Well, it's the time in Fairbanks when the sun starts to drop a little lower in the sky, shadows get long and the aspen and birch leaves turn yellow. It's started freezing at night and puddles form little ice caps. Almost time to fire up our soapstone fireplace here. Matilda and the other pups have taken on a bit of melancholy, as our days of camping and canoeing draw to a close.
Still, there's plenty to celebrate. Bob had his 31st birthday and I baked him our traditional family "toothpaste" cake. This is a peppermint chiffon cake from the 1950s that my grandmother used to bake for my mother when she was a kid and I consequently learned to appreciate at a young age.
This recipe looks pretty close, though our family uses an egg-white/sugar/peppermint/cream of tartar frosting, made in a double-broiler. Bob suggests doubling the frosting load.
While our tomatoes never ripened outdoors, we pulled them out of the soil and Bob hung them in the house, upside down. We were skeptical, but about three weeks later, the toms have started to turn red. They are incomparable to the Nebraska tomatoes I grew up with, but they are homegrown and taste pretty good. A heck-of-a lot of work for these little red nuggets, though.
Despite the onset of fall, the mushrooms seem to be going strong. In addition to the beauts growing all over the yard, we recently noticed some very large dried mushrooms that the squirrels have been stashing in the space where the walls meet the roof of the house. According to a researcher at UAF, these are likely to be hallucinogenic mushrooms which Alaska squirrels reportedly cache for the long winter. Hmmmm. Makes a lot of sense. Hunker down for winter in a nest of our roof insulation with a good stash of Shrooms.