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Atlantis Launch Successful!

IMG_2716 Shuttle over Bay Lake  2x 2 5  100 copy

Atlantis Space Shuttle over Bay Lake

I had the great privilege to observe the launch of the Atlantis Space Shuttle yesterday from Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  I was looking over Bay Lake at Walt Disney World and was thrilled to see the launch.  On time and looking amazing,  Atlantis made a fiery streak across the sky as it headed on its next mission.  Scheduled to have 3 space walks while delivering equipment and 2 control gyroscopes to the International Space Station.

One important item that is on the Shuttle Atlantis is a product from Shaklee Corporation called Astro-Ade, a special re-hydration product that was developed by Shaklee at NASA’s request in the early 1990’s.  Shaklee continues to support and research ways for all of us the be healthier each day.  For those sports enthusiasts, the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver BC will be a time to see Shaklee Nutrition at work!  Having already powered 54 Olympic Gold Medals, we are ready for more Gold!

Being Prepared for Fall & Winter Severe Storms

Severe Storms! We have talked about this subject before and will continue to remind ourselves that we need to be ready for the storms and earthquakes that strike each year.  I live in the south, so we have Hurricanes, Tornadoes and the occasional ice storm or snow storm.  Hurricanes start usually in June and continue to be a threat until early December, so it is a long wait for those storms.  Tornadoes are usually associated with Spring, but can happen anytime there is warm moist air hitting cold air.

Earth

Earth

Winter storms can be severe for those of us in the south who are not normally confronted with ice and snow.  For us, these two can come together or separately. Ice is the worst since we have so many trees that loose limbs on power lines, or worse, the whole tree falls over or breaks from the weight of the ice.  Even emergency vehicles here have problems with ice.  Southern cities on the whole do not have stockpiles of salt to combat the ice buildup on bridges.  Nor do these cities have snow plows!  Power outages are a challenge.

Being prepared for these weather events and earthquakes are necessary for a smooth transnoaaition to living a few days(hopefully a short time) without power and maybe water and natural gas.  Your emergency kit needs to be refreshed now to include:  warm clothing for the cold weather storms;  fresh water supplies;  fresh prescription medications;  update your first aid kit with new ointments and creams for minor injuries;  replace batteries in flashlights and emergency radios;  add any new paper work to your water-tight safe and throw in some extra books for reading during the long days.  Cheek the NOAA site for more information.

One good thing that is currently being tested is from Victor Petrenko of Dartmouth

Mountain Snow

Mountain Snow By Elise Hearn 2009

College.  He has discovered a way to use the electricity flowing in the power lines to generate enough heat to de-ice the power lines!  So if his idea catches on, then your local power company will be able to avoid damage from ice!  Check out this article on the  Popular Science website!

Now that fall is really here, get ready for those storms that are coming.  They are like the holidays, they come faster than you can imagine and preparation is the key to making the key to making it through the storm.  Stay Well!

Salmon Capital of the World! Ketchikan AK

Salmon Run Ketchikan Creek by Elise Hearn 2009

On my recent journey to Alaska, I had the pleasure to again visit Ketchikan.  A beautiful city on Revillagigedo Island, in southeast Alaska.  Ketchikan is close to Misty Fjords National Monument, where day trips are meant to discover part of this largest wilderness in Alaska.  Ketchikan as well as Misty Fjords National Monument receive over 100 inches of rain each year so mist is often hanging on the hills and mountains in the area.  About 32 inches of snow falls in the area each year, but the temperatures are moderate.

Know as the Salmon Capital of the World, Ketchikan is a friendly city, with many other reasons to visit.  During my visit, the salmon were on their fall run up Ketchikan Creek that runs in front of the famous Creek Street Shops.  Heading upstream to spawn and then die, the creek was full of salmon fulling their life cycle.  It was amazing to see these fish fling themselves upstream against the strong currents.

A visit to the Tongass National Forest, part of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, will have you wanting to visit again and again.

Serendipity: Change Results in New Adventures!

Tracy Arm in Rain

Tracy Arm in Rain by Elise Hearn 2009

How often do we make plans and stick to those plans for vacations, family reunions, weddings and such?  We plan out vacations, making reservations for tours, dinners, lunches, this particular hotel, that specific museum and so on!  We leave nothing to chance.  There is no space for those wonderful serendipities of life, nothing is spontaneous.

As we left Juneau AK, we were heading to Sitka AK closer to the Pacific ocean, not in the Inside Passage.  As we were having dinner, the captain made an announcement that due to high winds expected the next day, we would not go to Sitka.  60 mile per hour winds were worth avoiding in my mind!  So we set off for a new adventure!North Sawyer Glacier in Rain by Elise Hearn 2009

As the captain spoke, he told us we would sail Tracy Arm, heading to the North Sawyer and then the South Sawyer Glaciers.  Located in the Tongass National Forest,  Tracy Arm is a steep granite walled fjord with hemlock and spruce rainforest to about the 1500 foot line.  There are many waterfalls from the ice fields as well as icebergs from the tidewater glaciers.  Some of the icebergs are as large as a 3 story building!  Often the waterway is clogged with ice.

North Sawyer Glacier in Rain by Elise Hearn 2009

The images here are from the day we sailed Tracy Arm.  The weather was supposed to be clear, but the rain stayed with us and poured all day.  The good thing about the extra water was the extra water falls!  With the solid rock walls, and very little soil, the rain had to head to the fjord, creating many more instant water falls.  Spectacular.

So the next time you head out on a vacation trip, or just a drive to work, make room for changes in your route and the Serendipities along the way!

Glaciers, Icefields and Rainforest Views

Images of blue, white and black ice drifting over blue gray water are the memories from the Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau Alaska.  Part of the Juneau Icefields, in the Coast Mountain RanMendenhall Bergs 4x6 100 crge, North America’s fifth largest icefield blankets over 1,500 square miles of land.     About 85 miles north to south and 45 miles east to west, the Juneau Icefield feeds 38 large glaciers.  Interestingly, the ice can be from 800 feet to 4, 500 feet deep!  No wonder it was so cold at the Mendenhall Glacier Park.

Some of the Glaciers in the Juneau Ice Field are retreating while others are stable or advancing.  Even in retreat, the glaciers will be evident for several centuries.  The rock that is revealed when the glaciers retreat, begin to support life quickly.  The first plant life that forms on the bare rocks are moss and lichens.  Lupine, Alder, Cottonwoods and willows followed by SpView from the Top in Rain 4x6 100cr  copyruce and Hemlock eventually create the forest we see furthest from the face of the Glaciers.  This reclamation process takes about 350 years!

So as you visit the Temperate Rainforest of Southeast Alaska, appreciate the time it has taken to even being to see tall trees in the area.  Also appreciate how quickly a logging crew can destroy this delicate environment.  Protection is necessary since this environment is the home  to fragile wildlife along with being part of the climate stabilizers of the world.  Visit the Alaska Wilderness League for more information.

Glacier Bay: Whales & Eco-Tourists abound!

Visiting Glacier Bay, Alaska is a privilege.  Not every cruise ship that wants to enter Glacier Bay National Park is allowed to enter the park.  As of the 2007 Cruise Ship Proposal, the number of ships allowed into Glacier Bay in the Months of June, July and August is now 153 total.  The ships are limited to preserve the ecology in the area.  Glacier Bay is part of one of the world’s largest internationally protected Biosphere Reserves as well as a United Nations National Heritage Site.IMG_6497 Whales in Glacier Bay 4x6 100

Glacier Bay is seen as an area of Hope!  Glaciers in the area are growing, no longer retreating.  This is an area where the endangered species such as the Stellar Sea Lions, are protected in an environment where they can expand their population and reestablish their populations. And of course this is a favorite place for whales!  As you visit Glacier Bay, you are witnessing a new and emerging world.  Where there was once one large glacier, thousands of feet deep, there is now IMG_7461 Calving Margerie Glacier cr 4x6 100a 65 mile long fjord of resilient land that now hosts a succession of marine and terrestrial life.    Glacier Bay National Park is a living laboratory!

Keeping the focus on the environment, carefully protecting the area for current as well as future enjoyment means Glacier Bay National Park will be a living arena for flora and fauna!  The glaciers are advancing in some areas and retreating in others, so the new creation in the the park continues.  So becone an Eco-Tourist and travel to Glacier Bay National Park to experience the changing of the world!

North to Alaska!

The image here is of Seattle as we left the dock on Sunday, Sept 6th.  Rain had been an off and on event during the day, but the departure was excellent!  Holland America’s ms Westerdam is a lovely ship with mid-ship elevators that are glass so you have views of the ocean as you maneuver in the ship. IMG_6155 Seattle Sept 6 09  6x4 100 copy

We had a stateroom with balcony on the Navigation Deck that offered views of the journey whenever we wanted to look out the floor to ceiling windows or pop onto the private balcony.  Holland Ameria has wool plaid blankets for wrapping up in against the cold, so we were pleased to see two waiting for us in our stateroom.  The down comforters were also welcome when we were in the Glacier Bay area!

Many photos were taken and will be on the Hall & Hearn Photography website gallery soon! More travel info to come!

Just how “Fresh” are Air Fresheners?

Fern Tree Close-Up

Fern Tree Close-Up

Fresh is one of those terms that brings to mind, for me anyway, the smell of sheets and towels just brought in from drying on the clothes line in the back yard on a crisp day.  Now that was clean, fresh.  The towels were a bit rough and the sheets were nowhere close to silky soft, but the aroma was fresh.

Having grown up in the south where we can keep the doors and windows open,  fresh air to me has no scent per se.  The air had the scent of pine at times,  fresh dirt if the garden was being worked,  and the scent of rain when a storm was approaching.  But we did not fill our home with artificial scents that mimic “Mediterranean breezes”, whatever that means.

Today we are bombarded with ads for odor control options.  We see ads with folks sniffing the carpets and sneakers that smell “fresh” because of an air freshener being used in that home.  Scents come in different delivery systems, some are automated, so you spray, some are more passive and are released as air moves over them.

Fresh air is a big business, approaching $1.7 Billion according to some researchers.   However, studies from the University of Bristol show that scented air is not the only effect.  Some children have more diarrhea, 32% more, when air fresheners were used daily.  Adults suffer from more headaches, 10% more .  And among the most disturbing are the statistics showing women who work at home with air fresheners used daily have a 26% increased risk of depression.

So, be careful when utilizing these products.  Consider natural alternatives such a baking soda,  indoor plants, green tea, and old fashioned cleaning!  Open windows and doors when appropriate.  Let the sunshine in!   Empty the garbage frequently and clean the area with natural, green cleaners.  If you just have to have a scent in your home, bake cookies or use a simmer pot with cloves, cinnamon,  ginger, lemons and such for a natural alternative that won’t give you headaches or depression!

Stay Healthy!

Snow in the Deep South!

Mountain Snow

Mountain Snow

Wow, we had snow here yesterday and it was wonderful!  Have not had that much snow in years.  The picture is of the mountain across the road from our home.  Big pretty flakes coming down.  Really cold today so am staying healthy by taking my vitamins.   Be well!

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