Herring Time

When the herring roe fishery happens each spring on the BC Coast, the seine boats and herring skiffs congregate close to shore because that is where the herring can be intercepted as they rush the beach to spawn. At night when the boats have their anchor lights on, it looks like a floating city just offshore.

Sea lions and seagulls and eagles patrol the area in hope of some tasty bites.

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Photo courtesy of P. Knettig

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It’s a bluebird day. Hard to believe it was rough and windy just a couple of days ago. Still it was fishable and the herring filled the seine nets. Then disaster struck as an extra heavy net caused a boat to list  and not recover. The fishing community lost a fellow fisherman. His brother is quoted on CTV News:

“They had a really big set. The boat was listing and Mel went down into the engine room to turn the pumps on, and while he was down there the boat rolled over.”

It brings home to all of us once again, how dangerous fishing is. While the fleet mourns the loss of one of their own, the fishery goes on, as it must. The pretty night lights, and the bluebird daytime sky and sea belie the sombre mood and the heavy hearts of the fishing fleet.

Easy Wind and Downy Flake

The snow kept coming, and coming, and coming. It covered the ground and the trees, and piled up on roofs and vehicles. How can it look so pretty while it covers up the food for animals that live out there?

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Our back patio table is partly under the roof overhang, but you can see which part was exposed to the elements.

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The bird feeder has been a busy place again today, but what worries me is the potential avalanche risk to the birds. Many of them spend the nights under shrubs, and they scratch for food there. When the huge clumps of snow let go, they could easily bury a little bird. I found several around the yard after the last snowfall which was not as bad as this one, although it was colder.

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It’s quiet out there and the snow coming down is peaceful, but I find it ironic that this lovely weather is so deadly for many birds. We who feed the birds will save many of them, and “survival of the fittest” will save the strongest, the brave, and the lucky.

I feel quite small and helpless against the power of nature. I do what I can to make my pets comfortable and to feed the birds. Beyond that, I do enjoy the special quality of a snowfall. I had to think of Robert Frost’s famous poem. There are two lines of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” that I find especially appealing, and which stand out from that poem for me.

The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.  
 
I love the sound of the words. They are music to my ears. I wish I had thought of them first. 😉

The Front that Backed

In my younger days when I heard the weatherman talking about a front moving in, I had only a vague idea of what that meant. It was some “up in the sky” kind of condition involving air pressure and a lot of other complicated meteorological terms. Later, I clued in that sometimes you can see the effects of a “front.” I can more easily understand things that I can see.

This morning I saw a front in action in the sky outside my house. I used to think the front was the edge of the clouds moving in like a giant wall. Amazingly, the cloudy side was not advancing, as it usually seemed to do. This one was backing off. Instead, the edge of the blue sky was pushing away the wall of clouds. The wind was coming from the north, bringing clear, cold air into the valley.

The rising sun put a pink glow on the clouds and the snow on the hilltops.

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Just in case we’re all getting too happy about the sunny day, I need to let you know that later in the morning, the winds changed to southeast and precipitation is sure to follow sometime soon. If only I could save some of that rain for the summer when the drought is sure to hit again.

Starting Off with a Bang

It’s the first night of the new year and the old couple has been in bed since well before midnight. The TV shows bringing in the new year were duller than dull. 2017 would arrive whether anyone waited up for it or not.

In the wee hours of the morning a loud crash wakes up the old blister. She taps the Captain on the arm to wake him.

“Did you hear that?” she whispers.

“What?”

“That crash! … Obviously not,” she mumbles. “Just stay awake and listen for a minute.”

“The dogs would have barked.” He rolls over to go back to sleep.

“Maybe Ruby’s too scared with the wind.” She’s probably lying on her doggie bed, eyes bulging out of her catatonic body.

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In the morning, the Captain calls out, “I know what made the crash. Look on the woodshed roof.”
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No, that’s not a man in the middle of the woodshed. It’s a float, a fishnet, and a bunch of firewood. But the long branch on the left side is what came down from the skies last night to wish us a happy new year.

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You might say we started the new year off with a bang. A word of advice: if you go walking on a windy day, maybe stay away from tall trees, or wear a hard hat.

We Must be Crazy

The weather has been crazy here for two months. Rain and wind, wind and rain, repeating ad nauseam. Ruby, our springer spaniel is a brave dog, unless it’s windy. Objects without wings flying around, lawn chairs sliding across the deck, branches dropping out of the sky –  these things freak her out.

She won’t move farther than two feet from me. I have to do my hair curling leaning over her as she plunks herself down on the mat in front of my feet and won’t budge. I move over a few feet and so does she. It drives me crazy.

Emma is still too naive to be afraid, so when they are outside doing their business, Emma comes back when I call her. Ruby could be anywhere, cowering, or standing stiff-legged and catatonic until she is dragged back into the house where she drives me crazy with her anxious panting.

The other day it was blowing hard and the rain was coming down in buckets.003a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The roar of the wind and crashing waves on the beach added to the whooshing of the wind through the tall firs by our house. 

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In the morning, I had put the dogs out while I had a shower. I looked out the bathroom window just before stepping into the shower, and the dogs were by the kennel. The door had blown shut on it so they couldn’t get in. They have mats by the back door in the covered area outside the laundry room, but Ruby hides in her doghouse in the kennel if it’s cold or windy.

After my shower I called the dogs. Emma came in, but Ruby didn’t. I had to go out in my bathrobe and a towel on my head to find her. She was huddled against the kennel. I called for her to come. Halfway over to me, she stopped and wouldn’t come any farther. It wasn’t the turban on my head that freaked her out. She goes neurotic when it’s windy. That’s why I brought the leash out with me. I hooked her on and pulled her into the house.
I have to add a note here to explain that the Captain slipped on the boat deck a couple of weeks ago and broke his leg, so he has a big bolt through the bone and is not to put any weight on the bad leg.
When I came in, the Captain was on the phone, so I went upstairs to deal with my hair. When I turned off the blow dryer, I heard him yelling my name. It sounded like he was outside in the weather in the backyard. Something must be wrong. I ran downstairs.
He limped in from outside on his crutches, and said, “I didn’t know where you were. I knew you went to get Ruby and then you were gone.” Guess he thought I might have blown away – it was pretty wild out there.  (It hadn’t registered with him that I came back in, made a comment about Ruby and having to use the leash, and then went upstairs.)
Apparently he called me before going out. But I had the hair dryer on and didn’t hear him, and he didn’t hear the sound of the blow dryer. Probably thought it was the wind.
Imagine if anyone had seen us – first me in my bathrobe and a turban on my head dragging a dog across the yard. Moments later, a guy on one leg hobbling around in the storm screaming his wife’s name. What a bunch of nuts!

Wild and Wonderful

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Wild and wonderful and free

Is how the ocean looks to me.

Foam that flies across the road,

Wind and waves that toss their load

Of logs and seaweed on the land,

Leave them lying on the sand.

 

Imagine standing in those rollers,

Feel the power bowl you over.

No, no, no. I’m not that crazy.

Where’s my camera? I’ll be lazy.

It’s too chilly for such folly,

Best go home and deck with holly.

 

 

High Boats

The boat that brings in the most fish is “high boat” for the day. But here in this photo, are many high boats. The wharf is in a back eddy of the river near the estuary, in an area locally referred to as the slough.The tide is almost as high as the road and as we drove along beside the floats, the boats seemed to be level with the road. Normally you would only see the masts and trolling poles as you drive by.

I took the picture from inside the car. It was too miserable to step outside.

You can see the long black snake of tubing at the edge of the road. Whatever is in that long bag of something is meant to stop the river from backing up over the road. The area is no stranger to flooding.dscn7555

I have rarely seen the boats so high that they are almost on street level. The Comox Valley has seen a lot of flooding this fall. A combination of high tide, heavy outflow from the flooding river, and gale-force southeast winds backing up the tide are responsible for this odd situation. It’s really unusual to have so much wind and rain so early and so frequent. It’s just one system after another.

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A reminder once again that you have only a few days left to meet the Nov. 30 deadline for the writing contest. It’s fun and easy. Please visit annelisplace for details.