Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Monday, February 19, 2018

Valentine's Day Eagle and Snow

Greg and I were able to just relax around the house today on this Presidents' Day holiday. Sure is nice to have extra days off from work. Last week on Valentine's Day, it began to snow really hard with these large fluffy snowflakes.
 I sure enjoy watching it snow!
Driving on the other hand can be a bit dicey.
 As I turned slowly onto our street, I could see that the local eagle was sitting atop a light pole.
 He looked so majestic as he scanned the streets and skies from his perch.
When Greg got home, I begged him to go take some pictures of the eagle.
It wasn't snowing as hard by then but coming down at a pretty good pace.
He managed to get close enough to take a few photos before trudging back through the nearly six inches of fresh snow.
Hope Greg enjoyed today's holiday off because he doesn't get another until the end of May!
I, on the other hand, leave two weeks from today for Spring Break in the South!

Monday, February 12, 2018

School Snow Day!

Today our schools were closed due to some really nasty road conditions. We got about four inches of snow Saturday night. Greg was not pleased to see more snow but he was able to get the drive and sidewalks shoveled yesterday afternoon. It was light and fluffy snow which made shoveling a bit easier. Our temperature warmed up a bit overnight and produced some freezing rain. It continued to get warmer during the daytime which led to a mix of snow and rain this afternoon.
 These temperatures are quite a bit different from last week where our lows were 0 and below.
 We also experienced several days of freezing fog.
 When this happens, it makes for a wintry wonderland.
 The trees look beautiful.
 If you are driving or walking in freezing fog, it looks like it is raining diamonds or glitter.
 One afternoon I was lucky enough to catch the sun shining on some trees in our front yard.
With the gorgeous clear blue sky as a background, I snapped a few pictures.
This fluffy accumulation from the freezing fog doesn't last too long as just a bit of wind will send it floating away.
 If it is really cold and there are no breezes, it will sometimes stick around for a day or so.

As I look out the window, I see that the mix has changed over to just snow.
 Should make for interesting driving and walking tomorrow!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Home in Alaska January 2018

 We spent the Christmas holiday break with our families and friends in Tennessee. It was great to see everyone again.  It was also nice to see the sun for a change! The temps were quite cool the whole time we were there. Most of the trip the temps in Memphis were colder than Anchorage!
 Greg flew back home on December 30th and enjoyed a few days of not shoveling snow.
However, that didn't last long. I flew home on January 3rd and was greeted with steady snow and treacherous roads.
 As you can tell from this pic of the wooden fence, the sun never gets direct or warm enough to melt the snow.
The fresh snow did brighten things back up. Greg did not enjoy shoveling the sidewalks and driveway!
 Even with the new six or so inches of snow, we still have had less than half of our normal snowfall for the season. In fact, there is no more snow in the forecast until next weekend. Guess those poor folks in the lower states are getting our share.
It had also been forecast that this would be a colder than usual winter for us. That has also not happened as our temps have been quite tolerable thus far, but in Alaska you never know!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Winter is back!

Well, we knew it was coming. We just weren't quite ready. At least it did wait until Saturday, October 21st, for our first official snowfall of the season. It has been cold the last few days with lows in the upper teens. Thankfully, we had picked the last of the lettuce and carrots last weekend.
These tomatoes, along with over a hundred cherry tomatoes, just ran out of time to ripen. We didn't get enough warm days this summer for our tomatoes or squash to have much of a chance to succeed.
 The apple trees suffered the same fate. They got red but remained hard as a rock.
The strawberry bed is ready for a rest.
There's always next year!
 One thing that we have in abundance, bordering on overabundance, are these little pansies that we didn't even plant. They just seem to spring up everywhere.
 This one looked okay early yesterday afternoon but today it was frozen to the ground. We've grilled out twice this weekend.

Greg had to brave the snowflakes to finish dinner last night. This picture captures his reaction to seeing the first snowfall.

Friday, September 15, 2017

End of Summer

It is hard to admit it but summer is over for us.
 We are enjoying the last of the garden harvests.
This colorful Stellar's Jay was eating some of the final cherries on the trees.
 It is a treat to see and hear these beautiful birds. Of course, they drive Purry crazy when they are outside the windows.
 We have also been treated to the sound of these chatty young squirrels.
 There were 5 of them on the wire but by the time Greg got the camera only 3 remained for the photo op.
 It is probably not a good idea for them to be out in the open because magpies will occasionally eat them.
It wasn't an awesome garden year for us but Greg was able to grow one awesome cherry tomato plant in a container.
 The apple trees are loaded with fruit again this year. Unfortunately, they are not that big due to the short and mild summer.
 Some of the cherry tomatoes are still trying to grow and ripen. I don't think they will have time to mature since our nights are already down in the mid 40s. Next week the nightly temps will dip into the upper 30s.
 These smiling flowers come in such unique colors. They were our most successful garden item and we didn't even plant them.
 I just let them take over part of the veggie bed because the onions had given up!
 Here is a testament to the rainy summer. Mushrooms pop up seemingly overnight sometimes.
 This is cherry tomato that we planted in the garden bed. Looks like it may produce a few more tomatoes before the cold sets in.
 Our birch trees' leaves have begun to change into the fall colors. We will try to get out and enjoy these few weeks of fall before winter arrives.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Denali Bus Trip

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day. Got on the bus at 2:00 pm for our eight hour bus trip exploring Denali National Park. We were able to get a glimpse of Denali. It was faint but you could see the entire mountain. That is a pretty rare treat. We had hoped that we could get a better picture from Eielson Visitor Center, but the clouds had moved in by then and blocked the view. We did manage to see some caribou within the first hour of the trip. This one is still shedding his long winter hair. The hair comes in quite handy in the spring and early summer as it protects them from those pesky mosquitoes!
 Here's Greg at the Toklat River stop. He wasn't sure if anyone on the bus had a sense of humor or if they had never watched The Andy Griffith Show because no one commented on his shirt!
Upon leaving Toklat, we soon managed to see a grizzly bear and a caribou in close proximity to each other. Although grizzlies are incredibly fast, it would have been unlikely that he could have chased down this healthy caribou. The bear seemed content to dig for grubs and roots.
 We journeyed on toward Eielson Visitor Center. Here Mom and I enjoyed the beautiful landscape. Pictures do not do this place justice. It is awe inspiring just to stand and soak up your surroundings.
 Soon after Eielson, we happened upon another grizzly. This one was feasting on a dead caribou in the river! In the nearly 20 times we have visited the park, we had never seen a bear on its kill before. Although we are not sure if the bear killed this caribou or just happened upon a recently deceased caribou, he took advantage of the time to eat some meat.
 We thought this plaque matched our sentiments. You gotta keep exploring!
This picture seemed to capture the beauty and reality of Denali National Park. You have the tremendous beauty and vastness of the park as well as the struggle the animals endure just to live here.
 Near the end of the bus ride back, we managed to see a cow moose with her two calves right on the edge of the road. Our wildlife count for the day: three grizzly bears, several caribou, a golden eagle, a short eared owl, loads of snowshoe hares, three Dall sheep dancing on the mountain, and three moose. It was a nearly perfect day!
Got up the next morning and headed home to Anchorage. We made a quick stop to show Mom the old Igloo gas station near Cantwell. I bet this was really something to see when it was still open and operating.

As it turns out, Mom wouldn't have had to go up to Denali to see a bear. We had a black bear right in our front yard Saturday afternoon! It looked around and then took off up the road. He was too quick for a photo. 
Mom and I leave Tuesday morning for her return trip to Tennessee. Greg and I both have enjoyed having her stay with us and explore this great state. The time has flown by! She had a great time and thinks everyone should see the state. Maybe we can talk her into staying the entire summer next year!