16-2794-willow-cottonMore willow. Why not? It’s everywhere. There is another photograph of this spot in Galleries/Boreal Forest. One day I took my 8th graders out and we picked the cotton. We tried separating some of it by hand, then researched other ways to do it. We’ll test those this week. Our goal is to collect enough to make designer paper using a blend of the willow and paper pulp.






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˚. 🙂

Young Willows

There is a place across Yolanda Slough where young willows grow. They are dormant now, fast asleep before the coming winter. I walk here often and have seen these before, last spring, when they were wee shoots. This winter the snowshoes will feed among them.

There Are Eight Million Willow Leaves in Fort Yukon…


… and this is of them.

Okay, so it’s a bit of a stretch on the Naked City theme, I’ll admit, and leaves don’t have stories anyway, but there probably are 8 million of them around town. Nobody’s counting, of course.

And moving on to the analytical, one of my classes is analyzing garden soil for the village gardeners. We have put up posters all over town and today we recorded public service announcements that will be broadcast daily by our radio station so everybody will support our efforts. My students are really excited. What a great bunch of kids!

The Colors of Our World


This is the palette of our world: the dusky green of spruce, healthy and tinged with blue in summer but dull in winter; the bright summer greens of willow, aspen and cottonwood that transform into fall yellows and gold.  Most of our flowers are patchy, mute and spare. Delicate rose pink and pale crocus blue are my favorites. Occasional patches of fireweed, rosehip and cranberry dot the earth with shades of red.

There is the sky arching above our summer days, a specular blue I have not known since my childhood. And when the winter nights fall, fairies come out to dance in heaven’s vault – dressed in shimmering greens and reds – prancing and pirouetting before the stars.

But of all the colors of our world, white is the boldest. Even the willow knows and raises its catkins high, lest we forget.

Sun light, willow bright,

Presage the coming

Of that night

When earth and sky

Shall yield to white