Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Pioneer Day and The Last of the Fruit

Happy Pioneer Day! I have some wonderful pioneers in my line, but you must go a bit further back. Our families have been in the country since it was practically discovered and it's a treat to do family history and discover a little more about them. I'm sure it will take a life time and then some, so I hope we live to be very old. Or we could just die and get to know them sooner than later. But I vote for staying with the living for now.

While fruit is probably not even ready to pick in Utah, I am finishing up with my shipped here from California/Washington/Oregon stuff. But it's the best we can do here in the frozen, fruitless North. I am shelving the last batch of jam, Raspberry-Cherry. A friend gave me a jar last year and I was hooked. We also jarred several batched of the fig preserves for the World Famous fig cake. I think we'll be making one of these during vacation. And I made blackberry jam this year for the first time in honor of my granny, who always made the best blackberry jam. The berries were just so big and yummy this year (again, thanks Costco!) I couldn't resist. We did more eating that canning this summer, part of our new "5 a day" commitment. We froze more strawberries and blueberries than usual because they were so cheap this year. And yummy. Cooldad kept opening the kitchen freezer (looking for ice cream to be sure) and commenting that "there are things in here!" Meaning, what's the deal with all the cookie sheets full of berries? Fred Meyer had some delicious peaches this week but I don't think I have time to do anything with them. It's so rare and unexpected to find a decent peach up here. Looking forward to seeing what the Utah farmers have to offer. I'm sure it will thrill and delight! And I just discovered some silver salmon in the freezer from last year that will probably make it's way to the smoker when I get back from Utah.

I leave in three days!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I've Taken Up Smoking...Fish

In case you are getting sick of all the fish posts, hang on, they are at an end. Tonight I am smoking some of the reds we caught this weekend to take to my babies in Utah. So in four days I am trading the wild adventures of Alaska for Grandma duty in Provo. So, lots of fun in the sun photos to follow. Savvy and Ethan have been planning our itinerary for months so I am sure we will stay busy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

For The Love of Fish!

Yesterday Cooldad and I got up at 2am to drive to the Kenai peninsula to dipnet reds. It was supposed to be raining but we went anyway and to our delight, it did not rain until we were heading back to Anchorage that evening. The trip was perfect and we met with success and now we have fish to bring our omega-3 fatty acid deprived landlocked children. There are no pictures because we posted pictures last year and I thought you would be bored with the same scenery. I realize now, however, that I was wrong. I missed an opportunity to show the world how insane people can be when they fish. Next time I will take some "insane Alaska people" pictures which I know will thrill and delight.

For now I will just describe them, to wet your appetite for next summer:

One was the lady who was up to her chest in the river netting with one hand and smoking with the other. I kept wondering where that cigarette butt was going to end up, but I missed it. Hopefully not into one of the seals and/or sea lions swimming nearly. Or a bird.

Another was the lame (and lazy) men who sat on the shore until I started pulling in fish and then raced in to put their net in front of mine. Yes, this happened twice. Shame on you! But I still got more fish than they did. Haha!

This last guy really earned his own post, but I don't have the time. For starters, he neglected to move his truck back when the tide started coming in, and it comes in fast, and then when he wanted to move it he couldn't because it was totally blocked in. He then proceeded to set up this little card table in the river just offshore to fillet his cooler full of fish, positioning himself between the beach and all the dipnetters, thereby blocking a big group of people who were trying to pull in their fish (like Cooldad) with these gigantic nets and very long poles. One guy lost a fish trying to get around this guy's little operation and I thought there might be an altercation but the guy managed to control himself. I'm not sure I would've. But hey, it's a free country and you can be as thoughtless and inconsiderate of your fellow man as you want to be and no one can stop you! A big run of fish at that time would've been quite a show as there was only enough space for a couple of people due to all the vehicles so close to the waters edge. That and all the non fishing people just sitting on their cans and being in the way.

Also, I think Cooldad was one of the few men who didn't have excess of hair growing in undisturbed abundance all over the place. For which I am abundantly pleased!

One guy in the water turned to me and asked, "So what do you do when you aren't fishing?" I guess he was trying to be friendly, or he was bored, but as the first words out of a strangers mouth, it caught me off guard. As I thought about it for a second, I wondered what I did do when I wasn't fishing. Something that I could share with a perfect stranger who also might be a serial killer. And since I do not define myself by my job, I just said that all of my children are grown and living in the lower 48 and I travel a lot. Okay, obviously that isn't all I do, but that was all I felt like sharing. He didn't speak to me again. Of course, later, all kinds of things came to mind, but still, either not really true or not really "share" materital. I guess I am either more private or more boring that I thought. Or just tired and cold from being up all day and in the water.

Then there are always the various assortment of temporary lodging that people throw up in lieu of tents, things like tarps or sheets stuck in the tops of the windows of their vehicles and nailed to the ground. Or the make shift porta-potties: a blanket hanging off the back of a Suburban. Let's all get back to nature!

But as for me, I am glad to be back in my own bed and my own bathroom. XXOO

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Eklutna Lake : Life is a Highway

Today we rode the trail by Eklutna Lake. It was gorgeous. I'm surprised I didn't know about it before now. Dickie suggested it and it's our favorite so far. We didn't make it to the end of the trail because we have no clue how far it is so we need to investigate that. But we rode for six miles one way and then back. This is a creek we rode over on the way. Just beautiful. The area has a nice small campground, a boat launch area, neat trails, and a cabin you can reserve if you are in the mood to backpack in a couple of miles. What a great spot to have a little family outing with the grandkids. This was one of the prettiest spots on the trail. Mile 6. It's also the narrowest. The part behind me is barely wide enough for the bike. I can say that I have become comfortable enough to ride on a nonpaved trail. I could never have done this last year without killing myself. It was packed dirt and rock for the most part, but there were some bigger rocks, plenty of loose rock and gravel, and some ruts. And the down hills were a little scary.
Steph, does this remind you of anything? The only shoes for riding. Or hiking to waterfalls.
Dad was hard core riding through the forest. Right after I took this picture something happened and he ended up in a bush on his butt. Yes, I laughed until I thought I was going to pee. I thought of Jenny. But I was too slow to get the camera. You know, laughing and trying so hard not to pee was challenging.
It was a great day and we want to go back and do the whole thing. Maybe even camp.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You're all invited to dinner!

It's going to be a casual meal. I put a pork roast, baby carrots and potatoes in the crock pot with salt, pepper, lots of fresh garlic and herbs from the garden. We'll eat at 6pm. I'm thinking some fresh artisan bread and something for dessert that involves fruit and ice cream would be good. Bytheway, I'm happy to report that I have lost 4.6 pounds. And I was able to wear a dress on Sunday that I couldn't wear last year. Go Weight Watchers. I think all the walking and biking has helped a lot.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Perfect Anchorage Day

Ethan and Grandma on the trail.
This little spot is named Hannah's Cove. Not sure why. There are beautiful flowers planted here now.

Overlooking Cook Inlet.

Fourth Avenue.

Today was a very good day. These photos were taken two summers ago with visiting family. But we did it today on our own. Warm temperatures and lots of sun. Dick and I ran a few errands and then went on a beautiful walk on the Tony Knowles coastal trail. We walked along to Westchester Lagoon and up to the end of the park and back through the Inlet View area of Anchorage. I found a house that I promised Dickie I would live in forever if he bought it for me. A beautiful view of the lagoon and park. I am sure it's as lovely in the winter with everything frozen and white as it is in the summer with everything warm and green. It was beautiful to walk through such an old, lovely little neighborhood. Nearer to downtown, many of the little homes were converted into law offices and small business. Lunch was chicken and brats from M. A.'s downtown stand eaten on the steps of the Federal building. He has the best music of all the stands blasting from his ipod. A perfect day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One Thing

This morning I was awakened at 6:30 am by two (obviously small by the sound of the yipping) dogs outside my bedroom window. And they kept on yipping and yipping and yipping until the owners finally drug them down the street and out of hearing distance from my window. For Pete's sake people. I am willing to bet my life that these two elderly, fully dressed, and clueless individuals were not from Alaska. Probably someones grandparents, who, unaccustomed to the sudden abundance of daylight, thought it would be a good idea to take the untamed and very noisey mutts for a little trek around the neighborhood. I hope they take a different path tomorrow or there may be an encounter.

Did I mention they were small curly haired French dogs?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th Weekend in Seward

The most amazing thing about the July 4th weekend is the Mt. Marathon race. As most of you know, the race is held every year and the event is divided up between men, women, youth and children. The men's race is last, all the shirtless wonders are shown here heading toward the mountain. It was a very warm day in Seward and the temperatures took a toll on the racers. Lots of dehydrated runners.More runners, I think these are men.
You may remember the Mullaly's. Here are Kiley, Megan, and Foley, ages, 6,8, & 6.
The other great thing about the weekend was fishing for silvers in Pony Cove. We were very lucky to all get our limits and we were able to bring home the extras making our total catch 22 fish. Sixty six pounds in all after filleting and packing. Lots of yummy meals ahead.
Fresh from the bay.
Cooldad doing the honors.
It was a beautiful day in the bay.
Other highlights:
breakfast at the Breeze (blueberry pancakes)
biking by the bay (saw a mama humpback and her baby=very exciting)
lunch at the Smoke Shack, a new good place to eat
strolling downtown and buying new sunglasses
the food
attending church at the Seward branch, mostly with other Eagle River people
seeing old friends
ice cream cones
the dock
watching Bob (Megan knows who we mean) bawl out two of his employees
getting lots of sleep
reading The Book Thief in the car
3 1/5 hours of traffic on the way home

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fishing on the Russian River

I made my first trip to the Russian River after hearing about it for years. It is a destination spot for several kinds of fish. Today it was Red Salmon. This picture isn't very great, but someone was more successful than me at catching them. But his was already dead, which made it a lot easier. I went down with friends Bob and Rita and we had a great time. I got my first fly fishing lesson, which was also good because I was wanting to learn. Turns out I still need to know a little more. Mr. Bear was a major presence on the river. Again, issues with getting the picture turned the right way. Move your head counterclockwise.
The lovely Rita.
Mr. Bear wanting the fish, so us moving away, but not before a quick picture. He was about 30 feet away maybe.
More competition.
The count: Bob, nine, Rita, one, me, none, bears, whatever they want. But it's okay. It was my first time fly fishing for fish who don't bite at anything. Overall, it was a great Alaska adventure.