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A Congressional Hearing for the Birds - Photo by The Reclining Gentleman

A Congressional Hearing for the Birds – Photo by The Reclining Gentleman


“How wide is that island out there in the bay?” asked the Congressman. “I am thinking that it might be 20 feet long and 6 feet wide. Would that be correct Admiral?”

“Congressman, I do not have the exact information right now, but I can get it for you,” replied the Admiral.

“And what is the bird population on this island?”

“I think that it might be about 150.”

“Now you want to add how many birds to the island?”

“We want to add 6 birds sir.”

“My fear is that if you add 6 birds to this island it will become overly populated, capsize, and tip over.”

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I wrote this story based upon on an actual event. A friend of mine sent me a video link in an email. Not believing that what I was seeing was true, I did a check of Snopes.com. The story is true!

The true story has to do with adding U.S. troops to the Island of Guam. I hope that you watch the video below. I found it unbelievable and maybe you will too. As much as I would like to spout off here, I will not. I just ask that you watch this video, and then ask yourself about who you are voting for, no matter where you are in this world.

Now for the video:

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Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers, and to the Reclining Gentleman who brought to mind the story of a video sent to me by a certain friend! Aloha!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I certainly hope that you took the time to watch the video…be well!

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Many times I have had the opportunity to watch the salmon spawning. They move in from the oceans, miraculously back to the place where they were born. The colors of the fish change from the lovely silvery color to shades of black and red. After spawning they die, washing up along the rocks at the sides of the rivers. There are also hatcheries which help in the reproduction of salmon, providing ladders for the fish to go up, where they head in to tanks and do their thing. The next years fish are also contained before they are released out to sea. So, let’s take a look at this cycle beginning with the fish going up a river, and then to the hatchery! Be sure to watch the video at the end!

Here is a shot of a healthy salmon before spawning. They are silver in color before they head into fresh water to spawn.

Salmon face

Salmon face

Once they head upstream and into the fresh water they lose this color as their bodies get ready for spawning. Standing along a bridge near the mouth of the river, I capture a number of shots of the salmon. Their colors have changed. See if you can spot the salmon in the water in these next shots.

Three spawning salmon

Three spawning salmon

Five spawning salmon

Five spawning salmon

Ten spawning salmon

Ten spawning salmon

Here is a shot of the salmon from the above photo a bit closer…

Close in on some of the ten

Close in on some of the ten

We headed to a hatchery, and the folks there help the salmon species to continue on. The salmon that head to this hatchery were born here. Along a river, they have set up a ladder to resemble the uphill climb. The fish head for this ladder.

This is the ladder at the hatchery

This is the ladder at the hatchery

As the tide comes in the ladder fills up. Looking through a window set into the ladder you can see the fish…

Going up the ladder

Going up the ladder

Once they hit the top of the ladder, the fish go into holding tanks. There is a mechanism that sorts the fish by size. Here are some of the salmon in the holding tank. There are a lot of them!

Before spawning at the hatchery

Before spawning at the hatchery

Here they will collect the eggs and sperm and raise the babies. Here are the babies…

Baby salmon

Baby salmon

Out in the wild, the male salmon go through a number of phases in their spawning process. They develop humps on their back, and their mouths enlarge to create a hook at the snout. Both male and female, when they enter the fresh water they both stop drinking, relying on a gland in their bodies that has stored salt so that they do not get dehydrated.

Here is a salmon heading upstream! You can already see the color change on the fish. From the hump and the curved snout this appears to be a male.

Heading upstream

Heading upstream

The male is the first to arrive at the spawning ground and mark off their territory where the gravel is not too small and not too large. When the female arrives she uses her body to create what is called a “redd.” This is a depression in the gravel and will become the nest for the eggs. With her body she signals the male that she is ready to lay her eggs. The males fight and it is the dominant male that gets to spawn with the female. Swimming side to side she releases her eggs and he releases his sperm. The sperm, called milt, mixes with the eggs. They do this again a bit farther up the stream and the gravel she moves covers over the eggs and sperm from the first batch.

The male dies fairly quickly after spawning is done, and the female hangs around for a couple of weeks by her nests, and then finally dies off, and her body gets carried downstream. Here are two salmon who have done their job, their bodies have floated downstream. They don’t smell to good either!

They have done their job!

They have done their job!

Here is a quick video that I took of the spawning salmon, the river and the little babies. Click on the link, and then on the button at the bottom right to enlarge to full screen. The sound you hear is natural sound and was not dubbed in to the film.

Well, this got to be a lengthy blog! Thanks for stopping by and for hanging in there to read this thanks! Be well! ^..^

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I have a friend who for years was constantly having pain and discomfort almost always after a meal. Over the years the Dr.’s were unable to identify what was wrong with her until recently. They finally diagnosed her with celiac disease. This disease prevents foods from being absorbed into the small intestines and actually damages the lining of the small intestine. It can be very painful, as it was for her. What caused this disease is an intolerance to gluten.

What is gluten? It is a protein found in wheat and other grains that gives doughs that elastic feel. It helps the dough to rise, keep its shape and makes it chewy. Folks who suffer, as my friend does, from celiac disease have to consume a special diet so that they can avoid this protein.

Here is a brief list of foods that are recommended for those suffering from this condition. The list includes beans, seeds and nuts, none of which are processed. It also includes fresh eggs, most dairy products and fresh vegetables. It is also important that any meats that they consume do not have breading, batter coated or marinated. There are gluten free “flour” alternatives to wheat, like quinoa, amaranth, corn, to name a few.

Last year you might remember I attended the Tony’s Fine Foods food show. At this event we went looking for gluten free crackers. We were doing this so that folks who came to visit the winery where I work would be able to clear their palette, enjoy the varying flavors of the wine, and not suffer from the gluten side effects.

I spoke to one of the vendors about how a single plant can make items with gluten and items without. I was told that they have to have separate facilities. This is because as wheat flour is processed gluten can float into the air and contaminate other products.

So, now you know that gluten comes from wheat. And, food manufacturers have now included the words “Gluten Free” on packaging. Now this is not a surprise on crackers, cake mixes, pastas, bread and such. I was surprised to find this labeling on bacon. Yes, I saw gluten free bacon! And, I was surprised to find it on coffee too! The two manufacturer’s do not have plants that process wheat. Here is a coffee label that indicates it is gluten free.

Gluten free coffee

Gluten free coffee

Searching the internet, I did find this one club that offers the “gluten free bacon.”

Gluten free bacon

Gluten free bacon

I understand the necessity of labeling an item as gluten free for those that suffer from celaic disease and marketing products as gluten free has now become the norm. I believe that people should educate themselves on what gluten is and what food alternatives there are.

Have a terrific Tuesday and thanks for stopping by!

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X Marks the Spot - BW Beacham

X Marks the Spot – BW Beacham

“Do you remember that old saying, ‘X marks the spot?” Two shuttles were just approaching the mothership having completed their mission. The “X” was prominent in the sky below them. The Zarcathians had been watching this planet for some time now.

What drew their attention to this once blue planet were the weapons of mass destruction. The inhabitants were in a state of unrest, countries warring against other countries. They did not need these weapons as they were destroying the planet already.

For years, the Zarcathians monitored the devastation on this planet. They watched the depletion of the ozone layer, destruction of forestlands, and pollution of the once blue waters that surrounded the planet.

What bothered the Zarcathians the most was that it appeared the inhabitants were planning on heading out into space for colonization. They could not let this happen.

The order was given, and where X marked the spot, the photon torpedo made its descent.
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You too can join in on this writing challenge! A photo is provided and the opening sentence of a story that you get to finish! Join in on this Mondays Finish the Story challenge! To get to this week’s challenge click HERE!

I hope that you liked my bit of flash fiction! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today for a bit! Have a great Monday and be well! ^..^

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Pay Per View - Photo by Alastair Forbes

Pay Per View – Photo by Alastair Forbes

“Daddy can I have fifty cents pah-lease?” asked Damien’s daughter.

Camera hanging from around his neck and being distracted because he was about to become one of the 30% club for seeing Mount McKinley, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two quarters handing them to her.

“Here you go,” he said as he raised the camera to his eye, the clouds lifting. He would catch a photo of the peak, something not many do.

His daughter ran off gripping the quarters. The person at the scope was now gone. She put in the two quarters, heard a whoosh, and was gone!

Damien stood there looking at the mountain. He caught a shot just before it disappeared behind the clouds.

He turned back towards the telescopes looking for his daughter, and could not find her. Running inside, he looked for her. He stopped at the front desk of the lodge and asked if anyone had seen her. A gal behind the desk asked, “Did you give her two quarters to look at the mountain?”

“Yes.”

She said, “Isn’t it amazing how easy fifty cents can suck you in for pay per view?” His daughter was never seen again.

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley


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A huge thanks goes out to Alastair Forbes for hosting Sunday Photo Fiction! Great photo Al! Like you, I knew just what to do with this photo!

Thank you dear reader for taking the time to drop on by today! Be well! ^..^

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Kevin Conboy has chosen the subject of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge; and it is “Refraction.” What is refraction? Miriam Webster defines refraction as: 1) deflection from a straight path undergone by a light ray or energy wave in passing obliquely from one medium (as air) into another (as glass) in which its velocity is different; 2) the change in the apparent position of a celestial body due to bending of the light rays emanating from it as they pass through the atmosphere; also: the correction to be applied to the apparent position of a body because of this bending; and 3) the action of distorting an image by viewing through a medium. I share with you refraction!

Split image

Split image

Angles

Angles

Bending light

Bending light

Reflected lines

Reflected lines

Running through

Running through

From the center

From the center

Did I meet the challenge?

Have a fantastic Friday and thank you for visiting with me today! Be well! ^..^

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I love cooking, as you know, and I love to find, or come up with new recipes! Over this last weekend I tried two recipes. One that I wanted to try for some time now is a potato recipe that I found from the site Walking on Sunshine. Her recipe: Bacon Cheese Potatoes. I thought that this would pair perfectly with another recipe that I got from my friend Conor Bofin over at One Man’s Meat. His recipe: Steak Frites. Then I added to this my simple recipe: Simple Sauteed Mushrooms!

I prepared the potatoes first as they were to be cooked in the crockpot. This simple recipe consisted of bacon, cheese and potatoes. Slice four red potatoes thinly, grate plenty of cheddar, and dice some bacon. Lois indicates that you can pre-cook the bacon, or not. I did not, but next time I make this I will because of the amount of fat. I used non-stick spray in my crock pot then layered potatoes, then bacon, then cheese. Lois likes to add salt and pepper on top of each layer. Forget the salt as the cheese and bacon add plenty! I was able to knock out three layers, dotted it with butter, and after 6 hours on low here is the finished recipe!

Bacon Cheese Potatoes

Bacon Cheese Potatoes

Now Conor’s steak recipe was a perfect pairing with these potatoes! And, it is a simple recipe too! I purchased two rib eye steaks that were about 3/4″ thick. Taking a big bunch of fresh thyme, I stripped the leaves off the stems and chopped up the thyme and then pressed the steaks into the thyme. The recipe says to get a cast iron pan very hot and then add 1 teaspoon of salt. I forgot this step. After adding the salt you are to place the steaks in the pan. It was at this point that I added the salt. The important thing with this recipe is not to disturb the steaks. I cooked them for 5 minutes then turned them over and cooked another 4 minutes. And, they came out beautiful. Check these out!

The Steaks

The Steaks

I cooked the mushrooms while the steaks were sizzling in the pan. Another easy recipe. Add butter and garlic to a hot pan, and when the aroma of the garlic comes up add the mushrooms and saute. Here they are!

The Mushrooms

The Mushrooms

And here is the finished dinner!

One easy dinner!

One easy dinner!

The flavors of this dinner: Amazing! Worth the time and one that will make your family and friends think you spent hours in the kitchen!

Have a terrific Tuesday! Thanks for stopping in for a bite! Be well! ^..^

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