Monthly Archives: May 2016

Growing Season

Rhubarb

There’s a nice rhubarb plant just outside my cabin’s door, that grows back every year. Here is a picture of it from last week.

Keep in mind:
It’s still May.
It’s Interior Alaska.
It’s still in the month of May.

I’d say the plant is easily at July 4th height before Memorial Weekend. That is insane.


Memorial Day Arlington NC
Arlington National Cemetery


Denali Road Lottery

Road into Denali NP
Driving into Denali National Park

The deadline for entries for the annual road lottery into Denali National Park is May 31. My luck with the lottery has been mixed. I’ve been picked, and I’ve traveled to The Park with friends that have won, but early snow has dampened plans. One thing the Park Service is consistent about: if there is so much as a dusting of snow, they will close the road so quick that even the grizzlies are impressed by the speed.

For those of you not familiar with the lottery: The Park Road opens up to individuals for four days every September for the lottery winners. You pick a day you can travel, Saturday is reserved for military personnel, and if your bid gets picked, you get a vehicle permit for the day to explore the “Denali Park Road as far as weather allows”.

This year the dates are September 16-20. On average, there are 1600 winners chosen. The odds of winning are reportedly 1 in 6.


Mercer

Mercer


Defender

Defender


Been there…

What an apostrophe!


Death in the Backyard

Moose 1
A moose as seen from the deck this past November

I received an email from a concerned party today that carried the title: “7 Things in Your Backyard that could Kill You”. I was touched by the concern, so I opened the email out of curiosity to find out just what was lurking in my backyard.

1) Pesticide-Infused Grass: Not really a concern.
I don’t have any grass. No lawn. No lawn mower. It’s pretty much just wild tundra out there, and it does what it does.

2)Dog poo: There is poo scattered all about. I currently do not have a dog, but the neighbor does, and the dogs are often over at my place, because I’m so damn friendly. The pack has been thinned out over the past winter, however, and the neighbor’s dogs now number two. When it was at the high end of five, I even found dog poop on my roof. True story.

3)Ticks & Lyme disease: Not a problem.
I don’t believe I have ever had a tick on me in Alaska, and I’m outdoors all the time. When I did have a dog, even he did not have to worry about lyme disease.

4)Bees: I can already tell this will be a Bee Year. The yellow jackets have been out in force.

5)Backyard Burning: Nice catch!
With as dry as it has been, backyard burning is a huge risk. I refused to let my neighbor burn two weeks ago, luckily the Borough backed me up with an emergency burn ban. Some idiot will no doubt start a wild fire, with the upcoming Memorial Weekend being a good time frame. As of two weeks ago, there had been 124 fires in Alaska this year, with 122 of them started by man.

6)The swimming pool, especially the hot tub:
This one actually gave me a case of the giggles. I do have a pond in the back yard though, complete with resident leeches. If anything, this is more of a danger in the winter, when we are out on the ice lighting the methane pockets with a propane torch.

7)Tanning: I’m not sure we really have to worry about this one a whole helluva lot either. With all the bug dope on, can the sun’s rays reach flesh?

I was disappointed that the list was so obviously incomplete. Where is the grizzly bear on this list? What about moose? I’ve had moose hanging around the cabin since breakup; one seems to walk right past my shop every morning. Once mamma moose drops her calf or calves, you can count on her being ornery more often than not. I’m not even getting into the fact that there is moose poop everywhere. The horror!

Is there actually a world out there where the greatest health threat is dog poo? Although, I admit, it really torques me when I find it on my roof. I am thankful that I’ve never found moose poop up there, however.

Fairbanks griz
Grizzly seen on Murphy Dome Road