I'm working as a Fish Culturist at Hidden Falls Salmon Hatchery in a remote spot near Sitka, Alaska! AM I CRAZY!? I'm starting to think so...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunny Side Up!


So you know how last blog talked about how Mother Nature was playing mean games and giving us snow?? Well she was very nice to us this week. It was sunny all week, which was such a nice change! It was probably in the mid to lower 50s I guess but definitely felt warmer. We were lying out on our deck in the afternoon a few days and it feels really warm up there because it gets direct sunlight and the house is covered with a dark green metal, which is about 80 or 90 degrees to the touch! We had a little bit of wind a few days but not too bad. THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!

There really isn’t all that much new. We had a 4 day week at Takatz because we were there for 6 last week. It is definitely getting warmer, which feels so nice. I put away my long underwear for now, which I’m happy about! I don’t have to wear as many layers of shirts anymore either. We can even walk around the pens in flip flops now instead of having to put out boots on every feeding!! We are finally starting to switch the fish food from the size 0 food to size 1 food. That’s like switching from powdery sand to coffee grounds. It’s much better to feed out because it doesn’t blow back at you as easily and the fish like it much better, since they are growing big. Now we’re only feeding 5 times a day also. That gives us ample time to sunbathe! ;-)

Friday’s boat ride back to the hatchery was a little bumpy but very sunny! When we were dropping off our stuff and collecting others, one of the good ol hatchery dogs started barking across the weir. Usually the crazy dog is barking about birds or…. Shadows… but this time we were curious. Bear? It’s about that time… well we didn’t see anything right then, but a little bit later there was a bear out across the lagoon. A skinny little bear was out eating some grass. They sure do come out of hibernation pretty skinny! I took pictures of it but I just realized I forgot my camera cable at Takatz, so next week.

Mother Nature must have decided she was tired of being nice, however, because it has been raining and windy for the past two days. Yesterday, Adam and I camped in and watched episodes of How I Met Your Mother ALLLL day! No point going into the rain if you don’t have to… and we have 6 Netflix so we were set! The wind doesn’t seem to be as strong now (3pm Sunday) but who knows if we’re going to be able to head back tonight.

For my weekly baking attempt, I decided to try a Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pie. Alright, so it was a no-bake pie but it wasn’t from a box! I needed some chocolate wafers, which we took as chocolate graham crackers maybe? Well, our good ol grocery store sent some chocolate covered graham crackers. I don’t think they worked out very well…… I decided to make 2 pies actually because I had enough stuff so one was that crust and the other was mostly oreos. I think the oreo crust turned out much better… that other crust doesn’t look like it will come off the pan so Adam and I will take that one. The other will go to my co-workers. But the filling of the pie turned out pretty good. Peanut butter, cream cheese, whipping cream, and chocolate chips are the main ingredients. I think it will be alright. Adam decided to make some cake doughnuts this morning in his fryer that turned out pretty good! There’s nothing better than some fresh doughnuts in the morning. :-)

I guess that’s about it for this week. Oh, if any of you happened to watch Grey’s Anatomy this past week… don’t worry, I know better than to touch baby bears! :-) If you didn’t watch it, there was a bear attack. Mama bears don’t like you messing with their cubs.

No Shout Outs today… how about you give ME a shout out!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Mother Nature LaughFest

After skipping last week's entry, I'm back. The past week has been a Mother Nature LaughFest really... our weather has been just odd. One day it is sunny and clear, then next day it is THIS...


I know that date makes it look like it's November 4th, but that is really April 11th. On April 11th, we woke up to slush on the pens... and snow ALLLLL day.

Slush in the whole bay. And you can see how much fish food is stuck on top of that slush. It wasn't a very pleasant day. That was a Friday so Adam and I returned back to the hatchery that day. Luckily, at the end of the day, the snow turned to rain, which was a good thing. When you are driving fast in an open air boat in the middle of the ocean, you'd think being hit in the face with snow would be better than having rain hit you in the face. That is untrue! It sure makes for a wet ride, but rain is better. Unfortunately, as we came into Kaznyku Bay (the bay the hatchery is in) it turned to snow.

So let me set the scene... I am wearing this giant puffy survival suit with a hood, which makes me resemble an astronaut, but I don't care because it keeps me warm and dry. I have gloves on. It's cloudy and fairly dark for being 5pm, but I'm wearing sunglasses because it keeps the wind out of my eyes. I have a snow hat on and my hood pulled down so the only thing exposed is my nose and cheeks because my mouth is buried in my suit. It's raining and my suit is soaked and I have water dripping all down my face... and then it turns to snow. You would think it would be welcomed since I won't have water dripping down my face but the sensation has now turned to NEEDLES STABBING ME IN THE FACE. That's what snow coming at you at a fast speed feels like. It's great....

Well, we made it back... soaked, face frozen, but safe. The weekend was NASTY. Strong winds and rain. So I sat in and made some more bagels and cookies. The weather got better so we could head back Sunday night. Andy an Anna said they saw Killer Whales in the bay but they were too far away by the time we got out there. I saw their water spray though.

Our week at Takatz started off alright, I think. Monday we sampled the fish because the weather was decent enough and we weren't sure if the next day would be good enough. It was... Tuesday and Wednesday was sunny but Adam was dealing with a strong current on his side of the pens so he couldn't seem to keep the food IN the pens long enough for the fish to eat it. My side is on the inside so I was alright. Then, after two sunny days, we woke up Thursday to THIS...



NOT AGAIN! I thought we were done with this!? April 17th! The snow didn't last very long really... I can't exactly remember but it was probably gone by that night. Friday was yet another ACT in Mother Nature's LaughFest. Sunny and WIIIIINDY! Like 35 mph winds. That's when feeding salmon turns into The Art of Reading the Winds Mind so that more food goes into the mouths of the fish instead of YOUR MOUTH! We fought the wind all day... it was basically rediculous but it had to be done. Friday is our day to head back to the hatchery but we knew that wouldn't happen! We took a ride out to look at Chatham Strait anyhow and it was a sight! I've never seen the mouth of Takatz Bay so wavy before... there were waves on top of waves in our usually calm bay. Waves breaking all over the place. It was rediculous.

So our plan was to try again in the morning. We settled in for another night. Saturday, we did the first feeding, Survival Suited-Up, and tried to head back. No such chance. It was still fairly windy and the water was still very choppy... Plan C... we fed for the rest of the day and we'd leave at the end of the day. End of the day, Survival Suited-Up AGAIN, and drove about 1/3 of the way, but Adam decided Andy and Anna would have a tough time getting out of the bay so we turned around. Plan C FAILED... Plan D. So we settled in for the night again... the annoying part about that was I had to make the bed again! And did I mention I have a hard time getting out of that huge survival suit!

SOOO... Sunday morning was very nice so we headed back. WHEWWWW... The weather for the past two days has been great again. Yesterday, Adam and I took a little hike up to one of the lakes and walked around and it was so bright I could barely see! There was still quite a bit of snow up higher (hence the snow glare) and we saw a bunch of bear tracks walking all around. We wore rain pants so we did a bit of butt sledding, which was kinda fun too. Then, after we came back, I got ambitious again and decided to make a batch of pierogi! I made more than my first time but seemed to have a tougher time with that darn dough. I need to learn the trick..... They turned out alright though after some grunting and moaning and even a pierogi thrown out of frustration. I took some up to Deena and had some reserved for Adam and my dinner, but then we got invited up so I brought them along. Everyone said they were good despite my frustrations.

Well, that's about all I have for now. The weather for the next week is calling for Partly Cloudy and in the mid 50s! That sounds FABULOUS! The sun comes over the mountain and hits the pens around 11am so hopefully partly cloudy will mean "sunny?" That will make that 53 degrees feel about 75!

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY - To Steven, Happy Birthday man!

RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK - We discovered yesterday that 30 Rock is a pretty funny show on NBC! Catch that! Also... Dried Mangoes are delicious! :-)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The forgotten cool shots

Hey All!

Well I don't really have much for you guys this week. We had a short 4-day week at Takatz and we'll be heading back there later on today. It's currently raining, which is surprisingly the first real rain we've had in over about a week and a half. That'll help to fill up our Takatz water tank! Anyhow, that makes the boat ride down to Takatz fairly miserable but whatcha gonna do!?

The main reason I posted was because upon talking to Mom the other day, I realized I forgot to post a few cool shots I took. Adam and I were out in the boat a week ago and somehow found this little stick that had 6 little clusters of eggs wrapped around it. The cool thing is they were different colors and you could see that the eggs were in different stages of growth. One cluster had eyes, another cluster almost did...

You can definately see the cluster with the eyes. I'm not sure what they are from... or if it's from the same animals, but probably. Adam guessed maybe Rockfish eggs. I have a feeling that dark cluster is the same as the lighter ones but since they are so far developed, the fish inside make them alot darker.

Here you can see alot better the development. Eyes in the one cluster, but in the other 4, you can see spots. Not sure if that's what will develop into the eye. If you click the picture to make it larger you can see it better. The three on the left have just one large spot but the one on the right side looks like it has a few spots clustered together. Perhaps cells in division??

I was looking at this cluster closer and touched one of the eggs and the casing was so thin, the fish came out. So that's what the fish looks like... whatever kind it is? Those eggs must have been just about ready!

So this is my goofy picture from Baranof the other day. My brown Xtra Tufs match nicely with my brown Victoria's Secret bathing suit... I should suggest it for the catalogue!? :-D

So that's really about all I have.... I'm in the process of trying to figure out a food order. It's pretty hard though. I haven't even SEEN last weeks food! See, we put the food order in on Monday (Or Sundays from now on)... then we go to Takatz. The food comes on Wednesday... but we don't get back to the hatchery until Friday. Then Andy and Anna take the food to Takatz. Now I have to place another order to come Wednesday when I really have no idea what food we have (and what food Andy and Anna have eaten over the past two days) at Takatz! So think about that the next time you are wandering the aisles of Hardings or Meijers or whatever grocery store you visit! :-)

RECOMMENDATION - I do have on Recommendation today. Do any of you watch the show called How I Met Your Mother? Well I highly recommend it! With our Netflix, we decided to get some tv show episodes because 1) we are running out of movies, 2) 1 disc is like 8 episodes so it's almost like getting a bunch of short movies! So we weren't sure what to get and Adam suggested this show. He'd seen a few of the first episodes and remembered it was funny. Well let me tell ya! It's GREAT!

We started on the 1st season (obviously) but they are on the 3rd season on tv now. I guess it's on CBS on Mondays at 9pm I think. Well I'm not sure if the episodes are the same way but I'll tell you how the first 8 episodes are. The whole thing is narrated by "the dad" aka Bob Saget (the former dad on Full House) who is telling the story to his kids in the year 2030 about how he met their mother. Then it jumps to 2005 to the younger "him" and his group of friends. The first episode you are pretty sure you have met the future mother.... but you don't. Each episode is the same... It's all about this guy and his friends (who are in their mid to late 20s) and his quest to find a woman to marry and their lives. It's definately a very funny show! Half the cast are people I know from movies, Jason Segel from the recent Knocked Up, Allyson Hannigan from the American Pie movies, and Neil Patrick Harris aka the former "Doogie Howser." As for the other two main characters, I've never seen them before but that doesn't mean they aren't great also! This is definately a great show to catch!