Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Appliances.....I Hate them!

I don't normally like to complain on my blog, but I'm pretty disgusted and can't help myself. It has to do, as you can guess, with Appliances.
We seem to have no luck with them. I'm now convinced that there is no reason to buy a higher end appliance. You get sold on energy savings, lasting longer, an overall better return on your money.....on and on and on they go. I call BULLSHIT! Why you ask? Well, about 6 years ago we did just that! Here is the list of what was purchased around that time frame of say 6 to 7 years ago.
1. a new Amana fridge, great reviews and farily pricy for a normal looking fridge.
2. Over the range microwave
3. Maytag Gas Range with double oven
4. Medium chest freezer made by fridgidare
5. Dishwasher made by fridgidare x 2
6. Washer and dryer made by maytag (the neptune series) very high reviews

So basicly all the major appliances a house would need.......Now, take a guess at what are still working or haven't been repaired......NONE!

1. Amana fridge....Gone, broke two weeks ago!
2. cook no more!
3. Gas Brain went out within the first year, still here but who knows for how long!
4. Chest freezer....Gone, lasted 2 years before compressor failed
5. Dishwasher.....yep, on number 2! First one lasted 2 years....and new one doesn't clean that well anymore
6. Washer and of last night main bearing going out in Washer!

Yep, they've all failed! The topper for me is the washer, especially since i have a sour tast in my mouth after just buying a new fridge 2 weeks ago, now i get to deal with the washer!

These were all bought new, and have been treated well, and not abused......EVER!

Ya wanna know what has lasted? My bait fridge in the shop i got for FREE, the upright freezer i got for FREE, and the cheap as microwave we paid 60 bucks for 10 years ago!

All i can say is i'm disgusted!

well, i'll now get off my soap box, and yes i feel a little better!

Signing off from the North.....where thoughts of a clothes line, a wood fired stove, and an ice box dance through our heads!

Mark...."The Iron Skillet"

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Derby and "The Legend"

At Noon yesterday marked the conclusion of the 4th Bellingham Salmon Derby I've fished in. It was a treat this year to Fish with my known as "The Legend" in Bellingham. We had a great time, lots of laughs, and fished hard.....

The rule this year for us was "Plan your Work....Work your Plan" and that's what we did.
What follows is a recap of what happened over the last 3 days......
Day 1 (friday) was a beautiful day on the water. Shorts and t-shirts were the rule! Unfortunatly for us, the fish were hard to find...and the only thing that came to the boat was this wonderfull looking dogfish......SHARK!
"The Legend" insisted on a picture, so i obliged. Sharky was released back to the depths while we ground on, with no fish and calling it a day at 3 p.m.
Day two: Saturday....We awoke to a stiff breeze, and whitecaps on the water. Nice clear skys were in the forcast, but wind and stong tides make for slow going to the fishing grounds. Dad snapped a quick pic. of Bellingham as we were to round the corner of Lummi Island. We were thankfull for the cabin and canvas this morning....lots of spray, and a wet back deck!
We trolled one area, before making the move to where we PLANNED to fish for the day. Just as we setteled into our troll i recieved a multitude of messages from my brother-in-law that he was on some fish and we should head that direction. But, in consulting "The Legend" some words of wisdom were said, "Plan your Work and Work your Plan" and that's what we did....relaizing that running to the hot spot would take quite some time and that by the time we arrived the bite more that likely would be over.....Soooo we ground it out at a trusted spot and at 2 p.m., my rod burried and fish on! After a longggggg run, the fish came to the boat, and "The Legend" scooped her up and a fish was FINALLY in the boat! Just shy of 14 pounds.
We trolled awhile longer and then decided to call it a day, we both felt good. As "The Legend" had stated that morning...we had "Planned our Work...and...Worked our Plan", and in the end it payed off. High fives, and war hoops were the theme as we headed back towards the harbor of Bellingham.....we were on the boards with a Derby fish.
Day 3: Left us with a new plan.....since tides were wrong for where i like to fish we decided to hit a new to me spot, after hearing good things from Brother-in-law Brian. A long run, and sloppy seas we arrived on scene and fished a wonderfull stretch of water. "The Legend" and i both agreed that this was a fishy spot, and a good choice for the last day of the Derby.
We trolled for several hours, had a couple of missed fish and watched a few others get caught. We'd agreed to head in at 10 a.m., fish or not, since the derby ended at 12:00. At the stroke of 10, and as we trolled up to talk to Brian before he headed in, "The Legends" rod shuttered and popped off the downrigger. With lightning reflexs, he was on the rod and fish on! A short battle ensued and another fish was in the boat.........high fives and a fish dance was performed once again as we both gave thanks to Nicole's grandpa, for we both felt he'd helped us out once again.....come to think of it.....this was his old boat, his old rods, and fishing an area he used to love to fish!
So, how big was the fish?????
The fish tipped the scales at just under 6 pounds. Nothing huge, but a keeper none the less, and we each had fish in the derby!
That concluded our trip and we headed for the harbor, in some pretty sloppy seas. We made it in with just 20 min. to spare.
No money was won with the fish but a nice new fishing rod and some terminal tackle was added to my collection.
What a great three days....we fish hard, had fun, and caught a couple of fish too!
So sigining off from the North......were "The Legend" returns..... and where we "Plan our Work...and...Work our Plan" which pays off too!
Mark...."The Iron Skillet"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Iron Skillet Returns

In the cleaning process of tearing down the old shed and getting ready to build the new carport i came across an old plastic tote containing some camping gear. In the bottom of that tote was an old cast iron skillet wrapped in a towel. I unfolded the towel to find this gem! Just a little bit of moisture i'd say. But, hey it's an Iron Skillet.....they can always be brought back to life right???
I found a wire wheel out in the shop and a couple freshly charged batteries for the cordless drill and promptly went to work. It didn't take long and i was getting some pretty good results, as you can see in the picture below.
Once brought back to life i had to find some oil to reseason the skillet with, but we were out! That's when i ran across this sitting on the shelf! A jar of Barlean's Coconut oil!
It didn't take long and i had a nice first coat on the pan. Actually starting to look like it's comming back to life!
A few more coats of oil and she was ready to be seasoned. The BBQ was a great spot, and the old pan could smoke to it's hearts content......(although Nicole and the kids promplty retreated to the front yard....something to do with the smell of burning coconut oil!)
This picture doesn't really do the smoke justice, but i'm sure get the idea of what's going on here.
And, finally the pan was done and ready for use. Looks pretty good to me, and it cooked up some chicken just fine!
So yet another skillet has been added to the collection...or re-added i should say!
From the North....where things are lost, then found, and re-used once again.....which is nice!
Mark..."The Iron Skillet"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Scone's throw away.....

I'm sure this story is going to get told, and told.....and told. Much to my dismay, and at the laughter of others. So, i might as well tell my own side of the story. So, here goes....

Yesterday while Nicole and i took Kai to the doctor for his much needed surgery nicole's mom took Isa out to Dutch Mothers, in Lynden, to meet a friend and have a special breakfast. Dutch Mother's is known for there bakery goods, especially there wonderfull Scone's. They are truely a work of art, and often coveted in our house, since we don't often go there, nor eat out much for that matter. Lucky for Nicole her mom splurged and brought her back a special surprise.

While i was out picking up some groceries and Kai's after surgery perscription, Isa and Mema (grandma) dropped by to check on Kai and drop Nicole's special treat, the Scone, off on there way down to Laconner for the afternoon.

In the mean time i arrived home and unloaded grocies, and proceded to do a few more errands around town. Finally around 3:30 i decided to clean the kitchen and get things in order for dinner.

That's when it happened. In my cleaning of the kitchen i found this partially wrapped "object" that looked like somekind of an odd bisquit with a sausage patty protruding from the edge's (unbeknownst to me this was a rasberry filled scone with just the edges nibble on....nicole was savoring evey bite)......This odd looking bisiqiut was also right next to a Mcdonalds cup, hence my thoughts of some leftover breakfast type of sandwich. There also happened to be a couple flys buzzing around it. So, i grabed it and chucked it in the trash.......if, i only knew what i had done!

Dinner came and went, baths with the kids were done, and bed time was shortly upon all of us. I had just setteled onto the couch in my favorite spot, and had found one of my favorite shows "River Monsters" was on, and it was a new one i'd never seen. It was about Parhana's, i was just getting deeply sucked in as they show a dead fish on shore, half eaten, and a few small maggot's crawling on it (this will make more sense shortly).

At just that time Nicole and here Mom mentioned the word desert, and i was gently sucked back to reality with the thought's of something sweet to cure my sweat tooth! Trudy mentioned pie, and Nicole said na, she rather finish her SCONE. I just heard pie, and my mouth was watering like pooh bear looking at his honey pot!

Nicole went to the kitchen and shortly returned asking what i'd done with the Scone. She thought i'd eaten it, and i should have agreed.....but, NOOOOOO......i knew i was in trouble for ridding the house of the treasured scone, and panic instantly set it. I had to cover my tracks and come up with a GREAT story....and quick.....!!!!

What came out of my mouth next is a story that even I can't believe i came up with. Without missing a beat I imediatly claimed that i had found the scone in the kitchen and it was covered with flys, and that maggot's were crawling on it! It came out so quick and with so little thought i knew i was screwed from the start, but once started i knew i had no choice but to go with it....

The look on both Nicole's and Trudy's face was both awwww and disbelief. The both instantly quipped back that they didn't believe me, and that i was basicly full of SHIT. I was realing, i needed some credit to my story.....and i needed some only a husbands brain can think, i instantly came to the conclusion that they only way to make this story believeable was to produce a maggot....and if at all possible.....inside the scone!!!!! Ya, that was it....that's what i had to do (this all came to light in a split second, you all know how fast a man's brain can think when needed!) i blurted out that i could prove this, and hurried myself out the the saftey of the outside, where i could finalize my plan, and make my story believable......

Once outside, i pannicked...yep, so much for being calm! I ran to the alley, to find the garbage can.....empty! It was garbage day, and everything had been picked up! Just when i was about to admit defeat and return to the house to face the music i spyed a small pice of pizza crust, and a dead maggot laying next to the garbage can, in the a last resort my small brain concluded that the Pizza crust kind of looked like a small piece of scone, and well the maggot, even though dead, would be believable in intself.....i glimmer of hope filled my eyes ( or was that tears holding back the possible wretching for doing something this disgusting) as i scraped up the maggot with a stick and placed it oh so gently on top of the crust and rubbed my hands in a little dirt to make it look like i'd dug through the garbage to prove my point ....

I made a bold entrance back inside the house, holding my prize and showing both Trudy and Nicole what i'd found as evidence. My conclusion that the maggot would be the focus was entirely wrong as they both pointed out instantly that i was holding a piece of pizza crust, and that the maggot had been dead for quite some time. I was busted.........

For the next 20 min. I tried to reaffirm my story, but it was all for not. They could see through my story like swiss cheese. They poked and proded me for the rest of the night...every time getting me to give up a little more information or contradition's in my see-though story.....and with every one of those loopholes found, they'd both giggle and laugh as only a mother and daughter can.....

So this morning as i finish up typeing this story i can't help chuckle at how silly i'd been....if only.....if only!!!

In the end it was just a Scone thrown away.

From the North where men make special trips both to the garbage and to lynden to find scone's that have been lost....but, not fogotten.

Mark...."The Iron Skillet"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fathers Day

Sunday was fathers day as most of us dad's experienced. I really hadn't expected much but, to my surprise i was in for quite a treat!

I awoke, made my morning coffee and hopped on the computer in the kitchen, all the while awaiting the pitter patter of little feet comming down the hallway, indicating the little ones were awake and looking for dad as they so often do during the weekend mornings. An experience i enjoy and treasure every time it happens.

It wasn't to long and i could here Kai's feet shuffleing along, and moving slower than usual. As he rounded the corner of the kitchen he was lugging a bag of presents nearly as big as himself. He said "Hi dada" dropped the bag and gave me a big hug around my leg. Was pretty cool to say the least. Isa wasn't to far behind and we lugged the presents back to the family room while mama and grandma gathered around. As i unwrapped gifts, this was treasure number 1. A picture of "Da Bub" with his oh so familiar smile!

Next came another picture. One Isa had made for me. A picture of Dad with fish and crabs! The title being "Daddy Get's some fish and some crabs" as only is could say in her sweatest of voices. Pretty cool, and it now resides on the kitchen wall!

Last but not last was a small box containing this CAMERA!
My very first, very own, digitial camera.
Don't get me wrong, i've had others, but they were always hand-me-downs, on their last legs, and never really worked right. The best part about this camera is it's submersible up to 10 meters or 2 hours, is shock proof, and dust kind of Camera!
I look forward to trying some underwater fish pictures!
So, after the presents i was treated to a breakfast out, and a day of whatever i wanted to do! Pretty good day for old dad!
So, that's all for now...Signing off from the North.......Where Dad's live high on the hog for a day......and love their familys too......Thanks Isa, Kai, and Nicole!
Mark..."The Iron Skillet"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The New Job

So I keep getting asked what i do now for a new job, so thought i'd share.....
I now work for Barlean's Organic Oils. We create products using both Flax seed oil and fish oils, both focused around Omega 3, 6, and 9 fats (all good fats). We make everything from the fish oil capsule's that many of you take every morning, flax seed, flax oil, fish oil's ie: cod liver oil, and one of the most popular Swirl....wich is a blend of fish or flax oil made to taste like a fruit smoothie. This was created for people who hate to swallow the fish oil pills, or can't stand the taste of flax oil or fish oil products.
Barleans has flavors such as mango peach, orange cream, choc. rasberry, blueberry, stawberry banana, lemon, and Pina name a few.

Where i exactly fit in at this place is in the Bottleing department. I started out in the clean room learning a fairly complicated and interesting machine that is designed to bottle Barlean's swirl products in an array of different sized bottles.

Here is a picture of what the entire contraption looks like. (there are actually two bottle machines operating in this room, the other bottle's true oil such as flax oil/fish oil it is located just on the other side of this machine in the picture) This room would be known as a clean room.

The bottle's start here, in what is called the bottle sorter. We run sizes ranging from 8oz, 12oz, 16oz, 24oz, and even 32oz.. The sorter can hold approx. 400 bottles and can process them in about 5 minutes.....
This is where the action happens. The touch screen control's everything for the most part. You can see 4 nozzles in the picture, we typically run 6. The box with the blue touch pad is a nitrogen doseing machine. Each bottle gets a dose of liquid nitrogen, to elimante bottle's from panneling (sides being sucked in due to pressure changes)
From there the bottles run down to the capper, pictured below. They spin around in the rotary chuck and a cap is placed on and then tightened and then conveyered to another room where a label is put on.

Since i started my job has changed from operating this machine to learning a multitude of different equipment. I've been promoted to a different position with a main task of elminiating down time, allowing for more bottles to be produced in the end.
So the new job is a far cry from the world of Land Surveying, but i can honestly say i enjoy the New job and has allowed me and my family to begin a new chapter in our lives.
So, Signing off from the North.....Where things in bottles not only taste good but are good for ya....which is nice....
Mark...."The Iron Skillet"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back by Request

Well, i'm back by request.
I haven't posted in about 4 months now. A lot has happened in that time and i just haven't found the time to post on the blog. Not that i didn't want to mind you, but it just hasn't been high on my priority list. So, i'll try and get back on track...... a short quick recap.....over the last 4 months i've landed a job, landed some fish, and as of yesterday turned in my pole building plans to the city of bellingham (the pole building is to house the boat's). So that's it in a short nutshell.
I've got more stories but, this will have to do for now.
I'll end with a couple of pictures of the end of "Cod" season.
The elusive..."Blue" Lingcod
One of 3 nice sized Cabazon we caught that day.
So there you have it, i've finally posted once again, and hopefully i'll keep it up!

From the North.....Where fish are landed and......Jobs are too....which is NICE!

Mark....."The Iron Skillet"