Tag Archives: Wildlife

Flea circus, Portales, New Mexico circa 1955

Flea Circus. Torps Flea Circus Tivoli Copenhagen 1956

Hi readers.  I’d just about decided my memory played tricks.  Two years in a row I remember  the carnival at the Roosevelt County Fair having a flea circus a kid could see for a dime.  Vivid memory because I somehow accidently went into the tent next door where a woman in a bathing suit who had no arms was typing on a typewriter with her toes.

But I’ve told a lot of people who grew up in Portales at that time about the flea circus and none remember it.  Most think I just dreamed it up, or remembered wrongly, which can happen.

Only the reason they thought so, and the reason I’d begun to thnk so, was that I came to believe no such thing as a flea circus ever existed outside imaginations.

The magic of YouTube doesn’t prove a flea market came to town with the carnival in Portales, New Mexico circa 1956, but it proves beyond doubt it might have.

Secrets of the Flea Circus

Secrets of the Real Flea Circus Revealed! National Geographic (Professor Oddnaught)

Genuine Flea Circus

No shortage of flea circuses were making the rounds those days.

So all you people who went to school beside me and don’t remember attending the flea circus I, think there wasn’t one, I say, “Horsefeathers!”  If you hadn’t been spending all your money on the steam shovels and cotton candy you’d have seen it too.  Playing bingo with pieces of corn on a checkerboard never got anyone into a tent where a woman with no arms in a bathing suit typed with her toes.

Old Jules

 

Giant oarfifh found on beach in California – Cecil the Feafick Fea Ferpent

This ominous portent from California last week:  Giant oarfish washed up on the beach.  Second one since I-don't-know-when.

This ominous portent from California last week: Giant oarfish washed up on the beach. Second one since I-don’t-know-when.

Beware the feafhoref and tremble in your homef when ferpentf of the deep emerge with their mouthf miffing.”  Josephus Minimus

I was fairly certain this was written down somewhere.  Maybe the Bible, or Nostradamas, or Mother Shipley, or some other trustworthy source.  Turned out it was Josephus Minimus.  Or would be Josephus Minimus once I post this.

Old Jules

Well, lessee. Hmm. Reckon why the forage fish on the west coast of North America might vanish?

Climate change would be nice.  Climate change is something we can all bite our ownselves in the ass about if we believe humans are the cause of it.

Similarly, a sort of general speculation it might be overfishing works well, so long as there’s no mention whether one particular nation is responsible more than the others.  No mention, specifically of the city-sized fish factories operating year-round buying catches from any fishing boat capable of reaching them.  Japanese fish factories operating in a devil-take-the-hindmost race to see whether they can get all the fish out of the North Pacific before Japanese radiation kills them.  Stone deaf to the pleas of every nation on earth also depending on their fishing industries.

So yeah, maybe over harvesting of fish might be it.

Beats hell out of one other possibility nobody seems to be mentioning.  The 900 pound gorilla.  Personally I don’t know enough about it all to have an opinion.  But I suspect the reason those fishing job related folks don’t mention the 900 pound gorilla possibility might be a desire to be able to catch and sell fish again sometime if the Pacific coast of North America ever has any again.

Maybe those radiation leaking Japanese nuke plants are being damned by faint praise. 

 

Lost At Sea: Fishers Can’t Find Sardines and Climate Change May Be To Blame

By Clare Leschin-Hoar | Takepart.com 16 hours ago Takepart.com
 
The sardines off the western coast of Canada have completely disappeared.

No one knows exactly what has happened to the $32 million commercial fishery, but what we do know is stunning: The region’s sardine fishermen returned to port empty-handed after failing to catch a single fish according to a report Monday.

Poof! Vanished. Gone. 

Although you may not eat sardines on a regular basis, (though we think you should), the health of this tiny forage fish has had scientists worried for some time.

Sardines, along with anchovy and menhaden, form the base of the food chain for species that range from bluefin tuna to humpback whales to sea birds and dolphins. Forage fish are critically important to the aquaculture industry as well, where they’re ground up, turned into fishmeal, and fed to popular species like farmed salmon.

Geoff Shester, a scientist with conservation group Oceana says they’ve been concerned about the Pacific sardine fishery for some time and warns that effects from a collapse could last for decades.

“This is about the entire Pacific coast including the U.S. and Mexico, not just British Columbia,” says Shester. “If fishermen have stopped fishing because they’ve hit their quota, that’s one thing. But they’re stopping because they can’t find any fish. That means fishery management is failing.”

Indeed, Oceana isn’t the only group worried. The collapse was predicted by prominent scientists who said ocean conditions—including a change in temperature—and poor reproduction rates are contributing to the sardines’ decline.

At least one study has found that climate change is causing the geography of where fish are found to shift, which may be what we’re seeing in Canada, too.
 
Fishing pressures on the ecosystem also play an important role.

When sardines are in a productive cycle, they can be fished agressively and their stock can withstand it, while leaving enough for ocean predators, Shester said.

“But if you don’t respond to a natural decline fast enough by limiting fishing, you’re suddenly in big trouble,” says Shester. “It makes the crash even worse because you’ll have fewer sardines remaining. When conditions get productive again, they can’t bounce back because there aren’t enough of them to begin with.”

Canada isn’t alone in declining sardine stocks. Paul Shively, forage fish campaign manager for Pew Charitable Trusts, says we’re seeing a similar trend in the U.S. The numbers are striking. In 2007, the U.S. brought in 127,500 metric tons of Pacific sardines.  In 2010, the number shrunk to 66,817 metric tons, and by 2011 that number declined to 44,000 metric tons. 

“We can’t do a lot about the changing temperatures of the ocean and the natural cycles it goes through, but what we can do is to keep from fishing the bottom out of that. We don’t want to fish those last remaining fish,” he said.

Shively is worried about more than just sardines. While sardines are protected under fishery management plans, he points out that there are no such protections for other important species like smelt, Pacific saury and lantern fish.

“If someone wants to fish them, there are no limits on what they can take,” says Shively.

As for the sardine fishery, Shester says we should be paying close attention to the news coming from Canada.

“We’re in an emergency situation right now. Any fishing is overfishing when the stock is in this condition.”

Not to suggest if it’s actually the nukes doing it the Japanese are at fault in any way.  Any more than they’d be at fault if it were found to be their giant fish factories doing it.

I’ve always figured climate change was what caused the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It all runs together.  Karma sort of thing.

Old Jules

Greenpeace, Sierra Club et al discovering world-shaking environmental crises as far as possible from Japan

 

Sign the petition.

Sign the petition.

Had you noticed that?  The dead silence until they could figure out something badbadbad happening they could yell about and pretend to investigate where the Japanese radiation wouldn’t fry their grandkids?

I’d wondered where they were on all this north Pacific stuff, them not uttering a word.  But it turned out they were following their Geiger counters to the point of diminishing returns, finding something threatening the environment where it’s safe to find it.

Old Jules

Chicken Poems

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The C*ckfight post got me thinking it’s time for putting up a few chicken poems.  These are from the Y2k flock, so enough time’s passed to allow me to post them without violating any confidences.  They’re almost surely all dead and gone from the stewpots of history.

El Palenque
El Palenque doesn’t think;
Knows and loves
His only job
And does it;
Perfection without compromise.
Reality
Where owls, hawks
And sly coyotes salivate
Reduced
To lowest common denominator
When the cackling hen
Rises from a fresh-laid egg.

Gallo del Cielo
Gallo del Cielo
Looks at God
Before he dies
Weeps
For eggs
Unlaid
From Araucana
Hens.

Red Tail Hawk

Raptor eye
Picks the kindred soul
Of silky bantam
From the flock

Rosencrantz
(A buff-crested Polish)

False dawn
Full moon
Morning.
Treetop cries
Of Rosencrantz
And Guildenstern
Deceived by
Counterfeit
Light
And sound
Misty memories
Of owl dreams

Old Jules

Tequila sunrise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

Pore old Brother Rattler

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Gale had a hip replaced recently, and he’s doing the recovery routines. Called me a few days ago asking me to search around in one of the storage buildings for a wheel chair and walkers stored in there somewhere. I used to store chicken feed in there and hadn’t looked inside much after I got rid of the flock.

So I opened the door and began clearing away all manner of things before the first rattler announced himself, followed by another somewhere on the other side of the path I was creating. I moved something else and a third, maybe a fourth kicked in to the orchestra.

I tippee-toed around and carefully got the wheel chair and walkers out without anything attaching itself to my leg, called him to let him know it’s all down here where it can be picked up. We discussed the plethora of rattlers, how to get them out of there. And whether I actually wanted to get them out of there before I’m ready to hit the pavement.

On reflection, I like them a good bit better in there than outdoors where they can get underfoot. My thought is I’ll leave them to themselves for a while if they’re happy there. When the time comes he can run them out with mothballs or ammonia. He’s thinking he’d like to try forcing them out the hole they came in and have people standing around to shoot them as they emerge. Which I want no part of. I mostly have no argument with pore old Brother Rattler. If he’ll leave me along I’m content leaving him alone, tending his own affairs.

However, half-hour ago I was inside the RV when Niaid announced she’d come on prey, or caught something. I looked out the screen door and watched her leap on something in the weeds. Quicker than I can tell it she had a 3 foot rattler in her mouth dragging it toward the RV, meowing out the sides of her mouth as she came.

Brother Rattler was still trying to grasp the fact he was dead, his head and neck squashed. Squirming and wiggling between her forelegs as she brought him to show off.

I’m keeping a close eye on her. No way of telling yet whether she was bitten, but she seems okay. Not favoring any body parts.

Life in the big city, I reckons.

Old Jules