Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Five ways to know it’s winter in Alaska

Other than lots of snow and cold, yeah.  My springtime version of this list was such fun, I couldn’t resist trotting this idea out once again.  Whiny excuse alert: Though my post idea isn’t thought provoking, witty, useful, or original…in my defense I’m closing on my house of ten years tomorrow, I’ve been cleaning said house all day, and my dinosaur of a computer is acting up at my temporary, one-bedroom apartment housing.  Four of us are living there together.  Cozy! 

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1.  The only vehicles on the road busier than the snowplows are the tow trucks (see number 3).  Scads of medium-sized snowplows, great big snowplows, and itty bitty snowplows in evidence today.  Those last mentioned are called “snow blowers” and can be used to clear driveways.  No such luck, we have a shovel.

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2.  Cars have a marshmallow-like covering in the mornings.  It’s a courtesy to scrape it off before you hop on the freeway, so it doesn’t blow off into the car behind you, obscuring their view.  At least scrape the windshield clean…you’d be surprised at how many don’t even get that part done.

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3.  Traffic is slow because people are rubbernecking at all the cars in the ditch.  I saw a dozen today, four within about 100 feet, amazingly none had hit any of the others.  Two upside down and one balanced perfectly on it’s side.  My city’s motto isn’t “Big Wild Life” for nothing.

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4.  Everyone looks about forty pounds heavier with all the puffer coats, big boots, hats, and gloves.  No, it’s not a good thing but it’s warm and sensible and what choice do we have?  At least boots are fashionable these days….

5.  You won’t see or speak to your neighbor for the next five months.  A former neighbor was expecting, gave birth, and had a boy in a stroller in spring.  I said, “And who is this little critter with your son, X?”  “Oh, that’s my son Y, he’s four months old.”  Yes, an embarrassing little episode in the life of the Last Frontier Gardener.  I had no idea because it all occurred during the winter.  No, we don’t linger outside and visit.  A quick dash to the mailbox or grudging bout of shoveling about covers it.

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Don’t worry.  Twenty years experience driving in this mess served me well today.  Only one close (very close) call with a blue minivan.  She had a cell phone and was drifting into my lane (and my car).  A friendly little toot with the horn took care of that.

Is it winter?  How do you know it’s winter where you live?


  1. Crikey and I though it was bad enough round us with pourng rain for a day and a half!

  2. I would not be able to handle all of that snow. It's pretty to look at though. The way we know it's winter down here is when all the 'snow birds' (tourists) flock to our state.

    Hope you find a lovely home that you'll enjoy, that has space for more wonderful, colorful gardens.


  3. Don't you just love how everyone forgets how to drive on snow over the summer? Nothing like driving in the slow lane and honking as you pass the trucks in the ditch that just passed you going 70.

  4. Is it winter? It rains. We light the fire late afternoon. Our weather-man is curled up in my chair - Well you don't need it - you're blogging!

    Waiting to see your new home, and that future garden, in the spring.

  5. The sky is cloud covered all day and the winds off of Lake Erie dumps a foot of snow. jim

  6. Oh, so sad to see the upturned cars. It will be here in Buffalo soon enough. The driver's always forget how to drive on slick roads every year. The first snow has cars littering the shoulders of the roads, the drivers on cell phones begging to be rescued.

  7. ha ha! Your last point was hilarious. I'm guilty of leaving a marshmallow top on my suv sometimes. I always feel bad and know I should be more considerate. Thanks for the reminder - I'll be a good citizen this winter.

  8. I decided to post mine on our site: http://pqandmb.blogspot.com/2010/11/winter.html

  9. We were about to be thrown into winter without the full fall but an Indian lassoed us and dragged us back into Summer. A few days of 70F weather before winter returns. I am not complaining. We have yet to have our fall rains. WHINE~~

  10. I think I would have had to be born there to survive the winters. What do you do in the winter to keep from going bonkers? LOL!You are a touch cookie. And I thought I got tired of our winters.
    Good luck on your closing and new home.

  11. Wow. Scary. I know it's winter if I keep stoking a fire in the woodstove every a.m. I say scary 'cause "Bear" is thinking about applying for a job WAY way WAY out in Alaska, that would make Anchorage look balmy, and I'm a California girl. I thought of you and your gardening and wondered what in the world one grows in the arctic circle!

  12. I can't tell you how hard I laughed at #5...not seeing your neighbors for five months (only three months here in WI).

    It's been a while since I've visited your blog, but I see that you're as funny as ever.


  13. Dear Christine, You have given me a taste of what we have to look forward to in our mountains ... but for FIVE MONTHS! No, no, no. Again (you must be tired of hearing it) how do you do it? Hope you get into your new home soon. Stay warm and safe. Pam x

  14. Your post made me laugh and reminded me once again of growing up in Minnesota. Another sure sign of winter there is that everyone starts checking their jumper cable supply, and girls start wearing pants under their skirts to school. Well maybe that's changed now - back when I was in school the dress code wasn't even relaxed in winter.

  15. Can't help but want to follow your blog. It is like a cliff-hanger episode on a TV show. Will she or won't she get a house with the perfect garden space...? I do wish you "blue birds in the spring, a cosy fire to keep you warm", and most of all, I wish you land, lots of land to garden on. :-)


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