Every fall I make noise about attending one of the big fly fishing shows over the winter, but by the time I feel ready to deal with a couple thousand anglers, all at once, the shows are over and done. The closest show to Fish in a Barrel Pond is in Marlborough, MA, this weekend, and quite frankly it’s just too soon. You all go ahead with your eager anticipation of the season to come, but some of us are still recovering from the last one. Opening Day will be here soon enough. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the peace and quiet.
Posts Tagged With: winter
My recent post, The Cry of the Sapsucker, consisted mainly of photos taken while drinking coffee in my blind, which is cleverly diguised as a house. Mike, who keeps the blog Mike’s Gone Fishin’…Again, commented that he, too, has a blind cleverly disguised as a house. Click that link. You’ll see that Mike does a lot more than take pictures out the window. The link to Mike’s Gone Fishin’…Again is a keeper.
Another friend, who lives in New Hampshire, almost all the way to Maine, sent a series of photos taken from his house of a bobcat he saw the other day.
It’s always a treat to look out the window and see something like that, and it’s great that the internet makes it so easy to share the things we see. I know it is appreciated by others because they leave comments, like the one on my post The Cry of the Sapsucker, calling it some “lazy-ass nature reporting”.
That comment came from Marc Fauvet, who keeps the blog the limp cobra (because fly lines are like wild snakes that need to be tamed …). Marc lives in Sweden, but that’s okay. His blog is beautiful, and a lot of fun. His “lazy-ass” nature reporting comment got me to thinking and, you know, Marc might be right. Maybe my pictures of a bluejay being disemboweled on the lawn were kind of lazy-ass.
Well, “kind of” ain’t good enough. We’re taking lazy-ass nature reporting to the next level by bringing you the first set of photos from our brand new concept, “Pictures Taken While I Slept”.
(Important Disclaimer: There are places where ice forms many feet thick and travel on frozen lakes is perfectly safe for a good part of the season. In other places, especially during a winter like this one, ice conditions can change from day to day, even hour to hour.
The strengthening sun creates soft spots as melt water collects in the dips between expansion cracks, and a route that was safe in the morning merits a second look after lunch. Faint tracks mark yesterday’s trail, which puddled up and froze over last night, leaving a thin veneer over a foot of nothing but slush and at least a bracing dunk.
If asked, Quill Gordon will tell you no ice is safe, but if you do find yourself crossing a frozen lake, check ice thickness often and be aware of changing conditions.)
An overnight skiff of snow on the ice is like a clean slate. Any tracks or other signs of activity I see are recent, laid down only hours before my morning rounds. Otters, mink and squirrels are common, and I saw the tracks of a fisher cat last week but, far and away, the most common tracks I come across are those of coyotes.
It’s the time for pairing off and denning up, asserting dominance and proving worth, and the coyotes have been plenty active. Most are travelling in pairs, but a big, lone male has also been out and about.
After a week that consisted largely of time spent lugging sand bags as cold winter water took an unauthorized route downhill, it was nice this afternoon to sit on a rock and watch the water go where it was supposed to.
With a little telephoto action, the area below the spillway of Fish in a Barrel Pond is what you might call a picture-rich environment. Continue reading
Clear arctic air came screaming in from the north this week, riding a penetrating, relentless wind. A swirl of damp, mild air made a brief appearance, a lost visitor from warmer climes, but it was quickly torn to shreds, squeezed dry by winter’s cold bony hands, and sent back southward with a mighty blast. For hours and hours the wind blew until, somewhere in the middle of the night (it’s hard to know exactly when because the power was out), it stopped.
The fullest, deepest, coldest part of the season was here and, in the morning, it seemed to be resting. Not a breeze stirred. The sun shined bright but the blue sky was deceptive — it was cold out there. I usually say it ain’t cold if your boogers ain’t froze, but I didn’t feel like actually checking myself. I did notice, though, as I drank my coffee and watched the birds at the feeders, that a little puff of steam came out every time a blue jay pooped and that’s good enough for me.
With surface temperatures matching that of the still air, at well below zero (that would be well below zero to our metric friends), and the extra moisture left behind by that silly warm front, there was only one appropriate thing to do.
I got dressed, went out, and looked for frost.
It’s still ten below at ten o’clock and the first pot of coffee just kicked in, half-way through the second. A hoary morning, for sure, and even though the sun shines bright through a clear lens of chill arctic air, dark shadows loom, stretching northward across the ice, clawing for purchase while being drawn slowly south.
I’ll go back out, soon enough, but for now I am content to sit across from a south-facing window and study poetry. Everyone could benefit from a little poetry now and then, so I share with you now what I am reading today.
Lines Upon a Tranquil Brow
by Walt Kelly
Have you ever,
while pondering the ways of the morn,
thought to save just a bit,
just a drop in the horn,
to pour in the evening or late afternoon
or during the night when we’re
shining the moon?
Have you ever cried out,
while counting the snow,
while watching the tomtit warble
“Break out the cigars, this life
is for squirrels;
we’re off to the drugstore
to whistle at girls”
(Used with love, but not permission)
A large part of Vermont’s economy depends on visits by people from other places. Her summers are bucolic, her fall foliage is legendary and, in winter, skiers flock to her slopes from miles around (spring is a tortuous slog through mud and black flies, better left unmentioned). After half the state was turned inside-out and strewn about the countryside by Tropical Storm Irene, I beat the drum as best I could and encouraged people to visit and maybe spend a little cash to help get us going again and, after what has been a mild, brown start to winter, I am happy to welcome our first real snow and the economic shot in the arm that comes with it.
There are perhaps four permanent residences on our hill, but there are twice that many second homes and vacation get aways. Some of those houses are rented out, short term, to people who come to ski at one of the nearby resorts. This weekend, every unfamiliar vehicle going up and down our road has had New Jersey plates.
Our road is not much, by most anyone’s standards. Mud in the spring, bumpy, rutted dirt in summer and fall, I think it is actually at its best in winter, when it is covered with a nice, hard layer of packed snow and ice, topped by a sprinkling of sand.
When this particular group of people from New Jersey is here, there is also a sprinkling of litter.
Come on, man.
They’re kind of wearing out their welcome. Maybe one cup doesn’t make a difference along a road in New Jersey, what with everyone throwing trash out their windows, but around here it sticks out like a sore thumb. So do they.
What follows was originally posted as a three-parter but, inspired by the love I feel today toward the residents of the Garden State, I have dusted it off, changed the formatting, and cleaned it up, presenting it now, as a gift to the Chamber of Commerce. Continue reading
The Outdoor Blogger Network’s most recent photo prompt is “The Look of Winter.” A week ago I would have posted a photo of brown woods and green ice. Today, I post this:
One 1250th of a second. A random snippet of time, an instant, now long gone — never to occur again — but preserved forever in cyber space. Weird.
That image says something, conveys a feeling, suggests a mood, but it is just one tiny note in an opus. This little opus here is a bit more than 150,000 notes long:
The internet allows us to communicate with, and get to know, people who live far away, in distant lands. There are times it almost doesn’t seem real. I fire up my computer and there you all are, your words and pictures on my screen any time I want. Wires, electricity, zeroes and ones combine to produce a wondrous illusion, instantaneously, allowing us to share words, pictures, and more with people we may never know in person, wherever in the world they may be.
Back in December, Marc Fauvet, of Limp Cobra fame, announced The Friggin’ Awesome Limp Cobra Holiday Photo Contest!, with the only requirement being that said photo must have a fly in it. The results of the contest can be seen HERE. The real winner was Ulf Börjesson, who takes wonderful photos and keeps the blog [Mad] Trout, but he declined, allowing my photo to move from second place to first!
We know a digital image can travel thousands of miles in a matter of seconds but how long does it take for a DVD to travel from Sweden to Vermont? Thanks to Marc and Ulf, we know the answer to that question: Three friggin’ weeks!
I am looking forward to watching this one and trying out some of what it has to offer. Perhaps I’ll do a review in a few weeks. Thanks again, Marc and Ulf!
With winter’s banshees pummeling the windows and moaning at the door, the Shack Nasties lurk in dark corners. They follow me across the dooryard as I go about my chores and huddle with me beneath my blankets when I come back in, whispering sweet nothings in my ear, reminding me of far-away spring and a distant, misty, evening rise.
Screw the Shack Nasties, Cabin Fever, or what ever you want to call it. Here is a story, not about fishing:
When I was a kid, going to the mall was a special treat. A world unto itself, the mall was a new concept and my family went to walk and gawk as much as to shop, joining the throngs that circulated through the climate-controlled, concrete, chrome and glass corridors like schools of fish. Whenever I became separated from the rest of our little group, my parents knew where to find me because there was one thing in that giant Church of the Almighty Dollar that invariably drew me in, like a moth to a flame. Somehow, I always ended up in front of the County Seat Jeans Emporium, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the gargantuan pair of pants hanging from the ceiling inside. My nine-year-old mind was absolutely boggled by the size of those pants. It was humbling to realize that the mall was a place where anyone could get anything they needed, but I shuddered as I imagined the person who needed those pants. Those pants weren’t just Levi’s. They were leviathan. My parents assured me that those giant pants were a joke and that no one could possibly need pants so large, and for years I believed them. Until I met Robbie Brown. Continue reading