Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Monday, September 05, 2005

"Why is it that every time I think I know the answers, someone goes and changes the questions?" - Fox Mulder


I know that you folks that are sitting through 90+F weather, well, the last that you want to hear is how we're running a fire up here, because it froze the other night. You can see the reaction of my trees above. Click on it for a larger picture of the beauty that is fall (in my front yard) in Alaska.

We're loving it (not to gloat, too much). I love the cooler temperatures up here. You see, there is a limit to how much clothing I can take off in the summer and either:
  • remain in the bounds of civilized propriety, or
  • not get arrested for lewd exhibition.
As it gets colder, however, there is no limit to:
  • how much wood or junk mail I can put on the fire,
  • how many blankets I can put on the bed,
  • how much I can shiver to generate internal body heat, or
  • how much clothing I can put on to get warm.
Cold, I can handle. Hot, I'll pass on. If avoiding high temperature is your only criteria, then Fairbanks is a good bet for a place to live. When my ancestors thought kicking about England on spring break 793 A.D. from Viking College was a good idea (you can get the DVD - Vikings Gone Wild, for only $9.99), you can guess that one of them complained that England was just too hot.

Likewise, some Alaska residents complain about how hot Fairbanks is in the summer. When it's about 80 out, you can really hear people squeal about the heat. I've lived in places that were as hot and humid as a baboon's armpit, so 80 is fine with me.

The other change that comes with the approaching equinox is night. Last Sunday night was wonderful. I looked up at the sky, and for the first time in months I saw the stars, the Milky Way splashed across the sky. Would have been even nicer had I had my glasses on (darn this getting old thing), but as it was, it was marvelous. Aurora's been out, too.

The light is the sneaky part, because so much of the change in daylight duration occurs at night. There's a pretty consistent change of about 7 minutes a day, either gaining or losing daylight. After it's daylight at 11:30 pm, you pretty much miss on a lot of the daylight gain. Likewise, when it starts to get dark at 3:00 am, you miss that action, too.

Now, though, it's visible. You can feel the days getting shorter. When a day is 35 minutes or so shorter per week during the time you're awake, well, you tend to notice that. Soon, we'll hit winter, and then it'll be really short days. It's my theory that the time zone we're in up here is relatively meaningless, might as well toss us in on Pacific or Mountain time, since in winter or summer it doesn't matter when you get up, it's dark or light, respectively.

Above is a picture of some Taiga. Taiga is Rooshian for "little sticks," and it forms because (I assume) it's so damn cold that roots can't grow. Most of the time, Taiga is pretty ugly stuff. At this one time of the year, it's pretty. There's some sort of plant that turns red when it gets cold (not fireweed) that grows in the Taiga. Anyway, it's lovely. So, to answer the question, no, the Alaska state color isn't grey. Or, gray.

So, the colors are changing, the temperature is changing, and even the amount of light we get is changing. And, by that smell, The New Boy is in need of changing.


Blogger Woofwoof said...

That sure is unusual. I've never been in any place where daylight changes by 7 min per day, or the temperature changes by 7 deg per day. Here is California, things change so slowly that by the time it decides to get colder, it's already summer.

I noticed that you added that Weather Underground thing - surprising it's 53F at 9 pm in Fairbanks. I thought it'd be near freezing by now.

9:24 PM  
Blogger the Witch said...

Taigia is beautiful in your post photo - crazy ugly on the shelves at K-Mart. Mini-taigia with brush-bristle needles are a popular christmas decoration down here on the East Coast. Why? My guess - it' makes our local flora look better.

And yes, the first Christmas decorations will appear the day after the Halloween crap is cleared from the shelves.

Is Alaska spared our consumerism? It's hard to imagine a Target store spewing forth useless crap up there.

4:09 AM  
Blogger GoGo said...

Gray is a color.

Grey is a colour.

The internet says so!

Merry Christmas!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Garry Nixon said...

You can smell autumn here, in Britain, too. I love it.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could smell fall here - it needs to cool down faster!

Thomas Ostergard

7:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

It is a trip. By the time it's spring here, it's winter again. Buy, I get to mow. :)

Plus, Aurora tonight . . .

Yeah, flora in the east is thick. We do have useless crap here, but don't buy as much because it costs more. Have to save money for chainsaws. And beer. And, sometimes, good wine.

I know, I know. I wish they'd just pick one. Merry Christmas!

My favorite time of year . . . football, crisp nights, snow around the corner. Oh, and beer. Did I mention the beer?

Yes. I've been to Texas in winter. Like here in summer, but flatter. C'mon up to a *big* state. Econ rocks!

8:57 PM  

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