Everywhere I go I find a pal
Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review
The mystery has been solved!
Last week, I puzzled over seeing a blurry flying creature that emitted a machine-like buzzing sound while trout fishing on the Prairie River in Lincoln County.
Edgar bird enthusiast Richard Guenther set me straight. What I saw was not a moth, bat or baby Hodag, but an American Dipper, an oily-feather bird the size of a wren who lives in trout streams. The bird, which nests by the river’s edge and swims most of the day, feeds on the same menu of larva and minnows that sustain trout. Importantly, the bird makes a buzzing type sound.
The Dipper I saw was pretty lost. The species is generally found west of the Rocky Mountains and north into Alaska, but has been sighted in places like Michigan.
Guenther said I should feel lucky. There are Midwest birders who live their entire lives and never see an American Dipper.
I harvested this year’s Concord grapes in my backyard on Saturday and canned six and one half quarts of tart, purplish juice.
I thought this year’s grapes were small, but surprisingly disease and bug free. In the end, I had enough grapes to fill a kettle, which yielded sufficient juice for the coming year.
I use the juice as a base for a number of smoothies. Concord grape is a flavor I never get tired of.
I spent the year worrying about pests and disease in the grapes. Processing the fruit is a big relief. It is safe and sound in mason jars stored in my family’s basement pantry.
Here’s the beauty of trout fishing. If you get tired of fishing, you can soak in the surroundings.
That happened to me Sunday night. I was fishing for trout on the Big Rib River in Taylor County. I had pretty good luck and caught a number of decent-sized fish (which I always release), but, as twilight progressed, the fishing slowed. It was more of a challenge to persuade the trout to take the fly of the night, a No. 16 Sulphur.
So, I just stopped fishing. I looked around. The river was magnificent. The sun sparkled on a cobblestone riffle. Large trees swayed in the breeze. The streamside vegetation was lush. Purple flowers dotted the bank. A slight mist gathered over a deeper pool.
This was a beautiful place to be. I looked at the fishing pole in my right hand. What, I asked, do I need this thing for?
I thought I was done building jigs and tools for my nearly finished archtop guitar. Wrong.
I now understand I need to make a buffing machine to put that extra high gloss on my instrument. This will be a big project. It requires a one inch shaft, pillow blocks, drive pulleys, belts, buffing wheels and construction lumber. There was a time you could buy most of these supplies at a hardware store. But that was the old days.
What I will likely do is purchase each of these individual components from a different online seller. None of it is cheap, but it will be precisely what I need. The stuff will show up on my doorstep from vendors all across the country who, themselves, purchased the stuff from manufacturers from all over the world.
Just build a small thing. The planet shrinks in a hurry.
Contact Peter Weinschenk at pweinschenk@ tpprinting.com