Thursday, May 29, 2008

The "Pond" emerges

I believe I've mentioned the "pond" in the TundraGarden before.  It fully emerged from the snowbank today, although a bit the worse for wear.  The arctophylla seems to be intact.

However, we had an awful lot of snow this year, and the snowclearing efforts have been correspondingly vigorous, in an attempt to move most snow onto the lagoon and sea ice while it is still thick enough for heavy equipment to operate safely.  The idea is that it will help keep the mud in check and the roads will develop fewer potholes.

In the process, a loader bucket seems to have caught the bathtub (which is what the pond was in a former life) and deformed it enough to cause a good bit of the porcelain to come off at on end.  It may eventually look a bit more natural, but it will also start to rust.

Oh well, everything is archaeology in the end.  Something for my professional successors to puzzle over.  Unless of course this blog survives.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Robin in Barrow

I was driving back to my office from a meeting when I saw a familiar-looking round-breasted bird hopping along on the ground beside a frozen puddle.  A few seconds went by before I thought "Wait a minute!  That looks like a robin."  The sun was behind it so I had to wait for it to move a bit to see the orange breast, but sure enough, it was a robin.  

It's not the first one ever in Barrow.  A couple years ago some friends emailed me pictures of a strange bird they didn't recognize that the husband had taken.  A robin.

We still have a couple feet of snow on the ground, and much more in drifts, so it's kind of odd for a robin to be hanging around in this anyway, and we haven't had any really big storms from the south that might have carried it up, so who knows what it is doing here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Status of the Aerogardens for those who are wondering

The Aerogardens are chugging along. The pictures above are from late January. All the herbs (above) did quite well, although the basils seemed particularly happy. They are still going strong, although the purple basil is getting somewhat odd looking leaves. The dill also did well, but a few weeks ago it just died, although it had not gone to seed. The mint has more or less overwhelmed the parsely at this point.
In January the tomatoes were not up to the light, and had started growing fruit, although none had ripened. Now we're getting the second flush of ripe tomatoes, and more are coming (both the yellow and red cherries seem to be inderterminate). I personally think the red are much tastier, but hey, fresh tomatoes in Barrow in April.....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring arrives on the wings of snowbirds

Well, it has been a while.  But the sun has come back and the temperatures are above 0, and the snow is even melting a teeny bit every now and then, so in a month or two, the TundraGarden will emerge.

But I know it's spring, because the snowbirds are BACK!!!!  They are really snow buntings, but everyone here calls them snowbirds.  They are the first birds back (except for the ravens that spend the winter) and they are the true sign of spring.  The males sing, loudly, from high perches, and I often hear them a couple days before I see one.  I'd been hearing them for a few days, and then saw one driving home from work a couple of days ago.