Whittlin Time Away  

Posted by Stan Harrington

We are now just 24 hours away from the re-opening of the Anchor River to fishing for the remainder of the year. Looking forward to getting in some Dolly Varden fishing, but the focus is on the jackpot fishery in August when the Silver Salmon return to the river. Being a firm believer in the eight P's, preparations are underway so when the time does arrive, the focus will be on the fishing aspect of the sport.
For the past two days we have been harvesting our smoke house wood by simply pruning the thousands of alder bushes that we have on the property. My two little helpers are really enthused with this project, especially after luring them into thinking that they were actually going to get paid. For the last two evenings, we have been sitting on the stoop of the workshop, whittlin the bark from the branches and cutting them into smoke house size pieces. They are getting pretty handy as well as safety conscious when handling the knives, each of them having their favorite knife dependent on the color of the handle or shape of the blade. It matters not that they do not have a edge on them.
My good friend, Meryl just delivered me ten skeins of fresh King Salmon eggs taken out of the Halibut Cove fishery. In processing them, I discovered that my smokehouse also makes the ideal drying room for salmon eggs, a dual purpose building much like the "Duck House". I packaged the eggs up today, I now have ten containers of high quality salmon eggs for the opening of the Silver Salmon season. Although, they will be kept in a secret location to protect them from predators, I will gladly share them with other members of the clan. However, since the daily bag limit is only two Silver Salmon per day and the quality that these eggs are, each member will be allowed three baits per day, one for each fish and one as a back up just in case you drop one in the river or want to share one with a friend.
The wood for the smoke house is chopped, the eggs are cured, plenty of salt on hand for the secret smoking brine, several cases of fruit jars for canning, propane tanks are filled, 15 pounds of Borax and two jars of Pro Cure for egg curing, so I am now set to commence some quality fishing time.

Boycott Arizona and New Mexico  

Posted by Stan Harrington

The western slope of Colorado was my birthplace. A small ranching community sitting in the valley on the north slopes of the Great San Juan Mountains. My youngest daughter was born in the valley on the southern slopes of these same beautiful mountains when I was stationed in this area with the U.S. Navy.
Prior to the admittance of Alaska and Hawaii as part of the United States, Arizona and New Mexico achieved statehood status in 1912. At this time, I would request that a boycott or embargo be placed on the states of New Mexico and Arizona for deliberately enhancing the melt down and destruction of the world class skiing areas of Colorful Colorado.
In an article that was released today by Livescience.com stating that the "drought stricken southwest" is speeding the melt of snow in the Colorado mountains. As quoted, "In 2006, snows in areas of Colorado's San Juan Mountains above and below the tree line (above which trees can no longer grow)(their description of "treeline" not mine) unexpectedly melted a month earlier than usual. The article goes on to explain, "The cause for this premature melt was dust, most likely originally from the parched deserts in Arizona and New Mexico, hundreds of miles away". Now, I am no scientist but are not "deserts" suppose to be parched? As for these states being hundreds of miles from Colorado, if my memory serves me right the southern slopes of the San Juan Mountains are less than 40 miles from the New Mexico border. The last time I was in southern Colorado, four states including Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah join together at the historic monument of the "Four Corners" just 4o miles from Lizard Head Pass which crosses the San Juan Mountains. If the dust of Arizona and New Mexico is eliminating the snow cover, I would guess the good folks that live in Flagstaff, Arizona or on the rim of the Grand Canyon will be happy to know that their snowfall should also be minimal in the future, I wish it would have happen when I got snowbound in Flagstaff after the Interstate Highway system had been shut down. What is the prognosis, again according to this article, "The expected exacerbation of western droughts brought about by global warming will likely make the situation snowball." How can it "snowball" if all the snow melts early? The forecast of Global Warming in the Southwest: Expect 90 years of Drought Air Pollution. I would suggest that the good states of Arizona and New Mexico be mandated to build fences on their southern borders to stop the hoards crossing illegally and at the same time build large fans on the Colorado border to blow their dust back across the state line where it originated. Save the snows of Colorful Colorado.


Posted by Stan Harrington

Retirement is a wonderful thing! However, I am still having a difficult time in knowing how to balance my time. During the working years of my life, I would talk to someone that had just retired and they would always say, "I am busier now that I have retired than before", I could never figure out the meaning of this statement and considered it mostly as poor time management.
However, I now know that they were serious! It seems, since the first day of May, I have been busier than normal and still have a multitude of tasks yet to accomplish. As I was rearranging all of our landscaping and planting flowers, garden, and preparing the HITW for the summer, I kept contemplating how I did all of this in the past and still operate the businesses! Granted, that I have accomplished somethings this spring that I would have never completed if I was still operating the businesses. However, it has been fun. For instance this morning, I did something as simple as tear down an antique fishing reel that I have owned for ten years or so and repaired it, never quite had the time to do that in the past.
Currently, I am in the process of inventorying the antique rod, reel, and fishing tackle collection at the Anchor Angler, what I will will do with a couple hundred reels, rods, and several boxes of old tackle? I have no idea but I will hold onto them. Packing out the shop is like taking a walk down memory lane, over the years we have collected so many mementos in the form of art work, gifts, and just little tidbits given to us by our fishing friends. Each with a story and a memory. As an example, today I was packing out my office, on my bookshelf there was a unique rock. Knowing that I do a lot of landscaping with rocks, this particular rock was found on the A.P. beach by our friend Patti. She gave it to me, at least 15 years ago and it has been sitting on the same shelf since then. It is in the perfect shape of a hamburger, with the "hamburger patty" being a different color than the buns. What do you ever do with something like that? How about that perfect skeleton head of a "Irish Lord" that one of my grandchildren gave to me several years ago, it sits on the same shelf as the rock collection! To good to discard as unimportant. The pictures, twenty two year collection of friends and family members with fish, they to will be stored away.
Someday as my children sort through my things, they will wonder "why in the hell did dad keep this fossilized fish head? It will then become their problem on what to do with all my little treasures.
In time, I will adjust to retirement, but first I have to complete some chores I need to accomplish at the Eagle Nest and the HITW then perhaps, I will fully understand and appreciate retirement.

Learning All Over Again  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Life always provides an opportunity to learn. Although I experienced the raising of four children, many of the things that they did as little children have been stored away for memories or just forgotten with time. Since our children have grown and and spread their wings to start families of their own, we have been blessed with having the opportunity to spend time with our grand children, time that we cherish and feel fortunate that we live within driving distance to all of them. However, it has been a few years since we have had small children stay with us for an extended time without parental guidance. We are now into the learning curve once again. I know, those of you who have children will consider this "no big deal" but having been absent from the scene for a few years it is new and refreshing!
Having one of our grandsons and granddaughter staying with us for a few weeks has brought back many memories of years past. I had forgotten, that when you are busily working on a building project, all the little questions that can be asked by a six year old boy while you are trying to formulate measurements in your mind. Then of course, comes the next question, can I have some nails and a hammer? The next 30minutes of your construction time is spent helping him nail some pieces of wood together. The finished project looks similar to a piece of wood with several other blocks of wood nailed to it. However, to him, we have just completed a replica of the "Titanic" and now I know the entire story line of the movie!
A picnic outing to the river with their grandmother resulted in the capture of two salmon or trout smolt by my granddaughter. It might as well have been the largest king salmon in the river, she would not have been happier. But, now we have to devise an aquarium to hold the little fish. This was easily accomplished by a "bulk candy" jar left behind from the video store business. House water would not do so a second trip to the river to get real "genuine" river water. How to feed them, oh that was so simple, you hold out your arm until a mosquito lands on you and you capture him. The mosquito has a life span of about one second when dropped into the tank. That is so much fun, a second outing is planned for the next day, this trip yields five new fish and of course now we need a second candy jar because after all we can't have his and her fish mixing. Mosquito hunting has been a big thing around our house as of late.
Then there are always the disasters that await, parents are use to keeping a ear open to problems such as this but grandparents have a tendency to think that nothing can go wrong. That is until you are busy working on a project, your grandson is playing in his favorite stand of alders (fort) and you distinctly hear his say, Damm! Without looking up, I reply, "what did you say" to which he replies, "I fell out of the tree", hearing no screaming for help I ask him if he is o.k. and he replies, "yea, I just fell on my head", that got my attention. Bedtime, is always so much fun, this past evening as my grandson was preparing to go to bed he went to his grandmother complaining that his ear hurt. She looked at him and told him it must just be a mosquito bite, I watched him tug on his ear a bit and then he laid down. As I went to tuck him in, he once again said his ear hurt so I made an attempt to diagnose the problem. Yes, there is something in your ear, but what, then I noticed some torn up tissue laying next to him. Could that possibly be a "spit wad" in your ear? It is embedded almost out of sight. After working on him for several minutes with a pair of tweezers trying to extract his obstruction and pinching his ear in the process, I resign myself to walk out to the shop and get my hemostats from my fishing jacket, a nice cured set with a small tip. This will get job done and scare hell out him in the process. Half way back to house, he appears on the deck to let me know that I did not need the "pliers", grandma got it out with the silver thing. The "dragon" books are out again to be read from cover to cover, plans being made to lure one in from the forest and capture him. Fortunately, the "dragon" feet that I made a couple of years ago are still stowed out of site in the outbuilding, perhaps it is time to break them out, once again. So many moments, so much innocent humor, for those of you that have children, my only advice is do not take it for granted and enjoy it to the fullest as a day will come when you will forget the trivia of being a parent.

Missed Holiday  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Can you imagine yourself bringing up the "rear" in this parade of idiots? However, it was just another one of those holidays that slipped past me, one of which I would have enjoyed participating in. June 9th was "World Naked Bike Ride Day", unfortunately an event that was not brought to the attention of those residents in Anchor Point, Alaska! Now just stop and use you imagination, me riding down the Beach Road or even Main street of Anchor Point on a bicycle in the buff! This particular picture was taken in Vancouver, British Columbia however there were rides staged throughout the world, which goes to prove idiots live everywhere! Now I have to wonder, this idiot is riding a bike in the nude, yet he is concerned that it is raining so he is using an umbrella to protect himself. The only reason that I think this person is a he is that only men are concerned about shrinkage when it rains! Oh, in the event you are wondering why there is a World Naked Bike Ride, it is used to protest against our best friend, the automobile! Why don't they moved this holiday to December 21st and see how many bikers are willing to demonstrate their short comings.

Having both a granddaughter that uses a wheelchair and a brother that drives the big rigs across the national highway system, this photo caught my immediate attention. This young man of 21 years of age is restricted to a motorized wheelchair and lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This incident occurred last week in Paw Paw, Michigan. While on the street, this big rig sneaked up from behind and hooked him! Now how the truck driver missed seeing him was not reported. Definitely gives me a sense of security knowing that these "truck drivers" are so observant while driving. Once the truck driver hooked the wheelchair, the ride began. This young man was pushed eastbound on the Red Arrow Highway for over four miles at speeds up to 50 m.p.h. An oncoming driver noted the accident, turned around, and flagged the trucker down. The young man was unhurt in the incident and when interviewed by the police it is reported that he said "it was quite a ride". I do hope my granddaughter does not see this, she may be tempted to give it a try. Now on the other hand, it would be a great ride from LA to Squarebanks if a person were to duplicate this on the train tracks.

Do You Want to Go Salmon Fishing?  

Posted by Stan Harrington

I normally do not give into blackmail, however, during King Salmon season on the Anchor River, I do take treats seriously! The was the ultimatum that was given to me on Monday morning by my loving wife was, "you will have the house painted before you spend any more time on the river". She was not buying the concept that a house the size of ours, especially in altitude and weird angles takes a long time, serious planning, and King Salmon weekend is just four days away. Sensing that she was not joking around, I immediately went into the planning phase of the project. The priority was finding someone silly enough to climb to the peak of the 25 foot roof and do the painting. This was easily accomplished when my brother showed up for a visit. A half rack of Colorado Coors, he was ready to climb anything!
The next problem to resolve was how to get him off ground level and up into the air other than my eight foot step ladder. One quick phone call resolved that problem, the contractor building a house down the street had went to LA for a few days and just happen to leave some scaffolding at the project site. Surely he would not mind it if we borrowed it in his absence, after all it was just sitting there.
Day #1 consisted of painting the lower portion of the house which could be reached by my eight footer. The late evening involved retrieving the scaffolding and erecting it by flashlight. Day #2, work commenced at first light in painting the front of the house and moving scaffolding several times as well as extending the front deck a couple of feet to accommodate the width of the scaffolding, it is surprising what a couple of 2" x 6"'s perched on top of rocks will do for extending deck edges. With the front completed, the west side finished to nice cedar color it was time to move to the back of the house. From ground level, it is much higher than the front, perhaps an engineering error. One additional load of scaffolding from our absent contractor corrected the problem. Although, the scaffolding felt secure, when you go three high it does have a tendency to feel like it may tip away from the building, especially since it is sitting on a sloping lawn. Although this problem was resolved by tying ropes from the outside edge of the scaffolding, over the roof of the house and tying it off to the t.v. antenna and some silly looking black pipe coming up through my roof. At the end of day #2, the house was completed, the scaffolding torn down and returned to the rightful owner with a day to spare before King Salmon season opens on the river.




Although, Brother Bill did the majority of the painting. I was so proud of the Golden Granny. She put aside her fears of heights, which was not something Brother Bill gave into without first planning an escape route. The most difficult part of the house was a four foot wall that extends our atrium to the highest pitch of the roof with no access to it. Eyeballing the situation, I determined if we used the scaffolding to reached the bottom of the peak and then used a twenty foot extension ladder we could lay that on the roof for footing. This is the steepest pitch of the roof, for safety, I attached a rope to the top of the ladder that just reached the peak of the roof and then ran the rope down the opposite slope, across the roof of the one story section of the house and into the parking lot to the towing hitch of my Ford F150. Got to give Golden Granny allot of credit, she scaled the pitched ladder to the peak of the roof and then painted her way back down again. I was so proud of her that I took several pictures of her, the reason they are not included is that I forgot to remove the lens cover. She was a trooper, I had to go into to make my radio broadcast when it came time to tear down the scaffolding from the back of the house. Between her and Brother Bill, someone had to volunteer to go back on the very top of the house and remove the safety ropes from the t.v. antenna and stand pipe. She got volunteered and easily sneaked out the bedroom window, and scaled the roof. Now that she has proven herself, perhaps I will no longer have to hang all the Christmas lights. The house is done and I have one extra day to spare before I can go fishing!