Last Friday morning the temp at the cabin was -30F. On Tuesday morning the temp was +25F. So as many in the Lower 48 experience cooler temps, we in Interior Alaska are back in sweatshirts. In fact, I even saw someone breaking out the shorts on Tuesday.
I haven’t gone that far yet, but I do have at least one open window.
I went for a nice long hike through the Back 400 over the weekend. The dusting of snow that we had earlier, is now long gone. The muskeg is a varied shade of brown these days.
Each step brought a crunch up from the frozen earth. The snap of twigs is amplified in the chilly air. I came across a duck carcass on one frozen puddle. A raven was picking through the feathers that were scattered across the ice. Had the duck been caught in the quickly freezing puddle, or had it been caught by a predator, and the raven only recently found the remains? The scene was a mess of feathers, and I wasn’t confident enough in the ice thickness to venture that far out. Besides, the raven was not looking for my company anyway. Our rabbit population is quite high at the moment, which explains the number of fox in the neighborhood. We have had lynx here in the past as well, but I have not seen any sign of them… yet.
At the creek, I was amused by a pair of beaver. They had been quite busy, building a new dam across the now, slow moving water. It is amazing how many birch and aspen they can cut down in such a short period of time. I pushed my luck as I tried to quietly reach the creek bank. A crunch of tundra caused a double tail slap to come from the creek. These two are more wary of me than the pair in The Pond. Once my presence was known, they kept out of view, and eventually I wandered deeper down the bank to see what else was new in the ever-changing neighborhood.
What an Alaskan does upon returning from a month long sabbatical:
The view from Murphy Dome in black & white
Spend the morning fixing a customer’s plumbing problem. Like most plumbing problems, the job took two trips for fittings. Like all seemingly easy jobs, the customer added two new problems upon arrival, which had previously “slipped their mind”.
Buy potting soil.
Order flooring for a job that is two weeks away.
Buy tomato, pepper and squash plants.
Set up rain barrels for customer. Repair barrels where customer broke fittings. Reinstall water pump for garden from their pond. Let out their dog and chase it around the yard for a few minutes. Scratch their cat, so it doesn’t feel left out.
Stop by post office for mail, and Fred Meyer for just a few groceries.
Load truck with tools & materials for the next day’s job.
Uncover 1 ton work truck, that has been parked all winter. Hook up battery tender.
Take phone call from customer that wants me to hang several bird feeders. I caution customer that bird feed, especially black sunflower seeds, attracts bears, which she has had several visit in the past. Bird feeder job remains in limbo, as no decision was made.
Remove door to Rover hut for the season.
Unplug refrigerator to defrost, before restocking. Plug in the Rover’s fridge to substitute for the next 24 hours.
Hike out to back 400 pond with Leica to check out the nesting trumpeter swans. The sun is wrong for good pictures, but the reward of watching the swimming pair from the brush is still high.
Haul out deck chairs; put away snowshoes.
Drop window awning, because cabin was 86 degrees when you returned home this afternoon.
Crack open a beer and grill a chicken breast and zucchini.
Contemplate that tomorrow is really going to be a hectic day.