Friday, August 31, 2007

RVers Find Diamonds in the Rough in Alaska

Morris News Service Alaska, Homer News

It isn't the hunting that keeps Michigan resident Ken Lehman and his wife, Gail, coming back to Alaska summer after summer. Nor is it the fishing. Or the scenery. It's diamonds. Diamond willow, that is.

The couple harvests it during the summer and, when not fishing or touring the state, Lehman can be seen sitting at a Heritage RV Park fire ring on the Homer Spit, peeling bark from the branches. That way, by the time the Lehmans return to Michigan, the willow is partially dried and ready for Lehman's workshop.

"My first recollection is that we were traveling south of Glennallen on the Richardson Highway as Gail was reading the Milepost. She noted it said there was good diamond willow cutting along Willow Creek," Lehman said. "I slammed on the brakes on our RV since that was the spot we were passing. I always carry in the motor home a small saw and an axe, and I grabbed both and disappeared into the brush."

"I had made walking sticks from hard maple for several years, and so found it exciting to work with new material that had some very interesting distinctions with the diamond designs, each, of course, being different."
Full Story & Photos...
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