Cabin Christmas

Lost my best friend in Sierra Leone, Solomon Saidu, two days before my birthday. Seems it was not Ebola but somehow I am not so sure. His epilepsy was getting worse, and it seems something from that killed him. At least his family got him back to the village before he passed. Now his brother Francis is also sick and in Koidu for observation. Francis is the patriarch of the family and his son Alieu is in fear now of losing both his uncle and father. Francis will be under observation until results come back from his Ebola test.

Sara is in Hawaii with the Craig town family. I went to our cabin Christmas eve, borrowing Kurt and Jeff’s 16′ lund as I am waiting for my outboard to come in on the barge. It was good to get over there, and I was the only one on the island it seemed. The next day I went deer hunting on Admiralty above the salt chuck. I saw a few tracks but did not get very far up the hill with a late start and early sunset. Spent another night reading old Alaska Sportsmans magazines about polar bear hunting and deer hunting. In 1945 there was a 2 deer limit of bucks with antlers 3 inches or longer west of Cape Yakutaga and a 1 deer limit in Prince William Sound. The season was Sept 1 to Nov 15. Now the limit around here is 4 deer of either sex after Sept 15, and the season runs Aug 1-Dec 31, and there’s plenty of deer this year. With so little access other than by foot, the deer population is in little danger of overharvest.

I decided to return to town the next day as the wind was supposed to switch around to the north and could be a bit hairy coming across Stephens Pass. I met Ron’s two sons and 6 of their friends coming in on their scheduled hunting weekend out of our cabin. I made it home without incident, and the boys got a deer that afternoon and 3 more today.

I got out the high bush cranberries from the freezer and put them in a pot on the woodstove. I spent the day purging my clothing. I put a free ad on Craigslist and found a father who gladly took it all for his son. By evening the cranberries were thawed and boiled a bit and I got to making more syrup. Last year I tried making jelly but it didn’t set but the resulting syrup was so good I decided I liked it better so made that this year – 13 pints worth.

Still no snow on the ground at sea level. I awoke about 3. Don’t sleep much these days with all that’s going on with the family in Sierra Leone. I washed the dishes from the syrup making, sewed some blade guards for my skates from my old jeans, and sewed up a nice poly pro shirt I’d burned a hole in when it was too near the woodstove drying. Then set down here to print of an order sheet to send my otter hide off to Moyles. The ADD kicked in and here I am writing for the blog.

I tried the pressure washer for fleshing the otter I got last year. I’d never tried fleshing one and after putting several holes in it, stopped before I made things worse to learn now to do it properly. Then I found out about pressure wash fleshing it, and it’s nearly a miracle how well it works. I sewed up all the holes first, then got to it and thought it wasn’t working at first and then realized it was working perfectly. I plan to send it off to get tanned and sew a hat or something from it.