Sunday, July 31, 2011

From Big to Little.

Today my sister and I embark on a trip of a lifetime.

We are flying from Alaska to Texas. (I can't wait to see how many people say that "Texas is SO BIG!" Cause it's not. Really. Not when you're from Alaska!)

texas and alaska

My baby sister and I will drive from Texas to Alaska on Thursday, so no Arctic adventures for you guys. But you will see our epic road trip!

And probably food. Cause I like food! haha.

So long!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ding Dong Dog

You guys wondering about my new dog Magnus?

He's around. He's no Nugent. I miss Nugent. This momma is having a really tough time liking this dumb, stubborn dog.

But lucky for him, he sure is pretty.

dingy dog

And dumb.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bread and Jam

Life's best combination right!?

I make jam. I make bread. What better way to celebrate a BAKE SALE, then having a BREAD AND JAM SALE!?

Table at home

We have some fabulous tasting berries up north. I swear it's payback for all that snow we get. Flavor!? You haven't had flavor until you've had a tundra blueberry. Or an Aqpik, holy heaven in a berry.

And breads. Who doesn't like bread!? All the yeasty gluteny goodness hot out of the oven, with butter oozing down your hand. Top it with some strawberry-aqpik jam and it'll turn your frown upside down. Fo sho.

table at the Bake Sale

We frequently have bake sales here in Kotzebue. We raise money for all kinds of stuff. Medical patients, families who lose loved ones, upcoming trips for groups, youth groups, you name it, we've fundraised for it. (Wait, don't name 4H cause we don't have that!)

My sister and I were fundraising for my other sister to be able to drive from Texas (the SECOND largest state) to Alaska (the LARGEST STATE, just in case some of you Texans were wondering...). We have to drive from Fort Hood, to Anchorage. In a car. Through Canada! Yahooey!

And with the economy, gas is expensive! OK Back to bread and jam.

bake sale

With countless doughnuts, muffins, over 40 loaves of Breads (Yeasty bread, sweet breads, beer breads and quick breads) and over 10 cases (Yes, I made over 120 jars of jam in my kitchen in two days) of Jams and Jellies made with local berries and flowers (Blueberries, Cranberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Aqpiks, Raspberries, etc.) we sold out in less than an hour. I didn't even have time to take a photo of the two tables filled with carbs and sugar. =)

AN HOUR. Apparently Bread and Jam IS THE BEST STUFF ON EARTH!


*Next to Seal Oil and Blackmeat, of course!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Here Fishy, Fishy


No good Alaskan will eat farmed Salmon. Or salmon sold in a land locked city in America either, for that matter.


No good Eskimo will eat Salmon they didn't catch either. Well, unless you're at a top sushi restaurant and you KNOW Kenji the Sushi Chef knows his fish.


You can yell, "YO KENJI! Make me some good Salmon Sashimi, will ya!" Or if he doesn't speak English, "KENJI hei! Watashi ni ikutsu ka no yoi sāke sashimi o tsukuru, anata narimasu!"


(Yeah, bet you didn't know I know Japanese did you! I totally paid attention in class in 9th grade. Ah, who am I kidding, I just Google Translated it!)


Anyway, Alaskans and Salmon. We are picky and spoiled. At least I am. Once when I was in college in Eastern Oregon, my cousin Josie and I went to the store and bought Salmon. We HAD TO. It was so gross. Almost put me off Salmon forEVER. No, not forever, but until I got home.

(Doesn't he just LOOK like an awesome Fisherman!?)

Spoiled. Very very spoiled. So, my friend Kookie and I, we were scouting the Subsistence Nets around town at lunchtime the other day when we happened across Henry and his bart on the beach.


"Hey Henry, you got net?" I asked.

"Ya, you know how?" he replied.

"Shucks, you know who my mom is!" I exclaimed.

And it was done, we put his pully system subsistence net out for the afternoon.


Three hours and 8 fish later, we were happy. So I did what any other smart, working woman would do. I called the President of the Salmon Filleting Association, and dropped those fish off.


Seriously, if there were a campaign for #1 Salmon Filleter, my sister Saima would win. She's good. I don't even bother butchering fish anymore. Between her and Dean, I haven't had to cut a fish in a while. Let me sew or bake or something, man.


A few hours later, we checked again and a total of about 20 fish were caught and filleted.

After work, I had enough time to brine and smoke a couple fillets in my deluxe smoke house my husband built, before our Salmon Class. What!? Salmon Class!? Why Yes Sir! Salmon Class. You guys totally missed out.


So, after eating like a pig (or an Eskimo, when it comes to Salmon!) at his very own smorgasbord consisting of Pecan Crusted Salmon (Recipe to follow), Blackened Salmon, Smoked Salmon, and Twice Baked Potatoes, I went home and had a serious Food Coma.

(Smoked Salmon, and three cases of Jam we made last night!)

And then I woke up and had to go to work. Boo!

Moral of the story: I love Salmon. NO ONE should ever eat Farmed Salmon. Eat Fresh! Or don't eat it at all!

Pecan Crusted Salmon (from Daniel's sister Alana)
1 fillet FRESH (or Frozen fresh!) Salmon

2 C Milk

1 C finely chopped Pecans

1/2 C Flour

1/4 C Brown Sugar

2 tsp Seasoning Salt

1 tsp Pepper

*Remove skin and bones (if you're picky like that, I don't remove the bones!) and cut into strips (Across not the long way!). Place Salmon in a Ziplock Bag with milk.
*In a shallow dish, combine the rest of the ingredients, mix well.

*Coat Salmon in Pecan mixture, pressing gently.

*Fry in large skillet in a little oil on medium-high heat until browned. Place fried pieces on a baking sheet, and once all chunks are done, bake for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Eat. Be Merry. Pretend you're an Eskimo.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jam on it!

Wait, I guess technically it's Jelly, rather than Jam, but whatever. I always want to sing that when I'm "Jamming Out!"


Making Jam. Or Jelly.

Fireweed Jelly in fact. Lots and lots and lots of it.

There is a good recipe that I always use HERE on my blog.


You just have to remember that Fireweed doesn't have Pectin, like unripened berries do, so it's harder to make it jell. So I just add another box of Sure-Jell and it always works out for the best.

You can substitute any other edible flower to make jam as well. Dandelions, Carnation, Chamomile, Clover, Fuscia, Gardenia... (Ah heck, just click HERE for a list!) Whatever jelly you're making will take on the awesome color of the flower you use. You pretty much boil off the color into the pot! Thanks to the sugar and pectin, it stays that color until the last smear on toast!

no color

The best part of the jelly making sessions is that the kids can do all your picking!


Clara (pictured up there) actually picked a bee in her ziplock bag and didn't know until we were about to dump it into the bucket to wash the flowers! She THREW her bag at me when it started buzzing. My husband told us to put it in the freezer to "make it go to sleep" so we could get the flowers without getting stung.


The Bees name is Jerry and he is now in a jelly jar with holes in it on the counter.

Him and a spider named Tom, that we also found in the ziplocks.


Happy Jam Session!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The smell of the tundra

I think I've talked about the smell of the Tundra before. The Lichen, the Tussocks, the berries in season. It is a smell like no other. It beats fresh cut grass anyday. ANY DAY!

I don't even know how to explain it. I always wished you guys could smell it too. I always wished there was a way to bottle it up and sell it.


There is.

What!? Yup, a friend of mine, and fellow blogger/artist/awesome-person bottled that stuff up, JUST FOR YOU!


Crazy talk, I know.

Salmonberry Origins is her Etsy shop filled with wondrous Arctic items perfect for you to experience.


Not only did she bottle the scents of the Arctic, but she also bottled (or tinned!) some of the SAME healing herbs, and items I use all the time. I drink Tiilaqait, or Tundra Tea all the time, I add a little licorice root and it doesn't need sugar, it doesn't need milk. Just good old Tundra Tea. And it's available for you RIGHT HERE!

Fireweed tea, for your late night relaxation. And Aqpik scrub to wash off the days worries!


What I am MOOOOST excited about though is the Scents for you to experience. There really is NOTHING like the smell of the Tundra.

PILOT BREAD the hard tack cracker that is in every good eskimo's cupboard! Add some Dandelion Bloom Jelly for a truly Arctic Experience.

pilot bread

Labrador Tea , or Tiilaqait, (Tundra Tea), the earthy, piney scent that everyone from up here knows means, Tundra.

Not only does she sell Arctic Spa items, but she has two other Etsy stores.

Foot soak

Salmonberry Dreams , beautiful earrings and necklaces, made from local organic items such as Caribou Antler, and Ptarmigan Feather.

Salmonberry Thoughts , which includes wonderfully sketched artwork and still shots from the top of the World.

tea in my cup

I hope you'll join me in visiting her sites. Experience the beauty of the Arctic through Rainey's talented hands.

*I FORGOT... She has a facebook page dedicated to ALL her craftiness! Click HERE to visit it!


Monday, July 11, 2011


You guys know I hate Mondays? I do. I mean, what kind of punishment is a Monday? Really. They should make fun things happen on Monday, rather than the get-up-and-go-back-to-work-after-playing-all-weekend routine. Right?

I know I'm right.

Saturday was my first day off since June 26th. I was tired. I decided that I wouldn't do that again. I think I run myself ragged until I snap in two, both physically and emotionally. So next year, we're going on VACATION for the 4th of July. Vacation.


Early Saturday morning I woke up to a frantic call from my baby sister Elsa. She couldn't even talk. I thought someone had died. I was crazy worried.

I shot up in bed and was as calm as a cucumber, "Elsa, calm down and let me know what's going on..." "Elsa, is everyone OK?" between her sobs, she was surprised and said, "huh? yeah..."

OK good, no one is hurt, gone, etc. Whew. Dodged that bullet.

But the words that came out of her mouth were just as bad. "Zach is getting deployed on MONDAY."

A day and a half notice.

family people

Happy Weekend Soldier. You're getting deployed. Boo on the Army. Boo on the ridiculous war. Boo on those people who think Americans should stick their noses into other countries business. How about worrying about your OWN country??? How about the fact that in your OWN country there are still cities that have NO RUNNING WATER. There are kids who drop out of school so they can take care of babies. There are places where a gallon of milk costs FIFTEEN DOLLARS, and a gallon of water costs TWENTY. Our gas prices are hovering around Eight bucks a gallon now. And they're only getting higher.


Anyway, enough on that rant. War...what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. And I'll say it again...

I logged on to Facebook this morning at work to check my company site and saw this picture below. It is their last family photo together for a year. I have not stopped crying since.


So, now my sister who's anniversary is this month, will be without a husband. My niece will be without a father. But, I will say that he chose this career, and he is one PROUD SOLDIER. He serves the United States with Honor and Respect. He and his family knew the sacrifices they had to make to be in the Military, and they take those sacrifices with Pride.

daddy and baby

And this Sister-Mom is so very proud of them too. I don't know if many of you know, but I was married before. My ex-husband was in the Navy. It was hard. Very hard. I hope and pray, and pray and pray and pray and pray some more that my sister and her family will stay strong, faithful, and proud to be a Military family.

So, if you're the praying type, please pray for my sister, my niece, and EVERY other Soldier we have stationed away from home. Away from family. Away from the Freedom they fight for. Pray, and pray some more to keep them safe. To keep them healthy. To keep them strong.

carroll family

And even if you don't have someone close to you in the military, maybe you have some extra love to give? Maybe you have some homemade Smoked Salmon from Alaska that your husband cans, and you want to share it. Maybe you make beautiful quilts that are manly. Maybe you are a really good letter writer. And you want to share the love...

There are so many soldiers who are overseas, and they all deserve to have Alaskan Smoked Salmon and Canned Caribou. Or a quilt. Or a letter. Or some love. So CLICK HERE and see what you can do to help ease the loneliness and support our troops out there. My children, husband and I just adopted a couple. I sure do hope they like Smoked Salmon.