Saturday, December 3, 2016


You know what they say about being careful what you you wish for. After almost no snow in October and November, most everyone around here was hoping for snow. So we finally got it, about half a foot fell yesterday and now the temps are dropping as the skies clear. Looks like it'll soon be too cold to enjoy the fresh snow.
The duplicate stone henge is starting to disappear.

Here's the November National Weather Service summary:

November 2016 started off warm and finished off cold. Much like October, it was very dry and had above normal temperatures for the month. All but 1 day of the first 17 days of November had above normal temperatures. The Highest temperature was 32 degrees which occurred on the 1st. The coldest temperature was 31 below which occurred on the 29th. The average temperature was 3.7 degrees above which was 1.1 degrees above the normal average of 2.6 degrees above.

Only 0.29 inches of precipitation fell at the airport which was 0.38 inches below the normal November precipitation of 0.67 inches which ranked as the 29th driest of 102 years of record. 4.4 inches of snow fell at the airport which was 8.8 inches below the normal snowfall of 13.2 inches and ranked as the 81st snowiest of 101 years of record. Season to date snowfall as of the 30th of November was only 5.2 inches which is 20.6 inches behind the normal season to date total of 25.8 inches.

Looking forward to December, the average high temperature drops from 7 above on the 1st to 2 above on the 31st. The average low temperature drops from 11 below on the 1st to 16 below on the 31st. In the last 112 years temperatures have varied by 120 degrees in Fairbanks, from a high temperature of 58 above in 1934 to 62 below in 1961. Average snowfall is 12 inches but has been as much as 50.7 inches in 1984 to as little as a trace in 1969.

December is the darkest month of the year, with possible sunshine decreasing from 4 hours and 38 minutes on the 1st, to 3 hours and 42 minutes on the 20th and 21st. By the 31st, possible sunshine increases to 4 hours.

About time to sweep off the loft steps before they disappear.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


When we got up this morning, we're more than a little surprised it was about -20 F at the house and below -30 in the flats. So after many weeks of above normal temps, the bottom's dropped out.

Temperature chart from the Little Chena River Bridge at Chena Hot Springs Road (courtesy of USGS/WRD)

The NWS have been talking for quite some time about an ENSO reversal, which normally brings cooler, drier weather to interior Alaska. But their long term forecasts have shown warmer and drier than normal. Well they were half right, it has been drier. The average snowfall should be almost two feet by now and we've had maybe half a foot.

At least the dogs got run yesterday before it got too cold; it was a balmy -5° F. Hopefully it'll warm up and snow some more, at least that's the NWS forecast.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hangin' With The Girls...

A while back we picked up two younger female dogs after a local dog musher passed on (New Dog...2/11/15). They were described as "seriously shy" by the woman who gave them to us. Well now they're grown up, well adapted to the team, but still kind of shy. So Andy got the idea of bringing them into the house to socialize them. At first they were pretty freaked out by it, but after a few trips inside, lots of dog biscuits, and a couch to sit on, they're quite at home in the basement.

The girls like nothing better than hanging out on the old couch.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Clear and Cold...

In spite of all the hoping for more snow, the drought will continue for the foreseeable future. There's barely a couple of inches on the ground and the temperatures been getting down to near -5 (that's about -20 C to the French) at night.
The only good part of these clear, cold nights is the frost that forms on the trees and shrubs creates interesting effects in the sunshine.

The sun barely clears the hills at mid-day now.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Runnin' the doggies...

Back in the day, I'd usually get the dogs out by the middle of September. But as age and arthritis have intruded, it seems like it starts a little later every year. After the last snowfall, there's about two inches on the ground now, figured it was time to get the old ATV going. It's a 1985 250 Suzuki, is really hard to start after it's been sitting awhile, and it hadn't run in over a year. Finally did get it going and have now gotten them out a few times. On the first run, there was a fairly large tree down a mile or so out. Couldn't get the machine past it, so had to turn the dogs around and head home. Went back with a chainsaw and cut it out of the way, so the next few runs went much better. Hoping for more snow soon, so we can start using the sled. Running the ATV in the cold is no fun.

Back in the yard after a hard run makes for a bunch of hot dogs!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dry October...


October was warm, windy and the driest in over a century. Strong winds on the 16th and 17th. reached 36 mph at the airport while gusts to 45 mph where reported in the hills.

The first measurable snow fell on the 20th which was nearly three weeks later than the normal. Only 0.8 inches of snow fell at the airport for the month  which was 10.0 inches below the normal. 

The 0.02 inches of water equivalent was the 2nd driest of 106 years of record.

The warmest temperature measured at the airport in October was 59 degrees which occurred on the 1st. The coldest temperature was 2 below which occurred on the 24th. The average high temperature was 37.6 degrees which was 5.7 degrees above the average high temperature of 31.9 degrees which ranked as the 26th warmest of 112 years of record. The average low temperature was 15.9 degrees which was 0.6 degrees below the average low temperature of 16.5 degrees and ranked as the 42nd coldest of 112 year of record. The mean temperature was 26.7 degrees which was 2.5 degrees above the normal mean temperature of 24.2 degrees which ranked as the 48th warmest of 112 years of record.

Looking forward to November the average high temperature decreases from 18 degrees on the 1st to 7 above on the 30th. The average low temperature decreases from 3 above on the 1st to 11 below on the 30th. The average daily temperature decreases from 11 degrees on the 1st to 2 below on the 30th. Over the last 112 years the temperatures have ranged from 54 degrees above on the 25th in 1936 to 54 below on the 29th in 1909. November averages 0.67 inches of precipitation with all of that normally falling as snow. 

On average 13.2 inches of snow falls in the month of November. 

Possible sunlight continues to decrease at about 6 minutes per day  falling from 7 hours and 46 minutes on the 1st to 4 hours and 44 minutes on the 30th.

The outlook for the month of November from the climate prediction center calls for increased chances for above normal temperatures and increased chances for below normal

Ruty don't mind no stinkin' cold weather, he just lays in front of the wood stove whenever there's a good hot fire going.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Loony Tunes...

I guess it was inevitable, given his temperament, T-Rump's campaign would implode. The man makes used car salesmen look good. He is a grifter, charlatan, a snake oil salesman. 

I guess the best part, if there is a best part, is all the comments about him. Some of the funniest stuff is on Deadspin Sports. While not the best sports site, their commentary is certainly eclectic:

"He worked so hard to establish that he’s a dickhead and a buffoon, it’s insulting for him to presume he’s welcome (to speak for anyone else). That’s the mystery of this political campaign, that he feels like he can stand up there and tell people, “I am your voice,” like he’s doing them some honor."

"A mendacious, bloviating ex-reality show host who thinks he should be our next president."

"An evil, rude, over-ripe meat sculpture." (

Postscript:  Well the faded orange hairpiece won.  It's not like I was ecstatic about either one (Hill and the Donald 5/21/16), but the lesser man won. Like they say, you should be careful what you wish for, it just might come true...

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 that followed in October, so maybe this year it'll stick around 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 bungling 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 angry 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.