Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Galaxias

They're fish. Galaxias - probably G. maculata, although I will have to catch one for a proper ID. The nearest I have been to real live fish for a good few days. I took a walk across the field (had to escape my desk for a few minutes) and to the 'crick' (aka trickle with a few wider spots) and there they were. Only an ichthyologist could find them fascinating, alas. They're about 4 cm long and there in gurt big shoals (well shoals for a barely flowing puddle that is maybe 4 inches deep at the deepest.) It's amazing that they're there at all. Apparantly they're anadromous and move up from the sea.

Hmm. I see they are caught for 'whitebait' - when they move upstream - little fish that are fried whole. To quote the Wikipedia entry: "Foreigners frequently react with revulsion when shown uncooked whitebait, which resembles slimy, translucent worms." Hmm. Remind me not show them to B, uncooked.

Well well. I see it is a strictly controlled 'recreational fishery' in Tasmania.
Amazing what you can learn from a walk to the creek. At some stage the self-sufficiency live off the land bloke will have to try them. After all, we tried mutton-birds. Actually we had muttonbird - cooked by Inge (to show us how it was done and to be nice to us,)this evening, as we had a powerfailure (lost the longer post). It's still a bit on the fried-in-fish-oil stakes, but not inedible.

I think that one of the aspects of foraging is that you have to be 'noticing' and have an eye for detail, and a rather, relentless quizziosity. Funnily enough, in that sense, it fits rather well into the way I persue my other profession - especially with the current alternate history stuff. I probably look up about 400 things a day. It's not a great aid to flow... but it is rather what I am. Most of this doesn't obviously reflect in the books (for eg. if a character needs to look at other ships - I need to know what a crows nest was called in 1437. And I need to know that the telescope was not invented yet.) and I've often wondered if anyone notices.
But I would.
Which is why we'll end up tasting whitebait one of these days.


  1. Have you thought about ducks? Runner ducks eat snails and are, afaik, generally considered "free range" types. Since they eat snails they reduce the amount of calcium and protein that you have to feed them. And they lay eggs.

    They are considered a more "gamey" type of duck in domestication. But so do those we shoot down in the wild. It's because they eat _real_ duckie food!

    Runner type ducks are more adept at dry land foraging, which is why they are kept by so many in the third world. No need for huge ponds to satisfy their needs, a runner duck only needs a stream to dunk in.

    You might have to train them to go inside at night if you have predators like the Tasmanian Devil (don't know if you have 'em).

    I also don't know how your pride/pack will deal with them. But getting egg layers into your orbit should, I think, be a pretty certain project.

  2. Whitebait fritters! Yum!