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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nuts about Nuts (Addicted to Pecans)

I decided to rename and freshen up my blog.  I am currently in Georgia (one extreme to the next, weather wise).  Being here in Georgia is like having summer all over again!  I've been staying with my sister.  They have a beautiful place on 25 acres of an old pecan plantation.

The pecans call me - "pick me up, don't let me just lay here".  It has almost become an obsession.  I can't go out into the yard without picking them up.  My sister seems to have no such compulsion, but my brother-in-law understands. He has the "fever" too.
So far, I have probably picked about 10lbs.  It doesn't seem like much when I type that out, but I feel like I have hit gold!  My sister says, "Well what are you going to do with them?'  Seriously.  Bake and cook!  Again the optimist, my sister, says, "You know they will all have to be shelled?"  Umm, yes, I may be from Alaska, but I do understand that.  So I have shelled some - evidently there nutmeats are not quite as big in some of these as I anticipated and some are not any good.  But, out of 1 gallon ziplock bag, I did get enough to chop for some cookies and this 2 cups toasted and chopped for brittle.
I still have another gallon bucket to shell. There is a commercial sheller nearby to which I may avail myself to in the future.

I have not even begun to pickup on the back acreage.  The dogs and I go out and traipse around the property as I go on my hunt.  My brother-in-law told me about a gizmo my sister had given him.  It is basically a waist-high metal pole with a spring-like attachment on the bottom.  It makes picking up the pecans a back saver.  Of course, I had to look in the shed for it as I thought maybe my sister had hid it on purpose.  I would not be thwarted!  It works amazingly well!

I will post more pictures of my pecan creations as I go, but I can hear those nutty voices calling and I must go get more!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Bear Facts

The bear hunting commenced just after moose.  The guys came from all over - Czech Republic, South Africa, Texas, California.  I'm sure there were a few from some places I forgot to mention, but there was quite a contingent.  Bear worked similar to moose.  The guide goes and sets up spike camp, the hunter flies in to the lodge, checks his gear, sights his gun and off he goes to meet up with the guide.  The days are mostly sitting and glassing for bear.  Some days there are quite a few bears, but if they are small or a sow, or have cubs, these are left best alone.  Guides for this hunt are tough.  Depending on where they are located, the wind can be strong and never ending, rain, rain and more rain.  Pete (guide) had the distinct pleasure of he and his hunter returning to camp only to find that a bear had helped ventilate their tent for them.

 Because the hunters don't come back to the lodge every day, it is pretty rough camping.  We will send out perishables (meat, cookies, eggs,  milk, etc..) as needed.  I've heard that the guides can cook a pretty mean meal out there.  The Guides are good managers of people.  They do their best to keep a hunter hunting and not quit and keep spirits upbeat.  When the guides and hunter do come back to the lodge , it is always best to spend some time up wind.  They are also hungry! I keep soup on hand, items for sandwiches and always try to have a desert - brownies, cookies, etc... for them to enjoy.  The first group only got 2 bear, and a wolf.  The second group all 4 got bears.

This bear was 10ft.  The skull and the hide have to be packed out with the bear.  

Notice the 2nd tooth on the right is bad. 

Jason (Guide) on the left and Tom (Hunter) on the right

Then on the last day, the other hunters got their bears.
8 and 9 foot bear
Jan and Mike with their bears

Guides - Sterling and Jeff

Mike (Guide) and Jan (hunter)
Sterling fleshing one of the hides

Miles working on the skull

Pete fleshing the hide

 The hides are then salted and made ready to be transported to expediter.  After the tanning process is complete, then the hides are sent to the hunters.  Some are made into mounts, while others use theirs as a rug or hung on a wall. 

And with that the season was finished.  I got home on October 23.  It was quite a bittersweet time, sad to leave the lodge, but happy to be going home. 

I was going to end my blog with this entry, but I have had a great time doing this.  I am going to continue writing this, so I hope you will continue to follow.  I am off to Georgia (the state) next.