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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…..

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!)

I’m Back

Yes dear reader after a brief hiatus I am back. The hiatus was initially propagated due to my old computer getting so slow that writing a post was like swimming in loon-shit! A reference to the muck in the great boreal swamps. Then the fan died on the computer – so I tore it apart and fixed the fan – some pesky dust bunnies has made a home in the miniature squirrel cage! Imagine that! So the computer was fixed and I only had to blow into the air intake to occasionally start the fan. But the computer was still slow. So Janet got me a new laptop (this one) and I basically avoided using it all summer trying several different virus removers etc. – but nothing worked very well. And the computer was only 6 years old!!!! LOL

Thus I am now on the new puter.

Much has transpired during the hiatus but I will skip most of that to report on my last foray to the great boreal (sane) north. I finally went ice fishing on Lake Nipissing with some great friends. We caught several fish and had a great time in the ice condo and fishing on the ice.  We were warm and cozy drinking beer and playing cards as the wind howled at -3 degrees and about 60kph! The snow was swirling and drifting around the ice condo to about a depth of two and a half feet! During the day the snow was so kicked up that you couldn’t discern any difference from sky-horizon-lake-or snow that you’re standing on! If you turned away from the ice condo you existed on a perfect sphere of whiteness! It was a very cool effect – unnerving yet still exhilarating. The sun then set with great color through the ice crystals and night fell. The wind died and the suspended divided ice particles from the previously howling wind fell to the ground reflecting the lights from the metropolis of North Bay. A fabulous effect which was nearly impossible to photograph with its full luminous nuances. Fabulous!

As I said we caught several fish and almost none that were of a keeping size. But we caught a good range of species pickerel (walleye), yellow perch, freshwater burbot or lingcod and the topper for me was a splendid spotted mud puppy! But all told the weekend was a resounding success! I’ll present some pictures for your perusal.

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I forgot to mention that we took in an Ice Sculpture Exhibition at Bridge North. It featured polar bear riding for the kids!

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There was also beaver petting! What a great idea! Jeesh these Canadians have such great ideas!

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Here I am checking to see if an ice sculpture is cold as a witch’s teat!

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This was a really cool (cold too) back lit wolf! But enough buffoonery on to the pics of the ice fishing.

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Treking about 2 miles out onto the lake to the ice condo – note the island on the right! Cool stuff!

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Here’s our humble little ice hut LOL. Note the gas grill and beer cooler right next to the door below the picture window.

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A gorgeous sunset on a frozen lake Nipissing!

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Wow even Spiderman ice fishes!!!

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Here we are warm and cozy in our condo drinking and fishing through the floor!

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Here’s a fine little pickerel caught on my trusty Iron Man fishing rod! I couldn’ find a Spiderman one!

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So there was a little taste of the weekend – a delightful weekend.

 

 

A Day on Firth…

Priceless!

We took a day off and spent it tooling around Firth and catching fish. It was slightly overcast with water temps in the low to mid 60’s F with a coming cool front and south easterly breezes. The fishing wasn’t as fast as we would have liked but we caught some fine fish and had a delightful day. Of course the Evil Janeeto from the Planet Janetron was the first to strike! With a fine bass at our first stop on the “little shoal” right off of Camp.

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She set the hook, the little beastie jumped then she got slack line and thought that he had thrown the hook! But after some furious reeling he was confirmed as online. But after the fish was fought and landed the Evil one exclaimed that it wasn’t a very good fight and she was expecting more! So after a few impromptu renditions of Peggy Lee’s Is That All There Is?? And a few more fruitless casts we moved to the shallow side of the weed bed bay.

On my third cast I hooked into a nice beast right at the terminus of the cast. He jumped and fought like a champ but in light of the Evil One’s earlier comment about un-met expectations…

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There I am yawning and sooo bloody bored!

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There he is in the boat about 18 – 19″ – just an estimate I got him back into the lake quickly. Fun fish! In the meantime Joan was plugging along and catching bass and pike but as she always catches so many fish we seldom take pictures of her fish its just too too commonplace! Then the beast hit! It was to allow Joan to garner the points for the three specie trophy for the day as well as getting her…

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the first perch of the season! What a fight – what a beauty!!!!

They were talking about having fish again for supper but I didn’t feel like filleting and cooking fish again so let them all go. We supped on juicy jumbo hotdogs, coleslaw and fries instead!

Now for the much awaited and anticipated yearly report on the reserves and inventory at the Fabulous Sportsmen’s Camp Single Malt Scotch Library!

At present we have 21 different varieties of Scotch and a Canadian pretender (quite nice actually) and a very special treat of a mystery scotch that was procured for the Library from overseas a tremendous expense!!! It is a wee dram and is at cask strength and is reputed to be amongst the finest of complex delightful scotches!

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The “wee dram” is in the silver flask seated on a sheet of the finest parchment!

So Here It is ….

THE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH LIBRARY REPORT

Aberfeldy 12yo highland 50% full

Ardbeg 10yo islay 15%

Auchentoshan 12yo lowland 75%

Balvenie 14yo speyside 70%

Bowmore 10yo islay 40%

Bowmore 12yo islay  50%

Dunbeahgan (single cask reserve noless!) 8yo skye 40%

Dalwhinnie 15yo highland 80%

Edradore 10yo highland 40%

Highland Park 18yo Orkney 20%

Glen Kinchie 12yo edinburg 75%

Laphroaig 10yo islay 30%

Glen Livet 12 yo (distillers reserve) islay 80%

Glen Livet 12yo islay 50%

Glen Livet 12yo islay 50%

Macallan (Alex a Scotsman that knows states it’s – “the Queen of scotches!”) 12yo speyside 25%

McClellands 10yo speyside 80%

Glen Morangie 10yo highland 40%

Glen Rothes 10yo speyside 80%

Scapa 16yo Orkney 10%

Scapa 16yo Orkney 90%

Talisker 10yo skye 75%

The Mysterious rare Wee Dram cask strength 12yo speyside

Plus The Canadian pretender:

Glen Breton 10yo cape Breton 50%

Ok – that is our inventory at the Library –

The Ardbeg is getting low and it is a perennial favorite. Highland Park is low and is my favorite. Laphroaig is also getting skinny and always is a staple of any scotch tasting as the deep end of the spectrum – the sledge hammer of scotches. The last one on the endangered list is the McClellands.

In the last Blog I mentioned the new addition to cabin number 5 to whet Jim Baxter’s curiosity and now I’ll submit another additional mystery to whet Good Phil’z curiosity about a mysterious new addition to the game room in the store. Hmmm what could it be??

 

 

Here we go again!

Yes, here we go again! Another summer in paradise! bringing things online – the power, the water and getting all the new fun things ready for the coming summer. So much new stuff. Too many things to mention yet. The treb has been refurbished but I still have to find time to restock the weight basket to bring it online yet there are more pressing things – like the general utilities. I also have downloaded a few pictures for eye candy etc.

So we drove through the night and arrived rested and raring to go – yeah right! The ground was still frozen and the house was as cold as a witches tit! But no complaints here we were once again in the bosom of the boreal north! The first thing we did was begin the important task of thawing the ice under the back porch to facilitate  the water getting to the lodge and upper camp. The trees were skeletal and snow was evident wherever it had sloughed off of a roof. But we do our best!

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Our nefarious plans were successful – the water came through to the upper camp. It only took several bottles of Alexander Keith’s to get the ground thawed! Unfortunately our local supplier hadn’t planned for our arrival. So we had to go with a second choice.

But things are moving quickly as I write the Pens are playing for the Stanley Cup and there is much noise emanating from the living room!! I don’t yet know the outcome of the game but as I type the screaming lets me know of the state of the game and scores. The blackflies are out and extremely friendly and the small sneaky bastard mosquitoes are here too. Yet we have had some beautiful days and the lake temps are rising and we are seeing non-lake dragon flies gorging themselves. We have one guess already from Murph on the greatest holiday of the north – the dragon-fly hatch! June 12th! Janet (the Evil on from the Planet Janetron) says it will be June 2nd! Of course she has onsite information. Given the “current conditions” as they say in weatherman parlance I think it will be early. Unfortunately we won’t get to see the Bugmasters this year and we miss them greatly as this looks like it would be another year where they would have a great time.  We’ve already had a great pizza night treating our newest guests (the Duane Dan and Jeremy crew)  to the delights of wood fired pizza.

But I digress the leaves are out now and we are being treated to the first blossom of the dandelions and the fervent crush of the humming birds. I will leave you with a couple pictures of the camp in all its decrepitude and the beautiful yellow blush prior to The Evil one mowing them down.

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As a teaser to Jim Baxter we have made a major addition to the niceties of Cabin number 5. But to allow the expectations to build I will not let the cat out of the bag what it is.

 

Summer is coming…

and its a good thing as with it comes an end to my small Winter purgatory. Perhaps that’s far too dour a word to apply to my winters here in the family home. I have all the joys of local friends, weekly pool nights, nights out, getting things done around the property, observing the political absurdity du jour, trout season and my yearly sojourn to Kelletville and Duda’s cabin for a weekend of hilarity – cards – adventure – drinks and occasional fishing.

Trout season treated me very well as always with a warm first day and sparse traffic on the stream of my youth. I caught more than a dozen and had some titanic struggles with two different hold over rainbows. One eluded me with the classic run then jump with the head-shake. But it was a temporary victory on his part – I caught him about an hour later on my way back upstream. He tried the same tactic but this time my hook set was fast! What a fine fish and he was returned to his pool. The other fine rainbow was caught at the terminus of my cast and fought like a champ. I only kept three stockers that a friend had requested the rest were returned to the stream for others to tempt.

The weekend at Duda’s Cabin in Kelletville was also delightful. The weather was perfect and all the usual suspects were in attendance from across Pennsylvania. We caught up and played cards deep into the nights and even had a few games with our friend Mr. Beefeater! The fishing and adventure was especially good this year. Were trekked to the falls on Logan and fished our way downstream from there catching many small natives. It was my first time on this section of the stream and I was a little disappointed as Logan didn’t get into terrain that formed very many deep pools that would hold larger trout. So we cut that adventure short, climbed back to the car had some beverages whilst our hearts told us we weren’t in our twenties anymore and travelled to Salmon Creek. Salmon Creek – one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful streams and perhaps one of my all-time favorites.. At The Salmon we had a picnic catching fish! We all got tired of fighting the feisty blighters, before we ended our day stressing our hearts once again traversing heartbreak hill to get back to our vehicle. But that hill was nothing compared to the climb out of what I  lovingly will call  the Logan Canyon!

So that’s the high points – sorry no pictures I took many and they are great but we are in the midst of packing to leave for Camp tomorrow. Our time in our little purgatory is at an end and we will soon be in the boreal north communing with the true heaven that is the wilderness of Canada.

Next blog will have pictures and be from Camp – I can’t wait. See you all this summer!