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Spring Break

March 24, 2010

My daughters are on Spring Break for the first time in their lives.  Its a big deal now to them, which is really cool.  However, it just seems like yesterday when Spring Break was my vacation from school.  It is truly amazing, how quickly life changes, but when viewed later seems to rhyme.

I am currently working on a new project and it is consuming more time then I expected.  I will be returning here, to ad more to this post, and to include some new photos taken of the girls soon.

Until I finish this…

Ocean 1 Stupid Fisherman 0

March 11, 2010

Last Friday, my wife took a day off, and we picked up some fishing gear to try our hands at ocean casting.  This version of fishing goes something like this.  You take some heavy gear, add a weight to the end with a swivel.   From the primary line, to the weighted swivel, is a series of swivels with leaders to hooks.  A total of 6-8 hooks are baited with a sand worm or in our case a replica of a sand worm.

You wait until the waves have broken, and then you rush out into the surf up to your ankles or so, huck and chuck the line as far into the on coming waves, and then run like hell for shore, letting your line play out.  After two or three waves have dragged your line out to sea, you set it and then wait.

Well, that is the idea.  Execution is a completely different event.  What happens is that the waves come in quicker then you can caste and retreat.  So you end up soaked, even if your fast, and your pants are rolled up.  Additional, lots of things can go wrong, with this idea.  In most cases, no matter what I did, the ocean would take my line and it would move horizonally, to my location, before it was dumped at a high water mark, farther ashore then where I ended up stopping at.

Or my favorite fail point… a sneaker wave comes in, and hammers you before you can get out of the way.  Net result, you are standing in freezing surf soaked to your hips, frozen to the core with your line buried in sand somewhere out of the surf. We tried a few different approaches, with no success.

My guess, is that there are easier ways to fish for ocean critters… like from a boat.

Sasha gets her first Rainbow Trout.

March 1, 2010

I finally broke down, and bought a fishing license, now that weather is starting to offer sunny days randomly now.  I decided to bite the bullet, and buy my first real Steelhead ~ Salmon rod and reel.  Gulp.  No excuses now.

After getting instructions on how to setup my tackle, with a hand draw picture to keep me company, Dave and I drove up south shore of the Rogue to Huntley Park.  News at the tackle shop, was of biting Steelheads.  I peeled the sticker price off my new rod, and tied up my first setup.  I even get a cast off, before I foul up my new reel.  I spend the next 10 minutes untangling it before I get my third cast attempt under way.

A fisherman 2 trucks down on the gravel bar, that we are fishing, pulls in a nice Steelhead, and heads back to his truck to deal with it.  I start grinning, the bait shack knew where to go, I had their equiptment and now the guys next to us are reeling in Big Bad Steelheads.  This is getting fun.

About this time, I realize my choice of wearing shorts to the river was probably overly optimistic, as a cold wind blew up the canyon, and I realize that Dave and I, are the only people manning their poles.  Everyone else has staged their rods, into river holders, and are now sitting in their cabs, nice and warm, listing to something on the radio, while sipping something warm.

Hmmm. Maybe its time to check out the inside of Daves SUV, and get out of the wind.  Once there, I give up fighing my tackle, as I have spent 45 of the 60 minutes at the river bank, retooling my line, as it appears I need to learn how to cast a line again.  Grants, this is the heaviest tackle I have ever used, and I have ounces of lead on the line.

While staring out at the might rogue river, I realize, that we still have enough time to grab the girls, and go out to Arizona Beach, where the ODFW stocks a pond that only kids can fish.  I also had intel, that some trophy trouts were stocked 4 days ago.

We grab the girls, and Elle joins in.  At the Pond, its clear that parents are there to help the little ones fish, and with that in mind, we get Chase and Sasha holding their rods and reels.  The local RV host manager of the State Park pond we are visiting drops by to give us some suggestions on how and where to fish the pond.

Taking his words as gold, we circled to the other side of the pond, and Mom and Chase pair up.  Sasha and I, appear to have the same fishermans luck, today, as Chasers almost instantly has a real bit.  Her rod is bouncing around and she is screaming with excitement.  Only, she didnt set the hook, and the fish got away.

Meanwhile, Sasha and I are not having any luck yet.  In the course of changing out bait, for both girls, a switch happens, and Mom and Sasha head over to a point that Mom decided she liked.  With in seconds, Sasha has a Fish on.  Her pole is bouncing and she is about as excited as a girl could get.

So, Chase decides to head to bathroom.  In route she gets stuck in mud and then slips and falls to her knees in water.  End results, Chasers is now dripping wet, and doesnt have a fish like Sasha has.

Thinking quick on my feet, I promise chase if the weather is nice, we will go to the pond, tomorrow after school, and she can get in some fishing…

To Be Continued…

Something for Everyone

February 23, 2010

This collection of features, is a photo unfinished.  In the coming months, I am sure that you may see other versions of it, as I get access to other lenses and lightings.  The Gold Beach Reef is visible off shore.  It has some of the most amazing fishing, I am told.  I have yet to pay a guide to take me off shore, but once the guides return for the salmon season, I am will make sure I get a chance to limit out on the available Rock Fish.  I am told you can sink a boat  with the quality of the fishing out there. It is a sea lion reserve of some sort.

Speaking of sea lions, Gold Beach is the only city on the coast that has a Sea Lion abatement program.  Basically, that means we pay a guy to float round all day, and fire shotgun shells that explode like an M80 at seals, and sea lions.  For their protection.  I love that.  We actually shoot giant firecrackers at Sea Lions, for their protections.  Someday, when I have some pictures of it in process, with the sound included, I will post another article on this topic.

In the future, at times, the pictures that I include with an article may change days after the story was written.  There is a reason for this, and I want to address it now.  Sometimes, when I am writing, I need to get the words down first.  That is, the topic I am writing about has decided now is the time to be put to paper, it was.  Today, it needed to be posted. In  E terms.

So when I am writing something, I need to block out the layout of what I see in my head.  So, what I do is plug in some filler photos, if I don’t have anything to represent the topic under discussion.  The process to get those photos, may include a need for a weather change, before I can get to it.  So, don’t be surprised if you happen to scan the page, and what appears to be new photos are included in it.

This row of houses have some of the most amazing views in our area.  The collection of homes, are individually appealing, and collectively work, to form a neighborhood called Wedderburn.  It is just north of Gold Beach, and is part of the Urban Growth boundary’s for Gold Beach.  It does receive some services from gold beach, while managing to not be part of the city itself.  Which causes some issues locally, as city citizens pay about 3X more in local taxes, compared to this neighborhood, while they receive basically the same water, fire and unofficially police response.

There is a jetty to the south of these homes, where you can walk out and toss a crab pot, and almost year around expect to catch dinner in a matter of minutes with some scrap meat.

Brewing Beer

February 17, 2010

Brewing beer is part art, and part science.  Lately our friends have all been commenting on how they want to brew some beer.  It appears to be a common topic on a lot of local peoples minds lately.  A long grey winter will do that.  For some reason, each winter, there is an event or two that catch the locals attention.

Beer is becoming one of those winter topics.  So, after a multi year spell, Elle and dug out the equipment, and invited some friends over for a day of brewing.  We currently have a Martzen with a heavy chocolate malt flavor fermenting.

The idea is we will brew a different beer per weekend, staging them based on the time needed to ferment, so that we have 2-3 home brew beers on tap at our next crab feed.  Each batch is about 5 gallons of beer.  We have the dark beer brewing now.  It will have a longer ferment period then our Oktoberfest brew, or our pale ale to be brewed in a couple of weeks.

We are going to use the 5 gal keg system, which allows us to easily switch in and out batches of beer.  I might even convert my spare fridge in the garage, into a multi tap semi mobile keg system.  We have been talking about starting a CO-OP Brewing association, with its own “Pub”.

The current working name is “Old School Brewing”, as we might be able to rent a couple of spare class rooms in an old abandoned public school a mile from my house.  The property has many things going for it.  A few of them are as follows…

Nearest public business is 10- 15 miles a way, in either direction. There is no place to buy any food or beer for 30 miles of freeway.  This place is smack in the middle of that stretch. The property is just off of 101, visible and has its own exit at a bridge.  It is only a short walking distance to a beautiful empty sandy beach.

The property gives a great location, to provide basic services to the Oregon Coast Bike riders, who are otherwise known as Urban Deer around here.  They spend the months of February through November riding the coast line.  The peak riding season is April through October with dozens to hundreds of riders per day heading south each day.

We have considered the idea of stocking basic bike supplies, while offering micro brew beers from the local brewery’s in the region, along with our own beers.    Some hot food, and some WIFI.  A very micro brewery on the beach basically.

More to follow on this topic, as it develops.

Moments in Time

February 15, 2010

My youngest daughters are still young enough to treasure the small moments with.  They exist in their own world, and it appears that it is our job to figure out what that means at times.

While you will normally see pictures of my youngest daughters, I am also the proud father of an older daughter.

Ashley, has been the child every parent has always wanted.  Easy to raise, friendly to be around, out going and honest.  She has consistently made me proud of being her father.

While every parent has those moments with their children, I can say that Ashley and I have had fewer moments like that, then a parent would expect.  I am proud to call her my daughter.

Life has its interesting moments at times, I know that I have made my mistakes in life,  I also know that life can give a you second chance, if your lucky to say your sorry, or that you love someone.

I was talking to Ashley tonight.  She is currently taking college classes that end Friday Night, and start Sunday afternoon this quarter, and she was trying to figure out how to drive 8 hours to visit me and her sisters.

Its been awhile since she was home to visit, and we have not exchanged Xmas gifts yet.  Life has its own schedule, and sometimes we have to learn patience, something I have never been good at.

In life, I have to work on patience.  I have always wanted to do everything at once, yesterday, if possible it seems.  So, learning to how to talk to my now adult daughter has been a bit of a struggle for us both.

We grew up together, at one level.  That is, we both were kids when she was born and she and her dad had to learn what those rolls meant.  We have never fought, but at the same time time we have not delt with serious disagreements between each other until lately.

While the topic of disagreement was never quantified, I would say it had more to do with the fact she was now an adult, and struggling for her own new voice, as we were distantly located.  Giving rise to a period of time, where Dad and Daughter didn’t talk or communicate enough to make the transition easier then it was for her to reach adult hood.

I look forward to showing her our new home on the coast, and hopefully, this summer I can teach her how to go deep sea fishing.  Who knows, maybe my daughter will break the Barnes Curse, and kill some fish, unlike her dad.

Tsunami History in the Area

February 14, 2010

The area of land just south of Brookings, known as Smith River, is the Easter Lilly Capital of the world.  The locals say that they grow 90% of the Easter Lilly grown and given away during Easter.  All I know is that the fields locally turn this amazing color of green early in the new year. While the trees are still asleep, or barely in the process of budding, the warmer temps of spring, mixed with endless rain, and bursts of bright sun light, leads to an explosion of colors.

We made a run to “South of the Border”, which in our case means we drove to Cali, from Oregon.  For some reason that escapes everyone who lives in Oregon, booze is about 50-75% cheaper in Cali than it is in Oregon.  So when you cross the border, there is usually a cheap discount booze store waiting to greet you once you are in California.

We were in California to pick up the ingredients to brew up some home brew.  It seems that most of our friends in Gold Beach are wanna be brewers.  Elle is the only on in the group who has brewed beer, so after many conversations about “Someday”, we decided to find some supplies and get busy this weekend making beer.

The nearest brew supply place that we can find on the Internet is only about 1 hours drive from our place.  Which is basically in our back yard, the way locals have to make plans to buy supplies when you live in one of the most rural places in America.   Our local town does not have a drive through fast food location, for context.  We don’t have a WallyWorld, or Home Depot, or Fast Food.

What we do have is mother nature in all its forms here.  The lighthouse in the picture next to this comment is at the mouth of the Crescent City Harbor is known as Battery Point.  In 1855, the ship America caught fire and burned in Crescent City Harbor.  Three cannons were salvaged, and mounted to a small island in the harbor where they were used for July 4th Celebrations until they disappeared.

The lighthouse was constructed and started operation in 1856.  It has seen its forth order Fresnel lenses replaced with automated equipment in 1953.  It survived the largest Tsunami to hit the US lower 48 shore line in 1964, when the largest earthquake in North American modern history stuck Alaska.  The 9.2 earthquake sent a series of waves racing to the coast line.  A total of 11 people were killed, 21 boats were destroyed in harbor, and 91 homes were damaged in Crescent City from the  tsunami.

Ironically, non one was hurt and no damage was done to the lighthouse itself.  Today, it exists as a private navigation aid, and is owned and operated as a museum.