Greetings from BAYMEN LIFE, Baymen Charters, Baymen Guide Service, Inc. “BAYMEN” is the operative word.
The Mancave is going to get a good cleaning and some minor repairs as I prep for the arrival of the striped bass season. Lots of “junk” has to be gone through, some items sold, others taken to the dump. The floor needs a good sweeping, mopping and a maybe a new coat of wax.
The spooling station needs to be cleaned and the machine itself needs a drop or two of oil. New lines and backings have to be delivered, along with new reels and new tackle. Old tackle has to be handled, days on the water remembered, and memories put back up on the shelf to make room for new memories of the coming season.
The nautical “Life Chart” of the bay that hangs on the wall needs to be looked over to remove the cobwebs of my 50+ fishing spots in the bay, and the tides, winds, currents, temperatures, bait, time of year and pressure systems all need to be gone over. Where, when, why, how, how much, how many…
The wood stove will be fired up in another day or two to take off the last of winter’s chill and to warm up the little building. The stove pipe has been inspected and cleaned and is ready to fill the mancave and yard with that sweet, intoxicating wood smoke laced with fond memories and traditions of generations past that enjoyed the same pleasures in the outdoors that we enjoy today. Different – but still the same.
There’s a million and one other little items that need to be tended to. “The winter mice” need to be moved outside, the flying squirrels need to be reminded this is not their home, and the bald-faced hornets – let’s hope there are none that come to life in their paper nest that hangs in a corner for decoration and a reminder of the creativity of the Creator!
Bird feeders need to be hung in the yard and filled with seed and suet. The nesting boxes need to be cleaned out of last years nesting materials. My favorite nesting box is the wren box which is actually a decoy I left hanging by the door one year and a downy woodpecker hollowed it out. A wren found it to her liking and for several seasons, a new family of wrens has been hatching in the body of the black duck decoy! Maybe there will be another family hatched this year…
The second building beside the mancave is the old chicken coop. The mancave itself was once a chicken coop (and a pheasant coop) among other things. Then we built a new chicken coop for the chickens. After keeping chickens for four generations, we finally decided it was time to take a break. But I miss hearing the rooster crow and seeing a few chickens scratching out in the yard, and having fresh eggs for breakfast. All the chicken’s enemies are still here. The foxes and coyotes and weasels and raccoons…. And the Gosh hawk. Those beady red-eyed little devils will actually land on the ground and chase the hens into the chicken coop and kill them. It is quite a shock to open the door of the coop in the morning and have a giant hawk fly out!
The window boxes and the raspberry patch that grows underneath them need some work. The boxes need repairs and fresh paint and some new soil, lime and fertilizer. And new flowers. The raspberry patch needs pruning, fertilizer and a new, larger border. One of the nice things about raspberries is they produce runners and the patch is forever increasing in size.
So there you have it. Life at the Mancave. Another winter about to let go it’s icy grip and another spring about to kiss our cheeks. Pussy willows in the swamps and daffodils along the roadsides. Birds singing in the morning and warm sunshine greeting us with a new day. Life continues in BAYMEN Land and the striped bass will once again fill our waters for another season. Goodbye winter, see you next year.
Capt. David Bitters, BAYMEN, www.baymenlife.com