Thursday, August 11, 2011

Alders Aren't Native?

There are some people running around up here claiming the alder isn't a native tree.  One of them is even stripping out all the young alders from under a Douglas Fir in a beach area, claiming the alders are sucking all the nitrogen away from the fir, while letting the same ground be taking over by wild rose plants.  

Say what?  Alders fix nitrogen.  They're native.  I think the people doing this must be either playing a logging company propaganda game, or else they've misread Vancouver's journals, which state that alders here "resemble" English alders.

Somebody else poisoned all the alders out of a garden stand of man-planted Douglas Firs on the way out of town.  Everybody up here says they want to live "in the woods," but then why do so many of them keep trying to make it look like the Seattle arboretum?

Monday, August 08, 2011


It's almost time to make blackberry wine.... rubbing hands...  they always ripen on my birthday, or did when I was a kid.  Here, it's about a week after.

Blackberries... which we can't use gloves with because we can't nibble off a handful before working arm back out of the Iron Maiden of vines. 

Oh, who else (female) here ever went berry picking without a bra and leaned stupidly into a bank of Himalayas?

Our neighbor had a bunch of the little wild berries come up next to her porch, and has already picked more than her husband found in the woods in four trips.  

Speaking of berries, the Thimbleberries on the side of our road are popping out now.  My favorite berry; they taste like a cross between raspberries and roses.  Some people think they're insipid, and it takes a lot to make jam, and then they lose that special flavor.  So I just stand and snarf them like a happy monkey in the long meadow.  This is how we're supposed to eat, anyway.  I can't reach into the back bushes -- or I don't feel like it -- so I'm not eating anybody else's share; there are so many berries up here now, every bird and mammal and insect has more than they want.  It's why we're putting off cleaning the outside of the house for the year, until the birds stop bombing the very pale lavender paint.

The signs of spring and summer.  Salmon-berry bird begins to sing when the salmon-berries ripen, and goes silent as the thimbleberries cap red and juicy.  And the house gets decorated with purplish splotches.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Smoking Salmon

Right on Highway 112 in Clallam Bay. Admittedly, they're the pinks they gotta move -- but they're probably still fresher and nicer than any pinks you can find.

Nice, clean fish.

Split, dry-rubbed with my homemade sea salt, lemon juice and cracked pepper.

Heads and a few inches of the tails shanks microwaved for the cats.  Gotta cool!

Salmon wrapped in towels, placed in refrigerator for a couple days, to cure and seep out the excess liquid.

Rinsed of excess rubbing, allowed to dry in the sun a couple hours, and ready to grill.

Grilling over grass, harvested from a gasoline-and-chemical-free yard, dried and soaked in salty rinse water.  Yes, that's a stop sign and a washing-machine tub.

Skin browned, flipped to smoke meat on first piece.

Smoke rousing up on the last two pieces, meat-side-down.

All smoked, finishing the skin brown.  SMOKEEEDDDD SALMONNNNNN.


Dan and I pick up the Clallam Bay beach as we're walking, or at least the mile or so on the east side of the Clallam River.  We're not civic-minded; we just don't want to look at it.  We've hauled off all manner of crap over the years, from tiny to huge, from unknown scrap of plastic to bags of human shit to old rusty lead pipe to an ancient rusty compressor to a complete toilet (we had to break it up and carry it away in pieces).

Dan with all the garbage we found on the entire beach behind him.  Now.  In 2003 when we moved here?  Just imagine.
Yesterday, in passing the Clallam River park bridge, we placed some garbage at the head of the attached ramp, to pick up when we got back, to dump, as we've been given permission, in the park dumpster.  I make no assumptions about whether any of the following people thought a raggedy chunk of fiberglass and a broken tin roof fragment belonged to anybody or was other than junk:

Three catch-and-release trout fishermen.  Stepped over it.

Two blimpish white boys who gave us a dirty look on the beach (we have black hair).  Went around it.

Three aware-looking teenagers. Probably not aware of the junk.

The other side of the river, where we normally can't reach, not even at high tide in summer, now.  Somebody on that end -- and I suspect the owners of the Three Sisters of Clallam Art Gallery and their friends and family -- is keeping it as clean as we keep our end.  Somebody on the road to Slip Point is picking up everything we used to pick up.  The worst pickup on the beach is found 100 feet from the end of the bridge, during the summer.  The attachment is removed during the winter.  Draw your own conclusions - and say "Thank you," if you know those people.

Frank Smith Totel Pole Before

(Since this post, it HAS been refurbished). Frank Smith's work is very recognizable -- I impressed a Port Angeles pawnshop store owner when I recognized a new piece in his store.  I'd recommend buying his art if you find it; the native art market is not going away, and it's not going to get any cheaper. 

The mall totem, originally commissioned by Clallam Bay's Olson family -- represents the Makah "crest" -- Thunderbird and man on a killer whale.  Or close, anyway (totem symbols are very personal; you have to ask the artist and the family that commissions it).

As you can see, the mini-mall is getting an upgrade by the owner, in preparation for the Sunsets West Co-op going in as anchor tenant (don't worry; the Quarter Store isn't going away.  Supposedly.  I take anything the co-op says with a grain of salt.  Heck, I take anything anybody tells me up here with a cup of salt; if they haven't got an agenda, they're rumor-mad; it's  a form of story-telling as sport).

The intent in the condition of the crest pole MIGHT be to allow it to age and decay naturally.  If not, it could use some refreshing.  Only by the artist, please, or permission of his family.

One of the artist's poles is in the harbor at Port Orchard, Washington.  Another in Bremerton, Washington, burnt when the apartment building it adorned went up in flames. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Twilight and Immigrants

Okay, so far on this situation.  An immigrant man was killed during a Border Patrol stop outside Forks.  The Forks mayor was startled when fans of the Twilight books and movies were horrified and started writing and showing up (in "droves" -- but in Forks that means there's 50 or so girls and their bored but patient parents in couple of Twilight stores and the van).

Local papers claimed the story hit The New York Times because Forks was so important now.  Maybe so, but not in a way they may want to be.

The mayor of Forks was startled.  I recognized an obvious outcome to the local Invader Americans' terror of the Other.  I know the writer-and-fan culture from long experience, just from my books.  So I posted a head's-up on this blog.

Seattle's Weekly was next to write an article about the incident.

The Forks Forum is a little free country weekly I freelance for. because, to survive, everybody up here has six hats.  I often have to tell people I'm interviewing that I'm willing to leave out bits of information that would get them in trouble with the county -- and the county doesn't want to know either.  They know people have to play with loopholes to survive up here.  My line is, "This isn't an exposé."  So, yeah, sometimes my reports are not quite as complete as they might be, just to keep the local businessfolk, volunteers and artists out of trouble.  Nobody wants to know; this is just a restaurant-and-post-office handout. 

Of the paper's admiration for my work I have no illusions -- I'm the person who saves them gasoline or emergency time up here. They don't pay much, but they pay their bills, and they don't keep me in the dark.  I try to return the favor.

The editor wrote an editorial and posted the cover picture, interpreting what the Weekly did as an attempt to grow its readership.  This is probably a publisher decision (for whatever reason) and my editor is a good, quiet workhorse.  I figgered I might as well put in my two cents so he'd know where I stand.  Least I could do -- the guy is decent to me.

So I dropped him an email:

"Um... just a passing note (with the recognition that editors gotta listen to the publisher):The Weekly isn't a "free tabloid."  It's got some of the best investigative journalism around, and it's only "free" because it gets a LOT of advertising, especially from the club, band and entertainment scene.  It pays its people quite well, too.  They don't need Twilight to up their readership -- their readership really doesn't follow the girl's romance market.  Their readership makes fun of Twilight, when they think of it at all (which is not fair, because we all have our manias and movies).  The movie at San Diego Comicon would take up its own booth and fandom in the midst of a literal small city of booths.At best, The Weekly using the logo to ironically introduce a "dark underbelly" article.  At worst, they're making fun of it.  

 The Border Patrol isn't going to scare anybody outside the area with the "illegal immigrant" boogieman.  Least of all the Twilight readership, who are all about the girl getting hooked on the unusual stranger.  The Weekly people are like bloodhounds -- they can find out everything, and they WILL.Many Hispanics also have the blood of native peoples in them.  It's gonna happen..."

He knows this, but papers here are the toys of the publishers, and an editor's gotta eat, too. 

Just sayin'.   We have real, live tribes up here, and we're not the only ones.  The first time an "illegal" immigrant raises his or her hand and claims tribal membership, all hell is going to break loose.  This is not over.  It's been four (five?) hundred years coming.

My readers know how I write -- I know a snowball and an avalanche when I see one.