Saxman Native (Totem Pole) Village and Wildlife Extension Excursion

Ketchikan is so quaint and beautiful!  After The Great American Lumberjack Show we walked around a little while and then walked to meet up with the Saxman Village Tour that we had booked through Shore Excursions.  Again it was super easy to walk to where the tours buses were located.  Ketchikan Alaska

We instantly liked our tour guide!  Before heading to the Saxman Village we stopped several places.  I gathered these were the wildlife extension.  Our first stop was a beautiful rushing stream.  We had heard that the salmon run is incredible!  We were there just a little late in the summer to see salmon so think that it looks like a river of fish, but there were a few here and there. 

Eagles Nes in KetchikanThen we stopped to see an eagles nest.  There it was up in the tree.  I was amazed at how big the nest was even from very far away, but I didn’t see any eagles. 

Ketchikan Alaska lake mountainsThe surrounding scenery, however was gorgeous.  I’m from Texas y’all.  I could live on the beautiful scenery for a long time!

Ketchican bear viewingThen we went to where the locals reportedly go to see bears.  There were no bears, but there were plenty of birds!  We enjoyed ourselves immensely.  I just thought the lack of “wildlife” was a bit humorous.  Of course there was no guarantee! 

Totem Pole village in KetchikanNext we headed to the Saxman Village, the world’s largest collection of Totem poles!  The village was established in 1894. 

Saxman Villiage tour guideOur tour guide was a real trouper in the pouring rain telling us all about totem poles and explaining details about different ones.  The explanations were our introduction to the Tlinget people.

LaughWithUsBlog at Saxman Villiage Totem polesI very much recommend a tour of Saxman Village.  Jason and I both talked about how if we had gone on our own to see the village we would have walked around a little bit and thought, “Yep there are the totem poles.”  But the tour guide gave so much interesting history on the village the Tlinget people and on the individual poles that even in the rain we found it fascinating. 

Beautiful Ketchikan AlaskaOur tour ended back in town and included tickets to Dolly’s house.  While we wouldn’t have gone out of our way to purchase the tickets, we thought we would take the tour thinking it was probably filled with interesting antiques.  Well we walked in and then walked back out.  If you’re looking for family friendly we recommend skipping Dolly’s house though I’m sure people of all ages are allowed in. 

And that was the end of our tour.  After that we walked around a little while and then boarded our cruise to eat a late lunch.  It was our first Alaskan town to visit, and we were sold.  Alaska is gorgeous! 

Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

Alaska Lumberjack ShowWhen we were first looking at Alaskan cruise excursions, the first thing I saw that I knew I HAD to do was go to The Alaskan Lumberjack Show.  After looking through cruise excursions and lists, I found the tickets on the Lumberjack Show website to be slightly cheaper, so I purchased the tickets directly from them. 

Great Alaskan Lumberjack show Ketchican, Alaska was our first port, so the Lumberjack show was our very first taste of Alaska.  The website said the show was 1 block from the cruise ship docs.  Truly it was very close and so easy to find.

The Great Alaskan Lumberjack show Ketchican  The show was lively, fun, and filled with humor.  Over the one hour the men competed in 12 different events.

The Alaskan Lumberjack ShowIt was exactly my mental picture of Alaska.  My husband thought the idea of going to the show was little silly at first.  Why go to an Alaskan “show” in Alaska? 

Lumberjack Show Ketchican AlaskaWell, let me tell you, these are real athletes!  You can read about them here.  Each one has a different story, and while we enjoyed a show here the men actually compete in lumberjack competitions.  It was interesting to learn about the competitions some of them have won. 

Real Lumberjacks Show AlaskaWe found it humorous that the weather information reported: Chance of Rain 100%!  This is reported to be one of the rainiest cities in the US and it did not disappoint.  It rained the entire time we were there, but The Alaskan Lumberjack Show is prepared.  While the show is outdoors with beautiful Alaskan mountains in the background, the audience sits on covered bleachers protected from the rain. 

The Great American LumberJack Show in KetchicanThe lumberjacks however aren’t quite so lucky.  But watching them get drenched is all part of the fun! 

LaughWithUsBlog with the lumberjacksJason and I both had fun watching and cheering on our team throughout the show.  My husband thought it was pretty neat that these are real athletes and not just actors.  It was a great beginning to our Alaskan Adventure! 

If you are looking for souvenirs for your kids, make sure and spend some time a the gift shop.  We liked so many things, but didn’t want to buy all of our souvenirs in the first two hours in Alaska.  Later we really wished we had purchased souvenirs for our 2 and 5 year old boys there.  They had the best selection from all the places we visited.  

Memories of Meal Time on the Ranch

DadMy dad Hal Thompson is sharing some of his childhood stories with us.  Dad is a missionary and pastor.  You can find his ministry blogs at Teaching Truth Today or Enseñando las Escrituras.  I have always loved listening to my Dad tell stories from his childhood and am thrilled to share them with you.  His words below:

In our house each of the three meals of the day was considered a main meal. Breakfast was at 6:00, dinner at 12 noon, and supper from 6:00 to 8:00 in the evening. The times varied some during the three seasons of the year. Our dining room table was probably ten feet long by four feet wide (a regular ranch dining table). I am the 9th child of 12, and my father usually had from one to three men working for him on the ranch, so you can imagine the group around the table. Each time Dad had a new worker, I remember him giving instructions. He would mention the hours at which meals were served. Then he would say, “My wife is not running a restaurant, so if you want to eat, you must be here on time.” Meal time was a big deal for us children. The first 30 to 40 minutes was spent eating, and the last 20 minutes in visiting and, in the summer, drinking an extra glass of iced tea. The dinnerware was white china. I had never seen any kind of plastic dishes until I was 20 years old. The utensils were silver plated—no stainless steel back then. It was my job to wash and dry the silverware until I was about seven years old. I was so happy when I graduated to being allowed to wash and dry the plates. (I still hate washing silverware.) Each person had duties, so the dishes were cleaned up in a hurry, and then someone mopped the kitchen.

I remember when we butchered and salted eight hogs at a time. When we killed a beef, Mother would can the meat.  She kept 500 laying hens, and during the war she furnished eggs to the man who owned the hatchery.  We had lots of angel food cakes and merengue pies.  Since we milked cows, we also often had desserts with whipped cream.  Mother whipped the egg whites and cream by hand. (My brothers and I would not eat merengue or whipped cream because it looked to us like calf slobbers.) We thought pork was for breakfast only, and we had bacon, sausage, ham, or pork chops for breakfast every day.  I always thought of that big platter piled high with bacon when, after the war, we would have only two or three slices on our plate.  One time we canned a whole wagon load of corn.  My brother and I had to shuck corn all morning without any breaks.

The rules at the dinner table were that once my dad gave the invitation, you picked up the food nearest you, served yourself, and passed it to the left.  We never reached across the table.  You always called the name of person who was close to the food that you wanted seconds and asked them to pass it.  No one got up from the table unless he was properly excused.  My mother, bless her heart, never sat at the table as she was too busy serving.  We always had dessert at dinner and supper.  We had home-made bread which she baked daily.  We did not have a refrigerator. We did not get electricity until the last two years I was on the ranch, but even then, we didn’t buy a refrigerator for many years.  Why get one when we never used one before, and there were never any left overs?  Dad put in a butane gas cooking stove for Mother, one of the first in that part of Oklahoma.  I’ll never forget he buried the butane tank about two hundred yards from the house.  It was something new and people thought it might blow up.  Before we got the butane stove, Mother had a three-burner kerosene cook stove with a removable oven that sat on two of the burners.

I was only late for dinner one time that I can remember. (And I’m pretty sure I can remember.) It happened when I was probably about seven or eight years old.  I was somewhere on the ranch by myself that day doing something, and there was an unavoidable delay—I don’t remember just what happened, but I would never be late on purpose.  I got to the house about 1:00 feeling starved.  Everyone had left the dinner table, and Mother and my younger brothers were clearing it.  That morning we had killed six friers to have for dinner, as was common during the spring and summer seasons, so I knew we were having country fried chicken.  When I arrived everything had been eaten, as usual.  There was some home-made bread left, but that was all.  I saw a plate left by someone who had not really cleaned the chicken bones, so I quickly finished what they left.  I heard my mother say kind of to herself, “Oh, my, I should have saved some food for Hal.”  She was so busy feeding so many people that she probably didn’t realize I wasn’t at the table.