Thursday, April 12, 2012
The Bears are Up
It has been a glorious week here in Homer. Sunny skies, temperatures above freezing, meltwater happily trickling down the streets.
We've been feeling like summer will never come. This week, it finally feels like a reality. I wonder if that has more to do with the phone than the readings on my swanky little weather station? Right about this time of year, phones all over Alaska light up with family and friends proposing a visit. It's no different at our house.
For us, this year's bunch of visitors is promising to be great fun. Cousins from Washington State, uncles from British Columbia with young cousins in tow, old friends from Florida, good friends from Fairbanks and new friends from up the road. The calendar is filling up and we're pretty excited about it. We've got fishing trips, clamming trips, camping trips, hiking trips and sightseeing trips all planned out for our guests - good times!
The only thing standing in the way of a big Alaskan happy dance is that ALL our toys are broken.
This week our boat trailer blew some bearings so launching the boat isn't happening, the flaps on the plane won't go down so that isn't flying, the truck wouldn't start and had to be towed to the garage and the dog's got spring fever badly enough to drive us all crazy.
Thankfully, this is happening in April, not June. The plane's being fixed as I type, Hunter's got the boat trailer in hand, the truck's got a shiny new starter and the dog is all mine to deal with.
Spring fever in a dog is trying - pent-up energy and selective hearing do not make for a good dog. My normally well-behaved hound turned into a whiny, barking, ill-mannered brat the minute the sun started shining.
Today, I'm going with the old adage that a good dog is a tired dog. I can't decide which will exhaust him more, a long walk on the beach, a bike ride or a ski trip around McNeil Canyon? Decisions, decisions.
News about town is that the bears are up. My friend over on Diamond Ridge saw a couple of them stalk by her place the other day. My Anchorage friends are finding tracks along ski trails. No doubt about it, they're up and they're at 'em.
That reminds me that Hunter's annual bear hunt is on for next month. I have four weeks to figure out how I want his bear cut up and packaged and what I'm going to do with a bear's worth of meat.
I was having some issues wrapping my head around eating a bear but the news around pink slime, antibiotics in commercially raised livestock and the ick that goes into chicken makes me feel much better about my Alaskatarian decision. If I'm going to eat meat, I'm going to do it right.
Still, it's a bear. That's one Alaskatarian hurdle I'm going to have to leap.
My fellow game eaters - how do you cook a black bear? I hear that rendered bear fat is pretty awesome in sweet rolls. That a bear roast tastes like ham. Can I cure it and come up with a kind of prosciutto? Is it hammy enough to make bear bacon? Oh, I miss bacon. Talk to me about bear sausage, what works and what doesn't?
I have a lot to figure out before I send my man into the wild.