Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is Winter Here??

Yesterday the temps were near 80 - summerlike.  It started to rain about 5 this morning with a few snow flakes mixed in.  The high was in the low 40's and in the mountains we got snow.  I pulled the camper up to Island Park to set up a deer hunting camp.
Snow was falling, quaking aspen were quaking with cold and after parking the camper, I went after some firewood for the camp.  Everything was wet, so I got some pitchy standing lodgepole pine wood and stored it under the trailer for next week.  Here are a couple of pictures of the snow storm mixed with fall colors.

As I was coming out of the mountains snow was spitting on me as the sun was setting.  The snow storm reflected the beautiful orange and yellow colors for less than two minutes.  I had to stop and shoot different angles of the clouds.

Another wild day in Idaho.

Remember Whensday #2 - My Maturnal Grandparents.

As a young boy, at times I was asked to stay with my maturnal grand parents John and Clara Miller in their home to help them with their chores.  They were in their 80's and both lived over 90.  They milked cows by hand, raised pigs, chickens, did not have running water in their home and in the winter, I remember the water bucket was frozen in the morning.

Here they are when they were young.

Here they are shortly before Grandad passed away.

Here is a page from my mother's journal of her family.  My mom is the little girl standing between her mother and father.  The other three pictures are of her father, who was a fun loving man.  Mom grew up on the west side of Teton Valley, Idaho in the Cedron area.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall is here

With snow predicted by Wednesday, it is time for the leaves to change and to fall off.  I wish the fall would stay longer with the colorful leaves and the snow would allow the trees to shed their leaves.  I remember when heavy snows come with the leaves still on the aspens, many are broken off because of the heavy snow on the leaves.
Last week I took these pictures of aspens turning in Island Park.

On the desert, the chokecherries are changing with the berries still hanging on.  Does this mean a hard winter?  Does and hard winter mean a lot of snow or just very cold temps with a little snow?

Have a wonderful wild day where ever you are and spend some time outdoors.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Sunrise over Henrys Lake.

The fishing on Henrys Lake is best before the sun rises - but it is usually interupted by the beautiful colors of the sunrise itself.
To enjoy other photos of the sky go to Sky Watch Friday.

Tell Me Thursday. Moose - encounters.

The "Wordless Wednesday" picture was taken near Camas Creek as a bull moose attempted to hide from me in the tall reeds.  He would lay his head on the ground and then would peer at me through the reeds.  He actually blended in very well. 
Below are some pictures of other encounters with moose.  Enjoy.

I encountered this small bull last night as I was scouting for deer and elk.  His body language said "You are close enough.

Here are two bulls I encountered on the desert.

This picture was taken a couple of years ago at Swan Lake early in the morning as the fog was coming off the water.

This picture was taken this summer when a bull moose was being hounded by insects.  He ran into Swan Lake and dove into the water.

And then he laid there with just his head above water.

I believe the most dangerous animal in the outdoors in Idaho is a cow moose with a calf.  I have been chased by them, treed by them, hid in willows from them and got in battles with them.
Just more fun in the wilds in Idaho.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sage Grouse opening day

Saturday was opening day of the sage grouse season, so I traveled out in the Big Desert, north of St. Anthony, to get some material for some stories for my newspaper writing.  I found some unexpected material by some water holes in the desert.  Hundreds of song birds were around one water hole.  Included among the songbirds were Mountain Bluebirds feeding on insects.

White crowned sparrows.

Other sparrows and finches.


As I watched the songbirds, I noticed four chipmunks bouncing through the rocks and drinking out of the water hole.  I caught these two in an intimate kiss.

To write a story about the opening day of sage grouse season, I hiked across the desert to get some pictures of flushing sage grouse.  Here is one of eight I flushed and I caught it sneaking a peek back at me as it flew off.

It was time to leave the desert when this trucks occupants blocked the road and went gunning for birds, leaving their beer on the side of their truck.

Even Wild in Idaho did not have the guts to interview drunk hunters with a gun in their hands.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wind created sunset

This week wind gusts over 60 miles per hour hit the desert around Mud Lake some 25 miles west of Rexburg mixing a lot of dust, smoke and sand in the air.  As the sun set I travelled to Mud Lake to work some pictures of the sunset.  As the sun set, the Sawtooth Mountains in the west caused the light to reflect into a "U" shape. The colors were absolutly stunning.

Just another end to a wild windy day in Idaho.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Skywatch Friday #5

A small funnel cloud near Rexburg.
Join us at Sky Watch Friday for more beautiful pictures.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunday Sunset

Sunday as evening approached, I knew the threatening storm would produce a beautiful sunset.  Winds were near 60 mph, kicking up dust and sand from the newly harvested fields.  I drove west of Rexburg to  Beaver Dick Park and shot these pictures of the sunset. 
Enjoy the wild wind in Idaho.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall is coming

Two things that tell me fall is just around the corner is the long-tailed weasels turning white and the sandhill cranes gathering on the open harvested fields and summer pastures.  Here a weasel hunts for rodents by sneaking down their holes.  If you look closely, you can still see a little of it summer coloring on its forehead.
Here a pair of sandhill cranes fly over me on Henrys Lake Flat last Friday as I went up to deliver fishing flies to several businesses.  I stopped to observe several hundred of them on the flat.
Wishing you all the best in the wilds wherever you care to visit them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Skywatch Friday #4- Blue Creek Reservoir

Located on the Sand Creek Wildlife Management Area, north of St. Anthony, Blue Creek Resevoir is fed by a series of beaver dams.  Below Blue Creek Reservoir are four Sand Creek Reservoirs teeming with stocked and native fish.  With fall coming, the leaves will soon turn and it will be a beautiful golden color.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Remember Whenday #1 Granddad and Grandma Schiess family.

This picture is the only picture I have of my Granddad and Grandma Schiess.  It was taken in 1910 as my dad is in the wagon and was born in 1909.  His father died when he was only six and his mom died when he was 19.  The girls had to climb the ladder to sleep in the attic while the elder boys slept in the grainery located behind the horses.  This farm near Victor, Idaho, was homesteaded by Granddad and Grandma and is still owned by our family.  This was my stomping grounds where I grew up with a fishing rod in one hand and a gun in the other.  I think I explored every foot of the mountains in the background.

Answers to Questions from Comments

As I looked back over comments on my posts, I felt I should clearify a few things and answer some questions.
Some of you noticed that I did have pictures of my cute grandkids on some of my posts.  As a family we decided I would not post pictures of them for safety reasons.  On my article, "Where have all the fathers gone," I realize how important fathers and mothers are to children, especially girls.  I have four of them and our one-on-one time with me has been some of the most memorable times we have spent.  I attended every activity they were involved in while growing up.  I have also been invited into the delivery room of some of them - I declined - that is their husband's job!!!

A question about fly fishing lakes was brought up.  I have guided fly fishermen on lakes for 36 years and have fly fished them for 56 years.  We use a sinking fly line and fish within a foot of the bottom.  This is usually done in water less than 20 feet deep.
On the question, "Do I ever fish with bait?"  Yes, only when forced to.  Grandchildren need to fish and cannot fly fish.  The other time is when I ice fish.  I love to ice fish and use bait all winter long. 
I fish an average of twice each week.  My wife makes me!!!!!  We love to eat fish, but our favorite are the small kokanee salmon that I catch in the winter.  My wife will suggest we need some fish to eat many times during the winter.  That is what I call a magical woman!!!  We are blessed to live in an area where I can be fishing within five minutes of home.  Our home is located next to the Teton River and between the Henrys Fork and the South Fork of the Snake River.  So going fishing for an hour or two is not a large undertaking.  I do fish for "stocked" trout from time to time but prefer the wild ones.
On the question, "Is my header picture a grouse?"  Yes, it is a sage grouse.  Each spring I visit the leks (breeding grounds) of both Sage and Sharp-tailed grouse.  They dance, fight and breed.  Each year I take thousands of pictures of them.  The above picture is a sage grouse displaying for a female.
The above picture is of a Sharp-tailed grouse displaying on a lek to attract females.  Their showing off, dancing and strutting reminds me of men doing the same thing.  As with their human counterparts, the females chose their partners - and sometimes it will be different partners each day.
Have a great day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Henrys Lake - Again

Yesterday way my fishing day of the week.  So off to Henrys Lake I went.  The moon was full and I was on the water, catching fish, before the sun came up.
Just before the sun peeked over the lake, thin clouds shrouded the full moon, making for an interesting Halloween picture.
Mid morning the geese returned to the lake after feeding in the grasslands on Henry Lake Flat south of the lake.  Flock after flock returned, singing their hearts out.  Most will migrate south before the hunting season opens for them.
Not long ago I was asked, "Why do you always fish Henrys?" 
"Why not!!!" was my reply
With cutthroats like this 22 incher and hybrids (cutthroat/rainbow cross) often pushing eight to ten pounds, it is a thrill for me.
Not long after I caught the cutt, this 19 inch female brook trout took my Light Olive Crystal fly.  What a battle.  Fishing was great as the weather was not too hot nor too cold, but the fishing was consistant all morning.
It was a holiday weekend, so many families were out just boating around.  At times they came close enough to spook the fish, but what the heck, the fish returned a short time later and readily took my fly.
Most serious fishermen on Henrys Lake fish alone or with only one other person in the boat.  Here Harry fights a cutthroat at Staley Springs just as I was leaving the Henrys.  He said it was a slow morning, but I saw him fighting a fish when I went out before dawn and saw him fighting this one - couldn't have been too bad for him!!!
As I was parking my boat, this young duck with four others came swimming by.  I watched as they would dive and come up with a mouth of veggies.  Mom kept quacking at them if they got too close to me.  I didn't mind.
It was just another enjoyable wild day in Idaho for me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Skywatch #3

I love sunsets and sunrise.  This sunset picture was taken near Sand Creek in Fremont County, Idaho.  I try and spend as much time in the outdoors in the evening as I can.  Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Where have all the fathers gone?

In the play "Footloose" Ren, one of the leads, and his mother have been abandoned by his father.  Once he wonders what he did wrong to have his father leave.  Within the last month I have witnessed and listened to six young people wonder the same thing.  Their parents have split and the children blame themselves for the split.  Some have been so upset that they have moved from their homes to live with others.  It seems the "sins of the parents" have been heaped on them.
Several years ago I wrote an article that has been printed in several newspapers.  It is below the picture of my friend, Lucas, and his children.  He not only takes them as a family, but gives them individual time.  I hope you enjoy the article.  A former student who is now married with three children came by the school to ask for a copy to give to her husband.
Where have all the Fathers gone.

To be an orphan, your father doesn’t have to die,” says Paul Quinnett in his book, "Fishing Lessons."

This came to mind last summer as I guided a man and his 13-year-old daughter. The fishing was okay, both caught fish, but during a slow time, the conversation went to family. The man lamented that of his eight children; this one was the only one that really recognized him as their father.

“I failed with my children of my first marriage, but learned my lesson,” he said. “This one is not going to get away.”

The next day I fished with another father and 12-year-old daughter combination. This was his only child. These fathers do not want these two children to be orphans while they are still alive.

I thought back of my own father. A quiet, small, but loving and caring man – one who was my best friend.

One of ten children, I was still given the individual time needed. We hunted, fished, trapped, camped, worked hard and played baseball together.

Oh, I was no angel growing up, but Dad knew what buttons to push when they needed pushed. At times when I got in trouble he would load the boat and head for a lake or the river with me. Not much preaching was done – but I knew how disappointed he was in me. One-on-one time was the best.

It was left at that. I found it very hard to jump out of a pickup going 50 miles per hour or to walk away from him while the boat was in the middle of a lake.

A few years ago I owned a fly shop in Island Park. Two mothers come in, each with a teenage son. They bought some rods, reels and a few lures so the kids could hopefully catch some fish.

They were not a happy bunch. The boys were being forced into something they were unfamiliar with and not wanting to learn. Most thirteen-year-old boys have a mind of their own, with their mothers not part of the picture.

As they left I wished I could take them fishing as they were headed for failure.

Just before closing the four came back having lost the lures and tangled the lines – what a mess. I suggested I take the boys fishing on Henry’s Lake with the moms picking them up at sundown.

What a ball we had catching and releasing fish with me listening and being taught a valuable lesson – don’t ignore my children as their fathers had them.

In my study I have a bumper sticker put out by Zebco. It says, “Don’t let your kid be the one that got away.” True, Zebco wants to sell you fishing gear, but the message is clear.

As a classroom teacher I have seen some that have gotten away – or have been abandoned by parents. They might as well be orphans.

Quinnett ends the article with, “Wherever it is that all the lost fathers have gone, I pray they will find their way back. And soon. Their children are looking for them.”

Have fun year – with your kids.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chester wetlands

Yesterday evening I drove to the Chester Wetlands Wildlife Management area to hike the mowed trails through it.  With a mostly cloudy sky and a heavy rain the night before, the colors were fresh and the bugs were out in force.  But I had a wonderful time walking and observing things.  The ponds had ducks, flowers had bees, trees had birds and the most interesting was finding an endangered orchid in the tall grass.  Here are a few of the photos I took.
The wetlands have 16 ponds that are managed for waterfowl and shorebird nesting.

Here a Great-horned owl peers at me on a low branch hiding in some stinging nettles.  It says, "You are close enough."
Here is the endangered orchid, the Ute Ladies Tresses.  In Idaho it is only found on the South Fork of the Snake River and at Chester.  It is only found in nine states and in British Columbia in Canada.  A very beautiful and interesting plant.