Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Granddaughter, lightning bugs give hope of fun without electronics

Nine-year-old Molly holds a container used to catch lightning bugs.

There is hope. Hope that some young people won’t become slaves to electronic gizmos.
The electronic gizmos and apps aren’t going away. I use a few myself, but it seems like many folks, especially the young, can’t live without cell phones, Twitter, I-pads (I admit I don’t even known most of the terminology). I’ve seen youngsters sitting a dozen feet apart texting each other. And, I’ve seen women talking on their phones throughout their shopping trip at the big box stires, even the checkout line.
I was fortunate growing up. There were no cell phones and video games. The only twitter came from the birds each morning and evening. We didn’t have TV until sometime while I was in high school. Believe it or not, we listened to the Cardinals and Cubs on the radio.
We entertained ourselves. We enjoyed the outdoors. During summer months, we played outdoors until dark and after. There were lightning bugs to catch and kick the can (It was a game). On Friday night’s we went to the band concert on the courthouse square. Popcorn was a special treat available at the popcorn wagon.
Back to today.
Recently, granddaughters Molly and Kennedy came for a visit. They, like their older brother, Denver, have always seemed to enjoy the outdoors.
During the recent visit, I noticed nine-year-old Molly outside on the deck with a soft drink clup, which still had a plastic lid. I wondered why she had picked it up, but didn’t think much about it. I knew it was empty and either had been in or was headed for the trash.
As darkness approached, Molly was still outside with the container. Finally, she came into the sun room and posed a question. “What do lightning bugs eat?”
Grandpa didn’t have a good answer.
Mollly then proceeded to tell me she had caught three lightning bugs and was hunting more.
“I gave them some grass,” she explained, showing me the grass inside the cup.
The lightning bugs weren’t the only creatures captured by Molly. The next evening she added a grasshopper and a couple inch worms.
Grandpa was happy. Molly didn’t need electronics to be entertained. She entertained herself the old fashioned way.
Despite the escape of several fireflies in the house overnight, the hunt continued.
# # # #
A bit more about lightning bugs or fireflies...I caught them as a kid and still enjoy watching them on summer evenings...
Lightning bugs actually are beetles. They are  nocturnal members of the family Lampyridae.
Most fireflies or lightning bugs are winged. There are approximately 2,000 species of the insects. They live in a variety of warm climates and love moisture and humid environments.
The bugs produce their glow from light organs which are located under their abdomens. They take in oxygen and inside special cells, combine it with a substance called luciferin. It makes the light with almost no heat.
Most produce a blinking light which apparently is unique to each species. The blinking light serves several purposes. It serves as a warning signal or defense mechanism, alerting predators that the bugs have a nasty taste. But for other lightning bugs, it serves to help attract a mate.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Indiana DNR reports few campsites available for July 4 weekend


A news release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources indicates there aren't many campsites available at state facilities, however there are some.

According to the release, those looking to celebrate Independence Day weekend in the great outdoors can still find available campsites at a few DNR properties. 

If you prefer primitive or non-electric camping, check out Lincoln and Shakamak state parks in southwest Indiana.  Or, if you want electricity on your campsite, a handful of sites can be found at Charlestown State Park and Deam Lake, both in Clark County.

For horse owners, there are several equestrian campsites available at Brown County, O’Bannon Woods, Potato Creek, Salamonie Lake, Tippecanoe River and Whitewater state parks.

Because July 4 is a holiday, a three-night minimum is required for campsites (July 3, 4 and 5).

Campsite reservations for the holiday weekend must be made by 11:59 p.m. EDT this evening, so visit Camp.IN.Gov(available 24 hours) or call 1-866-6CAMPIN (1-866-622-6746) between noon-8 p.m. today to make your reservation. 

If you’re looking for a road trip but not sure where to go, find property maps and facility information at 
StateParks.IN.gov. Many new features are ready to enhance your experience no matter when or where you visit. 

If you can’t fit camping into your Independence Day weekend plans, don't miss out on Labor Day or any other time this summer. Cabins and campsites are still available for many weekends, including Labor Day weekend, but will go quickly. 

Campers must follow DNR’s rule on firewood. For more information, visit 
firewood.dnr.IN.gov. Fireworks are prohibited. 

It's been a family secret, well, just something we didn't talk about


For years it has been a family secret. Well, maybe not a secret, just something we didn’t talk about much.
The secret is that for years our dogs have been sleeping with us. Not our big coon dog, Mutley. He was just too big, but the the rat terriers -- Augie, Buddy and later Tyler found their way under the covers.
Over the years, I learned we weren’t that unusual (at least related to our dogs and their sleeping habits). More and more friends confided that they also sometimes felt they were being pushed out of their beds by the canine friends.
While our dogs spend much of their time in the house, they also spend considerable time outdoors--including in the woods hiking or squirrel hunting. However, I have never found a tick or other nasty in the bed traced back to the dogs.
We are fortunate to have two wonderful vets who help care for our dogs--Dr. Frank Stokes, and when we are in Florida, Dr. Carol Thompson of Lake Wales provides the care.
In this brave new world of electronic technology, Dr. Thompson regularly sends us an email newsletter called VetStreet (VetStreet.com), and an item in the current issue caught my attention. Dogs or pets in the family bed.
“It's a topic so divisive that it has been known to be a significant factor in choosing a spouse: Do you let your pet sleep in your bed with you?,’ reads the lead paragraph in the newsletter.
“In some households, it's the norm. All pets are allowed everywhere, all the time. In others, it's no pets on any furniture, ever. But in many, the answer lies somewhere in between: Perhaps the cat or small dog is given a spot to snuggle, but the Great Dane has to remain on the floor.”
Surprisingly -- at least to this old writer -- many of the vets permit pets to curl up with them.
Some people are allergic to close interaction with pets, so there is good reason to keep your pet at some distance, especially when curling up after turning off Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.
According to the writer of the newsletter, the publication polled VetStreet readers and veterinary professionals (such as veterinarians, veterinary technicians and office managers). The results indicate sleeping with an animal friend is not as unusual as one might think. 
Of those polled, more than four out of five readers and three out of four veterinary pros said they would permit a pet to share a bed with them.
In my retirement years, when an alarm clock is rarely used, the dogs have served to let me know it is time to rise and shine and turn on the coffee maker. When Tyler jumped off the bed, it was the signal for my feet to hit the floor.
Unfortunately, Tyler slipped out the door and was hit by a car several weeks ago. Our hearts were broken, and now we a rescue dog, Missy, part terrier with maybe a mix of beagle and dachshund.
She is very content spend the night in her kennel in the sun room, so I don’t anticipate her migrating to the bed. But, recently she jumped on the bed to join me for a nap. Time will tell.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Father's Day has come and gone, but memories of Dad still linger


        Father’s Day 2014 has come and gone. However, Father’s Day still  is lingering in this old man’s head. It probably has something to do with age.
This year’s Father’s Day for this old scribe was excellent. Time was spent with son, Erik and his family, and calls and emails were received from daughter, Michelle and her family in Tennessee. The weather was great for outdoor activities. The hot dogs and hamburgers hit the spot.
As the weekend came to a close, memories of my Dad remained.
Although my father passed away four decades ago, Father’s Day still brings fond memories of the many good times we had in the outdoors, and the things I learned from my dad. And this isn’t the first time I’ve written about him.
Dad primarily was a fisherman. He hunted, but back in those days, the hunting was limited where I grew up in East Central Illinois. There were squirrels and rabbits, but no deer or turkey.
We couldn’t afford to travel to hunt.
Like most people those days, my dad was a live bait fisherman. He had a few old plugs in a metal box he used for tackle, but I don’t remember him ever using them. He did have a casting rod with linen fishing line. However, our fishing was limited to cane poles.
During my preteen years, we didn’t have a car. Our transportation was our feet. I remember walking several blocks to the Big Four railroad track, and then proceeding a couple miles north to where the railroad bridge crossed Big Creek. There always were some deep pools in the creek around the bridge, and that’s where we fished.
It often was a hot walk to the creek, but trees lined the bank and it was refreshingly cool when we arrived. We rarely caught big fish. Mostly, we caught bluegill and sunfish. But after we carried them back home, they made a tasty meal, cooked by mother, who also usually walked to the creek with us.
Sometime around my 10th or 12th birthday, my folks gathered enough money for a down payment on a used Studebaker pickup truck. That red truck changed our fishing horizons, we could venture to the backwaters of Wabash River, the Embarrass River, and several farm ponds. That also meant we could catch catfish.
A prized bait was catalpa worms. My job was to help pick the ugly worms off catalpa tree leaves during the brief period of the summer when they were available. My dad thought they among the best baits for catfish. He also used chicken livers, night crawlers and cheese stink baits. He raised the night crawlers himself. One of the key components in the earth mix where he raised the crawlers was coffee grounds.
He also had a special recipe for dough balls he used to catch carp. We didn’t fish for carp a lot, but when we caught small ones during early spring in clear water, they were pretty good eating. The secret ingredient in dad’s dough balls was strawberry jello,
The old Studebaker also brought about our first fishing vacation. It was a week at Freeman Lake in north central Indiana. We stayed in a little cabin, complete with a boat and set of oars. The boat was just what we needed to put out trot lines. The lines contained as many as 50 hooks and primarily were baited for catfish.
We had good luck and hooked plenty of channel cats. My dad let me run the lines with him several times a day. It was fun to hold the heavy line and feel the cats hooked somewhere ahead tug and pull. I would lean over and hold the big line, while dad netted the fish, and took them off the line.
Yes, I’m still thinking of Father’s Day.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Falls of the Ohio park will host George Rogers Clark Day last weekend in June

     
     Falls of the Ohio State Park will celebrate the life and times of George Rogers Clark on June 28 and 29. 


     George Rogers Clark Days will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the George Rogers Clark Home Site, 1102 W. Harrison Ave., Clarksville. The event is free. 

     Wes and Donna Griffin will perform period music on the hammered dulcimer on June 28. Re-enactors portraying members of the Clark Family and 18th- and 19th-century militiamen, surveyors and frontiersmen will appear throughout the event. The event also will include atlatl throwing (American Indian spear throwing), vendors with period crafts, speakers, musicians, children’s activities and more. 

     Special tours of the Clark and McGee cabins and gardens will be given. The McGee cabin was the home of Ben and Venus McGee who were indentured servants to Clark. The cabin represents one of the first freed-slave communities in the Northwest Territory, named Guinea Bottoms, which was built around 1812. 

     The Clark Home Site is part of the Falls of the Ohio State Park. 

     For more information and to make a group reservation, please call (812) 280-9970. 

     Falls of the Ohio State Park (dnr.IN.gov/parklake/2984.htm) is at 201 W. Riverside Dr. Clarksville, 47129. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

No ties for Dad; take him fishing or for a picnic at an area state or county park

Dad will remember time with kids more than an ugly tie.

People survey everything these days. Most make one scratch the head and wonder why. Usually the finding was obvious before the study ever started.
Supposedly, someone did a study about what Dad wants for Father’s Day. Again, it didn’t take rocket science to determine the result.
Dad doesn’t want a new tie or socks.
What most dads want is to spend time with their offspring, if possible, and if they can’t get together for  fishing, a cookout, or some other family activity. They would like to hear from the kids with maybe a commitment to get together when the opportunity presents itself.
When giving some thought to Father’s Day, I came across several quotes that seemed worth passing along as this year’s day approaches.
Former baseball slugger Harmon Killebrew had an interesting quote. He said his father used to play with him and his brother in the yard. His mother would come outside and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.”  He said his Dad would reply, “We’re not raising grass. We’re raising boys.”
One of my all-time favorite comedians, Bill Cosby once said, “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”
Some unknown wit reportedly added, “A father carries pictures where his money used to be.”
Although it it is not certain who the author of the following quote was, but Mark Twain often gets the credit.
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
Father’s Day today often is about gifts. People think they need to buy Dad something expensive or special; then, take him to a nice restaurant for dinner. 
That’s OK, but Father’s Day should be about creating memories. If possible, spend time with Dad. A cookout, a dinner, a trip to the creek or lake shore for bluegill just might create a special memory.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sad week, but Sissy and Beau bring some happiness back to household

Phyllis relaxes in sun room chair with Sissy (left) and Beau.

Last week was sad, devastating, informative, and finally happy. We lost our dog, Tyler.
It may be difficult for someone who is not a dog lover to understand the loss and devastation we felt when Tyler got lose from his leash for a minute and was killed by a car.
Tyler, a Teddy Roosevelt rat terrier, was my best friend. He went everywhere with me. I could tell what he was thinking, and he could tell what I was thinking. For some reason, he didn’t like it when I sneezed, and I could tell from his reaction, he often knew I was going to sneeze before I knew it.
My wife, Phyllis and I cried. She had difficulty sleeping. I didn’t want to eat. We knew immediately, we needed another dog. We also knew another dog would never replace Tyler. Just as Tyler could never replace, Augie, our rat terrier before him. Each has its own place in our hearts.
We decided we wanted a rescue dog. Most rescue shelters take dogs from “kill” shelters where the animals must be euthanized when they aren’t adopted in a relatively short period of time.
I have been aware of rescue shelters, but knew very little about them. We have always had dogs, but all came from someone we knew. So getting involved with a rescue dog and shelter was a learning experience.
Needless to say, Phyllis and I were anxious to find a dog to love and one that hopefully would love us. What we learned was obtaining a rescue dog can take a bit of time as nearly all rescue shelters are operated by volunteers; people’who have jobs and respond to telephone calls and emails as they have time. 
Rescue folks also are dog loving people who make sure the people who adopt the dogs will provide them with good homes, love and care. Most require adoption applications, some quite extensive. One required a home visit.
We set out to find a rat terrier or rat terrier mix. We found a number at pet finder internet sites. We made a trip to Lafayette to see two dogs. The shelter manager was very helpful and straight forward, and pointed out both dogs needed special care that we probably couldn’t provide.
We continued our search, and found another rat terrier type at a shelter named Rescue Farm near Poland, IN.. His picture was really cute, but we found he also had a problem. He had learned to climb chain link fences to escape and make his rounds. We have a chain linked back yard, but knew we could never have a climber. But, there was good news.
Rescue Farm has an adoption room, and Jodi brought in a small female dog believed to be part terrier and part dachshund. The dog acted rather shy, but we liked her. She was really cute and well mannered.
Jodi told us she was going to leave the little dog with us a few minutes while she brought in another dog to be with the first. When she brought the dog in she said it was the first dog’s brother. The female quickly became very happy.
Both looked like great matches for us. But, which one should we choose.
Jodi asked if we ever considered adopting two. She said she was just asking and that they often must separate dogs.
I told her we have had multiple dogs at the same time in the past, but at our current stage in life and the expense of properly caring for dogs, we had decided we couldn’t do it.
However, as the little bundles of energy put their paws on us seeking to be petted, Phyllis said, “There is no way we can split these dogs. If we can’t take them both. we can’t take either one.”
The brother and sister were called by the shelter, Sonny and Cher. No one knew there names, and Sonny and Cher are now Sissy and Beau and settled into the Junker household in just five days.
If you are considering a dog, consider a rescue dog. Be aware the process may be a little more involved than you might think, but it is well worth the effort for the pet and you.
As I finish this column, both Sissy and Beau are sleeping at the side of my chair.