This Day In 2014

frost 2014-1237Frost and backlight photographed in 2014. That was a great year for frost and our snow came early.

Yesterday afternoon the first snow of 2016 fell, and it didn’t exactly impress anybody – about a quarter inch. I didn’t even photograph it. The temperature remained below 15˚F today so it’s still on the ground.

We all want winter to get on with it. Halloween is a week away, and Arctic goblins seriously like the snow.


It’s An Ephemeral Thing


Frost. It’s quite beautiful, and that’s too bad.

Maybe if it wasn’t so beautiful it would last longer, but you know the old saying, “beauty is fleeting.”

The high school students are skiing for PE. I can see them set off outside my window and I get a big kick out of watching them. I’ve done this in flat country before, so I know they are learning something very valuable – exactly where each of their 640 muscles are located. I’m so glad I am not in PE!

Because youth, like beauty, is fleeting, and mine has certainly fled! 🙂

Warm Skies & Spring Fever!


Warm skies and Spring Fever are trending! It’s 12˚F outside and climbing to 18˚ today according to our reprieved forecaster. In fact, he says it is supposed to be warm all week long.

Twelve degrees isn’t going to make a Texan think of Spring, but it sure is stirring blood up here. Snow-gos are whizzing down the streets, people are strolling about and a major epidemic of Spring Fever has struck the village.

Kids have it. Teachers have it. I’m afraid the prognosis is poor – high fevers for the final twelve weeks of school resulting in severe learning impairment.

Let’s see, twelve weeks. That’s a week of in-service in Fairbanks and another for high school championship basketball in Anchorage – a hopeless time for learning.

A week preparing for the omniscient, infallible standardized test and another to take it.

There will be the traditional week of Carnival in Fort Yukon followed by an exodus of our students to Arctic Village for theirs.

Uh, so let me do the math here: 12 weeks less 2, less 2 more, and less 2 more equals…6 weeks!

By then, geese and ducks will be winging across the Flats and many of my kids will be seriously hunting. A successful spring hunt will put food on the table for much of the coming summer, fall and winter. Hunting is an excused activity and for good reason.

I love the last quarter of school!

Shopping For Valentine


Just a week ago we were still in the embrace of a long & bitter cold spell. We had experienced 40 to 50 below for thirteen days out of sixteen when the forecaster called for -2˚F the next day. It turned out to be -3˚. Pretty good guess – good enough to save the weatherman the one way trip to Siberia that some of us were planning for him.

It is Valentine’s Day today. What do you do for your girl in a place with one general store and the only other form of entertainment is checking your mailbox at the post office? I opted to shop at the store.

The extension cords for keeping your car warm look nice, but we don’t have a car anymore – gave it away to a friend who needed it more. Wait, maybe a paperback romance! No, their space on the little revolving wire rack has been filled with chips. Surely there’s something here that will make Lindsay feel special…

They have needles and thread. Come on Dave, you can do better than this.

Canning jars? Momma said never give work disguised as a gift.

Hey, what’s this? N-e-t-i P-o-t. What the #@&* is that?

Isn’t there some perfume here somewhere, or some bath powder? Girls love bath powder, don’t they? Haha – here??? Not within 150 miles! There’s bar soap. Yeah, Valentine will implode if I give her a bar of Ivory.

Look at all those little Valentine heart candies on the shelf! Too bad we already ate a trillion of those at school yesterday.

Hey, ice cream, they have ice cream! Oh, but all of it melted (I mean it totally liquified) earlier this week when the store freezer went kaput. That’ll taste like disappointment.

Look, there’s still some chocolate on the shelf! Oh, thank heaven for chocolate! One Almond Snickers, one single serving package of Oreos, one Fig Newton bar.

One very grateful and contented girlfriend! I am so lucky!





Haha. Here’s scraping the bottom of the barrel, hoping it warms up because this morning -54˚F came knocking on my door. Hey, I’m out of good stuff and I need to get out of this cabin and makes some pictures! Warm up, already!

Not really happy with the way these images turned out. Much duller than I expected when I edited them. Oh, well. They are leftovers.

Here are the lows in ˚F for the past 16 days ( most days warmed up into the -30’s for 3 or 4 hours in the afternoon):

  • -45
  • -49
  • -50
  • -50
  • -50
  • -50
  • -34
  • -29
  • -32
  • -45
  • -47
  • -50
  • -50
  • -50
  • -50
  • -54

The forecaster says we’ll see -2˚F tomorrow. We’ll see about that. It’s 9:20 pm and -44˚. 🙂

Catkins & Chilly Fingers


“Can we go out to take pictures today?”

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that! I’ve five rookie photographers in my class, so yesterday we did it. We bundled up, grabbed our Canons and went out stalking the elusive photograph.

“Hey, Dave, come see my picture!”

“Hey, Dave, check out this one!”

“Hey, Dave, how come my pictures look weird?”

There they go, scampering through the snow and it’s -20 ˚F. Some of us are wearing summer weight tennis shoes (yes, me too). We all left the school with gloves on, but in the excitement the young Ansels have torn them off and stuffed them into pockets. After all, who can take pictures with gloves on?

And besides, when you are on the hunt, little things like chilly fingers hardly seem to matter…

Witch’s Glass

frost 2014-1237

Snowed last night and all day today. Tiny crystals, slow and steady. Some believe that deeper snow somehow keeps the severe cold at bay.

There really is a connection between snow depth and temperature, but the cause and effect are reversed. Most snowfall occurs at moderate temperatures (around 15 F / -10 C). Colder air holds less moisture and really cold air usually doesn’t contain enough wet stuff to make snow.

It is the Hallowed Eve. There will be goblins about tonight, snow or not!

Frosted Hips

frost 2014-1253-2

Everything happened at once. We fell below the zero mark for the first time this morning. The mercury registered -3 F (-19 C) as we left for work. Ice fog had begun rolling in off the river, swathing our village in frost. It remained all day and many of my students elected to brave the cold to get some pictures this afternoon. What dedicated photographers!

This is the frost season, my favorite time of year.