Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fall is starting to Fall

The fireweeds are tipped with red, the aspens are tipped with yellow, the sky is sapphire-blue, the light is golden and slanted, darkness comes at night now, and mornings have a nip in the air. It must be fall! I'll take some pretty photos and post them soon. In the meantime, here are some from last week.

The bridge that had used to serve as the South entrance to UAF campus (going over the train tracks) was determined to be unsafe for vehicles. So around 2006 or 2007 or so it was converted into a pedestrian-only bridge. There is now a community garden on top. I hear there is quite a wait list to get a plot!

Friday, August 25, 2017

HAARP Visit!

What can I tell you about HAARP? It is the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, now owned and maintained by UAF. It is the target of conspiracy theories galore. Several of the "conspiracy theory" websites I have skimmed add to the dark implications by pointing out that HAARP is located in remote Alaska, in the middle of nowhere! Ironically, the site was specifically chosen because it is accessible by highway. It's also 100% open to visitors (although only by appointment), they allow you to wander around unsupervised, with no background check or even ID check, and you can photograph anything you please!

They have an annual open house, and it's extremely well-organized. A crew of some 20-30 staff and faculty members come down from Fairbanks and give tours, host lectures, and grill up hot dogs and burgers. I've also learned that they call their fleet of 5 diesel generators Angel 1 through Angel 5, poking fun at some of the conspiracy theorists.

Anyway, what HAARP does is beam concentrated radio waves into the ionosphere and see what happens. It does heat tiny portions of the ionosphere, but to such tiny portions it's analogous to blowing a torch at the Yukon. Or so I was told. WWWWOOOOoooooOOOOoooooOOOOoooo.

Here are photos.

There are 30 antennae, laid out in a 6x5 array. Under the array is an aluminum mesh, which matches the wavelength they beam and thus reflects skyward the part of the beam that would otherwise shoot at the ground. This protects people underneath, and also is located at a height such that the reflected waves constructively interfere with the original waves, effectively doubling the signal. When the array is operational, though, people aren't usually at the site, except for quick repairs or part swap-outs.

The control electronics were almost as meticulously laid out as DL would have done it.

Each antenna is controlled within one conex trailer, and each one is electrically floating on wooden blocks! Yet here we see a grounding mechanism...

And I followed it outside...

And aha! Each conex is grounded to a support pole!

DL looking both handsome and sketchy, a great photo for conspiracy theorists! (Who is this bearded dude??)

And that is my HAARP report!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Photo dump

The light outside my office window right now:

Sun on storm clouds. It's super pretty!

A few weekends ago, we went to spend the weekend with M and her partner, DN, in DN's family cabin on Quartz Lake. It's incredibly beautiful, all made from local logs and hand crafted by DN and his brother. I forgot to take photos of their handiwork. Next time!

The cabin is 100 steps above the lake, and we were higher than this juvenile eagle perched in a treetop!

This part of the lakefront is all private lots; most are weekend getaways (20 minutes from Delta Junction and 90 minutes from Fairbanks), but one guy from Delta lives there full time.

DN and DL:

Both Cricket and Roo love the porch overlooking the lake!

Although Roo also loved this spot by the woodpile:

DL and M:

They have a designated dog couch!

DL had to join the other fuzzies. They all love to cuddle!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New driveway!

The place where I have been parking my car is mud. Our neighbor across the road does dirtwork, so we decided to hire him to dig it up, backfill it, and make us a fancy new driveway.

He dug up about a foot depth, then laid down this cloth to stop the nice fill dirt from migrating into the mud:

Then he dumped and smoothed out three different grades of fill:

Some was actual mine tailings, straight from a local gold mine:

Since he had the front end loader, he also dug out some of our old stumps, including my old splitting stump, which is unrecoverable after eight seasons of beatings:

It was so amazing and effortless, compared with chopping them out by hand!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fair Photos!

My two primary goals for the Fair this year: Cute things and giant veggies. I think I got 10/10 on the cute and 8/10 on the veggies.

Look at these piggy-piggies! Who know they came in so many colors and patterns?

Mama smiles while they nurse!

Now here is a BAYBEE YAK!

Oohhhhhh Gooooood thooooose eeeeeeeeeyes...

Now, for BT, giant veggies!

Giant turnip!

Giant zucchini! (although I think these are also normal for California)

Giant green onion!

Giant broccoli!

The winning giant cabbage this year was a surprisingly humble 36.2 pounds:

The exhibition hall:


Giant kale!


Giant rhubarb!

Giant kohlrabi!

Pretty carrots!

Giant dahlia!

DL said I should be in there for scale:

All the pretty flowers!

Sunset at Creamer's Field: