Friday, January 20, 2017

Wow! Quick warm-up!

Up to -5F/-20C this morning! Last night, we watched the outdoor thermometer climb from -45F/-43C to -20F/-29C in a span of 45 minutes!

Of course, the ground, trees, and snow cover take longer to warm up, so this morning I had the interesting quandary of what to wear when the air temperature is -5F/-20C, while the temperature of the ground is -40!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Rather chilly this morning!

The ladies were still up for a short walk. I wore wool underwear, compressed polypropylene long underwear, and ski pants. On top I wore a wool baselayer, an wool sweater, and my trusty turd coat:

I can't believe the ladies didn't do the three-paw dance and request a quick turn-around. It was me who aborted our walk!

This is what -40 looks like at 1 p.m.:

There is this thing called "ice fog", which occurs because at temperatures below -40, air cannot hold any moisture at all. At higher than -40, even though it may be still below the freezing point of water, ice crystals require a nucleation particle in order to freeze out of the air. Otherwise, it hangs in the air as gaseous phase. But at below -40, no nucleation particle is required... the moisture just freezes out of the air and hangs there as ice fog. It also tends to sink to low areas, getting trapped in the valley of the city of Fairbanks proper. Since we live in the hills outside of town, we don't get it in our 'hood, and it's highly desirable to be living as such! Realtors highlight in their ads for properties in the hills, "Get out of town and out of the ice fog!" :)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Morning ski photos

This is around 10:30, still dawn. The sky was overcast.

We were the first on our section of the trail:

Starbuck looking WOLFIE!

We went down to a small beaver pond, which used to be along our old trail access from our old rental cabin. Autumn and Linden and I used to eagerly await its freezing!

Thursday, January 12, 2017


This is how I left the ladies this morning:

Booger and her frien':


Starbuck snuggles with the wolfie, too:

And here are a few last photos of our Schweetie, Autumn:

So sweet!

Awwwww. How I will miss that sweet, gentle, thoughtful lady:

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Autumn, Summer 1999 - January 2017

Yesterday morning, DL and I made the difficult decision to let Autumn go. From the last year or so, she had survived removal of 1/3 of her liver, a heart murmur diagnosis and treatment, and removal of two other cancerous tumors from her foot and thigh. Yet she always bounced back and loved taking our daily walks, though it shortened from 3 miles to 2, and stretched in time from half an hour to an hour... The last thing that made our decision was that her occasional seizures increased in frequency to 3 last week, and she never quite "came back". Her body went on, but her mind could not control it, nor enjoy it.

Her long life (17 years!) was full of happiness and adventures, and she never knew a single day that she was not loved. She and I covered some 15,000 miles together, running, walking, hiking, and skiing, since she came to me in 2007! Her passing was peaceful... I couldn't even tell you the moment she slipped away.

We have been so blessed. May my readers be as well, in this new year and beyond. Today, I feel love and gratitude. She couldn't have had a better life, and I couldn't have had a better dog.

On our neighborhood ski trail system, where most of those 15,000 miles were spent!

Another common activity for us: going for summertime dayhikes in the mountains, and taking naps during lunchtime:

Autumn approved DL from the get-go. That's how I knew he was a keeper!

On the couch with her sisters!

Doing the Dance of Joy when I get home from work!

Squeezy hug!

Starbuck was Very Concerned when she began to have episodes of lameness.

And in her golden years, she began to tire easily and sleep deeply:

Aaaaahhhh what more do you need than a spot on the couch and a rawhide?

And now... that rare thing that most adopters of adult dogs don't get... puppy photos! (we also get medical records and tech support!)

Being borned!

Look at that look of mischief!

She was a couch dog from the get-go!

Thank you for sharing your life with us, Ms. Autumnster. It has been a joy and an honor.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

After the storm

After spending two days shoveling out from the storms, we snowshoed our spur to the mail trail, then snowshoed our regular ski loop! It was exhausting! I guess I'm a stronger skier than snowshoe-er!

Roo helped us break trail:

Low sun, 1:40 p.m.:

It looked dusky:

This snowshoe hare was aptly named. Look how big he can make his feet!

It was darkening already at 2 p.m.:

And the snow had been sculpted by the wind:

My favorite old snag was still standing!

Sunset, 3:40 p.m.:

"Roo!" sez Roo.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Storm report!

"The Fairbanks area saw between 10 and 15 inches of snow and whipping winds that gusted into 30 to 40 mph range, National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Plumb said Saturday afternoon."

We only lost power for about two hours, and it happened while we were asleep, so we hardly felt a pinch! Now we have a lot of couscous and cold cuts to eat!

Here are photos!

Before the storm, the sky went grey:

It looked like a piece of paper:

We snuggled:

The first overnight brought a foot of snow, which we duly shoveled, even as the next storm was already bringing the next round of snow:

Look at our doggie guest house!

Then, we snuggled:

And pondered our adopted wolf gift:

The next morning (after our only brief power outage), we reset our clocks and shoveled again. This time, we did the additional details, such as a path to the wood pile:

And sweeping snow off the roof of the shed:

And clearing a path to the ski trail (and to our guest doggie house):

While the ladies supervised from the porch:

Look how deep it was! Here I am standing in the new trail to the doggie guest house:

And then, we snuggled!

The next day, we wore snowshoes to break the rest of our ski trail to the main trail system, and today, we were at liberty to ski again! :)