Friday, September 21, 2018

Harvest Time

All summer long Elias was reflecting on the orgy of potatoes that would await us on our return to Kodiak, his first attempts at growing his own doubtless (doubtless!) on their way to wild success. In spite of the fact that no one was at home to tend the garden.

Great thing about kids. The harvest was many orders of magnitude below the bounty of imagination, but Elias and Eric were overjoyed with what they got - one good meal's worth.

Luckily, it has been a completely bumper year for blueberries.

We pick and we pick, and still there are more.

And the silver salmon - Oncorhynchus kisutch. Their bounty has been all we could want, and we have  44 of the beasts safely in freezer and jars to see us through the dark months.

Carrie, Alisa's indefatigable partner in gillnetting, after another big day.

Any Alaskan resident is allowed to gillnet salmon for their personal use off the Buskin River, which is between downtown Kodiak and the airport.

So what did I do with the boys on the first weekend in a while that we didn't go gillnetting, since we finally had enough fish? Somehow I found myself talked into going to the Buskin River itself, to pursue that ridiculous enterprise of trying to catch a silver out of the river on hook and line.

We struck out. Gillnetting is so much more fun. But we did see another local who was out harvesting.

And, finally! We have our first deer in the freezer. And I got to reprise my favorite butchering photo.

This wild food is such a part of our identity as Alaskans. Why the heck else are we living here? Alisa and I ask each other time and again as we head out on some gathering mission or another. It all adds up to real work, these various efforts. But we're happy with the consolations of hard work, concrete rewards, and the promise of a long slow winter to come.


  1. Hi Mike, I was just reading your "Anchoring Like a Pro" article on Cruising World, and trying to learn from the pros now that we are outfitting our boat. You said you used an 85lb anchor, and G40 chain......but what about the windlass? What type/size/pull would you suggest? We are looking at windlasses now, and would love some input from someone who has real world experience. Thanks!

  2. It all looks so other-worldly. So good to hear your enjoyment in fishin', huntin' and life in general. And the bear looks happy too. We can report that Vava'u is much as you left it. Tell Elias that I am growing potatoes for the first time ever, with modest ambitions. One meal sounds just great to me!

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