Monday, November 13, 2017

Winter's here...

After several weeks of mixed rain and snow, it finally cooled off enough to get a decent dump of snow over the weekend.

Compared to the photo on 10/15/17, it definitely looks like winter's here.

But instead of running dogs, we've been bringing a few inside every day while I rehab from the knee surgery. With plenty of snow, it'll be great to get back out on the trail again.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Still Shloppy...

After the rain and snow ended last week, it cooled off and looked like winter was here. But then it warmed up again and alternated rain and snow all week.
So instead of an early winter, it now looks more like spring breakup. But that got me to working inside, spending more time finishing the summer projects.
After talking about it for years, finally redid the loft stairs. They were originally pretty steep, almost like a ladder, but was able to fit the old stringers from the remodeled basement stairs. This increased the run by over a foot, so the slope is less and also allowed fitting bigger treads. The dark line on the wall that looks like a shadow is from the alignment of the old stairs.

The other project was wiring up three-way switches and installing a light fixture in the loft. So now you can turn on the upstairs light from the kitchen and turn it off up in the loft. Amazing, it's like the future's finally here. Now there's only a bazillion other projects left to finish!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ready for winter?...

Had near record precip, both rain and snow this past week. So figured it was time to be serious about getting ready for winter. Put the back hoe on the tractor and dug out some stumps, cleaned up the ditches along the road, and filled the dogs holes after moving them down to the winter dog yard. Meant to get a picture or two, since the back hoe doesn't get used much, but forgot. In fact didn't even think of it until I was finished removing the hoe from the tractor.
Well now with the rear blade and chains on, I guess we're ready for winter. Most of the snow has melted, but the rain that fell earlier in the week has soaked everything, it's shloppy out there!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Aspen Errors, Part Deuce...

As noted earlier (Aspen Errors, 7/6/15), there's a lot of dying aspen trees on the property. The latest was next to the old sauna. It'd been dead for a few years, but after the problems last time, well I wasn't exactly ecstatic about dropping a tall tree so close in. But figured it was time, it'll be no problem with a rope and come along I thought, just pull'er towards the garden and it'll drop just fine. So after hooking up the ropes, Andy cranked everything tight. Then started the chainsaw and began the undercut. Almost immediately the bar got pinched and the saw was  stuck. So Andy released the tension and was able to pop the bar free.  But the bad thing was that I could feel the center of the tree was hollow, there was only a little ring of hardwood left holding up a 60-70 ft tree. So after she tightened'er up again, I started to finish the undercut. Without warning, the tree started to fall, it pulled the chain right off the bar and fell, not towards the garden clearing, but right at the greenhouse. Fortunately it hit a double birch tree, got deflected a little, and missed the greenhouse by a few feet. Like I always says, it's way better to be lucky than smart.

The aspen would have taken out the greenhouse if it hadn't been hung up by the birch.

The back of the stump just broke off when the undercut took out enough good wood. That one log is still stuck between the trees, probably have to cut it out.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

National Weather Service summary for September for Fairbanks Alaska...

September 2017 was warmer and wetter than normalThe average high temperature was 57.2 degrees which was 2.6 degrees above the normal and ranked as the 31st warmest of 112 years of record. The average low temperature was 38.7 degrees which was 3.6 degrees above the average and ranked as the 14th warmest of 112 years of record. The mean temperature was 48.0 degrees which was 3.1 degrees above the normal mean and ranked as the 17th warmest of 112 years of record.

The warmest day of September 2017 was 70 degrees which occurred on the 4th. The coldest day of September 2017 was 32 degrees which occurred on the 30th.

September was wetter than normal with 1.42 inches of rain, 0.32 inches above the normal  and ranked as the 30th wettest of 104 years of record. A trace of snow fell on the 29th of September which is around 8 days later than the normal, the normal snowfall for the month of September is 1.8 inches.

Looking forward to October, the permanent snowpack is almost always established at some point during the month. The average daily high temperature falls from 45 degrees on the 1st to 19 degrees on the 31st. The average daily low temperature falls from 28 on the 1st to 4 above on the 31st. The highest temperature ever recorded in the month of October was 72 degrees on the 1st of October in 2003. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Fairbanks in the month of October was
28 below on the 26th of October in 1935.

Normal precipitation for the month is 0.83 inches, with much of this falling as snow. Significant rainfall events are rare after the middle of the month. Normal snowfall for the month of October is 10.8 inches.

Available daylight continues to decrease by over 6 minutes per day, falling from 11 hours and 15 minutes on the 1st to 7 hours and 54 minutes on the 31st.

The forecast for October from the Climate Prediction Center calls for near normal temperatures and  precipitation.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Back to the Black...

The semi-annual trek to Black Rapids was this past week (Back to the Black...6/2/17). The weather wasn't terrible, but we certainly didn't need sunscreen. At least it didn't rain or snow while we were out there, that's something.
The clouds were so low,  you could hardly make out the Black Rapids Glacier in the distance.
Rigging the boat to tow the doppler meter; the flows this fall were higher than in previous years. While the meter readings varied more than usual, Mike seemed satisfied we'd gotten a reasonable measurement.
The skies cleared a bit at the upper Delta survey site, but then the wind picked up. Fortunately the ridge blocked most of it where we did the work. A cow and calf moose followed by a bull crossed the river just downstream from where we were getting set up. Mike didn't have his camera out, it would have been a great shot. (Photos by Mike S.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chippin' away...

Back when I was working full time, we decided to get more attachments for the tractor so I'd have the equipment to run a small landscaping outfit. So every few years until I retired, we bought something new. So much so that several don't get used much. One is the chipper-shredder. Can't remember the last time it was on the tractor, but since there were more that a few piles of brush to chip, figured it'd be good to hook it up and use it. Since it needed to be greased, went ahead and also greased the tractor and pickup. That way I won't have to crawl around on the gravel driveway at near freezing temp's in Oct like I usually do when I've put off the fall maintenance.
The fall colors are still decent, though the leaves are dropping fast.
Andy got involved, speeding up the process. Now there's enough chips to cover the worst spots on the trail down to the garden.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Another fine day...

Been trying to finish up some carpentry projects around the house. But when the sun comes out and the leaves are close to their maximum fall color, it's just gotta be time for a bike ride.
The pull off at the Little Chena bridge has gotten so over-grown, you can hardly see the river.
The sun filtering through the trees brightens the colors so much it almost hurt the eyes
The fall colors usually max out in mid-September, so it's right on schedule this year.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


After several days of cool, rainy weather, the winds shifted to the south and the downslope effect from  the Alaska Range gave the interior a chinook. The temperature rose from the forties this morning to near seventy by noon time. So of course had to take the bike out for a ride.
The pull off near the Nordale bridge was a good spot for some photos.

The light frost from the other morning has turned the leaves golden in the flats.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The ever popular NWS August weather summary for Fairbanks Alaska...

August 2017 was a warm and slightly wetter than normal month in the Fairbanks area. Overall the month was tranquil with no dail ytemperature or precipitation records set. The warmest temperature was 83 degrees which occurred on the 6th. The coldest temperature was 40 degrees which occurred on the 31st.

The average high temperature was 67.2 degrees which was 1.3 degrees above the normal high temperature of 65.9 degrees which ranked as the 43 warmest of 111 years of record.

2.15 inches of rain fell at the Fairbanks airport in the month ofAugust which was 0.27 inches above the normal rainfall of 1.88 inches and ranked as the 39th wettest of 105 years of record.

Looking forward to September, possible sunshine continues to decrease by nearly seven minutes per day with possible daylight decreasing from 14 hours and 35 minutes on the 1st to 11 hours and 22 minutes on the 30th.  The average daily high temperature decreases from 60.5 degrees on the 1st to 46.2 degrees on the 30th. The average daily low temperature decreases from 41.3 degrees on the 1st to 30.1 degrees on the 30th. The average rainfall at the Fairbanks airport in September is 1.1 inches and the average snowfall in September is 1.8 inches.

September can be a month of extremes. The warmest temperature on record for the month of September in Fairbanks is 84 degrees which occurred in 1957. The coldest temperature on record for the month of September in Fairbanks is 3 above which occurred in 1992. Measurable snow has been observed in September about 2 out of every 3 years. Heavy snow events are infrequent but are not unheard of. Long time residents will recall 1992 when over two feet of snow fell during a 10 day period and more recently 20.9 inches of snow falling during the month of September in 2015.

The forecast for the month of September from the Climate Prediction Center calls for increased chances for above normal temperatures and increased chances for below normal precipitation.

September brings dark nights,  cooler weather, and the leaves they are a turnin'.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Goodbye Barney

About twelve years ago, got a call from Lynn who had a sled dog rescue kennel out in Two Rivers. She asked if I was interested in a young dog. Well a big male, sure, I remember saying. So I went out there and there was this small, scruffy dog, maybe forty pounds, and so wild she could barely catch him. But I figured I could always bring him back, she was good that way, and besides, maybe he'll grow. So I brought him home. Kind of crazy on his chain, always running around and did he bark, if he wasn't barking, he was either eating or asleep. When Andy got back from her field trip, it was kind of clever of me to get a dog when she was gone, she couldn't believe it, "This is the most worthless dog ever!" And when he got loose and nearly killed the cat, well he was almost "unrescued" as she put it.
But as time moved on, Barney grew into a strong, sixty pound sled dog. And because he was so crazy to hook up and run, I started running him up front, since that often quiets a rowdy dog down. And darned if he didn't turn into a lead dog. When it was time to retire Springer, my old leader, Barney stepped up and became the main leader. No matter how bad the trail or steep the hill, Barney was up for it. He didn't like to stop for breaks, after a few minutes he was whining, ready to go again.
Barney (Rt) and Spuds (Lt) in better times. They ran together so often, I called them Barneyspuds.

But like all good things, they come to an end. First I noticed he had trouble with the speed on the downhills, so tried to keep it slow. Then he started limping occasionally, but always wanted to go again. Last fall he did fine on the early training near the highway but when we switched over to the more remote trails that were soft and punchy, he struggled to keep up. Finally decided to leave him home and he was fine with that, happy to just run around the yard and bark a lot. He started having trouble jumping up on his house, then quit eating all of his food. When he didn't eat at all this weekend, well it was time. Took him into the animal shelter where he was euthanized. I know it was for the best, but it's like losing a good friend. Well if there's a dog heaven, he'll be up there, barking and running around like when he was a pup. Good times again.

Leading the team home. While Spuds was a little better on commands, Barney likely was the hardest working dog we've ever had. He was an animal!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

More dog daze...

Not weather wise, it's rained every day this past week and barely hits 60° in the afternoon. You'd think summer would last a little longer, but up here, fall usually begins in mid-August and this year is no exception. No, the dog daze now is the new dog in the yard. We had gotten a sled dog last winter from the Sled Dog Sanctuary ( Mia was seriously shy and while she was a good working sled dog, she wanted nothing to do with my wife and I. So after several fruitless months of trying to get her to warm up to us, we decided to send her back. So in exchange we got Rig.

A little shy at first, Rig (the all black dog) soon warmed up to us and now gets plenty of exercise. He's already dug a hole about three ft deep. So he's now known as Rigger the digger.