Warm Spring, Warm Borealis

Can’t believe I haven’t updated this blog since October 2016!  Winter was very busy with Christmas in Ice; we just finished wrapping up the ice storage for next year.

March was colder than normal until the 24th, and then temperatures took a jump up to the mid-50’s during the day and mid-20’s at night!  And pretty much stayed in that range.  Cooler days are around 40 F.  And the sun has been out a lot so the snow is melting very quickly from 3 feet deep to just below knee level.  Now the gardener in me is getting itchy!  I’m planning on getting some seeds planted in the arctic entry today (Sunday).   A little later than normal, but still plenty of growing time before temperatures will allow putting plants outdoors or in the greenhouse.  This year I’m going to try planting spinach seeds in the planters out front of the Atco (our home) and see when/if they sprout on their own.  Maybe even some peas down in front of mom’s house since the soil between the house and the snow ridge from the “roof droppings” is soft already.

Last night we had some borealis start up around midnight so I went out and took some pictures.  The moon is approaching full which tends to wash out the borealis colors somewhat.  The benefit, though, is the sky appears blue, and the trees cast shadows on the snow which makes for some different and very cool pictures.   So here are a few from last night, or technically this morning!   April 9th around 1:30to 2:00 am using shutter speeds of 3 and 2.5 seconds.  Enjoy!

This is facing east

moonlight trees and shadows on snow with borealis in the background

Snowscape under moonlight

Tilting the camera up a bit

Trees, snow and shadows in the moonlight with borealis in the background, higher in the sky

A higher view; less snow, more borealis

The moon may dim the borealis but cannot wash it out completely.

Trees with borealis in the background and moon to the right

Adding in the moon

Facing north.

building with snow on the roof reflecting moonligh and borealis in the background

the Atco (my home) with borealis behind it

North-NorthWest view.

borealis above the trees

Swirls in the sky

Meanwhile back in the east to slightly northeast…

trees, snow, shadows, borealis

Back to the eastern view

Sometimes you’re just not sure where you should point the camera; the sky just keeps changing.

building, vehicles and trees with borealis in background

North-northwest it just keeps changing

I noticed the moons reflection on a piece of glass leaning up against the house, and captured it in a few photos.  This is facing North-Northeast.

building with snow on roof, borealis in background and reflection of moon on a piece of glass

North with moon reflections

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More Borealis – day and night

I checked the camera at Poker Flats when I got up this morning, and there was borealis in the sky.  So I took the camera out around 7:00 am (Alaska time, of course) and got some really nice pictures – lots of purple in them!  Here are a few of them in vivid color.

North over the house

North over the house

Looks like purple rain

Northern curtain

Northern curtain

Overhead a corona

Corona, straight up

Corona, straight up

Rapidly shifting

Another corona

Another corona

Then this evening before 9:30 pm the show started again.  It’s just beginning and sadly I have work yet to do this evening, but again here are a few pictures to whet your whistle.  As the borealis rise up from the north you can see pink low in the trees.

Northern lights rising

Northern lights rising

Turning into a swirling set of multiple “curtain” formations

Swirling multiple curtain aurora

Swirling multiple curtain aurora

Expanding and merging

The swirl grows and spreads

The swirl grows and spreads

into a single giant curtain curl – a comma in the sky.

Ever expanding curled curtain aurora

Ever expanding curled curtain aurora

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Borealis Lite

We are forecasted to have our first nighttime temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit tonight.  Which is good for growing ice, and for making my fingers cold while photographing the borealis tonight.  It’s a bit on the pale side so I upped the exposure time to four seconds midway through my “session”.   Managed to get some nice pictures as it rose up out of the north, and caught the small corona before it petered out again.

Pronghorns in the north

Pronghorns in the north

Expanding…

horns are growing

horns are growing

Partial corona forming overhead

corona wing

corona wing

The borealis began a second rise

second rising in the north

second rising in the north

A different and small corona

circle corona overhead

circle corona overhead

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Borealis Sept 27

Just  a quick post to share some borealis pictures.  We had a small showing tonight, but nothing like two nights ago when the skies lit up.  Here are a few teasers.

Number 1

Swirl Spike Pink

Swirl Spike Pink

Number 2

Corona forming

Corona forming

Number 3

Giant swirls of color

Giant swirls of color

Enjoy!  We sure do.

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Seasons of the Fall

A quick update on the baby robins (yes, I know it’s been a long time since then).  I missed getting photos for two days, and by day three the fledglings had left the nest.  Mom saw them sleeping in the morning, but by afternoon they had flown the coop so to speak.  I’d swear I could hear them chirping in the willows.  So I guess next year we’ll see if a robin tries to nest in the same place, right next to the arctic entry door.

Now that we’re into September the skies are dark enough for the borealis to be seen, and September 3 did not disappoint.  Here are few of the many photos I took that night.  The solar winds were moving very fast, which is why some of the pictures look “fuzzy” – the camera just can’t keep up.  And that’s why seeing them in person is a whole different experience.  Have a wireless remote for the camera shutter is really great –  I can just point the camera where I want it, and then watch the show while I click the button.  Until I need to adjust the camera to a new direction.

So enjoy.   It’s borealis season.

Looking west over the garage roof

Borealis glow looking west over the garage roof

Borealis glow looking west over the garage roof

And the glow gets stronger…

Stronger borealis in the west over the garage roof

Stronger borealis in the west over the garage roof

And check out what’s happening in the east:

Borealis in the east, just "starting"

Borealis in the east, just “starting”

East is getting hotter…

Borealis in the east, heating up

Borealis in the east, heating up

Corona overhead

Coronas often take the shape of birds or wings

Coronas often take the shape of birds or wings

Looking north over the house

The borealis rising in the north over the roofline of the house

The borealis rising in the north over the roofline of the house

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Rainy days and Robins

It’s being another rainy summer, thanks to El Nino.  With just enough hot weather to make the radishes bolt!  As with last year, the tomatoes in the greenhouse don’t mind a bit; the plants are getting really big, and tomatoes the size of golf balls are on a number of them.  The lemon and slicing cucumbers are covered with blossoms, and the lemon cucumbers are starting to fill in nicely.  The sweet pepper plants have little tiny peppers forming, too!

tomatoes with cucumber leaves showing too

tomatoes with cucumber leaves showing too

We’ve already eaten several zuchinnis, the kohlrabi are starting to fatten up, the spinach is pretty much done for (yummy while it lasted) and the beets look to be doing well – I’ve been picking some of the greens and steaming them for lunches.  The flowers are all doing fantastic; I planted some schizanthus this year – aka “poor man’s orchid” – and they are blooming like crazy.

really pretty flowers

Poor Man’s Orchid – Schizanthus

The most fun thing so far this year is the robin that built a nest right outside Mom’s arctic entry door.  It flies off every time we go on the porch or open the door, but it doesn’t go far.  She laid two eggs in June,

Robin's eggs in the nest

Robin’s eggs in the nest

both hatched (probably on July 10; the picture is from July 11),

Baby birds, 2 days old

Baby birds, 2 days old

and I’ve been taking pictures almost every day.  Day 3, July 11:

Baby birds, three days old

Baby birds, three days old

They grow SO FAST!  The third egg is one I found and put in the nest; it didn’t hatch but it works great to show scale.  By day 6, July 14, they would wake up and holler for food anytime they heard a noise.  And they “bounce” up so it’s hard to get a picture that isn’t blurry!

Baby birds, day 6 - mouth open wide!

Baby birds, day 6 – mouth open wide!

By day 7 they were starting to grow wing feathers.  By day 9 they are starting to look like birds, feathering in nicely.  And their eyes are open!

baby birds day 9 - feathered

baby birds day 9 – feathered

On day 11, they look really cute – still some “hair feathers” sticking up on their heads like little ears.  And they sit still more often, if they’re full.

Baby birds, day 11 - very cute in a Three Stooges kind of way

Baby birds, day 11 – very cute in a Three Stooges kind of way

The mom seems to be feeding them well.  I can’t actually tell if it’s just one parent or two; robins all look alike to me.  LOL!  The last picture was from the 19th; I didn’t have a chance to take one yesterday.  Hopefully the light will be good enough today to take more photos.  I’m really enjoying watching them grow.

 

 

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Spring rains, sod and flowers

Oh look – Birch Flowers!

Birch flowers!   Or maybe roses.  It's hard to tell.

Birch flowers! Or maybe roses. It’s hard to tell.

It’s still spring, meaning rain is not uncommon.  Our friend Rikki is digging out part of his lawn, and gave us the sod so we’re laying it into the area behind the office. We loaded the sod up on Saturday afternoon, and laid it in on Sunday  in the rain – a damp job, but not too bad.  It was a “warm rain”.  LOL!  This will actually bring the lawn up almost to the level of the sidewalk, which will be nice.

Half of the sod is still on the trailer

Looking across the trailer – about half the sod is laid out so far

 

about half the sod is laid down.

about half the sod is laid down.

It rained hard enough (and hailed!) that we didn’t have to water in the sod – Mother Nature did it for us, and the rain and cloudy weather continued thru Wednesday which was very good for the grass!   Might have to water it tomorrow though; today was pretty warm and tomorrow is supposed to be upper 60’s as well.  After the rain clouds cleared late on Sunday evening, it was cool enough that all that moisture in the air turned into fog.  We could see it rolling up the Goldstream Valley

Fog in the evening, after the rain clouds cleared out

Fog in the evening, after the rain clouds cleared out

And remember, it’s Alaska, so in parting I have to add:

There's GOLD in them thar hills!  Courtesy of the sunset; these hills are in the east.

There’s GOLD in them thar hills! Courtesy of the sunset; these hills are in the east.

 

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