Instead of Golfing, Vacation with the Environment

Recently I met up with Jay Sargent, a former high school classmate, and discovered that not only does she still love horses, she now loves dolphins – enough to go on vacation with them. Read more

Why Was Interior Alaska Green During The Last Ice Age?

Foraker-and-Denali-web During our planet's most recent cold period, a slab of ice smothered Manhattan. Canada looked like Antarctica but with no protruding mountains. When the last glacial maximum peaked about 20,000 years ago, most of the continent — from the Arctic Ocean to the Missouri River — slept under a blanket of white.

Counting Salmon for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Nuyakuk Cabin, 1962. © Jean McLane It was June, 1962, and I was in Anchorage, living temporarily at Terry D’s, waiting for July. Then I would fly to Dillingham to begin a temporary summer life as a salmon counter for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Read More

Taking Granddaughter, Averyl, to the Anchorage Museum was beyond Priceless

Bounty, Pilfered, by Pam Longobardi. My daughter Jenn’s 20th wedding anniversary coincided with Labor Day. So my husband, Dave, and I adopted Averyl for the weekend which included an afternoon at the Anchorage Museum. The three of us headed for the exhibition Gyre--The Plastic Ocean.

Forager’s Delight: Blueberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

wild-alaska-blueberry-cornm I have a massive issue when it comes to foraging. Some would call it my gift. Others (like my berry-picking friends) would call it my curse. You see, deep in the incomprehensible double-helix thingy of my DNA structure, I have an unmistakable gene for hunting and gathering. I love it.

Friendly’s Fried Clams Go Down Nicely With Art

jean-august-1 As Jerry Seinfeld says, buying fruit is a gamble—so are some art trips. In mid-July I headed to Providence, Rhode Island to take my art-philosophy Ph.D. orals. My husband, Dave, came along so he could eat tons of lobster and give me hugs. Happily, I passed – though going before academics is scary, even if you’ve studied hours and hours. Stay tuned as it’s going to be fun to report on my project: The Art of Winston Churchill. Read more

Lesser Sandhill Cranes: Feeding the Colt

Feeding a colt (that's a baby crane) is a full time job. These Lesser Sandhill Cranes are finding leeches, worms, snails, fish, and other invertebrates in the mud. More.

Three Great Summer Shows (Back East)

Alex Katz, Ada and Vincent in the Car (1972). Alex Katz’s "Ada and Vincent in the Car", portrays the stay-at-home mom driving her son--note the ubiquitous post-war American Chevy/Ford steering wheel. Typical when routinely transporting teens, Ada and Vincent don’t converse. Read more.

Herb-crusted Alaskan Salmon with Roasted Lemons

Heidi Drygas Herb Salmon8 Deciding what to make for Solstice dinner was easy. During spring and early summer, us Alaskans engage in a traditional pastime known generally as "Cleaning Out the Freezer". See the recipe.

Working for the Gov.

William-Egan-Excerpt In January of 1966, I returned to Anchorage after a semester of graduate school at Oklahoma State University. According to OSU’s catalog, their department of Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising had courses in design, but when I arrived design had been eliminated. Read more.

Sweet and Sustainable: Alaska Prawns and Shrimp

alaska-shrimp-scallops-excerpt The windshield has a crack running through it, there’s a little rust and a dent or two on the body, and some of the paint is chipping off the hand-lettered sign affixed to the vehicle’s side, but we look for Patrick Johnson’s little black truck every summer when we’re cruising around Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. If we don’t happen across his truck, we go find him at his Shrimp Guys Seafoods shop in Soldotna. See the recipe.

New York in Late Spring, an Aesthetic Bonus

The High Line, Brooklyn. It’s June and I’m studying for PhD art-philosophy orals coming up mid-July. I’ve told everyone in my life to scram/skedaddle until August. I’m at my desk, five hours daily, yellow highlighter on textbooks, in front of my wide screen computer, pounding keys, and looking things up on Wikipedia. Read more.

The Story of the Spenard Windmill

mike-gordon-windmill-excerpt In the early 1980s, when money was no problem and anything was possible, I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse by none other than Mafia Mike, thus becoming the custodian of an important historical icon. Had I known at the time what a maintenance nightmare it would become, I’m not sure I would have been willing to accept the responsibility, regardless of the possibilities—or consequences. Read more.

Quick Craft: Coffee Filter Flower

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I stayed home sick today and I hate wasting my time in bed, so I decided to mildly craft out. I really love tissue paper flowers but I don’t like spending a ton of time cutting out paper. Read more.

Wild Alaska Devil’s Club Buds

heidi drygas devils club 6 We all have our quirks. Some wear an apron while they cook. Some still drink Shirley Temples when they're 36. One quirk I embrace: I'm a forager, and I embrace my inner hunter & gatherer. See the recipe.

Frost protection in the garden

jamie-woodside-raised-bed-excerpt Spring has arrived early this year, and although most of us have experienced snowfall in May, we all seem to be having a difficult time refraining from planting the entire garden now! Now is a great time to start your garden, with a few simple precautions. Read more.

Dime Piece Mix #6: Spring Vibes

By now, you're familiar with my Dime Piece mixes, right? Here's the deal: Sometimes When I come up for an idea or a theme for a mix, I get so consumed thinking about all the songs I want to include that it never ends up being more than a concept. In an effort to keep things simple, I decided to start a series of 10-song recordings. More.

Spring Absence and Renewal with Art

Gardner Museum Courtyard. This spring husband Dave and I flew to Boston College for the christening of our newest grandchildren, Spencer and Finn. Sinking in to our seats on the red eye to Seattle, we realized we’d forgotten all the wiring to the computer, phones and camera. Read more.

Making of a Refuge: Kanatak Lagoon to McNeil

In the 1970s biologists did reconnaissance of offshore islands throughout Alaska's coastal areas to determine abundance and distribution of marine mammals and birds to help select lands for new refuges, parks, and monuments that would be created under the 1980 Alaska Lands Act. Their arduous trip used a 15-foot inflatable Zodiac with two 25 hp outboard motors.

Lentils with Kale, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts

Heidi Drygas Lentils 1 I've been keeping my Alaskan Springtime blues at bay by cooking up a storm in my kitchen! Short ribs, pasta, spring salads, soups...anything to keep the dreary brown grass on my lawn out of sight and out of mind. Summer can't come soon enough! I devoured this lovely little lentil salad soon after I took these pictures. See the recipe.