Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gray. Gloomy. Let us be cheered.

For days like today, when I cannot get myself out of the gray of the clouds, this little guy helps.  I purchased him in Ferndale.  He is made from coral, and most likely came from San Francisco's  China Town, since the owners of the shop are SFers.  That aside, I was in their fabulous store Mainstreet Mercantile (closed now, I believe, for the winter), a year or more ago, with my sister, on a mission to find some of these.  If you ever go to Ferndale, you must go to this store, and then go way in the back to the gem room.  Omigoddess!  It is full to overflowing with beads, gems, coral, pearls, it is like stepping into "The Room of Abundant Amazement."  Strings of beads, every shape and color imaginable.  Yes, the red coral is about my favorite.  The rest of the store will keep you occupied for hours, so put on your list that you want to go to the back room, otherwise you will be distracted by Huckleberry Jam, cowboy hats, weird soaps, wonderful pots and pans, baskets, linens, antique jewelry, old fashioned candy, and at least a million other things.  Everything is secured on shelves with intricate earthquake proof wiring.  Seriously, it is a very cool store.  I especially like the floor, it squeaks just like it is supposed to.  Gosh, I hope it is still open, as I haven't been in for too long.

I learned how to make these in Ferndale.  Probably sooner, at Mom's elbow when we lived in Larabee.  She made 'biscuits' regularly.  They are easy, quick, never-fail, and go with everything from breakfast through dinner, including 4'oclock snack (the fourth meal on the dairy).  Today on Facebook a conversation was proposed about "surf fish," pronounced in Ferndale as "...surfish."  Technically, they are "Smelt," a little fact I learned when I slipped out of Ferndale and into the Junior College biology class, where incidentally, I learned all sorts of things about Humboldt County!

My sister replied on the FB comments:  (I quote loosely!)  "My favorite breakfast is surfish and eggs!"   Oh, dear.  That does not really sound good to me.  My mind went to breakfasts of Nightfish(the smallest smelt) and pancakes (of the sourdough variety).  Our mother hated fish.  Imagine what she must've gone through when we all decided we loved to go surf fishing, and that we loved to eat them, too.  Understand, what Mother hated, was thoroughly hated, and more over, was not cooked or served.  Some things like tomatoes and bananas were simply banned until we each turned 21 and purchased them for our own selves.  I do not know why she was so adamant about her tastes, I am sure that is a small book of psychological inquiry that I am ill prepared to pursue.  Where was I?

Surf fish!  Shiny silver fish that come into the surf to lay their eggs in the sand at a certain time of year.  Seals, salmon and Killer Whales are a few of the species which depend upon this fish for their existence. Well.  I just googled "smelt" to find a horribly disturbing (and not even surprising, anymore) situation.  The Humboldt smelt are most likely extinct.  The Delta(SF bay) populations are so small they are uncountable.  This is another, ongoing ecological disaster.  The smelt have fallen prey to invasive species, but more to pollution, lack of water(low flow), and being sucked into the giant pumps that re-route water.  The implications are difficult to grasp: the collapse of an entire food chain.

So there will be no Surf fish on our plates.  Odd, very odd.  Is it reassuring to realize that when humans step out, Mother Nature rebounds, reconnects, reappears?  Many 'extinct' species have come back, but many more are simply gone forever.  I watched a documentary on the Boulder/Hoover Dam, and the commentators said that it is one of the hugest ecological disasters ever built.

I thought I was cheering myself up somewhat.  Well.  This didn't work too well.  The 'biscuits' tasted good, and Luna and Emerson each had one.  I am enjoying the frog singing tonight.  All is well.  It  has to be...



N2 said...

Those biscuits are the ultimate comfort food! They got to me, with their melting beurre and confit, even as I was reading the depressing news about the disappearance of the surfish. Hugs & Kisses N2

Roberta said...

You speak of smelts. Last night reading My Life in France, up popped a trout stuffed with minnows ... I think of your voice, Laura, when I read this book.

Merry ME said...

A List of Questions:
1. Isn't Ferndale where Mary Hartman (of mary Hartman Mary Hartman fame) live?
2. Are smelt the same as grunions we used to fish for in San Diego?
3. Will you share the bisquit recipe?
4.How's the quilt cming?

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