As unbelievable as it is to me sometimes, I have a daughter who is now a high school senior, and our lives over the last couple of months have been filled with college catalogs and financial aid forms.

Back during Christmas break, Alice and I took the first of a couple of trips to visit some colleges. On that trip, we went up to Bellingham, a town that I had never been to before, to wander around the campus of Western Washington Univeristy, which had a promising looking theater program. This was the first campus we visited, and we just wandered around on our own, rather than getting a guided tour, but what we saw looked pretty nice. The theater infrastructure was impressive, and so was the huge library.

Alice in the Library at WWU

On the way back south, we stopped and got a guided tour of University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and Alice had her first of several admissions interviews. UPS has a beautiful campus, and the adjective “bricky” got its first use by us. “Bricky” would come to be a theme of our college tours.

Last week, Alice cut school for a couple of days, and we went on a little longer trip. We started out with a guided tour and interview at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, another beautiful, very “bricky” campus, with a nice looking theater and a fantastic looking study abroad program. The admissions building at L&C is an old mansion previously owned by Lloyd Frank, as in Meier and Frank department stores.

For some reason, even though I had a camera in my pocket on all of these tours, I usually seemed to forget to get any pictures. Too bad in the case of L&C, as there were some great photo opportunities there.

After our morning appointment in Portland, we hopped in the car and drove east to Walla Walla to visit the Whitman College campus.

We are pretty serious coastal people, I and my family, and to cross the Cascades, or even to travel very far east of I-5 is kind of a big deal. We tend to get all nervous and unsettled when we suddenly find ourselves in dry grass and brush lands, with few trees and little rain.

But Whitman came highly recommended, and I’ve been feeling like I really should learn to broaden my own personal horizons as long as I’m advising my kids to do the same, so off we went, into the eastern side of the state, where there might as well “be dragons”.

Horseshoe Falls, Columbia River Gorge

We went out east on I-84, through the Columbia River Gorge, and stopped along the way to look at some amazing waterfalls, and the snow and ice that was everywhere.

There were also huge windmills, stretching for miles along the hillsides in SE Washington. I’ve been watching the parts and pieces of these travel past Skamokawa on ships for years, but I’ve only seen them in place a couple of times, and never in such great quantity.


We stayed the night at the La Quinta Inn in Walla Walla, the site of part of Mike Birbiglia’s great Moth Podcast story “Sleepwalk with Me”, which was also featured on This American Life. If you haven’t listened to the Moth before, you should. I could not resist the opportunity to stay there, in spite of the fact that there is absolutely nothing special about a La Quinta Inn.

Alice was pretty eager to establish whether or not she could live in such a town, so far from the coast, so we went out walking around that evening, looking at downtown and looking for something to eat. We finally found Phosho, which had delicious pho, and some pretty excellent sake, too.

sake and coconut juice

Next morning we headed over to the campus, where Alice had yet another interview, and then we got a guided tour for just the two of us, led by a Whitman student who was also a theater major. So far, out of the ones that we’ve visited, Whitman is the one that struck me as maybe the most likely good fit, in spite of its great distance from the Pacific Ocean. We’ll go back in March for another visit and a scholarship interview.

On the way home, I decided to go a different route, and we went up through Yakima and over White Pass, a road I had not been on since I was Alice’s age, on a high school field trip. Six hours later, we were back in Skamokawa, where it was pouring rain and all the coastal streams and rivers were approaching flood stage.

Mahmoud Ahmed show, Portland, OR, January 1, 2011

As if it wasn’t enough to start out the new year by whitewater kayaking and catching a steelhead, my day wasn’t over yesterday when I posted the previous blog entry. After writing that post, I hopped in the car and drove back over to Astoria and picked up Shannon, and we were off to Portland for dinner and a music show.

We had Lebanese food for dinner at Nicholas’ Restaurant on SE Grand, one of my very favorite Portland restaurants for close to 20 years, dropped the car off at a friend’s house and took a cab down to a performance room near the Convention Center to see Ethiopian swing legend Mahmoud Ahmed.

Mahmoud Ahmed show, Portland, OR, January 1, 2011

At nearly 70 years old, Mahmoud Ahmed pretty much rocked the house. A large portion of the audience was Ethiopian and sang along with the lyrics which we non-Ethiopian fans didn’t understand a word of. But it was still a really fun show, and really rewarding to see someone like that still putting on a long and high energy performance, and a crowd of people absolutely loving it. There were happy people everywhere, on stage and off. I don’t want to forget to mention the fantastic opening act, Tezeta Band, either. If you have a chance to see them sometime, it will be worth it.

I also got introduced to a couple of new beers that I had never encountered before, St. George and Meta, both from Ethiopia.

Mahmoud Ahmed show, Portland, OR, January 1, 2011

This was a late show, starting at 10 PM, and I didn’t get to bed until after 3:30 AM, nearly 22 hours after I woke up in Nehalem to go fishing. We slept in today, and had a fantastic late breakfast at Pambiche, a Cuban restaurant that is fast becoming a new favorite for me. I’m finally home again, snacking on leftover falafels and hummus. If the rest of 2011 goes like January 1st did, I’ll be well satisfied…

Pambiche, Portland, OR

Up until today, I had never managed to catch a winter steelhead. A few winters back, I would spend hours every chance I got wading up and down the very, very cold Elochoman and Grays Rivers, casting, drifting, and retrieving, over and over, in every different spot I could imagine would hold fish. I never got so much as a bite, and eventually, even I gave it up as a waste of time. Steelhead gear and poles got pushed into a corner of the shop, and nearly forgotten.


Up until a couple of years ago, white water kayaking was something I had never tried, and my first and, until today, only trip on whitewater was with Brian, on the Nehalem River in the winter, chasing a plump and promising looking cedar log, with chainsaws, peavies and other gear lashed to and stowed inside the kayaks. This trip resulted in my first unintentional wet exit from a kayak in a long time, and those of you who know me well have probably heard that story. Fortunately for both Brian and I, neither of us had cameras with us that day, and neither of us wrote about it in our blogs.

Nehalem River

A few days back, Brian called me up and invited me to come down and go kayaking and fishing on the Nehalem, and, since I’m apparently a glutton for punishment, I agreed. I got down there last night and had a pleasant, quiet and early New Year’s eve, playing with the cats in the main house at Revolution Gardens.

steelhead and kayak

We got on the water this morning just before dawn, and started down the river, stopping and fishing wherever it looked promising. To our amazement, we nearly had the whole river to ourselves. We encountered only about a dozen bank fisherman and one raft all day.

Brian fishing

I’ve spent so many hours casting, drifting and retrieving without success that it sort of becomes a mindless repetitive exercise, which is a nice break from the occasional bout of despair and frustration at how many hours have been spent accomplishing so little.

So it was a big surprise when, on one of the zillion drifts of the day, I actually hooked a steelhead. Better yet, I actually caught it using one of the spinners I had made years ago when I was doing this every weekend. We eventually got it in the net, and it even turned out to be a hatchery fish, meaning I could keep it.

steelhead and kayak

This amazing burst of activity energized us, and we spent the next hour or so, combing the surrounding waters. I lost a couple of spinners, and eventually decided I was done fishing for the day, but Brian persisted until he had covered both sides of that section of the river very thoroughly. No more fish.

When we got back to the shop, Brian posed the fish for a nice whitewater kayak picture, and I snapped one, too.

Maybe it’s time to revisit this whole winter steelhead thing, after all…

25. December 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: home

This Christmas I made some presents. This is the first time I’ve made a knife like this, but I have turned a bowl before. This one came out way better than the last one!

The knife was for Alice. I bought a few Mora blade blanks last year from Hardwick’s hardware in Seattle. I finally decided to figure out how to put a handle on them. I picked a piece of dry wild cherry firewood out of the woodpile and squared up a little bit of it on the table saw.

Mora knife

I laid out nice lines to follow with the bandsaw, then drilled the hole and shaped it for the tang, but then realized that the tang opening had gone in crooked and not square to all my nice lines. So I ended up shaping the handle completely with a knife and by eye. It took a lot longer than it would have had I been able to rough it out with the bandsaw.

Mora knife

Another thing I learned is that next time I will epoxy the blade in before I try working on the handle. It would have made things a lot easier and faster if I had done that. As it was, I shaped and finished the handle, then drove the blade in with epoxy and let it cure for a few hours. When that was done, I cleaned up the stray epoxy, and went ahead and polished and oiled the handle.

I used what I’ve always called “boat sauce” to oil the handle. One part boiled linseed oil, one part pine tar, and two parts turpentine. Heat it up on the stove, making the house smell wonderful, and put it on hot. I did about four or five coats on this, drying in between.

Mora blade

Then I had to make a sheath, and leather is a material I’ve done very little with. I don’t have any real leather tools, so I just wrapped a scrap of leather around the knife, cut out the shape with a sharp knife, and stitched it up with artificial sinew.

It came out really nice, and now I want one, too!


I had planned on turning a bowl for Shannon, and wanted to make one out of the piles of black locust that I have laying around, but the pieces that I have a really dry now, and the tooling was not razor sharp, and it turned into an exercise in frustration and wasting wood. I gave up, and tried to turn one of the old spalted maple pieces I have, and that one tore out wherever it was spalted. I gave that up, too, and called it a night.

turning a bowl

The next day, I went digging deeper into the wood collection and found a dry piece of Port Orford Cedar. This worked out way, way better. I was able to make a pretty nice bowl out of this stuff, but boy did it sure soak up the oil! I oiled and dried and polished this about five or six times.

turning a bowl

This lathe belonged to my grandfather. It’s an old Montgomery Ward, and I have an old WW2 surplus electric motor attached to it. The more I play around with it, the more I want to play around with it some more. I’m going to try to start turning bowls more frequently, and hopefully I’ll eventually get good at it.



Every year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Karen and David Curl in Naselle host a Hammer In party at their shop, Solstice Forge. I think this is the fourth or fifth year that I’ve gone. Sometimes I bring along something to work on, or just fool around making something out of scraps that Dave has laying around. This year, when I arrived, there was already a lot of people there, and three different projects being worked on out of two fires, so I just hung out, ate some great food and took a lot of pictures.

Riley watching the fire

coal and tongs

hands working


coal fire

hammer and anvil


hot metal

Boats… Like cars, I seem to go through a few of them. When I moved back to Washington, I went up to my parents’ place in Olympia and pulled out the 1969 13′ Boston Whaler, the boat I grew up with, and started using it for fishing. After getting water over the sides a few times in rough water, I realized that I needed something bigger. I took out my first ever bank loan and bought a 1989 16′ aluminum Valco Bayrunner, with late model Yamaha engines on it.

For variety of reasons, not the least of which was some stupid decisions on the part of the previous owner, this boat was not destined to last long. It cracked open a few years ago while out at sea, and had to be welded back up. While it was laid up, I bought a 19′ fiberglass Bell Boy with a Chevy/Mercruiser I/O drive. I loved this hull; it handled rough water so well, but I wasn’t too crazy about the I/O setup. My decision about this boat was made for me when I struck a submerged rock near A Jetty and tore the outdrive right off the back of the boat. Sigh…

After many months of not being able to find affordable parts to repair the Bell Boy, I put the Valco back in service and sold the Bell Boy. But last summer the Valco started cracking apart again. Aluminum doesn’t hold up too well when it gets stressed repeatedly, and the numerous rough water trips and bar crossings added up to a lot of stress for this thin-gauged, consumer grade hull, running with its maximum rated horsepower.

After the last trip in from the ocean in 2009, when we could hear things cracking and shifting around under the floor, I made a promise to the boat that I would not take her across the bar again. So I was back in the market for another “new” boat again.

New Boat

I wanted to be able to do this as cheaply as possible, and I also wanted a hull that could use the Yamaha engines that I already have. I loved the way the old Bell Boy hull had handled rough water, so I started looking around for another one of those. After some searching for a few weeks on Craigslist, I found a 1974 17′ Bell Boy hull, made to take an outboard, on a trailer, for $500, and I drove up to Blaine, WA and hauled it home.

New Boat

The basic hull was in good shape, but there was a lot of rotten interior and corroded old wiring that needed removing.

Boat Project 1

I pulled the rotten plywood seat boxes out and cut out the rotten plywood sideboards off of the inside of the hull, and basically stripped the boat down to a bare hull, windshield and floor.

Boat Project 2

There turned out to be a couple of soft spots in the floor, where water had leaked in through the screw holes that held the seats down, so I cut out the worst spots, filled the holes with polyurethane foam and marine plywood and fiberglassed over the plywood patches. This was the first time I had ever used fiberglass and epoxy, and it wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

Boat Project 3

This project went on for way more days, and made way more of a mess of my shop and driveway than I had anticipated.

Boat Project 4

After I had the hull cleaned up, I wire brushed all the loose stuff off, swept up, scrubbed the floor with acetone, and then painted the floor with Kel-Kote textured floor coating. This stuff was thick and stinky and it took over a gallon to cover the floor.

Boat Project 5

It took a long time to decide where to mount the electronics and to route the new steering cable and yards and yards of expensive marine grade wiring. More than anything else, this project turned into a serious investment in semi-precious metals: stainless steel fasteners and copper wiring.

Luckily, I still had a nearly new ICOM VHF radio and a color Garmin chartplotter/GPS/depth sounder that I had bought for the older Bell Boy. All this stuff had been sitting in the shop on a shelf for years. I did buy a new antenna for the radio, and new seats and steering gear. I was able to use the batteries from the Valco as well as the gas tanks from the Boston Whaler. This boat has a 12 gallon tank built in, but I wanted to pull it out and clean and inspect it before using it. For now, I decided to run the boat off of three 6 gallon plastic tanks. All the pole holders and a fair number of fittings and even some wiring was also salvaged from the old Bell Boy.

Boat Project 6

I cut out a piece of black locust to use as a mounting pad for the battery switch and grounding post, and epoxied it to the hull. I also ended up doing the same thing for mounting bilge pumps to the hull.

Boat Project 7

What to do about seats was another sticky problem. I ended up going with just two seats for now, since I rarely have more than one other person on board anyway. It left a lot of nice floor space which I’ve already been glad to have. I built a couple of quick plywood boxes to mount the seats on, and painted them with marine paint, which is still pretty smelly, over a month later.

Boat Project 8

Decisions about wiring and the associated connectors and wiring harness mounts took up an amazing number of hours, but in the end, I ended up with a pretty clean electrical setup all the way around. I did an awful lot of soldering…

Boat Project 9

Finally I was ready to mount the engines. This also took a lot more time than I expected, since I had to be very careful about where the kicker went, so that it would clear the transom well when steering. I ended up making a big spacer block/mount out of 2″ thick black locust for this. This is also the point where I realized that the transom near where previous kickers had been mounted had gotten some water inside. Eventually, this transom should probably get replaced, but I figure I should get at least three or four years of use before I need to undertake that project.

Boat Project 10

I finally got to put the boat in the water in late August, and everything worked as expected, on the first try!

coming home from Brookfield

There are still some things to fine tune, that’s for sure. For one thing, this boat tends to point away from the wind, and if you have to get up and go to the stern to do something like fiddle with the trolling motor, it leecocks even faster than normal. So I need a separate remote control for the kicker. And I think I will mount a fuel tank in the bow, too, to help with weight distribution and trim. It’s also a bit of a trick to carry out anchoring procedures with a closed bow. I did finally figure out a pretty clean way to do this, but it took some practice. And the trailer that this boat came on is something of an abomination. It has coil springs, and it sways back and forth and bounces around a lot. Also, the previous owner shortened the tongue to get rid of a bent part, throwing off the tongue weight and balance. So whenever I tow it, I have to disconnect the gas tanks and move them and the cooler full of ice as far forward as possible to keep the trailer from acting weird. A new trailer is in order at some point.

Overall, though, I’m pretty pleased with what I got. It’s comfortable, deep and stable and having a windshield to hide behind from spray and wind is pretty nice!


Sadie's feet

…is a pretty busy time! I don’t spend much time on the computer this time of year, and I’ve fallen way, way behind in photo processing and blogging. My faithful old Mac G4 notebook finally deveoped a personality crisis a couple of months back, and I bit the bullet and upgraded to an Intel powered MacBook Pro. Problem was, my old Photoshop didn’t work on the new machine. I finally purchased new Adobe software the other day, but haven’t even gotten around to installing it yet.

I’ve got a few projects going right now that will merit posts of their own when they’re done, but for now, here’s a handful of summer pictures.

kabob on the grill

Here’s an Olive Clubtail dragonfly emerging from it’s water dwelling stage. We see this on the river frequently. The smart ones choose a falling tide to climb up out of the water onto a high spot, where they emerge from their previous exoskeleton, unfold and dry their wings and transform into airborne creatures. The not-so-smart ones try to pull this off on a rising tide, and they get wet before they have a chance to finish the process.

Olive Clubtail emerging

I’ve gotten to do a little bit more coastal paddling this summer than I usually get around to. We had a three day Dynamic Water class in July, and we went to Cannon Beach on the first day to practice skills in the surf.


The next two days we spent at Ilwaco, on the infamous Columbia River bar. This picture is from out by buoy nine on a pretty calm day.


I never realized until I looked at this picture, just how beat up bees get over the course of the summer. Look at those frayed, worn wingtips!

Lavender and honeybee

Andrew and Opal and I went out to Brookfield the other day to do some exploring and scouting for the upcoming hunting season. Back in the day, there was a bustling, busy town there, centered around Joe Megler’s salmon cannery. He and his wife Nellie got rich off of the salmon trade, and built a nice mansion there, and she had a Japanese gardener taking care of her grounds. We found the site of the old mansion, and her lawns and gardens are pretty grown over now. But there are still remnants left of her landscaping, including this fantastic old Gingko tree.

Nellie Megler's Gingko tree

I’ve only been out fishing once this summer. The old Valco is getting too beat up to risk taking her across the bar anymore, and the fishing inside the river has been pretty slow this year. I’m in the middle of putting together a new fishing boat with the engines off of the Valco. I’m nearly finished, and should have it together in time to fish the last week of August in the ocean again. This picture is from the Baker Bay entrance near Chinook. Opal and I went out last week for a few hours, and it was a beautiful day on the river, but fish-less in the end.

#5 at Baker Bay

looking up

For the last couple of months, my life has revolved around various springtime tasks, and leading our Elderhostel/Exploritas kayaking groups every other week. This has been a very cold, wet, and windy spring. The picture below was taken on March 28th, on our Leadership Scenarios day in Skamokawa. Today, it looks much the same out there, at the end of May!

rain on the river

group photo, Exploritas program

I have been involved with Elderhostel groups since 2004, and to date, I have been a co-leader for 84 Elderhostel programs. This year, all four of our spring programs lined up on similar tides, and we paddled the same routes each time. One of these routes was paddling along the cliffs upstream of Cathlamet, created 17 million years ago by the Columbia River basalt flows. There are dramatic waterfalls, and a population of plants that are found nowhere else in the county, including various wildflowers, Oregon white oak, Madrone and even poison oak.

waterfall and ferns

Flowers shown below are Broad-Leaved Stonecrop, Larkspur and Streamside Arnica.

Broad-Leaved Stonecrop


Streamside Arnica

The controversial, but beautiful Caspian terns are back, to spend the summer nesting on sandy islands in the Columbia, and feasting on salmon smolts. You can read a little about the terns, and their presence on the Columbia River by clicking here.

Caspian Terns

In other springtime news, I did finally manage to catch a spring Chinook, with only a couple of days left of the season, and my brother caught his on the very last day. The water was so high and cloudy down in this part of the river that even though there was a decent run of fish passing through, the catch rate was pretty mediocre, and a lot of people went up above the confluence with the Willamette to fish in clearer water.

And I caught a very small window of dry, sunny days, and managed to till my garden beds while the soil was dry and warm. I got my potatoes planted, three 40′ long beds worth, just before the weather switched back to rain again. I bought fresh seed potatoes this year from Irish Eyes, and planted Russian Banana, a fingerling that has done well here before, Chieftan, a red potato, and Bintje, a variety I had never heard of before.

Now, if it would just stop raining for a little while….

Everybody loves bacon. Even vegetarians love bacon. I love bacon, too. But knowing what I do about factory farming practices, I never buy bacon from the store anymore. I last made bacon when we lived in Northern California, in about 1997, when we raised our first pig and butchered it ourselves. It was amazingly delicious; it was as if I had never actually eaten real pork before in my whole life.

We raised pigs again after we moved back to Washington, in about 2003 or so. We had them butchered by pros, and sold some to friends. Recently I defrosted and cleaned out our older freezer, and discovered a wealth of frozen meat all encased in ice inside. Amongst these treasures were several pieces of pork belly from 2003 that we never got around to making into bacon. Amazingly, it had no freezer burn, or any other issues from being frozen for over 6 years.

Bacon, step 1

So, figuring I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, I thawed some of it out and set to work. Like a lot of cured and smoked meat products, bacon is so easy to make that it’s embarrassing. I start with the pork belly, and trim it to fit into my largest glass pyrex casserole dish.

Bacon, step 2

Make up a mixture of half canning salt and half brown sugar, layer some in the bottom of the dish, put the pork in, layer more sugar/salt mixture on top and rub it into the edges well. Cover and refrigerate. After a day or so, pull it out and repack it with fresh mixture, and turn it over. After another day or so, do the same thing. Or, do what I did, and space out and leave it in the fridge for a while longer. Like, maybe a couple of months?

Whichever path you choose, when you are ready to smoke it, it will be a good idea to slice off a piece, cook it up and taste it to see how salty it is. After letting mine cure for two months, I ended up soaking it in water for about 24 hours, changing the water once, to get the saltiness under control.

Bacon, step 3

Once you’re comfortable with the salt level, set it up in the top rack of your electric smoker, and go get yourself some fruitwood chips. What I do is go out to one of the apple trees here, prune off a bunch of extra twigs and small shoots and chop them up into bits with the pruning shears.

Bacon, step 4

I smoked this particular bacon for about 10 hours, using up about 7 pans of chips in the process. Once it’s smoked to your liking, pull it out, cool it, wrap it in paper and put it in the fridge. Now you get to slice off pieces however thick you want, and it will taste way better than any bacon you’ll ever get from the store.

Told you it was easy!


cat and water

Ah, March. In like a lamb, and out like a lion, at least this year, anyway!

March is one of my favorite months, for a lot of different reasons. For one, my birthday is in March, and has almost always been accompanied by blooming daffodils, and, by the end of the month, trilliums are also blooming in the woods.


And for another, it is when I usually start fishing for springers. I have made a tradition out of starting on my birthday, but I usually don’t see much action until the end of the month, or later. I got my first strike while trolling yesterday, but it didn’t stick, and that was all the springer excitement I’ve had so far this year.

Dynamic Water training

It’s also when I start getting the first kayaking work of the year. I usually have a custom tour of some kind in early March, and this year was no exception. Andrew had someone sign up for one of his Gray’s Bay tours, but his broken foot was still healing, so I took the tour. That turned out to be the same weekend that Jukka Linnonmaa from Kayak Finland came to visit, so he came along with us. It was a beautiful day, as was much of early March, and we made it all the way to Knappton and back.

Jukka and Me at Altoona

Jukka stayed with Don and Kitty at the Inn at Crippen Creek Farm, and showed us slides of some of his paddling travels after dinner. He’s been paddling in a lot of the places that I want to go paddling, like Japan!

The next day he asked to borrow a kayak, and since my other plans for the day had fallen through, I decided to go paddling with him, too; he and Andrew and I paddled to Altoona and back, about 20 miles. On a beach downriver from Skamokawa, Andrew made an incredible find: fossilized teeth and a piece of jawbone from a Pleistocene era horse of some kind. Besides bringing us this amazing good luck, Jukka was great company, gifted me a beautiful Finnish knife, and sold Andrew one of his digital cameras and a waterproof case for a song.

fossil teeth and jawbone

Columbia River Kayaking also held a leadership scenarios training day for Josh and Katie this month, has been busy getting ready for the first of this year’s Exploritas programs, which starts this coming Sunday, and we cleaned up the paddle center in preparation for the upcoming kayaking season, even as we await some kind of news from the bank regarding the future of Skamokawa Center.

high tide at number 35

In between all of this, and occasionally getting up before dawn to go fishing, I overhauled the home website for Red Alder Ranch, cleaning up the appearance a bit, and getting rid of some old, irrelevant pages. I still need to finish updating the links page, but it looks better than it did!

Springer fishing sunrise

I’ve also been engaged in some spring cleaning on a larger, and less “virtual” scale, clearing away some old trucks and boats that are no longer useful, and endeavoring to clean up my shop so that I can work on a couple of boatbuilding projects that have been brewing for a while. Stay tuned for that.

My old, mostly faithful Toyota 4×4 left today, on its way to a new life with a group of young Mexican guys down in Portland. It was actually a little bit sad. That truck was my daily driver for years when I lived down in California. But it’s been sitting in my pasture since 2004, with a jammed up timing chain, and I finally admitted to myself that I really wasn’t going to get around to rebuilding the engine anytime soon, and it was time to move it on.

Toyota truck in the weeds

As if by magic, almost as soon as I started clearing out old projects and cleaning the place up a bit, my good friend Scott emailed to say that he wanted to give me his ’68 GMC pickup, as it was time for him to move it on. What can I say? Nature abhors a vacuum, I guess. I’ll be going up to Seattle sometime soon to pick it up.

Spring Chinook nigiri

Levi did catch a springer the other day, and gave me a piece of it. I cooked some up for dinner one night, but saved the rest of it for some springer nigiri. It was as delicious as it looks!