Well today it is a -20 degrees F. Nice winter day, with about 8 inches of snow here. If you follow the weather here you will see that the wizards of weather give a temperature range of about 10 degrees. The reason for that is it is colder here by the river, while in the hills they can be 10 to 20 degrees warmer. So the weather persons cover all their bases.
One of the things I found interesting here was the difference in the spruce trees. There is the White Spruce, which grows around my home (see picture), and the Black Spruce. Both are different species of trees.
The black spruce grows on the north side of the hills, in areas where the perma-frost is close to the surface and in boggy areas. As you drive north toward the arctic circle it becomes the only tree visible. The reason is that the black spruce has shallower roots than the white spruce, so it can tolerate perma frost better. Hence, why it grows on the north side of the hills, (perma frost is more prevalent there).
A good read on black spruce can be found here. http://tinyurl.com/
My home is surrounded by white spruce. These trees grow to heights in excess of 60 feet and are very prevalent here in the Interior. The picture I took this morning shows them outside our front window. Notice the snow in the trees. On an earlier post I discussed the lack of wind, the snow will remain in the trees till it melts or a slight breeze comes and blows it out. Then it is like having another snow fall.
Because of the large amount of trees, forest fires are of a concern. Our second summer here, there was so many forest fires in north Alaska that the smoke filled our valley and we could barely see the river from our home. And the river is about 60 ft from our home.
One program they have here in Alaska is called Fire Wise. This program has a inspector from the Bureau of Forestry come out and inspect your property to determine what you need to do to minimize your house from being destroyed by forest fires. (people in CA take note) They look at the distance from the home the trees are, the spacing of trees, water supply, etc. I had to cut down 14 trees to come in compliance and they PAID ME over 800 dollars to do so. Plus my friends who helped got to take the wood for heating!!