Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: If this heat wasn’t bad enough …

It’s so hot … robins are pulling worms out of the ground with oven mitts.

“Oh! We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave

The temperature’s rising, it isn’t surprising,”

OK, Irving Berlin, we get it.

It’s so hot … robins are pulling worms out of the ground with oven mitts.

It’s so hot … a cop was spotted on the spit chasing a thief with a cooler and they were both walking.

It’s so hot … my thermometer is tapped out at “What the #^%*?

Thanks for the joke fest material rolling into our Unhinged Alaska headquarters folks but chill out. If I try to publish the best ones, my editor will suffer a heatstroke just whacking the delete button with her censoring machete.

A few days ago, I wrote in a fishing report that, “The coming week looks to be set on sizzle so make sure you’re wearing enough sunscreen to walk across the surface of the sun buck-naked and barely pop a tan line.”

That brought a response from one of my sisters-in-laws in Ohio who thought that our weather sounded “comfortable.” I wrote back that when she comes up here at the end of July, she had better bring a parka because it will probably be in the low 60s. Haven’t heard a word back.

By the way, that retort wasn’t out of line. My editor for the Homer News spotted some tourist styling Sorels on the spit the other day and it was a tough trudge with the asphalt turning to goo. I have yet to confirm other incoming reports of mosquitoes spontaneously combusting in midair and piscatorians pulling poached salmon from our infamous fishing hole.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being a wimp when it comes to being put on stir fry for weeks on end. The military set me on simmer in Asia, bake in Texas, roast in Arizona and broil in the Mohave Dessert after luring me into thinking I had it made when my first assignment was in Montana. I was in heaven surrounded by some of the finest fishing and hunting a young man from the Washington Cascades could ask for until they decided to send me to graduate school in a state so flat the only hills featured on its topographical maps were built by ants. Things didn’t improve much after that except that I learned that there were places on earth that you could swim in the surrounding humidity.

But, I digress, at this writing our resident mama moose and her twins have disappeared and are most likely ungulate paddling around some high mountain lake.

The coyotes’ howlings have morphed into high-pitched wheezes due to the heavy smoke and a three-year-old black bear is wandering the neighborhood with a “just shoot me now” expression.

The latest forecast is teasing some possible relief (40% chance of rain) the day this column hits the stands and the two days subsequent are promising a 70% shot at some wet stuff.

About now, anything drippy would be a nice break especially for our lawn that’s beginning to develop a serious case of Death Valley syndrome with patches so big and brown that shrews won’t set foot on them for fear of turning into briquettes before getting to the other side.

My wife’s flower garden is flourishing though, but only because she has the determination, toughness and doggedness of a hotshot firefighter when it comes to facing a challenge. We aren’t on a municipality water system nor do we have the pleasure of having a well on the property so it’s delivered.

That, of course, means no garden hoses, sprinklers or kiddie pools for wandering fauna to soak in when the days start to steam. It also means delivering every gorgeous plant in her garden a cool draught of water each morning so it will make it through the day without turning into something resembling a clump of wilted spinach. So far, it’s working and she has some stunning peonies, roses and petunias lighting up the approach to our cabin.

So, it’s not all bad at out little abode by the sea. If things improve in the next few days, we might even be able to coax our drama dogs out of the soothing chill of the basement. They are an embarrassment to the entire pooch line. If we try to take them on a delicate duty walk any time of the day other than dawn, they will instantly play dead when they hit the deck. There’s something not right about those two.

It’s time now to turn to something much more appealing than ranting about the heat and take a ride somewhere in our air conditioned truck. My fingers are starting to stick to the keyboard.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t lurking with his bride and two spoiled mutts in a some cool hotel room sipping some seriously iced down brew.

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