My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Enjoying Alaska

Ahh - on days like today & this weekend for that matter, it's easy to see why we live in Alaska. Check out the photo on the left. What you see is Mt. McKinley (Denali to us locals), Mt. Foraker, and Mt. Hunter all in a row. They are part of the Alaska range & as most of you know, Denali is the tallest peak in North America. It's a rare treat to be able to see all mountains - being so tall, they usually are under cloud cover. But - when you have an opportunity to see them - ahh - what a sight to behold. I've seen "the mountain" a gazillion times - but I never grow tired of it! This photo was taken last Saturday right outside Willow, Alaska. Willow is about 30 miles northeast of Wasilla along the Parks Highway. We were on our way to visit my parents at their cabin.

Here is their 'cabin'. By Alaskan standards - it's pretty nice. You can only get there by boat (in summer) or via snowmachine (in winter - when the rivers freeze) as it's approximately 25 miles off of the road system along the Susitna River system. Here you have all the amenities: Running water (via a spring upstream - delivered to the cabin using my father's engineering skills), a shower complete with fantastic water pressure & hot, hot water, a microwave using a generator, and well ventilated outhouse. No internet access yet, but given time, I'm sure my parents will find away to get wired.

Visiting the cabin is so relaxing that I'm able to get lots of knitting done when we're not busy catching fish or playing outside. Take a look at what I'm working on:
Socks knitted two at a time! I've been meaning to try this for a while & after reading a couple of posts on the SAM4 blog, I was inspired. The cast on was very simple - using a 40" circ:

  1. Cast on 1/2 the amount of stitches for the 1st sock, leaving a long enough tail for the remaining stitches (I had to go back & fix this my first time around). For these socks I used 56 stitches, so 1/2 = 28.
  2. On the same needle, cast on all of the stitches for the 2nd sock. Put these stitches to the cable & divide in half like you would normally do for the magic loop method.
  3. Put the two needles of the circ together & then, using the long tail from the 1st sock, cast on the remaining 1/2 stitches.
  4. Start knitting, and as always "becareful not to twist stitches when you join."
If my ramblings make no sense & you happen to be more of a visual learner (like me!) - check out this site for great photos: Cast on For 2 Socks on 1 Circular Needle

Here's where I ended up after a couple of days at the cabin:
Okay - that isn't totally accurate: I'm actually finished with the heel flap. I can't believe that when I'm finished, I'll have a pair of socks! Wow - no 2nd sock syndrome!!! At first I was a bit worried that it was taking me a while to reach the heel flap on a child's size pair of socks but then it hit me "Hey - I'm knitting 2 socks at once - not just 1 sock & although it may feel like it'll be a while before I get to the foot, ultimately getting a pair of socks completed will be much faster." I'm so excited I could pee. (oops - I'm an anatomy teacher, what I meant to say dear readers was, micturate) These socks will be for my eldest son - he wanted a pair of lime green & purple socks. Believe it or not - Lorna's Laces has such a colorway called Jungle Strip. The pattern is pretty mundane - but I wanted to start something simple for my 1st attempt at 2-at-a-time socks. I think I'm a convert now!

Hmm - what else did we do at the cabin? Well - when cousins get together, naturally you hone your light saber skills:Yes - the force was strong with these three. The little girl is my 4-year old niece. She and the boys had a fabulous time.

Next - you prepare for catching 'the big one' by casting a rubber frog into a 5 gallon bucket. It's harder than it sounds & I'm happy to report that all three were successful after several attempts. I'd like to think it teaches them persistence & gives the adults some much needed knitting & quiet time.

Hard to see - but Iain has inherited the sticking out of the tongue while you concentrate gene from me (I'm sure it's a gene!). Hey - it worked for Michael Jordan!
My father, seen here w/Alexa, is a master fisherman. When you go out with him you're almost always guaranteed to get some fish.

Here's a sample of what we caught:This is a small, northern pike. We caught about 8 when all was said and done. They aren't the prettiest fish, but they are tasty! I recommend cutting them into small chunks (after removing tons of bones!) and making sweet & sour pike. Yum Yum! When the kids were small, they wouldn't eat anything that wasn't chicken, so we started calling all fish some 'chicken' name. So - Pike is known as "River Chicken" and Halibut is known as "Ocean Flat Bottom Chicken". Silly - but it worked. Try it!

Here are the happy & successful fishermen:Iain was particularly happy as he caught the most fish on this outing. By the way - this photo was taken at about 10:15 pm - still light enough to travel up river via boat. Public service annoucement: Kids Don't Float - Wear Life Vests!

Ahh - I love Alaska!



tiennieknits said...

So much fun your family had!

Lisa W. said...

wow...I've wanted to learn sox on 2 circs for ages! I've tried once or twice a couple of years ago but you've re-inspired me! Love the "River Chicken"...that just cracked me up! Looks like a great relaxing time with the family. Are you entering anything in the fair?