Thursday, May 30, 2013

Working in Cook Inlet

Anchorage is a coastal city but you would hardly know it by talking to the people.  There are over 300,000 people living in Anchorage yet there isn't even have a small boat harbor.  You won't find people out sailing, sport fishing or wakeboarding in the late night summer sun. I suspect that only a very small number of people who live in Anchorage will ever go out on a boat from the city.  And until last week, I was one of those people.

Cook Inlet is no playground; as I try to explain to people who don't live here, "It's nice to look at but best not to touch." The tides in Cook Inlet near Anchorage can fluctuate as much as 30 ft and the currents run as fast as 10 knots in some places!  In the winter large pieces of ice slosh back and forth with the tide grinding along the shoreline and coating the beaches.  But like most rugged places in Alaska, Cook Inlet is beautiful.  Sure the water is the color of mud and cold as ice, but its beauty is in the wild untamed nature.

Cook Inlet couldn't be much different from Puget Sound with all the mansions lining the shores and white sail boats plying the water.  You won't see those in cook Inlet but you will be see hundreds of miles of undeveloped shorelines, with a backdrop of dramatic mountains and maybe even a beluga whale.

While I will miss the casual nature of heading out on Puget Sound I think I will enjoy working on Cook Inlet.

Panoramic view from our survey boat with the Anchorage skyline to the right

Fire Island with Anchorage in the background

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Everybody is Moving!

Ryan and our comfy chair all boxed up

We did even more packing this weekend but we still are not done! In three weeks Ryan will be down again and we'll take the rest of our stuff - all boxed or wraped-up - down to the Alaska Marine Lines facility in Fife, WA to be palletized and shipped to Anchorage. We've been scrounging cardboard from business dumpsters to protect our furniture that will be shipped. I think Ryan enjoys the challenge of wrapping odd-shaped items. The comfy chair and ottoman got a custom-made cardboard box (from a mattress store), duct tape, and then shrink wrap. I have to admit, the shrink wrap is kind of fun.

We have several friends who are buying houses this month or next. We've been lucky to be able to pawn off a lot of household and yard tools that we're not keeping on some of them - rakes, shovels, plants, spare ladders (we had three ladders for crying out loud), a treadmill. I saves us the time trying to get rid of odds and ends at the last minute.

Below our photos of our friends Jay and Jennie's new place in South Seattle. I helped with the painting a couple of weeks ago. It's amazing what a fresh coat of pain will do for an old house! Even though all the stuff is currently staged in the living room, you can tell the walls look great.

Just starting the corners (that was my job)

Half done!

Fresh paint and all the stuff moved in!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fruit Tart

Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be full of outdoor barbeques and other summery activities. Even though we are going to some bbq's this weekend, it does not feel very summerish here. I've been thinking a fruit tart seemed like a perfect summer desert so made one anyway.

I've never made a fruit tart before but I've wanted to for a long time. I just don't think you can go wrong with  a desert topped with fruit. I tried this recipe from the Food Network.

It's pretty simple and straightforward - the crust is flour, butter, and powdered sugar (which I made in the VitaMix) and the topping is just cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. My dough turned out quite wet so I added flour to make it work-able. Next time I would skip the glaze to make it even easier (and less sugary).

Fruit and cream cheese means you can eat it for breakfast, right???

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Olympic Peninsula

I went to the Olympic Peninsula this weekend to get out of town since our house is now on the market. Our main goal was to go to the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. The museum displays many of the artifacts found in the Ozette site - a 500 year old Makah village buried by a mudslide and excavated by archaeologists from WSU and the Makah tribe in the 1970's. Because the site was wet, all sorts of organic material was preserved that we don't often find in other archaeological sites - the planks of houses, wooden artifacts, baskets, cedar blankets, rope, nets, etc. For an archaeologists, finding a site with kind of preservation Ozette has is an amazing opportunity. Seeing the museum is something I wanted to check off my list before I moved back to Alaska. It's a five hour drive out to Neah Bay, but I'm glad I went!

We camped at Sol Duc in Olympic National Park last night- soaked in the hot springs and then checked out Sol Duc Falls this morning. It rained pretty much the whole time we were there, but I expected no less from the Olympic Rainforest.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fresh Snow in May

You would think that by the end of May I would be writing about something other than skiing, but the best skiing is at the very end of the season and this week was no exception.  Almost two feet of new snow fell at the higher elevations last weekend so I headed to a place called Micro Dot in Hatcher Pass with a friend.  With the sun still high in the sky after work we enjoyed a nice tour and found some untracked slopes.  There was lots of wet snow Avalanches on steeper slopes and around rocks, but we used good route finding to stay out of harms way.  Later that night I went to a friends house to celebrate his birthday.  I was amazed to find it was still light out when I drove home at 11:30pm!  That fact combined with the fat mosquitoes emerging are a sure sign that summer is just around the corner.

Skinning up Micro Dot

Getting near the top

The slope down to Gold Cord Lake

Gold Cord Lake

Looking back at Micro Dot from Gold Cord Lake

Sunday, May 5, 2013

More Packing!

This was another busy weekend of packing and cleaning the house (see, it is the never-ending move!). Ryan was here and while we did get a lot done, it's still a lot of work to keep the house clean and everything put away between now and when it goes on the market in three days...and however long it takes to get an acceptable offer. We had the kitchen counters all cleaned off by Saturday morning for the professional cleaners. Then we cooked Saturday night and cleaned them again. Then I cooked breakfast today, ate a cold lunch that still managed to use several dishes, cutting boards and utensils, and cooked dinner. I cleaned the counters four times just today. And ran the dishwasher twice. I seriously considered just giving up on eating at home and going out, but I'm going to be here for another month; that could get really expensive! So, tomorrow I'll get up extra early to make sure I have plenty of time to tidy up after breakfast before the professional photographers come.

Here's to hoping we get a good offer quickly so I can go back to leaving my cereal bowl on the counter in the morning until I have to move out for good.

I've also been going through all the canned goods we have left and making sure I eat can eat them all up before I leave. Today I opened red currant jam from my mom. Makes me feel like it's August and I'm eating currants straight off the bushes in her yard!