Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer arrives in Interior Alaska

Finally, it is the time of year I live for; summer. Most locals I talk to agree that a Fairbanks summer is defined as the period of time when the Birch leaves are green. We had "green up" about two weeks ago; that week where the hills and woods go from brown to spring green over the course of the week, or in some cases during a single afternoon. June and July give us our hottest, sunniest and longest days. By August, the temperatures are cooling off, the nights are growing dark, patches of gold leaves are spotted and in low lying areas, frost is pretty much inevitable. 

When my husband and I first met, oh so long ago, he commented on my extensive summer wardrobe. I replied in complete sincerity, that "summer was my favorite month." And it is. My favorite summer's are more like two and a half months. Then of course spring is usually a couple weeks here, and I need not go on. 

At first sight, you would think me presently sunburned - but really I'm just getting going on my summer glow. The kids are also pink. They've been playing "cave men" lately, which entails running around outside in nothing more than shorts - sometimes as early as nine a.m., when it is still pretty cool. They are sporting a large number of bruises, scratches, scrapes, bug bites and they've already had numerous run ins with splinters and rose bush prickles. 

Our nights are no longer getting dark, but rather are dusky from about midnight till three or so. Most of us sleep fine. Although the rooster has been making a lot of racket starting at 4 a.m. Today, I wised up and closed him inside the coop so at least he will be muffled by the walls. We've been sleeping with the upstairs windows open, which face the coop. So the entire morning is filled with bird calls, chicks peeping downstairs, overlayed with the lovely robin melodies which are rudely punctuated and overwhelmed by rooster crows. 

The woods are spring green. The air sweet and moist. I recall thinking last year at this time that listening to the mating calls of the thrush was my favorite part of early summer. I guess I don't think I can chose a favorite this year. Feasting my deprived eyes on all the green life springing up around me and inhaling the sweet sweet air are two things that I don't ever think I can get my fill of. 

I'm in love with everything right now; my home, our woods, the view, the does and their kids, the goose with her goslings, my garden, working in the soil, and above all, spending my days outside with my children. Rosie was due to hatch her eggs last week. The time came and went and she continued to diligently sit. In fear that we'd have a depressed goose sitting on rotten eggs, I had my husband bring home two, just hatched goslings from the feed store. I carried them tucked in my shirt and sneakily stuck them under Rosie. She took to them right away. I snuck her eggs out from under her and decided to have a look in a dark room with the flashlight. All of them were fertile and only one was definitely bad. I couldn't see movement but they looked like they just needed a few more days. Oops. Lesson: Before paying eighteen dollars a piece for goslings from the feed store, first candle eggs to be sure they aren't going to hatch. As she should have, she abandoned her eggs and is a very proud mama, caring for her two goslings. I thought about putting her eggs in the incubator for a week, but it is just more trouble than it's worth. Lesson learned.

The garden is coming along nicely. Most of the direct seeding is done. I started planting starts just the last couple days after lots of bed prepping. I've been checking the weather forecast twice daily, as it changes so fast. More than worrying about cold night temperatures, I was waiting for clouds and rain in the forecast for several days, so the starts won't just bake in merciless sun. It seems like every year, for the end of May and most of June we get warm sunny days and hardly a drop of rain. Even the heat loving plants get stressed with all the non stop sun. So, this year I'm really trying to take advantage of overcast rainy days for planting. So far onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and squash are transplanted, the later under shade cloth and clear plastic. Peas, scallions and beets are coming up. Carrots, radishes, greens, kohlrabi, and turnips are seeded. I need to buy and plant seed potatoes soon. Such and exciting busy time of year. I wish I had pictures to share. I'm going to take the camera on the rounds with me this next week, upload pictures and then hopefully that will motivate me to fix my blogger photo hangup. Well, best wishes to you all wherever you are at in your spring-slash-summer.


Buttons said...

Oh Emily I can feel your happiness I love when Spring makes everything seem so wonderful.
Enjoy your time Emily you work hard for it.
It is hot here most days we are worried about drought not good if you have cattle like we do. Take care and enjoy your warmth and sleeping with the window open. I love that the most I think. B

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful, isn't it? Looks like we won't be able to get chickens this year at the new place but we're looking at next year. I've got my few transplants (peppers and tomatoes-our current place is up in the hills) but thought I could do most of my stuff from seed. It's taking everything but the radishes FOREVER to germinate! I may go pin some black plastic over the beds today to try and trap in someheat and speed things up.

What kind of potatoes are y'all going to be planting?

Emily said...

I don't know what I'd do without using plastic row covers to trap heat and humidity for seed germination. Potatoes, we are planting french fingerlings, sweedish peanuts, an assortment of red potatoes and Yukon golds- my favorite and my main all purpose potato. best wishes for your garden.

Reasonable Season (Me) said...

This was so beautifully written. (I felt like I was walking around your world!) I'm sorry to learn about the lost eggs/goslings, though.

I hope you enjoy every lovely bit of summer!