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Posts Tagged ‘fish’

But first…a nap!

I just arrived home from a wonderful vacation trip down to visit my father in Vero Beach, Florida. If all goes well, I will have some great photos and stories to share. But the shock of returning to 20 degree weather from 80 degrees is just too much for me right now. (I know, you weep for me, don’t you…).

So, please enjoy these 2 cool webcams in this link to one of the COOLEST places to visit when in Florida:

The Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

(you will have to scroll down the page a bit)

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Big Fish

Took a trip to one of my favorite places: The 577 Foundation

Usually, this is something that just the dog and I do every weekend (girl time!), but we were happy to have Greg along with us this time. The dog is bonkers about the geodesic biodome there (maybe all the rich, oxygenated air?), so we went in to feed the fish. There are some real monster koi in there…about 2 feet long! And, boy are they piggy (wait..can a fish be piggy…) eaters.

bear on bridge     One of the staff says that they have a real problem with people touching the koi. They often inadvertently rub off the protective “slime” or mucus from the scales of the fish which leads to infection on the fish (NOT people, silly) and can cause lesions to form. Lesson #1: Don’t Pet the Fish!

In case you needed a koi ID sheet, you can find one here. Selling and maintaining koi is a big business and they even have plastic surgery for fish:

“Fish diagnostics range from a basic exam ($40), blood work ($60) and X-rays ($55) to the advanced: ultrasound ($175), CAT scans ($250). Veterinarians tube-feed fish. They give fish enemas, fix broken bones with plates and screws, remove impacted eggs, treat scoliosis and even do fish plastic surgery — anything from glass-eye implantation to ”surgical pattern improvement,” with scale transplantation, scale tattooing or unsightly-scale removal.”

You should read the full article…it is truly amazing stuff! What I did not know was that koi are also considered nuisance / invasive species:

Koi have been accidentally or deliberately released into the wild in every continent except Antarctica. They greatly increase the turbidity of the water because they are constantly stirring up the substrate. This makes waterways unattractive, reduces the abundance of aquatic plants, and can render the water unsuitable for swimming or drinking even by livestock. In some countries, koi have caused so much damage to waterways that vast amounts of money and effort have been spent trying to eradicate them, largely unsuccessfully. Because of the danger to the environment koi possession is illegal in many parts of America, South America and Australia.

Good thing these are kept inside in a pond. We also went out to the river overlook and even though it was bitter cold we saw this fellow scurrying along:

possum A Virginia opossum! And quite a robust looking one, too. Generally, the ones we see around here have stumpy tails and mangled ears from loosing bits to frostbite. I used to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center and the joke was: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the opossum that it could be done!” If you see roadkill, chances are that it’s a possum…

Should you feel like becoming a card-carrying member of the National Opossum Society (yes, there is one) you can get a snazzy bumper sticker along the lines of “I Brake for Possums” or this fantastic picture only a mother could love.

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Fish, Fish, Bang, Bang…

Shotgun 

Yes, I spent an interesting weekend shooting and fishing… No, really! I went to a Women in the Outdoors program Saturday and actually had a great time. You get to choose four events and they have volunteer instructors spend time teaching you the basics and giving you some practice.

My first event was shotguns. And damned if I didn’t hit my target the first try! I have to say…I really enjoyed shooting clay targets to smithereens. (What does that say about me psychologically…)

Next up was handguns. Didn’t like ’em. They were much harder to use than the shotgun and I kept worrying that I was going to point them the wrong place and shoot my foot (or something worse). Also, the instructors were from the NRA and they were…um…the word “fanatical” comes to mind. They constantly peppered their directions with various political comments while stroking their weapons. Seriously, there was stroking. And a LOT of guns. They had cases and cases of guns.

Overall, the handguns just had too much kick for me to aim accurately. The problem is that with my small hands I needed a small gun and the smaller the gun the more recoil. I did like the single action revolver, though. The kind you see in the old Westerns. And I learned that the curved, wooden stock is designed to take the recoil and rock in your hand, so that it basically cancels out the kick.

After lunch it was off to archery. OK, I have found my new hobby! Loved it. And the instructor told me I had the best technique/form he had seen all day (yeah, and I’m sure he told that to all the girls 😉 )

Did pretty good at archery, too. I was worried it would be too much for my arm, but with the compound bows, it wasn’t that bad. I forgot to take a picture of the hyena foam target we shot at (why a hyena? no one knew…maybe he was on clearance?) I did manage to get some good “kill” shots (except for the time I shot it right in the nostril…)

I’m thinking of doing this for target shooting only, as I have no real desire to skin/clean anything. Sounds too messy. I’ll stick with hay bales and foam hyenas!

Finally, I ended the day fishing for bass. They weren’t biting for anyone but the instructor, though. I did manage to catch 3 leaves! And tangle my line with 3 other people’s…when people duck everytime you cast, you know you really suck at fishing.

Seriously, it was a blast. There were many classes to choose from, ranging from outdoor photography to edible plants. I’ll keep you posted if I get a bow for Christmas;-)

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