Thursday, April 29, 2010

The ice went out!

And I didn't win!



My careful calculations were thrown off because their 'tripod' has four legs!


Mama reindeer are already growing in their new antlers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Boeing is doing cold-weather tests in a cold room in Florida, for a bargain price of between $20,000 and $30,000 a day.

I wonder how many days this testing is being done for, and at what point the testing tab would be the same cost as that of waiting for Winter to come to Fairbanks?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh, haha

Q: Who in Fairbanks has a power bill that is higher in Summer than in Winter?

A: People who have an electric range, but cook on their wood stoves when the fire is going.

No fire, no free cooking. Dangit!

Now my Chinese genes are kicking in, and I'm wondering how much I can eat without cooking! More salads! Carrots and store-bought cheese! Hahaha!

(P.S. Mudder: I am joking. I'm still going to cook food! The difference is $2 a month.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I spent part of the weekend trimming back the weeds from the house. I figured it wasn't safe to have such dry, yellow weeds so close to a log cabin... they would make perfect kindling if we were to have a bad fire season. In addition, I trimmed back and thinned out some of my perennial wild plants that were NOT a fire hazard, being still green and alive, just to tidy up a bit. I also tidied up the walkways that go among the cabin, the outhouse, the storage shed, and the firewood piles.

It seems the closer I live to nature, the more I seek to create some order and civilization to counter it. When I lived in the city (and by "the city", I include Fairbanks proper), I was comfortable with having a somewhat unmanaged American meadow garden in my yard. But now... I feel like I am craving some order, so I have become like other good American citizens and have begun keeping my wild brambles of raspberry canes and fireweed confined only to certain areas of the yard. It reminds me of a small incident in Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer. One of our protagonists is a young widow who now finds herself living alone on her late husband's farm. She had been a city girl before marrying, but she loved nature in that detached way that city people do. She recalls having a minor argument with her late husband, over a honeysuckle vine. He had ripped it out like all other weeds, but she had been annoyed that he could destroy something beautiful. Would it have been so bad to let just the one weed live? Toward the end of the novel, she finds a barn that has been destroyed by honeysuckle vines, climbing all over it and rotting the wood. Kingsolver doesn't comment on it, but it was poignant to me. People like me love nature, but we have our lives to live, too, and sometimes those lives require that we not always be perfect tree-huggers. So in a weird way, I think it is my conversion to a rural life that has made me into a destroyer of weeds and tamer of raspberry canes. I must go visit Ann soon to see if she has any suggestions for native perennial ground cover that is not covered with thorns!

In other news, I neglected to visit the new local meat market this weekend. I had meant to, to give full reportage, but then realized that I'm not actually short of any meat products. But I feel I must give them a mention because I think it's a wonderful thing they are doing, enabling us locals to have a place to shop for local meat and produce. That way, those of us who don't hunt can still have access to non-factory-farmed meat. Yay!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Firsts of the Season

First sandwich in the yard

First night with no fire in the wood stove

First mosquito (booo!)

First time sitting on the porch rubbing the dogs' bellies to watch the sun go down

First furball groomed off of Millie's shoulders

First strands of undercoat coming out of the dogs

First night temperatures don't drop below freezing at night

First time going out without hat/gloves

First seedlings:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What my space physics friends occupy their heads with

Up here where the earth's magnetic field lines converge and we can thus observe some spectacular effects of the sun interacting with the earth, quite a few people in the Space Physics program study the sun! Awesome, isn't it?

And here are the cutest bear photos you've ever seen, taken at a Zoo in Stavropol, Russia.

Photos via Danil Semyonov / AFP / Getty Images

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Failed attempts at cuddling fuzzy things

Went to a sheep and wool educational workshop at Calypso Farm, but no behbeh goat kids nor lambos had been born yet.

Here is a photo of a curious and personable sheep:

And here is Nenno (sp?), demonstrating how he gets shorn. He sits very cooperatively.

Nenno getting his annual shave:

A goat, chillin' in the sun:

When I left the building yesterday to walk to my car, I noticed that the sky looked like Summer:

I was let into the reindeer pen this morning, but the behbehs were all WAY too shy to let me come near. They were curious and approached me, but walked away at the last minute. Dang! No behbeh reindeer cuddling!

Oh well. I will have to return to Calypso Farm after the lambs and kids come. And I know for certain that I'll get to cuddle them! Yay!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Extremely happy dog

Q: Who can beat Alaskan huskies for enthusiasm for their jobs?

A: Border collies

This is Indy, a seven-year-old Border Collie practicing for the 60-weave pole competition in St. Petersburg, Fla. Look at his eyes! He looks like Linden on crack!

Photo by Melissa Lyttle of the St. Petersburg Times

Seven ways to eat leftover ham

1. Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches

2. Ham, cheese, and onion quiche

3. Macaroni and cheese with ham

4. Stir-fried ham with mustard greens over rice (Does anyone besides Chinese-Americans and Taiwanese eat this? It's delicious!)

5. Ham enchiladas (a little unusual, but quite good)

6. Straight up, from the foil, tossing bits to the dogs

7. In split pea soup

And finally, my friends, the 22-pound Chinese Easter ham is gone. :)

Here is a photo of Bunn that I've just stumbled upon. He is about 4 years old here, and this is before we got Millie. He was just so... disgusting and cute at the same time!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Isberg Trails coming along nicely

The nice, clean, dry main trail:

The part of the trail that still needs work:

A few ruts, but passable, thanks to the mud's still being frozen:

blue sky:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Views outward

It was sort of grey all day yesterday, so when the sun peeked out from the clouds a bit after supper last night, I snapped some photos from the windows. These are my views.

Looking South behind the wood stove. This is looking behind the cabin to my land.

Looking East behind the wood stove. This is the direction of the main road.

Looking South from the kitchen window. These are my moose curtains!

Looking North into the front yard. I park my car right in the yard, like a true redneck. ;)

And looking to the left from this same window, you can see right up the driveway to the dirt road on which we live. I hung a towel on the porch in anticipation of muddy paw season.

The dogs are hot. Since temperatures are warmer now but still cool (right around freezing at 30s F or near 0 C), I still need to light a fire every night, but have to micromanage it in order to prevent it from overheating the house.

I snapped this photo of Miss Millie just so you don't forget she exists. :)

Autumn is so sweet, like a teddy bear.

Linden says, "Are you looking at me? Why, of course you are! I am the cutest dog on earth!"

Both of the girls have Spring fever and are exceptionally bouncy and exuberant lately, which says a lot because they are bouncy and exuberant by nature! In the mornings, while they wait for me to drink my tea and eat my banana before we go for our morning run, they sit or lie down and pretend to relax, but you can tell that their every muscle is ready to spring. They could wear little T-shirts that say, "Warning: Contents Under Pressure!" When I let them out to pee, they shoot straight down the hill like rockets. Then I hear silence for a few minutes, which juuuust starts to make me nervous (where are they??), when they suddenly come shooting back up the hill like two bats out of hell. What are they doing down there? Who knows? But I'm not the type to let my dogs wander around outside for indefinite periods of time, as many people in our rural area do. I'd be too worried that they'd get hit by a car or get into a trap.

My vet told me that the majority of dogs who get hurt in traps don't get hurt by the trap itself, since most trappers trap for little critters, and such little traps can't really hurt a dog. The majority of injuries are due to frostbite from the dog's being pinched in the trap for several hours in the cold. Then the paw loses all circulation and dies, and later has to be amputated. I could not, for the life of me, be comfortable with not knowing where my dogs are for several hours. I'm not even comfortable not knowing where they are for several minutes!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Graupel! It's falling from the sky! Crazy!


Friends, I present to you, the cowch:

Helga's cowches are lush and furry life-size soft sculpture floor pillows. Each cowch is handmade, signed and numbered. Each cowch is made in the likeness of a real cow that was or is a resident of Helga's sanctuary!

If I had a bigger home and more expendable income, I'd totally get one! I wonder if she could make a reindeerch? Or a moosech?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Behbeh reindeer growing up

He's getting big!

By the way, is there any chance any of my readers know anyone who works for the ag program and works with those reindeer? I'll shovel reindeer poop for you for a week if you arrange to let me hold a behbeh reindeer calf for ten minutes. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SO many behbeh reindeer!

I counted SIX of them this morning!

But their website says they have TEN!

Ten! Ten behbeh reindeer! Ah ah ah!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Misc photos

Here are some photos from the chocolate party at the Museum:

Leaning Tower of White Chocolate:

The event was loosely organized internationally, with each station representing its nation's desserts and wines:

Chocolate statues:

Chocolate barrel:

Me in the outhouse exhibit:

Looking down from the top floor:

My with my favorite item in the museum--a grizzly on his hind paws:

And feeding a gigantic raven:

Now here are some photos from Chinese Easter Sunday. You do know what Chinese Easter is, don't you? It's a half-priced ham that went on sale the day after rest-of-the-world Easter. An annual tradition in my humble abode.

Rice krispie bunny:

22-lb ham. That cost the same as an 11-lb ham would have a week earlier!

Dan sliced it nicely. Organization and aesthetics are Dan's forte. :)

Silly goober dawgs:

Autumn has very little patience for the sillypants twins:

Group photo:

On the couch:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Official season change

Rosie Creek has officially broken open, and the girls and I have lost our access to the neighborhood trail system for the Summer. Sigh. Oh well. After making this discovery at the beginning of our walk this morning, we climbed the trail back to the house, put the girls on their leashes, and headed over to the Isberg Trail System across the street. Those trails are really looking great, especially after the recent work; the main trail is all lined with plastic and gravel, and there is no mud in sight. The side trails are in the shade and are still covered with soft snow!

Nice, eh?

The girls always bound ahead.

Tonight I am attending a chocolate-themed fundraiser for the UAF museum. It pleases me to no end that I spent the later half of my morning manually splitting wood, and will spend the evening in a silk dress and stiletto-heeled sandals. I am proud to be a woman that can claim that!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Path of Least Resistance

Problem: Snow melting off my roof into a sheet of ice in front of my porch, resulting in slick of ice in front of my front step.

Solution: Put a new "front step" on the (ice-free) side of the porch, and move welcome mat accordingly.

Append invitations with:
"SPECIAL SPRING NOTE: Please come up the SIDE of my porch, where I moved the welcome mat. Please do NOT approach the front of the porch..."

There, I fixed it!