Saturday, November 28, 2009

Everyone should have one

After enjoying wood heat in our old home so much, one of the first major home improvement projects The Wife and I conspired on for our new house was to install a wood stove.  It took us a bit longer to build up our savings and arrange the installation than we'd have liked, but I'm happy to report that our new stove is in. 

We hired out the installation of the chimney and delivery of the stove, but decided to tackle the hearth ourselves.  Building the hearth was fairly straight forward, but because of our hectic schedules we ended up really pushing the time line and had to work into the wee hours of the night in order to give the mortar and grout enough time to set before delivery of the stove.

Our hearth is a pretty simple design, relying on a plywood base laid directly on top of the laminate flooring.  Two layers of durock cement board on top of the plywood provide the requisite heat and fire resistance. . .

. . . with natural slate tiles finishing off the surface.

Neither The Wife nor I had ever set tiles before, but it all came together easy enough. 

I still need to trim out the edge of the hearth, but the stove is in and cranking out the heat.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The quiet sport, my ass

I always find it interesting when people try to relate to me by professing their deep appreciation for fly fishing as a relaxing endeavor or, even worse, as "the quiet sport."  I try to remain polite, but these people must never have caught a fish of any real significance.  The only time fly fishing has ever been relaxing for me is when I give up on catching fish and take a nap on the bank.

Large fish rising to dry flies nearly give me a heart attack every time.  I've topped my waders and nearly drown more times than I care to remember, not because I was "relaxed" or enjoying a "quiet sport," but because I was so delerious with big-fish syndrome I couldn't think clearly.  Self-preservation takes a back seat to the pursuit of the perfect drift any day.

To put things another way, the first time I ever swore in front of my dad (without getting in trouble) was while playing a large steelhead.  It was a bitter-cold November morning and I had driven to my folk's home in Oregon from my place in North Idaho.  Although quite a drive for just a few days, I wasn't deterred and didn't think twice about making the ten-hour drive for a couple days of prime steelhead fishing.

Waking up at some God-awful hour, my dad, brother and myself drove down to the river and bellied up to our usual spot on the bank, just below a right-hand bend in the river.  Just upstream, the water ran through a fast riffle before crashing into a submerged rock, scouring a deep slot in the top of a run by the near bank.  Although I was new to steelhead fishing, I'd seen enough to know that the slot held big fish.

I always insisted on getting to the water before sunrise despite the fact that my brother and I had always had our best luck between 8:00 and 8:30.  This day was no different.  After spending the first hour or so breaking ice of my guides during a 30-degree drizzle, I finally felt a big tug around 8:15.

Holding on for dear life, the fish turned away from me, out of the slot and into the main current.  My reel began to scream as line ripped off.  It was the classic scene where my fly line ran straight out into the middle of the river but the fish was jumping far downstream.

Just as the chaos was at it's climax, and I clearly no longer was in charge, my dad asked "do you think it's a big one?"

Let's stop for a minute and realize the ridiculousness of this question.

[one minute]


The rest of the fight is a bit of a blur, but I do recall that, as I sat there on my knees dehooking the fish and getting positioned to lift it up for a proud picture taken by my dad, my brother whispers to me "dude, you said 'fucking.'"  Yes, it was a very relaxing experience I assure you.

Good news from the House

So, I've typically kept this blog apolitical and avoided discussion of any issues of actual importance.  In reflection, that practice has diminished the value of this blog and ends . . . here.

Keeping with the theme that the world is a better place with clean, fish-infested waters, I was pleased to learn today that by a vote of 292-133 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to designate 21.3 miles of Oregon's Molalla River as Wild and Scenic.  All five member of Oregon's delegation voted in favor of the bill--including Rep. Walden.

And, since all good blog posts include pictures, here's a few from the Molalla River Alliance:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today was a cold one

When I left for work this morning, the sun wasn't yet above the horizon and the thermometer read zero degrees.  By the time I left work for home, the sun had set and it had warmed to a mere seven degrees.  Yeehaw, I reckon it's winter around here!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

USC goes Duck hunting

Oregon completely dominated USC on Saturday in what was one of the more enjoyable games I've ever seen.  Only being there in person could have made the game better.  Still, in reading up on my daily dose of college football news and gossip, I couldn't help but laugh when I came across this recount of the game at EDSBS:

This is better than any YouTube highlight reel I could have posted.  I've probably watched this thing 50 times and can't get over Pete Carroll's face as he abandons ship.  Go Ducks!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Having not really dressed up for Halloween in years past, The Wife and I (and Karta) went all out this year.  I'm not sure if Karta enjoyed being dressed up for Halloween or not but, in the grand scheme of things, it could have been much worse.  Regardless, The Wife made a pretty good Lucy.