A cold and wild world

Winter is the deep freeze, and it’s been around -30F since before Christmas with few breaks, dipping as low as -60 or colder in parts of Interior Alaska (the cold bit — the coasts are typically much warmer). But that’s what it does here, and in a way it’s a relief, with the warming Arctic and all that goes along with it, to have a halfway normal winter for a change.

I’ve just done a much-needed site update, cleaning out old links and making sure the Books, Short Stories, and Shows pages are up to date. (Aside from Alaska Comicon, where I’ve already reserved a table, the shows later in the year are still very much TBD, but these are the ones I’ve done in the past.) I also did a big update on my Lauren Esker website.

I really haven’t had much that’s new lately, aside from writing under the Lauren Esker and Zoe Chant pen names and Sun-Cutter‘s ongoing progress, but there are big plans afoot for 2020. I’m planning to reboot the Gatekeeper series (currently writing the last book in the trilogy) and I have another series as well, a historical series of steampunk murder mysteries set in the 1930s. I’ll have more information on both of those and a publishing schedule for the year to come soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy another glimpse of our frozen world.

Time of plenty

Our summers here in the north country are short, but what they lack in length they make up for in fullness of experience. Here in late July, the harvest bounty of both wild foods and gardens is starting to ripen. We are having an amazing raspberry year — a wealth of lush, sweet berries free for the picking all around the yard. I’ve been gathering handfuls as I work in the garden.

Wild raspberries in the edge of the yard. The bushes are so loaded it’s hard to believe they grew all by themselves; I didn’t have to do a thing!

We’ve had a few projects going on this summer. Our bridge over the creek self-destructed in the ice last winter. This was the second bridge we’ve lost, the first having been taken out in a flood a few years ago, so Orion decided to build a better, stronger, HIGHER bridge this time, one that hopefully is far enough above the creek to avoid the ice and the flooding.

New bridge – better than the old bridge! We hope!

We have had glorious wildflowers this summer, and currently the fireweed is in full bloom all around the yard and along the highway – you can see some of it in the bridge picture above.. There’s an interesting patch of white fireweed (or rather, pale pink) along the highway near our driveway turnoff that’s been there for the last few years. I keep intending to collect some seeds and see if I can get it to grow in the yard.

It’s really striking, a little splash of paler color among the vivid magenta of the normal fireweed.

We also have a lot of multi-branched fireweed growing around the yard, like this complete over-achiever next to the deck.

multi-branched fireweed
That’s just one fireweed plant! Also, I can’t help feeling the deck itself is not really adding to the aesthetics of that photo. It could use a bit of maintenance.

I’m also putting in a new flowerbed at the edge of the woods …

Not much to see yet, but it’ll be more beautiful when the flowers are planted … I hope!

The tale the fox tracks told

We are just past the equinox, it’s staying light ’til 8 or 9 (a small harbinger of the all-night light we’ll start getting in about a month) and there were fox tracks all over the gravel pit today, including some that told the story of a curious little fox that wanted to see the world from higher up!

This was the first thing out of the ordinary that I happened to notice (beyond the fox tracks in general). You can see some tracks up top of this old flatbed in our gravel pit and the mark in the snow where it jumped off.

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