Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stori: No lambs here!

Spring does not creep into Alaska on padded cat feet. It's arrival is about as delicate as a fat man doing a cannon ball into a public pool. This is a land of extremes. There are few smooth transitions from one season into the next. We can have a week of -20 below temperatures turn into 40 above in a day, and only get warmer from there. The subtle pale pinks and blues of winter change first into the completely welcome browns of beautiful dirt and mud, then explode into green the day the trees leaf out. This short one to two weeks of Spring is called Breakup. Folks place bets on what day the ice will leave the rivers. You can wake up to bare trees in the morning, and that evening go to bed with the trees in full leaf, that day is called Green up. Snow slides off the roof with the sound of thunder. My little feeder fed birds have gone. The squirrels show up in force, breeding season in full swing. The livestock shed their winter coats in sheets. By the looks of my horse pen, a person would think I have a completely naked pony hidden somewhere.

Out of all these small signs pointing to better days, there are 2 that are my absolute favorite. I got one of this morning. Geese. Alaska is the summer nesting grounds of the Canada Goose. These smart birds only show up when snow is for sure on it's way out. They are our absolute guarantee that Winter is done with for a while. They are the first summer tourist to get here. They are quickly followed by Sand hill Cranes, which are amazing, beautiful birds, but not first in line. I caught site of a thieving squirrel running out of my front lawn this morning. While I was outside "disposing" of the little insulation snatcher, I heard them. Flying overhead was a small flock of geese, honking their arrival. It put me in such a good mood, it would be hard to spoil my day afterwards. The second spring time flag is pussy willows. Those soft furry buds of the willow. Willows are more than abundant. They are the favorite food for moose and snowshoe hares love the bark. They make the best hot dog roasting sticks for open fires, and are the 1st tree to show it's leaf buds. I have already seen a patch along the highway heading into Fairbanks, but none yet on my road. I'll have to take the little ones on an expedition this afternoon. See if we can't pick me a pussy willow bouquet for my kitchen table.

Haul out those sexy rubber boots ladies, Breakup is on the way!

1 comment:

  1. I love it when the cranes come through our area -- Wisconsin!