Monday, October 13, 2014

Summer Update // 2

Sometimes I get to go on amazing field trips for my job. I had two fun ones this summer: Denali State Park and the Palmer Farm Tour. The Denali trip was fantastic! The state is building a new (and pretty awesome) visitor center and expanding one of their campgrounds. The above photo is the view from the campground, and it really doesn't do it justice. That's Denali (Mt. McKinley) on the right and the Moose's Tooth Range on the left. I hate to talk about the weather here, but it was gorgeous! Pretty regularly, you can't see Mt. Denali because of a thick mist that likes to hang around it. We got lucky with a super clear day.

In fact, the weather was so nice, that my travel buddy and I decided to spend a little extra time at the lodge to soak up the sun.

On an equally beautiful day, I got to go tour some lovely farms in Palmer. Alaska agriculture is pretty interesting because of our weird growing season. The summers are short, but the days are long. As a result, this is the only place in the world where peonies bloom in July. The wedding industry has caught on and Alaskans are starting to capitalize on that fact.

We learned about sod, CSA programs, farmer's markets, raising yaks and got to sample a bunch of vegetables I never knew existed (and I've already forgotten what they were called - bummer). The quote of the day came from the sod farmer: "It's instant grassification!" Ha!

The reindeer was a pet at the farm where we stopped for lunch. See that wire around its pen? It's electric. Ask me how I know that… 

That's all for now, more soon!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Summer Update // 1

Hello! It's been a while… Summer is definitely over, and judging by the snow on the mountains (and in the forecasts), Fall is on its last legs too. And I've barely posted anything about our doings these last few months. Shame on me. So here's my attempt to catch up a bit. I've got a few posts in the works to cover the highlights of the past season, starting with this one. 

The above photo was taken at the Eklutna Lake Campground, where Nick and I had our very first Alaskan camping adventure! Ok, adventure might be a bit strong. We roughed it for one night with some friends and their kids. It was fun, and the setting was gorgeous. If you look closely, you can kind of see a little bit of rainbow tucked between the hill in front and the one just behind it. And below is the actual lake. Our campsite was just a short walk away.

Pretty huh? Next time I'd like to stay a little longer and maybe bring a kayak. 

Every once in a while, Nick gets inexplicable urges to bake cookies, grill meat, and try new and complicated recipes. In a fit of culinary bravado, he decided to make lasagna completely from scratch. Including the noodles.

The first batch of noodles was a flop, but the second batch turned out great! The lasagna was delicious, but not quite mind-blowing enough to justify all the work that went into it. Store bought noodles will be just fine in the future.

The really exciting food event of the summer was these:

Nick just went out one morning and brought back three big fish! I came home for lunch to find him cleaning them out (all over the kitchen). He had an appointment he was running late for, so he left me with a quick "can you clean up the kitchen and take care of the fish in the sink?" Not exactly what I was expecting to do on my lunch break, but we're having salmon for dinner tonight and it totally makes up for the mess.

So there's a little taste of what we've been up to. Stay tuned for more!