Monday, April 30, 2012

The Cheez-It Dream Comes to Fruition

When most visitors come to Alaska, their purchases of choice include Alaskana such as ulus, blueberry syrup, birch bowls, Native carvings and other craft, et cetera. However, when SA came to visit, he, as an American expat living in Japan, chose to prioritize in his suitcase space generic American junk food, which he can't get in Japan. On the list: Chips Ahoy, Cheez-Its, and a bunch of other nutritional horrors my brain has blocked out. When we got back to my cabin after this shopping extravaganza, imagine SA's disappointment to find that he had accidentally grabbed white cheddar Cheez-Its instead of jalapeño! There wasn't time to go back, so he left them with me.

The following weekend, the rejected white cheddar Cheez-Its joined an engineer, a physicist, a biologist, two dogs, and a kitten on a road trip to Manley to visit a farmer. The drive to Manley is quite LONG (about 4 hours that time), but C and M (and the animals) are treasured friends and pleasant company, so the time passed gently enough. At one point, the Cheez-Its came out, and we discussed how something can possibly be so disgusting and so addictively delicious at the same time. We then hatched the idea of the Cheez-It pie crust. And, my friends, the Cheez-It pie crust, in all its glory, came to fruition yesterday. In the words of the inimitable Enforcer, Hot Damn!

Mmmmm Cheez-its:

Mmmmm Cheez-it crumbs:

I browned the crusts first:

and made the quiches with bacon, spinach, onions, and, oh yeah, MO CHEESE!

Aaahhhhh.... 'tis a thing of beauty, it is!

It was disgustingly, sickeningly delicious!

Two Cheez-It quiches, a large pot of salmon chowder, and miscellaneous contributions from around the 'hood, serve a friendly crowd of fourteen humans and three dogs:
Four! Four fuzzy things in my cabin! Ah, ah, ah!

And now I have emptied my kitchen of all of my winter fat-building components. The bacon is gone, the salmon is gone, the heavy cream is gone. These are things I do not crave in summer. And the Cheez-It pie crust was declared a smashing success.

Friday, April 27, 2012


It won't be long now!

Finally, before I leave you nine of my loyal readers for the weekend, I would like to call attention to what will be my final comment in the great "is it appropriate for me to change my own tires" debate (scroll down to the comments).

I think that when something needs to be done, if your immediate first thought is, "Okay, let's do this!" you're positioned to do better in life than if your immediate first thought is, "Okay, whom do I call to do this for me?" Sure, I don't have to change my own tires, but it's part of a general life philosophy and habit that I believe has served me well.

Car issues are but one example of many, but car issues provide a particularly good example because the benefits of knowing how to take care of your own minor car issues are immediate and obvious. If I were to have a flat tire on the highway, being practiced in changing my own tire will save me valuable time, each minute of which places my life in immediate danger due to dangerous weather, potentially predatory humans, and careless drivers who might not see me on the side of the road.

But honestly, justification of why I needed to swap my own tires did not even enter my mind. Not for one red second. I didn't sit and think, "Well, it takes me fifteen minutes to drive to the tire shop, then an hour of waiting, and then... versus putting on dirty pants and then jacking up the car and then..." I didn't think about it at all. I just said, "Time to change the tires," and that was that. And that is how I live my life. To be frank, I don't think I'm capable of changing into the "helpless woman" model now. I am not accustomed to it. It would take me tremendous mental effort to stop at every step of my day to think, "Is it proper for me to do this? Can I get someone else to do this for me?" And I don't feel any particular motivation to make such an effort, because being self-sufficient whenever possible, and cultivating friendships for when not, is a model that has served me very well. And yes, I'm damned proud of that.

This, me:

This, also me:


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This and That


He is sleepingks:

Apparently, there are eighteen of them now! But I've only seen two.

The adults were enjoying the sun:

Here I am at the Annual end-of-the-academic-year Engineering Department Banquet:

That is my labmate, who was being honored for leading the electric snowmachine team to victory in a national competition. He and his teammates convert snowmachines to be battery-powered, and enter them in competitions and races. I watch from my office and ask them to keep their dadgum noise down. And don't touch my tools or spill coffee on my bench! And get offa mah lawn!

Before dinner was served, I stepped outside for a bit to look at the Chena. It only have a few chunks of ice floating down it:

Also, also: The ice went out on the Tanana! And neither I nor any of my cohorts won! Boooo!

'Tis spring!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer tire time

So my neighbor caught me swapping my tires, and promptly... snapped a photo:

He offered to help, but I was on my last one, and my clothes were already dirty, and his were clean. Thankyoueversomuch.

You'll note that I am wearing pearl and turquoise earrings. Just like a lady. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Moose Ghostie!

Compliments of the Minor News:
"James Perry of Fairbanks took this photo of a mostly white moose walking through deep snow in late March not far from Fairbanks. 'We saw it for two days and then it disappeared,' he said."

Friday, April 20, 2012


Once again, it's time to head to Alaska Feed to ogle baby duckies and chickees.

Ducky has a seepie:

How cute are they?!?

Also, also! Add this to the Tally of Signs of Spring: Yesterday I switched to my summer tires! (That's 'tyres' for you, Debs!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Google Maps Cares

Google maps had a screwy version of my neighborhood a few years ago, so I availed myself of the "Report a problem" button, informed google that this street was actually called that, that that street was actually called this, and that this street here was not actually a street; it's a ski trail. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Imagine my surprise to find that they have now fixed all of the streets to their proper names and orientations. Not only that, but the latter "street" is now labelled thusly:

Yes, my friends. It is now a street called "Ski Trail". I did that. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sweet Spring

"sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love"

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there's nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

"sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love"

--e.e. cummings

Look! Miss Millie B. Doofus, Supreme Ruler of the People's Independent Republic of Bunnistan, has dandelions!
"Thanks for the dandelions, Proletariat!"

And the toehawks are aaaaaaalmost out:

Monday, April 16, 2012

'Tis spring!

Spring. 'Tis springing! So we made the exchange: Skijor equipment for dog combs:

It was the birthday of my neighbor across the street, so it was the first cookout of the spring:

Mmmm. Moose steaks:

The kids had a snowball fight in the warm, packable snow:

I caught this photo of the oldest with the youngest. I love the sunshiny backlighting:

The friends take a walk:

There was standing water along the roadside. I hope that goes away soon!

The next morning, my other neighbor G and I put on rubber boots to scope out the erstwhile ski trails. I'm sorry to report that ski season is well and truly over.

There was overflow on Rosie Creek, at both the crossing near chez moi:

And at the wide, shallow crossing upstream of the beaver dam:

The cranberry bushes are coming back to life:

There are buds on the willows and other low plants:


Also spotted: A few robins, a fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillar, several butterflies, several spiders (one of which I accidentally killed :( ), and... dandelions! I will pick some for Miss Millie tonight!

Also, also: I hope you all enjoyed your Chinese Easter Sunday yesterday! I cooked up my half-priced, post-rest-of-the-world-Easter ham and had everyone over for a feast! I'm pleased to report that we did a reasonable job cleaning up leftovers from the prior day's birthday cookout, and didn't generate too many more in the process! Although, for future reference, I do not recommend two major parties on the same weekend, especially among neighbors who regularly depend upon each other for consumption of leftovers!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Manley Photos, continued

I seem to have taken way too many photos over the weekend. Well, here are the rest of them.

Some crazy construction project that I'll be needing to research to satisfy my curiosity:

Dog team on road! Of course, in the current case, said team would be comprised of Autumn, Linden, M, and me!

The end is near!

And finally, we are at the Tanana, a few hundred miles downriver from home:

There was a fish wheel:

The greenhouse is heated by water diverted from this hot spring:

And it's already a-bloomin'!

The tubs are set at four different temperatures:

Unfortunately, during our visit, all four of them were set to ninety thousand degrees:

We could only "soak" in the pools for about ninety seconds at a time,before jumping out, shouting and parboiled!

But look--tropical flowers!

Payment for hot spring use is by honor system; you put $5 into a box that is labelled with Chinese characters "for export only". What on earth, I wonder, was ever exported from Manley to China?

Mmmm moose pie--with onions, apples, and sage!

The next day, M, the dowgs, and I took another walk, this time up Tofty Road:

"Caution! DOGS!"

Tofty Road is a surreal thing--a well-maintained road that leads seemingly to the middle of nowhere. I believe there are active mining claims near the end. The Wikipedia article on Tofty says, "There is no maintenance and there are no more road signs past mile 1.5 and is marked 'impassable' by several geological maps." [Odd syntax is theirs.]

No more road signs! OMG!

Happy doggies!

When we got back, the girls flopped down to rest, and interspecies bonding was complete:

Hangin' out:

The Manley "sanitary landfill", i.e., a giant burn barrel, where residents dump their trash:

The drive home was as beautiful as the drive there:

"Phew! Are we pooped!"

Of course, later that same night, they still insisted on their second walk!