Monday, January 28, 2008

Batteries Recharged

It rained here this afternoon. The drops hit my windshield approximately one block from my home, on the return journey. That should give a good clue re the weather... it was a monster of a ridiculously nice day. Talking 40s F with little breeze and partly cloudy skies. A March fishing day in late January. Here's the quick tale then:

The inviting climate did indeed bring a number of folks out, and I ran into a few as I worked my way up a particular basin here in the Godly Driftless Area of SE MN. I leapfrogged those asses and parked... then hiked in approx 10 minutes to find a lot of water capped by ice. Meaning more hiking while undeciding whether or not I should turn back... quite a quandry: every step I took was a potential two steps of time lost if I didn't eventually get to some decent and open water. An hour or so in and I'd barely cast a baker's dooozen times and I hadn't met one single fish... but what usually happens happened: the fish came and saved the day, seemingly in the nick of time.

Situation one: long-corner-holio.
I am sucker for pools and I tend to focus on them too much... I'd never been on this stretch and I found that there weren't many really great "pools" to deal with. I did find this kind of drawn out corner hole though... and gave pause to flip a few casts to and fro. In the span of 12 minutes my fish count went from 0 to 7. One of the seven was the day's token rainbow. All fish were taken on a tandem nymph rig, with a water worm pattern leading a PS #18. I was happy to see approx equal takes for both flies. No biggie fish though.

Situation two: the slicks.
In my pack I had an apple, a Ball jar full of my granola recipe, and a thermos of coffee. I came upon a slick of water and proceeded to pour up some steaming healing potion... as I chewed away I perceived a number of fish dimpling the water. Summofabich I thought. This happens often - I see things that I should try to address, but I skip the whole deal and stick to what works: nymphing the living-freaking-daylights out of everything. Summofabeech, should I try a dry fly?, I asked. Finally I said YES MAN and I pulled out a Griffith's gnat #20 - one of a trio I had tied up in the hopes that they'd encourage me to try something half-way new. I flailed those MFs about - felt good actually to cast as casting was meant to be... but I couldn't get a strike. Then I asked meself: how do you fish dry flies without fishing dry flies? Answer is that you fish soft hackles. So I did that. I put on the deadly-lethal-killa version of the soft hackle in fact. I offered it upstream and immediately got a fish. Then, to make matters worse for that pod of pisces, I sneaked my ass upstream and swung it down to them in deadly fashion... pretty much caught every fish that was rising. If you know John Montana you know the fly, and it is instantaneous CAUGHT MF to any fish who sees it. Man did it feel good to try something different and have it work out. I stuck with that for most of the remains of the day, and had success all through.

I'm telling you - if you want to be 100% pure, go ahead and use the dry fly. If you want to not worry about matching a hatch perfectly and catch every fish that is rising, use a soft hackle of the same size as the bugs that are coming off. Swing it downstream and keep it in the water just a bit longer than you think you should at the end of the swing... the fish will pummel it as it rises up to the surface. Hell, you don't even have to do anything if you don't want to... they'll hook themselves in the right corner of the mouth almost every time. If you are stripping it back, you will probably get them right in the nose.

I never did land any slabbers, and I believe that that has something to do with the fact that I was fishing to those risers and not dredging the depths of pools and eerie, deep lies of big fish. I picked up ~4 fish in the 11-13" range though - plenty big and still as stunning as ever... the fish are the fish and that says a lot. To pick up a rod and feel weight, and then to smile as the thrub, thrub thrubbing commences... and then to cradle, admire and release.

The fly I was using today was a variant on John Montana's original. I can't rename his fly. Therefore I hereby name a particular line of flies: The AFD Crew. That AFD bit is like Adrian Peterson - it is an acronym for "All Day" with a word of emphasis added in the middle. AFD, I'm telling you AFD.

Price of my house then, if I were to put it on the market tomorrow?: One billion dollars me boy. Not a penny less. We live 30 minutes from heaven on Earth, and we hain't movin' any time soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Needlepoint with Beer and Carp

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wise Willy Wonka

Oompa Loompa doompety doo
I've got a perfect puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doompety dee
If you are wise you'll listen to me

/ Am - - G / - Am F E7 / 1st / - Am E7 Am /

What do you get when you guzzle down sweets
Eating as much as an elephant eats
What are you at, getting terribly fat
What do you think will come of that
I don't like the look of it

/ F - - C / G - C - / F - C - / B7 - - A7 B7 - / B7 - /

Oompa Loompa doompety da
If you're not greedy, you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doompety do
Doompety do

/ Am - - G / - Am F E7 / 1st / Am - - AmE7 Am /

Oompa Loompa doompety doo
I've got another puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doompedah dee
If you are wise you'll listen to me

Gum chewing's fine when it's once in a while
It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile
But it's repulsive, revolting and wrong
Chewing and chewing all day long
The way that a cow does

Oompa Loompa doompety da
Given good manners you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doompety do

Oompa Loompa doompety doo
I've got another puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doompety dee
If you are wise you'll listen to me

Who do you blame when your kid is a brat
Pampered and spoiled like a siamese cat
Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame
You know exactly who's to blame
The mother and the father

Oompa Loompa doompety da
If you're not spoiled then you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doompety do

Oompa Loompa doompety doo
I've got another puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doompedah dee
If you are wise you'll listen to me

What do you get from a glut of TV
A pain in the neck and an IQ of three
Why don't you try simply reading a book
Or could you just not bear to look
You'll get no
You'll get no
You'll get no
You'll get no
You'll get no commercials

Oompa Loompa doompety da
If you like reading you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the - Oompa -
Oompa Loompa doompety do

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Roll Your Own Folks

I'm turning into a bulk foods fanatic. My favorite joint is the bulk room at the local coop. Been making granola lately... I got to wondering about the relative cost, benefits, etc. I have a castoff postal scale (a treasure), so I made use of it. Here are the details of one batch - the weights measured in my kitchen, the cost per lb from kept receipts from the coop.

Ingredient net oz per lb cost
1 cup coconut 2.50 $2.25 $0.35
4 cups rolled oats 12.00 0.95 0.71
1 cup sunflower seeds 4.50 1.49 0.42
1 cup wheat bran 1.50 0.65 0.06
¼ cup sesame seeds 1.00 2.49 0.16
1 cup peanuts 5.00 2.39 0.75
1 cup honey 10.50 2.39 1.57
½ cup canola oil 3.25 2.89 0.59
1 Tbsp cinnamon ~0.25 ?? approx zero

TOTALS 40.25 net wt of batch $4.61 monetary cost of batch

MEANING: $0.11 per ounce
$1.83 per pound
Normal box of cereal ~$2-4 dollars per pound.

(1) This stuff is all known to you, as far as ingredients are concerned.
(2) It tastes as good (IMO better) than any cereal you buy from the shelf.
(3) It's as good for you(or maybe better) than MOST cereals you buy from the shelf.
(4) You don't buy any containers with this stuff, nor do you cast any in the garbage.
(5) The monetary requirement is surely lower than any granola you'd buy from the shelf, and also lower than most "cereals" you'd purchase.
(6) It's very easy to make, and takes about 5-8 minutes prep and 20 minutes baking time.
(7) Making it is an enjoyable way to pass some time... also demonstrates for the kids that cereal does not in fact come from a box, bag or shelf.

These are some of the ingredients... all in reused containers. I'm becoming a container-hawk... the other day I walked into the joint with a big black suitcase full of containers... looked like I was about to rob someone but I only wanted some sugar and sesame seeds.

This is the mix after combining wet and dry ingredients, but before baking. Raisins (or anything else you have laying around) are not part of official recipe but can be tossed in at will. NOTE: raisins look like swollen wood ticks when you bake them. They do deflate though.

The only trouble here is that I can't keep the stuff stocked...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Adventure, Conversation, Fishing

That was the order of things today. I met a good friend at a place that's shaped as it was, is now, should be and I pray always will be... near-perfectly wild. Many acres of it. First thing we saw were a few hen pheasants. Next thing we saw was an intense blood trail. We followed it for quite a while and tried to work out the mystery, but came away unsure.

We stopped for monster cookies and coffee... a couple of good oranges and some bitching about food, industrialization of it, etc. The company was good. We found a shallow cave that looked like a coyote den. We got buzzed by a kingfisher. We found a deer buried in snow - with only the head protruding, and one dismembered leg laying alongside... We saw how intense the flow had been during the August flood.

At the very end of this jaunt, we split up for an hour or so and I trekked upstream with a mind for some pisces. I found four good holes. I felt rusty and klunky - hadn't trout fished since August 2007, and I hadn't really even fished since September 2007. Wow. Knocked some rust off and caught a brown beauty. At the four holes, over the hour span I caught two fish and had one other discernable hit. All action came on the PS #18... no surprise there. Really didn't need much more action - just wanted to cradle at least one fish for a second and then watch him swim away.

We loped out an hour or so before dark.
A Hole in the Ice

JD was fascinated by the concept of drilling a hole in the ice. Fishing through it was a distant second priority... He's pretty good with that rig though!