That’s how it works around here.

I got a text from a young  married couple from Craig up here fishing. Do you want a sockeye?  I think- my goodness, I have so much king in the freezer already…….- of course I want a sockeye. I wanted to see them anyway, as a bunch of canned goods from our pantry didn’t make it to them when the boys picked up the swim step they brought up for me on their boat from the friends we bought it from in Craig on facebook.

When I get down to their boat, the wife now wants me to take maybe two sockeye. And a steelhead.  I say they must have friends who can use it. All our friends are fishermen, she said. They have fish. So we settle on a big sockeye and a steelhead.

White steelhead fish filets in a bowl

When I get home, I see my neighbor is home, so I call her to see if she and her three young kids want a fish. Sure! She says. I tell her I have a sockeye and a steelhead. She said she didn’t know what a steelhead was, but knew she liked sockeye. I said you are a Juneau girl and know how to cut up a fish, right?  To which she replied yes, I am a Juneau girl, and no, I don’t know how. Okay, I said. I’ll go cut it up and be over.

So I get out the cutting board and fillet the sockeye. It is beautiful. As good as it gets. Turns out the gillnetters know how to pressure bleed. The meat is clean as a whistle, with no blood. Wow.

I take the two sides of sockeye over to her, and we make a plan to teach her how to cut up fish. Then I ask about bucking up her logs for firewood. What’s bucking up mean?  I explain it’s cutting the wood with a chainsaw to length. Then you split the wood so it will go in the stove. With a splitting machine, she asks?  Well, I split by hand. I can see I’ve got some teaching to do here, and hopefully an eager student.

I come home and fillet the steelhead. It’s a white fleshed steelhead. Which I’ve never seen or heard of. I’ve caught many white king salmon, and just 3 white coho, but never heard of white steelhead. Huh!  I let the fishermen know, and they haven’t heard of them, either.

Sara and I eat the sockeye frames from the fish which we gave the fillet sides to the neighbor, and save the steelhead for tomorrow to try and maybe give some away to other friends. I cut off the tails of the fish from the frames for crab bait with shears I brought back from the trip east just for this purpose from a family friend who is an employee of the Klein Tools cutlery where the shears are made in my hometown.

I love living here.

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