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Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Dog Mushing - Open North American Chapmpionship

March is my favorite month here in Fairbanks.  Not only are we getting around 12 hours of light, and warming up nicely, it's also a fun month.  We have the Ice Art Championship, dog mushing, and are treated with wonderful northern lights.  This weekend we managed to have all three, reminding me just why I love it here.

The Open North American Championship is a 3 day sprint race that starts in downtown Fairbanks.  I tried to find how long the trail is, but for some reason I could not. I also forgot my camera and was not able to snap photos of the race, but did grab a couple videos.

Second street is closed down, truckloads of snow are brought in and packed to make a trail for the start of the race.
There was a fur action, not something you see everyday...
A couple videos of the racers starting, sorry about the poor video
A dog pull, I'm not sure how much weight, but it was a sled of cement logs

It was a beautiful sunny day, and a fun way to spend the afternoon.  It used to be something my kids enjoyed with us, but being teenagers on spring break, they were barely climbing out of bed and didn't want to come.  However they were a little miffed that we stopped at the Fudge Pot and had drinks and snacks that they missed out on!

Here is a link to a news story that covered the race, it also has some nice pictures of a couple of the mushers http://newsminer.com/bookmark/17921822-Salcha-musher-in-position-for-first-Interior-Alaska-victory-in-ONAC-in-20-years

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ice Sculptures - At Ice Alaska

We spent the evening at Ice Alaska
Enjoying this year's sculptures
The kids enjoyed the ice slide
It's even more fun at night!
Smaller slides
Ice Tunnels
And beautiful sculptures.  Amazing what can be made from a single block of ice. 

I love how they light up at night

This awesome sculpture won first prize for the multi-block competition

And an ice top!

The web sitie is http://www.icealaska.com/

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring! - Sort Of

Even though there's at least a couple feet of packed snow on the ground, more being added on a regular basis, we're still hitting below 0, and even got as cold as -20 for a low last week,  it's still feeling like spring to me around here.  We have a lot more light, it's getting light around 7am and dark around 7 pm, we are above zero during the day (and actually have a temperature difference between the high and low), and IT'S TIME TO START SEEDS!  After a long, cold, white, winter, nothing makes me more happy that to put my hands in the dirt again and see green growing things, even if it's only indoors.

I recently trudged outdoors to retrieve my seed starting trays and packs from the greenhouse. It's always a chore because the greenhouse is in an area where the snow doesn't get packed, luckily my husband had a small trail packed on the way out there, but if I stepped off of it (which I did a couple times) it was over knee deep powdery snow.  He had also shoveled around the door for me so that it could be opened. 

Not a great picture, but there was 2" of ice in the bottom of my trays, freezing all of my containers inside.  I had kept them under my planter and was apparently watering them all summer.  (note to self, put them up on the planters at the end of the season, it would be so much easier to get them later!)

I started some flowers mid February, Delphinium, Columbine, Pansy, Petunia, and Echinacea.   Yesterday I planted several herbs, thyme, basil, dill, cilantro, sage, and oregano.  I also planted several varieties of tomato to go out into the greenhouse.  I started Siletz, Oregon Spring, Early Tanana, Nova, Manitoba, Sungold and Sweetie cherry tomatoes and a few varieties of heirloom slicing tomato seeds I saved from my CSA, I have no idea what the varieties are though.  I grow determinate tomato varieties and early varieties to hopefully get some tomatoes in our short, cool growing season.  I have so far been very unsuccessful with tomatoes, so I'll keep you posted. 

I used a moistened organic seed starting mix, placed into packs of 9 saved from previous years, labeled and covered with plastic wrap. 

Then put them under regular florescent shop light placed 3-4 inches above the plants, lights on heating pads for 1-2 weeks until the starts have emerged, then uncover and remove the heating pad.