Wild Game and Greens

Typical dinner around here:

Caribou steak (broiled in the oven with salt and pepper), sauteed greens, corn on the cob.

Big Orange Produce Truck Will Be Here Aug 31

With my travels, I’ve missed the big orange produce truck that comes up from Montana via California bringing fresh fruits and veggies. They’ll be back in town, parking over near the Husky Lounge, on Wednesday, August 31 all day. Then that’s it for this summer.

So if you’re craving a variety of fresher fruits and vegetables, check them out next week!

How are you getting your fresh produce as the weather cools?

End of Summer in Tok

Summer is coming to a close. Actually, did it ever begin? I seem to remember a couple of gorgeous, sunny Alaska days somewhere in the mix, but for the most part, rain. Here are a few scenes from Summer 2011 in Tok…









How was your summer? Ready for winter?

Saturday: Tango Music in Tok

There is another concert coming to Tok!

Tomorrow: Saturday, July 16 – TANGO IN TOK!

At Off the Road House
Duct Tape Radio & Off the Road House are excited to host Folias Music bringing the tangy zest of tango to Tok. Refreshments.

Tango Lessons 5:30 to 6 p.m.
$10/person or $15/couple. Bring your dancing shoes!

Tango Concert 7 – 9.
$10/person donation. Bring a chair and a friend.

Scenes from the concert in our front yard this month with singer/songwriter Paul Thompson aka Buskalaska. A lovely evening of music and dancing.

Are you having a great summer?

New Exhibits at the Tetlin Visitor Center

The public is invited to attend a celebration of Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge and the new exhibits at the Tetlin Visitor Center.

Photo Credit: Kay Lynn Odle-Moore, USFWS

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Tetlin Visitor Center, Mile 1229 AK Highway

There will be a brief program followed by demonstrations and activities. Light refreshments will be served.

Hosting Buskalaska: Singer Songwriter from the UK

This weekend, we will be hosting Paul Thompson AKA Buskalaska who is touring Alaska on his own, performing in clubs and people’s homes along the way. He’ll be performing two sets Saturday night, July 2 here in Tok.

The first set is especially for families with children and starts around 5pm for an hour or so. Then around 7pm, Paul will launch into a second set of music.

Paul says he’s been hitchhiking mostly to get around the state and having good luck with it although he will try to catch the bus from Fairbanks to Tok. From here, he hopes to get to Haines so if you know anyone headed in that direction, please let us know as he’d love a ride!

We’ll have light snacks and beverages in the cooler and if it isn’t raining, we can have a firepit going to grill up some food if you want to bring something. Feel free to BYOB for yourselves or bring some munchies to share. This concert is brought to you by Duct Tape Radio and Humanities Forum.

We also plan on having a small garage sale Saturday morning starting at 9am. We’ll post signs out on the street. Mostly clothing and accessories for women (women’s sizes 7 thru 12) and girls (girl sizes 3T & 4T); toys, books.

Hope you’re enjoying the summer so far! (yes, there is sun here at the moment…)

As Summer Warms Our Bones…

Let us not forget the winters. Makes our summers that much sweeter…

How is your summer going so far?

Passing Through Tok: Raimo Laosma

I was headed to Three Bears for some groceries and saw a bicyclist in front of the store who seemed like he had been traveling quite a ways.

“Where are you coming from or going?” I asked.

“Estonia,” he replied.

Turns out, Raimo Laosma has been on the road since September 20, 2010. He drove from Estonia through Europe to Lisbon, Portugal, then came across to the States on the East Coast. After going North into Canada and then back down through New York City, he headed south then west through Texas, up the West Coast into Canada. And today he was passing through Tok on his way to Anchorage.

Raimo aka Fujimees (Fuji Man) has a blog called Fujimees and a Facebook Page where you can keep up with his travels (you can use Google Translate to translate from Estonian). He uses his AT&T connection on his Nokia N97 to navigate as he travels and to update his blog and Facebook page.

We chatted a few minutes, and he let me take a few photographs before we both went on our way. Before he headed to Youngs Chevron, he looked down at his odometer.

“22326 kilometers,” he said.

After Anchorage, he is flying to Siberia and riding home from there.

Here is Raimo’s ROUGHLY translated Facebook post from today (he refers to the Migratory Bird Festival that I told him about – I sure hope they have food as I mentioned to him. Otherwise, I’ll probably buy him lunch!):

I sincerely hope that it is 13, and Friday was my last winter trip day! 2x yesterday managed to see a bear and two riders in the morning a young man from Canada, Japan, and after one more child. And to my great joy turned to the favorable winds in the afternoon. There is Tok-opening of the festival and look forward to! (Provided free meals)

Over 260,000 people pass through Tok each summer.

Who have you met so far coming through Tok?

Saturday: Migratory Bird Festival in Tok

Tomorrow, Saturday, from 11am to 3pm will be the Migratory Bird Festival at the Tok Memorial Park.

This event is part of a larger international event. Here are some tips from The Nature Conservancy on 5 ways to get ready for International Migratory Bird Day:

1. Become a birder in 4 easy steps.

2. Take their bird identification quiz.

3. Find a spot to bird or share your own favorite birding spot. 

4. Send a bird e-card to your friends and family. 

5. Share photos of your favorite birds. 

What are you doing for International Migratory Bird Day?

Bird activity content from The Nature Conservancy.
Photos from 2010 Migratory Bird Festival in Tok. 

Save the Date! 2 Concerts in Tok…

Summer is almost here, and with summer come the musicians. We have two upcoming house concerts in Tok in July – make sure to mark your calendars! For the uninitiated, a “house concert” is a concert hosted in someone’s home. These happen in communities around the country as musical artists make their way on often self-funded music tours. Last year, we hosted Marian Call and 907Britt at our place for a full night of great music.

July 2 – Meet singer-songwriter “Buskalaska on a magical mystery tour from England to the untamed wilds of Alaska and Canada, beginning June 2011. Buskalaska’s musical journey will take him from Anchorage to the Arctic Circle, from the Yukon and Alberta to the Rockies and isles of BC, performing at festivals, coffee houses and bars, house concerts and impromptu street performances. AND in Tok, Alaska at the Risdahl’s place. You can hear some of his music here.

July 16 – Folias Flute and Guitar Duo will be performing acoustic tango music in Tok (location TBA) AND giving Tango lessons. Yes, TANGO lessons.  More about them from their website:

The Grand Rapids, MI based Folias Flute and Guitar Duo was founded by the husband and wife duo Carmen Maret and Andrew Bergeron in 2002. They have performed in concert halls, clubs and for tango events across North America. The duo’s original compositions and arrangements have been recorded on four separate Folias CD releases which are on the Blue Griffin Recording and White Pine Music labels and have been reviewed by Flute Talk magazine and Fanfare Magazine. The duo’s background in classical concert music performance and composition mixed with their training in tango and jazz make their performances both informed and exciting. Find out more at Folias Music.

How is THAT for global culture in Tok, Alaska? What other events are happening in the community that you’d like to promote?

Shopping Tips for Rural Alaska

On the Alaska Teacher Placement website, you’ll find tips for shopping when you are living in rural Alaska. This is mostly geared toward bush Alaska, but not too far off what many of us face living in rural parts. (Thanks to Angela Gonzalez of Rural Cap  for the link.)

Here in Tok, we are lucky to be on the road system. Can’t even imagine what it would be like without roads in. Or out.

Although things have improved dramatically in terms of rural Alaska shopping options since the 1980’s and early 1990’s, your first year or two in the Bush is still going to go more smoothly if you plan ahead!

There are several basic approaches you can follow to prepare for you first year. Which one is right for you depends partially on what village you are headed to, the size and composition of your family, and your consumption habits and patterns. You have three basic choices for how you order your basic items: traditional grocery shippers; on-line retailers, or do-it-yourself shopping trips to Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Here are some tips for Guerilla Shopping:

You are either on an overnight layover in Anchorage or Fairbanks, and have only a few hours to buy as much as possible. You know you will return to the village for a couple months – maybe longer – without another chance to get fresh stuff or necessities at prices like this. What’s a guy or gal to do?

  • Shop with a plan or a list, or you’ll be ineffective!
  • Boxes / rubbermaid tubs, packing tape and markers…have them with you.
  • Keep packing and/or shipping limits in mind at all times…pack as you shop if possible.
  • Mail suitcases…you need fresh produce and fresh meat more!
  • Coolers are useful as luggage both in the summer to chill, and in the winter to protect produce from cold.

And some tips on dairy products:

Real Milk

If you order several cases of sterilized, shelf safe “Real Milk” in pint containers, the cost is not all that outrageous. It will be more expensive than a grocery store in Pittsburgh or Minneapolis, but the net cost is not all that much higher than in Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Whole Milk

Whole milk is far easier to get than it once was, but is still quite expensive by Lower 48 standards. A gallon of milk in some village stores can be over $12, and you need to watch those expiration dates. But, a gallon of whole milk at Fred Meyers on-line today is $2.99, plus shipping.

Gallons of milk are treated like perishable produce for shipping purposes.

And, contrary to what my mother told me, yes, you can freeze milk ;-)

Powdered Milk

When I first moved up to Alaska, my family could only get “Milkman”, a powdered milk substitute that you mix with water. There really is no need to do this to yourself any longer, and I don’t recommend it. Some friends of mine STILL order it. Go figure.

You can read the entire post here.

I’m all for shopping local, and here in Tok we have both Three Bears and the healthfood options at Tok General Store. But I’m also all for Guerilla Shopping whenever we get to Anchorage or Fairbanks.

What are your favorite shopping tips for rural Alaska?

Passing Through Tok Today

This is Vladamir. He says he is 58, a filmmaker, and has been bicycling around the world for the last seven years. Says he’s on his 4th bike and 12th pair of shoes. He passed through Tok today on his way to Anchorage, driving 60 miles a day.

“60 miles a day, 7 years, over 40,000 miles,” he said through a heavy Russian accent.

He gave me permission to take his picture, but when I asked his permission to record a quick interview, he said it would cost $15, and he’d throw in a DVD. I didn’t have cash, and he didn’t accept credit cards.

Who have you met recently passing through Tok?