In Fairbanks, the sun rose this morning at 4:09 and will set 19 hours and 19 minutes later at 11:28 this evening. It won’t really get dark in North Pole, but I’m not in North Pole today. I’m in Ithaca, New York where the sun rose at 5:40 this morning and will set at 8:25 this evening. If it’s clear tonight (against the odds) I’ll be able to see the stars, because it gets dark at night while staying warm. After 50 years in the Fairbanks area, that’s a novelty.
Back home it’s still freezing nights, though it’s warming up quite a lot in the day time. I’d hoped to have the mints planted before I left, or at least leave them out hardening, which I’d certainly be doing most of the years I’ve been here. This year I decided to leave all of the herb plants indoors. I hope my plant sitter waters them correctly! It has finally warmed up. At not quite 8 am in North Pole, it’s 27 degrees F.
Here in Ithaca, it’s 72 degrees, trees are green, and flowers are blooming or even past. Some photos I took this morning:
Lilacs toward the end of blooming, this morning in Ithaca
Normally, I’d have the mints, among the cold-hardiest of the annuals I grow, in the ground by now. This year I’ve barely been able to start hardening them, and the ground certainly is not diggable. Yes, that’s the remains of last October’s snow behind them. Yes, I know mints are perennials. Most aren’t here. The lone exception is what I call Alaskan mint (though it’s not native) which has flowers at the leaf axils instead of terminally. But I like to have as many kinds of mint as possible, and that means buy the plants early, while selections are good.
I miss the strawberry mint, though. It was my favorite last year, but this year it seems unavailable.
It’s not been the coldest spring on record, but it’s about the coldest I remember. Yes, there is a little grass showing, where there are trees, shrubs or buildings to absorb the sunlight and radiate the heat back to the snow. Yes, the snow stake in the back yard says the snow pack is finally going down by several inches a day. It may even be bare by afternoon. (Vain hope. As of 11 pm it’s down to 3″ and the temperature’s 26°F.) The fact remains that in most years I would be raking leaves out of the perennial beds and hardening the mints by now, maybe even leaving them out at night. This year there’s still so much snow I only got to the tables I use for hardening yesterday!
It is still getting lighter. The days are increasing by 7 minutes a day, and by the middle of the week we will no longer have civil twilight – the sun will never go more than 6 ° below the horizon. Legally, we could drive all night without turning on our headlights. Not that night is very long. The sun rose this morning at 4:33, and it will set 18 hours and 30 minutes later at 11:04. By the end of the month it will be setting after midnight. (It already is, in Nome, thanks to the rather screwy definition of Alaska Standard Time.) But at least it’s warming up, though we had some snow flurries last night.
The Farmers’ Market isn’t actually open yet, but the vendors had a cleanup last Saturday. The picture is of the vendors’ parking lot. They are trying to pump out the water, but I suspect it will still be pretty wet when the market opens.
And if I needed any more doubts about my sanity, after just finishing the A to Z challenge I’ve signed up for the 2013 Blogathon. Expect some short bits about my experience with self publishing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Taken yesterday afternoon in my back yard.
This is getting somewhat ridiculous. The sun rose this morning at 4:58 am, it won’t set until 10:39 tonight, the day is 17 hours 41 minutes long and gaining 7 minutes a day, and we still have a foot and a half of snow on the ground! It’s warming up a little in the daytime, but only to the high 30’s or low 40’s, and we’re still getting snow flurries and hard frosts at night. The white ice on my subdivision road has collapsed (which means frozen in ruts) to my driveway, but it’s still there.
I’m going to be editing the next couple of months, plus selling my books at the Farmers’ Market, attending my 50th college reunion and visiting out of state, attending a Writers’ Conference, and trying to get my garden in (assuming the snow ever melts), so I’m going to reduce the regular blogging to four days a week: weather Monday, quotation context Wednesday, Jarn’s Journal Friday and Weekend Warriors snippets Sunday. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will be open unless I have something special, like the book review for the Pride and Prejudice bicentennial tomorrow. I’m also hoping to experiment with getting Horse Power on CreateSpace so I’ll have it for the Market. I might have to expand it by adding a couple of the riding scenes from Homecoming and Tourist Trap.
At least it’s getting light. I went to a Judy Collins concert last night,at 7 pm, and drove home in sunlight at 10 pm. Civil twilight now starts after midnight.
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I remember a year when the first faint traces of tree-leaf green were visible by the beginning of May. Not this year! The snow stake still shows a foot and a half of last winter’s snow. We’ve had just enough thawing that the white ice on my road is getting rutted 6” deep on warm days, and then freezing solid at night. I tried to shovel a path to the plant trays Saturday, and the snow was like concrete. At least the paved roads are dry.
There are signs of spring. The birch tree visible out the north window of my office now has bare ground at its base, thanks to the dropped seeds and wild rose bushes absorbing the sunlight. The snow is dripping off the roof. I’m generally driving with shoes on, rather than boots (thought the boots are still in the car.) And the sun is definitely back
Sunrise this morning was at 5:23 and the sun will set 16 hours and 52 minutes later at 10:15 this evening. It’s now almost 40° above the horizon at noon. But we no longer have nautical night (the sun never goes more that 12° below the horizon) and civil twilight lasts until half an hour before midnight. Star gazing? It barely gets dark enough for that.
I don’t know if we’ll set a record low temperature for the month (probably not, though I’ll be checking) but I can say that temperatures have not been at or above normal since the first three days of May. Where’s spring?
P.s. added 3:50 pm: Probably the third coldest April, we set a new record low of 2 below last night, and it was snowing shortly after noon today.
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The sun rose this morning at 5:49, long before I did, and will set over 16 hours later at 9:52 this evening. It’s only 3 more days until we lose astronomical twilight, and the sun never dips more than 12° below the horizon.
The last of last year’s local carrots. They’re a good inch through, but so tender I can eat them whole.
It’s finally warmed up and started to feel like spring, or as much as it can with over 20” of snow still on the ground. But we have icicles and puddles, and the birch tree outside my north window is surrounded by seeds dropped onto the snow. Natural selection in action: birch trees that hold on to their seeds until they can drop them on the snow have the snow melt faster around them, which in turn means the soil warms faster. Smart birches!
There are more signs of spring. The Farmers’ Market is taking applications for vendors, and the first market is scheduled for May 11, though of course the first week or two will be mostly handicrafts, not produce! Even garden starts are likely to wait until it warms up a little more. I’m thinking of trying Horse Power in CreateSpace, both to learn what’s involved and to have it to sell this summer at the market.
It will likely be well into July before carrots show up, though, and I’m eating the last of last year’s, bought at the Christmas Bazaar put on by the market. I don’t know how they got them to keep that long, as they must have been harvested in September at the latest. I’ve just kept them in the refrigerator, and they are still crisp and far sweeter than any I can buy at the supermarket. Alaska grows really good carrots; it’s too bad our season is so short.
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The top foot of my 3′ snow stake as of 7 am 4/15/13
The sun rose this morning at 6:14 and will set, after 15 hours and 15 minutes, at 9:29 this evening. We’re still gaining about 6 minutes 50 seconds a day, but it doesn’t feel like spring. We’ve had hardly a thawing day this week until yesterday, but the forecast suggests a little warming this week. That means highs in the low 30’s for the most part, with chances of snow. The snow stake says we still have two feet of snow on the ground.
I tried to take a picture last night about 9, but there was too much reflection in the window. I’ll try again this morning, since I have to get up early to make my OLLI classes—no less than three tomorrow. One on Feet, Teeth, Ears and Eyes for us old folks (tomorrow’s ears) at 9 am, one on Oceanic Deep Water Formation at 1 pm, and one on Alaskan Authors at 2:45. Tomorrow’s Your Inner Fish at 10:45; Thursday is Genealogy for two hours in the morning, and Friday is Beringia (the land area that included Alaska, Eastern Siberia, and the dry land that is now the Bering Sea when sea levels were lower during the Ice ages) at 10:45 am. And my Q post, the only one not written for the A to Z Challenge, needs to be written before Friday. Busy week!
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The sun rose at 6:40 this morning, and it won’t set until 9:07 this afternoon. The season of light is certainly here, with 14 hours 27 minutes of daylight. In compensation, we have lost astronomical night: the sun never goes more than 18° below the horizon.
I can’t really say that spring weather is here; the forecast lows are still barely above 0° F and the forecast suggests no thawing, at least in the first part of the week. It was snowing yesterday, enough that I had to scrape the car windows, and to put a slick layer of new snow on the previously dry pavement. Still, I can hope. The weather report suggests a rather unstable (hard to forecast) situation, so it might be warmer – or colder – than the forecasts are saying. I hope it’s warmer; I’m tired of winter, pretty as it is. The snow is still more than 20” deep.
A little melting has started where the snow faces south, as you can see on the south (left) side of the snow covering the berm Friday.
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The sun rose at 7:06 this morning, and it won’t set for 13 hours 39 minutes, at 8:45 this evening. It was 45°F Friday and the streets were wet (and slippery.) We also set a new March record Thursday for the widest daily temperature range: 24 below to 31 above, a warming of 56°F. Spring may really be on the way!
“Singing in Unison” as it appeared March 31.
The forecasts are calling for more snow now and then, though not much, and with highs forecast for the 30’s I don’t expect much accumulation. The 22” on the ground might even melt a little.
I got out to the ice park one last time Saturday (it closes Sunday) and tried to photograph the effects of the warming weather. I didn’t get much, as I had inadvertently set the camera to video. I had to use iMovie and a screen grabber to get the photo to the right. Some of the sculptures have lost their more delicate parts, though most still look surprisingly good for the end of March. The ones out in the open sun, though, have turned from the clear “Alaska Diamond” ice to milky, as the sun has melted the internal grain boundaries of the ice.
The sun rose this morning at 7:31, and will set after 12 hours and 52 minutes, at 8:24 this evening. We’re gaining 6 minutes 44 seconds a day, and the sun on the snow near noon is blinding. I regret to say that while it may be spring officially, there is no melting in sight here. For the ice park, this in wonderful. I personally am a little tired of almost 2’ of snow still on the ground, with more snow today. (It was snowing when I went to bed last night, and by 8 this morning we’d accumulated another 3″.) Still nothing like I hear the middle of the lower 48 is getting, though the south coast of Alaska is scheduled for a foot or more.
Speaking of the ice park, I went through the Youth division Friday. This division is for artists through 18 years of age. I’d say they did a pretty good job.
Fuego, 1st place Youth division. Artists Josh Lundy and Anand
Stargate, 2nd Place Youth division. Artist Tane Timling.
Cygnus Olor, 3rd place Youth Division. Artists Joe Plett and Jed Hall.