I awoke this morning to clear skies and a refreshingly cool 49.5° F air temp along with calm winds; how could I not pull on some clothes, step into my sandals, grab a couple of leads (just in case) and head out the door with ‘the kidz’ ranging ahead of me? We took a 40 minute walk reveling in the gorgeous morning; as usual for this area it was completely silent except for some local birds including a couple of Chickadees I feed who followed us for a ways complaining because the window feeder was almost empty. I, of course, remedied that upon our return. After 26 consecutive days of report-able precipitation seeing both the sun and drying conditions has been wonderful. As we walked I had my Canon PowerShot SX-260 camera with me and I recorded a bit of our fun:
Just an hour back I noticed something strange; the windows were actually appearing ‘bright’ and when I peeked outside I could see shadows! A look upward gave me the reason; the sun was actually visible!! I was quite pleased to see it once again and for me that’s unusual as I favor cloudy, cool weather. But this has been a very wet August to this point in semi-rural south central Alaska. This is Monday, August 15th and it has rained every day this month accumulating 4.18” as of 07:00 this morning. While August is our wettest month the average monthly rainfall is 4.5” which means we’re already at 92.9% of said monthly average yet we are just 48.4% of the way into the month.
Here are some signs of a wet August and the coming fall:
Female Spruce Grouse on Easy Barge Drive; when they begin to appear you know summer is winding down
Even though this is my second fall – and, yes, I know fall technically starts on the Autumnal Equinox which is still eleven days out but it sure feels like it’s fall – I’m still amazed by just how rapidly the season arrives in this area. Just two weeks ago everything was varying shades of green; now when I look out my office window I see this gorgeous display:
As bright as the image appears it was actually raining lightly from overcast skies when I took this picture earlier this morning. In addition the birch trees are rapidly changing over to yellows and golds; the dwarf dogwood are already showing their bright red berries which contrast so starkly against their still dark green leaves although soon said leaves will shift to a bright red color as well.
With August and September normally being the two wettest months the mushrooms are abundant; I wish I knew much more about the various types as I suspect some are edible and I do love my ‘fungus’ but I also know enough to steer clear of them as without the required knowledge and experience one could well end up dead from sampling them. Here’s a few of the myriad of types I see around my place:
It is kinda sad that within another couple of weeks the deciduous trees will be largely bare and the ground colors faded away to dull browns and greens in preparation for another winter. But given my love of the winter season up here I just view their passing as Mother Nature offering up one last blast of color before the blues, greens and whites that dominate the winter season. We are about two weeks ahead of where things were in terms of the color change last year; this season is much closer to ‘typical’ and has truly served to highlight just how aberrant were last fall’s warm and wet conditions. While I do miss the vibrant reds, oranges and purples of the hardwood trees in the lower 48 the low growth on the taiga and tundra do produce a beautiful carpet in the fall. Here’s an image from the Savage River basin within Denali NP&P that exemplifies this coloration: