Monday, May 31, 2010

My Idea of a Great Saturday Afternoon

Beaver Creek. Near West Jefferson, NC.

Our family mountain home, built by my father nearly 25 years ago, is a treasure. It was great to go up with my wife and kids and spend time with my mom and brother for a long holiday weekend. The rain didn't bother us too much as the weather did pretty much the opposite of what the weatherman predicted the entire time.

We enjoyed the Farmer's Market, where I bought a few flies to try. The green bead-head wooly bugger is the most dependable. I tried a few others, but this is the one I keep coming back to for dependably catching trout (and any other fish nearby).

The boys swam in the river 2-3 times and we rode the 4-wheeler quite a bit. We had a campfire by the river each night and listened to bluegrass music while I smoked my pipe and enjoyed the new Crown Royal "Black" blend. I was just sad the weekend went by so quickly. It was a great time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Who Says Small Streams Don't Pay Off?

I went to my favorite creek in Ashe County and discovered that it was rain-swollen and not fish-able. So I noticed that another unnamed stream that runs in to the larger creek was only a wee bit mirky and thought to try it out. I had only fished the small stream once about a year ago with nothing to show for it, but I only tried the last 25-yards or so. I decided to walk a couple hundred yards up and see how it went. The field was completely overgrown and it was hard to find a spot to get in the creek with the tall brush and thick briar bushes. I finally found a spot to get in and began what was a nearly 3-hour walk of fun fishing and back breaking movement through the thick overgrowth.

I found two amazing little holes in the little creek that produced seven of the eight Brook Trout that I caught. One of them ran along a huge rock formation and ended into a swell of current where I found several hugging the edges. I was frustrated to catch 4-5 Rock bass (Red-Eye) in the same hole, but they didn't seem to spook the Brook too bad.

Walking down the creek I found myself nearly on hands and knees at times. Fortunately I had thought to bring my 6.5' fly rod rather than the 7.5' one. Even then I found myself fishing at times with the rod disassembled into two pieces while casting with the top portion. That's how tight it was. This stream is not stocked so catching so many Brook in it was even more rewarding. I'm sure they are run off Brook from up stream somewhere, but part of me likes to think they may be 2nd or 3rd generation trout and all native. Their pelvic fins looked good, so maybe they were native after all.

The last Brook and pair of smallmouth I caught were where the stream emptied into the muddied creek. They were hugging the edge of where the two met, so I cast into the muddy water and pulled the fly into the clearer water where they hit it hard right away! Those were three fun fish to catch, and I think there were more, but they probably got spooked by seeing their friends "hauled away."

A Few Smallmouth Took My Flies

This little smallmouth was hugging the edge between one rain-swollen, muddy creek and another that was just a little dingy. He hit fast and hard. I love how smallmouth will always hit air when caught, jumping high out of the water.

I Love Those Fightin' Brook!

This little 11" Brookie and 7-others came from that small, unnamed stream near the mountain house. They were a real treat.

Stacie's Fish

Stacie hasn't caught a fish since she was 11 or 12-years old, she says. So she picked up one of the boy's Spiderman rod with a Joe Fly on it and tried the riverbank in front of the house. This little smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) couldn't resist.  She rocks.

Stacie by the River

We were standing on the bridge that leads to the house. The sun has set, so we enjoyed an early evening stroll by the river.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ashe County Cheese

This big mouse might have been the coolest thing in the store if it weren't for the candy aisle. We sampled some cheese and brought home a few chunks. I picked the sharp cheddar. Wow! It was good!

Where It's All Made

I guess we were expecting a grand tour of an amazing facility, but the whole cheese production is still pretty neat. We stood in a little 12x12 room with a glass partition and watched a couple of guys box some large cheese rolls. Pretty underwhelming, sure, but still the only cheese factory in North Carolina.

Brown Bagging It

In the back alleys of West Jefferson with paper bags of ... candy!  The cheese was delicious, but the candy in the store got their attention, so they burned a little allowance money.

Note to college basketball recruiters: Yes, just-turned-11 and standing 5'9.5" Gabe is a beast.  You had better get the letters in the mail now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

At the Library

At the Ashe County Library in downtown West Jefferson. I'm on the Wi-Fi for a bit while Stacie and the boys are doing a little homeschool for a couple of hours. We didn't want to miss a day of school just because we went to the mountains for a long weekend. The boys are getting a lot done. Well, except for Caden, who is just monkeying around. He read a book or two but got bored quickly. He decided hanging out with this ape for a bit would be a nice way to burn some time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brook Trout on Spiderman Rod

I caught this little Brook trout right in front of the house in the twilight. They are jumping and hitting topwater for bugs. Caught on a (brace yourself) Rebel Crawdad lure with my son's Spiderman rod. Amazing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Caden said he wanted to sing a little for everyone this evening, so I let him get it on video with this old classic.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Random Pic for the Blog

The boys went for a haircut recently with their favorite hair stylist, Mrs. Rita. Ethan bailed at the last minute, though (he felt sick). Gabe and Caden turned out just fine.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blowin' Some Birthday Cash

Stacie took the boys up to Raleigh so that Gabe could spend some of his birthday money (thanks to all family and friends who contributed).  Check him out sporting one of his new Star Wars Lego shirts.  He's big time.  Ethan knows he'll get to play with whatever Gabe brings home.

Lego Store

Caden was having fun, too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Gabe!

The Gabe turned 11 today. He scored some cash and a couple of really cool Lego Star Wars t-shirts like this Good Guys/Bad Guys version.  He'll most likely wear them everywhere.

Happy Birthday Gabe!

This wasn't the first Lego birthday cake one of our kids asked for. (Caden had one in November).  But Gabe loved this one nonetheless.  Oh, it was quite the delicious creation Stacie made up for all of us to enjoy.

Happy Birthday Gabe!

He got them all in one breath. He's a beast!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Busy Work is Good Work

Three weeks in and the "in box" is starting to pile up already.  I may need to stick around a bit this evening and knock some of this down.  As a quick update let me say it is great to be back working in sunny Sanford, NC.  Everyone here is so great to work with.  Everything is going well and I am quickly adjusted back to my role.  Here's to smooth sailing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

On the Road 'Like a Big Boy'

Caden was zooming on the bike this evening.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Number 8

My buddy John and I standing at the tee on the par 3 number 8 at Carolina Trace.

My Activity for the Day

Carolina Trace GC.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A New Cactus. Or Two. Two Cacti?

Ethan heard that my Mom's neighbor had a little green house with a few cacti in it along with a few around her house. So, he asked to go take a peek. He spoke fairly well of his fondness for all things cacti related and she offered him a couple to take home. What a great neighbor! Now he has 9 or 10 of them and we are beginning to need our own little greenhouse. He's our little botanist.

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, Mom-in-Law, and my lovely wife! Three great moms, for sure!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Ethan is enjoying his second plate of all-you-can-slam pancakes and sausage. Cub Scout Pack 942 at St. Luke UMC.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Picking Strawberries

Stacie took the boys to Harrison's Strawberry Farm today to pick a mess of strawberries. They really enjoyed their time working in the fields. Especially when they ate the fruit of their labors.

I have three new employees starting this week, which hopefully means less 12+ hour days at work and more time for family, friends, and hobbies. I went in tonight for a bit (fun for a Friday night!) and the crew seemed to be on task and productive. I'm popping in tomorrow, too, but really just to spend about an hour in the office catching up on payroll and setting next week's schedule.

Our camcorder has died. Well, the touch screen display, at least. I'm not spending $190 to get it fixed when I can spend $300 or so to buy a new one. Six-years of good video it gave us, but now we are looking for a digital video camera. The JVC's are looking good, but I have to determine if I want to fork out the cash for it. I would like for the boys to have some good video of the family and some memories to look upon down the road, so this might be an area that I don't skimp in - too much. We'll see!

More on the Strawberries

Ethan found a pretty big one and enjoyed showing it off for the camera.

Monday, May 3, 2010

This Just In!

When I get a little money I buy pipes and tobacco; and if any is left I buy food and clothes for my family.  (OK, that was ripped off from this Erasmus quote on books. Sorry.)

Two tins of Autumn Evening, a tin of Low Country Santee, and a tin of Nutty Irishman from Smoking the Autumn Evening tonight. Can't wait!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another Shot - Of the Dock

Some dogs go 1". Some are well over 20'.

Carolina Dock Dogs

At the Old Mill out on 42 watching various breeds of dogs fly out in the water. It's a competition held by Carolina Dock Dogs. Boy Scout Troop 942 has been out all day serving BBQ, hot dogs, burgers, etc. to the crowd as a fundraiser. The competiton continues in the morning. Pictured: Gabe and Ethan