Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lead Up to Green Up

I must apologize for being remiss in updating my blog.  During my R&R from work I kept myself quite busy with various tasks around the house, and technological issues have prevented me from accessing my blog thus far during my working tour of duty.  Hopefully those issues will be resolved within a few weeks giving me faster and more reliable access to the web while I’m here at work, but after nearly 20 years on this job I’ve learned that it is never wise to hold one’s breath while waiting for upgrades.

After my last blog post, I spent three days in annual work-related firearms training.  Our company spares no effort when it comes to training us in the appropriate, defensive use of firearms.  State law requires that we show competency with our side-arms each year, but the company takes it several steps further, requiring us to show competency with all three of the weapons systems commonly used by law-enforcement and high-end security operations, and qualify with a score considerably higher than that mandated by the State.  As the photo below shows, I had no problem qualifying this year.

Pistol Qualification Target

 My major project at home was clearing away a bunch of thick ‘dog-hair’ spruce trees, willows, brush and a bit of a junk pile in preparation for a kennel expansion project I have planned for later this summer.  I left the standing birch trees in place, hoping to provide more shade for the dogs during summer.  

By changing the location and layout of the pens I use to house about half my dogs, I can gain an additional 1500 square feet in the yard, which will be used for a couple of additional post and tether units and some additional play room within the yard.  The new lay-out will improve drainage during break-up and late summer rains, and also make it easier to prevent snow from building up in front of the pen’s gates.  

Prepared area for dog-yard expansion project

 Meanwhile, break-up is rapidly progressing to green-up.  Green-up is the nearly instantaneous transformation of the landscape from brown to green as the leaves of deciduous trees burst forth.  Up here it occurs so suddenly that meteorologists can pin a specific date to it.  According to records dating back to 1974 the average date of green-up at UAF above Fairbanks is May 8th.  The earliest green-up during that time period was April 29 in 1993, and the latest was May 25 in 1992.

This year, green-up was recorded in Fairbanks yesterday (May 10th), and is progressing northward.  As the photo captured this morning shows, it hasn’t yet reached the area around my workplace, about 50 miles north of town.  I expect to see it just about any minute, though.  

Not quite green-up, but it's expected any minute now.

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