Sunday, September 15, 2019

Happy August Moon Day!

Friday was the "August Moon Festival" or "Mid Autumn Festival". Yes, I know it is September, but it has to do with the lunar calendar. Anyway, it is the second biggest holiday of the year for many Asian cultures, but it's never quite caught on in the U.S. like Lunar New Year has.

I'm not really a huge fan of mooncakes, but I dutifully purchase a box each year:

Since it fell on a Friday this year, I decided to host a party on Saturday. And since I have learned how to make jiu-cai hezi, and figured that that seemed like a nice celebratory thing to make, I made 'em!

I have to admit, I'm proud of my gift for eyeballing measurements. DL came home from running errands when I was halfway through, and organizing the first dozen hezi into two tidy rows on the cookie sheet. I was embarrassed to be so... particular about arranging them (just to sit! They get pan-fried, not baked!). But he understood, since after all, it is his extremely tidy wiring that first made me notice him. :)

When I had finished wrapping them, lo and behold, rows of six were precisely the way to go, as I finished with exactly six rows of six:

(and only four tiny lumps of dough extra)

And finished the filling perfectly!

I also took a cue from M, who roasts root vegetables whenever she bakes something. "Why turn on the oven to cook only one thing?" she says. So, wanting to roast a chicken for the feast, I roasted two chickens:

And I sent the leftover chicken from the first bird home with guests, and now we have a whole roast chicken for pot pies, tacos, enchiladas, etc, etc!

Speaking of dough, last week, I made my own jiao-zi skins for the first time!

They came out pretty good!

Only a few tore, where I had rolled the dough too thin, but they didn't fall apart:

Look! This sunflower that I had been eyeballing for the past two weeks finally bloomed on Thursday!

On Saturday, it looked like this!

A second one is about to bloom, but it is seven feet in the air, so I can't really tell!

It's weirdly warm nowadays, but not unpleasant. Roooooo is comfy in it:

And Cricket is comfy in it:

And so are honeybees!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

"Exploring" the Neighborhood Trails

Last weekend, a friend suggested that the neighborhood trails, which we have skied and snowshoed hundreds of times in winter but had never laid eyes on in summer, were actually passable now and quite lovely. Well, the mosquitoes have died down a bit, so we put on muck boots and attempted it.

It turns out that the lower trails were still quite boggy and impassable to someone who is trying to have fun:

Although the higher trail behind Quist Farm was lovely:

Roo and Cricket had fun!

It's funny how I know this trail so well, but had never seen it like this!



Rose leaves in their fall colors:

The gate to the hay farm:

And the front of Quist Farm:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Dogs understand intent

When I accidentally kick a dog:

When a dog accidentally punches me:

Thursday, September 5, 2019

49,000 signatures collected

49,000 signatures were collected for the campaign to recall the governor, out of a goal of 30,000. Collecting 70,000 for the next stage should be no problem.

"Vic Fischer, a former Democratic state senator and delegate to the 1955 Alaska Constitutional Convention, turned in the application paperwork. He called the campaign the most “phenomenal outpouring of citizenship” he’s ever witnessed in Alaska."

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Rabbit Rabbit!

It is the first of September, and it looks like we are settling into a lovely fall! The days are warm, the nights are cool, the sun is like a radiant heater, and the night skies have stars and aurora. The air smells cool and damp, like humus and earth and mushrooms and highbush cranberries.

We still have not dropped below freezing at night on our wee hill, but some of the lower valleys in town have. This weekend, our neighborhood is really starting to look like fall, with reds and yellows in the plants and blue, blue skies:

These sunflowers have had buds on them for nearly a week now, and I've eagerly anticipated them blooming, but all they do is continue to get taller!! What is the deal with them? I sure hope they bloom before they get ruined by frost!

Roo on the trail:

The fireweed has all gone to fluffy seeds:

I have never seen squirrels eating mushrooms until I moved to Alaska. Mushrooms are a big thing among humans here. There are dozens of different kinds, and there mushroom-hunting clubs and trips and mycology lessons at the University. (DL says, "Are they continually looking for new members?" LOL). I'm glad I do not like mushrooms and am not tempted by them!

DL and his ladies:

Look at the gorgeous colors!

Starbuck on the trail:

Cricket on the trail:

The water is nice to drink again! All rain-fed and clean!

The leaves of the blueberry plants turn a gorgeous brilliant red-orange:

So do the dwarf dogwoods:

Roo sniffing with her tongue:

Some shrooms:

A straight view down the powerline trail:

Dogs on the trail!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Good eats

The other day, I made jiu-cai hezi, using a combination of this recipe and this one. The Chinese supermarket here only sells jiu-cai in enormous bunches, which I need to use up quickly, because it makes our fridge smell like something died in there.

The dough involves hot water:

Chop chop chop:

The filling is very simple; you don't need to cook the bean threads; just soak them in hot water:

And the dough is pretty resilient; it doesn't tear easily:

And you pan-fry them in very little oil! I had always imagined them deep-fried because in restaurants they are so greasy!

We had them with salmon and fresh tomatoes. Mmmm...

There is so much silicate material in the jiu-cai that it roughened my knife!

From another night, gai-lan steamed and dressed with oyster sauce:

Fly lice!


A very tasty meal!

Here is a beautiful cabbage from the Bs' garden:

A pizza made with hydroponically-grown basil that my coworker is growing in our office using a system he spent this past summer teaching Upward Bound students how to engineer!

Rockfish and gai-lan cooked in black bean sauce:


Also, today is Cricket's 8th birthday! Here is a photo of her looking rather dignified: