There is still plenty of time left to enjoy the summer

Published 1:41 pm Saturday, July 27, 2013

Column: Woods and water, by Dick Herfindahl

The end of July is upon us, and I can’t help but think there is still plenty of summer left. I know that with each passing day there is a little less daylight for us to enjoy, but there is still time to do many of the summer things that we had planned on doing but haven’t gotten around to.

Usually by the time August rolls around, I have been to the cabin a couple of times with the grandsons. This year, however, I have only spent time up north one time with my grandson, Dylan, and his sister Emma. As kids grow older their interests change, and I am sure that in this day and age, spending time at a rustic cabin in the woods with old grandpa is not as appealing as it once was. Over the years, I have tried to share my knowledge of fishing and the outdoors with the grandkids. I feel good that I have been able to share the outdoors experience that I enjoy with them.

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The first couple of years after the cabin was livable, it had four walls, a roof and a floor with a kerosene heater. There were a few years when I took my two oldest grandsons, Trevor and Taylor, up for a weekend in April. This was our traditional trip to check and see if the cabin made it through the winter and if there were any downed trees. On one of our April trips north, the boys and I awoke to freshly fallen snow, which they thought was pretty neat. There were a few times when we were greeted by fallen trees, which luckily did no damage to the cabin, but they did do some to the camper. The camper had been an essential part of our time up north for many years, but this year we finally decided that it was time for it to go. Over the years it served us well, and it held a lot of good memories of the times spent with the grandkids.

In the early days, we didn’t know what our little lake had for fish, because when we bought the land, the real estate agent said that there weren’t any fish in the lake. The day I was going to sign the papers, I drove to the lake early, made a few casts with a jig and twister and had a couple of hits. This told me there was indeed some type of fish in the lake. I then proceeded to town to meet with the real estate agent and sign the papers.

Once we had cleared some trees, we brought our camper in, and since then it has been a work in progress. The first year we were there, I offered up a bounty — or I guess you could call it a reward — to any of the kids who caught a fish in the lake. Naturally, it didn’t take Trevor long to collect that bounty with an 8-inch perch. Once the kids knew fish were in the lake, they had a blast.

The lake with no fish has had fish in it every year since. The perch disappeared a few years back, but mysteriously crappies and sunfish soon replaced them, and it has yielded some nice slabs over the past few years. Now that I think about it, I may just have to try and get a few for the pan the next time I’m up there.

In the evening, I love to sit on our deck and enjoy the view as the sun sets on our pretty little lake. The quiet of the evening is broken only by the calling of the loons or an occasional tail slapping on the water by the resident beaver. This is really what it is all about: taking the time to sit back and enjoy nature at its best.

I mentioned earlier that our granddaughter Emma had spent some time at the cabin with us in June. Unfortunately, she got homesick every night, and the mosquitoes were relentless. For an outdoors girl like her, it wasn’t all that much fun. I have no doubt that in a few years she will be fishing like the boys. She is not afraid to pick up an earthworm or a leech, and holding a minnow is just plain fun to her. The other evening, she went to Edgewater Bay to fish with me, her dad and brother, Dylan. Her attention span isn’t very long, and sitting still isn’t what she does best, but she found that she could bring us bait. She would bring us a leech if we needed one, and if we didn’t ask for one, she wanted to know if she should bring us one of those “black things.” She told me that she thought it was neat that they could stick to her hand.

This is the same girl who stayed at grandpa and grandma’s not too long ago and wanted to watch a movie. I suggested a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie her brother left at the house a few years back, but that didn’t fly. “That’s a boy movie, grandpa,” she said. “I want to watch a girl movie!”

Until next time, enjoy the outdoors, go for a walk on one of our area trails or watch a bobber bouncing in the breeze on an area lake.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers, because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

 Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.