Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category
Filed Under (Birding, Birds, Climate Change, Environment, Fishing, Global Climate Change, NJ WILD, Oceans, Poetry, raptors, whales) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 13-07-2012
It’s impossible for me to believe scenes of great white sharks off Chatham, Massachusetts. That priceless working fishing port served as my essential haven throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. It was a place of weathered grey cottages with white shutters, pink roses on the picket fences. Its winding Oyster River used to be famous for that bivalve, possibly my favorite food. Anything in the waters there was food for us, not the other way ’round!
Daily beach walks from our [Nantucket] Sound-side front door to Harding’s Beach Light revealed rarities, from the red-necked phalarope circling and circling in the Sound to the Hudsonian godwits who pranced around us as we set out. The morning I showed the girls the long-tailed jaeger in the Peterson’s Guide — hovering over a dune — we found one doing exactly that down by the Light. The morning after I read of crows mobbing eagles - to look for raptors when one hears that cacophony — I watched crows drive an American bald eagle all the way back from the Light to Harding’s Woods. I recall it only took the eagle 5 or 6 wingbeats to cover what stretched for us for an hour or more. Down on the hard sand at low tide, back on the high road with the heather and horned larks — all creatures were blessings in Chatham.
Life in Chatham was simplicity itself, a barefoot existence, –full of sweetness in those who shared our cottage and the very local foods we ate, especially Nickerson’s Fisheries fish.
In all our long restorative summers, I never recall the ‘S-word’. Even when we went whale-watching off Provincetown, I remember shearwaters as much as whales. But no sharks. Of any sort. Never, flying from “Chatham Municipal” to Nantucket or the Vineyard. No sharks in headlines, either. “Clam Wars” were all the rage in Chatham summers.
Great White Shark, David Watts, Seapics
Let alone seals!
How can seals have become the norm in Chatham on Cape Cod? How can it be that they lure great white sharks this often and this close to shore?
My NJ WILD readers know my stand on (the increasingly ignored, as increasingly experienced) climate change. So you know my theory - ocean currents changed by melting glaciers and altered temperatures bring sharks closer to shore, and not only in Chatham. And not only this summer…
Change your carbon footprint before it is absolutely too late! What does it take to waken us?
[The two nameless photos have no credits on Internet...]
Meanwhile, here are two new poems triggered by shark news. The first one describes shark alerts along the Jersey Shore, when we summered at Normandy Beach.
lifeguards taught us
how to tell the difference
between sharks and dolphins
high in their whitewashed towers
they’d raise firm hands to
of dolphin fins
beyond the ninth wave
of shark fins
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
June 21, 2012
there are two great whites
off the coast of Chatham
coursing among infamous shoals
which keep her fishermen
but for one tide
Chatham, haven in the grim years
place of my poet love
as these behemoths
beyond the ninth wave
they are somehow
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
June 24, 2012
Brenda Jones’ Immature Princeton Eagles, 2011, on Unlikely Nest
One of the miracles of living New Jersey in general, and near Princeton’s D&R Canal and Towpath, in particular. is that adventure is always at hand. After a dizzying work day, Thursday, and probably too close to sundown, I took myself to the Towpath at Mapleton, I cannot even count all the wonders that were mine, as a result.
En route, I stopped at ‘our eagle nest, glad to see ‘Mama’ perky on the rim of her most uncharacteristic, but very successful cone-shaped nest. Can’t tell if she has young, but her vertical posture suggests same.
Five minutes after I set foot(e) on the Towpath, a fisherman asked, “Do you want to see a fish?”
“Of course!,” I responded.
With that, he tugged on a line in canal water at the aqueduct. Something large and luminous waited in a golden net. The man was from another land, so at first I could not understand the species. Then, the word penetrated, “Carp,” he kindly repeated. “I take them out of here fifteen pounds sometimes. This one’s about ten.”
Speechless at the size of his catch, I asked, “How will you cook it?”
“Paprika,” he immediately answered. “Onions.” Then his brow furrowed. He may not know the English words he needed, so continued, “and all the others.” He smiled eagerly, adding, “and a lot of hot fat.”
“That sounds great!,” I replied, thanking him, walking on.
Another fisherman was literally taking time to smell the flowers.
“A different kind of honeysuckle,” he observed. I bent, inhaled, agreed. I rubbed a flower between my fingers, and it turned to dust. “Dry,” I said sadly.
The fisherman nodded. “March, too,” he observed. “We are ruining the weather.”
I thanked him for wisdom not shared by the Weather Channel, licking its chops over disaster, as usual.
I walked north from the aqueduct, as crew upon crew glided north on Lake Carnegie, gilded by late light.
On my left were cascades of white dogwood bloom, each larger than my hand.
On my right, in the canal, a nose was swimming. Sure enough, it was a slim gold snake. I’ve been writing poems anew, since my November hip replacement. Several of them include snakes. It felt a wonderful omen, not only to ‘meet’ one, but to see it swimming so healthily.
I became aware of a welcome fragrance, far beyond blossoms in rarity this year. It had rained a bit, the night before, though you’d never know it on that dry path. The lake had been renewed by fresh rainfall. The air smelled ‘like clean clothes dried on lines.’ At shore houses and in childhood, one of the rewards of tugging sheets from clotheslines had been that superoxygenated scent, like no other on earth. Until I moved to Princeton, and walked the towpath, that is. I wanted to inhale only, keep it all.
Red-Winged Blackbird, Brenda Jones
Sounds were important on the towpath that evening — red-winged blackbirds’ ‘okaleeeeee’; the uh-oh of fish crows; the imperious command to drink-your-tea!, drink-your-tea! of the white-throated sparrow. An unpleasant leitmotif was also involved commands — from coxswains ordering their rowing students to tighten their thighs.
All the while, both lake and canal shimmered. Leaves trembled, dappling the path and this contented restored walker.
I felt as though I could trek on forever. But, ever mindful of this new hip, decided to pause at the turtles, try to count them. resting on the only logs Irene seems to have left. These were the largest turtles I’ve ever seen resting in serried rows — some like platters!. There must have been at least twenty four. The dark shapes gleamed, and some were accented by coral striations along the relaxed legs.
Turtle Pecking Order Alongside D&R Canal and Towpath, Brenda Jones
Turning at Turtle Central, I made my way back to the footbridge. As I’d promised various health professionals, I took advantage of every bench, only for moments. At my feet in the lake, water lily leaves had opened and pickerel weed arrows had begun to emerge.
I thought of the Lenni Lenapes, who recognized pickerel weed emergence as the signal the tribal reunions from throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond, in the Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh. This shiny pointed plant alerted them to end hunter-live for the time being. After exchanging critical news and performing rituals in the Marsh, our first residents took trails that we have now numbered, 195 being one of them, in order to reach the sea and their gathering season.
I realized, as the sun slipped below western trees, gathering is what I had been doing. From carp through dogwood, snake to turtles. Gathering beauty and memory.
That exists because wise people knew to preserve the D&R Canal and Towpath, among the wise ones having been D&R Greenway Land Trust, where I work. Support your local land trust. Preserve natural New Jersey.
D&R Canal Footbridge at Mapleton cfe
Yesterday’s nature excursion felt inevitable and blessed. A friend had said, “Let’s go somehwere, ANYwhere, Sunday,” and I’d agreed. The next morning I called with the suggested site, and her response was an immediate “Let’s Do it.”
I’m not going to reveal the destination to NJ WILD Readers. And I won’t put pictures in today. If anyone guesses, pix will miraculously appear…
This was the first return to one of my favorite New Jersey nature preserves, since the right leg had begun to buckle, (too long before November 9’s miraculous surgery.)
We were in yet another place of blessed silence, with some interestingly characteristic sounds way off in the distance, whose sources we occasionally attained.
This haven may be New Jersey’s most pristine, though not exactly virgin. Nothing has been built there since creation. Exceptions include one plain but grand-ish early 1930’s house, and its support building; the entry road;two public buildings; two interpretive centers; a Coast Guard Center (recently restored), and trails, trails, trails.
This is normally a place of splendid birds. However, even in yesterday’s unlikely heat, this adventure was not about birds.
A joy of this setting is that one walks between dunes, adorned with original trees, shrubs and undergrowth, pruned only by the wind. Humans on those paths are well protected from wind, en route first to Bay then to Ocean, depending on mood and conditions.
These healed legs walked in dense forest. They trod on crunchy oak leaves and slivers of bayberry, all the most irresistible caramelized hue. Despite new hip, and sometimes using trekking poles, I made it through loose sand and packed sand, up hill and down dale. I was shaded by high bush blueberry, then holly, even exuberantly healthy bayberry, and some swamp maples fully abloom in spring red.
I could walk most swiftly on the damp sands of bayside. I bent to capture its brackish water, smoothing cool droplets along the ever-shrinking surgical site — its briny baptism. Its Delaware River christening took place two weeks ago.
Before the day was out, I’d climbed over driftwood, then tiptoed noiselessly among pine needles. We’d sped alongside a split-rail fence, where I pretended its shadow was a horizontal board, balancing with arms wide and flat like child quick-walking a wall.
I’d studied flotsam and jetsam, nature’s and man’s, the human detritus appealingly battered by its watery journey. One seemed a sand-strafed, salt-soaked prow of an ancient ship, entangled in rough hand-tied fishnet.
I’d sought boardwalks over sand, where we could walk at a faster clip. I’d eagerly climbed shifting trails between dunes. In rising and falling pathways through thickets, bayberry grew higher than our heads. We marveled at the profusion of cedar berries. Some of these native New Jersey evergreens seemed bluer than the clearing sky overhead. Hollies towered, also laden.
Everything everywhere was wild, convoluted. When man leaves nature alone to this degree, what remains is rich cover for wild creatures. To say nothing of magic for the occasional human.
We spoke aloud favorite words evoked by each trail - “grove”, “copse”, “thicket” and “cove” high on our list.
The osprey nest was still empty, but towering and sturdy despite winter’s storms.
In a scruffy garden, we came upon two enormous whale bones, weathered and bleached, curving to infinity. My exploring friend is teaching a course in Moby Dick for Princeton’s Evergreen Forum, so this discovery was apt. I ran my fingers along its significant length and heft, realizing that the new health of my own bones permitted this indelible ritual-by-the-sea.
Only rarely did I lift optics to study winged creatures. I regretted the absence of gannets and long-tailed ducks beyond the farther waves. I couldn’t look fast enough to ascertain whether the handful of sharp flying white birds with black wing tips could be an uncharacteristically small flock of snow geese flying to northern homes because all waters must be open.
Two peak experiences involved dunes. One was right out of Robinson Crusoe, a thread of bare footprints, deep and obviously content, even exultant, in pristine sand.
The other, a rosary of fox tracks, interspersed with shattered clamshells. Here the fox pranced. Here and here, he skidded, as did we on the sand traiil.
An unexpected sight was a child-sized sand-angel. The kind we used to make in snow. Remember snow? The child might have been three years old, arms incising effective wings. Above the smooth round head, with determined fingers, the angel-maker had inscribed a halo.
I inadvertently brought back, in the heels of my walking shoes, enough sugar sand to pour into a tiny plastic sack. The sound of sand in plastic is very nearly “a tintinnabulation of the bells”.
But I couldn’t bring home the sussurus of waves. Nor the serenity of that single silhouetted fisherman all in black. He wasn’t really after fish. Rather, deeply and gracefully absorbed in being the only human on the beach.
To evoke our day, my cache of sand would require a shard or two of clamshell, an array of pine needles, one or two super-ruddy oak leaves and ditto bayberry, a holly berry or two, a spurt of broken dune grass, a grey-green fanlet of lichen, and, of course, beach heather.
But this is a park, and a sacred one at that. As always, the mantra is, “Take nothing but photographs”
Where was I?
Through Science Daily Environmental Headlines
Photos by Brenda Jones
Fish for Lunch, Lake Carnegie Cormorant — Brenda Jones
NJ WILD readers are accustomed to my deep concern and sometimes, frankly, rage, re humans’ destruction of the environment. This is particularly true in terms of CO2 emissions and the increasing warming of our climate and rising of our seas.
Now I learn yet another peril, due to too much carbon dioxide in our world. It’s driving fish crazy.
Great Egret Fishing, Brenda Jones
(Is this to become a scene from the past?)
Not only birds eat fish, remember…
Being the only state with three coastlines, this should really concern us:
Carbon Dioxide Is ‘Driving Fish Crazy’
ScienceDaily (Jan. 20, 2012) — Rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of sea fishes with serious consequences for their survival, an international scientific team has found.
In their latest paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Prof. Munday and colleagues report world-first evidence that high CO2 levels in sea water disrupts a key brain receptor in fish, causing marked changes in their behaviour and sensory ability.
“We’ve found that elevated CO2 in the oceans can directly interfere with fish neurotransmitter functions, which poses a direct and previously unknown threat to sea life,” Prof. Munday says.
Prof. Munday and his colleagues began by studying how baby clown and damsel fishes performed alongside their predators in CO2-enriched water. They found that, while the predators were somewhat affected, the immature fish suffered much higher rates of attrition.
“Our early work showed that the sense of smell of immature fish was harmed by higher CO2 in the water – meaning they found it harder to locate a reef to settle on or detect the warning smell of a predator fish. But we suspected there was much more to it than the loss of ability to smell.”
The team then examined whether fishes’ sense of hearing – used to locate and hone in on reefs at night, and avoid them during the day — was affected. “The answer is, yes it was. They were confused and no longer avoided reef sounds during the day. Being attracted to reefs during daylight would make them easy meat for predators.”
Other work showed the fish also tended to lose their natural instinct to turn left or right — an important factor in schooling behaviour which also makes them more vulnerable, as lone fish are easily eaten by predators.
“All this led us to suspect it wasn’t simply damage to their individual senses that was going on — but rather, that higher levels of carbon dioxide were affecting their whole central nervous system.”
The team’s latest research shows that high CO2 directly stimulates a receptor in the fish brain called GABA-A, leading to a reversal in its normal function and over-excitement of certain nerve signals.
While most animals with brains have GABA-A receptors, the team considers the effects of elevated CO2 are likely to be most felt by those living in water, as they have lower blood CO2 levels normally. The main impact is likely to be felt by some crustaceans and by most fishes, especially those which use a lot of oxygen.
Prof. Munday said that around 2.3 billion tonnes of human CO2 emissions dissolve into the world’s oceans every year, causing changes in the chemical environment of the water in which fish and other species live.
“We’ve now established it isn’t simply the acidification of the oceans that is causing disruption — as is the case with shellfish and plankton with chalky skeletons — but the actual dissolved CO2 itself is damaging the fishes’ nervous systems.”
The work shows that fish with high oxygen consumption are likely to be most affected, suggesting the effects of high CO2 may impair some species worse than others — possibly including important species targeted by the world’s fishing industries.
BAHR’S — THE DOOR
In 2010, I gave myself two Sandy Hooks to one Bahr’s, treasuring every moment –
scintillation at ‘The Hook’ and succulence at Bahr’s.
Bahr’s - The Pause that Refreshes, near Sandy Hook
Friends who ‘excurse’ with me and NJ WILD readers know well that a good part of my errantry in New Jersey is food-related.
‘Errantry’ means ‘wandering around in search of adventure.’ I do a good bit of this in Central and Southern Jersey, as often as possible near the waters of our three [count them!] coasts.
My errantry tends to begin and end as a nature quest. But, in the middle, there is memorable food.
Home are the Fishermen, Home from the Hunt: The Long Shot
It has to be good, local, fresh and real. Bahr’s, across that new bridge from Sandy Hook, down at the base of ‘The Highlands’, scores on all points. All during lunch recently, I watched the mate of a returning fishing vessel, docked below my table, lift and dress (well, it’s more like undressing) striped bass after striped bass of a size about which fishermen dream. My waitress confirmed my guess, from sleekness, heftiness, rosiness and a kind of nobility, as to the species of their catch.
Talking later to Captain Mark McColgan, of Sea Bright, I would learn that there had been twelve aboard with fishing poles in hand, with a limit of three per person. They’d filled their quota, waiting in proud and quiet eagerness for fishy treasure brought back from the deep.
A child at the table next to me, –equally rapt at this transformation so prosaically termed ‘cleaning’–, spoke my personal longing: “I want THAT fish.”
Well, we didn’t have ‘that fish’ - buckets-full of luminous bass went home with the happy hunters of the morning, disembarking from the Long Shot.
I’m a sucker for anything nautical — happy memories of sailing on the France, the Mary, the QEII; simpler souvenirs of time in fishing towns of New England, especially Cape Cod, especially Chatham and Provincetown. Bahr’s transports me to simple joys of other eras, other regions — and yet, here it is, pristine, spic and span, by the sparkling waters of the Navesink and the Atlantic Ocean, the scrubby dunes and salt-pruned woodlands of Sandy Hook just across the small waves, as we feast.
View of Sandy Hook from Our Table at Bahr’s
View AT Our Table at Bahr’s
Notice not only my cherished scallops, which are, in effect, just-fried sushi! - luminous within their classic coating, though nearly too hot to eat, and never needing sauce atall. Check out those random real carrots - none of the fake baby sort, tough and hard and dry, curiously lacking in flavor. Every slice of Bahr’s carrots is different, determined by the carrot, not by some machine. And worthy of the journey in themselves. But no, that designation is reserved for their steaming biscuits, which arrive with the beer, puffing clouds of heat as they fall into fragments in eager hands. Not even needing the generous butter. Redolent, delicate, yet hearty. Their potatoes are the red ones, –merry healthy skins still in place–, a few herbs scattered here and there, perfectly cooked, and, again, full of welcome variation revealing their authenticity.
Legendary Biscuits and Slaw, and, oh yes, Yuengling of Pennsylvania
America’s Oldest Continuously Operating Brewery, and not always available
I try, I really do, to order something other than scallops. Cod, for example, although I thought there wasn’t any, any more. Well, they call it scrod, which is so Boston, bringing back other joyous memories with daughters in their college days, alongside other dancing waters. Oysters, but only if they’re not blue points — I’m sorry, I mistrust Long Island as a source for oysters I would want to eat. Once, with Betty Lies, we were given oysters from the Chesapeake that were so savory that we had to stop our intense (usually bookish) conversation over and over, in awe of their meatiness and memorability. My sister’s been with me there, she of the Midwest — satisfying her longing for lobster rolls that she remembers with us when we had our Chatham house on Nantucket Sound.
So often, memory deceives, or is deceived. At Bahr’s, memory is equalled and possibly surpassed.
There is merriment in the place, and a hearty crew always at the bar. Deep laughs at the blackboard ordering us to SAVE CHICKEN/EAT LOBSTER.
There are canned seafoods and stews to take home, and I always think I’ll try them. But they won’t be the same without the ’shining big sea waters’ just below our table.
ONE BELL, ALL’S WELL, BAHR’S, ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS
Then, Back over the high new bridge, to shimmering miracles of Sandy Hook
Driftwood’s Wild Tangle, Sandy Hook
Pristine Flotsam and Jetsam, Sandy Hook
“BY THE SHINING BIG SEA WATERS”, SANDY HOOK
AUTUMN CASCADE, PARKING LOT, SANDY HOOK
PARASAIL PARADISE, SANDY HOOK, LOOKING BACK TOWARD MAINLAND
and this is New Jersey — PRESERVE IT!
Filed Under (Activism, Amphibians, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Destruction, Disaster, Environment, Fishing, Food, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ WILD, Oceans, habitat) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 13-05-2011
NJ WILD readers know the vehemence of my protest that this volcano of poisonous oil, and its toxic ‘dispersants’ by no means constitutes a mere spill.
Here’s Bird-Central, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a year later. PONDER THIS… (bolds mine, as usual)
The world seems to have washed its hands of the perils of the waters, the land, the birds and other wildlife, the humans whose lives depend upon this region of marshes and seas, and the fact that we are an ocean planet…
Write your Congresspersons and our president and his officials in charge of our environment.
Remind them. We have poisoned the sea that is the basis of our life — as shown from space on first Apollo missions.
Hold officials accountable for not only the safety but the beauty of our world.
Cornell Lab eNews
April 14, 2011
A new video shares footage of birds after the oil spill and notes the power of observation and citizen science to advance conservation.
One year ago on April 20, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig ruptured, ultimately releasing more than 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. As workers scrambled to contain the spill and rescue oiled wildlife, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology sent its multimedia team to Louisiana. They filmed breeding bird colonies affected by the oil and pieced together the larger context of Louisiana’s rapidly vanishing wetlands.
In a new video on YouTube, Cornell Lab director John Fitzpatrick comments on the oil [spill] CATASTROPHE in light of the high-definition footage of birds. He looks ahead to our nation’s opportunity to protect one of the earth’s most vibrant living ecosystems and its spectacular birdlife.
In Restoring America’s Delta, experts reveal the critical role that the Mississippi River Delta plays in the lives of wildlife and people across the continent.
Visit our oil spill website for new videos and information, including
Thank you to the many citizen-science participants who have continued to monitor birds in Gulf Coast states since the spill. We also thank members and friends of the Lab for supporting our work. You enable us to provide scientific data for damage assessment and restoration, and to raise awareness of the need for environmental protection in the Gulf.
Please consider a donation today to support our continuing efforts.
|The Cornell Lab of Ornithology relies on your support to advance conservation. A single catastrophe such as the Gulf Coast oil spill affects the birds and entire ecosystems for years to come.
With your support, we moved swiftly last year to monitor birds and marine wildlife immediately after the oil spill. We continue to inform governments, industries, and the general public about the oil spill’s impact on wildlife through citizen-science efforts, analysis of data, and documentaries.
The Cornell Lab’s Team Sapsucker arrives in Texas this week to get ready for the Big Day, their biggest conservation fundraiser of the year. The birds are counting on us to make a difference. Please support our continuing work in bird conservation. Pledge now or make a donation.
Golden-cheeked Warbler by Tom Johnson
|Your support of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology helps us solve critical problems facing birds and other wildlife by using the best science and technology–and by inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to care about and protect the planet. Please join as a member or make a donation to support our mission.
|Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca NY 14850
Questions or Comments? Call us toll-free at (800) 843-BIRD (2473)
When April is the Cruellest Month - Go to Leeds Point
“I must go down to the sea, again!
the lonely sea and the sky…”
When the tidal urge is upon me, I set off through the heart of the Pine Barrens, in quest of bays and inlets. I relish every inch of that drive, especially alongside tidal creeks and over named ditches. I cross the Rancocas, the only Pine Barrens River to flow to the Delaware. All other rivers lead to the sea. I must re-enter Bayside fishing villages, where oystermen and clam-men and the rest of their noble tribe, bring in real clams and real crabs and real fish to noble structures of other times, beside the briny waterways.
At Leeds Point, my haven, the funky and memorable Oyster Creek Inn, won’t let you order lobster until the these feisty crustaceans arrive with their lobsterman. I’ll savor local oysters on the half shell and attend to each morsel of their bountiful seafood pie. Every moment at Oyster Creek, I feel surrounded by revolutionaries and smugglers and bootleggers and surely pirates of other centuries, who stomped those bare wood waterside floors.
I go to Leeds Point to stride among clam baskets and sneak boxes, photograph buoys and weir nets, to breathe as deeply of salt tang on the air as did the first water creature ever to crawl up onto land.
Overhead, fish crows complain and great blue herons squawk.
Underfoot, already crushed clamshells crush more.
Sunlight sharpens every angle of venerable working fishing village buildings. The same sunlight somehow softens every wavelet.
For centuries, New Jersey Baymen and Pineys have been masters at rolling with punches. In our Revolution, they rowed with muffled oars along the Mullica River to swarm aboard British merchant ships and men-o-war, towing them triumphantly into hidden towns tucked along that river without which we wouldn’t have a nation. Privateers, they were called and sometimes officially so. They’d offload British ’stores’ from captured ships, selling them through Philadelphia newspapers (some of them Ben Franklin’s brainchildren) in ads that can still be read in local historical societies. You know, the ones where the ‘f’s look like ’s’s, or is it the other way round?
TYPICAL PINE BARRENS, BAYMEN’S SNEAK BOX, CAMOUFLAGED
When market hunting was over, people of the Pines and bays would gather pinecones and sphagnum moss, which actually healed wounds upon which tufts were placed as bandages in WW I. During blizzards, they’d carve new decoys by lamplight. In really wild weather they’d fashion camouflage of local, earlier gathered grasses to disguise their flat boats, at home in any tide.
WEIR NETS READY TO SET
Baymen of today remain proud of these hardy skills. They let 21st-Century tides pull new fish into old weir nets. Winter is a time to repair lobster traps and repaint buoys. They know when bluefish’ll be running and crabs a’sheddin’. It’ll be blueberries in June and Cranberries in October. By which time, hunting will tug them again - after the hunters’ mass in St. Phillips chapel on the eve of this year’s hunt.
Never at a loss, the entire upheaved world of the 21st Century has much to learn from the men and women of the SEASONS and the TIDES.
CLAM HARVESTS PAST - April 2011 -
LOBSTER SHADOWS, LEEDS POINT
TOOLS OF THE TRADE, LEEDS POINT
LEEDS POINT FISHING VILLAGE CLAM HOUSE
21st-Century Shell Midden, Leeds Point
SNEAK BOX, READY TO LAUNCH, LEEDS POINT
PINE BARRENS SNEAK BOX, UNCAMOUFLAGED, AND CLAM BASKETS
WORKING FISHING VILLAGE, LEEDS POINT
LEEDS POINT ABSTRACT: CLAM SHACK
COMMERCIAL FISHING — NOT JUST A SPORT
MULLICA PRIDE - LEEDS POINT
TETHERED — HOW I FEEL WHEN I FINALLY REACH LEEDS POINT
WORKING BOATS WAITING FOR SPRING - LEEDS POINT
There is nobility in these structures and these crafts, these workmen, this way of life. Honor resides here, courage and integrity. Baymen and women know how to waltz with nature. She is their partner, rewarding in all seasons, even winter…
STROLLING LEEDS POINT
SUFFUSED WITH SALT AIR
WIND IN THE RUSHES AND THE REEDS
WAVES SOFTLY LAPPING
SUN LIKE GOLD COINS UPON THESE TIDAL WATERS
COME WITH ME -
Find Brigantine Wildlife Refuge/Edwin B. Forsythe, near Smithville
Take Leeds Point Road north and east alongside the fire station when you leave
You won’t regret your time in the village of timelessness!
Filed Under (Adventure, Environment, Farmland, Fishing, Food, Forests, Government, Hamilton Trenton Bordentown Marsh, Indians, KAYAKING, NJ, NJ State Parks, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pine Barrens, Preservation, habitat) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 10-04-2011
Spring Tiptoes Through the Pines
Lake Oswego Invites, Pine Barrens, New Jersey, April 2011 (cfe)
Desperate for spring, yesterday, I took a friend –who’d never been in the Pinelands– to this pristine region of our beleaguered, overpopulated state.
Both of us were absolutely enchanted all the day long.
On empty roads, which I term “My Secret Roads”, into Pinelands, I have been taught and taught, “The Journey is the Destination.” My friend experienced this reality. You can, too!
True Pine Barrens Welcome, (cfe)
How to undertake this miraculous Journey: Route 563 South from Chatsworth (Heart of the Pines). First stop into Buzby’s General Store, at the corner of 563 and 532, just south of the firehouse. Go into Buzby’s for Pine Barrens books and products - local, sustainable, traditional and real.
Marilyn Schmidt at Buzby’s with her Easter Tree, by Sharon Olson
Especially buy its splendid, thorough and revelatory Pine Barrens Map, while they last. It was designed by the lady at the desk, my friend Marilyn Schmidt. This powerhouse of a woman saved Buzby’s from oblivion and worse, doing whatever it took to have it named to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. She also wrote and published many of the books on Pine Barrens history, lingo, graveyards and foods.
Blueberry Bread, Cranberry Bread, Cornbread Mixes from Buzby’s (cfe)
To Find Lake Oswego: South of Chatsworth, on the left, be on lookout for small thin sign, reading “Oswego”, VERY high in a tree. (Locals hammered the lake’s name to a tree so it would grow up up and away. Pineys are famous for wanting to keep their beautiful region for themselves.)
Turn left and wander along that long not winding lane, between bogs. This time of year, they are flooded lest vital vines be frozen during still chilly nights. You’ll pass a state institute of research on the Pines’ most famous crops, cranberries and blueberries. Bogs are also flooded, to assist with wet harvest.
Cranberry Harvest, Alongside 563, near Chatsworth, Autumn, 2010 (cfe)
Yesterday, I fretted, with state finances in such disarray, will berry research still be funded next time I drive to Oswego?
The first time I took the Oswego road, a minuscule forest fire was running right along both edges. between road and sand, not yet into woods.
Fire is the friend of the Pine Barrens - clearing out pine duff and too many oaks, allowing fire-resistant pitch pines to burgeon anew (newly fertilized by ash), serotinous cones only burst by heat, seeds scattered by firewinds. Without pine duff and oak seedlings, and only without them, the Pines can thrive.
“Sure, a Little Bit of Heaven Fell…” (cfe)
On my forest fire drive, it was deep winter. Flames danced like tiny red snakes, temptation dancers – Firebird, Sheherezade. To continue to watch such a dance, would I give the dancers anything, even John the Baptist’s head?
Beyond whirling tongues of orange and copper and scarlet and gold, snow and ice ruled. Beneath white glaze were waiting Pine Barrens rarities, –carnivorous plants, spring-raucous Pine Barrens tree frogs, spotted turtles, rare corn snakes and special rattlesnakes, curly grass fern, elusive swamp pink…
Firelings writhed merrily along. Pavement ended. Auslanders are not supposed to drive on sugar sand roads. But I was drawn on and on, over the tiny bridge, to that scintillation of lake –absolutely irresistible:
“In Just Spring”, Even Though April, (cfe)
I am forever magnetized by Lake Oswego. Partly because, there, I still feel Indians to whom it used to be sacred.
Sacred Pine Barrens Peat Water of Lake Oswego on Fourth of July (cfe)
Partly because blueberries grow on all sides there, on host shrubs taller than I. The fruit of each bush holds a different flavor, texture, size and juiciness. No wonder New Jersey makes blueberry wine. Sampling those berries in June is like walking through a wine tasting. Except that these ‘grapes’ are blue and high and warm in sun.
Alongside that little bridge that I first met in fire and ice, spring will bring white bells that turn into blueberries.
A little later, air beside the bridge will be perfumed by the white cascades of sweet pepper bush. Everywhere is water, and somewheres kayakers. And sometimes happy swimmers and dabblers. Always appreciators.
Hikers Discuss Lake Oswego Trails (cfe)
This magic enclave is more than 50 and less than 75 miles from where I used to live at Canal Pointe. This magic awaits in all seasons.
Is Bright Moss Spring? (cfe)
However, yesterday, I would say that we found beauty yes but spring, no.
Small State Forest Sign, Not Identifying Lake- Will Sign Be There Next Time? (cfe)
Lake Oswego is a State Park, although the large state sign at entry has been removed. [Not sure whether this is Piney Keep-Out attitude, or State parsimony.
Such absences are ever ominous to a preservationist, but not troubling to the hikers and fishermen of yesterday. Fishermen and -woman grinned from ear to ear, even though they were reluctantly turning their backs on the lake. “What are you catching here?”, I asked, having just finished Richard Louv’s “Fly Fishing for Sharks”, therefore feeling every inch a virtual fisherman. “Pickerel,” they said, glowing. Ah, ha! I’d always wanted to hear of pickerel, this near to the sea.
I remembered that nomadic New Jersey Indians once moved from their hunting (inland) lives to their gathering lives at the Shore, after gathering at our (Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh), creating the sand trails that became the 20th Century’s 195 over to Brielle and the sea. I remembered that they knew to move to the ocean when the leaves of pickerel weed (which grows and provides sanctuary for fish in (fake) Lake Carnegie, not only thrust to full height, but opened to full light.
I really wanted to meet a pickerel. But they had no catch - all catch and release, as is the way of fishing in American waters now.
This pine-ringed lake could be the finest Old Pawn jewelry, venerable turquoise set in the richly carved bezel of stately green-black pines.
At Lake Oswego, in all seasons, all is the silence and peace I seek.
Visitors know and respect its soothing, inspiring aura, even when spring won’t arrive.
Our Earliest Flower - the Swamp Maple — Oswego’s Only April 9 Bloom (cfe)
Filed Under (Activism, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Fishing, KAYAKING, NJ WILD, New Jersey, Preservation, Restoration, Solitude, The Seasons, Timelessness, Tranquillity, protection, stewardship, wild) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 30-01-2011
Upper Raritan, Fly Fishermen’s Paradise - Ken Lockwood Gorge, Tasha O’Neill
GOOD NEWS - FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN A CENTURY: Upper Raritan to Run Free
Dear NJ WILD Readers,
To give you a sense of the magnitude of this preservation miracle, I share Tasha O’Neill’s glorious pictures of Ken Lockwood Gorge on the upper Raritan.
It’s grand in winter in the Gorge. Virtual trips can be made by Googling Ken Lockwood Gorge and feast your eyes on vodka-clear waters, dancing between moss-garlanded black rock walls. Pretend you’re as deft, graceful and successful as all those fly fishermen.
Imagine that our hands are tenderly releasing wild and wily trout into untroubled Raritan waters. This is a dream that can now come true.
I recently watched NJN Special, Along the Delaware, showing the grace of fly fishing in the upper Delaware River. Scenes of artful sportsmen are interspersed with those peaceful kayakers, to the overhead carols of red-tailed hawks… Now, The Delaware’s sister, Raritan, can give forth wild bounty.
For once, humans are making amends to our beleaguered earth.
In the meantime, support your local land trust, such as our D&R Greenway Land Trust, founded to preserve land near the Delaware & Raritan Canal and Towpath. Keep in the forefront of your consciousness the beauty and peril (development/poisoning of waterways) of our beautiful unsung state… Do everything in your power to expand preservation miracles such as this one.
And, go walk the Gorge in all seasons. You may be inspired to paint masterpieces, as have some of D&R Greenway’s key Artists of Preservation.
The NJ DEP has secured an agreement that will open up a large stretch of the
Raritan River for fish spawning as compensation for the public for harm to
natural resources caused by past pollution at a refinery and three polymer
plants that were operated by or affiliated with the El Paso Corp.
The removal of the dams, financed and carried out by El Paso, will open up a
nearly 10-mile stretch of the middle and upper Raritan to fish migrations for
the first time in more than a century, at the same time expanding recreational
opportunities along the river.
The settlement marks an important first step in what the DEP hopes will become
an even broader effort to enhance fish passage or remove additional dams in the
Raritan and its tributaries, including the Millstone River.
The fish to benefit most from the removal of the dams are American shad,
American eel, herring, and striped bass. These species once migrated in
prodigious numbers through the gravelly shallows of the upper Raritan, most to
Additionally, the dam removal will make it easier for kayakers,
canoeists, and other lovers of the outdoors to enjoy the river system which has
been undergoing a steady and impressive ecological comeback over the years.
For more details on the settlement and the stretches of river involved, visit
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/newsrel/2011/11_0010.htm on the DEP website.
Filed Under (Adventure, Agriculture, Delaware Bayshores, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Fishing, Harvest, Indians, NJ WILD, Preservation, Restoration, Revolutionary War, Solitude, Tranquillity, protection, rivers) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 14-09-2010
Another Quest for the Real and the Beautiful in New Jersey
Salem County - Summer Central
NJ Wild Readers know that every so often, I need to run away from home. Not far. Still New Jersey.
You know, I take the dappled roads, to watery reaches, to peace and beauty, where traffic does not exist and there’s no such thing as road rage. Instead, peace surrounds me on all sides.
One of my favorite destinations is idyllic Salem County on the Delaware Bayshore. There, I ride alongside healthy crops, even the soybeans higher than my knees. In Salem County, my favorite signboards, the ones trumpeting PRESERVED FARMLAND are the norm, not the exception. On the Delaware Bayshore, I take every road that says NO OUTLET, because the outlet is the Bay. Or a marshland. Or a meadow. Or a swamp. Or a forest. Or a fisherman’s haven.
I wrote about the fishing haven, Fortescue, last week. Today, I’m lonely all over again for Salem county vistas and history.
Salem County Perfection
In Salem County, there doesn’t seem to have been any drought.
“Beneath the spreading XX Tree…” Salem County - No Drought Here!
In Salem County, peace reigns.
Salem County Peace –Alloway Creek
In Salem County, water is a constant companion.
Salem County - Alloway Souvenirs of Yesteryear
In Salem, history throbs at any crossing; above, alongside and below any bridge.
Hancock’s Bridge Pilings
Over this bridge rushed furious Redcoats, smarting from a recent defeat at a nearby bridge. Whipped into fury over having been conquered by our ragtag and bobtail army, they burst into the idyllic Quaker home of Mr. Hancock, slaughtering right and left, soldiers sleeping the sleep of the just after their recent victory. The Brits did not take kindly to being outsmarted by ordinary people fighting for liberty. Hancock House is open almost every day of the year, where Alicia, the Ranger, will tell the proud sad tale anew, and guests may walk from room to room and floor to floor, even on the Fourth of July, pondering what it takes to win through to freedom.
Hancock House’s Majestic Facade Belies Massacre…
Summer shadows bless Hancock House today, reminding us to pay any price, bear any burden to remain free of tyranny. In this house, the sleeping soldiers sacrificed that which our Founding Fathers were willing to barter for liberty - their lives, their fortunes - but not their sacred honor.
Hancock House - Where Summer Shadows now Whisper Peace
From this peaceful waterway, belligerent redcoats came.
Past an herb garden bearing these very varieties, soldiers rushed, bayonets at the ready.
Salem County Held Swedish Dwellings Such as This, Before the Advent of Quaker brickwork.
Quaker Brickwork Includes Initials of Mr. and Mrs. Hancock and 1734 Date
In Salem County, The Past Lives On
In Salem County, PRESERVED FARMLAND SIGNS Greet Travelers at Any Bend in the Road
Before or after watery wanderings and farmquests, I wend my way into beautiful downtown Salem, which is being courageously and assiduously restored by proud and determined residents.
Jewel in Salem’s Crown is the Salem Oak. Under this majestic tree, the founder of this town negotiated with and paid the Indians of the region for his land. This was unusual even then.
Now that we have lost the Mercer Oak, this may be the most famous tree in New Jersey. It has the shape ours once bore on Mercer Street, purportedly beneath whose boughs General Mercer, though bayoneted, conducted the Victory of Princeton.
To my eyes, the Salem Oak looks healthier today than the last time I was there. What do you think?
Salem Oak - New Jersey’s Most Famous Living Tree?
Across the road, travelers may refresh themselves at the Salem Oak Diner. Even though it has some exotic red-leafed tree on the cover that bears no resemblance to any oak of any species or era. Even though it has red white and blue flags over it now, to urge people to come there.
Under New Management
They never USED to need to urge us. I found out the reason for the changes — why there’s no longer a grilled corn muffin on the menu. Why the motherly and venerable waitresses who know their way around what used to be a unique menu are no longer there. Change comes to Salem County. The first owner was ill, and sold it to a long-time waitress. She kept the old spirit, the heart of the town, the place where all the locals gathered and the many lawyers of the region knew they could come for reliable meals in the middle of complex cases. The waitress sold it to what the Germans call ‘auslanders’, what Cape Codders call “people from away.” Why that should change it, I don’t know. But it did. The food’s ok. The spirit of Salem, however, is no longer palpable inside. There are few enough restaurants in the region, that you might as well stop there if you’re feeling a bit ‘peckish.’
But no longer will the people at the next table plunk down a bottle of ketchup as a poet friend and I finished ordering our food. “For breakfast?!”, we queried. “Oh, you’re not from around here…”, they realized. In other words you didn’t either grow the tomatoes or pack them when Heinz reigned above Salem fields….
They Still Have the Weekly Specialty - Made by a PA. Dutch Cook - one day a week!
We’re Not Only the Garden State - Where the Diner Capitol
The Salem Oak Diner IS real…
But Salem is also known for preservation of its vital farms — Learn from them!