Pioneer Potluck: Stinky fish barrel, part 2

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2015 6:03pm
  • LifeFood

North Nikiski, Alaska

1986-87 around Bob’s bon fire


In last week’s article, plans 1 and 2 did not work after they poured the big sack of lime into the stinky barrel and replaced the lid. So plan three was in the works as they sat around Bob’s bon fire and “pondered”.

Plan 3: By this time, the subject of the stinky fish barrel was ingrained in everyone’s mind – the smell too! The big bag of lime poured into the barrel did not work at all ! So…Bob and John sitting around the bon fire hatched another plan.

On a Saturday morning and sitting in their usual spots around the fire – Bob says (I am sure – although neither one claims they said), “ I got it! Why didn’t we think of this before! We’ll shoot holes in it, so it will drain into the ground.” The reply was, “ Let’s do it now!”

I had gone to work because I think I would have nixed this plan! Bob loaded his .38 Special, creeps up on the stinky barrel, took aim – 47 shots later, the barrel had two holes in it and nothing leaking out of the barrel!

Bob looked at John in disbelief – “Must have been a bad idea, besides I am out of bullets.” Bob was shaking his head from the noise in his ears. John looking at Bob couldn’t hear either. John had an excuse, he was hard of hearing anyway. Back to the bon fire, they piled wood upon the dying fire. Neither one of them, to this day, know why there was ONLY two holes in the barrel. So that was the topic of discussion around the fire the rest of the day and into the night with two or three other neighbor partakers of the friendly fire. Just maybe another solution would pop into their head.

Plan 4:

John jumped up from usual place by the fire and shouted, “ I’ve got it!! We have to burn it! That’s fish oil floating on the top of that stinky thing and Eskimos burn fish oil for light. Why won’t that work?” Bob looked at John, “OK. How?” He was tired, half asleep and the ringing in his ears had not subsided. He was ready for bed. John said, “We will do it tomorrow, trust me, this will work.” More discussion, then they slowly walked up the stairs and went to bed. The hooty owl said good night.

Over cups of hot coffee the next morning, they put plan four into gear. They dunked a rag in gas, took off the wooden lid on the barrel, lit the rag on fire, tossed it into the fish barrel full of fish oil. It started to burn with a smoky glow, sending off billows of smoke signals to everyone in the neighborhood. It burned the top of the plastic barrel down to the liquid-fish-gut-mass, sputtered and smoldered, the thick smoke subsided and the fire went out. This took a matter of four or five minutes!!

“That wasn’t too cool, huh?” John said to Bob, shaking his head. “Now the lid we cut won’t fit either! We gotta figure this out, Bob! We have to come up with another plan that works!”

Down at the fire pit with it’s every glowing embers, the ideas were tossed around and discussed with everyone that stopped by to see what all the black smoke was billowing out at from the cabins by the lake that Bob, Ann and John lived in.

That is how plan 5 was hatched about a week later.

Next week plan 5

Be sure and honor our Veterans on this day November the 11th. It makes me feel so humble to talk to our hero’s who have made our United States of America, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Please say an extra prayer of thanks for them tonight.

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