Friday, November 30, 2012

Change of Plan Due to Dead Brain

     So I was going to write this entry for the Uncle Emil Blog. Call it Uncle Emil's Tackle Box. But I was going to cheat and use my father-in-law's old box. Seems Uncle Emil didn't like the idea and wouldn't loan me any inspiration to make it interesting and Emil-ish. So I was stuck with looking into a sixty year old, metal tackle box with plenty of interesting stuff.
     None of that interesting stuff has any real monetary value. But, on the other hand, it belonged to my wife's dad and hasn't seen the water in five decades.
    I knew more of John's history than I did of my father's. Not all that unusual considering I knew my father-in-law a lot longer. To say anything more would lead to a sinkhole of poor guessing. Let's just say John spent some time on the water before I knew him. And his box tells a lot of fishing history with a few stories on the side.
     It's a simple box from a time when fishing was much simpler. And from the looks of the few items, fish were a lot easier to fool. Or maybe we've come to overthink the game, lean way too heavily on technology to outsmart a relatively simple animal. What the hell, they're born, eat, procreate and die. With the weak point being eating. That's about it. We throw something at them that is, or at least looks like food and hope they're hungry.
     It's green steel and has a slight patina of rust. Don't remember if that rust was there when it passed into my hands. One tray, seven lure compartments. Made by Union. From the looks of the box it could easily have been a small tool box, which would have fit John to a T. He'd been a medic in WWII during the recapture of the Philippines. His service brought him the GI Bill, and a teaching certificate. But in his spare time he loved to work with his hands. Wood mostly but did his share of electrical work and plumbing. The hand tools passed down to me were in metal boxes. He born in a time of steel and wood.
     Unfortunately, his lures were from the time of transition or a heartbeat after. Here he went for modern rather than classic. Or maybe the lure making industry didn't offer him a choice. Had they been wood, they'd have far more value. But wood or plastic they'd still be in that box and on my equipment shelf. They were his and that's all that matters.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Picky Stay Home

     Yup, it was unseasonably warm up north. No, not all the lakes were iced over, just the ones I wanted to fish.The word was all of the lakes had already frozen but had since melted off. All except the smaller ones, the canoe lakes. Even if they were open, the wind was up and the water was cold and I'm growing a sane streak up my spine, kind of an off-yellow. Maybe that's just age melting me down and a strong desire to get even older.
     Walking was restricted to the sand roads. Down the middle with blaze orange on. Biking was the same. Hardly anyone out and about besides the deer hunters. And they weren't on the roads.
     A half dozen times each hour rifle reports would tell of a sighting or boredom. All directions of the compass. I'm familiar with the cracks of an AK47 and an M16. Not much different from your typical, slightly deeper throated deer rifle. But every so often I'd hear a whole 'nother animal. Sounded like some of the boys out in the woods were sportin' buffalo guns. Could be the idea behind the big guns was a near miss shock wave would knock the deer down and give a poor marksman a second chance. Or a lonely one a chance at un-natural love.
     As it turned out I had a fine time. Gathered and split some oak. Squared up a couple of aspen and birch log slabs. Both leftovers from mantel making. Brought them home with the idea of re-sawing them into full two by twos, followed by the embarrassment of shaping out some more little artsy-fartsy trees. Those that have seen them haven't laughed and have even asked for a couple. Good gifts.
     The hours of my day were never enough. But the pleasure of an evening's reading with nothing better to do is to be savored. Meaning in life? I let you know if I find it. 'Til then the shush of the wind bending the white pines will have to do.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Change of Plans?

     The weather forecast says highs in the mid 40's for the Northland this weekend. If I can float the solo, I will. Two rods packed just in case. Cold water, slow fish, small presentation. Bobbers or jigs slowly dragged on the bottom in about twenty five feet of water on the edges of rock piles or reefs. Dress warm and wear a lot of blaze orange for the last weekend of deer hunting. Seems like nothing looks so much like a deer as a fisherman in a bone white canoe.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Poinggg and Boinggg

     It's that time of year and I'm headin' up north this weekend to hear it. The lakes will be freezing over. Their skin stretching and cracking. After sunset when the temps are dropping they begin to sing. Could be the song of angels, both saved and fallen. That's a bit heavy, approaching stupid even. But I wrote it and ain't turnin' back.
     The neatest part is heading outdoors to take a leak in the dark. Urination serenade. Poingin' and boingin' in the background. Throw in some northern lights and it's enough to make an aging man pray for a small bladder.



      I sometimes go back and read what I've written, months or years later.  It's now March 10, 2013.  I browsed the titles and didn't recall what this one could possibly be about.  Sounds like a children's story by Wanda Gag (with an umlaut above the last a).  Hard to believe I wrote these few words.  Sounds just like me, maybe even better.  Don't know where the words come from but I doubt it's me making them up.  When it all lines up right who, or whatever it is, has been paying enough attention and the story sounds just like the key stabber is telling it.  Don't know if that makes much sense but not a whole lot in life does so I guess it's okay.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Beaver Giveth

     Last year one of our beavers hung a large aspen. I can't say for sure it was the beaver's fault. Maybe a storm blew through and dropped the tree while Bucky was off somewhere else. Whatever the reason she's entwined among three red oaks. Pulling out the chainsaw and finishing the job was a powerful temptation. But my voice of reason, I call her Lois, said doing so was way over the hill and into the land of stupid. So far in, it bordered on suicide. So it hung there for near on a year.
     My daughter Annie and her husband Ryan came to the rescue by building a new house. In the house would be a gas fireplace. On top of which was to be a rustic mantel. Their old house had one made from a birch log. The log came from our woods up north. Moving it out of the trees taught me my knees weren't what they used to be.
     Long story short, a log was pulled from the aspen when Lois wasn't watching. The mantel is drying in the garage. But that's not the point of the entry.
     Last summer Lois and I spent an afternoon in Duluth with some friends. One artsy gift shop led to another. In passing, a display of local artisan, cartoon-like, evergreens carved from wood was spotted and admired. Another one of those things Lois said we could figure out and do ourselves. Our drawers are lined with such never done projects.
     While there I picked one up, looked at it both right side and upside down and said the usual, "Uh huh. I could do 'er. Yup. No doubt about it." Said that many times over the years and had yet to prove I could actually do any of them.
     For some reason those trees have stuck in my craw. Years past, when I was working, there was always something demanding my time way more important than putzy crap like itty-bitty trees and bird houses. Well, it's a little embarrassing but I've built a few birdhouses now. Truly an immoral waste of time. But it seems my morals, like my knees, ain't what they used to be.
     So, with scrap aspen and band saw I be makin' me some trees. Lordy, lordy what have I sunk to? Beaver and storm hangs tree. I cut log from said tree, chainsaw out a slab, square it up with planer and circular saw. Cut the slab to mantel size and have a six foot mini-timber left over. Mini-timber is made into corbels on which to mount mantel. Remainder of timber is quartered lengthwise. From these are made artsy-fartsy, mini-trees. Little trees from big ones. It's embarrassing for sure. Don't tell anyone.