Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Return to Cooler Weather

Great things about cooler weather:

1) What's that biting/stinging me? Oh yeah--NOTHING!

2) What am I allergic to? Oh yeah--nothing!!

3) What's for dinner? BACON!

4) Let's go for an 8-mile run! Okay!!

5) Why, hello, fuzzy dogs! I see that you are the only ones wearing dog hair! Not me, nor my clothes, nor the couch!

Yesterday, we hiked to the top of Wickersham Dome. I think this may become an annual event called Photograph the Frost in the White Mountains, and Look It's Not Windy on top of the Dome (it's almost always windy when the weather is warm). History says we did it in 2011 and 2009.

It was foggy, which is rare for this region:

The frost favored the North sides of the scrubby twigs:

and of the needles of the spruce trees:

It grew like sugar on the dead plants:

Linden sitting pretty (she thought I was digging out a treat for her when I stopped to tuck my jacket away):

Autumn looking sedate, as usual:

The fog thinned out as we approached the top of the Dome:

And suddenly we burst forth into blue sky:

There were lots of blueberries, overripe and slightly fermented. Mmmmmm:

And cranberries, which were decidedly not fermented, but super-sweet, after having experienced frost:

Looking west, over the fog:

Looking east, over the fog:

Then it started rolling up to us:

My favorite shot of the day, perhaps of the year:

Would anyone care to suggest a photography contest to enter this into? :P

I drink tea while my doggies hang out:

A lot of the frost had solidified into ice!

A frosty spider web!

Misty and frosty!

Along the trail, we spotted this crazily-placed stone:

I didn't believe it could be balanced as precariously as it appeared, so I walked around it and looked from another angle:

Still just as impressive!

It reminded me of this guy who does this in my hometown. He's quite astonishing. So I googled 'stone balancing', and apparently this is A Thing (12,700,000 hits!!). Here is a cool one in the UK.

I Love Eet!


Home to a fantastic supper!

And this morning, we got up to snow on the ground!

A perfect ending to a perfect (abbreviated) weekend! Today the weekend is over. I am writing my thesis. :(

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Life is Good

Made my first meal on the wood stove since last winter--frijoles de la olla and spanish rice. Doggies are getting fuzzier again. Le Creuset pots on the wood stove. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm blue...

I love my new loft! I've painted the majority of it blue, with one triangle being yellow (behind the camera here, so you don't get to see it):

So the entire thing is representative of an Alaskan Summer sky:

Now I'm blue da ba dee da ba da-ee, da ba dee da ba da-ee, da ba dee da ba da-ee...

NOW IT'S YOUR EARWORM, TOO!! Muwahahahaha...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Engineering ain't easy

I'm researching uses of Single Wire Earth Return systems for rural electrification. Distribution and Transmission World reports that:

The design and height of the conductor supports used on SWER lines in Africa must take into account the hazard to giraffes caused by inadequate ground clearance. Records confirm the tallest-ever giraffe was measured at 5.88 m (19.3 ft), although the average height is 5.3 m (17.4 ft), and reports confirm that species have been electrocuted where the ground clearance was less than 5.2 m (17 ft).
Source here.

You know. Just something to be mindful of when designing a power transmission system.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Notes from here and there

1) The weather has been odd. Warm and dry and gusty. I do not like it. However, it has led to beautiful mornings and evenings:

2) Yesterday, as I was leaving the supermarket, I noticed a beautiful Siberian husky sitting on a guy's lap in a truck. I asked if I could meet the dog, and the guy said yes, in fact I ought to meet all of them. He hopped out of the truck and opened the back, and I saw this:

The guy was obviously a Siberian aficionado, having bought and raised two pups, and then having rescued the rest as they popped up at the local animal shelter. The dogs were just as sweet and cuddly and kissy as Alaskans, ice-blue-eyes notwithstanding. They even put their paws out for me to hold, just like Alaskans do. My doggie racism: cured.

3) Here is a lovely obituary for Richard Frank, an Athabascan elder.

4) There has been a lot of rain in the mountains. The Parks Highway has flooded. The train track has washed away in parts. Talkeetna flooded, and partially evacuated. Now the waters are receding in Talkeetna, but rising on the Kenai.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Equinox!

When I got home last night, it was dark, but I suspected that Fall had fallen. This morning, I saw that indeed, it had:

Although it was bizarrely warm, and I got sweaty on my morning run.

Anchorage had not frosted yet, and there were still bees going about their business:

I continue to be whatever the opposite of charmed is by Anchorage. My conference was 6 miles from the airport. It took me half an hour to get there. The traffic was insane. The density was the same as that in the Sili Valley, but the planning and street layouts were far worse.

However, I did enjoy the conference. If you'd like to know anything about tree pruning, let me know. :)

Finally, here is a baby panda getting a medical exam, and yawning:

You're welcome.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Los Anchorage Report

I have been in Anchorage taking a class on High Voltage Direct Current power transmission. Then, I will attend one day of a conference called The Urban Forest of Tomorrow. I don't know a dadgum thing about arboriculture, but since I promote use of woody biomass, I figure it would only be responsible for me to study up on forest management.

Here are my observations about Anchorage. Most of them are gleaned from my text reports to G:

1) Hotels that allow dogs are very nice when you miss your own dogs. There are always dogs to pet in the lobby.

2) Urban people have some weird-ass-looking dogs.

3) Anchorage is... probably not the place for me. It's a little too pretentious for my Fairbanks side, and yet a little too provincial for my San Francisco side. This combination comes off to me as self-conscious, as if folks are trying to prove how urban and worldly they are. San Francisco folks are much more relaxed and secure. They don't talk as loudly at bars, "casually" mentioning their time in Europe or where their clothes came from. I think Anchorage folks are a bit too big for their britches. I want to tell them, "Gimme a break! You're in Alaska!"

4) Anchorage is a busy port. There are hella shipping containers. Check it out:

5) Downtown Anchorage has a lot of tourist claptrap. It reminds me of Pier 39. Check it out:

6) A tramp accosted me while I was taking the above photo of the shipping containers. We don't have those in Fairbanks.

7) This is what comprises breakfast for a week for me:

I have decided that I prefer hotels that have refrigerators over hotels that offer free crappy breakfasts.

8) The mountains, visible from almost everywhere, make for a beautiful backdrop to almost everything:

9) Nordstrom is too pretentious to sell nail clippers. The lady at the cosmetics counter actually smirked at me when I asked whether they had one. They do have very fancy nail files, however. I declined.

10) Walking around in Anchorage makes me switch immediately into city gear. I remember hearing this thusly described once: "It's like you're saying, 'Fuck you'... 'Fuck you'... 'Fuck you'... with each step." You cannot go around smiling and waving at everyone, which is what you do in Fairbanks, because it attracts unwanted attention. I am immediately on alert, and clutching my handbag just a little bit tighter. It's like how sometimes you're driving down a highway, and you subconsciously slow down for a narrow or winding stretch, and then you see a sign for a reduced speed limit. Miracle of miracles, you are already driving slower. We humans, we just know. And I just know that one takes a bit more care when walking around in Anchorage than in Fairbanks.

And that is all I have for today. Tomorrow I will be back with my fuzzy-wuzzies:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Equinox Marathon report

Well, it was stunningly beautiful, and rocky, and rooty, and steep, and everything everyone says.

I accomplished all four of my modest goals:
1) I did not die.
2) I did not injure myself.
3) I finished with G and BT.
4) I felt okay the next day.

At the finish line, I was cheered in by a colleague, my neighbors, their dog, and, of course, E, who was there to support BT. It felt good.

Autumn and Linden's reaction? 26.2 miles? Psh! How heavy was the sled you pulled? Oh, no sled? So this should mean, what, exactly? Oh, by the way, IT'S TIME FOR OUR RUN!

They cheerfully extended my marathon day mileage, halfway to that of an ultra:

And this, my friends, is why feel okay the next day, and preferably also that night, is one of my race goals, and supercedes any time/speed goal.

The best part of this race is that instead of giving out finisher's medals, they gave out puppies:

photo courtesy of BT

I kid, I kid! I didn't get to bring the puppy home. But I think all marathons need puppy hugging stations along with the food, water, first aid, massages, etc.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Final veggie share

I forgot to photograph it, but my last veggie share of the season from Rosie Creek Farm contained:

a ginormous cabbage
braising greens
an onion
a bunch of leeks
some fava beans
another stalk of brussel sprouts
another bunch of sweet carrots
mo' potatoes
a bag of tomatillos
a fractal broccoli
a final kohlrabi, perfect for flinging at moose. Just kidding.

this pumpkin:

I also picked up my jug of water that I had left alongside the driveway for topping up my water bottle on long training runs. The farm is about 5 miles away from chez moi, so it's a good watering location. The Equinox is tomorrow. I will be running with G and BT.

I am not that nervous, and I'm more excited about spending time with BT than about the race itself. A colleague came by this morning and asked, "Are you ready for tomorrow?" and I panicked. WHAT was I supposed to do tomorrow?!? "The run?" Oooohhhh. Psh! That little thing! He himself is running it as well. As are friends V, R, AB, and RP, a member of my thesis committee, who runs the ultra every year (that's 40 miles), and the first year an ultra was offered, won.

I have comparatively modest goals.

And then I shall eat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Husky pulling demo

As I've mentioned before, the only flaw of the World's Most Pefect Dogs is that they have the world's most abysmal leash manners. They pull me here, they pull me there, etc, etc. A consequence of all of this running and pulling is that their ID tags scratch against their rabies tags and become illegible, necessitating replacement once a year or so. Well, the other day, Linden came into the house and--clink!--her tag plunked from her collar onto the floor. I picked it up and examined it:

Yup, the tag had worn clean through. Good job, Linden. You and Autumn must be the most active old ladies on the planet.

The rings that new tags come with are pretty stiff and difficult to get onto the large rings of sled dog collars. Luckily for me, my dogs are always pulling so dang hard on their leashes that the collar rings have thin spots where the steel is worn down:

Good job, elderly ladies. Excellent work!

Here are some photos of a fall evening in da hood:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do I have any Artsy Readers?

Do any of you know about this painting by Osias Beert?

It's called "Still Life with Wild Raspberries".

Does anyone know where it is? What museum? In a private collection? Most importantly, if I can buy a print? I wants it.

In other news: The moose ghostie had a mortal behbeh. And the behbeh, it is cute.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Frost!

It came Saturday morning! Yay!

Here are some miscellaneous photos.

Sunlight streaming into my cabin:

A float pond at the airport:

My yard, looking up: