Saturday, October 31, 2009

Photos 'round the 'hood

The girls came with me to work yesterday. They just napped in my office.

On the trail today:

This is my favorite view in our neighborhood. The road bends around this corner, and voila--there is the valley spread out in front of you. On clear days, you can see to the Alaska Range.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The views out my favorite windows

I love this corner of the cabin. The views outside the windows look like a calendar. Sometimes I feel like they aren't windows, but paintings.

The snow storm seems to be on its way out. This was such a soft, gentle one that the word "storm" hardly seems applicable. Post-snowstorm air is similar to post-rainstorm air--everything is clean and crisp, colors are heightened, and the world seems to have a new beginning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thank you, weather gods

This is what Winter is supposed to look like. Ah, that's more like it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just two things

1) A candidate for World's Most Unnecessary Euphemism: Granular Traction Aide

Seriously? Is something offensive or indelicate about the word 'gravel'?

2) Wearing flip-flops outside in the snow "just for a minute".




Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

pumpkin photos

My friend Marcy and I carved pumpkins this weekend. We unleashed our creative powers on the fronts, and then she carved classic grinning jack-o-lanterns on the backs.

Here are the finished works:

And they all grin toward the house!

I couldn't focus without the flash. :(

My birthday cake! They made me a delicious chocolate cake! I'm two to the fifth power!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Snow, dangit!

C'mon, dangit!


We are looking at potentially the first snowless Halloween since 1962. I've waxed my skis and put lacquer over the missing paint. The girls are growing in their thick, furry Winter coats. And we wait. And wait. And wait.

Snow, dangit!

In other news, we have a house guest for a few days:

Sam's parents are in Idaho attending a wedding. Sam is a good girl, but still, she cannot compare to the World's Most Perfect Dogs. She steals food from the countertops. I had known that, but had forgotten. I'm not in the habit of dog-proofing my house since my dogs do not cause mischief of any sort. Sam is also sort of spoilt and insists on getting all of the attention, all of the time. She's quite a bit bulkier than my girls and is quite forceful at pushing herself between them and me when she wants a cuddle. She also hogs the bed and tries to push herself between Autumn and me. This is where I draw the line and yank her aside with her collar. No one comes between Autumn and me!

Sam's much more reasonable on walks, though. She doesn't pull at her leash, and is actually quite good off-leash. I can also leave her unsupervised in the yard without worrying about her taking off on a self-guided tour of the neighborhood, as my girls would.

Running with Sam is good for my self esteem. With my girls, my top sprint matches their casual trot. But Sam at least breaks into a gallop to keep up, so I don't feel like the only slowpoke any more!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There, see?

I don't have untamed random weeds and flowers and brambles and berries in my yard. I have an American meadow garden.

I'm so hip!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just so you know

A group of porcupines is called a "prickle".



Coolest word thing ever!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Today is my friend Joe's birthday, so I made him chocolate-dipped macaroons. He turns 24 today. 24! Aaaaaaaaaw, bless!

In case you were wondering, it takes me about 2 hours to split enough wood for two weeks and kindling for a month.

That doesn't look like very much, but I only burn wood when I am at home and conscious. When I go to bed or am out, the oil stove kicks in (its thermostat is set to 50F/10C). So I heat with wood for an average of 6 hours a day. If I were to use exclusively wood heat, I would burn four times as much wood. That would have me spending four hours a week splitting wood! But it would eliminate the "making kindling" part of the chore, which is my least favorite, just above doing laundry. I hate doing laundry above all things! I generally don't do laundry until I have handwashed socks and underwear for at least a week, and/or reached for these socks:

Ha ha.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More photos from the trails around home

These guys walk over to the fence to greet passersby. They make me feel like I am in a joke, or a children's book. "A person is walking with two huskies. Along the way, they are greeted by a sheep, a chicken, and a goose..."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Photos around the neighborhood ski trails

I woke up to an overcast sky and hoped for snow, but none came. Nevertheless, I figured that the recent drop in temperatures might have made the neighborhood ski trails passable for walking. They are marshy and watery, and impassable in the Summer.

I was mostly right, although the wateriest of all is the one that connects to the back of my land, so the girls and I had to walk on the roads a bit.

The main trail on the "official" trail system is nicely maintained and bizarrely civilized. It's nicely lined with plastic and then gravel. It never gets marshy. It seems a bit out of place in our rural neighborhood, but I sure do appreciate it.

Hoar frost on the plants:

Off the main trail. These side trails connect to the power line trails:

How a swampy trail is made passable! Ice is nice!

Pretty hoar frost. It looks like pine needles:

I only got one shot at this before Linden sat on it. She does that often when I am attempting macro shots. She thinks she is much cuter than any berries, flowers, or hoar frost!

The trail back:

The leaves are still visible, with no snow to cover them:

This trail would take us home, but you can see why we had to turn back!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Moose Ghosties!

There is a brand-new one in Delta!

I'd like to see one!

Here are some photos that a Canadian friend sent me a few years ago. They were taken in April 2006 near a small village called Foleyet, near Timmins, in Ontario.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The meteorology-types are speaking again...

... and we are supposed to have a warmer Winter this year. What does this mean, if anything? I have no idea. Temperatures are so unpredictable here, there's just no telling.

Lately, the weather has been getting nippy, though there has been no snow. The country is still stunning, with golden trees against a true blue sky. At night, temperatures drop below freezing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Portraits of the Fuzzies

Mr. B. takes naps in his litterbox. Yup.

Millie does NOT like the flash.

Linden is a goober.

Autumn is very ree-laxed.

Apparently, my hometown is having its first Winter storm. I know it's a pain to deal with, but all the same, how badly needed the rain is, and what fun! I remember how I used to look forward to the Winter rains. And I remember how storms used to keep me up at night when I was a little girl. I'd listen to the wind and rain lashing the windows, and the wooden floors in our rooms would creak as they settled in the changing humidity into the cooling night. Our home was a relatively modern townhouse, but I, like a young Catherine Morland, had stronger imagination than sense.

Harsh weather in San Francisco is loud and visually violent--wind and rain whip everything to a frenzy. You hang on to umbrellas and point them into the wind to right them after they have been blown inside-out. Here in Fairbanks, harsh weather is very quiet. A photo wouldn't even show an uneducated observer "harsh" (unless it's a photo of a thermometer), because the harshness is due entirely to the extreme temperature. In Fairbanks, harshness is hushed, still, and bathed in deceptively gentle, weirdly beautiful, soft, eldritch light.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We meet the unconventional adventurers

Because of Fairbanks' remote and far-north location, we see a lot of adventurers, like this guy and this guy. This guy came to my house for dinner once, and really enjoyed my spaghetti. :)

In other news, it seems that Nature is making a second go at Winter. We finally had frost again today, and a few days ago, I noticed that my favorite reindeer buck, who is, apparently, NOT this guy, had lost his felt at last.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Silicon2tanana comparisons

BT and I were on the phone last night when I informed her that I always sent the dogs out before I stepped outside, to shoo away any neighborhood moose that might be nearby. She laughed and told me she had never thought of fearing moose before... Her analogous fear is stepping outside the hospital at night after visiting her brother, and being in a rather unpleasant neighborhood of Oakland. How different our respective fears and risks!

One feature that Fairbanks shares with the Sili Valley, though, is one that I very deeply appreciate in both. It's that no one respects you more or less based on what clothes you wear. Both Fairbanks and the Sili Valley have their share of wealthy people who dress in holey jeans and dirty sneakers, and in neither place is anyone so short-sighted as to be rude to a person who is poorly dressed. In fact, I would venture to say that both places indulge in some reverse snobbery, and in some situations, wearing very expensive or fancy clothes will get you suspicion. I recall that when I had nice dinner plans after work and wore something nicer to the office, colleagues would tease me and ask whether I had a job interview with a competitor, and whether I was planning to leave them any time soon. Of course they were joking, but they definitely made me feel less comfortable than when I was in my regular uniform of jeans and a T-shirt!

A few weeks after I moved into my current home, I thought I'd introduce myself to my neighbor. So I baked a batch of brownies (link for my non-American readers. Do they have brownies in the rest of the world? If not, I urge you to try making them, and having one with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!) and dressed to make a good first impression. I put on an old, but clean T-shirt, and a pair of dirty, but not appallingly filthy, jeans I had been wearing to do yardwork. Then I combed and re-braided my hair tidily, and put on a pair of old sneakers. Such is the best look for meeting your neighbor in a rural area outside of Fairbanks! In the Sili Valley, I'd venture to say that the only thing I'd change is the jeans--they'd be clean, but still old and worn. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weird weather continues...

A record may be broken this weekend.


A few friends and I played hooky yesterday morning to take an out of town guest to Wickersham Dome. He is from Switzerland.

The snow had melted and refrozen, so it was icy, but we did okay.

Here I am with the girls:

The glaze of ice on top of the snow:

It was such a clear day, you could see the next row of mountains to the Northwest. Our Swiss guest said it was his best day since coming to Fairbanks three weeks prior. :)

Autumn looking happy:

Both fuzzbuckets looking happy:

The scenery:

Happy, happy, happy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weird weather

Temperatures have stayed above freezing for darned near a week now, and we haven't had snow since that one time a couple of weeks ago. Quite a few of the trees still have not shed their leaves. Weird, huh?

Since I haven't much to post about today, here are some polar bear photos, compliments of our hometown rag.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Here's what you do when you're supposed to be reading a paper in a coffee shop, and someone sends you a shot of espresso that you have no interest in drinking, but it's in the cutest little cup with the cutest little saucer you've ever seen.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

If snow won't come to us...

... we, like Mohammed, go to the mountain. :)

As it turns out, the top of Ester Dome has quite a bit of snow. I even saw ski tracks from some eager soul, which inspired me to wax my skis yesterday.

Happy, happy! Joy, joy!

It's just like Winter on top of the dome:

Though it is still late fall below:

Snow falling on the mountains:

"Whoo! Are we pooped!"

"Wait--Is that our supper we hear?"

Happy (belated) August Moon Day everyone! And happy St. Francis Feast Day! Go hug your pets!