Monday, April 25, 2011

Turkey Hunting

Today, Monday, was opening day of the spring 2011 turkey season.  Jeff Thuss and I were up and at it bright and early by 5:00am and out to one of the finest piece of property I have ever been to.  Forbes' Field.  It is south of Goderich and situated on Porter's Hill Road just past Kitchigami side road.  It rarely disappoints.

So we got set up with three hen decoys about 20 yards in front of us.  Jeff and I sat together.  He brought the gun, I brought the callers.  It was pitch dark when we walked into our area and a turkey immediately flew out of a tree as we walked in.  I wasn't too concerned as this almost always happens to us at Forbes'.  It used to scare the crap out of me infact....  But now it is expected.  It was 5:20am or so.

By 5:50 the first gobbles start.  Nothing sounded too close, but they were coming from nearly all of our compass rose positions.  I was half expecting to start hearing them take off from their roosting trees, but I didn't.  I didn't started calling yet.  I didn't want to sound too desparate.


By 6:20am the gobbles still weren't appearing to sound closer, however they continued in frequency.  So I start up the Raspy Ole'Hen (R.O.H.) diaphram caller and get into the game.  I switched back and forth for the next 30 minutes calling with the R.O.H., and a spring loaded box caller.  If anything, the gobbles were sounding further and further away.  Dam.  It was time to up the ante.

Just before 7:00am I got way more aggressive with the calling, hence up-ing the sexual tension.  Somewhat similar to a lonely, middle-aged cougar at a fraternity rush perhaps....  I don't know.  Low and behold, the return gobbles started to get significantly closer, and closer and closer.  This continued for 10 more minutes until the Tom circled us in the blind, and approached the decoys from the rear - What an animal!  We still haven't seen it yet, but we heard it loud and clear.

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This is where it got pretty awesome....  The Tom was only about 20 yards from us.  It was struting, puffing up its tail feathers, scratching the ground and gobbling its vocal chords off, but Jeff and I were in such a position that we scarcely saw this going on.  We just saw bits of it.... This continued for about 5 minutes and it seemed like the Tom was getting quite annoyed that the hens paid it no mind. 

However, it finally worked up the nerve and approached the awaiting beauties - with regrettable consequences though.  Jeff had a bead on its head.  It made its last fatefull step.


This bird was much bigger then the two I shot last year.  The beard was everything of 7 inches long and the spurs were just under 2 inches.  It had to have weighed 20 plus pounds.  And this was but one of many, many that are out in this fantastic field.  Way to go Jeff!

By 7:20am, opening morning we were done.  We had two tags, both in my name, but one is only allowed to use one tag per day.  I owed Jeff a tag from last year....  That is why he was designated shooter today.  And good on him.  This is his fourth year turkey hunting and his first bird.  Hunting isn't shooting....  I was out with him 4 years ago and he took a good crack at a turkey on his first ever day out.  He missed the turkey, and hasn't pulled the trigger since.  There are a good deal of them out there, but you have to be patient, quiet, still, and lucky even to harvest one. 


All in all it is so great to be in the bush and listening, watching and being apart of nature....  Getting the turkey is icing on the cake.  The real joy is being in the fresh air and spendng time with no worries and no cares.  Usually I take a book to read with me or a pencil and notepad to write.  But today I didn't even have the time to do eiter.  Oh well.  The season goes on for another month and I still have a tag to fill if I get the opportunity.  Hopefully I will.

Monday, April 18, 2011

DNF in Boston

I'll cut to the chase - Ran until 22 miles and dropped out.  The hotel was only 800m away.  The decission was easy.  My legs were becoming shot.  I walked about a half of a mile to get to the 22nd mile, and called it a day.  Some slight-ish regets maybe, but nothing that will haunt me of course.

So it all started good.  I was about 2:30 by the time I made it to the starting line. (Beaser was across the starting line in about 10 secs.)  I started my watch in a sea of salmon it seemed.  I was clicking off mid-6:00 miles without any issues and caught Beaser at exactly 6km.  My knee was still a bit tight, but no real issues.  We were constantly in groups and pods of runners. On my watch we hit the half in about 1:24, so Beaser was 1:26 or so.

There is just soooo many things to write about.  Mostly the throngs of people are notable here.  Spectators, that is.  Nary was there a section without people cheering and being jovial.  500,000 folks supposively line the course.  But all was going great through the half and I felt like aces.

Slowly fatigue in the legs was setting in deeper and deeper.  I knew I was going to have some problems, but figured anything past 20 would be just an easy finish.  That wasn't the case.  I tried to start back running just before the 22nd mile, but it was a hobble.  I did the math in my head and thought it could easily take me 45 mins to do the last 4 miles.  It was just going that poorly - so yes, I packed it in.

Beaser did great.  He finished in 2:53 and soldiered on through his aches and pains like a seasoned vet.  So all of the credit goes to him, and to everyone else who finished despite sore this and sore that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In Boston

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Boston juggling talent!

I got to Boston on Friday with ease.  I took the MegaBus for $19 from NYC-BOS.  Great price, on time, and good service.  The bus was a double decker highway cruiser.  It had internet access the whole way too.  The trip was a bit over 4 hours....   I had to take a few changes here and there on Boston's "T" public transit, but got out to the hotel with relative ease.  Beaser was here waiting for me.  Let another adventure begin.


To cut to the case and the important details, I am going to be running in the Marathon on Monday.  I snagged an entry bib from a very injured Rob from London.  He came with his buddies, but running will not be an option for him.  I have taken the computerized tracking chip out of the bib.  Rob/me, will not have an "official" time at the finish, nor will I be tracked throughout the race because I don't have this computer chip.  But I plan on starting and finishing with everyone else.  The race is in 12 hours from now, me typing.  I am not too worried or concered.  I will run with the Beaser and finish within 3 hours.  Hopefully.

Boston really is manic this weekend.  10s of thousands of people are about the town purposely for the race.  Plus there were two playoff Bruins games, and the Jays are in town too. 

Beaser and I have milled about the expo, and soldiered on a downtown tour as much as possible, but the weather hasn't been that great the past few days.  So we've hit some pubs and sampled the beer and local cuisine.  Nothing epic, but good.  The weather is supposed to be fantastic for the race however.

Boston is a very old city.  There are far less buildings of size as compared to NYC, but it has some unique things that NYC doesn't have.  The most neat thing is the old cemetries throughout the downtown area.  Some of the more odd headstones have really peculiar carvings representing life and death on them.  I was forever reminded and thinking about the novel titled The Given Day as I walked around.  I was thinking about how Denis Lehane described life in the city and its uniqeness post world war one.

So I know I will be a bit beat up and hurting as I write my next post, and there will be no official account of my participation in the race, but I suppose I might as well run while I am here.  It has me thinking of Guffer a bit.  He once told me he has two hole-in-ones while golfing; one of them was in London and he snuck on the course after about the third and aced a hole with no witnesses, and the other was out at Holmesville,again with no witnesses except the dog.  So can I say I have ever run the Boston Marathon?  The answer will be yes, but......

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A New York Minute

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And this video is not even the weirdest thing I saw - I saw feller walking around the streets with two white rats on his shoulder....

I have learned a lot, like I noted....  I know what a New York minute means = A very quick unit of measurement, specifically time.  Something that happens very quickly.  I guess it is mostly an idiom.  But time does certainly fly here because in about 12 hours I'll be on the road again.  Up to Boston.

What other stories can I write about.

My companions left this morning.  We all went to Grand Central, bought them 3 one way tickets north to White Pains on the Harlem line, and they were off.  Poor Barry still didn't have east or west or north or south figured out.  It was a good thing I did.  Barry could find a puff-ball in September back in the 200 acres of Peirson's bush, but he never quite got the streets and avenues figured out of Gotham.  I go in and out of phases of having poor, to a very poor sense of direction.  Although I feel as if I am getting around NYC as easily as Stuart Little did. 

Today I went for my first run.  My knee has been absolutely killing me.  It has just been stiff and achy since last Thursday.  But today I said the hell with it and hobbled 6 miles I figure.  I ran from Grand Central, a mini loop of Central Park up to the Jackie Kennedy Lake, and back to the hotel on 33rd.  I had a grin on my face in some regards because I was soooo happy to be running, but a grimmace too because of the pain.  The plan was going to be to jump into Boston at mile 16 and run 8 in with the Beaser, but I am just so sore.  Sorry buddy.

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Back to the four headless horsemen of the apocalypes....  Barry, Bill, Ambrose and I hit a great bar on Tuesday after for, well, I guess it was 4 pitchers.  A hole called Ruby's or Rudy's.  It was the first bar opened after prohibition. One of the oldest in the city. $7 pitchers and free hotdogs.  It was dark inside and the seats where recovered in duct-tape.  Health and safety inspections are not a priority at this place I doubt.  Oh well.  We had a great time.


On Tuesday we also toured on the City Sights bus and did the Uptown loop.  We passed Columbia University, may famous residential apartments (The Dakota which was where John Lennon was killed), Harlem (east side and west side), and the extremely posh Central Park west residential area.  At night we did the Brooklyn city lights tour, but it was cold and rainy.  Again, there is just too many things of note to mention.

Today, Wednesday, I took a long walk after the run down to the financial district.  I walked Bleeker and Canal streets which were fun.  Washington square was alive with people as the weather was warm and sunny.  I was back to The Battery and took the ferry over to Staten Island to set foot on its expanse.  Another 6 miles of walking I would say.  I took the subway back to the hotel though.  Now, it is just poaching some free internent and loitering in a Starbucks updating the blog and putting out some other flames.

So yes, next post will be from Boston and some thoughts on it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NYC

I can't even begin to remember and type about all of the awesome stuff during the past 72 hours.  NYC is fantastic.  The key, right off the bat, was paying for the $87 3 day, nearly unlimited tour of the city.  The best part about it, or one of the best, is the fact that it is narrated by highly energetic and knowledgable people.  The folks just know oodles, and oodles of informative information. We've bussed the entire Manhattan area which is about 22 square miles and took the harbour tour for 90 minutes.  So on the third day we can back-track and concentrate on key parts of the city.  I have no idea where I'll start on Wednesday.  It is ALL terrific.  5 days wouldn't even do this place justice.


On Monday we concentrated in lower Manhattan which is China Town, SOHO, Wall Street, Battery Park, WTC area, and a few others.  The day started cool, but by mid afternoon it was a great 18 degrees and sunny!  We also went up the Empire State Building.  Too many things to mention. 


The city is fantastically clean.  Tulips are all potted and in bloom throughout the city and the trees are in bud throughout Central Park.  The city is also very reasonably priced in terms of beer and food.  We are eating and drinking just above being "cheap".....  The hotel is in am ideal location directly across from Madison Square Gardens.....  It is old.  But no complaints from this vagabond.


My travel partners are keen and enthusiastic.  Their seniority in age is of no handicap whatsoever.  They walk about and find adventure like a youth half of their ages.  We are getting on without any issues.


Today, Tuesday, wasn't a great weather day as it rained quite steadily from 11:30 until 3:00 or so.  It was also only 50 degrees farenheight.  However we were in a roofed double-decker bus for much of that time, and James, the orator, had us ingrossed with probably only one tenth of what he knew about Uptown - Central Park and north there of.  Unbelievable.


So this posting could go on and on - But one really needs to visit NYC for themselves and suss out the action for themselves.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On The Road

In Niagara Falls.


I am on the road to New York City with Barry, Bill, and Ambrose.  We got as far as Nigara Falls today.  200 km.  Oh well.  It was a good enough start.  We'll be in the Big Apple by dinner time on Sunday.


Niagara Falls was really busy today.  Since it was about 14 degrees centigrade, it was probably the first real nice day of 2011 and it brought the folks out.  We are at a downtown hotel and walked over to the two sets of falls.  You know, after 5 seconds of looking at them, nothing much changes.  Each 5 second, or 1 second interval for that matter, is the same as the next.  That is the thing with Niagara Falls.  Oh well.

We hit the Casino.  I walked out with the exact same amount I walked in with.  But since I didn't bet anything, that stands to reason.  Ambrose was the big winner of $30, so he bought a picture of beer with dinner.  By ten o'clock we were back in our suite, watched some hockey, and ready for bed.....  Oh well.


So a funny thing happened yesterday.  It was stupid actually, not funny.  I had my truck up on the ramps to do an oil change.  I just got the truck in October.  I had an oil change done out in Trail, BC before driving home and it was time for another one.  So it was the first time I was under it.  It is only an oil change.....

So I get gawking around and I see a pan and the nut.  It was far enough back though, but I didn't know any better.  I take off the nut and place my oil pan, and red fluid, not dirty brown oil comes a gushing out.  Transmission fluid.....  The oil pan and its nut is tucked in under a skid plate on the bottom of the engine hidded away.  Oh well - I finished my oil change properly, walked over to Drew Anderson's, and sorted out my problem.  I had to get 4L of transmission fluid, put it in, and was driving away like a professional mechanic, though a bit humbled by my stupid error.

So yes, lots going on.  It is off to NYC, then to Boston and I'll meet up with Beaser on Friday.  We'll stay in Boston until Tuesday, Beaser will race on Monday, and then make our way home.  Lots of pictures and stories to come.

My redneck belt I had to make the other day out working with a bungee cord!

  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dan Kahn

I don't have an email address from you.  But I found this picture from 2001 or 2002!  Send me a quick shout when you have a minute:  drmacaulay@hotmail.com


Play Day With Acadia

Rich & Terresa were in a bit of a bind, so uncle awesome was called in for duty.  I headed down to Guelph on Monday night, and on Tuesday morning I was back in action.  Acadia is pretty easy to manage, so it was much of a hassle at all.


So we had to decide what to do.  The Guelph Rec Complex is only about 1 mile away and it houses a library, swimming pool and an ice rink.  Acadia really wanted to play some hockey, so I thought that would be an all right activity for 45 minutes or so.  Then a swim and over to the library.  I called the complex though and they were taking the ice out for the summer, so that plan was nixed.  We could still hit the pool for a swim, but I asked Acadia and she thought about hitting Bingeman's in Kitchener to have a go at the indoor playground.  So it was off to Kitchener.


It is quite the spectacle, this Bingeman's Fun Workx.  There was a climbing wall, arcade, and ropes course, but we just concentrated on the Jungle gym apparatus.  It had slides, a ball area, compressed air stuff and othe similar kid-friendly play things.  Mostly Acadia jumped and slid around by herself very happily, and I joined in for a bit of fun too.  Why not.  When in Rome you know.


So some pretty big travel news and I can't wait to get on the trip and post some pictures and stories.  I am off to New York City on Saturday until Thursday, then taking the bus up to Boston to meet up with Beaser and help him out with the marathon.  I'll be on the road from April 9th to the 21st or so.  It should be notable enough!  I am looking forward to it.