Friday, November 26, 2010

Soybean City (Who needs a goat?)

Betsy the woodstove (named after my Dad's green dodge coupe in the '50's) hard at work on tofu, soymilk and sea salt.

No, we don't let all that crap stay on her. She gets blacked every couple of months, and wiped down when she's cold.

I've never been able to make really good tofu before I began making my own sea-salt.  See how nicely it's curdling?  It's supposed to look like Clouds In A Golden Sky, and it does.

All the soy cooking isn't that difficult.  I make the tofu and the soy out of  one batch of beans. The tofu is made with the first, rich wash of ground soybeans; the soymilk is made with the second. 

I'm an insomniac, but a cup of soymilk whenever I can't sleep sends me right off.

The ground lees go partially into baking, part to the hens, who gobble the white lumps, rich in calcium and protein, like candy.

The yellow whey goes into the dishwater, where it cuts grease, and some is retained for shampoo. 

A bag of soybeans is about $25.00 and makes gallons of tofu and soymilk. Without being butted or having to put netting around all the trees.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Second day of the November storm; snow is six inches and rising. We evidently have Alaska's winter, and they have ours.  Oh the fascination of being on the Great Pacific Circling Current.

(right) Tarps on chicken tractor, to keep them out of direct wind. So far, they're surviving the freezing temperatures.

Placed a Dutch oven full of water in the nesting area.  Pour boiling water into it twice a day.  First time I did it, heard a chicken squawk.  But they're not stupid, or followers like sheep -- once is enough.

Made them suet cakes to go with their feed.  Gonna fatten 'em up for spring through autumn laying.

During the 2008 blizzard, Jim the cat was forced to live outside by his original owners.  This is him (right) going outside for a bit of a run, but keeping an ear cocked for when we call him.  No more sleeping on a damp carpet under a porch for HIM.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Elk Heart

Our neighbor called and said her husband and his hunting partner had taken two elk, and did I want a heart?  DID I?  Rinsed off the beautiful red blood, sharpened up the ulu knife, slit out the tubes, put the heart on braise in the Dutch oven and took the discard to the beach (don't want to give eagles the idea they eat in this yard, picked up some water for sea salt while I was there). Pretty piece of meat, Ja?

The seagulls thought so!

Oh, and turned the heart into a lovely terrine.  Cats like it too!  Yes, we share.

The edited and mostly unscrambled version of an email conversation.
D = me. L = the other guy.
L: I just bought 5 acres of timberland from Uncle Ray at the lake end of Hoko Ozette road, and I'll be been looking for people who blog about being mossbacks and living in Sekiu and Clallam Bay. (Or West Clallam Bay and Clallam Bay if you are a purist I suppose.)

D: (This next comment makes me think about how the foreign service has managed to get us into a situation of having our boobs groped at airport security. But I was nice and didn't say anything, because we all live at our own little table at the comicon and don't much look across to the other tables.)

L: I work for you overseas in the Foreign Service and will retire there in 20 years or so. Trying, as I am deep in the clutches of middle age, to start planning ahead I wanted to buy someplace to live long before I actually needed it. So the reason specific reason I'm writing is that I want to hire someone to keep an eye on my land from time to time, act as my agent as it were. I'm thinking I could paypal someone 50 dollars a month to walk the land every once and a while, keep me up to date on doins in the neighborhood. Do you know some high school student who might be interested in being an ad hoc forest ranger? I'd like someone who was going to be around for 20 years, I'm a big fan of continuity.

D: Put it in the Forks Forum want ads: or -- even better -- post a short, clear note on the bulletin board at the Sunset West Co-Op in Clallam Bay (that little yellow building next to Gary's boat corral).

D: I'm reading the Lake Ozette Sockeye recovery plan which sounds like it might impact the land I bought since I'm not far from Umbrella creek.

D: If it does, go along with it. You want to help sockeye recover, right?  If it's just woods, why do you need somebody to bother it? It can pretty much take care of itself. Hell, for $50.00 a month, I could drive by it once or twice a month and make sure the "No hunting" signs are up. Other than that, there's not much to do. Land left hands off for 20 years is the best thing to do to it. You could have some nice trees started and the creeks beginning to clean out nicely.
Windstorms and fires are natural. Leave it alone and let it breathe, and let yourself relax. If it all burns down I would reseed. If you just want pictures to dream on, that's another thing. Well, forest takes care of itself. If it's major, keep an eye on That should do it.

L: And of course I want to support the neighborhood and be seen as a contributor and a member of the community and not some carpetbagger who shops only at costco and never uses the local businesses.

D: Us white people are all carpet-baggers on this continent, anyway, so relax. They stopped arguing about if their ancestors got here in 1889 or 1949 when I said, "Don't do that in front of the Indians, will ya? It makes us look like idiots." Go to Makah Days and have fun:

L: I have been to the Makah rez several times and have always liked the people I met there. I am quite pleased that they didn't want to go the casino route and do their best to live the way they want to as opposed to how they should. Never made it to Makah days, at least not yet.

D: You would love the REAL Indian Gambling; slahal. Well, if you're crazy like we are. Dan's 1/16th Wyandotte, so maybe it's genetic.

L: Even though we won't be there very much, we are going to get a family membership to the co-op.

D: You don't need a membership. Everybody just happily buys there. I just keep an account, throwing $50.00 in every once in a while.

D: Before you start whacking down houses, check out Having your place declared a wildlife sanctuary can take advantage of the fact that up here is on the Audubon Birdwalk maps. Old-growth trees attract rare birds. Put in a light yurt or tent area and charge birdwatchers to visit.

L: I don't think a small yurt or a tent will work, at least not in 20 years, I'l be old and broken down by then, I'll need something to keep my walker out of the mud, and it was all clear cut twenty years ago, so sadly there is no old growth. If I find there is there is no way I'll be touching it.

D: Nice ones.

D: You could start your own stream by shaping a collection area and delicately running it down toward the other stream. Who knows? Have some sockeye come visit YOUR stream, too! Note: if your trees and ferns are big and wet, salmon eggs can literally stay damp in a "dried-up" streambed until the autumn rains set in. Clallam County is BIG on projects like this -- they give grant money!

L: There is supposed to be a wash or a gulley that may be a stream in the winter time, that is one of the big questions I have when I come out. Good idea about the grant money, although I don't really care about that part. Once I know where everything is, the idea of growing a stream, even a winter only stream, is fabulous, thanks for the tip!

D: I know an older guy here just dug a hole in the ground, and dips up the clear, tannic water for his uses. He's a kind of happy-in-a-lean-to kinda guy, though.

L: I'm not sure what we will do for water and power, my hope is that in 20 years solar will have improved that we will not need the grid, and we will either drill a well or go with a catchment system. But as I said, I'm hoping home building improves in the next 20 years.

D: WATER? You can dig your own rainwater collection pond. Solar and wind will pump you power -- and the PUD is very helpful with that, as well as with local grants and things. Build your own, simple and pure and be sure to put in your own greenhouse (and chicken run -- why tempt the bobcats?).

D: And of course I'd love to start making friends with people in the area now. I'm only up to July 2004 in your Clallam blog, but I loved the idea of Clallam/Sekiu being a designated artists community. And of course now I have an overwhelming urge to get the complete works of Barr for my library.

D: Cool! Up here nobody much respects me as an artist or writer -- they're into rural galleries and local histories, from the 1950's, not publishing or comics. I'm known as The Newspaper Lady (The kids yell, "Hi, Newspaper Lady!"), the freelance reporter from the PDN and the Forks Forum.

L: Wait, I'm confused, did you go there to get away from the fans or to weed out the less enthusiastic ones and make them interns? Given your track record I think a lot of people could benefit from interning with you.

D: Don't ask me. I'm not in control of the little freak show that is my life. And I don't need me any more interns -- I need somebody to hire me to TEACH. EVERYBODY wants what I have for FREE.

L: I read your PDN pieces, the gunfight was quite exciting, shotguns and body armor, oh my! But why are so many PDN story paragraphs one short sentence? I have not read any of the Forks pieces, I can't seem to find a search field!

D: Don't ask me. It's what they do. My pieces are that awful Associated Press style Hemingway was forced to write in, and that has tainted today's literature so badly. My newsy stories I like are at: OOH, I see it's part of Yahoo now.
L: Hope the windstorm did not treat you too harshly, look forward to hearing from you!

D: Windstorm? What windstorm? After the typhoon and 95 mph winds a few years ago, this was just rain gusts. I'm not kidding; since then, if it's not 85 mph, nobody up here notices.

D: If I didn't know tai-chi, I'd have been tossed in the river while trying to get storm shots for the paper.
L: I will look into chicken tractors in about 19 years when I'm kitting the place out, although the men in my family have a genetic fear of chickens, so I may leave that to the wife.

D: You know, our neighbor's afraid of birds! I wonder if that's because their ancestors ate so many of our ancestors.

D: Well, enjoy the new place -- put in bee hives! Plenty of beekeepers up here, working with the local feral Russian bees, including my try at them (neighborhood was too small).

D: Oh, and solar works up here. The dvd is in the library.

L: Feral Russian bees? What the heck? The bee hives are a good idea, but would I have to care for them in the intervening 20 years or should I wait? Interesting idea, and the wife wants a lot of plants and flowers and goddess knows the world needs more beehives. Do you know any beekeepers in the area you can refer me to?

D: Look up Tim van Ripper in the phone book. He has all the connections. If I were you, I'd put out some clean second-hand hives and ignore them. You'll need one of these when you get here too (co-op wants EGGS):

D: But PLEASE remember you have to make your life around the local bears and cougars. Don't be the people who harass the rutting or territorial animals, get a bit hurt and then have to kill the animal. It's their home and they're COOL (A bit of solar electric fence works nice on bears). Cougars: don't build weak fences and watch out if an idiot logging company clear-cuts next to you -- it drives out the resident cougar and all hell breaks loose. But toilet paper must be cheap, you know (feh).

L:Well, as long as the rutting and territorial animals respect my territory as well, we will be cool.

D: When you move in up here, you're moving into THEIR homes and territories. You need to keep your domestic animals protected. It's not a city neighborhood.  When the golden eagles come in we all put away small dogs and cats. If a cougar comes through, same, but also kids and all food. They go away when they find there's no food (tho' one guy had one sleeping on his back porch after getting a catfood feed). The deer EAT here; it's THEIR livelihood. You have to put up a little greenhouse with a top -- easier to garden, anyway. The wet winter/dry summer make gardening very hard. Check out:

(L made a comment about goats in rut, here, after having read a PDN story about a goat who took out a hiker.)

D: The dork who got killed by the mountains goats sent the two women down the trail -- and then, with his predator-set eyes (HELLO? Threaten the females and kids??). CAME BACK TO CHALLENGE THE GOAT. WTF? Talk about the Darwin award. Only stupid I-Am-God-It-Was-All-Made-For-Me people run into trouble with the wildlife up here. Our neighbors were terrified when they found they'd bought a place with major predators on the ridge behind them until I 'splained how we live with them. They're fine, now! They think it's cool.

L: I'm hoping no one ever cuts the land around me, but sadly that is out of my control. If I ever see it come up for sale and I have the money I'm snapping it up. Except maybe the gravel pit just west of me.

D: The gravel pit can recover, too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Harvest, 2010

Jerusalem Artichokes (left) and assorted potato varieties (right), including the long Ozette heritage potato (GET your mind back where it belongs!).

Monday, November 08, 2010


Here there's a big rock around that headland that BELONGS to a ruby-crowned kinglet.  There's a tree near the river that belongs to another one.  You take your life in your hands (laughing yourself to death) if you get near either.

Of course, touching the rock and leering, "Oh, is this YOUR rock?  And here?  And HERE?" can't help.  I thought the furious little bead of feathers was going to explode from pure indignation.

Teasing wildlife.  We're going to hell.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


On the Clallam Bay Beach (left).  There are ROCKS out there! 

Can you see the REALLY CRAZY guys out past the Slip Point Reef? (right)

Very high tides brought out the Rare Breed Surfers: they keep this up and they'll be even RARER.

But don't they make you want to learn to surf?  It looks like killer fun!

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Hick in Techo-Hick

 The morning's work, clockwise from upper left:

Frying crackers
Turnip greens (picked from the garden)
Jerusalem artichokes (ditto)
Homemade cheese ravioli
Homemade soymilk (in process).
Upper right: what's left of the peanut-butter cookies, most of which went to the Hallowe'en party last night.

Know how peanut-butter cookies are always too dry and easy to burn?  Especially if using white sugar?  Accidentally discovered how to make them tender and chewy: soak the sugar overnight in just enough water to make a paste.  Try it -- it's a whole 'nother cookie. I don't know if you need to soak brown sugar, but if white sugar is all you have, this works.  Hm.  Maybe add a little molasses to the white sugar while soaking?

The turnip greens and artichokes will go with rice, probably for tomorrow, but they need to be cooked today, because they're THERE.

Got too busy, let the mushrooms we'd picked spoil in the 'fridge.  From now on, the rule of hunter/gatherer is:  eat in season, eat when found (or prepare for the next day).  Keeps away food allergies, and it's how we're supposed to eat anyway.

Hm.   I feel like fish.  Maybe if the rain breaks today, after I get the last AFTERDEAD page colored (and maybe the second-to-the-last because it was VERY experimental, and frankly looks like crap, or did last time I saw it), I might go down and get me a greenling to fry tomorrow with bacon oil and Sechzuan pepper.  Yum.