Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Imagine that done a la The Tick. It's better that way. Also, welcome to my head. Please ignore the backward talking little man in the suit. He only confuses people.

So. What did I do this weekend while the old man was a millin? I dumped a truck load of herring eggs and kelp on my little garden bed. I also turned over the beds, weeded and swore at the %$@# deer that delicately snipped the tops of my tulips.

I digress. I'm going to tell you about at least one of the Alaskan Tradition uses of herring eggs. A person could eat them. Many people sink hemlock branches in hopes of the swarms of herring spawning on them. The eggs are little and salty, that crunch and pop in your mouth. It's like that flying fish roe you get on sushi. Weird but not unpleasant. During the spawn, huge oblong white shapes appear in the water indicate that there is a ball of reproducing herring.

I use the eggs for my garden. They are the best fertilizer and soil structure builder. The micronutrients from the salts are especially lacking in our rain-leached soil, so we don't really have pH problems from adding salty bits to the garden.

This is Halibut Point Recreational beach. That fuzzy yellow stuff is all herring eggs. It was sunny that day. This is about an hour and a half before the low tide.

Here's an intense close up of the eggs. Most of them are stuck to little bits of kelp and other sea vegetables. These eggs don't really stink at this point. They are fresh from the sea and sort of pickled in salt water. The eggs wash up in between the rocks on the beach, sometimes in rafts up to 3 inches thick.

I lied about doing it myself. Here is tDF stuffing a bunch of eggs into a bucket. Do you know what's super great? 5-gallon buckets. This is day 2 of our gathering extravaganza. The day before we filled 8 buckets, to the current day's 4. This beach is actually an estuary where Granite Creek flows into salt water.

You get kelp and sand with the eggs as a totally awesome bonus.

Then you drive home, cackling at your good fortune. Because you totally won at herring egg gathering. Dumping the salty gold on your beds is pretty fun too. Because then it's time to use a shovel and you know how I feel about shovels.
The light stuff is the herring eggs. I mixed and turned and dug and trenched and scattered. Don't you just love how your shoulders feel after turning over your beds? After mixing, I spread a harvest guard over the beds. This allows the herring eggs and kelp to marinate with out disturbance from felines. It will also let my bulbs get to a reasonable height before the deer stop by again.
Walking into work today I caught a whiff of the bed. It smells like fertility!

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