Somewhere over Canada, it occurs to me….it has been months since my last post! I believe that only a blogger could truly appreciate the reasoning behind such a phenomenon! It has nothing to do with writers block, but rather….who knows! Just really busy I suppose. I think that burn out creates a level of unmotivation, or ….burn out! What worried me is how many people are running around thinking I perished from botulism from the canning experience I wrote about back at the beginning of summer. About the time our seasonal house guest, Tyler, showed up. Holy crap…Tyler. Now there is a story in itself that has completely fallen through the cracks. Sometimes you just need a break from the things you do, and this summer has been a break from blogging. Even pottery has kind of taken a bit of a back seat. Yes, our summer consisted of a lot of hard and diligent work, fishing, a couple of really good trips into the gulf and out into the bush, and some good accomplishment of summer maintenance and winter prep around the compound.
We hauled and bucked around 12 cords of wood for the winter, mostly storm and dead fall on the lower property. It is 97% stacked and covered, ready to go and we began burning fires in the woodstove a little more consistently about two weeks ago. The temps are falling at night, about down to 21F, and somewhere in the 40’s by day, a lot of clouds, wind and afternoon rains. The days are getting shorter, which typically after a summer of so much daylight starts to feel pretty weird about now, and somewhat depressing to see it all go.
A summer visit from my family brought some really good memories as pops and I went on an ultimate expedition into the bush! The day brought some spectacular sights, great fishing experiences for species such as lake trout, arctic char, and grayling. Dad’s dream came true as the float plane landed at Dick Prenike’s cabin over in Lake Clark. Flying along the contours of alluvial flow, and spectacular glaciers abound was a definite highlight for us both! I have craploads of pictures and will post them in a couple of posts to come.
As well as plenty of salmon fishing locally on the Kenai river and stocking our deep freezer, myself, Jennifer, Tyler and the lodge attendant Jason took a halibut fishing trip out into the Gulf Of Alaska and although they were small ‘chickens’, we did all get our limit and added to our personal stocks. It was a fun day with ‘the kids’ for me! And sometimes, ‘the kids’ are a hell of a lot more fun than adult’s!!! I have to say,, this would be the first time since I watched the documentary, “Food Inc” almost 2 years ago, that I ate at Mc Donald’s after the trip was up. Tyler, our official junk food junkie needed a Mc Donald’s fix. Let me just say, the meal was hollow, unfilling and tasted about close to crap as far as “real” food could go. Yukko!
We got to do some canning through the summer. As well as salmon we canned some “real” peaches thanks to the contraband smuggling efforts of the folks! Now, unless you have had the mis-opportunity of eating fruit and vegetables here in Alaska, you could never appreciate what fresh ripe peaches from the Central Valley of California can do to you. When the box hit the counter in the kitchen and was opened, you have never seen so many hands molest a box full of fruit in your life! You would have honestly have thought we had never had fruit before. The same scene occurred when my best friend Brad, Tylers’ uncle, sent some plums and pluotts up! Produce is generally shipped from the lower 48, unripe and just losses the romance of the phrase ‘fresh fruit’, somewhere along the way. Just sucks really! But it is the price you pay, and a worthy trade off for what we do have here in this ‘great land’. What really sucked, is that after seeing the bruhaha that ensued over who was getting how many peaches between John/Jennifer vs. Maryann and I, dad thought it from his heart to ship up a lug via the good old United States Postal Service. Yes, another wonderful story about the complete ineptness of the Postal Service to ‘deliver’. In short, the first box arrived 3 days late, which turned the peaches into a state of complete despair. We spared enough to make a peach pie, and discarded all of the rest of the fermenting mess. The second box never did arrive. In fact, after the first 9 days, they disappeared off of the Postal Service tracking system, what was received was a letter from the Postal Service that the second box had expired en route and would go where expired fruit boxes go. Swine’s!
Tyler. Now here is a story. The boy was supposed to live with us for the summer. What happened was, he lived with us for the first couple of weeks, while the lodge was coming together for the season. Then, someone came up with the bright idea of Tyler having the option to stay at the lodge for a couple of days to be ‘on-site’ or the ‘on-call person’. This worked out great as the first customers and guests arrived. What was to be a couple of days turned into a permanent deal for him. The benefits: He pulled the excess heat off of Maryann after hours. The woman deals with enough almost 14 hours a day and this was a welcomed relief. This fact alone increased his hours immensely, plus he raked in tips galore!
His first weeks went great. He was dependable, hard working and staff and guests alike loved his personable ways and unique sense of humor. He apparently impressed the president of the lodge enough that he began to go on all of the fly-outs as like the on board assistant and fishing bitch for the pilots. Now, this in itself was incredible. He was going out into the bush. He was seeing things that most people only dream of or watch on Discovery Channel. This all happened in the course of a few weeks! What followed was unprecedented for the lodge. He became a certified and licensed fishing guide! He began to make the flight plans according to his picked fishing locations, and would guide the guests on their fishing expeditions. Made bank, in addition to hourly wages working on the grounds when he wasn’t flying or guiding, tips, and the on-call person. Where he was supposed to go back to the lower 48 in August, he actually ended up staying on until the end of September and came back down with us. The unofficial story is that he will definitely be back up in March to take his ‘river guide’ certification for the Kenai River guides and will be moving to Alaska permanently.
There is so much more to catch up on. Pictures…. Stay tuned as I will try to be a little more aggressive in my posting. Sometimes you just need a change of pace. That is the best I can say! Take care all.