At first, when we walked up Tofty Road with the poodles, flocks of little silvery birds swirled before us. There were so many of them that they reminded us of swarms of big bugs. They seemed to be foraging for food in the snow, especially where it had been turned over by the snow plows. Now the birds are gone, I guess flown north, and there are real bugs flitting around. Bugs and spiders just seem to appear the minute the weather warms.
Spruce grouse are calling in the woods. Bea has a pair of plump rosy-red grosbeaks at her feeder. The grass around the hot springs is vivid green. There are pussy willows. By this afternoon we should be able to walk in the birch forest behind our house without getting in snow.
Ice is still firm on the Tanana River. We check the landing now most days. Ice breakup is spectacular, and jams may cause flooding. There are already flood warnings. Our house is on high ground and would not be affected, but Bea and Al’s is on low land, and they are worried. Jerry says if there is a flood the electricity will be off since the power plant is on low ground. In that eventuality we can practice our subsistence skills.
I will remind Jerry to take the gun with us when we walk, just in case we should meet a hungry black bear.
April 30: Jerry replaced the chipped linoleum bathroom floor with imitation wood laminate. He had to remove the toilet and sink, and in doing so broke a pipe and caused big lot of water to get on the floor. There was a lot of swearing. I was upstairs in my tiny “studio” painting a tiny painting. I asked if I could help and was told no, there’s only one mop. So I stayed upstairs and the dogs did too, since they have to be with me at all times. Tonight I have a beautiful new dry bathroom floor that matches the rest of the cabin.
Daytime temperatures are now over 70. These are records for this date. We took our walk in the woods this evening, up the trail through the birch forest (Indian land we are not supposed to walk on, but who will know?) Mosquitoes swooped. The snow is gone but there was a lot of water running down the hill. The forest floor was covered with dry birch leaves and green growing things like moss and evergreen ground covers. We saw some piles of fresh looking moose poop, and some other kind, perhaps owl. The bare white birch trunks and branches against the dark blue sky amaze me.
There is much talk of flood. The ice on the river still looks pretty solid, but if it jams, as it has south of here the river may overflow