Summer finally arrived here in Soldotna last week. It’s been in the 60’s for a few afternoons, which feels like summer! The sun is hot here, and the long days are warming the earth.
Tomorrow the sun will rise here at 4:48 AM and it will set at 11:33 PM. Our days will continue to lengthen until June 21, which is the longest day (19 hours, 3 minutes, and 21 seconds). In June it never gets very dark in Soldotna. After the sun sets on the northwestern horizon, the sky remains a twilight gray while the sun traces a little hidden crescent-smile behind the north pole, peeping back up in the northeast only some four to five hours later. Here, a constant twilight glow remains on the horizon.
In Soldotna, we don’t experience the Midnight Sun as do people north of the Arctic Circle. Within the Arctic Circle, at least a portion of the sun is visible from June 12 until July 1. The Arctic Circle lies at 66 degrees N. latitude which, in Alaska, is 198 miles north of Fairbanks. Since Fairbanks is pretty much in the center of Alaska, a LOT of Alaska sees the sun for some 19 days straight! (There are some pretty incredible pictures of the Midnight Sun online which I recommend you “google”.)
Alaska-born people revel in these almost endless days, playing outside long after this Florida girl has pulled the blackout shades and gone to bed. They fish, hike, swim (even in these frigid waters), bike, enjoy outdoor festivals, and just hang out … trying to squeeze the last bit of sunshine from the day, because winters here are LONG!
Last week , I planted a wildflower garden beside the house. The sun is so hot, and the air is so dry, I must water several times a day to keep the seeds moist enough to sprout. However, I am not without wildflowers even now.
This year we came early in the spring, so I’m seeing early wildflowers for the first time right here on our property. Most of these I had to look up in my wildflower book because they are all SO different from the Florida wildflowers .
The Bog Blueberry’s blossoms are very tiny. They produce sweet round berries which are a favorite for the bears before the moose babies come.
This Dwarf Dogwood’s blossom looks so much like the Dogwood trees’ blossom in Georgia of my childhood.
Labrador Tea grows in alpine slopes in South-Central Alaska. They say you can make tea from the leaves for a diuretic, but it can also be poisonous, so…naah!
Also called “Prickly Rose,” because the stems are totally covered with tiny thorns, this flower has a sweeter rose fragrance than our hybrid roses.
The petals are used to make jelly or tea, and the “hip” or fruit is used for jellies and in baked goods
The Starflower doesn’t seem to have any practical use. It’s just delicate and beautiful to look at.
These Lupines are prolific along roadsides in poor sunny soil. This one was alongside my driveway, and is just beginning its bloom. It will grow to be about 16 inches tall, but this one is still about 8 inches.
Lupines are very poisonous, especially the seeds.
The Alpine Forget-Me-Not is my favorite! The blooms are so tiny, but so brilliantly blue and lavender. It is the Alaska State Flower which I found curious. The tiniest flower for the biggest state!
If you are interested in further photographs of wildflowers in Alaska, I hope you naturalists will let me know. It seems like a new variety appears every day or so.
God bless this good earth!