Saturday, April 14, 2007

Raclette; empty nest; geese arrived!

In the beginning of April, we enjoyed a raclette dinner at our house with others, thanks to Tinu and Elsbeth and Lena, who brought the cheese over from Switzerland. It is an excellent and very simple dish, though I am sure that if I asked a nutritionist about how is the food, they would just roll their eyes. In its purest form, it is melted cheese served with boiled baby potatoes, with some pickles and pickled onions on the side. In the olden days, the dish was made over the fire - the half wheel of cheese was put close to the flames, and when it melted and got a good layer of somewhat-burned cheese, it was scraped off onto the plate with the potatoes. The electric machine we have emulates the fire setting by having a heating element at the top, but without the wood smoke. Still good to disconnect the fire alarms though. Eating raclette makes for a nice social dinner, because only one person is served at a time. Plenty of time for conversation, and for the stomach to digest one serving of raclette at a time. Most people had three or four servings - a serving is one scrape of the melted cheese. Mmmm, raclette.

This morning our house got really empty as even Martin left for fieldwork. With the dogs being gone for the camping trip with Sandy up north in the Brooks Range for up to ten more days, and now Martin being gone to Bering Glacier, also for some ten days, weather dependant, there is only Sonja and myself left. It is rather quiet.

To keep her occupied, we went to Creamer's field this afternoon to look at the first geese, which apparently arrived yesterday, April 13th, according to the newspaper. It will be more impressive when there are more of them, but I think she saw both the geese and the ducks.

Reminds me - the last day of February we saw a bald eagle in town, being chased by a raven. At that time, it caught us by surprise, but apparently others have been seeing it too. I wonder if it manged to survive until now.

After the geese, we stopped by Alaska Feed Company because they received their shipment of chicks, but Sonja seemed more interested in the raisins I gave her for snack just before we entered the store.

Our last stop this afternoon was the UAF Experimental Farm, to look at the caribou. In addition to the regular herd, there were two brand new baby caribou there, and there might have been one more pregnant female still waiting to give birth. One male was right at the fence when we were on the other side of the people fence - some five feet away. Sonja liked the caribou, especially the baby caribou, though the raisins were still enough on her mind that we didn't watch the caribou for very long.

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