Termination Dust

Termination dust? What is that? Well, it is our lovely Alaskan term for the white capped mountains in the fall. It means the termination of our lovely summer is finally here, and the dusting of our first snow falls are starting to come down the mountains, hence “termination dust”.  It is really a quite gorgeous time of year as the trees are starting to turn gold and brown the mountain tops are starting to turn white.And we wait in high anticipation of the, hopefully, beautiful white winter. Our first snowfall came earlier than usual this year, not that most of us are complaining! We were lucky enough for it to freeze and stay cold instead of getting warm and have the first snow melt. This is not a good thing for Alaskan winters, the first snow melting that is. We are very glad because it will create a good “base” as we call it. So when we get more snow the bottom layer will be frozen, making a solid layer for snow machining! The last few winters we have had, and by few I mean like six or seven, have been very unfortunate when it comes to our snowfall levels. Our base has not been created well which means that the snow machining hasn’t been quite as good. The snowfall has been very minimal, which also means the snow machining hasn’t been good. It’s really unfortunate when you become an adult and can afford to buy your own snowmachine and have to load it up on a trailer and drive three hours to ride it, versus when you were a child you could just open up the garage and go right out your backyard and take off on the Snowmachine. I have high hopes this year! Another winter activity that Alaskans are getting excited about is snowboarding and skiing, and well of course sledding too! Personally I am not a coordinated enough individual to be skiing or snowboarding, but count me in for some sledding. Rumor has it that they will be putting in a new ski resort at the nearest go-to skiing and snowboarding location, Hatchers Pass. The next closest that people can go to is in Anchorage called hilltop ski resort, and the best one in the state is called Alyeska ski resort. Anchorage is about a 60 minute drive from my hometown Wasilla, and Girdwood is about a 2 hour drive. Personally, my husband and I prefer to go snow machining though, as I have mentioned many times in this post. It is truly a gorgeous time of year, and I have two favorite times of the year.. when we are in the middle of summer and all the trees are bloomed, the lilac bushes are full of their vibrant colors, the trails are just enough ridden on that you know the good and bad places to ride your four wheeler for the season before they get too destroyed. And the other time of year is when we get our very very first snowfall of the season! As much as I enjoy every snowfall throughout the entire winter, the way that it makes the trees pop and the glistening when the snow twinkles in the sunlight, but the first snowfall is unbeatable. These are two photos only a few days apart of a little pond on the railroad tracks on my drive to work. One is before the first snowfall, the other is after. And notice, the hoot with the snow you can’t see the mountains in the background because of all the snowfall coming down. Waking up and looking out the window that first morning and seeing the snow covering the ground and then measuring it while I was at work to find that it was a 5 1/2 inch deep snowfall! I was quite blown away, I think this was probably as much snow as we got in the entire winter last year…  Which is awfully sad, considering that we live in Alaska. But unfortunately our winters just haven’t been with that used to be, but experts say were supposed to have a record year! So cheers to a good snow year, a Happy Halloween, a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Autumn in Alaska-Literally

Hello everyone! Thank you for joining me again. Let’s talk about Autumn in Alaska. Now, in this article there are three meanings behind that title. The first meaning is myself, which you already know. My name is Autumn, and I live in Alaska! The second meaning is the title of blog, Autumn in Alaska; which again, you already know. The third is for this specific article, where we will be talking about the beautiful season of autumn in, you guessed it, Alaska! Alaska is approximately 663,000 square miles, and is about one-fifth the size of the entire “lower 48s”. Now that is a term I’m sure most of you haven’t heard. That is what us Alaskans call the continental US, since there are 48 of you down there. Since Alaska is so large our climate changes drastically from the northern, to central and southern Alaska. Where I live is called south-central Alaska. Our autumn, or fall, begins in August and goes until the end of October sometimes even into November. Come August our nights start to get a little cooler, our sun starts to disappear quicker, the rain starts to fall and we know it is coming. The biggest sign for Alaskans that remind us that fall is just around the corner is our Alaska State Fair, which is at the end of August. When the fair is in full swing we can all rest assured that mittens are being worn, hats are on our heads and there is a nip in the air. The trees have started to turn colors and by the end of August they have begun falling. The lush green trees have now turned golden yellow, some have hints of reds and browns. The wind will start to blow a lot this time of year, which will help blow those leaves off the trees and usually into the most unwanted places. Places such as your roof, porch, yard…. Where you will now have to rake it all up. Can’t it just rake itself? Luckily I have a little brother who I can pay $20 to come over and rake my leaves for me, thanks mom! The next best part of fall is Halloween! You are never too old to enjoy Halloween. Every year my husband and I will carve a few pumpkins, and roast up the pumpkin seeds afterwards. It sure is a lot of work but mm, they are tasty! Have you ever tried it? Maybe I’ll have to write a blog with my favorite recipes for home-made roasted pumpkin seeds. You’ll be glad I did! Continuing on about fall in Alaska, it’s also the time of year we notice a little bit more animal activity. You’ll see the birds beginning to migrate, the moose and their calves looking for a good area to spend their winter, though usually the same as the last. My mother-in-law will sprinkle her driveway daily with bird seed and watch the migrating birds flock in and feed. There are hundreds of them! She has been doing this for years and I believe it has become a migratory pattern for the birds, as I put seed out and don’t get a single one. It sure makes me jealous. The moose will usually return with their new calves to the same area they spent the previous winter, so once fall comes we begin to notice their presence much more. Again, my mother-in-laws home has a beautiful custom built pond where the moose will go to drink water. This has become their “migratory pattern”, for lack of better words. Each year is the same, but oh so different. This year for example, I attended an annual fall festival at a local farm where in Palmer, Alaska called the Reindeer Farm. Yes, they have reindeer. They also have elk! Each year at their fall festival they have live music, reindeer feeding, wagon rides, a hay maze and much more. This year while walking through with my co-workers we noticed that one of the elk had small calf, this calf seemed to be a newborn as it was still wet and the mother seemed to be licking off the afterbirth. As we approached the newborn was lying on the ground and then began to rise, his little legs wobbled back and forth as if this was his first time on them. It was the most precious thing! He then immediately went underneath his mom to feed.Since moose, elk, reindeer and well, most all species of wildlife will have their young in the spring, it was very strange to see a newborn calf this time of year. You can see in this photo below the comparison to the young elk born this spring. I hope that the farm takes good care of him through the winter! Here is another great picture of the male elk, known as a bull. I feel lucky to get the chance to experience this lifestyle. As much as I dread losing our sun filled summer nights and the warmth of rays, I can’t describe the feeling of Autumn in Alaska enough. The crisp breeze that kisses your nose and cheeks as you walk outside, that fresh smell in the air. It is simply amazing, and I am lucky to experience it.

Welcome!

Hello Internet,Welcome to Autumn in Alaska! If you hadn’t gathered, my name is Autumn. This is my first post and I am honored if you are reading it. Let me start by telling you a bit about myself and my state. I was born and raised in Alaska, the most beautiful state in our lovely US of A! If you haven’t been here, I highly recommend you change that. The time of year that you come is highly dependent on your choice of extracurricular activities. Do you enjoy to be out in the sunshine, listening to the birds chirp and breathing in clean summer air? Possibly seeing some incredible wild life like moose, or bear? Or maybe even going out on a glacier cruise to see and actively caving glacier, hopefully some whales, walrus or seals? Then you had better join us sometime between the beginning of June to the middle of August. Be careful, it starts to get rainy here in August! Honestly though, our weather is crazy. One minute it is hot and sunny and the next it is raining and doesn’t stop for a week. So good luck to you. Now, if you are the opposite type and prefer to ski, snowboard, or snowmachine (or how they say in the states-snowmobile) then you would be fit to visit us between mid-December to the end of February. During our winter months you can still enjoy the sunshine but for very limited hours per day, you can still enjoy some birds chirping and get to smell a different smell in the air, a crisp cold scent that you only smell in the fall and winter. I love the smell in the air at that time of year, it is one of my favorite scents! We have one large ski resort here called Alyeska. It is located in a town called Girdwood, the cutest little hippie town. Fun fact, it borders the northern most rainforest in the world. The tress are unbelievably amazing! If you like to snowmachine you have quite a variety of places to go, all are quite a drive but well worth it. One of our favorite places to go that is close to home is called Petersville. We can ride a ways to a little lodge restaurant to warm up and have a bite to eat. It is quite lovely! I figure most people would prefer to see us during the “pretty” summer months. But honestly, nothing beats the twinkling of the fresh snow fall on tree branches and the sparkling frost on your car window when you have to go start it before work at 7 am. It is truly an amazing place to live! So on with where I started. I am lucky to be married to a handsome, loving, caring man named Brendan. He works on what we call “the slope”. This would be the north slope oil fields. We can save that for another post at a later date. We have one gorgeous child, her name is Cabella. She was a rescue that a dear friend of ours found abandoned on the side of the road in a town called Big Lake, a very small town about 60 miles north of our largest town, Anchorage. Did I forget to mention our child is an American bulldog boxer mix fur baby? Oops, sorry about that! (Haha) Anyways, we are absolutely blessed to have her in our lives and are thankful that my husbands friend delivered her to us. This gentleman was named Rye. He was one of my husbands closest friends growing up, they went to school together, played hockey together, as well as many other extracurriculars. Our entire community unfortunately lost Rye this past August but Brendan and I are lucky enough to have a very dear connection to him through our dog Cabella. She reminds us of him and his kind heart everyday. Thank you Rye, we love and miss you dearly! Our beautiful fur baby is now 4 years old (as far as the vets determined) her birthday is in December and will be 5 years old! Currently she does not have any little brothers or sisters. Not of the furry decent or human, yet anyways… We do plan on having children and adding another furry child to our household but do not know when either will happen, so if you enjoyed this post please stay tuned for more! I think that is plenty for now, thanks for reading and I hope you come back again soon. 

-xoxo, Autumn