The above photo is a shot of the entrance to the little tidal bight where our floathouses are anchored. As you can probably tell, we won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Which means we can’t get more fuel for our generator. We’re rationing gas, and only running the generator two hours a day, which doesn’t really allow anything to charge fully, including my brand new tablet! So my online presence will be limited until we can fuel up again.
I want to thank my sister Megan for putting up the last message (the beautiful photo is one of her own and shows her artist’s eye), my brother Robin for taking time out of his busy job at the shipyard to get the new tablet programmed and sent out to me, my brother Jamie for intercepting it when it was almost, accidentally, shipped back to Ketchikan, and my parents for making it possible for me to get a new tablet before I’d planned.
And thanks to my readers for being patient, and everyone who left encouraging and supportive comments. I appreciate them very much!
We’ve hit winter, there’s no doubt of it, and the cold has been a beast. No running water! That’s never fun. In addition, my wood stove decided to act up. I wound up climbing onto the roof to clean the chimney, which turned out to be problematical when we found rot in the ladder that lies on the roof, that I had to climb and stand on. I’ll also have to repair the stove since it has a crack in the back of it. Nothing like having your back door wide open to air smoke out of your house when the temperature is in the low twenties.
In other news, good this time, Mary Catherine Martin, managing editor of a Juneau-based paper called Capital City Weekly, just hired me to do a column based on my blog. The first column comes out the first week of 2017, on the fourth. (www.capitalcityweekly.com). It has some original content not found on my blog, including why I’m called “A Daughter of the Walrus.”
I intend to continue with original posts here on my blog, too, as soon as we get more fuel. Thank you again, everyone, for sticking with me.
P.S. I was walking up the frozen beach and found this odd creature. It’s transparent like a jellyfish, but with two little fins instead of stingers. And it’s pretty much all mouth and stomach (with an undigest bullhead in it). I’ve never seen anything like it wash up on the beach before. Does anyone know what it is? Incidentally, the discolored band around it is where my hand held it.
1/2/2017 12:33:18 pm
I have missed you, a lot! Very glad you posted when you did. My gosh, a couple of your experiences up there remind me of things that happened to me as a kid (numerous decades ago, lol!). A main difference was mine were happening in the high desert country of northern Arizona.
It is a very harsh life, but how beautiful, especially in the way you portray things. Makes me feel as though I am right there.
Congratulations on your “column,” I shall be sure to check it out in a couple of days.
Happy New Year to you and yours! And thanks for your awesome blog.
1/2/2017 01:16:47 pm
Thank you so much, JoneB! I’ve always been fascinated by the desert, probably because I live in the exact opposite kind of terrain and climate. Have you ever thought about doing a memoir on your childhood? it sounds like one I’d love to read!
I hope you have a great 2017!
1/2/2017 04:46:31 pm
So glad to see your email/post pop up in my In Box! Take care of yourself.
1/2/2017 07:32:05 pm
Thank you so much, KathyP. I promise to get back to regular posts soon, with some real content. You guys have been great, hanging in there through my various Internet trials! 🙂
1/3/2017 08:00:25 am
glad you are alright! sorry about all those setbacks. i was asked to pass along well wishes from hass to you so i’m doing so. hang in there. congrats on the job!
we actually had hail here and rebecca up in eastern washington got a white christmas. so you know the weather is very cold this winter. stay warm!
1/3/2017 10:03:31 am
Thanks, Catlady. I’m still going backwards responding to emails–I can recommend not going off-line for a month!–and I haven’t gotten to Hass’s yet. She must have been one of the first to email when my tablet died. As soon as I get to her email, I’ll get back to her. In the meantime, please give her my best wishes, and thank her for hers!
Stay warm! I’m sure going to try to. 🙂
1/4/2017 03:49:07 pm
Tara, I love reading about our childhood!! I sure miss living in The Chuck sometimes.
1/4/2017 05:23:43 pm
Dawn, I love hearing from you! We did have the best childhood ever, didn’t we? Did you see my column at www.capitalcityweekly.com? I go into our childhood there and how C.B. radios were so much a part of our life. I kind of miss that. I remember planning what my C.B. handle was going to be when I grew up. 🙂 I guess we get to do that with the Internet now.
1/5/2017 11:32:44 am
I think I have the answer for your mystery fish! (Good reference question). It looks like it’s a type of salp. Lots of photos and information here: https://themarinedetective.com/tag/cyclosalpa-bakeri/ If my guess is right, the scientific name is Thetys vagina. My information all says they eat plankton, though, so I’m not sure about the bullhead.
“Thetys is truly an impressive member of the zooplankton. It is the largest species of salp along the West Coast and is relatively easy to distinguish from all others. Unlike most gelatinous animals, the body is relatively firm due to the thick spiny test (the test, or tunic, is the hard outer covering typical of many tunicates, hence the name for the group). It retains its shape even when removed from the water. Solitary individuals have 20 partial muscle bands . . . that are used for constricting the body while pumping water for feeding and locomotion. A pair of pigmented posterior projections are very distinctive, as is the darkly colored, compact gut . . . Like other salps, Thetys continuous pumps water through a mucous net to extract phytoplankton and other small particles. Although relatively uncommon in Monterey Bay, this widespread species can be found in temperate and tropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, to depths of about 150 meters.”
1/5/2017 11:39:51 am
Thanks, Max! I was actually going to write you and ask you whether you could find out what it was, but you beat me to it. Another online friend, Calypso, also discovered that it was a salp.
But how strange that a deep sea tropical fish is here in Southeast Alaska washing up on our beach! No wonder no one around here had ever seen one before.
1/5/2017 05:24:18 pm
I’ll amend my original guess after some additional research. I found this article which discusses salp populations in the Gulf of Alaska: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967064516300820
Of the two salp species mentioned, Cyclosalpa bakeri matches the general description as well as the habitat range.
1/5/2017 11:59:03 am
Max, thank you! I was going to write you and ask you if you could find out what this was, but you beat me to it. Another online friend, Calypso, also found out it was a salp.
But what is a tropical deep sea fish doing in Southeast Alaska? No wonder no one here knew what it was! We’ve never seen it’s like wash up on the beach before.
This is my second attempt to post this–my own blog deleted my post as spam!
1/5/2017 01:11:07 pm
Excellent post! I have no idea what that strange creature was, but it was definitely interesting!
I would be happy with 20 degree weather right now! We’re back into the negatives, and I’m sure you can relate to how much it sucks living in weather like that! I’m actually hoping for some snow soon because it tends to warm up a little bit when there’s snow.
Congrats on the column! That’s excellent news!!
1/5/2017 02:14:40 pm
My blog didn’t allow me to respond to the poster before you, but here’s trying.
Apparently it’s a Salp, as Max and Calypso correctly identified it. What a tropical sea creature is doing washing up on a beach in SE Alaska is anyone’s guess!
I am so glad that we didn’t have temps in the negative numbers when I had to have my back door open! Poor you. It’s snowing here now, wish I could send it your way.
Thanks for the congrats!
Mark T Morse
1/8/2017 03:19:12 am
I have a new outlet for my PTSD!! Now when I still cant sleep at 5am I can post old memories about Myers Chuck. One of my favorite memories was with my buddy Ray Miller. I cant remember why but I think his Dad was going to take us hunting and my mom let me take off with Mr. Miller and Ray for a couple days. They had a cabin NW of Myers Chuck by about 40 miles Im guessing and Rays Dad was an old veteran of the Wrangell Straits so I was in capable hands. As it started to get dark a Storm came in real quick and things got dodgy in a hurry. As we got somewhat near their place He didnt think we’d make it so he threw Ray and I in heavy duty life vests and into the emergency skiff. Probably around a 15 foot lund with an outboard. He cuts us loose and says he’s gonna take shelter and ride it out and instructs Ray to get us to their very remote cabin in some unmarked cove. I still remember being scared to death in big seas in that little skiff but Ray standing up with the outboard handle upright thinking he looked like the Morton Sea Salt guy. Sure enough Ray got us in there and got us into the cabin. Now remember we are 10 years old waaay off the grid in a small cove in a cabin they trap out of in the winter. Somehow he fashioned some biscuits out of flour and we ate biscuits and jelly for 2 days before his dad showed up. 2 days alone in the Alaska bush at 10 years old will keep you up at night 38 years later!! It was amazing what we pulled off though, getting wood chopped and a fire going, water drawn and we even got some hunting in only to be run off by a pack of Bears. I got real close to Jesus that day!! They came out to the beach and in the water as we backed the skiff off. I thought for sure the motor would stall or the prop would bust as those bears came out as close as 30 yards from the bow?? Just another day in the Bush!!
1/8/2017 09:53:28 am
Wow Mark!! What a cool story! You probably know that Tara (I’m her sister) and I are related to the Millers? Our uncle Rory (our mom’s brother) is married to Marion Miller, Rays sister 🙂
Tara and I actually lived for several years with Rory and Marion and their two daughters in Ketchikan to go to school there, they are like our second family, so we are pretty close with the Millers. Our brother James used to fish with Ray on the Velvet way back when, and now he fishes with Norman. I love reading other people’s stories from our bush lives, especially as kids, some crazy stuff we went through for sure!!
1/25/2017 07:08:36 pm
Please encourage cousin Mark to enter the Tales2Inspire contest with his wonderful story. I think with a bit of rewriting he could turn it into a dynamite inspiring story.
Here is the blurb about TalesInspire:
Have an inspiring story just begging to be told? If so, jump on the bandwagoning and enter it in Tales2Inspire®, a well respected contest, but much, much more. FREE to enter. Then Tales2Inspire works hard to promote its winners. So if you want help in building your author platform, this is a great opportunity.
Deadline Date: March 1, 2017.
What should you write about? A picture is worth 1000 words, so get a FREE e-book sampler of winning stories from previous years at: www.tales2inspire.com/contest. Then scroll down the page for submission details, guidelines and “What’s In It For You” rewards.
Mark T Morse
1/26/2017 11:18:44 am
Lois, what a kind sentiment!! Thank you, as I blush! I have always been a good storyteller but these are the first real words I have ever put to paper. I think ur giving me to much credit as I run my thoughts thru Tara now. After chastising me about my language and run on sentences she said let me edit ur stories from now on. I went from the College of Charleston to the Marines to Iraq and back then to the Chicago trading pits. My idea of bad language and the rest of the world’s are quite different. Maybe Tara will edit the Ray Miller story so I don’t get dinged for poor Grammer? Ty again for your kind words Lois. You made my day kind sir!!!