So, how's your spring?

Howard Caplan

Wooden Canoe Maniac
Temps have a stabilized a bit and I am getting more sure that I can stash the snowblower and bring out the lawn mower.
I am ready to varnish on last year's built canoe as I have taken weight off by greatly reducing the thickness on those seats and the one thwart but, temps are still dipping into the 40's and 30's overnight so I will wait another couple days to varnish.

The grass is green and starting to grow. About to put nectar and jelly and some oranges out for the orioles which should arrive momentarily.

And, the "project" is set aside for the moment as I am sure all will go well once the Penn Yan is stripped and materials are configured and ordered. Shooting for a fall paddle and possible ad for it over winter.

Snow is finally gone from the valley in front of the house. The dogs are enjoying our walks in the woods--- Bertie going nuts over sights and smells of other critters.

Denis has nearly all the shakes up on the front gable of the barn-- I'll post a picture when it's complete. He's only been able to work occasionally, as the weather has permitted.

Work begins tomorrow on building two more dormers on the house and roofing it--- Ice & Water Shield held up for nine years, but is flagging and needs real roofing above it. This job is being done for us, by guys who enjoy romping around in high places.

Hiring Young People from the college to rake... this works out well.

I'm sending in our Assembly registration!

The ice is finally off the lakes up North, I just finished moving all the leaves that were piled in the front yard this weekend, and pulled the boat out of the backyard and put it in the driveway to get it ready to haul North.

Summer is coming - finally.

Spring Has Sprung I -- Dover-Foxcroft

Spring has sprung -- two weekends ago in Dover-Foxcroft, on the Piscataquis River with newly acquired and newly painted Old Town fifty-pounder:

canoe and Maine Central RR bridge
Dover-Foxcroft skyline
local fisherman
another local fisherman
canoe at town ramp


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Srping Has Spring II -- Brooklyn, NY

Spring has spring in Brooklyn -- the past several days in our back yard:

crane's bill geranium
trillium grandiflorum
Virginia bluebells
Jack in the pulpit


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Today is an awful day to waste in an office. Must be 70ish with some floating clouds and lots of sun.

The old pond is coming back into order. I was up north last year for two weeks ending the first week in April. That was when I built the canoe I am now refining. That winter was not the worst we ever had but, we had several days of above freezing and lots of snow. The pond, full of very large koi some of whom spent 15 winters in the pond, froze, melted and froze again, several times. I had a small trough heater in the pond to keep a hole open for gas exchange but, around February, I was fiddling with the heater and melted down below the ice and re-set the heater in there. What I found out when I returned from canoe building class was, there were several layers of ice on the top of the pond and I did not go down far enough when I re-set the heater.
I came home to a recently thawed out pond, my wife in total distress and five dead fish left after she already removed 10. All were gone - all my fault. We were devastated and last summer I did nothing with the hole in the yard.

Mourning is over and the pond will rise again!

Meanwhile, here I sit on the fifth floor of a Milwaukee office building wishing I was home fixing up the pond and varnishing the canoe.

Sorry to hear that, Howard but as you point out, Spring is in full swing and is all about rebirth!

The Koi are dead... long live the new Koi! :)

As for my spring activities, I'll be taking our yard sale-found W/C canoe out to the Skokie lagoons this weekend to make sure it's watertight. If all goes well, I'll be at the 52nd annual Des Plaines River marathon on the 17th.
So sorry about your fish, Howard.

I have a beautiful memory of koi, from many-many years ago, when I was young and dogs roamed freely in neighborhoods.

I was in Japan, because I was married to a man who was in the Air Force and we were stationed there. In May, everything was blooming... and we went sight-seeing. A shrine we visited had a large pond surrounded by cherry trees that were in bloom. The surface of the water was littered with flower petals, and the large, colorful koi would rise to the surface, under the petals... it's an image I haven't forgotten in the eons since.

"Mourning is over and the pond will rise again!"

Or as Hunter S. Thompson said, "The scum also rises".

Thanks you two. Last year, I couldn't even look at the pond. This year I am getting excited about having life in there again.

Kathryn, I envy you for spending some time in Japan and seeing some real, Japanese Koi ponds. One day we will get there and maybe even buy a champion Koi. In spite of my recent experiences in killing, I know I am very good at keeping these fish. My wife says I got too preoccupied with canoe building and left my last hobby dangling dangerously over the precipice. I say, I screwed up royally.

Mmmmmm... the beautiful and tasty Morchella! This is one of the things I miss most living now in south Florida- hunting and eating morels! When we lived in the midewest, like many others, we really loved the hunt (of course even if we didn't find any morels, we could always find some snakes, so the days were good no matter what!). And we miss the eating them just as much as the hunt... mmmmmm.....
A bit 'o SNOW...

Okay... just when we were "thinking spring"...!

The temp is 34 and there's white stuff coming down. Probably won't sit on the ground long, though.

Sharing pictures of a wonderful transformation... the two front-dormers on Denis's house! They add a view of tree-tops and a farmer's field... and the sunrise. There already were dormers on the other side of the house, with views of the sunset. Note the nicely trimmed out gable ends, with red cedar planks defining the shape of the house.

The house originally had the typical peaked roof of a midwestern farmhouse, and was located 30+ miles away. Denis disassembled it and rebuilt with a roofline that provides more headroom. The third floor-- now with four dormers-- is one huge bedroom! It feels like a treehouse. When windows are in, I'll take pictures of the view.



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Were leaving Bokeelia on Pine Island Tuesday, And will be glad to get back in the shop. One nice thing about getting old is salt water fishing and no snow.I have three W/C canoes waiting to be restored when I get home.

An indigo bunting arrived at my bird feeder this morning... :)


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Paul, thanks for the pic.
Yesterday, we had birds. When the Indigo showed up, I knew I wouldn't be able to run in the house, find the camera and get back out before the bird left. We had several Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Orioles and a flock of White Crowned Sparrows, which I had to look up to ID as I've never seen them before. They are common in the west and I think from what the book said, not as common east of the Mississippi. The Gold Finches are everywhere as well as all the normal feeder birds - chicadees, red wings, jays, etc, etc.
Saturday morning I woke up, went to the window and then woke up Amy to see the two Sandhill Cranes walking across the yard.

On the other hand, I thought I got rid of the leak in the pond but I didn't. I'll find it this week and fix.
Hello All
Our spring is getting there'
Lots of snow in the bush yet but going fast
We need a few days yet for the poplar buds to start to open then its time to look for morels,thats the telltale here for them.
Apparently swim season has started ran into this girl having a swim on a recent paddle.Can they ever move too.Should of canted the canoe a tad to capture her the dog and the canoe all in the frame Ah well opportunity lost.


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Nope, no signs of Spring around here... I refuse to go canoeing when the dog's muzzle ices up like this...

Louis Michaud
Rimouski, Quebec

(Truth be told, it's not as bad as it looks)


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This picture isn't as cute as a frosty-faced dog nor as cool as a swimming moose, but the view from our newly-built dormer blows me away!

Note how the grass is greening in the field beyond the trees. And right there, inside that barn, are all our canoes!

Scaffolding is up and Denis is putting cedar shakes on the gable ends of the barn, now that spring is here.

Slowly, but surely...


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