Archive for November, 2011

Winter Outside, Greens Inside!

November 16, 2011

The river is showing some serious 'ice building' on this 9 degree day.

Well after being battered by storms these last few weeks all up and down at least the west coast of Alaska we are wondering if this is how our entire winter is going to play itself out.

For those of us on the Alaska Peninsula and Bristol Bay the weather has actually been pretty mild in many areas with only a few cold snaps, into the 20s and not a lot of snow. The  storms have had lots of rain and sleet associated with winds upwards of 70+ kt.  So when this real ‘cold snap’ hit we were all a little surprised.  We had become accustomed already to watching for winds speeds and not paying too much attention to temperatures.

We had been harvesting the last of the outside cold tolerant crops like cabbage, any potatoes left in the ground and covering the perennials that we are attempting to grow through the winter these last few weeks.

This week was the time to see if the things we are trying to grow and  harvest late into the winter are going to make it or if our efforts were now killed with these hard freezes. Ground temperatures are holding right now at 34/35 degrees even through the night, as measured by probes down about 6″-8″ under the surface inside the high tunnels.

Late fall planted greens under row cover and making it through the first few freezes and so far at least one single digit night and day.

So far, so good. We clipped a salad from the chard (rainbow) just a few evenings ago, letting these greens get bigger and pulled a few other things.

The last bits of cold tolerant crops, as they have been now clipped off by the chickens.

In our high tunnels we still have green onions, some spinach and carrots still being harvested. I was told a week or so ago that at least one high tunnel grower in Dillingham was still getting kale, and a number of other crops the last week in October. They generally have colder, wetter weather than we do further south in this part of Bristol Bay, even being only about 50 miles away by way the crow flies.

The last few years have been fast-moving as a lot more information is being shared, projects considered, even other set of high tunnels in our tiny village, and generally an effort to be more sustainable in our own areas.

We will keep you posted on how the winter efforts go to furnish at least part of our own fresh things up here in Alaska!

Clocks Back an Hour, Enjoy the Time!

November 6, 2011

Sunrise over Juneau

Ahhhh, that time of year, when we turn back the clock an hour. Here is Alaska it seems it is also the time of year when you consider giving into your natural rhythms of spending just a tad more time in bed or moving at a slower pace seems to kick in too.

Fall Color

Despite the general perception not all of Alaska goes totally dark for the winter, or for that matter has 24 hour daylight in the summer. That particular yearly event only happens to those areas near the Arctic Circle and it does not happen for the entire winter. Barrow, a city at the top of the state, has a two month period in the winter when it doesn’t have a sunrise but on the flip side they get about 85 days of continuous sun during part of the summer. Most of us deal, just like you, with less daylight and chilly temperatures for the next 5-6 months.

Night lights

 Typically this is the time of year when families get to spend time ice fishing, sewing on winter gear, and a host of other activities. Winter festivals and potlatches happen before spring arrives. Mostly we try to slow down enough to enjoy all the ‘good things’ most wonder if they get enough of in other parts of the country. The turning back the clock an hour just gives us another clue we are entering that time of year.