Sunday, July 31, 2011

On The Beach

Just some photos of wandering on the beach, limbering up after painting the house and getting exercise.  It's usually a pebble beach, but in the summer we get a collection of sand -- and the other end is sand, by the river.

It's the "Injun's fault" there are no fish -- not the out-of-town fishermen who flip lethal Styrofoam bait packets into the water.  And we never find these things until summer.  It's also the Injun's fault there are baby diapers by the side of the road all summer -- I guess the Injuns stay in Neah Bay except in the winter, huh? (Where would we white people be without the Injuns to blame?)

Gull tracks!  The California and Heermann's gulls are relaxing on the beach right now, splashing and swimming in the river.  The river used to get filthy during the summer because the mouth would close up due to stupid human engineering (more Stupid White People Tricks).  Now it's found a more natural mouth it looks like it might flow all summer and stay clean.  Those are my fancy toes -- in the summer I do too much sloppy and dirty with my hands for polish, so my flip-flopped or bare feet get all the attention.  You see this with the Makah -- the women get fancy feet at celebrations, with polish, cool flip-flops and sandals, even jewelry and tattoos.  Kind of leads to Shoe Envy at the Neah Bay graduations.

Wading pools in the Clallam River!  My favorite thing in the world on a beach or stream is those very shallow, clear wading pools.  It's a kid thing.  I just adore it.  Now there are all these immaculate, clear, clean pools to splash in.  But watch the kids -- there are some deep holes in this river.

July 30, 2011, and the river mouth is still open.  It doesn't have to fight its way past the high embankment on the other side of the wooded "island."  See?  Stop fiddling with nature, and she rights herself, like a good sailboat.  It will be like having a whole 'nother river up here for fish runs -- one in the summer as well as the winter.

You snooze, you lose.  I spotted these oyster mushrooms on a log.  I squatted down and stuffed my pockets.  On the path, I ran into a guy we'd seen on the beach, running back with a plastic bag. I asked him if he was going to collect garbage like we were (it's becoming something of a hobby thang up here).  He said, "Something," and kept on.  We realized he'd seen the oysters -- and gone back for a bag.  And he was wearing a hat!  Mushroom hunters are ruthless -- all I left was the mycelium. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kelp Pickles
Down at the bar, for some reason the subject of old-time food came up.  Somebody mentioned kelp pickles.  A guy's eyes lit up: "My mom used to make the best kelp pickles!"

Caught a big bullwhip kelp (= caught on the hook, dragged in, grumbling).  Decided, "Screw it, I'm making kelp pickles."

Take a big bullwhip kelp -- or a hunk of one.  For me, the beach and water is a refrigerator, so I just pick up what I need when I'm low on pickles (or fish, or scallops).  Note: this piece is too big and old!  Get a piece that is no bigger around than 3/4 of an inch.  The following pickles are too tough to be used for anything but relish -- but they sure taste good!
Chop into bite-size pieces, including the bulb.  Pour boiling water over it (turns bright green!), let set 10 minutes.  This kills the enzymes so the kelp won't go slimey.
Mix some pickling spices (black pepper, whole cilantro, dill), some sugar, some apple-cider vinegar.  If you're making garlic dill, leave out all but a dash of sugar, add garlic, tumeric, dill, black pepper, tarragon, instead of the sweet mix.  Oh, you know how.
Heat to simmer, pour over kelp pieces.
When cool, bottle and put in fridge for a couple weeks.  Really nice.  My neighbor gagged at the idea of kelp pickles because she'd had them and they were nasty. Bet the person who made them didn't BLANCH them!  Note:  I haven't tried to heat-seal them yet.  If you do, please let us know!  Suddenly, everybody wants a taste. 
Photo credit: Roberta Gregory (whom I'm teaching layered color in GIMP while I'm writing a pickle blog; I am such a techno-hick).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Salmon Berry Bird singing; now it really is summer.

If you can't hear this bird in this summer, you're probably not really in the Pacific Northwest woods.