Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My latest share of veggies from Rosie Creek Farm:

kale, turnips, broccoli, another giant head of lettuce, baby lettuce mix, and braising greens, and did I mention broccoli? I love broccoli!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Dinner chez Sam

Sam's papa went dip netting, and invited us over for dinner. Fresh salmon, yum!

Mr. chef preparing the salmon on the cedar planks:

Beautiful salmon, no?

Dawgs! I'm sure glad they get along so well.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

On and around Murphy Dome

I had planned to walk the 5 or so miles down to the Chatanika River, then back, but the girls just got too warm to make a full day hike, so we turned back early, burning through the better part of 2 liters of water. We'll have to wait for the weather to cool down again before we can take longer hikes.

Are they pooped!

Friday, June 25, 2010

That Frontier Spirit

My wild guess is that Alaska has more "No Trespassing" signs per capita than any other state in the Nation. Alaskans are for the most part a warm and friendly people, but, paradoxically, they don't like strangers or unexpected visitors. When we started to anticipate the upcoming census, a few friends and I laughed. We figured Alaska, especially the Fairbanks environs, would probably have a low participation rate, and furthermore, that the census workers who knocked on people's doors to follow up on non-participants would be taking their lives into their own hands.

Sure enough, it's begun!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pressed flowers

The backgrounds are birch bark this time. :) Past work here and here.

Also--ladybugs! I love ladybugs! Commenter 'ckn' posted below the ladybug story:

Thank you for making this a front-page, headline story. I'm serious! It enhances the "local" flavor of the paper.

I remember taking a copy of the DNM to a conference in Austin a couple of years ago and showing people our headlines

- Some raven was killed on a power line

- Some hockey gear was stolen out of a locker room

Makes you feel like it's still a small town.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Veggies for the week

A truly enormous head of lettuce, a truly enormous bunch of bok choy, a bag of braising greens, a bag of baby lettuce mix, and green onions.

This is Diego yawning:

He's a rather elderly gent--a bit stiff in the joints. He was chillin' in the shade when I went to pick up my veggies yesterday evening. When I went to pet him, he put his paw on my arm, just like Autumn does! Awwww! As I left, he stepped in front of the car and insisted on escorting me the length of the quarter mile road out from the farm to the main road. He wouldn't move aside, just doddered up the road right in front of me, looking back from time to time to make sure I was still following. When we got to the main road, he stepped aside and let me go.

Evening walk through the 'hood:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Passed my oral exam!

I'm officially a PhD candidate! Yay!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

Tonight, a group of friends of mine are driving a few hours to Eagle Summit to revel in the midnight sun. I am declining for a good night's rest before my oral exam tomorrow.

I have a story and need to give major thanks to the After Hours Veterinary Emergency Clinic. Yesterday, as I was pulling out of the parking lot at Freddie's, I noticed, to my horror, a fledgling robin sitting on my windscreen, perched on a wiper blade. I pulled my car over to the next safe spot and retrieved him inside. He sat on my hand, peeped, and then opened his mouth for food. Ah! Quelle horreur! I don't know how to take care of a baby bird! I looked back to where I had been parked, and didn't see his mama, whom I assumed would have been squawking around looking very angry, if she were in the vicinity and saw me with her baby. The closest location possible that could have spawned the little creature was a strip of grass in between the parking lot and Airport Way, which is a very busy street. Leaving him there would surely have been a death sentence, but what do do?

I phoned Sam's parents, who grew up in rural Montana and had fostered countless little critters. They began telling me how to care for it, and the more they described, the more I began to feel a headache come on. First of all, I'd have to buy him meal worms, and Alaska Feed was already closed, so I'd have to head all the way across town to PetCo, which is a giant chain store and might be open later. I'd also have to feed it water with a dropper. I'd have to make it a little nest in a shoebox. Already, I felt the pain of my duties as a bird mama. First of all, I'd have to find a place to house the little dude in my cabin where my dogs wouldn't eat him. I knew I'd have to take him to campus with me. I imagined him peeping me awake in the middle of the night for his worms. I imagined him peeping away in my office while I was out for my oral exam Tuesday. And then his survival odds would still be pretty low; I'm not, after all, a mama bird. Best case scenario, he'd still be a worry. When I released him as an adult, what if he lost his natural fear of dogs? Or of humans? Or what if, heaven forbid, he decided to hang around near the house, where the girls would surely eat him? It all sounded like a lot of work, which I didn't want!

At the suggestion of Sam's mom, I decided to go to Creamer's Field, to the bird observatory, and hope that a birdwatcher might happen to know how to take care of such things, and take him off my hands. But when I went there, the parking lot was empty. Dang! Finally, I realized that I was directly across the street from the emergency vet clinic! I figured they could give me a dropper and something to feed him, and if I could keep him alive overnight, I could find a more suitable place for him the next day.

The two people who greeted me smiled and cooed at him--"Let's get you some squished bugs!"--and took him off to the back. They asked me to fill out a piece of paper with my contact information and description of where I had found him. Then they said, "That's it! Thanks for bringing him to us!" I was like... You're taking him? He's off my hands? Oh my goodness, what a huge relief! So I get to sleep through the night? So I don't have to carry a baby bird around with me for two weeks? So I don't have to worry about keeping my dogs off some silly bird who hangs around my cabin for the next ten years? Wow!

I asked if I could contribute monetarily to his care, and they said that they had a running fund for such things, and I could donate to it if I wished. I left a modest amount and told them to let me know if the little dude ended up needing more than that.

Life is awesome when you get to pawn off your responsibilities onto other people! :~D

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Photos 'round the 'hood

I saw the first fireweed of the season start to bloom earlier this week. Just a few spears. My yard is full of fireweed. It is going to be stunning when it all blooms!


One spear:

Macro shots are always a challenge when Linden is present. She cannot stand to see me pay close attention to anything but herself!

You see, it's just a few spears here and there:

Here is my crazy yard. Just look at all that... stuff that springs up as soon as the snow is gone!

My trees:

That, my friends, is over three cords of firewood, all split and stacked by yours truly. Each pile you see is two deep:

My front yard is as crazy as the back:

My sweet fuzzies:

My poor work gloves, on their way to the trash:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Report from the research front

I finished my section of the paper whose research culminated in our week at the Cold Regions Test Center in Delta Junction.

I finished the first draft of my presentation for my thesis proposal, which takes place next Tuesday on the 22nd.

And now I am back to lab work, to culminate in another paper to be published this Summer.

And as I wrap up the work for this paper, I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation for having an adviser who supports my habits of tinkering and improvisation in the lab. He is amused and doesn't bat an eye, no matter what I pick up from the hardware store or the supermarket and epoxy together. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Veggies for the week

Thus far, the bunched veggies have been only so-so, but the baby lettuce mixes, braising greens, and radishes have been outstandingly delicious. I'm not a fan of the mystery red vegetable--it was tough and bland--and I have yet to hear back from the farmers as to its identity. I'm curious whether this beautiful bok choy is any good.

These are the kinds of tidbits I get in my CSA newsletter:

... Already most of our seeded-in crops are up in the field and all of our transplanted crops are planted. We did have a moose come into the farm last week and it ate most of the early Swiss chard or at least put quite a dent into it. Fortunately we tightened down the fence and we haven’t seen the moose since. The chard is coming back and we seeded in some more for good measure...

Blogger eliminates them, but Farmer Mike charmingly uses double spaces after full stops. When did that go away? It even disappeared from my own personal use, and I'm pretty averse to language changes. And although I prefer British rules regarding commas inside vs. outside of quotation marks (they are just more logical!), you will pry my Oxford commas out of my cold, dead fingers! Long live the Oxford comma, deep dish apple pie, peanut butter sandwiches, root beer, and deep fried cheese!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oh kay

It is a sea otter.

It is a baby sea otter.

It is a baby sea otter being bottle-fed.

Holding the bottle in its paws.

You're welcome.

In other news, a 337-pound halibut was caught at the derby. Sounds like a halibutdinner!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Construction season

Is in full swing.

And I have nothing else to day today, so here is a photo of some cute dogs in a truck.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Take that, fires!

Now here are some photos of all sorts of miscellany.

Office dogs:

My friends playing music at the Fairbanks Folk Fest:

Linden meeting a young fan:

I just love the interactions between wee little kids and dogs. If you think about it, babies ought to be terrified of dogs. The size ratio between a toddler and a dog is approximately that between an adult human and an elephant. How would you feel about a giant, carnivorous elephant with fangs? I'd be terrified, but toddlers run up to Autumn and Linden and hug them! And Linden loves them! To me, it's evidence of our long partnership with dogs, which has been so intimate and so useful that not only have dogs evolved be attached to us, but we have evolved to be attached to them!

The girls relax while the bands play:

It's strange to me to see them on a manicured lawn!

The girls with me in the yard after splitting wood for the day.

They cannot hang out with me while I split wood because they tend to sit WAY too close. The tally so far: A cord of purchased spruce, a cord of purchased aspen, one giant black spruce from my front yard that had died standing and came to about half a cord, and another 1.5ish cords of mixed spruce and aspen that date from when my land was cleared. And it's all split and stacked except for that last bit on the right there.

When I saw that Autumn was laying there in such a nice pose, I decided to attempt a family portrait. This doesn't work so well with a camera timer and dogs:


Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

Also, here is an interesting article about how warming climate is compromising the safety of food cellars in the Arctic.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sweet Bun o' Mine

Seriously? How cute is Millie?

Hangin' out:

The pita/falafel stand opened for the year! Yay!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dry Cabin Bath

Since my post on slop glacier management was so popular, I decided to post about my cabin bath.

I shower during the daytime since I shower at the University, but occasionally I do chores at night that get me grimy enough not to want to go to bed in such a state. But I have no running water in the cabin and don't want to go back into town just for a shower. Enter the cabin bath.

Mixing bowl
Dr. Bronner's
Hot water
Bath towel
2 1-liter plastic bottles. Finally a use for those polycarbonate bottles now that we are told not to drink from them since they ooze poison!

Half fill mixing bowl with warm water and a squirt of Doc B's. Insert washcloth.
Fill 2 liters of warm water.
Put washcloth in bowl.
Strip nekkid, peek out door to make sure no-one is passing on the street.
Wrap bath towel around self, shout at dogs to STAY, and dash outside and around to the back of the cabin.
Scrub everything scrubbable with the washcloth, then pour what's left of the soapy water over head and scrub head with fingertips.
Rinse with 2 liters of warm water.
Ta-da! Tingle fresh and clean and ready to teach the moral ABC!!! All one God faith!!!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Here we have my second batch of veggies from Rosie Creek Farm:

Baby lettuce mix, spicy braising mix, radishes, and rapini!

The girls snoozing:

I made Millie a present last night out of wire hangers, since I'm cutting so much fresh grass for her from the yard:

Here she poses with it:

You know what I call it? A grass hopper. BAM!