Oh boy, lots going on. Our weather is transitioning… we just had several days of chilly, near zero temps but glorious, brilliant, clear skies and a nice layer of gleaming white hoarfrost on the trees. Yesterday, most of the hoarfrost disappeared and we can expect days of rising temps to nearly 40 deg by the end of the week.

Unfortunately, I missed out on the pretty weather because I was inside the Anchorage Museum on a book signing for 2 1/2 days. My feet still hurt. It was disappointing with sales that averaged just under 1 per hour… in contrast to the last signing where sales averaged just under 5 per hour. This week, I will be participating in some technical meetings. What can I say? I admit it. I am a fish-nerd.

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Well it has been an interesting several days here in Anchorage. It is still warm here (low temps are above are above average highs) and no measurable snowfall at our level. Last week we rediscovered two trumpeter swans on the edge of our little pond in our subdivision. there had been more but then we had a couple clear and cold nights with some icing and they left. It was a nice treat to see them again.

Earlier I had made a presentation about salmon forthe Culinary Club and was rewarded with a certificate for a meal at the University culinary school dining room. We were there Friday. What a treat. Alaska Seafood/king crab ravioli and lamb chops – Delicious. But this was finished with pastry desserts. Oh, my word. Choice of at least 15 wonderful options.

We did some shopping and finished our day with another treat. We viewed a teleconference seminar by our son in law, a new faculty member at UAF. On, what else? Salmon. Straying rates of salmon. Very good job. And I learned a bunch.

Yesterday, I did a book signing at a local bazaar. I did reasonably well… sold 15 books. Long weekend, now coping with change in daylight savings time.

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We went for a hike in our new park a couple miles away. It was the grand opening. The trail makes a short loop with a spur than goes down nearly to sea level. It was a pleasant little hike. I was certainly amazed at the size of the crowd and especially impressed with the number of people carrying big spotting scopes and cameras with big long lenses. It turns out that someone had discovered a lazuli bunting. There was high excitement level in the crowd. There were many bird watchers who came only because of the bird and not for the grand opening. Lazuli buntings in Alaska is a very rare event. They are a colorful southern bird rarely seen this far north. Wow. I can now say that I have seen a lazuli bunting! Alas, I cannot say what it looks like. It was drab in non-breeding colors and i could not get a steady hold either.

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Until Sept 12 or 13, Anchorage had tied the record of 18 continuous days of measurable rainfall. Everyone was tired of the weather (mind you, this near record rainfall followed 2 months or more of wonderful sunny, dry weather that everyone reveled in). Today is the third day of beautiful sunny weather and smiles are abundant. And we spotted a lady on a bicycle in short shorts and tank top. The air is so clean and clear that the mountains near and far seem so much closer and bigger and brighter white. During a ride yesterday, we had repeated views of Mt McKinley – over 70 air miles away and over 20,000 feet tall. it rose large on the horizon. Across Cook Inlet, the Alaska Range seemed larger than ever, with the jagged row of irregular brilliant white peaks marching along, one after the other in single file. It was a great day to be out and about and revel in our wonderful scenery.

The bad news…   we had our first killing frost last night and showers are forecast for tomorrow.

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Fall is beginning to show itself here. State Fair is nearly over. pumpkins are big http://www.adn.com/2013/08/27/3045860/hole-in-one-anchorage-pumpkin.html

. Duck season is starting. we have more than 30 cups of raspberries in the freezer. I have been eating about 3/4 cup cereal for breakfast with about an equal amount of fresh raspberries.

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It is hard to imagine how many kinds of extreme sports go on in Alaska (dog mushing, long distance races on foot, ski, snowmachine, river boats, etc. Just about now is the start time for the granddaddy of mountain racing. Mount Marathon. Mountain running is just that running through or over mountains or up and back. The Mount Marathon race has been run continuously since it began in 1908 based on a small bet. The winner will finish in about 45 minutes or maybe slower this year because it is probably raining in Seward. The race is only a little more than 3 miles, but the vertical rise is  more than 3,000 feet. Average uphill speed is about 2mph; downhill about 12mph. Racers tumble and fall and many finish with a bloody body part. Last year, one racer was seriously injured and another became lost somehow and has not been found.

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I went out earlier to get psyched up enough to mow the lawn (hardly my favorite task). I was pleasantly surprised to see a chickadee in a small spruce tree in the front yard. Another. And another. There seven or eight in all. peeping and peering and hopping all over. I am happy to believe that this  is a clutch that came from our nest box in the nearby birch tree. I cannot confirm that as a fact, but it is nice to have that thought.

We came back from the Russian River Friday. Too late for sockeye (red) salmon but i did get a very nice 15 inch or so rainbow trout…   on a dry fly, a parachute Adams.

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WOW!  it was 90deg here yesterday.    Oh, wait, that was on the deck in the bright late afternoon sun. On the east side of the house, it was 70. But this is great summer weather for Anchorage.

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To get a sense of what remote Alaska, USA is like, check out: http://www.adn.com/2013/05/25/2914604/seth-kantner-nothing-tops-little.html

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It snowed here last night! Nearly half inch on the ground at our house. 0.3 inches at the airport. It is highly unusual to have snow this late in the year. Last year, we set a snowfall record for Anchorage; this year, we have now set a record for the longest snow year. Farmers Markets opening today and gardeners are chomping to get out and plant. When we came to Alaska, the official “safe planting” day was May 30. In recent years, the plant date has been creeping earlier in the year… until this year.

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