Posts Tagged With: outdoors

#challengeonnaturephotography Day 6: I Call Him Tiny

newt

Newt

The punchline is, “I call him Tiny because he’s my newt (minute)!” but he’s not really my newt.

The late Dr. Allen Foley, Professor Emeritus of History at Dartmouth College, related a story in his book, “What the Old-Timer Said”, about a local boy who came across a boy from the city who was tormenting a toad.

“Put that toad down,” he said.

“Why should I?” asked the city boy. “He’s my toad, ain’t he?”

“No, he ain’t,” replied the local lad. “This is Vermont. He is his own toad.”

Safe travels, Tiny.

(We’ve paid tribute to the Celebrated Professor Foley before, back in 2014, in a post about Vermont Town Meeting Day (see Hibernation Ends and How Did You Know My Name Was Mac?) . This year’s meeting is still more than a month away but already some people have taken to running serpentine routes from from the Post Office, ducking for cover behind parked cars or trees on the green when necessary.)

 

Categories: nature, politics, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

#challengeonnaturephotography Day 5: A Two-fer

The geese may start the season with a dozen little goslings but by the end of May they’re getting a little twitchy and a lot less cavalier about things eating their babies.

geese with two goslings

Ten Down, Two to Go

Some will tough it out, doing what they can to at least have something to show for their great expenditure of effort, but others will leave with whatever remains of their brood, heading overland in search of safer water. Things must be pretty bad if geese are willing to risk walking their last child through the woods, but it makes a certain sense.

These guys don’t run very fast.

snapping turtle

Hey, a Guy’s Gotta Eat

 

Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#challengeonnaturephotography Day 3: Egg of Loon

Loon egg

Egg of Loon

The geese and mergansers of Fish in a Barrel Pond begin the season with dozens of goslings and ducklings. Those numbers dwindle quickly, though, as snapping turtles, otters and mink take their toll. They rely on sheer numbers in spring to leave one or two youngsters still swimming come fall. When danger strikes they scatter, every bird for itself, and if one or two of your brothers or sisters get picked off, at least it wasn’t you.

The loons, however, lay only one egg, maybe two, with one serving as an insurance policy, should something happen to the other. Something usually does. One egg hatched this spring, one egg did not, and we were able to get to the one that didn’t before it was snatched up by an otter, mink, heron or crow.

Wrapped up in paper towels and tape, it was labeled and frozen before being picked up by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for further, um, study.

Categories: Loons, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold and Cold Running Water

Warm and wet turned cold and wet and then just cold this week, leaving plenty of ice behind. Never sure how to feel about pictures of running water, here’s something for everyone:

 

 

 

 

Categories: nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

Maybe the resolution ain’t so great, due to cropping and zooming, and maybe the white balance is off a bit, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot really wrong with that picture. It’s an osprey against a clear blue sky on a lovely late summer day and most people wouldn’t find anything wrong with that.

Most people.

“Now, wait just a darn minute, Quill,” some people are shouting right about now. “That’s an osprey! It’s going to eat all the fish! Someone should do something!”

Perhaps those people would find this picture more to their liking:

"Jack and the osprey" 1948

“Jack and the osprey” 1948 (Found Photo)

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Categories: nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fall Color and a Few Things That Fell

The foliage this fall was lovely enough that some of the locals commented on it and a few of my photos even came out. Impatient people may scroll down to the slide show of pretty pictures any time they wish, but there is some important documentation to get out of the way first.

With a long, rich angling history, the shallows of Fish in a Barrel Pond were certain to reveal treasures as the level was drawn down this summer and I made sure to document them as they appeared. I’m afraid there was no bonanza of dropped reels or rods that had been thrown in frustration like 9-irons; nothing of much worth turned up in the muck, but that doesn’t mean it’s without value.

When someone hands me a drink and asks what the heck has to be done in order to catch a fish around here, I raise my glass and tell them I’m pretty sure that this ain’t it. As I have mentioned before, the situation is a little more complicated when that person is in their underwear, but my answer remains the same. Unless, of course, that person is fishing at the time. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Draining Season

Last seen on an early spring night, spinning down a muddy road, swigging from a jar of warm syrup, Quill Gordon did not bounce into a ditch, spill the syrup and contract a nasty case of distemper after being licked clean by raccoons. 

He did not pop an angler in the nose and wind up in rehab, nor did he find true enlightenment in a small cove on a June afternoon, skating caddis patterns one minute, disappearing in a sparkly poof the next.

If you think leading a normal, productive life makes it hard to keep up a blog, try it as the figment of someone’s imagination, always forced to crash trucks or achieve bliss against your will! Of course, none of those things actually happened so Quill Gordon is still here at Fish in a Barrel Pond, running around naked and peeing on stuff carefully putting the place to bed as one more season comes to an end — a season that was more unusual than seasons usually are around here, right from the start.

The universe did not get the memo asking that natural processes be synchronized with human calendars and the lake was still frozen when the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society arrived for Opening Weekend. There wasn’t even a sliver of open water at the spillway where they could pose for pictures, pretending to fish while wearing snowshoes.

ice

Fish in a Barrel Pond, Opening Day, 2015

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Repeat as Necessary

Fish in a Barrel Pond, in Winter

Winter Scene (In Color), Fish in a Barrel Pond

This ain’t my first trip around the sun and we’re passing through a very familiar stretch of orbit right now. Shrouded in snow, littered with  snapped utility poles and downed trees, it is winter and we cope with the cold, brace against the wind and prepare for the occasional shredding of the network of power and communication lines that serve this neck of the woods. No one needs to be told to go home and hunker down until the storm is over, allowing plows, emergency workers and utility crews to do their jobs, and no one emerges from their shelter pissed off that they took cover from something short of Doomsday itself.

It is winter. Embrace it, endure it, or leave. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

Every now and then I am struck by something that gives me pause, that makes me stop for a moment and think. It might be the serenity of a fine fall day, or it could be the top fifteen feet of a tree that was deader than it looked and folded back in exactly the opposite direction intended, but two weeks ago I was struck by the news that Larry and Ruth Daley had drowned in a pond, one apparently trying to save the other, while going about their duties as caretakers of a property in Peru, Vermont.

Both still working in their eighties, they were probably doing things they’d done for years, the same way they’d always done them, and no one will ever know for sure what happened. It was a few days before anyone knew anything happened at all.

The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond remains dedicated to those who somehow find a way to get away from it all, but most especially to those who take care of them when they get there — the caretakers, attendants, guides, outfitters, rangers, managers, support staff and others who not only make sure everyone has plenty of toilet paper and gets back home intact, but also do everything they can to be sure the places we love are still there when we come back.

boots

Just About Wore Out

The skinny jeans of spring are now the fat pants of fall, held up by suspenders until I’m back to my winter weight, which doesn’t take nearly as long as it used to.

Another season has come and gone at Fish in a Barrel Pond, six full months of Life Among the Anglers, a fly fishing dream. They’re all back in what they call the “real world” but their presence is still felt, if only in stark contrast to their absence.

squall

I Don’t Care if it Rains or Freezes …

Oak leaves skitter and crab across the dooryard, maple and birch molder in the woods, and now when it rains no one complains. The wind is not cursed and the sun and the clouds are not judged. The trout take their proper place in the overall scheme of things and Nature goes on, doing the things it does whether the anglers are here or not. So do I, but with a lot less wiping of whiskers and sweeping up toenails now that the camps are closed down. Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cold Water, Colder Air

IMG_1276

Instead of glancing off at low angles, the sun shines more directly on surfaces these days and, in spite of the unseasonably cool temperatures we’ve had, eaves drip and the sound of running water is heard in the stream beds.

Dark surfaces become warmer than the air that surrounds them, and even a light coating of dust is enough to tip the balance and allow ice to become water, if only for a minute. Melt water on the road flows to the shade of the cedar tree by the drive and hardens to a smooth, slippery finish and opaque ice builds beneath the eaves like stalagmites in a cave.

Slowly but surely, this year’s snowfall makes its way to the ocean, advancing as far as it can during the day before the angle of the sun changes and the chill of night sets in. Each day brings another few minutes of sunlight that is increasing in intensity, and each day the snow, the ice, and even the woods themselves react.

Water flows year-round from springs in the valley, and streams run throughout the winter here. Some of that constant flow makes a short stop on its way to the Atlantic, coating everything it splashes as it drops from the outlet of Fish in a Barrel Pond. Cold water meets colder air and fantastic forms arise.

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Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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