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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bringing in the New Year-Kodiak Style

New Years aren't a big deal for Patrick and I and he agreed that it was fine if I went to dinner with Karen and Jeremy this evening. Bless Patrick's heart. He agreed to put the kids to bed and everything tonight!
Jeremy, Karen and I went to (newly opened) Angelos in hopes of some dinner before the 8PM fireworks. Karen and Jeremy had never been there before and I wanted them to try their calzones.

We got there, ordered calzones and noodles. And waited. And waited. Good conversation was had, but still waiting for food. 1 hour after arriving we still hadn't received our food and Karen saw the people next to us who arrived after us get their food. I asked the waitress to check on it, as the restaurant wasn't at all busy...she came back and said the order had been misplaced and it would be another 20 minutes before our food would come. Which would put our wait time at close to 1.5 hours.

At this time, it was 7:30 and we were nearing Kodiak Fireworks Showtime at 8:00 PM. Jeremy had been invited to a Fireworks New Years Open House at a local friends house, so we opted to just head there for some snacks. Word was that there would be great fireworks viewing and food by Joel and Martine.

Upon leaving Angelos, the owner/manager was trying to apologize, I believe. But what she said was, "Sorry, but we're serving half the town. You weren't the only ones who were waiting."Interesting, because half the town definitely wasn't at Angelos. She must've been talking about takeout.
As customers, I think we were waiting for an apology such as "Hey, we're sorry we messed up. Here are some breadsticks for you to enjoy while we get your food" ...or something along those lines. But nadda. They weren't doing much to try to make up for their error. ( but hey-At least they didn't charge us for the diet coke and wine.)
Anyhow...It felt good to just move on to a great fireworks party.

The spread of food was fabulous, the hosts were gracious and the view of the fireworks was perfect. I must say, Kodiak put on quite an impressive fireworks display. Word on the street is that it cost $6000. Its nice to see a display actually go without a hitch because so often the fireworks are cancelled due to rain and fog. Tonights cold, crisp weather was just perfect. It was a blessing in disguise that our food never came at Angelos because there was so many yummy treats which we wouldn't have enjoyed, had we arrived with full stomachs. Everything happens for a reason.

We cheered in 2009 with The Times Square Crowd, which was perfect for me. Got to see Hilary and Bill dance together. Now I can go to bed and not feel like I missed a thing!

My new camera

Yesterday I got a brand new digital camera - a waterproof Pentax W60. It replaces my old Pentax WPi10 that I dropped on my ski tip during the Christmas bird count. I shattered the viewfinder screen, and while it stilled worked I feared it was on its last legs. After three years of hard use, 20 thousand pictures, and use as a toy by my kids its service is over. It did pretty well.

Today I got to use my new camera. This morning I made movies of the kids - amazing the quality of the video on point and shoots these days. The video is better than that of my old video camera. And this afternoon I took it skiing. The pictures are much higher quality than with the old camera (and 10MB vs 6MB file sizes). It also has a feature where it creates the panoramic right after you take the pictures. I have posted 2 of these from my ski on Pyramid. About the only thing I do not like about the new camera is the poor battery life. I seemingly never had to recharge the battery on the old WPi10 - it lasted days on one charge. But the new battery seems to run down a bit quicker - perhaps all the new bells and whistles need more battery power. Guess I'll have to buy some extra batteries for trips out into the field.

As regards the snow on Pyramid; it was not as bad as I thought it would be. I even found seams of powder in the South Bowl. But in general it is pretty wind blown and bumpy. I think I'll stick with the cross country skiin on Island Lake for the next few days. Patrick

Trees and wind

After the recent windstorm I've heard a lot of people worrying about falling trees. It sounds like they see the trees in our neighborhoods as a hazard and not a benefit. As I see it, trees are our first line of defense against the wind - our 'shock troops'- and we should view the trees that fell with reverence. They died protecting us from the wind.

Every time I go for a walk to the park from my house I am always amazed how windy it gets in the gaps where people have cut down the trees. And then once I get inside the trees at the park, after braving the tree-less-wastelands outside the park, it is so calm and still - and yes even warm. It makes complete sense that Sitka Blacktail deer prefer to winter in old growth Sitka Spruce forest.

Neighborhoods with trees are nicer places to live. There is far less wind and it is a more beautiful place to live. It's not a coincidence that home values are higher in neighborhoods with trees than in those that lack trees.

So next time you see a blown down tree in your neighborhood - stop a moment and reflect. The wind blew a tree down. The tree did not fall down. And rather than cutting trees down out of a misguided sense of making our neighborhoods safer, we should be thinking of ways to protect our trees from the wind. We should be building our houses and neighborhoods among the trees and not out in the open. Patrick

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Holiday Season comes to an end

Last night marked the final holiday party of the year. The Eufemios holiday party-complete with 18 foot high tree, balalaika players, delicious spread of food (the baked ham and beans are always Patrick's favorite), and lots of kids running this way and that - even dancing holding hands in a big circle while the balalaika players played. It has become one of my favorite holiday traditions.

This year Nora AND Stuey were wholly entertained for the solid 3 hours we were there.There were lots of toys which were new to them, books and Roxann. (In fact, when it was time to leave, Stuey threw himself into a series of back arches and everyone watched as I made a beeline for the door---I looked like a professional baby wrangler, if I might say so myself....)

This year, there were close to 30 kids at the party and the different age groups of kids would race from one area of the house to the next. Nora played a lot with CeCe and Katies daughter. During the live holiday music, Nora and Natalie held hands and swayed back and forth. It is so fun to see the beginnings of friendships and social interactions with Nora. Stuey alternated between playing with a little doll stroller and this big 4 wheeler type of truck. I joked with Patrick...."Its all over now---he's going to want a four wheeler for his 2nd birthday...."



Nora dancing among the kids with the balalaika players in the background.
Stuey peeking in the kids tent.
The rocking horse, a big party favorite amongst the kids.
Stuey with the sought after doll stroller and Nora joining CeCe on the rocking horse.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Video of wind blown spray

As promised, here is a video of yesterday's wind in Kodiak. Complete with me getting blown over. I still do not think it does justice to the force of the wind. I wish I'd video'd the waves in Monashka Bay or the trees falling into the road. Patrick

Scary Wind

Yesterday Kodiak experienced some serious wind. At the airport for a while there it was blowing a sustained 55 mph with 75 mph gusts. And that's at the airport which is slightly protected from the west wind by the bulk of Old Womens and Barometer mountains. Elsewhere (like in Monashka Bay or in the pass to Antons) I bet it was blowing over 100 mph.

Just after dawn, Nora needed some 'time away from the house' and we went for a drive. It was scary. In places the wind almost blew the truck off of the road. Then on the way home we went down Otmeloi and as I watched 3 huge spruce trees fell over the road right in front of us (if I had not seen them start to go and stopped the truck they would have fallen on us!). Nora did not like this and wanted to go home immediately - smart girl. We turned around and flagged a truck going the other way, we warned them about the trees, and as we watched more trees came down. We might have saved the other truck from getting crushed.

Back home I worried about the trees around our house. I could see the trunks flexing all the way into the ground and the ground around their trunk was even moving. Very scary. Later I drove to a protected lake to go cross country skiing and saw trees down all over town. About 10 trees were blown down by the Baptist Mission - huge root balls up in the air.

Down at the harbor I was impressed with the gusts of wind hitting the breakwater. The wind blown water looked like blowing snow as it curved up and over the breakwater (I have a video I'll try and post later). I tried to take a panoramic that showed the force of the wind, but it fails miserably. It does show how the breakwater protects the boats from the wind, and how all the wind blown salt spray is coating everything with a layer of rime. Today it is much less windy - time to pick up all the wind blown trash about the yard! Patrick

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas day yesterday ended well but started off a bit rough.

The kids woke up at their usual 5:30ish, climbed into our bed and hung out for a while. I suggested, "Hey Nora, wanna open your presents?" Patrick wasn't thrilled with this idea, as his idea of a good Christmas morning was more presents. So I blew it by suggesting the presents because then Nora was completely excited about it. We did end up eating breakfast first and the kids managed to wait. Next year I think I"ll do the stocking thing so they have a little something to open when they wake up. Now I fully understand the purpose of stockings. :)

Christmas day brought good books and clothes to our family. I think our family got the drift about no plastic toys, no toys of any kind and definitely nothing with batteries--Patrick's blog post about toys said it all.
Patrick got the book, "Kill it and Grill it" by Ted Nugent from Anne and Dan. Hes been reading me quotes from it the past day. Ted has many thoughts and ways of butchering an animal that Patrick really agrees with....especially the part about how a butchering party should be a family affair and kids should grow up seeing and appreciating the process of properly processing the meat from an animal. We completely agree. It'll be fun to try out one of the recipes from it soon.

Midday we took a walk outside with the kids and then proceeded to take a LONG nap. Which I very much needed-just ask Patrick. I think we all slept for 2 hours. Just Heavenly. Upon waking up, we took off to Mike and Roxann's for a fun filled, food filled dinner. Mike made an amazing pork dish which had a wonderful pesto sauce for the top as well as scallop ceviche. (BTW He and Gregg make the BEST ceviche ever.) The kids all played really well--more and more, the adults are able to sit back, chat and enjoy ourselves as the kids run around entertaining eachother. A little intervention here and there is needed from us, but for the most part the kids are beginning to go on cruise control. Yeah!

A fun day it was. And I"m so thankful to be safe and sound in Kodiak this holiday--especially with the 80 mph winds we're having today. Theres no place like home, theres no place like home...


Roxann and I working on cleaning up the mess...
Roxann and Mike at the Christmas day table
Stuey with his box of packaging...which he played with for a good 45 minutes--better than any toy!!
Stuey and I looking at books on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Christmas Catch

Here's a blast from Christmas Past. Photos from Zoya and I's first Christmas together in 2000. The top photo was our first holiday card. You know your relationship is serious when you put out cards together (I think I still sent out a few 'dead animal' cards to close friends). We met just prior to Christmas 1999 at Jenny Steven's Christmas block party. So I always associate Christmas with meeting Zoya. My best present ever.

And yes, for all you super observant post readers, that is not Zoya in the bottom photo, but her sister Ella. We spent that Christmas (December of 2000) in Homer, and then Ella and her sister Anne came back with us to Kodiak for New Years. Ella had just moved back to Alaska from San Diego. Patrick

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looking Forward to a low-key Christmas

I"m looking forward to a low key Christmas. Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree sits tilted in the living room with just a few presents under the tree from family. Patrick and I didn't buy anything for the kids. Between various family members, they'll have a nice little bunch of presents to open.

For the first time since Patrick and I have celebrated Christmas together in Kodiak, we're not having dinner here and I"m so excited for the break!! Roxann and Mike invited us over to their place--it'll be fun to have the kids all hang out together and to not have to prep our house for a dinner.

This comes at a perfect time, because frankly-I'm zapped.

With working 40 hour weeks, teaching spinning and doing so much business start-up work I"m ready for some down time. Next week I have carved my schedule out so I only see clients 20 hours during the week--and on Jan. 5th, a part time office manager will help. So there is MAJOR light at the end of the tunnel. Adrenaline has been pulling me through for 6 weeks but now I"m feeling the effects of all the energy dispensed to my new venture.

That said, I love every minute of my work. I'm energized by the physical place-its quiet, calming. I'm excited to see my clients every day-to meet new people. The lady, Becky, who does my medical billing rocks. She is so organized and has great ideas on how to best set up the office. And she is a whiz with the medical billing program she had to set up. (If it had been me, the computer would've been thrown out the window a loooonnnnggg time ago... :) I am completely 200% loving having my own PT business and am through the worst of the set-up phase, I believe.

2009 will arrive, the dust will be settled and I"ll be a happy camper...


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Today Winter Solstice brought some sunshine to Kodiak.It was sunshine I didn't even realize I needed until it arrived so beautifully at 10ish this morning!

Patrick, Nora, Stuey and myself walked down to Mill Bay beach. I promised my sister Ella I would take advantage of Mill Bay Beach more often, as it is so close to us. And so we did-and enjoyed every moment. Stuey sat and played in the sand. Nora pretended to make soup with the cups and spoons we brought. The sound of the surf was so relaxing---and a big surf it was. The sound of the waves crashing against the beach is one I never get tired of...


Some photos from the trip...

Whooville Trees & First Tracks

For the past week or so it has been pretty dismal in town - temperatures in the 30's and rain. But it has been dumping down snow up high. Above about 700 feet we have received around 2 to 3 feet of new snow. And better yet - it's the heavy stuff that will not blow away.

Yesterday I went up with Dale N to find ptarmigan for the Audubon Christmas bird count. We did it 'old school Audubon' style with shotguns. Afterall, the only way to tell the difference between a Willow and Rock ptarmigan is if you have both in hand - and they are TASTY too. We saw 26 ptarmigan and 23 of those are still flying around. Jack Withrow will take the 3 we collected (sans meat) to UAF where biologists are trying to determine if Kodiak ptarmigan are genetically different from the Rock and Willow ptarmigan found on other Alaskan islands.

Anyway, it was dumping down snow and all the snow had weighed down all the spruce tree boughs. Dale commented that they looked like 'Whooville' trees - like the ones in a Dr Seuss book. I like the description - see top photo of Dale with shotgun and trees loaded down with snow.

Today I went up at dawn and had Pyramid Mountain to myself (bottom 2 photos). Nothing like first tracks after a big storm. I skied the North Bowl and it was good, but when I went home via the South Bowl it was spectacular. Sunny, warm, calm and no other tracks but mine. The kind of powder where the harder you bounced the deeper you sank (bottom photo). Unfortunately, the snow changed consistency in about 3 turns around 300 feet up from the road. Heaven to Hell in 3 easy turns. I did a serious face plant. Patrick

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Canned Salmon

Imagine what Alaska’s fishing industry would be like if Americans ate as much canned salmon as they do canned tuna. And why don’t Americans eat more canned salmon? The answer to the latter question is obvious to anyone who has ever opened a can of commercial grade, canned salmon – with all the skin, bones, and smell it’s more akin something you would feed the pet cat than something you would want to pop open and eat for lunch. Perhaps this is why the market for canned salmon is so poor – and the only people who can stomach the stuff are elderly Brits (a group not well-known for their epicurean tastes).

I know I was dead set against canned salmon, until one day on a whim I opened a can of Fields Wild Salmon ‘premium’ sockeye. I was shocked to find that it was actually pretty darn good stuff. Zoya and the kids liked it too. It even inspired Zoya and I to start canning our own salmon. Now we regularly eat canned salmon, and we supplement our own supply with the store bought Fields Wild Salmon brand. It compares favorably with our own (it is pretty darn good stuff). It got me thinking why isn’t all canned salmon as good and could the canneries put out and market something even better? I think they could.

A few years ago Zoya and I visited my college roommate in Costa Rica. Tomas runs a tuna canning company. We got to visit his plant on the coast at Puntarenas, and, expecting a run-down, third world operation, we were shocked to find a state of the art canning facility. A canning facility that makes Kodiak’s plants look third world. And they are – Kodiak’s canneries are basically doing the same thing with canned salmon that they did 50 years ago.

The Costa Rican facility was so high tech my friend would not allow us to take pictures of the machinery and operations inside for fear his competitors would see it and he’d lose his competitive edge. I found out that he has been canning silver salmon from Kodiak in glass jars to sell in high-end stores in San Francisco. He told me that Ocean Beauty puts the frozen fish in a container and sends them to his plant in Costa Rica because none of the Kodiak canneries have the ability to make such a high end product. Sadly enough, he has since stopped using Kodiak fish and now uses Chilean farmed salmon because he could not get enough fish from Kodiak to meet his demand. What’s wrong here?

Moving the subject back to Kodiak, why don’t we have state of the art canneries? It seems that lately the fishing industry has been moving to improve fish quality with ice water in the holds etc. But those improvements really don’t help much if you’re still canning the stuff the same old way. The improvements do help with frozen filets etc, but can you imagine how much bigger the market for Alaskan salmon would be if people started to like eating canned salmon? And to be honest, good canned salmon blows canned tuna fish away. I know my kids prefer it. Patrick

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Time

The Holidays are in full swing and I'm enjoying our lights up in the house and our ornament-stripped-tree. Our version of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Stuey kept taking all the ornaments off so rather than have it be a problem, our tree now only has a strand of simple white lights. My saying, "Less is more." This year it goes for the tree, too.

Today I was home sick. I think I got a watered down version of what Nora and Patrick had. It is my first sick day at my business--not bad for 3 months of being open. The good thing is that people are very understanding about rescheduling-as the crud has really been hitting lots of people in town. I sent Stuey and Nora off to their day programs as I laid in bed and wished that I could gather energy to get something accomplished. It didn't happen. Instead I dazed in and out of sleep and watched the trees and rain outside. Big storm today.

Reading Patrick's last entry about him being home with the kids lots made me sad. Made me feel like I"m not doing my wife/mom duties well enough. He reassures me that this isn't the case.
He is such a great dad and husband and has really been doing 110% as I have been working more lately. I can only hope I convey my appreciation for his attention to the kids after work. So often I come home at 5:30, there is dinner warm and ready to eat and the kids are running happily around the house. He hasn't complained about the added responsibility at all. Bless his heart. My goal is to work 20ish hours after the new year, then I'll have time to do dinner prep and take more time with the kids in the morning.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kodiak Landscapes

Yesterday Zoya asked if I could pick out some Kodiak landscapes to put up on the wall of clinic. So I went back through the years and found some 'blasts from the past'. I decided that since they are to be blown up large, and the detail would not look too great that I should just turn them into dry brush paintings in photoshop. I think they look cool. They do not look any different from the original at a distance, but when you look close you see an impressionistic painting.

Top photo is of the mountains reflecting in Upper Olga Lake in early May. Middle photo is Zoya's picture of a mountain goat taken on an Audubon hike with a point and shoot that had no zoom - she got REALLY close (we'll make a bowhunter out of her yet). Third photo is of the mountains behind the antenna field reflecting in the outlet to Buskin Lake in early December. Finally the last photo is one I took last weekend of dawn on Sheratin. Zoya likes the last one because it's just like the logo for her clinic. Enjoy. Patrick

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

House Husband

Lately, Zoya's private physical therapy practice has taken off, and, more and more, I've been a house husband. I'm still skiing and getting to work, but more kid and house duties in the morning and evening have been falling on me. Babysitters have been our Godsend during the middle of the day. Every evening I find myself feeding the kids and waiting for Zoya to get home. It seems appropriate that I take over the 'how the kiddos are doing' blog posts.

Today Nora starting throwing up at around 4 AM, and right now I am staying home from work and nursing her back up to speed. Daddy's helper Megan is helping with Stuie. Stuie got up with the rest of us at 4 AM and is feeling a little tired and acting 'needy' this morning.

Photos: Top - Nora's bed on the couch this morning. Middle - Stuie and Nora trying on their Xmas hats (if you click on it to enlarge you will note that I turned it into a 'dry point' painting in Photoshop). Bottom - CeCe and Nora playing on Mike and Roxanne's window seat. They pull the curtains and it becomes their little house.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sheratin at Dawn

Today I went skiing a little earlier than usual and watched the sun rise while I climbed Pyramid. I could not stop taking pictures. And believe me - in reality the dawn light was far richer and more sublime than it appears in my photos. My little point and shoot met its match - a true light show. North bowl still had good powder on the face. Patrick

The Joys of Photoshop

When is too much of Photoshop a bad thing? I've been wondering about this lately as I've been using Photoshop more and more to fix up photos. I believe photos should be 'real' and reflect reality as accurately as possible, and I try and tweak my images in Photoshop to achieve this goal. However, more and more I've been using Photoshop to fix up 'bad' images. Images that a year ago would never have seen the light of day. For instance, these two of Gregg skiing yesterday in the North Bowl on Pyramid. While 'compositionally sound', the originals were all washed out, blurry and grainy because the light had been low and I used the rapid fire shutter on my camera which creates much lower quality images. So I played with them in photoshop and turned them into 'dry point' paintings. Now they look pretty good - but have I gone too far? Note that they both have a different color balance. I think I like the top one better. Patrick

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Perfect Saturday

Recipe for a perfect Saturday
-1/2 hour of sleeping in. Thanks to Patrick for occupying kiddos.
-1 hour of putting up christmas decorations, singing O Christmas Tree over and over again, and watching Stuey scheme how to pull down ornaments.
-5 minutes of watching Patrick chop down our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on the cliff and "add on" to its trunk so it would be big enough to fit the tree stand.
-1 hour of time with Mary Jane before my party began this afternoon. I always enjoy doing last minute party preps with her...
-2 hours of time with fabulous girlfriends. Yummy spinach dip, salmon dip, baked brie, chocolate fondue, variety of delicious drinks. Plain old good, fun conversation with awesome women.
-Many moments looking at the full, striking moon high in the sky.


Photos: Jenny, Adelia and Theresa
Myself, MJ and Balika
Jenny, Roxann, Peggy, Kelly, Jessica and Shannon
Mary Jane and Balika

Skiing under the full moon

What's that? A big ball bouncing down the side of Pyramid? No - it's the full moon at dawn. And while I did ski under a full moon - I did so at dawn and not at night. However, I do remember skiing on Pyramid at night under the last full moon of the last millennium - no headlamp needed. But today Gregg and I just headed up for a simple 2 hour tour. Nothing too exciting. The snow is surprisingly good. We even found some powder in the north bowl. Patrick

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good Goat Sausage

Eighty six pounds of mountain goat meat, 38 pounds of pork shoulder, 12 pounds of pig fat, 12 pounds of water and about a pound of spice - add sweat equity and you got 149 pounds of goat sausage. That's a lot of sausage!

Annually, the 'goat grind' marks the end of the Fall hunting season. Just as the 'Deer liver, new potatoes, and beets' feast begins the season in August, the 'goat grind' ends it in December. We've all stopped hunting deer, elk, goat, and reindeer, and there is nothing left to grind up into sausage or burger. It's over, and our freezers are all well stocked. Patrick

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Deer liver with bacon and onions

One of the best things about hunting deer is the opportunity to eat fresh deer liver. Nothing else with the exception of seals has a liver to match a deer for its sublime taste (and I guess I better specify that I am talking about 'Kodiak Island, Sitka Blacktail' deer). I think my favorite meal of the whole year - one I look forward to all spring and early summer - is the liver of the first deer of hunting season (usually during the first week of August). It has become a tradition in our house to accompany this meal with the first new potatoes and beets out of the garden. It's the kickoff of my annual subsistence season.

Good deer liver starts with butchering the deer, and I believe this is why you can't just buy good liver. It has to be fresh and well taken care of - you either have to do this yourself or trust a good hunter to do it well. I always carefully remove the deer liver making sure not to puncture the gall bladder or contaminate it with anything untoward. I then immediately cool it and wash it off in a nearby stream. I take my time with this and the liver always bleeds out a lot of blood.

Next is to get it home as quickly as possible. Once home I put it in the fridge in a bowl of water with a lot of salt in it, and leave it there overnight. This soaks out more of the blood and gives the liver a more mild flavor. Once it has been soaked in salt I pat it dry with paper towels, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate on a plate (cause it might still drip a bit). It's ready to cook. I generally try to cook it within two days.

What is needed for the meal:

At least 1/3 of a good sized deer liver or a whole yearling deer liver
1 cup of good sherry or madeira
1 packet of quality bacon (I prefer the thick strips)
4 or 5 medium sized onions (chopped into strips across the grain)
3 handfuls of flour
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of seasoned salt
5 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
2 large cast iron skillets

How to:

1) In one skillet cook the bacon over low heat. While in the other skillet cook the onions in half the oil also over low heat. You are caramelizing the onions and trying to create chewy, yet crunchy bacon and high heat is not the best way to do either. Take your time with both the onions and the bacon. The natural sugars in the onions actually will caramelize and burn a little. Near the end of the process (about a half hour) I generally add about 1/2 cup of sherry. Some people even add sugar to help with the caramelizing. I hope you know how to cook bacon.

2) Mix all the flour together on a plate with the spices. Basically, you are making seasoned flour so try whatever spices strike your fancy. On a cutting board slice the deer liver into thin slices (@ 1/4 inch thick). Try to make the slices as uniform in thickness as possible. Dredge the slices in your seasoned flour and set aside to cook later.

3) Remove the cooked bacon from frying pan and place on a paper towel on a plate. Pour all of the bacon fat into a glass or gravy boat. Then clean the frying pan (remove all the burnt bacon etc) and return to heat on the stove. Get this pan good and hot and add some of the bacon fat back to the pan 2 tablespoons or so, and maybe another 2 tablespoons of canola oil.

4) Once the oil in the frying pan is good and hot (sizzles when you touch liver to it), quickly add 4 or 5 slices of liver. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Maybe 45 seconds on each side. You want the liver to be pink all the way through and not grey color of high school cafeteria liver, and remember that it will continue to cook after you remove it from the skillet and place on a platter. Once you have cooked all the liver, 4-5 slices at a time, de-glaze the pan with 1/2 cup of sherry and scrape up all the good bits and pieces and pour this liquid over the liver on the platter.

5) Serve the meal immediately. No one likes cold liver. Serve everyone 1 or 2 slices of liver with a few strips of bacon and a good dollop of caramelized onions. Try to eat each piece of liver with a bit of bacon and onion on top. This meal goes together as a whole. Enjoy!


Photo: The liver slices, onions (I added some sliced bell peppers for variety) and bacon after step two in the above process. I took this photo earlier tonight. Both Stuie and Nora scarfed down their liver, and even Zoya had a slice.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Homer Weekend Visit & Ferry Ride

Today Nora and I returned from Homer on the ferry-after a fun 3 day visit. The ferry ride over was as SMOOTH as could be, and the ferry ride home was the exact opposite. Oh Joy.

Nora is so fun to travel with-she has her fathers organizational skills and loved helping me pack here in Kodiak. She was very thoughtful about which clothes to bring and helped pile everything into the bag. She went to the spare bedroom and knew exactly where to get my suitcase from. Upon arriving on the Kennicot cabin room, she immediately pulled her blankie out of the bag and was way into getting into her bed.

In Homer, Cathy and I took her to the Nutcracker performance, which was the first auditorium performance Nora has ever been to. She sucked away on her binky, twisted her head to watch all the action and even got up and did a few pirouttes in the aisle. She also loved clapping when others clapped. Her enthusiasm and smiles for the show were contagious.
The one on one time with Nora was good for she and I. I have a better understanding of her, as she does me. And I think Patrick has a better understanding of Stuey.

Nora got sick on the ferry ride home-poor thing. 22 foot seas proved to be too much for her little system. Fortunately, as soon as Kodiak city came into view, the waters were calm and her appetite returned. The trip ended with us sharing an order or chicken strips and fries together. All was well.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Sheratin - Mountain of Many Moods

Judging by this photo taken yesterday afternoon at around 2:30PM, it is hard to believe that less than 3 hours later the mountain was socked in with clouds, leaving a team of workers setting up a cell phone tower on top stranded.

All day yesterday as I hunted deer down below I listened to the helicopter going back and forth to the top of Sheratin as the workers went about their business of setting up the cell tower. On my way home in the kayak It was flat calm but I noted that the top of Sheratin was already wrapped in fog and that the helicopter was circling and seemingly trying to land. I thought to myself - 'oh well, I guess they'll have to climb down on their own'. And thought nothing more about it. If you look at yesterday's blog post photo of my kayak and the water on my way back you will notice how calm and beautiful it was (@ 3:15 PM) - how could anyone be in real trouble on the top of Sheratin? But look in the distance and you will see the approaching clouds. The storm came in unbelievably quickly, by the time I got to the Anton Larsen Pass on my way home (@ 4:45 PM) it was already raining and totally socked in with fog.

By dawn the winds on top of Sheratin were approaching 100 MPH (sustained 40 MPH at the sheltered Kodiak airport), and it was snowing hard on the top of Sheratin. The barometric pressure dropped almost an inch and a half of mercury in 24 hours (29.8 to 28.55). Right now there is on ongoing rescue operation to get those guys off of the mountain. I am praying for their safety.

What a capricious mountain - in my photos from yesterday she looks so beautiful and serene it's hard to believe she'd already changed her mind. There's a lesson there, and I'm hoping I've learned it. Tonight I'm saying my prayers for those caught on her flank. Patrick