Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 2 Torch River A 14 hour day on the river calls for a full eight hours of sleep at the very least. When you spend the waking hours worshipping the sun, you tend to hunker down very well. I know I have entered R.E.M sleep when I awake in cold sweats of hallucinations. For reasons unknown I awoke in the middle of the night to the thought that my dog had ceased to breathe. As it turned out though, he was comfortably making himself my pillow, a far cry from an urn atop a mantle. I awoke this Friday morning to the smell of Joe cooking homegrown, straight from the farm into the smoke house bacon. Once I caught that whiff of salted pork fat, it did not take me long to rise from my slumber. After sticking some grits to our ribs we spent a lazy morning outlining our plans for the trip. It was beginning to look as if we were making far worse time than I had anticipated. If we were to continue our escapades of sleeping in, we would not make it to the vehicle on time to make it back to work the next week. With this at the back of our minds we set forth to see what kind of miles we could put on the river. Today our path would take us northeast deep into the provincial forest, where trails are only accessible by all-terrain vehicles. As we would reach the northern tip of the river, two fairly large creeks would add to the flow and the Torch would then begin to head south, back into the agricultural forest fringe. The map showed rapids on the southern leg but we were fairly unconcerned, after all we were piloting the unsinkable. At the end of the south leg we would reach the green bridge on the super grid just north of Love. Between us and the bridge though lay virtually untainted wilderness. With the barley flowing and the wind in our sail, we set forth. In typical rustic undertaking fashion, we quickly turned our paddling into floating and threw caution to the river. If she wanted to swallow us whole, we would be willing partners. Rearrangements of luggage and the positioning of a lawn chair atop the middle boat would make a suitable crow’s nest for this self-proclaimed captain and cook of the afternoon. I would allow us a river picnic. Spam wraps, complete with mustard, mayo and chickpeas. What more could hungry men possibly want. With bellies full, we faced full frontal, the winds of relaxation. We began sailing to worlds known only to those who dare tread upon dreams. As we drifted downriver we began more and more to allow ourselves to be placed under its spell. White tailed deer became fearless of our craft as the ravens circled above, anticipating a free meal. Those with wandering minds tend to neglect danger. Upturned logs, lodged in the sandy bottom, casualties of last year’s flood, performed slow sad waltzes for the eyes of the pirates. The leaves of the trembling aspen and the balsam poplar danced effortlessly under the guidance of a North West wind. Down and down we went, circling the creek on high, floating fearlessly and demanding divinity. Meanwhile the foreboding chorus of the white throated sparrow occupied the recesses of our sanity. A calf elk, briefly separated from its mother, stood waist deep in the shallows, staring at us in bewilderment, a mere paddle length away from joining our tattered company. Jaws dropped, we cut silence as silver tipped droplets of water retreated down its coat, back to the water from whence they came. At the familiar grunt of its mother, the beast leaped up, back onto shore, leaving us with new found respect for the wilderness and all her children. We were a ragged bunch, and I could feel the eyes of the forest; watching, waiting, and anticipating our next move, for only it knew what would lie ahead. We continued on our relaxation quest, once again putting our trust in the river. We were floating in endless circles, slowly making our way down at the whim of the current. Brett and Barry had fallen asleep, while the rest of us challenged consciousness amongst the stillness of the spruce. It was somewhere between four and six o clock when Brett finally woke from his slumber. “Grab your paddles,” he says, “I think the river is upset with us.” As we rounded the next bend, I began to see what Brett was speaking of. My face flushed with anxiety, I grabbed my laminated bent shaft paddle and began to dig in. Nothing to worry about yet, just avoid the rocks and the unsinkable ship will steer itself. We paddled around one particularly large hump backed whale of a rock. As we passed it we slowly turned our heads in its direction, eyes wild with the fears of “What If’s”. If we had hit that, things would have turned sour. As we turned back around we were faced with our next decision. Rocks, giant can openers, were jutting up in the middle of the river, threatening our safety; it was time to choose left or right. As we struggled to make a decision, the current dragged us to the right. We would have to round the rock, and then steer left again quickly to avoid an overhanging tree. We successfully passed the rocks but as we neared the tree it was becoming evident that we were not going to steer around the looming branches. With the speed of the rapids we smashed our sail right into the birch. Lines became tangled and the proverbial shit started to hit the fan. As the left guyline wrapped itself in the tree we became thoroughly stuck. The speed of the river then whipped us around ninety degrees and left the starboard side open to the power of the water. The river quickly found its way into the bottom of the boat as the men began to scream and the dogs started to entertain the idea of fear. Normally we all have relatively large knives at our quick disposal but with the hot temperatures, most of us had stripped down to our underwear. It became a mad rush to find the hatchet before the overhanging branch could wrestle us down to Davey’s locker. Just as I was starting to weigh my options of abandoning ship, Brett located a bowie knife. With his quick thinking we made a hasty attempt at dismantling the sail. He cut the guy lines and laid down the sail towards the back of the boat. If things had taken any longer, it would have been a very sad, very sorry walk out of mosquito country. We became free of the tree but were now floating down the rapids backwards. With all paddles pulling we managed to swing it around just in time to avoid more can openers. As we looked down river, it was becoming very obvious that things were not about to slow down. Eyes began searching for bail buckets while arms became tense as our minds tried to convince them of the strain they were about to take battling the upcoming waters. I sacrificed my premade ceaser. It would have to be made into a bail bucket, a sad day indeed. As we bailed and paddled we began searching for a shore to hit in order to regroup. The only problem being the river had decided not to slow down. My self, usually somewhat of an informal leader of the group had begun to lose my shit. I was in full on panic mode. I looked to my left, hoping to gain some confidence through the wisdom of Brett. The only words I could hear coming from Brett’s mouth, the other informal leader, was “this is fucked.” Usually Brett and I harbour no fears and are able to guide us through just about anything. Today though, the crew would be solely in his hands, and these were not confident appendages. After what seemed like an eternity, we spotted a sandy shore ahead. Steering the ship we lodged it in with all the speed our paddles could muster, praying that the nose of our raft would stick in. As we crashed ashore, John jumped out, rope in hand and held tight. We could finally regroup. When I was certain we had thoroughly beached the ship I climbed ashore and sat down. My breathe, heavy with fear, was not of the calming variety. It would take some serious convincing to get me back into that boat for the rest of the evening. I was no longer in the right frame of mind to tackle any life threating issues. Joe, noticing I was visibly upset, began doling out menial tasks for me to accomplish. By doing so I was able to subside my anxiety, I would become official boat bailer. I swear it took us twenty minutes to bail that thing. Between that and the total dismantling of the sail, I had a little bit of time to get my wits about me. First though, I needed a walk to clear my thoughts. “I’m going for a stroll.” Secretly I was trying to find the perfect campsite that no one would be able to turn down. “Don’t go far Jeff, stay where we can see you.” Clearly they were worried about me. As I struggled forward, deeply concentrating on the thought of left foot after right foot, my heart rate came down from that of a vole imprisoned by a large tom cat, to that of a jack rabbit being chased down by a grey hound. Things were starting to round themselves into normality, although normality was taking its sweet fucking time... As I walked towards the next bend along the beach, a familiar sight took hold of my eye, it was the slender stalk and the purple flower of the onion. But what was it doing out here? I held the onion in calculated distrust. Then I remembered from my book learning days that the north is home to the wild onion. I grabbed a handful and sunk my teeth into the flesh of the stalk. Instantly my mood improved. The boys would have to share in my delight. I sauntered down the beach with a wry smile and as I reached the safety of my friends, I handed out their individual presents. Gifts from Jeff, beacons of hope, team bonding at its best, when most needed. I did not find that campsite I was looking for… but with a couple more deep breaths, I could be convinced to man the battle stations once again. This is where John took charge. Passing me my life jacket, preserver of my existence, he informed me that it was time to get back into the boat and that everything would be just fine. I decided to pull out the map, with a UTM coordinate from Barry’s GPS I concluded that we were roughly five miles from the green bridge north of love, an hour and a half paddling at the most. Two great realizations came from this moment. A) I could still read a map. B) We were not far from civilization. We would survive. After all the gear was haphazardly strapped in once again, we pushed onward. The next hour and a half would take full concentration in order not to sink our Titanic. With our cold dose of reality behind us, we were now far more leery of the possibilities of what lay ahead. For our standards, things went fairly well for the next little while. There were certainly our panicked moments and an almost constant effort to bail water as the river jumped over the gunnels in defiance of our challenge to her, but I could not see panic on the faces of the dogs, and that did a world of calm for me. After one particularly hairy set of rapids, we rounded a bend and came face to face with a fence, a farm yard and a large barn. We were coming back into agricultural land. Soon enough we would be at the green bridge. Rejoicing would have to wait though. We did not have ample time to celebrate this achievement as we were quickly faced with the quickest water that had challenged us all weekend. We raced down the river with the speed of an osprey. As we dodged boulders the size of Volkswagen beetles, we began to pass more buildings. A cabin, a teepee, all whizzed by in excitement. The river began to swing left, and all 6 men began digging in, stopping
the river from tossing its contempt at us. We took the left turn and there in front of us stood the green bridge, not 500meters away. However in between the green bridge and as far past it as we could see lay the underbelly of the Torch river. The river turned white with the frothing sprays of pristine water challenged by million year old granite. The next stretch would take quick thinking and fast reacting. We decided to hug the right shore in order to be close to the safety of hard ground and to look for a suitable landing point. However with our speed a suitable landing spot just might prove impossible. About halfway to the bridge we spotted a small outcropping of sand on the shore. If we made a quick turn to attempt and beach the boat we just might make it. However someone at the front would have to jump out, grab the rope and hold on for dear life because the momentum of this river would be certain to carry the boat with it. As we neared the chosen spot, John grabbed the rope, anticipating the crash into the beach. The other five dug in with the skill of Vikings but it would not be enough. John jumped ashore simultaneous with our crash and dug in his heels. The back end of the boat swung around like the pendulum of a grandfather clock and john’s feet began slipping down into the turmoil. Quickly I sprung from my seat, clambering across the three boats. I reached john just as the water began to reach his upper body to sweep him away with the boats. With a foothold on a large branch I was able to grab John long enough for him to regain his footing and help with the task at hand. We had beached the boat, but we still had a ways to go. As we sat there safely on land, we realized the equal peril that haunted the sandy woods. The mosquitos were just as scary as the river. We made a quick survey of our options. No good path by land presented itself, we would have to get back into the river and make hay for a newly sighted landing spot this side of the green bridge. With our boat now backwards in the water, we would have to swing it around just in time to smash over the boulders not ten feet from where we had landed. The two inside paddlers would have to hold the boat as the rest regained their composure. Brett the rear inside paddler would have to brace us into shore as his front partner Barry dug into the water. Brett held on tight to our craft as Barry let go and the river swung us around once again to face full frontal the assault of the Torch. As soon as Brett jumped back into the boat we smashed the next set of rocks. We began to pick up speed as we neared our destination. There, kitty corner to the bridge on the south side, sat a small launching point… or in our case a landing zone. The taste of the end lingered strongly on our lips. As we cruised towards safety, it became quickly apparent that we were in need of slowing down. If we continued this speed we would blow right past it, and beyond this point, lay white water as far as they eye could see. With everyone back paddling we managed to slow down just in time to spot the rock that lay between us and the shore. We would have to brace ourselves and ride right over it, sending out prayers that we would have enough moment to roll over top. We hit it with a smash, leaving aluminum and blue plastic to forever garnish the sharp edges of the rock. As the boulder reached the middle of the ship I figured we were about to triangle the canoe, but just as I thought we were going to grenade, the water pushed us past and we skimmed the shoreline with the front of our craft. John jumped out with the rope and held on. We were back, back to the world of man, the world of safety and responsibility. Unfortunately we were also back to the world of mosquitos. It would take some time, but we would set up camp and sleep, sleep our worries away. *Note the dents in the canoe pictures

Monday, July 2, 2012

Torch River 2012. Day 1.

If the river does not swallow you whole, the mosquitos and horse flies will carry you away.
After building a pirate ship the year before and sailing down the North Saskatchewan River, I looked towards our annual trip with bated breath. Joe suggested I expect nothing and there would be no way for me to be disapointed. Well he was right in one respect, I didn't take his advice and throw away my expectations, but when the time came I was far from being dissatisfied. The Torch River is located just past the North Saskatchewan river and runs from Candle Lake to the Cumberland Delta area of the Saskatchewan River. I settled on the Torch River for this year's trip because it would be big enough to handle three canoes and it occupies just the right amount of remoteness for the kind of trouble we generally like to advance on these trips. The journey started on Wednesday with the drive up and positioning of the vehicles. The weather on the trip up was very unkind, and if I believed in premonitions I probably would have opted to book myself into a nice bed and breakfast. Thundering winds challenged the canoe trailer but as we made it to the bush, things seemed to die down. We would make it without any major setbacks. We dropped off most of the men and the gear under the bridge on the Hanson Lake road and three of us took off to drop off a vehicle at the end. As we pulled away, my pooch, Le Petit quickly took off after us, so I let him in the vehicle. Apparently when this happens you should tell the rest of your crew so that they do not spend the next 3 hours searching for a dog that isn't there, while neglecting setting up any semblance of a camp. Oh well, the bridge would hold up against rain, and if you get drunk enough, I have been told, you can snore away the sound of mosquitos. side note: camping under a bridge like a homeless person does not work well. Smoke has nowhere to travel other than into your lungs, and logging trucks are pretty fucking loud when they roll down the black top. I guess I did not get drunk enough, and neither did Brett. We were up with sun around three thirty and began preparing for the first day on the water. The journey began with tame waters and cloudless skies. After a few mid-morning water pops, we set up shop on a beach to make pasta and a pirate ship. We based our vessel on last year's model, with slight upgrades, after realizations of design flaws with the previous boat. The sail would prove to be pretty useless on most of the Torch, because the river is often doubling back on its self. Making for very busy sailing,
While the sail proved to be as useless as the Wall governments new film industry incentives, the raft itself would be as invaluable to our health and safety as the past fifty years of Medicare. Three canoes strapped side by side become an unsinkable force, a miniature Titanic if you will, housing a few less bow ties but just as much wine. Onward the unsinkable ship would go, plowing over boulders, frightening moose and smashing through log jams. The log jams were pretty fun. Simply find the lynch pin and start hacking away. When the whole pile starts moving, it is time to get off. While we conquered one jam, a larger dam would send us back up river to find the easier route where high water had been forced to blast a short cut through the bank. With boat in hand and beer fueled adrenalin, nothing would stand in our way. As the light began dwindling on day one, the water was becoming increasingly fierce, and the prospect of a camp site was not looking so swell. Eventually as the light was just beginning to fade, I spotted a stand of Jack Pine on the north side of the river. There I knew we would find good camping. A Jack Pine forest tends to have little underbrush when compared to the thick bushes of a mixed wood stand.
Rope in hand we jumped ashore and pulled the invisible E-brake. Trying to stop the momentum of three canoes on a fast portion of the river is no easy task. We would dock just in time though and would not be disapointed. With food in our bellies, we passed out to awake for a second day battling the waters of the North Country.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rocks!

Rocks are cool right? They named rock and roll after a rock.... so they must be cool. Or maybe I am really out of touch with cool. At risk of seeming very uncool, here is a post about some neat rocks I have stumbled upon this spring. The first one is a rock the size of a fist that has some how made itself at home in the crotch of a tree. Over many years, the tree has come to engulf the rock. How did the rock get there? The thing with trees is that they only grow up from the leader of the tree so the rock was not carried up from the ground by the tree, as A tree does not grow up from the bottom, it only expands outwards except for the yearly growth at the tips. Twenty or thirty years ago, someone would have had to place this rock in the crotch of this tree. Now rock and tree are one. I think it looks cool. Maybe we should all start putting things in trees that will look cool lodged in place twenty years to the future. The second rock is a fossil I found on Pasqua lake. I think it looks like a cray fish... but who knows. What do you think? Can anyone help me identify this?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spawn camp

After two years of schooling I have landed a pretty wicked summer job. I will be working out at Echo lake for the summer at the provincial fish hatchery. Lake side living and fishing every single day. Close enough to Regina to take in everything worth going to but far enough away to stay out of trouble. Right now we are full on involved in spawn camp. This year we are capturing fish in live net traps on Pasqua lake. Here we are mostly after ripe female walleye but have been taking the odd northern pike as well. What we are doing is taking the eggs from the females, adding sperm from the male walleye and taking them back to the hatchery to rear them under controlled conditions. At the hatchery we are able to obtain around a 60-70% success rate with the eggs while in the wild it may be closer to 1%. When the fry hatch they are taken throughout the province and released in waters that need help with their walleye populations. You might as well call me a fish jerker offer. There is often a lot of by-catch in the nets. Sometimes this can be a real bother like when you have to search through 1500 one pound carp to find twenty female walleye but sometimes you get to see some pretty cool fish specimens. In here there is a picture of a channel catfish, the biggest one any of these fishery biologists have seen in the province and likely bigger than the Saskatchewan angling record. We did not weigh or measure it, perhaps we should have. My coworkers believe that a lot of cat fish found their way through the qu'appelle valley from the assinaboine river during the high water last year. Here is a little video of my coworkers sorting through the fish, looking for the ones that are ready for some action.
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Done with the trailer... for now

Well I have retired the trailer. At least until another day anyway. I have shipped it with loving care up to Smeaton Saskatchewan where I hope to one day purchase land. A friend from school documented the past two years of my life living at the trailer and it can be seen here.
Have you even been out for a walk in the bush and thought you heard the sound of a two stroke engine firing up, even though you know you must be the only human around for miles. Low and behold, it was not a two stroke engine, it was the mighty ruffed grouse. This guy kept me up at night with his constant attempt to get laid(every four minutes the males do this during the breeding season, almost as often as I wink at cute girls on friday nights). I snuck up on this guy not 100M from my camper. It took a lot of slow walking to get there without scaring him off, but I managed to get pretty close. Strangely the camera did not pick up the sounds. My guess is the sound is to low? Here it is

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't show this to PETA

video

We had a pet northern pike (Esox Lucius) at school. Strictly for scientific purposes of course. Sadly through our studies we found out that confinement is not conducive to the survival of the northern pike. He recently passed on to fish heaven after about 6 months of being our friend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What is a house without a kitchen table?




One day when I build my own house from the ground up it is going to have a very simple design. The entire house will be built around a single object, the kitchen table. Gone seem to be the days when company crowds around the eating area to discuss politics, strum the guitar or to just play cards and smoke. Now people crowd around the idiot box, fixated on whatever meaningless show of the day is on. I wish to change this. Conversation is the fruit of human relationship.

For five years I have lived without a kitchen table in my house (I have one in my trailer but what is the function of it if the company is lacking). Now I will attempt to build one... The most beautiful table your eyes will ever behold! In my house it will sit, where once a wall stood.

One of my instructors owns a saw mill so I explained to him my predicament. Low and behold Carrier Lumber sells him their over sized logs. I went on out and chose a strikingly gorgeous tamarack. We put er threw and it ripped er in half. Now I have two 8 foot long lengths 2 inches thick and 20 inches wide with intact bark on the exterior sides. Try buying that at the hardware store. YOU CAN'T.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Canoeing March 16th?





March 16th. After a long day of fucking around and encountering vehicle troubles with Joe, we finally pushed away from our troubles around 5PM. The day had been extremely frustrating. We were stranded at the intersection of Broad and Victoria for at least an hour and then got stuck again in the the truck at the Liquor store parking lot. Thankfully Joe and I have creative instincts and we managed to pass the time stuck in traffic making up "Truck" tunes, rolling down the windows and singing the blues at the top of our lungs to anyone that would listen. To top things off we had someone bail out on us at the last minute and were not nearly ready to go when Brett got off work.

The events of the day however made pushing off that much more enjoyable. It was time to forget about life for a while. During the first twenty minutes of paddling we saw a total of four mink just outside the city limits. Definitely a good omen for the trip. Over the course of the next two days we would see a handful of white tail deer, beaver, muskrat, a nesting great horned owl, migrating snow and Canada geese and even the occasional migrating mallard.

The ice had not yet broken up and instead the water was flowing on top of the ice, forcing the solid mass to sit on the bottom of the creek. In a few places where the ice had heaved, it had let go and we got to battle with the odd iceberg. Compared to last years flow though this was pretty tame. Last year the water ran at 80cubic meters per second whereas this year it was flowing at only 8cubic meters per second.

St. Patrick's day was spent getting a sun burn drinking pilsner on the river pretending to be pirates. I was in bed by nine. Don't really have any regrets spending the evening with two good friends and a couple hound dogs rather than chasing pretty girls at the bar.

Picture credits:
Pic 1) Me trying to ride an iceberg.
Pic 2) The river leaves eerie things when it floods its bank.
Pic 3) Buffalo rubbing rock.
Pic 4) He is new at the whole swimming thing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hangin out in da bush






Is there anything better? Nope. Three men, one cabin, one dog, a box of homebrew, an endless expanse of wilderness. Makes for a great weekend. This is Boyd's hunting cabin/eventual living quarters. There is always a lot of talk about people wanting to live off the land and do their own thing but I never see much action. Boyd will actually do it in the near future. I hope I will not be far behind. There is something truly enduring in chopping down a tree, splitting the wood, lighting the fire and cooking last fall's venison sausage on the cookstove. I could get fully used to it.

Me and a pal have been throwing around the idea of operating a christmas tree plantation so that we have an excuse to buy some land up here. Fifty grand for a quarter section? feels like theft.... Research is currently in full effect.

My new friend





It is the time of the year when muskrats start to get frozen out of their pushup holes. Muskrats create a big pile of vegetation that is similar to a beaver lodge. With the insulating factor of the push up and the constant activity of the muskrat, the hole to the slough usually remains open. This summer I believe the muskrats became a little bit over optimistic with all the water everywhere. Driving accross the province it is not uncommon to see pushups from the summer in the middle of what is now a very dry slough. With the shrinking of the water table I think the ice made it down to the mud in many watering holes, trapping the muskrat out of the water. Some years it just gets so damn cold in the winter that even with a high water table, the ice will freeze down to the mud forcing the muskrat to leave or die of starvation.

When the muskrat is forced from his home it goes out trecking. Why? I don't have the answer to that. Maybe it believes it will find the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where the sloughs are always open and full of the tastiest carrots and the beaver make hats out of humans.

I stumbled upon this little guy far from any slough. He let me get pretty close. I hope he made it but most likely he became coyote bait.

Clint approves





Clint approves of this. I wanted to try doing something with my moonshine so we will see what happens.

I also recently stumbled upon an old oak barrel that was laying around at a Friends place from when his father used to make swish. Swish is made by taking an old whiskey barrel, filling it with water and waiting for the water to extract all the old alcohol from out of the wood. Hillbilly delight.

Time to char the barrel and start on some moonshine i guesse.

Present?


Not sure who left me this? maybe just a feral cat?

Wildman skills

Friday, March 2, 2012

Songs

Some of the kids from my school did a little live recording of some songs I played at the library last month. Here it is.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm not claiming to be old and knowledgeable but there was certainly a time in my life when I was less old and less knowledgeable

I'm not claiming to be old and knowledgeable here but there was a time, and it really was not that long ago, where I was less old and certainly less knowledgeable. When I decided I wanted to take up harvesting my own meat, I really had no idea how I was going to go about this once I passed the examination. I thought about who I knew that hunted and it occurred to me that no one that I spent a lot of time with at the time did much hunting. I did however recall a good old friend,(one of those guys you will forever be able to trust) Brett King, who loved to hunt. So the evening after I passed my course I gave his Mom a call. Brett and I were friends in the age where you had to memorize phone numbers.......and I can still recall that number today. I asked his Mom for his cell number and I gave him a call keeping in mind I had not seen him for a couple years

"So Brett, long time no talk. What have you been up to? I passed my hunting course today.... are you doing any hunting at all this season"
"What are you doing tomorrow morning"
"Well nothing actually"
"Good! Meet me at the North McDonalds parking lot at 6:30AM and we will head out"

Boy was I excited! my first hunting excursion. This story however is not about that trip. During that day though Brett invited me to come moose hunting with him and some other guys that would become good friends of mine. First though he would have to run it past them. While I am sure they were a little hesitant to bring along a recent carnivore convert (I had given up eating meat for a time before that), they did eventually agree to let me come along.

Story 1:

After loading up hundreds of pounds of gear onto the three wheelers we slowly sauntered deep into the bush. Very deep into the bush. The kind of deep where the crazy old Ukrainians pass through on their odd excursion, offering you words of wisdom on moonshine, star gazing and muskrat stew. On our way through the bush, we happened on a very aesthetically pleasing plot of land just below the quad trail at the side of a river. NOW, forever note that bush camp locations should not be chosen based on aesthetics. You are not trying to match the fucking drapes with the evergreen backdrop. Bush camp locations should be chosen based on practicality. Here is the deal, the bottom of a valley sees the least amount of sun so you spend most of your time in the dark, and when it starts to pour.... guess where the rain goes. Right down the quad trail where there is no vegetation to stop it. We were young, and not so knowledgeable.

I have to explain the tent here for those of you that are not familiar with the workings of a canvas tent. A canvas tent is a big tent that you can stand up in and this one could fit 5 or 6 men and their cots. There is no bottom to the tent and usually there is a hole for a chimney so you can keep warm if you bring a small wood stove. It is kind of like a teepee for white people. We never really caught onto the whole concept of the power of the circle except when it comes to propelling us down the highway.

Now remember.... this is November. I am not saying it was a particularly cold November, but alas, it was still a November. We were slightly prepared, but as I stated before, there was a time in my life where I was younger and much less knowledgeable.

On about the second day it started to pour. And I mean it fucking poured. We were out hunting and when we came back there was a river running right smack through the middle of our tent. Not only that but the river was pooling in the south east corner of the tent where a young lad had made his sleeping quarters. We were wet and cold and had hoped to come back to a dry tent. This would not be the case. Certain member of the party began to panic as the realization set in that we would not be getting dry any time soon. Civilization was thirty miles away and we had just enough gas to get one rusty old three-wheeler back to the parking lot by the time it would get dark out, that is if we could even make it up the slick quad trail to begin with. We began to worry about what to do and talks were being formed on contingency plans of how to get our sorry selves back to the vehicles. The dark recesses of my mind began to overcome all positive thinking, when suddenly I had a revelation, a brain wave if you will. I would construct a ditch. The river would be diverted and the pool at the back would be drained. I would cut spruce bows for those that had been sleeping on the previously dry ground and perhaps we would be okay after all. I took stock of the tools at hand.... an axe and...... yup that was it. So I flipped the axe head upside down and began to dig. And fuck me if it didn't just work pretty darn swell. By the time the clouds darkened with night the river had been diverted, the pool partially drained and the warm glow of the camp stove was slowly washing away the disheartened thoughts we had shared only hours before. I can't say we ended up completely unscathed from the event. The youngest member of the party took sick and ended up staying in bed for a number of days while the rest of us went out to have fun.

Story 2

While there was a time in my life where I was young and less knowledgeable, there was also a time in my life where I was young, less knowledgeable and far more broke than I am now. To get up moose hunting we had one truck and trailer and one 1989 Volkswagen Jetta. On the way up we were able to put most of our belongings into the trailer, but the way back was a vastly different story. I had come with Brett in the Jetta and while moose hunting, Brett's dog took sick and it was necessary that we get back to the city and prudently get him in to see a veterinarian. This posed a problem. How were we going to get myself, Brett, his dog, all of our gear and two field dressed deer back to Regina. Well we only had one option of course, and that was the Volkswagen Jetta. After meticulously packing the Jetta we headed on our way. As soon as we hit the highway the sound of trouble erupted from the rear right of the vehicle. We had a flat. Where was the spare tire? Underneath two deer and a mountain of gear of course. So on the side of the highway we unloaded a mountain of gear and two deer and we proceeded to put on the donut. By the time we finished putting everything back it was dark and we drove the four hours to Regina doing 140 in a severely overburdened Jetta with a donut. We made it though, and this is why I now own a truck.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Final project

I am starting to get my final project underway here. I will have some pictures up in the future, but for now I will explain what will be going on.

My classmate and I are going to do a predator population survey index. With this index we will be able to compare population compositions of two distinct habitats. We will be looking at the difference between a predominately jack pine forest and habitat in the aspen parkland.

How it works...

We set up a 1'X2' piece of OSB against the base of a tree. The wood is covered with spruce bows to provide a tunnel. At the end of the tunnel will be bait to entice visits by different predator species. To keep tabs on who has been visiting our sites we will be applying carpenters chalk to the first half of the OSB sheet and on the other half we will be stapling one sided sticky paper. When the individual visits the site they will step onto the carpenters chalk and transfer their footprint to the sticky paper. From here we will be able to identify the type of species that visited.



Pictures of cool ass animal footprints to follow....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tasty.





For your sake I hope you have not cut ties with my friendship.

Here are some pictures of the sausage extravaganza. The picture of the freezer is one individuals share. After all was said and done we churned out 320 total pounds of the tasties. Beer was obviously involved. As was moonshine.

I can now add "sausage stuffer" to my resume.

Better have a sharp knife for sausage making.

Yes I still live here


Thankfully it snowed though. I was beginning to worry about how much of that white insulation I would have for the rest of the cold months. Looks like I will be okay, and if it is a three dog night I can just invite Le Petit up for a cuddle.