Wednesday, August 21

Dreaming Back To A Time Of Peaceful Indecisiveness…

Occasionally my mind will drift back to a time when I lived alone on the Juniata River…and I can see the ringlets radiating outward. I remember the smells of fish, seaweed and foam that floated southward toward the Susquehanna River, some fifty miles downstream. The sun beat down on me as I sat, anchored in the middle of the river, watching everything…including my very life drifting by. A dragonfly rested on the end of my fishing rod and many more flitted to and fro, all around my boat. My mind would drift to think of years gone by, when Indians…possibly ancestors of mine, might have waded in this very spot, stacking rocks to make  fish dams with narrowing raceways for the annual shad run. They would stand along the narrowing trough of stonework which channeled the water (and shad fish) all through this narrow passage…water flowing downstream as the shad fish moved upstream through them to get to the place of their birth further upstream. There they would spawn eggs before dying and their young would hatch, live awhile and then traveled back downstream, to the larger rivers heading to the bay and finally the ocean…where they would live until they completely matured to come back upstream to spawn themselves. Ahhh, the perfect circle of life as we know it. 
I remember sitting there relaxed…breathing easily and enjoying the day…when suddenly something attempted to yank my fishing rod right out from between my feet and into the river. Grabbing for it, I remember yanking on it, pointing the tip of the rod to the sky and almost backwards behind me as I set the hook on something big. I remember thinking I would only catch a few bass for dinner, which I would filet and cook with a cast iron skillet full of fried potatoes. This I didn’t expect…not at all!
I fought that fish for danged near an hour and a half before getting to see it as it rose toward the surface. We were both near exhaustion and it became a test of who was the better being….the fish, which could dash to the bottom and snap the line in one fail swoop of adrenaline rush, or me…if I could keep the rod tip high, the tension at its max without my arms finally giving out. We continued to fight. Another fifteen minutes passed before I again saw its broad, massive gold body as it swam slowly past the boat, heading downstream. I gritted my teeth, knowing that if this intellectual creature combined the passing current of the river’s water, his bulk strength and that one good rush downstream, I feared that I could stop him before running out of line and I would have to perform one last ditch effort by quickly pulling the anchor so the boat could float downstream too. That would give me a chance to regain some of my line back onto the spool. Low and behold, he started picking up speed as he headed downstream. Anticipating his next move, I held the rod in one hand…pulling the anchor loose and into the boat with the other, using one hand and pinching the rope between my knees to get another grip to pull it in. All the while my spool was screaming as the drag was letting line out, ever increasing the chance of running out of line. Once I reached the anchor and yanked it over the gunwale and dropped it into the boat, I could once again work the rod with both my weary arms. I began pushing the drag to the limit of the forty pound fishing line I was using, both regaining line to my rod spool and actually moving the boat faster and faster downstream as the giant fish pulled harder and harder.
My God…I thought, will this beast from the deep never tire? My arms were ready to drop off and my shoulders were crying for relief from the stress of holding the rod tip high. Finally I caught up with the fish again and we were both floating side by side. I often wondered what people on the riverbank thought as I went whisking downstream with a bent fish rod, bucking and bobbing up and down…and a fellow holding on for life, leaning backwards.
The fish was HUGE… obviously a big ol’ carp, looking to exceed three feet…maybe three and a half feet long! It looked as though it could be over twelve inches from the pectoral fin to the dorsal fin and five inches across. I was pumped!!!
He was definitely pumped too, because just as I figured I had the fight won, he slowly and effortlessly twisted his body into a “U” shape, seemingly exploded and was gone…leaving me staring at a swirling whirlpool and a section of the rod end missing in its aftermath. I slunk down into the bottom of the boat reeling in pain and disbelief that my quarry had defeated me so easily in the end. Once my wits returned to me, I quickly threw the anchor out to stop the downstream decent of my boat. I knew I had to row back upstream and didn’t want to drift down any further…after all; my arms were ready to fall off now anyway! It took me better than an hour to accept the bitter defeat that huge fish handed me and I wondered why I even expose myself to this kind of thing anyway. Isn’t life tough enough without having to admit a fish is smarter? So okay…I remember eating boxed macaroni and cheese back at the camper that night, as if the loss of the fish wasn’t bad enough. Ah yes…I remember now, I was going through a divorce and this is where I chose to live and enjoy myself. Hmmmmm...Looking back, I’m glad to be where I live today and would never, ever think of returning to that time in my life again. I’d rather die first!!!            
Funny the crap your mind exposes you to in a moment of rest and relaxation…well, it’s really not that funny at all.

Well now, on a more positive note, I guess…yesterday we finished installing battens on the front of the bunny brothel to close all the cracks between the boards which allow the loss of air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. We’re hoping that with the addition of these battens, we will be able to keep their drinking water from freezing this coming winter. We place heat lamps over the water bowls, performing a double purpose in keeping the bunny’s warm, along with their water. We immediately saw a difference in the temperature with only one side done, so when we complete the barnyard side, it will make a considerable difference.

We lost another of the baby turkeys yesterday afternoon. We failed to give them medicated turkey starter, which was my fault. Stupid as it seems, I failed to think about that and we were giving them regular crumble all along. Now that we’ve lost two of the three, we are going to pick up the medicated food today. The hens are sitting on eight or ten eggs now, so there will probably be more hatching out soon and we’ll need the medicated food for them too.

Today, we will go to Vermont for cheeses and to attend the Washington County Fair in Greenwich. When we return, we’ll have cheese and medicated turkey starter for sure.     

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  1. Great story of reminiscing about the younger years. I could almost picture it in my head as I was reading. I know the feeling of disappointment and frustration over something you work for, for so long, just to lose it in the end. Especially frustrating when its fishing!!!
    Thanks for sharing a great post and I hope you have fun at the fair today!

  2. Thanks for the comment Sara! I enjoy writing these little stories, but seldom got any comments as to whether people liked them or viewed them as a long winded pain in the butt. When I get encouraging comments about my writing, I feel more like giving you all more. I just like to know what you want more of......Again, Thanks!

    1. I really enjoy reading your blog, even though I don't always leave comments, I am here lol. Your blog kind of feels like home to me. I grew up in Northern WI but am currently living in Northern IN where my husband was raised. My grandparents had a farm while I was growing up and your blog brings back a lot of the memories of living in the Northwoods and the farm life. Your stories also remind me a lot of my family, so please share anything and everything. Like it said it feels like home!!!


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