Wednesday, July 20, 2016

AK - Musk Ox, Reindeer AND Stuffed Bananas

 
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What a full and fun day we spent in the city of Palmer.  The museum was part of the Midsummer Faire, so after Carl drove the Dodge touring car to the faire site, we helped Sherry set up.  Off we went with Joe and Joy to check out the two animal farms in the area...musk ox and reindeer!  We had seen a few reindeer during the Colony Days in Palmer, but I wanted MORE...lol  Not only did I see more, but I learned a lot more.  The reindeer grow a full set of very heavy antlers in only 3 months!  The soft fur that grows early on has gobs of nerve endings and if you touch them it would hurt the reindeer a great deal.  There are approximately 1,000 hairs per square inch of their fur.  They can run 35mph for 50 miles.  They can't kick back or to the side and have no front upper teeth, making them safe to be close to!   Believe it or not, many people here have them as pets!!!  Each season as the new reindeer are born, names are given to each one.  The names are themed, such as gems, hurricanes, national parks, etc.
Just FYI

More cool info








Friend Joe with the "Big Guy"

Hanging out

A very young reindeer...how cute are his
antlers!!!!

Getting ready for the hot summer



Knowing how heavy the antlers are,
I am amazed that this guy doesn't fall over...lol



Full grown half rack, nearly 4' high

The fuzzy fur shedding


Also, at the farm was a bison named Dolly.  Dolly was the runt of the litter...siblings were born in May/June and she did not officially arrive until November causing her to grow to a weight and size of only about half of the others.  In order for her to survive, she needed a friendly place to live out her life.  Something very interesting I learned is that there are NO buffalo in North America...the bison are often referred to as American buffalo...but they are all bison!
Moose ntlers

Awesome chair made with reindeer
antlers and moose antlers

Dolly the bison
I'd like to take a moment to honor the woman who started the Reindeer Farm. she passed away just a couple months ago.  Also, thanks to her family who has chosen to keep the farm going!
 
     The Musk Ox farm proved to be a lot of fun as well as informative.  First off, they are huge!  They are kinda leftovers from the Ice Age and resemble a wooly mammoth; however, they are closer related to...are you ready...GOATS!  Their outer fur or top coat is very long and wiry and is called their 'guard coat'.  It gives them an appearance of being larger and more powerful than they actually are.  It also gives them protection from the cold as they live in the tundra regions of the high arctic.
Now, the under fur, or QIVIUT, is a whole other thing.  It is 8 times warmer than sheep wool and one of nature's softest fibers...combined this makes apparel made from qiviut VERY expensive and in high demand here in Alaska.  A 14"x14" lop scarf will go for about $300 and a pair of socks...$175!
We are not allowed to touch them even through the fence, but one of them rubbed himself along the fence to scratch an itch, and....I grabbed some outer fur that was stuck in the fence and tucked it in my pocket...oh, my!  Well, I didn't touch him...LOL  I did purchase a tiny bag of qiviut from the gift shop for a couple bucks to send to my grandson!
FYI

Musk Ox


The pattern of the apparel
tells where it was made

FYI


A BABY MUSK OX

Musk Ox

A sleepy musk ox...lol

Me being silly...imagine that!

     By then, we were all getting hungry so we headed back to the faire.  Carl and I went to the Historic Valley Hotel cafe and I indulged in a fabulous burger...yum!  There is where we met Caitlin, an absolute Bright Spot!!!  She was born and raised in Fairbanks.  This was only her 4th day waitressing and what a shock that news was for us!  She was beyond wonderful...funny, pleasant, confident, accommodating, knowledgeable about the menu and filled with a natural JOY!  We got to talking and it was no surprise when she told us how much she loves life!  " People are my favorite things in this world...I love them."  She is 27, a college grad, has been a nanny and pre-school teacher and has dreams of becoming a therapist at some point!   She currently lives with her parents whom she adores and I'm guessing the sentiment is reciprocal.   Caitlin, you are a breath of fresh air, sweetheart!  You exude the fullness and freshness of life!  I'm so tickled that our paths crossed ever so briefly, yet fabulously!  You go, Girl...go for the gold!  Possibilities are limitless for a delightful spirit like you!
Kaitlin !

    After lunch, Joy and I walked a round the faire and I happened upon a stand selling 'stuffed bananas'.  How in the world can you STUFF a banana?  I was about to find out!  I approached the window and boldly asked!!!  The merchant explained it to me and then of course I needed to see it happen, so I ordered one, stuffed half with peanut butter and half with coconut cream...there goes the diet...LOL  See pics for a detailed visual!
These pics are in reverse order and I
can't switch them...oh, well!

Sliced after stuffing and peeling

Half p.b. and half coconut cream

After injected

Machine un-curves the banana, then the top gets slit open for stuffing

A corer is used to create stuffing space



I felt like Alice in Wonderland...lol

LOVE the wine label

This art was gorgeous...
handmade using dyed sheep wool



The sheep and his gifted wool

Sheared in one solid piece!!!









I LOVE flowers...

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