Monday, January 30, 2012

Our deck sits along an outdoor closet that contains the hot water heater and boiler. Add it all up and you have a good place for a mouse to hide out. Occasionally we would see a certain mouse running across the snow covered deck. There is no way for it to get into our home, so it was a very charming thing to observe. It would often run and climb into our small gas grill, usually after we had grilled chicken or steak. He never came around after grilled fish though. I guess cow grease is infinitely tastier.

After these past weeks of -17 temps he finally hit the wall. It seems that one climbing expedition into the grill resulted in a stuck tail, which spiraled into a frozen doom.

IMG_2456 (Large)

IMG_2455 (Large)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicago is inescapable. It finds you everywhere and reminds you that it is still part of your world, mostly in happy ways. I walked out to my truck to head off for some -18 degree xc skiing. Below is what I discovered in my parking lot. It's called dibs in Chicago, and John Kass knows all about it.

IMG_2401 (Large)

I don't know if I completely agree with saving a spot in Chicago by putting lawn furniture in the street, but I do get it. It's completely illegal, but if you put the effort into shoveling out that spot so perfectly and cleanly, it is hard to watch it snatched away by the next car cruising down the street. Parking is tough in many Chicago neighborhoods and hard work does entitle one to a degree. But here in my townhouse complex! The parking lot is rarely more than half full and it is plowed by a truck. Beyond brushing off your car after a snowstorm, the tenants have no work to do. It's why we pay condo dues. Maybe there is a Bears fan lurking somewhere nearby...

The chilling temperatures not withstanding, skiing was terrific. The tracks were fresh and frozen into near concrete. The creek steamed in the deep freeze.

IMG_2404 (Large)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I always get a chuckle out of inadvertently stumbling into a classy moment. It's interesting to try something new and not have built it up in your mind.

"Here, try this."
"It tastes ok. Not bad."
"It's Dom Perignon."
I wonder what my reaction would have been if I knew the champagne was coming from a $150 bottle.

After fishing in Homer last June I ended up with 20 lbs of King Salmon fillets from 4 different fish. I never examined them too closely, but after grilling a piece yesterday I was finally struck by the fact that one of the fish was a White King. It was definitely much  milder as I have since read, though I do prefer a traditional King. I'll probably pass on an "Ivory King" if I see it at an upscale restaurant, though it is very fun to know that I snagged one myself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

With such a snowy weekend and temperatures rising into the low teens, there was no choice but to get out and ski a bit. I have never skied in Kincaid Park even though it is acknowledged as the crown jewel of nordic skiing in town. It's the largest park and has a near infinite maze of trails. However, it is on the other (south) end of town. It's not a far drive, but it is so much easier to just drive 5 minutes and jump on the trails in my backyard. Well, Lesley (a recent family transplant from WI) lives on the southside so the lure of Kincaid was irresistible. We stayed on the mellow trails and sweated away for an hour or so in some heavy flakes, surrounded by quiet, still Alaskan woods. A perfect Saturday night.

IMG_2376 (Large)

IMG_2378 (Large)