Happy New Year to all. Well it's currently -41 here but I was just reading that this past December was the 10th warmest on record. Indeed it was rather bizarre for us with one big chinook after another, extreme winds but not much new snowfall. We even got to +38 during one of the chinooks early in the month, and shortly afterward this was the scene along the bank by the cabin.
Ended up with 2 feet of overflow atop the ice in many places, making getting around extremely difficult if not impossible. There were many days I just had to turn around. These next couple pics were later in the month and was typical of what we were dealing with.
Very low on meat as we only got a tiny yearling bull this fall and are down to the last quarter, so Lori has been setting some bunny snares and I've been after beaver under the ice. Lori has had some success though the hares are in decline mode now. Here's one of her bunny dinners with noodles and sprouts.
A small beaver I caught:
Don't want to gross anyone out with next pic, but wanted to show how large beaver livers are, it is one of our favorite livers.
Been catching marten but so far no big critters yet. Some pics from the Christmas eve check:
I had another beaver set to check that day that is fairly close to home, pulled in at that pond around 2pm, chopped out the hole only to discover that both the spruce pole the 330 was wired to that was stuck in the mud holding the trap, plus the chain on the trap wrapped on pole above the ice, were both somehow pulled out. No trap, only the pole and chain, figured it had to have been a lunker beaver and that I just messed up snapping the chain to the 330. Had a headlamp with me but darned if I could really see much down under the ice, poked around down there with ice chisel and thought though I felt it hitting something soft and springy, but nothing with me to use as a hook.
Mushed home, got old snowhook to tie onto pole, fresher headlamp batteries, and had to really coax the dogs to head back out again, they were tired. Mushed back to the pond, tied snowhook onto pole with parachute cord, poked around down there but could not find the beaver and it was just coming on dark and I was pretty frustrated when I tried to slant the pole farther down under the ice and heard/felt the unmistakable clank of the metal snowhook on the 330. Turned it so hook was facing upward, gently nudged it into the mud, pulled back and I had the 330 with beaver, but it was going to fall off if I tried to get the pole straight up, only option was to reach down there with left arm under the water and grab it, took a bit to get it out the fairly small hole. Figured it was a good sixty pound beaver.
Here is pic of the day's catch, four marten and the beaver:
Gutted the beaver that night, skinned it on Christmas day:
We do enjoy beaver meat, wanted to show how we do the "butt end rings." Here's a shot of the butt end of beaver after a couple rings have been cut off, and yes they are very fatty. You just cut between the cartilage at each joint:
The finished product after cooking:
So that's the latest from the eastern interior, guess it may start warming up a bit by this weekend. Between all this of course has been cutting and hauling wood, fetching water, keeping the generator running, and myriad of other chores. Hope you are all enjoying your time on the lines and having success.