We will remember 2017 as the year that we finally fulfilled much that we have wanted to do to the exterior of our property. In early May, Chet Graham of Graham Drilling completed the prerequisite new well so that at long last irrigating the property with a sprinkler system could become a reality. Sons-n-law Jeff and Zack joined me in mid May to install the sprinkler system. This was new territory for us all, as none of us had ever pulled poly pipe through /under the ground. Mistakes- oh yes, did we/I make some big ones, but we learned a lot and saved big time $ over what a professional installer was asking to do the job. And credos to Shawn from Christiansen Rentals who showed us how to use the poly pipe trencher/puller- could not have done it without you Shawn! Sod around the guest cabin and in front of the house came next. Chris of Glacier Roots Irrigation showed up to finalize the sprinkler system installation, which included correcting some of my errors. Thanks for your generosity, Chris. Chris finished the day by installing the sod i purchased from Gallatin Valley Sod, who gave me the best price for quality product. Boy, what a difference new sod makes in the appearance!
In early June my wife Cindy showed up, rolled up her sleeves and went to work. This shocked me, as she always complains that all she ever does when she comes to Montana is work on the Rest and Retreat! What ensued was an almost uninterrupted daily ritual of hardscape and landscape enhancements to the exterior. Rather that describe it all, I will let the pictures say it all. I'm grateful for Cindy's encouragement, creative, whip-cracking at times, and downright hard work in making so many positive changes to the property.
It wasn't all work and no play at our Montana home, but it really wasn't until late August that I really had a chance to start fishing. I made it a goal to start learning to fish the Madison and I'm confident that I'm better equipped with knowledge, tactics and flies to make my fishing experiences on the Madison more productive from now on. I don't have it all figured out, but I'm further ahead than I was following the 2016 season. In particular, I spent more time fishing the river just behind the house. I have more water there to explore, but I found some consistent spots where some really nice rainbows and browns lurk. I also ventured over to Henry' Lake again in October- it was REALLY COLD, but the fish were REALLY BIG! I'm going to hit it in June this year to see what late Spring fishing there has in store for me and my fishing buddies. Thanks to longtime teacher colleague and good friend Bob Gaviglio of Sunriver Fly Shop in Sunriver (Bend), Oregon for coming over with his very effective stillwater patterns. We spent our third consecutive Fall at Henry's Lake talking about old times and new times. If you ever need help with stillwater tactics, fly patterns, or places to go, Bob's your man.