Monday, February 26, 2018

Fuzzies in repose

Also, also! Check this out! The latest community to get into containerized gardening is in the Aleutians!

This Amazing Garden In A Shipping Container Would Only Happen In Alaska

Tim Meyers, the farmer in Bethel, has emphasized over and over how greenhouses are not economical for Alaska, and that while lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs are nice, "they don't feed people". What feeds people, he expounds upon, is cabbages, carrots, and potatoes. And I appreciate his practicality. But yet! I can't help but be delighted to see this containerized gardening showing up all over Alaska. Maybe farming is not just about "feeding people" but also giving them joy, and what is more joyful than a fresh tomato? :)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Rest of Tanana photos

OK here are the rest of the photos from our trip! First set of photos and reporting here.

The Episcopal church:

(They also have a Catholic church, being Very Cosmopolitan.)

The liquor store, equipped with solar panels:

Around this time of year (February), the city well runs dry as the water level in the river drops. The city water supply switches to the Yukon. I am amazed that being some 1500 miles from the river source, it is still safe to drink. But of course, there are no major cities, nor farms, dumping any pollutants or contamination into the Yukon.

Here is the pipe, laid and waiting for the hole in the river to be cut:

Here is JS, for scale:

Just waiting to cut the hole:

The Yukon from its frozen surface:

Fish wheels pulled up from the river in the off-season:

Our flight home:

Each time it arrives, it is full of mail and cargo. Folks waiting usually help unload:

The Yukon from the plane:

The confluence of the Tanana and the Yukon:

The mountains to the North are beautiful:

Dog teams taking off in a caravan to Fur Rondy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tanana Report

A colleague, who is a social scientist with a background in genetics and ecology, and I went to Tanana last week. The last time I went, it was to gather data on biomass performance. This time, it was to meet with community members to discuss interactions at the nexus of food, water, and energy.

The Wood Chomper is still in service, although snowed in for winter:

They have a greenhouse now! It's only partially finished, but they managed to grow a few small quantities this past summer:

The money saved from using biomass instead of oil to heat the school was enough to build this nice playground, as well as insulate and modernize the teacher housing:

The washeteria is nicer than our laundromats in Fairbanks! The washeteria is where folks in villages do laundry and shower. Only about half the residents of Tanana have running water, and for those that do, the water is not high-pressure, nor great quality. Many go to springs and snowmelt-sourced creeks for drinking water.

Conservation message, among others:

Athabascan values:

They are using fuel delivery frames for wood storage:

The Yukon:

1st Avenue, along the Yukon:

City office:



The sad, wilty produce. Since the road connection was built to Manley, the store is used pretty much for "treats" only (soda, junk food, tobacco). Most folks do a regular run to Fairbanks (a day's drive) to stock up on groceries. We also talked with folks who said they bought 90% of their stuff from amazon, including shelf-stable milk. There is no bridge over the Yukon, though, so road access is by ice bridge in winter, and barge in summer.

The Yukon again:

OK I'm tired! I'll sort through the rest of my photos and post 'em another day! Edit: Okay here they are!

Conversations at the Denali Center

Conversation #1:

"You're probably gonna start having kids soon."

Uhhh... no. (Bless him, he obviously thought I was a 20-something newlywed.)

"Then in a few years."

Uhhh... no.

"Then you will adopt."


"Okay! That's why I tell you these stories! So you can pass 'em on!"


Conversation #2:

Uncle, I saw the teams taking off from Tanana on their way to Fur Rondy.

"You gonna go race?"

No... I don't race. I keep dogs on my couch.

"Oh... you gonna go watch?"

No... I... don't like Anchorage.

"I don't like Anchorage either. In Anchorage, you walk down the street, you say hello to people, they ignore you."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Snuggles and Good Eats

Because what in life is better than snuggles an good eats?



Spooning snuggles!


Fuzzy pawpaw-hance!

Transitive Property Snuggling!

Sitting pretty!

Oops! Roo capsized!

"Hold my paw!"

"Love meeeeee!!"

Look at these pretty veggies!

Fractal broccoli

Huevos rancheros with shrimp and avocado!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Some stuff

Results from 4th year review:

View from my office stairwell, noon on a sunny winter day:

I got a new neck gaitor, and the trademark hat, of Apocalypse Design. I needed a backup neck gaitor for when my favorite is drying. And this hat is a famous design of theirs--windbreaker material over fleece! It is probably my warmest hat now!

Gratuitous snuggle photo!