Saturday, November 8, 2008

First moose harvest of the season

What a night! What an Alaskan night! For the first time, I attended the Anchorage Opera with a friend. We got all snazzied up and went into town for dinner and the opera. Carmen was done very well with local players. On our way out of Anchorage at 11:30 p.m., I got a call from Scott who goes to my church. He called to say we got a moose. I said I’d be there in just about a half hour, when they would arrive also.

As you may have seen in previous blog entries, my church is on the list of nonprofits to get roadkill moose. Whoever responds to the call first gets the carcass. They guys go out with a trailer and a winch or pulley system and pull her onto the trailer (usually it’s a cow moose). It takes them a little while to gut her, roll the gut pile quite a ways off the road so scavengers aren’t hit by cars, then get to my house. They bring her to my house because I heat my garage and she can hang in there at 37 degrees (refrigerated but not frozen or exposed to any other critters) for a week to age. They back the trailer in, hook the winch to the stud in the rafters, and hang her up by her back legs. Skinning is pretty easy that way. It took Scott and Mike only about 20 minutes to skin this one, which was actually a yearling male, not so large. It was a funny sight that I was standing there in little bitty open toed shoes and dress and a wrap while the guys worked in bloody Carharts.

The next day I warned my other renter that there was a moose in the garage. This renter, a first-year teacher, laughed as she headed that way with a bag of garbage to take out to the trash can. She’s a 22 year old new teacher from Indiana who’s having an adventure, doing a one year contract in our school district this year. She said, like a toy stuffed one? I said no. She said is it trapped in the garage—did it get stuck there? She thought I meant alive, like the ones we see in the yard and outside her door. I shook my head no and you could see her wondering what was in store. I’m pretty sure she was grossed out to find two sides of moose hanging and bleeding out in the middle of the garage.