Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mr. President's Hard Water Adventure

Pacing nervously back and forth on my front door step, I began to grow impatient at Mr. President for being an annoying and irritating “on time”. What he had failed to grasp was the simple fact, that when he is operating on my dime the expectation is that he be early. Upon his arrival, I attempted to explain to him the complexities of the situation and how his discourteous nature had caused me undue anxiety. He simply ignored my comments and mumbled something about gutting me like a fish, if I didn’t quit bellyaching. He added that there would be additional pain administered, if I did not take him to a spot where we need to use his 4-wheeler. Apparently, after transporting the “Big Bear” in the back of his truck over and through 300 miles of black ice, frost heaves and tornadoes any misstep on my part not to include the wheeled transport in our fishing activities would be met with dismemberment. I informed him that in fact, he was “lucky” since today we would be fishing on foot BUT that tomorrow the 4-wheeler would prove to be a valuable asset, as we explored N. Pike waters in the remote corners of Great Pond. To this comment, I received a favorable grunt of acceptance and relief that I would not be seeing my lower intestines anytime soon.

Loading our gear into my truck, I noted that Mr. President had decided to bring his ice auger. As he dropped it into the back of my truck, I asked if it was operating at peak efficiency? Mr. President replied with a sarcastic “Well, it wouldn’t be worth bringing if it wasn’t.” Marveling at his logic and my stupidity, I decided to go for Olympic gold and ask an even more foolish question. So, Mr. President does that auger have any gas in it? With a grunt and a smirk, I received a “Some, should be enough to drill a few holes”.

At the completion of this witty retort, we were in the truck and heading to the hard water. Our intended destination, the shallow waters of Great Pond in Belgrade to target N. Pike and any other fish species foolish enough to lock horns with our fishing prowess. As we peeled out of the driveway and pointed the truck toward the interstate, AC/DC tuned away in the background. In my best big boy voice, I explained to Mr. President that while he was in MY truck there would be no Lady GaGa, JayZ, Tic Toc nonsense and that if he wanted to hear top 40 he could walk. As Mr. President pulled out his filet knife, I immediately switched the station to 97.1 WHIPHOP.

Twenty five minutes later, we pulled into the boat landing high on the anticipation of an afternoon eating good food, telling tall tales, soaking in the sun’s rays and even maybe possibly catching a fish. As we approached the edge of the lake, I was amazed to find that very little snow covered the surface. A glaring, shimmering ice field stretching as far as the eyes could see. Walking on the ice surface, in my rubber boots, I was about as coordinated as a walrus trying to play the piano. As I struggled to maintain my balance, Mr. President walked confidently across the ice with crampons fit for climbing Mt. Everest. Scoffing and insulting his preparedness, I suggested that if he was so well equipped maybe HE should drill ALL of the ice holes. To this remark, I received one of Mr. President’s patented smirks.

As I slid and tumbled across the slippery surface, I finally managed to get in my five tip-ups. In the time it took me to complete this task, Mr. President was able to drill 20 holes, set his 5 lines, jig for 30 minutes, eat a hot dog and knit a sweater. Exhausted and sweating like a pig, I finally managed to return to the shoreline and the sweet taste of traction.

Like most afternoons, spent with Mr. President, it was filled with debauchery. He managed to tip my furthest tip-up, while I was at the truck conducting a beer run. He laughed himself almost silly as he watched me run across 300 yards of slippery ice. In payback, I poisoned him by feeding him red hotdogs until his colon threatened to slide out his anus . . . ahh, the sweetness of revenge. Unfortunately, I now have to re-paint my bathroom and buy another case of fart spray.

Next, the Court Jester manages a Northern and Mr. President wrestles a new state record from the murky depths. Also, for an alternate set of truths check out Mr. Presidents story.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The first man married a woman from North Carolina. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man married a woman from South Carolina. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from MAINE. He ordered her to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has some difficulty when he pees.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Icy Wake Boarding

Remember, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye! Kids please do not try this at home, I am a highly skilled icy wake boarding professional. I find it amazing what two board ice fishermen can dream up with when the fish aren't biting and they have access to ATVs and assorted hardware! Had a great time fishing with Duckman over the weekend and though the fish were not biting as expected, we still managed to have fun.

Be careful out there, as the ice is rapidly thinning on the lakes in the central Maine area.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Northern Pike of Great Pond

The Duckman has already beaten me in posting his own interpretation of last weekends activities. As always, we have both told the "tale" flavored with our own unique and divergent interpretation of the facts. For his bent discription of the happenings on last weeks expedition to the hard water check HERE. My response is at home marinating in a mixture of exaggeration, misdirection and down right lies. Hope to have the story of Duckman's state record mudpuppy posted soon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grand Lake Stream Exposed

Finally back from the great white north where we managed over two days to catch the following. Thankfully, we were blessed with good weather and bountiful action!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Return to the Frozen North

I was just reflecting on the photos, video and blog articles from last years expedition to the frozen north and getting very excited. Grand Lake is the state's hot spot and premier ice fishing location for togue and salmon. Any flag at any moment could mean a wall hanger or a new state record fish. I will be in good hands as 3 of the 6 people in our group are registered Maine fishing guides! Here are a few of the photo's from last years reunion of family, friends and rabid outdoorsmen! Enjoy!
Blog Articles and Videos:
Mud Trout Door Stop - Blog article and photos showcasing the many practical and impractical uses of frozen fish.
The Ash Wood Pack Basket - Blog article and photos showcasing that they really don't make them like they used to.
Great Catch - Video on my cousin catching a 4 foot stick and then a nice sized salmon.
Big Bait Big Fish - Video of a togue literally gagging on the oversized sucker it was trying to consume.
Favorite Photos:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lil Man Catches FIRST Fish!

I couldn’t think of any better way to celebrate my 200th post than to feature this photo of my little guy catching his first fish! We had been fishing with Gramie and Grampie for almost the entire day when in the fading few moments, we suddenly got that one flag I had been secretly praying for all day. Stomachs bulging with red hotdogs and roasted marshmallows, we all ran quickly to the ice hole not knowing what was twitching on the other end of the line. The little man’s excitement was running high as he grabbed the line and ran across the ice plucking the GIGANTIC pickerel from the murky depths. I am really not sure who was ultimately more excited him, me or Gramps . . . we were all hooting and hollering probably making the neighbors think someone got run over by a snowmachine. I cut the line, picked up the fish in my leatherman and handed it to my little guy. He immediately starts dancing around high on the excitement of the moment! Later that night, I filleted the fish and cooked it up, providing a taste for all. It was nice to stress the importance of eating what you kill and killing only what you plan to eat. It was by far my absolute best day fishing ever and the best fish I have ever consumed!

For More On Fishing With Kids Check Out These Posts:

1. Hook Kids Into Fishing – Introduction

2. Hook Kids Into Fishing – Hooks and Lures

3. Hook Kids Into Fishing – Putting It All Together

4. Hook Kids Into Fishing – What If We Catch Something

6. Lil Man Catches First Fish

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mysterious Tracks

The latest activity that, for the moment, has completely captured the attention of my three year old is the through exploration of our backyard. Our new favorite activity, has been the discovery and following of animal tracks left in winter's coating of snow. Varying hare, turkeys, gray squirrels, fox, bobcat, coyotes, grouse, whitetail deer, mice and neighboorhood cats are just some of critters that make their way across our acreage.

I have been impressed to find that, after just a few sessions out in the wilds, he has already mastered the identification of several species tracks and understands which direction the particular animal traveled. In the last few weeks, I have followed red fox across our living room and turkeys through the bathroom as he leads pretend safaris. His expansive imagination and drive to continue to learn has been fun and exciting to watch. I am hopeful that his interest may allow him to have the patience to spend time with me in the turkey blind in May or June photographing. Time will tell!

Saw the posted tracks frozen into the snow along the side of a ice covered lake. Hazard a guess?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Secrets of DC

The Old Post Office- boasts incredible, expansive views of DC from the Washington Monument all that way to the Capitol Building. I am told that the views are even better than those experienced from the top of the Washington Monument. Access is easy and not crowded at this location and in my opinion well worth the short walk from the mall. If your in town check it out!

View from the top of the old Washington, DC postal office.

The World War II Monument - has in a hidden away service access area a piece of graffiti that is permanently etched into the granite. While this may at first "seem" like a piece of vandalism it actually is not and the history behind it is fascinating. Check out "Kilroy was Here" for more information.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Country Mouse Visits City Mouse

It certainly has been a wild couple weeks with little time to do any serious blogging. While I have managed to jot down a few scattered thoughts on my BlackBerry, nothing has seemed to be post worthy. I blame this latest cranial blockage on the fact that I haven't been able to invest any serious time in the woods and on the waters in the past several weeks. As sometimes happens, other priorities have instead focused my attentions elsewhere.

As you will see in the outlined photo montage, I recently returned from DC where I was able to briefly visit with my cousin and her boyfriend who graciously carted me around the big city and showed me the local sights. Ultimately, a fantastic trip that I would highly suggest be made at least one by every single red blooded, NRA card toting American. Can I get a YeeHaa!

Note the sizable flock of Canada Geese to the right of the Washington Monument.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a coworker concerning hunting and fishing. Their outlook was that they believed both these activities to be brutal sports undertaken by individuals with no love or compassion for Gods creatures. When I inquired if they ate meat I received a most zealous "of course, I certainly aren't one of those damn vegetarians." Intrigued by this seemingly contradictory statement, I inquired how they could loathe hunting and fishing and yet find the eating of meat acceptable. It was explained to me that modern practices around the slaughtering of domesticated animals is a well controlled and regulated process. The federal government, FDA, etc. create and enforce guidelines that "guarantee" meat products are acceptable to eat. Game animals shot by hunters, according to this individual, were unfit to eat, carry diseases and are full of contaminates. The act of buying meat off a shelf in a styrofoam tray and safely sealed in plastic wrap was a civilized practice whereas killing and butchering your own meat barbaric. Through his tirade, I had all I could do to hold it together and not burst out in hysterical laughter. In the end, however, I simply let the individual be content with their beliefs. Sometimes people are to stuck in their ways for me to invest the time it would require to explain a differing viewpoint. After all isn't ignorance bliss? So this very long intro sets the stage leading into my recent book purchase.

Just before New Years, I found myself at the bookstore liquidating some gift cards with this prior conversation still dragging its dirty unkempt nails down my chalkboard of a brain. Walking the aisles, perusing various titles, I stumbled upon Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle". I had heard about this classic piece of literature many times before in english and history classes but yet had a chance to read it. A quick scan of the back cover read, "this novel exposed the disgusting filth and contamination of the nations food supply". Bingo, I took the book to the counter along with Vonnegut's "Slaughter House-Five" (another story for another time) threw down my gift cards and was out the door.

As many of you know, I have a passion for literacy and firmly believe that if you want to be a good writer you have to be a voracious reader. Because of these beliefs, I was anxious to immediately start reading to build a frame work upon which to write out a few thoughts on our nations food supply and the publics perception of it.

Finally able to open the book on a snowy wintry New Years day, I was captivated and unable to put it down till I finished three days later. While typically, I dog ear dozens and dozens of pages and wear out a high lighter reading a novel of this size, I was so captivated by the story that I mostly forgot my standard anal practices.

In a nutshell, the novel is written around the plight of the main character Jurgis and the atrocious conditions he and his family had to endure. These hardships were enough to make even the most hardened soul empathetic. Jurgis loses everything, his wife and son die, he loses his job, flirts with starvation, is robbed of all his money and goes to jail. He finally leaves jail, realizes crime pays and finally is "saved" by members of the Socialist party. Basically, his life reads like a bad country song.

Of course, what made this book infamous and most interesting to me were its reporting of the flith and general disregard for the public health that were evident in the meat packing facilities of the time. So powerful and disturbing are the written descriptions that the book prompted changes in food processing industry that echo to present day.

Cover to cover this was a fantastic read. Interesting tidbits could be found throughout the book. Mentioned in the introduction is a book by Eric Schlosser titled "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal". Written in 2001 it is described as a modern day version of "The Jungle". It was immediately added to my reading list. Yet another book now on my reading list includes, "The Civilizing Process" for a quote from the introduction: "reminders that the meat dish has something to do with the killing of an animal are avoided to the utmost. In contrast to the medieval practice of bringing the entire animal to the table, sometimes with hoofs and feathers still attached, in more recent times, the animal form is so concealed and changed by the art of its preparation and carving that while eating one is scarcely reminded of its origins".

Additionally, several quotes jumped off the pages that were interesting because of their content, descriptions or the thoughts they provoked. They include a few, from the introduction, that pull quotes from other books as well as good writing from within the body of the novel. I won't bother to list them here but will encourage you to give the book a good read and make your own decisions.
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