Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Short Post

You all usually get a decent length post, with pictures. Not today. Sorry.

Samara was ill this morning, but I wasn't. So we split the difference--we both took a half-day off. It was nice to sleep in, but even though she was feeling under the weather, Samara still had to go to work in the evening for a board meeting.

I've been reading Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. It's probably properly categorized as young adult fiction, but like Harry Potter, is decently well-written and has a good plot. Actually, the writing sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. (Hint to authors: you can use "said" when writing dialog. You don't have to make adverbial puns a la Tom Swift.)

You know what's not so bad? The cold. I can stand sub-freezing temperatures all the time. It's natural here--you get used to it so that taking the trash out in a t-shirt in 20-degree cold isn't insane.

You know what sucks? Ice. It sucks to scrape ice off your windshield EVERY time you go out to get in your car. Like three times in a day. That's too much.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Duct Tape Eagle

Our landlord was supposed to come by this evening to fix our leaky sink drain. (He didn't, but that's another story.) We didn't really have any clean dishes or good groceries, so we decided to get some take-out. There aren't a lot of options for take-out in Dillingham.

Obviously, there's the Muddy Rudder. Samara called them to place an order, but they're closed for the season. No more Muddy Rudder until spring. We swung by the N&N Market, which has a hot bar/deli. They didn't have any chicken for chicken sandwiches. That left one option: the Duct Tape Eagle.

Just off Harbor Road, the Duct Tape Eagle is a restaurant that used to serve Chinese food as the Chinese Eagle. Now it's more of a pizza/burger joint, so it's just the Eagle. (I think it may also have changed owners.) But because they just "modified" the old sign, some folks call it the "Duct Tape Eagle."

Samara and I both ordered the chicken sandwich. We'd heard it was good. It comes with onion rings (Samara) or fries (me) for $13.95 a piece. I'll tell you what--it was worth it. It was a good sandwich, and the fries were yummy. Here's Samara waiting on our food.

Since the restaurant is next to the harbor, Samara stepped outside to take some pictures of the dry-docked boats and fascinating aluminum buildings.

Then she even got the proprietor to let her take his picture.

He was a nice guy. Apparently they're going to be open all winter, except when he and his wife take a trip to Korea to see her family.

And here is what your $13.95 buys you.

Those were some good fries, and a pretty good chicken sandwich.

On the way back home with our meal, we got stuck behind a police situation downtown. Yeah, the police chief stopped his cruiser with his lights on in the middle of downtown. It must have been a big emergency. Except that this is small-town, rural Alaska. It was just some plywood in the road that he wanted to pick up.

Hooray Alaska!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Weekend in Pictures

This weekend, we drove around and took a look at some of the winter sights in Dillingham. First, we watched the ice flow in the bay.

Then we saw some ravens in front of somebody's house. These suckers are huge.

Then we drove out near the hospital. The land curves around as you head out the road to the hospital, and you can look back towards downtown Dillingham. Here are a few nice shots we took from that direction. (At night, you can really see the lights of the town.)

Our apartment is out near the end of the bluffs, to the far right in those photos. We also took a nice shot of the ice on the bay from this vantage.

On the way back, we pulled into the boat harbor. It's completely empty now, since it completely freezes over during the winter. Here are a few shots showing how much ice is in the harbor and the bay.

Samara took a picture of me testing the ice near the end of the boat ramp at the harbor.

It's pretty solid. There's also a big snow drift near the retaining wall. I slogged through it, but the edge was packed down enough to stand on.

There's also a playground at the harbor. Samara and I took pictures of each other on the playground equipment. It's too cold for anyone else to be playing on it this time of year--I bet your skin would stick to the metal in this weather.

Saturday evening, Samara was supposed to help out at the elementary school. They were having the "Kid's Carnival." The teen outreach person from SAFE was doing some of the activities. They had sumo suit wrestling, a bouncy castle, a dunking booth, and lots of little games for the kids. The funny thing is that some kids wore costumes, and this was clearly a Halloween event. So why was is called "Kid's Carnival?" Apparently, because Halloween is for devil-worshippers. Can't call it "Halloween" anything. How stupid is that?

Anyway, here's a few shots of kids doing the sumo suit wrestling.

Our friend Ricky, who teaches at the school, was waiting his turn in the dunk tank, and Samara snapped a photo.

We were going to take an after picture, once he got wet, but we decided to cut out early.

So that's our Saturday. This morning we had breakfast at the Muddy Rudder with Sarah May and her mom. It's nice that the Muddy Rudder is still open. I don't know how long they're going to stay open this year. They were supposed to be closed already, but we've heard that they're going to try to stay open as long as they've got customers. I guess they usually close pretty soon after the fishing crowd leaves. It's a good place for breakfast, so I'd rather they stay open, but I guess they can only really afford it when the business is good.

Hope you all enjoy the pictures.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Alaska time verses Eastern time *EDIT*

For those of you that can't remember that there is a 4 hour time difference between Alaska and Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio or every other state in Eastern time, I have put a handy dandy clock on the blog. Please refer to it BEFORE calling at 5am or 6am here in Alaska. I know how some of you get excited about talking to Aaron or myself, but you have to remember no matter how much we like you, we like our sleep better.

EDIT: I was just being funny. This post was not meant to get anyone's feeling hurt. In the past several weeks we have received phone calls in the early morning before we even wake up for work and I just thought I would point out that we are 4 hours behind most people we know. We get up about 7am (11am eastern time) and leave for work by 7:45am, so if you are trying to catch us early, that's when to call. We get home about 5pm (9pm eastern time) if you would like to call us later on in the evening.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kale is the best food ever.

We get a box of fresh fruit and vegetables from an organic farm called Full Circle Farms. For $45 delivered, we get a fairly large box of really good food every week. For instance, here's what we got this week:

1 Acorn squash
4 golden delicious apples
3 star crimson pears
1 bunch carrots
1 extra bunch of carrots (Samara substituted this for something she didn't want)
2 ears of sweet corn
1 bunch of green onions
4 pluots
4 kiwifruit
1 pound of roma tomatoes
1/3 pound of mushrooms
1/3 pound of salad mix
1 bunch red kale

That's right--this week, we got some kale. Samara wanted to substitute something else, because she has an irrational kale prejudice. (Read: she doesn't like it.) But I wouldn't let her! I wanted to try the kale.

So it arrived in the box on Wednesday, and today I decided I should find a good kale recipe. (Samara sure wasn't going to cook it!) It turns out though, that kale is the sort of thing that you put in soup. Samara was sick today, and she made chicken soup while she was home. She didn't put any kale in it.

Rather than make another soup, I went for a different method of kale cooking. I made kale chips. Basically what you do is take the kale, remove the stalk, break it up into bit size pieces and then toss it with some salt and oil. Then you bake it on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Really easy.

Turns out, it makes it kind of crispy, a bit like a potato chip. I put it all on a plate.

Then I ate some.

In fact, I ate a whole bunch of it.

I hope I don't get sick. I probably ate half of the bunch of kale that I cooked. I'm not sure what a kale overdose does to your digestive tract, but you gotta bear in mind that there's oil all over that kale. Like two tablespoons for the whole batch, which means I basically ate a tablespoon of oil and a bunch of green leaves.

Still, it tastes pretty good. There's definitely the greeny aftertaste, unlike a potato chip, but mostly it just tastes like crispy salty goodness. I kept eating more and more.

I'm gonna take some to work tomorrow, since we ran out of potato chips at the house and I haven't gone shopping.

(Oh, and here's a shout-out to Mamie if she's reading this! She's interviewing to be the judge's law clerk next year. This is what passes for entertainment in Alaska, Mamie!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New duds, my office and ice on the bay

Samara and I went to the post office today on lunch, and there were two packages for me. The first was from my mother, via Land's End. It's a parka, good to like -15 degree weather. That's good enough for me. Thanks mom!

The second package was my new boots. Well, new to me, anyway. These are Army surplus cold weather boots. They're the black version, which are rated to -10 degrees. The white ones, rated to -60 degrees, aren't really necessary for the weather I hope to be seeing. These are neat boots because they're rubber inside and out, with a insulation layer sandwiched in between. They'll keep your feet warm, and if you get water in them, you just dump out the boots, put on a new pair of socks and you're warm again. No need to dry the boots! Plus, they only cost me $30 plus shipping, which was way cheaper than the $120 that they go for at the hardware store here.

Here I am with my new green parka and boots.

I've taken to wearing my boots when I leave the house, in the car, and into work, and then changing into a pair of sneakers there. I don't really need to wear shoes at home, and it's nice to have comfortable footwear at work, but in between is where I really need boots. These new boots sure beat the worn-out pair I was using before.

I thought while I was at it, I'd take a few pictures of my office so you can see where I work. First up is a glance out of my window, into the courthouse parking lot. There's a few extra cars out there because we have a jury trial going on this week. The fence in the distance to the right is a basketball court. The road curves around it to the left, and if you turn just before the building you can see in the center of the picture, you're in the driveway for SAFE, where Samara works.

The road would be that gravel-colored smudge you can see just behind the trucks in our snow-covered parking area.

And here we have a couple of nice pictures of my office. There's the desk where I can stare out the window into the parking lot, as nice folks reporting for jury duty stare in at me.

Oh, and in this picture, you can see my giant map of Alaska behind my desk.

After I got home this evening, I took a picture of the bay across my neighbor's yard, so you can see all the ice and snow floating in the water.

And here's a nice shot of our Canyonero, which has gotten a little dirty from all the gravel roads. It's parked in front of our apartment, which is the bottom two windows in this picture. The doorway there leads into the hallway of the building (otherwise known to Alaskans as an "arctic entry").

And that's it for today. Samara is working late, and my oven timer just dinged to let me know the frozen pizza is cooked!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Roasted garlic & Pumpkin Soup with beer bread

It's late October and I started craving the pumpkin soup again. I usually roast my own pumpkins and the garlic roasts under them as the pumpkins cook. No this year. I haven't seen any pumpkins up here and I'm sure once they do get up here they'll be $50.00 each. So I bought the canned stuff which is not as good, but it's not that bad either. Here's the easy recipe for pumpkin soup.

1 large can o' pumpkin (not the pie filling)
1 carton of chicken stock
2 roasted garlic bulbs
1 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Blend garlic with a bit of chicken stock in blender. In a large crock pot add pumpkin, garlic,and chicken stock. Set on high for 2-3 hours. A half hour before you want to eat, add the heavy cream and salt and pepper to your liking. You can add things like nutmeg, hot sauce or sour cream if you want. I added a bit of nutmeg and topped it off with cracked pepper.

This is the super easy beer bread recipe:
3 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz of beer (the cheaper the better)

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all dry stuff and add beer. Mix until you have what looks like a wet doughy mess. Pour mess into greased loaf pan. Cook for 1 hour. Ta-da.

This is what it looks like after Aaron has eaten some of it. I'm always surprised that he will eat some of the stuff I cook.
I tried to get some of my peeps from work to come over to help me eat all 4 quarts of this stuff. Thankfully Sarahmay came the rescue. But there is still tons of this stuff in my fridge. I'll be taking a bowl of it to work.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Samara organized a potluck for SAFE, the women's shelter she works for. The idea was to get all the newcomers to Dillingham to come out and mingle with the folks that have lived here for years. According to Tina, who is on the SAFE board, it was a good turnout for Dillingham. We had about 50 people.

Here's Samara getting things prepared in the elementary school gym. These are the only pictures I took.

Most of the new teachers showed up, and some old hands from around town. The chief of the local tribe was there. Before dinner, we played a game where you had to take a list of different attributes and find someone who had that attribute. For instance, you had to find someone who'd been born and raised in Dillingham, and someone wearing purple. Finding someone with five pets was somewhat difficult.

Dinner was good--lots of people brought different foods. SAFE provided turkey and mashed potatos, which was yummy. After dinner, they did a raffle drawing with lots of little prizes. Then we all got little flashlights and had a walk around town. It about 7:30pm, so it was dark out. We walked downtown and the chief gave a little speech about "Letting the light shine in," which was the theme of the potluck.

All in all, I'd say it was a success. Samara did a good job getting things organized for her first event, and I got volunteered to help, as usual. Hey, at least there was free food!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Snow Pictures

Sorry to everyone who reads the blog daily. When there's not much to say, it's hard to do an update.

We've been unpacking our stuff and getting settled in. Friday was Alaska Day, so we had the day off work. Samara had to work anyway, though, because she's been planning a community potluck for tonight. It should be enjoyable.

We took a few pictures on Friday of the ice in the bay and the harbor.

It snowed Saturday morning, so it's starting to pile up outside again.

Maybe there will be more to post about after the potluck tonight.