Something Fishy

Something Fishy
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Winterizing your boat important to protecting your investment

It’s that time of the year to think about winterizing your boat motor in the northland, and in the southland, undoing the summerizing.
Since this old fisherman spends part of the winter in Florida and leaves a fishing boat there, it soon will be time to prepare the boat and motor for the upcoming crappie season. In the spring, the motor is summerized, much like winterizing which is necessary here in the colder climes.
Some people use their motors throughout the winter, but for those who put their boating on hold till the ice and freezing weather are gone, it is necessary to take steps to care for the motor during frigid weather.
The statf at the Boat Owners Association of The United States (Boat US) have put together a couple of true and false questions to help determine what is a half-truth, wive’s tale or tall tale related to winterinzing a recreational boat.
Boat US hopes the questions will help set the record straight and help folks prepare their motors for winter.
Ethanol (E10) fuel and engines: If a boat has a built-in gas tank, it’s recommended to leave the tank as full as possible over the winter with a smidgen of room for fuel expansion.
TRUE: Leaving the tank nearly full limits the amount of moisture that can potentially condense inside on the tank’s walls as outside temperatures fluctuate, preventing phase separation of ethanol (E10) fuel.  Note one caveat: If your boat is stored in a rack system or indoor storage, check with the marina. They may require you to empty the tank to minimize the risk of fire. TIP: Never plug a fuel vent. Ever.
Ethanol and phase separation: Come springtime, any phase-separated gasoline in the tank can be fixed by adding a fuel stabilizer or additive.
FALSE: Once gasoline phase separates, that’s it. Kaput. End of story. The only solution is to have a pro remove the contaminated fuel and water mixture and start anew -- a difficult, hazardous and costly task for boats with built-in fuel tanks. 
However, it’s critical to use a fuel stabilizer each fall to help keep fuel fresh over the winter, keep corrosion at bay and to help prevent the onset of phase separation. 
TIP: Put the stabilizer in before you nearly fill the tank for its long winter nap. This will allow stabilizer to fully course through the fuel system as you run the engine when filling with antifreeze.
Freeze damage: Because it’s cold up there, BoatUS insurance claims for engine block freezing come from northern climates.
FALSE: While there are quite a few claims from the colder climates, many boat insurance freeze damage claims also come from southern, temperate states hit by an unexpected freeze or when space heaters fail due to sudden storm power loss. 
In the northern climes, storm power outages also are to blame for engine block freeze related claims, however, both areas of the country have their fair share of winter freeze claims due to one reason: the failure to follow winterizing procedures. 
TIP:  Another option for protecting your engine is adding ice and freeze insurance to your boat insurance – most insurers do not charge much for it, but there are deadlines to purchase (BoatUS offers it for as little as $25 to its insured members until October 30).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why do dogs like to roll in poop, other really smelly, stinky stuff?

Our dog Missy certainly isn't exempt from rolling in smelly stuff.

Over the years, the Junker family has had a number of dogs. All of the pets have been family dogs. Some have also been hunting dogs. but spent time in the house.
While all of the canines have spent time indoors, they all loved the outdoors. This includes our current dog, Missy.
And all of the dogs, large and small and with varying natural instincts, they all have had one thing in common. They loved to roll in stinky stuff, especially after a bath when they are still wet from the tub.
The rolls in or on smelly stuff doesn’t include unfortunate encounters with skunks. We’ve had plenty of those, but even the dogs don’t care for the black and white kitty perfume. That’s another story.
Our dogs have been fortunate to have a couple good vets. One is Dr. Carol Thompson in Lake Wales, FL. She sends a regular email newsletter and a column in the digital publication prompted this outdoor journalist’s effort related to rolling dogs.
“Why do dogs love the smell of disgusting things?” reads the headline.
It was something I often had thought about and even developed a theory of my own. So, naturally I had to read the column, and that prompted even a bit more research on the internet.
Is your dog getting into bad, smelly stuff to aggravate you? That’s highly unlikely, most dogs will do most anything to please their human. companion.
There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence, but several theories exist of rolling in stinky smell exist
Most theories, including mine, date back to the early nature of dogs, their natural instincts. In addition, what smells good or bad via a dog’s highly sensitive nose, may differ significantly in what smells good or bad to it’s human.
Most people find the smell of the shampoo they use on their dog pleasant, but Fido (or in our case Missy), and many dogs may find the aroma unpleasant. As a result, as soon as the dog has the opportunity it rolls in something that smells more acceptable to it, e.g. dog poop, something dead, or who knows what.
One reason a dog likes to roll in smelly stuff may be quite natural. It likely is instinctive behavior, going back to the days when a dog’s ancestors sought to mask their own smells so they could sneak up on prey while hunting for their next meal.
Another theory is that when dogs traveled in packs, a dog rolled in the smell to take it to other dogs to let them know what the had encountered when they were slightly away from the group.
It also is interesting that humans like bad smells. Many top perfumes used to cover sweaty bodies, contain stuff like whale snot, anal glands from Asian cats, and feces (ugh), although it is masked by rose, lilac and other human perceived good smells.
While getting into smelly stuff is natural for dogs, you don’t have permit them to enjoy it.
You shouldn’t punish your dog for doing it, but you can do things to prohibit the unwanted behavior.
If your dog rolls in its own feces, clean up the poop in your yard before he gets a chance to get into it.
When  you are walking your dog, keep it on a short leash to keep it from rolling in another dog’s left behind deposit or anything else smelly.
Another effort to stop the rolling includes providing an unpleasant experience. Take a water squirt bottle with you and provide a squirt when Fido starts to roll. Or, you can provide some other annoyance such as a loud or sudden noise. Hopefully, one of these will help reduce the smells your dog likes, but you don’t.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nenendez to return to tournament trail; West Boggs rehab underway

One of professional bass fishing’s good guys plans to return to the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail next spring.

Mark Menendez of Paducah, a top angler, unfortunately had to take a leave from the tournament trail after his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
After initially thinking she had beaten the disease, it returned and she lost her battle with the disease this past spring.
Although times have been difficult for Mark, he plans to return to tournament fishing early next year. He says he is confident he still has the physical skills and know-how, but figures mental concentration may be his biggest challenge.
Fellow outdoor writer Gary Garth recently wrote and interesting  column about Mark in the Louisville Courier-Journal. It is a good read and can be accessed at the
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WEST BOGGS REHAB -- The renovation of West Boggs Lake in Loogootee hopefully will not only improve fishing, but help the local economy.
West Boggs Lake was once a premier bluegill and bass fishing lake, drawing anglers from 81 Indiana counties, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. Anglers spent an estimated $1.1 million in the local community in 1999, according to a DNR survey.
  The quality of the fishery declined when populations of undesirable fish increased. From 2004 to 2010, the DNR survey found that recreational boating decreased by 11 percent and the number of angler visits decreased by 63 percent. 
The once million-dollar fishery now contributes about $326,000 annually to the economy. 
“Anglers buy bait, food, gas, and lodging in the area, bringing economic gain and tourism to the community,” DNR fisheries supervisor Brian Schoenung said. “In a small town, the nearly $800,000 dollars lost annually can have a big impact.”
  The fisheries renovation at West Boggs was scheduled for this fall, beginning with the removal of adult bass and catfish that later will be returned to the lake.
  Trained DNR staff will apply rotenone in the West Boggs watershed to eradicate remaining fish in the lake. Rotenone is a naturally occurring substance in several plant seeds and stems and is an EPA-regulated chemical. Rotenone quickly detoxifies in the environment and has virtually no effect on mammals and birds. 
After the fish eradication, the lake will be allowed to refill. It will be stocked with hatchery-raised game fish and fish salvaged from the lake before the renovation.
  A similar renovation in 1994 increased the number of angler visits to the lake annually by 71 percent. 
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LIFE JACKETS -- As the weather cools, wearing an overcoat becomes a nearly automatic equipment choice for enjoying the outdoors.
At the same time, many people recreating around water seem to forget about wearing another, more vital type of jacket—a life jacket, according the the Indiana DNR.
That’s a mistake that can be life threatening during a season when many enjoy kayaking or canoeing, duck hunting from a jonboat, or taking a late-winter ice-fishing trip.
Water temperatures plummet, increasing the chance of hypothermia and the risk of drowning, particularly if a person goes overboard while not wearing a life jacket. 
Indiana law requires all vessels to carry one wearable U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD (personal floatation device) for each person on board. In addition, vessels 16 feet in length or longer (except a canoe or kayak) must have one USCG-approved PFD on board and readily accessible.
“Cold water brings additional concerns to the recreating public,” said Indiana Boating Law administrator Lt. Kenton Turner. “Life jackets are a yearlong priority and should be the first thought on everyone’s mind when enjoying Indiana’s waterways.”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Persimmons make tasty pudding, cake, wine; even forecast winter weather

Persimmons are part of autumn's bounty.

Persimmons are a bounty of autumn. The fruit of the tree can be used to make pudding, pies and cakes, tasty wine and even forecast the coming winter weather.
Persimmons are one of the most popular items harvested in the fall, although other fruits of interest include the pawpaw, wild grapes, elderberry, and wild cherry. These can be picked while on a fall hunting trip for squirrels, a fishing trip, or they can be hunted and picked on any fall outing.
Persimmon trees have gray, fissured bark. Once you learn the tree, they are easy to identify.
Persimmons should be picked from the ground and not the tree. If picked from the tree, they may be what we always have called “puckery”. One not fully ripe will leave the inside of your mouth with an awful taste and make the inside feel as though it puckers. 
Some people shake the persimmons from smaller limbs, but there is a danger of getting some puckery ones included in your picking.
Persimmons can be used to make wine. To process them is easy. You just look them over in the kitchen. Wash them off and make sure they are clean. Then squash and drop skins, seeds and all into the container where you make your wine.
However if you plan to use them to make persimmon pudding, cookies or pies or to save and freeze for later, much more work is involved. The biggest problem is getting out the seeds. They are sizable, but difficult to easily remove. 
The skins and stems also must be separated. They need to be run through a colander or Victoria strainer,  and that is a work of love, but one well worth doing. If you are lucky you may be able to purchase persimmon pulp (where someone else has done the work) at a fall festival or roadside stand.
Persimmon pudding is a holiday treat at our house. It is a traditional part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Here is a persimmon pudding recipe::
Ingredients -- 2 cups persimmon pulp, 2 cups sugar (granulated), 2 cups milk, 2 cups flour, 3/4 stick of margarine or butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Melt the butter and stir it into the pulp. Then stir in flour, sugar, cinnamon in that order and stir it well.
Pour the mixture into a nine by 13-inch cake pan, and bake for one hour in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. It can be served with whipped cream. it also can be cut into squares (like brownies) and eaten with the hands, although you may have to lick your fingers afterward.
There are a number of other recipes. My mother-in-law always made a pudding that was less like a cake and more like a soft pudding to be eaten with a spoon. Either way it is delicious.
If you want to enjoy eating a few raw persimmons while on a hike or baking a tasty pudding, give them a try.
You also can checkout persimmon winter weather forecasting. To check the forecast for where you live, cut open a seed from the local area. Use a ripe seed.
Observe the shape of the kernel inside.
-- If the kernel is spoon-shaped, lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. Spoon shape equals shovel!
-- Should iit be fork-shaped,  expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter.
-- If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be "cut" by icy, cutting winds.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Leaves turning color early this autumn

It was a relatively cool and damp summer in much of the Midwest, and leaves have started turning color. Some forecasters say leaf color change is earlier this year.
Forecasting just when leaves will turn color and reach their maximum brilliance isn’t easy to predict. However, some forecasters expect much of the Midwest to be ahead of the average this year.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the primary time for full color in the northern half of Indiana is Oct. 5 to Oct. 21, and the dates for southern Indiana are Oct. 12 to Oct. 28.
The leaf color depends on many factors from the type of tree to weather conditions and more, and while muck is known about the color of leaves and when they will fall, there also are unknowns and predicting the color peak is really tough.
In several recent years when summers were hot and dry, it was thought color would be dulled. However, pretty leaves still seemed to prevail in many areas.
Most autumn seasons, I enjoy the turning of leaves and also respond to questions about them. with information provided by people with much more knowledge of botany than this old scribe.
       Abby van den Berg, University of Vermont plant biologist, who has done research on leaf colors, said some data suggest a small amount of physiological stress can result in more brilliant colors.
"The real bottom line is that there's no great way to predict these things," she said. "It's pretty much impossible, especially over a large scale."
The prognosticators predicting less color last year may have been partially right, but there is was color in areas, than many anticipated. 
Drought some years causes trees to switch to survival mode. When dry conditions exist, some trees lose their leaves before they change to the familiar red, yellow or orange, according to nature experts.
 However, this spring and summer there was plenty of rain, and trees were loaded with healthy, green leaves. They are green because they contain chlorophyll. 
According to one agriculture department website, there is so much chlorophyll in an active leaf that the green masks or overpowers other pigment colors. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. 
The decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color starts to fade from leaves.
While that is happening, increasing sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. 
Another type of pigment, carotenoids are found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren't diminished by shorter days. Carotenoids can be orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange.
Temperature affects the rate of chemical reactions, including those in leaves, so it plays a part in leaf color. However, it's mainly light levels that are responsible for fall foliage colors. Sunny autumn days are needed for the brightest color displays. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.
Whether or not you care about anthocyanins or carotenoids, there should be plenty of beauty to be found this autumn.
A live leaf camera at several Indiana sites can be found on the internet