Monday, April 25, 2016

Demand"O" Dog




















 Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that we have a very head strong, carrot loving, exceptionally demanding dachshund. I love him to pieces, but Lord, there are days when I don't know who will prevail upon whom. In most cases, the dog wins out. I never wanted to have a dog. I love dogs; I used to walk around town with dog biscuits in my pockets to feed to other peoples dogs. They all loved me too.I got all the benefits without any of the responsibilities. If someones dog took a dump in their yard, that was fine with me. Not my problem. If they were spastic and carried on barking for hours on end, that was their mess to deal with, not mine. I didn't have to worry if their dog needed walked or bathed or fed or sent to the vets. All I wanted to do was pet them and enjoy their friendship. However, all that changed when we ended up with a dog of our own. I've watched the changes come over him as the years have progressed. Much like Jan and I, he's put on some extra pounds, and I think he sleeps more than he used to. Frequently when he hears a noise outside  and wants to hop up onto the back of the couch to check it out, he looks at the couch like it's Mount Everest, and on occasion opts to stay on the floor and let the noise go unchallenged.  On sunny days he wants to spend unlimited time outside. That's understandable, I like to be outside when it's nice too, but it's not always possible. He's developed an exceptionally annoying habit of sitting below my chair and making the most irritating sound.It's not really a whine, although that would be bad enough. It sounds almost like a little kid straining on the toilet. Inevitably, he will start in when I'm sitting down trying to catch a little nap. I try to ignore him, but he's like a mosquito in a small space when you're trying to go to sleep. He can't be ignored. I keep thinking that eventually he'll give up and leave, perhaps go sniff the floor for a few crumbs, but that never happens. He is the most persistent being I've ever come across. We refer to him as Demand-o- dog or the demand-o commando. He's unrelenting in his pursuit of whatever it is he wants, be it a spin outside or a few baby carrots. It really has a tendency to wear me out. Frankly, he's worse than a little kid. You know, there's a reason why people have children when they're young- they have the energy then. However, you can be ninety years old and  have a dog or cat and you're stuck with feeding them, playing with them, walking them or cleaning out the litter box. They're a lot of work! I agree that they are good companions, and I always know when someone is on the porch, but when he's gone, I may just opt to have him stuffed. I can still pet him, I won't have to worry about where I step out in the lawn, and if I want to take a nap, I can do so uninterrupted. It might just be the best of both worlds.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fishing On My Mind























  I went out fishing for the first time this year this past Friday. Fish and Game opened up the commercial king salmon troll season for five days in this area. I wasn't going to go initially. The forecast was for twenty knots out of the East, and it's always a hassle when it's blowing that hard from that direction to dock the boat when I come back to the harbor. Plus it's not fun to be out in a cold wind when there really isn't all that much around to catch. However, the dog had to go pee and decided to wake me up at 5:15. I noticed that the wind that was forecast hadn't developed yet, and it seemed like it might be a good day, and since I was up anyway, I thought, what the heck, so I made enough lunch to feed three people and went down to the boat.  It was really nice to be back out on the water. Last year I was hauled out so I could get some planks replaced. I stayed on dry land from March 29 to mid-July. The season wasn't anything to get excited about last year, but it still would have beat crawling around under the boat caulking and painting. I headed on up the bay and was looking at my GPS. I fished shallower than I normally do. It seems like this time of year the rod fishermen are still catching more fish because around here they're in the shallows. I was trying to hug the beach at twelve fathoms and everything was going pretty good. The engine started right up, the gurdies were working fine, the hydraulics came on, the radio was clear and the GPS was letting me know right where I was. I should have known something would happen. For reasons that I can't explain, I saw that there was a high spot in front of me, but instead of turning out, I kept going towards it. The fathometer was showing that there was still plenty of water, so I was ok... until I wasn't. All of a sudden the bottom shot up like a rocket and I was in six fathoms of water dragging twelve fathoms of gear. I gunned the engine to make the cannonballs climb, but there apparently is a pinacle right there and one of the fifty pound leads hung up on it and the bottom claimed it. Now, normally I would swear and carry on and most likely pull the gear up and go home and pout for the rest of the day, but for some reason, even though it bothered me, I just got out the necessary equipment to put a new lead on and kept fishing. How odd. I was having a pretty good day overall. The weather was nice, the boat was running well and I had my Sirius satellite radio on for entertainment.  I didn't see much sign of feed anywhere, but that doesn't always mean anything. I trolled on over to the log dump at Westport and made my way on up the bay aways. I was keeping a pretty good eye on the depth so I didn't have a repeat of the earlier fiasco, when my starboard spring for the heavy started jumping. I knew it wasn't real big, but it was a fish, the first one of the year. As I pulled the gear I could see the flasher on the second leader up from the bottom was kind of vibrating. Usually that means a fish is on. However, I could see the green hoochie I was using behind it, so I realized the fish had struck the spoon underneath and had swam up to tangle the other line. Now that's more like what I'm used to. I pulled the leader with the flasher and got it untangled from the other leader and took a look at the king that was on the spoon beneath. It wasn't large, maybe ten pounds, but it was as bright as a new dime on the sides and his top part was the most beautiful teal green. I admired him for a moment and started to pull him in. It looked like the hook was pretty well embedded in his cheek, so I naturally figured he would be in the boat visiting me in just a few seconds. Well.... he had other plans. Out of nowhere he got a burst of strength and did a few squirrelly turns and slam, bam, thank you mam, he was gone.  Bummer! I hate losing the first fish of the year. Hopefully it's not an indicator of what the year is going to bring, but all in all, I couldn't get too upset. I've been commercial fishing for salmon for thirty eight years now, and I can't begin to tell you all the times I've gone out and for the first several weeks have come home with nothing more than empty fuel tanks. I was really glad to get a fish on the first time out, even if I didn't land him. Frankly, I have a good feeling about this year. Of course I could be wrong, but for a change I'm going to be optimistic. I'll keep  you posted as the season progresses and we'll see what develops. Meanwhile, it's spring, so those of you inclined towards angling, you might want to get those hooks sharpened. Good fishing to ya.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Things Are GettingSquirrelly Around Here




















  For most of the winter we've had an unwanted or at least uninvited guest. I have several feeders that I put out on the front porch for the birds, but obviously, birds aren't the only visitors we've had. In fact, when the birds dare to come to the feeders to grab a bite, the squirrel squeals and chatters and chases them off. He even gives the much larger crows what for. I don't mind having him so much, although maybe it's not a him and if that's the case, we may have mini- rodents running around here. That would not please me at all. A few years ago we had a squirrel in the house. He apparently liked the attic just fine, and every night I would be awakened to the little pitter-patter of tiny feet running across the bedroom ceiling. It was driving me nuts! I don't sleep good anyway, so I don't really relish an early morning wake up call from the local rodent. I bought some high pitch sound device that was supposed to scare them off, but of course that didn't work. I used to get the broom and pound on the ceiling, like I was trying to warn off a noisy upstairs neighbor. He would sit still for about ten minutes, just long enough for me to start to relax and and lull myself into a false sense of accomplishment. Then he would start in again, doing the Charleston or the Twist or some other dance move that involved a lot of thrashing around. I seriously thought about getting out my twelve gauge shotgun and shooting right through the sheet rock. I figured I could patch the ceiling without too much problem, and it would most certainly be worth it if I could get a good nights sleep. I finally opted to put a mouse trap in the attic and hope that in his travels through the dark regions of the house he would stumble upon it. A few nights after I had set it, with some peanut butter I believe, probably the chunky kind- I think squirrels like something solid to munch on, I was somewhere, the living room or perhaps in bed when I heard the unmistakable sound of the trap going off. I don't believe I'm a mean spirited person, but knowing that the trap had worked gave me an immense sense of pleasure.The smile that I sported would usually be reserved for a somewhat more monumental occasion, but I couldn't help it, I was giddy!Years ago I believe the forest service introduced Martens to the area believing that the squirrels were somehow harming the trees, which were an important asset here.  I guess they found out later that it wasn't the case, but I'm glad that Martens were introduced anyway. Otherwise every house in town might have these midnight marauders. When the boys were young we bought them BB guns. Knowing full well that they would end up shooting living things with them, we gave them instructions that whatever they shot, they had to eat. To the best of my knowledge they never imbibed a cat or robin, but they did kill and eat a few squirrels. One of them even spread the hide of  one of their conquests on the side of the shed out back. If I recall, there were squirrel feet taped on the tops of pencils too. Not sure what happened to the hide. It would have been just big enough to make a dress for a Tarzan Barbie doll I suppose. I guess if you shot about thirty of them and your head wasn't  too big, you could sew them all together and make a squirrel skin cap, kind of like ol' Daniel Boone. You could pretend to be his outcast and often ridiculed dim witted-cousin, Darrel Boone. I'm not sure what eating all that squirrel meat would do to your digestive system, but you probably wouldn't have to worry about mad cow disease.