//I added the following metatags
 
Aug
28
    
Posted (crates) in Uncategorized on August-28-2008

Just before my father and I left Florida we saw some people fishing from the beach at Navarre. My father is an avid fisherman. I can think of few things that captures his attention as much as fishing does. I like to fish, especially when I was a kid, but I can’t hold a candle to my father’s enthusiasm. We decided to do some fishing before we left for Texas.

Since my father didn’t bring that much fishing tackle with him, we went out and bought some tackle, and of course we had to get temporary fishing licenses. The next morning we went out to try our luck. We chanced on this fisherman who as we watched was pulling in a nice-sized fish. He unhooked it and threw it back. “Ladyfish,” he said. “Too many bones. I’ve caught fifteen of them since I started this morning. “There is a hole here. Why don’t you try your luck here?”Me, having lots of luck...all bad :)

So we did. We settled down about thirty feet from the friendly fisherman and began casting. An hour later we had watched the fisherman pull in one fish after another. Once he pulled in two at the same time on jigs. He even gave us some of his bait and some pointers, but we caught nothing!



 
Aug
23
    
Posted (crates) in Uncategorized on August-23-2008

 Indifference

For many years I have gazed

at the painting you did for me,

telling me that if I should ever

decide to come back,

I could use  your mother’s

address  hidden inside

the frame to contact you.

I’ve never looked

I’m afraid. 

       Every August when I return from Texas, I find the forest about my home curiously silent.  When I leave in mid-July the forest is filled with bird song.  The main function of bird song is to establish territories and attract mates.  The singing can be quite frantic in the Spring and early Summer, but by late summer it is pretty much all established–the territories, the mates, the young raised.  Something seems missing in these quiet woods, but I’m afraid that I must wait until next Spring to get it back.



 
Aug
21
    
Posted (crates) in Uncategorized on August-21-2008

Banana Slug (Ariolimax columbianus) from my drivewayHere’s a little fellow that I found the other day while pruning my Rhododendron beside my driveway.  It is the Banana Slug (Ariolimax columbianus) which is said to be the second largest slug in the world.  They are usually the color that you see here  up here in the Northwest…also often an olive yellow, sometimes spotted and dark.   I have seen bright yellow ones in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, although some say that is probably a different species. 

     

          Apparently there are three species in this particular genus:  A. columbianus (Pacific Banana Slug), A. californicus (California Banana Slug), and A. dolichophallus (Slender Banana Slug, I refuse to repeat the obvious typo/exaggeration concerning A. dolichophallus).    I was unable to determine the basis for dividing these banana slugs into different species, except coloration and other minor differences.  Based on the extreme variation in the color of the Pacific Banana Slug, I would hope that there are other more definitive differences.   Otherwise one might think that they are simply geographic races or subspecies.

     I was searching for recipes for this fella (wrong gender?  They’re hermaphroditic!) and came across this site in which a contributor says that they were mildly toxic and that their mucous was irritating.  Another comment said that the native americans used them to numb tooth aches.  Another commenter on this site said that the numbing power of these slugs was enough to knock Giant Pacific Salamanders unconscious if they tried to eat them.

     Now I must comment on the salamander claim… I photographed one of these Giant Pacific Salamanders (Dicamptodon tenebrosus; dangit, they changed the name again! *$%# taxonomic splitters) once that was munching contentedly on one of these banana slugs with no apparent ill effects.

     Perhaps I should run a taste test to see if any of these stories are true.

Here is a way to make slugs more appetizing if you are cooking them (quoted from here):

Tim Pearce, a mollusk specialist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pa., has this tip for people hoping to enhance a slug’s culinary appeal:

“An easy way to remove the slime before cooking is to put the live slugs into 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water. The solution is fatal to the slugs in a few minutes, and in the process, they exude most of their slime. Also when boiling them, change the water after a minute or two to remove further slime. One recipe advocates adding a bay leaf to the cooking water to improve the smell.”Land slugs often harbor parasites and should not be eaten raw, Pearce added.



 
Aug
17
    
Posted (crates) in People, Personal Stuff, Poetry on August-17-2008

 Blackberries

 We were just friends when

 you tripped on the blackberry vine.

 I got to my knees beside you and

Helped pick out the thorns,

Putting your fingers in my mouth to

Bite them out with my teeth.

Then to make you laugh I fed you

Sun-warmed blackberries

Lying there in the grass, and

Then I kissed you,tasting the

Blackberry juice on your

Lips and tongue.         

       I just recently got back from my annual trip to Texas to visit my folks.  My father got an apartment this past year so that he could be closer to my mother.  This way he could visit her daily and not have to make the long commute back and forth to his house.  I stayed with him at the apartment for a while, visiting my mother daily, before going with him on a road trip to the panhandle of Florida.  We did this last year and enjoyed the trip very much.  It was the same this year.  I think the best part was the driving together, seeing new things and just spending time together.  I can’t begin to express how satisfying this was to me.

               We came back to the lake houses and worked  hard for a week, mowing, cutting downed trees, clearing fallen branches, etc.  It was hot…107 one time with every day over 100.  I sweated…oh man, how I sweated.  I also got bites.  I’m not sure from what all.  I know there were ants and mosquitoes…but how to explain the rows of small bumps making elongated welts that have popped up in such unexpected places?  I thought I knew most of the biting critters…chiggers, ticks, spiders, etc.  But none of them produce the bumps that I got…and still have (scratching this inch long welt on my forefinger)!  This could be the result of handling poison ivy I suppose…but what about these (scratching furiously)?