A frosty Morn on the Nooksack, just how the salmon like it.
In parts 1 and 2, of this series I described the Nooksack River and how it’s three forks joined from the glaciers and water sheds surrounding the Mount Baker National Forest and wilderness area. The river that used to be prime spawning waters teemed with salmon that fed the local Indians for thousands of years. About 150 years ago, these waters were dramatically changed with the arrival of settlers from the east who logged the hillsides and plowed the prairie lands. These typical settler activities deprived the waters of the cooling effects of the shoreline trees and degraded the water quality with flooding silt. The natural processes that sustained the waters historically became seriously disturbed. The waters and the fish suffered as a result in proportion to their proximity to the settlements. The upper reaches are less polluted that those closer to the farming and populations centers.
At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.
Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls begin breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring – the owls are already beginning their nesting year.
She was dreaming in the cave, with the cubs snuggled against her broad chest. They dreamed together while outside the wind swept snow pellets through the trees and the deer hunted desperately for short grasses by the half-frozen creek. Her dreams were of warmth and plenty, of her twins gamboling in the rich, juicy grasses of spring, of the taste of ripe berries in summer. She dreamed of fish in the stream and wild honey in a hive nestled in a tall tree that would present no problem at all to her climbing skills.
My birthday is Friday, I’m doing the Hill Country Ride again this year & I’d really love $55 donations, but really any donation is more than welcome. My goal is $2,000 this year. They really need it. With the cuts the Orange One’s administration wants — and when he’s gone, we’ll have President Pence who will be even worse, especially for AIDS services — they really, really need it. Please donate at my Hill Country Ride page.
Spawning Salmon in tributary creek to the Nooksack
In Part 1 of this series I described the Nooksack River from its headwaters in the North Cascade Mountains through its course to the Salish Sea. I made the case that this river, along with others like it, were critically important to sustaining our icons of the Salish Sea – salmon and orcas. Sustaining these icons is dependent in part on the health of these rivers that grow the fish which in turn feed our resident orca. That is, healthy rivers are a necessary but not a sufficient condition for saving these critters. In this part I relate the history of the river, what has happened to it and why it is important today that it is restored to health and maintained.
In my tradition, today is the eighth day of Christmastide; in some churches, it is also recognized as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and a day of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. But for most of us, it’s just the eighth day of Christmas, and that means eight maids a-milking. When WYgal at the Orange jokingly mentioned that we could all write posts based on the theme of “our” day, I decided to take up the challenge (while ever so grateful that I didn’t have seven swans a-swimming). What follows is my attempt to write a post that combines a bit of history, something light for a day of vacation/recovery/just-another-Tuesday, and addresses the theme of eight maids a-milking (in this case, milking us of our dollars). Bonus inclusion for those who asked: my aunt’s recipe for Aunt Gussie’s Cloud.
I’m sure some of you were opening this post with some trepidation, wondering if I was going to cover some depressing aspect of our history. Surprise! Even though I recognize that Christmas is not a holiday or holy day for all of us, it is part of my tradition. Taking a break from our seamier side is the least I can do; there’s enough ugliness in our current reality without piling on for one day. But history is all about stories, so today, I’m sharing some of my holiday stories and ask you to feel free to do the same. If Christmas isn’t part of your tradition, I’m sure you still have holiday stories, so don’t feel limited. But most of all, enjoy…and Merry Christmas!
The winter solstice “occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, the term is also a turning point to midwinter and the first day of winter.”
That moment will occur this afternoon, December 21st, at 4:23pm Central Time (which is my time zone), also known as UTC 22:23.