Sunday, October 31, 2010

My favorite kind of visitor

Our neighbor's dog, Tusk, likes to visit on his morning rounds around the neighborhood.

Good morning!
Tusk is as big as a bear, but much nicer.  My sweetheart's been gone for a couple days, and I've taken the opportunity to tuck in and be a little anti-social. But I like to chat with Tusk, and also this funny Stellar Jay that hangs around when I'm out in the shed. He must not have a whole lot of human interaction, because he's not scared of me at all. He just hops around a couple feet away from me, looking for tasty morsels, as I chatter away.

Tusk checking out the wood pile.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stone Mountain

 Once it starts getting light, I sit on the couch with my coffee and dream about Stone Mountain. It is so beautiful, and looms about our valley like a watch guard. It pulls my head into the clouds, and it's my favorite time of day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mountain halibut for mountain man

I've been very hungry.

This isn't wholly unexpected. For the last 8 years or so, I've been pretty much paid to sit and think. Sometimes there's been some scurrying around involved, but for the most part I've had a desk job. I've generally gotten exercise very deliberately-after work runs, weekend hikes, etc- and my metabolism has adjusted accordingly.

But all this physical labor is different. Lugging things around. Lifting things up, setting them down. Swinging a splitting maul for an hour or so every morning. By the end of the day (or the end of the morning!) I'm starved. The boy just laughs. He's a carpenter, so this kind of work is literally in his job description.

So we've been eating a lot. Mostly meat: Steak, chili, chili nachos, chili on potatoes (I made a big batch!) bacon and pancakes, bacon and eggs. Nowhere near enough vegetables. You get the idea.

The other night, I finally stepped away from the freezer full of stew meat, ground beef, new york strips and the like. I wanted something else. I settled on the mountain dal recipe from the phenomenal cookbook/travelogue Mangoes and Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. If you haven't heard of them, I highly recommend you check out their books. The photographs and stories that accompany a treasure trove of recipes are gorgeous, and they travel all over the world; this particular book focuses on the Asian subcontinent.

As I was starting dinner, Tory came over to survey the work. "Where's the meat?" Sighing, I was reaching for some chicken to saute when I came across our last fillet of halibut. I topped it with some tumeric, grated ginger and garlic to echo the flavors in the dal, and slid it in the oven. It was a great addition, alongside dollops of yogurt and chutney I piled on top when everything was done.

The superb leftovers
Mountain Halibut

1 fillet of halibut or another white fish
1 tsp. turmeric
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or microplaned
1 inch of ginger, finely chopped or microplaned
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400F. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the fillet, then the turmeric. Smear the garlic and ginger onto the fish, and drizzle a little oil over the top. Let come to room temp, cover with foil and slide in the oven. Uncover after about 5-7 minutes. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the fillet is just opaque inside. Serve alone, or with a good hearty dal. 


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Buttoning Up

This morning, I woke up to this:

Yesterday, just as it was getting dark, the smallest snowflakes began to fall. Apparently, they became bigger. And more plentiful.

This couldn't have happened any sooner. We've been busy grasshoppers this past week buttoning up the cabin for winter. There was so much to do! After unpacking, and the sorting/organizing/trips to the dump that goes along with it, we had to put in the new wood stove, take down a bunch of trees, split and stack, order and install a snow wedge for our chimney, put on snow tires, and... move the outhouse.

That was a bit of an ordeal. We didn't want to have to ask anyone else to help us. There are very few friends I'd ask to help with poop. Maybe only two, and they know who they are. So we did our best to do this awful job ourselves. There was a lot of grunting and cursing involved. But to no avail; that job was too much for two people.

As luck would have it, our neighbors Bridget and Brian, who were doing some buttoning up of their own, came over to ask for our help with moving something heavy. After that we didn't feel as bad asking for their help. They were kind enough to come over and give us a hand. We fed them chili and beer afterward, but I still think we got the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Adventure Begins

Two months ago, I wasn't planning on this. This adventure-while planned- was at least a year or two off. But you know? Sometimes, the universe gives you signs. And boy, the universe really hit me over the head with this one.

And so, this week the adventure begins. I'm leaving my comfortable, quasi-urban Anchorage life and moving to a cabin in the "real" Alaska. No water, no job (yet), no joke.
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