Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Alaska’ Category

Life is an Adventure for Jo Lucas Master Gardener of the Year 2018


Jo Turkey hunting 001

Turkey hunting has been a long time family tradition.

Everywhere she goes, Jo Lucas finds something to enjoy. For her, life is discovering new things on a daily basis. Part of this she credits to meeting the love of her life, Don Lucas, who had a spirit of adventure like no other.

   Their adventure began in Cody, Wyoming where they were married…with an elk hunt for a honeymoon. Since then hunting, fishing, gardening and many other activities filled their lives until just recently when Don died as a result of an accident.

   Their adventures could fill a book and have created many fond memories for her. They made friends wherever they went.

Jo with bear 001

Don and Jo with the bear she shot in New Hampshire.

   In New Hampshire, they both shot a bear and the bearskins still hang in her house today. She was sitting in a log yard when a bear appeared lumbering through the logs, getting closer and closer. She decided there was no choice but to shoot it and killed it with one shot.

   But bears aren’t the only thing on her hit list. Moose, elk, antelope, turkeys and other small game have all been part of her adventures from Maine to Alaska. She’s visited 49 of the 50 states with Hawaii still on her bucket list.

Jo Ice Fishing 001

Ice fishing in Maine was a very cold but fun experience.

   Ice fishing in Maine provided an unusual experience as temperatures were down to -20 and -30 degrees when they took a snowmobile out on the ice. Sometimes when they were ice fishing, they had a portable shanty to use as a windbreak. In Alaska, salmon fishing captured their attention.

Jo Cooking Tent 001

Their cooking tent is packed with supplies.

   Sometimes they used a camper, but most often tents. They had a special cook tent and then several sleeping tents a short distance away just in case an animal would decide to invade the cook tent overnight. Two dogs and a pistol kept her feeling a little safer wherever she happened to camp.

Jo Farmers Market

Jo sold her salsa and jams at the local Farmers’ Market.

   Back home in Guernsey County, Jo enjoyed large gardens and a fruit orchard. From these, she made delicious salsas and jams that she sold at the Farmers’ Market during the summer season.

   As a youngster, she grew up in the 4-H program in the Millersburg area, where horses were her passion and project. But on Thanksgiving, everyone went turkey hunting. It was a family tradition!

Jo salmon 001

Fishing for salmon in Alaska was a real success.

   Since Jo’s move to Guernsey County, she has been involved in the community in so many ways. Jo was the auxiliary president who brought back the idea for Wonderland of Trees at the hospital. That first year, there were six trees and six wreaths.

Jo fruit trees covered

Fruit trees are covered with parachutes to keep birds from eating the fruit.

   Other community organizations that are lucky to have her assistance are the Soil & Water Conservation Board (vice-chairman), Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (district treasurer), Mt. Herman Church (treasurer), Hopewell Homemakers, and Adair Ladies Bible Study at Antrim. Perhaps it should be mentioned that Jo has a degree in accounting.

Jo Raspberries 001

Her raspberry patch is used for jams, pies, or just a bowl of berries!

   In the last couple of years, she decided to go back to that early passion from 4-H of training and showing horses. These days she assists at Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center near Norwich. This facility helps the handicapped improve their physical, psychological and cognitive behaviors through association with a friendly horse. Veterans are always welcome.

   Working here has given Jo real pleasure as she volunteers as barn manager. She gets horses ready for riding by exercising them beforehand. Yes, sometimes she even rides herself.

Jo Tomatoes 001

Her delicious salsa was made possible through this large tomato patch.

   Jo Lucas loves the out-of-doors in so many ways but gardening is one of her favorites. She was recently named OSU Extension Guernsey County Master Gardener of 2018, a well-deserved honor. Jo was one of those original Guernsey County Master Gardeners.

   She remembers her days in 4-H and all the help the advisors gave, so felt it was her turn to “give back” to the community. She has shared her knowledge of gardening with hundreds of Guernsey County elementary school children.

Jo Cherry Tree Pruning

These trees were used to demonstrate proper pruning methods.

   Ag school days, master gardener classes and workshops are a few of the ways that she has given back. Over the past few years, she has hosted three pruning workshops at her home.

Jo Lucas and Clif Little

Clif Little presents Jo with the Master Gardener of the Year Award.

   Local OSU Extension Educator, Clif Little, praised Jo by saying, “I can sum up her work as a Master Gardener volunteer as hard-working, energetic, friendly, generous and very interested in learning. She is the type of person that will always help when we offer gardening classes.” That says it all!

Jo Flowers 001

This flower bed contains crazy daisies, daylilies and iris.

But one place that Jo is a bit dangerous is in a plant nursery. She enjoys trying new plants and searches for them wherever she goes. Sometimes she comes home with almost too many.

   There are still a few places on her bucket list and both relate to ancestry. Her grandparents came from Austria and Ireland so those are two places she would enjoy exploring.

Bear Skin 2

This bearskin hanging on her wall at home makes her smile as she remembers her adventures.

   Of one thing you can be certain, Jo Lucas will not be sitting in a rocking chair watching the world go by. She’s always ready for an adventure as she strives to learn something new each day.

If you have interest in becoming a Master Gardener in Guernsey County, contact Clif Little in the Guernsey County Extension Office at 740-489-5300.


Kiyoe Howald – Frequently Featured Artist

Kiyoe Hope and Despair

Kiyoe’s painting, “Hope and Despair”, carries a story of life during WWII in Japan.

Light can vanquish darkness as long as you never lose hope.

Born in Japan during WWII, Kiyoe knew what it was like to live in despair on the island of Hokkaido. As a nine year old when the war ended, her family had neither food nor fuel. So Kiyoe and one of her seven siblings would pack up kimonos and dishes, then bundle up and take the train to the country. Putting these items on a sled, they would then trade for potatoes, radishes, and wood to keep their home warm. They traded until they had nothing left.

Years later, she would compose a picture depicting life as she remembered it then. The picture is called “Hope and Despair”. Kiyoe feels the picture perfectly describes the world she lived in during WWII. In her mind, “No child should ever have to feel that way.” Even in the midst of despair, Kiyoe’s collage tells people there is hope that things would get better.

Kiyoe Art Show

Kiyoe’s Art Show in Zanesville featured paintings showing her love of nature.

This popular painting, “Hope and Despair”, was part of an art show at the Zanesville Public Library recently. It attracted much attention as Kiyoe shared the story of her painting, which showed so much hurt being present. The light showed good things to come. All the people in the painting are shown leaving to go to Northern Europe. You can feel their pain through her art, and others are touched by the symbolism.

At an early age, Kiyoe’s teacher in Japan noticed her artistic ability. She did art work in middle school but put art on the back burner to help care for her family in Japan. Years later she moved to Tokyo to find a better job as a tour bus guide so she could send money to her mom.

Kiyoe Christmas Card 001

A Christmas card?  No this is a hand painted cake, which won first prize.

It was here this beautiful Japanese lady met her husband, Senior Master Sergeant Larry Howald, while he was serving in the Air Force in Japan after the war. They enjoyed hiking and running together. Before he went back to the States, he asked her to make Japanese shawls for his mother and grandmother.

On Valentines Day, Kiyoe received a card from Larry saying, “Come to the States and marry me.” Since then, Larry has been a great supporter of Kiyoe’s artwork.

Kiyoe Birthday Cakes 001

Birthday cakes were one of Kiyoe’s ways of sharing her art years ago.

Her daughter, Miki, and son, Arn, remember the beautiful cakes their mom decorated with pictures that looked like paintings. She has won several cake decorating contests. Her art was being kept alive in a different way at this time of her life.

Kiyoe Pottery Vase

Kiyoe’s hand painted vase was part of a community art project in Zanesville.

After retirement from Larry Wade, where she was a seamstress, Kiyoe began taking classes and workshops about watercolors. Bill Koch’s watercolor class was a big influence on her revived interest in art. She has won first prize with many of her paintings around the area and even at the State Fair. Kiyoe’s work is always in demand.

Mannequin dressing

Making hats for the mannequins at Dickens Victorian Village gave her creativity a boost.

Volunteering for Dickens Victorian Village took many hours of her days for years. She began by making skirts and capes for the Imagination Station at the Visitors Center. Making hats became a new fun venture.

Kiyoe Howard

Recently she created mannequin heads resembling John and Annie Glenn.

Later, she made several of the mannequin heads that line the main street of Cambridge during the holiday season. In her mind, “Working at Dickens made me more creative.” Kiyoe’s current project for Dickens involves creating a new head for Father Christmas as his head has severe water damage.

Rock Garden

Her rock garden represents tranquility in a busy world.

“There’s always something new to learn.” Those words from Kiyoe are no surprise as she constantly explores new artistic endeavors. Currently, she is taking a Carving Class in Parkersburg, where she is learning the beginning steps of wood carving. Her goal is to someday carve a Buddha.

Kiyoe Alaska

On a recent trip to Alaska, nature again caught her eye.

She also teaches acrylic and watercolor classes in Zanesville. Origami classes have also been taught by Kiyoe as she enjoys making these meaningful objects, a Japanese tradition.

Since she doesn’t look her age, it makes one wonder how she stays so young. Every week she attends a Tai Chi class and a Yoga class. She never runs, but does walk three miles at least once a week.

Kiyoe Waterfall Series

In her Falling Water Series, her subjects are waterfalls that exist in peaceful, hidden canyons.

In the spring, Kiyoe will have an art show at First Friday in Zanesville. This event is sponsored by Zanesville Appalachian Arts Project. She finds associating with other artists quite rewarding. Even though she is a bit on the shy side, it’s a real pleasure for her to participate in artistic endeavors.

One thing she has yet to try is brush writing. When she finds someone to teach her some basics, this will be her next artistic challenge.

Kiyoe Name 001

This card created by Kiyoe has her name written in Japanese.

Kiyoe takes great pride in her work and enjoys having others appreciate it. Her beautiful smile and humble manner make everyone comfortable in her presence. Like Kiyoe, may we always be searching for new things to learn.


Gifted with Many Artistic Talents

Judy Amish painting

Judy painted this picture of an Amish farm using bits and pieces from several farms.

Blessed with talents! Creative abilities seem to pour forth from Judy Howald when she isn’t spending time helping her husband, Jim, at their farm on the outskirts of Birmingham. No matter what she does, her whole heart and energy are focused on her current project. When a new project captures her thoughts, she often spends some sleepless nights thinking about what she should do next.

Over the years, Judy spent most of her time working in a factory on an assembly line. Even there she was always creating signs for the business or developing new ideas for improving quality and design.

Judy's son

It appears her son, Andy, may follow in her creative footsteps. While Judy built this small lighthouse on Lake Erie, Andy built the kayak.

Perhaps her creative talents received their start when Judy followed her dad as he designed plans for homes he was building. The details fascinated her. Today in her woodshop, intricate plans that she has drawn for projects can be seen on the work tables.

Jodi's library 001

One of her early projects was to create this library and entertainment section for an assisted living complex near Kent State University.

When Jim and Judy purchased the farm, it seemed that cutting the timber would help with payments. But lumber prices were low at that time, so Jim would cut the trees, take them to the mill, dry and straight edge them, then return them to the farm where Judy began turning them into furniture. And beautiful furniture she created!

Jodi Giraffe 001

Judy created this scene for her church’s Bible School one summer.

Being very active in the Birmingham United Methodist Church, at Bible School time several years ago, Judy created a scene of animals from Noah’s Ark. She painted a background with an elephant and zebra, then made a giraffe of paper mache.

Judy Ark 2

One of her current projects is building Noah’s Ark.

Maybe that began her thinking about making a small replica of Noah’s Ark, which she is working on today.  This ark is about 42″ long and has small partitions inside for the various animals. The roof is on the shelf above and plans are to build a small house on the top, which might be where Noah and his family stayed.

Judy Puzzle

This is just the beginning of a painting that will be turned into a “Sermon Puzzle” for use during a Sunday morning service.

Another project underway right now for her church is a “Sermon Puzzle”. Her pastor asked if she could create a picture that they could use to tell a story by fitting in various parts of the puzzle – a cornerstone here or a steeple there. Her beginnings are reminiscent of a Thomas Kinkade painting with the light shining through at intricate places.

Jodi's book 001

Her book tells the story of the determination of her husband, Jim, to live his dream.

A tour of their home showcases her talents as every room has the creative touch of this amazing woman. Let’s not forget that Judy is also an author. She has written and published one book – the life of her husband, Jim, from Alaska to Birmingham, Ohio. All the proceeds from her book go to that little home church.

Judy Woodshop

This section of her woodshop is where Judy steams the strips of wood so she can bend them to make the sides of the ark.

Her woodshop is above the garage just outside her back door. It is fully equipped for all of her projects. Here she steams and bends the pieces of wood to make the ark and other artistic pieces. Heat for the woodshop and the house is provided by a wood burner.  They use the tops of the trees, that can’t be turned into beautiful projects, as their fuel.

Judy Guncabinet

This beautiful gun cabinet was made as a gift for her husband, Jim.

While finishing the ark and puzzle keep her occupied right now, you have to wonder what project is next on her mind. Whatever it happens to be, you can be certain it will be something of high quality…and beautiful.







Sitka’s Russian Heritage

As you travel through the streets of Sitka, you will notice the Russian influence as it traveled to the shores of North America many years ago.  This was the Russian capital of Alaska in 1808 and the Cathedral of St Michaels, a Russian Orthodox church, was built there in 1848. It was rebuilt after a fire in 1966  but many of the religious relics were saved and can be seen, including gold crowns, chalices, books, and vestments.

Sitka was the site of the ceremony where the Russian flag was lowered and the US flag was raised after US purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. That purchase was called Seward’s Folly and was criticized at the time. At the price of two cents an acre, this acquisition turned out to be extremely rich in many natural resources including gas and oil.  The flag changing  ceremony is still held each year in Sitka on October 18, Alaska Day.

The Alaska Raptor Center is home for many injured bald eagles.  It is an education center that promotes understanding of the bald eagle as well as protecting the injured ones until they are ready for release back to the wild. Today they also had a large owl sitting in their office.  Good Morning America had filmed a segment here  regarding the injured raptors shortly before our visit.

Totem carvers were at work carefully putting finishing touches on their creations at Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska’s oldest national park.  Native Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes’ carvings began in the 1800s mainly as interior houseposts. Imagine these natives  carving beautiful pieces of history on a cold winter’s day.  Many of the poles here are replicas of totems that were first exhibited in the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.  Some of the originals have been saved from deterioration and are exhibited in  Totem Hall at the park cener.

Russian Folk Dances performed by the New Archangel Dancers were another highlight of the visit.  Their mission is to promote the Russian heritage through sharing ethnic song and dance in traditional costume.  They have performed since the eighteenth century and are an all female dance troop performing both male and female roles.  In the early days, Sitka men didn’t find it appropriate to engage in dancing. Not a manly activity!  The audience thoroughly enjoy their performance.

After strolling through the streets of Sitka, it is time to head back to the ship.  Smaller local boats called tenders take passengers back to the cruise ship, which isn’t able to get close to shore at this point.   Along with souvenirs, many happy memories are carried aboard.

Juneau, Alaska Adventures

What a beautiful sight as the cruise ship pulls into dock!  Juneau, Alaska sets at the foot of Mt. Juneau, which is about 3,500 feet high making for a beautiful backdrop for the city. This capital city is the only US capital that has international borders, as it edges up to the Canadian province of British Columbia.

In 1880, Joe Juneau and Richard Harris searched for gold with the help of Indian guides.  They found nuggets as “large as beans” and from their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world.  By the end of WWII, more than $150 milllion in gold had been mined.  Eventually the mines closed, but the town named for Joe Juneau in time became the capital of Alaska.

Breathtakingly beautiful glaciers are one of the big attractions as the ship docks early in the morning.  As soon as we have a quick breakfast, it is off to a bus which takes us to the TEMSCO Helicopter site.  First, we have to get weighed as the helicopter must be balanced for safe flight.  Then everyone is issued ice boots with cleats on the bottom for our walk on the glacier.

Ready to lift off and see some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.  The helicopter flies low over the glacier and we get some awesome views.  We get an eagle’s eye view of ice spires, deep blue crevasses and meltwater pools.  This is just fantastic!

After about 15 minutes,  the helicopter lowers itself onto the ice and we are told to step out of the helicopter onto the Mendenhall Glacier. What a thrill to actually be setting foot on a real glacier.  Explicit instructions are given  to stay away from the crevices and to not venture far from the aircraft.  The pilot keeps a close eye on everyone.

Went perhaps a little far myself as just couldn’t resist looking down in one of those crevices.  The pilot shouted,” Get back from the edge.  If you fell in you would never be heard from again.  That goes down for thousands of feet.”  So did quickly move away from the deep, deep crevice and continued walking on the ice. One thing for sure, you never want to walk backwards on a glacier.   This walk on the glacier was perhaps the highlight of my Alaskan vacation.  Just to know you were on a massive, moving block of ice, that was created long before our existence, was a thrilling  experience.

Back in town  experienced a nice walking tour of parts of the city after an overall bus tour. The Alaska State House was built in 1931, originally called the Federal and Territorial Building.  When Alaska became a state in 1959, this then became the capitol building. The bronze bear in front of the capitol seems to be the perfect statue for this setting.

Along the way, stops are made at the World Famous Red Dog Saloon, the hangout of the goldminers.  Took time for a great hamburger and had to have some peanuts, as part of the ambience of the place is the fact that the floor is covered with peanut shells.

Wherever you have a saloon, you usually find a church in the area also.  Nearby is the beautiful St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, the oldest church in Alaska.  Since my family grew up in the Orthodox tradition, took time to light some candles in their memory.  The dome of this church is covered with gold leaves, a reminder of the gold rush years.

What a fun day in Juneau.  This town could have a repeat trip sometime in the future as there are many interesting places time did not permit visiting.  The air is filled with a light mist but that doesn’t dampen the spirits of visitor to this exciting city.

Alaska’s First City – Ketchikan

When traveling up the Inside Passage to Alaska, Ketchikan is the first major port that travelers visit. Ketchikan is located on a small island and was originally an Indian fishing camp. This is a popular destination due to its superb fishing, native culture, and outdoor heritage.

First we head for an excursion of salmon fishing.  Here we fish on the beautiful scenic waterway, catch the plentiful salmon, then head to shore where they have it prepared to be packaged to take back home.  Of course, there is also a campfire on shore waiting with delicious, fresh salmon cooked to perfection.  The only thing that could make this better would be the appearance of a bear hungry for a meal.  Everyone wants to see a bear while they are in Alaska, but not at close range.

Next we are fascinated to see the world’s oldest collection of totem poles at Totem Bight State Park, a former Indian campsite.  Each totem is carved to tell the family story. Often they have a fish being held to ensure that the family will have a good food supply.  The top of the totem frequently has an eagle or thunderbird to watch over the home and protect it from harm. There are carvers at work so you can see how totems are made and perhaps want to purchase one to have shipped back to your home.

The Tlingt Indian Clan House was an interesting meeting place for the Indian tribe. Now traditional Native dances are performed inside the clan house at designated times.   It has been kept in good repair and at the front has a Living Door, said to bring good luck to all who pass through it.  Had to have a picture taken going through the door.

At one end of town is Creek Street,the goldminers’ Red Light District.  Here you can tour a brothel or just walk the criss cross streets along the water’s edge.  It is intriguing to imagine the goldminers in the early 1900s coming back from the mountains and spending their evenings along these same streets you are walking.  Many of the buildings are original but perhaps slightly refurbished.

Living here would not be for the frail of body and spirit as there are steep steps everywhere leading up the mountainside to homes and businesses.  It is a beautiful town where kayaks and sea planes are the best way to travel.  No roads lead out of Ketchican!

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