to make 32 videos and post 32 blogs during the 3-month challenge. Wow! The videos we saw today were funny, engaging and informative and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I have been trying to track them down on the web so I could link to a few here, but unfortunately I haven’t had any luck. If I can find them later, I’ll post them then. Anyway, the family also passed around samples of various types of LED lightbulbs for us to see…these replace both the old-fashioned incandescent ones and the newer low energy fluorescent ones,. But better than that, they were able to talk about what they liked and didn’t like about the different types of bulbs. In fact, after hearing them talk, I’ll seriously consider replacing our “new” low energy fluorescent bulbs with these lower-energy LED ones when they wear out. The family also generously shared copies of their electric bills (down a whopping 32%), passed around a watt-hour meter (a little device that shows how much power whatever device you plug into it is using), and shared some of the more innovative outside-the-box ideas that they tried out, such as using grey water to flush the toilet.

They mentioned briefly that all of the participants in the challenge had to make and use a solar oven, and that as a result they used 51% less cooking fuel! Wow! I would have liked to have learned more about that. I think that is something we could definitely use here in the Yukon, so I may have to do a little research of my own. That would be a cool summer project for the Lake House, eh?

17-year-old Simone also took part in the Shell Canada driving challenge and shared some of the things she learned there as well. I was happy to see that many of the driving tips were things I already do. For example, I like to manage my vehicles energy much the same way I manage my bicycle, by coasting down hills (instead of powering down them) and coasting to stop signs & stop lights instead of powering up to them and then braking. However, I was also happy to learn some things that I hadn’t thought of, such as pretending there is an egg under the accelerator pedal, or pretending that there’s a full glass of water on the dashboard. These little imaginings should help to smooth out acceleration and deceleration. Smoother driving with less braking will definitely make a considerable difference in the amount of gas I burn (and have to buy).

After the presentation, I even got to plant some arugula and pea seeds to take home for my windowsill for future healthy munching!

I work in a cool place. Thanks for hosting this great lunch-time presentation, Yukon College, and thanks to the Kitchen-Kuiack family for sharing your experience with us. 

Happy Earth Week, everyone!