"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Fruits of My Labor

Last summer I spent a lot or time and energy cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood.  I am now enjoying the fruits of that labor as three sticks of split firewood in the wood stove warms me and my home.

I am surrounded by mountains here in this valley.   When the earth tips on its axis and brings change to the seasons, the mountain to the south of me slowly becomes too high for the sun to peek over it.  The most notable period of shade occurs around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and hence I call it the Five O'clock Shadow.

Swans linger until freeze up as the mountain on the right casts its shadow on the valley.

Then I know that the long warm days of summer are almost spent and that winter will soon be here.   The shadow soon becomes complete, running the length of the whole ridge line that is called Wrong Mountain.

Snow clouds gather to drop the first snow of the season, Oct. 16, a mere 3 inches.

From late October through Valentine's Day, no direct sunlight hits the valley.   That doesn't mean it's dark or even twilight.   When the sky is clear for the sun to shine on the snow-covered mountain to the north, there's quite the reflection of light.

A female merganser paddles around in open water as ice encroaches.

Late season fishermen enjoy temperatures just above freezing Saturday on the Kenai River.

Bald eagles hang around the headwaters of Tern Lake, feasting on spawning salmon.

Trumpeter swans linger along the snow-covered bank of Kenai Lake.   Some swans  migrate south, while others stay in the river all winter.

Hoar frost clings to dried grass.

Watching snow creep farther and farther down the mountains.

Valentine's Day brings hints of spring and it's fun watching the sun gaining ever more ground on the shadows each day.

And then, one wondrous day, the migrating swans and other waterfowl return to breed and raise their young.

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Red necked grebe

Greater scaup



  1. The shadows, the sunlight, the first snow, the migrating of the swans (and other bird-life) both in the spring and the fall ... a real picture of life in the great north! I did not know that some of the swans stay in the river up here all winter. We are always learning more about our amazing Alaska!! I always appreciate the insights through your amazing pictures and commentary. Hugs! Patti

  2. Beautiful pictures, Jeanne. It looks like you are ready to settle in to winter life. I'm glad I got to spend time with you this summer.

  3. Beautiful photos. The three young ones (Babies) at the bottom of your Post just above are sweet. In the second photo, the neck of the swan makes it look like there are two necks. Were there two swans or is it just some vertical line down the swan's neck. Up in Manley Hot Springs, we too have a period of total lack of direct sunlight from the sun. Then in early to mid-February, suddenly, the sun will appear in my cabin window and we see SHADOWS on the ground. I was out in the 90F heat today here in Oman and it felt pretty good when I think of the frigid temperatures up in Alaska's interior during wintertime. Great Post. Smiles being sent your way from Muscat, the capital city of The Sultanate of Oman.