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

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I was a picky eater growing up, particularly when it came to vegetables. My tastes have expanded as an adult and I'm no longer a very picky eater. However, I still have a couple hold outs. Cooked peas continue to be from the devil's garden. So I was pretty interested to see how Autumn would feel about them. It was amusing to see they aren't her favorite either. At least she's game about it and hasn't puked during Thanksgiving dinner to prove her dislike.

Here's another try.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Family Photo

Here's the most current family portrait from a recent walk on the beach.

In Case There Was Any Doubt

More cute on flickr.