Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kitchen Pass

Saturday I reluctantly let Plantboy go fishing. I say reluctantly because he went just a week or so ago, caught nothing, and it made a really long day for both of us. (When he salmon fishes, he gets up even earlier than I do! He and his buddy like to be at the donut shop 90 miles away, called the Sweet Shack, by 4 a.m.; then on the river, by five am. Plantboy calls it "pole position.") It had already been a long week, but as I reviewed all that we had done during that long week, it was mostly stuff that I had going in the evenings while Jeff managed kiddos. When I put it to myself in those terms, I realized I couldn't ask him to stay home. I'm so glad I didn't.

The first picture was taken just after sunrise on the Umpqua River. If you look carefully, you can see that the photo isn't actually black and white and that the sky is a really pale blue. It was just very interesting lighting.

He called throughout the day to update me on the fishing report. At around two o'clock he texted me the following words, "30 pounds." I didn't believe him. At all. The biggest one he has caught to this point is 15 pounds. Also, he never texts. (One more reason to love Plantboy.) I figured he knew that if he called he wouldn't be able to play it straight.

Boy was I wrong.

He brought home a cooler containing the following:

I don't think we'll be using the cooler any time again soon. The one one your left was at least 30 pounds, the one on the right was probably around 20. The limit is two per day, but I think he'll be going back. His buddy called from the river this afternoon (Sunday) saying that nobody was catching anything. I guess yesterday everyone was pulling them out of the river, but a few boats still stopped to watch Plantboy wrestle the monster. His friend thinks Plantboy is some kind of good luck charm.

I think so, but I admit to being biased.

Now comes the fun (gross-out) part. Here is the behemoth on a plank Jeff set up on the back deck between two sawhorses. We just do large fillets, not steaks, so he only has to skin and fillet them, not gut them.

Last night, about midnight, after he'd finished filleting and packaging Mr. Salmon and then disinfecting the house, he decided that to get rid of the carcasses he would bury them in the garden. Salmon makes awesome fertilizer (remember the Pilgrims with the fish in the corn?) and my Plantboy couldn't resist making full use of his catch. He said that it occurred to him, rather belatedly, that while he was digging his deepish hole in the back yard with his headlamp last night that somebody might think he was burying a body back there. And he was, sort of. A thirty pound carcass is nothing to scoff at.

Today I made the best summer dinner we have probably had yet this year. A huge portion of the stuff came from our own garden, besides the salmon Jeff caught. And next year? The decomposing body of Monster Salmon is going to give me the fattest, greenest peas around. I feel a song coming on . . . maybe from the Lion King?

Okay, okay, all this circle-of-life-stuff can get a bit overdone, but it really does make me so happy.

Here is our dinner, clockwise from top left. Mashed potatoes--yukon gold and red, all from our garden. Bruschetta that we slathered on homemade, day-old wheat French bread and whatever else got in the way. All of the bruschetta ingredients (except for oil and vinegar) came from our garden. Grilled asparagus with a squirt of lemon juice. Columbia River Salmon (this variety was ON SALE at Market of Choice this week for $13/pound. Plantboy has 20 pounds or more in the freezer for a $10 fishing license). Caprese salad with tomatoes and basil from our garden. Roasted red pepper, and though this one isn't from our garden I was just using it up because the garden ones are ready.

And for dessert? Peach sorbet from my new favorite blog, called, appropriately "Use Real Butter." Her food pictures are lovely and her recipes are all so fresh and delicious.

All in all, it has been a wonderful summer. We are in our last, winding down week now. I'm ready. The kids are ready. But I also feel like this has been a Thoreau summer. And what is that, you might ask? Well, let's ask HDT himself. He can put it so much better than I can:

I went to woods because I wanted to live deliberately
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life . . .
To put to rout all that was not life;
And not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Our lives might be small, and my own influence may not extend very far, but this summer I've made a great effort to live deliberately. We've created lovely, lasting memories that will carry us through life's winters. Autumn is in the air and in my heart today.


Cathy said...

I envy your salmon. But I bet KimBlue doesn't! She used to avoid our apartment when I cooked it.

The quote is from Thoreau, not Whitman, and it's "suck out all the marrow of life"--you have a typo that confuses the meaning. Sorry for being a stickler, and thanks for reminding me of a great quote.

When you mentioned Lion King, I immediately thought, "Are you achin' (yum yum yum)/ For some bacon (yum yum yum)/ He's a big can be a big pig too!" I was a little surprised by the Cirle of Life reference that followed, though it's better philosophy :)

heidikins said...

Holy Salmon, Batman! Gracious--that's a big hunk of fish!


Caitlin said...

Oh. My. Gosh. That salmon is incredible! I feel so jealous inside both about the fillets and the fertilizer. Your dinner looked beautiful, I mean it, really really beautiful.

calmrapids said...

Wow! So, I guess you're glad you let him go fishing? YUM!

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Cathy--thanks. I'll make the edits accordingly. I was pulling my memory from the movie Dead Poets' Society and had forgotten that the source material.