“Sometimes the back-breaking work brings a grimace or two from Elaine, left, Jane and Julie.”
My father and his brothers ran a small herring fishery on the Meherrin River near Murfreesboro in eastern North Carolina. On early spring weekends my sisters and I were expected to help with the catch, though I was excused once my college years commenced. The local newspapers loved to photograph the fishery, mostly because of the novelty of seeing young women working the net.
Before leaving for Chicago, Elaine found a cache of old newspaper clippings, and conspired with Julie and me to put together a photo collage of the articles for our sister Jane. I had to wait until now to post these, lest the surprise be spoiled.
Photo by Jim Strickland from the Raleigh News and Observer, June 1975, for an article by Stephanie Stallings that ran in the paper’s ”Today’s Woman” section.
You can read more about the operation of the Williams Fishery by clicking here (four posts).
Metapost: Camera Woes
It’s been a troubling day here at FatChance Studios. My camera is showing its age. The drive motor that controls the shutter release is beginning to fail. I followed a comprehensive tutorial to clean and service the gear works, but the poor thing continues to lock up after a few frames. I’ll be using a borrowed point-and-shoot for a few days while the camera goes in for a professional diagnosis, then repair or (gulp) replacement.
The cleaning I gave the gears required removal of the camera’s underbelly, exposing more of it’s electronic innards than I had seen before. At one point I swear I could hear it softly crooning “Daisy, Daisy…” Not a good sign.
As we were reaching the end of our trip we spotted a great gathering of great blue herons (Ardea herodias) at the falls of the Rappahannock River, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. From Mayfield Bridge my sisters counted about thirty birds on the rocks at the fall line. I counted 25 from the shore, but never had a sight line that took in more than about ten birds at once.
In 1910 a small hydroelectric dam was constructed here, impeding the movement of anadromous fish - like herring, shad, and stripped bass - that historically swam from the ocean and bay to the Rappahannock headwaters to spawn. The dam was demolished in 2006, and these fish are now returning to their historical ranges in the river, though their populations are still in flux. Our guess is that the herons we saw were there to exploit a run of fish at the old Embry Dam site, where the river narrows and the falls slow (but no longer stop) the fishes’ progress.
Please click any photo in the set for full views.
Bonus trivia: the collective term for a group of herons is sedge, sege, or siege.