About Us

The Kane Family in Alaska

A few of our friends and family haven't had the opportunity to visit us in Alaska. Because of that, they may not know how in some ways the 49th state is much the same as where they live. In other ways it's very different.


Wasilla, Alaska, is located in an area of the state commonly known as "Southcentral." Please don't confuse it with another part of the country with the same name. A 45-minute drive from Anchorage, Wasilla is thought of as the fastest growing community in the state. Some snobs consider the area and its residents a little too rustic. Google "Valley Trash," for more on that. Wasilla is really just a budding bedroom community. We have paved roads, lots of traffic lights, sidewalks, grocery and department stores, gas stations, and even a couple franchise restaurants that don't serve fast food.

I have to laugh whenever I'm on the phone with a Customer Service Department, talking to a young American (it makes me wonder about the state of our Education System) who asks, "…well, like, um… aren't you part of Canada, dude?" My answer usually goes like this, "Although we are (ahem) attached to the Northwestern part of Canada, I'm pretty sure we're still part of the United States." Usually right after that I'm told they "…don't ship overseas" or, the charges are three times what I'd pay anywhere else.

Okay, now that everyone has a pretty good idea where we live, let me get rid of a couple bad ideas about how we live.

The Sun, How Long Our Days Are, and the Seasons

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. I learned to tell what direction I was going by looking at the sun's position in the sky. I also got pretty good at guessing what time of day it was. That's because the closer you are to the equator, the easier it is to see that the sun rises in the east and settles in the west. Because of Alaska's position on the globe none of that works here, and it drove me crazy when I first arrived. Each day the sun appears to take a semi-fixed position above the horizon, and as the day progresses it seems to revolve overhead in the same fixed position. This unique placement of the sun makes some spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially set against a backdrop of the mountains. In Winter when the Earth's polar axis is shifted away from the sun, our days are noticeably much shorter. In Summer when the globe is shifted the other way, as the days get longer we have nearly continuous daylight. During Summer Solstice we barely see enough dusk to even notice the day's end. These effects are more pronounced the farther north one travels in the state. The Sunrise/Sunset chart below illustrates current daylight hours for our area.

We do have seasons in Alaska, they're just, well… different. In Springtime, because of the rapidly increasing number of daylight hours, the trees leaf out very quickly in what seems as little as a week. Around that time if I take a short trip north of Wasilla, trees that are in full foliage lead to trees with barely noticeable buds only a few miles away.

There are several old jokes about the seasons in Alaska. A couple of them go something like this:

Alaska's Four Seasons
Almost Summer
Almost Winter
Almost Construction Season
Construction Season
Almost Winter

Our Unusual Weather the Past Couple Years

We saw more snow the winter of 2011-2012, than we've seen in a long time. It started early, it never seemed to let up, and it left a bunch on the ground. Anchorage set some new records for snowfall. Some of the areas in Alaska that always get a lot of snowfall were buried so deep they needed to dig tunnels to get out of their homes.

Toward the end of the season, there were even some people praying for just a little more snow. They hoped to break all the recent records. They got their wish.

What Chris and I didn't spend to keep warm, got used up in keeping our 200-foot driveway cleared out enough to get in and out.

I'm not complaining, but Saturday, December 8, 2012, marked the first time the greater Wasilla area got any snowfall worth mentioning this winter. At our house, Chris and I measured an accumulation of approximately three inches over the weekend.

Before that, we were plagued with continuous high winds and consistent below freezing temperatures. Emergency Services had a heck of a time keeping some wildland fires in check. I heard someone mention that the frost line was down at least six feet, which hardly ever happens. Judging by news reports, and the rash of pipe-thawing equipment rentals, this winter started out a lot colder than most.

Some Words About the Usual Weather…

Most years the summers in our area are absolutely beautiful. The days are long and mild, and the temperatures rarely get higher than mid 80º F. Considering Summer temperatures and the humidity where I grew up, I never thought I'd see a day where I'd hear the fellows whining that 80º F was just too hot. Although I remember a couple summers where it showered nearly every day, we don't usually see a lot of rain until late August. We sometimes joke, "…if it's raining in late August, it must be time for the Alaska State Fair!"

From that point on, the days usually begin to get cooler. By late September to early October the leaves on the trees begin to lose their color. Shortly after that we almost always get a bit of a wind storm that blows all the leaves off the trees. We've been known to sometimes go several weeks with baren trees, dry plants and grass, and no snow cover. Sooner or later though, it's going to get cold and snow, and not necessarily in that order. In late fall 2009, we had an early cold snap that kept temperatures well below 0º F for several days without much snow cover. After that the temperatures were mild, but we did have a few days in December with nearly continuous snowfall that made for some treacherous driving conditions.

Typically we'll see a couple weeks of frigid temperatures in February. It makes going outdoors a little challenging, and Chris rarely ventures out of the house during these times. With her heart condition and asthma, it's just too difficult for her to breathe. Some folks will complain very loudly about the temperatures, vowing they'll never spend another winter in Alaska, and a few of them actually become "Snow Birds," people who summer in Alaska and winter somewhere else where it's warmer.

In another few weeks, as the Spring thaw begins, all is forgotten. We start our annual post-winter cleanup, sometimes finding objects thought to be lost forever, as we eagerly await the return of the Robins and the Swallows. These magnificent little creatures signify the coming of another season of long balmy days with plenty of sunshine.

Weather for Us, Our Family, and Friends

Click the image for a complete weather forecast.

Chris & Doc
Client Care
Dan's Family
Dan & Doc's Dad
Jill & Olivia
Libby & Charla
Palmer PD
Rick & Erica
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