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Lee Fahrney: Bummin', but feelin' just fine
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I haven't accomplished much during the last week or so. But, who cares? Life is good as the floodwaters of the Pecatonica have begun to recede, most of my food plots are in good shape and the countryside is bursting with greenery as far as the eye can see.

I traveled north to Poynette last Thursday to attend a Wisconsin Outdoor Expo planning session at the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center. Ruth Ann Lee is the lead educator there and serves as one of the camp coordinators for the Expo held each year in Beaver Dam for elementary and middle school kids from around the state.

The MacKenzie facility serves as the headquarters of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and, by reputation, offers some of the best wildlife education programs around. The list is indeed impressive with hands-on learning experiences in wildlife biology, forestry, fish science and Wisconsin history for students of all ages.

I also spent time assessing problems with my river crossing where the flood has deposited three feet of thick mud at the water's edge and a large sand dune now rests atop the gravel approach to the crossing.

To add to the dilemma, turtles have apparently been depositing eggs in the sand.

One was left topside, however - perhaps the reptile was in the processing of dropping its precious cargo when Major and I approached.

I took a photo of the egg and, along with other evidence, e-mailed Department of Natural Resources herpetologist Bob Hay to see if he could identify the species.

He suggested either a snapper or an eastern spiney softshell since they would produce similar eggs and are both common in the Pecatonica.

I'm betting on the softshell. Back when I was growing up, we referred to them as mud turtles, based, obviously, on their habit of burying themselves in the muck.

Usually reclusive, they can be observed in the spring, sunning themselves on the south-facing bank of the river.

The crossing is important since much of my land is on the other side of the Pec, including the marsh, ponds and a couple of prime food plot locations. At this time last year, the water was 15- to 18-inches deep at that spot - now it's perilously close to the top of my chest waders as I found out yesterday.

In retrospect, I made a poor choice. The current was stronger than I had anticipated, and Major managed to add to the risky venture.

He was swimming around upstream until plowing into me unannounced as the current swept his 100-pound carcass downstream in the deepest part of the riverbed. Not a problem for him, but a daunting moment for me as I struggled to stay upright.

Major has been in a lot of trouble lately, which means I'm implicated as well.

The boy assaulted one of the boss's hastas again this year. He ripped the bark away from around the plant and dug up a little rest area for himself in the cool dirt.

Showing no concern for the rights of others, he thoughtlessly stripped the hasta of its leaves in the process, leaving great chunks of the plant strewn around in plain view.

"No, this could not have been done by a raccoon or a woodchuck," the boss complains indignantly.

After last year's fiasco over the same issue, it should have been his responsibility to find another spot to cool off - I can't be expected to remind him every year. And, I have my own problem with what the average guy would describe as an excessively neat and organized-to-a-fault spouse.

The area around the workstation is a bit messy, I readily admit. However, most of the offending materials need to be kept handy in case they're needed on a moment's notice.

There's the newly arrived 2007 Big Game Hunting Summary from the DNR, an excellent article from Quality Whitetails on deer habitat development and a couple of missives on carbon credits for landowners, all potential sources for some truly heart-stopping articles.

The tidiness problem has supposedly been "evolving for years," and I'm now being exiled to the back room with all my "stuff" as a result. Fair enough - all I need is a computer, a couple of whitetail shoulder mounts and some wildlife art hung on a stud to keep me motivated, and I'll be happy as a puppy chewing on an old shoe.

Besides, I need a "man cave" in which to relax and reflect on how great life is for an aging outdoorsman with a slap-happy yellow lab and a few acres of land on which to roam.

- Lee Fahrney can be reached at (608) 967-2208 or at