April 5, 2018

Fairbanks, revisited

The winter garden has been amazing this year. I haven't had to buy lettuce, chives, or dark leafy greens in months.

The week was mellow with an easy workload on the client side, so I gardened, cooked in, did laundry and got ready to head to Alaska. Friday, the night before we flew out, I realized we had gift guanciale (GIFT GUANCIALE, people -- you know you've made good life decisions when you have someone in your life who gifts you home-cured guanciale just because they love you):

Guanciale sautéed with garlic and onions.
In addition to the gift guanciale, I realized I had all the other ingredients for a perfect black lentil salad (fresh greens, garlic, onions, capers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, & black lentils) and I was so excited because normally I would have to put this on the meal plan and shop for at least one of the ingredients in order to enjoy it.  It was a thing of beauty:

We headed to Alaska for the first time in 2.5 years so I could lecture at the University, and so we could visit Arvay and D who live in a dry cabin.  In fairness, it's no longer fully dry, they have  a pump that can push purchased water to the sink, but it's limited with respect to pressure, and the only running water in the cabin goes to the sink, so there's an outhouse and showering and laundry have to be done in town (see the comments to this post for more info).  We stayed in a hotel in town, so we didn't get the full rural dry cabin experience except when we were dinner guests.

One of many perfect views from our snow hikes.
Visiting Fairbanks is always a great way to get a new perspective.  Weather (snow and ice in April!) and permafrost and lack of first world infrastructure make for a very different and much more planned and thoughtful way of day-to-day life.

Virtually untouched trails after a couple of inches of snow.
We spent Easter and the day after snow hiking on the trail system that is adjacent to their property.  And while they may not have all of the modern creature comforts, they do have an abundance of natural riches next door whenever they want to access it.

Does it get any more Alaskan than this?

One day we went to the local feed store just to check out the baby fuzzy ducklings, chickens, and turkeys.  OH! MY! GOODNESS!  I want baby fuzzies!

Beh-Beh Duckies!!!

I've been very fortunate on the book side of things lately, which means Arvay got a good pile from my luggage (we normally ship books back and forth). 

Arvay got a good book score!
I'll compose a full books post soon, but if any of these have been on your maybe list, all of them were great and I recommend them.


Arvay said...

It was awesome to see you!

Minor correction though: We've always had the water pump; the exciting upgrades were (1) the pneumatic switch, which minimizes electrocution risk, and! (2) the circular trash can reservoir! Believe it or not, it took me forever to find one of an appropriate size! My last one was a rectangloid, which I could not fill more than half full or else the sides would bulge. The circle is awesome because it distributes pressure evenly, so I can fill it to the top. Circles are perfect, and pi is transcendental. :)

bt said...

@Arvay -- thanks for the detailed correction! I'll note it in the post.