Monday, July 23, 2007

Keeping the black knight at bay

Yesterday, our cabin was a war zone. If the soldiers were fish and they were shooting each other with more fish.
Sam was right. Going to Chitina to get the salmon is the fun part, even though it seemed like a lot of work at the time.
Saturday we filleted and wrapped and vacuum sealed for 10 hours. Fish slime, parts and pieces were everywhere. The dogs were going batty, smelling all the good smells but having that juicy salmon just beyond reach. We froze the heads and tails and fins to give to the dogs this winter, but I couldn't resist giving the each a taste as we worked. Before heading to bed around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, I made up two buckets of brine which we used to soak chunks of fish for smoking. Sunday, we smoked the fish for 10 hours after fishing it out of the brine and letting it dry for a while. We cleaned up outside and in and, I'm pleased to say, the stench is dissipating. The smoked fish is now in the fridge waiting for canning and pressure cooking, but not before we remove the skin and bones from all 300 chunks of fish. Oy.
Ruffles has been sniffing the yard where we were working. She knows the smell, but somehow she just can't find the fish. This morning I caught her eating rocks where we had emptied the fishy water from the coolers.
This weekend I also had an assignment for the AP. Last week I shot a photo for them of two local sisters who camped out in front of a bookstore for 11 days to get the first copies of the final installment in the Harry Potter series. Now, AP wanted to do national reaction story about the book and wanted to include the two sisters. They asked me to get photos and some quotes and colour to add the Alaska angle to the national story. There was one problem, however. By Sunday evening, neither girl had finished the book. It seems they waited 11 days for the book and then decided they were in no hurry to read it. I guess after sitting around for 11 days, now they had better things to do.
I interviewed them anyway, but I doubt it will make it in the story, unless the editors in New York find it amusing that they haven't read it after the 11-day vigil which garnered national attention. We'll see. I get paid either way.

Filet o' Fish. We've got about 70 salmon filets in our freezer. We had to buy a second freezer last week.

Processing station No. 1

We were glad for all the counter space.

To the smoker with you.

Sam's homemade smoker filled with fish.


Anonymous said...

I feel your fish pain. After 20,000 pounds of fish I am resisting the urge to eat fish. I think I am in the mood for red meat from now on.


Brown Eyed Girl said...

I can't believe those girls camped out for 11 hours and haven't read the book yet! (I finished it yesterday evening - COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.)

The fish looks...well...fishy! Enjoy! I hope the doggies enjoy it too.


Anonymous said...

Great fish smoker! How long has the smoker been with Sam?

AKbushbaby said...

I KNOW! Sigh. I couldn't believe it either. I mean, really. During the interview they kept saying 'I can't wait to see what happens' Really? You can't wait? huh.
Sam's had the smoker for a few years. He put it together himself out of parts and pieces. Handy guy, that Sam.

Anonymous said...

Thats one religion I could get into. Praying to the great smoker!

Patty B said...

Hey girl, it looks like you guys have worked really hard! Glad you were able to catch all those fish! I have really been enjoying all your blogs and pictures you have posted on there. Give Sam a hug for me!