Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deer issues

Spending all day on the phone with the DNRE because an annual, fall experience. There seems to always be issues popping up when it comes to whitetail hunting.
The one I thought would create the most controversy was the new crossbow use. I won't get into an argument about what I think about it-maybe I will at a later date-but suffice it to say, I don't think it was needed.
Now comes the numbers of deer one hunter can take per season. It's controversial. Depending on the DMU (Deer Management Unit) they are all different.
Biologists, along with the NRC set deer quotas yearly based on studies they've conducted. I'm not of the ability to argue whether their studies are flawed or not.
I have a B.S. in Social Science and that's about as far as it goes. Sometimes these issues have to be explained to me many times before I get an inkling of what is meant or trying to be accomplished.
My suggestion is to do some homework. Either on the web, by reading whatever you find that is reliable about deer numbers, attend NRC meetings and make your feelings known, and stay in touch with DNRE officials.
Granted, this doesn't answer a lot of questions but may serve as a starting point for some of you.
I've yet to have a discourteous DNRE employee on the phone, be treated disrespectfully, or hung up on.
To the contrary, I've always had my messages returned. Give it a chance.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Time for less talk and more action

Get em' while their hot is the best thing to say this fall. We're talking fishing, especially salmon headed out of the Great Lakes and back into streams they originally came from.

The run is in and according to Kip Lowrie, Rochester's man with his finger on the fishing pulse, this could be a good year.

Before you wander off alone, take Lowries advice. First, right up front he's a guide. That's his business. He does other things-gives seminars, instruction on fly fishing, fly tying and so forth, but the guide thing is important.

You'll want to get off on the right foot if you've never experienced salmon fishing. Lowrie is huge on stream etiquette and it's going to be a major point should you hook a fish. That's because anglers are should to shoulder.

Everyone had a line out so when the call goes out fish on it's either wind yours in or take a chance in getting hung up with the person who is trying to land one.

Tempers flare, rights to spots get argued and true sportsmanship goes out the window.

Do yourself a favor, hire a reputable guide for half or all day. He'll supply all the equipment, put you on fish, teach you how to drift a bait and tie a knot and hopefully land one.

You can reach Kip Lowrie at 1-866-wet-a-net.

I can vouch for his integrity as I've known him since he was a youngster working behind the counter at the old Paint Creek Outfitters.

Enjoy a fall salmon trip with Lowrie or someone else you know.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall is in the air

It's also on the ground. All those leaves blowing off trees have to go someplace and they usually find their way on lawns, in the woods or in lakes.
While we like neat looking lawns and do everything from raking to blowing leaves, then can serve a useful purpose.
We put ours in a compost pile. Just keep chucking leaves in along with grass clippings, potato skins, banana peels, or anything else that is of vegetable origin. Then we leave it alone.
I was surprised this past year when I stuck a pitchfork into the pile and came up with really good looking black dirt.
That was used when we dug holes to plant vegetables. The good, clean composting helped give them a start and in our clay soil help the tiny new roots begin to grow easier than fighting hard clay.
I don't know if it's still popular but folks used to collect colorful leaves and press them into scrapbooks. Some are used as fall decorations such as wreaths or even table settings.
Leaves are a good thing whether you compost them or not. Sooner or later they turn into organic soil that helps grow new varieties of plants, trees and flowers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Missed seasons

These last several years I've missed more seasons than probably the number of them I've participated in my life. Just kidding on that last bit, but it does seem every time I get ready to hunt my wife reminds me of our grandson's basketball game.
Or the fall salmon fishing trip with kayaks I wanted to get into. Last you I got totally skunked. People were catching fish all around me, but here I was paddling the same speed, down the same depth and not a bump.
This year, pumped for he fall hunt seasons and then later firearms deer, I'm out of it once again.
Although this time it's a good thing. My daughter Jennifer is having her first baby in England where she and here husband live.
The nervous part of this is they don't use doctors over there. Instead mid-wives do all the delivering unless there is a problem.
While I feel concerned, I've talked with several British people who reside here and they say it's been that way for ages and not a big deal to them.
So I guess having a new grand baby is reason enough to put some sports on hold temporarily. But hang on when I get back. That is if there isn't too much left to do around home.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

So much to do this time of the year

I there ever was a season that had it all it's got to be fall. Minus of course, snow for tracking deer, downhill or cross country skiing, and searching for cottontail activity.
From visit to one of the local cider mills, to hayrides at Kensington or picking your own pumpkin for Halloween, the outdoor plate is full.
Just a casually woods walk helps rejuvenate the soul, clear those cob webs out, and when finished, leaved one refreshed.
Alan Heavener, over at Proud Lake has been renting canoes and kayaks since forever. Talk about a relaxing time, rent a canoe, take a lunch and have Heavener pick you up at one of the take outs.
No one is on the water. The birds are all excited and chattering, I supposed getting ready to vacate these northern climes for wintering grounds.
Or grab a rod and some tackle, take a chair and park yourself on a dock at Kensington for the afternoon.
Don't worry about catching anything. Just enjoy the experience, take in some of that free vitamin D we get from the sun, and spend some time day dreaming.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alaska Dreaming

This week's story deals mainly with driving to Alaska and a great source for trip planning called "The Milepost."
I remember hearing about Alaska in the mid 1950's when my dad was sent to Fairbanks and Ladd Field to work on fuel control for the F-100 Super Saber jet, our countries number one line of defense at the time.
Dad was a civilian employee with Stewart-Warner and would be in Alaska about a year. I came home from school one day to see the living room floor covered with a heavy Air Force blue parka and pants, heavy long underwear and boots.
There were other things; survival kits, gloves, heavy socks and large mittens that came well up on the forearm.
This was impressive stuff to a young kid, trying on a parka and boots that were miles too big.
When my dad returned his talk was mainly of how cold and expensive it was. Several dollars for a bottle of beer or equally costly as the charge for a dozen eggs.
Still, the Land of the Midnight Sun, as it is known seemed to call even back then with all it's hardships.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The clock has been set

Ever notice how you see an abundance of deer through most of the year but when September rolls in, sightings seem to thin out?
I'm convinced deer-especially bucks-have a clock in their brain that tells them this is the time of the year not only to chase does, but to be on the lookout for anything out of place in the woods.
Many times bucks will stand and stare at you, then continue to browse, in no hurry or not a bit anxious to send the white flag up and head for the swamp.
These days and more so as we get colder, it's a different story. Sneaking into Fort Knox and the gold depository is probably similar to easy up on a nice buck without him knowing you're there.
Like the famous fort, they have built in radar, those huge ears that make for great listening devices, and speed that can get them out of Dodge quicker than you can take a sight on them.
That's not to say you shouldn't be out and about scouting; figuring out where to set up blinds, and keeping your eyes open for all sorts of sign including droppings, well used trails, and bedding areas.
But if you think you are going to walk up on a wall hanger and get a shot without him making some much as a sniff or snort, think again. Those shots are few and far between and always lucky.

Monday, September 13, 2010

9-11, someday, will it be forgotten?

We just commemorated the attack on America. Television and radio were devoted to this tragedy.
Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese that has been called, "A day that will live in infamy," so too should September 11.
I write about remembering these events out of a personal experience. Several years ago my family visited the Normandy invasion beaches, toured the narrow lanes lined with the famous hedgerows, and visited Point du Hoc where bomb craters are still visible.
Later we spent time in the American cemetery showing our respect and honoring those that lay there in perfect, military formation.
Following that story, I was asked to speak to some community groups about the visit and what the experiene was like.
I wrote a column for Memorial Day about the experience. A short time later, Warren Pierce from WJR called about doing an interview on a program he was doing about WWII.
With so much to say and share time was an issue. Pierce's interviewing style doesn't leave room for much explanation.
His final question had to do with the present generation and whether people today remembered any of these events.
"No, I don't think our children are being taught about this part of our history. When I mention the Normandy Invasion, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, the Battle of the Bulge, the "Frozen Chosin", or
The Tonkin Bay of which my ship, the USS Topeka (CLG-8) played a part, I get blank stares.
"Or comments like 'I never heard about those things,' which is an absolute shame.
This started as a "where were you on 9-11." I was on a boat with Tom Furay and his brother. We were in Lake St. Clair catching perch.
Arriving at the dock we secured the boat, stowed our gear and went our separate ways. Once I started my truck and began driving out of the parking lot I heard one of the national news correspondence say, "the second building in the World Trade Center has been hit. I believe we are under attack."
It was a long, thoughtful drive home.
We set the date and time and just like clock work, Pierce's producer called. We talked about what there was to see, how it affected us, and some personal thoughts.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Passwords and log in's

This is definitely a new age we are living in. Sandman commented that he too was having a hard time keeping track of all of these key words, numbers to get you into a certain service and those darn passwords and logins.
I suppose they all have their purpose. That being security and keeping the undesirables out of sensitive areas like NASA, the CIA and others to name a couple.
The trouble is they keep you and I out just fine. But along comes good old Joe Doakes and in no time he's set himself up at command central, ready to launch F-16's or whatever it is that they do.
See this is a lot like gun control. The thinking is if we ban all guns then there won't be any crime. Why? Because there aren't any guns.
Here's the real deal. The bad guys are always going to have access to guns; legal or otherwise. If they need to figure out a way into Fort Knox to get them, you can bet they'll have a blueprint and be inside quicker than someone with a key.
Same is true with all of these computer safeguards. While we all suffer with trying to come up with a name or some other bit of information that will allegedly thwart even the best hacker, guess what?
Your bank calls you to say someone in South Africa has just cleaned out your account. And you thought everything was hunky dory when you used your wife's maiden name.
Better stick to 1234356 or something similar for a couple of reasons. First, it's easy to remember and second, chance are the bad guy is going to look for something that has a little more pizazz or punch to it.
He's probably thinking that no one in their right mind would use a bunch of consecutive numbers as a security measure. Then again, he's the same one that figured out you used your wife's maiden name.
In the meantime, lets keep these new contraptions on the market. They create jobs, help out the economy and help teach our school-age youngsters skills they may be able to put to good use
in the future.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Passwords-those things we can't live without

I've accumulated so many passwords and log in names I need a directory just to keep track. You would think that one or two would do the trick for drug stores, office supplies and other outlets that require them.
But each one has it's own idea of what constitutes a password, the length, and the kinds of characters that go into it.
Trying to write a blog from Pasadena, I was continually told my password or log in were not correct.
I checked the little book I keep track of such things and tried again. Same message. Then it dawned on me.
As a form of exercise, some companies arbitrarily decide it's time to throw a wrench into the system and make the person using it jump through some hoops.
See, I think there is a person in a room someplace that monitors these things. Every so often he figures things are going so well why not kick them up a little and require some changes.
Imagine a pilot flying to Germany who has put in all the required codes and passwords. Somewhere over the Atlantic he gets a message that says his log in is no longer good.
He quickly asks for a new log in only to be sent a questionnaire that covers his first pets name, his mom's maiden name, how old he was when he first learned to ride a bike and so forth.
I jest. But as sure as we have come to rely on these conveniencesof modern day technology, they sure can be ca challenge.
Happy Twittering, or Face Booking. But beware for that guy that is going to surprise you one of these days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wonders never cease

A little instruction, some practice and guess what? No more crashes into the rose bushes. So far!
A couple days back I wrote about trying out my brother-in-laws bike for a short ride while visiting in Pasadena, California.
The homes around here are beautiful and the variety of flowers in bloom is spectacular.
Just like Holland is the place to go to see all varieties of tulips, Pasadena is the destination for roses. Better yet, just call Pasadena the Holland of Roses.
Sure there are other flowers. And birds. This morning's wonder were a couple of parrots that flew into the tree across the street to eat some sort of nut that was growing there.
But back to the bike. In no time I was off for a short ride around the considerable neighborhoods to look at houses and yes, those beautiful flowers.
Somehow I got sidetracked and wound up on Colorado Boulevard, the main street when it comes to the Rose parade. This is one of those streets that never shuts down.
I was supposed to be gone for a short ride which turned into a couple of hours. Actually the ride didn't take that long.
I made a few stops off Colorado at what they refer to as alleys; short streets with all sorts of shopping stands.
Each alley is named-antique alley, restaurant row (as if there was another needed) and so forth. There are ample benches set out for passerby's to sit and read or people watch.
I used a couple for rest before hopping on the bike and pedalling home. Because I like to think I'm a practioner of Yoga-I take two classes weekly-I think I've learned some about it.
One thing is how important balance is. I found that out riding a bike. It's something that is easy to lose, but with some practice it comes back. Happy riding and stay balanced!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The all important bike fit

Pulling out of my relatives drive on the way to seeing the sights and smelling the roses, the Trek bike I was pedalling felt a shade too big. Never mind I thought. I'm not going far and can take minor adjustments with ease.
Because drives out here in sunny California are steep leading to the street, I was braking hard to avoid running into traffic. Perhaps a little too hard.
The next thing I knew was my balance seemed to abandon me. I couldn't believe that I was going down for the count and hadn't even got out of the drive.
That's exactly what happened. They talk of taking time to smell the roses or getting up close and personal.
I did all of the aforementioned and then some crashing into the high curb, going over the handlebars, and into my sister-in-laws rose garden.
Not only did I smell the roses but I got a good whiff of some sort of eucalyptus that hung on me well after the crash.
The moral of this story is to be sure the bike fits before riding it. By the way, this crash was so good by Los Angles standards, I even stopped traffic, at least momentarily.
And who said these mighty speedsters of the seven-lane highways don't have a heart?