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Friday, June 19, 2015

Sockeye Salmon from the Copper River and The Fishing Village Gets Built

Hey Y'all,

Happy Salmon Season!

It's a salmon lovers favorite time of the year!  The wild salmon season is underway and we have both king salmon and sockeye salmon in our store this week.

Wild salmon is a favorite subject of mine.  Every year I get to expound on the mystery of their journey home to their spawning ponds.  And every year I continue to be amazed by how many lessons we can learn from the life cycle of the salmon.

The Salmon Life Cycle
Newborn salmon (called alevin) begin life in freshwater creeks and rivers.  They enter the world with a food sack attached to them which nourishes them until they are big enough to leave the nest to search out food for themselves.  (Lesson #1:  Some creatures start life with a distinct advantage.)

Alevin with its food sack 

As they mature they become camouflaged with parr marks that keep them from being noticed by predators.  (Lesson #2:  Sometimes it is a good idea to just blend into the background.)

 When they get a little older they turn silver and are called smolts and head to the mouth of the river.  (Lesson #3:  A little silver does not mean you don't have a lot of living left to do.)

Smolts with parr marks

When they reach the estuary, where the river meets the sea, they adapt themselves to a saltwater environment.  (Lesson #4:  Be flexible.)

When they are able, they head out to the Pacific Ocean and spend most of the rest of their lives swimming sometimes thousands of miles in the ocean, maturing and storing up fat. (Lesson #5:  Work hard and save up, and don't forget where you come from.)

As they reach the end of their lives, they head back to the river where they were raised.  (Lesson #6:  Spend your life exploring, but when the time comes, you are going to want to be in familiar territory.)

Because they have spent years fattening up in the ocean and they are firm muscular fish, once they enter the mouth of the river, they don't eat any more.  (Lesson #7:  At some point in your life you are going to need to rely on resources you have previously earned.)

They use all their energy to power themselves up the river where they arrive at their natal stream, the place of their birth.  (Lesson #8:  You really can go home again.)

 The female sweeps her tail to create a nest and lays her eggs. (Lesson #9:  Provide enough for your children to get a good start.)

 The male comes along and fertilized the eggs.  (Lesson #10:  It takes two to tango.)
Both male and female salmon die.  (Lesson #11:  See what having kids can do to you?)

Building A Fishing Village

Last year, at Kathleen's Catch, we started contemplating what seemed to be close to impossible, building a fishing village in Honduras. At a $65,000 price tag, we were going to have to work pretty hard to make it happen.   

Why a fishing village?  Why Honduras?

A fishing village because, well, we are fishmongers and we make our living from the bounty of the sea.

And Honduras because we felt a strong desire to do something to help with the crisis of undocumented and unaccompanied minors crossing our southern border from Central America.  It was our thinking that if we could do something that would help to improve the lives of even just a small community in, say, Honduras, we could create an environment where parents would be able to raise their children.  Maybe they wouldn't feel like they HAD to send their children away on the dangerous journey through Mexico to the United States.

By mid-summer we had hooked up with Food for the Poor, worked out some details and started spreading the word to raise the money.  Our core team of volunteers worked very hard to plan fundraising events and to advertise our goal:  Tracey Slauer, Celeste Gravois, Janice Howard and Liz Yancey.    Here's another lesson to go with the salmon lessons:  You need something done?  Get with these four women.  No kidding.

Besides being eternally grateful to them, I  want to thank all the donors who wrote big checks (and small ones too), all the people who dropped change and dollars (sometimes even twenties!) in our change jar at the store, and all the businesses who provided us with services and products for our fundraising either free of charge or at greatly reduced prices.  Because of them we got a long way toward reaching our goal. 

And finally, when we had exhausted all our efforts and resources,  Light A Single Candle came in and took us the rest of the way.

So here we are, a year later, laying out the final plans for the construction of the La Laguna Fishing Village in Guanaja Bay Island, Honduras and anticipating a ribbon cutting in the fall.   I can hardly believe we have done it!

Thank you again, to all of my Johns Creek family.  You amaze me every day with your kindness and generosity.  Our little city is thriving because of good people like you.



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