Saturday, December 19, 2009

Never one to pass up a fecal story...I bring you yet another. Here are a couple of paparazzi shots of my neighbor, co-worker and probably former friend T-t-t-t-immy Debilt. What is he doing you ask? He is chipping 500...500 gallons of frozen crap.

Let me give you the backstory leading up to this very dirty you know this not something he does every week. About 4 weeks ago, his family, as they do about every month, filled that tank chuck full and as they do every month, called the guy in the village that hauls over a 500 crap tank on wheels with a pump to pump Tim's tank dry. Expect this time the pump truck was broken down. A part was on order. So Tim's family would have to do like the rest of us and use a honeybucket and dump dirty wash water out on the front step.

Now, if it was anyone else, we would all have felt really bad and tried to console them. But Tim has always liked to brag about his flushing toilets (he's the only teacher with a flushing toilet). Many times flushing it just so we all remember the sound.

Now, that brings us to today. 4 weeks later, many below freezing weeks later. I will admit, I do feel bad for the guy and after today I really feel bad. Because today, Tim decided to be proactive, maybe a decision he regrets. Fearing the tank was completely frozen in a huge 500 gallon ice cube. Tim got out his trusty ice chipper and starting trying to chip out chunks of flavored ice to pull out. He had boiling water ready to aide the melting process, but as it turned out water was not needed, as about 5 inches down he broke through the crust and the unimaginably happened. Like a geyser from hell, liquid sprayed out of the newly formed hole and sprayed about 10 feet up the side of the house. You can see the water spots on that first picture. To make matters much worse, Tim was at the time on that side of the tank and he was covered. I came out to check on progress, Tim was not excited as I laughed very hard. Someday, he will find humor in this story.


Tim got everything melted 2 days later just in time for the poop truck guy to come. The poop truck guy said that the part had not come yet, so he tried to fix the truck himself and it started right up. So...Tim got sprayed for nothing, which makes it all funnier.

***Update part 2***

The "Tundra Drums" called. They are a newspaper for out here and wanted to ask a few more questions for a story. hahaaha

Monday, November 09, 2009

River Running

Remember the video camera that fell in the river and sunk. Well the camera is ruined, but the video tape was still in good shape. So I did my best and made this little video for ya's. Enjoy

Friday, October 09, 2009

A little Marvin Gaye please...

Fishing is always better in the rain right? Some brave souls from Milt's class tested that theory with a trip up river this afternoon. Tim and I acted as school bus...I mean school boat drivers. First field trip I've been on with a boat. It was about 45 degrees and raining pretty hard. But we managed 5 or 6 miles up river to a good sized slough that was holding 30-40 spawning silver salmon. We caught 6 silvers ranging from red to rotting red, almost dead fish. Why you ask??

Milt has a big fish tank in his room with a compressor rigged up to keep the whole thing pretty cold. The last 4 years they have caught spawning silvers and harvested their eggs to grow in this tank. We got 2 male and 4 female salmon for today's love fest. We only used 2 males and 1 female for the harvest, but they will all be dissected on Monday by the class. If you think they go to waste after that, shame, shame. We had requests to catch more dead dying salmon for drying racks. When I got permission to publish the picture of the kids, a parent said to give her anymore salmon we catch. I can't imagine what those salmon taste like, but to each their own. hahaha

I am going to have Milt let me know when different stages of the eggs occur. I'll try to keep you all updated to the health of the fish. Last thought, if you were wondering, the surviors are released back in the river in the spring, no worse for the ware. Milt has this all ok'd with the Alaska Fish and Game and the kids just love watching the progress. Pretty cool class project.

Enjoy this little video. Put some slow music on...turn the light down low and watch the fertilization.

Monday, October 05, 2009

1st Annual Quinhagak Salmon Run 5K

Last Friday Quinhagak held the 1st Annual Salmon Run 5K. Despite the weather the run came off as a success. Aproxiamaltely 100 participants finished the course in the rain with a smile on their face. In addition to fun and prizes, the race strived to bring awareness to healthy habits. Big thank you to Sherry and Rachel for organizing the event. Big thank you to Quinhagak for coming out to support the cause. Start training for next years marathon!! jk

Camera Trouble

This video should be about 10 minutes longer, but we have a problem. Let me explain. Last Thursday, Quinhagak was experiencing one of its nicest days of the fall. Just gorgeous. Blue skies, warm, all you could ask for. Seeing as I don't have after-school on Thursdays, I decided it was a great day to make a video for everyone. I wanted to make a cool little video of the river and a red silver salmon. So I chronicled the whole nine yards. Emptying the 4-wheeler, loading the boat, bailing the boat, starting the boat, all things boat. Things were going very smoothly. I headed up river with the camera perched on a tripod filming the river as I headed up. I got tremendous, smooth video. I caught a fish, landed the fish. Filmed some underwater footage (which is above) and headed down river. I was super stoked to show everyone. Now, I should have packed up the camera and called it a day, but I thought some video of the boat riding downriver into the sun would be pretty sweet, so I left it up. About 5 bends down the river, I don't know what happened, but the tripod starting tipping and rocking back and forth. I tried to slow down, but it was too late. The whole kit fell into to river, and sank in slow motion.

I then spent about 45 minutes trying to fish the thing out of about 6 feet of water. I tried the oar, anchor, fishing from the bank, a huge stick, nothing was getting close. The current was pretty strong and I just couldn't keep the boat, retrieval device, and tripod in the same spot. Very frustrating. I knew the camera was shot, but I really wanted the tripod/ball back, so I kept trying. Finally, I hooked one of the legs with a fishing rod. I pulled the kit up and in the meantime, broke my fishing pole. haha. All I can do now is laugh. Worst trip of the year, but I got to get back on the horse. Hopefully this weekend will be dry, for a long trip up to the mountains. No need for condolences, I'm over it, please just enjoy my misery :-)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Last Weekend of September

The month of September ended in a good way. Steph and I made our way up the river for a night of camping. I doubled my personal mile best driving the boat. Pushing my self, Steph and the dogs up about 10 miles. No bottom dragging (the boat - not the dogs). The only mistake of the night was my forgetting the stove. So no Mountain House, only jerky and granola bars. It got pretty cold, my guess would be around 25. In the morning while packing, the snow actually started falling. The dogs were wet and shaking in the tent. They were a pretty sad sight. We didn't have any animal encounters, but Steph swears she heard hooves on the rocks around 3 in the morning. Moose?? There was huge beaver lodge on the opposite bank of the river and they sounded exactly like someone was throwing big rocks in the water when they slapped there tails. At first, I honestly thought someone was messing with us. But, you then quickly realize you are in the middle of nowhere, no stretch.

This morning then, Eric and I got up at dawn and made our way back up a mile or so higher than the place we camped (another personal best). We glassed for caribou or moose and then floated down with the boat real quite like, calling for moose. The moose season ends on Wednesday, so this was kind of a last chance day trip. We saw a few sets of cow tracks, but didn't see anything. They are in there though. Maybe a evening hunt is in store. Bear sign was everywhere. Really surprised we didn't see bear with all the sign. Sitting in some of these amazing places though, waiting for a big bull to show, I am constantly in awe. We feel blessed to be here and hope to stay a while.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goodbye Fall

That was quick. Wore the down coat this morning for the first time this fall. Tonight it's suppose to get down to 29 degrees. At least the bugs will be gone.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I took the boat out 2 times this weekend. No motor or boat issues, so it was a good weekend. Feeling more comfortable with the river. Gonna try going up a little higher this week. Maybe in a week or two, I'll try to follow someone up to the mountains. Here are a couple of shots for ya's.

Friday, September 18, 2009


A gas barge ran a muck here in the river. Actually about 100 yards into the river. They have to a make a right turn up the old channel to the loading dock and it looks like it got stuck making that turn. No real worries though, as things are pretty muddy down there. No big rocks or anything. I noticed it a couple of days ago and yesterday the coast guard flew right over the school. The kids thought a plane was hitting the school, they must have been pretty low. Well tonight the Anchorage Daily News was running a story about it. Read about it here.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner...Jerky

I turned down a moose hunt to finish this batch. Actually, I had to do it, the meat can't sit in the frig forever. Tim asked if I wanted to spend the night in the refuge, so we could do a few floats in the morning. One never knows, moose/grizzly are usually sticking close the river. Quiet floats are sometimes a great approach.

Turns out Tim decided not to go. He came over to watch the game and eat jerky. haha

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Boat is a GO

Look out rainbows (fish that is). The boat is setup properly and ready to hunt/fish. Bought time Jim.

I spent about an hour trying to move the stupid thing about 6 feet this afternoon, after someone (alaska west/random floaters) pulled my boat completely out of the water and then didn't push it back in for me. The sally I am, couldn't move that thing much at all. I had to use the winch and reverse on the 4-wheeler to get it half way. Then some locals gave me a hand. Thanks fellas. Going downstream feels really fast.

Wet waders and decoys

For the last 4 years I have been saying, "Decoys would really work out here, I mean no one is using them, they have to work". So...I finally bought a few and have been hitting the ponds with the ol' 2 shot. The fellas and I have probably gone 7-8 times and done alright. There is not much to hide behind out on the tundra or the edge of the lakes, but we have manage to decoy a few in. Alot of birds have come in locked up to see us and flare. I let the guy at the store, talk me into 2 3/4 shells over 3 inchers and still haven't used up the 2 3/4's because not much has fallen from the sky with those. A lot of shots over 30 yards and that small of shell/shot is probably just tickling them. If you would like to go, come on up.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Berries - Lots of Berries

Steph wants me to blog about all the berries she has picked. She is very proud of them all and neatly puts them in gallon bags and then into freezer. She slaps my hand when I try to take just one blueberry. Pictured: Cranberries. Nice job make something with them.

News and Notes

1. Silvers are almost done. They are getting pretty reddish out there. Haven't fished for them in while. The freezer is half fish, so that should do. "Trouts" as they are called are next. For a hilarious fishing video watch Rachel's video on her great blog.

2. Our good boss, Eric got all of us Lil-Stankers. That's what they are called. They are for sucking the life and smell out of the honeybucket. Work pretty well. Just don't take too long or the vacuum created might leave a hickey on your butt.

3. The 4-wheel trailer is 98% repaired. Only took me a few months. lol. Eric helped me fix the flats on two wheels tonight. A first for me by the way. I have grease in my fingernails. All we needed was a little slicky-slick (soap) as Alexie so hilariously pointed out. We had lots of opinions on what we were doing wrong. Soap was in the majority, so we got out the slicky-slick.

4. School Story:
Note: Little old, but pretty funny.

This year the district flipped the bill to have all the teachers come to Bethel for inservices. Quinhagak had 16 teachers and Eric in attendance. We got the schedule opening night and to Eric's surprise he had talk about SIOP(school's complicated), we are all newbies at this thing so he was mad scrambling to put something together. In addition, it was his first official meeting of the year. We have 3 new he wanted to impress. Naturally. What he didn't anticipate was we are all jerks. That morning I threw out the idea to give Eric the silent treatment at the meeting(I'm must be getting comfortable). To my surprise everyone was on board. Like, over the top on board. It was good to see. Quality staff. To me, it shows our adoration for our leader. So that afternoon, Eric was the last to arrive. Big mistake. We quickly finalized our plan and put our game faces on. We just stared off into space, looked at the floor, or looked the other way...while Eric came in and asked how the day was going. He mentioned we looked tired and said lets take a 5 minute break. We sat quiet. He wrote some things on the board and then again commented that we looked tried. We sat quiet, 16 strong. He tried to get us to take a break, but no one moved. So then he just started the meeting. He was obviously getting flustered that no was paying any attention or offering anything. Finally, Tim had to tell him, it was getting painful. He was not happy, but we were laughing so hard, all of us, that he quickly found the humor. Eric is very good at that. In all seriousness though, we have a tremendous staff. I don't want to say "best in the district" (I don't know who all reads this), but it may have been mentioned. We have a great time together. One big family. I have been around just long enough to know how unique this thing is.

Good technique Eric!

Monday, August 31, 2009


JT and I got in a little practice last week, just in time to perform at church. Unfortunately, his grandpa had passed away and he asked if a couple of us could play at the memorial service. I have had that mandolin for about a month and was trying to look up chords. Mac played guitar and sang, Rachel sang, and JT and I provided some foot-stomping. We played "I'll Fly Away". Folks at church seemed pleased we came and invited us to play in the future.

I hope to mix some guitar and mandolin together to use with videos in the future. So stay tuned.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Night in Quinhagak

Rachel, Steph and I went out for a night on the town and river. After Steph caught a rainbow and declared herself a master fisherwoman, I took the night off to learn from her fishing skills. Instead, I took pictures, picked raspberries, and cleaned the catch.

The two of them had a good night, catching that nice rainbow and 10 silvers. Plus, to top it off they found 9 lures in the snags along the river. Pretty decent night for them.

Friday, August 07, 2009

View from a riverbank

Photos by Steph in this post (Jim forgot to mention that)

New Toy

For my birthday I picked up a gift for myself. It is a cheaper fisheye lens, for your viewing pleasure. So to kick things off, a few fish photos with the new fisheye.

photo by Steph (above)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Here are a few pictures of the refrigerator that we turned into a fish and meat smoker. Tonight we did a batch of 4 silver salmon. I think in the future we could fit 6-7 fish in this thing at once. It takes about 9-10 hours to soak the fish in a brine, dry and heat the fish up, and burn 3 pans of alder chips. But it is worth it, tasty treats.