Monday, May 28, 2012

Word of the day? Privilege.

Full disclosure: I didn't take this picture.  I "borrowed" it from the internet.
Here I am at the end of a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Wishing it was longer, but thankful that it was as long as it was.  I am very grateful for the the freedom to publish this stream of consciousness.  It is that freedom that allows me to speak candidly and without fear of censorship (or worse...), and for you the reader to have the choice to either continue reading, or not.

I readily admit that I don't do this enough, something I'm not that proud to admit. However; I absolutely realize that the privilege of publishing a blog without fear of retribution, punishment or government censorship has been granted to me by those who have dedicated their lives to protecting mine.  If you are, were or even related to any american military personnel: Please know how truly appreciative that I am.

Speaking of privilege...

I was granted another privilege this weekend.  At the risk of duplicating an extremely well written post by friend and fellow writer Alphamomphia  (sorry Julie...not trying to crowd in on this one...but your blog is excellent!)--I just can't keep this to myself.  (To read her post about secret places, click HERE)

Ya gotta know which path to take...
My son has spent a LOT of time lately rummaging through the woods with his buddies lately.  Together they have carved out their own place in the world where their imaginations run wild.  This place is exactly what they want it to be, and I suspect that it is seen differently by each member of the group.

It is a magical place, and the "fort" they have built took my breath away.

Individually, G has taken both his mom and I to the fort, and given us V.I.P. tours.  Collectively, Mrs. MacLoosh and I stand in awe.  We are incredibly grateful for a boy who has the guts to build his own vision.

With his expressed permission, I took some pictures and am posting them here for you to see.  I tried desperately to take these pix and render them in a way that does this place justice.  I tried to put myself into the mind of a 9 year old who has this "secret" place, complete with legends and mystery.  Not an easy task.

I genuinely doubt that these images even come close to what his mind sees.  What I do not doubt, is that it was a distinct privilege to get this peek into his imagination.

I'd tell you where it is...but I made a promise.  Sorry.
Hand made by boys who are secretly turning into men

This is how I imagine that the boys see their fort.

More bugs and fishing next time around.

Til later,

-M

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday service (Rainbow edition)

Sunday morning worship at the alter of flowing water brought in some nice offerings this morning.  I had to get out before the heat set in, so despite a few cobwebs, I was on the water by 0630 hrs.  (Praise the creator of Redbull...)

The water was cool, and still running a touch high and stained from the storms last night.  No surface action to speak of, but a good presentation with a nymph was rewarded with a solid hit.

From there, it was up to me to keep the magic happening and set the hook.  Lost a nice (heavy) fish, but not before I saw a flash of buttery yellow and brown.  You know what that means, right?  Now I know where he lives....

In the mean time, I only took one picture of some handsome steel.

Til later.....  (oh...and still working on those home-brew poppers...stay tuned..)

-M


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Love/hate relationship

I'm pretty sure I have mentioned my love/hate relationship with the insect world.  Spiders, while not actually bugs; make me cringe. Mosquitoes and "No see-ums" are proof that evil is alive and always near by.  And the rest of the insect world (or at least the insect world that I have bumped into) are interesting to me.  They are interesting on my terms, and not when found clinging to me or landing on me.

I believe I have also mentioned that I recognize that to flyfish effectively, I need to embrace my inner insect lover.  I'm working on this...I really am.  But this just isn't coming naturally.

To that end, the last 2 weeks have brought me in contact with some extremes in the bug world that I thought I would share. While not all of them are bugs that would be specific to flyfishing, all of them represent steps in my entomological journey.

First of all, on my recent trip to the homeland, I drove through one of those epic caddis hatches on the Mississippi river.  When that kind of bug action is going on...a fella sure does wish he was fishing and not driving...

Mmmmm.....smeared caddis......
From there, my sister had a special present for G when we hit town.  It was a box, with a dead bug in it.  The interesting truth of this "gift" is that it was pure genius.   In one dangerously simple move, my sis showed that she not only knows how my boy ticks...she embraces and encourages it.  He absolutely adores her, and for good reason: she speaks his language.  She told him that his "job" is to find out what kind of bug it is and let her know.  She said that she has found 2 of these at her job in central Iowa, and is creeped out by them...while also damn curious as to what they are.  I asked if she had looked it up, but then remembered that for all of her abilities in life, effective computer or internet use is not among them.  She just recently figured out how to text on her phone, is due for an upgrade...but doesn't one because it took so long to figure the existing phone out.

Almost as soon as we hit home, G and I jumped on the internet to figure this one out.  Here is what we have in our box:

A bug with "hands"???  That shit ain't right...
Mole cricket.  An invasive pest.  
And finally, going back to the MacLoosh family's Mother's day outing at Devil's Lake we found one really cool creepy crawly on a hike...

Centipede? Or Millipede? Does it really even matter?  To me, no.  To the bug, I bet it does matter.
That's all for now folks...my recent panfish outing has me rocking some new home brew poppers...

Til later,

-M

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Candid Camera

Here is the backdrop:  There isn't a lot of excitement here in the "UnForest".  So the fact that there has been a red fox roaming the neighborhood has lots of people all stirred up.  Especially my wife and kids.

My daughter is pretty sure that the fox is going to appear in the middle of the night, and eat her face.  My son is an amateur scientist.  He has theories ranging from "It is lost" to "It has a den nearby and will catch our dog and feed him to the baby fox's if it can".  Well...the dog is small and not exactly a top of the food chain predator, so G might not be too far off base with that one...but...I digress.

And my wife?  Well she has an uncanny ability to stoke the fires of curiosity in both children, so the banter has reached a fevered pitch.

So in an effort to really find out if this fox is stalking our yard and hopefully provide some answers, I borrowed a friend's trail camera.  Several nights of nothing photographed, followed by days of LOTS of photos of robins plucking worms from the yard was really the extent of the early findings with the trail cam.

Understanding that it may take a few nights to see anything unusual, I set the camera up in a new place in the yard when I recently went out of town.  Once I got back, I checked the memory card to see what had been going on?

To my surprise, the yard had been busy.  The trail cam had caught lots of action--just not exactly what I was intending when I set it up.

Here are two of the better shots.....

Yep.  One nosy son.  Caught on camera.
Really?!  Even the dog thinks she is nuts (note the look on his face...)
So....to those of you who think I am the crazy one in the family...I have news for you:  I married crazy, and then had children with her.

I have to admit though...we sure do have fun...and I had one hell of a good laugh when I found these pictures.

Did we catch the fox in action yet?  No.  But aside from the camera hounds above, we did see a raccoon, and the neighbor's cat.  (Both of which are a lot more fun than robins eating worms)

Oh, and despite the comic relief, we are still working on that fear of my daughter's.  She still isn't convinced that the fox isn't a man-eater...

Til later,

-M

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Death and fishing

Suffering from allergies might have a single, solitary up-side.

It is a beautiful day but due to the wind, to go outside is to become a sneezing, sniffling, eyes watering pool of snot and misery.  I suffered through my son's soccer game, but that was enough to convince me lay low,So I am staying in  for the rest of the day.  The up-side?  It is affording me some down time, and a rare chance to write a post.

Yesterday was a day chalk full of irony.  My son and I started the day by paying our final respects to my cousin Tony.  The girls weren't able to make the trip out of town, so my boy and I represented the MacLoosh family at this one.  Tony was a good man, as evidenced by the turn-out of friends and family, and a fitting tribute to him was the number of motorcycles that showed up to escort him to his final resting place.  My oldest brother (note the VERY orange bike in the video) tells me there were 44 bikes in all.

video

I have to say this, as my wife and I have lost way to many friends and family  needlessly...CANCER SUCKS.

After the funeral, my boy and I decided that it might be appropriate to fish our way home once we  were back Wisconsin.  So what started as an extremely sad day, ended up as one of the best days either my son or I have had in quite a while.

While deciding where to fish, G told me he really didn't feel like trout fishing, that he would rather find a lake and do some panfishing.  This wouldn't have been my first choice as we were near several first class Driftless trout waters, but I have kind of had an itch to beat up on some bluegills and largemouth for a while and I was just really happy to be with my favorite fishing partner, so it really didn't matter what kind of fishing we did..  G & I finally hit a lake that I hadn't fished (but had heard about many times) by 4:30 and between the two of us couldn't get our rods rigged up fast enough.

Since I usually fish the streams, I rarely carry any spinning gear with me, so it was flyrods all around.  No problem for G, he can handle a 9ft  6wt rod as well as anyone.  Didn't take him but about 5 casts and he was into a fat little bluegill.  Few more casts, and he was tight to a largemouth that absolutely smashed his foam hopper.

There were several more fish, but we didn't take pix of them all.  Just the important ones.

Fish on!

The reward for a hard fought battle?

Further into the day, and a move to a floating dock brought the real reward of the day.  The fish that drew a LOT of attention from the people who were near by....

S.L.A.B.
As if a monster bluegill wasn't enough to help with some of the sorrow of the morning, G also managed to catch a snake with his net.  (Sorry, no picture)

From there, we did pack up to drive home, but at the last minute we decided (at my request) to fish  one trout stream near by.   It was almost dusk, and I had a feeling the bugs would be on.  I only caught a couple of smallish wild brown trout (G decided not to fish, but did tell me where the fish would be lying, and he was right...).  I had hoped for 3 or 4 legal keepers to bring home for Sunday's dinner, but no such luck.

I also managed to turn my 9 year old son onto Teriyaki Beef Sticks as an appropriate "tide you over til we can find a restaurant" post fishing snack.

Somehow, we managed to turn a truly shitty day into a very satisfying father/son outing.

Knowing Tony, I think he would have approved of us going home tired and satisfied from fishing our way home from his funeral.

In fact, I am not convinced that he didn't play a hand in the way the day worked out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stir crazed and off balance

Tap tap tap....this thing on?

Oh, whew!  It DOES still work.  Good.  I'd hate to think that just because I haven't put up any posts that it had stopped working in my absence.

To catch up:  I haven't been fishing in a LONG F'ING TIME.  More than a month.  Hell, I am pretty sure it has been almost a month and a half.  Wait....have I been fishing at all this year?  Hmmm....sure doesn't seem like it....

This lack of time on the water is starting to affect my health.  My balance is off, eyes blurry, heart rate up, blood pressure up, and I have developed a noticeable twitch whenever I drive past a body of water that is bigger than a puddle and... Oh...yeah...like Pavlov's mutt...I started drooling when I watched "Heart of the Driftless" the other day.

Pathetic, I am.

Do I pester him while he is sleeping?  Of course I do. Don't be silly.
What I have been doing with all that time that isn't being filled up with fishing?  Oh, you know, a little of this and a lot of that.  It's all the usual stuff that makes up life.  Work.Family.Sleep and repeat.  As if my life wasn't chaotic enough, being the "pack leader" for a puppy is just about the craziest freaking thing I've been through in a long time.

Ceasar Milan can kiss my big white ass.  Dog training is a royal pain in my butt.

A re-occurring dream...
My home life has been reduced to being chewed on, with short intermittent breaks where I take the dog out into the back yard and follow his squirrely ass around while he finds just the right...no wait....maybe over there....nah...the grass wasn't right...lets try over here....ooop....WAIT...the leash was too tight, now it's gone.....oh oh oh...there it is again...Just a couple of sharp left hand circles and......oh, hellllllllll yeah......that's the spot!  And he glances up at me, while dropping a deuce, with that pitiful look of "Excuse me, I'm pooping here....could you at least give me some praise???" .

So what do I do?  I praise him.  Not because I am particularly proud of him.  We all poop.  I praise him because I guess I am supposed to praise him.  That's what "Puppies for dummies" tells me to do.

So after praising my dog for shitting on my lawn, I go back into the house where he chews on me some more.  Fun.  My only revenge has been to mess with him at every turn.  It's a family tradition here at the MacLoosh Mansion, so the dog had better get used to it.

<insert big shit eating grin here>
Anyway, with just a little bit of luck--I am headed out on the water tomorrow.   I frankly don't care if I catch anything...I just want to go so bad it hurts.  And with a little bit more luck, I have worked myself into a spot where I can go fishing every once in a while and actually write about fishing again.

Wouldn't that just be cat's meow?

Till later,

-M