Palmer Buzz

The 2021 Wearable Art Show Special, an annual event (we all thought would be canceled because of the pandemic) is on! It has been revised carefully to be a covid-safe event, with every caution. It is the annual Recycle Runway, a favorite February activity, both Friday and Saturday at the Palmer Train Depot. The organizer, Valley Arts Alliance, is to be applauded for offering us a safe opportunity to support the arts during this pandemic. We need it. Check valleyartsalliance for details.

Communal Raven Route to Overnight Roosts—After a very busy day in Palmer, hundreds of ravens head east to the mountainside. This nightly ritual isn’t just a Palmer, Alaska phenomena; in fact it happens in many parts of North America. But specifically in our Palmer area, the Raven flights are very obvious. It’s as if all the birds wear a little wristwatch and—at the end of the day—and carefully orchestrate a communally timed flight back to their favorite old, large spruce trees.

Every night, 15-20 minutes before sunset, large numbers of ravens will finish up their day of scavenging in Palmer and at the landfill. It seems that they generally head north and east to the foothills, where they roost at night. Apparently it happens year round but because of the time or the number, it is easier to spot in the springtime.

Bird experts call it communal roosting. Ravens definitely travel together. Sometimes there is an orderly string. Sometimes there is just a deliberate pair. Rarely does one see a sole raven on the Raven Route. They fly with purpose. The destination is the roost which some say is a “Murder Tree.” Presumably all these ravens live and roost in the tree area. It is said that the roost locations may be just beyond the top of Smith Road or near the Lazy Mountain trailhead. Not being an ornithologist, I can’t speak with great wisdom about our ravens but I can comfortably repeat folklore and common observations. They are pretty smart birds and the Palmer ravens are definitely the best.

Really???—It is easy to see why we all appreciate our geographic homeplace near Palmer. Several times a week we are blessed with amazing sunrises, sunsets, aurora lights, and daily mountain views. We spend a lot of time admiring and sharing nature, it seems, as documented on the Palmer Alaska Buzz, the Facebook social media platform for our area. Despite the pandemic, inclement weather and even soul sucking politics, the social-media feed for the Palmer Area is always filled with spectacular pictures of our land and mountains which we all love. Therefore it is sometimes difficult to realize and believe what is reported happening elsewhere in the world, or in our own country. When we look out the windows we don’t see violence, despair, anger, chaos; instead, when we look out our windows, we see the mountains, the huge sky, and the ever changing face of mother nature and earth’s children. How lucky are we?

Musk Ox Apology—Last week the Palmer Buzz joyfully announced the Chinese New Year’s celebration of the Year of the Ox. (I thought I was being clever adapting it to include our wonderful Palmer Musk Ox, who live at the farm just north of Palmer. However, some didn’t think it was so clever.) In fact some of my language was from both a wrong narrative and an inaccurate source. The story simply didn’t reflect the accurate and ongoing mission of the precious Musk Ox Farm. I apologize for this.

There are currently many opportunities for the public to support the musk ox farm. However helping to feed the baby musk oxen is a thing of the past and no longer an option. The Farm is managed by a professional director and dedicated employees; animal care is fully handled by qualified staff with both credentials and training. Check muskoxfarm.org for current details and precise mission statement.

Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She teaches Illustrated Art Journaling and shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group.. Contact at bhunt@mtaonline.net or text 907.315.3222

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