Category Archives: Alaska

Crossing Paths

I put the book down and brought my head back into the 21st century. I’d been reading 19th-century correspondence about explorations in the far Northwest by some of the most important people to document the biological diversity of Alaska and western Canada. I’d just finished a long letter from 1864 by Robert Kennicott to R. McFarlane, a Hudson’s Bay Company factor.

This was in William Healy Dall’s 1915 biography of Spencer Fullerton Baird, who was the first curator at the Smithsonian Institution and later served as Assistant Secretary and then as Secretary.
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Republicans Dying to Worsen Health Care

Who would have thought we’d be at it again, with Republicans in the Senate pushing another “Let’s-make-health-care-worse” bill. Frankly, I have things I’d much rather do than address this, but it is important. Bottom line: the Graham-Cassidy bill may be the worst Trumpcare bill yet, and while some details are still flexible, overall it is terrible. Call your senators to oppose it, and urge them to work together to improve the nation’s health care. Here are some of the details…
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The Boombah Haulage Company

The Boombah Haulage Company, president, CEO, and sole employee.

All those artisanal, hand-crafted heat candies created in the woods behind our house (the Boombah) have to travel to the wood shed somehow to realize their purpose. Yes, they’re pieces of dead trees, but they’ve been diced up into 16-inch lengths for a reason. I generally cut the trees as soon as possible after they die, so they are usually still green and the pieces of future firewood are heavy. So I stack them in the woods for a year or so to begin the drying process. Like a squirrel with little food caches scattered about, I can usually remember where the piles are. I haul them out on a network of foot trails one load at a time on my shoulders. It’s a great workout. I peck away at it when I feel like it.
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Double Dipping

This was our 20th year fishing for salmon in the Copper River. You’d think we’d be experts by now and get our limit every time. Ha! If you want to be sure to come home with fish, go to the store. This fishery is a uniquely Alaska experience, a personal-use fishery open only to state residents. You use big nets on long handles. It’s a longstanding traditional way to harvest salmon for the table, and the fish, the Copper River red salmon, is probably one of the best food fishes in the world. We enjoy them immensely. And, while it’s serious work, I still enjoy going to get them.
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