west of lostine, 2000 acres

2,000 acre fire burning 7 miles southwest of Lostine. View is from our hay field.

killing day

September 25, 2009

least favorite technique

My favorite holiday of the year right behind all other festive days (including Administrative Assistants Day) is of course Killing Day.  We processed 45 chickens (the festivities took up two days actually) all the way through from clucking to the freezer.  The Whiz Bang Plucker preformed flawlessly as you can see from the video.  After we finished killing, scalding, plucking, and gutting we weren’t able to eat chicken for a week,  I  still get a bit queasy at the smell of chicken noodle soup.

scalding

waiting area of the evisceration station

back from alaska

September 16, 2009

semiaquatic bear "very rare" The trip to Se Alaska was like stepping out of my normal life for a couple weeks.  My father who does Aluminum boat repair and fabrication was going up to do some work on a friends boat and fish.  He asked me if I wanted to tag-along, of course I said yes.

sums up transportation in SE Alaska

My fathers friend owns a guide business specializing in fishing charters, whale watching, and brown bear tours.  I got to help out in all of these areas nearly every day.  I helped as a deck hand on fishing charters and on whale watching excursions.  My favorite however was helping with the bear tours.  Walking through the forest takes on a different feel when there are 3 bears for every square mile.  The island is teaming with brown bears, having the highest concentration in the world.

silver salmon extravaganza

When we weren’t working we were fishing, Halibut and silver Salmon were the main targets.  We fished for Halibut mainly in the bays and deep water.  For Salmon though we had to anchor in inlets and take zodiacs up river to fish from the bank.  The dramatic changes in tide (25 ft) and the proclivity for outboard motors to not start made for some interesting outings.  Chichagoff  island is one of those places where you can be only 10 miles from the center of town and be completely screwed if something goes wrong.my father catches giant fish then lays by it and pets it (true story)

We stayed in the largest village on the island, Hoonah population of about 800.  It was a nice little community made up mostly of natives (Tlingit) and people of Norwegian ancestry.  Almost everyone right up to the Chief of police were extremely friendly and welcoming.  The experience of being a “local” is something that you can’t buy even if you wanted to. I got as close possible to that and feel really fortunate to have been able to spend the short amount of time that I did, fully immersed in the life of a very interesting  Alaskan town.

village of hoonah in lower right "hoonahlulu"

what, don't you fish with a gun?

frost

September 15, 2009

extreme frozenness

Our squash, corn, and flowers are sadly on their way to the Garden of the Great Beyond after the temperature dipped below freezing last night. It’s a bummer to see things die that I spent lots of time planting. They were at the height of their summer glory just yesterday. The plants in the greenhouses are perfectly fine, even the really sensitive plants like peppers and basil. Greenhouses are awesome.

as soon as the sun hits, the frozen ones die

you are OVER, pinkie

frosty salad

sad squash

what it’s really like

September 12, 2009

We’re always posting things about how idyllic and great it is out here—well, now that Tyler’s gone I can tell it like it REALLY is. What a bunch of jerks. Seriously.

"what is your MAIN problem?"

"how dare you be furrier than me?! AND fatter AND lazier!"

canning extravaganza

September 7, 2009

We’ve been putting lots of things in jars and sealing them shut lately. I used to help Mom do this when I was a kid, but didn’t retain much. Up until now canning has been a mysterious process to me which involved more sterilization and cleanliness than I felt capable of. BUT, I’ve discovered something—canning is not very hard. It’s just a series of steps, like following a recipe, and if you do them all in order then you’ll have canning down pat. And there are so many things to can! My favorites so far are apricot chutney (recipe below), canned peaches, and pepperoncini pickles. This is an overabundant time of year, so I’m indulging an ancestral squirrel relative and learning how to make the good stuff last a long time.

If you want to learn to can, pick up the Ball Blue Book (yes, that is the title), which my Mom tells me is the canning Bible. It tells you what tools you need, step-by-step how to can, and has lots of basic, classic canning recipes.

A friend here in Enterprise gave me a jar of apricot chutney that he made, and it ROCKED. I got the recipe from him and thought I’d post it, cause it definitely needs to be made more often in this world. I hear you can make it with mangoes, too. Chutney is good on pork, beef, lamb, chicken, or just veggies and rice. It’s pretty much good on everything, actually.

Apricot Chutney

1 tablespoon oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 lbs 4 oz fresh or frozen apricots
1 and 1/2 cups clear vineager
1 cup caster sugar

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 hour, or until the apricots are thick and pulpy like jam. It should fall in sheets off spoon when ready. Add salt to taste and more chili if you wish. Remove the whole spices.

Now it is ready to pour into canning jars.

Yum.

good til the end of time