Friday, July 31, 2009

Off the grid for a few days

We are heading to camp today. I’ll be back briefly on Sunday then most likely out until the following Sunday. Sporadic cell phone access there, but otherwise incommunicado.

Camp saga update 3

Actually, I haven’t heard anything more since yesterday. As far as I know the camp is going to happen. I’ve spoken with most of the parents/guardians of the registered children in Petersburg and none so far have backed out. The amount of trust placed in us is incredible. That only seems to add to the pressure…

I didn’t sleep very well last night for understandable reasons, you can imagine. It is going to take multiple miracles to get through this next week. I think that every person involved, and I definitely speak for myself, is going to need to be gifted with skills and abilities that we don’t naturally possess.

Philippians is the passage for me for this upcoming week. I look particularly to Philippians 4, and within that Philippians 4:4-7, 10-13, 19 are particularly relevant.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Caught 3 Dollies today

Of which one was a keeper which I will be having for breakfast tomorrow.

I caught the first one this morning – probably about 5 inches in length, but as I was about to examine it more closely it slipped off the hook and back into the water.

After the hectic day and the associated stresses today, I went out this evening for relaxation and meditation. On my first cast I caught a small one, about 4 inches. And then it was just cast, reel in, cast reel in for a very long time. I switched lures a few times but without any noticeable effect.

I went back to my original lure at the end and cast out a few more times before going back in. I gave myself 7 p.m. as the cutoff time. It wasn’t too long after switching the lure that I snagged a 9-inch Dolly.

I also learned just a couple days ago that I’m supposed to quickly kill fish that I intend to keep. It’s supposed to be more humane that way. I found billy club style wooden sticks sold, but decided that since the fish I’m catching are pretty small that a couple whacks with my Leatherman tool would be sufficient, which it was. I also discovered that a dead fish is much easier to carry back home than one that is still flipping and wriggling about.

Camp Saga update 2

I just received a call letting me know that Upper Columbia Conference is flying out a camp director to run the camp next week. We are short on counselors, so guess what… both Elise and I are likely draftees. I can’t speak for Elise but I know I will need your prayers. I have never spent a whole week with boys!

Summer camp, go or no go…?

We learned this morning that the entire staff that was supposed to come and run our church youth camp next week, has cancelled because they are suspected of being exposed to the swine flu. I just finished calling and talking with or leaving messages with every camper household and of the ones I actually spoke with, none have cancelled but are awaiting a definitive go or no-go from us.

We are scrambling to find volunteers to help staff and run the camp next week, both in Petersburg and Wrangell. We really have just one day to get this together.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am suddenly feeling a huge amount of stress.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Caught 3 fish this morning

None of them were really keepers so they were released.

The first was a sculpin, about 8 or 9 inches long. This was the first one of these I’d caught out in the open Narrows. As I was pulling it in I could see it was a decent size but was disappointed when I saw that it was a sculpin. They’re not good for anything, really, except perhaps cut up as bait. I don’t know if it’s even good for that. What made this catch even more annoying is that it took the lure into its throat. I had to spend several minutes with pliers pushing and pulling to release the hook and back the lure out, all the while trying to keep a hold of it (it is very slimy) and trying to avoid it’s “horns” that produce toxins.

The next two catches were small dollies. One was about five inches and the other about seven. I suppose there might have been enough flesh on the seven inch dolly to make keeping it worthwhile… After that one I headed home as I’d been out fishing for about 45 minutes.

This was the most productive outing so far.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New mobile phone service

T-Mobile finally figured out I wasn’t moving back down into their service area and sent me a notice they were going to terminate service in about a month. I have  a one-year old BlackBerry Curve that I preferred to keep and use if I could.

We have three mobile service providers here: AT&T, ACS Wireless, and GCI. AT&T and GCI. ACS Wireless is on CDMA so they were more or less out of consideration. (I have a prepaid mobile phone on their network.) It was a choice between AT&T and GCI. After looking at the monthly cost for the replacement service, AT&T also was out of the running.

I e-mailed GCI support to see if I could use my unlocked device on their network. The reply didn’t sound too certain. I went to the retail store in town yesterday and they were more than willing to give it a try. They had someone else from T-Mobile recently move their unit over. If it didn’t work at least they had the same model available for free on a 2-year contract.

Anyway, it is all working on the existing device. I’m not on a contract so when the next must-have BlackBerry device is available from GCI, I can get it at a discount on a new contract.

The T-Mobile service is gone. If you want my new number, e-mail me and I can get it to you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sermon: 1 John 3:11-18

(Click HERE for MP3 sermon audio.)

Today’s sermon discusses 1 John 3:11-18. The thesis is found in 1 John 3:18 which states that (my interpretation) it’s easy to say we love God and we love one another, but the proof and evidence of genuine Christianity is in how we actually treat one another. John defines “love” broadly as the giving of life to another, while “hate” is defined as anything that takes life from another. I believe John’s also infers “life” to include not just physical life but emotional well-being, self-worth, reputation, health, and means necessary for physical sustenance. Thus for John love is increasing or improving any of these for another, while murder (the end result of hate) is taking any of these away from another.

Start of more sunny and warm days

The morning started out foggy but by midday all that had burnt off and we were left with sunny skies. This next week, if the forecast holds, should be sunny and quite warm.

After lunch and after all the guests had gone home, I went out for a little while and fished until I caught another 9-inch Dolly Varden. The tide was also getting high so it was good time to go home anyway. Later this evening after the tide had gone out for a couple of hours I went out again for a little while. I got a few hits on the hook and one small catch that I released back into the water.

I can’t believe how addicting fishing can be! It will be hard to convince me to move anywhere else. I mean, I’d have to leave behind fishing almost right out of my front yard.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recipe: Black Beans and Corn flavored with Chipotle

Our annual Southeast campmeeting is coming up in just over a week. Once again our church is responsible for Sabbath lunch. I want dishes that are interesting yet not too complicated. I have in mind three dishes: Pasta with a tomato pesto; roasted vegetables; and now the black beans and corn.

The inspiration for this dish came from searching about for something to do with black beans. I saw a photo for a pizza with black beans and corn topping. I didn’t look at the recipe, however. It looked like an interesting combination so I pondered it in the back of my mind. I wanted something that wasn’t soupy but rather, dry. I didn’t want something that tasted like ordinary black beans or a chili.

The key would be what I used as the primary flavorings. I thought about chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. The problem is that these chiles are HOT when directly used in a dish. I’m okay with it, but not too many others that I know would be. So how could I get the chipotle flavor minus the heat…? I also thought that lime juice would perk up the taste. In addition to these two, the usual suspects of salt, pepper, garlic, and cilantro would go in.

This afternoon as I began to work on the beans after I had soaked them all day, the thought came to me: boil the beans with the chipotle chile, smashed cloves of garlic, and salt. Now normally when salt is added to beans while cooking, they don’t soften up as much. In this case this would be a desirable feature. I wanted firm beans with the corn.

I threw in two chipotle chiles, whole, into the pot of beans and water. I crushed two cloves of garlic with the flat of the knife and threw that in as well. I poured in some salt and cooked it for about 35 minutes until the beans were tender but firm. When I drained it I removed the chiles. I went to remove the garlic also but discovered they were very, very soft. I thought, why not just mash them and include it in the beans? And so I did.

Next question was how to cook the corn… I was going to fry it, but should I use vegetable oil or butter? I opted for the latter. I fried about the same volume of frozen corn as the cooked beans until the corn was thawed, then added the beans, pepper, and a bit more salt. I also took a tiny bit of the adobo sauce and added it to the pan and fried them all together.

After a few minutes I took the pan off the heat, combined chopped, fresh cilantro, and the juice squeezed from one lime. Voila! It was done, and it was very good. The beans retain the smoky flavor from the chiles without their heat. The corn provides a sweetness to the dish and the lime juice gives it a needed tartness and lift.

Serves about 4 as a side dish


  • 1 cup dry black beans, soaked according to package directions
  • 2 whole, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves, garlic, crushed with flat of knife blade
  • Salt, divided (1-1/2 tsp. and to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • (optional) Adobo sauce from chiles, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  1. Place soaked beans into a 3-qt. pot and cover with enough liquid so that it is about 2-inches above the beans. Add the chiles, garlic, and 1-1/2 tsp. of salt. Bring to boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes until beans are tender but still firm to the bite. Drain beans and discard chiles. Lightly mash chunks of garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt butter. Add corn and fry until thawed. Add adobo sauce, if using. Add beans and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to fry for a few more minutes until any liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Caught my second keeper fish (updates)


I had a little time to kill so I went down to fish again. The noseeums were awful, swarming about my head. I was out there for about 25 minutes and getting ready to pack it in and head home with every passing moment and every noseeum buzzing about. I had felt a little tug earlier but didn’t see any fish. It could have been one, or it could have been seaweed…

In any case I decided to cast out a few more times before heading back up. It was then that I felt a definite fishy tug on the line and instead of jerking it (like I often seem to do) I increased the reel-in speed and kept the line steady and saw indeed a fish on the hook. I saw that it was a decent size – small but not tiny – and so I hoped it was a Dolly and not one of the other trouts. After I had brought it in I looked at it and saw to my great pleasure that it was indeed a Dolly – dinner! I measured it once I got back home and saw that it was 9 inches – not large but good enough for a meal.

I wonder why I didn’t get into fishing earlier… :) It was the “fear of the unknown.” I didn’t know what to use and how to do it. A couple of lessons from someone more experienced was all it took. I may, and likely never will, become an expert at fishing but at least I know enough now to go have fun fishing for even just 30 minutes down at the beach.

Sermon: 1 John 2:28-3:10

(Click HERE for MP3 sermon audio.)

This past Sabbath’s sermon discussed 1 John 2:28-3:10. Unfortunately I found it difficult to find a good focus and thus the sermon ended up somewhat scatterbrained and I was rather unhappy with it. I think I tried to cover too many texts and too many themes in them.

The themes discussed included: How as children of God, Christians should not find walking with God and away from sin a burden; how heaven should not thought of primarily as a future goal, but rather as a present reality that is experienced when we walk with God.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nature and Policies

Nature does not always conform to people-made policies and regulations.

Our hospital had stopped offering deliveries since the beginning of the year (factors include risk, cost, unable to offer some services). Births mean that the mother must travel to one of the larger hospitals in the area: Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage, Seattle, etc.

Last night, however, nature decided one baby was not going to follow the published policy. Petersburg has one more resident this morning that it did not have last night.

People may try to control the path nature takes, but it seems that in many cases the most we can do is to influence it. Does that mean we shouldn’t try to mold nature’s path? No. But it does mean that we should acknowledge our limitations and recognize that nature can overpower even our most carefully crafted plans in the most unexpected ways.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Had a flat

It was cloudy, but it seemed fairly dry so I decided to go out on the bike for a couple of hours. As soon as I started out, there was a bit of a shower, but it quickly passed and I made it all the way to Blind River Rapids. It was there that the rain began to fall. I quickly downed a cereal bar and then turned around back for town. My goal was to outrun the rain, if possible. I was actually doing a pretty good job of it when suddenly I heard the awful, familiar sound of air psssss-ing out from the front tire. It was about milepost 11 or 12.

I pulled over and checked if I had cell phone reception – yes, but just barely. I called Elise and asked her to come pick me up. Then I got to work replacing the tube. I checked the inside of the tire but couldn’t feel anything, so I replaced the tube, and pumped it up. (It is not easy pumping up a high pressure tire with a hand pump!) That took perhaps 20 minutes. Then I got back on and started riding towards town again. I went another two miles when I saw Elise approach and pass me. I slowed down and waited for her to turn around and stop.

I thought about continuing on to town on the bike but decided that since I didn’t know what caused the flat, it would be better to pack up the bike and motor back. It’s probably a good thing I did because after getting home I checked the tire and discovered that something had torn through the sidewall and had rendered the tire unsafe to ride.

Later in the day I saw that the rain had let up so I went out with my fishing pole to fish for an hour or so. I saw five fish chase the lure but only one of them, a tiny one, bit. It was another trout. The hook didn’t have a good hold of it so once I got it landed it slipped off the hook and I had to chase after it to get it back into the water. The noseeums were starting to come out about the time I started to think about heading back home. Elise wondered when I was and came down to the beach. In those next few minutes the noseeums got even worse and I decided to pack it in.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sermon: 1 John 2:18-27

(Click HERE for MP3 sermon audio.)

This sermon is from this past Sabbath, July 11. It covers 1 John 2:18-27 where John instructs his audience about how they and we can remain faithful.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Clouds and showers return

After about two weeks of sunny days, clouds returned yesterday and showers today. There wasn’t much of it though as the skies were mostly cloudy with some sunbreaks in the afternoon.

I went down to the beach with my fishing pole and did some removing of the lines that was put onto the reel. There was way too much of it and the line kept getting tangled into a rat’s nest. I took off quite a bit and that seemed to help quite a bit, although it still has a tendency to get tangled if I’m not careful when reeling the line back in.

It’s amazing how quickly time passes when I’m out by the water casting, reeling, and casting again.

I caught two fish this afternoon. Both were tiny ones – about 3 inches in length. One was a Dolly. The other was either a Cutthroat or a Steelhead. I released both of them. The latter I had to release since they were too small to keep. I could have kept the Dolly since there are no size restrictions on them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fished today

I went out to Middle Harbor with the rest of the family and the hardware store employee. He had me first practice casting out with just a sinker. There were a lot of sculpins (aka bullheads) about and they were trying to nibble on the sinker. As soon as a hook and bait was attached, they bit into them. I practiced catch and release with maybe ten or so of the fish. I’m still not quite comfortable handling slimy fish and removing hooks.

Towards the end I practiced a bit with casting out a spinner lure. I didn’t catch anything edible today, but that wasn’t the point of today’s exercise.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Purchased fishing gear

Yep, Elise and I went out to town this afternoon and I picked out some basic fishing gear – pole, reel, line, hook, sinker, and a small tackle box. The store employee who provided assistance and advice has the day off tomorrow and offered to give me a lesson, which I accepted. We have an appointment to meet up at 11 am tomorrow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Long Bike Ride

I went out to the South Ferry Terminal today. I thought it was something like 23 miles there, but it turned out to be almost 26 miles, for a round-trip of close to 52 miles.

I rode the first hour (to Blind River Rapids) at a very easy pace of 15.4 mph. It may be the same road I use every week, but this time of year the roadside scenery – the plants and flowers – seems to change every week. Today most of the red columbines from a week ago were gone, but there were quite a few yellow, daisy-like flowers blooming along the road. The trip out was helped by a fairly steady tailwind of 9-10 mph (which means return trip will be that much tougher, as usual).

After downing a couple of chocolate Chex mix bars I clipped back in for the ride to the Ferry Terminal and back to Blind River Rapids. Once past Blind Slough the pavement is brand new and is very, very smooth and a sheer pleasure to cycle upon. Again helped with some tailwind, I was able to kick my speed to close to 19 and 20 mph for the stretch out to the terminal. I watched the clock tick by and the milepost signs count up with no sign of the terminal. Obviously I had underestimated the distance. The terminal entrance road appeared at about milepost 25. And the pavement ended just a short distance later. So I turned around and headed back. I grabbed a energy bar and downed half of it, saving the other half to be consumed upon reaching Blind River Rapids once more. The two or three miles of this return was tailwind, but the remaining 23 miles or so was all headwind. But on a smooth surface, even headwind isn’t quite so bad because the wheels just glides so easily.

The smooth pavement doesn’t last forever and at Blind Slough once again the pavement turned rough and it was a fight against headwind to travel a few more miles to Blind River Rapids. I reached it 1h15m or so after leaving it earlier. Average speed for the whole trip thus far had climbed to 16.6 mph. I finished the rest of the energy bar and stretched my legs for a few minutes.

I climbed back onto the bike and started the final leg back to town and home. My legs were starting to feel a little heavier and it seemed the wind might have picked up a bit more. Whatever the reason, average speed for this final leg was not quite as fast. When I finally reached home, the final distance traveled was 51.7 miles in 3h08m at an average speed of 16.5 mph.

I showered, then consumed three leftover pancakes (from breakfast where I had four) with peanut butter, honey, strawberry jam, syrup, applesauce, and yogurt on top – lots of sugary carbs to replenish what I had burned.

That was my excitement for this Sunday.

Around midweek the weather forecasts predict showers returning. Until then, I should get in a couple more days of shorter rides.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another look at my catch

One more look. This one right before I cooked and ate it. When cooked, the flesh looked and tasted a lot like salmon. Since I’m not a fish expert, I went back and looked at the fish and it has to be a Char (notice the light pink spots on a dark background), related to the trout. The only trout I’ve had in the past have been river trout, and my recollection was the they had white flesh. This char had very red flesh. Anyway, whatever… A fish is a fish, and this one was pretty tasty. {update} Elise learned from someone at work that Dolly Vardens are a kind of salmon. After looking up salmonidae I learned that salmon and trout are very closely related.

I’m going to have to go get my own fly fishing gear… Fishing is just a block down from our house! (Although where I fished today was closer to town, but still within easy walking distance, even carrying all the gear.)


Eagle’s Roost Park and a Dolly

We had lunch at Eagle’s Roost Park. Then a couple of us went down fishing. I didn’t expect to actually catch anything, but I did. The first one was a tiny 2 or 3-inch fish that slid off the hook and slid out of my hands back into the water. The second one was an 11-inch Dolly Varden Char.

Since I had no bucket to place the fish, I walked the half mile back home with the fish still on the hook.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ripe Berries

I discovered Amy sitting on the couch with a bowl of salmonberries and blueberries. I knew from whence the salmonberries came, but the blueberries I didn’t know where. I first thought they might be frozen ones, but upon closer look they were fresh. I hadn’t purchased any so where was their origin? I asked Amy and she said they came from the backyard! Apparently we have a few wild blackberry bushes. The recent hot temperatures I’m sure have helped ripen them. I tasted one and it was quite tart, but definitely a blueberry.

R0010420 R0010422

Monday, July 06, 2009

Stitches are out

Elise took the stitches out yesterday. Here’s what my injury looks like, almost 2 weeks after its occurrence.


Oh, and I got the ER bill today: $491.20.

A real summer

We are having a real summer. Temps are expected to rise to upper 70s and even 80 this week.

Yesterday I went out for 41.5 miles on my bike, all the way to Man Made Hole (a small pond with fishing and picnic area) and back. Today I went out for 23.7 miles to the entrance to Papke’s Landing and back. Both outings were quite warm. If the good weather holds, I’d like to go all the way out to the South Ferry Terminal, about 23 miles away (one way), now that the road is paved out to there. I got to ride a couple miles of the new tarmac out to Man Made Hole, and it was a beautiful surface.

We just had another “uh oh” with Stripey. He has a heart murmur and that can lead to blood clots. We had this problem a few months ago, and he possibly has another now. The vet is in town again, so I’ll be dropping by this afternoon to see if they have any more Heparin I can purchase.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


After singing a number of songs for a short worship time at church, all of us headed back to the downtown area to lineup for the parade. We rode in or walked with the collection of Miles electric vehicles (the reason why so many photos in the gallery show the EVs). The parade went around the city circuit twice, bringing festivity to the gathered spectators.

Following the parade I returned home to pick up the pan of deviled eggs and my key lime icebox pie to be taken to the Long Term Care indoor picnic. There was a pretty good turnout. We did our part in bringing a little bit of joy and celebration to the residents.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Sunny days are here again

If the weather forecasts hold true, we could be in for some record breaking high temperatures during one or more days this coming week.

Today was sunny but still relatively cool. I went out on another 30 mile bike ride. My legs felt better than they have ever felt so far this year. My only question is: why is it that on an out-and-back bicycle ride, the headwind is always on the “back” portion? I saw some new wildflowers along the road, though I did not stop to take a look at them so I’m not entirely sure what they are. One was red with a yellow center.

Tomorrow is 4th of July, aka Independence Day. We will have a very short worship at church and then join the community for the celebration. We are planning to have lunch with the long-term care residents at the Medical Center. They are having an indoor 4th of July picnic and the community is invited. Elise made some deviled eggs. I put together a key lime icebox pie.

For supper this evening, I tested a test recipe that Cook’s Illustrated sent out. I signed up to be on their recipe test panel and this was the first recipe I got. It was broccoli sautéed with bacon and red onions. I substituted some turkey bacon for regular bacon. The problem with turkey bacon is that it doesn’t have any fat… Thus I added some canola oil as I was frying the bacon. The result is meaty flavored vegetable dish that I think can appeal to even die-hard carnivores. I have some thoughts about using Worthington Stripples® or Morningstar Farms® Veggie Bacon Strips to see how close it gets to the meat version.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hand injury, 1 week later


It looks like it is doing quite well. I even went out today and mowed the yard with my manual mower.