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.