Thursday, September 24, 2009


That is not a misprint.
We've had our first official snowfall. And it actually stuck.

While I am one of the crazy people here that absolutely love winter, I have to admit that I felt a little sad to see that autumn (my all time favorite season) lasted a mere 10 days or so. Last week, the days were still a bit balmy and the leaves turned golden reds and yellows. A few days ago, they began to fall off the trees in large numbers. A trip to Fairbanks two days ago proved that there were more leaves on the ground than on the trees. By the time we drove home from Fairbanks, snow was falling, and by the time I got the girls tucked into bed, it looked like a Christmas card outside.

I would like to take a minute and vent about the irony of snow on the autumnal equinox. Not only is that just weird, I was not very well prepared.
Even more ironic is the fact that I was standing in Fred Meyer (the trendier version of Walmart, for those unfamiliar) eyeballing the new Columbia winter coats. I found one I loved and discovered they didn't have my size. "No problem" I think to myself, "I don't need it just yet. I'll check again the next trip."
For the record, if you live in Alaska, the right time to buy your winter gear was about three days ago.

Don't worry mom, we are far from freezing. I do have my coat from last year. The one that I bought in Nearly Neon Pink because J had me convinced that if I got lost in a blizzard, I should look like a complete moron so I would be found quickly.
Now that I know I am not very likely to be somewhere that search and rescue would need to see me from the space shuttle, I am thinking of buying a coat in more subdued colors.
Beans received some great hand-me-downs... a full set of toddler arctic gear. And her Nearly Neon Pink gear (bought to match mine because if SHE got lost in the arctic wilderness, search and rescue would also see her from space and know she belonged to the moron in the matching jacket)... it still fits.
Little Nugget has plenty of warm stuff, and the truth is, um... we don't plan on doing any crazy glacier hiking or being anywhere that we need full arctic gear for her, so I think we'll all stay warm.

I will admit that seeing snow this early was a little tough to swallow. I DO love fall, and it just doesn't seem right to have the white stuff quite so soon.
But... it's Alaska.
And it didn't take long to slip into winter mode. Beans demanded snow boots nearly as soon as she saw the white stuff, and she and daddy had a good snowman building adventure before tromping slush through the house, demanding hot chocolates.
I spent the afternoon digging out hats and gloves for everyone else, and making a winter gear shopping list for our next trip north. This morning, temps were hovering around 20 degrees until well after the sun came up. 'Bout time for that new coat, I'd say.

Hold on tight, y'all! It's autumn in Alaska.

Also, anyone that can clear up the heated discussion about the advantages of pellet stoves vs. wood stoves (ha ha! "Heated" discussion!)... feel free to add your two cents. My personal opinion: why give up a free source of heat (wood stove) for something that costs about $5 a day to run (pellet stove)? Am I missing something here?

Until Next Time!
Happy Moose Trails


Susan Stevenson said...

I wish I could help you with your wood stove vs. pellet stove comparison, but I know nothing about either. :/ Instead, we will rely on the high cost of heating oil to survive. Keeping the house at 64F means living 24/7 in fleece with afghans on every piece of furniture. I don't mind the winter. It's the energy bills I mind. :(

Hibernation is just around the corner. I'm *almost* ready.

Karla said...

Well, we have a wood stove and a Toyo. I like the wood stove, though it's messy, but as you stated, it's free. And with all that free wood out there...

A pellet stove may be a more even heat, but I'd take the wood anyday.

Good Luck!

Kay said...

Advantages of Pellet Fires include:
Efficient burn, so very little ash;
Less creosote build up, so less chance of chimney fire;
Cool surfaces, so much safer around little ones. ( The heat is blown out into the room instead of radiating from a hot box.);
Filled from hopper on top, so no hot cinders jumping into room while refilling;
Far fewer fumes, with no smoke escaping into the living area.(So sensitive throats are not irritated.);
More even temperature control is possible.

Advantage of Wood stove:
It will work when the electricity is off.

Wood is only free if your time is not needed to do anything else.

We replaced a log burner with a pellet fire for our tenants, when they had a baby three years ago. They have been very happy with the Enviro unit.

Tracy said...

I can't help with with the heating debate except I remember my parents having that same debate when they built their house years ago. lol They *almost* did the pellet stove, but then went with the wood one. I can't remember why though... I don't think it was money...there was something else, maybe the avaiability of the pellets at the time?