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Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Week as an Outdoor Writer (Blog 248)

I have truly enjoyed my 32-year career as an outdoor writer-photographer, but this week, though it went reasonably well, showed how stressful this job can be.  Monday, I went to Moncove Lake State Park and Greenbrier State Forest in West Virginia to do a story.  Tuesday, I float fished the Greenbrier River for a story, then headed for Roanoke County, Virginia to do a story on the comeback of the American chestnut. Wednesday, I headed back to West Virginia for another article, then home to Virginia to work on another one.

Thursday, I finished a story and started another one, and Friday I only worked for about an hour.  Then I surprised Elaine with taking her out to a movie, dinner, then to an ice cream parlor.  I felt like I had neglected her all week.

Today, Saturday, it is off to a book signing and seminars from 9 to 5.  Monday, I hopefully will interview someone to finish another story.  I am thankful for all the work, but things have been very hectic lately.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Raspberries are Ripe (Blog 247)

I relish my time outside whether it is fishing, hunting, or, this time of year, when the wild berry season begins.  This morning, I picked a quart of wild raspberries, stopping at five patches along a two-mile route of rural road in Botetourt County, Virginia.
There is a pleasing rhythm of the berry season, which starts with raspberries in June, blackberries, dewberries and wineberries in July, summer grapes in late August or early September, then with cherries and hackberries coming in later that month.

Paw paws are ripe in late September or early October, then persimmons are the last to ripen, doing so sometime in late October or early to mid November.  There have been years, like last year, when Elaine and I picked persimmons in December for bread and cookies. Tomorrow, I am going to see if I can prevail upon my wife to make raspberry muffins.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Celebrating Our 37th Anniversary: Babysitting the Grandkids (Blog 246)

Last night, Elaine and I babysat our two grandsons, Sam and Eli, at our daughter Sarah's and her husband David's house.  It was their ninth anniversary and our 37th one. After dinner, my evening was spent playing toy trains (three-year-old Sam is a fan of Thomas and his friends) and putting together a puzzle of a very happy chimp.  Elaine entertained one-year-old Eli who was crawling about.

Then it was time to brush Sam's teeth and prepare him for bed.  First it was designated "Sam Time," which he decided would be spent putting together Mr. Potato Head, then it was time for stories, which was another saga of Thomas and his train adventures.

When David and Sarah arrived home, I remarked that Elaine and I met 41 years ago this week at Camp Easter Seal where we were both employees at the summer camp, and here we were all these years later babysitting our grandchildren on our anniversary.  And David quipped, "That would not have been a great pickup line. 'Go out with me, and 41 years later we'll be babysitting our grandchildren on our anniversary.'"

It's true that such a line probably would not have impressed Elaine, but she has made my life wonderful.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Trout Fishing in Virginia's Mountains (Blog 245)

Saturday, I spent most of the morning fly fishing for wild trout on a Virginia mountain stream.  I caught one brown and a sole rainbow, but that was not the most interesting part of my morning in the outdoors.  Just being outside and knowing that I had the opportunity to go after a wild creature that is difficult to catch was, and always is, a fascinating adventure.

There's no question that float fishing smallmouth rivers is my favorite angling activity, but going after wild trout is a strong second.  The similarities between the two pastimes are noteworthy, as both demand that anglers understand how the two game fish relate to current and cover.

The only thing that could have been better is if Elaine had gone with me.  I  hope she will some summer day soon.