Alaskan Birch sap as a spring tonic and the perfect hydration!Read More
Fairbanks was hit by early-onset winter this week. Just shy of 20 inches of wet snow after a week of rain left the roads a mess and felled countless trees. Over 10,000 homes were without power and many still are. It is times like these when I most appreciate the fact that our home's systems rely entirely on us. That our powerline is a 20 foot cable from the connex to the house. Grid failures don't affect us. Of course there are times when we pay our own dues. We were without power from February through June of this year as we worked on the generator and got it back in shape.
Its a luxury, for sure and for certain, to be able to turn on light and heat and music at the flip of a switch or the press of a button.
But what has made this week THAT MUCH MORE amazing? What luxury I am absolutely reveling in??
We have running water.
We have HOT running water.
It has been over two years since I have been able to take a shower in my bathroom, wash a load of clothes in my washer, or turn the tap in the kitchen. I can now do all of these things! Seriously. There's this metal tube that curves out over my kitchen sink. And when I turn this metal handle next to it, water comes out. If I turn this other metal handle and wait a few moments... HOT water comes out of it. It is insanely amazing.
The Darlin'Man fixed what was wrong with the pipes connecting the well to the house, and then he fixed the hot water heater. My father-in-law installed a small propane heater in the bathroom, which has meant that not only can this increasingly-pregnant and increasingly-sore mama shower after a long day... she can also luxuriate in a hot bath in a warm room!
Folks, this is both magical and revolutionary to life-as-we-know-it. Hot baths or even better, epsom salt baths or bubble baths have become my absolutely favorite go-to therapeutic tool. As this last month of pregnancy begins to creep along, I cannot even tell you how essential soaking in hot water has become! And now I can. In my own home. I'm so, so grateful.
Here's to tea lights, lavender oil, rose petals and a tub of hot water! Pure bliss.
What is your favorite self care ritual?
Every year we go down to Chitina on the Copper River and dipnet for salmon. Its exhausting. And a whole lot of fun. The Copper River is a great wide roiling band of silty water power that cuts through the wild. And every year the salmon return, swimming somehow upstream against a current that will tow a man under in moments. The Darlin'Man along with our good friend Maple of Maple&Me made the long trek down and back in just under 48 hours whilst, conforming to traditional gender roles, we womenfolk stayed home. Hanging off the side of a shale cliff just isn't quite the best idea for a 16 month old and this pregnant lady gracefully bowed out of the prospect. Then we all pitched in to process the fish. Even the littlest one, who was a champ wiping down everything in reach with her own paper towel!
We do our best to waste as little as possible: fish are filleted, then scraped for canning, then carcasses are boiled down for chowder stock or frozen to feed chickens.
They are a precious natural resource we are so fortunate to have access to, but more even than that they are sacred. We are what we eat. Literally. Foodstuffs are the building blocks of the body. Analysis of your tissues will turn up genetic markers that speak to your diet. Yoga calls the physical form the anamayakosha , the food body.
When approached with reverence, the relationship between eater and eaten is a sacred one. I feel and I honor this connection with the plants in my garden, with the chickens and moose and caribou that come to our freezer. But for me this sacred relationship is most tender, most intimate with salmon. Before each trip to Chitina I spend some time in meditation, I journey to the spirits of the salmon, and I renew my gratitude. My love. I feel a kinship with them. They also happen to be one of the best sources of nutrition on this planet!
And let me assure you, fresh never-frozen copper river red salmon is incredible. Grilled with just a hint of lemon or salt and pepper. Divine.