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Citizen Voices

The Christmas Star


On their first Christmas together, my parents purchased a simple red aluminum foil star for the top of their small tabletop Christmas tree.

In the snapshot they stand on either side of the tree. The star has a large hole in the center, obviously meant for a tree light to be inserted from the back.

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December 10, 2013

Maple and Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Squash (And a Story About a Turkey)

Heidi Drygas Turkey 1

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for friends and family to gather around the table in love and friendship, so that we may all sit down, say grace, and stuff our faces full of delicious foods drenched in butter and cream.

At this point, what I really should tell you about is this delectable little recipe I am sharing with you for your holiday table. But what I really want to tell you about is how I’m getting a turkey on a plane for Thanksgiving.

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November 27, 2013

Quick Craft: DIY Heart Shirt

Natasha Price DIY 1

Shirts with big hearts are big right now, but despite the fad I actually think they are pretty cool.

I’ve had a few old cashmere sweaters awaiting crafting and this was the perfect short-attention-span craft: cut out a heart, sew it on a shirt.

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November 20, 2013

Alaska Surfing Video Series

We surf all over Alaska. And, the real story is the incredible Alaskan coastline with its immense wilderness areas and awe inspiring weather.

The video series will show what it’s like to venture out into this incredible scenery at times when the weather is not necessarily hospitable.

Read more.

November 19, 2013

Salty Sisters’ Roasted Alaska Spot Prawns with Fennel, Olives, and Oranges


There comes a time in every woman’s life when her grit, determination, and willpower are put to the test. A time when resolve and fortitude are challenged in a epic battle of skill, creativity, and knowledge.

Of course, I’m talking about the Alaska Sustainable Seafood Cookoff! The Challenge: Four duos battle it out in one hour to produce the best seafood dish for 5 local foodie judges.

Click for the story and recipe.

November 13, 2013

Remembering Pauline


My friend Pauline died recently. From the time I heard that she was ill, and since she passed, I spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamo that was Pauline and the times when our paths crossed.

Pauline and I were friends, but not best friends. We didn’t hang out together, giggle about boys, or share our innermost teenage angst. Were we not classmates at Anchorage High School, we most likely never would have met.

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November 6, 2013

Marian Call: Good Morning Moon

The production of Marian Call’s Good Morning Moon music video spanned the world and then left it behind completely.

The space footage came from NASA archives and the time-lapse photography of Earth came from the International Space Station.

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October 31, 2013

The Last Leg of the 2013 Garden

Jamie Woodside Geese

With all of the leaves gone, the weather is starting to feel less like fall and more like winter, and I’m somewhat surprised that there is no snow on the ground yet.

I’ve been taking full advantage of the un-frozen earth, however, and am still enjoying the harvests from the garden.

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October 30, 2013

Salmon Cheddar Soup with Lobster Mushrooms

Cutterlight Salmon Mushrooms Soup 1

With or without lobster mushrooms (see photo below), this quick, easy seafood soup is one of our wintertime favorites. Other iterations have featured broiled or grilled salmon, smoked salmon, and Alaska shrimp.

We enjoyed this soup with homemade biscuits.

Click for the recipe.

October 29, 2013

Alaska – The Nutrient Cycle: A Visual Story

Once they enter fresh water chum salmon stop feeding and morph into an aggressive creature intent only on mating.

After spawning, they die and their bodies become a source of nutrients for everything in the forest and sea.


October 24, 2013
Flying Over Fall Colors

Flying Over Fall Colors

Paramotoring over Eklutna Lake and Twin Peaks near Anchorage, Alaska – the golden fall scenery is amazing in September.

October 15, 2013

End of the Alcan: Our Journey to Alaska

Don Griffith, 1940′s.

“I packed one suit, two shirts and two ties,” Dad said to Mom the night before he left Portland.

He had accepted a job with the Bureau of Land Management in Anchorage and needed to be presentable for work, but had little room in the old Plymouth for much of anything in addition to camping equipment, food, fishing gear and his beloved guns.

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October 2, 2013

The Art of James Gurney: Part 2

Gurney works while observing the scene out the window of a train.

James Gurney’s famed Dinotopia series, enchanting adventures juxtaposing mythical creatures and humans against fantasy backgrounds, morphed into his how-to book, Imaginative Realism.

Imaginative Realism’s sequel is Gurney’s Color and Light. Written in a convenient cookbook style, he imparts artistic elements, rules-of-the-road, that take painters on a journey, becoming keener observers while perfecting their artistic endeavors.

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October 1, 2013

Getting the Flock Ready for Winter

A clean coop is a good way to start the winter.

Yup. It has happened again. Summer screamed by, and all of the things I meant to do relative to the flock (relocate the manure pile, enlarge the pen, add a new gate) didn’t get done.

Now it is a mad scramble to get all of the pre-winter preparations done: top off the wood pile, pick low-bush, stock the freezer with moose and ducks (if you are a hunting sort) winterize the car, and clean up the yard.

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September 27, 2013

Up Close and Personal Over Knik Glacier

In mid September, three pilots fly paramotors (powered paragliders) from Bodenburg Butte, near Anchorage Alaska, to the Knik Glacier by way of the Knik River Valley.

With the flooded river valley and fall colors along the way to the glacier it makes for a “Flight of Fantasy”.

September 20, 2013

Another Successful Garden Season

Jamie Woodside 2013 Garden Harvest

It’s hard to believe that September is already here. Every summer I rush around trying to get as much accomplished as I can before the growing season is over, and every summer seems to fly by.

This years garden has a lot more successes then failures, however, and it has me excited for the future!

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September 17, 2013

Wild Alaska Salmon with Chimichurri & Roasted Root Vegetables

Heidi Drygas Salmon Chimichurri 1

I’m a bit salmon obsessed of late, and for good reason.  You see, after an extremely successful fishing trip in Valdez’s Prince William Sound, I’m a bit salmon-heavy at my house.  And frankly, that’s putting it lightly.

It comes down to this: if I don’t eat all this salmon, I can’t fit anything else in my freezer.

See the recipe.

September 16, 2013

Anchorage Snapshots

Growing Up Anchorage Bob Reeve Excerpt

In the winter, in the late fifties and early sixties, when construction season in Anchorage was dead and Dad grew bored with painting landscapes, he got out his tripod and the black Graphlex he’d bought at Stewart’s Photo on Fourth Avenue.

The large box-like camera looked like those used by professional photographers, maybe for Life Magazine.

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September 5, 2013

The Art of James Gurney: Part 1

Dinotopia Book Cover

The Portrait Society of America held its annual conference in Atlanta and featured illustrator James Gurney. As a parent, I was familiar with his book Dinotopia but had never looked beyond the bedtime story scenario.

I chose a Gurney break-out session and began to learn how approachable he was.

Read more.

September 3, 2013

Destemming Currants (and other Berries)

I went out with the boys and picked 10 lbs of red currants the other day to make my annual batch of currant-raspberry mead.

I was dreading cleaning all those berries, then a simply idea dawned on me.

Click for more.

August 27, 2013