layla: (Linton bad day)
This is what my backyard looks like at the moment:

Yeah, it's snowing. This is a damn sorry excuse for a May day, is all I have to say about it ...
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
I discovered a new store today: Home Grown Market. It's in that little strip-mall district on the corner of Airport and University, behind the strip mall with Quizno's and Subway. They carry locally grown meat and produce, sort of like the farmer's market but year-round. I picked up a fresh head of locally greenhouse-grown lettuce (FRESH PRODUCE, oh my gawd *noms*), some hamburger and a pint of Mat Maid ice cream. The meat prices are - understandably - more expensive than the cheap meat at Fred Meyer, but about comparable to their better-quality meat, it looks like.

Also, the trees on the drive into Fairbanks are starting to noticeably green up on the south-facing exposure above Chena Hot Springs Road. Isn't this really early for that? It's also raining right now, our first rain of the year (mmm, rain-smell), and that ought to bring out the green even more. Whee, spring!


Apr. 19th, 2010 01:55 pm
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Lucky the fossil-hunting dog did himself proud today.

For those who don't know, our house is built on several acres of old mining tailings, which consist of gravel and rock dredged up from what used to be a dry riverbed covered with swamp muck. The gravel is full of partially mineralized Ice Age mammal bones, teeth, antlers, etc. Apparently to the dogs, they still smell like bones, and Lucky in particular is fond of hunting for them when we're out on walkies. (He does look a bit depressed when I ask him to hand them over, though.) Because of the dredging operations in this area, most of the bones have been broken to bits, and it's rare to find intact ones. The best ones he's found so far have been several intact bison horns, but this was pretty good:

Check it! )

After some Googling and staring at large animal skeletons for a while, I decided it's probably a bison metacarpal - here's a bison skeleton and here's a closeup of the metacarpals that looks, if not exactly then at least quite similar to this bone. It's too thick and stumpy to belong to a deer or horse.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
The aurora has been absolutely gorgeous the last few nights. Well, not last night, because there were clouds (and this morning it was snowing, aargh). But prior to that, it's been simply staggering -- some of the most impressive displays that I've ever seen. It was so bright on Monday night that it was actually casting light, making the ground visibly brighter. On Tuesday, I went out and lay on a gravel pile (it's kind of nice to have the aurora at a time of year when it's not horribly cold and there isn't much snow!) and just when I thought it wasn't doing much, I got to see the most incredible thing. The sky started out dark and star-filled; then light came swooping in from the south, racing up the sky and filling it until the sky above me was full of shifting green and pink curtains of light, rippling and sweeping all across the sky. Damn, that was cool.

If it's still at it, which it might be, it's been peaking around midnight-1 a.m.; at least that's when I've been noticing it.

And then, from the "WTF, Fairbanks?" category, [personal profile] polarbee pointed out this Craigslist listing. WTF, Fairbanks, WTF. (I wonder if anyone will buy it?)
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
When I was a kid, we used to joke that we wished the groundhog would see his shadow, so we'd ONLY get six more weeks of winter ...

Apparently, thanks to a bill that Palin signed into law shortly before leaving office, Groundhog's Day in Alaska is now Marmot Day. Insert your own joke here.

I mucked out the chickens' litter on Monday, and this morning, peeking at me from the clean sawdust, was a little brown egg -- the first egg of 2010. Still unfrozen and everything! The new chicken setup, with its floor heating, is so much better for getting usable eggs during the winter. Last winter, I probably had to discard about 2/3 of the eggs in February and March because they froze and cracked open before I could gather them. This year, the ambient temperature in the chickenhouse may not be above freezing most of the time, but the floor is warm. During their brief laying spell last December, I only had to discard one egg due to temperature-related breakage.

First egg of 2010!

I should make a mini omelet. And, hard as it is to believe when it's -25 and there's snow everywhere, it's time to start thinking about gardening. I would really like to have an actual garden this summer, in containers if nothing else. And I need somewhere to put my big strawberry.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Yesterday it snowed lightly, and it's been kind of misting snow all day; there are a couple of inches on the ground. I think this is probably the "big one" ... the one that's going to stick and not melt off. Last glimpse of ground until spring. Well, it's not like I can complain at this point -- this is almost a month later than our usual big sticking snow. Six months without snow this year rather than five! This almost makes up for the frost in the middle of August. Almost.

Naturally, yesterday, as snow lightly drifted past the windows of the UAF sculpture studio, was when our instructor let us know that we would need to collect found objects for the next project. Not during the last two months when I could have availed myself of all the cool old gold-rush stuff in the woods. *headdesk*

I ought to take a picture of some of the things I'm making in sculpture. So far we've done three things: a bronze casting, a wooden box made with a bandsaw, and a big welding project. The class is currently hip-deep in the welding project; it's been going pretty slow due to the studio only having two MIG welding rigs, and both of those have been having intermittent problems. I just need to weld on a couple more pieces and then I can start covering mine with chicken wire (the next step in the shape I decided to make).

Otherwise, school is cranking along. I can't WAIT until the end of the semester so I can have free time to work on my own projects again. And here, at the start of the semester, I was all confident in the knowledge that it doesn't matter if I get A's (all I have to do is pass!) and I'm going to take it easier than I did when I was in school before. HAHAHAHAHA. Apparently I am not capable of not working my ass off to do well in my classes, even though I know I'd probably be happier if I weren't spending so much time outside of class working on this stuff. Speaking of which, I guess I have homework in art history and a midterm to study for. *trundles off*
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
We've reached that time of year when the Arctic nights are very lovely and just a bit strange. I went out walking just now, after 11 p.m. It was still broad daylight, with virgas drifting to the west and the sky to the north slowly purpling into something like sunset. The air was cool and damp and rich with the smell of the trees -- the sweetness of rising sap and the faintest hint of perfume from the catkins on the willows and alders. Robins were singing, as they do; I'm not sure when the Arctic birdlife sleeps in the summer, if it does, because the birds sing through the day and all through the bright nights. The days are warm and the nights are cool, and I saw the first hint of green on my rosebush today. I love this time of year.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
I noticed driving to work today that the trees on south-facing hillsides are breaking out in their first, faint flush of green. I want to say to them, "No, little trees! It's Fairbanks! It's only May 4th! It'll be snowing by the end of the week! Your poor wee buds will freeze!" But they won't listen. Trees. Can't tell 'em anything.

The weather has been truly awesome -- 75 degrees, gorgeous and sunny. Today is back down to 55 and feels like Fairbanks again; ah well. It was a lovely weekend. We walked the dogs up the abandoned mine road for the first time in month (the snow was too deep, and it's not maintained; it's just been the last few days that there's been enough snow gone that you can go anywhere).

With breakup happening so fast this year, the whole town is flooding ... well, bits and pieces of it, anyway. Driveways are eroding alongside the highway out in Fox -- the usual thing at this time of year, really; even on a good year, Goldstream Creek tends to overflow frozen culverts and run over the gravel driveways alongside the highway, but this year it's pretty bad. South of Ester, where the highway is (fortunately) banked quite high above the surrounding swamp, there is apparently a lake 30 feet deep where no lake is supposed to be, covering telephone poles and trees. (I'm halfway tempted to drive down that way just to see it...) So far we've been really lucky; things are actually better than usual for us, because the creek has melted out so quickly that it's not backing up and threatening the driveway as it usually does.
layla: grass at sunset (headdesk)
Today we ushered in spring with the semi-annual mucking-out of the chicken coop. Naturally certain members of the household wished to lend a hand.

Dog: oooOOOOOooo! Can I help?

Me: Nope, got it covered, thanks.

Dog: But I can really be useful! See! And, wow, this stuff smells *awesome*.


Dog: ... dude, have you tried this?

Me: *gags*


layla: grass at sunset (Default)

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