Friday, July 16, 2010
The Dog Catcher
Finally! I was successful in getting the pictures to upload or download or whatever it is that they do. I tried to do this blog a week ago, but the pictures wouldn't cooperate. Whine, bitch, complain. Anyway, if I don't hit the wrong key with my clumsy fingers I'll get this blog done tonight. For the past few weeks I've been pretty much hanging out over at Homeshore fishing for Dog salmon or Chum salmon as they are more properly known as. I doubt many people would pick up a can of dog salmon at the grocery store. They probably wouldn't snag a jar of Humpy either. Sounds like an add for a geriatric sex product or something. However, most moms wouldn't thing twice about buying their family a nutritious can of Pink salmon. To most fishermen here though, we refer to Pinks as Humpies, a shortened version of Humback salmon. They're named that because of the pronounced hump that the males develop as they get closer to the streams where they spawn. It's been really nice on the one hand, fishing so close to home. the down side is that I end up going home frequently at the end of the day so I don't get back out fishing until half the day is over, or so it seems. I did spend a few nights out though, although the anchorages at Homeshore are non-existent in my opinion. Without fail it seemed like some version of a Westerly was blowing every time I had determined that I was going to spend the night on the boat, meaning I had to find a more suitable harbor. I spent several nights in Spasski Bay where these pictures were taken. It's a lovely, protected harbor. The down side is that it's across Icy Straits, so I have to run at least an hour and a half to get to it. That's about how long it takes for me to run to Hoonah from Homeshore, but I know from experience that if I go home, I'll end up staying up late and watching Star Trek re-runs and news and maybe Jay Leno and I'll be too tired to get up early and go fishing. What an undisciplined buffoon. Oh well. I did an interview with Adam Greenwald for an upcoming book about the local fishermen. His father, Robert, homesteaded Spasski back in the early 1900's. He was quite an industrious fellow. He married a native gal from Hoonah and together they had fourteen children. At the time there were multitudes of canneries and salteries all around the area. Refrigeration hadn't been invented yet, so almost everything the workers at the canneries ate was salted or canned or dried. Robert bought a fifty foot sailboat called the Arc, and went around to the different canneries and inquired about them purchasing fresh eggs, meat and produce. Of course they were more than happy to give him the bussiness, so he proceeded to raise cattle and chickens and various vegetables and fruits that he would deliver to the canneries in his boat. In the winter he dug out a pit for snow that he had the kids tamp down with their snowshoes. If I understood correctly, the snow was mounded up like an igloo and covered with moss from the surrounding woods to insulate it. He dug out a doorway and steps and a hallway in the snow and had large holes on either side of the hallway to store quarters of beef to keep cool in the summer. He was quite an impressive man. He figured out a way to determine which chickens were laying. He bought a bunch of half inch paint brushes which he dipped in India Ink and strung on a wire in front of the laying boxes. The chickens that were laying had ink on their tails. Those that didn't have were bound for the stew pot. I wouldn't think of that in a hundred years. I guess some guys were born with certain gifts and others are born to admire those who have been so blessed.