Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Grandparents, grandkids and fishing trips

Jackson with his Grampy, Mike Taylor. Jackson caught this 26-inch pike right off the dock.

Anybody can catch a fish, Jackson seems to tell Cork. But how many can make it levitate?
Lots of kids are coming with their grandparents to camp these days.  It's a great way for them to spend time together, to introduce the youngsters to the great outdoors, and for the grandparents to pass on some of their knowledge and experience about fishing, wildlife and the bush.
But sometimes the anticipation of the trip can be just too exciting.
So when grandpa Mike Taylor of Riverglade, New Brunswick, and son-in-law Charles McLong, planned to bring Jackson, 7, up to Bow Narrows last summer, they thought it best not to let him know about it too far in advance. In fact, Charles got Jackson up at 4 in the morning to head over to Mike and Jennifer's house for what Jackson thought was going to be a day fishing locally. When they got to the grandparents, Jackson learned that actually they were going to head immediately for the airport in Moncton, and then on to Red Lake, Ontario! They wouldn't get back for nine days!
Jackson was just about speechless but then, who wouldn't have been?
Jennifer recorded the whole event and posted the video on our Facebook page, something I started a couple of years ago and haven't continued. (Oops!) You can see her video by going there or, maybe, by clicking on this link.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Snowflake Poem

The Snowflake Poem
By Daniel Baughman
© 2015

The main difference between snow and rain is sound

Snow falls to earth as gently as tiny bits of down

It parachutes all the way and softly hits the brakes

Upon the outstretched arms of all the other snowflakes

How long does it last, this life of a bit of snow?

Born high in the sky, as high as things can go

It must feel blessed for its unique view of all creation

As it grows in size and majesty, awaiting its coronation

It floats up and it floats down, such a thrilling ride!

But the snowflake must notice it continually subsides

And rather than come in screaming and bouncing up and down

It settles in like velvet without the slightest sound

“I am a snowflake like no other

“But then so are you, and you, and you.”

So it snuggles with its sisters and its brothers

And waits for spring to start its life anew

Merry Christmas everyone! 
Dan and Brenda (and Cork, the dog)

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's the shortest day of the year

Sunrise, 8:48 a.m. today. Sunset will be 5:03 p.m.
Our front door welcomes the official start of winter
Nolalu looks like a winter wonderland

This foot of wet, slushy snow came in one dump a few days ago
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Friday, December 18, 2015

It's time to send or call-in your deposits

Lots of our guests already have put down a $100 Cdn per person deposit on their trip next summer. If you haven't done so, you should do it immediately.
Our rates will be unchanged for 2016. That good news is followed by more good news: the exchange rate is the greatest it has been since 2004. American guests can realize a 27% savings, just on exchange. And you also get one-half of your HST tax money returned to you through the usual mail-in rebate.
Put them together and it amounts to a savings of more than 33%!
Many people are putting down more than $100 right now, figuring that the exchange rate could hardly get any better. The rate changes every day but it has been drastically in favour of the American dollar for a year now.
We are making one change on our deposit rebate policy this year. We will now refund your deposit if you give us at least 90 days notice of cancellation. Previously it was 60 days.
We're making this change because of a number of people the past few years who have cancelled in the months of May and June and didn't inform us until April, usually exactly at 60 days. The problem is we cannot fill these vacancies after about March 15. The last three years we have had an empty cabin almost every week in May and June, the months when we always turn down dozens of requests for reservations. But those requests are made from October to March. After that everyone has booked somewhere else.
For those people who put down a larger deposit than $100 and then cancel with less than 90 days, we will refund everything except the $100.
Finally, if you already have reservations, let us know what your current numbers are. Perhaps last summer you booked a cabin for six but know now you will just have four. We need to know that ASAP as we may have another group who was four and wants to become six but are currently booked for the four-person cabin.
Our rates are amazingly low for a remote-access camp. To keep them that way we need you all to communicate clearly to us what is going on with your group sizes, etc. Don't wait until just before you leave home; that's way too late for us to make necessary changes at camp. We really need at least three months of lead time.
As always, you can make your deposit by calling us with a credit card number at our winter phone number: 807-475-7246. You can also send us a personal check, made out to Bow Narrows Camp and mailed to our winter address:
Bow Narrows Camp\
RR 1 Old Mill Rd.
Nolalu, ON  P0T 2K0
Please don't wait until you receive a letter from us to make your deposit. I will send out letters as usual because some folks still don't have internet or e-mail. But if you are reading this, then you aren't among those.
You can use your HST rebate from last year as part of your deposit. Just sign the back and mail to our winter address.
Finally, another reason to phone-in your deposit is to book which boat-trip you prefer on your arrival and departure dates. On Saturdays and Sundays our boat, the Lickety Split, picks up guests at our dock in Red Lake at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays the boat leaves camp for Red Lake at 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. The boat carries 9-10 people. Those with first deposits also get first dibs on when they want to come and go.
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Thursday, December 17, 2015

What I did this fall

This fall I was a quaking aspen.
I didn’t start out that way. I started out as a white cedar but I leaned toward the south and that became uncomfortable. So I became a ramrod-straight quaking aspen. Much better. No regrets.
I had only just begun when a chickadee landed on me.
“I’m a quaking aspen,” I said.
“Got it,” said the chickadee and flew off. And that was that. I was “in” with the chickadees which, admittedly, are the most accepting of all the birds.
It was harder with the blue jays.
“I’m a quaking aspen,” I said.
“If you say so,” said one out of a pair of jays. They then took off to torment some red squirrels which torment quite easily.
A ruffed grouse landed on a balsam fir right next to me.
“Are you what I think you are?” it asked.
“I am if you think I’m a quaking aspen,” I replied.
“I’m not so sure of that,” said the grouse, its eyes the size of saucers.
“What else could I be?” I said. It was logic I knew would appeal to a grouse. But I also knew it would take a while because grouse are notoriously slow thinkers.
Five minutes later for me but just a few seconds in slow-thinker time the grouse said, “You’re a quaking aspen!” It then flew down to the clearing in front of us where there were some tasty rosehips visible.
By and by a raven landed on a tree in front of me.
“Weren’t you a white cedar a few days ago?” it asked. “In fact, in the past you’ve been a spruce, a birch, even a balsam fir. Do you just get tired of being the same kind of tree, or what?”
“Something like that,” I said and wished he would leave.
“Were you ever a shrub?” He chortled so hard that he nearly lost his balance on the limb and had to flutter to stay perched.
I said nothing. In reality, I had spent many a fall as a shrub but I wasn’t going to admit it to this rude bird.
“Well, you’ll never be a quaking aspen to me,” he said, haughtily, with a waggle of his thick beak.
That hurt. That stung, especially because I knew, deep down, it was true.
“Yeah? Well, it’s not your opinion that matters to me,” I shot back. Two could play this game.
The raven looked at me for a long time with his head cocked to one side. “No, I suppose not. Well, good luck then!” He sounded sincere and was already winging over the clearing.
I enjoyed the next many days being a quaking aspen, watching the birds and listening to the squirrels, wondering if this was the one-time-in-a-hundred when their chattering actually meant something.
The squirrels, snowshoe hares, foxes and whitetail deer paid me no attention at all and that is what I wanted.
But now it is winter and time to take down my tree stand.