Sunrise will be at 8:03 this morning, sunset at 7:16 this evening for 11 hours 12 minutes of daylight. Yes, sunrise is now after blog posting time. We’re losing 6 minutes and 38 seconds a day,  and the sun never gets more than 21 ½ ° above the horizon. We’re actually getting a little closer to the sun each day, but it’s a pretty slight difference—about a tenth of a kilometer. The tilt of the axis dominates, however—it’s freezing just about every night, now, and some parts of Alaska have had snow. Barrow, the northernmost part of the state, has 3” on the ground. Even Fairbanks has had a trace, though it hasn’t stuck.

Most of the native hardwoods are bare, and even the exotics are barely holding their dying leaves. A few of the hardiest plants such as mints and pansies  are still going strong, but most of the garden is dead.

It’s still between 40 and 50°F in the daytime, though that could end any time. Once we have our first real snow, chances are that the brighter surface will reflect away enough sunlight to keep temperatures below freezing. When will the winter snow cover start? I’ve seen it as early as late September and as late as early November, but any substantial snowfall from now on will probably still be on the ground in March. At this point the forecasts for the next week have some chances of snow, but that’s all. Maybe I’ll have time to get the yard cleaned up before freezeup.