By Leon Archer
As I write this week’s column, I am warmed by the sunshine pouring through my westward facing window.
I was just outside pruning some bushes and cleaning up the yard, and I noted the grass needs mowing. The daffodils are in full bloom and the maple trees are budded with their bright red blossoms already starting to shrivel up after the bees have done their work.
The thermometer tells me it is 63 degrees and it is 4:30 in the afternoon. That’s the way it is in Sammamish, Washington.
I check the weather in Oswego County nearly every day, and even though there was another snow storm this week, there appear to be signs that winter is starting to lose its grip.
No one will be picking up night crawlers right away, but they might be starting to stir deep underground. This is the time of year that I would be running a trap line when I was back in high school, and I can remember the weather bouncing around a lot in March.
I would pop out of bed about 4:30 in the morning, slip on my clothes and head out for the line. Some mornings were decent, but often it would be cold, windy and snowing.
Later in the month, it might be raining, but no matter what the weather, traps had to be checked once every 24 hours.
It was pretty good exercise, but if I figured what I made on average for the time I put in, trapping was a losing proposition. I enjoyed trapping, and if I ignored the hours I put in (which I always did.) the money was nice to have, and I knew I had earned it.
A few of my friends trapped also, but I don’t think any of them worked harder at it than I did.
April was always the better month for muskrat trapping, especially for me since most of my trapping was on streams, large and small.
Ice and snow made trapping streams like Sandy Creek difficult and provided poor returns, but when things warmed up a bit the rats would really be moving and I caught quite a few. An added bonus was that I could run my traps on Sandy Creek a second time, after school, and do some trout fishing at the same time.
Of course, April meant I was able to pick up night crawlers at least by mid–month and do some bullhead fishing at night. My schedule got pretty hectic in April; I loved it though.
Sometime in the hustle-bustle each day, I had to skin my trapping catch, flesh them, and stretch them, and if I had caught any bullheads the night before, they needed to be dressed as well. I was tired when I went to bed.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention, my parents also insisted that I get my homework done for school, no excuses.
So I sit here in Sammamish, envying you for what’s coming up, but being glad that I’m here right now enjoying the early spring while Oswego County snow keeps flying.
However, as I look back on the many years I have spent in Oswego County, and the winters I plodded through, I don’t believe I would rather have grown up anywhere else in the world.
I’ll be back before too long now, and if a late spring snowstorm should greet me, I’ll grin and bear it. I sure am looking forward to the fishing.