Monday, 28 July 2008

Beer Run in Alaska

I've been thinking about winter a whole bunch, lately. I got a new pair of pac boots on the cheap that arrived in the mail, and the fireweed is nearly to the end of it's bloom! They (who said it first, anyhow? Who is `they?`) say that when fireweed flowers to it's tip, summer is over, which is a good rule of thumb. Everyone Else is throwing up their pictures, so I'll join the boat! 

That's the cabin of the ex-neighbour. Sadly, he got into an accident and died just last month. Shame. Horrible shame. I liked him. The current neighbour lives a bit further down, and she seems all right. Good taste in beer, and she doesn't make a ruckus all hours. Not at all like the young couple who lived there before - nary two brain cells to rub together between the two of them. They left after about two months, probably back to North Pole or some such. 

Fireweed is a member of Onagraceae, or more commonly known as the Willow Herb Family. Well, more commonly known than `Onagraceae.` It's a fairly vibrant and widespread family of plants, or at least the ones I've seen had been. Fireweed is a early colonizer that can endure huge amounts of soil disturbance - it would spring up right after bush fires, leading to it's common name. Just about everywhere a human pokes some dirt around, in the Interior, Fireweed springs up. Luckily, it's native to the area, so helps occupy that early disturbance niche that is otherwise frequently occupied by exotic Eurasian species such as cheatgrass as is a problem in the intermountain west in the lower 48. That's not to say we don't have invasive weeds up here, but they're fewer in number, and often struggle to adapt to our climate. A few notable exceptions exist, that I'll blog about later. 

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