“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fishing the Beaverkill

Among the top 10 fly fishing sites in the US, a few are in the Northeast and the rest are in Montana. Some will argue there are some in Wyoming (West Yellowstone, for example), but the western sites are all pretty much located "up there". Of those in the Northeast, one of the most famous is the Beaverkill River in the Catskills. And, I've had fishing the Beaverkill on my secondary bucket list.

Rick fishing the Beaverkill

Lynne bought me a wonderful birthday gift this year! She got me a 1/2-day guided wading tour on the Beaverkill. She purchased it through the Beaverkill Angler Catskill Fly Fishing Shop in Roscoe, NY -- the heart of fishing in the Catskills. They put me with a great guide, Oleh Czmola and we spent Saturday late afternoon fishing. I caught a very nice 10" brown trout (returned to the river) and had a few other strikes. Enough to make it a successful trip and make me a happy camper! Thanks to Oleh for his guidance and patience. (I've developed some bad habits with my casting.)

Speaking of a "happy camper", we turned the trip into a wonderful camping weekend by pulling the T@B up on Friday. It was raining a little, but we got a fantastic camping site along Russell Brook and got set up before it rained hard. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful fall days and we enjoyed the weather and the fall colors immensely.

Our camp setup. We parked in one of the tent sites, and it worked fine for our tiny trailer.

We have a new tent that connects to the side of the trailer. We got it up before the rain hit, and so we were able to sit in the tent and watch and listen to the rain while sipping on a glass of wine. The silver storage box on the trailer tongue is also new and provided us some much needed additional storage. Note that we put up a ring of exercise pens for the dogs.

We had campfires on Saturday and Sunday -- even s'mores for dessert!

That is an old water wheel in the background of the above photo. It was used to run a DC generator many, many years ago. 

I'm sure Lynne will post more on her site or on the T@B site.

Tags:  photosnaturetravelactivitiesfishing
Posted under: New JerseyTravel • by Rick on 10/15/2015 at 08:59 AM
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Whatever Happened to RESPECT?

Growing up, I was taught to respect others--even others with viewpoints different from my own.

I was taught to respect elders. Always saying "sir" and "ma'am". "Yes, sir!" "No Ma'am." I was taught to listen to them, respect their experience, open my mind to their insights.

I was taught to respect authority. From police to pastor to president, people in positions of authority were to be looked up to, listened to, even obeyed.

I was taught to respect females. No honking the horn in the driveway to pick up a date. "If you respect her and really like her, you'll go to the door to get her and walk her to the car." And, of course, walk her to the door at the end of a date. I was taught to open car doors for females, although this sign of respect has gone the way of crystal radios. I was taught to respect the word "no".

I was taught to listen respectfully, even to ideas and opinions I disagreed with. To look for the "grain of truth" and seek empathy in order to understand opposing views. Then, when it was my turn, make my argument with equal voice.

I am not sure what has happened. But, I see and hear very little respect for elders, people in authority, women, and those with different viewpoints today. I see online comments that are at minimum disrespectful and often even vulgar.  I think part of the problem is the anonymity of electronic communications. It is pretty easy to rant and rave, call people or groups names, use profanity, and denegrate when doing it with a keyboard to someone you have no physical or emotional connection too. Would people be as disrespectful if they were made to voice their disrespect face-to-face? To someone they've had a chance to get to know, even through a brief personal conversation? 

Respecting a person or group of people does not mean you agree with them. It just means you recognize their right to their position/opinion/idea, and disagree. Respectfully.

Tags:  thoughts
Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 02/23/2015 at 02:03 PM
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Prepping for a Big One

We are supposed to get between 1 and 2 feet of snow starting tomorrow (Monday) afternoon through Tuesday. So, we (along with a few thousands of other people) are prepping for "the big one".

  • Groceries for a week? Check.
  • Gasoline for the tractor, snow blower and generator? Check.
  • Enough wood chopped and stored in the basement for a week? Check.
  • Wine? Check. (Lots in the cellar.)
  • Whiskey? Damn. No whiskey. Okay, that is on the list for tomorrow.

It will be nice living at the cabin where we don't have to do all this preparation for a snow storm.

Making a lemon tart for dessert for the next few nights. Yum!

Tags:  at-homeweather
Posted under: 55 Ponderosa PlaceFood and Cooking • by Rick on 01/25/2015 at 10:32 AM
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Monday, December 01, 2014

Desert Forest

When visiting Las Cruces, New Mexico recently to celebrate my Dad's 89th birthday, Lynne and I were given a tour of a nearby park which features the natural fauna of the surrounding desert. Las Cruces, is at an altitude of 3900 feet and sits at the base of the Organ Mountains and is considered "high desert" country.

Photo of the park with the Organ Mountains in the background.

Perhaps the most common type of cactus in the area is the Prickly Pear cactus, which comes in many varieties:

One variety is the Mule's Ear cactus:

Here is a dead Cholla cactus:

I think this is a live one:

Of course, there is the Barrel Cactus, also with many varieties:

Plenty of Creosote Bushes and Mesquite, too!


And Century Plant:

The most interesting part of our tour, hosted by a good friend of my parents' -- Delton Estes -- was finding some Chochilla (Cochineal, in English) bugs on some cacti. These bugs live in a cacoon-like web and feed off the moisture and nutrients in the cactus. The Spanish began the practice of farming these bugs and harvesting them for the deep red dye they can produce -- a color that later became popular in the Roman Catholic Church. A Wikipedia reference is found here.

Note the white on the cactus below? Pull it off and squeeze it to get the dye.

Many thanks to Delton for the informative tour!

Tags:  naturetravelphotos
Posted under: Travel • by Rick on 12/01/2014 at 08:59 AM
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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Cabin Trip 2014 - Last Days

It is now Thursday, just after noon. This will likely be my last entry for this trip.

Monday night we had leftover lasagne for dinner. It is a great recipe and warms up well. 

Tuesday was an exciting day for a couple of reasons, but let's tackle food first (one of the reasons). We actually went out to dinner! We and some neighbors drove to Woods Landing for dinner. Woods landing consists of a gas station with store, a bar and a restaurant. Although the restaurant started out as, and now doubles as a dance hall with occasional live entertainment. It was a slow night for the restaurant, but we enjoyed both the idea of "going out" and the food. Lynne had a burger, I had a steak. We started with an appetizer of Rocky Mountain Oysters. All was delicious. It is about a half-hour drive over dirt (and often muddy roads). Now the truck looks like it belongs in Colorado.

The other exciting news from Tuesday is the herd of elk that came through the meadow. It was early morning, with the sun just creeping into the meadow when Lynne spotted a couple of elk entering the meadow. Soon it was four, then eight, and then obvious a whole herd! Of course, at this time of year a herd of elk cows probably means a bull is close by. And, sure enough, he showed up, too! Altogether there were probably 35 to 40 elk in the herd.

The bull was what is called a Royal Crown elk because he had at least 7 points on each side of his antler rack.

Lynne has more photos, including some stunning photos after they left the meadow, on her site. Just click here to see her thorough post.

Wednesday morning early we headed into Laramie to do laundry and pick up a few items at the grocery and K-Mart. Lynne also got a pair of awesome dressy cowgirl boots. You can see a photo on her site. It was nice to get all the laundry done. That way we have clean clothes, towels, sheets, etc. the next time we come. We had a burger at MacDonalds, then headed home around noon. We drove through drizzle, then rain, the full-out snow. By the time we got to the cabin the snow was sticking to the ground. We got about 3" total. That was a good excuse to build fires and just be lazy in our cozy cabin.

Today is prep day. It is cold and windy outside, so we are not inclined to do much outdoors. Target practice and some additional trail clearing will need to wait till next year. Instead, we've started working down the list of things that need to be done so we can leave early tomorrow morning.

We have: collected all perishable food (beyond the "pigs in a blanket" dinner we expect to have tonight) and delivered that to the neighbors; replaced the air filter in the heater; put Stabil in all the fresh gas we have stored in the shed; replaced the batteries in the weather station (outside and in); separated what we need for the trip home from what we can pack and forget until we get there. There is still more we can do today, including loading some things in the truck. Then, there is a checklist for tomorrow before we leave:

Close fireplace flues; unplug all electrical devices; turn the thermostat down to 45°; turn the hot water heater to its pilot light setting; turn off the water, drain all pipes, pour in some RV anti-freeze; pull out the stove and refrigerator and turn off their propane; clean out the fridge and leave the doors open; bring the huge, heavy box with the wind turbine in it back inside from the front porch; close and lock all window, put up the shutters; stop the clocks; make sure everything is loaded in the truck, including Bella, Hailey and eBay; lock the doors; head home...

Tags:  cabinnaturefoodphotosother-wildlife
Posted under: Cabin News • by Rick on 10/02/2014 at 12:41 PM
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