Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why Wait?

Week old Brittany puppy

What to do on a cold snowy day before Thanksgiving? Can't do much outside other than take a short walk.  Maybe tie a few flies.  Take a few puppy photos.  Avalanche game tonight.  Until then?  

Well, we're both home. So, we might as well do Thanksgiving today.  That's right, turkey sandwiches tomorrow!

The pie was baked this morning.  Ok, it's a Marie Callender pie.  At least I'll take credit for unwrapping it and turning the oven on.

The potatoes are peeled.  The squash has been gutted.  The turkey has been in the oven for hours.  The plan is to cook it low and slow.  

The turkey wrapper says that the serving size is three quarter to one pound per person. 

Let's see.

Fourteen pound turkey.

Two people. 


That comes to about seven pounds each.

I hope it's enough.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Great Beyond

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless, 
   And the rivers all run God knows where; 
There are lives that are erring and aimless, 
   And deaths that just hang by a hair; 
There are hardships that nobody reckons; 
   There are valleys unpeopled and still; 
There’s a landoh, it beckons and beckons, 
   And I want to go backand I will. 

From The Spell of the Yukon by Robert Service.

In continuing with the recent slide scan theme, this is one of my all time favorite images.  Nothing fancy, but oh the memories!

Twenty years ago my wife and I hunted the interior of Alaska.  It was mid-September, and for all the world, could have been the middle of winter.  The previous group of hunters had endured summer like conditions and biting flies.  Conditions changed overnight.  The landscape, now stark, was cloaked under a deep mantle of snow.  We arrived in camp and were greeted by the outfitter and our native guides.  One, an Athabaskan kid, guiding his first hunt, the other, an elder Inupiat who had guided many.  Both were great characters, and a pleasure to share ten days afield.  Looking at the image of those cold snowy mountains, I vividly remember what would become most exciting event in my life.  That being, stalking a grizzly across a barren slope with the young guide in knee to thigh deep snow while my wife and the elder guide watched from the bottom of the mountain.

I've been drawn back to the North Country many times since.  Sometimes hunting.  Mostly fishing and exploring.  It is truly a great land.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Play Time

Brittany puppy playing

There's just something about slides that can't, or at least in my opinion, hasn't been duplicated by digital cameras.  First, you can pick up a slide.  That's right, there's something tangible to hang onto.  Then you can drop it onto a light table, and voila!  It pops. More color.  More life. With slides, you know immediately.   Properly exposed?  In focus?  Either they're good, or garbage.   That said, the entire digital process is a hell of a lot simpler, more convenient too.  

I've had a Nikon slide scanner for years.  Unfortunately, many iterations of Mac software upgrades had rendered the Nikon software inoperable due to non compatibility.  After several years of non use,  my scanner is now functional. I purchased Vuescan driver software ( for my Nikon scanner. It's usable by most scanners and they continually upgrade the software to keep up with Mac and Windows.

I hit a minor glitch after the software download.  But, after a little fiddling around, I was able to decipher the main reason for the software non function.  That being, I plugged in the wrong USB cord.  Duh.  When I  attached the scanner cord to the computer, Vuescan immediately located the scanner.  After that, scanning was a breeze.  Biggest decision?  Final output of the image.  I decided on jpegs, they're one-tenth the size of TIFF files.  If the Smithsonian decides that they absolutely have to have one of my images for archiving, I'll scan to the larger file format.  'Til then, jpeg it is. 

So, with the recent additions to our household, here's a not so random assortment of scanned puppy images.  They're from the litter of five that Maggie was born into.  She's the liver and white pup in images three and six. Three of the five miscreants, known as the twisted sisters, live here to this day.  Louie, the lone male, is the mustachioed one in image five.  He has gone on to win a boatload of awards for his prowess as a bird dog.  Addie, seen pulling my wife's hair in the last image, continues to get in trouble.

Brittany pups at dinner time

Brittany puppy, less than two weeks old

Brittany puppy pulling ponytail


Going through boxes of slides, some dating back to the seventies, should keep me off the streets, out of the bars, and away from my job as a piano player in some aforementioned establishment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Big Wait

Brittany retrieving sharptailed grouse.

She was the runt of the litter, the one that no one wanted.  And, arguably, she turned out to be the best of the bunch. Thats what got her into her present predicament.  That being, pregnant.  If you're going to have pups, it might as well be from a good mama.  Now, I'm no dog person, my wife is.  Whatever I've learned about dogs has come by default.  Like they say, half of life is showing up.  Well, I show up at home every day.  The dogs greet me.  To them, I'm just another member of the pack.  I scratch ears, rub bellies.  Sometimes I feed 'em popcorn.

But, as they say, I digress.  Maggie is a dog in waiting.  We're waiting too.  The living room has been converted into a nursery, the house... a sauna.  Gotta keep them pups warm (if they ever come).  Right now, Maggie is shivering, perhaps the beginnings of the whelping process? 

Meanwhile, I'm sitting in my underwear.  Its so warm that my eyelids are sweating.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I Couldn't Resist....

I saw this decal in a truck window at the Clearwater Speyclave in September.  I thought it was hilarious, my wife, not so much. I'm getting one of these decals if I ever grow up and become a guide.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

And The Point Is...

An afternoon afield, in black and white.

Bird dogs. 

An expanse of grass

It's big country. 


Wife too. 

Well, they are her dogs.

Brittany on point


Hunter, dogs, prairie

Hunter aims at Hungarian partridge

Brittany retrieving Hungarian partridge.

Bird dogs, Brittany, drinking water

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Along the Salmon

I took a drive a few days back.  Actually, during the past several weeks I've taken several drives. This time to the Salmon River country in Idaho.  I try to spend a day or two there each fall. Rather than do the usual killer day by getting up real early, driving a couple hundred miles, fishing all day and then driving a couple hundred miles home in the same day, I did the sane thing and spent the night in Salmon.  A wise move.

As they say, the fishing was good, the getting not so hot.  No real surprise.  Steelhead start to trickle into the area by the third week in October.  Bigger numbers tend to arrive later.  No excuse for my lack of catching though.  I had a couple porpoise within rod length on the second morning.  So, there were a few around.

I got to play with my "new" Meiser spey rod thats been neglected for the past few years.  Made some good casts, lots of poor ones too.  The casting was largely a success, I didn't hit myself with the tungsten conehead.  I cringe at the thought of driving to the ER with a Gamakatsu stuck in the back of my head, even if the barb is crimped.

The fish tally for two cutthroat, one small rainbow, and a bull trout.  I had one "suspicious" pull that may have been from the intended quarry.

But the weather was tremendous, the days sublime.  Morning fog added a bit of mystery to the day.  Sun and blue sky made for brilliant afternoons.  It was too nice for fishing, but it was good to be fishing in nice weather.  There's months of freezing ahead.  

I saw deer and elk.  Eagles.  Bighorn sheep.  Chukar called from above the river. 

I'm not much of a bird hunter, but I bagged a grouse, with my car.  His calculations on flight speed and the speed of an oncoming vehicle were flawed.  He should have consulted Einstein regarding the laws of physics.

I got to Wisdom just as the sun was setting.  I stopped and stretched a bit.  I wanted to get a picture of the upper Big Hole valley and the surrounding mountains in the fading light.  But when I looked through the camera viewfinder, the resulting image would have failed to capture the enormity and quiet of the scene.  So, I made a sandwich and grabbed a pop for the rest of the drive home.  

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