Sunday, February 27, 2011


It didn’t take Grandpa long to discover that with his trading abilities he could get a much higher value return by trading his eggs for goods instead of simply selling them for money, and his customer base was much larger. Of course he needed some money, and selling about 12 dozen eggs a day filled that need.

But bartering was in his blood, grandpa didn’t trust banks, the only things he trusted were things he could put in his yard that had value, things he could see touch and feel! He had it figured that the depression would end, the coming war won, and he wanted to be in position to slowly sell his assets and retire.

But Grandpa had a problem, his kids were growing up, getting married and leaving the house. His daughters who were in charge of caring for the chickens, were no longer there caring for the chickens. His sons were responsible for getting the fuel to keep the house warm in the winter, and catching fish out of the river about ½ mile away from the house to help feed the family and the chickens, well, they had girl friends, cars and gas. And were no longer particularly interested in “menial” home work. They had learned to barter from their father to get what they wanted or needed. But times were changing, and Dad and his brother wanted to get a job to help in the coming war effort, they had the sense to realize that America was going to get into the war. They both went to work for the railroad. That was “The Job” in their day, everybody wanted to work for the railroad. So Grandpa had to take care of the chickens, and he didn’t like it, not one bit. He could have hired some neighbor hood kids, but he didn’t trust them. So for five years grandpa and Grandma watched the chickens, this continued on until the war was over. We’ll talk about how grandpa kept his chickens fed later.

Dad was a big strapping kid, very muscular and a boxer. He wanted to enlist at age 18 but problems with the veins in his leg caused the army to refuse him. So he had an operation waited a couple of years and tried enlisting again, this time he was successful. Dad went right up in the enlisted ranks mostly because he was older then the average enlistee, the younger enlistees called him Pops, he was 22 years of age, and a Master Sergeant. But Dad was savvy, he had learned well. In between the operation and enlisting he meet my mom. They dated for some time, dad wasn’t in the Church, Mom was but went inactive after marrying dad. Dad smoked, so Mom started smoking much to the great concern of her parents Grandpa and Grandma B. But more about them later. They also left some great “life during the depression” stories.

Dad growing up in the depression learned a lot about survival, this wasn’t book learning, it was experience. For example, Dad could go to the river and come back with 50 fish, trout, whitefish and suckers. He didn’t fish like the normal fishermen fish today, his purpose was food and only food, for his family and those chickens. He developed ways to catch the fish that were almost foolproof. He taught those methods to me and my younger brother, and I taught them to my kids, especially my sons. Dad just called it fishing, I call it survival fishing. To this date, and I’m pushing 67 years of age, I can still catch more fish faster then most any other person, and its legal, ---most of it!

Here is just one of the fishing secrets Dad learned and later taught me. Most fisherman are aware that fish are very fond of the worms living in the banks close to the river your fishing. We use them over any other bait if we insist on fishing with a rod and reel. But trout especially nice big ones like to hang around overhanging bushes. Bushes close to the bank that overhang the water, the thicker the better. Very hard to fish in with a rod and reel, and lots of nice fish live in those spots. However, If you sneak through that brush on the bank above the water with a short piece of leader and a fly, also with a small fishing net, you’ll have a great chance of catching fish, lots of fish as this is almost fool proof. I have seen people without the coordination needed to accomplish this fail, but most catch on quickly, so here it is. When you have fought through the brush to the water, gently clear a small spot of brush away from the water, about a foot wide, also clear the brush away from where you laying up to where the bank drops off to the water. Wait about 10 to 20 minutes for the fish to settle down, just lay there and rest! Tie the fishing leader around your wrist with the fly dangling about a foot below the wrist, slowly reach your hand out the line between your fingers and let the fly just bounce off the water as it flows through the opening you made in the brush. Hang the fly over the water and let it bounce off the surface. You must position your net very close to the water with your off hand. Fish will come up and try to grab the fly, as they do you quickly slide the net under them and pull them in. It’s imperative you get them out of the water as fast as possible. If you let them fight and splash you scare the other fish around them and you’ll have to wait another twenty minutes for things to settle down. This method of fishing gets very exciting, having a 19-20 inch fish jump right in front of your eyes really pumps up the adrenalin. I have used this method fishing streams and rivers supposedly fished out, and caught a limit of fish in less then half an hour. The fish that live under brush overhangs never see a baited hook, they just wait until a bug falls off the brush and eat. They seem to wait in line down there, but I’ll always have several spots I can go to on a specific stream or river.

More later