Friday, September 15, 2023

Fall Comes Early in the North Country

To paraphrase the old radio show, it's been a quiet week in Bear Lake. . . 

Fall has established itself with falling leaves and cooler temperatures. The alder leaves are turning brown, and everything in the garden except the kale has surrendered its color. Fewer people venture out on the lake and we've heard the cranes holler goodbye as they head south. The woodshed is full and there are few fish frozen in the freezer, so I guess we're as ready we'll be. 

There's an old sourdough saying that used to make the rounds in Alaska: On the Kenai, the four seasons are winter, spring breakup, and road construction. Never is that more true than this year. The other day, on the way to Anchorage, I hit a two-mile stretch between Seward and the Y that wasn't under construction, and it should have been. This week, the average spend on the road from my place into town was about twelve miles an hour, which is the same speed as my grandson on his scoot bike. 

This kind of traffic fowl-up in our little town is making people grumpy and has somehow caused a suspension of traffic laws and good manners. For example, I have noticed that stop signs are merely suggestions and yield signs are an opportunity to piss off other drivers. Speaking of signs, we get plenty of warnings in the construction zones that motorcycles should use extreme caution. I've ridden a motorcycle and that seems like a good idea regardless of the road conditions.  Last week people were laughing at the thirty mile an hour speed zone through gravel/mud/pothole stretch that was tough doing twenty.

If the nasty state of our roads wasn't enough, summer was just one long,, wet spring that had moss growing behind my ears. Those of you who don't live in Alaska don't realize that we Alaskans count on one nice three-day period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the temperature rises above seventy, and the wind stays below ten miles an hour. We call that summer and anything more than that is a bonus. I don't think we got this year. In fact, we had so much rain that there was a pair of black bears at the boat harbor this week looking to board the ark. 

The real bummer of this nasty summer is that we didn't get any berries to speak of; just ask the bears raiding the town garbage cans for leftover Red's burgers. Bears eat a lot of salmon, but they also rely heavily on berries to give them a balanced diet. Face it, a diet of spawned-out humpy needs a little sweetener, and blueberries are just the ticket. Lacking the berries, the bears are stuck eating takeout, or should show, I say, leftout. That's the garbage that is left out by people who think a Hefty Steel Sak is bear-proof. They got another think coming. 

We're putting away the SUP's and Kayaks this month and putting eyes on the snow shovels and sump pumps because we're bound to get snow or more rain than we know what to do with before Halloween.