New Year Subsistence

Back to Juneau and glad to have some subsistence activities to do, even though I hadn’t got any deer this year. First, Chris said to come get some tanner crab left over from the pile that his girls couldn’t finish eating. Happy to!  He had a half a 6 gallon bucket full of cooked halves. I spent an hour at the sink picking all the meat. Got about a dozen cups of crab meat, I’d guess. Of course I had to eat some as I picked. Oh, it’s my favorite crab. Felt good to stand. But when I tried to take a step after standing there all that time- oh, my knees were stiff. 60 sucks.

Then started in on making bone broth. Chris’s hunting crew saved a big fish box full of leg bones for me, which I put in the freezer before I went to Craig. I cut the bones into pieces with tree limb loppers to expose the marrow, and filled up my big canning pot until near full. That used about half the bones from the box. I put the remainder of the bones back into the freezer.

I took the pot of bones down to the stove, removed the bone pieces from the pot, and roasted them on baking trays in a 425 degree oven for about 40 minutes until the meat on the bones was browned. Then put the wire jar holder into the bottom of the pot, and piled all the bone pieces back into the pot, filled it with water, and put the pot on the cook stove. When the water was simmering, I transferred the pot to the wood stove for a long slow simmer through the evening and overnight.

This morning, the broth was gelling- which signifies perfect. I put the pot into one sink and an empty canning pot into the adjoining sink. Then pulled out the bones from the stock with the jar holder and put the bones into the other pot. That worked pretty good. Only a few bones fell back in the pot or into the sink.

I filled the pot of bones with water and put it on the stove to simmer. Looked like I could get at least another batch of stock out of these bones.

I took a handled strainer and skimmed off the pieces of meat, fat and gristle from the stock. Then ladled the stock into large Costco yogurt containers – about 6 cups filled each container. The first batch made 7 containers, plus a couple cups Sara wanted left out for immediate use.

When the the second pot of bones was simmering, I transferred the pot to the wood stove for round two as light snow flurries fell on the barren yard. We sure need snow. Still not cross country skiing and it’s January 2.

Another good friend is in failing health. He has been my fish business mentor since he started processing salmon for me more than 2 decades ago, and been down in Washington for some time. I called down a few weeks ago and spoke to his daughter, who said her dad was resting and comfortable. Wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. When his plant manager called me this morning and said he was in Hospice and wasn’t coming back to Juneau, well, that answered that question. He has been such a kind friend to me all these years, giving me valuable advice on fish processing, shipping, and many other aspects of selling fish that saved me a lot of mistakes he’d already made. Plus, of course, his colorful opinions on city, state and national politics and issues. He has been a quiet pioneer in Alaska processing, introducing such things as canned fish in pouches, and after helping me develop a recipe for dog treats from salmon scraps for my own business, continued on with them on his own when we quit selling them ( With a heart of gold,  he gave many people jobs who likely couldn’t have kept one elsewhere. His plant was his home and staff his extended family.

Postscript: Dick passed away today.  This is a photo from the Juneau Empire. Dick was active in the VFW post here.  Rest easy, Dick.

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