Tuesday, June 18, 2013

good-bye sweet garden memory

Janet's lush and wild garden
June 16, 2013

The papers were signed yesterday. It's time to say good-bye. I will miss this piece of land with an ache in my heart, even though I first laid eyes on it only 7 years ago. Perhaps my ache is more for the fiercely independent woman who has lived and breathed and sweated and loved and found solace here for 39 years. There will come a time when she will not remember, but for those whose lives she has touched, we will collectively remember for her.

We were expecting this for a while, yet we had no idea how it would actualize. A springtime attempt to keep an insistent robin from attacking himself against the dining room window led to a hurtful of cracked ribs. Then came the trickling and disturbing discovery from the medics, the doctors, the friends, and the neighbors that 911 calls and hospital visits had become a weekly occurrence. Did she not tell us out of concern that we would worry and fret over her, or did she simply not remember? The decision to move came before she was ready, and she was excruciatingly angry at us. The surprisingly wonderful part about memory loss is that she quickly forgot she was mad. And so it goes...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

grunion greeting, 2013 #3

new moon cycle, 10:23-11:40, cloudy skies

Welp, every grunion greeting night we've done has been a little bit different than the others. The only person we knew who showed up was Bob Lea, a retired marine biologist with the CA Fish and Game (er, Fish and Wildlife).  He has that calm, solid demeanor of someone who has spent a majority of his life outdoors.  There were several other people on the beach and the wharf with buckets and big lights, out to experience the spectacle that is a grunion run.  It's open season now, but I wish it wasn't since grunion in Monterey is such a rare sight.  One lady came for her grandchild, and she ended up having more fun chasing grunion than the boy who was quite scared of the fish.  I laughed at her pure joy and exuberance, even though I felt a little sorry for the mating grunion she snatched up.  Bob convinced a couple of the grunion captors to allow him to measure their caught fish.  In a dry bucket, the grunion quickly lose their blush or mint green glow and become quite silvery.  There was also a luau being held at the recently renamed Del Monte Beach House, complete with 80's dance music and karaoke, judging by the tone-deaf singing we heard.

Once again, the grunion did not disappoint.  Why couldn't we have seen this from 2009-2011? Numerous scouts were first spotted right after we arrived ~10:25.  Then shortly after high tide of 10:43, the grunion runs peaked with a couple hundred on the beach at a time.  The waves had an incredible reach up the sand, leaving many of us soaked.  I'm debating whether to report this as a W-2 or a W-3; the numbers were slightly less than the first night after the full moon 2 weeks ago.  The fish petered out by 11:05, right before last call for alcohol and horrendous singing ensued from the luau. After most of the people left, Charlie and 3 of his night heron buddies joined the after-party.  A gull gobbled up a lone grunion at 11:27.  We ducked out very pleased with our excursion at 11:40.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

which reader?

With the upcoming demise of Google Reader, I need to find a new blog reader.  What site are you using for your feeds?  Please comment.  Thanks!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

CA market squid ~ 06/02/13 ~ Wharf No. 2

for more information, click here and here

I never realized market squid are so beautifully and intricately patterned when they're still alive and mad at being caught. Usually when I go to the local fish market at the end of the wharf, the squid have been dead for a bit and are ghostly pale white packed on ice.  For a quick primer on why and how squid change their colors, check out U.C. Davis-hosted CA Seafood Council. Usually, the only time I'm aware of the squid fishery in Monterey Bay is when the squid boats light up the bay night. For some reason the boats haven't been around much this year, which is interesting since we're finally having a good grunion year.  I forget people catch squid with poles and multiple splayed hooks that look a bit like miniature tinsel party decorations.  It doesn't take very long to jig a couple times and pull up a squid or two.  These are somewhat smaller than the market squid I've seen conveyor belted off the commercial squid boats.  Calamari anyone?