Click here to listen to [
Click here to listen to [ No Tear Drops Tonight.mid]

Music by Harry Todd

Sleeping Fleet

 1999 has been a recording breaking year for extremely cold weather. While it has been very breath taking and lovely, with more sunshine than normal, temperatures at my house have been down to 37 below zero. The ground is covered with snow and often we have a heavy frost on the trees. Even our well-insulated homes can be a bit chilly in this weather. I am lucky I have a wood stove, so if I should feel the urge to use it, I don't have these problems. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a problem for the humans this year. The moose are dying as they have consumed most of the branches they can reach. Many of us are worried about the survival of our domestic trees and plants. It takes a lilac twenty years to reach any considerable size and they are expensive to purchase. If they don't freeze out they certainly will have few blossoms as the moose don't normally like to eat the branches of lilacs but they will nip the new growth when they are very hungry. The moose have done substantial damage to our trees. My Mountain Ash has many broken limbs and the bark has been severely gnawed on. My young saplings are standing with very few branches and I wonder if I have any raspberries left. Several years ago they ate them to the ground. Yes raspberries. If they are hungry they will eat anything. We had another young moose get into the bird feeder and now I am constantly cleaning birdseed the dog tracks in and leaves on the kitchen floor. I can't stop feeding the birds because they are dependent on me for their survival so I will have to live with the seeds all over the place. Shane (dog) has also gobbled up the suet the moose knocked on the ground and suffered with a bit of tummy problems. It is so cold I have to force him to go out to start with and he actually has a thick coat of fur. The roads are icy and dangerous for humans and animals. Many mornings our cars won't start but school has not been canceled. We had one optional day and most of my grandchildren attended. I did a dumb thing and ran over the extension cord for my engine heater. My truck wouldn't start and I couldn't get the cord out to plug it in. Luckily my son-in-law came over that night and pushed the car off the cord. Some nights you can hear all sorts of strange noises. Unfortunately they are not the sounds of my childhood with the wolves howling. They are moose digging in the garbage or ice on the roof cracking and that is a scary noise. It has been too cold to look for the Northern Lights. Who in their right mind would stand outside freezing and stare at the sky? We are having trouble with chapped skin and cracked lips. Most of us have skin so dry it looks like a lizard and our hair is lifeless. Our climate is very dry so we have all sorts of problems. This has been a confusing few years. Record heat in the summer, record snows last year and now this endless freeze. Fortunately the people are all in good spirits because of the sun. Oh well spring will come someday. Yesterday we made a barbecue and those steaks were so good. Yes, Alaskans barbecue when it is way below zero. When it is cold the steaks take longer to cook and they develop a flavor you cannot compare with a summer steak. The only person who suffers is the poor fool who volunteers to go out there and turn them. I never do that. I got wise. I buy the steaks and someone will always offer to cook for a free steak. No, I am not the only person who barbecues in the winter. They do it all the time and at winter festivals it is a common site. Why should we let the weather stop us? This is becoming like my winter diary. Perhaps I will do this more often. Life of an Alaskan Women. Update: The weather has warmed up considerably but the moose are still contending with the snow.

Visit the Animals of Alaska


Return to My Homepage