Sunday, April 30, 2017

In either good or deteriorating health, find a way to enjoy life

My most sincere and humble apologies to those that take time to read my blogs and my outdoor columns when they were appearing in “The Oakland Press.” I believe an explanation is necessary that have wondered what on earth happened to me or where did I go.
I’m still here in Davisburg trying to eek out a column or blog as time permits. I’m finding that as I grow older I move slower, can’t accomplish as much as I did a few years ago and have some added responsibilities to deal with.
Parkinson’s Disease has entered our lives. My wife was diagnosed about three years ago with what was then was termed a minor case.
She has no tremors but her balance is the thing that has affected her to the point that she must use a walker.
I can’t imagine what thoughts go through her beautiful head on a daily basis. There are things she is enjoys doing like cooking that she is limited in doing.
Riding in the car is a challenge. She is afraid of the rain and snow.
Taking the freeway is out of the question. All this from a person who loved to travel, camp, fish, and was up for pretty much everything. Now she goes several months without leaving the house.
The trips I used to take, some overnight, are a thing of the past. I’m afraid to leave her alone in the event she has a fall.  I try to do things close to home, sometimes leaving before daylight so I can be back the same afternoon.
If the trip is too far or for some reason I don’t feel comfortable doing it I don’t go. Pat insists I do these things and that she’ll be all right. But as soon as I hit the freeway that worry sets in.
So these days I stay close to home. Working in the yard, trying to shop and figure out meals, doing as much house keeping as I can, and in my clumsy way, caring for someone who has given me so much and the most beautiful life I wouldn’t have enjoyed without her are priorities.
I was moved to mention all of this today due to a fall she had this morning. This is the fifth time she’s fallen and not broken anything. We were both in the bathroom trying to get it ready to paint when I accidentally backed into her hardly touching her. She went down hard.
My neighbor fortunately was home and came over to help me get her up. Falls seem to pop up out of the blue. That’s why sticking close to home is important to me.
We’ve been through a few rough spots the past several years. We’ve known cancer, now are experiencing this disease.
I don’t write this for sympathy. All I have to do is look around and can see people in far worse circumstances than we are.
We’re blessed to have each other. I’m further blessed to be able to provide a role as caregiver. Pat deserves all of the help and comfort she can get. She deserves it after all the care she’s shown people over the years.
Hold your loved ones close. Remember there isn’t such a thing as ever doing too much for them. Stay positive and pray for patience.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kayak equipment has become popular

In the not too-distant-past, fittings and accessories were about as scarce as hen's teeth. With the popularity of this ever growing sport, accessories and ways to install them is about as popular as the kayaks themselves.
Take something as simple as a rod holder. I confess that it took me a couple of years to add Scotty rod holders. Scotty, in my opinion is a leader is the rod holder industry because of the portability of it's products and adaptability.
Portability comes about with the was a rod holder can be moved, turned or even taken off. Adaptability has to do with various configurations that can make that rod holder taller, have the ability with one holder to accept both spinning and baitcast equipment and  ease in permanent or the more popular trac mounting.
The Scotty mount is the key to the rod holders, multiple rod holders, extenders and other accessories.
Propulsion of a kayak is done by paddle or pedal. Sometimes some trolling motors or other mechanical devices may be used to move a kayak through the water.
Paddles, probably the main type of equipment to propel a kayak have changed. They used to be and still are available not much more than a straight shaft with a paddle attached to either end.
These days paddles come in different shapes and sizes. Probably the crankshaft or bent shaft models are the most popular.
Paddle shafts are still made from wood, however, the most in use these days are made from a variety of materials like aluminum, graphite and other products. The goal is to keep everything as light as possible while keeping equipment strong.
Pedal style kayaks have graduated to one brand practically having the market to several others beginning to develop pedals as part of their respective lines.
Purchasing a new kayak these days is all about choices. Where and how will you use your boat? Is it going to be used primarily in small, inland waters, perhaps rivers or on larger lakes such as one of the Great Lakes.
Price range has more to do with comes on the boat that anything else. Lower end boats will have some kind of seat back but no bottom for the seat. Try riding in that for several hours while fishing a tournament.
Seats come in a variety of sizes, styles and comfort that should fit the needs at any angler. Those rod holders are add on's or "mods" as in modifications. These days, some yaks come with factory installed, flush deck mounted rod holders.
Storage space on a kayak is precious real estate. How much will you require? Kayak brands of boats all differ on what is offered for storage. Some is meager while others provide enough to carry everything in your garage.
Weight and stability are high up on the shoppers list. Generally, the wider the boat the more stable. But you pay a price for width in the form of weight. Consider that if you are a car topper and have to load and unload alone.
There are enough kayakers on nearby waters for you to find one and ask the owner/operator any question that comes to mind.
Do your homework and paddle before you buy. And remember, there are many different accessories to make your kayaking trip more enjoyable and comfortable.
Roger Beukema in Scotty rigged kayak.