Thursday, December 31, 2009


I guess this is the last post I'll be making this year. Like the title says this will just be a conglomeration of whatever comes to mind- I suppose it's not much different than most of my other posts. I've enjoyed doing this blog. I wasn't real sure where it was going or what it was going to be about when I first started. I don't know if I'm doing it right or if there is even a correct way to write a blog. Perhaps I should stay with one theme like the book or Alaska or the farm, but then, those are only parts of my life that have helped to shape me. Consequently, I end up writing about baking custard pie and friendships one time, and commercial fishing or walking with my daughter another time. It's all part of who I am and writing this gives me a chance to share some of my life with those who, for whatever reason, might be interested in what goes on in this part of the world.
I was out walking with Jen again the other day and happened to have my camera with me.This is another shot of Port Frederick. I've caught more than a few kings right off the reef that juts out, back in the days when I was fishing out of a skiff. Of course it was low tide when I took this picture. I guess I've probably lost a little gear here too when I got too close at high tide. It's a natural gathering place for the fish though and sometimes you have to take a chance to catch them. What you can't see from this picture is that there are a number of small sea creatures that cling to this reef. There are small,hard-shelled limpets that resemble a China-man's hat, barnacles, crabs and a dark,leathery animal called a gumboot. They are the same color as the reefs that they cling to and can be difficult to spot. They're edible I guess, though I've never eaten one. It runs in my mind a couple of the fellows from the farm got stuck on the beach once when they were out hunting and their boat went high and dry when the tide went out. I guess they found a can and started a fire and cooked some gumboots for lack of anything else to eat. They must not have shot any deer that day. Anyway, the fellows said the gumboots were really chewy and not that tasty in their opinion. I guess they could have done as well if they had found an old neoprene boot to cook.
Down the beach aways, to the left, where the tunnel is, I understand that there are octopus that hide in the crevices. The old timers used to flush them out with a tube that they poured bleach into. I'm not sure if they wanted to eat them or use them for bait. To the right of the reef where it gets less rocky I know that some folks dig clams. This week,with the full moon, the high tides are real high and the low tides are minus tides, so if a person has a mind to go clam digging, this is the time to do it. I like digging them, I just don't like eating them.
If the weather warms up tomorrow, I may grab Jan's metal detector and wander down to the cannery during the low tide. Back before it was a tourist attraction, the cannery actually canned fish- tons of them. I'll do a little research and write about it a little more on a later blog. Anyway, at one point there was a net house on the beach where the seine boats stored their nets all winter. Apparently it burned down and they lost all the nets inside. Over time a lot of the leads that were used to weigh down the seine got covered with sand and gravel and whatnot and it's quite a lot of fun to run the detector over the beach looking for them. I keep hoping I'll find something really valuable like gold, but to the best of my knowlege it doesn't occur naturally on these beaches and Hoonah isn't the kind of place a pirate would come to hide his buried treasure, so I have to be satisfied with seine leads and steel boat parts and the occasional brass ring.
Well, my coffee is cold and it's about time to take the dog out so I guess this will have to do. I don't know how it is that before I sit down to write I can have all manner of interesting things I want to share, but when it gets right down to the writing, the thoughts have evaporated or I just can't find the correct words to put with the idea. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and more addle brained or if it's a lack of discipline on my part for not writing down something when it comes to me. I could write volumes after I turn off the light to go to bed. The rest of my body wants to sleep but my brain wants to wake up and party. What the hell- it's not tired. It's been resting all day.
For whatever reason I'm reminded of a passage in a book by Anne Lamott. She has a friend whose morning prayer is "Whatever" and whose evening prayer is "Oh well" . For some reason it seems appropriate to end the year with that. So I will say Happy New Year! God Bless us every one. See ya next year.

1 comment:

  1. Tom,
    It's been fun reading your posts... Brings up good memories of the days in Hoonah.
    Looking forward to hearing from you in 2010.