Monday, May 24, 2010

Fishing for fools

The weather has gone from warm to downright hot, wow, today was a scorcher.  I hate to admit it, but we have not accomplished much of anything in the gardens for the last 48 hours.  I would like to start planting the annuals this week as it seems the weather is going to stay on the warm side, but to plant annuals in this heat is to invite disaster.  They would never survive the shock, and I probably wouldn't either--so rather than tempt the fates, I will wait for a cooler day.  This is Wisconsin after all, wait around awhile, it'll change.

On Sunday, Carl and I were on our own, Joel having gone kayaking and Dave out and about, too.  We took the plastic off the greenhouse and replaced it with the shade cloth, then transferred all forty-seven of the flats back into the greenhouse from the driveway.  Just that bit of frenetic activity was enough work in the blazing sun, so we took a break for dinner.

While we were eating, we discussed the weather and the 'fun' prospect of working in the heat the rest of the day.  That's when Joel's friends dropped in, asking if it was too late to go kayaking with Joel.  Since it was, they asked us if we wanted to go.  As my usual, standard answer (especially when I have Carl home to help me) is, "No, we have too much work to do," I thought it over and asked Carl what he thought.  The answer was yes.  I took a chance and called Ann, who was free to go too, so we were on our way to the Oconto River by 4PM.

We had a good time; I think we needed the break from the work.   Ann was a bit anxious when she found out she was going to be kayaking for the first time in her life instead of canoeing, but she did a great job and survived without tipping over despite her worst fears.

I wasn't firing on all my cylinders though, and displayed some bad judgment.  While we were waiting for the cars to be switched, us womenfolk hauled all the watercraft to the shore.  There was a fisherman who had been casting from the bank and his lure had caught on something in the river.  He came over and asked if I would fetch his lure for him.  I agreed; we had time because the guys weren't back yet,  I have a kayak, how tough could it be?

I set out for the end of his fishing line and located the lure stuck on a downed tree branch just protruding from the water's surface.  I don't know diddly squat about fishing lures (this is about to become quite apparent) but I could see it was an oblong shape with two hooks on the top and bottom for a total of four barbed hooks.   It was a nasty-looking lure, more suited to catching seriously big fish (or silly women who think they know what they're doing) than small trout.  I don't know what kind of fish could actually swallow that thing!

The current was quite strong and I thought all I had to do was take my paddle and get under the fishing line and pop it loose from the branch, but the fishing line broke and the lure stayed embedded on the wood.    I drifted downstream immediately. I could faintly hear the fisherman's disappointment from the shore; I wasn't making his day. 

I valiantly paddled back upstream and got right next to the lure and branch combo.  Once again, the current swept me downstream before I had a chance to unhook it.  On my third time (not a Charm, by the way) I managed to grab hold of the lure with my right hand and thought it would be just a matter of picking it off of the tree branch.  Yeah, soon as I grabbed the lure, two of the hooks caught in my hand immediately.  So there I am, being swept back downstream ( because you need two hands to paddle!) and my right hand is impaled in two places on the lure which is still securely attached to the tree branch by the other two hooks.  Well, this was a real head-scratcher, let me tell you, and I didn't have any spare hands left to scratch with. 

By now, I'm feeling the pain (I know how fish feel) and had no other recourse than to grab the tree branch with my impaled hand and try to break it loose which then embedded the hooks much more deeply into my thumb and palm.  Luckily, the branch broke or I think I'd still be sitting in the middle of the Oconto River dangling from a fishing lure like a middle-aged sea cow.

While trying to extricate my hand from this predicament, I had to set my paddle down.  After trying to figure out how to get the lure free from my hand gently, I could see the kayak and I were drifting sideways into more trouble, namely a bunch of low-hanging tree branches called 'strainers'.  Not wanting to have to swim for it yet,  I ended up yanking the hooks out, taking a lot of my hide with it.  I'm by now quite a ways downstream, so I had a good workout getting back to the launching area and the guy waiting for his lure.  He was very appreciative when I handed it to him (after I rinsed the blood off).

I wish I could say that made the experience all worthwhile, but I can't.  That old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished" is true in this instance, because today  I had a scheduled doctor appointment for a physical and after telling the doc about my little rescue misadventure, it cost me a tetanus shot, too.  Ouch.

When the guys returned from moving the cars, we proceeded downstream to my next dilemma.  About halfway downstream,  the river drops in a series of gentle dips over a bed of solid rock in what we nicknamed the 'Flats'.   In higher water, the Flats can be a lot of fun, with no worries.  Yesterday the water was a bit low, and I found the only loose rock in the whole river to hit broadside and get tipped up sideways on.  Leave it to me, in less than six inches of water.  I managed to finally get the rock out from under the middle of my kayak and avoided a dumping.   Are we having fun yet?

Actually, despite everything, it was fun and good to take a break from the never-ending work though I have less than three weeks to get the work done here for the bus trip.  Today wasn't much better; I had my physical at 9AM and had to go grocery shopping after that followed by (it's Monday, so hello Wringer Washer) laundry.   I got the wash done by early afternoon and by then it was pushing 91 degrees, at least on our thermometer in the shade.

We had a very early supper and my good friend stopped in to see if one of the techie guys here could fix a computer.  So we ended up visiting until around 9PM. 

Nothing got done in the gardens today, but there's always tomorrow, right?


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