Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Toto, toto!

You would not believe how windy its been here over the past day.  Gusts have been as fast as 60 mph!  Living in a wooden house on a hill, Thayer and I are pretty aware of the wind.  Richards cabin (directly across from ours) has had an enormous slab of snow sitting on its roof for a while now.  The wind combined with warmer temps caused it to slide off and break.
The warmer temps have led to an increase in critters in our cabin.  We're starting to see mice again, and there are spiders everywhere!  Here's a cute little weevil that I found crawling around our windowsill.
As you can probably see from the first too photos, the wind is bringing in a storm.  We're expecting a foot of snow (or more) over the next few days.  The snow was already blowing in over the mountains when I woke up.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Thayer and I just made a marvelous batch of very easy vegan brownies.  Even in our remote cabin, we had everything on hand that the recipe called for.  The end product was moist, chewy, very chocolatey, and a little cake-like.
Here's the recipe (reprinted from here).
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar (or refined sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips (or cut up some dark chocolate)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 dash cinnamon (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray or oil an 8 x 8 baking pan.
  2. Mix applesauce, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (and cinnamon if using) together.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce mixture. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips (and walnuts if using).
  4. Spread in prepared pan and bake 25-30 min, until center is firm and not sticky. Cool completely before slicing.

Not snowing, but it's going to....

My red sweater is very nearly finished (click for a larger view)!  It's just missing 7 buttons which I'll have to buy upon my return to civilization.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's snowing....again.

We have about four and a half feet on the ground and we're expecting a few more inches today and tonight.  It's gusty and snowy and . . . I'm ready for spring.  We went into town yesterday to deliver mail and pick up some weather station stuff (including a new motor, which will hopefully fix our snow collecting bucket system).  For a change of pace, I snowshoed (and walked where the snow was frozen enough) and Thayer skied.  This reminded me that cross-country skiing was invented for a purpose- long distance treks over well-frozen terrain.  It's really much faster and easier than walking with bulky things strapped to your feet.  The weather cooperated very well for the trek into town- so sunny that Thayer ended up with some sunburn on his face.  I got my haircut for the first time in a year while we were in CB- it feels marvelous!

Here's what it looks like outside our cabin today.
And here is what the snow looks like, piled under the eave of our porch.
In very very exciting news (to me at least), my sweater is nearly finished.  It's just waiting for its hems to be sewn up and buttons to be purchased/attached.  Do you remember all of those damn gauge swatches I made for this sweater?  I ended up having to reclaim that yarn to have enough for sewing the hems down.  But here is what the sweater looks like.  It's not quite this pink; when I finish it, I'll have Thayer take a photo outside to give a more accurate idea of the color.
The cuff detail
And the lace panel on the back

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pita Bagels

Thayer and I really loved the bagels that we made a few months ago, but they took so much time.  We've found a substitute that is much quicker and easier, but serves the same purpose.  The pita bagel recipe in Maggie Glezer's A Blessing of Bread is just perfect.  It uses a basic pita dough that is shaped into bagels, coated in sesame seeds, rolled flat, and broiled.
See?  I told you it wasn't spring yet.  We're expecting (according to NOAA) 6-10" today and a little more tonight.  I'm really happy we're getting a bit more, because the trail to town has been getting icy/grody/crusty/covered in dog poo and big holes from dumbos walking on it.
We made bread a few days ago that turned out pretty fantastic.  I used Peter Reinhart's recipe for pain a l'ancienne.  It's a pretty nifty way to get delicious flavor without too much work- you just mix the dough and let it sit in the fridge for a night before taking it out, letting it rise, and then shaping and baking.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ack- we haven't posted in such a long time.  It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks, I suppose.  Since our last post, I visited both the St. Paul and Duluth campuses of the U of MN, and got to spend a little bit of time with Carolyn and CR.  The time spent on the campuses was busy but very informative; I talked with loads of people, all of whom had different and interesting perspectives on the program to which I'm applying- the Water Resource Science MS/PhD program.  Then I flew to Madison (yes, I flew from Minneapolis to Madison- it was ridiculous- I could have driven there in the same amount of time).  I spent two days touring the campus and meeting with people in the Center for Limnology.  I also got to catch up on some Olympics and eat out at tasty restaurants.

[T- during this time, Gothic had a big snowstorm, so I skied back from bringing Jessica to town in quite a blizzard, and then had a lot of shoveling to do.  It was very light snow, so even with snowshoes everyone was sinking into the snow quite deeply.  It looked as if John and I had shoveled trails everywhere, but it was just that we made trenches in the snow wherever we went.  I had to dig the weather instruments out of their snowpiles, we got so much snowfall.  I was tired most of the time she was gone, from all the shoveling - even snowshoeing and skiing was extremely tiring.  The cabin was very quiet without her there, and I can't say that I cared for it!]

After this whirlwind trip, I relaxed and slept a lot for three days before Thayer and I took our trip to Oklahoma University (in Norman).  We had a wonderful time touring the campus, meeting with current grad students and other prospective grad students, and best of all, we visited the OU Biological Station on Lake Texoma!  Also, the weather was wonderful- 50's and sunny the entire time- although we're informed that it's not always like that in Oklahoma.  All in all, we got lots of useful information for choosing programs (which must done by April 15).

[T - the trip was very fun, and Rich, the grad student who housed us, did an awesome job.  He was really nice and really gave us a great feel for OU and Norman.  However, We don't want to say too much about our campus visits and what we think since the blog is public and we haven't made official decisions yet]

So we're back in Gothic, recuperating from our busy trips.  The weather here has been relatively warm (mid-30's) and mostly sunny.  We've been getting intermittent dustings of snow, but nothing to compare to the massive amount of snow that was dumped on Gothic while I was in Minnesota.  Most of that snow has compacted now, and the skiing and snowshoeing are, in general, pretty great.  We're looking forward to some warmer and sunnier weather that's headed our way this weekend, although winter won't be over for us for quite some time.

[T - we looked around for our porcupine, but he was nowhere to be found.  We saw our fox yesterday though - we were on the porch and he came around the corner of the house and was very surprised to see us.  He eyed us suspiciously for a moment, and then trotted away, keeping an eye on us.  He is definitely not the fox that lives down across the road by John, because we have seen that fox follow people really closely.  We suspect feeding has been involved.]

I've been making more progress on my red sweater.  It was originally intended as a project for the Ravelympics- meaning that I was supposed to complete it in the duration of the winter olympics.  I failed at that (I blame my week-long trip to the Midwest), but I did make a good start on the sweater.  So far, I've completed the back and one of the front pieces.

Yesterday, Thayer made oatmeal bread.  It turned out extra delicious and very pretty, in my opinion.

[T - I didn't make it all, Jessica kneaded it for me, because she's much better at it.  It was a noble sacrifice on her part, because the oatmeal dough is a very naughty sticky dough and we don't have a mixer or even a paddle scraper to facilitate the process]