August 13 – The Last Week of Summer :(

Tuesday I didn’t accomplish much.  I fixed the mailbox, which someone had hit.  I finished opening the new holes in the awning gutter.  A brief rain wasn’t enough to test it though.  I made some new calendars (frogs, lizards, snakes) and a new section of T-shirts and other stuff featuring frog skeletons on my CafePress shop.  I think they look cool.  I watched a lot of Olympics, of course.

Wednesday I had to go to work. Curses!  I spent the morning working on one course.  In the afternoon I dismantled the piles of material from last semester’s courses.  I had a meeting on FYE that wasn’t bad at all. 

Thursday it was back to work for almost a whole day of meetings.  These were most informative and even the working meeting wasn’t too difficult.  I finally met our new University President.  Really nice guy, and really on the ball.  I think he has the potential to take the institution to a new level, unlike any administration we’ve had in years.  Thursday night was the faculty/staff potluck, which was good for socializing. 

Friday was another most of a day at the office.  First I had an appointment to teach a couple of other faculty how to use Moodle.  One picked it up really quick, the other one not so much.  We had a division meeting with our interim division chair, as our regular one is on sabbatical. 

Saturday morning Stacey and I went garage saling.  We hardly stopped at any, and we didn’t buy anything.  Savannah and I went for a bike ride.  She had a sore butt from her bike ride the previous day.  We just did the dog and cats run and pedaled around Canton.  It is incredible how low the river is now, especially considering the recent flood.  Barges are running aground.  In the afternoon I went to QU to meet with my FYE class.  We played Bug Bingo, and it was kinda fun.  On the way out I noticed a male cicada killer hovering around the library.  I also found a burrow under a bush.  It’s the first time I’ve seen one on campus.  I also saw a few butterflies.

This guy looks ready, but it’s late in the season to find any new females.

Monarchs are accumulating.  This one’s a bit beat up.

A butterfly bush next to St. Francis hall is a magnet for painted ladies.

My neighbor was having a sweetgum tree cut down, so I asked the guys if I could have the logs.  I chainsawed them and added them to my south wood rack.  It can hold no more, being now dangerously high.

Sunday I went out to Lowell’s–with big plans.  First, we fished for bass, going around the lake three times.  I caught six, mostly on a topwater (Devil’s Horse), which is a lot of fun.  At one point I was using a black spinner.  Something big slammed it, and jumped clear of the water.  Big catfish!  It gave me quite a pull.  I released it.  We had a hearty lunch of breakfast in town.  Upon returning, I filleted the bass we had caught but saved all the skins as well as the fillets.  (Editorial note: we cull bass within a standard slot limit to improve the population structure of the lake).  We previously had success catching catfish with the skins or carcasses of the dead bass.  I launched my kayak and paddled it over to the arm of the lake where we fillet the fish.  Rinsing the cutting board and knife in the water creates a decent chum.  I baited up two rods with fish skin and cast them in front of me, toward the main body of the lake.  In less than a minute I had a fish on.  I tried to reel in the other one so that it wouldn’t get in the way, but there was a fish on it too.  Handling two catfish on two rods and a paddle at the same time is a bit much in a little kayak!  We got this on video, but the darn fish pulled me into some trees and out of view.  Lowell, who also took the stills below, was using my Panasonic as a video camera.  I landed both cats and released them.   

Here I’m wrestling the bigger one out of the net.

Surprisingly, it was the smaller one that pulled me the farthest.

I got back into position and redeployed, but this time with just one rod.  It wasn’t long before I had another bite.  This time I stayed in the open and Lowell got it all on video.  This link to YouTube shows the action:

Kayak Catfishing  (

I tried again and got one bite, but didn’t hook it.  I should say that the circle hooks I was using were hooking up really well, and the fish weren’t swallowing them as they were the J-shaped worm hooks I’d been using the previous week.   Things really slowed down and we had accomplished the goals of our crazy plan.  We moved on.  I paddled around the lake and investigated another arm to see how much silt had washed in.  We’ve had a lot of rain this year (until recently), which caused a lot of erosion.  The day was very calm, not too hot, and the water was like glass.  It was a good time to be kayaking.  I loaded it up on the Lil Egg and we went on to pick blackberries.  It’s been a long time since I did any extensive berry picking.  I forgot how much you get stuck by thorns.  My clothes were getting caught at every turn as well.  We picked about a gallon, which should give Stacey enough to bake a couple of pies at least. 

The other reward was this large Chinese mantid.

It was an awesome day, and a fitting end to summer break for me. 

Monday morning when I let Kane out of his crate his tail caught on a crankbait–attached to my best spinning rod and reel combo.  Worried about both the dog and the rod, I got him to lay down.  But I had no tools.  The two treble hooks were stuck in his abundant tail hair,  What was I going to do, chew it out with my teeth?  Luckily, it was a short distance to my toolbox.  I used a pair of scissors to cut the line and chop the lure out.  I guess that was a lesson for me more than for the dog.


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