Thursday, October 20, 2016

Snow's a' comin'...

After one of the driest early Octobers ever, we're finally getting our first measurable snow. Only about a 1/4 inch fell this afternoon, but we're supposed to get 1-2 inches overnight.

Big change from last fall when we got almost two feet of snow in September. But that all melted in the near record warmth of last October, so maybe this year it'll last awhile longer.

When the duplicate stone henge disappears, then we'll have snow!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Last Ride #3...

Everything started off well for another last ride: Clear, blue sky, temperatures up near fifty, and the bikes all ready to go. No need for gas, I thought, cause we put some in last time. So off we went, heading for the Chena River. About a mile down the road, the 650 started to misfire. Uh oh,  I thought, guess I should've put in some gas. Tried to switch to reserve, but the petcocks are pretty stiff, so after fumbling a bit, the engine died. Coasted to a stop, but the shoulder there on the Hot Springs Road is pretty narrow, maybe three feet, with a steep drop down to the borrow ditch. Of course there was lots of traffic, why aren't all these people at work? So wound up pushing it maybe fifty yards to a driveway apron, where I could get away from traffic and sort it out. Surprisingly, this was the first time I'd run out of gas since I can't remember. Got the taps switched to reserve and after waiting a few minutes for the float bowls to refill, it fired right up. So we just rode up to the eight mile pull off, turned  around, and went home. I guess a short ride is better than none at all. At least Andy had a good laugh on me for bunging the ride.
Like my Gramma used to say, all dressed up and no place to go!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

All holed up...

The younger dogs spend most of the summer digging holes. Tater's the worst, her yard looks like a pack of ground squirrels on steroids just passed through. Back in the day, I'd shovel in their holes, only to have them dug out again overnight. So now, just let'em dig as much as they want, their holes often reaching epic proportions. Then in the fall after a few hard frosts freeze the ground, we move them down to the lower dog yard, closer to the trail. Then bring in the back hoe and fill the holes with hydraulics. I've heard several comments about over kill, but they probably never spent all day shoveling compacted silt.
The chief culprit, she's already started a hole in her new spot.
Tater's old yard, lot's o' holes.
After backfilling; it's not pretty but there's no holes to trip and fall into in the dark.

Hydraulics rule!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Last Ride #2...

One of the blogs I read talked about having a number of last rides, I think they got up to number 5 one fall. Since I've been riding the 850 most of the summer, thought it'd be fun to ride the 650 at least once more. Other than switching the battery, it didn't take much to get it back on the road. So with the relative warm weather continuing this week, it looks we might get in a few more.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

September's gone...

It doesn't seem right but it's already October. Here's the NWS Summary for September:

September 2016 was warmer and wetter than normal.

The average high temperature was 55.7 degrees, this is 1.1
degrees warmer than the normal value of 54.6 degrees, and ranks as the 41st warmest of 111 years on record. The average low temperature was 36.7 degrees, this is 1.6 degrees warmer than the normal value of 35.1 degrees, and ranks as the 30th warmest of 111 years on record. The mean temperature for the month was 46.2 degrees, this 1.3 degrees warmer than the normal value of 44.9 degrees, and is the 37th warmest of of 111 years on record.

The warmest day of September was 70 degrees on the 3rd. The 30th was the coldest day of the month with a low of 26 degrees. The first below freezing temperature of the fall occurred on the 8th of the month ending a stretch of 125 days with temperatures above freezing (the 12th longest stretch on record).

2.08 inches of rain fell during the month making 2016 the 14th wettest September of 103 years on record. The average rainfall for the month of September is 1.10 inches. Over half of the rainfall during the month of September fell over a span of only two days (the 5th and 6th).

A trace of snow fell in the month of September. The first snowfall of the season at the airport occurred on the 27th of the month (6 days later than the normal for the first nowfall event). The normal snowfall for the month of September is 1.8 inches.

Looking forward to the month of October, the permanent snowpack is almost always established at some point during the month. The average daily temperature falls from 45 degrees on the 1st  to 19 degrees on the 31st. The normal low temperature falls from 28 on the 1st to 4 on the 31st. The highest temperature ever recorded in the month of October in Fairbanks was 72 degrees (10/1/2003). The coldest temperature ever recorded in Fairbanks in the month of October was 28 degrees below zero (10/26/1935). Normal precipitation is 0.83 inches, much of it typically falls as snow (significant rainfall is rare after mid month). Normal snowfall for the month of October is 10.8 inches.

Available daylight decreases by over 6 minutes per day, from 11 hours 14 minutes on the 1st to 7 hours 53 minutes on the 31st.

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

Another sign of impending winter is the appearance of grouse. At this time of year, they apparently collect gravel for their gizzard from the road or driveway before it's frozen solid.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Last ride?

After a week of cool, rainy days, we finally got some reasonably decent weather. While it still gets down to near freezing at night, it's been sunny and upper fifties in the afternoon. So of course we had to fire up the bikes and go for a ride in the park (A Ride in the Park 7/8/16).

We pulled off at one of the trail heads in the park. Wanted to see what improvements the state had made for access since the last time we ran dogs here. And it appeared to be...not much.

While it didn't quite get to sixty, the bright sunshine made it seem warmer. Definitely was a good day for a ride in the park
Left the bike parked parked by the garage when we got back. Later on when I went to push it inside, the low angle sun made for an interesting photo. It's hard to believe the bike's over forty years old, it's still pretty much fun to ride.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Splitting piss pine..

As noted earlier (Aspen Errors...7/8/15) we live in a mature stand of aspen, birch, and white spruce that (like me) are past their prime. This leads to an abundance of dead or dying trees that need to be bucked up and split. Haven't even dropped the dead ones from this past year since there's still wood to split from last year. The birch and spruce are no problem since they split, dry, and burn well. But the aspen's different. The bark holds moisture that keeps split wood from drying and it's distinctive odor is often euphemistically referred to as piss pine. I've tried different ways over the years, but finally came up with a method to split and debark the aspen.
Start a split an inch or so from the edge.

Then rotate and continue to split an edge until you basically create a square log.

Then quarter the squared log.

Finally, split near the edge of the outer pieces to peel off the bark. Some have to to cleaned up with an axe, but in the end, all the bark's off. While it takes a little longer to split, you wind up with wood that dries faster, burns hotter, and best of all, doesn't smell like piss pine.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall colors...

Not much going on except trying to finish the summer projects before the snow flies. But we did have a decent sunset the other night...
And the backlighting from the sunset (alpine glow) turned the yellow aspen leaves orange...
Since his close call with the reaper, Ruty no longer chases squirrels and voles, but he still goes out to enjoy the fall sunshine. Instead of moving around to stalk critters, now he only moves to stay in the sun.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fall's coming...


August 2016 was warmer and drier than normal. The average high temperature was 70.2 degrees which was 4.3 degrees above the normal. The average low temperature was 52.1 degrees which was 5.7 degrees above the normal low temperature. This is the warmest average low temperature in 110 years of record. The average mean temperature was 62.1 degrees which was 5.0 degrees above the normal mean temperature of 56.1 degrees. The warmest temperature in August was 79 degrees, which occurred on 13th. The coldest temperature was 42 degrees, which occurred on the 31st.

After the very wet months of June and July...August was the only month this summer with below normal precipitation of 1.56 inches .For the summer season of June, July, and August, 9.82 inches of rain fell at the Fairbanks airport which ranks as the 6th wettest summer on record.

Looking to September, sunshine continues to decrease by 6 and a half minutes per day with the daylight decreasing from 14 hours and 33 minutes on the 1st to 11 hours and 20 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 is 1.1 inches and the average snowfall in September is 1.8 inches.

And the leaves are a turin'.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mo' Taters...

Of course when you think of bringing in Taters...
  You'd think of this little lady (Growin' Taters 6/28/15), but no...

It's the time of year to harvest the garden. And this year, there's a bumper crop of red, yukon gold, and cal white potatoes.

Fall kind of snuck up on us this year, cause we had a relatively warm and dry August. But a cold front came through yesterday and we're supposed to get a hard frost tonight. So it's time to pick, pull or cover what's left in the garden. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A visit from Porky...

Yesterday the dogs were seriously barking, so went outside but didn't see anything. Later on, they started again, so Andy went out to check on it. She called to me and when I came out, she pointed up into a small spruce tree. When I walked over, I could see it was a porcupine, about ten feet up, looking for a place to hide. Now we've seen lots of porkys, they are everywhere in the interior, but this is the first time (that I can remember anyways) that one's made a visit to our backyard. So got the camera and took some pictures. He (she?) was pretty big, maybe twenty pounds or so, probably an old timer.
Figured we'd leave him alone and maybe he'd leave. After going inside for awhile, Andy looked out and saw him waddling up the path to the wood piles. So I grabbed the camera and headed out for a real wildlife photo. But the porky would have none of it. Shifting into his high speed waddle, he cut between some wood piles and headed off into the woods. All I could get was a shot of his butt as he waddled off to his next adventure. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ridin' into fall...

This is the time of year when it dawns on you that summer's about over, the leaves are starting to turn, and winter's just around the corner. So it's time to get serious and finish the summer projects. But more importantly, it's time to take advantage of the rare (for this summer anyway), sunny day. So we got the bikes out and went for a ride. No particular destination, just headed out on some of few twisty roads around here, (the DOT seems bent on straightening all the main roads), and enjoy the beautiful weather.

The Enfield ran great; the electrical problem's apparently solved.

A little while back, we went for a ride to George's memorial. He had been the long time BMW/Royal Enfield dealer for Fairbanks. He was somewhat retired, turning over the BMW business to the local Harley dealership (where they held the memorial), but still kept the Enfield side going. There were at least fifty or more bikes there, mostly BMW's, and Andy rode the only Enfield. George would have been proud.

 Photo from a nice article about George at: