Fun with Fishes

At the end of March, I had two book signings which led me to Orofino, Idaho where my younger brother and his wife live. My brother works for the Dworshak Fish Hatchery.

He was on call for the weekend and asked us if we wanted to go with him on his evening rounds.  I’m always up for a visit to the large facility. There are so many interesting places a person could lurk should he or she have murder on their mind. 😉 And there are some interesting tools that would also make for an interesting murder method, but I digress…

Following my brother along, he told us what each building housed and why it was important to the whole hatchery process. You can go to this hatchery during the day and get a tour of the facilities. It is fascinating.

My brother had to check the temperature of the water in the egg hatching room. He pulled one of the trays out and I tried to get a photo of the hatching eggs.

Then we moved on and he checked the water in the tanks that held over 30,000 one-inch-long baby salmon in each tank. Moving by all of those tanks there were tanks with week-old salmon that would soon be put in the outside holding tanks to grow until they were old enough to be let loose to make their way to the ocean.

The startling thing is that my brother said only 1 percent of the hatchlings make it to the ocean because of predators. Cormorants and seagulls were already congregating along the Clearwater River in anticipation of the salmon being released in the next week or two.  And lower downriver on their journey, the seals and otters await their arrival into the ocean.

The money and knowledge that goes into hatching out so many fish seem futile when you learn that only 1 percent of them will even make it to the ocean. And then they have to make the trip back up the rivers to spawn and start the process all over again.

I guess it is nature’s way of saying, “Never give up.”

Rock Formations

I love rocks. I love learning how they came to be where they are. “Nick on the Rocks” a five minute snippet that plays on our OPB station between shows is one of my favorite fill-ins. He talks mainly about rock formations in Washington state but how they are formed are actions from all over the Pacific Northwest.

I’ve always had a fascination with rocks. I love the huge black and white with flecks of shiny stuff, granite boulders where I grew up in NE Oregon. I would sit on a big one that was down by the irrigation ditch by our house. There was also a large one in the horse pasture where I would sit and watch my horse or the water running by in the ditch next to it.

While living in Central Oregon, we could see Smith Rocks. A premier sentinel of Rock that rock climbers from around the world come to crawl all over. In the morning when the sun hit them, they appeared green. As the light moved, they took on a pinkish color. They are one of the most stunning rock formations I’ve seen.

Where we live now there are lava tubes and craters ten miles from us. But the rocks that stick out on the ridge of our property are spectacular in my estimation. Different times of day and light, I see something interesting in the rocks every day.

Rock that looks like a head

We have one rock that looks like a head. At a book event in Portland, I noticed a book with a cover depicting a rock like we have on our property. I started up a conversation with Wilson Wewa, a Paiute man, whose story of traveling around with his grandmother and Northern Paiute legends were in the book. The Northern Paiute traveled around the Great Basin, which is part of where I live now. This rocks that look like heads are guarding sacred places.

There is another rock, I call Buddha. I don’t know why, I just do. One of our grandsons says it looks like a rock from Easter Island. It’s like a large head and a hand held out. There is a crack in the cliff next to it that looks as if the rock somehow popped out of there and turned. Just my imagination I’m sure, but that ‘s how I see it.

This is my Buddha rock

There is another grouping of rocks that looks to me like a monkey sitting on an elephant’s head. This could be because I just recently read two books set in India. Though there was no mention of elephants there were monkeys in the story.

And I look out my bedroom window every morning and see what looks like to me a large cat rock. It makes me smile and think that perhaps there is a reason there is such a rock. I have seen bobcat and what I believe to be lynx tracks in the dirt.

Then there is the curved ridge with spiky rock formations that I dubbed “Stegosaurus Hill” when we first looked at the property to buy. Yes, I love our property and the unique things I see in the rocks every day! I couldn’t find a photo of it easily and didn’t feel like stepping outside in the cold to take one. I’ll save that for another day.

Do you find rocks and formations interesting? Do you see the things I see in the photos?