Fall on the Kenai

Two days ago, there was 4 inches of snow on the ground here. Yesterday, the weather turned, and it rained most of the day. Walking around on compacted snow (aka “ice”) with a layer of water on top while carrying buckets of food, water, and poop (not all at once) was exciting. To an outside observer, we must have looked like a couple of special needs kids, randomly flailing around as we walked.

Today, the snow was gone. In its place came rain and gusting winds all morning. This evening, the temperature rose to a balmy 42 degrees F, and the sun came out just in time to set. It’s supposed to rain all weekend, and possibly snow again next week. Such is fall on the Kenai Peninsula, according to our boss. Basically, the weather is like Indiana, only without the random thunderstorms, and better scenery.

In other news, Skippy and I have been craving brownies something fierce. We’d fed the craving a couple of time in the past week, having purchased a mega-pack of Ghiradelli brownies. Even after two batches in 2 weeks, we kept wanting more. Today we decided to put an end to the addiction, and split an entire pan in one sitting.

This was not one of our brightest ideas.

Imagine an extreme sugar rush, combined with the overstuffed feeling you get after a really big meal, and stir in a bit of “haven’t really interacted with anyone else in a couple of weeks” social withdrawal, and you get: me making funny voices and running around the cabin pretending to run into stuff (speaking of special needs…), and Skippy laughing until she abruptly starts to cry. 20 minutes later, we’re out feeding the sled dogs their dinner and cooking salmon in a big vat (described in a previous post).

We’re skipping dinner tonight.

First Raspberry Recipe: Waffles with Raspberry-Coconut Syrup

Make some waffles. I’ve been using Alton Brown’s Basic Waffle Recipe for the past few weeks, and I like it. We don’t keep milk products around so I replace the buttermilk with 2 cups of soy milk and add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to replicate the consistency and flavor.

Raspberry-Coconut Syrup:

2 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
4 to 6 Tbs of Noh Coconut Powder
2 Tbs butter/margarine

In a skillet, heat raspberries while mashing them with a wooden spoon. Mix in sugar and butter, bring to a mild boil, stirring frequently. When the syrup has thickened some (3-5 minutes), add coconut powder to taste. Continue boiling until desired consistency.

Sorry, no pictures, we were too busy stuffing our faces!

What makes a good Saturday?

Let me tell you.

1. Get up and work hard in a sled dog yard without eating anything, because you know you’re going to eat in town today. When you’re good and hungry, drive into town and here:

Have either an egg scramble with reindeer sausage, or french toast (made with thick slices of fresh baguette) with Alaskan Birch Syrup. Go ahead, try the homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam on your sourdough toast. It’s delicious, like everything else at Sourdough Express.

2. Next, go to the local farmer’s market. Even if it’s not very big.

Buy some fresh vegetables, and marvel at the quality and color.

3. Walk down the road and take some pictures of the Beluga Slough.

Cross the road, and take some pictures of Beluga Lake.

Remember to bring your telephoto lens next time, because the “all-purpose” 17-55mm zoom doesn’t reach as far as you would like for the close-up shot.

4. On the way home, make a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop at the Pick Your Own Organic Rasberry Patch you’ve passed so many times before.

Be stunned at how many raspberry bushes can be crammed together and tied into rows 100′ long.

Pick raspberries for an hour or two. Occasionally eat one.

Admire the raspberries and the beautiful day you’ve been given.

Wonder if the horse in the field next to the raspberry patch likes to lean over the fence and steal a few.

Notice the sunlight illuminating a berry in a particularly interesting way, and once again wish you had your telephoto, because it’s also an awesome macro lens. Make due with what you have, but resolve to just carry around the freaking huge camera bag next time.

Celebrate your haul of 7.5 pounds, and rejoice as you only pay 1/8 of the store price.

5. Finish out the afternoon by looking up raspberry recipes you want to try: Raspberry Pie, Raspberry Jam, Raspberry Waffles!

6. Feed the sled dogs their dinner, feed yourself dinner, then curl up and watch a good movie. Or, The Last Starfighter. Whichever.

Lazy Sunday in February

Yesterday was Tyra’s 34th birthday. Her party was on Saturday, so yesterday was mostly recovery. I spent the day reading about how to build things, like a cheap steadycam mount, a cardboard solar dehydrator, and a greenhouse. Skippy spent the day sleeping. We finally managed to get up around 6, and wandered over to Tyra’s to help polish off some of the leftovers from her dinner party. The weather here was crap, with high winds and rain all day.