Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our time with Krash not long enough

Uncle Krash
By David Horst

I'm working on another cedar box.

This isn't for a planter or storing blankets. It's for an old friend.

Krash had been with us for 22 years. He was our second llama, a companion for our first purchase, Comet, because llamas are herd animals and aren't happy alone.

Krash earned his name. When he was a little cria on a llama farm in Cedarburg, his owners were walking some potential buyers along the pasture fence. A group of small llamas was coming at them from the other direction. The youngsters peeled off to either side of the approaching humans, except for one. Krash ran straight on. His tendency to be clumsy stayed with him.

His full name was Sharden's Krash Kradick. The farm's name combined with a spelling-altered version of a country singer's name.

He was far short of a herd sire. His ears were too long. His wool was too thin. His legs too skinny. He didn't measure up to conformation standards, but he was long on personality -- and loyalty.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Round goby threat was discovered by teen fishing club members

By David Horst 

NEENAH, Wis. — As Alec Schussman fished below the Neenah dam last summer, he couldn’t have known that operation of the Fox River’s navigational locks hung in the balance based on how he responded to the tug he felt on his fishing line.

He reeled in a 5-inch round goby, the first verified catch of that invasive species in the lower Fox River system, just a short swim from Lake Winnebago.

Alec Schussman (left) caught and Tristen Knuijt
identified the first verified round goby in the Lower
Fox River.  David Horst photo

The Menasha Lock was immediately ordered closed to block the little egg-eating fish from swimming upstream into Wisconsin’s largest inland lake. The closure temporarily stranded boats from their winter harbors and threatened the annual revenue and elaborate plans of the Fox River Navigational System Authority, the quasi-governmental organization that operates the 17-lock system on the lower Fox River on behalf of the state.

Quite a burden for the junior at Neenah High School, and a testament to his involvement in his high school fishing club.  

His fishing buddy since seventh grade, Tristen Knuijt, stood next to Alec, eyed the suction cup-shaped lower fin and black circle on the dorsal fin and knew it was a round goby.

“I’m a fish geek, so I know a lot about fish,” Tristen said. “I was 100% sure it was a round goby.”