Sunday, April 17, 2011

So begins the frenetic pace of spring.

It is simply amazing.
This sunshine and warm weather.
It rejuvenates us as perhaps nothing else can.
It breathes life back into all of us.
Calls us out to live every minute of it.
And it doesn't really take into consideration that we've celebrated
another birthday since it was last here.
It continues to call.

Friday, after getting home from work at 7pm and making dinner, we headed out for a bonfire at the Matanuska River. Nice and close. The first one of the season. The temperature isn't exactly steamy during the days yet, but the sunshine ..... aaah.

Ice still covers the banks of the river.  
 We had a cozy group out there. Quite obviously, the temps aren't quite beach weather yet. Michael, Evan and Nora couldn't care less. A fire, sand and marshmallows makes life complete. Even better if the sand is coating the marshmallows. Before or after the fire part doesn't really matter.

Off to enjoy a sauna after the bonfire and then home to sleep for a few hours. And I really mean a few. Midnight to 3:30 a.m. counts for few. I did tuck 2 pillows into the backseat for Tia and me. We used them. The frost heaved roads are absolutely horrible between here and Clam Gulch. I slept like I was in a rock tumbler or something. I can sleep anywhere. It is quite a blessing. I picked up a cup of coffee in Soldotna and couldn't drink it until we turned off the pavement onto the dirt road. That frost heaved.

Our first view of the beach yesterday. 

The last time I was down here, the wind was blowing and it was rather chilly. That was about 6 weeks later in the year. Yesterday, it was beautiful! Warm enough that layers were peeled away and we probably managed to get a little sun on our cheeks. A fishing license is required for clamming. Tia doesn't need one, but I still hadn't gotten mine. I'm now good to go for the season. We also got a few clamming tools. Tia and I worked with shovels while the guys used clam guns. We worked until the tide pushed us back in toward the shore ... we all had success ... and a great time!

   A pit stop at Turnagain Pass as usual when traveling this way. This little jaunt to clam dig is more than just a little jaunt. It's a 4 hour drive to get down there. Hence, the good nap the whole way. If you aren't accustomed to looking at snow covered mountains where snow machines love to live, check out the tracks to the left of the avalanche. They are all snow machine tracks. Riding these mountains can be a very dangerous sport. High marking while avoiding setting off avalanches at the same time is something that has never been on my list of things I want to accomplish. I hope no one was buried in this one.

Turnagain Arm has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The tide was coming in as we were driving by. We didn't stop to gawk yesterday.
We will be there gawking on Tuesday.
Turnagain Arm experiences the second largest tides in the world.
Tuesday one of the stronger bore tides of the year will be coming through here
and I'll be there trying to capture it for you. We've not been able to do that yet, and I happen to be off work on Tuesday. Pack a cooler with dinner and head south for a picnic. At least this one is a bit closer to home, just south of Anchorage. 
Just like fishing, the work starts when the playing ends. With a combination of You Tube videos and willing hands, we set to cleaning clams. The majority of the clams were rather large. I was quite impressed!
 We dropped the clam into boiling water just until the shell popped open. Then into icy cold water. Pulled the clam from the other half of the shell and started cutting. The clear tube sticking up in the picture on the top right is apparently some sort of anti freeze device. I really should google it before I tell you that. At least that is what we learned from the videos. Keeps the clams from freezing. We cleaned a little over 60 of them.

Then we breaded and fried them.
After which we decided to use them in chowder instead.
If anyone has a great idea for cooking clams ... we're all ears over here.
Totally a fun experience and I'm sure we'll do it again ...
just not this week.

Today I am doing nothing. Absolutely N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
Making chowder and putting my feet up are the order of the day.
Have a great week and if all goes well, we'll be back with bore tide stories for you soon!


Anonymous said...

Wow! What adventures you have up there. Pictures are great - as always! Joleen

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I remember sitting & visiting around your kitchen table talking to you about living in alaska. It is unbelievably cool to see this blog about those dreams that have come to fruition. Thank you for the pure, simple inspiration you are. Miss you all. Laurie.

Janelle L said...

Beautiful pics Anita! I am guessing that Victoria's mom and dad Howard and vieno Phillips have some good recipes for razor clams as they ask John to bring them back when he comes up to fish! I'll ask them if they have any tips. Thanks for the pics.