Tag Archives: alaska

state.fair.time

It’s that time of year where I wonder if perhaps I need a 12 step program for my “fair entry obsession.” Of course some of the famous Worst Zucchini Relish ever will be entered, as well as some knits and new jewelry. Want a peek? Ok.


Now we wait and see…!

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Filed under crafty lady

rhubarb.sauce

I feel it is my lawful duty as an Alaskan to have rhubarb plants in the yard. Now, this does not necessarily mean that I actually like rhubarb – but I don’t see how these 2 things are linked. At all.

However, I am coming around to rhubarb. And I have to say, rhubarb sauce is a super simple and great entry level rhubarb drug. 

  • Harvest and remove the leaves from a big bunch of rhubarb. Have no scientific way of knowing how much you are grabbing – just get a lot. 
  • Clean and chop stems to equal 4 cups cut rhubarb.
  • Put the rest of the crazy amount of stems you cut in a vase on the counter until you get around to getting flour from the store tomorrow for cobbler.
  • Put 1 cup water and the 4 cups of chopped ‘barb in a pot and bring to a boil – cover loosely.
  • Boil and stir occasionally until the rhubarb is soft. 
  • Allow the sauce to cool and add honey and cinnamon to taste. 


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Filed under yummy eats

sockeye.salmon.run

Every summer the salmon run and we do our best as good Alaskans to get our share of the fish. I have patience issues, so the whole ‘stand in the water with a line and a little hook for hours and legally take 1-2 fish a day’ thing doesn’t work for me. I instead love the resident only method of dipnetting. Take a giant 5 foot net and put it at the end of a super long pole with a handle, stand in the mouth of a river (sometimes up to your chest) and wait for the salmon to swim in. Some people don’t think it’s very sportsmanlike, but whatever. I won’t be having them over for dinner. And if I did, I wouldn’t be serving any of our amazing salmon.

The trip this year started with a bad omen…a fishing report suggesting that commercial boats would be cleaning the run out of the inlet…then a report coming in saying the fish were slammed. So, we put all of our gear into the VW and powered up and out. We got about 2 blocks from the house before there was a literal and actual fire in the van. No major damage (except for the bar bill afterward), but we were a bit mopey and unsure if we would get to fish this year….And then another report came in. So many fish, and no one is taking them. So we loaded our gear again and jumped in the pickup. A 3 hour drive and we had our nets in the water by 9pm. Fished until 11, and had 6 pretty sockeye to show for our efforts and a totally soaked me. A trip to the Wal Mart (I hate to admit that I went, but it was midnight…what can you do?) and I had dry duds, some snacks, and a blanket to sack out in the pickup.

Fast forward past a 3 hour nap, and we had our nets in the water at 6am again. After a full day of steady fishing we pulled 35 salmon.

 

We now begin the task of processing these tasty beasts. Almost all are filleted and the bellies are brining to faux dehydrate. But look at the teeth on this guy! As the salmon spawn out their jaws grow and teeth become all crazy and scary. I’m so glad they don’t bite as I had 2 nail me while in the water – full speed projectile salmon hurt!

The husband did an awesome job as well. Despite only having one boot. Somehow in the loading and unloading process one went missing. (People can be so rude, right?) But he padded around like a true Alaskan trooper and slayed the fish regardless. He also does all the gutting (I fillet) for which I am eternally grateful (I stand over his shoulder and announce loudly whether “It’s a boy!” as he zips each belly).

It’s a ton of work, and everything on my body hurts, but we did it. We kicked some fishy ass. And it’s going to be delicious all year. But first, I need a nap and a massage.

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Filed under getting out

urban.garden.driveby

It seems all I can post lately is about my little urban garden. I don’t feel that I have been doing much other than production knitting and growin stuff. However, there was an interesting incident regarding some yellow jackets in the carrot box…did you know that the cans of foaming insecticide to rid oneself of these flying terrors do not spray when held upside down or sideways? I learned this after I blew a line of air into the sleeping hive…anyhoo, the battle rages and I’m slowly gaining a foothold to regain control of the carrot box. In the meantime, there is all sorts of other cool stuff growing. 

Peas are in and it seems daily I am bringing a few handfuls in to munch on straight out of the pod. 

  
The cabbage has started to form heads and I’m just too excited for words – go, cabbage, go!!

  
The tomatoes are a little late in taking fruit this year, but I have faith in something or other that it will happen. Loads of blossoms, but they aren’t wanting to open all the way. I’ve been jiggling and wiggling them here and there and that seems to help mama nature along a bit…

  
All in all, the urban garden on our little deck in Anchorage is kicking ass. 

   
    
    
 

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garden.goods

Summer has officially arrived in Anchorage…and it’s making up for lost time or something because it is HOT. I know 80* to other folks doesn’t seem bad, but to us, it’s a bit like Hell and the surface of the sun all rolled into one, sad, sweaty, ball. However, while we slowly die in a pool of something gross, the plants couldn’t be happier.

 

The plants at the shop are loving life and throwing fruit like no other. According to the thermostat, it’s getting into the 90’s in there at night and they are thinking it’s great. This was my first year with the minibel tomatoes and I’m already quite pleased with their production. The plant will grow no bigger than a small bush and doesn’t require support. Of course we have yet to see how these taste, but so far it’s a winner.

The filius pepper was also another first for this year. Another small bush plant great for small spaces and urban gardens it will produce crazy hot peppers for over a year. When the peppers first form they are out of this world hot, but cool down when they turn from purple to red. Several of these plants are growing and all of them are loaded.

Remember Audrey the giant tomato from last year? I think the title has been taken by this cabbage. Though I have 6 growing, this is by far the largest and happiest. Can’t wait to see how big it gets!

The first french radish harvest happened in the garden just before the heat hit. I had never been a fan of radishes – admittedly I hadn’t put one in my mouth in probably 20 years – but gave these a try and they are awesome!! The husband now has to fight me for his share as I initially grew them for him… The first zucchini is finally showing itself and the cayenne peppers should be ripening to red any day now. Loving all the green!

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garden.starts

We haven’t had much of a winter up here in Alaska. In fact, we have been steadily warmer and more pleasant winters here in Anchorage than most of the country for the past 2 seasons. This leaves me in a weird mood re: this season’s garden. I know I should have had things starting weeks ago but since it never really felt like winter, it doesn’t really feel like it’s time to grow stuff. But after requesting some tough love from my Facebook friends, I finally got my ass in gear and started the tomatoes, peppers and some other goodies that require a bit more time.

 

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The seed trays will hang out on my kitchen counter with heating pads and attention until they start to sprout, when they will be moved to my storefront windows which get a ton of light and great heat from the sun. Some of these plants will even spend the entire summer there – increasing our yield even more.

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I went a little crazy ordering new things this year as our neighbors took down a crop of trees last year, vastly increasing our available light and growing space. I checked out Rare Seeds and promptly threw all of my money at them. Heirloom seeds and fabulously cool veggies to choose from. I can’t wait to see what we end up with.

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no.fun.in.the.garden

Well, technically there is some fun in the garden. Some fun-gi. I went out to putter in the boxes this evening and was surprised to find this nasty little fungus taking over one of my carrot boxes. And it popped up basically over night as I poked around last night as well. The horror!

fungus

After asking my local Farm & Food group gurus if it was time to panic, I was told this particular fungus is called auricularia and shouldn’t pose any threat to my carrots – just looks kinda gross. It is also known as the Jelly Ear, or Jew’s Ear. And I’m sure no one is surprised that folks in China eat it. Seriously. I don’t think I will be eating it any time soon (or ever, thank you) and will instead be pulling it out of the box with rubber gloves and a possible gagging sound (I overreact, ok?). You can find out some more information about this pretty-anywhere-else-but-not-in-my-garden growth here.

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Filed under garden goods