Saturday, May 16, 2015

Norfolk Staycation: days 3 and 4

Day 3:

Wednesday we grabbed life by the horns and ran out to the shenandoahs for a quick hike followed by a stop at a favorite BBQ spot in Gordonsville, Va before returning to get david from daycare. He would not have done well in the car for the 6.5 hours. Did we feel a bit guilty? Yes. It turns out we would get to spend the rest f the week with him home from daycare. 

We hikes humpback rock which was short and fun. We had a great view from the top. 

David has really got into books lately which has been fun. He has such a great sense of humor. 




Day 4:

It turns out God wanted us to know we were spending too much time away from baby david on staycation so he helped out by having david throw up a couple times. The bunny and bear were collateral damage. Fortunately David rallied and we have been having a great time. He seems to be doing just fine now.

We haven't made it to the zoo like we wanted but we have gotten lots of botanical gardens and beach time. We did bring david to the Virginia beach oceanfront but I failed l get pictures. 

We did make a second trip to Bay Local and I had a soft shell crab grits combo which was delicious; however I feel the vacation diet is catching up with me. I think I need to loosen the belt a bit.  




Behind David in this last photo is our local fisherman. He is a nice guy who is working hard to find the fish. David likes his gear. 









Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Video: The Last Big Run



Virginia has been good to me. Very good. Still, the time has come to move on. A few members of the local Trout Unlimited chapter (Bill Wills Southeast Virginia TU Chapter) and I made one last run to the mountains to find some hearty brookies. 

With some tips from the boys at the South River Fly Shop in Waynesboro, Virginia, we found our way to a great stream holding wonderful fish. Tenkara has been good to me in the Shenadoahs, and that held true one last time.

Filmed on Gopro Hero, iphone 4s
Music: David Nash "The Fisherman"

Norfolk Staycation: Day 2

Yesterday was another great day. We are enjoying having a little mommy/daddy time keeping baby David at daycare for the mornings and then picking him up early to get extra time with him in the afternoon. 

Yesterday we dropped David off at daycare, grabbed some coffees and headed to a local used book shop. We got a neat cookbook for us and a fun book for David. 

Then we drove out to the restaurant Bay Local in Virginia Beach to try a new spot for brunch. It was AMAZING. Sara had the Jamaican Rum French Toast and I had Biscuits and Gravy with a side of sautéed kale (the greens cancel the gravy in terms of unhealthiness). 

Then we went home to digest, and I put the kayaks on the car and we drove down to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to paddle around (an activity not safe for the little guy). We saw a snake, cranes, egrets, and a lot of gar including one massive one being trailed by either their pups or potential mates. The girth was the size of my thigh and it swam right underneath my paddle board. Crazy. 

After that, we picked up the little guy and had him help up wash off the kayaks. Then we realized and enjoyed bath and story time. After an awesome game of cribbage in which I won (this rarely happens), Sara and I went to bed early because Wednesday, we had big, big plans.





The sunscreen made David's eyes a bit puffy. Poor little guy :(



A gopro shot from the kayaks. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Norfolk Staycation: day 1

This week is a week to enjoy The best of the best in Norfolk and Virginia Beach area. Sara and I are taking a week off of work and staying local. For day one we started with breakfast at shipwrecked Sally's. We indulged in the eggs Benedict. It was delicious. After a relaxing midday nap, we went for a jog, picked David up from daycare, and headed to the botanical gardens for and afternoon walk. It was all giggles all afternoon with David and Sara and I are made party salads for dinner and enjoy some linenkuegel Summer Shandy and the movie Into the Woods. Day two is already proving to be just as good.












Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hexa-what?

That slightly bewildered reaction you are experiencing right now, wondering where this blog post is going and what is a Hexa…. what did he say?

That's how I felt two months ago when I stumbled upon the word Hexagraph during my search for a new fly rod. I recently got a going-away gift form my local TU chapter. They gave me some money for a rod or a guided trip. I wanted to do something special with the money. I wanted whatever I did or got to remind me of my time with Bill Wills TU in Virginia.

I struggled for a while. Of the days I could go on a guided trip, all the shops were booked and I was getting dizzy thinking of all the different rod options. Nothing really seemed special enough in the price point I was working with.

That's when a member of our chapter mentioned the word Hexagraph.

You see, back in the 80s, this guy, Walton Powell was making fiber glass rods. Good ones. He was also really into bamboo. He and some Brits then came up with a plan to make foam filled graphite rods pieced together the same way you make a bamboo rod. What is the appeal of this? Precision casting. A rod that loads through the entire length. Essentially, bamboo delivery with improved power, durability, and a reduced cost.

Here is where things get interesting. Somehow, Jimmy Carter and Robert Redford start using these rods and redford gets Powell to paint some to look like bamboo. Why? Well it was too expensive to use actual bamboo rods in the movie "A River Runs Through It." So next time you watch that young Brad Pitt smile as he makes his magic on the big river, remember it isn't really him, and he isn't using bamboo.

Well, Powell ran the company for a while and then sold it to a man named Harry Briscoe. I started looking for these rods online only to come to the Hexagaph website to find this….

"Effective December 31, 2014, Hexagraph Fly Rod Co. has ceased operations."

WHAT?! I'm THREE months too late!?

Mr. Briscoe had his email address on the site, so I thought I would see what he had left in his inventory. He was awesome and informative, and we wrote and forth about his rods for several days. Ultimately, he didn't have a rod left that would fit my needs. He had some blanks that would have worked, but I'm wasn't looking to build something.

So I went to ebay. As good fortune would have it, there was a 1980's original 8'6" available. In mint condition. How is that possible? I asked the seller. He said he got the rod (and a few others) from the photographer for Walton Powell. The photographer had been given several rods as gifts, but he never used them. Well, long story short, I got the rod. It is gorgeous, and I know it is from the 80s because it came in a corduroy rod sock. It is awesome.

My old medalist fits right in with this new addition.






To some this might be a collector's item. To me, this rod was made to be used 30 years ago, and now, it finally get's its chance.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Painting Through Prosek: Atlantic Salmon

On December 9, 2012, I painted the Arctic Char. It was my first painting since college. It was the first painting in the "Painting Through Prosek" series. At the time, I thought I might be able to paint every fish in the book. That didn't happen. That being said, I think I painted 31 different fish from the book Trout: An Illustrated History by James Prosek. I also painted a speckled trout, a couple brookies and brown trout, two red drum tails, and a quail.


This project ended with the Atlantic Salmon. It is such a powerful and beautiful fish. These amazing sea-run fish, return to home waters to spawn. Some make the trip more than once. Most do not.


Salmon have been an important species to may people for many reasons. Some salmon runs have long since disappeared from interruption of their path by dams. This is just as true for the Atlantic Salmon as it is for their West Coast cousins.


I chose to go outside my comfort zone and paint something other than the body colors. I drew some of the structure of Prosek's fish in pencil to help guide my brush. I think this was a great way to end this project. 


I'm not sure what comes next. I have Prosek's book, Trout of the World and Ocean Fishes. But I was thinking of something else.

This July, we are moving back to Southeast Minnesota for the year. I'll be at the edge of the Driftless Area. I might try to find representative flora and fauna and paint those in a Driftless series. Just a thought, for now.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Painting Through Prosek: Westlope Cutthroat Trout

What better to do while watching a good game this evening? While Wisconsin took their shot at Kentucky, I took my shot at the Western Cutthroat Trout. Again, I turned to a combination of James Prosek's version with some photos online and came up with a compromise. 



Look at Kaminsky go!






I added the highlights to give it that shiny-wet-fish appearance.