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.