Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Stars are Disappearing...And Other Signs of Summer

Panorama view of the Kenai Mountains from our home on a sunny May day

It is 57 degrees and sunny on May 1, no sign of snow, and I'm inside blogging about it? I hope to make some of you jealous! I'm almost prepared to call this the winter that didn't happen. I want to call this summer, not spring, though some part of me is thinking it is quite wrong to plant my outdoor garden in early May. Usually the snow is so deep at this time of year I have to dig out the gate to get to my greenhouse. Instead I'm going to be tilling my garden this weekend and I'm wondering why I don't just plant while I'm at it?! Of course, this all bodes ill for the planet: if it is this hot in Alaska in early May, it means permafrost is melting, glaciers are melting and our entire planet is facing some risk because of what is happening here.

How we know summer is coming (even if it feels like it has arrived, this year)
  • At some point in March, it begins to be quite noticeable how light it is out during the day. By mid-April I actually started appreciating the blackout blinds in the bedroom. Today the sun will set at 10 p.m. In the morning if I'm not running about by 7 a.m. it feels like I'm a slacker because the sunlight makes it feel like mid-day already!
  • With a skylight in the bathroom, the nightlight is off for 6 months till October. 
  • It's not really ever getting dark at night right now.  It is kind of dim-ish, but the sky is always a bit light and fewer and fewer stars are visible each night it seems. Soon they will be gone for the summer. I will miss them.
  • Sandhill cranes go honking  ovehead regularly, though I notice them most at bedtime and we open the windows and we hear pairs and flocks honk over one way, then honk over another direction.
  • The bird chirps in the mornings are prolific! It is insanely noisy in our yard in the morning as I head to work (across my driveway to the cabin).
  • My perennial flowerbed is up and I have flowers blooming already (unheard of!)! The rhubarb is already leafing out! With this insanely warm, sunny weather, plants are easily a month ahead of schedule. Leaves are popping on the trees. Besides last Friday, we have gone something crazy like 2 months without any precipitation, with many days being gloriously sunny like the one pictured above.
  • On the Spit the lupine are edging out of the gravel along the Spit Trail. Can't wait to see their glorious blooms again! Hoping the ones I planted in my flowerbed make it!
  • Kids don't want to stay in school. If it was cold, rainy and snow was on the ground, kids would have no problem staying in school. But with this weather, we ALL want to be out playing!!
  • My kids already have that "glow" that I have dubbed the "Alaskan glow." When folks are out in the sun so much in the summer they "glow," their skin looking rosy and red and tanned all at the same time. Usually my kids don't have that look till sometime in June. This year they had that look mid-April, but I really noticed it yesterday as they were standing next to each other (10 pm, no lights on in the house, but it was plenty bright!) and I realized it wasn't even May 1 yet!
Luckily my college classes end Monday so I will have a tad more freedom to start enjoying our early summer! I can't wait!! Stay posted for fresh adventures beyond Homer!


Audrey Welborn said...

Just thought you would like to know we have had one of the worst winters here in Virginia and the entire east coast and upper midwest. I love snow so I was thrilled, but everything here is blooming later, usually I already have my garden planted, but this year have had too many late freezes. We even had snow last day of March into April. I read an article the seals along the northern coast of Alaska couldn't get thru the 16' of ice along the shore for the Polar Bears to eat as they came out of hibernation, so the bears had to move further south. Enjoy your weather!!!

Michelle Waclawski said...

Yes, I heard about your terrible winter as I have relatives that live in Virginia. I think it is ironic how we had our mildest winter in a long time and the midwest/east had a very hard winter!