Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Last week was a Thanksgiving week which meant we had a chance again to be part of an American traditional holiday and also had some time off from work.

Thursday was the actual Thanksgiving Day which has a mixture of historical and modern meanings, starting from the early pilgrims being helped by Indians, to different religious purposes, to celebrate the harvest, and all the way to modern "let's-just-eat-A-LOT-and-be-together-with-family-and-friends" sort of thing. Thanksgiving is the biggest travelling holiday for American people, since families and friends gather together to celebrate this day and enjoy the holiday. We traveled just a few dozens of miles and spent the Thanksgiving with our American family and friends.

We were invited to our coworker Mimi’s and her family’s house to spend this evening with plenty of other people we knew, and enjoy great food. Mimi had created a huge amount of delicious Thanksgiving dishes and we all brought some additional food as well. 

For appetizers we had cheese and crackers, some fruits and vegetables. Then the plates were filled with strawberry green salad, mushed potatoes, green bean puff pastry, potato-carrot-beet-gratin, and of course, the turkey with its stuffing with gravy and cranberry sauce. Piia made some Karelian pies with egg butter and blueberry cake for dessert to introduce some Finnish holiday dishes also. We also had traditional pumpkin pie for dessert with pumpkin butter cheesecake bits. Everything tasted amazing and after seconds we were all full and happy, and very thankful! It was very nice to part of that holiday and part of that group of great people!

 Piia and baking morning

Kerry, Mimi, Sarka, Sandra and Julien waiting for food

Sandra and Kerry

 Lots of good food

Mimi, the hostess, and Sandra

 Scott and the king of the Thanksgiving dining table: The Turkey, and the stuffing

 Kids' meal

 Kids' table: Sierra, Evie, Juliana, Keats, Lucy and Cassidy

 Adults' turn: Todd and Sandra, the host Jason and his brother Jeff

Sarka, Julien and Scott

Adults' meal

 Hanging around

When we were driving home that night we found out we can be very thankful for our old Subaru still breaking like a charm. After one curve we faced with what seemed to be a wall moving calmly across the road. It ended up being a moose cow, which by the way are significantly bigger here comparing to their Scandinavian cousins. Julien was breaking and doing what he could and finally the car stopped. This didn't disturb the moose one bit, but the calf following her was moving a bit faster. We witnessed the wonders of nature once again, and wonders of good reflexes and breaks.
Friday following Thanksgiving is called Black Friday that starts the consumption madness towards Christmas and means the stores are full of sales and crazy people. We didn’t think we would need anything but still wanted to witness all that craziness so we headed town on Friday. The sales were actually pretty good, and the stores we visited weren’t too full so we ended up finding plenty of usefull stuff: a tripod for our camera, Carhart working bib for Piia, Bunny boots and warm underwear for Julien, and candy. We avoided going to the craziest places so Black Friday wasn’t so bad for us. Of course our bank account took a hit, so we will spend December eating just pasta...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Great housesitting in Murphy Dome

Starting from last weekend we were housesitting at a coworker’s place near Murphy Dome. Area is surrounded by hills and you can see the Alaska Range, and if it’s a clear day, Mount McKinley, from their living room window. 

 The House

  Landscape from the yard and property

And if you walk to the other side of the Old Murphy Dome Road, you can see the White Mountains and even a glance of the Brooks Range. What a place!

We were lucky with the weather, it was sunny every day. On the other hand it means cold weather, -20 °C at the coldest, usually with high winds that makes the air feel so much colder. 

But we still enjoyed our time outside, taking pictures of course, and going for walks, and Piia went for running and skiing a couple of times. You can say we enjoyed the “housesitting holiday” fully!

It seemed some moose had een running in property as well...

The location was also perfect for sunset and northern light pictures with lots of open area around. It seems we live a season of great solar eruptions and we were witnessing some of the greatest Aurora borealis ever! Or what do you think?



Housesitting chores included feeding six goats (Kong, Attie, Annie, Lupey, Colleen and Colville) twice a day. Sometimes we also let them out since they have a thick coat and they can handle cold weather. Usually they headed straight to the hay pile. Endless appetite! 

We had also pleasure to live with two very beautiful and funny cats, Boo and Ram, who stole our hearts right away. They are very playful and like to chase a fish toy and play with a ball. They were also relaxing on our laps while we took advantage of having TV for a while and purred happily. Usually Raw also slept with us, sometimes as Julien’s pillow, sometimes curling up next to Piia.

We had also a great opportunity to enjoy some game meals since Todd and Aleya have lots of canned salmon and moose meat. Boy it was delicious! And it was a perfect week!