Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 3: Mentor Up.


Day 3: Mentor Up
I know some talented folks. That is for sure. And I’m tapping into that collective talent for this project. There is only so much a girl can learn from books and online info-fishing. Sometimes we need to rely on the experts living amongst us. We must ask for help. I have amazing experts to help mentor me into the killing and eating machine I plan to become.

First on my lineup of mentors is Coast Guard Chief Judy Pallagi. I’m hoping she can help tighten up my boating skills and finally get me in a kayak. Those Dungeness aren’t coming to shore to climb into my pot, you know. Right now, I’m hardly comfortable taking my little boat out in Seabeck Bay. And the bay is nice, but Dungeness are found further out – out where I’m not ready to go. The Hood Canal is going to play a big role in feeding me and my family this next year. I love seafood and think I’ll have an easier time knocking a salmon on the head over gutting a deer (but I do plan on trying to hunt deer). Chief Pallagi is a wise woman that I served with a few years ago while we were both stationed at Bangor with the Maritime Force Protection Unit. She is the one that originated my education as a Patrol Commander, but she left the unit before I learned all that she could teach me. So, I’m excited for the chance to reunite our friendship while working on this project. She’s one of the toughest and brightest ladies I know.
My baby cousin, Donny McGlasson (now fully grown with wife and kids) has volunteered to dish advice whenever needed. He’s lived in Alaska for the past several years, so I’m sure he has a wealth of outdoorsy type advice. Plus, it has been a good 20 years since I’ve seen my cousin and this will be a fun way to reconnect and bridge the years that have separated he and me from our childhoods together.
And then there is the boy-next-door and girlhood crush, Christopher Wright. Chris has volunteered to give advice and laugh at (with me) when I do stupid stuff- which will be often. Chris claims to be an expert fisherman and avid hunter, so it sounds like I’ve hit the jackpot with this mentor. He’s already shared a lesson for my vicarious learning. Supposedly, there are “baitless” lakes in Washington. Who knew? How do you catch a fish without bait? Well, Chris didn’t know about baitless lakes and was going about it old-school, when he was slapped with a $250 ticket. Ouch! And here is a weird coincidence, in an earlier message Chris explained a bit about hunting quail and grouse with a 20-gauge shotgun (which by the way, I have access to one in the family gun safe) and on my way home from the post office, 6 grouse or maybe they were quail, (I can’t tell the difference), ran out in front of my car on our driveway. Odd. I haven’t seen any for a while. So now I’m wondering how to cook them and what the little birds might taste like. I fear I’ll look at all wildlife and wonder if rosemary or sage will season better. Sicko, sicko, me…
My last “consultant” confirmed today is Ms. Clobbie, an Alpha-11 girl from my basic training days in the Army. She’ll provide the expert lens to help capture the adventure. She snapped my son’s senior photos this year, as well as my blog picture. She has an eye for nature. I look forward to hanging out with one of my best girlfriends. We’ve known each other since 1985! And we still like each other.
I think today was a big success. I gathered four people to assist me along my adventure. I love the idea of engaging with nature and reconnecting with friends and relatives that for some reason or another, life has left me little focus and time. But that’s all going to change now.
Tonight’s dinner was vegan hearty borscht with toasted buckwheat and lentils. It was great, but I’m missing my meat a little bit. My spring pullets finally got off their asses and started laying eggs. I’ve collected 8 eggs in two days, so maybe I’ll enjoy an omelet tomorrow night. I’m already feeling kind of legumed-out.  Eggs are hard to fathom without bacon, but I’ll manage. The documentary, Food Inc, ruined factory pork for me. I grew up raising pigs and know firsthand of their intelligence and charming personalities. I’m not against eating pork, but I am so against the mistreatment of pigs during their feedlot lives and horrific last moments on the kill-floor of a commercial meatpacking plant. And for me, raising a pig for slaughter is kind of out of the question (at least for now). I can’t love and feed and scratch the belly of a piglet until it is old enough to feed my family and then kill the damn thing. I know I ought to work through this. Maybe I could kill chickens or turkeys, but not pigs, sheep, goats, or sweet but dull cows. Wild feels more intuitive to me. Going wild excites and scares me.
 I must work my way up the killing chain. Crabs, clams, oysters, and muscles don’t really count. I’ve managed all of those things. I did scream (a lot) the first time I tossed a rock crab into a pot of boiling water. But I got over it pretty quick (drawn butter and a glass of Riesling helps one forget). I think knocking a salmon on the head will be a pretty big challenge, but tonight's vegan dinner has me so ready.  I’m hungry!


  1. When you are ready I have the perfect rifle you can borrow. It comes with refresher training if you haven't shot in a while too.

  2. Chris I love you but do think you are a little crazy, I wish I had the fortitude to take on such a awesome adventure as this. I do have a little insight on the Salmon fishing experience though. You are doing the right thing getting the boating help you need prior to setting sail in the open water. I would purchase and emergency rescue beacon devise just to be on the safe side. I have not fished in your area but in Alaska when fishing the open ocean waters the guys always seen to troll using hearing rigged up with two hooks and a flasher in front to get the fish looking. I would recommend some kind of diver as-well to get the bait down to the fish. I would only think using a Jig would work great for Rock/Bottom Fish in the area as-well and there are allot more of them then Salmon in the Sea. I bet in a weekend you could catch enough to supply the freezer for meals that month. You were talking about crabbing well bottom fishing is a good thing to do while you are waiting on the pots. Hope this helps and I will need to teach you how to fly fish in those lakes so you don't end up like Super Man. Love Ya Donny
    Let The Mentoring Begin

  3. Hi Jason, That sounds great. I'll let you know when I'm ready for some lessons. I have no experience with hunting firearms, only the military stuff that we both played around with long ago.

    Yes Donny, I know this sounds really crazy. But I'm just kind of like that. I get these wild ideas, and I just go for it. So far, its worked out pretty well. There are a few things in life I'd like to take a do-over on, but really I have few regrets.

    I do read too much, and that's what a lot of this is about. I'm grossed out by how far we've strayed from our food sources and the crap that ends up on our table as a result. And you know I've always been a softy for animals, even though I grew up eating ones raised on our farm. I hate how feedlot animals are mistreated, not to mention all the antibiotics and yuck that ends up in those neat little packages we pick up from the grocery store.

    This is a big challenge for me. I'm hoping to learn a lot, appreciate my planet even more, and maybe even drop a few pounds by eating better and getting out there to catch what I eat. Maybe we can fish together soon. I can come to you.

    Thanks Guys for joining in. That is what's going to make this project fun for me.