Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer came early

...and hopefully will be staying for a while. The last month has been one gorgeous day after another. The sun is shining and it's been in the sixties almost every day of May. We finally got some rain the last couple of days, but no one grumbled about it much. It was needed- there were some fire warnings about an hour north of here and probably in other places as well. All the trees are full of leaves, the grass is almost totally greened up, and even the snow on the tops of the mountains is mostly melted. Probably will be another couple of weeks before those green up, but you can see the life slowly creeping up the mountains each week.

We haven't let the rain slow us down any though. Buck and I went herding in the 40 odd degree rain last night with Scout along for the ride. Then, we all went hiking with a friend and her dog this evening in the 45 degree weather. Just a long-sleeved shirt was all that was needed, though. We still haven't lost all our winter acclimation yet. The mosquitos were out en masse tonight and were way more annoying than the rain. No pictures of our hike because of the weather, but it was just a trail in town so not a lot to take good pictures of. Luckily didn't run into any bears.

Sunset will be at 11:15 tonight. We'll gain another half an hour in the next month. Here's a picture of the 11pm sunset on Memorial Day. It's also the view from my couch. LOL! The vertical lines are where the heat film I put up on my windows overlaps. With 10-12 hours of sunlight beating in on my living room, this film that blocks 55% of the heat from the sun really makes a difference, especially when there's no A/C and just one window in my living room that opens. Well, finally getting my blinds up has a made a huge difference, too. Heh!

War eagle dogs

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Short Break-up, long Summer?

It's been forever since I posted here. The late Winter blahs got to me after Fur Rondy, the Iditarod, and dog sledding. Pictures of each of those events can be found behind these links, though:

Fur Rondy
Dog Sledding

But we had a good Break-up (known as Spring elsewhere) with warm days and not-so-cold nights, so we when the snow melted during the day, the water on the roads didn't freeze up each night. That was very nice. We got some snow on Easter, but just a snow shower with nothing sticking. Here's a pic of that (click for the large version):

And then about a week after this, we started getting into the 50s every day. The last two weeks, we've made it into the 60s nearly every day. We've now had more days in the 60s than we did all last 'Summer'. People have been getting out and enjoying the heck out of it. I think there's some fear that this will be all the Summer we get. Heh! I actually had to get my fan out to be put in front of the living room window to pull in some cooler air. I don't think I had to do that until late June last year.

The dogs aren't at all used to the heat yet. They went from running in the snow and sprinting around for an hour before wearing out to running in the grass and only managing about twenty minutes before needing a break in the shade. They drank down 32 ounces of water this evening and that only gave them an extra twenty minutes of play time.

Scout has been enjoying it, though. She can really get a grip on the grass and run even faster than usual. The grass is also a lot easier on her feet- she would always have at least two of her feet bleeding after running on the snow the last few months this winter. She digs in with her nails when she runs and they were breaking in the icy snow. She's so fast that people have been coming over from the families barbecuing in the park to ask what kind of dog she is. A friend of mine is going to bring her whippets out next Sunday to see if Scout can keep up with them. I think it's the greyhound in her Cataloula half coming out. Buck can keep up with her for a while, especially now that there's grass, but he wears out a lot faster than she does. I just throw the ball farther for her than him and it works out. I throw a ball for her, then one for him. She gets even more exercise because after she retrieves hers, she runs over to him to try to steal his ball.

Next week, we're going to start hiking a few nights a week in town. We're starting slow and then will start going out into the Chugach once the salmon are running so that the bears have food other than my dogs. The wonderful weather is making me excited to get out and enjoy it. I'm actually hoping for a couple days of rain this week. With the heat plus a little rain, everything will get a good start at greening up. While I love all the sunshine, all the rain last year made everything nice and green. It also kept us from having to worry about any forest fires. A little bit of rain is fine with me- a balance is always best.

Here are some nice sunset pictures I took a couple days ago. Our sunset is after 10 pm already. In fact, it's 10:30 pm right now and it looks like the sun has just set. Click the pic for a larger version.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just 1/3 of the winter left

Really, just over one more month of winter left, what with April pretty much being Break-up. I still let April qualify as winter since last year we got around two feet of snow on the 25th. Heh! The fun things are about to start happening, though, and that tends to make the time fly. Fur Rondy starts this coming weekend and then the Iditarod the weekend after that. My aunt is coming up to visit for both events, and we're going dog sledding up in Denali National Park next weekend. I'll be bringing at least one of my cameras and will hopefully get some great pictures of that to post.

In the meantime, we had two beautiful, sunny days this weekend. It wasn't too cold, teens and low 20s, so that was a nice change getting sunny days without the bitter cold. The roads have dried up from some too warm days. That combined with nicer weather had everyone out at the car washes in droves to knock some of the crud off their vehicles. It took two washes to get my truck all the way clean. The sun's not setting until after 6 pm now which is the real sign that winter is on it's way out. I'm happy to have another month of winter before stupid Break-up kicks in. And Spring used to be my favorite time of the year. Well, back before it meant tons of ice, mud and disgusting dogs to clean up every time they came inside. Twice as many dogs this year, too. :( At least they're trained to potty in the yard instead of needing to walk down the wet, grimy streets to the park every time. That should help.

Speaking of the dogs, I took some pictures of them being crazy and having a good time at the park on Saturday. Click to view them larger. Click here to view them all.

Speed demon

My, what vicious teeth you have!

Hover dogs!

Buck taking a break. Scout wears him out. LOL!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I felt my first earthquake this morning! I know there have been others when I've been up here, but never noticed them. Today there was one about 160 miles down the water near Homer that was a 6.1, so we definitely felt that here. My bed was shaking as well as my closet doors (the kind that slide and have mirrors on them). The combination of those two things woke me up. The dogs didn't act weird or doing anything but stare at the closet doors moving (which was all that I did). I'd say I felt it for about 20-25 seconds, but I guess it could have been happening before that and it just took that long for me to wake up. Heh!

Anyway, I'll be interested to see how that effects the snow on the mountains- if it was strong enough to shake loose any avalanches or if it makes the snow less sound or what.

More info from the USGS on the earthquake here:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Still cold

Still rather bitterly cold up here. We've had a long cold snap the last couple of weeks. I just went out for lunch and was greeted with -23 degrees and that was after the sun was up for a couple of hours.

It looks like we'll get our typical cloudy days back this weekend, and with them, will come the warmer temps. The *positive* 20 degree weather is going to feel like a heat wave. Heh!

Our days are also gaining sun pretty fast again. The sun's up until 4pm already and it doesn't get dark until close to 5pm. Sunset will be back at 5pm by the end of the month, so it'll be easier to take the dogs to the park or on walks again by then.

I'll post some pictures of our pretty (but cold) clear day sunset tonight or tomorrow and I'll try to get out and take some other pictures Wednesday before the clouds come back. I'm pretty sure everyone will be happy to have grey days again after this reminder of how much warmer they make it here. I'm happy to have them the majority of the winter- I'd just prefer them to go away for the majority of the Summer. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chilly weather

It's been a might cold here the last several days. Buck and I went herding in the Valley yesterday where it was -11 degrees. We met up with some friends today to play at the park, but only stayed about 45 minutes- it was below zero and the dogs' paws were getting too cold. They'd all have one paw up in the air at a time, trying to get them warm. I took some picture of the sunrise while we were there. The sun technically rose at 10:09 here today, but the pictures were taken at 10:45 and it's still not up over the mountains:

These next ones are at 'mid-day'- around 1:30 when the sun was at it's apex:

That last one is cruddy, because I only have my old camera, but I wanted to try to show how high the sun gets in the sky. Also, most of what you see on the trees is frozen fog, not snow. We've had a lot of it lately, in fact, the first two pictures I took at noon when the fog was still out. The last two I took about an hour and a half later at the same spot in the park.

And finally, two pictures at 'sunset' yesterday at about 3:40pm. The sun has clearly already set behind the mountains. It goes behind the mountains at more like 2:50pm.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Four day weekend the second

I'm in the midst of my second four day weekend. This one is going to be even more enjoyable because I know at the end of it, there's only a three day work week and then another four day weekend. Whoo!

This is the first time I've had a minute to post because not only have I been busy with work, but last Friday, Buck, Pandora and I added a new member to our family. Introducing, Scout! A red speckle Australian Cattle Dog that I got from a shelter in Iowa with the help of one of their awesome workers.

She and Buck have been getting along really well. She's real submissive, so there haven't been any arguments or even any snarkiness between them. They wrestle and play together at home and we go to a ball diamond nearby to play ball. Scout is a bit faster than Buck, but he can pull out all the stops and beat her when he really wants to. Mainly, she just likes to chase him while he goes after the ball. She had her first day at day care on Wednesday and she did real well. Finally got worn out- Buck was trying to get her to wrestle that night and she was too tired. Heh!

We haven't ventured to the dog park yet because she gets a bit overwhelmed by lots of dogs all at once. She tends to bark at strangers when she first sees them, so until she gets over those things, we'll stick to playing in smaller groups where there aren't so many people constantly coming and going. She has a little work to do on manners- she pulls on the leash on walks and forgets to listen the first time when asked to do something. But she does know how to sit, stay, come, down, etc. She's already learned to wait patiently until given an 'ok' when getting in and out of the truck, to get her feet wiped off before going upstairs and to walk slowly up the stairs so as not to be so noisy and wake the neighbors. She's super smart and I'm sure will have no trouble learning lots more. Heck, it's only been a week and she's managed all that all while settling in to a strange new place. From that alone, you can tell she's a great dog.

Here are a few more pictures: