Thursday, March 26, 2015

Oops, I did it again

garden cart full of grasses and Achillea

Britney Spears notwithstanding, if you do the same thing over and over, it doesn’t matter if it’s wrong. Clearly there is something about it that pays off for you. Exhibit A: my river garden in the front yard. On a whim, I wacked down the perennials (with a couple of exceptions) on March 21st, last Saturday for those that keep track of such things. A kind neighbor passing by hollered out, “You know it’s too early to do that?!” To which I (being the classy dame that  I am) shouted back, “I don’t care. I need to be outside!”

I can see the salmon now

Which put me in mind of another year when I planted my annuals in containers rather early in April and a canvassing politician at my door made no mention of her ideas for our city, other than to note that I had planted out too early. I guess I’m edgy like that. Or perhaps early gardening activities are so provocative that no one, not even a stranger or a person that doesn’t know a petunia from a peony, can resist giving their two cents. Everyone’s a critic. Britney knows about that.

Meanwhile, we shall see who has the last laugh. The low temperatures are mostly above freezing in the forecast, and no snow in sight. I have no doubts the naysayers will continue to pester me though, I’m not that innocent.


Are you rushing things in the garden?

Monday, March 9, 2015

10 More Signs of Spring in Alaska

Salmon with a side of Festuca and a dormant Calamagrostis brachytricha

Never content to hash something out one time, or even two, this Alaskan brings you the definitive list. Again. It may not be true spring here yet, but keep your eyes peeled for the signs. It won’t be long now, I have spotted numbers 6 and 10 already.

1. You just stepped in dog poop, and it made a squish sound. This is to differentiate between stepping in dog doo in winter, when it crunches.

2. You begin to consider getting your bike off the garage ceiling, where it has been dangling in suspension (heh) since November. All except those crazy kids that bike all winter. Yeah, I’m looking at you, fat tire bikers! You just switch to your summer bike.

3. You hear an unfamiliar sound: not the wind, the plow truck, a car in desperate need of a new muffler, nor even a snowmachine. The birds are singing!  Can it be true? (This charming sound will fade to annoying, when that robin is warbling at 2 am in June.)

4. Trailers begin to sport more jet skis and boats and fewer snowmachines.

5. It just snowed again. Instead of being resigned to it or excited about it  (like in winter-time) you are annoyed, and shake your fist at the sky.

6. You saw your first jogger of the season wearing shorts. Not to mistake this with teenaged boys in Alaska, who seem to wear shorts 10 months of the year. I asked one teen why shorts were chosen on a day of snow and low temperatures. The answer, “Well, I looked out my window and it was sunny.”

7. Instead of throwing down sand on the road or driveway, it is being swept up. (In my neighborhood, not until July. Grrr.)

8. Snow boots get stacked on the shelf. Out come the puddle boots. Lots of Alaskans favor Xtra-Tuffs, but I like my Muck boots, for rainy days, gardening days, river rafting days…well, you get the idea. For a discussion on the merits of each, go here.

9. The critters are out, or back. Cue the bears, the Canada geese, squirrels, etc. Put the dog food/birdseed out of reach. We read about what hungry bears do to get people/dog/bird food almost every year in our local newspapers.

10. You just saw a motorcycle or Corvette on the road. Viva la spring!



Is it spring where you live? What are the signs?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Well, Al Gore was right, sort of

reflective orange poles

We are having a remarkable winter here in Alaska. My swamp-dwelling sister in the southern USA is enjoying colder weather. You read that correctly. Alaska is warmer that most of the nation. Cue the music from the Twilight Zone now.

Yep, it’s a heat wave, or climate change, or whatever. I have never seen green grass at the end of November in Anchorage before, and I’ve been here forever. Our lawns are typically covered with a foot or more of snow, not up for mowing consideration! (If you were wondering, the answer was no. The mower was put to bed for the year.) I even inserted those tall, orange, reflective pole guides through the garden for the snow blower (don’t ask)!

Yet here we are. What to do? The alpine skiers are getting desperate. The cross country ski types had a least a thin base to ski on the trails, for a while. It’s pretty spotty to non existent in my part of town. There’s always ice skating. Two years ago at this time I was skating on glass ice at Finger Lake in Palmer, Alaska. I could literally see fish frozen in the ice it was so crystal clear. Aside: When skating on lakes here, one can’t be the nervous type and truly enjoy it. There will be cracking noises. Sometimes very disturbing ones. Like the cracks and booms are having a conversation together. “Look at that fool! Let’s make her wish she had never laced her skates! Ha ha! Crack! Boom! Creak!” Last week a friend told me her son had fallen in to his thighs at Potter’s Marsh while ice skating. I guess it’s true. We are getting warmer.

My studded tires, which were installed the moment I suspected the snow wouldn’t melt away, are now just loud and useless as I roar down the freeway. I don’t dare take them off though. That would be tempting fate.

I would be more excited if the killing frost date was pushed back in proportion to the warm weather now. As it is, everything died at the typical time, and now it’s just dead stuff with no snow. Which is how it is in other, more southerly locales, I guess. At least the Halloween jack-o-lanterns used to freeze so I could easily heave them into the yard for the moose to graze. Not so much now. Eew.

smushed pumpkins


How’s the weather? Is your area experiencing some strange temperatures?

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