Monthly Archives: November 2011


A November for the record books.

From November 15 through November 21, the average temperature in Fairbanks was 30.1 degrees — below zero. In fact, during that period, the temp did not rise above -20F. It’s been damn cold.

We get a break for a couple of days, in fact as I type this it is 1 degree Above zero, then we’re dropping back down to minus thirty in time for all that Black Friday mess. I’m sure that will help make for some wonderful shopping memories.

I also will be heading back to my cabin on Friday. I wonder how long it will take to raise the temperature Inside the cabin 100 degrees?? Any guesses?

Cabin Sitting

She Stood in the Doorway With Lust in Her Eyes

I was almost finished with the morning chores. All of the animals had been watered and fed. I went back to the chicken coop to retrieve the morning eggs. I was at the far end of the coop, with several eggs in hand, when there was a loud “BANG” and the door swung open.

There in the doorway stood a four month old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Her eyes gleamed with lust; she had just won the Canine Lottery. I yelled for her to stay, which she did for a very brief moment in time. Although, I knew in the end, the clucking of the oddly colored, and slow moving grouse-like creatures would be too much for her.

Everyone froze into complete stillness for that split nanosecond: chickens stared into the eyes of the retriever, the dog stared back with a wolf-like grin spread across its muzzle, and I sat on my haunches at the farthest point of the room with my cupped hands full of fresh eggs as I took in the entire doomed scene. Then hell broke loose in the form of a brown, curly-haired blur of fur. Birds were everywhere. I dropped the eggs and tried to make my way past the wall of feathers. It seemed that the birds suddenly realized that I was the lesser of the two evils in the room, and they rushed towards me. I felt like I was in a twisted, remake of the classic Hitchcock film. The dog raced about in utter joy, flushing birds to the left, and then flushing them to the right … just like she had been taught. It was feathery pandemonium, and it was ugly.

A hen made it to the door and to freedom. It was the prize layer of the flock; the Mother of many breakfasts. I groaned as the Chesapeake followed her out, and saw that she was on the chicken’s tail feathers immediately. I imagined blood spraying out onto the virgin snow.

I rushed out and saw the dog do me a wonderfully, huge favor, which at this point, I thought she certainly owed me. She chased the runaway chicken into her fenced area, and the bird promptly ran into the doghouse. Then the dog sat down in the snow and looked up at me with a look that asked, “Did I do good, huh? Did I do good?” I have never wanted to beat a dog so badly in all my life, and at the same time I was so damn proud of her. I made a mental note, that having chickens on the same property as a bird dog may not be a good idea.

I reached into the doghouse and brought out the traumatized hen and returned her to the coop. After locking up the dog, I went back to the chicken coop to get the eggs. A female turkey came over and laid down. She’s a gentle thing and enjoys sitting on people’s laps. I stroked her back and apologized for the rude intrusion. She seemed to understand, maybe I will get an egg from her tomorrow. The chickens, on the other hand, gave me looks of pure evil. They wanted me to pay; you could see it in their eyes. Those hate filled eyes.

Collecting eggs will never be the same. For any of us…

Bad News From Venezuela

Wilson Ramos, the former top catching prospect of the Minnesota Twins who was traded to the Washington Nationals, has been kidnapped in his native Venezuela. Ramos was back with family and playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, when four armed men arrived at Ramos’ mother’s home and forced Ramos into a vehicle before fleeing.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen now,” said Enrique Brito, a longtime official in the Venezuelan winter league who is close with Ramos’s family. “It’s going to be bad for the culture, for the league, for everything. Wilson is one of the best players that we had. It’s bad. It’s real bad, for all Venezuelan people and fans. We are all shocked.”

Let’s hope that Wilson is released soon, and this doesn’t turn into a tragedy like the case of Henry Blanco’s brother, who was kidnapped & killed even as Blanco negotiated for his release.

We live in an insane world.

Western Alaska Gets Pounded

The last time we had a storm this size in the Bering Sea was November 1974. Nome saw a 13 foot sea surge then, and expect to see at least a 9 foot surge peaking around midnight tonight. With no sea ice fastened to shore, Nome and the many villages along the coast remain vulnerable to the possible surge.

For the most part, damage has been reported as lost roofs, broken windows, flooding & power outages.

(AP Photo/Peggy Fagerstrom)

Storm Brewing

An intense Pacific storm is bringing hurricane force winds to the Chukchi & Bering Seas generating 20-35 foot seas. It is shaping up to be one of the most severe on record.

After the storm, it could be a great time to stroll the beaches of Nome for gold, if not for the 14″ of snow that is also in the forecast.


Speaking of Snow…

Thompson Pass is closed!

For the first time this season, the pass into Valdez has been closed due to snowfall. It seems there is a bit of wind too: 85mph, with gusts up to 120mph.

On average, Thompson Pass receives 550 inches of snow a year. It holds the Alaska record of snowfall in a 24 hour period at 62 inches, and the record of snowfall in a season at 975 inches. When the East Coast gets that, I’ll cut them some slack…

Anyone who moves to Valdez is one crazy bastard, no doubt about that.

Dia de los Muertos

Halloween 1991: 28-1/2″ of snow fell on the Twin Cities from one winter storm. I was reminded of this when the East Coast found themselves in an early Winter Wonderland over the weekend. I think Duluth received over 3 feet of the white stuff from that same 1991 storm. I remember going deer hunting in Northern Minnesota right after that storm. The woods were intensely quiet that weekend, but it was an extremely enjoyable hunt just the same.

Interior Alaska has 2-3″ on the ground right now, and temps reached a high of -12 today where I was at.