Sunday, April 12, 2015

Springtime in Alaska 2015

Springtime comes slowly to these arctic lands and the weather is completely unpredictable.  DannyLee faithfully checks the internet each day for their predictions as he tries to plan out our woodcutting efforts for the week.  No matter how carefully he checks, we still manage to be surprised - sometimes pleasantly as it was here on April 1st - NO FOOLING!  

April 1, 2015

Though we still have plenty of snow on the ground to contend with, at this time, we were starting to see some patches of ground coming through.  This is a balmy 50 degrees of warm sunshine that DannyLee is enjoying here.  It's too warm for a jacket!

As we enjoyed several days like this one, we decided that it was time to take a drive up north to Fairbanks.  While we have plenty of snow left on the ground, the farther north we went, the snow seemed to be melting away very quickly.  This is what we saw along the way:

April 9, 2015

We enjoyed a lovely drive north and temperatures in the mid to high 40's all day.  It seemed like spring was finally getting to be in control and winter was losing it's formidable grip.  The woodstove has been getting a break during the day and the wood pile has been growing slowly beyond our needs.

As we made our plans for our Shabbat and the High Shabbat of the final day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, DannyLee noted that the weather on the internet was warning of 1 to 2 inches of possible snow.  We added some extra time to our preparations to ensure that we cut enough wood for the time of rest.  

While we were out in the woods, an odd hail-like snow started to pelt us gently.  Up till then, our preparation day had been a pleasant 40 degrees with plenty of puddles to avoid.  We could see that we were in for a change.  

On Friday evening, it began to snow and snow and snow..................

April 10, 2015
This was the last picture I took before I went to bed at 2:00 a.m.  This is the heaviest snowfall we've seen all year and it just fell from the sky straight to the ground.  There wasn't any wind, no drifting, no sound, just snow falling, falling, falling.........

This is Saturday morning with 1 to 2 inches of snow if you can ever believe the "weather man"!  I can't say for sure just how much snow we actually got because it was melting while it was snowing.  DannyLee measured it at 9 to 10 inches and it snowed almost all day on Saturday. 

Ari was so upset with the mess that she spent most of her day moping on the couch.  It was not a good day in her opinion at all.  She's been very happy to chase squirrels and be outside and her brief excursion in the morning turned her into a snowball.  We were happy to stay inside and enjoy watching the snow falling off the trees as it melted.  We know it won't be too long before this is all gone again and spring will renew it's efforts to be reborn.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pesach 2015

Each year Pesach comes as a new thing for us even though this is my ninth observation and DannyLee's tenth time or so.  Basically, we don't know what we're doing and there is so much anxiety that comes in trying to "get it right". This year was no exception and even though we're back to just the two of us, I still struggled with the preparations.

I think the biggest problem comes with the fact that we're trying to stay away from the old traditions of men and find our way back to the Scriptures on one hand, balanced with the very human need to establish a new set of traditions that work with the commandments given by Elohim and not against HIM.  

In the days leading up to Pesach, I went through my cabinets and considered what was leaven and what was not and removed the leaven from the house.  It was considerably easier this year as we've gotten away from a lot of convenience type foods.  In the previous years, I've had to look at packages of Rice-a-roni and other kinds of similar foods for yeast on the labels.  Now, I have none of that in the house so there was nothing to search through.

As I'm making most of our bread and baked goods at home, it was easy to gather up my yeast and baking powder.  I did enjoy working out the last few meals to use up the last loaf of bread and cookies.  It made for some interesting meals.  My final challenge was a half of a loaf of challah bread that got turned into a lovely tropical bread pudding with pineapple and coconut that we managed to eat up on preparation day.  

As we considered what was and wasn't leaven, I was stumbled this year with a new thought.  I've become a waffle aficionado (better said: addict!) and have collected several fun waffle recipes.  As I was making my Waffle Brownies, I noted that there wasn't any leaven in the recipe - no yeast, no baking powder or soda!  Hmmm.....

That led me to wonder just what makes waffles light and fluffy and I realized it's just water and hot air - steam!  That really gave me something to think about in terms of leaven.  Obviously, you're not going to get rid of either of these two things so my end thought was I won't be making waffles during the Feast of Unleavened Bread - 'nuff said!

Our Pesach celebration was decorated with snow that blew in with all the fierceness of winter though it left little to show for itself in the end. We had somewhere between one to two inches that mostly melted away by mid-day. It definitely ruined any chances of viewing the third of the blood moons, however. The cloud covering stayed solid all night.

In the end, we had a lovely meal of lamb and roasted veggies with lots of grape juice and matzah.  We spent the rest of our evening watching The Ten Commandments though I'm not sure that there's a Scripture for that.  

As we enter into the Feast of Unleavened Bread, matzah pizza is the first thing on the menu.  I think this is the part that DannyLee looks forward to the most. Now if I can just figure out how to use up all those bitter herbs............