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Sunday July 14- Palmer AK

Alaska Fact- State sport- Dog Mushing

We left around 10 AM to go to the Palmer Visitor Center/ Museum. Palmer is at the eastern end of the Matanuska Valley.  We toured their small museum and I bought a Palmer pin. We went outside to their garden. The vegetables from the garden are given to the Senior Center and Meals on Wheels, but they are there to demonstrate the size of the plants and vegetables. The midnight sun really does make them grow.

Palmer Visitor Center

Palmer Visitor Center

Palmer Visitor Center

We left the Visitor Center and drove about 2 blocks to The Colony House Museum. It was closed. We think it is just closed on Sunday, but there were no signs showing the hours.

We continued to the Musk Ox Farm. Friends and the guide books had told us that this is a must see and we agree! Their barn is the visitor center / museum. The barn was built by the Colonists. In 1935, the area became an unusual experiment for the Federal Relief Administration, one of the New Deal agencies. This became a planned agricultural colony. Social workers picked 203 families, mostly from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, of Scandinavian decent, to populate this valley. The colonists arrived in early summer, 1935, to start farms in the area. Many failed, partly because they arrived before their supplies arrived. They ended up living in tents while waiting for the supplies to arrive. The area became a vital agricultural area and remains this way with people from Anchorage driving out to do their produce shopping. 

Musk Ox Farm

The Musk Ox Farm is interesting.

Musk Ox Farm

Musk Ox are not oxen. They are actually goats. Although, their face looks like the Dall Sheep, they have four stomachs like a cow, eyes/pupils like a horse, and they look similar to bison.  The have the longest coat of all mammals.  They rut in the fall and have an 8 month gestation. They birth w/o assistance and seem to reproduce well. Here at the farm, their reproduction is carefully managed so that the farm can maintain the herd.

Malr-Musk Ox Farm


Above are males. Below are the babies from last year, 15 in all. This year they had 7 calfs,, which we could not see, as they are weaning. This is Sherry, our tour guide.

One year olds-Musk Ox Farm

Mother-One year olds-Musk Ox Farm

Mother- Musk Ox Farm

Above is one of the mothers. The Musk Ox like to play ball, so in the babies pen are a ball and a tether ball. They can’t put a ball in with the adults as they play too rough. They end up breaking through the fencing.

We left the Musk Ox Farm and went to The Inn for lunch. They only had an expensive Sunday Brunch and no tables. So we went to The Town Denali Deli, a nice little deli with excellent sandwiches.

We returned to the Elks Lodge and took a much needed nap. We are still trying to catch up on sleep from the Denali tour.

We ate dinner and watched the movie Reality of Love with Bradley Cooper. A cute movie from the $5 bin at Walmart.

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