I wasn’t really expecting it but I got to help out with the spring bear hunting season.  My boss and his father are registered guides and let me go along to learn the tricks of the trade.   We did two separate hunts with a total of 5 hunters, two guides and, two deck hands on the boat (me and a guy named Mitch).  The first group  was comprised of the guys from Huntx3   they were trying for a bow kill had several clear shots took one and missed but had a great time seeing over 30 bears in the 5 days they were with us. 

The second group was Dan Henderson his buddy Wayne, J.T Hardin of Hardcore Hunting tv and Chad from Juneau.  Dan had a shot with a bow but missed and Wayne finally ended up connecting on a 8 1/2 ft boar with a rifle. 

there are literally bear everywhere.  the statistics are 1.7-2.5 bears for every square mile, so somewhere around 3,500 bears at any given time are on the island.  

We lived and hunted out of the 41 ft boat seen above, slightly cramped with 6- 8 people aboard but a really nice place to stay and much better than a wall tent for this area.

The most interesting hunter of the group had to be Chad.  “Now I’m not legally allowed to guide a hunter so I just observed while a legally licensed guide worked with him”.   We had him on three different bear at 300, 100, and 75 yrds.  He took a total of 7 shots, hit himself with the scope twice and managed to break the floor plate on the rifle’s magazine (red string).  Later we found out that he didn’t have a whole lot of experience with guns or hunting, and he was left handed (he had borrowed a right hand rifle from us).

He was a great sport and didn’t get to frustrated.  He considers himself lucky because  all in all how many people get to shoot at 3 brown bear in 3 days.  It was really good experience for me also, a whole lot more informative than someone dropping a bear 20 ft from the skiff on the first day of the hunt.

This little remote alaskan town will be my home for the summer, located 3 hours west by boat from Juneau on an island the size of northwest Oregon.   800 people make up the year round residents, and any given person is related to about half of the rest of town. 

the town is alright by Alaskan standards but its the 300 miles of forest roads (more than Juneau) and the proximity to some of the best fishing and hunting in the world that make it an amazing place.

the old school bus that I will be living in isn’t quite ready yet so stay tuned for a “living in a bus like a hippie post”

simon = whinefest

May 22, 2010

It is snowing today, and although he is supposed to be a Norwegian Forest Cat, Simon hates snow. So he’s following me around the house all day, whining to be picked up. When I do pick him up he gets a “all is well with the world” expression and happily sheds all over me.

one chick

May 19, 2010

Our hen sat on her five eggs diligently for nearly a month, but only one hatched.

Clearly our rooster has been sleeping on the job. You’d think a guy whose only task in life is to carouse with 20 pretty girls every day would be a little more enthusiastic.

Banty “Rooster” Napoleon isn’t much help, either, although he thinks he is. He always tries to crow but runs out of air at the end… I don’t think the women folk are impressed.

the barn is white

May 17, 2010

We’ve painted our barn white, mystifying and annoying some of the other residents nearby. It was me, the white-space-obsessed designer who instigated it. I take FULL responsibility for the fact that our barn no longer is red. It was, in fact, white originally.

I like the simple, stark beauty of the white barn. There are a few other white barns in the area and I’ve always admired them. Now there is one more!

The good news is that I only have to commute once a year to my new job, the bad news is that it takes  eighty four hours one way.  I am not a huge fan of flying (especially with a firearm) so I took the ferry up.  You can literally walk on the ferry with a tactical shotgun and 60 rounds of ammo and no one will bat an eye.  I got to see a whole bunch of the inside passage that I missed last time due to a unexpected delay in Ketchikan (I’m looking at you dad).

It only rained 8 or 9 times a day with highs around 60, so for S.E. Alaska it was kinda a heatwave.

There is nothing like being trapped on a boat for 3 days to make you get to know people you might not get to talk to other wise.  There was the guy who was going to be a bike cop in Skagway and the woman who was starting a job in Juneau with sled dog tours, but the person that was the most interesting was the guy who was trying to capture the Jeffery Lebowski of Alaska look. I had 6 hour conversations with him about everything from organic vegetables and commuting between Arizona and Alaska twice a year to the socioeconomic problems in Indonesia.  I’m really sorry I don’t have pictures of these people I met but we hadn’t reached the all important “can I take a picture of you for my blog” stage of our friendship yet.

and in other news it appears that the age-old debate orangutans or ewoks has finally been settled.

Betsy. She’s an orphan – her mother drowned in the creek at a ranch in Lostine, and the rancher didn’t have time to deal with her so he gave her to us for free. At the same time we acquired a heifer from him that had lost her baby recently. Both mother and baby are the same breed as our other cows, Scottish Highlanders. The idea is to get the heifer to adopt Betsy as her own. Betsy’s all about it: she’s anxious to wile her way into her new mother’s good graces and yummy milk. Unfortunately the cow wants nothing to do with her, and kicks her when she tries to nurse. What to do?

Distract the cow with some hay to munch on and then squeeze her between the fence and a metal gate, so Betsy has a chance to get some milk. It’s sort of a fiasco every morning and evening, with the reluctant mama cow being a constant stupidhead. We try to let the baby nurse for a while, then to make sure she’s getting enough we feed her 2 quarts of formula morning and evening as well. Betsy is starting to be friendly towards us now, because we give her the only thing on the planet she cares about, milkytime.

Since Tyler’s been gone I’ve holed up in my space station and focused intently on growing vegetables for the moon colony. Tomatoes get traumatized at anything lower than 45 degrees and will refuse to grow until it gets warmer (or sometimes will never grow). So… every night I put them to bed under layers of insulation material and little plastic domes in case it gets cold. Then I go home to the new place I built for myself in the lunar woods near here.

I am gone for the summer to seek my fortune in the wilds of Alaska guiding tourist types while they cavort with brown bears.  Hopefully Erica will be able to keep the weblogatron updated regularly and I will try and do as many posts as I can on the hand cranked computer and smoke signal internet.