Monday, December 20, 2010


The last day of school before break is upon us. The past few days have been full of practicing and planning for the Christmas program. We're a small enough school that we can get away with having a non-secular pageant in the school. So we had the manger scene, and songs like silent night, and a play built around understanding the nativity.

After the performance, Santa arrived to pass out presents! Dave played the role of Santa, assisted by a down coat for the necessary jolly body fat. He did a wonderful job, but Julia wasn't very pleased to be sitting on his lap.

She was pleased with her presents though!

Whitney and Leanne taught us how to make Agutuk, a native Alaskan dessert. To make it, you take maybe 3 cups Crisco, put it in a large bowl, and whip it with your hand. After it begins to smooth out, you start adding sugar by the quarter cup and splashes of water. Keep on whipping, and it will start to get fluffy, like whipped cream. Ideally you keep whipping until the sugar dissolves, but that is a feat of endurance. How much total sugar to add is a matter of opinion, as some prefer sweet Agutuk, and some prefer it without sugar. After it is as sweet as you desire, you add cooked, flaked white fish, about 4 cups worth. You work this in, ideally until it is so soft and fluffy that you can't identify the fish by texture. The final step is to fold in about 6 cups tiny tart frozen cranberries or blueberries. These should be folded in so gently that the Agutuk remains white, and doesn't turn purple with berry juice. And there you go, a truly Alaskan confection.

Whitney and Leanne were living here with Taylor and Angela because their village was too small to have a school. Their mom recently decided to move to another village called Tuntutuliak, and so she has taken the girls with her. They flew away this morning. It is terrible for us to see them go. They were wonderful to Julia and a delight to have in the school. We will miss them very much.

It is 10:45 pm, and we just came inside from a cold but perfectly clear view of the eclipse. It is our 2nd wedding anniversary today, and the coinciding of the solstice and a total lunar eclipse seems to be a fine celebration indeed. I also saw a shooting star fly just under the moon and over Orion's belt. We are excited that the shortest day of the year has arrived, and we can now look forward to incrementally longer days. This is good news, as today our sunrise was at 10:48 am, and our sunset was at 4:04 pm, giving us a day length of 5 hours and 16 minutes.

December 20th, 2008

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