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Saturday, May 25, 2019

All Gassed Up...

After riding the 850T in between several snow/rain storms, decided to take the 650 (v65sp) out. Since I'm too cheap to buy two batteries, switched it over from the T, put some air in the tires, and rolled it out of the garage to check the oil since that side of the bike was against the wall. When I unscrewed the oil cap, a plume shot out, covering the apron with a gas/oil mix. So put the plug back in, got a pan, and drained a couple more quarts of the pungent liquid. At first I thought I'd forgotten to close the petcocks last fall, but no, they were in the off position. So I guess I need new petcocks and float needles.

The 650 Moto Guzzi in happier times.

Later I talked to my mechanic neighbor and he says he always closes the petcocks on his Harley, even when he stops for just a few minutes. And in the fall he drains the gas from the tank. I always filled it up cause I thought there'd be less problems with fumes and gas degradation over the winter. So anyway I guess I'll be doing some wrenching on the carburetors and gas tank before riding it again.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

April Weather...

Although less extreme than March, April 2019 was again significantly warmer than normal. The Interior sites, Fairbanks, Delta Junction and Gulkana saw substantially warmer temperatures, but the highest departures from normal were recorded in the northern and northwestern coastal areas. As in March, Kotzebue recorded the highest temperature deviation of all with 12.4 °F above normal for the month.

Fairbanks monthly temperature was 37°F, which was 4.5°F above normal. The observed maximum temperature was 69°F on the 30th of the month, the minimum temperature was 12°F on the 4th of the month. The total monthly precipitation was 0.6", which was 0.3" above normal. Snowfall in Fairbanks was 5.4", which was 2.9" above normal. (Alaska Climate Research Center)

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Green Up...

Just saw this posted on the Weather Bureau's forecast page:
Green up occurred in Fairbanks on the evening of May 1, 2019. Chena  Ridge was beginning to show a faint shade of green in the  afternoon, but the ridge turned more distinctly green by  evening.  The average date of green up in Fairbanks is May 9. The earliest  green up date recorded here was April 26, 2016.
I guess this means it must be spring now. It's a good thing we didn't get the snow storm they predicted for this past weekend. Anyway, we went for a hike today. Now that I'm pretty much healed up, I can get out and do stuff again. So here's a few photos...
Well the aspen trees are sprouting their leaves here too, it's nice to see that they got that right.

Big old spruce tree went down on the trail. We've had a lot of wind lately and it looked like this one was infested with carpenter ants.

But the surest sign of spring is washing the dog harnesses and the winter gloves. They pick up the oil from the dogs fur and can get pretty oderiferous if not washed every few years.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

All Hosed Up...

After one of the hoses blew on the backhoe last fall (Hosed Again 10/11/18), I parked the tractor and removed the backhoe, then took the hoses into town and got new ones made. They sat in garage over the winter, since I didn't need to use it until this spring when I finally got to working on it again.
The two closest hoses are the one's being replaced. I angled the fittings so that both hoses go around the outside of the frame and then wind underneath the control panel. The previous setup had one hose over and one under the panel. I think the one that blew was the one that went over and likely was often kicked or stepped on, since it ran next to the foot boards. Hopefully it'll be out of the way now that it'll run under them.

As soon as the ground dries out, I'll back the tractor up over the sub-frame and make sure the the hoses hook up. Then fit some protective sleeves over the hoses and seal up all the fittings. Of course it might be awhile before the ground dries up. Here's the latest forecast from the NWS:
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT THURSDAY NIGHT TO 6 AM AKDT SATURDAY...Rain and snow expected. Rain will change to snow by early morning Friday. Plan on slippery road conditions. Slushy snow expected, accumulations of 1 to 2 inches in the valley, with localized  amounts up to 5 inches in the hills. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Spring snow storm...

For once the weather service got it right, they predicted 6-10" of snow and that's pretty much what we got.

It's hard to tell exactly how much fell, cause there was mixed rain and snow at times and the temps were above freezing during the day, so it probably settled a lot.
The only good thing was that we just had a short power outage, maybe an hour or so. The last time we had a late snow storm like this, it knocked out the power for a couple of days.
Wasn't going to plow, but there was still lots o' snow around this afternoon after the storm ended, so wound up plowing the road and driveway. Since the road surface was thawed, had to keep the rear blade up slightly, off the ground, and angled as much as possible to keep it from digging into the soft gravel road bed. I think it'll be better than before clearing, since at least the water should run in the ditches now. I expect the neighbors'll let me know if it's not to their liking. But one thing's for sure, I'm glad I didn't take the chains off the tractor back in March after finishing the road clearing then.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Spring's over...

Woke up yesterday morning and saw it'd snowed about two inches overnight. After almost a month of near fifty degree weather, it looks like we're in for a return to winter.

While it cleared off today and the sun melted most of the snow, there's supposed to be a major storm coming next week. (
At least the dogs got to hang out on their houses and enjoy one sunny day. Looks like the Moto Guzzi's going to be parked for awhile longer!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ice's Out...

Not much to do while recuperating, so been following the Nenana Ice Classic. Every year since 1917, when engineers building the Alaska railroad started it, there's been a guessing game to figure out when the ice goes out on the Tanana River. Tickets are sold all over the state and the winning prize is around a quarter million $ now.

This year was interesting, to me at least, because record high temps in March could cause the ice to go out real early and break the record of April 20. But when the weather cooled off a bit at the end of the month, it looked like it might freeze up again and delay breakup. As luck would have it, the warmer temps returned last week and the river began to carve an open channel through the ice.
The tripod's leaning as a channel opens up near the south bank of the river on April 11.

The the channel widens and the tripod tilts over the open water on April 13.

Finally, the ice breaks up on April 14th and the tripod drifts downstream. The official end time, when the tripod moved far enough to trip the clock wire, broke the record by almost a week (six days, fifteen hours, six minutes to be precise!).

Saturday, April 6, 2019

March records...

March was a record breaking month. New monthly high temperatures were recorded in the interior, western and the northern parts of Alaska. Some NWS reporting sites averaged nearly twenty degrees above normal for the month.
The Fairbanks average temperature for March was 27.6° F which was 16.2° above normal. The highest daily temperature was 54 on the 31st while the lowest was -10 on the 2nd.
Precipitation totaled 0.45" which was 0.20" above average. Snowfall totaled 2.8"and the snow depth maxed out at 21" on the 7th. Snow in town was largely gone by month's end.
Data from NWS and chart from Alaska Climate Research Center
As for the surgery, it went fine. The Dr used a local nerve block that lasted 3 days. The surgery apparently removed, rather than cut, the effected nerves while repairing the hernia, so there's virtually no pain now. Almost inconceivable, as the previous hernia surgery, thirteen years ago, was a very painful recovery. I am certainly thankful for the advances in medicine since then. Now I'm on two weeks of R and R until I heal up and can get back to it. Hats off to nurse Andy who not only takes care of me but the dogs and cat too. Not sure which one's harder!

Monday, April 1, 2019

All Fools Day?...

April 1st is often celebrated as April Fools Day or All Fools Day by some. When I was kid, it was a big deal, you really had to watch out for tricks. One of my friends in grade school loved to prank people and every year he'd come up with something new. Now a days, it's not so common, maybe it's just the PC culture, people are afraid of being criticized or even sued for pulling stupid tricks.
For me today, I was the fool as I went to the hospital to get my pre-surgery physical. Got poked and prodded as they often do and then got my instructions for the surgery on Wed. The only good part is they not only let you drink liquids up to a few hours prior, but now they encourage it. So at least I can get a cup of coffee beforehand, that's something, anyway.
The reason for the surgery is a hernia, courtesy of our new dog (December Summary 1/5/19). Seems he's a real jumper, never was trained not to jump on people, I guess, so I spent the first few weeks getting him to settle down. He seemed to be learning, but then surprised me one morning with an unexpected jump off his house, hitting me full force in the groin with both front feet. It didn't hurt that much, was surprised more than angry, but the next day noticed a bulge there. So a few weeks later I finally went into a clinic and they diagnosed a hernia. Kind of ironic cause the same thing happened many years ago with Solo, the dog who really reminds me of this guy. So I'll soon have matching hernia scars, who says All Fools Day is dead.
Spent the last few days hauling in firewood from over the hill, since I won't be dong much after the surgery. With the snow mostly gone on the south side, the trail was pretty rough and had to haul smaller loads than usual. Breakup is way too early this year.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Spring has Sprung...

Almost a month early, but the signs of breakup are well under way...
The winter's snowpack slowly sliding off the garage roof.

Dirt showing on the driveway and dog trail for the first time since last fall.

An old Triumph's dug out for another chance at life. Ya never know when something might get done around here!

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Ides of March...

Well I've posted about the Ides before (Ides of March 3/15/13), but since nobody but Scott seems to read it, here it is again. The Ides are part of the old Roman calendar that refers to the mid-month. Reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year. So March 15 on our current calendar corresponded to their new year, which apparently occurred at mid-month? Well I don't know about that, but if you're interested, you can google it up on Wikipedia like I did. What I do know is that mid-March is the best time to run dogs in Alaska. So that's what I've been doing...
Heading up the Iowa Creek trail, the hills north of town are pretty impressive as they rise over a thousand feet above the valley bottom.

Here's a shot a little further on. Back when I ran a ten dog team, we'd head up to the top of the ridge. Now a days, we're not so ambitious!

Jabba, the fearless leader on the left, is slow but steady, while Missy, on the right, can't stand to go slow,  so keeps us moving. Between the two, they make a pretty good pair of leaders.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

February weather...

February's kind of an odd month, starts off cold with short days and ends up relatively warm with the sunshine coming on strong. Here's a shot of a late February sunset, reflecting off the ice that overflows the trail down in the valley (same spot as in previous post, but looking in the opposite direction).

The NWS summary for the month:
The average temperature for Fairbanks in February was 5.5° F, which was 6.8 ° above normal. The highest temperature was 32° on the 12th, while the lowest was -29° on the 2nd. 
Precipitation totaled 0.79" for the month, which was 0.37" above normal. Snowfall for the month totaled 16" at the airport. The highest daily total was 5.3" on the 12th. Snow depth at the end of the month was 24".
Chart from Alaska Climate Research Center