Monday, January 25, 2016
The world lost a great sportsman this past weekend. Gerald Mills, my father's brother and my eldest uncle, passed away after 85 big years
Father, husband, war veteran, grandfather...so many other titles to list, but I knew him best as Uncle Jerry.
The oldest brother in my father's siblings, he was directly responsible for my passion for the outdoors. If it wasnt for him dragging his kid brother along with him deer hunting and salmon fishing, OMR would have never had the foundation to give to me.
All the stories that made up the outdoor theater of bedtime as a young boy, tales of deer hunting in Eastern Oregon. Fishing off Mills's rock on the Kalama, so on and so on. They all had the reoccurring theme, Jerry was there to take my dad along and in turn light his outdoor fire. To my grandfather, hunting and fishing was a take it or leave it proposition. For Jerry it was a passion.
For me Uncle Jerry was such a welcome sight when our side of the family made it to Portland. To know he wont be there when we go back is a tough pillow to swallow.
But the good thing is that his spirit lives on, every time we go outside to hunt or fish
Thanks Uncle Jer...
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Holy shit, they're back.
I cant believe its been 10 years when the ragtag crew rolled into town and blew our collective minds with the inaugural Fly Fishing Film Tour. I sat there in the theater with my mouth agape, attitude growing worse by the second because OMR and my buddies were headed to Belize to do the very thing I was watching on the screen.
The next day when they left I fished the Spokane in 20 degree weather. Let's say it wasn't the same experience they had.
This year's lineup looks interesting. This is the film that's piqued my interest the most. It's about Steelhead, shocker right?
Here's the hot tip. Dont show up to the Bing Crosby Theater on the night of the show and expect there to be a mass amount of tickets available. This event tends to sell out
Pick up your tickets at The Silver Bow Fly Shop, Swedes, Castaway Fly Shop and Northwest Outfitters. A trip to your local fly shop never hurt anyone. You know you need more flashabou and size 2 Owner SSW stinger hooks. Duh.
Get more info on the full tour and when it's coming to your town at the Film Tour's interwebz site.
See you February 2nd!
Monday, January 18, 2016
The dogs worked the cover, but the hours were draining away. It wasn't looking likely
I can still remember my first pheasant when I was 13 years old. From then to now, it's been an unbroken line of at least one successful hunt a year.
21 years completed, the 22nd year was hanging in the balance.
Normally streaks and records are for the birds and only serve to measure the ego but for some reason, it meant a lot for me. My first pheasant was my first big outdoor accomplishment, I loved pheasant hunting more than anything before steelhead came along.
The only other day this season was a fruitless endeavor with nary a shot fired. Birds scattered into the air as we pulled up to our spots, wild as wild can get. This does nothing to also mention the bird numbers were low after a brutal summer drought.
But the streak was given a last shot reprieve on the last day of the season.
Working through the last bit of cover on the last piece of ground we had access to, the dogs snapped into gear. The scent drove them to a new speed, nose to the ground....checking every piece of dirt because a pheasant was near. Their noses said so, so it must be.
Both dogs dove into a particular clump of grass and the bird thundered away.
The first shot was a complete wiff. It's amazing how time slows and you can adjust between shots.
The second shot hit the mark.
The streak continues.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Nope, blogging isnt dead. You just have to find great content
I'll admit it, there's been a couple of times over the past year that I've really been bummed out as some of my favorite outdoor blogs have gone the way of the wooly mammoth.
Buster's Wants To Fish. Dead. So many others, withering at the vine without posts for months and months.
Writing this stuff, I begin to wonder. Why are these great creative and well written blogs dead or dying?
The truth is.....some are gone, but many others step up with amazing content to fill the void. Running a blog can be a time consuming proposition, and there can be a finite life cycle to any project on the intewebz. Life changes, evolves and moves on. Great sites come up daily to fill the void.
You just have to find them.
Case in point, if you're about fly fishing, upland and waterfowl hunting, mountain biking and a lot more, go check out THIS LONG HAUL. This project is founded by two buddies who have their own style and voice, which brings great diversity to the content. The photography is excellent as well
Couple other great blogs that I have recently found and love....
Dawn Patrol -- This dude's got soul. Connectivity to the land and his family and the ever present wanderlust to find out what's in the next run around the bend
Illcentrifugal- Photography that makes me think and laugh all the time. So much is captured in just a photo, they do truly represent a thousand words.
Stalking the Seam- Bursting with content, 2 guys that are extremely on point with consistent writing that I love. The guys are family men just like me, balancing their passions for the outdoors
The point is, the content is there. If you find one you love, spread the word about it. We who write these blogs can say its only about a creative outlet, but it's awesome to know when people like what you put out there.
Blogging isn't dead folks. The content is there, go find it.
Monday, January 4, 2016
Firewood man, firewood. It's all about firewood.
I'll come back to that in a minute.
Recently I was given the opportunity to dive into Dylan Tomine's book, Closer To The Ground. The book centers around the yearly cycle of what the land, rivers and sea give to us to sustain us throughout our time here. Tomine and his family do their best to be in tune with the seasons and the bounty each one brings. It's a lesson that we as a American culture struggle with when you can get avocados and strawberries in January and a steak is down isle three wrapped neatly in cellophane
What do you mean you dont have this (insert out of season fruit or vegetable)?
Appreciation for what is available is completely lost on us when you can have anything at any time. Tomine's stories and lessons take you from January to December. Winter razor clam digs, the holy grail of spring chinook on the Columbia River, to setting a garden, pulling crab pots and being on point to when the wave of salmon hit the coast.
Then there's the ever present search for grade A top quality firewood.
This really hit home for me because the house I grew up in and still to this day our lake cabin were and are heated by wood. Finding that buckskin tamarack was like finding standing gold, and then the labor thereafter was so much fun as a kid and so necessary for my father to take pride in.
Tomine spends a solid amount of this book talking about firewood procurement. The process of finding, cutting, stacking and drying is just that, a process. You cant flip a switch on a wood stove and get continual, even heat for as long as you want. To heat your home with wood, you have to be prepared, months in advance. You have to be ready to capitalize on windfall and get it stacked before some one else does. The stress of an ever dwindling woodpile in the face of 6 more weeks of winter is a real thing that most dont experience, and there is a razor's edge truth to it.
Beyond that, you can feel his kids joy in finding the "showings" of clams on a windswept beach and the subsequent feast the family has just hours later. Along with the stories, there are family recipes in this book that take the bounty of the land and helps you create amazing dishes to serve to your family and connect over.
It's the same joy I get from catching a fish and then taking it to the dinner table....then watching my kids and wife enjoy it. Providing brings me pride, and knowing at least where a small percentage of my food comes from is of the highest importance to me.
There are so many great lessons and stories in this book that I highly encourage you to pick up a copy and share experiences like these in this book with your family.
Did I mention I love this book?
Pick up a copy of Closer To The Ground HERE through the publisher, Patagonia.
Lets hope that a resolution you can take into 2016 is to do just that, live closer to the ground.