Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Feels like Home

My friend Kim on the spawning grounds!

So the job goes on, we are on to spawning surveys. Lots of carcasses, lots of hiking, lots of floating on pontoon boats down rapids (pretty awesome!). The downside is the Oregon weather which has us at her mercy. Every time we get in a rhythm in surveys we get a big rainstorm and the river turns to chocolate milk and is un-surveyable. So it gives me days like this to blog and knit! Pros and cons!

 Last weekend Andrew and I went to our neighbors tree farm and picked out our first Christmas tree! We have really made the farmhouse into our home... I love it! 
Our tree is the flagged one :)
Our living room!

Cheesy :)

Relaxing on the back porch while the sun sets

The view from our back porch

Happy December!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Toast to Thanksgivings Past

turkey lurkey 2008
I was not be able to go home this Thanksgiving, the first one I have missed in a very long time, if ever. I am so happy to be able to spend it with Andrew and our friends Kim and Jon, but time with family is always so much better.  So a short little photomontage of a few good memories with the fam. Miss you, love you, see you at Christmas!!!

Hope everyone enjoys the holiday!
Celebrate we will for life is short but sweet for certain- DMB (cheesy I know, deal)

meat free turkey!
2 marbles and a homeslice

Thanksgiving 2010 at Kim and Jon's
after turkey coma, Jon on the floor, Andrew and I on the futon

Our delicious feast!!!!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Long Lost Blogger

Hello! Life has been extremely busy! Surfing, fishing, knitting, wine tasting, parents visits, Packer parties (yes out here too!!), seals, sea lions, mold, coastal storms, orchestra concerts, and good food.

Ben waiting for a fish to hit the net
Angela looking like a serial killer to keep warm :)
Wendy in Warrior Pose to keep warm
Andrew and his mom at Cape Kiwanda
Harbor in Garibaldi, OR the Crabbing site!

Me giving some lovin' to my crab
Andrew with a very angry crab
We have had many fun adventures, the double wide is becoming an adventure as well. We have a new pet, its really gross and unwanted, we have named it Moldy because it is, well, Mold. We are in the process of cleaning and talking to the landlord, so hopefully we can move out before our lease is up.

On the job front, a storm has moved in, and contrary to popular belief it isn't safe to be on a metal boat in a lightning storm! The river has been rockin' and rollin' with all the influx of storm water so we have not been able to fish for a week! To add insult to injury a sea lion camped out on the dock right next to our fishing hole, apparently he is the only one getting fish. (Pictures to come, they are on Andrew's camera at the moment)

More to come later! Love!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Workin' on Our Night Moves

Haystack Rock in Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City at Sunset
Wow! Welcome back! I have been super busy, and without easy access to the internet, I have become a ghost in the blog world!

So we are a month into this Oregon adventure. We have had our hands on over 100 chinook, worked into the wee hours of the morning, dealt with seals, beavers, muskrats, and fishermen (I haven't figured out which mammal frightens me more). But, the job is awesome! A "typical" (as typical as you can get in field work) night starts at 6:00pm where we meet at the Hebo Fish Hatchery to mend nets until dark. In the duration of an evening, some fish make it very difficult for us to get them out of the net without cutting the net. Every time we cut the net, we have a hole to mend the next day. We are getting better at not cutting, but we still have a lot of mending to do before we start netting for the night. As soon as we can't take anymore mending or it gets to dark to see we pack up and head to the river. We have two locations that we fish (set the nets), Hanneman's dock and the Mouth of Three Rivers. Hanneman's is about 6 river miles from the mouth of the Nestucca River, so it is tidally influenced. The Mouth of Three Rivers is the first tributary off of the Nestucca about 12 river miles from the mouth. We fish Hanneman's when the tide isn't ripping too hard, and we fish Three Rivers when the current from Three Rivers into the Nestucca isn't ripping too hard. It is a game of strategy against the current or the tide. The general concept is that we set an entanglement net with a buoy line and a lead line and anchor it. One person keeps a hand on the net and we wait for a fish to hit. The hit ranges from a tiny little "Bump Bump Bump" to a giant splash and thrash. When a fish hits  we go directly to it either via oars or motor (if Mike is in charge of transportation it's the oars, if it's me it's the motor... I am terrible on the oars haha). Two people on the bow get the fish out and use a dip net to transport the fish from the net to the livewell. Then we take length (mm), sex (M,F, or Jack), species (only take data of chinook, but we have caught coho salmon, pink salmon, steelhead, and suckers) determine if wild or hatchery (adipose fin clip indicates hatchery), take scales (3 from each side), and mark the operculum with a paper hole punch. After the fish is worked up we release it in an upstream holding pool and head back to check the net.
Crew Leader Mike and myself working up a chinook at Hanneman's hole. 

And it goes on from there until about 3am when we head home. Our biggest fish we have caught was 1052mm (41.42 inches to you non-metric folk) wild chinook male. Our smallest has been a ~400mm (15.75 in) hatchery chinook jack (immature male).

Two nights ago we had our first seal incident! It was the first night that our crew leader took the night off and put me in charge, talk about nerve racking! We went to go release a fish and by the time we got back to the net we had another fish in... then we hear PSsssssHH the sound of a mammal blow hole. Angela (crew member) shouts, "CREATURE CREATURE CREATURE!" and we shined the spotlight and there was a very large, very hungry, very angry seal. We quickly pulled the net out of the water, got the fish in the livewell and kept shining and yelling at the seal. He followed us all the way to the release site, so we went further upstream and we lost him. The fish was happy, healthy, not seal food, and the crew was shaken up, but no injuries or errors (we rock). So we survived the first of probably many seal attacks. Since we are so close to the ocean, the seals chase the fish upriver which makes netting a little nerve racking.

Andrew has started his job, he has been doing a few floats on his basin, learning the rivers before he has to do the spawning surveys in a few weeks.

More pictures to come hopefully!

much love, leave comments so I know you are out there!!!!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Video Tour of the Double Wide!

Well, Andrew is now all moved in, so it looks a lot different now, but I thought you might all enjoy a view of the double wide! More pictures to come!

Click on the link to watch the video on youtube!


I will work on a thorough rundown of the new job for you all shortly! I am a little preoccupied, Grandma Sadie passed away this morning, so I am planning an unexpected trip home.

Much Love,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Beginning of a New Adventure

Haystack Rock in the Cape ~2 miles from my house.
I am moved into the double-wide (or as my boss calls it "Whisky Tango" for white trash haha). I don't have photos because I had a sad loss in my life... my camera. Somewhere in the excitement of moving from Idaho to Oregon my precious little guy got lost. So in a paycheck or two I may have a replacement. 
Chinook Salmon
Week one as an ODFW employee was 1000x better than being an intern in Idaho. Tonight at 6pm we will go out and go "fishing." ODFW "fishing" goes something like this: head out to a deep holding pool for migrating Chinook, set a net, watch the net until a fish hits it, retrieve said fish, then take scales, fork length, and mark it with an "opercle punch." This is a mark-recapture study, so we mark as many chinook as we can, then once they have spawned and died we look at the carcasses and determine the population through ratios of unmarked and marked carcasses. To administer an opercle punch, we use hand held paper punches to punch a hole, or mark, in the fish's operculum (the hard bony part protecting the fish's gills). We work nights to avoid the public eye. The chinook fishery is a very touchy subject out here, and in order to efficiently fish without too much disturbance, we fly by night. So I will let you all know how it goes!

Well, once Andrew gets out here, I will put up pics of the double-wide, and hopefully have some good fishing tales!

Friday, August 6, 2010

“All creation is not for man.” -Edward Abbey

Sampling has carried on! We are approaching our last stint! We have Skeleton Creek left on the docket for next week, then we are done! Then I  head to Oregon to start my next adventure! The adventure begins next weekend when I move into the mobile home that Andrew and I will be living in until December. Yes, I said it, mobile home. Our new landlord sent us photos (so we know it's not too hillbilly). We have a wood stove, new floors and cabinets, two bedrooms, it's right on the Nestucca River, and 2 miles from the ocean… I am too excited to care that it’s a double wide! Andrew got a job for Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife as well, and will be moving to Pacific City starting on August 28th and arriving as soon as his dad and him cross the many miles from Willmar, MN to Pacific City, OR. 

Edward Abbey  
The past two stints have been 3-nighter’s so I have had a lot of time to read in my tent. I finished The Bill McKibben Reader: Pieces from an Active Life. Andrew sent me the book for my birthday. His sister, Janelle, gave it to him for Christmas and instantly became a “must read” from Andrew. I am now passing on the “must read” message to all you folks! It is an exceptional collection of works from one of my favorite writers. He is part of an exciting movement called Check it out! I won’t give too much away, but he touches on subjects like Christianity, activism, and appreciation of nature. He speaks on the divide between Christianity and the ideals of many American “Christians” and how that ties to people’s ideas of “land ethic.” He draws on the leadership of the greats such as, Martin Luther King Jr. and Edward Abbey, author of Monkeywrench Gang (another “must read”). He then also describes his version of nature appreciation, taking place in his home in the Adirondack’s in Vermont. He describes a love for the everyday around you, not just “eco-porn”, referring to appreciation of only the grandeur, such as the Tetons. All right, I’ve given away too much, go buy it or check it out from your local library! It will stimulate some interesting conversation!

The 5 pickle jars, 2 with hot peppers!
Pickles with John Prine Lyrics on them!
Weekends in Fairfield have been pretty uneventful, so I have created my own fun! I tried out making pickles! I found a recipe online, and adjusted it a bit (we will see how successful that is in 2 months!). I have never pickled anything, nor been taught by anyone, so we shall see how it works!

*all italicized text is a link to the book or the website! Just click to get there! Woop Woop!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stubborn as a Mule

The mules all loaded up for the hike out
The past two weeks have been.... interesting. Last week was our first stint using horses and mules. It was a long and tiring hike, but the view was unbelievable!
Dan riding "Red" the horse and leading "Gomer" and "Rachel"
Camp: Desmond, Dan, and My Tents & the Mules!

The hikes have been long, about 6-10 miles in, camp, electroshock (usually about another 4-6 miles), then hike back out. The work is tiring, and when one teammate isn't fully "into it" it gets very frustrating. Needless to say, I am excited to start a new job!

Big Ol' Bull Trout
We finally caught our first big bull trout! A 20 incher! We also caught a bunch of our target size (150 mm). We look for the small Young of the Years to determine if the stream we are sampling has a spawning population. If we find the bigger fish it doesn't necessarily mean they can survive in the stream they could have just migrated in and are just hanging out eatin some delicious macroinvertebrates.

Mom and I before Zippin!
Mom came for her birthday weekend, it was so good to see her! We went for a hike, we summited Couch summit (7000 ft), sat in some hot springs, shopped (of course), and Zip Lined!

I officially accepted my position in Oregon this week! Andrew and I also found a place to live! I move in  on August 15th, and Andrew moves in as soon as he is done Looning!

So.... Pacific City, Oregon here I come! Yahoo!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Hard Week Pays Off

Dan and My Nasty Feet After the Hike
This week was a tough one...we hiked 28 miles in two days. The hiking was gorgeous, yet HOT! We were placing thermographs (data loggers that store 2 months of temperature data from the streams we place them in) in 3 streams that are in a recent burn area. A lightning storm a year or two back completely altered the forest system so the thermographs are a means to monitor the change the streams are undergoing in response to the fire. As of right now we still have one stream to tackle, but after 28 miles, 6 popped blisters, one cranky attitude, and one pulled hip flexor, we decided to take a day or two before hiking our final 8 miles.

After we were tired and exhausted, I returned to cell phone service and had a voicemail waiting for me... it was from the job in Oregon I was hoping for! I was so excited! I called back, and BAM! I have a job for the fall!! I am part of the Coastal Chinook Salmon Research and Monitoring Project! I start August 16th, just 4 days after my internship ends here in Idaho, yikes! I will be stationed out of Pacific City, Oregon until mid December. The project's main goal is to gather population estimates of Chinook salmon via Mark/Recapture. I will be kayaking/pontooning down the rivers looking for salmon, then using a weir to capture them, mark them, then release them.

I am so excited! More to come later I am sure!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Montana Fourth of July!

Kim, Jon, and I in front of the Madison River
This Fourth was awesome! A "fly fishing" trip in Big Sky, Montana! I stress the fly fishing, because we really didn't fish all that much or catch all that much! My friend from college, Kim and her friend from work, Jon drove out to Fairfield to pick me up. We then ventured out towards Big Sky to visit my good friend from home, Nick. We fished the mighty Madison... and I caught... a tree! I did learn a lot though, and have caught the fly fishing bug! This weekend, my coworker Dan and I might fish a few rivers here in the Sawtooth's. Hope everyone had a fun Fourth!

Much Love!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy July!

Desmond and I Measuring the Fishes

The last 10 days have been a blast! June 21st through the 23rd Desmond, Dan, and I went down to the Minidoka District in Southern Idaho for a 3 day shocking/camping expedition! It was gorgeous! We didn't see many fish however, but we did spot two bull moose feeding next to a cabin!
One of the bull's we saw in Minidoka!
Dan, Desmond, and I in the Minidoka District, ID
Gazing out at the City of Rocks
Thursday was a "work day," which means all of the crews went up to the Shake Creek Work Station where the Fire Crew and Weed Crew are stationed and built a stock fence ALL DAY. I have never been so sore, but I had to keep up with the boys (even show them up a little) because I was the only woman there save two "higher-ups." (Insert Girl Power statement here... ha!) It was a satisfying day however, there is a certain satisfaction to working hard, sweating, and then seeing a finished product! With all the crews together we got the fence almost completed! The fire guys would have had to do it all themselves, and would have taken them all summer.
After the hard week of work, you think all I would want to do was sleep... but Andrew was flying in that night! I was so amped up I drove home from the work day while Dan and Des slept!
Andrew and I sitting in Worswick Hot Springs!

Andrew and I had a great weekend, I took him up to the town of Ketchum in Sun Valley (skiers delight) and we had pizza and a brew or two and hiked around in the Ketchum district of the Sawtooth Range. We camped Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in 3 different places, it was a blast! It was hard saying goodbye, I won't see him for a month and a half! Yikes!
This week was full of shocking, rainbow trout, and bear tracks! Monday and Wednesday were pretty average sampling days, but Tuesday we hiked into our sites, for a grand total of 5 miles.. not too bad... minus we were in waders and had all our sampling gear (very heavy!). It was fairly successful however, we found no bull trout, which is good for that site... it is very close to a cattle allotment (not so good for the streams, a lot of nutrient and sediment loading). We caught mostly rainbow's and sculpins, all under 200mm. We did have some excitement as we hiked out, fresh bear tracks and scat! It wasn't there when we hiked in... so as I had the food pack, I took care to make a lot of racket with my live well and net so as to frighten off the bear, just in case!
Bear Track with Cliff Bar for Measurement

This Fourth of July is going to be so awesome! My friend Kim from school is driving out to Fairfield from Oregon and we are going to fish and roadtrip out to Montana to stay with our friend Nick and his family! We will be 2 miles from Big Sky and will be fishing the Madison River. Hope to come back with lots of big fish pictures!

Happy America Day everyone! Try not to be too american ;)


Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Shocking Begins!

Taking photos of our sites after we have shocked them for next years sampling.

A wood river scuplin!

This past weekend fellow bunkhousers and I experienced life outside of work in Fairfield. On Friday we went to the local bar for some great live bluegrass/rock music, which proved to be a blast! Saturday we helped out a fellow forest service worker plant 200 juniper trees for a Wind/Snow block. He and his wife payed us with a elk and moose barbeque, beer, and bonfire! The photo above is the view from his back porch... something I could definitely get used to!

This next week we will be traveling down to Northern Utah to sample yellowstone trout, we will be camping out overnight from Monday to Tuesday. Then we will be back in our district to hopefully sample because the streams have finally gone down after all our rain we have had! Then Thursday evening Andrew flies into Boise for the weekend! Yahoo!

Hope all is well back home, Love you all!