Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eagles on Parade

I've been trying unsuccessfully for several days to do a blog post. I don't know what  the problem is, but for whatever reason the computer isn't cooperating at all. We'll see how this goes today. If I'm lucky I'll actually have some pictures to go with this post.
 Yesterday  Brian and I went out to pick a halibut set that we had made the day before. On the way out we saw huge numbers of Bald Eagles on top of the breakwater. The cold storage must have been grinding some black cod and the pieces were floating on the water and washing up on the shore. I think I've mentioned before that black cod is a very oily fish, so it has a tendency to float on top, which of course the birds love.
 About a week ago Jan came into the bedroom to wake me up and told me to hurry to look out back. My neighbor in back has recently taken to starting fires in a burn barrel and I assumed maybe the fence separating the property was on fire or some such thing. Fortunately it wasn't anything so dramatic. She wanted me to see the eagles that had gathered in the woods out back. Apparently the guy down the street was tossing halibut carcasses to the eagles and one of the young ones had grabbed it up and brought it to our back yard. Of course- why not. All the dogs use our yard for a toilet, why not turn the back yard into a cafeteria for the birds. There were six of them gathered around a stump squabbling over some bones. Our place seems to attract quite a number of birds, primarily because of the small woods I suppose. The ravens are constantly picking up trash and depositing it in our yard. We went out to clean up the garden last Sunday and found a king crab leg, a Pepsi can, a container of some kind of cheese whiz stuff, some deer bones and a yellow funnel. I don't know why they grabbed the funnel, but Jan looked out in time to see it bounce off the roof and into the garden. I don't know how it is that we are so fortunate to end up with garbage from all around town, but I kept the funnel. I just wish they would bring me some gold bullion or twenty dollar bills or something to show that they appreciate me cleaning up after them.
 Not long ago we had another person dump a bunch of table scraps on the road so the ravens could chow down. Frankly, I think it's against the law to feed the birds for various  reasons- sanitation being the most obvious one. When I looked out the window I saw dozens of ravens making a mad dash for the scraps. It looked like a Black Friday event at a Walmart. The noise was overwhelming- they were all squawking at once, kind of like the ladies on the View. Then they decided to take up residence on top of my roof. It was reminescent of a Michael Flatley  Riverdance performance. For whatever reason they weren't content to just stand on the peak, they were hot- footing it all over the place. It sounded like they were all wearing tap dance shoes- the ones with the metal plates on the bottom.  It was like sitting inside a drum- very noisy. Being birds, they did what birds do, and took a crap on the roof. Salvadore Dali couldn't have done a nicer job of creating a lovely design. The white of the bird crap has such a nice contrast with the brown of the roof. I don't know why they don't take up residence elsewhere and leave a deposit where they've gotten the food from, I guess even in the animal kindom you don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

King Tom


This isn't an optical illusion or trick photography- this is a picture of a real shrimp or prawn I guess it would be called when it's this big. Something this large should have a regal name, so I'm calling it King Tom, after the person who caught it- me. This is from  a picture I took several years ago when I was out long lining in October for some halibut. I couldn't believe how large it was. If I'd had time and had known that I was going to do a blog about it, I might have made a little crown to put on it's head. As it was, I just cooked and ate it and I have to admit, it was tasty.
 My son Brian is here this week helping me get the boat ready for the upcoming season. Last week when I started the engine and turned on the hydraulics, both hydraulic motors, which run the gurdies, started leaking oil. Lovely. Then when I tried to turn the steering wheel, I could barely budge it. Hallelujah! The season is starting off with a bang. I can hardly wait to see what else is going to happen. For those who may not be familiar with marine terms, the acronym for BOAT  is Bring Out Another Thousand. That's pretty much an understatement. If a part has the word marine in front of it, it's going to cost about two times or more what an equivalent part would be for, say, a car. It's always interesting to hear other boat owners describe the diverse ailments that their holes in the water are experiencing. No matter what problems you may be having with your money pit, someone else always has it worse. For some reason, I get a small sense of pleasure in knowing that others are at least as miserable as me. I really need to examine my heart a little closer at church I think.
 While I would like to continue on blathering non-sensical hoo-ha, Nightline is just now signing off, and it's been a long day. Brian has held my feet to the fire today so I'm tired. So, I'll bid whomever a good night and God Bless.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Heckel and Jeckel


I probably shouldn't be writing a blog post right now. I've been tired and crabby all day. I'm sure it's at least partly my fault, but frankly, I didn't sleep well last night. A few weeks ago I reluctantly agreed to replace our freezer for  a new, modern one that is frost free. There was some money set aside just for that purpose so there wasn't much I could say. Of course the idea was that we would save money on electricity. Well, I found out today that the frost free models use 40% more power than the one we replaced. Lovely. To make matters worse, the freezer is located on the wall opposite of where my bed is, and it doesn't shut off- ever. When I go to bed it's running and this morning when I awoke at 4: 30 it was still running. Now, I don't know how it is that for the majority of the day I can' only hear half of what is spoken to me. Sometimes I'll be talking to someone and nod and smile when I think I should, without hearing exactly what they said. I got reprimanded once because I smiled and said good to a guy who was telling me about his wife being in the hospital or some such thing. Anyway, for some reason my hearing is selective. When I would like to hear something I can't really, and when I would like to have quiet so I can sleep, my ears are so fine tuned I could pick up radio waves from space. What gives? Anyway, in an effort to keep from getting a call from a demanding audience, I'm writing a blog post.
 Of course none of this has anything at all to do with Magpies. I just needed a picture to put up here and anyone who has never seen one, I thought they might be interested. I did a little research on these guys a few weeks ago, but I've pretty much forgotten what I read. What I remember, or think I remember, is that these are Western Magpies. Their tails make up  half of their body length, they are scavengers and I think I read that they mate for life. They are certainly a beautiful bird.
 When I was a kid there used to be a cartoon about two magpies named Heckel and Jeckel. It wasn't my favorite cartoon- they were always picking on this poor farmer, eating his corn crop and so on. I don't know why I got so upset over a cartoon, but I had a strong sense of justice, even when I was young. I couldn't very well change the channel either, we only had three to choose from and you might end up  with The Edge of Night soap opera or some other depressing hoo-haa. If you waded through the two magpies, usually Popeye would come on or Howdy Doody or some other worthwhile kid-friendly program. Nowadays, most of the cartoons don't seem funny at all, with the exception of Sponge Bob Squarepants- now that's a cartoon! I wish it would have been on when I was a kid. Shoot, if it had been my idea, I could buy a house with a garage so I could stick that noisy freezer out there.