Archive for the ‘animals’ Category
In the San Juan Islands near Seattle the unique and old method of reef net fishing is still being practiced by the local Native Americans in the area and commercial fisherman. A net is suspended between two boats or barges, originally two canoes. Salmon are lured into the net by an artificial reef (a diagram is on this page). When the lookout spots a school of salmon coming in, the net is brought up and the fish are pulled into one of the boats. This method leaves the fish in excellent condition and is touted as being highly eco-friendly. Unwanted species are thrown back immediately and the wanted salmon are put in a live pen. Local destination restaurants, the Herbfarm and Willows Inn, have featured reef net caught salmon on their menus. One fisherman has posted video of a catch in action.
It’s getting onto fall in Seattle which means it’s bulk Zoo Doo time at the Woodland Park Zoo. Interested gardeners can send in a postcard for a drawing to purchase large quantities of Zoo Doo or Bedspread (that contains more chips and sawdust and you can shorten it to “B.S.” on the postcard). There’s a poop line for phone questions. You can fill up one pickup truck with an 8×4 bed for $60. If your needs are more modest, the Zoo has buckets of Zoo Doo in its store anytime.
Most urban beekeepers mail-order their supplies or obtain them from like-minded locals, but in San Francisco the unique Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper has reopened. They say they’re the only urban beekeeping store in America. Beginner beekeepers can purchase all the essentials to start their new hobby, from protective gear to hives and starter colonies. Those who are not keen on keeping their own hives can peruse the honey and other bee products for sale.
In Seattle, the Ballard Bee Company will install active beehives on your property for the spring through summer seasons. They visit regularly to check on the bees and do any maintenance. Beehive hosts pay for the service, but they do receive a jar of honey and a well-pollinated garden in return. The company also keeps bees for commercial clients such as the Fairmont Olympic Hotel where the hives sit on the roof and the honey goes into the restaurant’s menu. Our yard is already happily populated by bees that fly in from elsewhere. I’ve been wanting to top off my flowering herb plants so they grow wide instead of high but every time I go out there the teeming bees on the flowers make me feel too guilty to lop any off.
The N.Y. Times reports that several museums are adding graduate degree programs like the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History. Only 4 or 5 students are year are accepted into the AMNH’s degree PhD program and they get hands on experience in paleontology, evolutionary biology, and access to the museum’s vast collection of specimens and laboratory equipment. They also learn the essential skill of grant writing.
E.B. White “felt for animals a kinship he never felt for people,” which can easily be seen from his children’s books. “The Story of Charlotte’s Web” by Michael Sims looks at both how the book was a reflection of its author and what the tale means to readers. White was inspired by the spiders in his barn and also Archy the cockroach to create the heroic title character. And the overarching theme of the morality of killing pets for food clearly comes from his love of animals. Almost 60 years later, “Charlotte’s Web” still ranks as one of the most popular children’s books.
Angela Haseltine Pozzi gathers the cast off trash of humans that washes up on the beach and turns it into sculptures of marine life. It’s a beautiful, sad commentary on the state of our marine ecosystem. Currently on display at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California are a coral reef made out of Styrofoam, a jellyfish made out of bags and plastic bottle tops, and a seal and sea turtle constructed of plastic bottles and other stuff we throw away. Pozzi says some of the trash traveled across the ocean, including hundreds of water bottles from the Beijing Olympics.
The Tony Awards on Sunday were the first time I saw the remarkably lifelike puppet from the play War Horse. Created by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa, the life-sized horse takes 3 puppeteers to operate and adds to the depth and emotion of the staged performance. Also, Neil Patrick Harris got to make a grand entrance riding in on the horse as part of his Tony hosting duties (yes it can be ridden!). The two men behind Handspring Puppets spoke at TED about the design and craftsmanship of bringing the horse to life. The horse entrance is at 9 minutes in if you don’t have time for the “making-of” part. Below is the puppet frolicking in a real horse environment: Sandown Race Course in the UK.
The Washington State Department of Transportation always lets us in on unusual activity around our roadways. Last month a semi-trailer truck rolled over on I-5. WSDOT sent a crew out to help unload and reload the 20 tons of watermelon that were enroute from Arizona to Canada . And they took pictures. More recently, they posted video of the Washington State Police protecting a family of geese taking a walk on busy I-90. They were herded off at the next exit.
Sometimes beavers and their dams are welcome and sometimes they aren’t. The Lands Council of Spokane, Washington is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the Inland Northwest forests, water, and wildlife. Their Beaver Project identifies locations that would benefit from dams to store spring runoff and reintroduces beavers to those areas. The beavers come from places where they are considered a nuisance, such as when they cut down too many trees for their human neighbors, and would have been euthanized. They’ve successfully relocated 27 beavers so far.
Bickleton, Washington may only have 113 human residents, but it bills itself as “The Bluebird Capital of the World.” When the bluebirds’ homes in the trees succumbed to logging and farmland, residents began putting out birdhouses for their feathered friends. There are around 2,000 bluebird houses now and they are occupied starting in mid-February through to October. In the fall volunteers clean and paint the houses white and blue, ready for next year. Birdwatchers arrive in the spring during the active nesting season.