Saturday, November 12, 2011

OIFC Team Wins SKA Nationals in Biloxi!

NEWS FLASH!!  My Guys and Gals won the SKA Nationals for the second time!!!  And, my 6 year old grand daughter was on board since Dark-Thirty in the morning to round out the team, true to form.

 Thankfully, my Daughter-in-Law, Stephanie, was right in front of the stage and she captured the team on camera only seconds after they learned they were in First Place:

Image courtesy Stephanie Beach McMullan

They were near the back of the line to weigh in...not unusual, because they like to fish until the last minute.  Which gives me heart failure, because if something goes wrong, or if there is any glitch, you can miss the cut-off time to be in line to weigh your fish.  Period.  It has happened in many tournaments, and is heart-breaking.  

Husband finally answered my frantic text and phone messages with a cryptic text to let me know they were in line, but then went silent on me.  No matter how many calls or texts...silence.  So, I knew they were either not happy and confident with their catch, or they were sandbagging and had another Whopper.   Which would not only win the National prize, but an extra $100,000.00 if it was over 74.10 pounds.  I bounced between the two possibilities for the better part of two hours, and sent a final text to him that the aggregate weight to beat was 100.60 pounds.   Dead silence. 

Chatter picked up on the Live Stream that there was an 80 pound King coming to the scales, and it wasn't my Team.  Things started heating up, with sniping and "Oh yeah? Just cross this line..." sort of stuff.  One chatterer even claimed to have seen the photo of the $100k fish lying in the boat of whoever had caught it.  Others claimed to be in touch with that boat, and said they were at the back of the weigh-in line.  

I just wanted to see Team OIFC load up the stage with their fish bag.

Suddenly, I could see behind the MC a little platinum blonde girl, being ushered onto the stage by her equally blonde Mommy.  And knew the moment had arrived.  Husband and two sons all lumbered up on stage, hauling a pretty heavy looking bag, while the MC was chattering away about the monster King they had caught in 2009, and was this another one?  The Weigh Master zippered it open.   A hush fell over the crowd.    And the MC, true to form, leaned over and looked in the bag and said... "Well, THAT'S not a 74 pounder in there!"  And the crowd sighed.  

The Weigh Master slipped a rope around the first King's tail and levered it up to the weighing hook.  As the fish stopped swaying, I could see Barrett looking at the digital read-out.  And saw his eyebrows shoot up.  The MC announced, "48.43 pounds!" I could see them looking at each other and something zinging between all of them.  The second fish hit the hook.   Again, the MC: "54.7 pounds!"  No one was doing the math fast enough - before anyone could tally it up, Jack Holmes, the MC, announced that they had moved into first place with an aggregate weight of 103.13!  Pandemonium!

Camera flashes were going off everywhere, and Jack was shouting that "Can you believe that?  Unbelievable!  Two-time National Champions?", and so forth...because there were more boats in line to weigh fish, and the Rumored Whopper had yet to show up.  I was in knots, and the next few minutes were a blur, until I heard Jack say, "'s the last boat, the last one", and saw the size of their bag.  And knew.

Team OIFC Rocks!  SKA National Champions for the Second Time!  

Here's a shot of the Tournament Site at sundown from Stephanie:
Image courtesy Stephanie Beach McMullan

They are my Champs.  Great SportsMen and SportsWomen and SportsChildren.   

And thanks to Stephanie, who was on shore tending to her 4 month old daughter (future SportsWoman), we have these beautiful photos.

Happy, Happy.

Shout Out to My Guys, and Link To SKA Tournament in Biloxi

Okay, okay.  I can't get anything done in between listening for the phone to ring and hearing "She's in the Boat!" screaming from the other end, and zooming  up here to get on the internet and check SKA news. 

See, while I'm sewing, my Guys are fishing in the Southern Kingfishing Association National Championships in Biloxi, Mississippi.  They won in 2009, landing the biggest King Mackerel ever caught in any SKA Tournament - a whopping 74.1 pound female.  Which they promptly named Kingzilla.  Their record still stands, and is so unusual that the SKA is offering $100,000.00 to any team that beats that today!

Here is a picture of them at the scales in 2009, bursting with happiness!

And Barrett, in his favorite pose:

Here are the boats this morning, roaring out of the starting point in Biloxi:

Image compliments of

If you are at all interested,  click HERE for live coverage of the weigh-in, which starts at 4:00, EST. 

All digits crossed - but honestly, I just want to give a big Shout Out to My Guys for making it to the Nationals again!   And to all the teams, who have fished so hard this year!

Possible Cure for Blog Spammers?

Just a quick Post - I'm busy Re-Decorating the old Home Place while juggling other things as well...

I just wanted to let my readers know that I've experienced recent problems with having my Blog used by Spam Referrers, which made my Page Views look like Fireworks!  It was pretty amazing to log in and see hundreds of views every day, until I realized that things just weren't adding up.  Love the numbers, hate the Spammers.  It doesn't do me any favors.

So, I changed every single Password for every account I have.  My older brother tipped me to a website that will generate safe Passwords for you:  Strong Password Generator.

In addition, I learned to NEVER CLICK ON REFERRING WEBSITES in your stats, especially if it is a site with Bllog in the name.  Mark anonymous comments as Spam, then Delete them.  Never click on the link to their site.

Last, I went into my Security Settings and turned off Enable Remote Access.

My Stats are back to normal.  Hopefully, when they spike again, it will be because I have Real People reading my Blog, not scum ball Spammers using me to their advantage!

Back to the Sewing Machine...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trains, Mountains, and Stepping Back In Time

My Husband continually delights me.  He knows I am enchanted with trains; knows that the sound of a train horn always lights me up, and if we are anywhere near where the track is, I will scoot over there to watch the train go by, and wave at the conductor.  So this weekend, he surprised me with this treat:

A train excursion on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.  I purely, simply, loved it.

The train departs from Blue Ridge, Georgia, and winds its way through the mountains and valleys to the old copper mining towns of  McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN - twin cities that actually straddle the state line between Georgia and Tennessee.

 On the way to the Ladies Room in the pub, I crossed over the state line...not often that one can do that.

  After a stroll through McCaysville, a cold beer at the pub and a quick jaunt through the shops, you load back on the train for the return trip to Blue Ridge.  

 Our train in McCaysville.

The Conductor asks that you change sides from the ride down, so that Everyone gets to see Everything.  A perfect plan, which everyone followed.
 How could you NOT do what this cheerful man asked?
But, I'm getting ahead of myself...I should start in Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge is so quaint, with a little of the new and a lot of old...these squash and pumpkins were on the steps of a restaurant named "Harvest On Main".  They strive to use only locally grown products, and their herbs are grown in beds right out front.  Along with Brussels Sprouts!

Their Sage and Brussels Sprouts, right at the front door.

This chicken got fussy if you got in her way...although she was right in the middle of downtown.  Apparently, she held the Deed to the corner we discovered her on.

This Store was for lease, and of course, Husband had to take a peek at that.

Finally, it was time to load up and depart Blue Ridge.  I was sooo excited, and hung out the window, snapping pictures from the beginning.

I would love to hang my clothes in the sun to dry like this, but I don't have a clothesline!  May be time to put one up.  Some of you will remember the smell of sun-dried sheets and pillowcases... 

A peek at the engineer in the cab - we were in the open car right behind him, so we could really get a good blast when he blew the horn.  It was great!

Once we were away from town, the sights were amazing.  I felt like we had been thrown back in time, and to another world.

These horses were relaxing near the Red Barn pictured above.  The Conductor said they were Summer Horses.  I'm not a horse person, so I wasn't sure what that meant!  Maybe someone could fill me in?

               A lot of leaves had already fallen, leaving silvery bare branches that added to the beauty of the Fall landscape.

 A mysterious stone hut in the middle of a dead forest, in a little valley caught my explanation was forthcoming from the Conductor.  May be a failed development?  It looked ancient, but couldn't have been.  The architecture wasn't right for the area.  But, a compelling scene.

There were not many houses to be seen along the way, but evidence of farming, even in the middle of woodsy valleys.

As we neared McCaysville, we crossed over this bridge that was built in 1911.  A little rusty, yes?

Coming in to McCaysville... That's the Ocoee River on the right.  It was the Toccoa River before we crossed the bridge.  Because now, we're in Tennessee!

On the way back from McCaysville, we passed small cottages beside the river, making me remember my grandfather's little fishing hut on a creek that ran into the Tennessee River.  We had good times there, running his trot-lines and cooking all our meals over an open campfire.  There is nothing like fresh catfish, fried in a kettle over an open fire with the moon coming up over the water, and sleeping pallets laid out on the ground...right beside the Creek.

The Sun was going down behind the mountains, and the moon was coming up as we got closer back to Blue Ridge,
these fly fishermen were still out in the dusk, oblivious to time...
I can remember doing the very same thing, on the Tennessee River.  It just means you have to clean your fish by lantern light.  All the better.  You've made good use of your day.

As I felt we did.  If you are ever in the area, do plan to take this trip.  If nothing else, you'll be made to remember how important it is to get away from your desk and smell the ancient outdoors.  So important.

And, there's always the great wine, good food (get the salmon), and fabulous staff to be enjoyed at the
Blue Ridge Brewery
right there on Depot Street after you end your trip.  Lovely.

Big Points, Husband!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last Days of Pretty...

I should be working on the drapes for the Sun Room, but I had to sneak out with my camera to take some last photos of the Pretty Fall we are having...  After the Cold Front that roared through here and on up the East Coast last weekend, our Pond got so clear it looks like an aquarium ~

Look at the Baby Fish - only about an inch long!  Why are there Baby Fish in November??  I thought Nature Babies were born in the Spring.  Apparently, not.

Even the algae looks pretty...

Don't you just wonder what goes on in this other world?

The Dogwood tree has on her Red Pajamas and is just about to go to sleep...

And our little Creek Flowers are blooming their last blooms until next Spring:

Husband brought a bouquet of these in and presented them to me Monday night...they have a prominent spot in my kitchen, along with the last Rose.  He's good, like that.  

Soon, all the Pretty will be indoors, and all the Snug, and all the good Winter Food.  

I can hardly wait!


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