Friday, August 31, 2007


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Out of the Woodwork

Taking old furniture and refinishing them to a new life is a sight to behold. The quality craftmanship and the character of the wood comes out of the work. These pieces are heavy oak and came up by steamship to an old town family. Back when the late Governor Egan was the mayor of Valdez.

No "before" picture of the tables. The coffee table in the background is being sanded. The end table sits with a walnut coat drying in the sun. Satisfying work working with wood.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lemonade Stands Everywhere

Another Cracker Jack Day on Prince William Sound.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What a Night! What a Day!

Not only did I get to see the Total Elipse of the Moon last night there was also quite a showing of Northern Lights. For 45 minutes the moon was red! My photos were dissappointing but it was an impressive live 4 hour show.

Woke up today to clear blue skies. Warm and sunny! Getting up and going to work was a bear but well worth staying up til 4am. Took my clients down to the dock fishing after lunch and the Mrs. caught her first silver. That was exciting for her and everyone around her.

The fireweed has turned snowy white. This means six weeks til it will be snowing on the mountain tops. Quite a contrast next to my blooming rose bush.

My Livingstone Daisies were embracing the rays of the sun. What a night! What a day!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bad Moon Arising

I'm going to stay up all night to see this. Skies are clear all over Alaska for the Total Eclipse of the Moon. I'm going to take pictures. Here is what the moon looked like coming up at about 10:30pm. This is going to be so cool. To keep busy I'm washing my windows and making a cake.

Di and the Beanstalk

You've heard of Jack and the Beanstalk well this is Di's beanstalk. Its getting so big. We are having a lot of fun watching how tall its growing. No beans yet but it sure has pretty orange flowers. Between Di's beanstalk and Mr. FishTaxi's cucumbers Valdez ought to have a local fair. I could enter my roses and canned salmon. Thing is, this weekend would be the time to have a fair, but its also the start of moose hunting season. Moose hunting and berry picking would win out every time.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday in the park

Everyday is the 4th of July!
I took a picture of the editor of the Valdez Star taking a picture of catching silvers off the dock. My view is the pic above.
Lets see if I can scoop the paper. I'm sure her picture is better than mine. Look at the angle she's at and the big scoop lens. Hers will go in the paper I'm sure. Next week on Wed.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Combat Fishing

Beautiful day on Prince William Sound and the fishing is GREAT. Saw lots of silvers caught right off the dock today.

Lots of people having a grand ol' time. Be great if someone lands THE Derby winner right off the dock. The year I was the Derby Clerk someone caught the 3rd place silver off the rocks by the dock. Mr. FishTaxi helped the guy by netting the thousand dollar fish for him. And no, he didn't get a tip. Didn't expect to. Everybody helps everybody by pulling up their lines when a fish is on and if you don't have a net somebody has one.

Combat fishing at its best on the Valdez City Dock.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Scene on the Dock

Pouring down rain didn't stop these anglers from donning raingear and fishing for silvers. The whole dock is closed off to motorized vehicles and open for fishing. Everybody is parking where the cannery used to be and walking on the dock. I heard lots of laughter in spite of the weather.
Looks like its clearing up this evening, true to the forecast of clear skies, for the next few days.
The Alaska State Fair in Palmer started today. Mr. FishTaxi should have entered his big cucumber.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Signs of Fall

I broke down and put on my Valdez tennis shoes (xtra tuffs) today. Yesterday I got stung by a bee. Made it all summer without one then let my guard down. Somehow, the bee got in my summer shoes, with no socks, and stung me on my foot.
Other signs of fall are the elderberries. Right now they are poisonous to humans but not to bears. I've seen black bears chomp and gulp down the whole bush. Later on, when the elderberries turn a deep dark maroon, old timers would make elderberry wine. After the first frost elderberries are okay for human consumption. According to one pioneer its best to take it to the next step and distill brandy out of the wine. Just to make sure.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 Building Rejuvenated

Valdez businessman offers to buy infamous state jet and is fixing up the old drug store building. He's from Texas and made his money in sporting good stores and marine supply.
Looks like the renovators are putting log siding on on this rainy Tuesday. Will be interesting what this rich Texan has in mind.
I picked my roses in the rain and made a bouquet for you. More are ready to bloom!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good Riddance Old Fridge

Had a little scare when I brought my client over here today to watch her shows. When I walked in the door I detected a burning smell. Couldn't see any smoke. I immediately called Mr. FishTaxi at work to come home. He found the culprit. The plug to the old fridge was hot to the touch. After he unplugged it we could see where it was melting. The old fridge is now outside and on its way to the dump tomorrow! I've been wanting a new fridge for a long time and I was so glad to see that avacado monster go. I'm even more glad it didn't burn the house down. I've got all the perishables in coolers right now. Mr. FishTaxi bought a new mini fridge (all the store had) that he can use for his beer when we purchase a new apartment size fridge in the near future.
The flower pictures are of my friends I took on this rainy Monday. They sure do brighten up the world. I also checked the fish derby board and nothing had changed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Peter Pan Seafoods letting the pressure off of some freshpacked Copper River Reds on an early (before noon) morning as seen from my* dock.

Photo of the pig roasting by Jimmy Friedrich

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Paddleboat Fervor

Borrowed a trailer for the paddleboat and took her down to the city dock for a good cleaning with Simple Green and bleach. Rinsed her off with the hose and look how shiney clean she got.

The car behind me is an old friend with her two teenage grandsons who were visiting from Anchorage. They followed me down to Dock Point where we all helped launch her into the water. The boys had fun fishing on the paddleboat. A local kid friend went with the city boys to show them the ropes and make grandma feel more secure about the whole situation.

While it was blowing pretty good by afternoon in the bay, sending all the small boats back to the harbor, Dock Point was flat calm. No fish were caught but you can't visit Valdez without going out on the water and getting a line wet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Valdez Silver Salmon Derby Latest

Old Town Bottle

Old Town Talking again.
I have been sworn to secrecy where this old Valdez Brewing & Bottling Company museum piece was dug up out of the mud. Empty it weighs, I'd guess, five pounds. Old Town was self sufficient in more ways a hundred years ago than New Town is today. Manufacturing in Valdez is a thing of the past. I'll venture to say there is not one artisian glass blower in the vicintity.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bears Affoot

Photos taken last week, by John & Valerie Fischer of Valdez, at Allison Point.

Having fun in the good ol' summertime. Got a night off from canning reds so invited some visiting friends over for dinner. Made Kraft mac and cheese with keilbaska. They had teenagers with them.

Late tonight my daughter is arriving from Fairbanks with some friends who are going charter boat fishing tomorrow. She's bringing Kentucky Fried Chicken and Quarter Pounders with cheese and going paddleboating with us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Two Views

The artist's perception and the photographers.

Another day ends with more fish in the can. A whole case of handpacked Copper River Reds with garlic. Before midnight!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Blooming Livingstone Daisies

A month late but I did get them started late this year. I was so happy to see the flourescent colors. More bloomed yesterday. Today they are closed as they only bloom in full sun. Whats cool about Livingstone Daisies, besides the bright colors, is they bloom on sunny days all the way til the snow flies. Speaking of which the fireweed has gone to cotton. While I was busy canning salmon they went to seed. No fireweed honey got made by me this year.
Another half case of Copper River Reds with garlic is in the pressure cooker right now. With the other 1/2 case cut and ready to go in the can, in the reefer, tomorrow. I'll already be up til midnight as it is. And its getting dark now, too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

One of THOSE Days

Nobody was catching any fish to speak of but the dock was the place to be today.

Not a cloud in the sky with a sea breeze that felt good in the sun. The next batch of Copper River Reds are filletted and in the reefer. They are ready to go in the can tomorrow. My client will be more than happy to hang out here with me and observe the process.
What a beautiful day on Prince William Sound.

Derby Update:
2007 Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood
Sonya Simon
18.32 lbs
Tok, AK
Her biggest Silver Salmon also puts her in First Place overall in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. Way to fish Sonya!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Slammin' Salmon

Or how I spent the hottest day of the summer. After Mr. FishTaxi filletted the reds for me I cut them up to size. I know how to fillet salmon but Mr. FishTaxi does such a beautiful, fast job, I let him do it.

I measure the can and line out the cutting board for exact cutting size. Once I get a few cut up I stop and fill the cans. Thats how I learned to can salmon was by helping Ol' Bob by filling the cans for him.
Once the cans are full they are put in a 180 degree oven to exhaust. Thats when I add the jalapeno or ginger, garlic or whatever pack I'm doing.

After an hour or so when the cans are up to temperature I seal the cans with pre-marked lids with my electric can sealer. From there they go directly into the pressure cooker.

Thats when the fun begins.

I pressure cook the cans at 15#s of pressure for 90 minutes. While the pack is pressure cooking I get ready for the next pack. My pressure cooker has a rocker arm that makes a racket if the pressure goes over 15#s. Then I adjust the heat to get it back down. I like pressure cooking because that is when the work is about done.

After 90 minutes I pop off the rocker arm to release the pressure. Then I open the cooker and with gloves I take the cans out and put them in cold water. Once cooled, I place them in the dish drainer, dry them off and put them back in the case.

15 salmon gave me 33 cans of Copper River Reds with jalapeno and 34 cans with ginger. Roxy got the cooked up tidbits. Got another call for fish tonight and went out and picked up 12 more reds. I'll be canning them tomorrow night after work. I'm thinking a tequila pack. Lemon leaves from my tree and salt.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cheery Reds

Gleaming fresh Copper River Red filletts ready to be cut up and put in 1/2 pound flat salmon cans. My home cannery is all set up. Knives are sharpened for another round. A little late starting on yet another beautimus sunny day in Valdez. My goal is to get it all done today so tomorrow I can play in the sun. Listening to Whole Wheat Radio for inspiration and ambition.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My First Rose

In the midst of the busiest time of year my first rose bloomed. I am way behind in picture posting as I took this picture earlier this week. Since then a couple more roses have bloomed.
I am busy canning Copper River Reds. And its 77 degrees and sunny. I will be done tomorrow and its supposed to be nice all weekend. Great for the Women's Silver Salmon Derby. I heard there are 500 women in town for this weekends 3rd Annual Sister Salmon Derby.
I can't take out time to fish for silvers when I've got reds.
Back to work.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another year wiser?

Woke up this morning another year older, and hopefully wiser, since I'm a full deck now.
As usual I am spending my birthday canning Copper River Reds. Thats right, my call came this morning. I got 15 reds to put in the can. I'm doing a jalepeno freshpack first then a ginger.
Happy Birthday to me! I got fish!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Star Fish

Saw a gal catch this star fish on the city dock today. She threw it back after we all took pictures.
Nice and sunny in Valdez. Rained all weekend here when I was gone. I was surprised when I came down Thompson Pass to see it sunny in Valdez. It rained all the way til I got here which is a switch.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Follow the Fish

Just a quick blog as I'm heading over the pass for the weekend. Might be back Sat or Sunday depending on the fish situation.
Everyone have a happy weekend!
FishTaxi out.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

SS Derby Update 2

When I checked the board about 5pm a #17. zero zero male silver salmon topped the chart. Boats were still coming in so no final yet on the daily prize fish size.
Valdez is an exciting place to live the month of August. As a year around resident I have lots of friends stop in from out of town. Today I met an "on line" friend for the first time. I knew him from an ALASKA NANOOK HOCKEY forum I frequent. It is nice to put a face to a name. He'll be down here the whole derby so I will see him again. Somebody to talk hockey with in Valdez. Priceless.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FishTaxi's Chili Fries

I made some cheeseburgers with Chili Fries Sunday night. I adapted a recipe I saw on the Food Channel. My client likes to come over to my house in the afternoon and watch her soap opera "The Days of Our Lives" and now I got her hooked on the FC, too. She knits while I do chores. (In the morning I do hers.) Perfect arrangement. She doesn't have cable and its kind of fun to get paid to clean my own house for a change.

FishTaxi's Chili Fries

Quarter up some Yukon Gold Potatoes

Parboil. Drain and cool. In a ziplock bag add enough oil to coat the potaotes. (I used peanut)

Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and Taco Seasoning to the bag with oil and toss in the potatoes. At this point you can let them marinate 10 minutes or overnight.

Bake on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes turning once or twice until golden brown.