January through March the Alaska String Band spent touring in the southwest states with many stops in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.   In Corpus Christi, Texas we spent a day touring the aircraft carrier Lexington.  401461_113926918729927_333108075_nWarm temperatures and sunny skies were abundant in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas.  Abigail loved swimming in the pools at various RV parks.  This swimming pool was at the Victoria Palms, RV park.  327170_103213876467898_868484017_oShore birds were plentiful on South Padre island.   341299_102464356542850_148122492_o331447_102500726539213_1604136222_oAbilene, Texas is home to some folks who have become wonderful friends to us in our years of touring in the southwest.  They live on a small ranch and keep many warm, fuzzy animals and grow grapefruit as large as honeydew melons.  Quinn loved tending the baby goats.  383507_153095598146392_585270903_n-1292135_153124241476861_1597861572_n295404_153123531476932_92440017_n477518_152908198165132_2018208909_oIn New Mexico we explored White Sands and made a stop at the Triple L Ranch.  IMG_0619IMG_0751Spencer Theater for the Arts in Ruidoso was a beautiful facility for one of our concert engagements.  The red glass fire tree was on display in the main entry. IMG_0632470640_10151370509475191_1457567675_oLaura’s dressing room made her feel right at home. 465679_10151370520210191_868285902_oAlso in Ruidoso was the local ski area which the kids took advantage of for a day.  Ski Apache was vastly different from the slopes at home, but loads of fun just the same. IMG_0664IMG_0672Lots of Cactus in Arizona.  The Desert Museum in Tucson is a ‘must see’ if you ever happen to visit the area.  IMG_0605An invitation from the historic preservation society in Spilleville, Iowa directed us to the final performance of the spring tour.  The concert was to benefit the continued maintenance of the St. Wenceslaus Church.  St. Wenceslaus is the oldest Czech catholic church in America and dates back to 1860.  Residents of Spilleville proudly recount the summer of 1893 when the famous Czech composer Antoin Dvorak passed the summer there with his family.  Dvorak spent many hours at St. Wenceslaus Church playing the original Pfefer pipe organ which still remains.  While there he composed two of his most famous chamber works.  Kolachi, a traditional Bohemian sweet bread, was gifted to us by the perishoners.   IMG_0885557580_158135470975738_1708931486_nIMG_0887Sad to say goodbye to old friends and happy to have made new ones we flew home to Juneau, Alaska and slipped back into our xtra tuff boots, warmest fleece and rain gear, just in time for spring skiing.   Quinn entered the Slush Cup, an annual event at the local Eaglecrest ski area which involves racing down a moderately steep hill and skiing across a man made pond at the bottom.  Check out his live performance here, it’s pretty entertaining!  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=337925289600696&set=t.100003378575598&type=3&theaterQuinn at slush cupApril and May in Southeast Alaska was gorgeous, with beautiful sun filled days and brilliant green vegetation coming to life.  DSC_0015Salmonberry blossoms and skunk cabbage promised that summer would soon arrive.DSC_0100Laura visited her favorite beaches and tidepools.sea urchin at lowtideIMG_1030DSC_0066laura at outer point with bootsThe combination of full summer work schedules and extensive fall and winter music tours had taken its toll, and our house was in serious need of maintenance.   Most all of April Melissa and the kids painted the interior of our home from top to bottom.  We crave brilliant colors to bring light to the long dark winter months.  Here are a few of our  choices.  Turquoise – Pumpkin Orange – Pink Peony – Tree Frog GreenDSC_0068DSC_0061 2DSC_0034 2DSC_0127By early May we were all relieved to pack away the paint brushes and pick up our instruments in anticipation of the summer season which lay ahead.  Sadly the amazing sunny weather and warmer temperatures plummeted,  never to really recover for the rest of the summer season. Heavy rain fall and temperatures ranging from the mid 40’s through the mid 50’s kept gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts muttering about packing it up and moving to the lower 48.  Which of course the vast majority would never do.  The miserable climate simply makes the good days paradise.    And when the clouds do finally part we all gaze around in awe remembering that we live in such a spectacular world.  The local rhubarb patch did thrive regardless of the inclement weather and we enjoyed more than one rhubarb pie.460322_10151163175688944_1972741614_oIMG_1213IMG_1215