Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Discovery Park

Stephanie on the trail down to the beach

This weekend I went for a walk around Discovery Park with a friend. She'd heard about a mudslide and a bunch of erosion that was happening down on the beach that seemed like a cool thing to check out. We didn't check the tide tables but were lucky to get there at a very low tide.

There are some different deposits of silty sediment that are eroding. These ones look particularly cool with all the nice layers.

Past that there is a deposit eroding with weird concretions. This flying saucer-looking one was my favorite.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cleaning out the House

Ryan was here last weekend and we packed even more of our stuff up for the move. We also started really cleaning for putting the house on the market and Ryan touched up the paint around the house and the garage. I know it's always a hassle for anybody to move, but this really seems like the never-ending move.

We already packed a lot of stuff in Steve's trailer a month ago, and now our bedrooms are almost empty but I can't pack everything up because I'm still going to be living here for two more months. I'm still hesitant to pack things I might need any time over the summer because I'm afraid I might not see them again until...who knows when. Fall maybe? We don't really know what are living situation is going to be. We will be renting? A small place or a large place? Will we buy a house? Will it need major work before we can move in?

I need to keep anything out that I might need if I go in the field over the, rain gear, sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, etc. I'm also going to Ireland in June with my parents so whatever I need for that trip has to stay out until the end. And then other random things need to be available like a dress and shoes for my friends' wedding in CA over Labor Day weekend. It's just a little crazy trying to keep all these things straight and make sure I know where things are. But, I suppose it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to buy a new dress. Then again, do I really want to own more stuff? No.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wool Dogs

"A Woman Weaving a Blanket" Songhees/Saanich (Central Coast Salish), by Paul Kane 1846-1859 from the Royal Ontario Museum
Some Northwest Coast Native Americans who lived in the area around Puget Sound had two types of dogs when Europeans arrived - village dogs and wool dogs. From what I understand, village dogs were just basically regular pets. Wool dogs on the other hand were bred for their hair which was made into all sorts of woven goods.

Wool dogs were carefully kept in pens away from the village dogs so they would not interbreed. Once trade with Europeans/Euro-Americans became widespread in the 19th century, people had access to all sorts of other materials for making textiles and use of dog wool declined. Combined with the depopulation due to introduced diseases, most villages stopped keeping their wool dogs separate from other dogs. The wool dog was basically bred out and/or extinct by about 1850.

I've always thought this sort of dog husbandry was very cool, but didn't know a whole lot about it. This quarter I'm teaching a class on the archaeology of the Northwest Coast and some of the readings have mentioned wool dogs. My students were fascinated by them and dug up all sorts of information about them on the internet.

There are no photos of wool dogs, but the painting above gives us a pretty good idea of what they looked like. I have to say, they're pretty adorable. Check out this link for a larger image of the painting above.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easy Egg Meals

Now that Ryan's in Alaska and I'm just cooking for myself, I've been eating a lot of meals with eggs. None of them are particularly exciting or elaborate, but they do the job. And I love eggs. They are a perfect animal protein for me to keep around because I can just use one or two at a time and not have to worry about the rest of the package going bad (unlike buying many types of meat).

I've come across some good egg recipes recently. This rice bowl is nice and simple and can be adapted to use up whatever you have one hand. I made it with couscous, chard, and asparagus.

Next up I came across a healthy spin on a staple from the Odell household: soft boiled eggs on toast...with spinach (or more chard in my case). The greens make it a little more diner-ish.

Next I'm going to try this lemon and egg soup. And, just because I love it so much, here is a recipe for creamed eggs on toast - one of my favorite meals my mom made when I was a kid.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Skiing in Alaska

Like most places, spring skiing in Alaska is the best skiing.  There is still new snow, the days are long, and the temperatures are mild.  To take advantage of the conditions I headed up to Hatcher Pass Friday evening for some after work cross-country skiing.  There was almost too much new snow.  The trails had only been run over once with a groomer so I found myself sinking in the soft snow while trying to skate along narrow trails.  I had the entire mountain valley almost to myself.  The lighting was flat with a thick overcast a but still very bright.

On Saturday I drove to Arctic Valley for downhill skiing hoping to take advantage of the new snow that had fallen earlier in the week.  The lifts are only open on the weekend so I was optimistic about the conditions.  It was fairly good skiing but not surprisingly a breakable crust had developed from the wind later in the week.  I had not skied at Arctic Valley in probably 13 or 14 years so the experience was new and strangely familiar at the same time.

Very white and bright cross country skiing in Hatcher Pass

My boot's perspective of skiing

High on the mountain in Arctic Valley

Great views of Anchorage and upper Cook Inlet from Arctic Valley