Sunday, October 16, 2005

Baby Whale in Clallam Bay

Dan and I were down walking the beach today, Sunday, in the grey mizzle. We had done a tour of the reef and were starting to wander back toward the town or river end of the beach, when Dan looked back and said, "Look!" and pointed.

Right next to the beach, barely 15 feet out, where the gravel shelves down about 10 feet deep, a 20-foot baby gray whale was feeding. If we'd wanted to, we could have jumped in and petted her. Her white-and-dark-gray mottled flukes and flippers waved in the air as she fed, and disappeared as she rolled to blow.

A couple of times, it became pretty obvious that she wasn't feeding, but was circling around to watch us. At one point she ground up on the shallow gravel shelf and had to kick a bit to get back into deep water.

We could see her light mottled form under the surface. She went out about 50 feet and then turned back and came straight toward me, quick as a torpedo. I might have been standing on the beach, but I gasped and backed up. All right, YOU have a 20-foot streamlined leviathan come at you and see what you do.

I ran back to get my camera, and on the way yelled at the kids that were walking along the street in the rain: "Baby whale on the beach!"

As I ran back from the house, one of the girls passed me at a dead run. They should have her out for track next year.

By the time I got back to the beach, all we could see of the whale was light puffs out by the kelp line as she moved off into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Salmon Egg cheese

Went fishing for a break -- the bait was old and fermented so I threw it into the creek. Sugar+salt+salmon eggs + 6 months cheezing up. Two otters came right over and dived for it. Otter candy! Hey, you and I eat fermented animal milk fat. We can't talk.

Salmon eggs packed in a cedar box and buried for 6 months while they turned into salmon-egg cheese were once a delicacy and emergency food mongst the natives, here. They still use eulachon (candlefish) oil. They still bread and fry up the salmon egg sac, too -- and the balls of lingcod eggs found in the rocks are stewed up, too.

I'm glad the otters enjoyed the salmon egg cheese/candy... but they can have it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fun Things To Do At Airport Security.

All of which I’ve done and they’re very satisfying.

1. As you remove your jacket or shoes, hum The Stripper.

2. Don’t take your shoes off ‘till the last minute – and if anybody asks you why, snap, “Only prisoners sluff along in line in their socks.”

3. Wear very high-laced shoes or boots and sit on their tables to undo them (slowly) and take them off.

4. Baa like a sheep in line. Or moo like a cow.

5. Drop your ID and say, “Oops! Dropped my plasteek!”

6. Reply to snapped orders with a very loud and pointed “You’re welcome” until snapper begins to mumble “please” and “thank you.”

Admittedly this will get your baggage damaged and things stolen – been there, done that – but pack the good stuff with you and just accept it as part of the good fight. It’s SOOOOO worth it.

Isn't there a song someplace with "Katrina" in the lyrics?

Accepting suggestions or good stories of things to do to -- or you've done to -- airport security.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Back From Boston

That's where I've been the last month, and yes, I should have been posting, but I was too busy getting my teeth fixed -- look! Gold for Charon! -- and learning the basics of InDesign and laying out two whole new books and going mushroom hunting with my friend Eric's very cool mom, Amy.

Amy, by the by, is quite the artist: Amy Schneider's ArtI kinda sorta built that blog for her -- and if you want any of those magnificent paintings, she now takes PayPal! So I'd contact her if I were you, and get those paintings before somebody else does. She's also talking prints, so ask her.

Anyway, I'm home, and today Dan and I are just SHOT. We spent four hours gathering chanterelle mushrooms in the woods yesterday, and it ate us alive. Admittedly we have all the mushrooms we'll need for the year, and any more we pick after that are just gravy -- but it's all stoop labor, and slogging through swamps and ducking fir spikes. Dan is a total mass of bruises (not my fault!) today. And he was wearing those hard hiking shoes of his. I was wearing these neat little running shoes I picked up for a quarter at the too right Clallam Bay One-Day-Going-On-Two-Years Rummage Sale, so at least my FEET aren't dead. If you're going to stomp over rotting logs and hillocks in a slash forest, do wear dem running shoes. They are just a fancier form of moccasins. And I've got that long Rom back that lets me put my hands flat on the ground, and do stoop labor all day, so while I've got the usual pinched nerve when I get tired, I'm not so banged up. Hey, we're not spring chickens here any more!

Anyway, weird and goofy things going on up here. More later.