Thursday, December 29, 2016

Storm Warning...

After lamenting the lack of snow, we get this:

NWS Storm Warning:  A potentially dangerous winter storm for Interior Alaska...

Snow is now expected to begin in the Western portion of Interior Alaska and quickly spread eastward beginning Thursday and push to about Fort Yukon by late Thursday evening.

This storm has the likelihood of producing upwards of 8 to 12 inches of snowfall over the Interior. Another aspect of this potentially dangerous storm will be high winds over elevated terrain. This will have the potential of causing blizzard conditions on summits that are prone to these conditions.

The initial weather front has spread heavy snow from the Yukon River Delta  into the western Interior. Southeast winds gusting from 40 to 60 mph have resulted in near zero visibility in blowing snow in many coastal locations. Heavy snow and increasing winds will continue to push east across the state today and impact the entire forecast area with winter weather by tonight. Warmer air aloft has caused snow to mix with freezing rain or turn to rain in the lower Yukon delta and over Saint Lawrence Island. A brief period of freezing rain may spread as far north as the Seward Peninsula today but precipitation is will remain all snow to the north and east. Winds will rapidly shift to the southwest behind the weather front and strong southwest winds will persist over most of the forecast area into the weekend.


But I did manage to get the dogs out, on a sled finally, before jumping on the tractor to plow snow. We've gotten about four inches so far and it's still coming down. Looks like for once the weather bureau maybe right.
12/30/16...Wound up with nine inches over night on top of the three we got earlier in the week. Supposed to get another two to four inches tomorrow, so that should keep me busy on the tractor.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Solstice...

Some thoughts about the solstice:
While the winter solstice is often thought of as the first day of winter, in Alaska, this day symbolizes the return of the sun, as the daylight increases following the solstice. While the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, in fact several days around solstice are effectively the same.length at about 3 hours and 43 minutes in Fairbanks.  (http://ak-wx.blogspot.com)
Meteorological winter is a term used to define the three month period that runs from Dec 1st to the end of February. It is the coldest three month period of the year in the northern hemisphere. Astronomical winter is what most people use to talk about the start of winter. The solstice is called the beginning of winter. based on the fact that the sun reaches the most southern point on the globe. The sun is at its lowest point in the northern sky at noon and, of course, it is the shortest day of the year. (http://www.weatherdudes.com/facts_display.php?fact_id=30)

For me, the solstice means that the longer and warmer days of winter are on the way. The best time for running dogs comes in February and March, when the longer days provide enough daylight and give you the energy needed for the most enjoyable dog runs of the year.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

New Ride...

Well new for me anyway. It's a '96 Ford F-150. I'd been driving the '84 Ford F-250 for almost twenty years now and while it still ran fine, the heavy duty suspension made for a hard ride and the big V-8 was a gas hog. Since I'd sold the trailer a few years ago, there was no longer a need for a heavy duty hauler. The new ride's a straight 6, 5 speed manual, the last year they used that motor, so it should be better on gas.

Was originally looking for a similar set up in a Dodge Dakota, but they went to an aluminum head for their motors a while back, which don't do well in the extreme cold. It was really hard to find an older iron head one in Fairbanks that wasn't a total beater. Besides, would have had to build new boxes for hauling dogs, since it has a smaller bed. So the Ford means a lot less work. It was apparently well maintained by the second owner, who had it for 18 years. As my neighbor Bert said, it's way too nice a truck for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

High Noon...

Saw this cam shot at high noon on the UAF/GI web site:

Alaska Climate Research Center Web Cam

Current Weather Station Data (As of: 12/10/16 12:16:10)
Temperature  Humidity  Barometer          Wind
               -10.3  F           85  %       30.628  in     SSW at 0.0  mph  
(http://climate.gi.alaska.edu)

Reminded me that we're almost at the winter solstice and soon the days will be getting longer. Probably no warmer though, it's usually March before anything resembling warm weather is common. But hey, it's Alaska, nobody said it'd be easy! 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Snow!...

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

Cold!...

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...

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE: OCTOBER 2016 FAIRBANKS ALASKA...

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
precipitation.

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." (deadspin.com)

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.

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 trail access since the last time we ran dogs there. 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...

HERE'S THE NWS MONTHLY WEATHER SUMMARY FOR AUGUST 2016 FOR FAIRBANKS

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:
http://www.adn.com/opinions/2016/08/09/one-man-fairbanks-motorcycle-shop-became-legendary-with-bmw-airheads/

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Stooped again...

Had a bunch of water issues on the addition to the new garage. Finally decided to dig up a new drainage and get rid of the water problems. That led to deciding to pour slabs in front of the three doors on top of the drains. So after mixing 14 ninety pond bags of reinforced concrete, here's somewhat boring photos of what we've been doing the last few weeks...
After digging up the ground in front of the door, putting in a bunch of drain rock, compacting the surface, then framing a stoop*.

Here's the stoop after pouring in the concrete.
After removing the framing, re-grading the gravel, and digging a drainage ditch to divert runoff, here's the completed stoop. Now there's only two more to finish. Hopefully it'll take care of the water issues.
*Stoop: From the Dutch stoep ‎(“platform", "pavement”). 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Watchin' the garden grow...

Not much goin' on here after 7-8 days of rain (about 4" so far). I'd post some pictures of my breakfast or lunch like some bloggers do, but then you'd just have to shoot me for clogging up the interwebs with pointless trivia. Been doing odd jobs, carpentry projects on the house and garage, but that's hardly worth a photo. I guess the best part of this recent weather is that the garden is doing great. We're eating lots of fresh vegetables and the berry bushes are really loaded this year.
The garden's doing great with all the recent rain.
And the berry bushes are really producing too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

June weather summary...

National Weather Service's weather summary for June:
"June 2016 in Fairbanks was cooler and wetter than normal. This
follows 8 consecutive months where the mean temperature was above normal. The warmest day of the month occurred on 17th with a temperature of 85 degrees while the coldest was 40 degrees on the 3rd. The mean temperature was 60.0 degrees, which was 0.4 degrees below the normal mean temperature of 60.4 degrees.
3.29 inches of rain fell during the month of June. This was 1.92 inches more than the normal value of 1.37 inches. It was the third wettest June on record. The rainfall on the 5th totaled 0.45", breaking the daily record set in 1942 by 0.13". Then on the 11th, rainfall totaled 0.95", breaking the old 1940 record of 0.67". The highest wind speed was 37 mph on the 1st, while the average wind speed was 4.8 mph.
Looking forward to July, possible sunshine decreases from 21 hours 22 minutes on the 1st to 18 hours and 12 minutes on the 31st. Continuous civil twilight ends on the 27th of July. The average daily high temperature decreases from 74 degrees on the 1st to 70 degrees on the 31st. The daily low temperature decreases from 53 degrees on the 1st to 51 degrees on the 31st. The forecast for July from the climate prediction center calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation."

NWS WEATHER OBSERVATIONS FOR JUNE 2016

AVG MAX TEMP (F) 69.8   40TH COLDEST OF 111 YEARS
AVG MIN TEMP (F) 50.1   33RD WARMEST OF 111 YEARS
AVG TEMP (F) 60.0   48TH WARMEST OF 111 YEARS
TOTAL PRECIP (IN) 3.29   4TH WETTEST OF 104 YEARS


Ruty, like his namesake the rutabaga, hanging out on the deck. We almost lost him to an unknown illness last month, but through wonders of modern cortico-steroids, he's back, keeping an eye on things again. No need to worry with the watch cat on duty!

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Ride in the Park...

When you'd say you took a ride in the park, most folks around here would think you either meant Denali National Park, Alaskaland, or Pioneer Park as it's now called. But to me, the park has always been the Chena Recreation Area. Just a few miles down the road from our place, it's always been the area of choice to recreate, since it's so close and don't have to drive through town to get there.
Today, took the 850 Moto Guzzi out for a ride there. Surprisingly, there wasn't much traffic on the way out, most of what was on the road was heading towards town. The only incident of note was coming around a turn in the park, there was a large van parked in the middle of the road. And by the middle, I mean his wheels were on the centerline. So I slowed down and passed. When I looked over, I could see it was a tourist company van with with a load of passengers, probably stopped to take pictures. Hard to believe they couldn't pull over to the side of the road and turn on some warning lights.
Anyway, the rest of the trip was fine. Stopped at the 38 mile bridge, where there was a major issue with the river a while back. As meandering rivers are prone to do, it changed channels. Unfortunately, the new channel began to erode the abutments of the bridge. So the state built a huge berm, technically termed a training structure. That forced the river back into it's former channel. While hardly a natural area, it created an option for those who want to pull off the road and spend some some time at the river without being in a developed campground.

Parked on the dike at the 38 mile bridge. The interesting thing about the photo was that there was a clear blue sky out, but the photo looks cloudy, almost like a smoke sky. Go figure.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Back Hoed....

When we first got the tractor, couldn't figure out why most farmers had so many tractors. But then we started to get more implements, and finally figured it out.  It's a huge pain to change them out, so it's way better to have lots of tractors. Well we haven't gotten there yet, so every year we have to change things out. So in the fall, it's time to put on the rear blade. Then in the spring, the rototiller. Then the splitter, then the mower. Now finally put the back hoe on.


The back hoe cost almost as much as the tractor, so it was a major investment. But figured it was a real useful tool and besides, thought it'd be fun to learn to run something different. Well it was in more ways than one. Now whenever it get's put on the tractor, it's another adventure. First you have to remove the three-point hitch, then carefully back over the sub frame of the hoe, which you can't see once you're over it. Then when it's finally positioned correctly, hook up the hydraulics. You lift up the sub frame of the hoe using the side stabilizers and bucket until it connects to the locking clamps on the tractor frame. It usually take two or three tries and lots of cursing. Anyway, today it was time to dig out some stumps. After the trees are dropped, it's about about five years until we can get a big stump out. There's no way that there's enough power in the back hoe on the JD to rip out a monster stump. But after a few years of letting it rot, hydraulics rule. So the next thing you know, there's just a hole in the ground!