Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Oh, dear friends, don't give up faith on me.

I am alive. I am intending to keep on writing. I do have plans for those 50 pound bags of beans and rice. I'm just a little slow on the type-up and a little too inundated with practicalities for the fanciful flourishings of words.

But I did get to spend a week working remotely. And while there, I did have moments to craft leftover cornbread into a bread pudding with blueberries and carmalized bananas and a ragout of pork braised in milk and rosemary.*And I did get to send J. off to work in the mornings with some old family favorites: hot cornbread, peanutbutter and jam crepe roll-ups, and omelette sandwiches. I welcomed him home with hot "Irish soup" (potatoes, broccoli and onion). I spent a day simmering a bolognese sauce, and we spent a Friday night rolling out pasta dough and baking a lasagne. We spent Saturday night trying to teach ourselves through trial and error how to make a chicken fried steak.

The fete of these moments is that we did so with very little kitchen equpment. J's suff is still "on the barge" and mine is still in Anchorage. So each of our meals were prepared with only a hunter's knife, a $1.50 dollar skillet, a very flimsy pot**, and a box of plastic spoons.

While there, I attended a local art auction - where an entire table was set out with platters of smoked wild salmon. Free and as much as you could eat. But coffee, cookies and slices of cake cost $1 to $5 each.

I went to a poker tournament among friends at a house that overlooked a wide and open vista of tundra - oh, the tundra at fall is an exceptional feast of colors.

And I doubt that the miracle of watching our road be "plowed" will ever stale. The road is a path of mud. Maybe it was once paved. But now it is a wide, pot-holed swathe of traversible mud. Once a week, a tractor drives down to plow it up. Then it turns around and goes back over it to smooth it down. No more potholes....for at least a day.

* No fresh herbs to be had. And only a few to be had dried.

** "Flimsy" is not an understatement. I would have added to the list of meals a blueberry cornbread crumble, but the pan split as I was pulling it out of the oven. A sad end to a dessert I had looked forward to. But I doubt I will be forgetting anytime soon the mad rush of happiness and laughter as blueberries had to be wiped off every wall and counter space in our little kitchen.


Blogger Mona said...

Yay! You're back, and alive :) I enjoy reading about your life in AK because it's so different from mine. I can't believe you made all those amazing things with no tools!! From all this blogging and finding people in so many areas of the country I've never explored it's really turning me into a country-craving girl, rather than the city girl that I am...oh what to do? My boyfriend's job seems it will keep us in the city for more than I'd like...

6:14 PM  
Blogger peeps said...

Ahh, Mona. For 12 years my college roommate kept trying to lure me to this state. Sometimes she'd send to me at my nyc sweatshop job postcards fashioned out of the polaroid pictures of the moose in her yard. Sometimes she'd describe to me the social entertainments and ask me to mail her an outfit to borrow. (I never did know what to do when she asked to borrow a manhattan something for the annual Duct Tape Ball.) When we were younger - in the pre-professional, college back-packing days, she once attempted to lure me to this fine place by plastering our hostel room in Germany with pictures of her bachelor brother. It took me 12 years of dodging earnest invites and living urban excitements, and a mere 5 hours of actually being here, to realize that she was right all along. So - do consider this an invite to visit, as well as an earnest promise that a visit in the winter is the highest recommendation. It's amazing how a few hours of this air can speed up the transformation to a country-girl! Thanks for reading - and congrats on your lovely cork board. I am inspired! I don't think there are any vineyards up here that produce a wine with a cork, but there is an exceptional twist-top salmonberry wine from a small enterprise out in Kodiak!

11:44 AM  

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