Sunday, August 18, 2013

Too much hot air?

Until we had some rain a few days ago, we went over three weeks with no precipitation and near record warmth. What makes this unusual is that mid July to mid August is normally the wettest part of the year. According to the weather bureau, we'd expect to get, on the average, several inches of rain. So far, we've had less than half that much this year, so this could be one of the driest (and warmest) summers on record.
My theory is that it's caused by all the politicians bloviating about oil taxes. We were bombarded during the past legislature about how high taxes have reduced north slope oil activity and would be death of Alaska's cash cow unless significant reductions were made. Of course they ignored the fact that cheap oil shale in the lower forty-eight has made arctic oil exploration a marginal proposition. After the tax cut was passed (by a single vote in the state senate), a citizen's petition was started to repeal the law. This effort culminated successfully in late July amidst much political posturing on both sides as to the dire consequences of repeal. All this political rhetoric created so much hot air that rain clouds were diverted from Fairbanks and Anchorage, as both cities had a warmer and drier July than normal. Here's a weather bureau radar image during this time showing the storm clouds surrounding the now infamous Fairbanks hot air sucker hole.
But the real suckers are the ones who voted for these clowns. Too much hot air? Get rid of the lame politicians.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's all behind me now...

As the years go by, it seems harder to do stuff that was once so easy, you seldom thought about it. One thing that's become a problem is to simply turn my neck around to see what's behind me. The result is often backing the tractor into trees, dog houses, or whatever else is behind me. There's even a pile of cork screwed dog posts from my poorly executed backups while clearing snow from the yard.
I finally decided to install some mirrors on the tractor this winter after several near misses while plowing the road. The neighbors think the most prudent way to pass the tractor is to accelerate and see how fast they can whiz by. Obviously, there's no point in waiting until I actually see them and wave them on.
As usual, it took several months to plan and execute the plan. John Deere had nothing that would mount directly on the tractor, so had to weld up the mounting brackets, but now painted green with the mirrors installed, it almost looks like a factory job (at least from a distance).

Garden Update:  Andy thought the garden photo (Garden's in, 6/2/13) looked like some communal plot in the Gobi desert. I on the other hand thought it a rather artistic composition, as sunlight streamed through the white blossoms of the choke cherry, reflecting on the vibrant green and yellow of the JD tractor. Whatever. Here's a photo of the garden near the end of July: