Monday, April 5, 2010

Five ways to know it's spring in Alaska

This is the post I had to pull after a mere four hours on my blog a couple of weeks ago because we had a blizzard and a post on spring seemed a little optimistic.  Barring any (more) unforeseen blizzards, I think it might be spring.  This list was compiled after thirty-plus years experience in Alaskan springs.  It only sounds bitter.


1. The snow is brown.  Or almost gone in some years (Al Gore be darned, our springs haven't been any hotter/drier that I can tell).  All that road sand applied to the snow and ice during the winter is just lying there, on top of the snow, waiting to be covered by emerging greenery.



2. The cars are filthy.  What's the point of washing the car if it's going to get dirty driving out of the car wash parking lot?  Puddles, puddles, everywhere.  You will run out of windshield wiping fluid...twice.

                                   Moose dookie at the base of a Mountain Ash tree (Sorbus sp.).

          Love notes from Fido.

3. It smells like doggie/moose doo.  Going for a springtime walk is like an exercise in dodging land mines.  Stride, stride, leap, stride stride, hop....  I think all dog owners that don't clean up after Fido should be rounded up and forced to scoop for an hour along roadways as penance for tainting our water supply and creeks.  The moose scat?  Well, what can you do? (The LFG hubby is all for an urban hunt.)

Yes, that blue bit of litter is a tarp.  We Alaskans love our tarps.  The LFG hubby wanted to stop the car, dash out and snatch it.  Alas, we were going about 70 mph at the time.  It might still be there if anyone's interested (Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge).

4. Litter previously covered by snow is revealed in all its glory.  Thank goodness for the annual clean-up day.  I find at least one-dollar bill every year.  Once I found twenty dollars.  More usually I find cans, bottles, boxes, plastic bags, broken lumber, and in one area of town I found, within a forty foot radius: a car stereo, pornographic magazine, drug needle, and (ugh) a used prophylactic.  A dandy haul that would make a splendid real estate brochure for the neighborhood.
 
5. The sun is shining.  (I have no picture.  I have been thwarted by nature: a cloudy day.  Again.)  And plans for fishing, camping, hiking, biking, swimming, boating, gardening, etc. are being made.  Some daylight facts: When a place goes from 5.5 hours of daylight on January 1st to more than 13 hours by April 1st, that will put a smile on anyone's face.  Well, anyone that hasn't stepped in dog doo.... 

Any Alaskans out there (or springtime visitors) want to submit a number six?

How do you know it's spring in your area?

29 comments:

Cyndy said...

Oh, we are suddenly faced with litter and dog poo and mud around here too! We eagerly await the compensating new growth of spring.

Laurrie said...

Number 6: Alaskan bloggers go giddy with excitement.

Orion Designs said...

6. I start slip-sliding in the mud instead of the snow. But that is a long way off in my neck of the woods (Birchwood).

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

LOL! Cute post. Well Al was in need of a new job to earn some bucks don't you know. I would personally like to jam this winter at him where the sun does not shine.LOL! I have noticed around here that people must loose all sense in the winter. All of the litter left after the snow melt is amazing. What, they think if its covered with snow it is alright to toss it out? Tip toeing around takes on a whole new meaning after the snow thaws. LOL!

Indoor Fountains said...

Wow, interesting post. Alaska sounds like a great trip to take but I'm not sure about the "dog/moose doo smell" lol

Di said...

I only have this to say about A Gore: he stands to be a multi-billionaire if he can make this man-made global warming thing stick, even though all the evidence now shows much of the data was manipulated and much of it fraudulent. It's all about the money!

Jim Groble said...

Yep, all signs of spring. Great post. jim

Benjamin Vogt said...

This is a lot like Minnesota, where I grew up. When the ice cleared the lakes, about April 1, the entire area smelled foul, like feces. Sometimes, dead fish--suffocated over the winter--would now surface and pile up along the lake edges compunding the stench. Ah, spring.

pamsenglishgarden said...

You made me smile, and feel thankful I live in PA. We also have trash revealed when the snow melts, but not so much dog doo, thank goodness. Enjoy the sunshine!

gloria said...

moosey-doggy poo. I can add something new to be grateful for. We do not have moose. LOL your post are fun!

Noelle said...

Hello Christine,

I love seeing the glimpses of life that you give us of your life in Alaska. It is so different in some ways from mine in Arizona, and surprisingly the same in others. I do hope that spring is there to stay and the snow will soon melt away :-)

Melanie said...

Yep that sounds like a northern Spring ie everywhere in Canada except the southwest coast.

donna said...

You are one funny lady and a marvelous blogger. I luv it when people blog about what they see during the course of their daily routine. You'll be glad to know that we have a blue tarp or two folded up neatly on the shelves in our basement. There's a brown one, too. We bought them at Fleet Farm. If you can't buy it at Fleet Farm, you don't need it.

donna

joene said...

We have similar signs in New England, but in southern CT we only have deer doo, not moose. One more sign of spring: boots are covered in mud rather than snow.

Yeah for Christine ... spring is coming to Alaska.

LC said...

How do I know when it's spring here? I obviously don't have a clue since we're expecting snow and 27 degrees and I thought we were done with that! Please say a prayer for my magnolia blooms! Actually the rule about not planting until the last week in May still works... even when we've had 80 degrees in the first week of April! I got a real kick out of your 'spring' posting! Thanks, Larry

Layanee said...

Now that is a challenging spring. You do have the longest days in summer though don't you?

Christine B. said...

@Layanee
Yes, we do have almost twenty hours of daylight in the summer. But if we didn't, who would live here? The short but spectacular summers make up for the long (long) winters. Barely.

CB

Dwight Whitsett said...

Thanks for the comment. You may not want to be on Oprah, but keep writing like this and it might happen. Well done.

Lynne said...

Thanks for checking in on my hummers, Christine. "Spring" in Alaska looks a lot like Spring in the Kootenays, where I grew up. Except that it usually started around Apr. 30th (roughly). We planted the tough stuff after Victoria Day, but the tomatoes had to wait til mid-June. Spring come earlier down here (Lower Mainland) where I live now, but it keeps changing its mind (2 degrees C. here last night)!
Joene is right - the sixth thing should be boots covered in mud!

cherry said...

Thanks for the giggles this morning ..lol
hugs, Cherry

debsgarden said...

Hooray for signs of spring! I'm smiling and laughing with you. I am glad you are coming out of the deep freeze. I can't wait to see what spring and summer look like in Alaska!

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

Dang. It looks a lot like February in Oklahoma on a snowy year. Yuck. Sorry. Hope your ephemeral flowers begin to bloom. Fingers crossed.~~Dee

Town Mouse said...

Oh, we never know what season it is around here. It feels like spring in October, when the rains start (we hope) and things get green. In November - February we suddenly get frost, bird baths might freeze solid overnight, and it's cloudy a lot. Or not. In March we have a second spring as the wildflowers come up. But really, for us, rainy season, wildflower season, and dry season make a lot more sense.

Chandramouli S said...

That was a cute post, so to say. I hope you get rid of all that soon and greenery covers the land soon.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

This was an interesting post. I guess all sorts of things end up covered in snow, mostly the gross stuff. Hope you'll be seeing lots of green soon!

Kate said...

What a fun post! Glad to see your sense of humor shines through even when the sun won't cooperate. Not an Alaskan but here's a number 6 from my neck of the woods: my home turning into a lakeside retreat. With the rapid melt - 6 feet of snow went bye bye this weekend - my gardens are treading water! :0

Barbara said...

I agree with my fellow Minnesotan commenter - spring there is similar to yours. Spring where I live now, Germany, is characterized by completely erratic weather, especially in April. Yesterday we had sunshine, sleet, black clouds, hail, a rainbow and strong winds, all on one day, with temperatures varying between 12 and 5 degrees C withing a few hours. There's a saying in German that April will do whatever it feels like, so true.
That was a fun blog post.

Ross said...

How contrary we can be - I am desperate for Winter and cooler weather. I need the respite from this heat, and I'd do anything to find some snow - even dirty and brown.

Lynn from Sin City to Slaterville said...

Wow! That's a long time to wait for spring. Sounds like Ithaca in late Feb, except for the Moose doo. We discovered just how much a Beagle can poop over a snowy winter (and we'd even attempted to clean up when we could see it). He was great at hitting plants, and now I'm still discovering them :| Hope that sun keeps shining for you!

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