I'm working as a Fish Culturist at Hidden Falls Salmon Hatchery in a remote spot near Sitka, Alaska! AM I CRAZY!? I'm starting to think so...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Taste of Poland... and Takatz!

There are a few new pictures up since you might have last seen it.

Before I get started about my quick trip to Takatz, I want to jump ahead in the day and tell you that I did a pretty monumental thing today. Monumental for ME I guess... I successfully made my first batch of pierogi BY MYSELF! I've helped my grandma out before but I've never actually MADE ALL OF IT. Even though things were a bit messy and I had some issues with the dough, I MADE EM! None of them fell apart... and I even let people try them and they said they were really good! :-D

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So yesterday was my day off so I decided to take a ride down to Takatz with Grant on one of the fish transfers. I just wanted to check out the house and the area before I had to LIVE down there. The area is very pretty with a big snow-covered mountain in the background. I've been told many avalanches will be seen and heard. The house is decent too... considering it's a floathouse. The living room/kitchen are is spacious with two tiny bedrooms in the back. There IS a bathroom with a toilet and a shower. Atleast I think it's a shower... I saw a shower curtain!? Anyhow, it doesn't have hot water though so... On the way out there I saw this awesome waterfall too but since my camera decided it wasn't going to work, I couldn't get a picture of it. Dean gave me some batteries though so I got picture of stuff, but didn't find that waterfall on the way back.

I tried to put a picture on here of a map but it wasn't working. Try this link.


Hidden Falls is in Kasnyku Bay just north of Takatz Bay. It isn't that far really... You are going to probably have to arrow up a little on the map and then zoom in maybe if it doesn't say any names of the bays. It shows Kasnyku Lake, and Kasnyku is the bay right above that.

Anyhow, pictures.

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Welcome to Takatz Bay! Gorgeous right!? It's really hard to see but if you look at the water line at the VERY LEFT of the picture, you can see the Takatz house back there.(Again, click the pic to make it larger.)

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There are 16 chum pens, 8 on each side of the house. It basically makes a big H. This is the back side of the house. Those two windows are where the bedrooms are. Those doors open up to where the food is kept.

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The inside of the Takatz house. The house is 2 stories but the bottom level houses all of the food.

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The guys at work... transferring chum. Dean's in the orange. Adam's in the blue and green. Grant's in the background. He is the guy who runs the boat, but doesn't work at Hidden Falls.

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Welcome to saltwater Little Chum! This is the best I could do for taking a picture of the fish. The glare on the water made it hard. It takes them a little while to adjust so some might look dead... but they'll recover.

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Remember Muttley!? Well this is his brother. He is Grant's dog but from the same parents that Muttley is from. This guy is BIGGER than Muttley actually... he's got a super puffy coat and looks like a bear. Again, hard to really tell how big he is.

Well, I think Takatz will be good. I will be heading out there tomorrow actually for my 4 day stay so you won't see me online. Some of you MAYYYYY get a phone call though. :-D I'll leave you with just one more picture. I talked the other day about how gorgeous the mountain looked at Hidden Falls. Well it was an equally gorgeous day yesterday (and today!) so here's a shot heading into the bay that Hidden Falls is located in. Let's just say it was another "Oh my god, I'm in ALASKA!" days! :-D

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Similar to the Takatz picture, you can see a little building and chum pens at the water level on the very left of the picture. Those are the chum pens that we moved from the other side of the bay. Those trees in the middle are on a little island but behind that is the hatchery.

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - Grandma Czuba... Thanks for showing me how to make pierogi! :-D

Thursday, March 29, 2007

30.5 hours in 3 days...


So today was Day #3 of starting work at 7am. We're doing this so the boat can get an early start at taking the chum to Takatz. It takes 2 trips a day. Really it doesn't take THAT long but Scott is also ponding chum at the same time so an early start at getting the fish OUT of the ponding trough (the raceway) means an earlier start at getting a new group back IN!

Now, I've decided that these past three days have been a good indication that I don't mind what I'm doing up here. Day #1 of 7am start ended up being a 10.5 hour work day! Morting some ponds, feeding all the front round ponds BY myself and having to clean the freshly fallen 12+ inches of snow off of the predator nets before I fed! Rediculous, Mother Nature... REDICULOUS! One day it's nice... but snowing a little... then we wake up with 12... 14... KNEE high snow on the ground! I hate you. Anyhow, all of that stuff that I did took me until 5:15, which is already PAST "clock out time"... then I went in to help Scott clean up in incubation until 6:30! These Takatz chum are in "R48 incubators"... I'm not too sure why they are called "R48"s but my guess is because they're round and there are 48 of them. :-D But they are set up alot different than the previous incubators. It's one big round VAT of fish... layered in there with biorings (substrate) and mesh screens. Fairly easy clean up... the screens get alot of bag eggs and goop stuck to them and it's sort of fun to clean them off actually! he he he I wanted to take some pictures in incubation today of the ponding machine and the R48s but the lights were off when I went in there later on. With these R48s, we don't have to work in pitch black so should be able to get some pictures.

Anyhow, Day #1... 10.5 hours. Day #2... 9.5 hours... not too bad. Day #3... 10.5 hours again. LOOONG days but...... they haven't FELT long. (And no... I don't get overtime pay! BOO) I wasn't thinking "GOD I just wanna get out of here." To me, that's a pretty good sign. And today the weather was GREAT! This morning, Angie and I were pushing out the chum and the sun was out and it was soooo clear. The mountain looked gorgeous. It got kind of gray later on but it was real nice for a while.

SOOOO... I have some fun pictures! YAY!

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This is the downstairs of the bunkhouse. I'm standing at one of the doorways. Behind me is the doorway to go the laundry room and up a set of stairs or outside. The tv isn't visible but it's in that right corner by the couches... Caf-style tables... kitchen is in the back there thru that little window.

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MMMMMM... Sarah and Brandon brought me some crab! They brought me 4 halves... these were just two halves to show you how big a full crab could be... that's a normal sized dinner plate. Give me a nut cracker type thing and I can crack the heck out of some crab! ;-D

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This is the spawning shed with the feed shed as the big building in the back. It's the morning that we got all that snow overnight... it all slid off the roof of the spawning shed and completely closed it in! You can see how much snow we actually got... the edges where it was plowed... that's how much.

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So behind the feed shed are the green round ponds that I showed you before. But that picture I showed before was taking where the was no snow... see all the snow up the side! This is from all the snow sliding off the roof... it was higher last week actually!

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This is Muttley, Dan and Deena's massive dog. You really can't tell how big he is but he comes up to about my thigh. He's got a hilarious face... you can't help but just laugh when he looks at you.

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So I talked to other day about how Angie said we would have to dig out some screens that were buried in the "boneyard" under about 12 feet of snow. Thankfully I didn't have to dig but she did... really, it was about 12 feet!

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STARING DOWN THE HOLE OF DOOM!!!! That's Deena next to me.

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OK let me explain this one... We have this cookbook in the kitchen... The Joy of Cooking. I was trying to find a recipe for the extra crab I had. So I'm flipping pages and the word "woodchuck" catches my attention! "WHAT!?" So I find it... and it's a section for Wild Game. How to cook woodchuck, possum, rabbit, beaver, stuff like that... and then I see this! How to cook squirrel... with directions to SKIN A SQUIRREL! Now tell me if this is NOT the scariest picture you have ever seen in a COOKBOOK!!!!!! That bottom one with the... "naked" squirrel... doesn't is just look like a cartoon!?

ANYHOW... HA HA... Tomorrow is my day off, along with Saturday. I may ride the boat out to Takatz with the chum to check it out. I think it's suppose to be a nice day. And I have to check out the Takatz house before I live in it. For those of you I have talked to about it, I found out there IS a toilet! I won't have to use a bucket unless the toilet freezes! HA HA

SHOUT OUTS OF THE DAY: To Traci and Aunt Sandy! THANKS for the packages!! :-D And to everyone who had to listen to me FREAK out about some "accommodations" at Takatz, THANKS. :-D

By the way, I've partially given up on the weather report. Mom sent me a little thermometer for my window, but I think the temperature FROM the window throws it off... it said it was almost 50 out but I think it was much lower than that. So until I really figure out what the temperature is... you're gonna have to go to that weather page.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The sighting!


That's excitement by the way... not fear!

This weekend, Scott said he saw a bear and Josh said he saw tracks. So we have been put on bear alert... making sure the food vans are closed tight and that no garbage is left out. Well today I had just started to "mort" the round ponds out front when Shannon, who was standing over by the duplex, starts to kind of point and call me over. And I knew right then what he was looking at. I would have had the PERFECT view of it from exactly where I had been standing but I probably would have never seen it. It blended in real well and was just kind of sitting there for a few minutes across the lagoon. Then it started to move around a bit. Shannon said it is normally June-ish when they start to see the bears out and that this guy was probably looking for a dead deer to eat because he woke up too early. It wasn't HUGE but it was decent sized... Shannon said probably 3-4 years old. From across the lagoon, it was hard for me to really gauge how large he was. Anyhow it was pretty cool! Then I went back to morting.

A few minutes later I see something out of the corner of my eye moving up the hill and I thought it was the bear so I stopped to watch. It ended up being a deer and I kind of laughed. It was moving in the opposite direction of the bear so I hope it escaped with all of it's limbs! A little later I did see the bear walking down by the water so I watched him for a few. That sure is an interesting sight. It was a good "First bear sighting" experience... that's how I wanted it to be... seeing him from ACROSS the water. This morning as I was walking back to the food shed (pre-bear sighting), I was praying "please don't let this bear come walking over the snowbank!"

Anyhow, that's really the only thing I had to say. Tomorrow work starts at 7 because we are making our first chum transfer to Takatz. Scott and Deena ponded some today and tomorrow they will get pumped into a boat and transported out there. Though Angie told me that we will be DIGGING some screens out of the snow tomorrow, so I don't know why the heck we have to get up an hour early too! :-D he he he Apparently these screens (which are for a raceway she needs ready by Friday) are laying flat on the ground... Under umm...... 12 feet of snow!? Really I have no idea how much snow it is but 12 HONESTLY sounds about right. Maybe I'll take my camera out there tomorrow and take a picture first. It's quite funny...

Thursday, March 22, 2007


HEH Alright, I'm just gonna jump right into this before talking about work stuff.

I have received 6 BOXES this week..... 6! That's outrageously funny. I got 4 just today... Angie came into the kitchen and was like "Is it your birthday!?" heh nope... A box from Melissa, Stacey, 2 from Grandma Moser, Mom, and Hannah. Let me just say... I HAVE ALOT OF SNACKS! Allow me to give you a quick list I compiled... really, it's quite funny...

- 6 boxes of Nature Valley granola bars (not including the 2 I have downstairs!) plus a box of a diff. kind of granola bars... (Let me just say, I love them all, but those Sweet & Salty ones are AMAZING! I got 3 boxes of them... I was rejoicing!)

- 3 boxes of cupcakes plus 3 of the 2 pack Hostess cupcakes...

- 2 boxes of Fudge Rounds

- 2 boxes of Nutty Bars

- 2 things of Peeps

- 2 packages of Nutter Butter cookies (1 is a bag and 1 is a smaller pack)

- 7 BAGS OF JOLLY RANCHERS in flavors I didn't even know they had!

- Atleast 10 things of Ramen Noodles... I can't remember...

- Lots of random crazy hilarious stuff from Hannah

- Assorted other stuff like M&Ms, Mini Peanut Butter cups, 3 huge tootsie rolls, jelly beans, twizzlers, life savers, peppermint patties

OUT... OF... CONTROL!! There's no way that stuff will fit downstairs in my one cabinet so I'll be slowly replenishing my downstairs stock... if I don't eat it all upstairs first! heh THANK YOU everyone for sending stuff. If anyone else is planning on sending anything, feel free to hold off for a few... months? ha ha As I was putting my groceries away today, I was thinking, "MAN, I shouldn't have ordered this..." because I shoulda known snacks and stuff were coming. Oh well...

Anyhow, so on to the past 2 days. Well yesterday was the 1st day of spring and Mother Nature decided "alright... I'll give you some spring for god sakes!" and instead of a day of snow, it was a day of rain. And Scott, bless his fabulous heart, decided to give us the afternoon off! He called it a "rain day." So I spent the afternoon doing NOTHING... playing on my computer in my room. I even had the window opened in there for a bit! *GASP* Last night I was watching some tv kind of late but there really wasn't anything on so I flipped to the XM radio channels on the tv... they just play music with a blank screen. And I found THE BEST COUNTRY station! It was playing very brand new music... stuff I haven't even heard... I was so happy. So I sat there and read to some great country music! :-D

Today.... *I drop to my knees and fan my arms at Mother Nature*... WHAT A GORGEOUS MORNING! GAH... the sun was out... it had stopped raining... FABULOUS I TELL YA! I just kept grinning to myself thinking "MAN, this is why I came to Alaska!" as see a bald eagle land in a pine tree and I feel the warmth of the sun! I was down to one layer because it felt so warm! I morted some of the round ponds and then we fed them all morning. Meanwhile, the plane came in. I've decided that as much as I love the sound of the plane coming in, there's something about the sound of it taking off that's really cool. It's sort of cool to watch too.

Anyhow, this afternoon, though the sun went away, it stayed sort of nice for a while. At 3:30, Angie said it was 41 degrees. I fed the fish in the back and then helped Angie in the little incubator room do some stuff that was kind of interesting, though it meant I had to dip my fingers in 3 degree water! Not just dip, but hold them there for a little while. There are a few incubators there like the ones that we just ponded, but I think the fish are Coho... They only started to hatch 3 weeks ago and some of the eggs aren't even hatched yet. Anyhow, so in those incubators, they put a screen in that sits over the substrate that I talked about before. They put the eggs on that screen and when the babies hatch, they fall down through that screen and hang out in the substrate. But there were some bad eggs still on the screens and we had to get those out and just take the screen out period. Though it was cold at some points, it was kind of interesting because I didn't realize that was how they did it. Actually, I don't know if they DO do it that way for all those Chum we ponded... because alot of the substrate was clumped up by bad eggs. Whatever... HA

So that was the day. Now it's raining again. But tomorrow we have a day off for a "holiday."

William Henry Seward (May 16, 1801 – October 10, 1872) was United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

As Secretary of State, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia for $7,200,000 on March 30, 1867. He had claimed that the United States must move westward. This translated into approximately 2 cents per acre ($4.94 per km²) for 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km²) of territory, more than twice the size of Texas. The purchase of this frontier land ("Sewards Icebox") was mocked as "Sewards Folly" and Andrew Johnsons "polar bear garden".

Currently, Alaska celebrates the purchase on Sewards Day, the last Monday of March.

Yeah, so technically the holiday is Monday but we are going to start ponding the Takatz chum on Monday. THAT means, I'll be heading out to Takatz pretty soon... probably next week. My schedule will be... (not necessarily THIS week but once things get going)

Sun. & Mon. - At Takatz with Adam
Tues. & Wed. - Still at Takatz, but with Dean
Thurs. - Back at Hidden Falls to work (just in time for Grey's Anatomy!)
Fri. & Sat. - OFF

Really, out at Takatz, all we are doing is feeding the fish, so we'll have alot of downtime. Sound be interesting. Anyhow, this was a LONG one... Thanks for stickin with me! :-D

SHOUT OUTS OF THE DAY - Grandma Moser, Mom, and Hannah! For the gifts! THAAAAANNNNKKKKSSSS!!! Oh Hannah, thanks for the things to keep me pretty for the fish! The hair ties and rain bonnet! Always lookin out for me! HA HA

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On top of the world!!

Ok I mean the roof... on top of the roof...

Alright.... a few people made my day... but we'll get to that later.

What'd I do yesterday, you ask? Snow... shovel... ROOF! yes... And I have some pictures. Now I've talked about the infamous roof snow alot lately. Well the snow depth up there got too high again... they snowblowed some of it, but the rest was just too hard to get through. So that had to be shoveled by hand... and it was conveniently in the CENTER of the roof.

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That's Scott and Angie is in the background. So that ledge of snow that you see is what needed to be shoveled. Doesn't look like much... it was a couple feet. "Oh come on... the roof can't hold that 2 feet of snow!?" you ask. Well... there's a good 3 feet of snow UNDER that... we were trying to get the snow down to that 3 foot mark.

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Down the center of the roof, there are a few drains and this big trench was created. It's hard to really get perspective but I was bending down on my knee IN the trench when I took this... it's about 5 feet high on either side.

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This is me IN the trench... again, hard to really get perspective since EVERYTHING is white but the snow pile behind me was probably as high as me or pretty close. Angie was standing up a little higher to take this.

So yesterday, Scott created these "sleds" which consisted on a piece of "poly" as he called it... plastic.... with ropes on each corner to pull. The plastic was ehh... 5-1/2 ft x 3 ft. maybe... so alot of snow could be piled up on it. So we'd load that baby up and dump her off the edge of the roof. For the first while, it was actually rather funny. I took a few videos on my camera of Angie and Scott pulling the sled and dumping it but they are too large of a file to put on here unfortunately. Anyhow, as we started to creep more and more inward, it got more annoying and I had had enough. There are hoses up on the roof spraying water to try to melt the snow and there are areas where the snow is down to the actual roof so we just ended up throwing snow there just to even off the depth of the roof. It was a long hard day and my left forearm hurts if I touch it!

Anyhow, today Angie and I morted and fed, but once we were done, it was BACK up on the roof for a little while, then out to the dock to clear that off. While we were out there, the plane came to drop of Adam and Deena, who were in Sitka for a few days. Mail came with! YAY for that...

Some interesting facts... Scott talked to a guy he used to work with yesterday. And this guy said that where ever he is, over by Juneau somewhere, they have had 420 INCHES OF SNOW this winter! 420! That's 35 feet of snow! Our number is somewhere like 187 inches... Last year it was somewhere like 65 inches! Gee, guess I picked a good year to move to Alaska! CRAP! ha ha

OH and we're under many advisories tonight... GAH!



SHOUT OUTS OF THE DAY - To Melissa and Stacey... you guys are amazing! I don't wanna sound like I'm downplaying your package Melissa, but I was truly shocked when I saw a box from you Stacey! I never expected it! I actually carried Melissa's box up to the loader to be taken inside so I knew about that one (and I knew it was coming anyhow.) And then I saw TWO boxes after work and I was grinning from ear to ear! Thanks so much both of you! Hey Melissa, I couldn't open your box right away because I was still working but I was thinking about it while chipping away at the ice on the dock but I was thinking about it for some reason. And I just had this feeling... I was thinking "it would be cool if there was a magazine in there." and there WAS! So when I finally got done with work, I opened them and sat in my room reading that magazine and eating some food for a little while. It was great! And I got your card too Melissa! THANKS! I have a few of your cards hanging up in my room! ;-) And now I have a big stash of snacks under my desk! he he he Except for those Hostess cupcakes... those were gone the minute I sat down!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Good and The Bad

The Good
The grocery flight came today!! YAY! I was walking down the stairs and I heard what I thought was the plane but.... it didn't sound like it landed... maybe like it just flew over so I wasn't completely sure. But then I saw a few people going out to the dock and I rejoiced! I still didn't get any of your packages yet but I did get a few things I ordered online. I'm sure I'll get them this week though... they're probably sitting in the NSRAA office but the stuff that came today was probably the stuff that has been sitting at the airline place since the original canceled flight on Wednesday.

The Bad
So I'm gonna share a little bit of my gripes about not being able to shop for myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy my stuff is here, but certain things about this whole concept makes me crazy... I've kinda gotten over the frustration of not having the grocery store right there when I need it. Now I have to figure out HOW to get exactly what I want.... here are my examples...

- I asked for 1 box of cereal, 1 box of granola bars, & 1 box of popcorn... I got 2 of each. Really, that's alright though because I'll definitely eat them.

- I asked for Finesse shampoo and conditioner... they sent me some coconut smelling Suave shampoo and conditioner for dry and damaged hair. Now you GUYS are probably going, "ohh so what!?" but the ladies understand. I can't get much more specific than what I said... and even if it was out, this is probably the most random 2nd choice they could have picked out! Maybe a guy shopped for me! HA HA

- I asked for Nutter Butter cookies. Those are the peanut butter cookies shaped like little peanuts... they're AMAZING! Except for you Hannah! heh not a good idea. ;-D Well they sent me these Nutter Butter wafers... close but... I've never even HEARD OF THEM!? They were alright but not the same...

- I asked for tuna... 4. The past weeks I have gotten cans... that's the obvious choice right!? This week they sent me the packets of tuna. Which would be alright if they weren't $2.00 EACH PACKET! A can of tuna is what... 89 cents!?

- I wanted Lipton Iced Tea mix but my dumb mistake, I didn't put "MIX" so I got the bottles of Iced Tea. 6 bottles... FOR $9.99! Payin out the ass! Sorry.... heh That was my fault though. And atleast it tastes alright...

- Now this one isn't the grocery store's fault either... it's the weather's fault. I decided to order a gallon of milk instead of the 1/2 gallon since I always run out when I really need it. ($5 a gallon up here by the way!) Well... they shopped for our stuff on Wednesday, but it was sitting there since today... Sunday. My gallon of milk... expires TODAY. NICE... so now I'm looking for ways to use it!

Well, I am really appreciating the concept of shopping for myself these days... and really appreciating the prices of Michigan groceries. :-D Now I'm going to go downstairs... Scott got frozen pizzas and beer (not that I'll benefit from that one) for us so we're going to eat... :-D

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Triumphant Return

I only had to work 1 hour today. It wasn't that bad... I probably would have just been sleeping anyhow. Instead I made a few bucks. The rest of the day I watched a few movies... the net wasn't working so I couldn't get on that. And it was snowing like a madman out! GAH...

The plane STILL hasn't come... which officially makes it WORSE than last week. The funny thing is that we have to put our food orders in again on Monday... I can't even remember what I ordered!? I hope it comes tomorrow or Monday atleast... or we are going to be getting TWO food orders in one day.

Alright, I know what I said... and no I haven't received any packages yet but since I KNOW they are coming, it'll make an appearance today.

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To my Uncle Eddie... he told me he was protesting because I took this off and well... I don't want to lose one of my avid readers! Plus... the poor guy needs a bit of "love" because I'm sure he's a little hurt after the Spartans' loss today. So shout out to YOU!

Friday, March 16, 2007


So you know what the major downfall of living and working in the SAME remote place is...? Your boss can just say to you "umm I'm gonna need you tomorrow..." when it's your day off... Because you can't just say "ooooh I can't... I have to go somewhere." Cause you got nowhere to go! You HAVE to work... there's no gettin out of it... it's kind of a pain!

So yeah... you just learned how my "weekend" will start out. Working... but what will I be doing, you ask? Well I will tell you! The same thing I had to do on my Saturday off a few weekends ago... *you think back to former posts and list off some weekends*

--> Well last weekend, you worked on your Saturday but you ponded... and you are done with that... can't be it.

--> The weekend before that you... UH OH.... not again! Snowblowed the snow off the roof!?

OH NO, don't be silly... I don't have to do that again!

No... this time I just have to shovel the roof! HA no joke. The guys spend the day up on the roof again snowblowing, but also shoveling the snow off the edges of the roof. Now, apparently it won't be all day... just a few hours probably, Scott said. And we're probably just going to come in at 10. Deena, Angie and I will. bleh... Dan and Adam always work on Saturdays so atleast Adam'll be up there probably. Not sure who else... Scott I'm sure. The boss wouldn't make us come in and then NOT come in himself...

Hopefully the plane comes tomorrow too so my day can be better. Funny thing is this is just how last week went... except THIS week, we were suppose to have 2 flights! We didn't get any. I'm pretty convinced this snow is never going to end.

Just want to say that the "SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY" is doing fine... I haven't harmed my hostage. In fact, it will return pretty soon... and in full force! I have gotten word from a FEW people that help is on the way... and I thank you! :-D Now if we could just get that plane in to BRING me the "help!"

Thursday, March 15, 2007


No... literally, it feels like things are rocking a little! ha ha I spent all day out on the chum pens or in a boat. Interesting thing we did today, we moved the chum pens. Those 16 pens that we ponded all those chum into... now on the other side of the hatchery. It doesn't sound too bad but I'l explain more about how big these things are.... It was kinda neat...

So the pens are 8 pens long and they connect in the middle to make 2 - 8 pen long pieces. Each pen is 40 ft. x 40 ft. (I'm pretty sure... the nets that cover the pens are that long, and I tried to measure it with my feet today!) And there is a 3 ft. walkway in between each pen and on the outsides... so do the math... 320 ft of pens plus 27 ft. of walkway... that's a good 347-ish feet long chunk of stuff that we had to move across the bay! About 46 ft. wide. TWICE! And the fish are still in the pens!

What they did was just attached boats to it and pushed it. It took a while... maybe like 45 minutes to move one piece to where we needed it. It was a long sort of boring ride across the bay... about a 2 minute ride in a speedy boat. But I had my music on... and I was entertained for a bit by some bald eagles. Right when we pushed off, there were 2 bald eagles flying around at the same time over the water right near us trying to catch fish. It was really pretty cool. They'd circle and then go down with their claws. Just like on a nature show or something. I couldn't really tell if they did actually catch anything. One did it a few times. Then they flew off and landed on the same tree. +1 about Alaska... bald eagles are definately an amazing sight!

-1 for Alaska is this never ending SNOOOOOOW! We're having a repeat of last week... flight plane still hasn't arrived yet. It's all because of this snow. I've decided though that Alaska really isn't all that much different than Michigan around now. The weather is so unpredictable! Yesterday when work started, it was bright and sunny... amazing really! Made me happy to be here. It was like that for maybe an hour and a half but then the snow clouds of doom came in! Though we knew it was coming because they were lingering over the mountain... but if you turned around, you were happy again because it looked like a totally different place with the sun and all! Then it started to snow pretty hard... little while later, it was amazing again! Obviously not enough time for the place to arrive though. BOO... *BANG* Snow... just fell off the roof again right outside the window.

What's that you say? You sent me mail!? AWESOME... I'll be expecting it!

I'm holding the "SHOUT OUTS OF THE DAY" hostage until I get mail... mail is the ransom. Anything... boxes are better!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

48 million down....

ALL ABOARD!! Last call for all you baby chum to catch the water slide out to salt water!

Ponding is DOOOOONE! Ok well atleast ponding the chum that are going to stay at Hidden Falls. The Takatz chum still needs to be ponded but there's a different method and Scott might do that on his own... and we still have Chinook that needs to be ponded.

Ponding has been taking alot out of me. Quote of the day yesterday from Sarah when we were out on the chum pens trying to pull apart some frozen chum nets was "My arms are tired... my body is tired... MY SOUL IS TIRED!" I agreed. For the past few days, I've been BEAT after work... collapsing on my bed and sleeping for like an hour.

Anyhow, now that ponding is done, who knows what we're going to do. Actually I'm sure tomorrow will go like so... Sarah and I will go out to the chum pens (like we've been doing for about a week) because the fish we ponded today still need to be pushed out of the raceways and into the tube down to the chum pens, where we will be on the receiving end making sure they look ok when they hit saltwater. We'll also take care of feeding all those fish out there. Getting the feed to the boat is a work out in itself. There will now be 16 pens of chum out there and each pen eats 1 bag of food a day, which is 20 kilos or 44 lbs. (though the fish that are going into the last 2 pens won't get fed yet.) So we'll lug 7-44lb bags of food down to the dock... which will only last for 1/2 the day, in which case 7 MORE bags will have to be lugged back down there. They have to be fed 6 times a day... 3 million chum in each pen... does that all make sense!? HA HA Let's just say it's alot of lugging...

Well that'll probably be my morning, but who knows what I'll do in the afternoon. *shrug* OH today when Sarah and I were out there, we saw a few sea lions swimming in the distance. Pretty cool. :-) Grocery flight tomorrow... Dean should be arriving back at Hidden Falls! YAY! The new flight schedule is starting, meaning 2 flights a week... I think. I know we're suppose to have one Wed. and Fri. this week... then Scott said Mon. and Wed. next week. I guess that's all I know for now. I'm PRAYIN for some mail people... don't let me down! he he he

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Man that's a great sound!

So I used to say that my favorite sound ever was the Phantom Regiment hornline or something like that... Well... for the next 8 months or so, I've decided my new favorite is the sound of a Cessina clearing the mountain top! Sarah and I were working out on the chum pens at around 9 this morning when out of the blue, we hear it. The distinctive sound... that lovely sound! The plane to bring us our groceries! AHH... it felt like I was a 5 year old at Christmas time!

Actually, what it felt like was something from a movie... where there are two people (say Sarah and I) who are stuck on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere (say the chum pens... hypothetically. *wink wink*) and you hear that sound... a plane coming to rescue you! When you watch it fly over the top of you and you two just look at each other and cheer and push your fists up in the air! HA cause that's what we did. Thankfully it came when it did too otherwise, the weather wouldn't have been great.

Another day of ponding... we tackled a stack of incubators that we knew weren't going to be pretty because 1) they smelled pretty bad... 2) they've been having problems with the water level and stuff. Lots of dead fish for some reason. And lots of dead fish laying stagnant with no where to go, even if the water is running, equals some pretty FOAL STUFF! A pretty awful smell... water coming out of the incubator as it was being dumped the color of skim milk. Not pretty...

Anyhow, I'm sure ready for my day off tomorrow. Two 6-day work weeks in a row'll getcha!

OK... Alot of you have asked me "do you need anything?"... "what do you want me to send you?" So I tried to think up some stuff I would enjoy receiving. Basically, snacks are FABULOUS... those tend to go fast around here. Think drum corps care package... here are some ideas...

1) Hostess Cupcakes... anyone who's hung out with me at night knows that this is my late night gas station snack choice. Yes I'm talking about those cupcakes that come in the 2-pack.

2) Nutter Butter cookies... my new addiction! Seriously... fabulous! Don't waste your time on the little gas station kiddie 6-pack... go for the BIG PACK! he he

3) Fudge rounds... or all those other Little Debbie snacks!

4) Granola bars... chewy are good. The Nature Valley ones are my new favorites though.

5) Ramen noodles... I'll probably get sick to death of this AGAIN but they're lightweight, cheap, and easy to throw in a care package.

6) Jolly Ranchers... feel free to open the package and take out the grape ones for yourself though. Not gonna lie, won't eat em!

7) That Quickcandy stuff... This is an odd one, but some of my family knows what I'm talking about. I just thought of it... I can get myself some pretzels or something and make my own great snack of chocolate covered pretzels. I know Meijers has it... Meijer brand. Or whatever... tis good!

8) Anything really... I've only gotten TWO pieces of mail since I've been at the hatchery. (not including my sister's cards when I was back in Sitka) It's kinda sad. Come on!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

my anniversary

WOW, I just realized that I've been here for a month today! That's CRAZY! :-D

MOOOOOORE ponding. We have 4 more days left on these chum. (I've figured out these 48 incubators we're ponding are the chum that are staying here... soon we will pond the chum that will go out to Takatz. They're in a different type of incubator.) Today I spent alot of the morning working with the raceways. After the fish are dumped in the ponding machine, they are piped out to two raceways, which have nets in them. We leave them in there overnight and the next morning, before starting the ponding process all over again, we send those babies out to saltwater. They are piped out there again.

Well these raceways are about 50 feet long and maybe like 8 feet wide but the fish are contain in this net which covers the whole area. To get the fish to GO down the pipe, we have to run this metal pole along a ledge on the sides of the raceway which goes on
the underside of the net, which just pushes the fish to one end as the net goes over the pole. MAKE SENSE?

So Adam and I did that this morning. The unfortunate thing, though, was realizing that there were ALOT of fish UNDER the net in one of the raceways, meaning there must have been a hole somewhere. As we started to push that net, we discovered a 6 inch hole in the net where one of the weights sat. MAJOR bummer because Adam estimated about 100,000 fish loose in the raceway that we'd have to try to gather up somehow. So after we pushed the majority of the fish out, he and Brandon tried to run the net down on the bottom of the raceway as they disturbed the fish to try to get them back on top of the net and it sorta worked but there were still quite a few underneath. It's not a good day for those babies.

We've had trouble with the birds lately too... seagulls and ravens. Those babies are under alot of stress by being dumped to going outside in the daylight and all... and then the birds tend to freak them out too! This is when the fish try to burrow down which causes that dog piling effect I talked about before. Scott put Deena and I on bird patrol for a little bit yesterday... possibly as a joke... he told us to throw snowballs at them. Well today he came in this morning and said one of those darn seagulls must have been pretty full and had an accident because there was a dead seagull on one of the pallets that sit on the side of the raceway. I'm not sure if he just died on his own or someone... "helped" in the process! HA Not a good day for that guy either.

ANYHOW, still no grocery flight... it was suppose to be on Wednesday. My food supply is dwindling! HURRY UP! :-\

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To my dad again for leaving me the funniest comment on my last posting! I laughed for like 5 minutes!

OK! About yesterday. I hope I am around 20 years from now, to hear you say to your 15 year old son who doesn't want to shovel the porch:

"Why sonny! When I was working in Alaska, I had to shovel my way out of the bunkhouse just to get out. Then shovel my way to the office, just to find out I was going to shovel snow ALL DAY LONG! Then I had to shovel my way back to the bunkhouse! And it was UPHILL, BOTH WAYS, too! Kwitcher bitchen!and just shovel the damn stuff!"

Wise words of wisdom. DAD

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Is that Spring I feel?

So... I first want to start off by saying thanks to those 3 people I emailed today during my lunch break. Thanks for reading my "mental breakdown" email and thanks for your words of wisdom. After lunch, things got better.

Alright, not much to say today except that.... it felt like Spring was on its way! Though it rained all morning and felt cold, after lunch it actually cleared up for a little while and the sun ALMOST came out. You could see it... just beyond the mountain, but the mountain is TOO high. The wind really picked up though, but it was a warm wind. After feeding the fish out front, which is hard to do in strong wind by the way. It's a good thing I kept my mouth closed or I wouldn't have had to eat dinner... ha ha it wasn't THAT bad but yeah. Anyhow, I did a bit more shoveling and was getting warm. For the past few weeks I've been wearing 3 thick layers (2 fleece things and a sweatshirt, and then my t-shirt and long sleeve shirt) and I was down to one thick layer and actually felt like I could have taken that off! It felt NIIIICE! It was probably in the high 30s, which is nice to say for a change!

Anyhow, unfortunately it didn't stay that way. In a short amount of time, it started to rain again and boy was that wind going! Not exactly the ideal time to go shovel the docks but hey, that was what we did. At one point, I had to go to the railing because I really thought I could have blown off! People were saying the gusts were probably 60 mph or so. It was pretty crazy. With all the rain and melting snow, the roadways are now waterways too. Thank goodness for waterproof boots! :-D

On a good note, word is that Dean didn't really break his leg. It seems like a pretty hard thing to mistake but when I said yesterday that it was pretty bad, that means it broke the skin in a few places so I guess that's why they thought it was broken? I don't really know. But I do know that that is a good thing because he'll be able to come back pretty soon.

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To Mom, Dad, & Melissa... thanks for reading my email.

ANTI-SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To my "L" key... remember how my space bar used to not work when it didn't feel like it. Well the L key is doing the same thing today. I had to type it about 5 times to get the L to work once.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Things that go BUMP in the night...

** NOTE **

WOW... in the middle of writing this, I saw everyone heading down towards the dock and though no one came to get me, I decided I probably should go down there. Something wasn't right... it turns out that Dean, the guy who got hired in with me, broke his leg. Not sure how though... There is this barge here with a load of stuff for us and he mighta been doing some stuff on that. So they were going to get the Coast Guard to come in but probably due to the weather, they couldn't. So the Patriot (the barge) has to take him to Sitka, which in that boat is a 12 hour ride. There is no other way there. Just wanted to let you know that. Apparently it's pretty bad... not sure what's going to happen now cause it changes alot of stuff (so don't ask!)


Ok so it's actually "things that go thump thump thump thump... (30 minutes later) ... thump
thump CRASH!!!!

Remember yesterday when I said I thought all of the snow was off the roof? Yeah... well I was mistaken. And it decided to TELL me I was wrong at 3:30 in the morning! I woke up around 3 to this thumping sound... and I was just sitting there thinking "what in the heck is that!?" I think I sat there for 10 minutes thinking that... it sounded like someone was walking around in the hallway too. To be honest, I thought the person in the next room was having some kind of nightmare or fit or something because it sounded like someone was pounding on their bed. But then the walking sound... freaked me out a little and I started to wonder if this place was haunted and someone forgot to mention that! So I decided to go back to sleep... or try... since the sound was still happening. Sometimes it sounded louder... sometimes softer... sometimes faster... Anyhow, I had a hard time going back to sleep. I just felt confused and a little freaked out. I woke up a few other times I think.

THEN CRASH!!!! The snow decided to fall off the roof... and it proceeded, on occasion, for maybe an hour. This was like 3:30 in the morning. A great thing to wake up to. (This is where I left off and I sorta lost my train of thought so I'm gonna finish this up quick.) I said you could feel the place shake yesterday but today, in the dead of night, you could REALLY feel it! Well I didn't really put two and two together that the thumping noise was from the snow until they said it this morning. Everyone woke up to the thumping and of course to the snow falling. Someone said the thumping was from the snow sliding down the roof... probably hitting screws on the way. Then it made sense to me.

Anyhow, now my brain feels like mush cause of what just happened so that's all I got for you today. It snowed... then rained... then snowed some pretty wet stuff.

Sorry, no shout outs today. But I do have a picture I forgot from yesterday... the broken kitchen window.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007


Well it was sure nice to have a break today!

So we had some crazy snow sliding action today! The roof of the bunkhouse is slanted and today was the day all the snow decided to fall off... which was pretty awesome! There was SO much snow up there because 1) we just got ALOT of snow... and 2) the snow we blew off the flat roof went onto to bunkhouse roof, so the snow was pretty packed down! Previously, we've had snow fall off the roof and it's been like once or twice a day and it was done. Well today it decided to fall off in massive chunks that just seemed to keep coming! And when it falls, it sounds like the roof is falling!

So I had heard a few things fall but ehh whatever... didn't think much of it. Then I went downstairs and Josh said that that last one (the last fall) broke the outside panel of the kitchen window. Not exactly sure HOW... it managed to break it but the screen on the outside held the glass in. Then I went up to my room to look out my window and was like "HOLY CRAP!" at this...

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I went outside to take a picture from a different view.

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This was the first major chunk to fall. Scott was outside with his camera also hoping to get it on video when it went down. He said it was gonna go down any minute because you could even see it sliding... and sure enough it did. About a minute after he said that. A massive puff of snow! There was about 8 feet hanging off! Probably 3-4 feet thick.

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A little while later, I took this picture. A bunch of snow had fallen off by now. At one point, Josh said that if snow had fallen, it very well could break the window because that snow pile was already up to window height. Thankfully no other windows were broken. The snow that has been falling lately has been super light but you can tell by those picture how compacted it is. No more chunks have fallen since this afternoon so it must be all gone. I was watching a movie in my room when a big chunk fell and I could feel the place shake even!

Anyhow, it didn't snow for a while today but then it started up. Not much accumulation but there has been some that I can see. They were snowplowing alot today again... Scott had to get all that roof snow out and actually risked getting started while the snow was still falling off the roof some.

I watched the movie, Babel, today... it's one of those Oscar nominated movies... got alot of buzz. It was pretty good. Not at all what I thought it would be like but I'd recommend watching it if you are looking for a movie. It's very culturally diverse... lol Alright back to the grind tomorrow so I'll stop writing now.

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - I'm gonna send two to two awesome people... Heather and Mike. I got an email from both of them recently and was kinda surprised! Thanks guys! I miss the heck out of ya!

ANTI-SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To the workaholic crazy side of Valerie who jammed the awesome side of Valerie into a closet! I want my sister back... she's never online to talk to me. GIVE HER SOME TIME OFF!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Just another day in Paradise!

I feel like I just took a beat down. Yesterday was spent "digging out" We've gotten an outrageous amount of snow... it it were Michigan it would be called "don't send the snow plows out for the next two days because it's snowing so hard we can't keep up" snow. It has been nonstop for the past two days... more than an inch per hour. Yesterday when we met in the morning, Scott sat down and was like "I don't even know what to do today.... I guess just everyone take someone and grab a shovel." A few minutes later he was like "well... come see me when you run out of snow." Obviously... no one did. The snow around the circle ponds out front is chest deep when you walk around in it... which I had to do to clear the snow off of the predator nets on the ponds. Really, it was just kinda funny to me the whole time so it wasn't that bad. Except I had snow going UP my bibs (my overalls... foul weather gear)... mostly snow going DOWN my bibs... my pants were wet... Then after break or something, my bibs would be frozen solid so it was hard to get into them. (Or out of them too!)

There had been talk last week sometime about how in previous years, they've had to shovel the roof because it's flat and it could collapse over the incubation room if it gets too weighed down... which would be REAL bad since most of the babies are still in there.
Well... it has come to that point. Yesterday a few of us were on this patio type roof area below the actual roof shoveling. It was about waist high. Then they used the loader Case tractor to lift 3 snowblowers up there and then managed to get them up on the high roof. As I was clearing off ponds yesterday, they were up there snowblowing and I was laughing cause it looked funny. All you could see were 3 jets of snow shooting up off the roof.

WELL... I'm not laughing anymore! Because I spent 5-1/2 hours up there snowblowing today! On the weekends, Scott might work? but Adam and Dan work (they have days off during the week.) Well Scott asked for volunteers to work... I heard him at Dean's room asking and though "ohh here he comes..." and he did... And since I'm the new one... and it was the boss, I didn't say no. Snowblowing the roof... the rediculousness! Actually, the "rediculousness" is the amount of snow that was actually UP there! Scott went up yesterday with this stick to measure it when we were shoveling the lower roof... he came back and said he ran out of measuring marks on his stick so he made this mark with a knife or something. Josh looked at the stick and held it up to himself and it was about 5 foot 10 inches high... Scott said it was over his head.

Anyhow, back to snowblowing. Adam, Dean and I climbed up onto the roof. That lower roof that we shoveled yesterday... the snow was knee high again. That was accumulation from noon yesterday to 8-ish this morning. 20 hours... about 18-20 inches roughly... yeah that's about an inch per hour. (Thankfully today, though it was still snowing all day, it was very light) So yesterday they snowblowed the edges of the roof, so we had to tackle the middle and then do the edges again since 1) it snowed again and 2) we blew the snow back onto that area. It was very hard to do. Though they snowblowed, there's still ALOT of snow up there... they couldn't get it all the way to the actual roof. So it was very bumpy... snowblowers were breaking (Dean's broke a few hours in)... people were getting pissed off.

Anyhow, finally that was "done." I think Adam was just getting pissed off so he called it DONE. We got the snowblowers down... then went to snowblow the dock, which was alot easier! Funny part was on the way to the dock, I had to push my snowblower (and it moves like 2 MPH!) and Scott was plowing with the tractor so he told me to get over to the side. So I did as much as I could... then my dumb thing ran out of gas and so I had to stand there looking dumb when he was waving at me to move. HA... sorry. So we finished the docks then we had to shovel off a few other roofs... those weren't bad. The snow drifts were so high (the drifts plus shoveling the snow down) that Adam and Dean just jumped off the roof. The first time Adam went, he went feet first and sunk down to his shoulders! I refused to go. The second roof we did was really slippery once we got down to the roof and it was slanted so that was interesting.

So now the day is done... Scott's STILL out there plowing at 6pm... I have a headache... and my back aches... and I've had my FILL of snow for my lifetime! *shakes my head* Just another day in Paradise!

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To my dad... just because. THANKS for the big long email! Love you!

ANTI-SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To Mother Nature... Even though the world is experiencing global warming, thanks for showing us here at Hidden Falls that you are still in control and global warming hasn't gotten bad enough to NOT dump 3 feet or more of snow on us! Watch your back M.N.... there is talk here of spraying the ozone with hairspray and lighting all the diesel fuel on fire in spite of you! heh jk (though that HAS been proposed!)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

It's like we're in a snow globe...

Blizzard... ALL DAY... Enough said.

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Remember... This was that same view at about the same time a few days ago.

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