Almost sounds familiar doesn’t it? Something akin to the Bridges of Madison County? If you are hoping to read about romance and Meryl and Clint and all that sort of jazz…. I suggest you move along, this ain’t that.
It’s nearly December. I have no idea of how this happened? Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror and Montana’s rather generous big game season has come to an end. The Griz crapped the bed and there will be no playoffs for us this year. Winters long cold nights and short windy days have generally descended. There is no longer overhead sun, only highly angled rays which seem ephemeral. Leaves have been stripped and piled in places which only the north winds knows. Our waters have taken on that gun metal steel blued hue as they flow over rock and through remnant wind thrown trees. Where there had been bugs and cotton flying in July, there is nothing but ice and cold and snow and more than a little wind. When last I checked in, I indicated that we only had a few weeks until fly-rod hibernation time. It’s now that time …. Sortta and Almost.
I’ve been spending quality time ditch sitting around the hood looking for that special deer. As those who know me might suspect, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of the ditch sitting. Not because the hunting is so good, but rather because the things you see in a ditch as the sun rises are amazing if you just keep your eyes open and your ears peeled. If I was a better person, I would have been toting a high quality camera to capture all the happenings which I’ve enjoyed over the last week or so. Sadly, I am not.
Sun rises have been absolutely amazing. I’m not at all sure if a camera, high quality or whatever could do justice to what the man above paints in the early AM. Watching streaks of rain and snow and extreme wind thru high power binoculars has been awe inspiring. I’ve been trying to dream up names for early morning colors and find words are wholly inadequate. I can try to describe it, but frankly you’ve got to see it to believe and appreciate it. Morning spent in the Ditches of Carbon County reminds me of what those who feel the need to sleep past sunrise are missing and serves as a reminder to get up and get out and frick’n do something.
A week of Carbon County ditch sitting has also revealed just how silly deer, coyotes, hungarian partridge, geese, ducks, pheasant and most of god’s little critters can be as sunlight breaks the eastern horizon. I swear, and those who spent time with me over the last week could attest, I’ve become fairly proficient at speaking whitetail. Looking at their expressions and body language tells you everything you need to know. I’ve worked with and for folks who do not communicate as well as do whitetail deer. Long story short …. we did harvest what I term a couple of sausage bucks. Little guys which shall provide organically grown free range and non-USDA certified protein to my friends and neighbors of choice. Strap steaks will be awesome as will the smoked summer sausage. Butchering and sausage making will begin promptly at 0900 on this up-coming Friday. Stop on by if you have time.
Last weeks unexpected gifts included way above normal temperatures. Thanksgiving set a new record for Billings (71) and I suspect it did the same for the Burg of Bob. Thus after helping a friend find, harvest, drag and clean a buck on Wednesday morning, I found myself on the same property in the afternoon, fly rod and streamers in hand. The water was cold-ish, about 38 according to my thermometer. The fishing was neither fast nor furious, but it was fishing and yes boys and girls, I did catch fish and had a very reasonable number of strikes. Nothing large, just happy fall spawner brown trout of a back yard variety.
As we prepare for the darkest days of the year it’s time for reassessment and recommitment. It ain’t easy living in this country during winter, it takes tuff. Old Montanans will tell you that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Old Montanans can be a sadistic bunch. What they won’t tell you is that this place and the winter season also requires tenacity. And thus it’s a waiting game.
I can’t do NASCAR, I don’t do basketball, soccer is essentially hockey on grass and hockey is essentially soccer on ice, golf is ok, but damn all that green grass and stuff can get to a person during January and February.
Three, maybe four months and then all will once again be well in the world. Gotta have faith, gotta lose track of time, need to think about promises to come. The little spotted ball of fangs and attitude should help, she’s progressing like a champ..