Google+ Followers

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

July 2015

July 2
Took a bike ride all around Canton.  Found a big patch of purple milkweed.  Saw a woodchuck.  Ran some errands.

July 3
Went to Lowell's.  Fished two rounds and caught several bass, first three were large.  Replaced mulch in the goose nest, throwing out three unhatched eggs.  One exploded in the water.  Moved the next to the middle of the lake.
Cut down some trees at the home site, hauled brush and sprayed a lot of poison ivy.  Returned home very tired.

July 6
I went down to the levee because it hadn't rained in several days.  The fields had dried out and I was able to recover all of my lost arrows from the recent bowfishing outings.  Unexpectedly, I saw quite a few fish in the diverted Dead Dog Creek. An idea began to develop: I had kayaked that creek before, and I really wanted to shoot a fish from my kayak.  I went home and began preparing.  Put all the bowfishing stuff in my kayak crate and added a few other things I thought I might need, like a gaff and a fish whacker (small baseball bat).  I packed some food, gatorade and water, loaded the kayak in my truck and went down to the river.  The alternative launch site was blocked so I had to launch at the proper launch ramp.  That meant a longer paddle on the river before I got into the creek, but I suppose the workout was good for me.  Plus, on the way I found a boat cushion hung up on some driftwood.  I paddled slowly into the creek, but didn't see anything for awhile.  I saw then that I was spooking some fish.  I was stalking a common carp in the weeds when a gar suddenly appeared right next to the boat, so I drilled him.  Success!  I continued along the creek, spooking a lot of fish.  I learned that I needed to stay on the right side of the waterway because, as a right-hander, it is natural to shoot to the left.  I let the wind push me along when possible, or paddled a bit and coasted slowly as long as I could.  Finally, I figured out that if I turned around with my knees in the seat, facing backward, I could sit up on my knees, and get a better view and and easier draw of the bow.  I could put the bow on the crate, paddle the kayak backwards, and lay the paddle down when a shot presented.

Suddenly, a couple of Asian carp drifted by on my left.  I shot one right through the head. I used the fishwhacker to make sure he didn't recover.  I knew there were a lot of fish around a culvert that drains the refuge, so I waited there a bit.  I shot a common carp (I think) but it got off before I could pull the arrow back in.  I paddled all the way down to Route B, but before I got there I spotted a common carp rooting around the bank.  I set up the perfect drift, drew my bow and took the shot when I reached the right distance.  I drilled him through the side and, man, he fought hard.  When I got him to the side of the boat I gaffed him, which was fortunate because the arrow pulled out at the same time.  He measured 23 inches, which is a decent size.  I had been having trouble with common carp, as their thick scales were preventing my arrow from penetrating very far and I hadn't been able to land one.  I had modified the current arrow by cutting down the barbs.  I think it did help.  The best part was that I had turned on my video camera (mounted to the bow) before the shot, and this was the first time I was able to capture the entire sequence.

I shot no more on the way back down the creek, presumably because the fish were fairly spooked.  I could have shot a lot more gar, but they are among few natives in this group.  I turned up the Fenway canal and paddled down it awhile, but didn't see much.  I turned around at the fence indicating the end of the Army Corps property. I hadn't gone far when I spotted a big-scaled fish rooting around the bank.  By this time my knees were killing me, so I was sitting in the kayak in the conventional fashion. I hit the fish and it exploded out of the water.  I think it was a buffalo, but it got off the arrow so I was unable to examine it.  I'll check the video for confirmation. At one point, a frog jumped off the bank next to me.  That reminded me that bullfrogs were in season, and archery is a legal means to take them.  Not much later I spotted a frog on the bank.  It didn't look that big, but I was very close so I decided to shoot.  It was sitting on rocks and I didn't want to break my arrow so I shortened my draw a bit.  I hit it dead center, and when it jumped, it looked much bigger.  i got him in the boat and whacked his head.  I put him in the hull to make sure he didn't jump out.  I saw a couple more, but one was too small, and the other got away while I was positioning the kayak.

I took one more trip up the creek but got no more fish.  They were very spooky and I didn't get even a decent look at one, except when the silver carp spooked and jumped out of the water.  One did that right next to me and scared me thoroughly. I paddled back to the launch ramp and went home. I got the frog cleaned, unpacked, got the kayak put away and showered before Savannah came over to visit.  I sauteed the frog legs the next day for lunch.  They were delicious.

July 10
I went out to Lowell's again, but rather than work, we fished.  Things started out a bit slow, then the fish started biting--at least for me.  I ended up catching twenty-something largemouth bass and five crappies.  5 of the bass were lunkers, not the common foot-longers.  The biggest was 17 inches, which makes it about three pounds.  We put the smallest of the bass into the catfish pond to knock down the bluegill population.  I filleted the foot-longers, the crappies and the two bluegill that Lowell had caught.  The lunkers went back into the lake so we can catch them again after they grow bigger.  This was the perfect preliminary to my birthday when...

July 11
We went to St. Louis with the NCCC team.  Our first stop was the Zoo, which hadn't changed much since I was there last, except that the insectarium and the penguin exhibit are now free.  They remodeled the entrance as well, and landscaped it with native plants.  From there we spit into two groups.  Stacey took a couple of them to the art museum, while I took the larger group to the City Museum.  The place defies description, so I suggest you click on the link to learn about it.  It's a dream come true for children, with lots of places to climb around in.  It's all made of recycled stuff and built in an old warehouse.  I didn't expect it to be so neat looking.  There are lots of tile mosaics, carvings and other elements that give it a fantastical look.  I crawled through lots of caves, tubes and cages with people thirty years younger than me.  We met up with the other group at an Imo's pizza (which did not impress me much) then went on to the Gateway Arch.  Stacey and I had been in it recently so we waited outside and swatted mosquitos.  The drive home was uneventful until we got to Hannibal, when it began to rain.  It really got interesting between Palmyra and Taylor, when it poured down so hard that I had to slow down to a crawl just to see the road.  We had three inches in the rain gauge from that one day.

 July 13
We were having a going-away dinner with the NCCC team at the Christian Church. A big storm moved in and we watched it for awhile.  When the wind came up, we went indoors.  Then the rain hit and the electricity went out.  We ate pizza by candle light.  By the time Stacey and I got home, we had power.  Quincy was hit really hard, with trees down all over and a lot of houses and cars squished.  QU was closed for a few days and lots of people had no electricity for a long time.  It was a mess.  I spent the next several days cutting firewood from downed trees. It was a good workout.  I got Racin to help me one day.  Geez, we almost died from the heat.

July 23 Bowfishing
I took the kayak out for a bowfishing experiment.  The fields were dry, but the canals were full, so I headed up the Fenway canal.  I shot a bullfrog right away, and was happy with that, but I didn't see a shootable fish for quite a way.  After that they became abundant, however.  The common carp were lolling in the shallows.  The Asian carp were suspended in the center of the canal.  Though the water was murky, their white lips and eyes made pale, ghostly faces as they hung near the surface, constantly pumping water into their mouths and out their gills.  These made easy targets, as I was able to glide in very close to them.  I ended up with 14 Asian carp, 3 common carp and two bullfrogs.  At the end a bunch of silver carp were jumping near the bridge.  I tried to shoot them, but it's really hard.  There is so little time to draw and aim before they disappear below the surface.  I got some good video though, as they jumped over and even into my boat. I had to wash the kayak thoroughly to get all the blood and slime off.

July 24 Friday
I met Racin at the Quincy airport that night to pick up his Mom and Dad, my brother Mike and sister-in-law Cindy.  So began the week of adventure.

July 25 Saturday
We went to Hannibal for a Luau to benefit Stacey's agency.  Savannah and Racin came with us.  There was a whole, roasted pig, and it did taste good.  There was live music, and we danced to the classic rock. Savannah won hula hoop contest by a large margin and won a pencil. I entered the limbo contest but didn't make it far.  It was a fun night.

July 26 Sunday
Mike, Cindy and Racin went to see his room and stuff.

July 27 Monday
We went to Nauvoo to see all the tourist attractions, which I'd never done.  We liked the blacksmith best.  We all got a ring made from a horseshoe nail.  We also saw the tinsmith shop and the Browning Museum.

July 28 Tuesday
Quincy, Went to see the Kroc Center with Racin.

July 29 Wed
Mike did S10 maintenance,  then we worked on the Honda CT-70.

July 30 Thursday
We went to Hannibal, saw the lighthouse, Molly Brown and Mark Twain museums, and Lover's Leap. Went BBQ dinner.

July 31 Friday
We had breakfast for lunch at the 18 Wheeler, then to the airport to send them off.

Photos below.