Not just fiddling around: Using their heads.

Fiddlehead ferns are amazing. I guess when you are among the most ancient of plants, you have had time to think about your strategy. It’s all a race for height, winner shades out the competition. But if you jump the gun and start growing to soon, you risk getting frozen and/or snowed on. So, the problem becomes: How to wait til it is reasonably safe to emerge, but then get really tall really fast. And there are limits to how fast you can grow through sheer metabolism.

The fiddlehead solution: Build a tall structure ahead of time, in a freeze-resistant underground bunker, all coiled up and ready. When the time is right – DEPLOY! They don’t have to grow tall, just unfurl.

And boy do they ever! They get taller almost as you stand there watching. They also grow plenty fast as well, but it’s the coiled-up tower trick that really gives them the edge over everybody.


Fiddlehead fern sprouts emerging.



Reaching for the sun.


About 2 days worth of height. Notice how far ahead of the competiion they are - almost everything else is brown.

UPDATE June 8th:


North Window Twilight In Spring

View from my north window in April

Spring evening light out my north window.

I know of few things more peaceful than watching the light fade ever so slowly on a spring evening in Alaska. The sunset is in the north, and lingers on until it becomes the sunrise. I am always reluctant to light a lamp at this time of year, preferring to let that magical twilight fill the cabin. Beats the living hell out of TV.


Simple Pleasures 1

Clean utensils - two knives, a fork, a spoon, drying in the sun.

Simple pleasures: Clean utensils

If you haven’t ever lived in a “dry” cabin (no plumbing), you are missing out on some of life’s greatest simple pleasures. Too often the knife, fork or spoon gets the pants-leg treatment, so when I take the time to produce hot soapy water and really wash them…aaah. A very small thing, and a very real joy.