Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Old and the New

I love this view - on the far left at the base of the mountain, the place I live now; the glint of blue halfway up the mountain above the house is one of the alpine lakes we like to visit; on the right in the distance you can see work and where I used to live, bracketed by Haystack Hill and the East Channel. In the foreground, of course, Chico and Goldfish, walking in the sunshine and admiring the fall colors. A collection of images, a collage of all the things precious to me on Unalaska, representing my life on the island . . . .

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Boys are Back in Town







F/V Early Dawn is in the process of making a brown king delivery this evening, they should be wrapping up around midnight making a late night for Goldfish to file the landing paperwork. It's always fun to go down to the crab chute and watch the unload, especially the first of a new season.

I'm off to bed, cheers everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2009

First Snow


Yes, snow . . . those of us up early saw a mixture of rain and snow this morning, and there is clearly "termination dust" on the tops of some of the higher mountains. It was chilly enough I briefly considered wearing gloves when I rode the Kawasaki to work. Good timing, I picked up a beater truck today for that brutal 2.5 mile commute in the morning, a '79 Ford, the last of the good ones (sorry Troy). Looks rough but runs great and it gives me an option when two wheels doesn't seem inviting and it definitely has "go anywhere" capability. Chico is very excited that we are putting the rear seats back into the Honda Element, turning it back into a people car, and not just a glorified dog taxi - he is pickup truck dog at heart, to be sure. Gotta get to bed, the first wave of furniture for the house is hitting the island tomorrow and I need my rest . . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Overcoming Obstacles



I was lighting a fire in the wood stove a couple nights ago and it was burning briskly (no shortage of tinder in a freshly unpacked house). I was just shutting the door to the stove when small bird shot through the flames and landed on my chest, clenching my sweatshirt and calming surveying the room. We've all seen panicked birds, trapped in places they don't want to be, crashing into windows, but this bird was different. After resting a bit on my chest, the bird flew around a bit, exploring. The picture I wished I would have gotten was when it landed on the kitchen counter next to a stack of books - all the books for the coming Book Club meetings - and looked for all the world like it was reading the titles. I was too busy running around, looking for something to catch it while keeping one eye on it, to think to snap the photo. Without a better plan, and given the very calm behavior of the bird, I just reached out my hand and picked it up. It didn't even struggle, it just looked at me while I took a couple pictures, then flew away when I opened the door, stood on the deck, and opened my hand.

I've thought about this bird since then, and how it obviously came down the chimney somehow, and faced with a fire elected to fly through the flames and into the room instead of away from the heat, back up the chimney. I can't help but feel there was a bit of a lesson there for me, maybe for all of us. When things got tough, the bird didn't panic. It embraced the experience, and it learned from it. Most importantly, it accepted a helping hand . . . .

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Hunt Continues . . . .



I've been scouting for berries with not much luck but I did catch the Goose landing over the Stimson tonight so it was time well spent. The berry situation is dire and I am heading to some other possible spots this week but have sort of reconciled myself to the idea there will not be the usual 10 gallons of berries in the freezer this winter!

On the home front we are just a few days away from being completely unpacked and there may actually be some furniture here before the end of the month. More tomorrow, have to walk Chico!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Different View

When I blogged from the company apartment it was always a trademark of mine that I would throw in a "View From the Living Room" post once in awhile, usually of something interesting happening in the East Channel.

You can see Chico and I have very different views now and I'm looking forward to watching the seasons change and exploring the surrounding mountainous terrain. I still stay connected to the ocean, even though we can no longer see it from the house; I work all day by the water of course but I also make a special effort to walk and ride near it when I can.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

End of Season BBQ




The weather didn't cooperate but we still had a great BBQ to celebrate the end of the "B" pollock season. Two 80 pound pigs were roasted with care on a spit for hours, basted with a secret sauce and quickly devoured, nothing left but a snout (which someone no doubt made soup with later). There were mounds of crab legs (of course), steaks, burgers, and hotdogs for the kids with cake and pie for dessert. It was nice to see the night and day shifts together for a change - now lets hope for some nicer weather so we can fly some of the crew home for a break.

After work today I took Chico for a walk on the beach at Humpy Cove. The salmon that were jumping in the cove when my brother was here are now clogging the creek and spawning with many spawned out carcasses littering the beach. I ate handfuls of salmonberries as we walked in and Chico ran with unfettered abandon, glad to be out of the car after an unaccustomed ride (we have been just walking him in the "backyard" since we moved to the house).

The wind was howling and the Bering Sea was angrily pounding the shoreline. I kept one eye on the huge breakers and one eye on Chico as he has a nasty habit of sneaking a bite or two of dead salmon, the more ripe the better. Like a diabetic grabbing a guilty bite of a donut, Chico will glance over to see if I'm looking and nip a quick bite - a practice he will continue long into winter when the fish are more leather than fillet. If it didn't inevitably upset his delicate digestion, then frankly I would let him eat his fill - I wouldn't want him to make me stop eating cheese, after all . . . . live and let live until it comes to dog vomit on the carpet, that's my policy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Spawn is On!

video

I've seen salmon choked streams all over this great state of Alaska and it never ceases to make me stop and reflect on the cycle of life. This is Illiuliuk Stream, or "Town Creek", and it runs right through town and empties into the Bering Sea right by work.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy . . .




Well, we are moved in and the phone, cable and utilities are all switched on. So many changes that I am still processing but Goldfish, Chico and I are very happy so far, even without much furniture (most of it is ordered and making its way slowly to Anchorage and then the island).

I attended a two week fire fighter recruit academy while we were packing and moving so tonight was the first night when I could pause and take a breath. I also had a birthday a couple days ago - Goldfish made an amazing peanut butter cake pictured above. Academy graduation also involved cake so needless to say my diet got a bit sidetracked . . . . .

Sorry for the absence but I'm back on-line and ready to get caught up with all my favorite blogs! Cheers and goodnight.