Clouds Over Amulet

Clouds Over Amulet

I’ve heard people say,”There are two seasons in Alaska: winter and road construction”, but there are also two road conditions: ice and tourists.

Mountains in Alaska must cause tourists to drive erratically because they will brake for stunning views, hairpin curves, and cliffs without guard rails, but take off like they just robbed a bank when they get to a passing place. If only tourists would pull over, but there are miles and miles of road with half-inch shoulders, offering no safe place for them to stop. However, roads are slowly improving.

A few years ago, road construction came to our stretch of the Glenn Highway. Along with removing the curves and widening the roadbed, we gained a scenic pullout overlooking the Matanuska River and the Chugach Mountains. It faces a peak we call Amulet. We are so thankful for a place where people can safely enjoy the scenery and we are happy to share the view.

Last week, I watched the clouds and sunlight as it danced around Amulet and stopped in the pullout to take a photo. The light was so dramatic, you wouldn’t know this was a full color photo. Every day is a different view. Would you like to see how it changes once a month?

Zucchini: from baby to adult in two days.

Zucchini

While growing up in the Northwest, my brother grew a vegetable garden in our back yard. I had a flower garden in the front.

He planted one zucchini seed and within weeks we had enough squash to feed not only our family, but our neighborhood and the east side of Portland. Unfortunately, other people in our town grew it too. We would emerge from church to see bags of zucchini arms hanging from our car door as gifts from previous friends.

My mother sliced and boiled the stuff until it turned into a limp, green, watery goo. The sickly green stuff fell from the spoon to the plate with an unappetizing plop. Sometimes there were mature seeds huddled among the mass, adding a strange and chewy texture. We were told to add margarine, salt and pepper to make it taste good. We were also told not to gag at the table.

Because of my scarred past, I hesitated to grow zucchini in my garden as an adult, but one day my friend, Bree, ripped a six-inch squash from under a healthy leaf. She said, “Here is your lunch! Single serving size. Saute it in a little butter with garlic.” I took it home and cooked it as she said, then took a bite. Love for zucchini and envy for her plant immediately consumed me. Until that day, I didn’t think zucchini was ready for harvest until it resembled the arm of a sumo wrestler.

Since that summer, I’ve grown and enjoyed the little green squash. They can explode from the tender little baby size to adult arms in about two days, so I watch the plants closely. I’ve found some marvelous recipes for zucchini, but this one is my favorite. It comes from Molly Wizenburg’s A Homemade Life.  I highly recommend this book for the read as well as the recipes.

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

1 ½ lb zucchini, made into spaghetti with a mandolin

(You could also thinly slice this or make it into small

sticks and it would still taste great)

3 T Olive oil

¾ lb spaghetti

salt

1/2-3/4 cup pesto

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil spaghetti noodles in salted water until aldente’. Meanwhile,

saute zucchini in large frying pan with oil until just tender, 5-8

minutes. Add noodles with plenty of noodle water and pesto.

Toss until mixed. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Turning Paper into Food

Three of Eleven Fundraiser Prints

People are starving in East Africa and my response is sadness and frustration. The bottom line is that I have food and they don’t. There are many political reasons for the famine, but at the end of the day, people are going hungry and dying for lack of food. I find it hard to discard thoughts of emaciated children. I want to help, but how?

I just listened to a book called, “Enchantment”, a biography about Audrey Hepburn. During World War Two, she was 5’7″ and weighed 85 pounds because the Nazi’s were starving out Holland. Her family and neighbors were eating tulip bulbs to survive. British troops brought in small bags of potatoes and she said that those potatoes saved their lives. Such a small thing and so seemingly insignificant, but she remembered those potatoes all her life.

I wanted to do something, no matter how small, to help people I don’t know on the other side of the world. I thought of my watercolor prints that have sold well over the last few years. I could promote those and send the money to a trusted organization whose focus was on helping people and had proven themselves in the past. I thought of World Vision because they focus on helping immediately with needs such as food and medicine while addressing the future with education opportunities and micro loans for small businesses. This is an impressive organization.

Until August 18th, I will be selling eleven different prints on my Facebook site to raise funds for East Africa. At the time of this writing, $850.00 has come in. I am so pleased and imagine these pieces of paper in Alaska being turned into food in East Africa.

It’s a miracle, isn’t it?