Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fish, birds, me.

If anyone was following instagram closely you know I got some time to myself this weekend. It was glorious. But let's back up to Saturday. Rachel had some things she needed to get done, something about clothes to buy and a workout and alone time. So Saturday morning she headed off to who knows where and did who knows what. All I know is I got a pair of shorts, two t-shirts and a bathing suit out of it. None of which I'd ever buy myself, regardless of how badly I need them. Clothes is something I never think about. They just happen to fall into and out of my ownership. I never really care too much about any specific article except maybe my hat.

So Saturday for me was spent 100% with the kids. It was great. They generally got along all day and there were only two memorable melt-downs. Shep was on some antibiotic last week so he cleared up yet another ear infection. He was feeling great. We now have an appointment for surgery for his adenoids. The Dr. Actually started when he put a camera up Shep's nose last Friday. He said that Shep was one tough character because he isn't sure any adult he knows could properly function under Shep's circumstances. Good to know Shep is 'under circumstances' and not just a whiny asshole. I'd like to thank all of you for your well-wishes last week.

We spent the day around the house building gardens and planting more food that will hopefully feed us all summer. They played often in the sandbox I made a week back. And even played well together. Not too many fights. My mom and aunt dropped in and took them to the cafe down the road for lunch though the kids had just eaten, they went for a chocolate milk. I went home and ate some leftovers from the unexpected trip to Muddy's Friday evening. My dad was suing to go. He loved it. It's impossible not to. Ribs, brisket and beans, mmmmmmmm.

Two garden boxes, a sandbox and two tier gardens going down the hill.

Saturday night Rachel and I went out to see The Avengers. Clearly my choice but she enjoyed it as well. The Hulk has always been a favorite character of mine and it seems they finally got him right. He's probably exactly as my mind imagined him back when I was watching those shit cartoons of him which BTW you can now watch on Netflix. It was probably the single best super hero movie of all time. But I'd suggest seeing Thor first so the dude with the big horns makes sense.

Sunday morning Rachel mentioned that I should maybe go birding since she had been out all day Saturday. YES, great idea! Bt there was one problem, I hadn't been fishing yet this year and basically missed the Rainbow Trout run. Most would be back in the lake by now. There'd still be some and the Brown Trout would certainly be out eating now. So, I grabbed my bins and fishing gear and headed to a creek nearby. It was a spectacular day. All Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue and Yellow Warblers and Brown and Rainbow Trout. I did manage a lot of small fish with a few that would be good for the pan. I do eat some fish I catch but often just let them go again. I always make a deal with the stream when I arrive about how many I plan to keep. Sunday we agreed that all caught would be released unless injury prevented that.

Bowmanville creek. I've fished this stream since I was young.

At one log jam, there was a Winter Wren singing like the mad fools they are and I noticed a decent fish in the pool. Not huge but maybe a couple pounds. I cast upstream of it and as the loure was moving toward it, you could see it getting twitchy. This was going to happen. Would've been the days best fish for sure. Suddenly this huge friggin' Rainbow comes ripping out from under the log and grabs the bait. It was easily twice the size of the original intended catch. This was ok news and terrible news all at once. You see I use the lightest of light tackle. My line is only 4lb test and this. Fish would have easily pushed that. I use lighter tackle so I have to rely on skill a bit more. Anyone can throw heavy line on and drag a fish to shore. I prefer to have to figure out a strategy based on the stream and the cover. This however would be just unfair. The fish was at least 5-6 pounds. I did well, kept it on even as it ripped upstream to a new hole and up under a tree. My drag was set loose-ish so the sound of it running was a loud scream from my reel. Then, it ran back downstream to the original spot it bit. That was my demise. It was able to get into a snag of twigs, wrap my line up and snap it. Then, to add insult to injury, it spit my hook into the deepest part of the stream. I watched it sink out of sight. My adrenaline was really going. It was awesome, even though I lost the fight. I sat for a bit listening to the Wren and then moved upstream. Soon after I got the best Brown of the day.

A small Brown Trout.

Another small Brown. Notice the orange spots.

Small Rainbow Trout. A little bloodied but he lived.
The best Brown I landed that day.

As I headed back through the forest to my truck, I was scared nearly to death by a Ruffed Grouse. She was spitting, hissing and charging me with her tail fanned out. Like an idiot, I went toward her. She started to play the broken wing game. She seemed possessed. I followed closer and then realized that I had fallen for her game. She wasn't injured. I could hear little peeping noises and realized that I wasn't near a nest, she already had babies and they were nearby. I had never seen a baby grouse before and really wanted to. So I headed back to the spot she attacked me. Sure enough there they were. She was pissed now and started to attack again. Not wanting to stress her out any more and having seen one of the babies (so damn cute), I decided to get out of her space. On the walk back I got many birds, mostly by ear but some I saw. I met my family at the butcher and we got some meat for the week, dropped in at a farm and Shep got some yellow bean plants he wanted to grow. At home we finished up even more work on the yard. It's near done now. Then, I have to build a deck. I've been considering a living roof but don't have great knowledge of how one works. I worry most about snow. Guess I have some research to do.

Punk Rock Big Year
Paul Riss 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Breaking the silence.

Spring migration is almost over. I've spent a total of about 6 hours of it birding. This year is so different from the last. I'm starting to miss doing a big year. I'm watching friends do them this year and they've already blown well past my measly 234. If I were to bring up the idea of another big year it would surely be the end of my marriage. And really, it ain't worth that to see a few more birds.

For those that enjoy reading this stuff, I'm sorry for being so absent. There has been a crushing amount of work with my job this year. Now that I'm with a new partner at work I feel a renewed sense of commitment to doing the best possible job of advertising I can. I had grown lazy in my old partnership. My work was ok but certainly not great. And let's face it, every one of you hates to see ads. Shit, I hate seeing them. The only thing that can make them bearable is if they don't completely suck ass. So I'm trying not to bombard you with complete shit advertising. Instead, I'll bombard you with better than average ads. Not sure that's so much better really.

A moth on our back door. Anyone know the species?

At home, things have not been so great this migration season. Sure we are still a happy family but Shep is not well. Nothing terrifically serious, no tumors or anything life threatening like that. But when your child is uncomfortable it weighs heavily on you. My son has developed this issue with his adenoids, whatever the f**k they are. He is living a generally miserable life right now. His adenoids are big I guess. Imagine the worst allergies/head cold you've ever had and multiply that by ten and then, think of having it 24-7 for nearly 6 months. The other day he sat next to me on the couch. We were watching some avengers cartoons. He asked if he could whisper something in my ear. "Of course", I said. Very softly he asked me this, "Dad, will I be sick like this forever?" It made me cry. He feels so shitty, and has felt this way since about December (right around his 4th birthday).I felt really helpless and so sorry for him. It's as if he has begun to resign himself to feeling shitty for the rest of his life. I never even considered he'd think that he would live a long life. He seems to live so day-to-day. I'm constantly amazed by his ability to grasp the scale of life.

The new sandbox with anti cat-litter covering.

There is an operation he can get. Pretty standard stuff. They go in through the mouth and up into the nose area and just scrape out these adenoid things. Seems easy enough but he needs to be put completely under and might need to be in hospital over night. Right there. That makes me freak out. Hospitals are full of capable people but even capable people make mistakes. I'm sure it'll be fine but if you have a kid(s), you know that feeling of helplessness. I just wish I was a mutant that could remove his problem and take it into myself. Then, I could get the operation and he could just go back to being a kid and stop thinking his days from now on would be filled with feeling miserable.

Georgia doesn't have this issue. Way back, 2 years ago, she had a little issue with one kidney. Again, nothing too crazy. One of them was smaller than the other and was backing up a bit. I remember freaking out at the time but we dealt with that. During migration season this year she developed a pretty crazy cough. It was so insistent. There was no clearing her throat. She would literally cough until she puked. This went on for over a week. It seems to be letting up finally now but it was really intense around our place for a couple weeks.

Took a moment out to shoot my toy along side my dad's.

Shep's issue was really flaring up and with Georgia sick too, Rachel and I got about three hours sleep a night for a long while there. This takes it's toll on a family. Everyone was generally tired and miserable all the time. Things are looking up a bit now at least for the kids. Last night was the first night Rachel and I both slept right from midnight to 6  am. It was really amazing. For a few days there it was like when these two little people first came home with us. Sleep for a couple hours, wake up, deal with issues and then sleep another hour or so. Then go to work or in Rachel's case, draw for the kids book she's currently working on. It's been really nuts.

To top it off, our dog Lucy seems to be going insane. She has taken to shitting/pissing all over the house, generally right after going out for a run in the yard. She has also started biting the kids and us for no reason at all. We think she may be blind and deaf as she doesn't seem to see you unless you're right close to her, then she bites. She also can't hear you even when you yell her name unless she looking directly at you. She's always been a good napper but these days she just wanders the house aimlessly at all hours of the day and night. Last night Rachel let her out into the yard and she just ran off and didn't come back. I went looking and found her in the woods behind the house with a cut on her forehead. She took one look at me and bottled off into the forest. I chased her about for a while. She actually got tired and stopped running so I tackled her as gently as I could and carried her home. She spent the entire trip violently chewing on my hands. Crazy. She's an old girl though. 14 or so years old. A chihuahua.

Breakfast Rachel made me while I was working in the garden.

On the up side of things, we got lots of work done on our first long weekend of the summer. The vegetable gardens are nearly complete. We planted beans, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, and many more. Our strawberry patch is filling in nicely as are the raspberry bushes. And all this time spent outside is spent around birds. There have been so many great birds in my back yard this year. For nests, I've managed to find White-breathed Nuthatch, House Wren, Robin and Great-crested Flycatcher. I also built the kids a sand box to play in. It's about the only thing that can keep Shep happy and unbothered by his nose issue. There's really nothing I like better than sitting in my garden with Rachel listening to the birds and watching my kids play together in the sand box.

My beautiful Georgia.

As an aside, there is some really very exciting news around Punk Rock Big Year. Of course, I can't mention more than that right now but you'll be the second to know when I can talk about it more. Rachel will be the first to know. Hope everyone's spring migration is going great.

Paul Riss
Punk Rock Big Year