Autumn Sunset

I snapped this earlier this evening, something to get me out of my chair after working non-stop since getting home from an appointment in town all morning. I just finished work and am about to go watch the Great Pumpkin to try to remind myself it’s Hallowe’en. This month has flown by unbelievably fast. Following is another photo of the local landscape, taken last weekend. I’m just not doing a great job of keeping up with the blog posts. Still haven’t seen the new goats either, although I’ve been hearing them out back all day. They sound so much like children wailing, especially when they lose sight of their mothers. Maaaaaaaaah!!! I’m so glad it’s the weekend, I’ve got lots of plans to get things done around here. Happy Hallowe’en, everyone.


Cycles

Here are a few more photos of the sockeye salmon run, which is ending this weekend. It’s a festival year, the fourth year of the cycle which is usually bigger than the rest, but as festival years go it’s only average, not the massive number of fish that Richard remembers from years ago. The turnout was huge – in one of the photos below you might be able to make out the crowd of visitors lining one of the many viewing stations along the river. The festival itself seems well organized and the trails are well kept and wide enough for the hundreds of people that come to see these fish. The red and green sockeye are stunning as they pair up and begin spawning. The females make bowl-shaped redds (nests for groups of eggs) by flicking their tales through the stoney creek bottoms. The males are the ones with the humps on their backs. As other males come looking for a mate, it drives them away. The females will fight too, over the best nesting spots. Richard climbed up on a huge tree trunk that had fallen across a spawning creek, and hung over it on his stomach to take a series of photos of one pair spawning in mid-creek in the shadow of the trunk. The water moves quickly so it’s very clear despite the number of dying fish settling on the edges. I’m amazed how well our photos captured the salmon’s colours, the stones, and the light on the water. I wish I could post them full-size instead of reducing them to these tiny blurred images. I think we took over 50 photos during our 3-hour walk and most turned out well. The one out-of-place silvery fish below is a chinook, not sockeye. A few of them were larger flickers of black shadow in amongst the red in the main part of the river. The one benefit to viewers of a less than massive run is the smell: it was only a wafting hint of rot, rather than an overpowering stench, despite the piles of fish in varying stages of decay. Richard wanted me to post one shot of a toothy-jawed, near-skeletal chinook carcass lying on the dry rocks far from the edge of the river. Something made a meal of it, probably a bear. But I couldn’t inflict it on you – not everyone shares our scientific fascination with this stuff. The salmon run as a whole is an amazing process. A festival volunteer told us that of 4000 eggs a female might lay (not all get a chance to), only two will survive to make the journey from creek to river to lake and all the way to the ocean and back again. Most feed other fish or birds or become fertilizer for plant life along with their parents. So you take that one female away, and you’re affecting a lot more than just taking away two returning spawning fish. It makes the sight of … Continue Reading →


Anniversaries

Last weekend our friend Chris came up for Thanksgiving and helped us celebrate a few milestones. First, on the 6th, was our 2nd annivesary of buying this house. And it was fitting to have Chris here, because if you go back to Thanksgiving 2004, it was Chris and his twin brother Ben who bravely tackled the first and one of our worst reno jobs by helping us rip out the living room carpeting the day we moved in. Here is Chris enjoying a more relaxing weekend, digging into beef tenderloin and a couple of massive Alaskan king crab legs – my birthday dinner courtesy of chef Richard.