Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring progresses

So this morning I took the flexible hose that serves as a water line from my reservoir to my sink, lifted it off the kitchen counter, and slid it behind so it will be out of the way on the floor. No concerns about it freezing any more! I also took the power cord that feeds the heat tape that lines my outflow pipe (to prevent the outflow from freezing too close to the house), and rolled it into a circle and tucked it away behind the stove. No need for that again, either! My second winter in this cabin, I figured out how much water I need to pour down the drain at once to keep it flowing nicely, and I haven't had to go out and break up the slop glacier this year at all.

It's warm enough to make the snow packable, so of course I had to build another snowman to replace the one from the ice storm, who had since lost his head and accumulated shoulder pads.

This one doesn't get a hat, as I can't afford to keep providing nesting material to local ravens.

My flamingos are also starting to appear:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Winter fights back

With a several-inches snow dump last night and more on the way.

My icicles, however, are continuing to grow in savagery:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Photos 'round the hood

I use this lightning-struck tree at the top of our neighborhood ridge line as a direction-finder and beacon.

It's picturesque, isn't it?

A friend told me that birch bracts look like birds when you look closely, so I examined a few and agreed with the assessment. :)

The seeds shed from the trees in deep winter, sit atop the snow and wreak a bit of havoc for skiers who are suddenly slowed down by the friction they produce, and then gradually are covered by subsequent snow, to awaken in the spring conveniently surrounded by water for germination.

Rosie Creek, across which I ski to access the trails, is already covered with overflow ice. When the creek fully thaws, my trail access ends. :(

Ssssspookeh trees at the bottom of my hill. I sometimes consider cutting them down to have a beautiful view to the south, like my neighbor does, but I like my privacy.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scenes of Breakup

Slush on the streets:

Icicles dripping from my roof:

This is the second year in a row that breakup's seeming to come early. But meteorologist Corey Bogel sez in The Minor News that "'It can still get cold; that’s why you don’t want to count April out yet,'... noting the record low on Friday was 39 below in 1935. Most of the record lows in the first of April are in the 20s and 30s below."

Oh, here is a raven eating snow:

He's NOT a harbinger of spring, as he hangs around all winter.

A woodchuck awaking, however, is a sign of spring!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I-have-too-many-overripe-tomatoes pasta

Mmmm tomatoey pasta:

Nice photo, but whom am I kidding? This is how I eat pasta:

Portraits of my familial creatures and self:

So that's it

There's no denying it. Spring has sprung. Winter is over. This is breakup. I should snap some photos for you, my all six loyal readers. The disintegrating snow piles, accompanying mud, and splattered dirty icicles aren't particularly photogenic, but I aim to report, not always be pleasant.

This weekend will be my last opportunity to collect snow and stow it away in tupperwares in my lab freezer to continue work through the summer.

But the sun sure is lovely. I was waiting out in the parking lot to meet some friends the other morning. It was maybe around 10 a.m., and not only was the sun up, but it was warm and golden, and I could feel it on my skin. It's a pleasant thing indeed.

My good friend and weekly ski buddy M informed me last night of her opinion that this weekend is the last we shall ski together for the season. So sad.

In other news, I've just roughly summed that there are about the same number, or probably slightly more, of caribou in Alaska than humans. Prompted by the report of the census of the Western Arctic herd.

Here are the numbers I found on the internet:
123,000 Porcupine
32,000 Central Arctic
50,000 Fortymile
45,000 Nelchina
150,000 Mulchatna
348,000 Western Arctic

That's a lot of 'bous.

Here is a photo of the famous Porcupine Herd, compliments of Thundafunda.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The safest view of a moose


That's right, Mademoiselle Moose! Go away from cars. Good moose!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hanging with Sammypants, redux

Autumn might find Sam's ebullience a tad annoying at times, but Sam looooves Autumn.

Aren't they sweet?

Four! Four fuzzies in my cabin! Ah, ah, ah!

Sam and Linden are best buds, and they cuddle, too.

Snuggle pile!

This morning, I saw temperatures above freezing for the first time since November.

It only got warmer as the day progressed. Ayee!

I filled more tupperware containers of snow and put them into my lab freezer for later use in testing.

Happy Equinox, everybody! Now we will beat Lower 48-ers for daylight!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reunion of the Sillypants Twins

Sam's parents have gone to Girdwood to go downhill skiing, something we can't really do in the Interior.

Autumn sez, "This is only temporary, right?"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Profile of the ol' Farm

So this is where my girls grew up. (Side note: Only the Minor News gives you an option to click on a photo to get a smaller photo. LOL)

And this is what they do today:

Going from serving as sled-pullers to serving as teddy bears and outhouse escorts is a bit of a change in lifestyle, but they seem to have adapted well. :) Oh, except for getting fat, of course. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Warm fuzzy for the day

Dolphins rescue dog drowning in canal.


Here is a three-toed woodpecker, who's been feasting from my new firewood.

Unlike some other ruder woodpeckers I won't name, but who are currently being kept away by my friend Harold, this little fellow doesn't pack at my cabin.

See, he loves my freshly-split firewood:

Oh, and here is a lamb jumping around a bed. Just because.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ice Alaska 2011

Time for the annual trip to the Ice Park!

We go just before sundown, so we can play on the slides in the daylight and then view the carvings by their own lighting.


A turtle!

A raven! I like the single block carvings the best, even though they aren't as large and fantastical as the multi-block. I feel like they are more detailed, and I definitely like that they are seamless.

It seems every year a few artists go all Discovery Channel with their animal carvings.

My favorite! Coo coo catchoo!

A life-size chess game!

It's Ivory Jack!

The multi-blocks also don't photograph as well for me. I can't catch all of the light. Nevertheless, here is a dog team! (Don't forget you can click to embiggen.)

This leopard in his gazebo was fantastic!

So yesterday afternoon I shoveled the snow off my then-empty pallets to stack my new wood:

Not a bad fit for exactly a single cord, eh? I'm getting pretty good at eyeballing this sort of thing

I think I'm good for a while now on firewood!

After skijoring with the girls, stacking the wood, and knowing I'd spend the evening at the Ice Park, I roasted a chicken and made myself a bowl of delicious noodle soup with mustard greens and lots of cilantro. Yum!

Happy National Pi Day, everyone!