Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Okay, it's not wingshooting but... bears mentioning nonetheless.  There oughta be an award or something given to Tosh Brown and Departure Publishing for bringing back my favorite fishing book.  It had been out of print for about twelve years when I first heard of it, then it took almost two more to find an affordable copy on the used market.  And it still wasn't cheap.  Now Tosh has partnered with the author to publish it in ebook format for less than the price of a movie ticket.

The book is Marquesa: A Time & Place With Fish by Jeffrey Cardenas, his story of a month spent alone on a houseboat in the Marquesas off of Key West.  In the late summer of 1994, Cardenas slowly motored a houseboat towing his flats skiff across the Boca Grande Channel and anchored in the uninhabited atoll.  Excepting a few visits from friends, he was alone with the sea and his thoughts, passing the time snorkeling, fishing or just watching the goings-on in his new neighborhood.  The story is perceptive, reflective, enlightening and completely enjoyable. Replete with the harsh realities and irreplaceable wonders of nature it shares one common flaw with any good book you've ever read: at the end you find yourself wanting more.

Every now and then I wish I could live a series of decades in my twenties.  Maybe three or four and then turn sixty having done all of the things I couldn't fit into a single decade and couldn't pull off in the succeeding ones.  Granted that wish, this adventure would be on page one of the program.  Solitude and the outdoors always adjust perspective and immersion on this level has the potential to be life-changing.  Or merely euphoric, depending on where you started.

If you like fishing - especially saltwater fishing - do yourself a favor and trade some pocket change for this book.  In case you haven't clicked on it already, here's the link:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Psst, Santa....I been super good this year

No kiddin.  I didn't fight with my brother or sister, I didn't play hooky from work (not a statistically significant number of times, anyway), I brushed my teeth almost every day and I didn't shoot BBs at the neighbor's cat.  And I got a real short list of stuff I want:

Any one of these will do.  I'll take 'em all if it's too tight in the sleigh.


About a thousand acres or so of this...

A few dozen days like this one...

Views like these every week or so..

And maybe one of these.  I promise I'll take good care of it.

courtesy Holland & Holland

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why technology isn't always a good thing

Deer hunting is not my favorite thing to do out-of-doors.  Knowing that a decent sized doe will nearly pack my available freezer space and last well into the new year, I do it as much for sustenance as enjoyment.  If I manage to bag one on my first hunt of the season it might end up being the last hunt of the season; I just don't have much interest after that. Then I have years like 2010 when I get pretty mad at it and go half a dozen times or more, miss the one deer I shoot at (I still can't believe I whiffed it), and don't put a thing in the freezer.

I hunted a couple of times early this season and didn't shoot.  Again, not being a fanatic about it I don't actively seek opportunities to sit in a stand, don't drive long distances to do so, and don't get too upset if it doesn't happen.  I'd just about put the season behind me when I was invited to skip out of work last Wednesday afternoon and figured why not, it's a pretty day and I could sure use some fresh air.  About five minutes before sunset a nice big doe walked into the food plot and by the end of the week she'll be in my freezer.

But the story doesn't quite end there.  The deer made it about twenty yards into some of the thickest, nastiest brush in the county before expiring and took a while to extract.  Being the incredibly responsible spouse that I am, about halfway through the process I snapped a picture of the deer and sent it along with a text to my wife telling her that I might be a little late getting home.  Later that night I walked by the computer and saw a photo of a deer that looked eerily familiar.  On Facebook.  With my name under it.  Thanks honey.

I'm pretty sure she still doesn't understand why I'd rather not be seen advertising the trophy doe that I shot.  I tried explaining that around here, crowing about shooting a doe is like bragging that you got a hole in one at putt-putt.  Sure, you give yourself a little pat on the back when you do it, you enjoy the spoils at the table for the next six months, but there's really no need to alert the media.  Especially the social media.

The picture was only online a few hours but the damage was done.  Since last Thursday I've had a dozen guys with a smirk on their faces congratulate me on my deer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shameless link to a fine piece of work

I'm a little behind on both posting and reading, at least in terms of where I'd like to be this time of year.  Sitting down tonight to play some catch up I stumbled across this post by Hank Shaw over at Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook:

It's a subject all of us deal with on some level and he's done a fine job of getting to the core of it.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This takes more patience than I'll ever have

Gun engraving is an art that sparks mixed emotions from me.  Unfortunately it's usually found on guns that populate a higher price range than those I'm familiar with (desire).  At times it seems a bit impractical given the normal use of its medium (bewilderment).  Even the most pedestrian examples are beautiful (awe).  And it requires a skill that takes years if not decades to master (more awe).

While reading the latest issue of the online magazine Sporting Shot, I stumbled across a link to a blog by engraver Keith Thomas.  He's far from prolific on the posting side - I think I counted eight over a five year stretch - but it's interesting to read his perspective.  And the work is simply extraordinary.  I poached the image below as a tease..

There are more examples of his work in the Sporting Shot article.