Daytime temperatures: 60’s F. Sunny and warm!
We now have 19 hours 21 minutes of visible daylight according to the weather gurus, but the way I measure it we have a bit more. There is no more snow on the roads; most are dry and dusty. The long sunny days and even longer twilight periods are here, and the insects have taken notice. Flies are out and about, a few mosquitoes already are pestering us and my students have found little worms in pine cones. Jimmy discovered the worms. Wish you were here, Nia, I know you would enjoy our nature walks and would be recording everything with your camera. And Irena, green is beginning to enter our world; I saw mosses yesterday, and little dusty green ground coverings. Mom, you and Christie would love walking our streets now, the weather is perfect and 6o degrees here feels more like 70 back home. You can walk all day in short sleeves and feel great.
The balsam poplar is the northernmost hardwood on the continent and it can be found much farther north than here, even along the Brooks range, if the books are right. I like their bark which is peculiarly marked with black warts and interesting wedge shaped “cuts”. They grow in wet soil along the banks of the sloughs, sharing space with the willows. They are not as plentiful as our white spruce and willows, though. The balsam poplar is closely related to the cottonwood and is sometimes mistaken for it. Many villagers claim that we have black cottonwood here, but the books say that we have only the poplar. Both are related to the quaking aspen and the birch.
The dogs are barking in the evenings again. I don’t know why this is, but in spring and summer I can hear them all over town, several entire choruses at once all coming from different directions. I hear them now. Back in Texas a barking dog would have driven me crazy, but here it is a sort of music that I like very much. Perhaps they are barking at their evening meal.
This is our home, but as the days count down to May 25, we become more and more eager to see our family again. To everybody down south, we can’t wait to see you!