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Hello from Fairbanks

I ran into this site yesterday. Wonderful place. I originally stuck around to oogle at all of the reccipes, but the forums caught my eye and I spent a large part of my day off running amok in the various sections. My apologies, but there aren’t too many raw foodists up here to banter with.
—Anyway, if you’ve cruised to my profile, you’ll see an odd mix of professions, and a few opinions. I probably don’t fit in perfectly here, as I do eat some non-vegan foods on occasion, but my diet is 95-100% raw, usually just simple snacks of nuts and fruits and occasional salads.
—Being raw is a bit different up here. I live in a ‘dry’ cabin, which means washing dishes is something I prefer to avoid. Blenders and food processors take a lot of water-hauling to keep them clean! If anyone has more simple, mechanical-free or dehydrator-only recipes, they are TRUELY appreciated.
—Good produce is expensive up here. Organic produce is rare. What does make it up here is usually already a few weeks removed from the ground. It’s frustrating, but I make up for it in summer with our incredible growing season. The “Land of the Midnight Sun” does have it’s perks. Even porch gardens grow insanely fast and lush up here.
One thing I do find, I am more attracted to nuts and other oily, high-protein foods in the wintertime. It gets really necessary when things turn obscenely cold (-20 to -60). I tend to crave salmon a few days a week when that happens. Raw (from frozen, we net them in the summer), usually diced with flax-oil, scallions, jalapeno and limejuice. It makes a fire that will take the chill off anything.
—Living in a cabin has taught me a lot about resources we normally take for granted. How much we squander for showers, dishes, and clean cloths. Where the trash goes. How much is generated, and how removed we are from where our wastes go after it runs down the drain or gets taken to the curb. I burn paper and cardboard to help reduce waste and to keep the cabin a few degrees warmer. It is a different kind of recycling, but it keeps the oil-heater from sucking so much fuel when I come home and turn up the heat.
—Right now, it is overcast, with a little bit of blue over the hills down-valley. I live in the lowlands, where the cold tends to settle in. My place is usually 8-10 degrees colder than Fairbanks. Right now it is 21 degrees here, almost eerily warm for this time of year. It should be 20 to 40 degrees colder. Alarming on a global level, but it does make for good x/c skiing.
—The wolves have moved to this side of the valley. It adds a bit of an edge to my treks to the outhouse… but I doubt I’ll see one. They sing their presence, but they are very careful to stay out of sight. Still, I’ll keep an eye out for tracks in the new snow, and see if they’ve visited. Moose are far more common, and there is a red fox in the neighborhood who is absolutely fearless. Camp-robbers (Grey -Jays) and a few enormous Ravens are regulars to the surrounding pine and willow, along with a small batillion of chicadees.
—I work in town as a nurse, mainly dealing with the health problems of older Alaskans raised on white flour, tobacco, bacon and whiskey… The health problems are sobering. Incredibly crippled arthritics, Diabetes in various stages, cancers, kidney and liver diseases… enough to turn anyone from a typical diet.
—My summer job is as a field Archaeologist and Anthropologist, studying the past and present lifeways of native Alaskans. After a long winter, I love getting out into the field. I also do a little winter-work at the museum as an archaeological illustrator.
—Anyway, hello from Fairbanks.

Comments

  • Hi woodchick~ Thank you for sharing your life with us. What prompted you to take on this lifestyle? I love backpacking, but I know that is a finite time I am out there. For me, part of the experience is that first hot shower and using a regular toilet after the trip. ;)

    I was thinking how I might do some stuff without the mechanical stuff… For a “blender” type action for hard veggies I might shred or chop them first and put them in a baggy. Then put the filled baggy in large mortar bowl and whack away. Things would be pretty mushed and the baggy could be thrown away or rinsed and used until it starts to fall apart.

    To help with the clean up of a blender, after you pour out whatever you have made in it, put some water and soap in the container and whip away until clean. You then pretty much only need to rinse it.

    Stay warm and safe.

  • I’ve wanted to live in Alaska since I was a child. Actually, the Yukon was my first choice, but citizenship was well-nigh impossible when I decided it was time to make a leap.
    I have always been into wilderness. I grew up in backwoods NW Pennsylvania, and spent most of my childhood wandering around in a maze of incredible forested hills, Pennsylvania is a wildcrafters dream, a merging of northern and southern bio-zones. Wild salad-greens, leeks and onions, a multitude of berries, overgrown apple orchards, wild cherry, walnuts, pecan and hazelnut trees… it was insane. Once I had an inkling, I started toting field-guides with me, and it quickly turned into an obsession. I was solo-camping and building my own shelters at 10 years old (my poor parents…they had no idea!)
    I carried the love with me when I came up here, and found that Anthropology was a great way to channel my energy. I spent a lot of time focusing on native crafts, foods and medicines. I became an avid kayaker to gain access to remote beaches, and hiked all over the State just to see what was there.
    I became a certified Wilderness EMT when I realized how few field Archaeologists had medical training (it has since improved). The idea of rambling around with the hazards of guns, grizzleys and hypothermia… Yikes! I liked the training so much, that when I had an opportunity to pick up a nursing license in ‘01 through the Army reserves, I took it. Now I have two professions… and, I must admit, in winter Archaeology jobs get scarce, so it is a blessing.
    Thanks for the tips. I have a giant mano & metate (mortar & pestle) from my time in Mexico that I use to process things. The baggie trick will help with clean-up. I also have an ulu and a cutting bowl that works fantastic for fine dicing. I have electricity (and DSL!), but sometimes the old ways seem best.
  • That’s amazing what you did when you were 10! How long have you been in Alaska?

    I was thinking of the Mexican mano & metate (eventhough I didn’t know the name of it, just that it is big black bowl on short legs. lol). If the bowl is rough, lay a hand cloth or napkin in there before laying down the baggy… less friction. Or just put the baggy under a car/truck tire and drive back and forth on it until it is the consistancy you want.. instant mush. :)

    Is an ulu a cresent shaped chopping tool, grasped on top, no handle? Is that an Inuit (sp?) tool? If so, I was given one. :)

    Another trick, use a microplane to very finely grate hard veggies. I bet this would generate lots of juice, though taking lots of elbow grease.

    This website is great. Lots of great info, opinions, and giving folks. Enjoy.

  • Ulu is Inuit, yes, but it can also be found with most Alaskan coastal tribes, and a few Interior tribes as well. The Ulu idea is extremely old. I believe it was a Paleolithic ‘import’ from Siberia. It is considered a “Womens Knife”, and has an ideal shape for skinning and fleshing hides, harvesting herbs and grasses, scoring salmon-on-skin for smoking, and as a general light-duty chopping and cutting tool. I find them so handy I even have a special belt-sheath for carrying one out in the field.

  • That’s interesting… written like a true archaeologist. ;)

  • Hi woodchick, Your description of the wolves and wilderness is breathtaking – what an inspiring environment! Happy you found us – welcome!

  • Hi Woodchick. Welcome!!! So interesting,I was born in Brazil and I love 100 F temperature.Sometimes 110 or 120 is fine too. I love to sit outside in the sun and just feel it in my skin. I don’t know if I could live in Alaska,but I think it is very pretty there.If you like it and feel comfortable,go forward ! From your description looks like a movie.

  • woodchick...

    hi,

    i'm currently in hawaii but i'm heading for alaska this spring ...sometime in april.

    i'll be all over the state but want to make fairbanks my homebase as i have a really good friend who goes to school there. are there many other raw fooders in the area? where do you buy your produce? are there any natural foods stores/co-ops?

    Thanks,

    Keith

    i.am.what.i.am@hotmail.com

  • Hi woodchick! I live in Fairbanks also - I spent 11 years in the interior, but got to know raw food during the last two years in Anchorage. I was wondering if there were hardy souls up here going through the winter raw... I dropped by the healthfood store yesterday and saw that there was a raw food group! Do you know it?

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