If anyone is still reading this blog, just want to let you know that I've had a change of place and pace. I am now retired from the bi-polar cooking career, meaning no more of the Arctic and Antarctica for me. Instead, I have found home in the many beaches on the west coast of Canada and Hawaii. Right now I'm in Tofino, British Columbia and next week the family and I will be back in Kauai, organic farming at Sheldonia Farm. I realize that farming, GMO-free organic farming to be exact, is a good way to promote environmental conservation and natural food security.
Time and time again I've put in three weeks of hard work to take a week off and fly back to visit my wife and baby. I'm flying between two different seasons, latitudes, hours of sunlight, time zones, climates, ect. I feel I am living in two different worlds at once, and to get to each of those worlds I have to go through a portal above the clouds and through airports. Flying across Canada and America from the north west to the east gives me a look at what's being developed and how society is sprawling outwards. Each airport has it's own vibe, too. And, as you walk past each gate and look at the city and country to where the plane is heading to, you can get a glimpse of the people and the culture that lives there. Whenever I arrive to the gate departing to Alaska there are always a few men dressed in military uniforms, dads and sons carrying their fly fishing rods and a few people where extratuff boots. Here I am a week and half ago getting ready to pack up and leave... rainbow in the sun.
Following morning smoke in the tundra... lightning has started a fire nearby.
My final dish for this three week stint... donuts.
12 hours later I'm in Hamilton, Ontario getting a lesson from baby Rosa about where to throw your trash and not litter!
After a week of steamy hot city weather and splashing in the fountain at the park, I hop back on the bus to go to the Toronto airport. A little ways out of Hamilton and the skyline turns from trees to townhouses. Green to grey, natural to rock squares.
It would be one thing if the development stopped a decade ago and the natural environment was given a chance to regrow to beautiful and purify the urban jungle, but instead it seems like it just keeps growing and desertification is the outcropping.
Up in the air over smoggy Toronto.
Why aren't their gardens on these roofs? What about solar panels?
A matrix of surburban houses. Engineered like a computer chip.
Oh, Chicago. Once again, like many other cities... grey.
A breather above the clouds.
Midway from Chicago to Seattle I witness the prairies and farms, lots of squares. Any GMO down there?
Hey Creator, if you're up there, is this the way it's supposed to be? Is this at all sustainable? Could you lend us a hand here? I think mother nature is need of a little tender love and care.
Seattle. Always feels good to me to be back on the west coast.
3 hours northward and back to Fairbanks. It's neat to leave around midnight in darkness in Seattle and only a couple hours later be back in the midnight sun.
Heading back to Toolik. Ah, yes. Beautiful. Smells like pine and rain. Cool breeze. Not a skyscraper in sight.
Turbulence was created from a low pressure system from the south, the same same low pressure front that has sparked a number of wildfires in the interior of Alaska with lightning and dry ground. As it made it's way over the Brooks it created a massive pressure wall with the maritime North that we're in, and spun off a little tornado at the head of the wall which came and went as it went over little hills.
My mornings kick off anytime between 3 to 6 AM, depending on when the sun begins to creep through my blinds. It never sets, but sometimes hides behind mountains. I walk to the dining hall where the lights are off and no one is around. Get the coffee going. Lately I've been putting to use the porcupine quills Jess and I harvested while in Alaska in 2012. I bought a random selection of earring craft pieces and played around until a cool design with gemstones was struck. There are two dozen of these earrings floating around in the world right now and I am glad that the porcupine continues to share it's gifts of beauty. Making them next to a window overlooking the Brooks Range and tundra is a morning meditation to start off the day. Many thanks and blessings goes into them.
On June 13 we had frost, and a few days prior it was snowing. This brings challenges to the Arctic garden as you will see later on.
The kitchen is the kitchen, hot and noisy, lustful smells always in the air. It feels like it's only a small piece to my everyday life even though it takes up the majority of the day.
During one of the lunch breaks I jumped in with the EMT team to relearn how to use field medical equipment.
We're at our peak population today more or less. A full moon and a week before the summer solstice. Just shy of 100 Toolikans. A few scientists heading off into the land of squirrels and tussocks
About a week n half ago I was on break in Hamilton visiting family, seems like ages ago really, and another trip back is coming up in another 12 days. It's honestly a life in two very different worlds.
When I flew back from Canada last I landed in Fairbanks at 2 AM. I slept three hours on a bench at the airport next to many other folks sleeping, the lady to the left of me was in military uniform. Around 5 AM I began a 5K trek to the grocery on a mission to find top soil and compost. I bought three bags at a grocery and scored some free plastic trays from the lawn and garden department. When I arrived back at Toolik I went to the dish pit and grabbed every old recycled plastic container I could find and made pots. The 'food waste' cuttings soaked in a water bath for three weeks, time to transplant.
Instead of books and calculators at my desk, I have dirt and plants.
I was excited to see the first thunderheads in the distance shortly after I transplanted. I wonder what the plants feel when they get their first taste of rain.
It didn't just rain on 'em, it hailed. By the time I figured out what the raven-like scratching noise above was while cooking in the kitchen most of the hail had already come and I thought about how the garden was doing on it's first day outside. Probably not too happy, haha. When I went back to my porch after work I saw that they weren't damaged at all. Wow, cool. It warmed up again before I went to bed and decided to leave them outside overnight. That night (June 12) the temperatures dropped to 30 degrees fahrenheit and I'm sorry to say, but we've lost the turnips. The carrots, celery, beets and onions are okay, though.
Today was pizza day. I don't eat gluten pizza right now, but still love making it and love to see how people react to it. We crossed off the pre-fab. pizza dough sheets from the menu and I went ahead in making 35 lbs. of homemade dough. The recipe I used was the best overnight crispy recipe I've ever come across and the station was raving over it, to point of saying it's the best pizza they've ever had. Well, that tweaked and Toolikfied recipe I tossed away last night for whatever reason and now, sort of wish I hadn't. Calling up memory tomorrow morning.
Here's Jeff helping sauce and cheese the pizzas. Not only does this guy manage Toolik Fried Chicken, but he also runs Toolaminos and Toolik Hut. Yeehaw!
See that big bubble? That means it's good, real good.
Put me on a Hawaiian beach in a pizza food truck and we're in business!
After work I return to my stoop and water the plants. Take a few moments to soak in the sun and look at the horizon. So many changes ahead, so many options, but for right now, right here, life is perfect.