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Pictures of the Day

Main Coast Bird Carving Show
July 22 - August 2, 2013
We have been working so hard at the hatchery that we’ve been too tired to do much else.  This past weekend, we finally toured around a bit. One of the places we visited was a Bird Carving Show in Belfast, Maine. Beautiful!

Main Trees
June 5 - June 14, 2013
Having spent the past year and a half in dry desert or irrigated lands, it has been difficult not to be amazed by the beautiful trees that we once took for granted. Each one seems a large miracle. So much damp green...










Google Places and Platypie

We Walk Around, We Throw food, We Clean
...and we love it

August 29, 2013

We are still working in our spa-like, fish-filled waterfall. All day long gravity pulls the water from Green Lake above, through the hatchery, out through the settlement ponds and into Graham Lake below. The water flows at about 5,700 gallons per minute.

Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

When we get a chance, our favorite thing to do is to take photographs and movies of the biologists and staff weighing, measuring, counting and separating the fish. Fun with Fish Culture!

Our volunteer workdays begin with a 7:30 AM trail walk of about a mile through the woods to the "office," a huge facility we share with 800,0051 others. It’s been a while since I packed a lunch, but I now get up at 6:30 in the morning to make sandwiches. Truly, having to be at work on time is something that went the way of the Dodo bird for me about 30 years ago.

Anyway, unless it is an unusually warm and humid morning there are only a few mosquitos humming about us as we head to the hatchery.

The first thing we do upon arriving is take care of the brood stock. These are the big fish  (up to 14 pounds when weighed a few weeks ago) that will be surrendering their precious bodily fluids and eggs in November to create the next generation of salmon for the Penobscot River.

First we check the electric timers and feeders to make sure they are going off.

Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

Then, we bring up 45 lb. bags of fish chow, fill all the automatic feeders above the brood fish pit, and hand toss food to the big salmon to check their hunger and happiness levels. (I"m stronger than I was when we started.)

Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine  Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine
 Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

After that,  it’s out to the Big Top... There are 96 pools under the Big Top  - the 20’ pools have 6,000 fish in each and the 30’ pools have 15,000. Although the parr (babies) are fed by large, tin, robotic looking, whirling dervish machines, they must also be hand fed three times a day to monitor, of course, their happiness level. If they are hungry, one stands and tosses scoops of food in a spreading arc across the pool until the fish are no longer bubbling beautifully out of the water to capture a morsel.

Short video of me feeding fish. It’s a party!

Between feeding all the hungry little fish three times a day, our other jobs entail cleaning up after the kids. We clean empty pools to get them ready for the ever growing babies.

We clean fish poop and excess food from the drains and bottoms of pools with thousands of parr in them. (Very careful with the feet, brushes and the power washer for the drains... don’t want to step on or decapitate any of our little buddies)

It’s a bit of a stinky job, but it’s got to be done.

Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

When not actually interacting with the fish, we are deeply involved with cleaning their past used parts.

Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

Days were spent power-washing the 400 - three part egg trays where the eggs were incubated last spring.

Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

Each big behemoth feeder under the Big Top was cleaned and rid of large, lay-over spiders, old food and mold before the growing parr could be moved into the outdoor pools.

On Friday mornings we get to clean the staff offices, kitchen, bathrooms and break room... and then its back to Saving the Atlantic Sea Run Salmon. Green Lake Fish Hatchery, Maine

1 The last five are the full-time staff members of the hatchery. All the rest are our fish.

Beautiful pictures, information and wonderful appreciation of life for all

M. Virts

Such fun! You are so lucky to have this most wonderful interlude. I know I have said it before, but I really do envy the freedom you enjoy and the opportunity you have to totally spread your spiritual wings. I am with you!


Good to hear you are both enjoying your hatchery,experience. Now when someone say's "That sounds a little fishy" you can assure them you know what they are talking about.

Best wishes to both of you.


You two continue to be two of the coolest people I think I will ever know, in this life time anyway, and possibly the next!

Hey, wow what an adventure you're having. Really, really cool.

We're gearing up for the full swing of fall harvest. Paula Reds have been picked. Cider press fixed. Haven't even tackled the bakery yet. Soon. Busy with getting our web site up and running. Still have some Christmas trees to shear and the mowing goes on and on and on. We are all well and continue to count our blessings.

My best to you both. :)


Could never kill something so lovely - especially to use as bait to kill something else. Ever taken a close-up look at a common fly - all those parts of the eye? How could anyone kill something so lovely? In Putnam, CT, the town was picking up metal from residents. Barbara wanted to get rid of the old grill. One problem: it is a nesting place for yellow jackets. So we waited till the babies were all born, then disposed of the empty nests. The adults still come back ... looking. Love ya, Fred!


Wow! Fascinating! And alot of physical exertions--Admirable volunteering, and I can understand how you get attachd to the fish-=or at least the whole process--in grad school, one of my jobs was to observe the dysfunctional behavior of mice when they are put in crowded quarters--and I would spend hours, absorbed in watching and recording deviant behavior-But you are really getting a work-out! Bet you are in great shape after it's all over!

Thx for including me as a recpient of your informative blog!


Love the article. Been there! Especially love the cleaning pic.


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