The trail wound its way up into the hills, around small, weed-edged ponds, and across a shallow stream. It was lined with spruce trees and berries, and the smell of leaves beginning to decay filled the crisp air. It was perfect country for grouse and moose and bears. – John Elvis Smelcer, author of Alaskan Stories from the Great Land
Beginning and End – A Season of Change
Fall Session has just gotten underway at Alaska Pacific University. One can’t help but notice the transition taking place at Spring Creek Farm (The Kellogg Campus). The end of the growing season and final week of produce drops for Amanda, the CSA farmer, is at hand. What a challenging year with the cool weather and excessive rain. I must commend Amanda and her helpers on a job well done this season. Bud, the hay farmer, has just cut his last crop of hay to be baled for the season.
With Session beginning, both new and seasoned students along with instructors in the MSOEE program are beginning to gather at the farm for classes, recreation, and the annual kick-off party. It has been a joy meeting new students as well as catching up with others not seen around these parts in a while. Several students are practicing their craft as instructors at Louise’s Farm School Program. Every morning the farm is filled with the energy the local youth has to offer. Taz and Otis (the farm’s K9 meet and greet unit) seem to love the extra attention.
The forest is becoming bare with leaf drop taking place. The colorful leaves did not hang around this year due to the recent windstorms and rain. Saturday, the farm was greeted with a reminder that old man winter is not far off. The farm was blanketed with snow on Saturday morning, the first of the season. It was exciting to get my camera in hand to document this significant event.
Summers never-ending sunlight has given away to some true nights and darkness. Sunday evening greeted the farm clan with a full moon rising over Pioneer Peak. That would have been well enough; however, recent solar flares gave way to some solid aurora activity on Sunday evening/Monday morning. I once again had to grab the camera to document this. Ribbons/bands of green came and disappeared in short intervals as I spent a couple hours outside taking in the beauty as well as taking pictures. I could hear an owl calling the entire time from a location not far away in the forest. It reminded me of the great grey owl that made its presence known late last winter. I can still picture it sitting low on a cottonwood limb as I approached close with my camera. Unbeknownst to me Otis, ½ of the K9 meet and greet, spotted it just as I was nearing the owl. Needless to say, there was no longer a grey owl in my vicinity. I laugh at that event much easier today than I did at the time.
Tuesday October 2nd marks a day to vote on a council member seat for the City of Palmer as well as three propositions, one including a proposal to prohibit smoking in places of employment and public places. By the time you receive this it will be over; however, I encourage all of you to exercise your voice and right to vote this upcoming November.
Ending on that note, I wish all the APU family a productive and exciting start to this fall and semester/session. Keep your eye out for all the opportunities your surroundings have to offer.
APU Graduate Student / MSOEE Program