Friday, April 2, 2010

We rock out to Beatles tunes and Dusty Springfield hits all the way to town.

Last week I wrote a guest blog post for the Kluane Red Squirrel Project's main site. Of course, I mentioned how lovely the weather was and how it felt like spring was just around the corner. On Sunday, we woke up completely buried in heavy, cold snow. The Yukon spring certainly is a winter wonderland, but squirrels don;t really like to come out in these conditions, and I wasn't really thrilled about spending the entire day outside slogging around on snowshoes either (the day goes much more quickly if you actually catch squirrels). The surrounding were even more eerily beautiful than usual, though. When there's this much snow everything is absolutely silent.

This picture was taken looking back at our huts from the cookhouse. Usually you can see them there.

I love the way the snow balances on the branches of the willow.

I've also been very excited about the upcoming wildflower season. I've been studying up on the Yukon flora. We have a lot of interesting species right on our study sites. Right now I can just take shots of last year's willow buds. Also, we were reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica the other day about the Greek Prophetess, Cassandra. It's a great story, if I do say so myself. We found out, though, that cassandra is also a little plant in the Ericaceae family. It's found throughout the arctic circle and is actually present in bogs all the way down south to Georgia. It's also known as leatherleaf. That's not a good nickname for me though.

And, everyone I talk to wants to know how the squirrels are, of course. They are well. Squirrels that live on our food add grids are chubby and having happy little babies. Squirrels that live on my non-food add grid, Chitty, are happy to have a peanut butter snack in a trap. This is my favourite squirrel pose. It's called vigilance.

The sun sets here in the Yukon around 8:50 pm these days. It's really nice to have so much daylight. At this latitude, the amount of daylight actually increases by about 7 minutes each day. Dusk lasts until we go to bed around 10:30. Last night Dylan came into the hut at 1:15 am and woke us up to see the northern lights. We had a deal that if they were spectacular we'd wake each other up. I think it's actually getting a little late in the year to see the really colourful lights here, but last night there was a huge swath of green light across the sky and I saw two little pink strikes as well. I tried to take a picture, as requested, but it wasn't working with my little Canon. I have to admit, I totally forgot about the fireworks setting until this morning, as I was quite deeply asleep last night, but I'll see if they are out again tonight and try to snap a picture.

Also, I have a bit of bad news, dear blog readers. My time in the Yukon at Squirrel Camp is going to be cut a bit short. I really haven't been feeling well at all up here. Unfortuntately, I've been spending a bit of time at the health centre, and drove in to see the doctor in Whitehorse yesterday. I'm okay, but it's not practical to be driving from Squirrel Camp to Whitehorse to try to figure things out over the next few months. So, I'm going to head home at the end of April.

Stay tuned for a few more blog posts, of course. I'm very excited to see the Nest Two babies (they'll be furry little guys! We have one coming up this week). The work is still a lot of fun. I'm going to be very sad to leave this place, but everyone says to come back for a vacation. Some day I will definitely drive the rest of the Alaska Highway (roadtrip, anyone?) Also, I'd like to give a big shout out to all of the people who are having a Good Friday Feast at my parent's house in Warsaw. I hope you guys are having a great night and time is being kept accurately by the 11 clocks of the Stabler residence.

As usual, thanks for the mail. It makes my day and I was especially happy to receive some notes and things (chocolate ;) this week.

Talk to you soon, Cass

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