Category Archives: Weather

It’s been hot here too–by which I mean over 60° F

It has been very warm here the past several days.  This led to a massive midge hatch.   They love the BARC, for some reason, and pretty much cover the building when they are out.  Fortunately each hatch only lasts a few days.

Bugs all over the BARC doors

The heat really pushed things along in the TundraGarden. Everything was blooming at once.

Mertensias by the pond.

Close-up of a mertensia. More than a modest rosette of leaves, I’d say.

Moss campion, alas not flowering too well.

Forget-me-nots, the Alaska State Flower. This is the farthest north plant in Alaska.

A slightly bigger forget-me-not

The Stellaria are just starting.

A variety of tundra flowers.

Flowering willows.

More flowering willows.

And more!

Woolly louseworts.

It was so hot for several days that the woolly louseworts were starting to fade almost as soon as they started.  I was away for several days and missed the peak of their bloom this year.

TundraGarden in full bloom.

Naturally, all that hot weather brought a thunderstorm, even in Barrow.

Clouds building inland.

Clouds in a darkening sky.

I didn’t stay out to take pictures of the thunderstorm or the rainbow after, but it rained very hard.  It has been a bit cooler since.  In fact we’ve been the cold spot in the state…


A bit of rain…

…has really lead to a rapid greening-up of much of the garden, although the bits that were under the really deep snow are behind.  Right now, the potentillas & buttercups are going strong, so there are yellow flowers everywhere.

Yellow flowers of all sorts.

Dwarf buttercups.

Mosses have been spreading over the years (with encouragement).  Some of them are reproducing (blooming?, fruiting?) at the moment.

Moss reproducing.

Moss by whalebone.

OK, that took a while…

The last post was a bit optimistic.  The rest of March was really cold, and the snow didn’t melt completely off the Tundra Garden until a few days ago.  Now it is bare, but still pretty brown.

Tundra Garden, June 2012

Christmas catus & Midnight Sun

The garden is less than pretty at the moment, since it’s rather grey and snowing right now.  So I though I’d put up a picture of one of the blossoms on the Christmas cactus that is blooming at the moment, taken the other night, backlit by midnight sun.

Cactus flower


We had a lot of snow this past winter, and it has taken forever to melt.  The drifting over the TG was different than usual, with a storm that cut a tunnel near the windows, so this year the main part of the garden is melting out before the pond.

The TundraGarden makes its appearance.

The dried grass & willow branches have been showing for a week or so, but now they are out and signs of green are starting to show up.  The Artemisia arctica is just starting to send up shoots.

Artemisia arctica shoots.

Storm destroys pinwheel

I had gotten a set of three metal pinwheels, in hopes of putting one next to the ground for the house’s wiring, which for some reason the electrician planted in the garden. Possibly he thought the plants meant that there was actual ground there, as opposed to the gravel pad on which all of NARL sits, but really the whole garden is on top of the pad, so if that was crucial, the place still isn’t grounded.

Anyway, we’ve been having a big fall storm this weekend, with strong winds, and they pretty much destroyed the pinwheel.  There was minor coastal flooding, but that didn’t affect the garden.

Remains of the fallen pinwheel.

The wheel part was held on by a round nut, which presumably came unscrewed and fell into the snow.  I looked, but was unable to find it.  It will show up when the snow melts, although that may not be until June.

The rod that hold the pinwheel is actually two pieces that screw together, and they were almost unscrewed, so it appears that it must have come unscrewed due to changes in wind direction rotating the wheel, but why the wheel came unscrewed isn’t clear…

I’ll have to put one of the others out, since they do hide the grounding rod, or at least distract from it.

Spring is here!

Finally! The snow is melting fast, which is pretty much making a mud hole out of the “gravel” parking lot at work. It’s driving Maasak, the maintenance guy, nuts, because all he has time to do is sweep up the mud coming in on peoples’ boots.

Monday I was lucky enough to get 3 geese from friends who had been very fortunate on a hunting trip. Up here we like spring geese best, and the season closes soon to let them nest & raise the goslings in peace. It was nice, almost no wind, so I decided to clean them outside. It can be a bit messy, so I put on stuff that could wash easily, and ended up sitting outside in shorts & a sweatshirt plucking geese for a few hours.  I put my chair in the snow (to keep the birds cleaner if I dropped them). It was actually quite pleasant and sunny, with almost no wind until the very end, when a breeze came up and blew down back at me, pretty much covering me from head to toe.

In the process I dropped a couple of wings I had trimmed, and didn’t manage to pick them up, since I wanted to get the extra birds vacuum sealed and in the freezer ASAP.  Yesterday I got some more pictures of the TG, and the wings are visible in the one below, next to the grill.   That whole area was snow-covered at the beginning of the week.

I managed to get a couple more pictures.  The first just shows the sad state of the bathtub/pond with the Arctophylla.  It was nailed by someone clearing snow with a front end loader last winter, and clearly something needs to be done.  It means a lot of digging, and I think I’d like to replace it, but getting a preformed pond of any size up here is proving a challenge, and I’m not sure that the pond liner route would work too well in unstable gravel, since I’m not sure the edges would stay covered too well.

The garden is starting to grow a little, although most of it is still in snow, and it needs to be cleaned up a bit once that thaws.  I did get two pictures of new greenery.  The first is Ranunculus starting to come up.  I’m not sure which one; I’ve got two.  The second is buds on the willow just starting to break.