Monday, July 23

Busy Busy Bee

Goodness is summer flying by!  I've been busy busy busy the last three weeks with projects and trips.  Here's a bit of what I've been up to:

Rudder and I spent a good chunk of time in the car driving to and from Fairbanks.  He was thrilled, obviously.

Worked super hard while we were at my parents house.  Ya know, hanging out in the hammock.

No really, we did do a good bit of cleaning while we were up there.  After all, that was the main purpose of our visit! :o)  Look at the grout.  I'm on my way to being a professional grout cleaner I tell ya!

I came home to a finished roof!  Woo to the hoo!  Unfortunately, there was still a substantial amount of trash from the roof redo, so that was on the clean up list.  So was tending to the plants (who sadly have suffered from my frequent trips to the 'banks... sniff sniff).

I finished up some online coursework for my Alaska certification classes... (with some freshly made nut butter to snack on of course!  That's normal right?)

Kevin came back, and we made many a trips to Lowe's.  Lots to return from the roof, things to buy for the shed, cart rides for Rudder...

We worked on the shed quite a bit.  Roof was put on, walls up, windows hung, door made and put up, some of the trim put up...

Not quite done yet, still more trim work and finishing touches to do, but it's looking cute!  :o)

Then we drove up to the Denali Highway (yes, below is a picture of what is considered a highway) to do some camping and scout out the area for moose and caribou hunting.

After two nights, we upgraded from a 2 person tent to my parent's RV.  Ahhh heat!

We met my parents in Chitina for a couple days.  We did a bit of just hanging out in the RV (Thank goodness they had it!  It was crazy windy for two days!), and made the 59 mile drive out to McCarthy and Kennecott Mine.  It was only 59 miles in the Jeep, but it took just over 2.5 hours, and with four people and two dogs (one of which is rather obnoxious in the car, ahem, Rudder...) my dad described it as a "once in a lifetime experience" mostly because he only cares to do it once in his lifetime.  :o)   It was a neat place though!

We walked around the old Kennecott Mine and "town" of Kennicott.  Ahhh rust and dilapidation!  My kind of place.  :o)  Neat history and engineering too!

Kennecott was an old copper mine, supposedly the richest copper concentration known at the time.  You can still see some small bits of copper in some of the rocks around the mine.

It was a bit gloomy that day, and sometimes looked a bit eerie.  I liked it.  :o)

On our way out, we walked through McCarthy.  Bitty little town with awesome personality.  We walked around and stopped for dinner.  Dinner was deeeelicious!  I had a pasta with a pumpkin seed pesto, squash, and parmesan cheese.  I'm going to have to try making a pumpkin seed pesto...  My guess is it is a pesto, but with pepitas instead of pine nuts?

View of downtown McCarthy.  It reminded me of a smaller Talkeetna, and I love Talkeetna.  :o)

You have to go across a footbridge then either walk or take a shuttle into town/the mine.  I liked their "traffic signs"  :o)

The produce was CHEAPER than in Anchorage.  I couldn't believe it!  They only get their mail twice a week, and yet they still have good looking and cheaper produce.  Lucky ducks!

So, after McCarthy, Kevin and I went fishing for red salmon on the Copper River.  Most people use 4-wheelers to go in to the fishing spots since it's the old railroad tracks and is a bit rocky and hilly.  Kevin and I went via bicycle.  The cart didn't fit onto his axel, so I got the pleasure of being the cart sherpa.  :op

It really propels you down hills!

We finnnnnnnnnnnnnnnally got to "the spot" and found people had been dropped off there by boat.  Bummer.  So, four hours later, they got picked up and we got to fishing.  :o)

They were jumping into the net.  I pulled up 6 in 10 minutes!  Thank you fish!

It kept Kevin busy!  We ended up catching 27 in 4 hours, 3 less than the limit, but we already had more than we needed at that point.

The next morning, Kevin got up EARLY and started filleting the fish to carry out.  Rudder was SO good!  He just curled up and watched.

Hauling the 200'ish lbs of fish out + our camping gear.  It was quite the work out!  Really makes you appreciate your food! :o)

We ended up getting out of Chitina ahead of schedule, and started on our 5 hour drive back.  Rudder was pooped and laid in Kevin's lap like a rag doll almost the entire time.  He tried to lay on the cooler in the back at one point, but it was a bit crowded back there for him.  :o)

When we got back to Anchorage, we cleaned the fish and dried them.  We ended up using the FoodSaver to freeze most of it.

Canned some of it.

Brined the rest of it for smoking.  

And in case you have oodles of salmon to smoke as well... Here's what I used for a brine:

Brine recipe:
- 1 gallon of water
- 3 lemons, zested and sliced
- 2 limes, zested and sliced
- 1 large orange, zested and sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 7'ish cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. white sugar
- 1 c. kosher salt
- 1 T Sriracha
- ground pepper to taste

Let the salmon sit in the brine (in the fridge!) for 12'ish hours.  We both ended up liking this brine!  On some of the brined salmon, I dry rubbed the salmon with cajun seasoning.  Others were dry rubbed with a Jamaican jerk seasoning. [Both seasonings were salt free, btw]

Wow, processing that much fish was some work, and quite the mess!  Kevin and I spent all day Friday cleaning up before friends came over for dinner.  I wish I would have taken a before picture of the living room and kitchen...  It was a disaster zone of tools, camping gear, laundry, and fish-related things.  Nice and clean now though!

I have a LOT of projects still on my list, and EVEN MORE stuff to post!  Hopefully I'll catch up on my posts over the next week or so!  :o)

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