Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekend at the Beach

I should have cleaned the lens before taking this short movie - I forgot that I fell through the snow on our walk in to the beach area and got the lens wet. I was taking a picture of some snow on a tree when one foot broke through the snow crust and half of my body, including the right hand I had the camera in, fell through about 3 feet of snow. Luckily my boot didn't come off when I pulled my foot out of the hole.

I remember one spring break-up (about third grade) when Katherine and I were walking home from school (yes, we walked both ways!). There was a huge mountain of snow piled up by the bowling alley and we were walking on the topmost part. I punched through the snow and when I pulled my foot out my break-up boot didn't come with it. We couldn't pull it out and we had to hop home on one foot (ok - I probably walked in stocking foot) and get one of the neighbor boys to help get it out. I probably didn't thank him then, Thanks Randy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Early Bird, or Bug in this case

First of the season! We actually saw quite a few of these insects flying around in very slow serpentine patterns – awaken from a long winter's nap.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

To quote my favorite waxing lady…

"We're gonna need more wax!"

X-Country skiing has been a challenge recently with rain and temperatures above 40° for a week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Weekend happenings

An important job for Tim as project manager for the new TV channel he's working on is to make sure that the programs are running according to a schedule and accessible for all to watch. He's very serious about making sure no one messes with the cables.

Were these items placed in this pattern or was it happenstance? A product of the tide and waves? (I did see some small doggy footprints nearby - might be the work of that bichon frise sporting the red beret that I saw walking farther down the beach.)

Its a little hard to see because it was on the other side of the channel - the larger boat is probably a 40-footer. There were two skiffs pushing this platform with a couple of guys in the skiffs and a couple guys walking around the platform.

I think that this is probably fish & game or someone from one of the hatchery with the "fishlings" probably going out to Taku harbor where they will release them once they are big enough so we can all enjoy salmon in about 3-4 years.

We don't see many burls on our walks but we found this one for Dennis. Its about as big around as an old washtub. Its time to come down with your chainsaw! I don't think the forest service will mind...

It just struck me to see these tropical-like ferns feasting on the nutrients found on this large spruce tree - all bright and green in the middle of winter!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chocolate Covered Cherries

I've had a couple conversations about chocolate covered cherries recently and I just remembered that Tim's mom had given me her recipe to make them. I have to admit that I haven't tried it out but it seems pretty straight forward.

1/3 c butter
1/3 c karo syrup
1 lb powdered sugar
1 6 oz package chocolate chips
1/2 stick parowax

drained maraschino cherries

Cream butter and syrup together. Add powdered sugar to form dough. Make a small ball of dough, flatten in the palm of your hand and wrap around drained cherry. Form into ball. Chill on cookie sheet in refrigerator until firm.

Melt chocolate chips and parawax in double boiler. Dip hardened cherries into melted chocolate set on wax paper to harden. When finished dripping seal toothpick holes with a drop of melted chocolate.

Makes approx 56 cherries

Monday, February 11, 2008

Braving the Elements

Shown: Heidi, Tim, Tisha, Melody, Roxi, No-Face Rune and Robyn. Archie (with the really solid tail that wacks you in the shin) is sporting the tri-colored pack.

Over this last week Alaska saw some crazy below zero temperatures throughout the entire state. We were in Anchorage where it was -10 at its lowest. Being so close to the ocean Anchorage is typically very humid so the temperature seems to feels colder then it does in a dryer climate like Fairbanks. But Fairbanks was -40 below (so sorry to miss it!) which is just harsh.

We ventured out into the wilds and had a great walk at the Campbell Creek Tract which is set up for multi-purpose use. There were a lot of trails and they groomed some of them for classical and skate skiing. The trails seemed to be wide enough to accommodate walkers too. The area is close to the University by the Botanical Gardens. I image that in the summer its also a great place to take a walk or do some biking. Apparently its BLM land (730 acres) and has a science center that would be fun to visit sometime.

We bundled up and ventured out while the sun was out. Tim and I had to borrow some cloths because we weren't prepared for those sub-arctic temps.

Shown: Chris, Archie, Tim, Tisha, Melody, Roxi, Robyn, Rune, Tango-The-Red

Note: If you're a red dog, the bridge can be a little scary, especially if you're afraid of the black dog and you're trying to get away from him, but he just wants to play.

Tisha wasn't able to make it for our PBR Bull riding adventure in September so Rune thought he would show her how it was done. I think Chris was showing Tisha where to land when she got bucked off.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

BOOM! Planned Avalanche

I didn't quite get out in time to get the snow starting to ripple down the avalanche shute but I did snap a couple of shots while the snow was in progress of whooshing down the mountain. It was a pretty gray day - with occasional snow flurries so you really couldn't see the top of the mountain. About 10:30 they had the road to Thane closed and then they started shooting the Howlitzer canons from across the channel by Sandy Beach. The shots shook the house - it would definitely wake you up. After about 15-18 shots the snow started to slide.

It finally ended with a big explosion of snow and all the ducks and gulls flying over to this side where it was safer!

Not as dramatic as it was last year when we had the 200 inches of snow but it was still a pretty good show.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New Bird from the Deck

This morning as we were watching the snow come down and slowly accumulate on the deck, we saw a Northern Pintail duck mixed in the with mallards. Its odd to see the snow accumulating on the backs of the dabbling ducks like the mallards and the pintails. Because the diving ducks like goldeneyes and buffelhead, dive under the water to feed they don't have the same problem.

Tomorrow we're going skiing so we thought we'd take a walk today. Good thing we decided to wear our rubber boots because the snow was about 10 inches deep where it wasn't packed down. The snowfall in the recent 3-4 days has been soft, fluffy snow - like we get in the interior, not the typical wet snow that they usually see down here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Brioche Stitch

I've been working on the piece that uses two colors. Its reversible and has a rib-type pattern. I had to start over several times and finally determined that there was a discovered a mistake in the pattern after about 5 attempts but I'm having fun with it now that I've figured it out. The number of stitches you cast on need to be in multiples of 3 and you'll need to use circular or double pointed needles if you use 2-colors. On one side you'll have one color on the top of the rib and on the other side the second color will be hightlighted.

The basic pattern is:

Row 1: With color A yo, sl1 [k2tog, yo, sl1] repeat. Slide all stitches to other end of needle.
Row 2: With color B p2tog [yo, sl1, p2tog] repeat.
Row 3: With A, yo, sl1 (p2tog, yo, sl1] repeat. Slide all stitches to other end of needle.
Row 4: With B, k2tog, [yo, sl1, k2tog] repeat.

When I showed a picture of this to my very-smart niece, she said, oh, like a broiche pattern. And that's exactly what this is! Sorry I can't display a picture of my product - its a gift for someone who might read this posting.

And for you visual learners, here's a couple videos from youtube show 1-color brioche and 2-color brioche

Carrots and Fennel

I bought a fennel bulb to try out a recipe called Mediterranean Bean Ragout with fennel, potatoes, cannellini beans and tomatoes but when it came time to make the dish, it seemed like we'd been having a lot of tomato-bean based dishes and it didn't sound that good anymore. So what to do with a fennel bulb that had to be used…I looked in the Colorado Collage cookbook, a gift from the Holmbergs [thanks you Holmbergs] and found Halibut with Carrot and Fennel Salad. Perfect!

We decided against doing to the halibut but the recipe did sound good - run, molasses, orange juice, ginger, garlic, jalapeno - nice assortment of flavors.

So the salad called for julienned carrots and fennel. How fortuitous that I had recently purchased a tool to help with that! It looks like a potato peeler but has a serrated blade. It doesn't work so well on those little mini carrots but works great on larger carrots. The strands come out very long. You can chop them. or we found that when you put them in a stirfry they will break apart. The chopped tomatoes were for the turkey cheesesteaks we were having with the salad.

Carrot Fennel Salad
2 c julienned or shredded carrots
2 c julienned or shredded fennel
1/2 c rice vinegar (I left this out)
1/4 c olive oil (I left this out) ** it seemed like the vinaigrette would be enough liquid

Orange Vinaigrette
1/2 c frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 c olive oil (only used about 1/4 c)
1/2 t sesame oil
2 t dijon mustard (doubled this)
2 t rice wine vinegar (doubled this)
salt and pepper (no salt but yes on the pepper)

Oh - I just read the recipe again and you were supposed to drain the salad and then drizzle 1 T of the vinaigrette over the top. That's why the extra olive oil and rice vinegar - duh! The vinaigrette was sweet– Tim said it tasted like orange sherbet. The fennel wasn't as strong as I had expected, it actually tasted more like celery. Nice time we make this I'll serve it on a bed of shredded lettuce (and follow the recipe!)