January 27, 2014
Air temp -24 F.
Windchill -43 F.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
No words here to describe the anticipation.
for the change of scene
for the green water
for the rainforest giants
for the silver fish
the boys in the band
and to drift the gaudy flies in a liquid river.
Monday, January 20, 2014
A little 1/16 oz. jig and a micro power grub should work. No bites after fifteen minutes. Brother Fife receives a call on the cellular. He is relaxing at home, revealing in the fact that there is no snow removal required this day. The Piscator could use some JuJu. His spirit higher than last we spoke, Fife conjures some stink and gives me gridiron play off stats. Broncos ahead. Down goes the bobber and communication is terminated as a long fight ensues on four pound test for thirty inches of pike. Food procured. Mighty nice.
Two minutes later and another pike has taken the panfish bait. This one a beast. Seven minutes of back and forth on a miniature spinning outfit. A serious green gator shows its snout beneath the hole. A fleeting view of a skull that looks as wide as the eight inch hole. Down again it runs away from the ice and the annoying pressure from above. At twelve minutes into the contest, the fish is near the underside of the ice. And as its head touches............. unpinned.
The Piscator looked at his dogs and commented "Well shit, Henn - better call Fife back and thank him for the Juju!"
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
Thursday, January 9, 2014
I had not used trail cameras before the year just past. The original and primary intention for getting a trail camera was to try identifying the trespassers with whom I played a frustrating game of cat and mouse during most of January. I never got a readable shot of their license plates, although I had their truck pegged in short order. An exact ID was never confirmed, but once those boys figured out that Big Brother was watching, the game ended rather quickly. No confrontation, no tense words, no Sheriff. Problem solved. Good usage of the trail cam.
The secondary intention was to see what might lurk around the Digs. Seeing tracks and scat of our woodland neighbors for all these years, with the occasional fleeting glimpse is great, but Capture Cam Portraits are too cool!
The cameras have been down since winter arrived, but now that the Polar Vortex has wobbled back north, I'll be looking for critters again. Who knows what's out there....................
Bigfoot ? And his dog ?
Thursday, January 2, 2014
A few years back, there was a ruffed grouse that lived within 200 feet of our house for the entire winter. We watched its comings and goings daily. I decided fairly soon that I did not want to come back as a ruffed grouse, if the opportunity to dance again on this planet ever becomes reality. What a drag.
That particular winter was one of the open variety that we experienced in the early two thousands - dry, relatively warm, only a couple stints of below zero weather and little snow - not enough for a grouse to roost in. It was also a year when the ornamental crab apple tree outside the office window was loaded to the max with red fruit. That tree was a feast for several critters for most of the winter, including the grouse. So here's what it was like to live that grousely life:
Rise about a half hour after first light and fly 50 feet from mature white spruce roost into apple tree. Consume whole, frozen crab apples (perhaps a dozen) and sit around for about ten minutes while either your guts freeze or the apples thaw. Fly down from apple tree and walk about 50-100 feet in the opposite direction from the roost tree. Take a shit. Fly back to roost tree and the exact branch that you just vacated a few minutes before. Puff out feathers until you resemble a perfect sphere with a beaked knob on top and then zone out into some gallinaceous Om for the remainder of the day. Repeat the process at about a half hour before the daylight fades to black and then again sit as a monk throughout the long, dark winter night.
That was the routine for three and a half months!
Then in mid March, poof it was gone - off to honor its newly raging reproductive hormones.
This afternoon just before sunset the mercury had climbed to minus nine degrees, so off I went with the dogs for the evening walkabout down the packed trails that cover the fourteen inches of snow that lie on the floor of the woods. Only a few minutes into the old familiar trek, the Youngster started to cast about like he was onto a bird, and sure enough, up went a little grouse. It blew out of the snow right in his face, corkscrewing slowly skyward like some confused giant hummingbird, before it getting its bearings and rocketing over my head to zoom away. The two other dogs immediately got into the act and within a few seconds another bird, this one a giant, blew out of its snow roost and zipped off in the opposite direction. After a few good "atta boys", I was again thinking about the existence of a grouse in winter.
Snow roost or tree roost? Either way it seems pretty harsh.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
So looking back on the year past, what wild things went down the old fellow's gullet ?
Bluegill Juneberry (service berry or Saskatoon)
Northern Pike Raspberry
Brown Trout Blueberry
Brook Trout Blackberry
Coho Salmon Nuts:
Sockeye Salmon Black Walnut
Ruffed Grouse Big Game:
Mallard Whitetail Deer
Ringneck Duck Elk
Gem Studded Puffball Sting Nettles
Chicken of the Woods Ramps
Oyster Mushroom Wild Rice
Pretty fair variety there, but the list looks a little skinny in the bird and big game departments, and there are definitely more fungi and greens to forage for in the coming year. Perhaps a few rabbits, some squirrels. Pheasants, definitely. Turkey? Snipe, Sharptails? How about a buffalo....................... Hello 2014