Sunday, March 20, 2022

Alaskan Spring Day

I automatically find myself looking for tulips in Feb, because that is when tulips are supposed to show up....not so around here. Spring was once my favorite season. It is NOT my favorite season in Alaska. It's unpredictable...50* mixed with 26* highs...bright sun tempered by spring snowstorms...everyone posting garden and flower photos while we still have 2 feet of snow on the ground...and it's MUDDY. It MUST get muddy before summer arrives....I was excited to live in a place with SEASONS. I love the variety and cycle of the seasons. Many of our assignments had us in locations with basically summer year round. Growing up in Africa and the Philippines we had hot and rainy seasons....four seasons are lovely. After the first couple of years I began to HATE winter. This year I have intentionally embraced each season in it's time. So much so that I'm a bit sad for winter to give up. Spring/Summer and Fall mean MUCH work and activity, this winter has been more home-bound than most and lazy. I think I like lazy. 

I'm told we DO have spring in AK, but it lasts about 2 weeks. Maybe. Michael and I have decided we basically have 3 seasons here...summer, fall, winter (and muddy winter - BREAK UP - what the rest of the world calls spring). 

The calendar says it's are some shots of our place on the first day of Spring. The chickens are finally chancing the mud and coming outside. They seem to enjoy being out of the coop after the long winter. 

Note - this is shavings on TOP of ice!

Pietro, a rooster we hatched from an egg,  is the prettiest AND the gentlest rooster we've had. He does a good job of getting the hens away from hawks and other such predators. He did take out Phoenix, our 2nd rooster.  We aren't quite sure what happened there but about a year ago we found Phoenix all bloodied and he didn't make it. Pietro, however, is TERRIFIED of US. I enjoy these traits in a rooster. LOL 

We are down to 9 or 10 hens this year. They haven't been laying well. Most of them are 2 years old...some are 3 or 4 years old.  We didn't buy new chicks last year, but plan to purchase a couple of dozen this year. The Novogen Reds were GREAT layers - but they turned on each other. We didn't have a rooster. We are wondering if a new batch with an adult rooster and other adult hens in the mix would tame the novogens cannibalistic tendencies. 

I like to see a variety of breeds in the yard and I would love a colorful basket of eggs, but more than that I need the majority of the hens to be good layers.  We are debating how many novogens to get to have that foundation for the flock. Having chicks shipped up here hasn't proven to be a good option for us...we are trying to find local chicks. 

The trees in the orchard seem to have come through the winter fine. This will be their 3rd summer. We are hoping for a bit more fruit. They are starting to bud. 

So....if you look closely in the corner of the ramp you can see a yellow sunflower, and there are Christmas signs up as well. I thought I was being smart to get the fall yard signs out before the ground froze....but um...they've had to stay out all I have all the seasons in the yard. LOL 

The driveway is starting to show more bare spots - most of it is still an ice rink. It is much easier the last couple of days to get Dad's paper at the top of the drive. 

There is still MUCH snow in our yard. 

This is always the first spot to melt - over the septic clean out....its the only grass on our place at this point. 

Still a lot of snow to melt before I can hang clothes out here. 

I got excited when I began seeing things about "Planting seeds in the snow." Closer inspection showed the raised beds were dry, in fact I didn't see a bit of snow in any of the gardens shown. THIS is my garden.  I haven't started seedlings yet as they are always too old and spindly before I can get into the garden. The white arch is the wind tunnel Michael built last year. The storm did some damage to it and to the little one I used last year. We'll need to fix the twisted frames before we replace plastic.  We'll have some work to do before we have a space for seedlings.... We are in gardening zone 4b....and our last frost date is predicted to be between May 21 - May 31st. 
My spring garden

Temps are getting into the 40's. Yesterday it was actually in the 50's. As it is WARM enough to be out, I'll probably shovel some pathways so we can get out and start repairs on the greenhouses. 

This is spring in our part of Alaska. 

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