Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Overdue Vacation Post

Vacation was good.
When Jones got home from school on Tuesday, she, Georgia, and I left for the lake to set up our camp. They did a great job unloading, helping with the tent, and gathering wood. My friend Chris and his son, Zeke, came out that evening and shared fire roasted hotdogs and marshmallows with us.

The overnight lows last week were in the low 40’s, and between the cold and knowing that they would miss their mama, I was a little anxious about how the girls would do at bedtime, but they both did great. They were exhausted and slept all night. The next morning we had a breakfast of bacon and pancakes before heading out in the boat to catch shad and set our jug lines. The first and only tears of the trip were shed by Georgia late that morning on the boat ride back to camp as the wind picked up and clouds filled the sky. She was exhausted, cold, and a little wet, but after we got back to camp and the sun came back out she was fine.
 Jones and Georgia sleeping in the tent.
Jones on the stumps

Georgia and Annie on the stumps
Leslie and Annie came out for lunch and Georgia went home with them that afternoon and Jones decided that she wanted to stay another night. We spent the afternoon fishing, cleaning up around camp, and gathering wood. Leslie and the other girls returned that evening for supper. After they left Jones and I ran our jugs one more time and caught several more fish and returned to camp to clean the days catch including the big one pictured here whose trophy head now hangs on our back fence.

Since we were pretty stinky by this time, Jones decided that we should go up the hill to the shower house. We had walked up there earlier in the day, but it was a little different going at night. The cement floor with bugs and spiders in the corners was different than her bathtub full of rubber ducks and swimming Barbies at home, but she toughed it out and showered while I went to the men’s side and did the same.
Jones had school the next morning, so we loaded up went home for breakfast and then I took her to school, before returning to camp.
Nathan wasn’t supposed to arrive until late that night, but was able to get away from work a little early and arrived in time for supper and to take some pictures of the biggest catch of the trip.

Brant arrived the next morning while Nathan and I were out fishing. It was the first time all three of us had been together in a lot of years.

Leslie called that afternoon with some bad news. She had gone outside and found my dog, Willie, bleeding on the porch. Last year he had developed some tumors that the vet said were just fatty deposits that old dogs get. One of them had been growing steadily over last six month and had ruptured that morning. Nathan drove me into town.
Willie had lost a lot of blood and Leslie hadn’t been able to get him to get up from where he was laying. Knowing that this day would be coming soon, I had dug a grave for him a couple of months ago. After the girls had all had a chance to say their goodbyes Nathan put him down for me and helped me bury him. I’m so thankful that Nathan was here to help me bear the burdens of that day.
Nathan and I with Willie as a puppy many moons ago.

We returned to the lake that evening and had a supper of chicken, beans, and potatoes and sat around the campfire toasting Willie catching up with each other’s lives.

The next morning was filled with fishing adventure including a check by the game wardens and meeting a snake that had to be killed twice. 

Dad arrived late that morning and stayed through our lunch of fried fish, potatoes, and onions. We fished throughout the afternoon until Brant had to leave.

The fishing sort of gave out after Brant left. We didn’t catch a single fish on our final run of the jugs that evening. Nathan and I cleaned our fish, loaded the boat, and began making preparations for our departure the next morning.

We arrived at the house to eat bacon and pancakes before Nathan had to hit the road. It was good to be in church that morning, exhausted and thankful to God for His creation, a good wife and good daughters, a good dog, good times, and good friends with whom to share it all.


Dave and Lisa said...

How fun! I think Dave might be a little jealous. ;-)

Noel Green said...

These pictures are priceless! I can imagine the ones of you and the girls being shown to their children . . .

Dave and Lisa said...

Hi, Dave here, what kind of fish did you catch? Those were some big fish indeed! What kind of bait did you use?

Justin said...

Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

Photo courtesy USFWS
Other Names
Channel Cat, Hump-back Blue
Ictalurus is Greek meaning "fish cat", and furcatus is Latin, meaning "forked", a reference to the species' forked tail fin. Blue catfish have a forked tail, and are sometimes very similar to channel catfish. However, only the Rio Grande population has dark spots on the back and sides. The number of rays in the anal fin is typically 30-35, and coloration is usually slate blue on the back, shading to white on the belly.
Life History
The spawning behavior of blue catfish appears to be similar to that of channel catfish. However, most blue catfish are not sexually mature until they reach about 24 inches in length. Like channel catfish, the blue catfish pursues a varied diet, but it tends to eat fish earlier in life. Although invertebrates still comprise the major portion of the diet, blue catfish as small as four inches in length have been known to consume fish. Individuals larger than eight inches eat fish and large invertebrates. Blue catfish commonly attain weights of 20 to 40 pounds, and may reach weights well in excess of 100 pounds. It is reported that fish exceeding 350 pounds were landed from the Mississippi River during the late 1800's.
Blue catfish are primarily large-river fish, occurring in main channels, tributaries, and impoundments of major river systems. They tend to move upstream in the summer in search of cooler temperatures, and downstream in the winter in order to find warmer water.
Blue catfish are native to major rivers of the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi river basins. The range also extends south through Texas, Mexico, and into northern Guatemala. In Texas it is absent from the northwestern portions of the state including the Panhandle, but present elsewhere in larger rivers.
The blue catfish is the largest freshwater sportfish in Texas. Where mature populations exist, 50-pounders are not unusual. Typically, the largest fish are caught by trotliners, some of whom have landed specimens in excess of 115 pounds. The Texas rod-and-reel record is 121.5 pounds. Catfish is the second most preferred group of fish among licensed Texas anglers, and blues rank third behind channel and flathead catfish. Like the channel cat, the blue catfish is considered an excellent food fish.

The Northrups said...

So glad it was good!

Anonymous said...

What a great vacation! I'm so sorry about your dog.

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