Inspector Jack reports…

On the latest Sportsmen’s Camp mysteries and intrigues.

Yes dear reader Inspector Jack has resurfaced after a several year hiatus to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances and the clandestine operations of a secret elitist organization right here in Sportsmen’s camp!

When asked why he has resurfaced for these investigations his reply was Delphic – involving how much fun it is to needlessly speculate, wear funny hats, smoke a pipe, drink scotch and ply informants with alcohol whilst questioning as well applying his well known coercion techniques during interrogation of persons of interest.

The case of the mysteriously mobile oven rack –

This case was cracked using the sound and tried and true methods of intense witness interrogation with a smattering of needless speculation then applying these speculations. It turns out that the oven rack in question sprouts legs from time to time and goes to areas where it’s needed the most or out of the way locales. It is a well known syndrome that afflicts inanimate objects especially in homes with teen children. Technically known as echinodermata locomatata. You see there are no tell tale tracks from the object’s movement and it is theorized that the object sprouts thousands of tiny tube feet similar to a starfish or sea urchin in the night and then slowly makes way to it’s ultimate destination. The theories about the motives and stimuli that affect the ultimate destination are varied and much research is yet indicated to have any definitive theory to fit the data. So at this time we must rely only on testimony (often hearsay) and empirical evidence from “witnesses, malingerers and persons of interest.

The case of the mysterious cabin pen disappearances –

It was brought to the attention of the staff here at Sportsmen’s Camp that a cottage had no writing implements and whenever one was brought in that it would subsequently disappear! Very strange indeed. And especially strange given the respondent is under investigation in another especially heinously bougie case. It was posited immediately that it was another case of echinodermata locomatata but the emergence of the prime respondent as the person of interest in another another case has cast a most convoluted pall on this investigation. We have multiple theories as to possible bourgeois motives for the monetization of the pilfered writing implements. Although the case is not closed it was recommended that the staff ignore requests for pens or pencils especially from the primary respondent. The phenomenon thus ceased and the assumption that the main culprit of this issue was the prime respondent seems to be universally accepted. The case though not officially closed is suspended.

The case of the secret elitist bourgeois bacchanalia

This was the most difficult of the Sportsmen’s Camp cases. Apparently this secret elitist society has been operating for several years right under the noses of the camp owners, staff and guests. This was later explained by the fact that members of the staff and guests are in fact members of this secret elitist society! Much vigorous interrogation was employed to wrest this information from the members of this erstwhile cult as well as the infiltration of the organization and the courageous efforts of the affected family members. There was much talk of a full scale intervention but this was pooh poohed in favor of collecting additional corroborating evidence. This was a particularly difficult decision especially since this unseemly cabal was seeking to indoctrinate another unsuspecting (some would say clueless) member of the family. Hence it became necessary to expose this nefarious union of deviates. Luckily after a very reliable witness approached the meeting site with diversionary questions regarding the location of his “fucking tuna fish” the meeting was exposed and it is hoped that the prospective recruit was deflected from a decision with dire consequences.

There are other investigations pending and it is hoped that they will be resolved before the end of the season but these were the most interesting and appear to be pretty well wrapped up.

Respectfully submitted for your edification – Inspector Jack

On the Tail of a Rainy Morning

It was a cool and rainy morning, giving us a gentle dose of needed moisture. It also makes for a darker morning than normal just the way Val hates it before the generator starts. It is also the possible harbinger of a fun day if the rain keeps falling. A day of games and comradery and perhaps some drinking. Kevin and I had a truncated morning routine as we had to do no watering and trimming. So we had a leisurely breakfast and I read for about an hour before it was time to start the generator. Kevin decided to go sack out with the Evil One and I had to roust him to help start the camp. He grumbled. But his tail wagged as we went out the door, with visions of menacing guests and bunnies dancing in his head.

The rain had stopped and there was a burgeoning brightness behind the clouds – like a fantastic aurora behind a light cloud bank. Something I’ve seen several times this summer. I decided to take my camera and make a blog out of the morning startup.

Nice ferns eh?

So I look over the lodge and turn to look over the new days day lilies.

Not yet peak but pretty impressive.

Kevin was already down the lane as I gazed at the lilies and was impatient to get things moving. So we proceeded to the generator house and started up. As the engine warms up, without load, we walk down to the pumphouse to burp the pressure tank (adjusting the pressure bubble in the tank).

down by the pumphouse

As I burp the pressure tank Kevin generally walks around the beach looking for trouble or takes a dip if it’s a hot day. Today I look over to the north west to see what immediate weather is in the offing. Oddly it appears to be clearing. Then I check the beach to see what Kevin is up to.

Kevin surveys his domain

Kevin does no swimming on this day and there are no likely victims to be menaced (drat!) I check out the growth on my red maples after the the beaver did some draconian pruning last fall and see if we’ve gotten enough rain to do any puddling in front of #10.

anti-beaver mesh on the one maple that wasn’t “beaver pruned”

The trees have recovered nicely and the rain appears to have completely soaked in. I get a whiff from the fish house and resolve to clear the fish cleanings today. I also step back to admire the load of gravel we put on the drive this spring.

Its beautiful pink gravel

I’m happy with the way the gravel holding up. After some discussion Kevin and I determine that we should check the lake temp and look over the rental boat on the dock for rain water. The lake temperature is 72F and the boat only has a small amount of rain water in it. Kevin and I will go for a boat ride later and run it out. We also stop and check the second coat of paint we put on the bottom of the red wooden boat. Looks very good and we look over the Nittany Express for its bottom painting. Then we continue our loop of the camp. Our unhurried walk around camp is just about the right time necessary for the diesel to warm up.

going up the “hill” to Villa Colombi

Bobo Baxter’s Bungalow

the view from the hill

We clear the hill after checking out the view and make the turn to the lodge. We always pause around Joan’s to check out the new blooms and Kevin looks for bunnies.

the menarda is looking great!

The sun is breaking through about now and we have to move on as the diesel is probably sufficiently warmed up to bring online. But the sun detains us at the lodge as it shines on the day lilies making them glow!

really spectacular.

After a quick picture and looksee we go down and turn on the power then walk down to the pumphouse to start the pump. We’ll soon have to shut off the gravity water tank after fulling. We then have to roust the Evil One and weather the daily storm of invective.

That’s the beginning of me and Kevin’s day.

Is this heaven? No – its just my idea of it.

It’s A Season of Firsts!

Much that happens here is so seasonal that it’s possible that each day presents a first for the season. It’s also been added to by the two year disruption caused by the pandemic. So many of the things that I notice for the first time are firsts of perception too. And as I age I realize that given a short term memory with a somewhat lessened “half life” that I am soon to see many more (perceived) firsts.

Todays multiple firsts were positive – so they will be fun to relay to you all. When I get up in the afternoon I always water my garden and do some trimming on the bonsai. This involves a lot of scrutinization too. I look for pests and or pest related damage as well as new growth and assess how everything is doing to create plans to maximize growth and well being. I was surprised and delighted to see what a few warm nights had done.

Look at that blushing beauty!

Yes that is the first ripe tomato from what I hope will be many. I have found that I can generally get a good crop of medium sized tomatoes from Early Girl plants and many many cherry tomatoes from sweet 100s. My green beans a blooming and setting fruit in great abundance too. Last year I planted parthenocarpic zucchini and got a good number of them but not as many as my norm. The previous two years I got only a few zooks due to poor conditions when they were getting pollinated. Hence the move to the self pollinating variety. This year I am back to the normal zooks that have separate sexed flowers requiring pollination. I have noticed that the tips of the male flowers wither and close before noon. Theorizing that this may be inhibiting the pollinators I have been experimentally clipping the upper section of the male blooms off to re-expose the anthers. We’ll see how it goes.

Semi herbaceous Japanese peony

The second first – the first time my Japanese peony has bloomed! And what a show it has given. Up to this point it has been a peony bush. Now it has justified the care that I have lavished on it over the past several years.

This has also been an outstanding year for the rugosas!

Great fragrance on a still day

The third first was a not so spectacular but a harbinger of spectacular things in the offing. The first of my unpatented daylily blooms.

small but a real trooper

The next first is a good one – I walked into the laundry to start a load of wash and low and behold the LAUNDRY TUB WAS EMPTY! Hosannah and hallaylya! There was a washed load yet in the washer to be hung (if it were a man in there he would have to be hanged) so I joyfully put it out on the line!

The next first is that this is the first night in about a week that there was almost no hatch of mayflies! The fish are starting to be much easier to catch now! I’ve also noted that there were no vagrant black flies and we’re in for a string of nice days.

Everybody is out fishing – just one of the new rental boats on the dock.

The last first – Janet and I are going out fishing with leeches in deeper water today. Leeches always start working well after the mayfly hatch recedes.

I walked into the living room here at camp and it was a scene of mayhem! Bodies strewn everywhere – the carnage horrific! It makes me think of Father Guido Sarducci’s find the popes in the pizza contest!

So here we are – find and name the stuffed toys on the carpet contest. The entries will be judged arbitrarily and extra points for witty entries. The prize will be a free selection from “Jack’s big pile of fishing poles”.

A veritable cornucopia of fishing ecstasy!

Well it’s time to go fishing – seeya.

First of the Season

Things have been a little hectic here. Mostly due to communications issues. You see we don’t have cell coverage so must rely on landline phone services and satellite internet. We arrived after a long nights drive to no phone service and the starlink dish was AFO. After powering it up – it would only connect for 56 seconds! Ok no internet! No phone! Janet drives to Gowganda to get online and try to figure the starlink problem out. Starlink has no real-time service! So a problem that could be resolved in 10 minutes on the phone or live chat stretched into weeks. I am too pissed off about to go into it in detail. But we now have sat internet. But the land line telephone is down now for about 4 weeks! Janet does all the ordering of fuels, lumber etc. via the phone so this has really handicapped us and is driving Janet around the bend.

We need your help.

Please call this number to complain that Sportsmen’s Camp phone is not working and you need to get through for business purposes. NorthernTelephone – 1-800-360-8555

Ok that nonsense is taken care of. The dragon flies hatched on the 31st of May! Thus it has not been a bad blackfly season. We’re now into summer and we are looking at a longish stretch of great sunny weather. There are just a few blackfly stragglers but the mosquitos, deer flies and horse flies are picking up the slack. Its still very comfortable to sit at the beach for happy hours though.

Kevin drinking at the beach.

Both docks are set and the water temps are about 76 to 78F and rising. Our guests in cabin 3 have been doing quite well fishing – last three days have netted a 34″ pike, 30.5″ walleye and a string of really nice jumbo perch. The pike and walleye still reside in the lake, the perch swam in hot oil last I checked.

yes the right dock is still with us.

The growing season has been pretty good for almost all of my plants. My wild rose is having a bad time but that seems to be it. My tomatoes and bonsai are all doing well, as well as the lupine. Last year the lupine bloom was off badly and I though I might have to apply some draconian measures to reset but those plans have been put on hold.

They must have sensed the bad performance review.
Bart’s irises at the beach.

I’ve had an allergic reaction to the pine pollen this year and am battling the symptoms of a nasty cold. But I have located some allergy medicine and that is helping a lot. However I am drowsy on it and I’m not getting things done.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another gorgeous day and I think I’ll put out the shoal markers and cast some hardware around. I’ve already caught several fish of the right dock. Janet is the first fish queen again this year with a small pike when we were out on a cruise on the abomination.

Take care and don’t forget to call Northern Telephone to complain about the lack of service.

Where the HELL is everybody???

Where indeed. Who’d a thought that the boarder would be closed for two summers? Don’t be alarmed. I don’t have any inside information but it’s that with the variants and the lack of any verifiable vax documentation that things are going to be slow. It seems at this point that the PM has stated that the boarder may open in midAugust at the earliest.

Its a rainy day here as you might have guessed. So its spitting much needed rain as I pound out drivel on the lap top. I just hope that the rain lessens somewhat so I can easily up-load the post. We need the rain badly and it seems to be gently laying it down. But it has been deceptive – the stream of water going down to the beach was larger that some trout streams I have fished! As Kevin and I were bringing the camp on-line we noticed that the boats at the dock were very close to being sunk by the rain! So as the water system purged and the diesel warmed, me and Kevin bailed the boat. It took quite a while as the rain would gain on me if I slowed. I repaired a hole in the firebrick lining of the pizza oven earlier in the week. I shaped a new piece of firebrick and put it in place with refractory mortar. It cured for a few days and I fired the oven yesterday to set it into place. After the night’s cooling the repair still looked good,

I promised (like a dumbass) in the last posting to put up some pics so it’s your lucky day!

When we arrived we were amazed at the hay fields in camp. The grass was high and ready to be bailed. Here’s a shot of the field in front of 7 down in the common area.

The picnic tables give a good idea of the grass height! As we walked down to the beach we encountered a surly old fat guy. He told us it was about time we got here and to get to work.

what the hell!

And so we did. The Evil One was unleashed on the hay riding her Grim Reaper.

I retrieved the newer dock and put it into position and Mike gave me a hand pushing the old dock into the lake and I jockeyed it into position on a later date in preparation for setting it up. Here’s Kevin checking out the ducks at the floating west dock.

Small golden eyes out in the lake above the bow of the boat.

I think Kevin smells them but he definitely doesn’t see them!

Kevin likes the grass being cut as it’s much easier to spot the snowshoe hares so he can point at them, rudely stare, and standoffishly approach them until the retreat out of boredom.

.Mike came over on a beauty of a day and we set the docks. The water was nice so there was no issue with jumping into the drink to clear any rocks or retrieve a dropped tool. everything went smoothly with the help.

It’s nice to see both docks setup. A harbinger of normalcy. (I Hope) The lake is smooth and mirrorlike in this shot and we’ve been getting a lot of days like this thus far in July.

I leave you with a shot of the wide beach. Its a great place to watch the sun set especially having a Gin and Tonic with friends.

Boy its great to be home! I just hope my friends can join me.

Hey Wait – yeeGADS this isn’t my DIARY

As I descend deeper into the black abyss on this 9th day of quarantine all I can think about is wrapping my old calloused fingers around the throat of my tormentor…OOOPS.

Yes dear reader we are back in the busom of the boreal forest! The weather up till today has been hot and dry. The evidence of a very early hot dry spring is everywhere! All the spruces have taken a heavy hit from spruce budworm and dry early heat stress during their candling (or new growth) period. We’ve gotten here approximately two weeks earlier than last season but all the vegetation and insects point to a season point of a normal year as late July! No blackflies to speak of, vast quantities of dragon flies and a low crop of mosquitos. The lake is low at a lower level than most levels at late summer! The lakes weeds beds are flourishing at the lower level and the dragon flies have already bred for the most part. Janet and I have spent several happy hours at the beach watching the sunset listening to the joyous sounds of the loons as well as watching Kevin keep the beach clear of nasty goldeneye and black duck mothers with their rafts of young ones. There are no tree swallows in evidence but they may have already fledged and left.

I’ve once again retrieved my bonsai collection from their winter resting grounds amongst the ostrich ferns. Through the good offices of the benevolent ferns the great majority of my collection has survived. Due to the dry spring I lost 8 of my prized collection. Alas almost all of them the broad leaved specimens. All my maples and alders were wiped out. The Alders were with me for more than 10 years and two were flagship specimens. I am going through some mourning as a result. But I must look at it as a glass 3/4 full. With the collection in their summer digs and getting a constant water supply they are all looking well now.

I have never seen the grass so high as when we arrived! But its all dry and ready to be made into hay. I sharpened the mower blades and replaced one of the mower deck pulley assemblies and The Evil One was off to the races mowing the camp. Today is the first cold and rainy day of our stay. Hence this posting. The forecast says its will be rainy and cool for the next few days. All the rain that we are receiving is soaking into the parched ground so I anticipate no rise in any of the water levels for quite some time. My raised bed was like powder when I tilled it and planted the second day we were here! I’ve never seen that situation before! It took about 30 gallons of water to get the soil conditions to norm. Walking around camp the ground was “thumping” with that hollow sound I hear when its late August – so so dry. On a good note – the service berry bushes are setting fruit so that may bode well for a good berry crop this season.

Yesterday we went fishing for a couple hours and had a ball catching bass like crazy. I lost a huge one on the little shoal when she spat the mepps back at me on the jump. Get this – the mad hook setter – Me – didn’t get a good hook set! But we got a good look at her and The Evil One said it was in the 20″ range. I concur. Also caught several feisty midsized pike. It was a delightful time and the Evil One was blessed with the first and second fish (nice 15″ bass) of the season – it warmed the cockles of her dark black heart! Unfortunately the batteries were low on my camera so no fabulous pics to regal you with in this blog. That situation will be remedied in future posts.

The old lady that is the camp is slowly awakening. Most of the water system is up and things are beginning to get back to normal. I have a lot of chainsaw work to do during this cold snap – really looking forward to it LOL. Also my initial back strain pain is now worked out with the constant work and I am easily getting most of my startup tasks completed.

So, overall the Camp is nearly ready to receive guests as restrictions are normalized. Get your vaccines so I can see you all this summer!

Translation South…

Is immanent.

The time draws nigh for the trip south and the weather is beginning to remind us of that fact. Orion is showing up early each clear night along with this year’s brilliant Mars. The trees are turning color quickly.

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That’s the view a couple days back from the dock. There are more and more red maples showing and growing on the ridge. The lake level is doing its annual fall monsoon rise too. The rain just keeps coming. We’ve had a few wind and rain events since the picture so all the red have been cleared.

We got a really great sunset pic from one of this years guests I must share.

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Pretty amazing eh? I am not a fan of sunset pics but this one is out of ordinary.

Even with the crappy weather we haven’t been idle. Janet runs Kevin daily after he does the morning rounds and chores with his dad.

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We place the trapped mice of the stump for the crows. Walk around camp so that Kevin can point at the bunnies and run after crows. The bunnies are completely unafraid of Kevin because he just points at them! We’ll be walking to the shop, see a bunny and Kevin will freeze and point at it from about 30 ft. (perfect form on the point too) I’ll go into the shop and rummage around for what I need emerging about 4 mins later to find Kevin still pointing and a bored snowshoe hare eating clover blissfully as he gazes at a frozen Kevin. The impasse is generally broken when I walk past Kevin on my way to the house and the bunny bolts. Kevin then saunters up to where the bunny was sitting and then walks over to where he went into the bush! Wow way to put the threat of death into them! But hey its hard work. Kevin also has to meet with foreign dignitaries such as the Sultan of Janetron.

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He and the Sultan are attempting to coax an nasty monkey off of the roof of the shower.

Soon after this picture was taken a lynx was spotted crossing the drive about 40 feet away from us toward the lodge! It was an extremely well made young female about the size of a standard poodle. I had Janet take Kevin to the beach and I picked up my framing hammer and went up to where she was. She was standing without any fear looking at me no more than 20 ft away. I yelled and waved my arms – she decided to sit down for the show. Jeesh I get no respect! So I walked toward her and she then decided to leave. When I recounted the story to guests in camp they asked if I wasn’t afraid that she may attack me – LOL nobody messes with an old fat guy with an Estwing framing hammer!

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Actually The Evil One and Kevin are keeping an eye on the old guy putting a roof on the shower. You see if the old guy falls off the roof it would be absolutely hilarious! And The Evil One wouldn’t miss it for the world. Also other peoples misfortune must be witnessed to be funny. Kevin does take this seriously too. After I finished the shower and was working on the porch of cabin 10 he spent quite a bit of the afternoon sitting in the van with The Evil One. She read her book waiting for the thud and moan portion of the days activities and he sat in the driver’s seat watching his dad. It was cool out so they wanted to be comfortable.

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Here I am mugging in front of the new shower roof.

Kevin’s other morning chores include burping the water pressure tank and getting the lake temp. He will trundle right out onto the end of the dock and watch as the thermometer is checked if the lake is not too wavy.

On this particular day he also had the added duty of going to the dump. We also invited “The Sultan” for the outing.

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Here they are loaded into the limo and ready to roll – the secret service chase vehicles are to the right out of frame.

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The day always ends with the completely exhausted Kevin roughing up The Evil One’s bed and having a good snooze. Its even better if he is wet from running around in the rain with dad.

So it would seem that my life is being lived through the dictates of a crazy little dog, but it just isn’t so, he only illustrates the joie de vivre that we still have for being in this most wonderful of places.

We as Members of A Capitalist Consumerist Society…

Are encouraged and taught to acquire, accumulate, own and collect. As a result of this we often become slaves to our possessions. As a person ages they will often see the folly of their ways and begin to divest themselves of all but their most meaningful possessions. The aging baby boom population reaching this juncture in their lives are thus resonant with the “if it doesn’t bring you joy – get rid of it” movement. It makes sense. 

Having said that I wanted to post some pictures of my favorite things – I could have started the blog with a “rain drops on roses and thick woolen mittens….” Sound of Music thing but I didn’t want to burden anyone with that brain worm. Oops sorry that screwed the pooch there.

This post was prompted to some degree by Mary Colombi’s favorite wooden spatula being left here last year and the appearance of a really nice plastic laundry hamper at the dump.

Mary’s spatula was identified and pulled from the cabin for safe keeping and later brandished in a zoom meeting with them tauntingly.

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The cherished well used implement is pictured above. Its pretty nice but most people wouldn’t say this is a cherished possession. They have never met Mary Colombi Gourmet Chef! And all great artisans have their favorite tools!

As mentioned above a really nice plastic laundry hamper appeared at the dump and our old one was examined for replacement….

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As you can see its painted wicker with a light wooden dowel frame. The lid was lost during the Tunguska cross riff event in the late 1800’s. Other than that it is in pretty good state – ratty but still sturdy. Here’s the thing though it was my Grandma Iva’s and she had it when she lived in an apartment on Richelieu Ave when I was say… 6 years old. So that makes the hamper greater than 60 years old! Talk about tenacious staying power! Joan probably remembers it too. So here was the dilemma, new snappy utilitarian light plastic hamper with a lid and carrying handles that Janet could manage or the old heavy wicker one with provenance? It was up to me – I thought what would my beloved Grandma Iva say? She was a pragmatic sort and she whispered in my ear “Get rid of that ugly old thing! I didn’t like it when it was new, that’s why I painted the damn thing!” So off to the dump the relic went. But not without fond memories – that I still have.

Another of my favorite things that in some ways has taken advantage of my love is the Piscarious. After my spring assessment (the year before last) revealed some major structural flaws that could be an existential threat to the boat as well as its occupants I had to cogitate as to whether I should fix it yet again (If I listed all the things I’ve replaced or shored up in the past it would be a multi-entry blog-a-thon) or let it go? The stumbling point was last year was busy (sort of a counter point to this summer) and I was not sure if I could devise a fix that would be durable, strong and yet esthetically pleasing. I know, I expect way too much from my meager skills. So it wasn’t fixed last year. However the time over winter wasn’t spent without reason – I came up with a relatively easy fix that satisfied all my requirements.

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The problem was that age and a lifetime of stressful wave breaking had cracked 5 of the white oak hoops that back the cedar strips between the first and second seats. Right where the waves are cut at warp speed. So I put hardwood stop blocks up at the inside of the splash rail connection line and cut strips of tight yet strong luan plywood (from the dump) to a length that would be placed under compression between the keel and the block. When the strips were pressed into place they conformed tightly to the inside hull of the Pisarious. I then propped the boat on it’s side so that the fiberglass resin I poured and worked into the system would permeate the plywood as well as bond it directly to the underlaying cedar strips. I did the sides on successive days then put a hardwood strip over each of the lines of stops and painted it. As The Evil One said “If you squint your eyes without your glasses and don’t look for the fix you’d not know it’s there.” High praise from the Evil One. I also put a pillar under the front seat to the keel. This added the strength of all the seat boards to keeping the keel from moving. Looking over the fix I am satisfied – It passes the “stronger than when it was new” test. Light, strong, unobtrusive, and elegant if I do say so my self. But the summer draws to a close here and Firth lake temps are below 60F so I think the old girl will have to wait till next year to fly on the azure waves of Firth Lake again. So the Piscarious is still bringing me joy and remains the most beautiful fishing boat on earth..

I have not just been drinking here all summer (but it sounds tempting) so I endeavored to display another of my favorite collections —- The vaunted Firth Lake Scotch Library. It has built over the many years of owning the camp and has resided on many disparate shelves around the lodge and almost never revealed itself in its entirety to the public. Sort of like the Vatican archives. Generally just appearing as specific selections to illustrate scotch types to tickle the palate of fellow connoisseurs. But They needed a proper home…

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Pretty cool Eh? The Evil One posits that it will only promote more tasting and I counter – that is what what a library is supposed to do. Janet likes to point out to people walking into the store and seeing the Library for the first time that “Jack hasn’t bought one of them!” That isn’t true – I purchased the latest iteration of Highland Park 18yo!

Another of my favorite things is the Chateau Frontenac pink floribunda subzero rose that has survived for 10 years out front of the lodge. Its not too showy has no fragrance and the form of the blossoms is sloppy but it blooms like a trooper in the fall right up till it’s knocked down by a really hard frost! It is sort of like the one eyed man being king in the land of the blind or some one with an IQ of 60 at a GOP convention.

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Joan, the whip lady, wasn’t here this summer so corn shocks have been employed to mulch the area around the rose.

So much for favorite things – I went fishing for a couple hours the other day with the lake temp hovering around 60F and caught an 18 1/2 inch bass. Good fight and lots of fun but that was the only bite. It was a very windy day so not the best of conditions.

We’ve been experiencing a plethora of small animals this year – mice, voles, shrews, frogs, toads, chipmunks, red squirrels, snow shoe hare, ground hogs and ruffed grouse. I have been trapping on average 3 mice a night! After loosing two tomatoes to chippies I deployed a trap and two bucket traps around the garden. I can tell you there has been no more damage and “the herd has been thinned!” I also got tired of hearing the grundsow under the lodge. So he was kidnapped!

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Curiously his captors never issued ransom demands! His captors did deliver him to the Wapus landing and released him. He scurried to the edge of the bush then paused turned and raised his fist shouting “Grundsow Power Baby!” Then disappeared into the bush. Who knows what retribution he is planning?

Speaking of errant animals we have a lurking frog in the house! He hops around and is too quick for the scurrying old folks that live there. He’s very healthy and hangs out under the green couch.

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This pic is presented for your “where’s Waldo” moment.

Another cool happening – as Kevin and i were doing our circuit of camp we heard the ominous honking of geese. We looked up and there were three huge wings of geese at high altitude booking south. I did a quick count/estimate and there were about 500 to 600 geese total! Very cool stuff – the Vees would deviate and reform with geese joining and reforming constantly. Quite a spectacle! Unfortunately this usually signals bad weather is coming.

Before I sign off I give you a Puzzler of the ornithological type. (Joan is forbidden to enter a guess) The winner will receive a chit entitling them to two tastings of the scotches of their choice at a later date!

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Identify the bird that these feathers came from. The answer is obvious so its a very easy puzzle.

Along with the policy of leaving with a cute doggie pic it dove tails with the new business model for Sportsmen’s Camp. We’ve installed a boardwalk here at camp. Its going to have small games of skill and a freakshow (I figure it won’t cost a thing to run as we have new guests weekly and I could sell tickets to people off the highway) along it – for Sled to humble mere mortals with his ability to roll skiball and guess weight and squirt water into the mouths of plastic clowns. The money maker will be the casino! The building and capital expenditure will occur next summer. Here’s a pic of Kevin inspecting the first section of completed boardwalk.

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And another of the span.

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Kevin is not completely onboard with the plan.

A Day In The Life Of…..

KEVIN!

The Canadian government in its great wisdom has launched and funded a study to determine if “Working Dogs” in the North are mistreated. So in line with this study we here at the Sportsmen’s Camp News Bureau (SCNB) have decided to blow the top off of this story by publishing this startling expose of the subject.

The SCNB made the arduous journey to the site of the animal torture. We took a full crew as well as boats and a helicopter. We were duty bound to leave no stone unturned – but we were soon to learn there were a lot of stones in northern Ontario!

Our subject was Kevin a small Tibetan Terror who is forced to “help” his “daddy” EVERY DAY – DAY IN – DAY OUT!!! From dusk (sometimes waking as early 12:30 after noon) to the wee hours of the morn! His always mistreated – some times he goes 2 to 4 minutes without his “daddy” telling him how much “daddy loves him”!!! Oh the humanity!!!! I am shocked and dismayed that the SPCA has not grasped onto the enormity of this abuse and wanton mistreatment! It brings a tear to this reporter’s eye just recounting the facts of this heinous case! But back to the report.

Kevin is roughly awakened by his daddy slipping out of bed ~ noon. The incessant slapping of daddy’s flip flops echo’s through the house. The poor beast’s torturer makes the diabolical evil noises constantly whilst watering the garden and the bonsai collection. By this time the torment of the noise has brutally brought poor Kevy to a startled waking state – poor doggie! Next the evil “daddy” forces poor Kevy to march to the lake and clear the area of snow shoe hares and ground hogs! All this patrolling and chasing to selflessly protect his tormentor! All this running has needlessly over-heated and now threatens the life of poor Kevin with insipient HEAT STROKE! There is only one option for the poor beast.

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He is forced to plunge into the icy maelstrom of a lake in the far north! Look at the tortured look on this poor doggie’s face!

Soon he is shivering and must run wildly about to avoid HYPOTHERMIA! After attending to the water system and starting the diesel Kevin is forced to refuse substandard breakfast food sometimes turning down bacon that was FRIED TOO CRISPY!!!!

By this time guests are coming to the store and Kevin is forced roughly to greet each one! (I only saw him snarl and bare his teeth to all of them.) After they have been greeted Kevin must keep a watchful eye on things to be sure that nothing untoward occurs.

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Now the unthinkable occurs – Kevin’s chief tormenter – The Evil Janeeto from the planet Janetron (mommy) awakens in another FOUL MOOD! She is mean and nasty and makes a point to not tell him more than a dozen times what a good boy he is!!!!

It is decided by his tormentors that today poor Kevy will be “water boated”!

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Kevin makes a valiant escape attempt but is thwarted by mommy asking him to get in the boat.

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Abducted and forced to endure a rough passage sometimes not even being petted – see photographic evidence above – he makes his way with mommy and daddy to the prime fishing grounds.

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After stopping Kevin is forced to sit on a small isolated seat enduring minutes of boredom until The Evil One catches one of many fish.

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Poor Kevin enjoys a few seconds of respite as The Evil One concentrates on torturing a different victim!

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And what does Kevin care if Mommy points at a parent loon with two fat healthy babies!

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When does the carnage end? These poor fish were taken from the water and mocked by photographing their misery before they were summarily consigned to the deep. Only Kevin may be able to understand their plight!

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After returning back to the gulag Kevin is forced once again to endure possible hypothermia as well as running about to clear the area of vicious snow shoe hares!

For the rest of the day its forced work — shutting off the water tank, keeping squirrels out of the shop as daddy works (forced to lay in saw dust!) (freshly sawn aromatic cedar saw dust!), menace intruders (guests) and other tasks far too numerous and onerous to list here. One thing is sure though the day always ends…

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when exhaustion sets in from being constantly driven to his physical limit! Kevin is forced to clear his own area on a dilapidated old couch in front of a south facing window that puts a debilitating draft onto him. The poor boy is so selfless that he even attempts to console the the partially dismembered fox toy!

That’s it dear reader the expose is complete another scoop from the SCNB

– Like FOX “We distort, you abide.”

A Meeting With The Big…

Five.

The stage was set the other night, starkly clear, slightly cool, no wind and the moon had set – it was between 4:00 and 4:30 in the am (as Dad used to say). I shut down the diesel and went over to open the valve on the gravity tank. There in the sky was the bright beacon of Venus with a bright Mercury nearby and not too far away the pair of gas giants Saturn and Jupiter were bright and brighter! A little farther to the south Mars was the blood red light in the sky. Really quite breath taking — all of them at once. I can’t say that I have seen Venus brighter. Very cool stuff! First comet NeoWise and now the meeting with the “Big Five”.

We’ve been pretty busy here last few days – the Becketts occupying three cabins and some campers from Toronto. So there was fishing, and teens swimming and fun and games at the beach. We decided to have a pizza day. I needed to fire up the oven to clear the moisture from the masonry anyway. But wait — Joan isn’t here to get the dough ready with her big ass stand mixer! Soooooo The Evil One got several pizza dough recipes from the net and I amalgamated one from them and mixed it up. 18 cups of flour – that’s a pretty big blivot of dough! But I hand kneaded it and then it raised beautifully and was ready to be used later that same afternoon. It made really nice pizzas too. Puffing slightly on cooking and browning nicely as well as cooking through for no doughy texture. Veddy Naice!

When firing the oven for baking pizza I don’t do temperature numbers – I watch the state of carbonization on the inner oven dome surface. Once the dome looses its coating of carbon and appears as clean fire brick I know that the oven it to working temp and away we go! On checking the inner dome I realized that my inspection of the oven for repairs was not thorough. The refractory “keystone” piece at the oculus of the inner dome had deteriorated and fell out. The layer of insulation between the refractory and the outer slip was showing. It did not and would not in the future affect the oven’s performance, but its best to repair these issues before they get worse. A wise man once quipped – “A stitch in time saves nine.” I fixed it today by working some of the ceramics clay that Bob brought up into the gap. I worked a chunk big enough to fill the gap with some water and pushed it into place – then wet my hands and smoothed it even with the dome surface – close any way. After about a weeks drying I’ll refire the oven and set the repair in place (hopefully). If not I’ll trim a piece of fire brick (collected from the dump) and mortar it in place.

Its cool today. Overcast and a brisk north wind. Ten inch waves are attacking the beach and the flag is standing out. Shorts and tee shirt are fine up at the lodge but sweat shirt and pants are more the style at the beach!

so now some pictures.

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Firth Lake provides yet another sumptuous repast!

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A nice group of fun fishing from the dam.

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Lyle presides over and helps with the fileting.

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The pizza dough did pretty well – eh?

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As with blog policy its always good to leave the reader with a happy boy picture! Kevin loves it here as much as we do.