Friday, November 28, 2008


A while ago I posted a rant of sorts about how economic uncertainty had affected my prospects for an exciting new job. Well, now that America is fully committed to an economic recession, the local impacts to Lander are widening.

This week, the Wyoming Association of Nonprofit Organizations announced that it would suspended all activities effective January 1 due to a lack of funding. The week before, Wyoming Conservation Voters Education Fund decided to close its Lander office effective immediately (although I haven't seen an official press release). Additionally, a month ago, Wyoming Legal Services, a non-profit law firm that provides free legal representation to low-income residents of Wyoming and operates an office in Lander, "relinquished" its federal grant for failing to adhere to government regulations and grant requirements.

On this stage--with two friends out of work because of these closures, a neighbor forced out of retirement and a Congress that can't seem to address the recession's local effects--The Wife and I found ourselves celebrating Thanksgiving among good friends and too much food. Our weekend will consist of Christmas decorating (since I insist on making The Wife wait until after Thanksgiving before subjecting me to the music and decorations), a continuation of our eternal quest for more firewood, the civil war (although a better prediction of the outcome can be found here), a little work and maybe even some fishing. Yes, I have a ton to be thankful for.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I ended up in Jackson for work this past Monday.
While I may get tired of this view someday, Monday was not that day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Of firewood and whitefish

After fighting with a borrowed saw last weekend, The Wife and I bucked up and bought our own chainsaw--a Husqvarna 445. I'm sure a professional tuneup would have helped the borrowed saw immensely, but it took us five hours to fill our truck with the borrowed saw. The new saw got the truck filled in about one hour.

Since we made quick work of our logging operation, we had plenty of time left over for a little fishing. I'm not sure why, but I've been slaying the whitefish recently.
The dogs even got in on the action:
While whitefish are good and all, we really wanted to get into a couple trout. You see, The Wife produces a periodic newsletter called The TroutTale--and what good is a newsletter called The TroutTale if you only have pictures of whitefish. Eventually, I got into a cutthroat and Russ gave it the full supermodel treatment.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


While installing a wood stove is a comically easy task, a stove doesn't get you anywhere without something to burn. Since our small supply of firewood consisted of an old broken-down pallet and a few cutoffs from my wood shop, we burned through everything we had in no time.

Longing for more self-sufficiency and lamenting the fact that all I do is fish and dream about skiing, The Wife announced that we would collect our own firewood. Recognizing my place, I immediately agreed. Besides, there's no better way to get in touch with your inner redneck than to tromp around the woods with a chainsaw.

Veterans Day provided our most immediate opportunity to get out. With the clock ticking, The Wife bartered home-made mustard for the use of our neighbor's chainsaw, we procured a personal use firewood permit from the Forest Service, convinced Russ to lend a hand and were off.
It had snowed the night before but, with an abundance of dead or down trees around Wyoming, finding a suitable place to collect wood took little effort.
As it turns out, one medium-sized tree is more than enough to fill our small truck. However, our borrowed saw left a bit to be desired. It fired up easily but soon became a constant battle. We tried a couple different chains, played with the carburetor a bit, and engaged in an epic struggle with an uncooperative clutch mechanism. I took a go at it, but ultimately, it got so futile that the down force caused by the weight of the saw was sufficient to cause the chain to completely stop while sawing. Ridiculous.
Despite the fact that a Leatherman might have been quicker than our saw, the day was a success and we managed to fill the truck.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mahogany Duns . . . or, Getting Outfished by The Wife yet Again

The Wife and I were up in Cody last weekend for a few meetings and, with a few free hours Friday afternoon, got to hit the river with some of the local TU members.
The river was pretty low and full of macrophites. As luck would have it, a mahogany dun hatch was underway and had the river's full attention. I caught two quick fish in the 12-inch range and missed a couple others.

While not a bad start, The Wife wasn't to be outdone. She caught this 16-incher while fishing dries right across the river from me. Thanks to Bob for the great guide services.
After an afternoon of fishing, we wound our way back to Irma's for dinner and eventually ended up at the Silver Dollar Bar. How any place stays in business while selling entire pitchers of beer for $5 is beyond me. Ridiculous.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Winter Shminter

So, we finally got the plant stand up and running......and ever since then, The Wife has kept the house at 80 degrees. I nearly sweat to death on the first night. On the second night, I couldn't get The Dog to come inside. If we don't run out of wood soon, I'm afraid we might not make it. Please send help.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Thoughts

I held off on posting anything here for a day, figuring I could think of something profound to write about our historic election if given a little time. However, since I am utterly incapable of expressing how important the Obama election is through written words, here are a few random thoughts--

> It's true that Tuesday was a great day for racial minorities. But, more important to the majority of Americans, it was a great day for America. Obama was elected because of his promise of hope and change; I imagine the fact that he is African American is secondary to most Americans (although a nice bonus).

> I sure hope Obama is able to follow through on that promise of hope...

> Sure, the Democrats were unable to secure 60 seats in the Senate. But, they have significant majorities in both houses of Congress and, even if they had 60 seats, getting everyone to tow the party line on controversial issues would still have been very difficult.

> I don't remember people partying in the streets after any other election--especially those where the Republican party won.

> The people who went out and spent a ton of money on assault rifles over the past few weeks out of fear Obama would take away their 2d Amendment rights wasted their money. However, ironically, I was tempted to blast off a couple rounds Tuesday night after the election was called.

> The two most important issues to me are foreign policy and judicial nominations, with the economy/social justice a close third. With those in mind, Election Day 2008 was a big first step toward sensible and respectful relations with foreign nations, an accessible judiciary that promotes justice and liberty, and an economic policy that is in the long-term interest of America.
*Update - I almost forgot, some election reform/accountability legislation would be nice too.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just like Money in the Bank

Back when I used to chase steelhead in north Idaho, I periodically would hear fishing reports quantifying how difficult it was to catch a steelhead. These reports would cite some ridiculously high figure as the average number of casts required to catch the typical steelhead. While the number varied throughout the season, it always remained too high to many rejected anglers, myself included. After a day without catching any fish, I would take comfort in the thought that I had banked the day's fruitless casts toward a future day's fish.

With that said, if I get too many more days like yesterday, I'm going to cash out a fat check. Not the sort that makes a man rich--I'm talking about the sort of check that entitles it's bearer to an epic day catching gargantuan fish. You see, I went fishing yesterday and, in the course of getting completely skunked, I managed to bank a ton of casts. Being that trout are substantially easier to catch that steelhead and should require fewer casts per fish, I figure to cash in a few of these casts on a big day in the not-to-distant future.

The day wasn't a total waste though. Karta had tons of fun: