Something Completely …

Different. This short post is to announce a new activity here at Sportsmen’s Camp – the first (possibly annual) Invitational Golf Tournament! Yes you read it properly – a GOLF TOURNAMENT here at Camp. When it was leaked that we would have a golf tournament  we were immediately contacted by an unnamed operative of the Russian Oligarchs, (Jared Kushner) and offered vast quantities of rubles to secure the naming rights for this most prestigious of tournaments! Imagine it …. The TRUMP Golf Tournament! But we couldn’t stomach being associated with a batshit crazy lying traitorous douchebag so we turned down the offer. So the prize for the tourney will be meager but it at least we will maintain our integrity. But wait, there’s more we just got a package in the mail today – apparently the trump organization sent out the trophy cups prior to finalizing the deal!!! With a little alteration I will present them as the prizes.

This is how it will go – I don’t have any golf clubs or golf balls but there will be a series of three holes set up for the contestants and each group of three players will play them and the team with the lowest aggregate strokes will be the winning team and the single player with the best score will also be recognized. Each hole will be about a par 5 + and three clubs should be used, a pitching wedge of your choice, a sand wedge and a putter. So bring your clubs, tees, (we’ll provide defunct Canadian pennies for ball markers between shots) and golf balls. Be prepared for some rough course conditions. (Of course all the rules and conditions of play can and probably will be changed prior to play due to weather, time constraints, number of contestants and whims of the Evil One)

This could shape up to something fun assuming we don’t break any windows (I am looking at a severe stroke penalty) and I am guessing that the galleries will be drunk boisterous and ducking for cover!

Sign up ASAP as we may have to cut the field (The Evil One has the mower!)

Advertisements

The Riches of the Boreal North…

Are not Gold – not silver – not diamonds – not trees – its something that each and everyone of us should recognize as clearly as the nose on our faces. It is so abundant that its effect is similar to the way the massive glut of gold devalued nearly every commodity after the Spanish Conquistadors rape and pillage of the Americas. Whenever I am confronted by this resource south of the boarder and have Americans speak of abundance I merely sniff and say, “You know nothing of abundance….”   What is the true wealth of the North?? It is it’s MASSIVE amount of insect biomass! It feeds the ecosystem vast tonnage of nutrients converting huge stores of every available nutrient into vast biodiversity and what we all love so much – fish and wildlife. This concept struck me the other evening as we were admiring the end of another fabulous Firth Lake sunset and were marveling at the enormous hatch of large green and slate drake mayflies. It was spectacular! thousands perhaps millions of the delectable flies emerge from the lake to have their swan song of mating egg laying and early death. The massive orgy provides almost every creature here with inexhaustible food for a couple weeks. Obviously the fish, but even more so the baby ducks and nesting birds of every species get a huge boost of growth fed by the highest quality food. The cascade to other parts of the ecosystem has just as profound a positive and longterm impact. We can easily observe and marvel at the amazing hatch because they are not biting insects. But as I am sure you all realize that is generally not the case with the other insects! Black flies, mosquitoes, no-seeums, deer flies, horse flies, ankle biters etc. all harass and annoy. Yet we should always understand that if any or all these irritating insects were to disappear the North would not be as productive and great ever again.

So as I said the annual Mayfly hatch is on and it is spectacular! Happy hours on the beach in the sun and watching this marvel is an honor. The biting insects are finally in remission too. Another of my favorite things to do during this high insect density time is with my bats. The bat houses on the side of the lodge are all occupied this year. Every night when I shut down the power at around 3am I open up the gravity water tank and go over to the patio. I point the flash light to the sky and shade my eyes from the beam then wait for my friends to visit. Tens of tiny winged bug eaters begin to buzz my head snatching the insects drawn to me and the beam. I hear the barely audible clicks and chitter of their sonar and conversations and I feel the breeze from their tiny wings as they swoop within inches of my head and face. What an honor it is to commune for scant moments with such divinely adapted alien creatures. I always feel so lucky when ever conditions are right for this and I am like Lou Gehrig perhaps the luckiest man in the world.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

“Honey you look as fine as a brand new dock!”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

No dock project is complete until Inspector Kevin does his in-depth check and falls off the dock at least once!

For the fishermen the lake is warm and the mayflies are hatching. Everything is as it should be. Fishing is slow now but will rebound with a vengeance. The new west dock is completed and installed and the Piscarious is now resting comfortably on the east dock in the warm welcoming arms of lady Firth. True to my internal vow I did not launch the Piscarious until the west dock was complete. Before I go further I should thank the many people that actually did all the work on the dock project – Paul, Charlie, Unckie Vic, Rob and Ryan in the procuring of the logs. Mike and Bill with the dismantling of the old dock and connecting all the logs for the new dock as well as drilling and placing the brackets and help with set up. Pat Cherry (one of the Evil One’s two friends) with getting the logs into the lake and distributing them and connecting them as well as decking. Pat swings a mean hammer even though it is small (sorry Pat). Also Lyle Beckett for the invaluable help putting the rubber bumpers on the dock. And last but certainly not least Joan for the generous sponsorship on the materials to complete the dock. As I look back on the project — if there were a commemorative plaque put on the dock all the people I thanked would be listed first and my name would be a mere footnote listed as the consulting engineer.

Riley continues to amble about the camp with Joan in tow and keeps every morsel of edible material off the premises as well as romping with the terror Kevin as a generous grandma would with grandchildren. Bart continues to keep the camp safe from marauding birds and squirrels as well as training Kevin. Kevin continues to grow and amaze us with his elan and joi de vive. He is a pup with boundless energy yet seems to sync very well with his old daddy. We seem to run out of gas at about the same time with similar results.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Evil One took this picture clandestinely about a half hour into our nap time. I figured I should post it before it debuts on Facebook and I am derided by The Evil Ones two friends (Pat and Carol).

Kevin – like any wild beast lies in wait to ambush unsuspecting prey (aunt Joanie).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

He is a constant source of amusement and inspiration.

Is this Heaven? —- No its Sportsmen’s Camp

The Scotch Report…

And the progress update on the building of the Ark. Yea verily though it hath rained for two score and three days we still have faith that the summer is well nigh. It also helps that the Scotch Library curator must check the quality of the single malt scotches entrusted to his care! Thus bringing me to this year’s Single Malt Library Report. This year’s report due to the burgeoning number of single malts was conducted with the help of an assistant library curator.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

He insisted that he be pictured along with the library prior to evaluation and enumeration. And with a face like that it is easy to see why he is the most spoiled boy on earth. Ok ok enough proud father blather —

the Single Malt Scotch Report:

Aberfeldy 12yr highland 50%

Aberlour 12yr highland 100%

Ardbeg 10yr islay 15%

Auchentoshan 12yr lowlands 80%

Balvenie 14yr speyside 75%

Bowmore 12yr islay 45%

Caol Ila 12yr islay 75%

Dalwhinnie 15yr highland 75%

Dewar’s Monarch 15yr blend 80%

Dun Bheagan 15yr islay 30%

Edradour 10yr highland 40%

Glen Breton 10yr Cape Breton Ca. (Happy 150th Canada!) 50%

Glen Farclas cask strength 12yr speyside wee dram

Glen Kinchie 12yr Edinburgh highlands 75%

Glen Livet Master Distillers reserve 12yr speyside 80%

Glen Livet 12yr speyside 60%

Glen Livet 12yr speyside 50%

Glen Morangie The original 10yr highlands 45%

Glen Morangie Quinta Ruban 12yr highlands 80%

Glen Rothes 12yr speyside 80%

Haig Club ? age Edinburgh highlands 80%

Highland Park 18yr Orkney 100%

Highland Park Dark Origins Orkney 80%

Jura Superstition ? age islay 80%

Laphroaig 10yr islay 45%

Macallan 12yr speyside 70%

Speyburn 10yr speyside 75%

Scapa 16yr Orkney 50%

Tomatin 12 yr highland 100%

Yamazaki 12yr Japan 70%

There you have it – the Library encompasses more different Scotches than most drinking establishments. We are running low on Ardbeg (15%). But it is god awful iodine(ic) and salty and Mike will just drink it up if we get more. LOL We could also use a new bottle of Laphroaig. On a side note as Janet says “What the fuck are you going to do with all those bottles of scotch????? You’re never gonna drink them all and I’ll just have to throw the shit out when you’re in you 80’s and you don’t come back from a portage trip! You should just have every one bring up a dirt cheap 1.75 l plastic bottle of vodka – its what you’re drinking these days any way!! And besides you can get the bottle of vodka for about 12$.” Ok ok be that as it may – and far be it for me to disagree with The Evil One, but one of my goals when I get back to India this fall is to purchase a bottle of single malt that is produced there.

Things are moving along here at camp and the west dock is nearing completion. Work is proceeding between rains and blustery cool weather. The log runners are joined and decked and I have located the piling brackets but not yet attached them. I have also built all new pilings. The next things to be done are to drill and attach the brackets then set the dock. No big problems are envisioned but whenever a new dock is swung into position and set up there is liable to be rocks obstructing the area where the new pilings will sit. Its always a good idea to have swimming weather when this point is reached so the rocks can be manually cleared from the piling areas. I am hoping that we get the weather for it this weekend.

I am still taking both the boys for a walk each morning after I wake or am woke by Kevin. Mr. Bart is getting Kevin slowly trained as to what is proper doggie etiquette and days go by without any snarls on the walk. Kevin still is a little exuberant for Bart but he seems to be enjoying Kevin more each day. Kevin is still completely flummoxed as to how he can’t catch Bart when Bart turns on the after burners. Bart still keeps the camp safe from any large flying birds by chasing them as they fly over the camp. He is so fast that he often has to stop and wait for the birds to get caught up as the fly over so they may be properly escorted off the premises! Kevin enjoys these exercises as well but he has no idea what Mr. Bart is chasing because he is chasing Bart and barking too. It is a thing of beauty to see 9 year old Bart spy a bird and take off full bore with little Kevin in hot pursuit but losing ground every stride! Its also great fun to watch as Kevin and Bart run like crazy boys in front of the lodge. It inevitably occurs that Kevin ends up chasing Bart – cutting corners and jumping obstacles that Bart circumvented yet never keeping up. I know it is only a matter of time till Kevin gets his “springs” but Bart is not giving a step to him yet.

It is amazing how much a new puppy renews everyone in contact with it! Kevin has definitely renewed us all! We still miss Baxter but mostly we say how much we wish he were here to see this craziness.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

With all the rain we haven’t done a lot of fishing but the blackflies aren’t bad at all and the water temps are in the low seventies F and the weed beds are pretty well developed so I look forward to finishing off the dock and getting the Piscarious back into the warm bosom of mother Firth. We’re also hoping to fire up the pizza oven this holiday week end. Happy 150th Canada!

 

Another Springtime Revisited

One of the delights of owning Sportsmen’s Camp is getting to see Spring all over again after we arrive here. And it has been a glorious Spring indeed, with the sprouting of bulbs I planted last year and all my old friends from previous years emerging from their winter’s hibernation to greet me for yet another delightful summer. Aside from my daylilies, roses and tree peonies I am ever amazed at the fractal beauty of the unfurling of the massive fronds of my ever burgeoning collection of interrupted and ostrich ferns. My planting of the tiny bulbs of Siberian Squill were already up with welcoming blooms. I have also sprouted and planted last year’s crop of daylilies that I hybridized! I can’t wait to see the results of my biological artistry in the next few years!

But enough of the boring stuff that means so much to me. The Spring has moved quickly and the trees are almost fully in leaf as I write this. The lilacs are in full bloom. We’ve been fishing only a couple times as the black flies have been ascendant! The last time we went fishing was a couple days ago – on Margueratt. We came home with a nice stringer of eating sized fish and paid dearly in blood to the black flies at the landing. The water temperature on Firth is around 70F and the water levels (due to a dearth of beaver dams) is at summer high water level. The early weather this Spring could be called generally cold but it has shaped up in recent weeks. Some more news is that the dragon hatch began in earnest on the 12th and even today as I walked on the beach I collected and moved about a dozen hatching dragon flies. So the days of the blackfly are numbered with low double digits if not single digits. And all not too soon for me as the dragon flies also have a passel of mosquitoes to work on as well. We have also had some much appreciated visitors that helped (read this as did the bulk of the work) deconstructing the old left dock – Mike and Bill as well as the Cubby (a local celebrity). The logs for the new dock were conveyed to the lake for assembly yesterday and I hope to begin that tomorrow. But we have been pretty busy.

That brings me to the next subject – as you all know we lost perhaps the most beloved dog of all time – Baxter. It was quite a blow to us – but still let us not underestimate the massive blow it was to his brother Mr. Bart. As we were dealing with our grief it came to us starkly how affected Bart was too. He moped, ate little, didn’t run or chase birds with any elan and was generally bereft of his usual joi de vive! So Janet knowing the only antidote was a rough heavy dose of “puppy”! Not just any puppy but a Tibetan Terror puppy. Janet located and retrieved said puppy and Bart was in for some heavy duty puppy therapy. I recognized that Bart would not brook any puppy near his mommy for long periods of time initially so I took the little terror in-hand immediately when he arrived at camp. The Terror of the North’s name is Kevin. He immediately became attached to his dad and learned his name in about an hour. He presently stays close to dad and comes when he is called very well. He loves his morning walk with Bart and the last three days the walk has been without Bart having to upbraid the little devil for rudeness with any snarls at all! Bart is also joyfully running and loving being chased. Kevin can just about keep up with speedster Bart when he is cruising but becomes very frustrated when Bart decides to turn on the afterburners and pulls away from him at full bore. I had forgotten the yelping squeals that frustrated puppies make when they can’t keep up – LOL. I tell Bart that he better enjoy this interlude as the time may come that Kevin can keep up and still have extra gas in the tank so to speak. Bart discounts all talk as poppycock!

Kevin is a very smart and a quick study! – spoken like a new parent. His one major problem is his predominance of black making him a massive target for blackflies! He is also handicapped by unusual cuteness – and thus is spoiled rotten by your truly. He initially was afraid of everything and loathe to even go up a step – that didn’t last much more than a day! Now he runs roughshod all over the house and no where is safe from his marauding. It is a joy to behold. He was also somewhat reticent of the water and the lake. That has taken him a little more time to familiarize himself with. But when he was down at the lake during a windy day (relatively free of black flies) he became concerned when dad waded out into the lake to position the logs for the new dock. Low and behold he was jumping into the lake and swimming out to the log right next to me! Since then he has taken to actually swimming in the lake whenever I am away from shore! He is yet a little “iffy” about wading into the lake for a drink on his own or even approaching the lake if its wavy. He has a ways to go to know everything he needs to know but as I said earlier he is extremely smart and a quick study. Janet taught him to sit if he wanted a morsel in about 3 mins.

So there you have it life is good here at camp and Kevin is running me ragged. That is the nature of training every new pup though – one must be tireless and consistent in the first few months then he knows what is expected and has most of the skills necessary to navigate the pitfalls of everyday camp life.

A note of caution for all guests coming to camp this year – Kevin is still not conversant with proper navigation around vehicles. So I will be extremely careful with him when the possibility of a person driving around the camp occurs. As a special favor to me and Kevin go very slowly and be vigilant for Kevin. I am training him as fast as I can – but as any new parent I am over cautious as well as over protective. Think of me as 1.5 ton mother grizzly with a cub – you’ll be pretty close to the mark.

I leave you all with a sampling of Kevin pictures from his manifold adventures here at camp.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Kevin using his patented “king Cobra” move before a strafing run.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Right along with dad on the beach.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Most recent winner of the Tibetan Terror lottery with mother and brother.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Proud dad watching his son haul the dock logs to shore. Please note what all the most stylish terrors are wearing this black fly season.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bart advising his younger brother as to the niceties of proper boat fishing etiquette.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Its tough work running a Camp when your just a puppy!

It’s The Omnibus Blog!

So I am writing a blog to wrap up our time here in the States in preparation for translation to the boreal forest.

Fishing, fishing, fishing – First day of trout season was fun even if the fish were not really cooperating. I only caught three trout and a good group of chubs. LOL I was hampered by having to fish during a constant gab fest! That is to say I was fishing with Pat. You see Pat never talks to the person he is “fishing with” – he endeavors to engage every other fisherman that has the poor sense to cross his path. LOL Questions, questions, questions – mostly number questions that Pat has no intention of remembering or caring what the answer may be. I think if Pats eyesight gets worse I’ll pose mannequins along the stream with sound sensors that blurt out random numbers. It would go like this, “How long have you been fishing today?” – 4. “Catch many fish?” – 5. “You see many caught?” 12. LOL You sorta get the picture. Actually it was great fun but we only got to interrogate the other fishermen for a couple hours as it started thundering and we thought that discretion was the better part of valor and moseyed on home to cocktails with Janet and Carol on the porch. It was a great afternoon capped with steaks on the grill. I am making fun of Pat but I heartily recommend fishing with Pat anytime – you’ll have a great time! But steer clear of “the Blonde Tornado” if she is fishing with him. She demands that all efforts are intended to improve HER fishing experience. I think that Janet should lend her the “It’s All About ME” shirt. And she insists that each of her fish be measured so she can brag. I don’t know how Pat every took off his clothes in front of her….. “Hey there Pat – hmmmm, where’s the Tape Measure????”

I got to fish alone the second day and caught several – keeping I think 3 for our friend Jim. But all the trout I caught were nabbed in the riffles and chutes so they put up very good fights.

The second fishing fun was at The Little Nirvana of Duda’s cabin in Kellettville on the Tionesta in the Majestic Allegheny Mountains. We watched a Pens game as we supped at Cougar Bob’s after arriving. The Materdee was so kind as to seat us with a view of the TV as well as a view of the Moose! The next day it rained but we took some time and I fished about and hour on Queen and caught a nice little native and two riffle sniffing stockers – they all fought like crazy and hit like a ton of bricks.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It also cleared and The Earth Mother lounged on the glider with Moon and Stars Bart.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The rest of our crew soon showed up to multiply the hijinks. Low and behold an Oh Shit game broke out after a few drinks! And Sled and I talked about the state using medical stats to divine epidemiological truth way into the night. Saturday dawns and even Pat and Carol put in an appearance for some Saturday fishing on Salmon Creek.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I don’t think there were many strangers fishing so Pat didn’t get much conversation in. Sloucho and Buss did very well at the confluence of Salmon and the Branch catching at least 4 or 5 each. Pat and I ranging elsewhere were not as successful – I turned 2 nice ones over on the Branch but no bloody cigar.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I can tell you that Sloucho was smoking a cigar! It was still great fun! Laughing and yucking it up with each trout. After the successful time at the stream we adjourned to the cabin for Happy Hours!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The aluminum coffee pot on the table was a stand in for a pitcher – a pitcher containing excellent gin and tonic!  It has quinine yaknow, so we were all proof from malaria transmitting mosquitos. Hey it pays to be prepared for hatches! It may be hard to see but there is a celebrity at the table as well…..

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Vaunted baiter of eagles and lynxes… the one the only Chanel!

After supper we booted off to The Fwying Wubblewu for the next Pens game and were delighted with the outcome and were shocked and dismayed when we were flashed by a big pecker over by the ice machine as we left the bar!!!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After the good news of the Pens game regardless of our big pecker experience we decided to adjourn back to the cabin for our nightly self flagellation of oh shit games. I drank enough that I am not sure if the philistines kept me from winning a game or not! But I do know that it was a gas and Mr. Beefeater was again a pivotal player! My stomach ached the next day from laughing!!!

But all good things come to an end and our merry band of drunken fishermen broke up like clock work again on Sunday. What a delightful time was had by all.

Now for unknown and unrelated rider to the Omnibus Blog – Political Action!

Wherein Intrepid souls and scientific political activists converged on Washington DC to overthrow the Government. LOL yeah right! Yet we made our will known by marching in a torrential downpour. My favorite picture of the day was the first one – we arrived early morn and with the rain much of the crowd (numbering more than the Inauguration!) were holding off for a break in the rain.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There it is – the beast looming from the mist! We’re gonna need a bigger crowd! So we marched on to the meeting point at the Washington Monument.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here’s Bob with his sign as the obelisk pierces the rainy sky.  And march we did with out regard for our personal health and welfare! Up Constitution to the Capital building and our date with destiny!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My sign uses chemistry nomenclature to say “Trump/GOP is in equilibrium with their Lies”  and “Science yields Truth!” But I should present a shot of the other side of Chiara’s cool sign. That’s Andrew in the fore ground.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The March was great but I can see why people don’t do it very often —– but that seems to be changing as bizarre behavior grabs normally low key scientists to ACTION!!!!! I think that this will get bigger and bigger. The march was a fulfillment of civic duty but the time spent with Paolo and Mary and the rest of the clan was the greatest fun and they are the absolute best hosts on earth! Thanks again to our political activist facilitators!

On a sad note as most everyone knows from facebook etc. we’ve lost one of our greatest friends – nay – family members. Baxter. He was buried with more love and abject sorrow by me on the family property than I will be accorded at my demise. He is now resting in the spot he enjoyed sitting surveying his domain and keeping it safe from evil squirrels. Its been very tough for us. But I keep telling myself that three days spent with him far outweighs the sorrow I feel. Besides I am getting on now, crying only a couple times a day.

The next blog will be from Camp! And I am sure everyone is looking forward to a fun and fabulous summer at Sportsmen’s Camp! I know I am!

The One…

That got away!

My sister – Joan – and I have a running joke that we have no family photographs, we have pictures of family members with fish!

That being said it becomes obvious that fish and fishing appears to be a central element in my family’s history. Jeesh who would have guessed it? I gave up a promising career as an environmental chemistry consultant to actually be happy and able to reside and fish in the most wonderful place on earth. But I digress – that must be a first! Yeah right!

So here’s the scam – as my old friend Frances X. Russel used to say (and probably still does). One of the many things that I enjoy in the winter aside having fun with friends and socializing as well as vegging when its obviously too cold to go outside ice fishing on A frozen Lake Nippissing, playing pool late night on Friday or fishing for trout and playing cards with college friends near Tionesta in the majestic Allegheny mountains, as well as going to aquarium fish auctions with my great friend Ernie. The problem with the fish auctions is that they generally aren’t held in the dead of winter. The auctions are a main source of income for thousands of local aquarium clubs all over north America and they distribute rare fish and used equipment to many many hobbyists at fire sale rates. If people don’t show up due to poor driving conditions then no one benefits. Thus the auctions are clustered in the fall and spring. Summer is right out for me as I am elsewhere.

I’ve just gotten back from an excellent aquarium fish auction sponsored by the Loraine Ohio club. It was a beautiful day and there were a lot of interesting fish and equipment on the block. In my short (~45 odd years) career as an aquarist I have successfully bred several species of fish and propagated many rare plants and distributed them through the hobby. But one of my favorite species has eluded me over the years — Rivulus xiphidius. It has recently been reclassified as Laimosemion xiphius. This is a rare and gorgeous jewel of the killifish clan and is note-worthy in its touchy nature and fastidious demands for pristine water. So Ernie and I journeyed today to the auction and lo and behold the “white whale” presented itself in the form of a pair of gorgeous young xiphidiuses! It was love at first sight! But as with so many unrequited loves it was not to be. I stumbled and stubbed my toe on my ultimate basal nature of selfish need tempered by Anglo-Saxon self denial and thriftiness – I wouldn’t pay more than 15$ for a pair of fish ! What an idiot! LOL Cest La Vie – I guess Ahab has a few more years yet to pursue his quarry.

As an aside I heartily recommend anyone that is interested in keeping interesting aquarium denizens to investigate the dates for your local aquarium society auctions and check them out – you’ll be surprised at the interesting people and how welcoming and happy they will be to pass vast knowledge on to anyone with the penchant to know.

Springtime its not just…

In January yaknow!

But the calendar informs me that springtime arrived on the 20th. But the actual springtime just arrived for me this week. I heard the spring peepers last night! What a joyous sound to gladden the heart! But the other harbingers that I have observed are important too. On the way to work I saw a flock of Common Golden Eyes on Swan Lake resting before they pushed north the next day. (probably just a stop off before they worked their way to Firth Lake) Yesterday evening with the slight drizzle the yard smelled of night crawlers and as the sun was about to rise today (I was up letting Bart out!) I heard the unmistakable song of the white throated sparrow, AKA the Canada bird. It brought a tear to my eye, the warbling reminder that in just a short time we’d be back in the welcoming bosom of the great boreal north. Another thing that I noticed wasn’t spring related — I was going to the drive through ATM at the bank and I noticed that the gravel covering the parking lot islands and surrounding the shrubs was precisely the same as the gravel on the driveway in front of the lodge at camp! In this land of gray limestone and buff sandstone it was stunningly beautiful. There were no cars behind me so I stopped and rolled down the window and enjoyed the sight of a little bit of “home” here in Pennsylvania. Here’s another pretty quirky thing that put me mentally in a boat on Kapiskong Lake up the grassy catching tens of beautiful pike. This is what triggered that …. in the morning I was cleaning out my nose with a napkin. I removed the voluminous remnants of the night’s dried boogers and took my first good unencumbered breath of the day. Low and behold – the unmistakable sweet smell of pike slime! LOL Don’t cringe – its not as bad as the daily news from the Trump/Putin administration!

These things get me thinking about all the things I need to get done at camp this year. One of the biggies is the construction of a new left dock. I was thinking that I may hit Art Walker up to come to camp for a working week – he has offered. What the HELL! He’s retired yaknow. I would also like to get the trebuchet settled and throwing again too. But there are so many more important matters – such as replacing the water heater in the lodge as well as putting concrete floors in cabin number 9 and a litany of things far too numerous for me to attempt to list here. I would have to refer to my lists back on my table in the lodge. Along with these less fun items on a list another list runs in parallel. The list of lakes to try to visit and fish this year. So many opportunities to revisit old friends and make new ones or just explore. Invariably the list is barely scratched once I am presented with the reality of what needs to get done and the limited amount of my time – but that doesn’t alter the fact that it is so much fun to think about.

So dear reader I invite you to daydream about the coming summer and all the fun things you will be doing at camp this year as well as all the new lakes and places you wish to visit. So much fun to be had!

100_4905

I still have much on my plate here though with first day of trout season, the weekend at Duda’s Kellettville cabin as well as the tropical fish auctions on the weekends with my friend Ernie, weekly pool nights at Josh’s and getting the yard whipped into shape and……(there it goes again the “to do” list encroaching on the fun list – stop that!)