Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gotcha deer yet?

On Saturday I was able to get a deer.  I sent it off to Pine Tree Market in NE Harbor to be butchered and packaged in freezer bags.  It was an amazing experience.  The quickness and speed that these magnificent animals have is remarkable.  I am honored to see them throughout the year here on the island.  

I thought the hard part was finding a deer to shoot.  It is certainly time intensive, but the hard work is after the deer has been shot.  First step is to cut out the guts, thanks to my friend Sam I was able to do this without any of the insides getting cut.  I was surprised at how not gross the insides of the deer were.  The anatomy of the deer is incredible, everything is packed in there just so.  It allowed me to imagine what my own insides might look like.  Lastly, I had to drag it out of the woods.  It wasn't a particularly big deer, but hauling out a 100 lbs. of dead weight is tiring.  Thankfully it wasn't too far to the road.

After returning from travelling during the Thanksgiving weekend, Kaitlyn and I spent a couple of hours Sunday evening making sausage from the ground meat.  We used two recipes that we got from my brother-in-law, Andy.  One is a spicy recipe, ours didn't turn out quite as spicy as Andy's.  We used a little less crushed red pepper.  Our sweet sausage is really good.  We used maple sugar that comes from our friend Mitch and Penny in Bowdoinham.  I was surprised that Kaitlyn enjoyed making sausage as much as she did, we had a lot of fun.  We packaged it into little one pound packages.  We had 20 pounds of sausage meat and about 25 pounds of steaks and stew meat.  It is really comforting to have this food stored for winter.  Every time I think about the deer or eat some of the meat I am grateful for the life of that deer and I appreciate the sacrifice it has given so that I may be nourished.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keeping it Free Range

So Kaitlyn is reading the book Omnivore's Dilemma, she has been reading little excerpts to me.  There are a lot of things that are surprising to hear, but at the same time they aren't that surprising.  Example, the free range chickens that are sold at Whole Foods, only get to range free outside their cages for something like two weeks of their lives.  

So we are trying to eat more locally.  We have joined a co-op.  Every two weeks we get together and put an order together.  It is delivered to the mailboat in NE Harbor and brought out to the island where members split up the bulk order into each members smaller order.  The food all comes from farms in Maine. As well as trying to eat food that comes from nearby, we are trying to eat foods that are closer to the seasons.  If we were farmers we would have a root cellar full of potatoes, squash, onions and other vegetables that keep for long periods of time, we wouldn't be eating a lot of greens.  We are eating more meat, such as chicken and beef.  Last night our whole dinner came from Maine.  We had french fries made from Natures Circle Farm in NEw Limerick, Maine.  We had lobster that was caught that morning by our friend Richard Dudman on his boat Scorpio's Lady.  By eating food that comes from more nearby, we hope that we are contributing less to process of shipping vegetables across the country or from South America, thus contributing less to the amount of fuel being burned in the world.  We also help to keep money in our state, and further help to keep farm land the way it is.  

These certainly aren't my original ideas, but we enjoy taking part in them and in helping to spread these practices.  Next year we plan on buying a share in a local farm.  By investing in the farm in the late winter we get a share in the crop come spring, summer and fall.  It will be a little more effort to be sure that we go off island to pick up our produce, but we do that anyways when we drive to Ellsworth and go to Hannaford.  Don't worry Hannaford Bros., you won't be totally losing our business.  I still will want my orange juice, and we'll need to buy tissues and toilet paper.

Living here on the island has really opened us to the idea of keeping things local.  Each day I watch 15-30 workers get off the boat to come and work on houses here on LCI.  All that money then goes off island.  This island really has the great potential for being relatively self sufficient.  You can grow things here, lot's of people already have egg laying chickens, and there were four pigs raised here this year.  Not to mention that there are deer here, and hunting season offers the chance to harvest the ultimate free range meat.

I went out this morning to hunt.  I did not see any deer, but I did see lots of crows and ravens, a really fat Hairy woodpecker, and a Marsh Hawk (Harrier) and lots of sea gulls.  It was a beautiful morning to be out in the woods, little wind and lots of sun.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Boy was it windy today.  A bunch of the guys on the crew got wet riding the mail boat over.  Days like this I really like the 2 1/2 minute drive to work.  

My day was not very eventful, I nailed some wood up onto the house.  Same old, same old as they say.   Kaitlyn on the other hand did have quite an exciting afternoon.  She and Cairn were out in the cemetery behind her studio and she heard someone yelling for help.  She ran over to find the our eldest citizen (he's 92 years old) on the ground with his head slot open from a fall. Kaitlyn called 911 and our local EMT's came in the Islesford Volunteer Fire Department ambulance and put him onto a stretcher and prepared him for the trip to the hospital.  On the mainland this is routine, but out here it requires getting the stretcher onto a lobster boat.  No easy task, and then add winds of 20 mph and gust up to 30 mph and it becomes a tough job.  

Today's events remind me of the very first night Kaitlyn and I had visited LCI.  It was early April and we were at a Corn Dog Party.  One of the kids on the island slipped and broke his collar bone.  Without hesitation or any question one of the lobsterman went right down to his boat and got it off the mooring and brought it to the dock to take the family to the hospital.  I was so impressed at this, that a member of the community without hesitation rowed out in the pitch dark to retrieve their lobster boat, start it up and run it across to the mainland.  

I am continually amazed at how the members of this community on a daily basis work together.  People in this town are constantly helping each other in more ways than I can mention.  It is a real honor to be a part of it.  

Though I must say that since I have been working for the company that I do, I feel that I am missing out on a lot of the regular daily happenings in town.  When I worked for myself I often went into town to get mail or meet the boat where I would run into friends and get some interaction, but now I spend 10 hours at the job site with non-islanders and don't pass through town until after it is dark.  I am grateful for the work, but I am not sure if it is really the job for me while living on this island.  

I miss the freedom I had before.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today I worked ten hours out in the cold.  Today was our first really cold day here on Islesford.  The sky was clear, only a little bit of wind.  Lots of sun.  

Tonight we attended a Islesford Sustainability meeting.  Lots of good ideas being thrown out there.  Ideas about jobs for people on the island.  Jobs that I would be qualified to do.  Whenever I attend a meeting such as this I get really excited about living here on Little Cranberry island, and the possibility of being able to make a living and live a good life.