Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Flickr #3 Update

I used up all my space already on our second flickr account. Since I am too cheap to upgrade, we are now on free flickr account #3. Check here to see the newest pics from Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Killin' Time

TIME magazine that is.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Laundry Emergency

The dryer decided to quit producing heat a few days ago. It's not like you can just call the appliance repairman here, or that we would pay the $80/hour he'd probably charge if he did exist. So armed with the internet, leatherman and patience I set about figuring out how to fix it myself. Here's a picture of the back of the dryer opened up and the offending broken coil in the heating element:

But this isn't just a one-time deal. I had virtually no handyman skills until I became a home owner. Since then I've learned all kinds of things. I've fixed the tumbler in the washing machine, installed laminate flooring, sinks, toilets, sump pumps and garbage disposals, fixed a leaky stovepipe, built a shed and a deck, replaced roof shingles, adjusted the clutch in the truck and change the oil and the tires regularly, just to name a few things. It's amazing what you can figure out if it means saving a lot of money or when the dirty diapers are stacking up fast.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flickr Update

There are new pictures of Autumn at Flickr. Here are some highlights:

We got the Christmas tree decorated and Autumn wanted to tell great-Grandma that this ornament is her favorite one. We then promptly moved all the lower level ornaments up.

I can see the baby fading and little girl emerging in this shot.

We caught up to Santa in the deli section of the grocery store.

Autumn has always been into books. She just doesn't have much use for the words yet. It's been all about eating them and/or removing them from the shelf.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Tree Hunt

These are my two favorite pictures from our recent outing to find a Christmas tree. Last year we made the POW rookie mistake of cutting down a spruce tree. It was pretty, but the needles were sharp - ouch! This year we picked a much more user friendly pine tree. Autumn is a trooper in the outdoors. She doesn't complain about the cold or a little rain and seems very interested in the world around her. She wants to touch all the trees and snow. I have high hopes for her being my little outdoor buddy. Also her favorite word recently has been "up." I assume she is saying it in reference to hiking and climbing "up" in the mountains.


Autumn has been opening and closing drawers and cupboards for a while now, but she just recently discovered that there is TREASURE in them. It just keeps getting more fun every day.

Two Guys Who Should Never Sit Together

I don't usually post material that isn't my own, but I thought this was too good to pass up.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Recent Conversation

While watching a movie with several very attractive actors and actresses.

Amy: You know, it must actually be really hard to go through life being extremely beautiful or good looking.
Steve: It's not.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from the Fullcurl of Life. Yes folks, that is four pies for four adults, blueberry, maple, pecan and pumpkin. That's four things to be thankful for right there. But there's a lot more I'm thankful for. Here's 100 of them:

1. Looking forward to going to work most mornings
2. Three pointers at the buzzer
3. 14+ years of commitment and counting
4. My Salvation
5. Friends that come to visit from far away
6. Autumn’s smile when I come home in the evening
7. Bands of rams on opening day
8. That magical first hour of daylight
9. The thump of a salmon hitting my dipnet
10. A good tent during a mountain storm
11. A rainbow trout striking a dry fly
12. Sharp chainsaw blades
13. New contact lens day
14. A four wheel drive pick-up when the snow is deep
15. The two minute drill
16. 6-4-3 double plays
17. Walk-off home runs
18. A roaring woodstove on a stormy night
19. Charcoal. T-Bone steak. Alaskan Amber.
20. The sound of trucks on the haul road after a 40 mile hike
21. The way a ram crumples when I pull the trigger
22. Waking up in the night and realizing you still have several hours to sleep
23. Strawberries in season
24. Sheep fat sizzling over a campfire
25. Dishwashers
26. Fall colors
27. Finding a mistake in the checkbook in my favor
28. Parents that are still together
29. Any time the Blazers beat the Lakers
30. Knowing your neighbors
31. A caribou trail through the tussocks
32. Sore muscles after chopping wood
33. The robins song
34. A hunting partner you can trust
35. A baby crawling to me
36. When a verse you’ve read 100 times says something new
37. The smell of fancy coffee, the taste not so much
38. The apples you buy are crispy
39. Having the spare part you need in the junk drawer
40. Wife. Couch. Hot Chocolate. Netflix.
41. That cool, tingly feeling in your legs after a good workout
42. One-handed alley-oop dunks
43. Finding a $20 in the ashtray I didn’t remember was there
44. Nacho Cheese flavored sunflower seeds
45. Unexpected care packages in the mail
46. The music of George Strait
47. Burgers at the Eureka Roadhouse
48. Red sunsets
49. Warm sun. Comfortable tree. Nap
50. Small town parades
51. Fireworks shows
52. Weddings that don’t have dancing
53. Sleeping bag. Dry clothes. Louis L’amour
54. New sock day
55. New razor day
56. The Star Wars Trilogy
57. Friends that understand my obscure movie quotes
58. That we don’t own a dog
59. Sharing the island with the Mad Fishicist and family
60. The Craig Aquatic Center
61. Bacon
62. Old Growth Forests
63. Ice Cream. Blueberry Pie
64. My Remington 700 30.06 Rifle
65. Freedom to worship as I choose
66. Heavy packs at the end of a hunt
67. Eggnog in season
68. Autumn’s giggles
69. Bub and Bonny
70. Becoming better friends with my brother and sister the older we get
71. When I can make Amy laugh
72. electricity
73. The invention of optometry
74. Mountains
75. Hearing the voice of God in the wilderness
76. The Outdoor Channel
77. Owning a garage
78. That I live in Alaska
79. Turkey Wings on Thanksgiving Day
80. My four minute walk/commute
81. When the clouds part and sunbeams stream through
82. All day hunting email fests with Scott
83. Digital photography
84. The NFL playoffs
85. living somewhere you don’t have to lock your doors
86. Sunny days
87. The infinite variety of wildflowers
88. Walks on cemetery island
89. Internet hunting forums
90. Clumping cat litter
91. ESPN
92. The bugle of bull elk
93. Watching the northern lights on a starry night
94. The 2nd Amendment
95. Decent health insurance
96. Good health for me, Amy & Autumn
97. Rainbows
98. A pretty wife
99. A winter’s supply of yellow cedar
100. Flocks of geese flying in a V

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Nothing salves the sting of a big buck that got away like a big buck that didn't. I called this deer in yesterday morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Deer Season Update

Bucks deemed too small to kill: 4
Big bucks that have gotten away: 3
Bucks that sniffed the hood of the truck before it was light enough to shoot: 1

Deer season part 2 has been the best of times and the worst of times. The hunting has progressively gotten better since the end of October and we seem to be at the peak of the rut right now. I've passed on numerous opportunities to take small bucks or does. I had the weird experience of driving down a logging road in the dark, seeing a buck in the headlights and watching it walk up to the truck, take a sniff and walk away. Of course I love being in the woods, observing the deer and learning so much about them. That part has all been good. But it's also been extremely disappointing. I've been trying to get a nice buck with my archery gear and screwed up two opportunities at good bucks. Then yesterday morning I called an absolute brute to within 5 feet and couldn't get a shot. I could barely sleep last night playing the woulda-coulda-shoulda game. An awesome experience, but discouraging and depressing. To be continued...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recent Conversation

Amy: Hey, do you remember the name of that actor, he was in...
Steve: Liam Neeson
Amy: Yes! How do you do that!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where's the Kitty?

Amelia has become more and more tolerant (resigned?) of Autumn. Now that Autumn is mobile she endlessly chases the cat, never giving up hope. While Amelia remains confident she can out maneuver and outpace. I recently caught this bit of "cat and mouse."

Where is that kitty?

I can't find her anywhere.

There she is!

There's a few more pictures for the grandparents here at flickr.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Follow-Up To Behold!

At the request of our representative from the Imperial Senate.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


"Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long..." -Daniel 8:3

I just wrapped up the taxidermy work on my 2009 ram. This style is called a European mount. I've done Euro mounts myself of several rams. It's cheap and looks classy IMO. In case you happen to find yourself in possession of a skull and would like to try your hand at taxidermy here's my recipe for success:

1. Trim off as much meat and tissue as you can
2. Place skull in a plastic garbage bag and seal off for one-two weeks. This begins the bacterial breakdown of the tissues, but keeps flies out. After this period, remove skull and hit the base of the horns with a mallet. After this time in the garbage bag the horns should just pop right off.
3. With a stiff wire (coat hangers work well) stir up and remove as much brain matter from the skull cavity as possible. Also cut off approximately 2-3 inches of the horn cores off. This allows the horns to go back on correctly and helps get at the tissues inside the horn cores.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a couple good handfuls of baking soda. After a couple minutes to let the soda dissolve into the water, place the skull and boil for approx 45 minutes.
5. Remove skull from boiling water. A lot of flesh should come off very easily. Clean off as much as you can, empty your pot and re-do step 4, boiling for about 20 minutes. The baking soda does a wonderful job of breaking down the tissues.
6. Here's where your patience comes in. With a knife, tweezers and pick you've got to get as much remaining tissue as you can in all those tough to get to spots.
7. Soak skull in white gas. A sheep or deer needs about two weeks, greasy skulls like a bear need to stay in a month or more. The gas acts as a degreaser. Skip this step and your skull will probably yellow over time.
8. Soak skull approx. 24 hours in 40% peroxide solution. This stuff can be obtained at beauty supply stores and is sometimes called Clairoxide 40. Make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and eye protection. This stuff is like acid. This soaking will dissolve all the remaining bits of flesh and bleach the skull to a nice white color.
9. After drying treat the skull to 2-3 coats of clear gloss spray enamel. This protects the skull and gives it a nice finished look.
Now for the horns:
1. After you popped them off the skull there will be tissue inside them. Use a fillet knife and wire brush to remove as much of this tissue as possible.
2. Soak the horns in water with dawn detergent for a couple days. This also acts as a degreaser.
3. Fill horns with borax and let set for a week or so. This helps break down and dry out any remaining tissue and eliminated any stinky-ness.
Now you are ready to put the horns back on:
The last step is reattaching the horns to the skull. This is done with bondo. It doesn't take much, just a couple globs on the end of the horn core. Too much and the bondo will ooze out the bottom of the horn and discolor your skull. Do one horn at a time, allowing the bondo to firm up. Once the horns are re-attached allow approx. 24 hours for the bondo to cure.

And now you are ready to proudly display your trophy.

Carrying Strap Included

Overalls are a great clothing item for babies. They have such convenient built-in handles. As you can see from her smile, Autumn thinks this is a pretty fun method of conveyance as well.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


We're not real big on Halloween but this was too good a photo opportunity to pass up. Thanks to Katie for the loan of the pumpkin suit. And in case you're worried, no chocolate was consumed, except by adults. Some neighborhood kids got some slimy candy wrappers though.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flickr Update

If you're more interested in seeing more Autumn than with deer hunting (and I can't blame you) there are updated pictures on our flickr site.

Deer Season Part 2

Although the deer hunting season on Prince of Wales runs from August through December, there are in essence two distinct seasons. The first or early season is August and the first week or so of September. During this time the bucks are gathered in herds in the alpine meadows. You have to climb to find them but once you reach the top of the mountain they are readily available. I really enjoy this time of spot and stalk and being up high.
When the vegetation starts to die in mid-September the bucks descend to lower ground. They recluse themselves into the nasty thick stuff, become more nocturnal and move little. This combined with monsoon season makes hunting very difficult during this time and for most islanders the deer hunting is largely ignored in October. This is the time to gather firewood and smoke the salmon you caught during the summer.
By the end of October the deer breeding season starts up. The bucks become much more active and less timid in their search for does. The hunting is just going to get better every day now for 3-4 weeks. Bucks can be lured into range with skillful and judicious use of various calling techniques. It is a very exciting way to hunt.
Last year I largely missed this time being busy with Board of Game, being deathly sick and moving. So with this years rut commencing I'm re-packing my hunting gear and getting ready to take to the field again. The wood is stacked, the salmon smoked, it's deer season again.

Autumn has been practicing her buck calls so she'll be ready when she's old enough to come with me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Smoked Salmon

"The daily (italics mine) limit for coho salmon is 20 fish per household. Only dipnets, spears, gaffs, handlines, and rod and reel may be used in the directed coho fishery of southeast Alaska."
- Federal Subsistence Fishing Permit

In late July, the Mad Fishisist and I headed to a remote stream, dipnet in hand to take advantage of a tremendous coho run. It didn't take long to bag our daily limit.

I decided this was the weekend to transform those fish into a smoked salmon delicacy. Fullcurl's "Full"proof smoked salmon recipe:

3 cups brown sugar for every cup of salt.
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic
(This is the ratio, obviously the amount of mixture will depend on the amount of fish you are smoking).

Mix well and sift together. Cover the bottom of a container with the mixture a quarter inch thick or so. Put in a layer of fish, skin side down. Cover with mixture and and add another layer of salmon, this time skin side up. Add another layer skin to skin with the previous layer and cover with mixture. Keep layering in this manner, layering the fish skin to skin and covering with the mixture on the flesh side.

Leave fish in brine for 2 hours. Much longer and the fish will be too salty. By this time the salt should have leached the moisture out of the fish to the point that it is getting stiff. Your container will be filled with brown slimy goo. Rinse the fish in cold water and pat dry. Put on smoking racks to air dry. Air dry up to 24 hours (a fan helps). A glaze should form. After air-drying, smoke at approx. 120 degrees until it is to your liking, usually about 8 hours. Remember to soak your chips or wood so you'll get a good smoke. I recommend alder.

For this batch I smoked approximately 35 fillets and a few halibut chunks (They come out good this way too). I used 25 lbs of brown sugar and 8 pounds of salt. It also helps if your neighbor has a totally custom, kick-butt, cedar smokehouse. Though I've had good luck in the past with my Big Chief Smoker.

Here's the final product. Try not to eat it all before it's packaged. Yum. And remember the wisdom of Ray Troll:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

When Do I Get One?

I figure somewhere around 2021. I know just the spot for a little girl's first ram. I can only imagine what a thrill that would be.


A couple days ago it clicked for Autumn. She now readily pulls herself up to a standing position. She's even attempted a couple wobbly tries at standing unsupported. Next step...steps.


While "browsing" through the cupboards a few days ago looking for a snack:

Stephen: Why is there a chocolate cake up here on this top shelf?
Amy: I put it up there to keep you from temptation.
Stephen: I think you need to keep yourself from temptation.

Laughter ensues...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Autumn at Seven Months

Autumn turned 7 months a week ago. We dressed her up for some "official" 7 month pictures. There's more at flickr.

Hiking Buddies