Friday, October 29, 2004

What, no gooey?

Okay, I've been here too long.

I was standing on the river bank the other day, drooling at the 3-foot-long Winter Chinooks, and just itching for November 1, when the season opens. And reminding the neighborhood boys that if they get caught with a fish before season, or over limit, they can have their licenses revoked -- for their lifetime. And letting them know that my Indian Name is "Brings The Warden."

And one of the kids, over in the bankside grasses, yells, "Hey! There's a dead silver here!"

So we go over, and yup, there's a big fish, half-eaten. Guess the bear that hoots around up on Bear Kill Ridge came down and had a midnight snack.

One of the kids says, "Look, it's full of eggs."

And I'm over there in a split second, and going "WHERE?" And the next thing ya know, I've got my hand inside that fish, ripping out those cold sticky egg masses. And when I'm done, I sling the rest of the fish into the river, and explain to the kids that the river needs the rotten fish to make food for the young salmon.

These kids are typical up here -- they all know how to kill these fish, but they don't know what helps 'em. Americans. Ya gotta -- well, not love 'em, because that would mean you had really low standards.

Anyway, the kids ask if they can have a few eggs, and I hand 'em half the mass. Before the day's done, they've just left most of the mass on the stream bank.

So I wander home with two big cold egg masses, for the bait jar (I pickle 'em in salt, sugar and Anise oil -- hardens up up and makes 'em like candy for the salmonoid fish).

And I've figured out why I'm no longer squeamish up here. In a city, you have to be careful of germs, cuz there's so many others of your own species. In the wild, we're few and far between.

Heck, the other day, I found out I wasn't squeamish about oysters either. I learned to shuck 'em -- and that's not hard, if you know the trick -- and didn't say "EEEWWWW" once. We deep-fried 'em. And deep-fried a mess of soaked Bone Polypore while we were at it.

Dan said he liked the mushrooms better. They were both pretty delectable, served up with the cold sour apple-cider we'd picked up at the cider-squeezing at the Preschool the other day. It's an annual thing, everybody showing up with plastic milk bottles and messes of culled apples from their trees. And paying $3.00 a big jug -- it all goes to the Preschool.

I tell ya, for poor folks living out here in the woods -- we're eating like we're living at the Savoy grill.

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