Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, both male and female reindeer grow antlers. Although adult males grow the largest racks, adult females can have some very impressive antlers making it difficult or impossible to distinguish the sex based on antlers alone. Bulls generally shed their antlers in winter between November and December. Pregnant females will retain their antlers until after they have their calves in late April and May.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should've known…...

only women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wild Windy Wednesday

While many of you in the lower 48 are experiencing below normal temps, the Matanuska Susitna Valley is in the throes of a nasty high/low wind battle. We are being battered by hurricane force winds and the temps are in the teens. What snow fell last weekend has all been blown away.

From the National Weather Service: ... Wind and damage reports from the Matanuska Valley...

Strong winds affected much of the Matanuska Valley late yesterday and
today. Damage reports received so far include a semi-trailer truck
blown off the Road near Wasilla Lake... several signs blown down or
torn off buildings in Wasilla... and scattered power outages
throughout the Valley. High winds have also been reported to have
damaged area home roofs and blown covers off airplanes at the Palmer

Below are the highest reported wind gusts from this event as of
4:30pm today. With the winds gradually subsiding throughout the
valley tonight... these numbers will likely stand as the highest
recorded winds from the event.

Location wind gust time
-------------------------- ---------- --------
between Wasilla and Palmer 87 mph 6:00am
Palmer Airport 81 mph 10:53am
Wasilla (public report) 78 mph 12:35am
Wasilla Airport 63 mph 4:56am

The trailer above is at our local Walmart. This is a known wind tunnel. When the Walmart was under construction several years ago, a contractor parked a flatbed of rigid board styrofoam insulation in this same spot. The insulation was strapped down but not tarped. As soon as one board broke it created a chain reaction and soon the woods behind the trailer were full of pieces of styrofoam. This is not the first time a trailer has been flipped in this exact same spot.

This tractor trailer was a double with a flatbed trailer behind the van. The flatbed was on it's tires and the company hauled it off quickly. The van and the trailer stayed there all day. Just before this accident there was a full size pickup truck camper upside down on the same side of the road.

Briar and I drove out to the Wasilla airport and found one light plane standing on it's nose. Pilots here are pretty smart though and many of them had parked a truck in front of their plane to disrupt the airflow.

Voosh and the Mare have stayed in their barn all day. Hailey doesn't have a real good wind block but she wears a heavy winter turnout blanket. Unfortunately when she turns her butt to the wind the blanket rucks up around her neck.

The sheepies have hunkered down in the pen. Their wool is at least 4" thick. Not much bothers them.

This wind was supposed to have stopped this afternoon. Now the weather guys are saying *maybe* Friday. I can deal with the cold. This wind though is the pits.

PS - OS: It was the competition, not one of your guys.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Out My Office Window

It snowed on Saturday and that means I had to go to actual "work" as opposed to sitting in the office. We have a couple of commercial parking lots that have to be plowed when the snow reaches a depth of 2" and before they open in the morning. On Saturday we started plowing at 5 am. The picture above was taken at sunrise - about 10 am. It was my fourth parking lot.

I don't remember where I was for this picture but it is typical of the side roads I have to travel to get to the residential driveways I plow. Sometimes I get the driveways plowed before the State or Borough gets the roads plowed. Then I have to rerun my route and get all the berms out of the way.

This is heading north in Palmer, Alaska. My daughter's guitar teacher is in the building to the right and one of the best Italian restaurants I have eaten at is in the building on the left.

We have really short days here until my favorite day of the year - December 21. This was taken about 11:30 am.

This picture does not do justice to what a beautiful sunset it was. For a phone picture though it's pretty good. Sunset is at 4:00 pm or so. We are down to less than six hours of daylight.

My poor sheep get so confused this time of year. I feed on a 10 am to noon and 10 pm to midnight schedule. They are used to being fed when it gets dark. That's great in the summer but about 4 pm it gets real noisy in the sheep pen. So now I feed the sheep and the horses three times a day - hay morning and night and mash for the horses and more hay for the sheep about 4 pm. In three more weeks the sheep will get grain in the afternoon because they are due to lamb in February.

Hope you enjoyed take my blogger friends to work day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Something to Share.....

Winter in Alaska can be dark, depressing and dreary. I have made it a point each winter to get outside and DO something. But when it gets dark (at 4:30 pm) I want to get into my jammies, stoke up the fire, watch tv and munch on whatever goodies I can find. I was determined last winter not to gain the 5 pounds I usually did.

I didn't gain 5....I gained 10!!

My Wranglers were just a little too snug. I had a difficult time getting on my horse, especially on the off side. I rode almost every day this summer, bucked hay, worked with the sheep, and general farm stuff. It didn't make any difference.

I lucked on to from several different blogs I follow. What a great source of information and inspiration. Because of my particular lifestyle I was able to incorporate some of the tenents of primal eating. I already did many of the "exercises" as work around the farm.

Long story short - I've dropped 20 pounds. My Wranglers are loose. We rode Sunday and I could step up (both sides!) on my horse easily. And I feel good too!