Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shaggy Dog Story, Killer Orca,

Delightful story last night on the NBC Olympics programme. Mary Carillo, a reporter, had spent time in northern Manitoba and amongst other things she went 'mushing' however, one of the dogs on her sled team was blind. Apparently the dog, Isabelle, had started to go blind some years ago; many friends said the owners should shoot her; they tried to make a pet of her but she was just wasting away, pining. Finally Isabelle showed them in no uncertain terms that all she wanted to do was run. The other dogs give her the direction, but the rest of it is all Isabelle. She has now been pulling a sled as a blind dog for 5 years. There is a video about this story at
Now, not a nice story, an Orca, otherwise known as killer whales, called Tillikum, lived up to its nickname yesterday and according to audience members, grabbed a trainer off the deck and ended up causing her death. This particular whale has been involved in three incidents over the last 20 years or so, this latest, in front of a crowd. The picture shows Dawn Brancheau who was an experienced trainer and fully aware of the dangers of her job. The story is here: It must have been a pretty horrifying experience for those who saw it. As pointed out, these are still wild animals no matter how much training they are given - if they see something to grab and either play with or kill for food, they revert to that behaviour very easily. We saw pictures on TV the other night of Orcas beaching themselves using the waves to catch seal pups and then floating off again on the outgoing waves. Same type of behaviour. This tragedy occurred at the Shamu Stadium in Sea World. I have been there, glad I wasn't there when this happened. This morning they are saying that Dawn had a pony tail and the whale grabbed it when it brushed his rostrum (nose/beak) and pulled her in shaking her violently and pulling her under water.
Update - As of last night we had 15 Olympic medals, 7 of which are golds. Way to go Canada.
Today we are off to the My Thai restaurant in Waterloo to have lunch with our Travel League bowling group and then bowling afterwards. Always a fun day. Tomorrow we are supposed to leave for Hamilton after lunch and there is a storm brewing in the South. Please keep it there.
I had an email this morning from offering me Glenda Larke's new book for £5.99 which is £2 off. Not a bad deal. If you would like to read the book, you could order it from them although presumably and will have it available soon if not now. Books always used to be cheaper in the UK, I am not sure whether this still applies, but you still have to pay shipping. I think this is a wonderful book and it has had rave reviews from all kinds of places including well known authors. It was shortlisted for the Aurealis awards and is on other award lists too. I personally am waiting impatiently for the second book which is due out in Australia next month. One thing I noticed at, they call it the Stormlord Trilogy, Glenda calls it The Watergivers Trilogy.
Salmon is quite plentiful in this part of Canada if not particularly cheap. However, we both like fish and it is very good for you. here is a recipe I thought looked particularly good. You know, writing this blog and finding new recipes has improved our variety of food greatly. I hope it has done so for you too.
Blackened Salmon Sandwich From EatingWell: April/May 2006,
Blackened salmon is great in a sandwich with a spread of mashed avocado and low-fat mayonnaise plus peppery arugula leaves, cool tomato slices and zesty red onion. We grill our Cajun-style salmon so there is no need for any added cooking oil. Catfish makes an excellent stand-in for the salmon but you'll want to use a grill basket if you have one to keep the fish from breaking apart. 4 servings
Ingredients •1 pound wild salmon fillet, (see Ingredient Note), skinned (see Tip) and cut into 4 portions •2 teaspoons blackening or Cajun seasoning •1 small avocado, pitted •2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise •4 crusty whole-wheat rolls, split and toasted •1 cup arugula •2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced •1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion Preparation 1.Oil grill rack (see Tip); preheat grill to high. 2.Rub salmon on both sides with blackening (or Cajun) seasoning. Grill until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. 3.Mash avocado and mayonnaise in a small bowl. 4.To assemble sandwiches, spread some of the avocado mixture on each roll and top with salmon, arugula, tomato and onion.
Nutrition Per serving : 414 Calories; 14 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 65 mg Cholesterol; 43 g Carbohydrates; 33 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 775 mg Sodium; 756 mg Potassium 2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 1 fat (mono) Tips & Notes •Ingredient note: Wild-caught salmon from the Pacific (Alaska, California, Washington and Oregon) is considered the best choice for the environment. For more information, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch ( •Tips: To skin a salmon fillet, place salmon on a clean cutting board, skin side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long, sharp knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding the skin down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30° angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either. •To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.
Have a great day


  1. Strange you mentioning wild salmon because just today on my weekly fish buying trip, I saw wild salmon. Did not buy it though. It was much lighter in colour than the other kind, the 'normal' kind which I had always presumed were wild too ... as 'not from fish farms'.

  2. Forgot to say that I saw on TV about the death of the whale killing its trainer. This made me wonder whether he had always secretly diskiked her and had been saying to himself "woman, just you wait!" (Or am I too deeply into crime ...?)

  3. My head's not quite here today! I wanted to write ... saw on tv about the whale killing its trainer ...

  4. A retired trainer was interviewed this morning. He said Dawn should never have been on the slipway that whales come up onto and she knew it. It was obvious when the hair hit its rostrum he intuited prey and grabbed. She was lying down too which made her even more prey like apparently. Well I've seen films of them hunting I can see why the whale would react that way.