Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Dog Who Loves Organ Music

Bailey arrives at the Jordan Keyboard Studio

I grew up with a great dog -- a wonderful black lab and Dalmatian mix named Bingo!  He was one of those dogs who was a best friend and a great playmate.  He always seemed to have a smile and was always ready for a new adventure.

These days, because of our travels with our organ and media event performances, my husband and I don't have a pet, but I continue to be partial to bigger dogs with happy personalities, a wagging tail, and that ever present "smile."

Several years ago a new student started organ lessons in my home studio.  It wasn't long before I discovered that her dog tagged along for the lessons and patiently waited the hour in the car for her return.

Following a lesson one day, I met the patiently waiting dog--a yellow lab with a happy personality, that wagging tail, and that ever present "smile."  I was smitten and Bailey was invited to leave the car and join us in the music room for the weekly organ lessons.

Bailey now eagerly makes the weekly 30-minute trek to our home.  She rushes up the front steps excitedly barking to let us know she has arrived.  We open the door to Bailey's happy dog smile and give her a few moments of petting and attention.  It's then off to the music room where Bailey settles in for yet another hour of glorious organ music. 

Bailey smiles through another great organ lesson

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Orphaned Baby Elephant

 Knowing my love of elephants and my experiences at the elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka, a friend recently sent this article to me.  It is so touching I decided to share it with all the readers of my Elephants, Kangaroos, and More blog.  Enjoy.       ...Jeannine

An orphaned baby elephant named Moses is raised by a human mother

Denis Farrell / AP
Seven-and-a-half month old orphaned elephant calf named Moses cuddles with his adoptive 'mother' and foundation owner, Jenny Webb, at their home in Lilongwe, Malawi.

By the Associated Press
Lots of mothers wake in the middle of the night to feed their babies, but not many get up to give a bottle to an infant elephant.
Jenny Webb adopted a baby boy elephant who was just a few weeks old in February. The orphaned elephant calf was named Moses after being found in the grasses of a riverbed by game rangers at Vwazi Wildlife Reserve in northern Malawi.

Rangers tried to find his family herd for two days without success, said the 48-year-old Webb, adding that the calf's mother was likely killed by elephant poachers. The illegal killing of elephants is rife in Africa, with conservation groups saying that tens of thousands of elephants are being killed each year for their ivory tusks.

Malawi's national parks did not have the funds to raise the young elephant, so Webb, the founder of the Jumbo Foundation an orphanage for large animals, took on the job of caring for the little pachyderm.

Moses weighs 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and each day he drinks 24 liters (6.3 gallons) of an infant formula that is boosted with coconut milk and 14 other ingredients.

Denis Farrell / AP
'Elephants are extremely sensitive,' said Webb. 'It amazed me. We think of elephants as big, strong creatures but they are very emotional. Moses picks up on my feelings. If I am sad, he is nurturing. If I am angry, he quickly gets upset.'

Webb has placed a mattress on the dining room floor where she and Moses curl up for the night. Moses gets up about every two hours and shuffles around the room until Webb wakes and gives him his bottle feed.  In the mornings, as Webb has a coffee and watches television, Moses throws his trunk over her shoulder and nuzzles his head against her. 
In the wild, a baby elephant would shelter underneath his mother to be shielded from the sun and remain warm and safe. To emulate this, Webb puts a blanket over Moses. His still tender hide is also protected with sunscreen and moisturizer.

Caring for the baby elephant is a 24-hour job. Webb gets help from two employees Matimat Julius and Jim Tembo. All three take turns playing with Moses and using their arms to sweep the dust, the way a mother elephant would do with her trunk.

Denis Farrell / AP
Moses on a walk with Webb's dogs. 'The dogs are like his herd,' she said. "He socializes with them in the day and likes going for walks with them. He quickly established dominance with them. But at night, he herds the dogs outside. He doesn't like to sleep with the dogs. He likes to sleep with the cats, and me."

Like many toddlers, Moses likes to go outside and Webb takes him on daily walks with the family dogs. As soon as the sun goes down, Moses lies next to Webb on the makeshift bed.

In a few weeks, Moses is expected to start eating hay, grass, bark and horse feed along with his formula. He has started putting grass and leaves in his mouth but he is not yet eating them. By the time he is four he will stop having formula and will be eating vegetation. And when he is five, Webb plans to reintroduce Moses to life in the wild, possibly in the national park where he was found.
Webb wants to make Moses "an ambassador for elephants" to educate people against wildlife poaching.

Raising Moses has been challenging, said Webb, "but it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have raised children, and this is very similar, but you can't put an elephant in a pram (stroller)."

Webb said that raising Moses gave her the idea to start an orphanage for other animals.
"When we got Moses we found there is a desperate need for an orphanage for large animals. Elephants, hippos, buffalo, rhinos ... there is no place for those babies to go if their parents are killed," she said. "There are some places in Zambia and Kenya, but no place here in Malawi, so that is what I am working for."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pelicans, Sea Lions, and Seagulls

Fall has returned to the beautiful Oregon coast.  The rain is gently falling, the skies are cloudy and gray, and the waves of the mighty Pacific crest and curl in an even and gentle rhythm.  It is the season of transition between the gloriously sunny summer (that has continued this year into October) and the wild, windy, rainy weather with the crashing surf of a coastal winter.

The wildlife of the beach also seem to be in transition.  Flocks--or a brief, pod, pouch, scoop, or squadron as I learned they are called--of pelicans follow each other evenly spaced in single file just inches above the cresting waves.  They wheel in unison then suddenly spy just below the surface of that mighty ocean a delightful dinner and fold their wings and dive, surfacing and joining the line-up once again with supper in that dinner pail of a beak pouch.

The sea lions have also been fishing in our waters.  Their sleek heads appear above the surface of the ocean as if to check their bearings, then just as suddenly they disappear looking for that elusive salmon.  Some mornings they seem to follow us up the beach keeping up with us or jaunting ahead and reappearing just to let us know they are still in our midst.
The seagulls gather in groups as if they are in school preparing themselves for the mighty winds that will rake our beach in the coming months.  The junior birds, our Jonathan Livingstons, have gotten their bright white plumage, have learned their distinctive call, and show off flying high in the air surveying the beach for miles around.

Fall on the Oregon coast--a time to be treasured!

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Die Fledermaus

Hotel hallways in Austria are dark and unlit until one is caught by a motion sensor or one finds the illusive light switch.  Thus, a hallway is the perfect place for a bat to hide.  Frightened by the sudden surge of light, a bat will of course fly haphazardly and crazily around the small cramped space.

Upon our return to our hotel from a wonderfully successful Bach and Sons performance at the Stadtpfarrkirche in Ried, Austria, we were greatly surprised by a bat flying in our direction as the hallway light illuminated our room door.

Making our way to the hotel proprietor to tell him of our unusual discovery (actually the first time either of us had ever encountered a bat in a hotel), the bat made a hasty exit to another part of the building.  Telling the proprietor in our sadly lacking German that there was a bat at large in his hotel proved to be an interesting conversation.

Was ist los? 
Da ist ein "bat" im Hotel? 
Was?  Was ist los mit dein Bett?
Nein!  Nein!  Da ist ein "bat" - (now making hand motions and frantic gestures to indicate a bat not a bed)
Also!  Die Fledermaus!  Kein problem!  (accompanied by an impatient shrug of the shoulders)

Armed with this bit of information we determined that a bat -- or Fledermaus -- in a hotel hallway in Ried, Austria was rather commonplace!  All part of the local color adding to the memories of our wonderful visit and Bach and Sons performance in Ried!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Experiences on the Horizon

It is time to start making the 24-hour trek to Europe -- car travel, air travel, train travel, and more car travel.  New experiences are on the horizon as we leave for an organ performance tour in Austria and Germany.

Check out our performance schedule on our website, www.promotionmusic.org which includes the

world premier presentation of the German version our organ and media event, Bach and Sons, and
five solo organ concerts in incredible churches in "Bach's Germany."

Ready!  Set!  Time to go!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lazy Circles in the Sky

Summer in Oregon.

Grain and grass seed harvest in the Willamette Valley.

Perfectly still warm days.

Hawks making lazy circles in the sky.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Alpaca Babies

Baby animals are always a joy to see, but yesterday held a special surprise.  Driving through the Central Oregon high desert country we happened on the Crescent Moon Alpaca Ranch.  Literally hundreds of alpaca were roaming the pastures of this pristine ranch.   

Stopping for photos, we noticed two tiny alpacas--one white, one black--trying to get their legs for life on this earth.  We discovered they were only an hour old and already were running, jumping, and discovering the beauty of their world.  The mother alpaca were happily yet dutifully following the exploring newborns. 

A lovely sight and inspiration for all of us to remember to take time to frolic and discover the absolute joy of life every day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Horses, Horses, and More Horses

We just returned from the FarWest Morgan Horse Show in Redmond, Oregon where my husband was the show organist.  It was a grand event where Morgan horses were put through their paces by a plethora of riders --from the very young to the not so young -- all bedecked in appropriate riding attire.

Quite a week!  What's not to love about a horse show accompanied by fantastic organ music?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Bald Eagles Have Returned

Sitting here in my little house by the sea, I was happily gazing out at the ocean surf when a bird -- a very large and graceful bird -- passed by my window.  Once you have seen a bald eagle glide across a bright blue sky with its massive wings outstretched, the tips nearly barely moving, you never forget the image.  

Yes, the bald eagles have returned to Roads End, Oregon.  Over the next few months, we will play the "Where's Waldo" game on our beach walks hoping to see the elusive but immediately recognizable  form of our resident bald eagles. 

Amazing to behold!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Home and Home

I am on a journey -- a journey half-way across this great country, the United States of America.  A quick four hour flight takes me from one landscape to another, from one terrain to another, from one collection of flora and fauna to another, from the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean the rolling Flint Hills of Kansas, from where I now call home to where I grew up.   

I left my home on the Oregon coast this morning in a light drizzle with the constant sound of the surf accompanying the call of the seagulls gliding by my windows.  This afternoon I will arrive in Kansas where with the threat of a thunderstorm the rain may fall in buckets amid the sound of rolling thunder and flashes of lightning to give way to a glorious sunset over a rain drenched landscape.    Oregon and Kansas.

Home and home.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Elephant Song

Recently, my husband and I were at a library book sale and walking through the aisles of used books, a title jumped out at me.  Elephant Song.  The title alone enticed me to add the book to my already bulging $5 sack of books. The cover photo and jacket synopsis did the rest.  The book was added to my stack of "must reads". 

Elephant Song by Wilbur Smith is an historical suspense novel taking place in Zimbabwe and London.  The book opens with a deeply disturbing and graphic description of the culling or slaughter of a herd of fifty elephant in the Chiwewe National Park of Zimbabwe. 

Since I visited Zimbabwe's Hwange National park in the late 1990's and saw several herds of elephant of this size, the opening events of  Elephant Song was even more appalling to me. Smith's writing is gripping and visual.  The reader becomes part of that unholy event. 

The opening chapter of Elephant Song brought back so many vivid memories of my visit to Hwange National Park and Zimbabwe in general.  What a life changing experience it was!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Whale Watchers, Kite Fliers, Surfers, Dog Walkers, and Sand Castle Builders

It is spring break!  The tourists have descended on our quiet little beach town.  The traffic has slowed to a crawl along the one major thoroughfare through town, restaurants have long lines of people waiting to sample clam chowder, and the shops are crowded and noisy, and Safeway runs out of milk, cereal and donuts.

Our seven miles of pristine beaches are the main reason people visit our little tourist town, though.  Many times we can walk a mile or more on our beach and never encounter another human.  But during spring break week, the beach comes alive with whale watchers, kite fliers, sunbathers, dog walkers, smash-ball players, surfers, sand castle builders, hole diggers, rock hounds, and shell seekers.  I love it.  The people watching just doesn't get any better!

Donning my earmuffs, gloves, coat, and beach shoes I head for the beach looking the part of a local--someone who knows how to enjoy the beach even with the bite of the wind or an occasional spatter of rain.  Ready for people watching during this spring break week.

The tourists (kids, teenagers, adults) also look their part-- exposed legs and arms bright red after a screamingly cold dip in a 45 degree ocean or a brief moment of sunbathing, beach gear galore from buckets and shovels to umbrellas and towels, rented wetsuits with boogie boards or surf boards dutifully strapped on ankles--all ready for a day at the beach. 

Then there are the dogs.  I think for a dog the beach is like Disneyland--one of the happiest places on earth!  There is so much room to run and run and run and run and splash in the ocean and roll in the sand!  Dogs of every shape, size, and color chase balls and frisbees of every shape, size, and color. 

Won't you join us?  It is spring break on the Oregon coast!  The best place on earth!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

White On White

After nearly two days hurricane force winds, blistering hail, and relentless rain pounding our little house by the sea while watching the ocean become a ferocious force 
with 25' swells and pounding surf, 

all was totally and perfectly still.  
Even the ocean 
quieted itself.

Dropping from the sky were heavy perfectly formed white flakes of snow.  Snow that covered every wind-battered branch of every shorepine, snow that covered every beaten down blade of grass and struggling daffodil and primrose, snow that covered every piece of mighty driftwood and every smooth and shiny rock on the beach.  Our wold was covered perfectly and evenly by five inches of the gentle beauty of snow.  Even our favorite seagull sitting high on his snow covered perch was unable to dodge the snow.  

White on white.  
God's "rainbow" after the storm.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Heaven's A Little Closer In A House By The Sea

Wheeling seagulls!

Sun glinting off crashing waves at sunrise!

Kai swirling above the breaking waves in the afternoon wind!

Barking sea lions!

Golden hued Jacob's ladders streaming through the clouds at sunset!

Ships' lights on a dark night!


Friday, March 2, 2012

The Dancing School of Silvery Fish

I was mesmerized!  I have always loved aquariums and had just spent a perfectly lovely day walking through what was then the very new, very smart, very over-the-top Manly Aquarium in Sydney, Australia.  The developers of what was described as "an underwater viewing stage" had created a stunning jaw-dropping aquarium.

One of its headlining features is the underwater tunnel through which aquarium patrons glide along on a moving walkway while sharks and all manner of other fish glide overhead allowing fish and human up-close-and-personal encounters.  This was the first underwater viewing tunnel I had experienced--and indeed was only the second in the world to exist! It was nearly too amazing to imagine!   New Zealanders Kelly Tarlton and Ian Mellsop, had built the first for their native country in Auckland just two years earlier.  (Today I read that the company Tarlton and Mellsop began, Marinescape NZ Ltd. is a leader in aquarium design.)

Yes, the walk-through tunnel aquarium was astounding, but the most marvelous, most memorable aquarium display I have ever seen in any aquarium anywhere in the world, was an astoundingly large tank several stories high and many feet wide.  Comfortable benches placed in a semi-darkened room facing the wall of shimmering crystal clear water beckoned to this tried aquarium visitor.

I sat down hoping for a quiet respite from the eager crowds being moved through the "shark tunnel".  Upon relaxing, I became aware of Vivaldi's Spring Concerto floating through the pale blue room. Ah, music to soothe the soul, and a bench on which to rest.  Perfect!  Ah....but that was not all.

There were fish--tiny shiny silvery fish in that shimmering water!  Hundreds or maybe even thousands of them!  Dancing!  Cavorting!  Slipping through that silky water in perfect unison!

Painting the music of Vivaldi for all to see!


Friday, February 24, 2012

The Animals of a Pan

Hwange National Park, near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe was where I learned that the word, "pan", had several different meanings.  In that part of Africa, it is understood that a "pan" is a watering hole for animals.  During that drought-stricken summer I was in Zimbabwe, locating a pan that was not a dried circle of mud was a challenge. 

Leaving the our lodge early one morning, with our driver negotiating the nearly non-existent roads or choosing instead to go cross country bumping over dry and dusty terrain, we were on the quest to find a watering hole that actually had water.  Finding that treasure would mean we would see animals--animals of all kind and description--animals I had seen only in zoos prior to this African adventure. 

Hwange National Park had a system to help out in the years of drought when the watering holes became drier and drier and animals had to walk further and further for water.  In this huge national park, there were several wells which supplied water via pumps to a select number of pans.  It is for these pans that our driver headed.  However, too often we found that the machinery was not well maintained resulting in yet another dry pan. 

On our trek between pans, though, we did see animals and a lot of them--from giraffe eating away on the tops of acacia trees and graceful gazelle to scampering baboons and wandering zebra.  Oh, and did I mention huge herds of elephant? 

But it was at the pan that the wildlife congregated.

A giraffe bent in half with legs splayed and neck reaching to the water far below

A massive crocodile pulling itself through the soggy mud bank

A mischievous baboon cavorting about
A herd of zebra creating a dizzying black and white pattern

Two ostrich primping their feathers

The nostrils of a hippo appearing in the middle of the pool

Birds and more birds

And, splashing and trumpeting -- those most majestic of all beasts -- elephants! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Did The Deer Get To The Other Side?

They swam!  Several years ago when fishing for salmon off the coast of Alaska near Sitka, our group spotted two deer swimming across the strait between the mainland and a nearby island.  Our boat captain, on that horribly stormy and bitterly cold July day, explained that this was not an uncommon occurrence for deer in that part of Alaska.  He indicated there was no cause for alarm or even need for concern for the creatures. 

I hadn't thought about this deer spotting for years until, during a dinner conversation with a friend talking about odd animal behaviors, I remembered this deer encounter.  Upon telling the story, he thought it rather odd, but again reiterating what the boat captain had said, we decided it must not be odd behavior for a Sitka deer at all.

However, two days later he sent to me a link about deer from the same area of Alaska trying desperately to cross frigid Alaskan waters only to be rescued by a boat captain and taken ashore.  You can read the story by clicking on this link -- Swimming Alaskan Deer.

Was this the same deer family I had seen?  Another amazing wildlife story!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Best Sashimi Ever!

How was it that I tasted the best sashimi ever?  Well, long story short, that delectable taste of raw fish came after a long day of salmon fishing on the Rogue River.  But, just how did that fresh caught salmon find its way to our condo kitchen on a summer evening?

First, you need to have a friend who is an avid fisherman.  A friend who lives to fish.  And in particular, a friend who lives for salmon season and his chance to put his boat in at Gold Beach, Oregon to fish the mouth of the Rogue River.

One early early morning with the sun just starting to glint off the waves of the ocean and the riffles of the Rogue River, the boat was launched for a day of fishing for salmon on one of the best salmon fishing rivers in the US.   Rods, reels, bait, nets, ice chests....all were ready.  All the fish had to do was find our bait.  All we had to do was reel them.  Again, long story short....fish were caught.  Salmon were caught...very big salmon were caught!

Those very big salmon were weighed and proudly displayed for photo opportunities.  Long hours of patience had paid off.  Long hours of sitting in a bobbing boat had paid off.  The haul of the day was finally trundled off to the cleaning station where that delectable pink flesh was laid bare and the fish was filleted and made into steaks. 

Back at the condo those of us who had not actually sat for hours in a fishing boat but instead had taken a jet boat trip up the Rogue River for lunch at a rustic restaurant and a chance to view endangered wildlife along the protected part river, had the grill ready for those salmon steaks.

But wait!  I had just returned from Japan where I had eaten all sorts of sashimi -- raw fish of many kinds!  I suddenly realized what a delicacy had been hauled out of the Rogue River onto our kitchen counter--salmon sashimi!

What an evening!  The freshest and best salmon sashimi ever followed by the best grilled salmon steaks ever!  A rare treat!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Raw Octopus Anyone?

Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy. It consists of very fresh raw meat, most commonly fish, sliced into thin pieces.

I had my first "sashimi experience" in Tokyo, Japan following an organ concert I presented there.  The hosts of the concert had planned an elaborate reception following the concert at an exquisite restaurant.  A large group of musicians and music lovers made up the loud and celebratory party consisting of at least a dozen Japanese men, our interpreter, and two English speaking Americans.  Let the party begin!

Beautiful fish aquariums lined one wall of this incredible restaurant.  Fish swam in lazy circles creating an ever-moving wall of color.  Linen covered tables were surrounded by carved chairs and benches.  The group filed in, chose a seat, and soon drinks of all variety and steaming bowls of salted edamame appeared.  Delicious to be sure.

The conversation flowed around me yet I understood not a word.  Our interpreter was enjoying his Kirin immensely and had forgotten his non-Japanese speaking charges.  Food was ordered and ordered and ordered.  Plates and plates of interesting looking food arrived and the fun began.

Two of our hosts took it upon themselves to introduce me to the wonders of Japanese sashimi.  Through gestures and signs, I soon understood I was eating raw seafood of all sorts and types!  The taste was amazing--smooth, gentle, and flavorful.  All went well until the raw octopus arrived--at least by the gestures this is what I understood I was eating.  Suddenly it seemed that one of those sticky suction cups of an octopus arm had stuck to my throat--swallowing this large rubberband-like piece of raw octopus became a challenge.  More beer, swallow, more beer, swallow and swallow!  

As I relaxed into the evening's enjoyment, I took more notice of my surroundings.  Looking through the beautiful fish tanks, I realized the sashimi chefs were standing on the opposite side of the tanks creating their lovely sashimi and sushi delicacies.  I also became suddenly aware that as the evening progressed the aquariums were becoming less and less populated with gorgeous colorful fish as those sashimi chefs helped themselves to the fish (and octopus) to create what appeared on our plates in the form of sashimi -- very fresh raw fish sliced into thin pieces!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Do Deer, Buddha, and a Wooden Temple have in Common?

All three are located in the historic city of Nara, Japan and all three are tourist destinations.  Yes, even the deer.  The deer are considered sacred messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion so are found nearly everywhere in this sacred city, many waiting for a handout from willing tourists. 

The Sika deer roam the huge park which contains temples and museums aplenty as well as the largest wooden structure in the world, the Todaiji Temple.  The Temple first built in the early 700s was actually more grand then the existing Temple of 1709.  (The current building was finished in 1709, and although immense—57 m long and 50 m wide—it is actually 30% smaller than its predecessor. Nevertheless, the Daibutsuden is considered the largest building in the world made primarily of wood.)

As if the deer and the largest wooden structure in the world aren't enough, there's more.  The Todaiji Temple houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana!  This 52 foot high statue was completed in 751 AD after three years of casting work.  Documentation states that over 2,6000,000 people worked on the immense temple and Buddha, and that the project nearly bankrupted Japan's economy, consuming most of the available bronze of the time.

And those sacred Sika deer of Nara?
"On our way to the shrine, many deer appeared in the morning darkness. This is a sign from the gods and a good omen. People say that when one encounters deer, he or she should get out of the carriage and bow to them."
— From Gyokuyo by Kujo Kanezane of the 12th century

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sled Dogs, Soup Bowls, and Ice Sculptures

On March 2, 2012, the main street of Anchorage, Alaska will be full of dogs, mushers, and wide-eyed tourists waiting for the "ceremonial start" of this year's Iditarod, The Last Great Race on Earth!

 To quote the Iditarod website, "You can’t compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska.

From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days."  An amazing super-human, super-animal feat to be sure!

Several years ago bundled from the tip of my nose to the tip of my toes, I took in the festivities of the ceremonial start of this last great race on the snow-covered streets of Anchorage.  It is an amazing party!
The main street (where snow had to be brought in from the surrounding mountains that year due to a low snow-cover--which I hear is not the case in this record-setting snow year) was full of dogs and people and more dogs and more people!  The dogs were feeling good in their thick furs while the people were sporting every sort of fur-lined coat, mittens, hats, boots, and mufflers to brave what were very very cold conditions that day! Dogs were sticking their curious noses through openings in dog wagons, were harnessed or were in the process of being harnessed to the sleek powerful sleds, or were simply eyeing the curious tourists eyeing them.