Minus 22 Degrees

Burrr...the last week of December well into January left us with very cold temperatures. I suppose I should be used to it by now. One sunny afternoon I just had to go out for a walk, watch a few birds as well as take in some scenery. Everything at minus 22 degrees is frosted including myself.

Frost seems to attach itself to everything when it is well below zero; making the landscape a sight to behold. The farther north you go, the colder it gets - temperatures reach minus 50s in Fairbanks to minus 60s in remote villages in Alaska. When does one ever get used to it? I guess it's something you have to deal with if you choose to live the Alaskan life. Life goes on though, one blessing I can count on at these temperatures is the birds. They have to eat more but don't move too much, rather sitting on the branches puffing their feathers out to stay warm and there I am out there in the cold taking a few pictures. Honestly camera batteries at those temps don't last that long either, changing out the battery every half hour placing it inside a deep pocket to warm up and pulling out another one to get a few more shots of the birds. Is it worth it - standing out there, experiencing those temperatures? Na, but I have done it repeatedly.

Sparky the Alaskan snowman, born at the end of November, helped us feed our birds until a recent weather warm up, in which he was partially lost. The full moons in December and January made the night-time look like daytime. The moonlit landscapes at night almost come off as eerie, casting long shadows drawn out from the trees as the moon moved throughout the night. The moon in both December and January was the closest that it will be to the earth this year. So naturally I just had to go out at night, mind you - full moon, stars out, temps well below zero and get a few moonlit pictures of Sparky the Alaskan snowman. Now all that cold weather has left us (for now) and you all have it down in the lower 48, as well as the snow hanging out in the Midwest area. I must admit it sounds comical listening to people from Chicago to the eastern states complaining about the wind and weather at 3 degrees and the amount of snow. Try visiting Alaska when first snowfall is in October, staying well into April with snow still on mountain peaks. People - it's winter for heaven sakes. What ever complaining you should do isn't going to change it. Living here in Alaska at some of the coldest temperatures I guess has toughened me up around the edges and one just puts up with it even at minus 22 degrees in my neck of the woods.
I hope all of you are staying warm and surviving your winter where ever you may be. Throw another log in for me as I love the smell of wood burning in the ole fireplace.

See you on down the trail...

Buford T. Porcupine


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