Eider Duck Heads to Homer, Alaska

Eider and his humans left North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks and are driving south.   As they approach Denali Park and Mount McKinley, Eider wants you to see these mountains.

From Fairbanks heading toward Anchorage. The Brooks Range

From Fairbanks heading toward Anchorage. The Brooks Range

He stops at the Alaska Veterans Memorial in Denali State Park.

Alaska Veterans Memorial

Alaska Veterans Memorial

The state park is near Denali National Park.   This memorial honors those Alaskans that served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Alaska National Guard and Merchant Marines.

This memorial honors all Alaskan veterans

This memorial honors all Alaskan veterans

This memorial recognizes the Alaskan Medal of Honor recipients also.      Two military plane crashes are recognized, with a propeller from one lost plane included in the memorial.

Propeller of lost military plane in the 1950s

Propeller from lost military plane in the 1950s

The location of Alaska results in Alaska being very important to the protection and defense of the United States.   The Colorado Traveling Ducks are very proud of the US military in Alaska, and all over the world.   South of Anchorage, we love the views of Cook Inlet.

Beautiful Cook Inlet

Beautiful Cook Inlet

Continuing south, Eider is never very far from the water, and the mountains.

Beautiful Alaskan scenery

Beautiful Alaskan scenery

Isn’t this a pretty drive?

So pretty

So pretty

Did you ever wonder how they got the boats out of the water when there is no pier or dock?   First the trailer goes in the water.

Truck backs boat trailer into water

Truck backs boat trailer into water

The boat comes in toward the shore.

Boat approaches and drives onto trailer

Boat approaches and drives onto trailer

The boat drives onto the trailer.

Truck pulls trailer with boat out of water and they go home.

Truck pulls trailer with boat out of water and they go home.

And the truck pulls the trailer with boat out of the water and they drive down the road to home.   Eider and humans enter Homer.

Eider arrives in Alaska with his humans. Cindy is holding him.

Eider arrives in Alaska with his humans.   Cindy is holding him.

Homer, Alaska is a very popular fishing area.   Sometimes Eider fishes for halibut and sometimes for salmon. He is on the boat heading out.   The windshield of the boat is tinted for better vision when heading into the sun.

Through tinted windshield

Through tinted windshield

Eider travels out to sea.

Eider and humans go out to sea, followed by another fishing boat.

Eider and humans go out to sea, followed by another fishing boat.

Here the humans are fishing from the back of the boat.   The boat is fairly stationary now, but there is still movement from the waves on the water.

Humans fish and Eider supervises

Humans fish and Eider supervises

When going fishing here, humans should take some medicine to prevent seasickness.  Eider the Duck does not suffer from seasickness.    This was a successful fishing trip.   The humans caught halibut.   The fish is taken to the dock where Eider’s humans pay to have it cleaned, cut, packaged and flash frozen.   Then it is flown directly to Eider’s house, ready for a great dinner of fresh halibut.   It is so good!

Happy Birthday from the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Is today your birthday?   I bet lots of people have a birthday today.   We will mention three birthdays from the past week.   If your birthday is soon, or recently passed, Happy Birthday to You.

On April 20, Mr. Peanut celebrated his 100th birthday in Manhattan’s Times Square in New York City.   The talking peanut blew out 100 candles on his birthday cake.   Mr. Peanut was born when 14 year old Antonio Gentile submitted his sketch to win Planters contest for a brand icon.   A commercial artist later added the top hat, monocle and a cane.   Antonio Gentile was from Suffolk, Virginia.

Happy 100th Birthday Mr. Peanut

Happy 100th Birthday Mr. Peanut

On April 21, Queen Elizabeth of England celebrated her 90th birthday.   She is now the longest reigning monarch.

Happy 90th Birthday Queen Elizabeth

Happy 90th Birthday Queen Elizabeth

On April 23, William Shakespeare celebrated his 452nd birthday.   Now that is old!   He was born April 23, 1564.

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare. You look great for 452 years old

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare. You look great for 452 years old

I, Zeb the Duck, want to wish my mom a Happy Birthday today.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, and humans, wish you all a very Happy Birthday whenever your special day occurs.

 

Chicken, Alaska with Eider Duck

Chicken, Alaska?   Is this really a town?   Eider, are you sure?   Yes.   Chicken, Alaska is a very small town not too far from Fairbanks, Alaska.

Welcome to Chicken, Alaska

Welcome to Chicken, Alaska

Approaching the town, Eider stopped to read this information about moose.

Approaching Chicken, Alaska. Information on caribou

Approaching Chicken, Alaska.   Information on moose

Often Eider has moose in his yard in North Pole near Fairbanks, Alaska.   The area was settled by gold miners in the late 1800s.

Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska

In 1902 the local post office was established and the community needed a name.

Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska

There were many ptarmigan in the area.   Ptarmigan are small birds, smaller than a chicken.   Some wanted to name the town ptarmigan, but the unusual spelling of the word, convinced the miners to name the town Chicken instead.   With a name like Chicken, tourists arrive here, so the town gives them something to see.

Egg in Chicken, Alaska

Egg in Chicken, Alaska

Some old buildings are still standing in Chicken.   Some of the buildings and Dredge No 4, Pedro Dredge, are listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska

There are still active gold mines in the area.   Chicken had a music festival.    This is the stage for many of the musical groups.

Stage for Music Festival in Chicken, Alaska

Stage for Music Festival in Chicken, Alaska

Tourists have fun in Chicken, Alaska.

Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska

That chicken is reading signs to different places.

Eider Duck is my cousin and friend.   When Eider was leaving Chicken, he stopped at this phone booth to call me.

Eider tried to call me, Zeb the Duck.

Eider tried to call me, Zeb the Duck.

This is a working telephone, but I, Zeb the Duck, was not home when Eider called.   Maybe Eider will try to call again.     The road and river in and out of Chicken is really pretty.  

From Alaska's Taylor Highway

From Alaska’s Taylor Highway

Eider says they have forest fires in Alaska, like every place else.   This is the new growth from a fire about 5 years ago.

Growing back from fire 5 years ago

Growing back from fire 5 years ago.   Eider says the animals like to eat this new vegetation.

This is really a great town Eider.   Thanks for sending us all these pictures.

 

Eider Duck’s Winter Activities

Eider Duck, our cousin, lives near Fairbanks, in the town of North Pole, Alaska.   During the winter there is an international ice sculpting contest in Fairbanks.   These are a couple ice sculptures from previous years.

Ice carving

Ice carving

That fish is probably my favorite.   This one is also great, especially with the colored lights.

Ice carving

Ice carving

In Colorado we ride snowmobiles.   In Alaska, Eider calls them snow machines.  They are similar to motorcycles for snow.

Eider heading down the snowy road.

Eider heading down the snowy road.

He and his dad ride snow machines.

Eider on snow machine

Eider on snow machine

Eider says it is a lot of fun.

Snow machine. Is Eider driving?

Snow machine.   Try to block some of the cold wind, Eider

Sometimes it is too cold to ride the snow machines.   But Eider is a tough duck and he likes his winter life in Alaska.

More Photos from Cuba

Zeb the Duck here.   My friend, Channel the Bear, was in Cuba again.   She and her mom go often.   Her mom is a travel guide to Cuba for Friendly Planet.    Channel is sitting on a canon at the Hotel Nacional in Havana.

Channel on a canon at Havana, Cuba's Hotel Nacional.

Channel on a canon at Havana, Cuba’s Hotel Nacional.

When I was there, this was my favorite hotel in Havana.   In the 1950’s, before Fidel Castro took power, this was the hotel for the rich and famous Americans.   They still have great old photographs there.    This is a restaurant in Havana, and that large building behind is the Hotel Nacional.

California Café in Havana, Cuba with Hotel Nacional in background.

California Café in Havana, Cuba with Hotel Nacional in background.

The California Café name says the Americans have not been forgotten.   This last photo is the famous Varadero Beach.

Varadero Beach, Cuba

Varadero Beach, Cuba.   Beautiful Caribbean Sea.

This is great Channel.   When we were in Cuba, we were not allowed here.   It is beautiful.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, hope you will go to Cuba soon to see what it is like now.   Cuba may be opening up to American tourism.   We understand that Carnival Cruise line has a subsidiary company that will begin cruises to Cuba twice a month.   The cruises may begin early May.   Go soon, before it changes.   We loved the friendly Cuban people and we think you will too.   Thank you Channel for these great photos.

Signs of Spring–Soon to be Gone

I, Zeb the Duck, love spring, with the tulips and trees in bloom.   Yesterday mom and I drove around our neighborhood to see the flowers, maybe for the last time this spring.   The weather forecast is for a big spring snow lasting two or three days.   If the forecast is correct, we could receive a foot of very wet, heavy snow.   The wet snow could knock the blossoms off the trees and break the stems of tulips and daffodils.   We thought this tree was very pretty.

Pretty blossoms

Pretty blossoms

It is a rather large tree and flowering branches cover the entire corner of the yard.   I liked the different shades of pink on this tree.

Shades of pink

Shades of pink

It was a smaller tree, but so pretty.   White blossoms cover this rather large tree.

So many white flowers

So many white flowers

There are three of these trees along the street.   With the breeze these blossoms were swaying in the tree.

delicate individual petals

delicate individual petals

Very pretty to see.   Tulips are one of my favorite flowers.

Tulips of many colors

Tulips of many colors

The variety of colors here really caught my eye.   Tulips usually survive storms, but this much wet snow could break the stems.   During our last storm in March, several tree limbs broke also, knocking down power lines.   Yellow, of course, is my favorite color–duck yellow I call it.   Naturally I asked mom to take a picture of these yellow tulips.

Duck yellow tulips

Duck yellow tulips

You notice that I am not in any of these photographs.   Mom doesn’t go into people’s yards and neither do I.   But know that I, Zeb the Duck, was there and telling mom what pictures to take.   After all, this blog is The Colorado Traveling Ducks, not humans.   And, maybe we will not receive as much snow as predicted.   Maybe we will still have the tulips and blooming trees next week.

All That Glistens at the Denver Art Museum with Zeb the Duck

Toxic tree sap becomes shiny lacquer of various colors.   Zeb the Duck and mom loved this exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.   All of the pieces on display were created during the 1900s.    Let’s take a look.

The Denver Art Museum has Japanese Lacquer

The Denver Art Museum has Japanese Lacquer

This plaque with a Persian Cat and Bumblebee was created by Itaya Koji during the period 1975-85.

Persian cat with bumblebee

Persian cat with bumblebee

Itaya used lacquer, gold, mother of pearl and wood.  In 1942 Yokoyama Ichimu created this Folding Screen with Vines and Vegetables.

Folding Screen with Vines and Vegetables

Folding Screen with Vines and Vegetables

Yokoyama used black lacquer, two tones of red lacquer with details in gold and shell inlay.

Indigenous to China, India and Tibet, the lacquer tree (Rhu vernicifera) was introduced to Japan thousands of years ago.   The toxic sap hardens into a remarkably durable, light weight and versatile substance that can be applied to wood both and basketry.   Let’s look at some more.

Next we admired this Tray with Autumn Leaves, created by the Osaka artist, Shimano Sanshu in 1952.

Lacquer tray with Autumn Leaves

Lacquer tray with Autumn Leaves

The autumn leaves are of raised lacquer in silver and bright autumn colors.   In 1935 Watanabe Shinji created this vase.

Vase by Watanabe Shinji

Vase by Watanabe Shinji

After layering orange, red and white lacquer, the carved lacquer technique was used to create an abstract design on its surface.    Next we looked at this Folding Screen with an Autumn Scene.

Folding Screen with Autumn Scene

Folding Screen with Autumn Scene

Yasutani Bisei shows plain kimono fabric drying in the autumn breeze.   Seasonal flowers and grasses in raised lacquer against neutral ground of tan-colored lacquer created this screen in 1941.

Pure lacquer is clear and amber to reddish brown in color   Different pigments can be aded to liquid lacquer to create opaque colors.   Red and black are the most traditional colors.   Once hardened, lacquer may be polished to give it a mirror like finish.   Let’s look at more and see that mirror like finish.

Here we have a pair of Hand Warmers with rabbits and ferns by Suzuki Hyosaku.

Pair of Hand Warmers

Pair of Hand Warmers

Rabbits and ferns are rendered on mirror-black lacquer with raised lacquer and inlaid lead and mother of pearl.   The gilt-copper inserts held charcoal to provide warmth.   This a Brazier.

Brazier by Suzan Sakasho

Brazier by Suzan Sakasho

This Brazier has bamboo and a poem on it.   Suzan Sakasho created this when she was 83 years old.   This reddish-brown lacquer brazier was used in the preparation of steeped tea.   I, Zeb the Duck, just learned about a Brazier.

Artists can carve into or etch multiple layers of lacquer with designs or add previous metals and other substances–such as powdered gold or silver and inlaid mother of pearl and eggshell, to make surface glisten or to add decorative touches.

Tsuihu Yozei XX created this Plaque with Mount Horai and Cranes in the 1920-1940 period.

Plaque by Tsuishu Yozei XX

Plaque by Tsuishu Yozei XX

The carved lacquer technique was used.   First you build a thick substrate of colored lacquer, then carve through the hundreds of layers to create a design in high relif, revealing different colors of lacquer at varying depths.   The artist, Tsuihu Yozei XX combined Mount Horai, the mythical island of the immortals and cranes, symbols of good fortune and longevity.   We hope you will visit the Denver Art Museum to see this exhibit.   Like many exhibits in the Denver Art Museum, we are in awe of the detail work done by the artists.   These shiny lacquer works are in a smaller area with many lights.   This is wonderful to see, but mom had trouble taking photos.   The reflections are everywhere.   This exhibit will be on display through September 7, 2016.   We have seen it twice.    It is beautiful and interesting; we think you would enjoy it also.   This would be a good activity for this rainy/snowy weekend in Denver.   For more information visit http://www.DenverArtMuseum.org   Click on Exhibitions at the top and then current exhibitions.   The Denver Art Museum is great.

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, like tea.   My mom also likes tea.   We love the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado.   We met some human friends there for lunch and want you to see this Teahouse.   Boulder, Colorado is a sister city to Dushanbe, Tajikistan and Boulder received this magnificent gift.   Our teahouse was built completely by hand from 1987-1990, by more than 40 artisans in several cities of Tajikistan.   Let’s visit the Teahouse.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahous

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

The Teahouse is on the Boulder Creek, in the heart of Boulder.   The entrance faces a city park.

Let's go in

Let’s go in

Before we go inside, we want to enjoy the flowers.

Flowers everywhere

Flowers everywhere.   Isn’t this ceramic panel colorful.

Eight colorful ceramic panels, created by Victor Zabolotnikov, grace the building’s exterior and display patterns of a “Tree of Life”.   The beautifully landscaped outdoor dining area create an oasis within the city.

Relaxing outdoor dining

Relaxing outdoor dining

I, Zeb the Duck, met some friends.   My friend, Channel the Bear was there and a little duck friend, the Caped Crusader.

Zeb, Channel and Caped Crusader

Zeb, Channel and Caped Crusader

Our moms let us have our own table, until it got busy at lunch time.   Here is the Boulder Creek.

Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek

It is nice to hear the water as we eat.   So peaceful.   We ate outside, but let’s enter the Teahouse now.   Inside the Teahouse are eight large, intricately carved white plaster panels, designed and executed by Kodir Rakhimov.   You can purchase green tea here.

Green tea. Beautiful hand carved column

Green tea.   Beautiful hand carved column

As we look around, we see more tea supplies.

Gorgeous teapots and tea supplies

Gorgeous teapots and tea supplies

We love this place.   The central pool features seven hammered copper sculptures by Ivan Milashevich, based on a 12th century poem, “The Seven Beauties”, in which a princess from each of seven different nations narrates a fable that expresses important cultural values.

Indoor pool with Seven Beauties

Indoor pool with Seven Beauties

We love any restaurant or teahouse that has a pool inside.   Don’t forget to look up.   The ceiling of the Teahouse was carved and paint with intricate patterns traditional of Persian Art.   The teahouse ceiling was originally built, carved and painted in Tajikistan.

Ceiling. Made by hand, no power tools.

Ceiling.   Made by hand, no power tools.

Absolutely no power tools were used in the original construction.   The work was crafted by hand exactly as it was centuries ago.  Of the twelve cedar columns, no two columns are like.   This Teahouse was completely built by hand in Tajikistan and then taken apart.   Carefully packed in large crates, the pieces were shipped to Boulder, Colorado.   Master woodcarvers, Manon Khaidarov and Mirpulat Mirakhmatov helped reassemble the Teahouse in Boulder and carved their names in the ceiling.   Several craftsmen from Tajikistan were in Boulder to reassemble and ensure that our Teahouse was as intended.   As we left the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, we needed to have one more photo of this beautiful place.

So sad to leave. We come back often

So sad to leave. We come back often

We hope you visit the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse soon, at 1770 13th Street, Boulder, Colorado.   Visit http://www.boulderteahouse.com for more information and additional photos.   There is so much more.   They have a farm to ensure fresh ingredients.   They also serve afternoon tea.   This place is wonderful.

Western Kansas with Zeb, Soapy Smith and JB Duck

Ducks, let’s get in the car.   Those are some of our favorite words.  Driving east on I-70 from Denver, we passed Limon and Burlington and entered Kansas.

We are entering Kansas

We are entering Kansas

Naturally the first stop was the Kansas Welcome Center for travel information.

Let's find out what to see

Let’s find out what to see

The wind was strong here.   Our next stop was Goodland, Kansas to see the Van Gogh.   A huge, 80 foot tall, reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase”, on an easel stands tall in Goodland.

Replica of Van Gogh's Three Sunflowers in a Vase

Replica of Van Gogh’s Three Sunflowers in a Vase

The reproduction was painted by a Canadian artist, Cameron Cross.   If you are on I-70 in western Kansas, you should stop in Goodland to see this.   Continuing east we took Exit 70 to Oakley, Kansas.   As you may guess, this was the home of Annie Oakley, originally Annie Moses.    We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center.

Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

The big attraction here is the statue on a hill.

Buffalo Bill and a Buffalo

Buffalo Bill and a Buffalo

Buffalo Bill and a buffalo.   Inside, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, sat on the head of a buffalo.

Colorado Traveling Ducks sitting on a buffalo's head

Colorado Traveling Ducks sitting on a buffalo’s head

We believe this was our first buffalo sitting.   Buffalos are big.   So far, Kansas was all farmland.

Kansas farm

Kansas farm

We headed south on Hwy 83 toward Oklahoma, and soon we saw pumping oil wells.

Pumping oil wells

Pumping oil wells

Turning off the highway onto dirt roads, we were heading for Monument Rocks.   We liked this view of the road.   There are not many trees, but these two near a river bed formed an arch over the road.

We like the trees over the road

We like the trees over the road

Suddenly we spotted the Monument Rocks, also known as the Chalk Pyramids of Kansas.

Monument Rocks

Monument Rocks

The 70 foot tall sedimentary formations of the Niobrara Chalk were created 80 million years ago when Kansas was a vast inland sea.   We parked and walked around some of the chalk pyramids.   They are really big and we are really small.   Mom had to be careful where we sat.   The wind blew us away a few times.

We are in this photo

We are in this photo

We love arches.   We three ducks are on the ground on the right side of the arch.

Colorado Traveling Ducks on right side of arch

Colorado Traveling Ducks on right side of arch

If you look closely, you can see us.   These Monument Rocks, or Chalk Pyramids were the first to be designated as a National Natural Landmark by the US Department of the Interior.   These Chalk Pyramids are on private rangeland but the owner opened the land to the public.   The Chalk Pyramids are fragile, and humans are asked not to climb on them.   The Monument Rocks, or Chalk Pyramids are on both sides of this dirt road.

Monuments Rocks or Chalk Pyramids of Kansas

Monuments Rocks or Chalk Pyramids of Kansas    Mom is experimenting with the panorama feature on the camera.

We think these formations, about 27 miles south of I-70 are worth the time to leave the interstate and see some of what Kansas has to offer.   When you are in Kansas, be prepared for lots of wind.