Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Road home

Wednesday Yarn Along

Apologies for the super-mediocre picture quality, but I suppose that's what I get when I choose to use my iPhone, and bad lighting...  Oh well.

I've never joined in on Ginny's Yarn Along before, but it has made me smile all over the blogosphere for a long while now.  And now I actually have something on my needles!  Mostly I just have something on the loom, but every so often, I bust out the knitting needles too.  After a number of meeting and conference days at work where I kicked myself over and over for not having knitting, I looked through my pattern books and looked through my stash, and found something that I not only am excited to make, but that I actually had the 'correct' yarn in the 'correct' color!  No substitutions needed.  Norwegian Handknit's pattern for a gnome hat is made out of Baby Ull.  I was hoping to use the interchangeable tip circular needle set my mother gave me for my birthday, but it only goes down to #4, and #2 was needed, so I'm using a bunch of double tipped needles instead.

At any rate, I"m making the child's size hat, and if I have enough yarn, I'll make the doll/teddy bear sized one.  A friend's little girl will be a happy gnome come christmas!

Reading:  Many books all the time.  My great downfall is my inability to set down a novel: I will ignore the rest of my life until the story is over, and I read really really quickly, so novels only last a day or two at most.  Non fiction I can space out much better.  One of the main ones I am reading right now is "Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma" by Peter Levine.  Both my work, and the yoga I plan to teach are profoundly engaged with healing trauma.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Solar Panels

I came home from the airport today in the middle of the afternoon.  It had been snowing, and so the solar panels were covered in snow:

But it was sunny, which means that there was potential to be making electricity.
What to do?

Why, clean them off of course! Ladders are handy that way.  As are push brooms whose extendable-ness you only realize once the job is done.


Functioning solar panels!  Soaking in the sun.  We made a little electricity for a couple of hours, and then it started snowing again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'm in Juneau

A view of the Mendenhall Glacier. I went on a walk here, and across the lake to the glacier with some women from the workshop during our midday/luch break on Saturday.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Another week in letters

A non-valentine to my sister.

A handmade valentine to my mother.

A valentine to Snowbasin.

A letter to a dear friend who recently moved to the obscene warmth of Florida!

Another letter to Italy.  A Gaggle of Geese this time, not sea turtles.

A Parliament of Owls to my father. (no, not like Hedwig)

A letter to my Grandmother.

A long overdue missive to a dear friend in NYC.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Energy from the SUN

All this week it has felt so much like winter is ending.  The temperature has been in the zero to fifteen ABOVE range, and the light is staying longer and longer everyday.

Last weekend, I spent all of Sunday at home.  It was lovely - roast chicken for dinner, laundry, vaccuming (courtesy of Darlin' Man), dishes (courtesy of me - if you know me you'll be shocked!).  But perhaps the best part was watching the electric system do its thing.  For a long time, the amp load on the battery hovered right around half of its normal usage, despite the vaccum and the washing machine.  Then, for a magic couple of hours, the meter showed that 0.00 amps were being drained from the batteries by the house.  Ocassionaly it would spike up to register that the batteries were recieving 0.01 amps of electricity. 
The generator never turned on.
So, where was this magic energy coming from?  From the sun, my friends, from the sun.  Yep.  That's right, mid February in Fairbanks, and we're making elecricity off the solar panels.
That is how I know that spring is really on the way, even if we have more 20 below in the future....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A week in letters

A sea turtle card send to a dear friend in Italy.

An Alaskana northern lights postcard sent to a Postcrossing pen pal in Germany.

Discovering that I do, indeed, have home mail pickup.  Well, not quite 'home' as the mailbox is two miles down the road - but its on the way home and I stop by it every few days.  I have lived so long with only a PO Box, and having to remember to bring things to be mailed to the post office.  It is so nice to realize the mailman will pick it up at home!  Even if I get nothing else out of this whole letter challenge, I'll have gotten this.

A long letter to a good friend from highschool Shakespeare who is now living in New York after recently reconnecting.

Thank you to my breda's mothers for vintage cookbooks.

Hand made valentine to a dear friend in Seattle.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Last fall, my darlin' man burnt down the pile of rubbish the former owners had piled up on a spot the previous owners had done so.  It had some plastics and treated wood, and metal scraps and bits of who knows what piled up.  So, definately not a spot that I would think of growing veggies on, no idea what's leached into that spot of soil.

At the bottom of the pile, once it was burnt down, he found a bunch of feildstones.  So he made a ring around the fire pit.  Then he added found - railroad ties for benches.  So now I have the large ritual fire pit I've always wanted, and he has a spot in which he can safely build the ginormous bonfires we so enjoy. 

So, for Imbloc -coincidentally, also his cousin's birthday - we ate salmon and spinach salad and german chocolate cake.  Friends drove out to the homestead, and the darlin' man built a pyre.  He layered downed birchlogs with pallets, log cabin style, and then stuck the christmas tree on the top.  The initial flames were at least 30 feet high.  The moon was out, though the rest of the sky was cloudy, framed by the two tall spruce.  As the evening moved towards morning, the stars came out.  And much wine was drunk, and stories told.

*disclaimer: these photos are actually from the solstice bonfire, which I never got around to posting.  But my camera was dead, and we were out of batteries this weekend.  So, in reality, the snow was about 2 feet higher.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Keepin' Warm

The temperature is now back up in the zero to 5 below range, and it feels so warm!  We had a about a week where cars and generators froze, with temps of 35 to 55 below. 
Way to cold.
The house did pretty well, considering.  The woodstove kept the downstairs warm, and under covers even the upstairs was lovely.  The back rooms were freezing, and I didn't even attempt to sit still at the loom, but when its that cold, kitchen and hearth are all you really need.
The generator froze twice and wouldn't start, but each time, darlin' man was able to get it running again with help from the propane heater.

There was alot of this:

and of this:

going on!

Weeks like this with temperatures so cold really and really remind you just how dependant you are on energy, whether from wood burning, or the generator and monitor and cars that run on fossil fuels.
Weeks like this make me want to stay home with the fire, and not leave.

Last weekend, along with the ridculous cold, we had ice fog so intense you couldn't see headlights across an intersection.  The radio was giving periodic warnings about how air quality is not advised for the young, pregnant or elderly.  Ice fog is something that only happens at super cold temps, when the moisture in the air crystalizes into fog.  It is compounded by pollution - car exhaust, power plant emissions, woodstove and heater exhausts - it all gets trapped by the cold density of the air and the fog and gets worse.  It is like breathing soup.
Sometimes when I've driving the 40 minutes home from work, I wonder if we wouldn't have made a better choice by finding somewhere closer into town.  If the commuter gas makes up for the eventual food production.  But then a week of ice fog I would NEVER want my future children breathing reminds me that that is another, super potent reason why we live outside of the populated areas.  There was no ice fog at our house, only crystal clear air that burned with chill as you breathed it, and made the stars shine brighter and look both closer and farther away.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homestead eating: Moose

Dinner was moose steaks pan fried with a honey mustard garlic basil thyme sauce/marinade.
Garnished with carmelized onions.
With french style-inspired baked "frites" - sliced potatoes tossed in olive oild, salt and pepper and baked.
and steamed spinach over leftover pasta in truffle butter.

SO. Good.

The moose had been sitting in the freezer for a couple of winters waiting for a "special time," but now that we have more moose, (and the potential for a regular supply of it! - future thanks to the mountain men); I decided to just make it.  And I was very pleased with how it had held up flavor wise to being frozen so long.  It was originally recieved as a barter gift for use of a sauna and some of our wood at the Haven cabin my breda was renting, and then was our studio for a while.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Letter Writing Month Challenge

I have never done one of these challenge type deals.  I've seen them going on, and sometimes watched the blog land circles doing them, but I've never committed to one. 
I found this one through a friend on facebook - oh the internets!  And it is right up my alley. 

Basically, you write and send a letter every day that there is postal service in the month of February.  Thanks to Mary Robinette Kowal for the lovely lovely idea!

There are handful of people, in Connecticut, Rome Italy, New York City, Texas, and Seattle who I keep a fairly regular correspondence with, but the idea of expanding it, and for a month sending out randomities of love and beauty to folks all over the place just sounds like a lovely idea.  Perfect for this February month of evenings by the roaring woodstove with a glass of wine.

So if you want to recieve a note or picture or peice of yarn from me, email me or leave your address in the comments section...