Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Visit from North Dakota - Part 5

That afternoon while I went to work Trevor hiked to the lake above the house, pretty much a "must see" for visitors.  He had a great time, saw some new foxes, and took some good pictures.

This is the view "over the top" from the ridge to the right of the lake.

That evening I introduced him to the joys of a belt-fed, automatic firing Nerf gun.  I think we have solved the mystery of where he learned to make gun noises with his mouth . . . .

Please don't tell Goldfish we turned the house into an indoor firing range . . . .

That night we feasted on a four cheese macaroni and cheese casserole that Goldfish pre-made before going on vacation and put in the freezer for us . . . . ohhh man, heavenly.  In our family, we we have a thing about mac and cheese.  My Mom made the ultimate mac and cheese, I can remember shopping with my Dad for "Coon Brand" extra sharp cheddar when I was little when Mom was going to make one.  Mom passed away in '94 and Dad found a wonderful woman to share his life with, and I cringe to admit it but one of the yardsticks we - by we, I mean me and my 3 siblings - used to measure her as a woman and a step-mother was her ability to make mac and cheese.  The years would go by and I would say "Wow, great mac and cheese, almost as good as Mom's!"  My Dad has been married to her for 13 or 14 years now, and it was just a few years ago that I finally told her it was "just as good as Mom's" - the poor woman is a saint, of course the mac and cheese was every bit as good as Mom's from the very beginning, we just had to love her more each year, and she had to patiently let us.  Our commentary on her mac and cheese was a metaphor for love, only realized upon looking back.  From this experience I did however learn a valuable lesson - there is no point in being so stingy with love when I have such a big heart, and the very first mac and cheese that Goldfish ever put on the table was proclaimed "as good as Mom's" - so there is hope for me in my old age . . .

The next day Trevor hiked the Ugadaga Bay trail, first bicycling up Overland Pass Road to get to the trailhead.

Ugadaga Bay Trail connects the Bering Sea side of the island, where we live, with the North Pacific Ocean side of the island, and it has been used for thousands of years as the best and easiest way to get from one side to the other.

The trail follows the valley carved by this stream and sometimes get a little close to the edge of the stream bank . . . .

And there is Ugadaga Bay . . . the "other side" looks just like this side in most ways; what makes the hike special for me is thinking about all the other folks that have used the trail.  It is rare to see anyone else when hiking almost anywhere out here, so it is easy to slip back in time.

On this night Trevor made spaghetti sauce - he has always made great spaghetti sauce, it is one of his gifts to the family, it may have even played a role in the wooing of his wife for all I know.  This was the first time he made one "island style" though, with giant scallops and king crab meat instead of chicken or hamburg.  Wait a minute, is he giving me the stink eye in my own kitchen??  Cheeky monkey . . . .

Ohhh yeah, gotta love it . . . all over a nice multi-grain pasta.

It turned out great and I had leftovers to last me until Goldfish came home from vacation.

After this point, the photographic record of his visit gets a bit sketchy as someone left the camera memory card in the Wii after we reviewed the day's pictures, and my camera doesn't have any on-board memory.  This would be the same someone who came out here without a camera, just to throw a hint out there.  Anyways, we didn't just play with Nerf guns (and I will say this - the person who lost at the Nerf gun range in the living room did better at the real gun range), we played lots of cribbage, we explored a cave and a wreck, we attempted to play Wii golf and watch a movie, there as a Crystal Head involved at one point, and we had some wonderful conversations.  A wonderful family friend dropped off a blueberry pie with ice cream to supplement our rations - I thought I made decent pie crust but I now realize how far I have to go to perfection.  We made some homemade ice cream and made huge banana splits and ate them while we watched trash on Spike TV.  We had to change his ticket twice due to fog canceling flights, but alas, he eventually returned to home and responsibilities in North Dakota, starting a new job on the Monday after he left.  For a father, there is really nothing more rewarding than having sons who are also great friends, and I am so proud of both of my sons - and I hope my Dad knows what a great friend I consider him to be!  Miss you guys, love from the island!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Visit from North Dakota - Part 4

Trevor and I camped out one of the nights he was here - I mean, there isn't anything more father and son than that, right?  The evening started out very wet, so the fire was a challenge and getting up the tent was interesting . . .

After we got the tent up, we retreated to the car to warm up and access whether our plan was going to work - we had a massive seafood cookout planned, and driving rain was going to put a huge damper on things.

The rain let up a bit, and we decided to go for it - I got some seawater boiling and marinated the sockeye salmon while Trevor cut up veggies and made shish kabobs for the grill.  We were pretty soaked but started to slowly dry out as we worked on our feast.

I don't own a pot big enough for an 8 pound red king crab - my canning pot doesn't even begin to do the job - but we still got the steam going and got it done by switching it around a couple times.  After it was ready, I shucked all the meat out and lightly sauteed it in a large frying pan to get some buttery goodness going.  With all the other food, even with two big hungry camping boys eating there was lots of crab left over for spaghetti sauce, but that is another post . . . .

The kabobs are ready!  Cherry tomatoes, peppers, and huge scallops - great job Trevor!  The salmon turned out great, baked in foil with a little olive oil and some spices.

If you have never cooked gigantic Bering Sea scallops like marshmallows around a campfire, you're really missing out!  We snacked on these while we waited for the salmon, kabobs and crab to be ready.  

After eating like kings, we slept like dead men and awoke to a pretty nice day.  Trevor put the tent away while I changed the flat tire we got on the way in the night before, and we headed home where I showered and went to work (of course) and Trevor headed out solo on some more adventures . . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Visit from North Dakota - Part 3

Oh yeah, not only did Trevor forget a camera and a hoody, he also left his belt in Fairbanks where he attended a friend's wedding.  I apologize to any long time blog readers, who in addition to seeing him doing a snow angel wearing just a sock a few years ago, now have to witness his plumber's crack . . . .
Okay, the pants are pulled up, this was taken at the pass, looking down towards Summers Bay.

Trevor drives a Lincoln, or a Cadillac, or some such nonsense with very low miles on it in North Dakota so I had to acquaint him with the virtues of a island beater truck.  Yes, that rope actually is holding the bumper on, now that you mention it . . . and it is no coincidence the truck bed looks like it has been beat with a logging chain . . . . runs like a champ though!

I had to go to work the next day so the boy headed out with the camera.  It was very foggy with very limited visibility from the top of Bunker Hill . . .

He got some good eagle pictures . . . .

A ground squirrel . . .

The he walked the beach along Little South America . . .

Hopefully discovering that a foggy day can be just as beautiful as a clear one, just in a different way.  Pretty good pictures son, not bad for someone that travels without a camera and has to bum one off their Dad . . . .

When he got home he discovered Paw Paw attending to his personal hygiene on the front step, maybe making himself a little TOO much at home . . .

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Visit from North Dakota - Part 2

Well, what we have here is one 25 year old male pretending he has a gun, making machine gun noises with his mouth.  Watch your step son, back up a few feet and it is 900 feet straight down to the beach . . 

Ummmm, I'm not sure what we have here, but that isn't going to keep me from posting it up here for all his friends to see.  I mean, I know where he is - inside one of the bunkers on Ulatka Head - but I'm not sure what he's doing . . . .

Introducing him to one of my favorite thinking spots.

Reflecting on the vastness of the Bering Sea.

For some reason we both thought this was utterly hilarious . . . we still do, actually.

Lupine in bloom always makes a good foreground.

We decided this one looks like a face, and pouring the concrete must have been interesting, right on the edge of the cliff.

This is kind of our joke, we call this spot Rhino Point, and there is no way a picture can convey the precarious situation that Trevor is in while he is posing.  Another one of my favorite spots.

We managed to get a few pictures of ptarmigan before the camera batteries died.  Speaking of cameras, let me note that my son came out to visit me without the two essential items needed to have a successful visit - a sweatshirt (known as a "hoody" in these parts), and a camera.  Seriously, he made the trip out here, sure to be a once or maybe twice in a lifetime event, with no camera . . . . . maybe the photography gene skips a generation?

Camera or no camera, it was sure great to spend time with him, I am incredibly proud of the young man and father he has grown to be!

Visit from North Dakota

It's been tough going without precious Goldfish for three weeks but I did have a little consolation prize in the form of my youngest son, in Alaska to attend a friend's wedding in Fairbanks, flying out to the island for a four day visit.  I've got a bit of posting to do to catch up on his visit - he is the guy in the black shirt and shorts in the photo below.

On his first day we headed up the road to Ulatka Head.   On the way up we stopped and watched the Dunlap boys doing a great job of parallel parking.

A quick thought on having company visit here on the island - it always takes a day or two to synch up with whomever is visiting.  When my brother visited, he noticed I was often preoccupied, worried about work piling up at the job, worried about whether the weather will cooperate when it comes time for him to fly off the island . . . this place is in many ways a different world, and just like we are out of our element when we leave the island (I distinctly remember how terrorized I was when I brought a rental car onto I-5 in Seattle on my way to visit my niece after being out here for six months where the speed limit is 25 mph), it takes a bit to adjust the island life to fit company.  I am truly blessed in that all the folks we have brought out here over the past three years - my brother, my sister, both my sons, Goldfish's mother a couple times, and her brother - all have great attitudes, and take the island at face value for the truly wonderful place we know it to be.

Okay, let me post this and get some more photos uploading . . . . cheers!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Belated 4th!

Unalaska Fire/EMS spent the evening of the 4th on fire and EMS watch.  In the process of blocking the road to thru traffic during the fireworks, we also had a great vantage point to watch the festivities.  Earlier in the day I drove the ambulance in the parade but forgot my camera.  I'm sure there are plenty of photos from the parade and activities on all the other blogs though!  It was about 11:30 PM when I took this photo - still plenty of summer light, even though the days are slowly getting shorter.

Captain Sandness had plenty to keep an eye on as the size and number of beach bonfires grew, parachute flares floated into the housing areas, and some sort of Japanese lantern with a fire for lift tumbled like a tumbleweed down 6th Avenue.

Scott is taking a break from flying to spend the summer on the island.  He is a fantastic EMT, and we're glad he's running with us again for a few months.

As always, the fireworks became more vibrant (and easier to photograph) as the night got darker.  When the fireworks started at midnight, it wasn't really dark enough . . .

But by the time they wrapped up, the lighting was perfect!  It was amazing to have great weather for the 4th, usually there is lots of low lying fog this time of year.  All in all a wonderful day!

In other news, my precious Goldfish flew off the island for a three week vacation on July 2nd.  I spoke with her today and she was on a road trip with her Mom and friends to Dawson City.  She also took Chico with her so the house is super quiet, and the foxes are getting mighty bold without Chico to maintain the boundary.  Come home safe sweetie!