Monday, January 3, 2011

Outdoors 2010 in Review

As we get fired up into the January work schedule (have an early Feb. board meeting to prepare for, and I start teaching on January 19), and the end of waterfowl season (January 29), I'm going to take it light on posting for the next few weeks.  I think it's also worthwhile to look back on 2010, which was a completely crazy year.  
I celebrated my 10th year of marriage (woo hoo!), my first full year as a "Manager" (woo!), my first year as a Dad (WOOOO!) and my first year trying both community gardening and farm leasing (for hunting).  And my return to part-time teaching (woo).
The year started with a series of really bad goose hunts.  God, they were tedious.  Between really crazy weather (December freeze, January thaw) and poor goose reproduction (= older smarter geese), the only thing that saved these hunts was the company.

This was followed by a ruthless February, which included a 48" week of snow, and a season total of 80" - all-time records for Maryland. 

We suffered about $3500 damage to our porch and gutters, and at the time Hank was about 6 months old - we hardly left the house with him for two weeks.  It was tough!  Everybody was really depressed, and our house was destroyed (I'm exaggerating).  However, eventually, the winter broke! I will remember this scene for a long time - I pulled over on the way home from work to take this picture of geese headed back north -hopefully taking the snow with them:

Around that time, I found out that I had been awarded a garden plot at the "City Farm."  This was great, since our yard is really too shady to garden.  At first, the plot looked like this:

In the meantime, I actually got to do some semi-serious fishing in 2010.  I worked harder to fish on better (though fewer) days than in the past, and I chose to focus on larger bass instead of catching large numbers of panfish on the ultralight.  And although I was skunked the last three times I fished in 2010,  Spring and Summer were good to me.   On the first cast of 2010, I caught this:

Absolutely not a trophy, but not a bad start.  My patience paid off again, soon (not soon enough!) after that fun first day out, with this fatty and some of his friends....

And it paid off again in July when I caught my first spotted bass, which just happened to be a citation fish......and the only bass I caught in 3 hot, muggy July mornings in North Carolina:

Around that time, Hank (10 months old) learned how to stand.  I could tell that things were about to get even more interesting!

The summer was absolutely torrid, with over a dozen days over 100 degrees, and dozens more above 90 degrees.  It made it hard to go outside with Hank, because he's just a little dude.  I tried dove hunting in the heat, which, other than the exercise and sweating, proved to be a waste of time.  So I did some more fishing:

I worked hard for this fish, and was happy to catch and release him.  In 2010, I started to impersonate someone with actual fishing skill!!!!!!     Pretty soon after, it was Hank's first birthday!

Fall came and went in a hurry, mostly because it was 80 degrees until Thanksgiving.  Which found us in Southwest Florida.  Which - I ain't gonna lie - was beautiful.

The trip to Florida wasn't totally what I expected, but I hope to return soon to take advantage of the ridiculous fishing opportunities down there, and maybe even the occasional wave.  If Florida wasn't what I expected, well, neither was the rest of 2010.  We returned home to 10 degree air temperatures (what happened to Fall?), frozen creeks, no ducks or geese around........and a busted furnace.  $6000 and two weeks later, we got a new one. 

It's only worth a photo - a small one, at that - because it's the most expensive thing I bought in 2010.  I think I bought a $50 baitcasting reel, a $50 spinning rod, and some new fancy sweat-proof underwear were the next highest dollar purchases after that!  Oh yeah, I forgot the $300 gutters and $3000 front porch. Woo.
December was tough - not as tough as February, but tough, and with the contractor coordination for the furnace, there was almost no time to hunt or get outdoors.  Eventually, Christmas came, though, and I got the best present of all!

And that was 2010.  Glad I lived through it.  If I could repeat 50% of it, I would.  See you all soon!

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