Springtime in Alaska is one of my favorite times of the year. March is still considered winter in Alaska, and the amount of snow we still have on the ground would verify that this is still true. But it is a beautiful month. With more sun and more warmth, the snow really starts melting in March and it feels more like spring. April however is when spring really hits. But spring in Alaska is not the same as it is elsewhere.
Alaska’s spring consists of melting snow, more melting snow, a lot more water and melting snow, lots of water and mud, and then summer. Well, there is that one short week where the buds on the trees are huge and then open to reveal a beautiful spring green leaf, the mud has mostly dried up, and a lot of snow is gone, but that’s about as long as it lasts. This year, I am super excited for spring. This winter we have had a lot of snow. My husband, who has lived in Alaska his whole life, reminds me that this year wasn’t the most Willow could have gotten, and has gotten in years past, but he does agree that we have had more this year than we have had in the last several years anyway. For me it is probably one of the biggest snowfall years that I can remember. But I have only been here for about 25 years. The biggest difference this year was the moisture level in the snowfalls. Usually, it is very dry and fluffy. This year, especially during the month of February, the snow had a lot more moisture to it, and it was heavy. This means that it didn’t stack up as high as it could have, but it caused a lot more problems for buildings.
Daylight hours are increasing as well. I grew up in Southern Utah, and I never remember noticing the differences in daylight hours. I’m sure it is mostly because I was a kid, but the swings in daylight hours there aren’t huge either. In Alaska however, it’s impossible not to notice the shifting of daylight. Here in Willow, we have a little over 5 hours of daylight in the middle of winter, with somewhere around 19 hours of daylight in the summer. During the winter it can be difficult for some people to function on that little bit of daylight. I don’t seem to have a problem, but I have found that keeping busy regardless of the daylight hours can be helpful, at least for me. But I really start to notice the extra daylight in the spring. I have noticed that this gives me a boost of energy, especially in the morning, and I start to get excited about all sorts of things like hiking and my garden.
Because my mind shifts to summer things this time of year, I decided it was time to start a few plants that need a little bit of extra growth time before summer gets here. The extra daylight hours mean that I don’t absolutely need grow lights to get them going. So, my kids and I planted some seeds. We planted Broccoli, Cabbage, Onions, Tomatoes, and Peppers. I do not have a green thumb, and consequently, only about half the time does my own starts work for me. But I love having these plants growing in my windows until it’s warm enough to take them outside.
I might be a little bit late for some of these plants, like tomatoes. But in the fall, I end up bringing them inside to finish off the year. I am also getting excited for hiking, looking forward to getting out in nature and enjoying the beauty of the Alaskan summer. Hopefully this summer I will remember to share some of my favorite hikes with you, here on my blog as well as in video form! Today I hope you are enjoying your spring, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, and that you are looking forward to summer and the fun activities that summer brings!