In the past week, the weather has ranged from toasty warm to rain with a chance of seagulls to just a light touch of mid-elevation termination dust. On Tuesday morning ice covered the Betster’s windshield thick enough to require three minutes of scraping. That includes digging out the ice scraper. Some people never could find scrapers and so used handy implements like spatulas.
By the calendar we’ve entered fall, but Alaska being Alaska, we don’t get fall quite like other states, except for the pumpkin beer — and pumpkin bread and pumpkin spice lattes. Even in Florida they gets signs of autumn thanks to modern American consumerism. This will continue into late October, when everything turns to red and green with sightings of mistletoe.
In Alaska we call fall that brief period between when the fireweed has gone to fluff and it snows. Sometimes this can last a month, sometimes it can last minutes and, as happened last year, we never really got snow.
By the rising and setting sun, we know this time as the equinox, a brief day or two when all the northern hemisphere has more or less equal days. Thanks to Daylight Saving Time and that year when we never went off DST, this means the sun rises at 8 a.m. and sets at 8 p.m. That just seems weird.
But here’s another sign of fall: All but the hardy tourists have departed and we have our town back. If you see someone new to town still, it’s either a tourist who has become so enchanted with Homer she just can’t leave, or someone ready to try out Alaska.
Go with the latter and welcome them here, and be sure to tell them of all the fun things to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST ROLL ’EM BET: Wow. A dozen years of the Burning Basket and now the Homer Documentary Film Festival. Does this town rock or what? Check out the gala opening starting at 6:15 p.m. today with reindeer hot dogs and the local premiere of “The Great Alone,” about Iditarod champion Lance Mackey’s race in the ultimate sled dog race.
BEST FALLING DOWN BET: A few thousand years ago big hunks of the lower Kenai Peninsula bluff slid into the bay, with the edges eroding to this day. Learn more in a talk by geologist Ed Berg, “Cataclysmic Bluff Collapse on the Southern Kenai Peninsula,” at 7 p.m. today at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.
BEST HARVEST BET: While farmers will probably keep selling veggies for a few more weeks, the Homer Farmers Market officially ends on Saturday with a big harvest party potluck. The farmers will have a big pot of soup, but bring a dish to share. The market opens at 10 a.m. Saturday with the party at noon.
BEST ART FOR ART BET: Want to create some art in trade for other art? Bunnell Street Arts Center Artist in Residence Amy Casey is not only here through Nov. 6 to share ideas, she’ll share her art, too. In art exchanges from 3-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 1, the Cleveland artist does an exchange. Bring photos of your house, and while you work on your art, she’ll do a small work based on your home, and then you trade.