Wednesday, January 30, 2019

whittling winter

It's so cold now the Postal Service has canceled mail delivery for today. I haven't heard of that happening before, but considering what most of the mail consists of I often wish I'd never get any. Still though, USPS does a good job at bargain rates. I can tell you, if you hired me to take an envelope across the country it would cost you a heck of a lot more than a stamp!

The last few days we've awoken to temps ranging around 35 below zero, give or take 5 degrees. Daytime highs reaching 10 below, but with the biting wind dramatic weathermen are warning us all to take shelter. Schools, of course, have been closed for a couple of days and some businesses in town have shut the doors, also. But it's been fine for splitting wood with my 8-pound splitting maul – those frozen blocks of wood pop open easily when I hit them. It's said firewood warms you twice, once when you make it and again when you burn it and working out in the sunny, frigid mornings is a pleasing way to start the day – maybe the best way to avoid cabin fever is not let it take hold in the first place. When your cheeks start burning and your fingers are too numb in mittens to hold the maul it's time to go indoors and you won't need a TV weatherman to tell you so.

Up here we get plenty of sub-zero winter days and it's a given that indoor projects like fly-tying keeps us in the right frame of mind thinking about tomorrows to come. I cut a branch from a dying willow a while back just for days like this. With knifes, files, and sandpaper I'm shaping a couple of wooden poppers. Just to do something different I sawed a disc from the front of one and hollowed it out with drill and dremel before gluing the disc back on. I can't say if that will accomplish anything but it was interesting to do. After I glue the hook into the groove filed into the bottom I suppose I'll paint some kind of frog pattern on it. The other I think I'll leave natural and finish with the same spar varnish I use on my snowshoes – but I'll have to wait for warm weather for that 'cause that varnish stinks to high heaven and not fit to open in any building inhabited by humans or critters.

Fun stuff on cold days and I'll finish with some feathers and flash and believe I'll catch some fish with these. Come to think of it, I know where there's a cedar tree I could snip a branch from...