Monday, August 1, 2011


Today we went fishing with Dean, a neighbor of Ionia's who won the Iditarod dog mushing race in the 80s. Dean is quite the character- he has a gruff voice and a young Vietnamese bride, and is SUPER nice. We each went out on a boat with two of his fishermen- Melanie and Hilary from DC pulled in about 100 salmon from different nets, and Rose and Sarah from DC pulled buoys and also picked a few fish. We learned such seafaring sports as Flounder Skipping (it's easier than skipping stones!) and Hit the Buoy with the Sole. So many lost soles. Heh heh heh. Atlantic flounder and sole is apparently pretty different from the fish here, and there is no market to sell them, so we keep the salmon and throw the others back. We also learned how to cut and gut the fish "Western Style," which involves removing the innards and heads of the salmon, cutting it so that it can be opened from the stomach to expose the meat.

AFTERWARD THERE WERE PUPPIES. Dean raises dogs for sled races, and he's got almost 50 dogs on his property. Each one is chained to a post in its own 8 ft diameter crater, caused by its incessant running in circles. They are all pretty friendly, and if one starts barking, they ALL start barking. And if they bark loud enough, the dog musher's pack a mile down the road ALSO starts barking, and then it's really a party. We got to meet the husky mutt puppies! There were four and they were all so energetic and adorable. Only photos can even BEGIN to show how cute they were- don't worry, we'll post them soon.

Aaron gives a dog his love
Look at those eyes!
All the dogs

Other than that, we've been hanging around Ionia a lot lately, working more on the barn and hanging out with the people here. One morning last week, we installed the trusses (which we had previously built) as the barn wall. Later, they'll be filled with straw clay as a natural insulation against Alaskan winters. Rose also learned to use the sawmill (not the parkway), which was fun although the controls were confusing. Melanie worked with another Ionian to plant lilac trees on the property in stead of the apple trees which were destroyed by bunnies earlier this year.

Another WWOOFer, Irene, is a shiatsu practitioner in Belgium, and agreed to lead a shiatsu workshop for anyone who wished to learn. Hopefully this skill will help us make lots of friends in the future. Melanie got to be Irene's partner--definitely best spot in the house.

We've really hit it off with Rachel, Hillary, and Sarah, the WWOOFers from DC, and the five of us have been dubbed by the Ionians the WWOOFer Girl Army. We have taken this title to heart, and started doing calisthenics early in the morning and marching everywhere. Just kidding, but actually we hang out a lot together in our house, and we watch movies together at night. Which leads us to our next point:

Playing by Heart is a stupid movie and no one should watch it. We were SO excited- a cast including Sean Connery, Jon Stewart, Angelina Jolie, and Ryan Phillipe, and it was labelled a romantic comedy. There is nothing comical about crying a lot and having AIDS and cheating on spouses. It was a "dismal, uninspiring, humbo jumbo mess of love stories..." (Hillary just started ranting about its suckiness.)

We have a lot in store for the coming weeks and we're really excited for the second half of our stay here. Tomorrow morning we will have been here exactly three weeks, but it seems like much more.

Also, we invented a game called Vegeteball during our latest trip to the Soldotna Farmer's Market. It is played with giant zucchinis as bats and any round vegetable as a ball. The great thing about Vegetaball is that there are always snacks available.


  1. What a great post! I'm so glad to hear all about your adventures. Cravings on the way...
    Love, Helene (aka Mom)

  2. Where are the puppy pictures????? Ditto Helene's comment!

    Love, Dad (aka Dad)