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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trying for smallmouth bass

Like last year, the first part of summer has been wet and river levels correspondingly high.  Nevertheless, although the upper Potomac has been low enough to wade my favorite spots for a week or so, I hadn't gotten up there until today when I drove to Nolands Ferry.

It was good to be catching large bluegills in the morning because I hadn't seen any that big for a while in those waters.  They put quite a bend in the seven weight fly rod, and I would have been satisfied with that although I was really looking for smallmouths.  When eating lunch on a gravel bar, I noticed some surface activity and paddled a little further upriver where I put on a surface slider which had not been effective earlier.

 Bingo, I got a hit and when it immediately jumped I knew it was a smallmouth.  It turned out to be a typical Potomac bass, about foot long and healthy-looking and feisty.   While floating back to the ramp I spotted some larger ones which I'll remember for the next visit.  Water level was 1.5 at Point of Rocks.

My updated list of species caught this year is as follows:

Blue catfish
Striped bass
Brown trout
Rainbow trout
Largemouth bass
Hickory shad
Smallmouth bass

Friday, July 25, 2014

My view from the canoe

But it's a nice one.  What Pam looked like to me while canoeing today at Triadelphia Lake.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mid/Early Summer

From front porch:

Side yard:

Back yard:

Faulkner and Race Relations

Like many readers, I don't find William Faulkner's novels easy-going.  The pace is slow, the sentences long, and the action tends to meander along.  However, during the spring semester at the University of Maryland,  I sat in one day on an English course that featured a student presentation on his last novel, The Reivers, and decided to read it.  I enjoyed the book very much, and it caused me to think about Faulkner's attitude about race.

In general William Faulkner was a white southerner of his time.  In the three or four of his novels I've read, African-American characters appear often, but they tend to behave in accordance with the accepted mores of the Deep South in the first half of the 20th century.  I don't believe Faulkner ever politically challenged these practices, but I do think he saw black Mississippians as individuals. 

In The Reivers, Faulkner portrayed his black characters as he does his white characters in that some were smart, others not, some were honest while others deceitful, and some were kind, and others less so.  One character in particular, Ned, is generally the smartest guy in the room in his scenes although he is generally careful in showing off his intelligence around whites.  The most despicable characters are white, and they often display their meanness and dishonesty in their interactions with the black characters.  In these choices he made about characters and action, I believe Faulkner was communicating something about his attitude about black people.  At the time The Reivers was published in 1962, the first signs of change regarding race relations in America were taking place.  The Montgomery Bus Boycott was six years earlier, and the Greensboro sit-ins began two years earlier.  Faulkner had to have been conscious of these occurrences and how they would effect what was sometimes called the southern way of life.

The Reivers is primarily a coming-of-age story, and the main character, an 11 year-old boy, at one point reflects on his growing anger as he becomes aware of how people act in the world.  Among the targets of this anger are "white people behaving exactly as white people bragged that only Negroes behaved."  Since Faulkner died the year The Reivers was published, I choose to think that at the end of his life this is what Faulkner thought.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Today I smoked the fish that were caught yesterday.

Also noticed that Buzz's Marina posted a picture of the entire group, so I may as well include it here to include my sun-burned mug.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Today's fishing partners

Col. Ski seated on the right, and his old friend Derek in the orange shirt on the left.  Our mutual friend Greg in the middle and Capt. Pete at the helm with his back to the camera.

Ski and Derek with some of the many bluefish we caught today.  I caught  the fewest, but someone had to have that dubious distinction.  I had a good time anyway and had fresh bluefish for dinner tonight.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Visiting an ailing friend

Yesterday I visited a friend who recently transferred from a hospital to a nursing home until he is ready for a major operation.  The friend is exactly my age, and I have been musing that such visits to others, or others' visits to me, will become increasingly common as I grow older.  We're at that stage.

Monday, June 30, 2014

There's never a sure thing in fishing...

Two recent trips I've taken with people with extensive local knowledge illustrate this.

Yesterday, friend Lou and I went with Capt. Mike to Mattawoman Creek off the Potomac, a strikingly beautiful area 20 miles downriver from DC.  Capt. Mike is a great guide who seems to know every inch of these fishing grounds, and yet all our efforts produced only one small largemouth bass.  That's the way it is sometimes.

A few weeks before, I met another friend, Greg, at 5:30 am in the parking lot of his boat's marina.  He pulled his truck next to me, lowered the window and told me that a storm was heading to our location on the Chesapeake.  Like Capt. Mike, he knows his area well and times his trips for just the right tide and wind conditions.  We waited out the storm at the marina and at his home a few blocks away, but when the storm passed and the sun came out a few hours later all the conditions were wrong.  Nevertheless, we tried, and, as we anticipated, we caught nothing.  Still, we had a nice time watching the rain and lightning at the marina, putting together a piece of furniture he recently bought for his video system, and then having lunch at his favorite neighborhood pub.

Thanks to Lou for the above picture on Capt. Mike's boat.  That's a good angle for me even though there appears to be metal handlebars growing out of my head. (Actually it's part of the front casting platform.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

The House in Gormania

Pam's grandfather was living in this house when I first visited it about 35 years ago.  The house is located in a small West Virginia town and has stayed in the family with  sister-in-law Kathy and her husband Bernie currently owning it.

When I first entered the house, I was struck by the hand painted artwork of Disney cartoon characters on the dining room wall because I had seen a similar scene long ago.  In the 1950's my Uncle Steve and his family lived in an old house on the outskirts of a tiny town in Upstate New York, and the kitchen wall also contained pictures from the Disney cartoon feature, Bambi

My guess is that these paintings were done in the 1940's because the movie was released in 1942.  I don't know if an itinerant artist specializing in these paintings roved small town America in those years, or if kits were sold providing instructions for home-owners to paint them themselves.  To me the pictures have always symbolized a link between my family and my wife's.

Friday, June 13, 2014

South River Boat Ride

Neighbors Paul and Marianne like to water ski which I've done only a couple of times in my life and not in 50 years, but I enjoyed the boat ride and watching them.

To make certain all systems were ok, Paul took the first turn while Marianne drove the boat.

She then went out on the skis.  By this time the skies got dark as a storm moved in.

 When it began to thunder, lightning, and rain, we raced back to the dock and pulled the boat.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Georgetown street scenes

Enough of the flowers.

To me, this worn sign looks like it was originally for a movie theater.  Pam says she doesn't remember one on that side of Wisconsin Avenue.  It seems to me that I do, but I don't trust my memory for things like that.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Japanese Dogwoods

I wasn't satisfied that yesterday's pictures sufficiently brought out the flowering trees in front, so I took another picture this evening.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gardens at the University of Maryland

I don't remember the name of this park, but it may well be my favorite.

As opposed to the above which is a little out of the way, this statue is in the heart of campus:

This shady rock garden is known as Woods Hall Garden:
I'm very fond of the Chapel Garden:


The next three are outside the Rossborough Inn, the oldest building on campus.

This final shot is near the Armory:

...and there are many other gardens on campus.  The landscaping crew does a nice job.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bluegills are spawning

Their circular spawning beds were quite distinct on the west side of the pond on the far side.  I was a little surprised because it's later than usual, but it probably wasn't their first spawn of the season.  Caught a few then decided to leave them alone.

Farmers' Market

From Spring until late Fall, I routinely go to a number.  Last Sunday, it was the Takoma Market Farmers' Market where I bought some sausage for the grill.  Also put some tomatoes and green peppers on the grill that afternoon because I'm interested in cooking more vegetables outdoors.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Night baseball

Considering how much I like the game, I've been to too few baseball games in recent years, but I hope to correct that this season.  Last night I enjoyed watching the Nats beat the Reds.  The food, beer, and being with friends added a lot.

Prior to this game, Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto had been the most effective in MLB.  Here he is warming up in the bullpen before the game:
He pitched well until the 6th inning when the Nats jumped all over him for 7 runs.
The presidents' race is always popular with the fans:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


 Genus Ornithogalum, but I prefer the biblical common name.  Although they don't last long,  I look forward to seeing them pop up each Spring.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The sky and the water

Because multiple lines are used for spring trolling in the Chesapeake, you spend a lot time watching the rods for a strike, and your field of vision includes a lot of sky as well as the water.

Here's Capt. Billy Pipkin assisted by my fiend, Capt. Dave, setting up some of the 16 rigs we used yesterday:

We left the dock at Ingram Bay at 6 AM and immediately headed north up the Bay.

We turned into the Potomac and spent most of day opposite Georges Island on the Maryland shore.  We returned to the dock 8 hours later having caught our limit: 

Seven fishermen and seven good fish.