Says California Freeze Caused Enormous Damage

Water Pipes Froze and Oranges and Lemons Destroyed.

CHARLES ARMSTRONG WRITES FROM NEW CALIFORNIA HOME

Tells Interesting Facts About the Deep Sea Fishing in Pacific Near Santa Monica

From a letter written under date of February 6th by Charles Armstrong of Santa Monica, California, to his former Irvington neighbor, agent R.M. Watson, of the C. &. N. W. Ry., the following extracts were taken:

“I do not know whose turn it is to write, but 1 will take ‘a try.’

“We have had in the past winter the coldest weather ever known here.  water pipes bursted here in town—I saw them; nearly all flowers frozen, but they will come again soon. It was down to 16 degrees above zero here, and in the citrus region as low as seven degrees above zero, for three mornings and the ground froze a couple of inches deep. There were thousands of carloads of oranges and lemons destroyed, lying on the ground. Lemons are more easily affected than oranges. The growers will be pleased if the freeze has not killed all their young trees.

“It has been very warm lately. Today at noon, it was 74 degrees in the shade. I heard one awful blast and rumble of thunder this afternoon. It was in the mountains toward Pasadena. It sprinkled a little here.

“I am going to plant potatoes and all garden stuff tomorrow. The frogs are singing very loudly tonight as I write. It is now just 11 o’clock and 18 minutes, p. m., February 6, Pacific time; your time, February 7, 1:00 o’clock, 18 min., a. m.  Pretty near time for you to get up.  I have it ‘on you’; can sleep two hours longer every morning.

“They do not get many fish now. The fishermen go out three or four miles sometimes up to ten miles, and fish with hand lines, with fifteen or twenty hooks; and if they want whitefish they can just let their lines down about 350 feet and sometimes get several at one pull. They bait with salted fish. .For rock cod they let down from 700 to 800 feet.

“The water has such high pressure at such depths that when the fishermen get some of the fish on their hooks and start to draw up the line the fish come up them selves, and long before they get to the top they are dead, with their stomachs protruding from their mouths and their eyes popped clear out of the sockets.

“Whitefish cannot be beaten for eating. They are a very pretty red and weigh an average of three to five pounds. No bones except in the back, just like a bullhead.

“They caught a deep sea bass the other day, weighing 504 lbs. It was seven and a half feet long and had a six foot girth.  The next day another weighing over 300 pounds was caught, and a third weighing a little less.  I am going out with the boys soon to try my luck.

“There was a whale stranded on the beach a couple of weeks ago for a little while.  Something was after him, I think a herd of porpoises. These are dark brown fish, about six feet long, and several hundred are sometimes found together.  One herd passed under the pier and it was over a mile long. They are of no value as food, but their skins make finer shoe strings than any thing else on earth.

“It is strange the amount of food that is derived from the ocean.  There are hundreds of varieties of fish, clams, lobsters, shrimps, oysters, eels, etc.

“The tides have been running high lately, so the fish went into deep water.  Fishermen here have traps they make out of stout lumber. These are weighted heavily with bricks and they have a rope attached to a large wooden float. The rope is from one to four hundred feet long, according to the depth of the water where they want to sink the trap.  I was told the traps in one hundred feet of water were torn all to pieces by the great agitation of the water resulting from the high tides; and the traps in four hundred feet of water were also badly handled.  The water for quite a ways down was greatly agitated.

“Each variety or kind of fish seeks a certain depth and keeps it, for ocean fish can live only in their own respective zones.  You might say they are arranged in layers, one on top of the other and a certain distance apart.

“The large sea bass I spoke of had eleven halibut inside for his dinner, and they weighed about three pounds each.

“I saw a fine buck the other day; it was about a ‘ten pointer.’ I could have shot him, as I had my 32 special, which shoots through 46 inches of pine, but the season is closed.  I could get deer any day within three miles of town.  I have a very fine ‘nine pointer’ in my garage.

“I never say before in all my life, as many quail as I saw here in one month last fall.  I also saw, and missed, a great giant lynx.  My ‘pal’ and I each wanted to get the first shot; result, a clean miss. D—– !

“Harry Lewis and wife were here today and will leave for home about the fifteenth.  Fred Arnold and wife were in town tonight; also Harry Wilson is here from Algona.

I certainly must cease writing, as it is now 12:08 a.m.

All the roosters this side of the Rockies are crowning.  Well, chickens don’t amount to much here!  I bought an old hen the other day to boil—18 cts. a lb., alive.  I gave $1.35 for a spring chicken, dressed, 35 cts. a lb. Eggs are 45 cts. per doz.; baled oat hay, $28.00 a ton.”

Source:  Kossuth County Advance, February 19, 1913.

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