Turnip, Caribou, Squash Stew Recipe

Right now we are living in a primitive dry cabin.  It does have electric, but no sink set up.  Most dry cabins have a bucket to empty beneath an unplumbed sink, and a spigot tank on top to use as a faucet.  Since we don’t have even a basic sink set up, or a stove, or an oven, I have to change gears when thinking of making a meal!  A small toaster oven, a single element pot and a crock pot are my main resources.

Living this way really brings to surface how AWESOME crock pots are!  With very little mess or prep I’m able to make a whole lot of good healthy food.

Fortunately we have a great u-pick farm nearby, and though I was a bit late in the season for picking, I still got some great local farm fresh AK produce.  In addition, my boyfriend got a caribou this season, which we just finished processing. There’s meat in the freezer!  Yippee!!  So, as always, this recipe is a result of some goods I had on hand.  Enjoy!

Crock pot on High for first 1-2 hrs, then Low until you are ready to eat.

(Can be ready within a few hours, but some veggies like turnip may still be a bit firm)

Process:

Water- 2 in.

1 turnip diced

1 crushed beef ramen w/ seasoning

1 caribou roast chunk

(place turnip, and ramen in crock pot with a few inches of water, then I stand the roast up in the middle and put future ingredients around it)

1 radish diced

1 carrot (rounds)

1 turnip diced (2nd one)

1 crushed chicken ramen noodle and seasoning

1 diced apple

3-4 C summer squash cubed (and rind & seeds removed)

Add all this to the crock,

then add:

White wine and Kombucha for some more taste sensation (fill to level of veggies, above for more soup like, less if more stew like)

On top of everything:

I added ground mustard, oil from marinated artichokes, some marinated artichokes, and roasted garlic.

And of course, taste as you go, adding whatever other spices you feel like!

Advertisements

Tips for Dry Cabin Living

Only for the curious

I was recently asked for tips from someone who was going to be trying out the dry cabin lifestyle.  It is a big change to go from the option of having streams of hot water flowing with the twist of a wrist to hauling every ounce of water you will use to your home under your own power.

Dry cabin living is not for everyone, this was my first tip.  I think most people have a gut feeling if it is something they feel capable of tackling.  It requires, by sheer demand of exerted energy, that you form a much stronger understanding of your relationship with water.  When I first started living dry in 2009, I don’t think I realized how much it would change the way I think about water.

Tip 2: Each person pick a plate, cup, bowl, spoon, fork, & knife that are uniquely identifiable and stick to those items. See 170121: Dry Cabin Minimalism Marriage This really keeps you accountable for your own mess and in the rhythm of washing things before eating again, to prevent the “dish mountain”.   (We do have 2 cups each, but just because one may wander upstairs or stay bedside and then we still have an option without tracking through the house.  One is a french press thermos so we can drink hot things, and the other just a glass of our choice)

Tip 3: Do your dishes right after/ during cooking/ eating.  When the food is still moist on the plate or pan, it takes much less water to clean (also takes less time because you aren’t attacking stubborn food crusties.)

Tip 4: Most people will have a sink, and use Aquatainers, https://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Products-Aqua-Tainer-Gallon-Container/dp/B001QC31G6 because you can lay them on their side to be a faucet just by opening the valve.  The underside plumbing of the sink gets cut off so it will drain into a 5 gal. bucket.  (if you live in a warm climate you can set up a more complex drainage system, but here in an Alaska winter water would freeze if you try to divert it out of the house, and just form a gigantic ice mound… can you tell I tried it? ;))

Tip 5: CHECK THE BUCKET OFTEN. You need to make sure you are emptying the catch bucket once it gets around half way full.  When you are new to dry living it’s best to add an extra catch tray to set the bucket in, until you get used to internalizing that check as part of your water habit.  The Aqua tainers hold 6-7 gal and the bucket only 5… you see the dilemma.

Tip 6: Stay Aware of your remaining water.  I keep about 5-6 Aquatainers at my other place. (I will talk more about the water system in my current cabin in a follow up post)  When I’m down to my last jug full, I take the others all at one time to go refill.  We are fortunate here in northern AK to have such good water.  I can fill from a friend’s outdoor tap and get great fresh drinking water.  In Fairbanks there are actual water stations to fill, and my boyfriend can put 6, six gal containers upright in his hatchback and the hose has a stop valve so he can fill them all without even taking them out of the car.  More amazing is that we can get 36 gallons that way for 50 cents.  Yeah, sorry, you won’t find that deal just anywhere.  People in Fairbanks who have such good water set ups that you can barely tell it’s a dry cabin have 400-500 gal tanks in the bed of their pick up trucks to fill and just pump it out at home… luxury dry cabin living :). Those places often have gravity fed water and full water heaters and showers.

Tip 7: Get a teapot.  This is the water heater for a simple dry cabin.  Better than a pot because you have better control for pouring. I mix boiling and regular water in a dish pan with my dish soap and usually put some more on to boil while I wash in case I need a second round.  It’s also good to have a drain catch as the less food breaking down in the bucket the less smelly it will be.

Tip 8: Paper Towels are a good friend.  If you cook with cast iron, and even some other, a good pass or two with a paper towel will be effective in cleaning out a freshly used greasy pan. Lots of plates and things I swipe first with a paper towel to save on work that would otherwise require a lot of water.  Also if you have a pan with things stuck on, much better to add a little water and put it back on the stove to soak off than to apply more and more water trying to scrub it.

Tip 9: Outhouse.  These are surprisingly simple.  Make sure your pit is deeply dug, and the housing over the top is well built, I can’t give advice on that as mine was in place when I got my place, but it’s lovely.  I set up a small cupboard outside to set up an aquatainer, soap dish and hanging towel.. (I will have to take pics and post them on here some day).  If you don’t want another water station, always easy to wash hands back at the kitchen sink.  I like to have an extra one outside just for the ease.  Best not to put toilet paper down the outhouse pit, as this just wastes unnecessary space.  I keep a bin for used tp and incinerate it in the wood stove every now and again.

Tip 10:  Catch water.  I have some buckets to catch rain water off the gutter, just for using on plants etc.  There are much more advanced systems for this, but you get the basic idea, utilize your available water if possible.

Tip: 11: Friends/ Solar Shower/ Colander/ Mug/ Tea pot. I would like to eventually make a heated shower system.  But for now in terms of showering in winter I either go to a friend’s house, or just wash my hair etc with a mix of hot/cold water poured through a colander over my hair over the sink for a few rounds to wet, sham, rinse, cond, rinse.  Again I keep the kettle going in case I need more.  In summer time I use my solar shower It’s surprising how little water it actually takes, and I have shoulder length hair. I have a nice spot outside on the land out of sight.  I love being out in the sunshine for a shower.

Dry cabin living can be done in many places, but it is not always simple to source water affordably if you don’t live near friends or a metropolitan location.

If you have any questions feel free to write me.  Since I’ve been living dry since 2009 it’s hard to think of all things one may wonder.

2017 World Ice Art Championships

The multi block teams only have three days to complete their sculptures, and this year it was in the -40s F while they worked. That’s what I call dedication to your art form.

Although these sculptures are now well on their way to melting, I would like to share a few of my favorite ice carvings seen this March in Fairbanks, Alaska at the 2017 International Ice Sculpture competition. There are a number of categories in which people may compete.  There is single block competition, multi- block, children’s, and amateur divisions.

The image here is a close up of the cage and key part of a phoenix sculpture.  I am so amazed by how even they are able to do the widths and curves.  Just blows me away.IMG_6971

The bee here is also part of the single block competition as was the image above.  This sculptor did such a great job with proportion and texture, which was definitely not true of all the sculptures I saw. IMG_6972

I think this is supposed to be Trump, looking up at Lady Liberty.  My friend thought perhaps he was supposed to be pondering immigration…  (A multi block piece)IMG_6974

 

The multi block teams only have three days to complete their sculptures, and this year it was in the -40s F while they worked.  That’s what I call dedication to your art form.  This piece below is a close up from another multi block piece, you will see a soaring bird in a later pic that was also from this sculpture.  I am amazed at some of the concepts that are designed for the contest, not all achieve their desired results, but this fetus in the womb was very well illustrated.

IMG_6977

 

One of the last pieces we saw, but one of my absolute favorites was this hummingbird that was being worked on by the man in this picture.  I could hardly believe it when I saw that he was carving this for the amateur competition.  Personally, I think it was one of the most beautiful and elegant pieces of the entire park.  IMG_6988

The picture below is just focusing on how the nature around was transformed through the lens of ice.  This carved sphere inverted the woods around it, and was strikingly effective in it’s use of simplicity.

IMG_6961

 

One of the single block sculptures is shown in the detail below, the entire dragon was done, but I cropped the image down to show you more detail.  The single block competitors I believe are limited to one to two sculptors.  IMG_6957

 

This single block sculpture shows a bit of the international feeling of the event.  There were multiple teams of Asian carvers, and some Russian and Scandinavian I noticed.  It’s amazing that people travel half way around the world to be outside carving in arctic temperatures.  IMG_6958

 

Another globe I really loved was this one below that looks like spikes were all joined together, somehow more clouded in their appearance and then having a clearer sphere around them.  Not sure how it was done, but it turned out great.  (just a small detail of a larger piece)IMG_6984

 

The bear head here gives you an idea how molten the ice can look when carved by an experienced carver.  The union of great sun or lighting can really affect the pieces.  It was surprising to feel the carved ice on some of the mazes and sculptures that were placed throughout the park for a more interactive experience. It didn’t feel wet at all, just very smooth, a unique touch experience, I really loved the feel of it.   There are also a lot of ice slides built for kids to use, and little sculptures for them to climb… in addition to the official sculptures that are hands off. It would be a great place to go with small kids in the winter, tons of spaces to explore and have fun. IMG_6953

 

I can’t begin to image how this carver was able to create such a thin sheet of ice for the wings and texturize it without having it shatter into a million pieces.  But there in lies the art of ice sculpting.  This was also a single block piece. IMG_6964

 

This single block sculpture of what I think is a carnivorous plant I took mainly for my cousin’s son, who has a healthy obsession with these plants lately.  Thought he might like to see this larger than life sculpture of something he loves. Hi Seth!IMG_6962

 

And last but not least, just a simple bird soaring in the sunshine.  If you would like to attend this cool competition in the future or just learn more about it.  Feel free to visit http://www.icealaska.com/www/en/IMG_6978