Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mish Mash Paddy Wack

There is no theme today. It's sort of an whatever's clever Trevor sort of day.

First, let's discuss the best part of summer: Berries. I don't take many pictures of our berrystravaganza pick-fests because I'm too busy picking. I have to use my hands for berries rather than documenting the berry picking experience. Thanks to tDF and my conscripted in-laws we now have 2 gallons of blueberries and 2 gallons of red huckleberries put up. It's a good feeling, looking at those plump bags of berries in my freezer.
This is a highbush blueberry. It's actually a specie of black huckleberry, but whatever. Due to the sunny weather they're really sweet this year. I warn you, there are worms in these berries, and processing them a gallon at a time really sort of churns your stomach. All the berries are soaked in a huge bowl of water and all the debris floats to the top to be skinned off. Some of this debris are little clots of worms. The denial gymnastics I put myself through in order to eat these off the bush are many. I am convinced that there are never any worms in the berries that go in my mouth.

We picked red huckleberries too. No photo of them in the wild but here is a cobbler in my ramekins.
Aren't they pretty! They don't nearly have the worm problem of the blueberries. They are sweet-tart and lovely.

Now let's talk about all the awesome ways I get to work. Since I am a field going employee, I work in remote areas more often than in areas I can drive to. This requires flying. I love flying. Especially when you hit an air pocket and the plane drops like 300 feet. The way my guts flutter. I know some people hate it, but it makes me feel alive.

Let's talk Beavers. Not the chewing kind, the De Havilland kind.
They are incredibly stylish and beefy, with an atomic age/mid-century modern edge. The last Beaver was manufactured in 1967 so most of what I fly around in is at least 40 years old. Well, I'm sure some parts are that old. Pilots up here are meticulous about their aircraft. The engine has a distinct throaty growl that is amazingly reassuring.
Most pictures out the window of the aircraft look like this. Lots of pontoon or strut shots over scenery. This is Staney Creek on Prince of Wales Island.
We also fly in Cessna 185s quite often. They are smaller, lighter, and more agile than the Beaver so they are better suited for landing (and taking off) in remote alpine lakes with limited maneuverability. We're in Rust Lake here and notorious difficult spot for take offs due to an intense downdraft. (It is always easier to land than to take off so just because you get down to the water does not mean you're going to be taking off).

Last, but absolutely not least, is the widdle helicopter. Flying around in helicopters for work is a perk, no doubt. I still can't believe I actually get paid to do this.
This is our vehicle for a difficult day of beach ridge surveying. It sometimes gets called a blood clot, for obvious reasons. Depending on the pilot, these can be landed almost anywhere (that's flatish and unforested). They make you dress like a prisoner and all the jump suits are XXL, but it's a small price to pay for flying in a helicopter for work.

There are boats too, but I seldom ride in them. How do you guys get to work or do your job?


  1. Are you kidding me? My jealousy knows no bounds. I can tell you how I get to work: I spend 45-50 minutes in bumper to bumper traffic, desperately trying to ignore the fact that it should have only taken 20 minutes door to door. I chain smoke and get mad at crappy morning radio hosts who never tire of making poop jokes. I consider stopping for a coffee but then see the line up and just keep on trucking. Sometimes I put on my makeup in the car, and feel no guilt because I'm PARKED on a road which just won't move. And you? You're flying helicopters. Those pictures are majestic.

  2. I feel like the luckiest person in the World. I'm from CA where traffic is a way of life. I go back and visit and just get ANGRY and become the asshole-Bay area driver I used to be.