With a break in the weather, and some inspiration from our visit with Laine Sweeney (who, at 15 is practicing daily on her compound for this year’s deer season), Skyla picked up her bow and went to work. We quickly realized we needed to make a trip to the sporting goods store, where we bought a better target and some new arrows. Then it was time to let ’em fly.
Skyla says she doesn’t want to hunt with the bow, that it’s simply fun to shoot. I’m just happy to watch her enjoying herself and improving at a pretty cool skill. I was also inspired by Laine’s response when I asked her about her motivation to hunt deer with a bow. She said, “I really like the idea of my energy being what kills the deer we’ll eat and get energy from.” Pretty deep for a 15-year old, or anyone, for that matter.
In this house, though, at least for the time being, it’s targets only. And that makes sense to me, too. Especially when you hear the satisfying “whack” of an arrow hitting the middle of the target.
So I’m working on a novel. And even more surprising–at least to me–it’s going pretty well. But having not written long fiction before, I am trying to steep myself in as much information as possible. Primarily, the support, encouragement and advice from novelist friends, and reading as much good fiction as I can get my hands on.
But I figure a little real research wouldn’t hurt, either, so I’ve been dipping into a few “how-to” books. These were sent to me by my brother, Adrian, who writes and draws spectacular fiction. In fact, a few years back, he sent me the entire Paris Review series, which has been a fascinating read. The Wood book is a bit tougher–a pretty esoteric discussion of extremely fine points in fiction. I don’t know if I’m smart enough to actually implement what he talks about, but perhaps some of it will rub off on me just for reading it.
For a long-time non-fiction writer, the choices you get (or have) to make with each sentence are at times daunting and at others, remarkably freeing. I have no idea if what I’m writing is any good; it could be awesome or it could completely suck. But I do know I am thoroughly enjoying the process. Stay tuned!
Way back in September, I was lucky enough to spend some time up in Northern BC working on a film with a bunch of good friends. That film, CHROME, made by Conservation Hawks and Conservation Media, is now finished. It’s also been selected for the 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour, where it will debut in cities and towns across the country. Huge thanks to all the sponsors, and to Kate Taylor, Tim Romano, Tom Rosenbauer, Todd Tanner, Hannah and Alice Belford, film maker Jeremy Roberts and camera man Rick Smith for such good company.
We had a fantastic time in the deep wilderness chasing wild steelhead and talking about climate change and how it will impact cold water fisheries. With the fish running late, the whole adventure turned into an epic quest to find steelhead.
But for me, it was really more about the people and the place and and an opportunity to help motivate people to engage on the climate change issue. I think the film does a good job of capturing all of it, which hopefully you can see in the trailer above.
Last week, as my good friend Sweeney and I were thinking about what to do on his birthday, the State announced a razor clam opener. Perfect timing. Our usual autumn/winter season has been on hold due to lingering domoic acid in the clams–a result of warm-water algae blooms. There actually was an opener on the last set of minus tides, but they fell on Christmas Eve and Christmas and we both had our hands full with family activities.
So this was our first real shot at razors since last spring. And I don’t know if it could have been any more spectacular. When we left Sweeney’s house, it was 36 degrees and socked in with fog. Thirty miles west and it was bluebird skies, no wind and 55 degrees. That’s Sweeney and our buddy Ron searching for razor necks in the wash, above.
Only problem with the whole day was that the clams were so abundant, and showing so well, we limited out in about 20 minutes. But that worked, too: we made it home in time to clean clams, eat dinner with the family, and hang out with a whole string of well-wishers coming by to raise a glass to Sweeney. Awesome day.
About a month ago, I saw a story in the paper about herb-infused salts and mentioned it to Skyla. She asked me to cut it out and save it for her. Then, the week before Christmas, she said she wanted to make it. So we found some nice, flaky sea salt at the store, grabbed a few sprigs of rosemary, and she went to it.
Simple, really. Just heat up the salt with the fresh rosemary twigs in it, and keep stirring. The house filled with the pine-y, savory scent of rosemary, and the salt soaked it all up. Skyla put it in jars with a fresh sprig for style, and wrapped them as “experimental” gifts for a few friends and called it good.
The stuff is delicious. I’ve been putting it on just about every kind of meat, but it really shines on pan-seared wild duck breasts, elk steaks and other wild game. Great on chicken, too. Plus, it’s fun and easy to make. I’m sure we’ll be doing more herb-salt experiments in the near future.