Alaska Musings, Episode 3


Hot Air Balloon 041108

April 16, 2008

Just like washing your car in the summertime causes it to rain in Savannah, washing the caked on mud from the road that results from the sanding during Snow Season in Alaska causes it to snow.

The snow here is powder dry, especially right after if falls. So, when the wind blows the snow off the roof at the Post Office, it comes crashing down into your face when you get out of your car – even when you have parked on the other side of the parking lot.

On a bright sunny day one tiny cloud can still snow its little heart out. Of course if you can’t see that cloud because you are driving under it then it’s rather confusing.

When you go to shovel the snow in your driveway after you have driven through it you can’t. It has now frozen solid. What a pain. And, this little ‘ice chunker (chucker?)’ just doesn’t cut it. So, what does one do? You’ve still got to get into and out of your garage. Bummer.

There are special brushes to get the snow & ice off of your car. They, like snow tires, are a ‘seasonal’ item. So, when a late ‘season’ snowfall occurs those brushes are almost impossible to find. I found one at Schucks Auto Parts, but they had to dig one out of a box in the back to find the other one I wanted.

Hot air balloons are especially pretty against a snowy mountain.

Gas goes up here in five cent increments. It just jumped up to $3.61.

Teenagers up here want to work and earn money. I have a high school senior for my housekeeper until she graduates. She works real hard and does a great job.

May 2, 2008

It can rain, then snow, rain again, and then have sunshine all in the same day.

There are one gazillion Canadian geese roosting in the farmer’s field up the road from my house. I’ve never seen so many geese in my life. They have been here for about a week now.

I had 12 inches of snow on Friday and only have 14 inches of dog. I had to shovel a path for her in the yard so she could go potty.

Snow terrifies our cats. Their eyes were as wide as saucers when I let them out on the porch to check it out. Retreating back into the house was their first choice.

There is a bald eagle living or at least passing by near our house. I saw it fly over last week. Guess I need to watch my dog closer. Don’t need her to become an eagle snack.

Wearing sandals to work is just like getting your car washed. Both cause snow to fall in the spring.

It’s a seagull invasion!  That may sound strange given that we are somewhat inland.  But, we are not that far from Cook Inlet – maybe 30 or so miles.

It’s not as hard as I thought it would be to go to bed and sleep in the daylight. Today’s sunrise is at 5:48 a.m. Nothing unusual about that. Sunset is at 10:08 p.m. though which means daylight until after 11. But, I am thinking about buying some black-out curtains for the bedrooms anyway.

Gas prices are jumping about $0.10 per week. It went up to $3.81 yesterday. Groceries have risen 30%.

The Alaska Railroad engines are beautiful until you are stuck waiting for them to fill up the cars behind them with rock from the quarry near your house. I’ve learned my way around enough that I have been able to get around the wait. It is over a 5 mile drive around though AND you don’t know you need to go the other way until you are right up on the track. Grrrrrrrr.

May 14, 2008

When the sand whips into a small funnel cloud on the ground we call them ‘dirt devils’. Well, here in Alaska we have ‘snow devils’ since the snow is so dry that the slightest wind picks it up. Interesting to watch. Wish I’d had my camera handy. Maybe this coming winter.

Alaska DOT gets in as much roadway repair and construction as it can once things thaw out. I got caught behind the striping trucks on my way to work yesterday. For at least two miles 30 other drivers and I crept along at 5 to 8 mph before we could get around the darned things.

The trees up here bud out and open their leaves all in two days. One day you can see for miles through the bare woods and the next it’s all green with leaves. Weirdest thing.

The Canadian geese are all gone. And, the day after they left the farmers started planting their fields.

Even with super insulated reservoirs the water in them freezes a good bit in the winter. The movement of the ice up and down, as the tanks empty and refill, abrades and bangs up the inside. Just thought you could use this in a trivia contest.

The boroughs in Alaska which are like counties have Mayors instead of Commission Chairmen. Cities have Mayors too which is confusing to me. And, the elected city Mayors are administrators with no power unless to break a tie vote.

Where I live in Palmer, AK we have glacial silt storms. They are like sand storms but silt is fine like baby powder. The clouds form as the wind comes down over the mountains and picks up the silt. They are miles across and up to 2 miles high. It’s an odd thing to see from afar and even more odd to be in it.

I giggle each time I hear someone use the phrase ‘back in the day’. They of course means years ago.  It is just a saying that I haven’t grown up hearing and I find it funny. Back in the day I walked 50 miles in the snow just to get to the mailbox. Hahahahaha!

This is the only place I have ever lived that the specified current temperature is said as above or below zero. Most places just mention zero if the temperature is below. Here if it is 30 degrees outside they say it is 30 above.



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