Monday, May 31, 2010

An interesting day

Contrary to the weather forecast provided yesterday, today started out with warm sunshine. Elise and I went to the cemetery to be part of the Memorial Day service. This city hasn’t really done anything for this day in the past and due to one veteran’s concern last week, a service was quickly put together.

There were prayers, songs, and readings. I was tapped to read the last half of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. All in all, it was a short, but very fitting service honoring veterans as well as remembering those currently serving in the armed forces. This will likely become the first annual Memorial Day service in Petersburg.

We’ve been watching the Babylon 5 TV series during the past few weeks. They were broadcast in the mid-1990’s and we enjoyed them then. We discovered that our library now has all five seasons on DVDs so we’ve been working slowly through them. This afternoon we watched four of the episodes from Season 2.

Afterwards, since the forecast rain still hadn’t arrived I went out to fish again. I forgot to bring along pliers and after I happened to catch a small Dolly, I found I couldn’t remove the hook without endangering my own finger. I called Elise and asked her to bring pliers. With pliers, I removed the hook but by this time the fish had weakened. I had planned to release this one but it was no longer in good condition for releasing so I ended up keeping it. I caught another large one not too longer afterwards.

All the while I was fishing, I was observing changes in weather. One moment the sky was bright and the winds warm. The next, clouds obscured the sun and even a few, scattered, heavy raindrops fell accompanied by strong, cool breezes. Over by the horn cliffs I could see rain falling and clouds increasing.

Right as I was starting to think about packing it up, I saw a flash of lightning. Then and there the decision was made for me. Open water and fishing pole are not a very good combination for a lightning storm. Taking up pole and bucket I hurried the block up home.

While cleaning the catches the storm landed on the island. There were flashes and thunderclaps that continued for a good 30 minutes. In the three-and-a-half years we’ve resided here, I do believe this is our first such storm experience. The right weather conditions don’t happen around here that often. The long, warm weather colliding with a cooler front from the north must have produced just the right conditions this afternoon.

After supper we finished watching Season 2. And now Amy is wondering what happens, since each of the first four seasons ends in a cliff hanger.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Leaping off the bridge

Yesterday afternoon we drove out to Blind Slough for lunch and the afternoon. It was a very warm day – over 70F degrees. One of the summer traditions in Petersburg for many people is jumping off the bridge that crosses over the slough.

Shelley had jumped off a number of times in years past, but Amy never had (and neither has Elise or I). With great trepidation Amy leapt off, but after that first jump she proceeded to jump off nine more times. Elise joined in one of the jumps.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Law of Unintended Consequences

Over at the Spectrum blog an article was recently posted, Citing Apostasy, Michigan Conference Removes La Sierra University From Employee Subsidy.

I am not going to debate or opine whether or not they have or don’t have the right to do that, nor whether they were right or wrong in doing so. I am going to discuss a possible unintended consequence of the action.

For probably as long as the denomination has existed in an organized fashion, I’m sure people have questioned actions of its organizations and leaders. One of the few ways in which ordinary, individual members have any say is through tithes. Of course any church member knows the official position on the giving of tithe: The Conference is the “storehouse” and it is mandatory for members to give tithe to the Conference. All of us know that this has been disregarded throughout history, in greater or lesser numbers; perhaps greater in more recent years.

What the action of the Michigan Conference does is grant official legitimacy to withholding promised funds in order to express displeasure towards and to attempt to coerce change from an official denominational entity. It sets an official precedent that monetary means may be used by one church entity against another. It provides justification for all the members and churches in the past, present, and future who don’t approve of official policies and actions to withhold tithes and offerings.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First blast of summer

The temperatures today rose into the 70’s and provided for a sunny, hot day. This is supposed to continue for one more day and then clouds are coming in and cooling down again.

I spent a bit of the morning washing our pickup truck. I can’t recall the last time it was done, so I’m pretty sure it’s been at least a year – maybe longer. The dirt around some of the lower panels are so encrusted that I don’t think it will every truly come off.

While washing the car the base of the wash wand that I was using (has a brush and nozzle combined) popped out and it would no longer stay in properly so I ended up using just the brush portion to scrub the vehicle. I tried to put it in but after it popped out again and I got one side of me all wet, I decided that I would not try that again. After the wash I took a look at it and if I push it all the way back in, it may stay in.

Also, the faucet handle broke apart in the middle of the wash while I was fighting the wand. It looks like I have a bit of plumbing work to do.

Today was nice beside the water. The breeze wasn’t too strong but there was enough for it to be cooling. Yesterday the breeze was quite strong and cold. Even so I spent a couple of hours out there fishing, even though it didn’t look very promising at all. I was right: I hooked two but didn’t actually catch anything.

Today was a different story. The waters were much calmer and I caught a couple small fish that I released. While releasing one of them, it decided to poop all over one pant leg – my nice clean jeans. I was just about to call it quits for the day and cast out one more time. I felt a strong tug then the line going away. I tightened the reel and began pulling and reeling. It was a good strong fight and in the end I landed another 18.5 inch Dolly.

I have lots of fish in the refrigerator now: 9 Dollies in the freezer, 1 in the refrigerator, and also in the freezer a small king salmon that one of our church friends brought over yesterday. I also have leftover fish curry that I made yesterday from three Dolly Vardens.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Experiments with curried fish

After two weeks of daily consumption of salted and fire grilled fish, not too surprisingly I was starting to get a little tired of it. It was time to move on to some different preparations.

This evening I put together a simple marinade/sauce of vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and lime juice. I placed the fish on a large piece of heavy-duty foil, sliced a few vertical incisions into the sides, then brushed the sauce on the inside and outside of the fish. I closed up the foil tightly around the fish and baked it in the oven at 425F for about 30 minutes.

The result was quite good. I finished one side of the fish this evening. As I took the other side off of the bones, placed the pieces in a different container, and poured the remaining sauce on top of them, I realized this was actually a fish curry of sorts. This may not be the usual way to cook curry, but it might be a good way to make curry out of a whole fish. It’s much easier to pull the flesh off the bones after it’s cooked. I still have more fish already in the refrigerator and freezer, and I’m sure I’ll be catching more so I have plenty of supplies with which to experiment.

Personal Record


I didn’t get very many bites, but the one I did get broke my previous personal best. The big one pictured is 18.5 inches and weighed in a 2 pounds. All of these were caught with various Kastmaster lures; the largest one with the biggest lure that I have – a 10 oz one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

International Food Fest

The homeschool art class got together this evening to show off their projects they had worked on during the last several months and to sample foods from different cultures and/or eras. There were foods from Germany, the 1920’s USA, the Civil War, Spain, etc. Amy selected Japanese for our family.

I started some of the work yesterday, preparing sweet red bean paste (粒アン) and a salad in sweet vinegar (酢の物). For the salad I went out to the beach and foraged some sea lettuce. Although it comes from a different family of algae, it seemed close enough in texture to wakame (わかめ), a type of kelp.

This morning I started preparing sweet black beans (黒豆) at 5 a.m. I went out to fish at 6 a.m. and caught the two Dollies as reported earlier. After spending some time with the ministers in town, I returned home and resumed work on dinner.

I continued with making daifuku (大福) – mochi (though I used sweet rice flour) wrapped around the sweet red bean paste. I marinated some tofu for frying later in the afternoon. I cooked some carrots, eggs, and shiitake mushrooms to use in sushi. I cooked the rice (or rather, I washed the rice and the rice cooker cooked the rice). I prepared a spicy miso sauce to go over the tofu, and also chopped some green onions to go on top of that. I fried the tofu and set it aside for the assembly to be completed right before dinner.

While starting to take a brief breather, Shelley called and said she needed her costume for a play right now. So I tried to start the car, and it wouldn’t. I called Elise, she came over, picked up Amy and the costume, and left. Elise brought home some daikon and romaine lettuce. I shredded the daikon for use as a bed for a grilled fish, then shredded some carrots to use as accents. I went out and picked some dandelion blossoms, also to be used as decoration.

I got the sushi seasonings mixed into the rice and Elise went to work stuffing inari sushi. I put together futo-maki sushi after she finished her part.

I got the outdoor grill fired up and the fish salted and oiled. Then it went onto the grill and cooked nicely. When done it was placed on a platter with a bed of romaine lettuce and the shredded daikon on top of that. The carrots and dandelion blossoms would be arranged at location.

While this was going on, Amy was getting her kimono on and Shelley trying to get the obi tied properly. In the end, it probably didn’t get done quite right (Shelley wasn’t happy with it) but I don’t think anyone noticed that it wasn’t right.

We went to the Bible Church and set everything up, putting in the finishing touches. There was quite a crowd present. The children (and a few adults) were dressed up in cultural and period clothing. The food and company was good and a pleasant evening was had by all.

Morning catch

I awoke before 5 a.m. this morning and after doing a few things headed out with fishing rod at around 6 a.m. It was off and on sprinkle and drizzle, but not bad enough to turn back.

As I approached the water I could see fish jumping about all over the place. During the next hour I caught two, large Dollies. Both gave a great fight and was certainly worth the time I spent. The biggest one measured about 17-1/2 inches and weighed in a 1 lb. 10 oz.

I’m just curious why, with all the fish jumping about, these were the only two that bit… Ah well, that’s okay. The two that I got are nice and big. Especially in the larger one you can see the family resemblance to salmon (Dollies are in the same family as salmon).


Friday, May 14, 2010

Little Norway 2010

Today was one of the main days of the four-day long Little Norway festival. This year marks the 100th year of Petersburg. Below are some of the sights on Main Street this afternoon.

Fishing today

I purchased a few new lures today and tried one out. It was a small-ish Kastmaster lure with a red stripe down one side. The result? I landed eight fish, but one came off the hook and escaped as I made a frantic effort to chase it down the beach, and another one was just too small to keep. In the end I came home with six fish.

While out there, a whole flock of bald eagles landed on the beach (apparently finding some edible stuff) not too far from me. I could swear some of them were eyeing the fish that I had caught as they flew above me. The photo below shows just three of them since most of them decided to fly up while I had the camera out.

R0011557 R0011556

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nice catch


I went out fishing for about an hour and a half today and caught what you see in the photo. The largest one there is 16 inches and 1.5 pounds. It was a nice, fat one. Today was the first time I caught more than one during a single outing. I have almost a week’s worth of fish now, unless I share them with someone :)

What Christians and Churches need more of

I came across this passage in my devotionals today:

Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy,  we do not become discouraged. But we have rejected  shameful hidden deeds,  not behaving with deceptiveness or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God. (2 Cor. 4:1-2 NET)

Secrecy and manipulation is unbecoming (and according to this passage, is sin) of those who could call themselves Christians and of those who claim to work for the church.

Instead Christians ought to be more transparent, more open, allowing other Christians their freedom to act according to their conscience and as the Holy Spirit directs.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Psalm of the Day

Today’s psalm is Psalm 94. It is very apropos for what I am currently feeling.

O Lord, the God who avenges! O God who avenges, reveal your splendor! Rise up, O judge of the earth! Pay back the proud…! He will pay them back for their sin. He will destroy them because of  their evil; the Lord our God will destroy them.