Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Moose v. Gardener: Insult to Injury

Exhibit A: Apparently, eating the broccoli and brussel sprouts was not enough. A young moose, judging by the hoofprints, decided to sample the swiss chard and collards in the wee hours, but ignored the kale.
I need to learn how to hunt with a bow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Oh Summer, Whereart Thou?

Above: Darla, at her former residence in Kasilof, prior to the Anchorage trailer park, prior to her new home in the Goldstream Valley. Note: We get an additional 50 CabinDwelling points for having a vintage, somewhat running automotive monstrosity parked on the property.
Don't be fooled by the lovely, warm summery days we've had for the last few days. Summer is on the ropes, which means it is time for an evaluation of The Great Big Honking Summer To Do List:
  1. Renovate the decrepit building on the property into a suitable house for chickens. Status: Incomplete, 0 chickens raised.
  2. In a related household compromise, build rabbit hutch and raise rabbits instead. Status: No hutch built, hence, no bunny killing required.
  3. Plant and maintain a decent garden. Status: Sort of. Plants were planted, some even from seed started here at the Compound, but not much has resulted, other than I've become something of an obsessive/compulsive weeder. But there is hope yet in the form of beets, potatoes and carrots.
  4. Build fence for garden to prevent reoccurance of moose caused brussel sprout calamity. Status: Poles are stacked neatly next to garden. 0 homegrown brussel sprouts and broccoli consumed by me, 5 plants consumed by the itinerant moose population.
  5. Pick a vast quantity of blueberries, raspberries and nagoonberries for winter consumption and some terrific blueberry daiquiris. Status: A whopping 10 raspberries picked; several quart bags of blueberries picked by S.O. and sort of in-laws; and, I now know what a nagoonberry is.
  6. Catch salmon this year. Status: 29 reds and a king, quyannakpak, a nice split between fillets, steaks and smoked fish.
  7. Catch halibut Status: S.O. got to go on a charter with friends; halibut vacuum-packed in freezer.
  8. Move freezer to back of house where it is less of an eyesore. Status: Moved. I accidentally unplugged it rendering the remainder of last year's fishing/gathering a pungent blue mess at the bottom of the freezer. Note: if you can't lift a freezer, it is possible to move it by duct taping it shut and rolling it end over end up the hill, through the trees, around the cabin. Also, it is no longer tilty.
  9. Even more razor clamming. Status: 2 trips to Ninilchik, ~ 260 clams in freezer. Dirt is still embedded under my fingernails.
  10. Cut, haul, split firewood for winter. Status: Incomplete. Damn, damn, damn.
  11. Build wood shed. Status: This isn't really necessary yet.
  12. Gravel the muddy path to house, outhouse. Status: Halfway there. I'm on it. Tomorrow, on the day off.
  13. Spray foam under leaky parts underneath cabin. Visqueen underneath. Status: Not even started yet.
  14. Put in window on second story where none exists. Status: Have measured hole in wall.
  15. Retrieve Darla from her home in an Anchorage trailer park. Status: Friend towed her up here, which was cheaper than buying the gas. Note: Darla is a 1970 Cadillac Eldorado.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

One More Item to Check Off the List of Things to Be Done, Lifewise


The Cake show at the Blue Loon last night was the best one I've ever been to, ever. I'm in awe.

Years ago, back when the reign of the cassette tape had not yet ended, I used to tell people that I bet that Cake would be amazing to see live. And I was right!

No pics as of yet, won't have any until The Brit gets gets back from caribou hunting, but just imagine hundreds of ecstatic, drunken, dancing Fairbanks people singing along to the show outdoors on a beautiful, late summer night. The Loon had a separate partition for the under 21 crowd, so there were a bunch of thrilled little young things who drove up from Anchorage, where the venues are not so enlightened. There was more body surfing on that side of the fence, and it wasn't that we were more lame on the adult side, but that body surfers tend to make you spill your beer.

Lots of my fellow Goldstream Valley CabinDwelling types were in attendance. I saw quite a number of friends, but it was so crowded that once you lost track of someone, it was pret near impossible to find them.

At one point, lead singer John McRae observed:

"Wow. You're like a medieval village."

The crowd wasn't exactly sure what he meant by that, but chose to take it as a compliment and howled in approval.

You know how cool Cake is? They even covered a Buck Owens' tune.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Everyone I know, apparently, is going to see Cake tonight.

Not that that means the show is sold out or anything. I don't know that many people.

But Yay! Cake has been one of my favorite bands since way back in the day, specifically 1994, when I made a cassette copy of the promo disc. Yes, we were still using things called cassettes, all you little young things out there. This was a time when IPods were not even around yet. Devices such as they were like jet packs or flying cars - something that one might read about in a geeky science magazine speculating on the future.

One of my favorite memories of that time, a kinder, gentler, pre-Dubyah one - one when I could still party like a rock star and make it to work, hungover and sleepless - is riding in the back of a pickup truck with a bunch of other drunken, smokey 20somethings listening to Cake's first album, Motorcade of Generosity, on a tape-playing boombox as we drove out into the country outside that boozy little town in which I used to live. Since it was a cassette - and this is something that will no doubt shock the little young things who think CDs are an archaic bit of technology - it had a second side. So when we got done listening to Cake, we'd flip the tape over, hit rewind, and listen to the other side, which had my other new discovery at the time, Afro-Peruvian Classics: The Soul of Black Peru.

The two albums fit perfectly. They fit the landscape, and the whole Gen-X thing as much as I despise that stupid stereotype, and the fact that it was summer and we were bundled up so as not to get hypothermic in the back of that truck. (It was summer on the coast, y'all.)

My first favorite Cake song was "Rock and Roll Lifestyle."

"Well, your CD collection looks shiny and costly.
How much did you pay for your bad Moto Guzzi?
And how much did you spend on your black leather jacket?
Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?

Now tickets to concerts and drinking at clubs,
Sometimes for music that you haven't even heard of.
And how much did you pay for your rock'n'roll t-shirt
That proves you were there,
That you heard of them first?

How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
Ah, tell me.

How much did you pay for the chunk of his guitar,
The one he ruthlessly smashed at the end of the show?
And how much will he pay for a brand new guitar,
One which he'll ruthlessly smash at the end of another show?
And how long will the workers keep building him new ones?
As long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones.
And how long will the workers keep building him new ones?
As long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones.

Aging black leather and hospital bills,
Tattoo removal and dozens of pills.
Your liver pays dearly now for youthful magic moments,
But rock on completely with some brand new components.

How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?

Excess ain't rebellion.
You're drinking what they're selling.
Your self-destruction doesn't hurt them.
Your chaos won't convert them.
They're so happy to rebuild it.
You'll never really kill it.
Yeah, excess ain't rebellion.
You're drinking what they're selling.
Excess ain't rebellion.
You're drinking,
You're drinking,
You're drinking what they're selling. "

Thursday, August 09, 2007

By Which I Explain My Absence: Insane Road Trip #3

Sheesh, it's been a while my peoples. Since I last sat my butt down and put some thoughts down on... God, I'm old. Does anyone else still think about putting their thoughts down on paper?

Yeah, since Chitina, and the frenzy of Foodsavering of fish, the smoking of fish, and other summer related stuff, all sorts of interesting thing have been happening, but I've had neither the time or the patience to sit down and put all my little rants into a post. It's summer, it's Alaska, and dammit, we'd better enjoy it while it lasts.

And dammit! I never got around to picking raspberries.

I say this because I can already feel summer waning. It got down into the 40s the other night and this great big sissy had to fire up the wood stove.

But, lest we forget, Bong Hits for Jesus!

So, the purchase of the Big Chief smoker has had an interesting effect on my household. Suddenly, the possibility of smoking all sorts of stuff is within my grasp: fish, moose, cornish game hens, cheese, etc. I was so overcome by the possibilities that when I happened upon a smoked clam brine I checked out the tide book and was compelled to drive to Ninilchik again to hit a really good razor clamming tide.

It was a fine trip, if a bit surreal in a sleep deprivation kind of way, and I introduced a good friend to the joy of digging razors. He's better at it than me. Bastard.

Ninilchik Razor Clamming Index:
  • Miles driven: 1200
  • Clams dug by me: 120
  • Miles per clam: 10
  • Miles per gallon: 29ish
  • Gallons per clam: Will someone who likes math help me out here?
  • Beers consumed: 23ish, I think. (It was kind of cold and blustery in a coastal way. Not so nice to hang out and drink beers. I had to switch to bourbon.)
  • Hours on road: 20+
  • Hours clamming: 3.5
  • Hours cleaning clams: 8? 10? It never ends.
  • My height: 5' 5.5"
  • My cohort in clamming's height: 6' 7"
  • Maximum height that a person sitting in The Soob can be and still manage to be comfortable (even with the seats pushed all the way back): 5'10"? 5' 9"? (Whatever it is, it is considerably less than 6' 7".)