Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Hunter's Safety Completed - x2

Two of the boys needed their hunter's safety to start hunting in the future.

The new process is pretty good. One can either complete a on-line course for $15, or get a free workbook to complete.

A field day and test are required also, for $10.

We went out to Sauvie's Island on Saturday, and had a pretty good time of it.

The boys demonstrated safely crossing a fence.

They also used a 'zone of fire'.

Another station let them make decisions on when to shoot, and when not to shoot.

When they did shoot, they were scored on where they hit. Some good anatomy and shot placement learning, here.

A third station let them practice shooting, and they got several shots at skeet.

This seemed to be the most fun.

Here, the volunteer instructor demonstrated what a shotgun can do to a jug of water.

Some of the boys took a few shots to 'dial in' the skeet shooting.

All of the participants eventually hit the skeet.

The test took about 30 minutes, on average.

Everyone passed.

The boys were VERY relieved to be done with this. The workbook took them about a month to complete, and they were sweating the test.

Good job, boys!

On the way back we explored the island a bit more.

The new bridge is really nice.

It is alittle tough to spit off, but we practiced a while and got the hang of it.

The river and trollers were looking good.

We could even see Portland through the weather.

The instructors were great with the younger students.
Glad this round is done. Time to go huntin'.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Couple Quick Passes in Multnomah Channel for Salmon

We had time in the morning to try a few passes at the end of Multnomah Channel in St Helens, OR for spring salmon.

The downtown marina was quiet and flat.

The river is closed now below Bonneville for salmon fishing... but the channel and Willamette are still open...

The Columbia River looked vacant and empty after last week's traffic.

Mount St Helens is not yet breaking out from the night's fog.

There were about 2 dozen boats trolling inside the Channel.

We made one downhill pass, and then ...

bam...Bam... BANG! Fish On!

Look familiar?

He hooked a red-hot spring salmon.
The geese were honking, and we were scrambling.

Finally, the fish was in the net.
And it had a fin. Wild fish - gotta let it go.
It was a big one, too - 18 or 20 lbs. Isn't that always the case?

We did a quick release, and went to repeat the process.
We made 4 more passes, and had 2 other big takedowns... but nothing stuck.
We only saw 2 other fish caught, before we had to leave by 9:30.

We did take some time to checkout a sinking boathouse in the Channel.
It was a really nice house at one time - shame it is sinking.

Nice big boat area.

Really had some nice potential... until it took on water, that is.
All in all, a great morning in the Pacific NorthWest. Spring is in the air, trees are in bloom, and fish running in the rivers.

Making Antler Arrowheads

We dug out an old piece of Moose Antler, and decided to make some antler arrowheads. The boys have been itching to learn how to carve out and make arrows.

This piece of antler is very heavy and dense. More than a deer antler.

The first part that takes the longest is to cut off slabs from the antler.
Be sure to get them the right thickness.
If you use powertools, it will stink - smells just like branding a calf!

Next, we drew out a pattern we wanted.
Hunting arrows had a tappered backend on the arrowhead - so it could fall out easier and help bleed the animal better.
The tapper also increased the chance of saving the arrow to use again.

It is tricky holding onto the small piece of bone while carving on it.
Vise grips and a vice helped...

The sawzall also made the work quicker.
Except for the smell!

The younger boys really got a kick out of it.
It is alot of work by hand, but they didn't seem to mind. Funny how work is more fun when you are making 'weapons'.

When the arrowhead is shaped properly, an edge can easily be put on using a file. Or a grinder.
Battle arrowheads had the barbed backend that we often think of. The barb ensured the arrowhead was more difficult to extract from an enemy.
Here are a couple of the arrowheads we made to demonstrate it with the boys.
Hunting arrowheads were installed onto the arrow shaft to lay vertically - so they would penetrate the ribcage of an animal's vertically aligned ribs easier.
Battle arrowheads were installed horizontally, because only Man has horizontally aligned ribs. Very clever, huh.
The boys spent more time cutting disks from the antler for their own arrowsheads.
They learn best by putting sweat and effort into the learning. It is a great time to tell hunting stories and old west wisdom.
And no, Dad never did actually run into real indians on the plains...

Water for the Planted Trees

The grapes are really growing quickly - at least the ones the deer haven't gotten to...

And little grapes are everywhere! Good thing - we are down to about a third of our grapejuice stock...

We planted alot of new fruit trees this year, and have been watering them heavily to help them take root.

One trick to make the watering easier is we piled on alot of old hay and grass clippings around the base of the tree - the water doesn't run off away from the tree and soaks in better.

Another trick that is working well for the nectarine tree is we took an old busted 5 gallon bucket, and embedded it in the old hay around the base of the tree.

Now, we can fill up the bucket, and let it slowly water the tree. Saves us time, and will water the tree evenly, too.

Back in the Bread With A New Oven

Its been a long time coming - almost 3 weeks without a stove or oven. No ones gone hungry, though...

Before it was even installed, Mom ran 2 batches of cookies and 2 loads of rolls through it!

There was alot of counter-top cutting to do to fit it into the old insert's spot.
It went really smooth, with a sharp, fine blade.
The rough cuts were quick.

The finer cuts took a bit longer with the sawzall.
The cleanup took the longest. Alot of fine sawdust.

And then it was in!
It fit really well. The panel is quite tall and a bit in the way, but the extra size and convenience are more than worth it.

In fact, it is hard to even notice it after a while...
... pass over the cookies!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Watching Marine Traffic Around the World

Here is a cool find - a website that shows all marine traffic around the world in real-time.

The website is

It is an interactive Google Map that shows location, heading, etc of all ships over 70 feet in length.

It is really cool!

One of the fun things about being on the Columbia River is seeing all the ship traffic.

Fun until they blow 5 horns at you!

We often wonder where the ships are from, what they are hauling, and where they are off to... and now we can find out!

This website shows all available ships underway, and where they are located.

It also allows anyone to upload photos of the ship, and you can browse a gallery of the all the photos.

Here is an interesting one... !

Now we can see what ships are at anchor and will be in the way of fishing.
We can also get more information on the various ships we see.

It is really incredible to see just how much traffic is out there.
Want to see something really wild? Go check out the number of ships around the harbors of China!

Its obvious where many of the ships are headed when they leave the Columbia River...

And now when we get the name of a new ship, we can look it up and watch it travel.

Pretty cool!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Our Sunday Around Rainier, Oregon

After a fun weekend of fishing and yard work in the beautiful Pacific Northwest weather - how do you top it off?

Take the little girls out on an adventure!

I had an assignment this weekend in Rainier, OR and took the little girls with me. We had a blast!

After church the weather really was beautiful and clear.

Here is Mount St Helens from the top of the Rainier ridge.

The river seems to always be in view...

Next stop was at Prescott Beach.

We hoped to run around a bit in the sand, but it was too crowded! There were alot of folks out fishing, and enjoying the day.

Very little action, though - they said only 1 fish had been caught, and it had a fin.

The river was flat like glass.

We had fun on the soft mossy bank, instead.

After time walking around Prescott Beach, we drove up to our favorite hill to see the new Camas flowers.

It was fun to hike in our church clothes, but the shoes weren't so good for the rocky parts...

That is Liberty Hill in the background - it is a nice simple walk, also.

As we enjoyed the Camas on the hillside, we kept one eye on the river, too.

Here's another nice shot of Mount Hood. And the river!

Lots of good photo ops with the girls.

The fields were beautiful, and the air was warm and fragrant.

We were careful not to step on the flowers, and just enjoyed ourselves.

We couldn't help but pick a few of the flowers for Mom, too.

So many flowers, and so much fun.

Another great day in the Pacific Northwest.