Crab tails, coffee machines, alternators, and other life lessons

We pulled the king crab pot yesterday. I forgot on day 1 to keep the king crab tails. I kept them all yesterday, and sure glad I did. We got 8 more crab for the new people we had on board, and I saved the tails as we cleaned the crab. I steamed them when I got home, and opened each one up to get the meat out. There is a LOT of meat in a king crab tail – and 8 of them make for several crab sandwiches. The photo is of the meat from a crab tail on the left, the shell it was removed from on the right, with a Bic lighter for scale.

We had some of Chris’s crew and Sara’s staff on the boat today, along with my brother in law’s nephew and his boss from Craig, a Russian friend of the Ukranians who has lived in town a couple decades, and another friend of Chris. I had to twist Jeff’s arm to get him to give me his proxy form so I could bring one back to him. He likes to make it hard to do a favor for him.

Turns out one of Chris’s crew had worked in the alternator shop here in town, and she seemed to really know her stuff. I may get her to check out my whole 12 volt system on the tug to give me some advice to have enough juice to run the little freezer and maybe the new smoker I got for Christmas next summer. I had one of Sara’s staff, who fished and worked for Fish and Game out of Kodiak and the Bering Sea, talk to Chris about possible work at the legislature, as Chris is a wealth of fisheries knowledge and an excellent writer from his years working as a seafood consultant for his dad.

I went out to Chris’s boat today. We were careful to clean the crab well yesterday, and so I wanted to save some of the broth left in the pot from steaming them all for Chris’s daughter to use for stock. I poured some off through a strainer into a pickle container, then planned on cleaning the pot for Chris. The crab residue was frozen on, so I took the pot home with me to clean it properly.

I then went skiing at Montana Creek, and it was fantastic. But crap. I’m out of shape. It about killed me. But wonderful. Such a pretty trail that runs along beautiful Montana Creek. I was almost back to the start when Mark called. My alternator was fixed.

I stopped there on the way home, and he said that the alternator I took off was now cleaned and tuned up. And the brand new spare did not work. He asked several questions about where I got it. He showed me how it was supposed to be hooked up, which wasn’t the same hook up as the one I took off!  I may have fried the unit myself. More tuition. And it may possibly have been just a loose belt that was making the fluctuations in the charging, and nothing else. Chris’s dad Eric, who taught me to troll, told me to always suspect the simplest, easiest solution first when you have a problem. I did check to see if the belt was tight to the touch. And I thought it was. But Mark showed me how to test it properly – if I could turn the alternator pulley by hand with the engine off, the belt was not tight enough. I didn’t try that. More tuition.

When I got home, though, past tuition started to pay dividends. Sara’s espresso maker is kind of tired. I spend a lot of time trying to make it work for her (and occasionally me) properly. A person had a fancy shmancy Mr Coffee espresso latte cappuccino maker on Craigslist for 20 bucks. Said she only used it a couple times. I’ll take it, I replied. She could even deliver it when she took her kid to hockey practice. Then she got back to me and said the pick up tube for the milk was missing, so she’d just give it to me if I still wanted it. Sure!  I said.

She dropped it off, and it did look like new. I saw where the tube had broken off. When I tried finding a replacement online, I could not find any vendor that had one in stock. The tube fits into a socket, and the top part of the tube was up in the socket, but the part from end of the socket to the bottom of the milk container had somehow broken off. I took the top of the container with the socket to the hardware store, and found a piece of 5/8 inch clear tubing fit snugly over the socket (not inside of it). I paid the $1.72 for the foot of tubing, and headed home. I measured the tubing to the bottom of the tank, and needed to cut it in half to be the right length. Which was great, as now I’ll have a spare. I filled the container with water just to try it, and it worked!

I bought milk on the way home from skiing today. I poured the water out of the milk container and loaded the milk. I first tried the latte function, and out it came. First the milk. Then the espresso. Perfect!  After I finished that, I tried making a cappuccino. Same result!   I looked up the machine online, and a new one is over $300. A win.

So 1 loss and 1 win for this 60 year old this week. I’ll take it.

Crab tail meat on a cutting board

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