Blog Archive

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Let's Heal the Land

There are few places that one can go where the words Corona Virus or Covid 19 aren't heard now. It's a plague that has come upon the whole world. Turn on the TV and every news cast is filled from beginning to end with tales of sickness and death and fear. That's what newscasts do. They don't describe the everyday miracles that we enjoy. You don't hear about how many babies were born healthy this week, or that the sun came up again, just like it has since the beginning of time. Air is still free. Granted, air in some places is better quality than in other places.I'd much rather breath the air here in Hoonah Alaska than in Beijing China, but there still isn't any charge for it no matter where you live. There are still trees and flowers and deserts and beaches and everything in between. However, things aren't the way they were designed to be. Earth wasn't made polluted, with dirty air and streams. We made it that way by some of our practices. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be mining or logging or fishing or farming. God made us stewards over the earth. It's our responsibility to take care of it. In return we get to use the bounty of it. In the same manner, God doesn't desire for us to suffer with illness. When he created the Garden of Eden and put Adam and Eve in it, everything was perfect. There wasn't any illness or fear or hatred. They disobeyed the Lord, and it's been downhill ever since.  I don't believe that this virus that has become a world wide plague is God's doing. The bible says the thief( Satan) comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. It sounds like what is happening now. In this country we've gone from setting records in the stock market and having record employment in this country, to losing trillions in peoples retirement accounts and the possibility of millions of people applying for unemployment insurance in a really, really short period of time. In times of crisis, our priorities suddenly become more clear. We realize how little control we really have over our lives. We start to get serious about things that we should have been serious about all along. I'm preaching to the choir here folks. I've slacked off in my relationship with the Lord. I've allowed myself to slip- eating too much, gossiping, having hate filled thoughts about those I don't agree with. I won't go into the laundry list of sins I'm guilty of, that's between me and God.  I'm not pointing a finger at anyone, but I will say as a country, we have put God on the back burner. It's evident in our every day lives. The language we use, the shows we watch, the behavior we exhibit. This country is on a downhill slide and it could be that this Corona virus is a wake up call. It could be a blessing in disguise to get us to take a good look at our morals as a country. We've enjoyed an abundance of blessings for a long, long time, but I don't think our actions as a nation reflect an attitude of gratitude for the one from whom they've come. Let's use this virus as an opportunity to return to God. In the book of the bible, 2 Chronicles 7:14 it says, If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. I could be wrong, but I don't think he's calling everybody to do this, only those who are called by his name. That's not to say that we shouldn't all heed the call. If you aren't a Christian, there's no time like the present. Please remember the folks who are putting  their lives on the line in hospitals around the world. Pray that God will give them strength to endure, pray for the scientists who are working for a cure for this virus, for the politicians who are leading this country, that God would give them wisdom and a spirit of integrity, and for all those who are sick and suffering, that His healing hand would be upon us all and for this land, that He would fill us with His spirit and we would become the people he wants us to be, that we could once again experience peace and prosperity. God bless and keep you all.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Toilet Paper? Really?

Like most of the rest of the world, I've been watching this whole drama of the Coronavirus unfold. I don't know why it is that we've lived through the Ebola virus, the H1 N1 virus, the SARS virus without all the panic, but now the whole world is going spastic over this. I'm not saying that it isn't serious, but as of a few minutes ago, there had only been 72 deaths attributed to it in the United States. I can only assume that most of those deaths were of folks whose immune systems were already compromised. What worries me more than the virus, is the fear surrounding the virus. Fear makes it hard to make a good decision. A case in point is the rush to purchase mass quantities of toilet paper. Really? You're afraid that you won't have any toilet paper if the virus persists? Not only are folks buying toilet paper, but napkins and paper towels are flying off the shelf. A word of caution. DON'T use napkins or paper towels in your flush toilet.For that matter don't use rags, leaves or that shirt from Disneyland that you've outgrown. If have an outhouse out back, go for it, but if you use anything other than toilet paper in your indoor plumbing, coronavirus won't be the only thing troubling you. A plumber will most certainly charge you a bundle for coming to unclog your plumbing. IF he'll show up at all. This whole thing has everyone so spooked that I don't know what to expect anymore. I just saw a clip from New York's mayor Bill Deblasio or Blah Blah Bill if you will, suggesting that if shortages in the supermarkets continue, the government may have to step in and control how much each person can purchase at the store. Just what we need, the government telling us how much toilet paper we can buy. Are they next going to have TP police monitoring our use in the bathrooms? Fear as I mentioned, makes people act irrationally. The stock market is plunging because of fear. People aren't flying or going to theme parks or going out to eat because of fear. Restaurant workers and baristas and flight attendants are going to be doing without a paycheck to name just a few. Fear is like a giant organism feeding on itself, the more we feed it the larger it gets. Jesus said in more than one passage "Fear not." "What can you change by worrying?" If you want to change things for the better, start praying. If you aren't in the habit of doing so, it's a great time to start. Even if you don't believe it works, what can it hurt to try? You might be pleasantly surprised. In one passage of scripture God says- "If my people,who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, I will hear from heaven and heal their land." Sounds like a small price to pay for restoring this country. This is a perfect opportunity to see what we're made of. This too will pass, and we're going to be left looking at our actions to see what manner of people we are. This country has been through two world wars, a depression, a dust bowl, multiple deadly diseases and 9/11 to name a few. Let's not be undone by the coronavirus. Do like they say- wash your hands frequently, stay home if you're sick and avoid large crowds, but don't panic. If you are one of the many folks who have hoarded the toilet paper, I hope you also bought some groceries to along with it, because you sure won't need that TP if you haven't got anything to eat. I hope your roof doesn't leak or what you've put your hopes in will be soggy without ever being flushed.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Rock

 I went to the city office this past Monday and someone told me about a huge rock that had fallen into the road down by the tunnel. I guess rock isn't the correct word, boulder would be more accurate I suppose. In any event I'm glad that there weren't any people or cars running by when it decided to go tumbling. That might have made for a messy situation. It's kind of ironic that the mountain that this boulder came from was the subject of much debate a few years ago. The powers that be, both the local native organization and the mayor and city council somehow came to the conclusion that it was too dangerous for tourists to be walking by the tunnel. They feared that a rock might fall down and hurt someone. Of course that was never a concern for the local people  here. It wasn't until tourists started showing that there was any thought for anyone's safety. In any event, obscene amounts of money were spent blowing tons of rock off the side of the mountain, and as far as I can tell, it only made things worse. Now the whole side of the mountain is fractured and as you can see from the pictures above, on occasion, big slabs periodically descend upon the road. Frankly, I didn't see how they were going to move it. I'm not sure what it weighs, but I didn't believe the city had any equipment that was up to the task. I'm not even sure where they put it. I can only assume it was pushed over the side of the bank and will in time provide habitat for some under water creatures. I did a little research when I went to write this post. If you type in The Rock, several items come up. One is Dwayne Johnson, the big, handsome actor who used to be in the WWF for eight years. Aside from acting, he's also a producer and business man. I did not know that. The Rock was also a title for a 1996 movie  starring Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, and Ed Harris. I remember watching it. Something about terrorists taking over Alcatraz and using it as a staging area to blow up San Francisco. The most memorable part of the movie for me was a song involving Connery's daughter Jade. I love that name. Not surprisingly, the song was titled Jade. Lovely song.  I also checked out Rock of Ages. It used to be (and still is I suppose) an old hymn about Christ. It's also the title of a musical about rock bands. Interesting. Then I decided to take a look at the Rock of Gibralter.  Located on the Iberian Peninsula, it guards the entrance into the Mediterranean Sea. When I was in the navy we stopped and spent the night there. It's of major military importance. The rock is honeycombed with caves and is home to some 230 Barbary Macaques. They apparently aren't overly friendly. One article I read mentioned that in 2012 over fifty people were attacked by the monkeys. When we first arrived at the Rock we received a plan of the day which mentioned that the the apes were allowed free reign in the area, and that if one came to your outdoor table and sat on it and did all manner of uncouth behaviors, there wasn't a blasted thing you could do about it. They were protected. It also mentioned that there was a large gay population there. Not wishing to have a confrontation with either a monkey or a gay man, I opted to stay on the ship.  A few other interesting tidbits that I gleaned were that the rock is 1380 feet tall. It is part of Britain, having been won from Spain in the the 1700's;  John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married there in 1969; it was once considered one of the Pillars of Hercules, and there are no rivers or springs in the area. Until the 1990's an area around the Catalan and Sandy bays was sheeted over to be used as a catch basin for any rain, which was stored in tanks. Now it gets it's fresh water from de-salination stations. One last thing. Apparently there is a saying- no apes, no empire. The belief is that if the apes leave the area, Britain will lose control over Gibralter. And that's all I have to say about that.  I doubt that anyone is ever going to name the boulder that slid off the mountain The Rock of Hoonah. In fact if it's in the drink where I think it is, no one will even know it's there at high tide. If it's ever thought of, I'd like to hope that it would be remembered as Knucklehead Rock, as a tribute to the greedy knuckleheads who thought it was a good idea to mess with the mountain.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Red Flag Laws

 I seldom buy the local news paper, The Juneau Empire. I find it to be increasingly a liberal rag that I strongly disagree with. Like so much of what passes for news now, it's become more of a medium of left leaning commentary.  However, a week or so ago, I bought a paper because there was an article concerning the ferry. For those of us who live in Southeast Alaska, you already know what I'm talking about. The lack of ferry service has severely impacted us in terms of getting groceries and other supplies into the smaller towns which are serviced by the ferries. In any event, since I already had the paper, I figured I would see if there were any other articles that might be of interest to me. There on the front page was a picture of a teen aged girl and two women who I guess were mothers on a mission to pass a red flag law here in Alaska. I read it with concern and promptly sent an email off to my state representatives. For those not familiar with it, the red flag laws allow neighbors, family members or others to petition the court to have an individual's guns removed from them because the person feels that the individual may bring harm to themselves or others. Supposedly the guns are only taken temporarily, but you can imagine how that works out. I've read a little about the red flag laws, and on the surface they might appear to make sense. If you could stop someone from committing a crime by taking away their guns, it seems like a good thing. However, as Judge Andrew Napolotano, a contributor to Fox News mentions, the second amendment guarantees us the right to keep and bear firearms. If a person can arbitrarily decide that for whatever reason you might be dangerous and have your guns removed, it opens the door to chaos and no end of government control. The reason that we have a second amendment was to prevent tyranny from the government. If you look at places like Venezuela, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, China or any other repressive government, the every day folks don't have access to firearms. The government has complete control over their people because they can't fight back. If the Jewish population in pre-world war two had been armed, do you think they would have gone like so many sheep into the concentration camps? I don't think so. I understand the fear that so many people have concerning guns. Just today in Milwaukee there was a mass shooting by a disgruntled employee who had been fired. Whenever something like that happens, we want the government to step in and do something. I agree with the judge, if more people were trained in the proper use of fire arms and were armed, then there would be the ability to fight back. The reason schools and work places are targeted often is because no one is armed. If some of these creeps thought that someone might shoot back, I think they would think twice before attempting to start shooting up the place. That's what happened in a church a few months ago when some jerk opened fire on the folks inside and was killed by a member who was armed. It prevented a lot more people dying.  Let's face the facts, cars kill many more people in this country than guns. Should the government outlaw all private forms of transportation? Should we all have to travel in government sanctioned buses and trains so that we can stay safe? Freedom comes with a price tag. Obviously there are some folks who shouldn't own guns, but that shouldn't be determined by my neighbor or co-worker who has a beef with me. I read a book some years back about life inside a North Korean work camp. The people there were encouraged to watch their fellow workers and report anything suspicious to the government. These red flag laws smack of big brother tactics like those mentioned in George Orwell's book -1984. As the saying goes, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Though the intentions may be good, we're in danger of losing our freedoms should these laws become common place. As the judge mentions, if the government can violate this amendment, which amendment will be next? I hope you'll check out the app, Judge Napolotano's Chambers for a more conclusive and probably better explained view of this topic.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Bowel Scraper

 With the lack of ferries, we're starting to experience less variety on our grocery store shelves. There are still groceries there, although there are more and more gaps showing up. Today there was lettuce in the produce cooler. It had dropped two bucks to $6.09 each. I know it's ridiculously high, but at least they have it. It's hard to make a salad if there isn't any lettuce. Jan and I walked up to the post office last week and since we didn't have the stamina or the desire to walk all the way down to Hoonah Trading and then back home, we opted to shop at Brand X. The selection of cereal was a little thin. I didn't really want a bunch of sugar coated kids stuff in my bowl, and I'd already finished a box of Cherrios, so I decided to opt for the Shredded Wheat. I rather like the flavor, and it has the added advantage of lots of fiber. I'm not real sure what fiber is good for, but judging by the way that cereal sometimes catches in my throat on the way down, thus choking me, I'm going to assume that it does an equally good job of scraping it's way through my whole digestive system, thus making my large and small intestines clean as a whistle. I imagine that the way I've neglected and abused my body all these years, I would have to have three bowls of Shredded Wheat a day for six months or more to have any real impact. I would suspect that Triscuits, the shredded wheat of the cracker kingdom would have a similar effect. I guess I could have Shredded Wheat for breakfast, then wolf down some Triscuits for lunch and again after supper. Before you know it my bowels would be a thing of beauty. Years ago when we lived out at the farm, we didn't have any control over what we ate. We all ate together like some hippy commune, and the folks in charge of the menus came up with some doozies. I was reminded today of one of my first meals there- a hearty helping of bear liver mush. It looked as bad as it sounded, and tasted even worse. I got about half a teaspoon down my gullet before I realized that it wasn't fit for human consumption. I wasn't sure what I would eat if  I continued to live there; blueberry leaves and grass were starting to look like an option. At one point  we were eating wheat balls for breakfast. I didn't even know that you could buy wheat balls, but you could and they came in fifty pound sacks, like animal feed. Actually, they didn't have a bad flavor, compared to say, bear liver mush, but they were really tough to chew and they didn't digest well. They departed your body pretty much the way they entered, unless you had jaws like a lion and could break them down. I remember Jan feeding them to one of our kids who was still in diapers, and when she went to change her, the wheat balls fell out and bounced all over the floor like rubber cement. Eventually someone figured out that we could grind them like flour and it made a kind of pasty cream of wheat like cereal. I've mentioned before that there was one gal at the farm who had some kind of lower tract problems. She used to mix up a little bit of volcanic ash into a glass of water and drink it in an effort to get things moving I guess. Perhaps if she'd had some Shredded Wheat for breakfast her bowels would have been scraped as clean as a stainless steel pipe. In any event, I'm glad that there is still a little something to buy at the stores. The cereal I bought the other day was a whopping $8.00, but I guess beggars can't be choosers, and besides, it's probably a small price to pay for a sparkling clean colon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

  For the past few years Alaska has been suffering with a budget crisis. There hasn't been a state tax since I believe the first year I came here, back in 1976 or somewhere around then. When oil was discovered on the North Slope and Prudhoe Bay, the state was swimming in money from oil revenues. There was so much money that the governor at the time, Jay Hammond decided it would be a grand idea to share the state's wealth with it's citizens. Hence the Alaska Permanent Fund was born. It was a tremendous blessing to receive, and was doable because to this date I believe there are less than a million people who live here. So many folks find themselves out of work in the winter months because of the harsh conditions, so having an extra source of income in the fall really makes a difference. Some years back the price of oil started dropping, from over $100.00 a barrel to around $60.00 or so. The state for years has lived off that oil revenue,and when the prices started to drop, the legislature found itself in a bind financially. There was really a lack of foresight by those in charge and now the whole state is feeling the pinch. When the current governor ran for office, he promised to deal with the budget issues,and he  has. Unfortunately his plan has left the smaller, more remote communities in Southeast Alaska in a real bind. The Alaska Marine Highway ferry system runs throughout Southeast, and is the primary means of these smaller communities getting groceries and other necessities. For about three weeks we've been without any fresh milk, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese or any other items you might normally find in a dairy case. It's been about that long since we've had tomatoes and lettuce or cucumbers or bananas that aren't brown. I did manage to buy a green pepper the other day, but it was almost $3.00. It was a whopping $7.39 a pound. I bought a bunch of green onions today because I wanted to make Mexican Quiche. I paid $3.09 for six green onions. I guess I can't complain too loud, at least they had some. While I was at the store I looked for lettuce. There was none, which was just as well because it was advertised at $8.09 a head. I wouldn't have bought it anyway. Not having the ferry running in the winter is one of the worst things that can happen here. The weather has been horrible for the last few weeks, so flights in and out are few and far between. It's hard to order anything to fly over from Juneau because you don't know when the next flight might be and any perishable stuff could just stay there and rot. The other day I sat down to a bowl of corn flakes and had to put some powdered milk on it. It was the last straw. I choked it down and came to the office and sent off a letter to the editor. There is no reason in this day and age that we should have to suffer through a lack of ferry service. It's our primary source of transportation here. As I mentioned in my letter, if this were the height of tourist season, I can guarantee there would be ferries in and out of here. I invited the legislature to hold there meetings here in Hoonah. I'm fairly certain that after a few days of no fresh produce or milk or necessary medicines, the funding for the marine highway would be restored. When you're far removed from the pain of others, it's hard to be empathetic. What is really scary is that the lesson of putting all your eggs in one basket hasn't been learned yet. In my time here I've watched the boom and bust cycle here go from fishing to logging to the oil industry. Now there is a big push for tourism. As of right now there is a world wide scare over the Corona virus. How many folks are going to want to get on a cruise ship if they're afraid of coming down with that? I'm hoping that things are going to turn around soon. Frankly, I'm ready to move to somewhere that I can drive to the store and actually find what I'm looking for.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

I Got A Ticket!!

  When you read the title of this post you might think I'm all excited about getting a ticket. Well, I am, but not in a good way. See, it's not like a ticket to a basketball game or a lottery ticket or a ticket to travel across the country on a train, this is a traffic ticket. For the first time in my 51 years of driving, I've gotten a traffic ticket. Frankly, I'm really peeved about it. It was so unnecessary.  Six months ago my driver's license expired. For whatever reason the state doesn't send you a message stating that it's expired, you're just supposed to remember that after five years, you need to renew your license. Well, let me ask you, do you remember to drain some water out of the bottom of your water heater tank every year? In the fall do you change the filters in your furnace? Are you remembering to check the belts, hoses and filters in your car every time you change the oil? Do you change the oil when the manufacturer recommends, or do you wait until the idiot light comes on? It just seems like it wouldn't be too difficult for the state to send out a reminder every five years before your drivers license expires. I don't know, maybe I expect too much. Its just one of those out of sight out of mind things. My wife remembered though, and frankly, she's told me more than a few times to get online and renew it. Because we live in a remote Alaskan village where there is no motor vehicles office, we are allowed to renew online. Sounds great doesn't it? If only it was. Yesterday I finally remembered that I needed to get the job done. I got on the state DMV website and filled out all the information. I hit the send button and promptly got a message that my information didn't match the records the state had. I copied the info right from the license that they had issued me five years earlier. Thinking that I might have copied something down wrong, I entered the info again. Again the same message popped up. After the third time it happened, I looked up the link to contact them. There was a message from the state mentioning that due to the high volume of business because of the new Id's that the feds require, that the state encourages you to do your business online. Yeh.... OK... I sent whomever a note mentioning my problem. To my surprise someone wrote back and asked if I had put in my height and weight correctly. I responded that I had. Then they  wrote back and asked if I had entered my birth date correctly. I responded that I had. Then they didn't write back. I guess because it was Friday and they wanted to get an early start on the weekend. So I didn't get to renew my license online like I was planning and indeed was encouraged to. That was the beginning of sorrows.

Earlier this year when I was driving my "92" Silvarado, I heard a noise coming from under the shift column on the floor. I managed to drive it up to the only mechanic in town with a shop. He climbed underneath and saw that a rod of some kind that connects to the shift lever had come out of it's yoke. It was a mystery to him how that could have happened. Of course he'd never seen anything like that before. Go figure, if it's never happened before, it will happen to me. Anyway, he got it put back where it belonged, but after that I had no four wheel drive. I don't think it was anything he did wrong, it just happened. In any event, we've had snow for the past week or so, and without chains or four wheel drive, it's almost impossible to drive on the ice and snow. I couldn't even pull out of my driveway yesterday. My daughter is out of town so we're watching her two cats, and she said to use her car if we needed to. It has all wheel drive and gets around fairly well in the snow. Anyway, the cats are at her house, and the streets are really slippery, and not wanting to fall and end up in the hospital, Jan and I decided to drive my daughters car to the house to feed the stupid cats. I decided to drive out to the airport to warm up the vehicle. It was pitch black out, so I had the lights on. As I was returning to town to deal with the cats, a car was coming toward me. I shut off the brights, not wanting to be rude and blind the other guy. As it turns out, I shouldn't have been so courteous. The car passed me, turned into the driveway of the forest service  building and proceeded to turn on his red and blue flashing lights. It turns out that my daughter's car doesn't have low beams on the drivers side of the car. Sooooo... I got pulled over. Let me tell you, it's totally humiliating to be sitting on the side of the road with a cop car pulled up behind you with the lights flashing. To make matters worse, the lights are brilliant and reflect in the mirrors, blinding you. I turned the rear view mirror up so that it wasn't reflecting in my eyes, and ended up putting my hat on the drivers side mirror to try and save my sight, but I couldn't do anything about the passenger side mirror. To top it off, the traffic stop lasted in excess of forty five minutes.  It turns out that the cop's computer was running really slow. Of course, what else would you expect where I was concerned. I accepted the ticket when I finally got it, and let him know, just for future reference, that in the event that they have to stop any old guys, keep in mind that most of us are dealing with a prostate problem. That means after about fifteen to thirty minutes, we probably have to pee. As I explained last night, I know you're supposed to stay in the car during a traffic stop, but given the choice between peeing my pants and getting shot when I stepped out of the car to relieve myself, I was strongly leaning towards dry pants and a bloody torso. I was fortunate that I hadn't had iced tea for supper and had used the bathroom before we left the house or the night might have ended much differently. As I mentioned, none of it had to happen. If my daughter had her light fixed, I wouldn't have been pulled over. If I had been able to download the license as I should have been able to, I wouldn't  have gotten a ticket. As it is, I'm going to be out $95.00 just because we had to go feed the cats. Maybe I can start a go fund me page. I can use the money to educate police departments across the country about the aging population and the effect of age on the bladder. Any extra money can go to buy Depends for the baby boomer population for use on any road trips longer than fifteen minutes.

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Sinking of The F/ V Talache

  Last Friday I  got a call from my daughter who works at the city. She mentioned that her boss, whose brother is the harbor master said a boat had sunk in the harbor. When she asked which one, she was told it was the Talache. I'm quite familiar with that boat. Thirty years ago at the time I was buying the Bonnie J, two of my friends were also buying old wooden boats. It was what we could afford at the time. My friend Marlin Ryder bought the F/V Ricky Ray, and my friend Buffalo Bob Holden bought the Talache. He picked it up from a guy down in Sitka, who used to tack Masonite on the hull down by the water line so he could go fishing in the winter and not worry about ice cutting the hull. The boat was built with cedar from Port Orford Oregon. It is a double end troller, with both the bow and stern of the boat tapered. It's nice in a following sea, but it was a little narrow and tippy if it was at the dock. When the trolling poles were extended with stabilizers though, it was a fairly comfortable ride as I understand. At the time it was painted John Deere green with a black top house, and it looked sharp. It has a five bladed prop and I've watched it glide through the water without leaving a trace of a wake. It was quiet and smooth and could really catch fish. When Buffalo decided to move south he sold it to a gal who had some experience commercial fishing on her uncle's seine boat. She fished it for I think two years and for whatever reason lost interest. Eventually she sold the aluminum trolling poles to a fellow who was using wood ones, and when it became evident she was never going to use it to fish again, she sold the mast to me. Over the years she's lived off and on on the boat, although not so much in the winter in the past few years. I have to go past the Talache to get to my boat on the float, and for several years I've noticed that there was kelp growing on the bottom of the boat. I don't care to interfere,especially in other folks business, but when a problem can no longer be avoided, I open my mouth. I mentioned my fears for the well being of the vessel to the owner and was assured that a haul out was in it's future, but it never materialized.  It's been a number of years since the boat was hauled out of the water and the hull scraped and painted and new zincs applied. You can't neglect maintenance on a wooden boat, it's just the nature of the beast. Without zincs the fastenings that hold the planks on deteriorate and things like the prop and bow stem and rudder get eaten up by electrolysis. There are parasites called Torrido worms that eat through the wood  and leave holes. A friend who has a stall across from the Talache said at 3:AM the boat was floating, when he looked again at 6:00, it had sunk.  It's tragic to have such a fine old boat sink. I was down at the harbor the day it sank and saw one of the local guys diving on the boat trying to get a rope around it so it can be raised and pumped out. The weather has been so  cold and windy this past week though, that he couldn't dive again until it gets warmer. I told my friend Buffalo about the sinking and he mentioned that if memory served him correctly, the man he bought the boat from said that he had poured over a thousand pounds of lead in the keel for ballast. He was asking what would come of the boat, and if it was going to be trashed, he thought I should check on getting the lead. If that's truly the case, I'd love to buy the lead from the owner. I could have enough cannonballs to last me the rest of my fishing career. I'm not sure what's going to become of the Talache. Until it's raised and inspected to see the cause of the sinking I don't suppose much will be done with it. She had a Deutz German diesel engine in her. I'm not sure about the tranny. I suspect that neither will be salvaged, although I don't know. Since it wasn't running when it went down, maybe the engine could be cleaned up and used again. I'm sure any personal items- books, bedding, electronics are useless now. I can't imagine the trouble and money it would take to dry out the boat inside thoroughly enough to prevent mold, and I suspect if there wasn't money to do annual maintenance, there won't be money to put it into running condition anymore. To the best of my knowledge, they don't make wooden fishing boats anymore. One by one they're disappearing from the harbors, replaced by mass produced fiberglass or aluminum craft that lack the individuality and character that each old wooden boat possesses.  Much like the dinosaurs that once walked the earth they'll vanish and become just a memory in an old fisherman's tales or a picture in a book. There's no two ways about it, it's a real loss.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

'Tis the Season- Winter That is

 Those who know me know that winter isn't my favorite time of year. Cold air, snow, slush, frozen ground, frozen pipes, frozen hands, frozen equipment- not a big fan. I'm watching my friends' dog again while they're in sunny Mexico. Don't think I'd care to be there either- drug cartels, shootings, bad water. I pretty much manage to find something wrong with everywhere. Anyway, dogs need to be taken outside, for their sanity and yours, so I was taking my canine charge down to the park yesterday for a walk. We were having a good enough time; or at least he was. I'm not too interested in sniffing the deposits of my friends and colleagues, but he was in seventh heaven. As it was, another person showed up with their dog, and since Rabano doesn't get along well with any other dogs, and only a few people as far as I can tell, we took a hike down near the harbor. I was already having some difficulty walking since I woke up with an extremely sore back in the morning. Dr. Botts figured a walk might help it so I went out, not that I had any choice in the matter. Everything was going along fine, it wasn't too terribly cold and the snow had been plowed so it wasn't too deep. What I failed to notice, which I guess is reasonable since I couldn't see beneath the layer of snow covering the road, was that beneath the snow was a layer of glare ice. I managed to hit a patch and promptly hit the  ground. It's strange how a person can go from thanking God for a beautiful day to swearing as their head bounces off the ground. Fortunately I wasn't hurt, but I had noticed right before I bit the dust or ice as the case may be, there was  a fellow working in his boat close to where I was walking. Before I even took inventory of my physical condition, I checked to see if he was laughing hysterically. I know I would be. Apparently he was engrossed in the work he was doing and didn't notice my snow dance. At least my pride was still intact.  A student I once worked with came to school with a sweat shirt that said-"It's always funny until someone gets hurt- then it's hysterical." Truer words were never spoken.  I guess I can't really complain too much about this winter. Up until the first of the year we had only had a smattering of snow, and then it had all disappeared under the constant rain. Although I'm not a big fan of snow, I realize that it's a necessary evil in salmon country. Last summer the snow pack was pretty well gone from the mountains by April, and there wasn't much rain for weeks on end. I fear what the outcome of that drought is going to be on the salmon runs in a few years. I have to admit that the snow gives the area a certain beauty.It looks so clean until it starts to melt. I went down to the park and harbor and took a few pictures that I can look at if I'm down south and in the middle of a heat wave. I always feel bad for wildlife in the winter. I know that they are prepared for it, at least as much as they can be. When the snow gets too deep the deer go to the beach and eat kelp. I guess the ducks must gather either in the salt water or where the creeks flow still. We have so much fresh water here that there are times in the bays where the wind doesn't blow that ice will form on top of the salt water. I often wondered about how the ducks feet stayed warm, and my friend Chris Budke mentioned that the blood in their feet travels up into their bodies. Even so, it can't be much fun swimming around in frigid water. The ducks pictured in the two photos above are Bufflehead or Golden Eyes I believe. Both are fish ducks, meaning they have to dive under the water to find some chow. Oooooo.. the very idea chills me to the bone. Fortunately I don't have to live outside in the cold. As long as the power doesn't go out I'll stay pretty toasty. Looks like we're in for some single digit temps for the foreseeable future, so I guess it will be sweaters and warm socks inside and a prayer of thanks that I don't have to go out to use an outhouse anymore.