Fishlift visit

I visited a fishlift with my friend Anne on Holyoke’s Infrastructure Day last month.

The fishlift gives fish an elevator ride so they can get past Holyoke’s municipally-owned hydroelectric dam on their way upstream to spawn.

The dam stretches straight across the river. With pyramidal structures sticking off the top at an angle, it undulates downward like a wave. Made of huge stone blocks, it looks like the wall of some fantasy city.

You can see how the fish might have a problem without the lift.

Near the top of the lift is a viewing room where you can watch the fish continue on their way. We saw lots and lots of shad

And sometimes a sea lamprey zipped by!

The lampreys kind of looked like kielbasas with eyes, fins, and gill pores.

We listened to “Fish” by Mr. Scruff as we drove away to further adventures.

Debunking “Bunny Rabbits”

My mysterious animal photos receive analysis in this guest post from leading pseudocryptozoologist Bruce Fort. — Colin

Blurry photo of what might be a brown rabbit lurking at the top of a driveway

What we have here today are photographs of what Colin believed to be “bunny rabbits”, a creature that surprisingly many people believe in. For those who may not have heard of them, bunny rabbits are supposed to be like a cross between a mouse and a frog, but much bigger than either, with strange elongated ears like antennae. They have a reputation as the bane of gardeners, with a voracious appetite for vegetable crops (especially carrots, for some reason) and a virus-like rate of reproduction.

Stories about bunny rabbits have been with us from time immemorial in many places around the world. Proponents of bunny rabbit theories use this fact to bolster their claims, but of course there are plenty of old stories about things that aren’t real. Often these reflect some sort of universal experience or common societal concern. In the case of the bunny rabbit, their crop-devouring symbolizes our anxiety about the destructive whims of nature. Their rampant fecundity connects to that (tapping into the same fears of epidemic plagues that zombies do), and to our culture’s repressive attitudes toward sexuality.

But with so many stories about them, it is inevitable that some people are prepared to think they have seen bunny rabbits. These reports can be hard to debunk because there is usually little evidence to work with, but when a determination can be made it is not unusual to find that the witness has merely misidentified a groundhog.

Blurry photo of what might be two brown rabbits in a snowy driveway
Could these be bunny rabbits?

This photo is pretty typical in that regard; it is blurry enough that no one can say for sure what it shows. I can’t make any positive identification from such an image, but if I had to guess I’d say we are looking at some large snails.

Colin thought the “bunny rabbits” were foraging for birdseed in his driveway, but this is clearly incorrect; the driveway is paved with gravel. Birdseed is found in bird feeders and is not used as a paving material.

Blurry photo of a possible brown rabbit in grass near pavement; its visible eye appears to glow magenta
This creature appeared in the heart of a bustling town.

This next photo was taken on the rail trail in Northampton, MA. Again, the blurriness makes positive identification impossible, but look at the eyes in this one. There is no mention of glowing magenta eyes anywhere in global bunny rabbit lore, so clearly we are looking at something else. Most likely it’s a mischievous goblin or imp, or a secret government cyborg designed to play on people’s mistaken beliefs for some unknown reason. It could also possibly be a UFO alien or some kind of spirit.

I hope you have found this informative and interesting, and that it has helped clear up some erroneous beliefs. I’d like to thank Colin for inviting me to share my knowledge.

– Bruce Fort, pseudocryptozoologist

The Water Dogs 1

The Water Dogs page 1

Transcript

A man walks past some shops.
Narration: “I liked living in Portland, Maine, but after a while I missed walking in the woods.”
He walks a muddy path through tall rushes.
Narration: “A coworker recommended a river preserve just inside the city limits. As I walked in the forested section…”
SPLASH! The man looks right, then walks off the path toward a place above some water. Two distant shapes are swimming. “Ah, dogs,” he thinks. As he watches them, he thinks, “They look kinda wolfy…I don’t see an owner anywhere…”, then continues to watch them quietly.

This is the first page of the comic I drew yesterday at Weeks State Park in Lancaster, NH as part of the 8 Days of Weeks White Mountains Cultural Festival. Marek Bennett and I enticed passerby into drawing comics about the woods, the mountains, their experiences in the White Mountains National Forest, etc. – and fairness (and fun) demanded that we draw some too. I’ll post the other page later this week.

Ever-increasing beasts

Apparently the local wildlife can sense that this house is about to be uninhabited and are eager to take over, because we have been discovering increasingly larger critters in here. The carpenter ants are long-time residents, but lately we’ve had more & weirder bugs, culminating in the earwig I found under my pillow. (note: earwigs do not belong under my pillow!) Then we discovered a bold little mouse living in our kitchen. Most recently, my housemate found a snake in her wall (it had gotten stuck to some plastic covering a hole). If only we could direct the snake to the mouse! Anyway, it’s a good thing we’re leaving soon, because clearly this process will end in coyote, bear, and moose roaming the house.

Today I noticed a spider drop down from my desk to the floor. Fine enough, but then a little later I suddenly noticed it on my keyboard, which I was using. I don’t know how it got there without me seeing it, but when I tried to shoo it off, it crawled under the keys! That’s a bad place for spiders! They could easily be killed by my typing, which night also break my keyboard, making all of us unhappy. I switched to the keyboard on my computer (I normally use an external one at home), and eventually the spider came out and I shooed it onto the floor.

Wild nights

Recently I’ve had a couple of nights where I returned home after dark to find no one else home, all the lights off, and fireflies blinking around in the darkness, and stood around for a while just enjoying it.

This past Saturday night, I stamped the covers of 165 copies of Play. Sunday I glued game booklets into 120 of them.