Archive for August, 2013

GAME ON!

From: Meridian, Idaho

(BSU Bronco)

(BSU Bronco)

I think we can all agree that we have got the month of August pretty much whipped. Yes, yes…I know that as I write this there are still a few hours left. But let’s be real…there is only one issue of any importance remaining on this page of the calendar: Just how badly will the Boise State Broncos trounce the University of Washington…otherwise often referred to as the “Hapless Huskies.”

(university of Washington Huskies)

(University of Washington Huskies)

The game doesn’t even start until 8:00 PM (Mountain Time). Which means that my statement above isn’t actually true for those of you living in the east. Back there, the outcome of the game won’t be determined until September 1st. Ah, well, it should still be August here in Boise, as will certainly be the case in Seattle…where the game will actually be played.

On the “point spread” website I have gotten in the habit of using, UW is now favored by 4 points. (Earlier in the week it was 3.5 points.) One could find that a bit odd, seeing as BSU is ranked 19th on two of the major polls and 21st on a third, while the Huskies are unranked on all three. Moreover, the last time these teams met was at the end of last season, when Boise won by a couple of points. Still, I think there is a residual bias on the part of sports bettors, who see the recent success of BSU as a fluke…at least where football is concerned. A flash-in-the-pan, two-bit country college that really can’t consistently challenge a venerated PAC 12 powerhouse like the UNIVERSITY of WASHINGTON! So, most of the money gets laid on the purple, forcing the bookies to give points to the “underdog” so the betting action will be more even.

In truth, I am not so confident as I try to make myself sound. But there’s no question the Broncos have a good chance to win. Butterflies will probably be thick in both locker rooms and I’d guess that the team that brings fewer of them out to the field will have a decided edge.

We expect at least a few of our regular game night friends to show up, but then…it would definitely be a late night out, and that might deter a few. (I think it would probably deter me, if the tables were…ah…on the other foot.) Anyhow, GO BRONCOS!

***

To put some closure on my sickly post of the other day, I’m happy to say that I am on the mend. Seriously. The antibiotic still seems to me to be very slow acting. I suppose I wouldn’t think so if I didn’t remember (hazily, hazily) it working so quickly the last time. Truth is, I don’t even know if it’s the same stuff. Probably not. Nevertheless, I only awoke twice last night to make a trip to the bathroom. That number is down from the 8 or 9 trips a night earlier in the week. On the downside, both trips still involved some pain after I reached the throne. The level of it was diminished from earlier, but still definitely noticeable! But, as I said, the medicine is working. I’m sure I’ll be done with the infection entirely in a few days. Or less.

I did feel well enough yesterday morning to have regretted postponing my treadmill stress test. I would have very much preferred being able to look back on it from this morning, instead of now having it coming towards me for twelve more days.

In fact, it might have been much easier to have done it when I was really feeling poorly. I’ve got the impression that the only purpose of the treadmill is to raise the subject’s pulse so EKG readings can be made at the heart’s elevated activity. Sooo, if he/she is in pretty good shape, doesn’t it then follow that it will take longer – and require more work on the subject’s part – to reach that elevated heart rate? Whereas, if one is weak as a poop and barely able to stand even before the treadmill starts, his/her heart rate should reach that elevated state much more quickly. Nah…there must be some flaw in that thinking, eh?

***

Congratulations to my beautiful and talented granddaughter, Amber, for successfully passing her Hunter Safety Training course a few days ago! She has been looking forward to this major step for several years, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to go hunting with her dad until she had the certificate. I’m sure there are no longer any states that will issue a hunting license to any person who has not completed the course. Her dad, Greg, is smiling from ear to ear, you can bet!

I know well enough that hunting is viewed by many (most, by now?) of my fellow Americans as a leftover relic of human history that has no place in the modern world. Rather like our vestigial tail. (All mammals have a tail at some point in their development. Look it up.) And I certainly have no quarrel with anyone who chooses not to hunt…for any reason. Let me just say that some of the happiest times of my life have been spent in hunting camp. (Well…fishing camps, too.) And I hope Amber enjoys it as much as I did and do!

***

As much as I wish it were, I have to point out that the big question of the day is NOT whether or not BSU wins the game this evening…instead, it seems to be exactly when – you’ll notice I didn’t say “if” at this point – our country is going to launch a missile and/or air strike into Syria, ostensibly to punish the current Syrian regime for killing 1400 of its citizens with a chemical weapon of some kind.

It seems we are truly incapable of learning anything from history! Even when it’s our own history. Even when that history happened only ten years ago! Please don’t press the “GO” button, Mr. President!

***

To wrap up, I’ll report once again that the squirrels continue to avoid the subdivision in which our house is located. The have done so, now (or, technically, will have done so at midnight), for an entire calendar month. It’s been even more than 31 days, however, since the last one I saw came around on July 9th. Strange. Maybe the heat continues to hold them close to their homes, eh?

I shan’t worry about it, Mum. I know that rodents, including tree-rats, have a desperate urge to reproduce, despite the frightful consequences of unrestrained population growth. In this characteristic they are, perhaps…just perhaps, even worse than Homo Sapiens. Members of their furry tribe will be back around my back yard soon enough, I know.

Have a great day and a wonderful weekend! Go Broncos!

Bud

 

MEDICAL UPDATE

From: Meridian, Idaho

The doctor couldn’t find anything terribly wrong with me last Monday. But…he did suggest that I make an appointment for a “stress test” at the cardiology department. One of those treadmill deals. You know…the kind where they keep ramping up the speed and record the subject’s EKG while they’re doing it. That was supposed to have taken place tomorrow (Friday) morning.

I neglected to tell him at the time that I felt I might have a bladder infection coming on. The symptoms weren’t “sure fire” at the time, but, nevertheless, I’ve had such infections before, and it seemed to me I was having them again. Monday evening wasn’t so bad, but by Tuesday evening there was no question that the flare-up had arrived! By bedtime, I was pretty much incapacitated with a fever and general achiness. Plus, having to get out of bed every 30 – 45 minutes to pee a teaspoon of urine. A painful process!

On Wednesday morning I called the doc’s office again, informing the receptionist of my self-diagnosis and asking her to have the doctor call in a prescription for the proper antibiotics. He had done this sort of thing previously, but I soon had a call back from his nurse, telling me that he would have to actually see me this time…. “We can squeeze you in at 10:15 AM. Come a few minutes early and leave a specimen at the lab.” Thankfully, a couple of aspirin had taken care of the fever of the night before, but, even so, I was still quite wobbly on my feet.

As expected, the doc confirmed my self-diagnosis once he had the results from the lab, and forwarded a prescription to my neighborhood Walgreen’s. I actually hadn’t been much surprised at his decision to have me come in for a look-see. Bladder infection has some of the same symptoms of prostatitis, but the two conditions call for somewhat different medication.

I picked up the prescription at about 1:30 PM and anxiously took one of the capsules as soon as I got home. I expected it to work much like a magic wand, i.e., instant relief. Alas, true magic is a rare commodity these days. But though my instant relief didn’t show up, I could tell by evening that the antibiotic was doing something good.

Before bedtime, I was allowed my second capsule of the day and I looked forward to a solid night of sleep. No good. The pills just weren’t working that quickly for me. Another pill as soon as I got out of bed this morning, but the magic has still not come around.

Oh, I’m getting better, for sure. But when the cardiology department called me this morning to confirm tomorrow’s appointment, I asked to have it changed. If I had gotten on the treadmill feeling the way I did yesterday, or even in my improved shape of today, I don’t see how it could have been a valid test. At any rate, my treadmill stress test has been postponed until September 12th. (And I feel much better about it.)

While I was on the phone with the lady at the cardiology department, I asked her how often a subject undergoing the test wound up having a heart attack because of the stress. She said, “Almost never.” Not as good as, “Never!” But better than, “Almost every day!”

I hope you have a swell rest of the day, and a fantastic weekend.

Bud

OF FISHES AND TOMATOES

From: Meridian, Idaho

I can handle the fact I’m getting older…truly, I can. I can also handle the fact that after two years athletic club membership, I am still fat. (Oh, I don’t particularly like it, but I can handle it.) It’s when I’m expected to cope with both – at the same time! – well, that’s when it becomes much, much tougher. And, by the way, Drill Instructors in two different military boot camps long ago wore to a frazzle the old saw, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Don’t bother beating me over the head with it at this late date.

So, six days ago I almost fell down in a faint from a strenuous morning riding around in a boat, and then just this past Friday, while taking three ladies and four young girls fishing, I began huffing and puffing so desperately that even the young people thought I was about to keel over!

(Syd cranking in the first fish of the day)

(Syd cranking in the first fish of the day)

Apart from their somewhat tactless observations, I love to introduce kids to fishing! I really do! The pure wonderment and joy when, for perhaps the very first time, a young person feels a fish pulling and jerking against a fishing pole is just a very fun thing to see! A magical moment, even.

Janet and I took a group of Family Farm travelers from southwest Washington to one of my secret fishing spots, specifically to get three grandnieces – ages 8 – 10, I believe – into some easy-to-catch Rainbow trout. There was actually a fourth grandniece, as well, but at just shy of 3 years old she would have had trouble operating a fishing reel, I think.

As the clock ticked down to Friday morning and decision time, there were several significant things that could spell trouble for our outing. With all the news of Idaho wildfires, that was naturally a serious concern. During the week, I had been checking (online, of course) the fire maps of the state, so I knew there were no existing fires closer than 35 – 40 miles to Horsethief Lake. But a new one could always start…and, depending on wind direction, the lake could be blanketed in smoke any one of a dozen already burning. The weathermen were saying there was a chance of rain on Friday. While such weather would constitute the best of news for firefighters, it could seriously damp-en fishing plans. And, one always has to consider how last minute tummyaches, colds, and sniffles might affect Plan “A.”

(Sydney, Clover, Amanda, and Addie)

(Sydney, Clover, Amanda, and Addie)

Thankfully, none of those possibilities came about. The sky from Boise all the way to Cascade was hazy, for sure, but we couldn’t smell smoke. By 11:00 in the morning, it had mostly dissipated, leaving blue sky and a few puffy, white clouds. Then, although the lake area was dead calm as we drove to our spot on the shore, a breeze came up before we got any fishing lines wet and it actually kept the temperature from feeling too hot. As it happened, we saw the very beginnings of a fire in the forest as we were driving home. It was located between Smith’s Ferry and Banks. At that point, it was small enough that only one helicopter was working it, carrying water from the North Fork of the Payette River to dump in the woods. We couldn’t see actual flames from the highway…just smoke climbing skyward from the trees about halfway up the slope on the west side of the road. Of course at that distance we couldn’t see anyone fighting the fire on the ground.

And, no one in the party felt even the least bit ailing. It turned out to be a grand day in every possible way…well, except for the fact the fish-catching was a bit slow. In truth, I couldn’t have handled it had it been much faster. If it hadn’t have been for Janet pitching in to bait hooks and whatnot, it’s likely the whole operation would have ground to a halt. She was a real trooper! Actually, all the ladies were troopers…there were no tears, no meltdowns, no fights. Not that I had expected anything like that, mind you…but it has been known to happen.

It was a great day. Congratulations to Sydney S. for catching the first fish; Congratulations to Clover S. for catching the most fish (3); Congratulations to Amanda R. for catching the second fish; Congratulations to Addie for being a good cheerleader!

***

On Sunday, nephew Brad made the trip from the Emmett, ID hinterlands in to the growing metropolis of Meridian, specifically to go with his uncle (me) to the annual Barley Brothers Traveling Beer Show and Festival. Once again, a breeze wafting through Kleiner Park kept the day from getting unbearably hot…and of course cold beer helped a lot in that effort. I suppose there must have been 40 or more breweries represented, most of which were from the Pacific Northwest. Many were from Idaho, even. We did our best to sample the wares of all those breweries…but even after taking time out for a sandwich, neither of us could come close to that target. We made do by limiting our choices to beers we had never tasted and/or beers that sounded sort of exotic. We had a good time, and Janet treated us to a spaghetti dinner when Brad and I returned. It was a great day!

***

(A good tomato gone bad)

(A good tomato gone bad)

All summer long we have been anxiously watching the two tomato plants Jan has been raising in the back yard. They have been doing very well, for a change. Unlike previous years and mostly unrewarded efforts on our part, they seemed to be getting enough water this dry summer. Finally, some of the fruit has been turning red…time to have a few garden-fresh beefsteaks to savor! Alas, although most of each tomato looks red and inviting, we discovered each one has some kind of black blight on the bottom. Blast! Brad says he believes it is caused by a calcium deficiency. Sheesh! We’ve only had a few fruits ripen, so far, but it appears that every one is going to develop that nasty-looking black bottom.

(Morning glory lamp post)

(Morning glory lamp post)

I’m glad to report that our morning glory bush in the front yard is showing no such problems. It seems every year it grows bigger and more robust, with scores and scores of blossoms. It has certainly covered the front yard light pole, around which the vines twine themselves. Too bad it doesn’t give us any fruit, eh? It could make up for the loss of tomatoes. The lamp under the morning glory mountain is on a light-sensitive circuit, designed to come on at dusk and stay burning until dawn. Now, of course, it never turns off…the switch, completely covered by greenery, sees the world in perpetual darkness.

I have an appointment with my doctor this afternoon. The lab bloodwork he ordered when I called in a week ago was done shortly after I had it done on Tuesday morning, and it looked pretty good. My triglyceride level is still a bit above the “good” range, but much, much lower than it has ever been. I’m guessing the Doc will keep me on the same medicines I’ve been taking.

As to my near-fainting spell of a week ago (the reason that prompted me to make an appointment), I’ll just have to wait and talk to him about it. As I said in my last post, I have essentially convinced myself the problem was the onset of heat exhaustion, but I’ll try to avoid planting that “seed” before the doctor thinks about it himself.

Some of our local kids are headed back to school this week; some will go back after Labor Day. Pretty good sign, I’d say, that summer is winding down. Our local forecast has the temperatures dropping off by a few degrees, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing!

I hope you have a great week in store for you, wherever you are.

Bud

 

AN EXHAUSTING DAY

From: Meridian, Idaho

I’ll admit it…I’m getting just a little tired of this constant-hot-days summer. We haven’t had any triple-digit heat in August (unlike July, when we experienced 47 days over one hundred degrees F.), but then, I don’t think we’ve had any days when the peak temperature was less than 95 degrees, either. And five or six stinking degrees in that area of the scale makes little difference to me. I do appreciate that Meridian has been spared the nuisance of most of the wildfire smoke this year…perhaps the only community in the state that can make that claim. Boise certainly has had plenty of bad breathing days. The Treasure Valley has had a number of small wildfires, recently, but all have been short lived, thanks to the rapid response of local fire stations. On my way to Lucky Peak Lake yesterday I passed one blackened area of about a thousand acres on the western slope of Highland Valley Pass (3,782 feet)…definitely a “smaller” fire compared to the multi-square-mile conflagrations around the west in recent years.

So yes, I’m beginning to look forward rather anxiously to the cooler days of October and November. Fall has always been a favorite time of year for me, and these blistering summer days make the season to come all the more enticing.

(Lucky Peak Lake, from atop the main boat ramp)

(Lucky Peak Lake, from atop the main boat ramp)

I hadn’t seen any recent fishing reports for Lucky Peak, so I felt it my duty to go see if any kokanee were still biting. Then I could pass along the word, one way or another. I’m also still fidgeting with the “bite release” tension adjustment on my Chamberlain line release trolling devices. Thanks to a mistake in how I was attaching the fishing line on my first try some weeks ago, I had unwittingly turned this adjustment to nearly the heaviest setting; a large sturgeon may have tripped it, but anything smaller than that would have been “iffy.” Since then, I’ve steadily been reducing the tension a half-turn at the time, whenever I’ve discovered a fish being towed along for who-knows-how-long because its bite failed to trip the release. It is frustrating. I am, nonetheless, still happy with the Chamberlains…once I get this adjustment pinpointed, they are going to work absolutely perfectly. I reeled in four fish, yesterday, none of which had triggered the release. (As is customary, the largest of the four was able to get off the hook and swim away just as I was about to net him. It’s incredible how that happens with such regularity! Why can’t it be the smallest one that gets away?)

The day began heating up early. I’m thinking it crossed the 90-degree mark around 10:00 AM, when the breeze of the early morning disappeared. By noon, I was sweating profusely and drinking as much water as I could stand. (Okay, okay…I had a beer, too.) At 1:00 PM, it suddenly dawned on me that I was not enjoying my time on the water anymore. And by then, the “breeze” had returned as a moderate wind…just in time to make retrieving the boat to its trailer a definite challenge. (It wasn’t an exact crosswind at the ramp, but close enough to make trouble.)

As I headed for the ramp, I removed the two downriggers from the gunwales – they get in the way of tying up to the dock if left in position – and generally tried to put things in the boat in order. All of a sudden, I realized I was sweating like a plowhorse, and I didn’t feel very chipper, either. Because of the wind, I had some difficulty getting tied up to the dock. Then, after I finally accomplished that seemingly impossible task, I realized I didn’t trust myself to stand up and step out of the boat, so I crawled out. I was so weak in the pins, I couldn’t stand up…so I simply lay on the dock for a moment or two. Believe me, I could have lain there for a very long time, but I was “plugging up” the primary boat retrieval lane and I knew that in a short time there would probably be several boats waiting their turn behind me.

So, despite how wonderful it would feel to take a little nap in place, I struggled to my feet and headed for my truck. Of course it was all the way up the ramp (see the first photo at the beginning of this narrative). Long story short: I made it to the truck, but only after 3 fairly long rest stops on the ramp. Once in the truck, I started it and got some air conditioning pumping. That took a few minutes, of course, during which time two additional boats got in line behind mine. Aaarrrgghhh! I had to get moving.

By this time, it crossed my mind that I might be having a heart attack, so even though I wasn’t feeling any chest pain (or any other “classic” symptoms), I popped a couple of aspirin. (Yes, I carry them in the truck…one never knows, right?) Oddly enough, I did an excellent job backing the trailer down to the water. I suppose I was driving so carefully and slowly because I didn’t think I would have the energy to make a second attempt.

Once the trailer was in place, I walked out on the dock started pulling the boat towards the half-submerged trailer. When the fellow who was in line directly behind me saw how slowly I was moving – and probably how “fuzzy” I appeared – he decided to go back on the lake. (Maybe for a little more fishing, or another water-ski run…something.) I had hoped not to get wet during the operation, but I quickly realized that was going to be unavoidable…I couldn’t make the jump from the dock to the tailgate of the truck, and even if I could, I wouldn’t be able to keep my balance well enough to walk down the trailer tongue and snap the retrieval hook to the bow. I just removed my wallet and keys and walked into the water.

The coolness of the water gave me something of a second wind, I think, because I was able to get the boat well started up the trailer and onto the bow roller. But then the accursed wind came seriously into play…the stern of the boat simply would not stay in place long enough to give me time to jump in the truck and pull the whole works forward. Happily, I was able to enlist the help of a teen-aged girl on the ramp. I tied a line to the back of the boat and asked her to simply pull on it to keep the stern aligned properly. It worked like a charm…I had the boat safely out of the water.

After I drove to the parking area at the top of the ramp, I stopped to catch my breath and drink a bottle of water. It helped, I guess, even though I still felt more like taking a nap than preparing the boat for the ride home. It took me an hour and a half. Carry something from the boat to the truck, rest in the shade for 5 minutes, carry another something from the boat to the truck, rest in the shade for 5 minutes, install the aft safety straps, rest in the shade for 5 minutes…you get the idea.

Finally, I was ready to roll, and still feeling a bit light-headed. I did, however, recover quite a bit during the 35-minute drive…enough that I was able to get both boat and truck back in the garage when I got home. An hour or so later, I felt up to the job of cleaning the three fish I brought home…two kokanee and one small rainbow.

(Kokanee beginning the physical changes for spawning)

(Kokanee beginning the physical changes for spawning)

The larger of the two kokes was fifteen inches long, and was well on the way to his spawning “look.” You can see in the accompanying photo that his upper jaw was developing the characteristic “hook;” he was also developing the distinct humped back of spawning male sockeye. His color was still, primarily, silver but there was a hint of the bright orange/red coloring that arrives just before the fish are ready to start up the river/creek. I wonder if the fish are edible once they have completed the spawning changes?

(Six fillets)

(Six fillets)

The second kokanee was smaller, barely 13 inches long. The rainbow was even smaller, but since I had put all three of the fish on ice as soon as I got them in the boat, they all stayed nicely firm and were pretty easy to filet. Janet and I had planned to have them for supper this evening, but received an invitation from Brad for dinner out at a Mexican restaurant in Emmet (where Brad lives). Free dinner out vs. fish dinner we have to cook ourselves? Not much thought required for the answer to that question…I’ll vacuum pack the fillets and freeze them for another day. By the way, in the photo the kokanee fillets are on the ends…the two rainbow fillets are in the middle. The picture does not show the difference in the color of the meat as well as it should; in person, it is quite striking, with the kokanee in bright orange and the trout more light pink. Hopefully, you get the idea.

While yet worrying about my supposed brush with a heart attack, I made an appointment with my doctor for next Monday. Later in the evening, some long ago Coast Guard training came bubbling up from my mental filing cabinet, reminding me that what I experienced, more than likely, was the beginnings of heat exhaustion. Not heat stroke…heat exhaustion. Looking back on it, I think I had most of the symptoms: Nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, and almost unbelievable fatigue. (Yes, a heart attack can have the same symptoms, I’m told.) Ah, well, we’ll see what the doctor says…I was due for a look-see with him, anyhow.

***

I’ve been meaning to report on the squirrel situation around here for some time, but I seem to always write too much before thinking about tree rats. But it’s a short report. Essentially, there have been no squirrels in these parts for some time, now. Since July 9th, to be precise. (That’s the day a female succumbed to heat exhaustion after spending a couple of hours in Larson’s One Way Bed & Breakfast for rodents.) Heat exhaustion…hmmm? A connection there? Nah…squirrels don’t fish!

Now I’m pretty sure that squirrels have to eat during the summer, but I have learned over time that they must really cut back on the distance of their foraging trips during hot weather. And after my efforts of the past 4 years, I’m pretty sure there are no nests close by. I expect when the weather cools down – as it surely must do soon – we’ll be seeing more itinerant bushy-tails traveling the cedar fencing highways.

Bud

 

A GREAT TRIP, EH?

From: Meridian, Idaho

All good things come to an end (they say), and so, too, the most recent annual trip the Larson brothers – and company – made to British Columbia, Canada.

As you may recall, I left home in Meridian a week ago, today, and spent that night with my sister and brother-in-law at the “Family Farm” in Brush Prairie, WA. In the morning, Steve (the B-I-L) and I hit the highway early and headed to our ferry connection in Port Angeles, Washington.

(Steve at the ferry terminal in Port Angeles)

(Steve at the ferry terminal in Port Angeles)

Of course I knew (thanks to Mapquest) the distance we would travel, but I also knew – from once being stationed in Port Angeles as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard – that part of the road could be very, very slow going. Our reservation on the Black Ball Ferry had us departing for Victoria, B.C. at 12:45 PM…but company policy called for passengers with vehicles to be at the dock 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure time. That meant we needed to be there at 10:15 AM. With that deadline uppermost in our thinking, we left Steve’s house around 6:00 AM. We had no problems…and we were a few minutes early.

Since we had time to kill, we walked a couple of blocks up to the main drag in the town. I was sort of curious to see if there was still a joint called The Little Brick tavern there. In my previous lifetime, you see, I was stationed at the Coast Guard Air Station at Port Angeles…and, along with several others from the base, I spent many off-duty hours at The Little Brick. “Russ, the Rebel” was the owner and bartender (most of the time). I’m sure that Russ, himself, has gone to his reward – whatever that might have been – but I thought there was a chance the tavern was still there. We even found a moderately up-scale pub that I thought might have been built around the original Little Brick floor plan, but all the employees said, “No.” I’m sure they were correct, although none of them appeared to be nearly old enough to remember as far back as it would have happened.

(So long, Port Angeles...Bound for Victoria)

(So long, Port Angeles…Bound for Victoria)

Shortly after we returned to the Black Ball company dock, the ferry came into view, appearing rather mystically from the fogbank that still lay over the Strait of Juan de Fuca (it burned off completely before we got to Canada). The terminal on the American side requires the ship to back into the slip; the terminal in Victoria is designed to go in bow first. Since we were fairly close to the front of the line of parked vehicles, we were directed to a spot near the front on the vehicle deck. After parking, all drivers and passengers had to go to the upper decks for the voyage, allowed back to our rigs only when nearing arrival. The trip takes about an hour and a half…perhaps a bit longer in rougher seas.

I had been a little concerned that Canadian Customs officials might select me for a thorough search. Not that I had anything illegal (as far as I knew), but not wanting to spend the extra time a complete search would require. I knew that bringing guns (undeclared, especially) into Canada is completely verbotten…and there we were, sitting in a truck sporting the license plate, “BANG,” displaying a couple of NRA decals on the windows, and a “Got Beer” bumper sticker. The very first question the Customs guy asked me was, “Do you have any firearms with you?” I didn’t, of course, and I said so. And then I volunteered the information that I had no ammunition, either. One really shouldn’t volunteer anything. Customs people (and law enforcement people) are trained, I’m told, to watch for that as being suspicious behavior. You may as well volunteer the fact you’re not carrying a Koran, as well. Nevertheless, after several more questions the fellow finally sent us on our way, with instructions to, “Have a good time in Canada.”

Brother Ron and his friend, Jason, were waiting near the ferry terminal in a rental Jeep SUV. When we made visual contact, they pulled out of their parking spot and lead the way north and out of Victoria. I don’t know the population of Victoria, but it must have a lot of people…it certainly has a lot of cars! I don’t suppose the traffic is any worse than what finds in a large American city…but I’m sure it isn’t any better, either. There were always one or more vehicles between the Jeep and my truck, and Jason seemed to always sneak through intersections on an orange light, leaving me to wait through a light cycle and having to catch up. That routine continued almost the entire distance to Campbell River, but, thankfully, after leaving the suburbs of Victoria we usually had no trouble catching again. Besides, once we were out of Victoria, there was little chance of getting lost on the way. There is only the one highway going north.

Mapquest had provided me the information that the town of Campbell River is approximately 168 miles distant from Victoria, and our internal clocks were computing our ETA and such based on that. Imagine our surprise, then, when we started seeing distance markers to the northern towns and cities that added up to a distance of 270 miles to Campbell River! “How could Mapquest miss it by that much?” we wondered aloud! As you have no doubt already guessed, the distances on the signs we were seeing were given in kilometers…not miles. This should not have come as a big surprise to us…the very first speed limit sign we saw was in kilometers per hour, as were all the subsequent signs. Ah, well, in the end the drive took about as long as we had expected. We arrived in daylight to the Painters Lodge, and were settled in before suppertime. Very nice digs, by the way!

(Brother Ron at the helm of Fred's boat)

(Brother Ron at the helm of Fred’s boat)

Ron had taken charge of arranging the hotel and the fishing charter boat. The hotel part was easy…we were expected, our rooms were ready, no hitches at all. The charter boat part was a bit more disorganized…certainly on the part of the boat skipper. I’m not going to go into the details, but with too many of us making phone calls to him, I’m thinking he may have lost track of the fact he was talking to different people in the very same party. A bit frustrating, surely, but eventually we had a plan. Even better, when we did hook up at the marina on Friday morning, Fred, the skipper, turned out to be a heck of a nice guy, and his boat was pretty much perfect. At thirty-five feet long it was very stable; the main cabin was quite large, with three cushioned bench seats on one side (two of them with a table between), and a stove, refrigerator, sink, and countertop on the other. It had a “sit-down” toilet in the bow bedroom compartment. (This, above all else, was a requirement as far as Ron and I were concerned. For years we have been fishing out of a lodge further north in B.C. where the boat had no facilities on board. We can both recall too many very anxious times on that boat!)

I’m going to skip the blow-by-blow fish tales and jump right to the bottom line: The fishing – er…I really mean the catching – was pretty dang slow! Slow for three days! It was, I must admit, a bit discouraging.

(Steve S., surveying the action)

(Steve S., surveying the action)

Well, it’s not as if there was no action at all. On the first two fishing days, we remained in the Strait of Georgia very near to Campbell River. Dozens of boats, large and small, were doing the same thing. And we were catching a variety of fish: pink salmon, Coho, Chinook, dogfish, and ling cod, to be specific. But with the exception of two “pinks” and two small-ish Chinook, there were none to keep. A couple of decent Coho had to be thrown back because they were “wild,” or “native” fish in an area where only hatchery Coho could be kept. The ling cod was too small by a couple of inches, as were a few other Chinook we hooked up. A small pod of Orca (killer whales) showed up in the area, and I’m sure their visit did not serve to make the fishing better.

(Orca came to fish with everyone else)

(Orca came to fish with everyone else)

Day two was, more or less, a repeat of day one. On day three, Fred took us north of Campbell River some 25 miles or so, knowing that we would probably see less action on the rods, but hoping that if we did catch something it would turn out to be something larger. Perhaps, even, a “Tyee” Chinook, i.e., one weighing 30 pounds or more. There had, indeed, been a few big fish caught up there over the previous couple of days. But, sadly, it was not to be for us. We didn’t land a single fish – keeper or no – on our trip north.

We did, however, see a point on our route that in 1958 had been the site of the largest commercial, non-nuclear explosion ever touched off in North America. It was done to destroy an underwater reef (Ripple Rock) that was causing dangerous currents in the inland waterway called Seymour Narrows. That is, dangerous currents, large whirlpools, and white-water chop. The passage is much less dangerous now, but when the different tidal currents come together there, it is still quite “hairy.” We actually saw more than one whirlpool that could surely have swallowed a man in the water, and probably a small boat, as well. Captain Fred recalled a time when he inadvertently motored into one of these whirlpools, with the result that everyone on the boat was violently thrown from side of the cabin to the other. Since then, he has been more careful about where he was headed whenever moving through that stretch of water.

(A dolphin, making a close pass by the boat)

(A dolphin, making a close pass by the boat)

The other natural wonder we saw up north was a large group of dolphins. There is a possibility they were porpoises, but that is rather doubtful. Porpoises travel in much smaller groups; porpoises are very shy animals, not near so likely to swim close to a boat; porpoises are generally smaller than dolphins, which can grow to lengths of 10 and even 12 feet. (Porpoises don’t get much larger than 7 feet or so.)

(An UN-waterfall)

(An UN-waterfall)

Before we left the northern fishing spot, Fred called our attention to a waterfall coming over a rock face from the forests above. At least it definitely looked like a waterfall. Would you believe there wasn’t a drop of water descending in it? The thing was a stain on the rocks. Obviously, the wintertime waterfall that comes down the rocks must have caused it, but there is no water involved at this time of year. If you look closely enough at the actual thing, you can eventually determine this lack of water to be true; but in a picture, it is difficult to believe.

Ron changed his travel plans before we left Campbell River, having decided to spend a few days R&R at his place near Reno, NV. So he rode with Steve and I from Victoria south to Portland, OR, where he had booked a flight to Reno. I told him (when he had asked, beforehand) that we should be able to make the Portland Airport in time, but that it could turn out to be rather a close call. Happily, the drive from Campbell River went well and we were, once again, near the front of the vehicle waiting line to load on the ferry. As it turns out, we were first on…and, more importantly, first off in Port Angeles. The U.S. Customs guy asked two questions: “Are you bringing back any fish with you?” (Answer: Yes), and “Have you figured the cost of each one of those fish?” (Answer: No) We all chuckled at that…and he sent us on our way. We made the airport with time to spare.

I spent the night at Steve and Nancy’s house, again. (Thanks a lot, you two!) My drive home to Meridian on Tuesday was uneventful. I stopped only twice, resulting in a record low time enroute for this stretch of Interstate 84 that Janet and I have driven on so many occasions. The first batch of my Canadian salmon are in the smoker “as we speak.” It was a grand trip. Oh, sure, we could have caught more salmon…and that would have been fun. But there is more to the tradition than simply bringing fish home. Thanks to my friends, Ron, Steve, and Jason (some of whom happen to be relatives, as well) for making it a fun, fun time. Hopefully, we’ll be doing it again next year!

Bud

 

A VERY IMPORTANT DAY!

From: Meridian, Idaho

I’ll be heading west on Interstate 84 tomorrow morning on the first leg of a journey to Campbell River, B.C., Canada. I’ll stay over tonight with sister Nancy and her husband, Steve, and Thursday morning Steve will join me for the next leg, northbound. We have reservations on the Black Ball Ferry line from Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria, B.C., where we hope to meet up with brother Ron and his friend, Jason, to “caravan” together the 170 miles from Victoria up Vancouver Island to Campbell River. (Which, by the way, is the name of the town, as well as the name of the river.) Ron and Jason will be in a rental rig, of course, since they will have flown into Victoria.

(A Daiwa single-action reel)

(A Daiwa single-action reel)

I have to say that I feel a bit guilty about changing from our “traditional” visit to Blackfish Lodge, farther north in British Columbia in the Broughton Island area. No one works harder than Chris and Hannah (owners of Blackfish) to find fish and make a visitor’s stay as comfortable as possible, but truth be told, I’ve grown to dread the two-hour (plus) flight back and forth from Seattle. The flight may be two hours; my bladder capacity has become something less than that. I’m figuring the drive from Victoria will be a LOT more comfortable – and much less worrisome – than the airplane rides have become.

(A Penn double-action reel)

(A Penn double-action reel)

I had been hoping that because the fishing charters out of Campbell River were that much closer to American customers, they might use double action reels on the poles they provide…or at least offer a choice between single action and double action. But, after checking with the skipper of the outfit we chartered, I learned that, like Blackfish Lodge, their standard equipment is single action reels…only. Over the years, Ron and I have come to understand that British Columbia fishermen, including those who run the charter boats, seem to feel the double action reels are for sissies…at least, primarily. The equipment is somehow less manly, they believe. The nickname for the single action type of reel is, “knuckle buster.” And, as you might surmise, there is a good reason for calling it that. I can tell you for sure that once you’ve had a momentary lapse of attention while a salmon is pulling line from your reel and, as a result, place a finger, a knuckle, or an entire hand within the orbit of the spinning reel handle, you will never forget why the reel got the nickname.

Ah, well, almost in spite of myself, I have become somewhat more proficient with the knuckle busters…I’ll just continue doing the best I can do.

Oh…and if you’re wondering about any price differential, forget it. One can pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for either single action or double action reels.

***

So have I been doing any fishing around here since last we spoke? Well, some folks might think the weather has been too hot. In my book, those folks are…well…weak-kneed wimps, more concerned with protecting their delicate complexion than testing their courage and fishing skills against the wily high desert Kokanee. And I will admit that we have had quite a spell of warm-ish weather…but nothing, yet, that comes close to being “too hot to fish.” Furthermore, with the daytime temperatures hanging out in the high 90s, those of us who have continued to target the Kokanee have learned to make some new adaptations as to the care and handling of the silvery fish: (1) We all know that these guys go deeper in the lake as the water temperature rises. They are seeking the thermocline, i.e., that area that divides the warmer surface water from the colder water below, and beyond which the water temperature decreases more rapidly than it does in the warmer stratum above. This behavior does not simply have to do with the fish’s comfort; many salmon species begin dying off when the water they are swimming in gets warmer than 68 degrees F. That makes it a life and death matter, obviously. (I’ve already seen surface water temperature in Lucky Peak Lake reach temperatures in the mid 70s.)

(Kokanee in the live well)

(Kokanee in the live well)

I’ve already spoken to some extent about the methods one can use to troll bait and depths where the Kokanee are hanging out. One simply will not catch any of them unless one fishes the cooler depths. (2) My boat – and virtually all others that are designed and sold as “fishing boats,” primarily – has a “live well,” an enclosed tank on board in which caught fish can be kept alive until it’s time to take them home. I’ve always tended to use the live well…it is obviously better than letting fish flop all over the boat. But, I’ve learned that it’s not such a good idea to keep Kokanee (or even Rainbow trout, for that matter) in the live well…especially on a hot day. That is, a day when the surface temperature of the water has risen above 68 degrees. The water being circulated in the tank is, after all, being pumped in from the very surface of the lake…the Kokanee swimming in ever-warmer water will begin dying in a relatively short time. (3) When a fish dies – and even before that happens – its flesh has begun to get softer. (Actually decomposing? I think so.) The softer flesh makes it more difficult to filet the fish, and even after it is cooked (or smoked) the softer texture is kind of off-putting. At least it is for me. (4) So some extra care in taking care of the fish is required just as soon as he comes into the boat. No more swimming around in the live well. (Our goal is NOT to make a weak fish soup!) Bop the rascal on the head, and get him on ice as quickly as possible. (I’ve heard some fishers recommend bleeding the fish out before putting him in the ice-filled cooler. I’ve not yet followed that advice, and rather doubt that I will, since the blood is not circulating through the fillet meat, anyway.)

***

Yeah, yeah,” I can hear you saying, “…but what about those new downrigger line release clips you were so anxious to try?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Or, rather, I’m glad I imagined hearing you ask.

I have rarely been so tickled with an item I’ve ordered online. It just seems, you know, that the actual item one orders doesn’t stack up very well against the claims in advertising that prompted one to order it in the first place. I should, however, “qualify” my enthusiasm by telling you that I’ve only had one opportunity to use the Chamberlain Release Clips, but the truth is both of them worked precisely as advertised…and I have no reason to expect they will work any less proficiently in the years to come. When you use one for the very first time, there is a short period of trial and error regarding the two tension adjustments on the device. One adjustment adjusts the tension required to “release” the line retainer clip when a fish strikes; the other adjustment (not as “fine”) sets the tension necessary to allow the fisherman, himself, to pull the line free of the downrigger. But what makes the Chamberlain devices so much better than the standard “pinch clips” is that the tension adjustments don’t require constant re-setting. After getting the one downrigger set the way I wanted, I used the same settings on the second…and never messed with either one again all day.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I only caught and landed one Kokanee on a downrigger that day. That occurred quite early on…and then I didn’t have a bite for an hour or more, despite the fact I continually changed the depth I was fishing. Twenty feet on one, thirty on the other; then 25 feet and etc., all the way down to 45 – 50 feet. After the hour had passed, I chose to keep one line in a downrigger and use the lead-core “long line” method on the other side of the boat. I let that line out to where I figured I was fishing at approximately 25 feet below the surface. I caught and landed 4 more Kokes, caught and lost three, and had half a dozen or more “strikes,” all on the long line. Not even a tap on the downrigger side. Go figure!

The only larger Kokanee was one of those that “came unbuttoned” right at the side of the boat. I’m guessing he was probably in the seventeen-inch range. All the others – caught and uncaught – ran between 13 and 14 inches…a far cry from my outings to Arrowrock Lake earlier in the summer, when virtually all the fish we brought home were 17 inches. You wouldn’t think 3 or 4 inches of length would make that much difference, but trust me, it does. The fillets from the bigger guys were twice as thick…really quite a lot more meat! (And much more fun to catch, with their tail-walking and high-speed dashes.)

I don’t know why the long line was effective and the downrigger was not. I’m sure the bait on each had to have been within five feet of the same depth.

Nevertheless, as I mentioned above, I am tickled with the Chamberlain thingees. They worked as advertised. One can hardly blame the device if the fisherman makes an error on the depth.

***

(Jan's favorite color roses)

(Jan’s favorite color roses)

I would be sadly remiss if I failed to note that today – August 6th – is an important day. A very important day, actually. No, no, no…I’m not referring to the anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. I mean, this is the date, 47 years ago, when Janet and I were married! It was, without question, the best decision I ever made. Hopefully, Janet might say the same thing…although I’m confident I got the better bargain.

I don’t believe we have begun to resemble each other, despite that old cliché. I can say without a doubt, however, that after being together for most of our lives, I find that memories of that time Before Marriage have grown quite dim, and seem of little consequence. I’ve loved Janet for 47 years…and while, realistically, the odds might be stacked a little against it, I’m hoping for yet another 47 years!

I hope your day is going as well as mine!

Bud

 

ON A MISSION

From: Meridian, Idaho

The other day (Sunday), Janet and I attended church at the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church. The occasion was a farewell to our next-door neighbor lad, Henrik O. I’m not sure, precisely, of Henrik’s age. Suffice to say, something just north of 18…since that is the period of time we have lived here in Meridian…and he was a toddler when his family moved in to this development shortly after we did. I’m guessing he may be as old as 20, having finished one year of college at BYU. (On a music scholarship, by the way.)

The reason for the “farewell” doings is that, like many LDS young men and women, he is headed off on a “mission.” This is a two-year commitment to the church. It is not a requirement, as I previously thought…and I don’t know what the percentage of participants might be. My guess is that it is fairly high. Boys go for two years; girls go for 18 months…language school in Provo, Utah, counts towards the obligated time. In many respects, it sounds more onerous than being drafted into the Army. Henrik will be doing mission-related work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for a six-hour period once a week when he is allowed to do laundry, write a letter home, and other necessities that may arise. He will be allowed to telephone home twice each year; I believe Christmas is one of the days, but am not sure of the other.

As we probably all know, some LDS missionaries stay in the United States. We’ve certainly had our share of them come to the door. (I suppose the language school is significantly shorter for those kids, eh?.) But, Henrik is bound for the Ukraine. I’m guessing that the language he will have to learn is Russian…or something very similar to it.

Anyway, it was the first time I (and Janet, too) had visited an LDS Church. In most respects, it was much like a service in a Southern Baptist church (where I attended as a kid). I couldn’t help noticing some differences, though. For one thing, I saw not a single person in “casual” clothes…not all the men wore a suit/sport coat, but without exception (I believe) they were wearing a shirt and tie. (And a white shirt, at that. In fact, I felt a bit self-conscious about the striped tan shirt I was wearing, after I became aware of all the white shirts.) And when I say, “…all the men,” I mean all the males over, say, 11 or 12 years old. I’m pretty sure all the women and girls were wearing dresses. I haven’t been to many other church services over the past fifty years, but on those rare occasions when I have attended, I remember being mildly surprised at how “casual” many individuals within the congregation were dressed.

Earlier this year I read a newspaper article about a growing number of LDS women who were somewhat irritated about an “understanding” that women should not wear slacks to church. I can only assume the “understanding” is alive and well in this part of the country, because as far as I could tell every lady and girl in the congregation was in a dress…or, perhaps, skirt and blouse.

I was a bit confused with some of the titles bandied about during the service. For instance, one order of business that occurred near the beginning was the congregation – by a show of hands – confirming the selection of a young man to serve as a deacon in the church. And when I say “young man,” I mean a kid about the age of 11 or 12 years. In my experience, being a deacon was a job for older men…usually, very much older men. Henrik, himself, although still no older than 21, I learned is officially an “elder” in the church. Seems strange to hear him referred to by that term. There are other terms and titles, of course, but I have no clue as to how one becomes, for example, a priest, or a bishop. And while I’m at it, I may as well confess that I have virtually no clue as to Mormon theology. I’ve been told that there are some rather strange beliefs and/or practices, but I’ve never bothered to look into any of it any further. What I do know is that I have met precious few Mormons, indeed, who were anything less than very nice, hard-working people.

It did not appear to me there was a minister, or pastor, or preacher, i.e., a person whose actual job is giving a weekly sermon. There was an older gentleman who acted in the role as a sort of Master of Ceremonies, more or less…introducing the speakers in turn, and running the “business” parts of the service. (The confirmation of the new deacon, for instance.) But the sermon(s) — if that is, in fact, what they were — were given by two younger men (Henrik was one of them) and one somewhat older member of the congregation. I wonder then, if this is what happens every Sunday, that is, various members of the church being called upon to give inspirational and/or spiritual talks. Henrik did well, despite being quite nervous. It is public speaking, after all, a thing that is scarier than death in the minds of most people.

I must admit that I was just a tad surprised when Henrik invited us to attend the service. I guess I had some uncertain notion that non-LDS people were not allowed. Obviously, that was a misconception…one of many that exist concerning the Mormons. It’s true that visitors are not allowed in the Temples located around the country and around the world. Well…not allowed, except in those instances when the public is invited. That often happens for a relatively short period of time after a new Temple has been built, or remodeled. (You may recall, in fact, that I posted a blog about our visit to the newly remodeled Boise Temple last October.) At the local ward churches, it seems that visitors are more than welcome.

***

Some time ago, Janet and I decided we really hadn’t been using the hot tub in our back yard enough to justify keeping it ready to use. I mean hot and chemically correct. We thought about trying to sell it…on Craig’s List or in the classifieds or something. It was operationally okay, but I convinced myself it would be impossible to move the thing out of our backyard in one piece. Indeed, I figured that ultimately I would have to cut it into smaller chunks with a chain saw. Or some other piece of demolition equipment. And I doubted it would be worth much to anybody in that condition.

(The hot tub before the move)

(The hot tub before the move)

Around the beginning of July, I mentioned my quandary to the across-the-street neighbor, Cody. When he asked how much I wanted for it, I told him that if he could get it out of my yard, the price would be nothing. He thought about it for a second or two…and then said he would talk to Susan (his wife) about it, just to see what she thought. Turns out, Susan thought the price was about right…so we put some more thought into the moving process.

Cody contacted a young man in the moving business – Cross Town or Around The World, “We Will Move You,” is Chad’s company motto. After checking out the situation, Chad allowed that he and his boys could do the job for $200 bucks. Plan “A” was to drive their truck into the alfalfa field behind our lot, remove a panel of our cedar fencing, and take the spa out that way. That plan, however, was scrubbed when no one was able to get in touch with Gary, the farmer who leases the land, to get permission to drive on his hay crop. Plan “B” was to remove a different panel of our cedar fence, somewhere between us and our next-door neighbor to the north, and take the spa through her yard…just because her fence gate was wider. That plan was scrubbed, too, when Chad and his crew measured our backyard gate more carefully and decided they could get the tub through the opening. I’m not sure how I could have made such a mistake in measuring…perhaps I measured the height of the tub with the cover still in place…I don’t know. At any rate, Plan “C” worked very well. The guys used a piano dolly on which to position the tub, and they laid plywood sheets along the route they would take to push the load. Only four sheets…as they progressed, they kept picking up the sheets they had already gone over and placed them in the path ahead.

(On the dolly and ready to roll...Cody is counting Black Widows, I believe)

(On the dolly and ready to roll…Cody is counting Black Widows, I believe)

The process really went quite smoothly…far easier than I would ever have imagined. And, naturally, far, far easier than it would have been had I and three fogies my own age had tried it. For one thing, at least two of the old fogey crew would have bailed right after we tipped the tub on edge. Why? Because there was a thriving community – quite a large one, too – of Black Widow spiders living under the damn thing, and half the guys who have made to “Old Fogey” status know better than to have anything to do with Black Widows. A couple of the young guys on Chad’s crew had fun simply snapping the spiders off the tub with their fingers, but what they didn’t realize was that they were simply turning those bugs into eight-legged paratroopers. And pissed off paratroopers, at that. Old guys – with the wisdom of accumulated years guiding their actions – would have done the smart thing and smashed those suckers flat! And don’t give me any of that modern day stuff about spiders being our friends! Unless I’m badly mistaken, female Black Widow spiders kill their own mates…I’m sure they don’t like humans any better!

So the hot tub move went without a hitch. No damage to tub, fence, flowers, or lawn. Cody and Susan don’t have it up and running, yet. For one thing, they need to get the electrical hookup installed…the tub runs on 220 VAC, so that will make the wiring a bit more complex than it might have been. But I’m guessing they will have it full of water and bubbling before too long.

(Tub in position at Cody's house, less than 1 hour later)

(Tub in position at Cody’s house, less than 1 hour later)

As for our now empty concrete slab in the back yard, I’m not sure. We‘ve talked about a tool shed on the pad, or perhaps a gazebo. We’ll think of something…hopefully it will be something that spiders don’t care for as much as a hot tub. Yes, I’ll admit it…I still have spiders on my mind. In fact, we’re grilling a chicken for supper tonight, and as I was wheeling the barbecue into position, I got a tiny sliver in one of my fingers. But at first I was pretty sure it was a spider bite…know what I mean? I’ve calmed down somewhat now.

***

Yesterday afternoon, well after the hot tub moving had been completed, Janet and I heard some barking and commotion in the front yard. I hustled out the front door (with Janet close behind) to find a large, black dog – sort of German Shepard looking – barking at one of neighbor’s cats. I could see right away this was not a playful kind of teasing on the part of the dog…he actually seemed as though he wanted very much to kill the cat. Strangely, the gray tabby was standing just in front of the maple tree in our yard. Why didn’t she scamper up to safety?

The dog’s owner – a lady from four or five houses north – was on the sidewalk, trying desperately to hold a second large, black dog by the collar. The second dog seemed just as intent on using the cat as a chew-toy as the first one did. I tried yelling at the first dog, the one that was the immediate threat, and clapping my hands, but I’ll tell you the truth…I felt that the beast had reached an emotional state at which he wanted to maul…something…whether it be cat or human.

The cat still had an opportunity to run. When I would yell and make a move at the dog, he would retreat a few paces before renewing his attack. Surely the cat could have bounded up the tree trunk that was only 3 feet behind it. What it did, instead, was to become the aggressor, hissing, snapping, and trying to reach the dog’s face with its jabbing claws! Obviously, this is a cat that has been reading too many Wonder Woman comics! She was a female who had made up her mind to teach this bully of a dog a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget!

And I believe she would have done just that, except that the dog’s owner finally lost her grip on the second dog’s collar. In a heartbeat, the tabby found herself dealing with increasingly vicious attacks coming from two different directions. The melee had moved farther from the maple tree and closer to the front door of the cat’s home. Unfortunately, no one was home…the front door – her only safety at that point – remained closed. She dodged into a corner to the left of the door…and the dogs had her trapped. By that time, the dog’s owner followed the animals into the corner and was whipping the dogs with a short rope, something which I assumed she had unsuccessfully tried to use as a leash. I had taken off my belt and tried whipping one of the dogs away. Finally, the owner got control of one dog, and then the other. And the attack was over.

I had witnessed the cat being tossed around, and knew that she had been in the jaws of at least one of her attackers…maybe both. She lay in the corner, mewling softly, and – apparently – unable to get to her feet. There was not a doubt in my mind that she was a goner.

Janet had followed the traveling fight, and after the dogs’ owner took the dogs home and got them safely locked in the backyard again, she returned. None of us felt like trying to pick up the cat, terribly injured as we all assumed she was. After chatting for a moment or two, and hearing from the lady that she would come and tell Kianna (the cat’s owner) what had happened as soon as Kianna got home, we all left the cat where she was and went inside our respective houses.

We all felt bad for the cat. I know that I certainly did, although a part of me thought, “What the heck? What was the cat thinking? Why didn’t she run for it when she had the chance?” But yesterday I went over to Kianna’s to ask how the cat was doing, and I discovered that Kianna had noticed nothing unusual about the cat when she had let it inside for the evening. It walked normally. There was no blood…nothing on the cat’s part to indicate that it was hurting, or afraid, or anything. (The dogs’ owner had not yet come over to tell the story of what had happened, either.)

So, perhaps it’s true about cats having nine lives, huh? If so, I would bet that this cat used up two or three of hers.

I got no pictures of the dog and cat doings, by the way. Sorry about that…

PS: A day had passed. Yesterday evening, Kianna and her daughter came over to reassure us once more that the cat was all right…well…except for a bit of a limp in one leg. Turns out the cat is over 20 years old, which may account for the fact she refused to run. She is either physically unable to move that fast, or – just as likely – she has just reached a point in her life where she refuses to take any more guff from dogs. I can understand that, I reckon.

I hope you’re all having a good day and a great weekend!

Bud