Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Grandfather's Skill

Many years ago, my late grandfather drew up plans for a waterfowl-type boat. I don't recall what his exact intentions were for the boat, whether it was just something for him to work on or if he had bigger plans. After drawing up the plans on paper, he built a scale model of the boat in his workshop. My grandfather was an engineer prior to retirement and he was often meticulous when designing something from scratch. He built the model so he could see what the boat would look like in a finished version. Unfortunately, he never actually built the full size boat.

Even in the model, my grandfather was very detailed. Everything was done by hand. The floor of the boat was made from individual pieces of wood. The floor in the center of the boat is raised and separate from the floor in the bow and stern. The side and back rails were all individual pieces that could be removed. He designed the oar locks to fold down out of the way. He also made the oars from scratch. The canopy was cut out of canvas. When the model was done, he gave it a camo paint job using separate colors. The boat is approximately 36" long and is 12" wide at the widest point.

My grandfather passed away last November. Yesterday would have been his 90th birthday. This boat is now proudly displayed in my home office. It serves as a great reminder of his design and woodworking skills and his attention to detail.

You can click on the photos for a much larger view. I had to scale them down in the post to fit the width of the column.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Outdoor Blog News

There are several things happening in the world of outdoor blogs and I wanted to pass along the information in case you weren't aware of some or all of the "going's on".

Some of you may remember Dennis who ran a blog called Fishing with Dad and later changed to Adventures with Dad. Dennis retired that blog earlier this year, but he's back now with a blog called Family Time. Dennis has incorporated the entire family theme into his blog. Enjoying the outdoors really is a family affair. Dennis highlights their family activities and includes sections on survival, fishing, and RV tips. Dennis is a family man first and a great guy. If you didn't know he was back in the blogging world, go pay him a visit.

Nancy at A Rural Journal is one of the featured bloggers of the week over at the Outdoor Blogger Network. I've been following Nancy's blog for quite some time and she has some of the best photographs you'll find anywhere! Her photography skills are top notch and she has a wonderful blog showcasing her talent. Congratulations to Nancy for being featured at the OBN!

Will over at The Will to Hunt is running a very cool contest he calls the Hit List Trail Cam Pic Contest! If you have trail cameras out and want a chance to win some great prizes, you should visit Will's site and enter. I won't go into all of the rules since Will has them listed, but the deadline is August 31. Entry is easy and from the look of the contest sponsors, the prizes will be top notch. This is for trail cam photos only so don't try to sneak in a picture taken with your high-end DSLR!

Owl Jones of fame has just launched a brand new site called Fish News Daily. If you know Owl, you know he is a fishing fanatic! His new site is designed to provide all of the latest news from the fishing world with direct links to articles, photos, blogs, videos, etc. Owl's goal is to provide fishing news in one easy to use location and prevent the time consuming task of searching websites and blogs on a daily basis. If you enjoy fishing, go give Owl's new site a gander.

If you like saltwater fishing or want to try it, Justin at Foggy Mountain Meanderings has posted some information on a sailfish adventure that will be awarded to one lucky person. The contest is being offered by the folks at iFished and Joe at SoCal Salty. If you are interested, visit Justin's blog to get all of the information.

On a somber note, Mel at Ass Backwards Angler has announced that his dear mother passed away very recently. Mel was one of my first blog followers and I want to offer my sincerest condolences to Mel and his family. If you feel so inclined, please stop by and give Mel some words of encouragement.

Those are the big happenings that I'm aware of right now. Pay these folks a visit, read some great blogs, and take a look at the contests for a chance at some great prizes.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Field & Stream's Best of the Best: Magnum Boots

I've never been very adept at self-promotion (just ask my bosses) and don't particularly enjoy it, so when I have a chance to put the spotlight on someone else, I'm all over it! In this case, the spotlight is on Magnum Boots. They recently received the "Best of the Best" new gear award for 2011 from Field and Stream for their Sidewinder HPi MultiCam boots. The boots won't be available to the public until early 2012, but they are already the buzz of the industry from those who have tested them.

As sportsmen and women, we don't always agree with the magazines, TV shows, and various personalities in the business. Nor should we. I hate that sheep mentality. My purpose here is not to try to persuade you to run out and buy these boots or anything else, for that matter. However, it is an honor for Magnum to be chosen from a huge field of companies in the footwear industry. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and Magnum has earned it.

For the past year and a half, I have worn some piece of Magnum gear almost daily - either footwear or outerwear. During those 18 months, I have logged 2,700 hours in Magnum boots. That's not a typo. I have not experienced a single failure of any kind during those 2,700 hours. Zilch. Nada. None. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Magnum makes high quality gear. And I don't put my boots on and sit at a desk.

Putting out quality stuff is only one half of the equation. Magnum backs it up with a top notch customer service and PR team. I don't care how good your products are, if your customer service stinks, I won't do business with you and I suspect most of you feel the same. Magnum is a leader in customer service and interaction with their customers. They don't play catch-up. They are innovative and in the front of the pack when it comes to customer relations.

Magnum recently debuted their new blog called BLDG4801 The Magnum Report. You can find all the latest news about products and contests as well as getting an inside look at Magnum. Congratulations, again, on the award from Field and Stream!

Magnum Boots Website
Magnum Boots on Facebook
Magnum Boots on Twitter

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Don't Mess With Mother Nature

Jim and I had our last bass tournament yesterday (Saturday) and, since it was a night tournament, we decided to go to the lake early in the afternoon and fish for recreation prior to the tourney. We began fishing at roughly 1:00. It was mostly sunny with big white clouds scattered about and although rather hot, it was a nice day. We caught a few bass and at 5:00 headed to the ramp where the tournament boats would launch. I went up and talked to the director, signed in and paid our fee. At this point, it was still a nice day with those big puffy clouds occasionally hiding the sun.

The tournament started at 6:00 (scheduled to end at midnight) and we were number five in the line-up for launch. We ran wide open to our first spot where we've caught big bass in the past, although always when we're not fishing a tournament. It's funny how that works. Anyway, we fished that spot, moved to our second, and later our third location. While fishing in our third spot, the wind picked up considerably and we noticed some dark clouds approaching the lake. We kept an eye on the sky and continued fishing. Jim was using a 10" worm fished slow on the bottom and, after a few casts, he hooked a nice bass. He said it felt like a keeper and yelled for me to grab the net. As I've mentioned before, a keeper on this particular lake has to be at least 20" long. Any fish less than that must be returned to the water immediately. We got the fish in the boat and quickly put it on the board. The bass measured 19 and 3/4 stinkin' inches! No amount of coaxing gave us that last 1/4 inch. I even tried to get the fish to stick his tongue out so we'd have 20", but he wasn't buying it. Alas, he went back in the water. That 1/4" is all that stood between us and the weigh-in. 

While we were trying to wrangle that extra bit out of the fish, those dark clouds had moved closer and they brought a friend - lightning. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am not naturally insulated against electrical shock, particularly in the form of a lightning strike. There was no rain, but the wind was blowing and the lightning began to dance wildly. Radar appeared to show the storm moving through in a relatively short amount of time, so we took shelter under a highway bridge that crossed a narrow portion of the lake. After 20 minutes or so, the clouds moved off and it appeared to be clear behind the storm. We had about 40 minutes of light remaining and decided to move to our fourth spot before it got dark.

We arrived at our next location, got in position, and began fishing. It wasn't 15 minutes before we noticed more dark clouds quickly approaching the lake - another storm. This time Mother Nature wasn't fooling around. We felt the sprinkles begin and the lightning flashed like explosions in the sky! Previously, we had been in a cove at one end of the lake near that highway bridge. Now we were on the main lake in open water with fishing rods in our hands and lightning doing the devil's dance. The 40 minutes of light we should have had evaporated to darkness. Jim and I looked at each other and we each knew enough was enough. No tournament is worth becoming a crispy critter. Before we made it back to the ramp, the rain hit full force, the thunder rolled, and the lightning put on a Fourth of July display! We saw 6 or 8 boats making a run for the other ramp. When we got to our ramp, the parking lot had virtually emptied.

We were only able to fish 2 of the 6 hours the tournament was supposed to last. And while Mother Nature did run us off the water and we missed having a keeper by 1/4 of an inch, the good news is we qualified for the regional tournament in October. That was our ultimate goal. The even better news is the regional tourney is being held on a different lake and we won't have to contend with that tough 20" minimum size restriction. Size matters. Remember? Oh, did I mention the chance of rain for Saturday was 30%?

A nice day to be on the water
Look at the pretty white clouds
The first boats arriving for the tournament
Some tournament anglers waiting for the start
The earthen dam built to create the lake
Cool cloud above the lake
A hitchhiker we picked up in the middle of the lake
More cool clouds
The first storm approaching and the bridge we used for shelter
The beginning of the second storm
The last we saw of the sun just before the second storm hit

Friday, August 12, 2011

Proper Grammar And A Turkey Call

Maybe it's because it has been a long week or perhaps because I've had to get up too early every day this week, but I'm in the mood for an end-of-week mini-rant. This always bothers me, but I'm going to get it off my chest so I can get on with the weekend.

There has been a general decline in proper English and grammar over the years and I suspect much of it has resulted from the Internet, texting, and street slang. I realize things change, words are "invented", and the use of handheld devices has caused us to use shortcuts when typing. On the other hand, it's pretty sad when we can't even master the simple basics of our language and grammar. And before you try to knock me off my high horse, I'm not pointing to any one thing or person in particular. My strong suits in school were always composition, grammar, and literature. I sucked at math. Period. Because of my natural fondness for English composition and grammar, I tend to notice things that bug me. That's not to say I am perfect in these areas because I certainly am not. I just wish we could learn the basic rules. And I don't seek out these things - they just jump out at me. Most of the time, I notice this stuff on the social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.

The big ones.....

Lose: the opposite of win OR when something is lost
Loose: the opposite of tight

It's: abbreviation of "it is" (It's going to be hot today OR it is going to be hot today.)
Its: possessive, ownership (Its tracks were everywhere.)

You're: abbreviation of "you are" (You're welcome OR you are welcome.)
Your: possessive, ownership (This is your deer stand.)

They're: abbreviation of "they are" (They're going fishing OR they are going fishing.)
Their: possessive, ownership (Their cabin is on the hill.)
There: location, place (We are going to hunt over there.)

Affect: changes or influences something (The snow should not affect our hunting.)
Effect:  a result (The effects of the full moon were dramatic.)
These two can be tricky sometimes, but a quick Internet search can help you with the correct usage.

Like I said, I am not an expert and I don't spend time looking for grammatical errors. These are just some of the simple ones that tend to be obvious. I make plenty of mistakes, but I try to be conscious of what I type. On the Internet, what you type is what people see. You represent yourself with the written word. Obviously, shorthand and abbreviations are common and accepted now, especially on Twitter or when texting because characters are at a premium. There really isn't an excuse for not having the basics of our language down pat, though.

Well, that's off my chest now and I'm looking forward to our last regular bass tournament of the season tomorrow! It's a night tourney and doesn't start until 6pm, but we're going to hit the lake early and just fish for fun before the serious fishing starts.

And just so we end on a good note, here's a training video for you turkey hunters. I watched this many times when I was learning how to use a turkey call. Note: *Contains semi-adult content that may be disturbing to some viewers. On the other hand, it may not disturb you at all.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm Such A Baby!

It would be more accurate to say my blog is such a baby. Today is the one year anniversary, birthday,  "blogiversary", or whatever hybrid term people come up with to describe it, of my blog.

I was thinking I had made my first post later in the month, but it turns out it was one year ago today. Even though I knew it was this month, I wasn't certain I was going to mention it. However, since getting through that first year is kind of a big deal, I decided to throw up (almost literally) an impromptu post to mark the occasion.

I really enjoy blogging, although I'm not so certain it enjoys me. If that makes any sense, then you know what I'm talking about. A year ago there were two or three people reading what passed for drivel here. Since then I've picked up three or four more, I mean, readers. I truly do appreciate everyone who stops by even if you don't tell me you were here.

My blog is a very young blog in a big ocean of a gazillion blogs. What I've learned over the past year is that blogging is work. Period. Especially, if you have to make time to do it. I wish I could make more time to do it. The other thing I've learned is that blogging doesn't always result in instant gratification through feedback. Being a blogger means more than just writing a blog - it also means supporting other bloggers through visits and comments. That is also work and time consuming and I'm bad at it. In order to keep from being discouraged, I've realized a blogger has to find satisfaction in his or her own work and not necessarily how many folks pat you on the back. It does take a conscious effort to do all of this and every one of you with a blog knows what I mean.

I hope I can improve myself and my blog in these areas over the coming year. I'm probably the worst when it comes to consistency. Thanks to everyone who takes up part of their valuable time to stop by! I appreciate the support and feedback.

Time for cake.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thoughts From The Outhouse: Why Is It?

Why is it...
The length of time it takes for a deer to come by your stand is directly proportional to how cold it is?

That hot lure the fish have been hammering and you just lost on a snag, is the only one you have?

Your buddy who gets up late, smokes on stand, and violates most of the basic rules, manages to shoot a big buck?

When boat motors won't crank over, it's always at the ramp during launch and there's lots of people around?

The deer always show up at the spot where you last had your stand?

Our game mounts are prominently displayed for all to see, but the kids pictures are hanging in an unused room?

We can remember to get a new hunting/fishing license, but forget to renew our drivers license?

Why is it...
So much fun to blow on a deer or turkey call just to see how the dog or cat will react?

That big buck you got on your trail camera during pre-season is never seen again starting on opening day?

Our fishing lures are organized and labeled in storage boxes, but we can't find a screwdriver when we need it?

We talk about training and getting in shape for hunting season, but we look for the closest parking spot in front of WalMart?

When you're turkey or squirrel hunting, you see deer all day long?

The fish are always biting what the other guy is throwing?

We won't dare let our archery targets get wet, yet the mower and grill are being held together by rust?

Why is it...
We spend more time cleaning up and getting scent-free for a hunt than we do a date with our significant other?

You see more deer on the way to work than you do while hunting?

You can sit like a statue for hours without seeing anything, but the second you get up to pee, a deer snorts and runs off?

When someone misses a shot, it's always a "huge" buck and it gets bigger every time the story is told?

You can remember to pack your gun, but not the bullets?

We plan our hunting and fishing months in advance, but wait until the last minute to make anniversary celebration plans?

Our hunting knives are razor sharp, but the kitchen knives won't cut butter?

Why is it...
We put so much thought into which decals get priority placement on the back of the truck?

We rag on hunting and fishing TV show hosts, but secretly would love to have their job?

You will only make a bad cast when someone else is watching?

You can bust your butt and do everything right with no results and then the farmer down the road tells you about the monster buck he shot while cutting firewood?

When the boat won't start, the last thing we think to check is the kill switch?

You only get water in your waders when it's ice cold?

The gear you've lost is always in the last place you left it?

And last, but not least...

Why is it outhouses don't come with plungers?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quote Worthy

Everyone has favorite quotes and sayings that they like. These are just a few of the lines that I've taken a shine to - some are quite old and others more recent. I could list pages and pages of various quotes I enjoy, but these are some that come immediately to mind. We've all seen certain quotes attributed to more than one person. I've given the proper credit to the best of my knowledge.

If you want your body to be healthier, get off the salmonella, e-coli, mad cow, assembly-line toxic hell train! God I love that statement. What did I just say?
-Ted Nugent

Feed the water.
-my late friend, Steven Flint, referring to fishing and conservation

The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.
-General Norman Schwarzkopf

Some people just don't know a good thing when it smacks them in the ass.

The history of the bow and arrow is the history of mankind.
-Fred Bear

Men must know their limitations.
-Clint Eastwood

What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
-General Maximus Decimus Meridius (movie, Gladiator)

The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad.
-A.K. Best

You shoot a few, you reload a few.
-my late grandfather, Ted Borsum, reminding us kids that we needed to replenish his supply of ammo after shooting

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
-General Dwight D. Eisenhower

I ain't in my prime no more!
-my friend, Jim, lamenting his age even though he wasn't yet 40 when he made this statement

If guns cause crime, all of mine are defective.
-Ted Nugent

Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.
-Ronald Reagan

Give freely. If somebody is in need and you can help, you ought to help.
-my friend, Dave

Talk low, talk slow and don't say too much.
-John Wayne

The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many.
-King Leonidas (movie, 300)

The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.
-John Maxwell

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
-John Wooden

If you need it, I probably have it. I just can't expletive find it when you need it.
-my friend, Jim, talking about his abundance of outdoor gear and its tendency to get misplaced

Take your kids hunting and you won't have to hunt for your kids.
-Ted Nugent

Fast is fine, but accurate is final.

It's a good thing the hole didn't go all the way to my brain. I would have had to go to an ambulance and they would have had to sew my head back on.
-my six year old telling me about the knot she got on her forehead from tripping and falling

What are some of your favorite quotes?