Sunday, May 12, 2019

Harvesting and Eating Wild Alaskan Spring Greens

Harvesting and Eating Wild Alaskan Spring Greens

Spring is here and it's almost time to go out and harvest fresh wild Alaskan greens. Many of these plants are only edible when they are in their young sprouting phase. Some may tend to get too chewy and woody in texture and bitter in flavor as they age.

I have scoured the internet to find these tidbits of wild edible knowledge to share with you all. Authors are noted on each page - If you have anything to share about harvesting and eating wild Alaskan greens this spring, please feel free to share your thoughts!

Want to learn from local experts? Here are a few opportunities for getting out there and learning about wild edible gathering in an outdoor hands-on setting.

Spring Green Wild Edibles 
 May 31 Sign up to take an edibles day trip and learn what is edible and what is not out of Homer.

Gdaiva's Bootcamps
June 22-25th and June 13 to 20th and Sept. 5th to the 12th
Learn harvesting and preparation of wild edibles on Kalgin Island.

Fiddlehead Festival
Food, fun, and music at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood.
June 1st and 2nd

Rules of Gathering

Plant Species

Beach Greens aka  Achaaqhluk

Beach Greens & Lovage Kimchi and Kimchi Soup

Beach Lovage aka Tukaiyuks



Devils Club

Fiddlehead Ferns

Fireweed Shoots

Lambs Quarters

This widely available plant is available for harvest long after many other wild greens get too bitter to eat.

Shepherd's Purse


Stinging Nettles

Regional & General Guides

Kodiak Alutiiq Spring Plants Guide

In and Around Sitka

How I Got Hooked on Weeds and Why You Should Too by Tom Philpott

I Am Monkey Flower by Michael McRae

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Homesteads in Alaska

Homesteads in Alaska

A Guide to Homesteads in Alaska

Before modern real estate property sales, people thought of home and land ownership differently, especially in rural undeveloped parts of the country. Many land parcels were larger and as available land became scarcer in the urban areas, many of the old homesteads were partitioned and sold as new subdivisions and housing developments. Many of the subdivision names in current  records still refer to the properties older homestead names. If your curious about how these parcels got their names, I have added a few short descriptions of some properties found in Anchorage that still have the homestead names on the recorded plats.

What is a homestead?

Not every home is considered a homestead. A condos, zero lot line properties, or commercial buildings  wouldn't be considered a homestead property. Homesteads are houses and land in a combined property that serves to establish a real presence in the development and use of a larger piece of property such as farming. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term homestead as 'a tract of land acquired from U.S. public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract'

What is the Homestead Law?

The law the dictionary is referring to is the Homestead Act of 1862. Homesteads were given to citizen heads of household that were at least 21 years of age after they filed an application and the land in question was researched and found to have no other owners. Homesteaders received up to 160 acre parcels in exchange for living on the land, building a home on the land, and making improvements to the land. In Alaska, homesteaders had to develop at least an eighth of the parcel. After five years of peforming these duties, with a filing fee and two references to sign a document proving their work, the ownership documents were given to the homesteaders. This process became known as 'proving up'. In Alaska, homesteading wasn't established until 1898 due to it being a territory and not a state.

Is the U.S. still awarding homesteads?

No, the Homestead Act was repealed in 1976 for the Lower 48 and in 1986 for Alaska. The U.S. government had awarded a total of 3,277 Alaskan properties and over 1.6 million properties in the Lower 48. The last homestead awarded was an 80 acre one to Kenneth Deardorff in 1988.  It is located in the Stony River area. Here is a webpage where you can read more about America's last homesteader.

Where in Alaska are the homesteads?

Since one of the requirements for claiming a homestead was to develop the land for agriculture, most of the homesteads awarded were located in the Southern part of the state. The northernmost homestead was James Langston's 107 acre Wild Lake homestead which is above the Arctic Circle. There is also a large 319 acre homestead north of Nome on the Pilgrim River established by Henry Beckus.

Is there a list of all the Alaskan homesteads?

You can find the homesteads the government patented on the BLM's website.
Here is a link to view the patents from the U.S. government to homesteaders in the original 1862 entries database.

Here is a link to that same list in a spreadsheet format

Here is a link to a 1904 entry for an adjoining homestead

Here are a few homesteads patented in forest lands

Are there original homesteads still existing?

Once the homesteading act was passed, many thought that some of the original homesteads should be preserved as a part of U.S. history. The Homestead National Monument of America was created in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was located on the homestead of Daniel Freeman in Nebraska.

Modern subdivision names still list many parcels as homesteads. You can view parcel names of land in Anchorage, Eagle River, and Chugiak on this map:


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Embroidered Alien Series - One

Embroidered Alien Series


First digitally altered bead embroidered space alien. First embroidered alien and first digital alteration.

You can find prints here - tees and mugs etc too

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Design: The New Devil's Lettuce

The New Devil's Lettuce

Yes, I HAD to add my two cents to this sad phenomenon of bad lettuce attacking people with ecoli. Romaine lettuce has been in the news recently for making people very ill. Sit down marijuana, this is the new devil's lettuce!

You can find all the gear I have for sale with this new design HERE

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

What is Gamma?

What is Gamma?

Well, besides being the third letter in the Greek alphabet, gamma is a word that describes the brightness of a monitor display or raster image. Gamma correction is a tool in Photoshop's exposure settings menu that I haven't really took the time to learn about before this post. I've seen the tool and tinkered with it in a trial and error attempt to fix photos that weren't shot properly.

Gamma correction is also a tool to correct how images are displayed on monitors. Screens that haven't been calibrated properly will not be able to correctly display some images. Here's and article which explains hot gamma correction works for computer monitors.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to use the exposure tools which include gamma correction in Photoshop CS5 (Yes, CS5! It's the last year Adobe released the Creative Suite on CD for a fixed cost rather than this subscription mumbo jumbo)

Here's what I was able to do with these tools - It comes in handy for photos you like that didn't turn out that well but could be fixed to make them pop. The sample photo I chose wasn't that bad - I'll find an even worse one to rescue!

I used the sliders at first, then later as I was tinkering with the background, I noticed the dog still wasn't popping out enough. I went back to my exposure adjustment layer to try the dropper sampling tools instead of the sliders. It improved it a lot. If you aren't sure which tool to use, try a combination of both!

Harvesting and Eating Wild Alaskan Spring Greens

Harvesting and Eating Wild Alaskan Spring Greens Spring is here and it's almost time to go out and harvest fresh wild Alaskan gre...