Monday, July 22, 2013

As _____ As Possible!

Celia has been using the phrase "As ____ as possible" lately.  Sometimes, it can be quite nice, like when she says "this dinner is as yummy as possible!" about the pizza Tom made us for dinner last night.  Other times, it isn't as nice, like when she said: "Mommy, your bum is huge.  It's a big as possible!"

Sabrina and Celia also have gotten into telling jokes.  The structure of the joke is always the same (not sure where they got it), but it's kind of like Mad-Libs seeing which nouns they'll fit in this time:
"Why would a (noun) fit in a (noun)?  Because it likes to eat (noun)!"  Never particularly a funny format, but they have a good time fitting things into it.  Sabrina just fills in the blank: "Why would a couch fit in a bowl?  Because it like to eat windows!"  Celia tries to have it make a little bit of sense, "Why would a horse fit in a drawer?  Because it likes to eat the stuff at the bottom of the drawer!"

Friday, July 19, 2013

Celia's note

When we got back from dipnetting, we were all pretty gross from camping on the beach and dealing with bloody fish, so we immediately gave the girls a bath. Tom and I were still dirty of course after the girls took a bath, so she wrote this note. Translation: grown-ups dirty-wirty kids clean machine. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dipnetting: the perfect year

This is Sabrina proudly showing me her "pocket full of sand."  Lovely.


Every year I talk about dipnetting and how it's my absolute favorite.  Even last year when Tom and I were both totally sick, Tom got the net caught on a rock, and we only came home with 14 salmon, it was still my favorite.  It's just different on the beach.  Everyone is super nice and communal.  This year, our tent neighbors were this lovely couple that kept checking in with the kids (taking pictures of their sand angels), and making sure we were catching enough fish.  Another tent neighbor was this guy that had caught his limit and was just staying the night before packing up.  We loaned him a can opener for his dinner of raw canned soup (a lot of these guys are pretty hard core) and Tom helped him haul his cooler to his truck.  He gave us a jar of his canned salmon.  Just love dipnetting.

Anyway, we took a gamble this year and went on a Monday when the fish counts were still really low (the two previous days were 9,000 and 10,000).  We wanted to get there to fish the low tide (the best bet is about 3 hours before low tide), but we got stuck in construction and didn't get to the beach until about 30 minutes before low tide.  We thought we had missed our opportunity for the day for sure, but as we were setting our stuff down on the beach, a nice guy who was packing up next to us, when I asked him if there were fish, he said: "Emphatically YES.  In fact, don't even set up your stuff.  Get in the water!"  So, we did.  Tom suited up and the girls and I headed down with the cooler.  Our net has 3 lengths of 15 feet and the past two years we've had to put all three on (45 foot pole) to get fish.  Tom just put one on (15 foot pole) and was pulling fish out like crazy.  I could barely bleed them, rinse them, and clip the tails (all dipnet fish have to have the ends of their tails clipped before concealing them to show they can't be sold, etc because dipnet fish are only for "subsistence") before Tom would have another one.  Because the documented fish counts weren't high yet, hardly any one was there (the fish counts for the two days we were there were later posted at 92,724 and 246,396).  Usually people are about 5 feet apart in the water.  This year, we were a good 25 feet from the next person.  In one hour, we caught 15 fish.  And they were all giant.  (The above picture with the girls and Tom.)  Feeling pretty good, we headed back to set up camp and leisurely cook dinner (the picture with Tom stirring our star-shaped ravioli).  During dinner, there was another rush of fish that we missed out on because we were being leisurely.  Tom jumped back in the water at the tail end of it and caught just one that night, but it was the biggest one we came home with, so it wasn't a total loss.  We went to bed, slept fairly well, and at around 7:45, I woke up to people yelling things like "We need another cooler down there!"  "He caught three in one net!"  So, we quickly got back up, Tom suited up and the girls and I got ready to receive.  Tom was just throwing them out as fast as he could get the net in the water.  It was nuts.  We could have easily caught our household limit of 55, but we only had two coolers and we didn't want to get greedy, so after 24 fish, we had to decide what to do.  Tom said he'd get back in and make it an even 25, but just as he got the net in the water, two more fish jumped in, so we called it at 26.  And this was the year of the giant fish.  They were huge.  We usually come home with about half small, have pretty big because we're not picky, but this year, they were all giant (and we even threw back two small ones).  

The girls enjoyed watching Tom gut the fish and seeing which ones had eggs.  And, as you can see by the last picture, the girls came home pretty tuckered out from all the excitement.

It was the perfect year.  The weather was overcast but warm so the girls happily played in the sand, there were hardly any people there, and the fish were so easy to catch (we spent about 2.5 total hours in the water for our 26 fish).

Our final result: 90lbs of total edible meat.  32 fillets in the freezer.  Smallest fillet size: 24 oz.  Largest fillet size: 37 oz.  32lbs sent off to be smoked.  YUM!

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