August 2023 Back Page – No Endless Summer Here

Posted: October 4, 2023

Only one month past the summer solstice and I find myself awake at times of the day when I need to flip a light on.  Although the persistent cloud cover in Anchorage this month and the age of my eyes may play a roll, the dim light is a reminder that summer will not last forever.  There is work to be done, always, but the waning light of summer awakens an urgency to accomplish tasks before the change in season.

Summer is a time of harvest for fish and greens and berries.  It is also a time for transporting fuel and supplies and of long, warm(ish) days for building and maintenance.  As barges start hitting the beaches there is a frenetic activity to make use of the supplies that have been so long awaited.  Same when the fish arrive or the caribou.  With all the work to be done the days don’t seem long enough, even if the sun barely dips below the horizon.

AVEC Plant Operators are busy receiving fuel for the year and crews are busy moving poles, engines and transformers into place.  Lumber packages for roofing or foundations are arriving and being carted to plant yards.  Even prefabricated buildings and modules for power generation and energy storage are being received and being put into place and into service.  Projects that have been planned for months or years can finally be constructed.

Much of the construction will last past the “lazy” days of summer, after the fish is dried and the meat is stored.  Soon the snap in the air and the sight of peoples’ breath will turn the urgency up a notch; to get the new buildings enclosed or the holes dug and backfilled before the real cold returns.  Some of the supplies will have been pushed aside just waiting for colder weather to work on the soft saturated soils that stiffen in the winter.

The work of ordering, scheduling, shipping, fixing, building, and maintaining goes on throughout the year.  Office staff, field crews and operators all doing their daily tasks; summer, fall, winter, and spring.  And if all goes right, people like me all around Alaska can just flip a light on when they need it.

Until next time,

Bill Stamm