2 (!) MORE blizzards last week

We had two more blizzards last week, although they were nothing much compared to last Sunday. Winds probably didn’t gust over 40, nothing closed, and we didn’t have any really obnoxious drifting. It wasn’t much fun walking to work, but when properly dressed it wasn’t a big deal. Of course, it takes me less than 10 minutes on a normal day…

It actually didn’t increase the size of the drift on the tundra garden, maybe shrank it if anything. The size of the drift is always a concern. If it is too small, the plants won’t get as much protection (snow is a wonderful insulator). Also, since the tundra garden is a bit better drained than most tundra, being underlain with frozen gravel instead of organic-rich permafrost, the less snow, the less water. Barrow is technically a desert, so we really don’t get that much rain (although the last few summers we have had some real gullywashers and even thunderstorms–not at all usual). On the other hand, like most gardeners, I like to see something happening out there. The season is very short and one really wishes it would get started. It is very tempting to shovel some snow off a little later in the spring to speed up the process. So far I have resisted, but I’m sure most northern gardeners will sympathize.

On the other hand, once things start to happen in the Arctic, they go fast. Things change visibly in the course of a day. I usually look at the garden at lunch and after work (before work too if I’m up early enough 🙂 ) and there is usually something new to see!

I am currently in Anchorage for a meeting, and will go on to Kodiak for another meeting. With the wonders of Alaska Airlines scheduling, I can’t get home until the evening of Monday, 3/6. I haven’t got a way to get pictures from my digital camera to my PowerBook on the road worked out. I have been spoiled since I had a Mac Duo (still the niftiest laptop I’ve owned, I think It was just cool) and pretty much won’t drag a lot of weight. All of which is to say no recent pictures until I get home.

Anchorage just had snow today, something which has been sorely lacking. They had to cancel the Fur Rondy dog sled races, and they’ve shortened the ceremonial start for the Iditarod because they didn’t have much snow with which to cover the course . Given the lackadaisical (to a person who grew up in Upstate New York, anyway) approach to snowplowing in Anchorage, it’s a bit surprising they actually need to put it on the streets. I’m not sure why they don’t plow better. Perhaps most of Anchorage’s residents originally came from places where it rarely snows (California, Washington, South Texas) and aren’t aware that it is possible to have clean streets shortly after big storms. What I do know is that if streets in Buffalo (or any place in Upstate New York–even poor rural counties) looked like the streets in Anchorage do after even a little bit of snow, heads would roll, and political careers would go down in flames. It must cost people here a fortune for fender benders.


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