A Public Service Announcement

August 5, 2011

As part of this blog’s public service commitment to educating the public about how much freezer space signficant fractions of whole animals take up, I can now report that this much fish:

translates into this much smoked salmon:

Although I don’t think it’s going to be cluttering up the place for long…


One that didn’t Get Away

July 25, 2011

‘Go look in the fridge’ the other half said when I got back from a hard* day taking disadvantaged kiddies out.

I looked in the fridge. ‘Eek!’ I said.

There are perks, it turns out, to volunteering to do the books for the local inshore rescue service. And this is one that definitely won’t be getting put back.

Still, 14 pounds of salmon is a lot of fish, rather too much fish for our fridge, so it will be off to the smoke house tomorrow to get turned into smoked salmon. Which will be something of a relief because I still find myself going eek! everytime I unwarily open the door…

*not really. It was a sunny day at a farm park where the ‘farm’ part was entirely incidental but the various slides, bouncing things and go-karts were great fun. Well, I enjoyed them, anyway, and I’m sure the disadvantaged kiddies did too

Home, James

October 30, 2009

‘So much for their unerring homing instinct,’ I said as we stood at the falls, watching the salmon leaping. Most of the fish were doing the textbook thing of heading up the waterfall for their home tributary, but there was one that either hadn’t read the textbook or had mis-programmed its GPS and was repeatedly leaping out of the water in the wrong direction and beating its head against the cliff wall instead. I wonder whether if you stood at the right spot and caught one, it would count as poaching? ‘It just jumped into my hands, officer…’

Anyway, hopefully my own homing instincts (although not to my natal spawning grounds) will be somewhat better as on Monday we’re off to Huttonian‘s and on Tuesday I shall be here as part of my two nations (well, Scotland and England) in one day whirlwind book tour.

The One that Got Away

August 26, 2008

In a break in the weather yesterday the other half & I took the chance to go and see whether there were dipper at the waterfall, our principal pastime when checking the level of water in the ford has got old (see also: looking to see if the cottage that sells eggs has any eggs). The evening before we’d had a treat: a dipper had shown up and spent a good ten or fifteen minutes diving into the water off rocks and bringing up larvae to eat. This time, however, the other half had brought his big bird-scaring camera so the dipper wasn’t there, and we just stood and watched the water crashing down the waterfall instead.

And then suddenly we saw a fish: there and gone before I could even register it, right in the middle of the waterfall’s flow. I thought I’d imagined it until we saw another, and, after we had waited for a while, another and another and another. Salmon leaping up waterfalls is something I’ve read about, but until you see it, it’s hard to describe just how surreal and fundamentally unlikely the whole thing is. The waterfall in question isn’t all that high, probably about 20 feet in total. But compared to even the biggest salmon, it’s enormous, and there’s a boiling maelstrom of water at the bottom and more rapids to negotiate at the top. As we could see was the fish appearing, still pumping frantically with its tail, to glint in the light before it disappeared into the churning white water again. I don’t even know if any of them made it to the top.

I’d post a photograph, but all you’d get would be a picture of a waterfall where a few seconds before there had been a fish but there wasn’t one anymore. Maybe I’ll go down there again with a tripod and set up a timelapse and see if we don’t get lucky. Meanwhile, you’ll just have to believe me. I tell you, it was this big …