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Here’s the deal—no fish is going to an Ivy League school. It doesn’t matter how many fins they have, their underbelly colors don’t count and the tail size has no Equal Opportunity standing.

But, do fish think?

oh my gosh–I’m on a stringer–now what?

Of course not! Fish swim around dropping eggs like flies and eat each other when possible. The don’t really go to school, and how many very tiny books has anyone every found on the bottom of the Ocean, or any lake? I have yet to read any book written by a fish (though I’ve wondered) and they’re all nudist no matter the water temperature which is a bit off.

Still, this odd worm of a thought keeps luring me into its weedy lair, and it’s so bad I hate to ask. Fishermen/women, secure the oars.

Here it is on a swivel hook: why, or better yet, how can lures that once worked so well in the past not work to catch fish worth a flip ten years later? No, listen, this is important. Let’s examine the flat fish lure , all the rage in the 1960’s and thru the 70’s. It was a great, effective lure for catching Northern’s trolling or flipping the shore line for bass.  Now? It’s as if every fish alive has been through the drill and knows to never eat a flatfish lure? Why? How can this Be?  Is it a matter of fashion? But then this would indicate fish have a sense fashion? “Oh my God! I’d never be caught dead biting that lure!” The fish said.

See? What’s the deal? Do fish have amber-alert type memos that last beyond lifetimes? Fish ten generations removed from the flatfish lure eating frenzy still know today not to strike those lures. Let’s face it, it’s been 50 years since Mankind knew cigarettes cause cancer and we still smoke them! Or, how about those hamburgers I still buy from time-to-time in fast-food places? Those are good for me, right?

Yep, whatever the reason, fish seem to communicate important life lessons through generations better than humans. That’s odd; this is what I’m saying.

Okay, forget all the writing, just answer me this: why do fishing lures become less effective over time?

In the meantime, check out this great link of many, many interesting facts…they’ll hook ya.

Cheers…. have fun this wkend


I let the big ones go. So, is this how it happens? “Tellin’ ya, I was abducted by a weird bald guy and put on a string , then let go…I got caught on a white plastic worm: don’t go there.”


Thirteen years ago I built a dock with cousins. This year’s dock is my last, uno over, no mas, caputio, last forever to build. Promise—

building the dock 13 years ago.

The reunion of our families happened again this year, and in a big way. First, though, there was lots for me to get ready for the crowd. Me? I hoped to fish, fish, fish during the eight days lead time I had until the reunion start day plus some other stuff done—like covering our aging dock in plywood sheets to steal one more year out of the structure—

I arrived to an empty camp…

And thought about the picture I’d had taken of me while holding a shot of my dad sitting before a fireplace when he was in college some zillion, light-years ago.

I thought about the fishing I’d get done before the gang arrived…

This shot is from 2012. Not a bad night in Mud Lake.


hmmm forget date,,thought it was on picture.

I’ve caught a number of good fish over time but the monsters usually come years apart. This year was different.

It took Thursday evening and most of Friday for me to ready camp before I could venture out across the Lake and ‘test’ the waters at about 6 P.M.

Boom, as pictured in the previous glob, the big ones hit.

I stepped off the boat and about promptly fell thru the dock to my hip/.

My right leg was bruised from calf to upper thigh, and those marks would take twenty days to almost vanish—It seemed after inspection that topping the dock for the reunion was a no go, and I’d have to replace the entire dock before 49 people including 21 children showed up in a week’s time.

The official estimate to replace the dock was 7 thousand, so I bought 2 grand worth of lumber and rallied with friends, Randy, Brain and Tony to get her done. I spent two days ripping up old dock boards and hauling the wood laden with nails away for safe keeping to a burn pile. Then, Randy showed me a better way to remove the boards-rather than plying them up one by one, he cut the heck out of them first so the small boards could be sledge hammered up and off.

Three days later we had about 2/3 of the lumber in place for use to build the new dock and tools in hand.  Dock work is tough in and out of the water work, and dangerous. Tony took a broken piling steel cable into his leg, but he’d just gotten a tetanus shot so he carried on. My leg hurt but so does life. It was the third day as I walked on an old beam we’d all used as we moved docking boards when it gave out under me. I fell like a stone and hit a piling timber with my ribs. My guess was I’d fractured a rib or three….but what can you do with that? Nothing. I steadied to realize I could breathe, move with pain but not danger. The job went on, but from that moment on I couldn’t use my left side for strength, and resembled a snail on dry land while working, especially when hauling my butt in or out of the water.

The job took 135 man hours, (65 of mine)and some long days-Randy worked one 13 hour one day by my side. We  sorta finished—all but for one hundred top deck screws I did later—exactly one half day before my grand children arrived and one and 1/2 days before 49 relatives came.

We had the most glorious week for the reunion…and all the while I remained thankful the weather had held for us dock workers the previous week. Up there at Bonaparte, bad weather can stop everything for a day or two if it decides to.

It came time for everyone to leave and I dropped my grand kids and wife off at Utica for the train with another day and one half left to fish–at last…..Ha;hahahaha…. not.

For some reason I thought my dock injuries were done?!!? Yeah, so my last night there I hit Mud lake only to have the sky dump rain on my head as I raced back to the dock. Once there, I notice an umbrella had been turned over all the while of the reunion. If only I’d realized the one dock board with nails I hadn’t removed was secretly hidden beneath that umbrella’s fallen top. I lifted that umbrella top to right the stand, the board slipped off the upright and landed a 16 penny old, rusty nail into the top of my ankle.

Think Mash (tv show) when I pulled that nail out of my ankle…I ran up 48 steps to wash out the wound and get a towel to soak up the blood… ten minutes of pressure and a first aid kit later I raced to local medical center room but it was closed. I headed back to the lake and noticed the sky had cleared and hobbled down to go fish again…(clearly, I’m a fisherman with a huge problem, doctor.) In truth, the real pain didn’t set in for about two hours. Once I returned to camp, I realized I was in the worst pain I’d ever felt. A relative got me to Carthage hospital for x-rays, antibiotics, and pain killers.

I was resting in bed by four A.M. wondering what I might have caught this year if fate didn’t hate me.

So now,,,almost a week later, I’m home, working, recovering as the swelling and pain are subsiding. Dang it, if I’d only gotten to fish more.

Here’s to docks everywhere–they are a pain in the butt to build. Dock nails can go to hell and if you catch a big fish this year at Bonaparte that was the one I would’ve had if only…..Nah, actually, it’s all good. I loved building the dock with the guys; I’ll fish next year and not fall thru it!












Lake Bonaparte has a knack for drifting the sand while holding the heart.

This shot is of my first night out this year, just before my plans came crashing down along with my dock. But please, don’t ask me about the dock we HAD to re-build before this year’s reunion. Heck, the next glob is about that. For now, it’s all about my first night out fishin’ and me coming back all grins.

What you see here is a 5 pound bass, a 4.5 pounder, and two smaller varieties though one may be that huge sunfish I caught to kick off the night. I had the larger ones measured and weighed by a fellow who was also fishing in Mud Lake at the time with two lovely women. Some guys have the best luck! Thing is, it’s been near about ten years since I caught a monster bass, and these two came within 30 minutes of one another. All top lure, split Rapala’s.

I think they both went 18 inches, but the main thing is I’m as convinced now as I was then that this year is the year of the lunkers…Good luck fishing. One man in our reunion group caught about a four pounder off the dock, and another slightly smaller right in his boat house. But, perhaps the strangest catch was Dakota’s reel in of a good size bass that wasn’t connected to his line or lure at all, but to a line the fish had broken previously that got tangle in Dakota’s lure on the retrieve!!!!

I couldn’t wait to get out to fish again, but I about never did for the next of all the twenty day’s I had left to fish up there. There’s good reason—that’s the secret in the next glob.

It was a reunion year, and the Franquemont-Morgan gang had a freakin’ blast.

This is the cook-off contest and the five judges were clearly paid-off not to pick my stuffed mushrooms but some other foreign dish cooked by Nick with a name no one could pronounce.

But, before I sob in my gravy, someone asked me how big fish used to be in Lake Bonaparte, and although I’ve no idea , there’s this picture of a kid bringing in his catch to Priest’s so long ago. As a kid, I heard plenty of stories(all true no doubt:-0) of Northern’s pushing six feet long coming out of the lake. I’d give about anything to have those pictures that lined the eatery and penny candy store at Priest’s….One huge, gigantic fish after another,,,the types we don’t see at all anymore. (Thank you  Jesus since I skinny dip, or now, chunky-dunk)

This is an old photo of a typical catch long ago at Lake Bonaparte

We did a zillion things as a family this year, pirate hunt, pan fish, dance, bowl, Ice cream sundae day, games, dock-out, and rock out with painting them.

But, the Ice cream boat!!! Oh my…

We mobbed the boat every chance we got..the reasonable prices hit the mark and the selection drooled the mouths.

The two families slid in every direction and never met a face they didn’t love.

In fact, the Morgan—Franquemont families have decided to name our 1/2 way dock down to the Lake….Morgamont. Now, if you see the sign you’ll understand.

Of course, some couldn’t make it this year, and other’s never will as they’ve gone to the other side or maybe flipped the Venetian blind between us.

I’ll forever miss my cousin Rob Morgan

And so many others who did or didn’t know the lake.

The waters run swift in season in a State Park,  just east of Harrisville (Glenwood Falls)

But when the 21  children of our reunion handed me a petition to return our reunion to a two year cycle instead of the four we were on, I knew what had always been true:

Nothing runs as deep as the bonding waters of Lake Bonaparte—that’s the truth, and the soul knows.

Have a great August and Fall at The Lake….











(Click the pic for a larger view…)

There’s nothing like untangling fishing line between twelve wrapped together poles. Snaggin’ a finger with treble hooks while organizing the tackle box or sitting on a lure as you get into the boat all make the top ten of fishin’ moments as well. Basically, these memorable times mean one thing: you’re going fishing so what’s not to like?! Maybe, that thunder in the distance isn’t perfect, but it could be Fort Drum?—anything’s possible.

Where, when, how and what to use to catch fish is the question few sane people ask on a daily basis. Me? Yeah, I think about this about non-stop while up at Lake Bonaparte, that and where is the bottle opener. Of course the wind, cloud cover, angle of the sun, water temp and where I put the bottle opener plays big in the exact answers, but that’s all too much for now.

Where to fish: I have to vibe it out.

Anyway, before you go skinny dipping thinking a Northern can bite your butt cause you didn’t catch one that day, it might be better to switch to bass when it comes to this retort. Thing is, kid you not, years ago a fellow* was actually bit on the leg by a bass so large that he had to go to the hospital!??!?! Where? The fishermen ask?…..near the Sherman’s dock in Porter’s bay…daylight hours with the lake temps good for swimming.( That’s the drop on that Bass attack.)

It’s August and maybe the dog days of fishing at Lake Bonaparte.

With nothin’ to do, it’s time to fish.

The water temps go high for bass so most big fish go low. BTW, when I was a kid a century ago, my Dad and Uncle Moe Morgan used to fish high Rocks with three colored lead line to troll deep for Walleye and Northern. I thought, back then, the line ran fifty feet per color but it must have been about 25 feet…Anyway, the color would help them know how much line was out and how deep they were running those ten inch long, wooden lures-much like an un-jointed Rapala.

There’s so much to say about them days……sigh.

Dave Morgan with his parents; me with mine-only one left, now.

Okay, back to task. While it does matter if you’re fishing for numbers, size or with children who need to catch one when it comes to where and when to fish, I’ve a few basic tips to share some may not know.

I’ve fished the Lake for more than 60 years that I can remember.

The early morning is a sight to see; a miraculous glorious sun rise while mist rises above the water as a cloak of rainbows that usher forth the call of the loon.

We got close to beating the light.

It’s super quiet, but for your motor noise most are cursing as they turn in their sleep. A heavy mist veils the sky and might give one the opportunity of nailing a bass near shore—I’d be using a white Texas rigged worm through the grass in the shallow Hotel Weed bed or in the stumps in mud lake. But, tellin’ ya, once the mist lifts(which is always too soon) the deals about done til nine through noon that AM. The first light shoots the fish for cover as birds take flight over head.

This light won’t do you much good; time to go kayaking.

Wanna fish the early morning so you have bass for breakfast? Go the night before.

The night before.

There might be a way to have a good time…

There’s a curious thing about the lake that doesn’t entail the fact that you can drop a spinner bait in the middle of Bull Rush bay for a 14 to 17 inch Northern whenever you like.

You can skip dinner if steaks aren’t on the grill and head out. You might try elephant Island, Hammond’s point, the shoal off Beer Island or cast the bays west of Round Island if you need practice casting. But, catching fish at 6ish to 7:30 PM? Drag those lures through the stumps on the south side of Hotel Weed bed. And, I’m sorry about the big foot print fancy boats that ride high on the water with the convenient foot pedal troller–you might as well be marching a band into the area announcing your arrival.

They call it, “Old School.” But for now, something like this will catch the bigger fish. Cane pole in with your oar. Bring drinking water.

Nope, the noise, boat size and motor all matter. Can and will you catch fish using big boats? Absolutely…but, mostly, not the one you’re after; not on Lake Bonaparte.

not a bad night


Caught em large

9-21-2009 Bonaparte and fish-1


And small(that’s me on the right with Joe Morgan.)


Me catching a first fish with big Joe Morgan

Give up the zillion dollar boats and get a flat-bottomed John Boat or V-hulled 10  to 14 footer, two sturdy oars and cut the engine at least twenty yards out. Use your oars to get closer and cane pole with one of them as you get inside the stumps. I usually stay seated unless one is on. If you make a wake you’re moving too fast. The key is watch the water, the drift, the pads and for the movement of fins. Good luck. Use a Texas rig for everything big that hits, they inhale the lure, but for plenty of action use a double hook, most like a Herring set-up, on your single worm.

This best pictures the idea-but I use a plastic worm not live bait. Pre-tie on several sets so if you get snagged you have another double-hook set to use.

This way you catch the tail nibblers, but unhooking small fish or snags can be a pain.

Used to be after 7:30 PM you could back out of the weed bed and head to Hammond’s shoal between Porter’s Bay and Bull Rush Bay to plug around the southeastern shoreline until night fall and catch the limit-not anymore.


Hammond’s Point east side of Potter’s Bay

Thing is, David Morgan’s friend from the west shore line dumped years(like 20 of them) of bass off at these locations in a catch and release as a favor for David. Dave’s been dead for thirteen years now, and the fish drop off ended years ago. Small mouth still frequent the shoal, but mostly the large ones are gone.**


“A friend’s been dropping fish off at the point for years.” Dave Morgan 2000.

Nope, if it’s near eight PM you might head out to Mud Lake and know you’ll have the best luck in the last rays of daylight, up tight by the shore.***  The split Rapala can’t rake the lily pads but you won’t miss seven out of ten hits, either. It’s a choice: action or a high percentage of catches per strike. I like the plastic worms unless I know their hitting and the light-of-day is about gone.

There’s more to write from experience and from the histories I’ve heard. Can’t wait to share that, and Lake Bonaparte Fishin’-3 is coming soon.  See ya on the water, at the counters while snagged by those lure sales or at the docs getting hooks removed!



*Ask Joey Heukrath about this…..or, Mary Sherman may know.

**If you slide around Hammond’s point and cast the shore on down to the huge rock by a camp, you might get action. Lately, I mostly caught the over-hanging cedars here. Paul Doherty and a friend got a big one off the point a few years back, but I swear it was the same fish I’d released from my dock a few months earlier.

***They say a dark worm in light and a light worm for the dark. Mostly, I don’t think so unless you’re fishin’ that nifty shoal off Birch Island.

OH, one more thing,,,, the newer heavy-headed plastic worms imitate the Carolina rigged plastic worms and work best over the open shoals…..

(Pics enlarge with a click….)

I’m not going to saw on and on about the $3200.00 dollars’ worth of dead pine we had to cut down at our home in Gainesville, Florida the very day we left to vaca at Lake Bonaparte-that would muck up everything.  Nope, why think about money flying out of my wallet when it’s time to vacation up at Bonaparte?

Every trip up to Lake Bonaparte starts this way; there’s a long car trip to plan or plane tickets to buy and a car to rent as well. The 1900 hundred mile trip to Bonaparte takes time and money no matter how you go. This year’s journey was no different.

The vision was planted in my brain, and no amount of fishing tackle on sale could stop me.

The plane ride up landed me in Syracuse New York a quick five hours after my 5:30 AM departure time from Gainesville, Florida. That airport isn’t the cheapest ticket, about $450.00, but it’s by far the most convenient one for me to use. Syracuse landings always require a car rental and I chose to hook up with an off airport site to save money ( Whaaahahhaa-as if: still over 400 bucks). Roughly, this whole-I can’t believe I got up at 4 AM- procedure lands me up in Watertown around 2 PM when I get into Dicks(the store mind you; I can’t believe you thought that!) where I buy my fishing license. Thing is, try as I might, the lures for sale always snag my wallet and won’t give it back until my spending makes it considerably lighter to carry. Worse, a nearby Gander Mountain store had a going out of business sale which meant I was going out of mind buying stuff. A three-year supply of hooks, all sizes, sinkers, leaders, fishing line, reels, boat whistles, flares, twenty-five pounds of worm scent, too many bags of plastic worms of all colors, shapes and sizes, did I mention hooks, and I left the store with $298.00 less to my name. Whew…..

The trip tally, plane, car and Gander Mountain just rang up to $1150.00 and change-er, so far.

Thing is, even a fisher man thinks he might have to eat once in a while. That’s where $57.00 dollars at the dollar tree condiments, etc., and another $300.00 of food from Price Choppers came in. Bingo, if I add in the fishing license, gas for boats, oh yes, the boats-that storage and prep fee rang a gentle $900.00 or more for the year along with dock delivery—-

Hmmmm, did my trip just clear 2 grand and I’m not even up at the lake yet?

No worries!!! Home sweet home up at the Bonaparte Lake camp still hasn’t cost what one day of cutting trees tallied back at our southern home! What’s not to like? Well, maybe the weather could be a problem. The forecast has it raining every day during my 11 day stay, but weather men don’t know you can fish between the rain drops and risk your life if you’re a fisherman/woman.

My first night up at the camp always finds me diving in the freezing water (to see if I’ll survive) and then taking out fishing tackle and gearing it up for the next day. Right on deck I had over seven strung poles for my kids to use and my other six open face reels of mine lined up. A quick inventory of my surplus stock reeled in eight unopened new reels; ten other opened but new unused reels, many more  hardly used reels and rod combos, twenty packs of plastic worms, over thirty-three lures(not counting most of them), along with one hundred pounds of lights, hooks- stuff.

Nana tried to explain the rules: no diving in after fish, lost lures or rods and reels.Plus hooks hurt….

We were about set to fish. Why a frog -type thingy on the head was in order is still a mystery.

Tension mounted that first night. Were forty-one reels and rods enough for an 11 day stay?

Thing is, there would be at least three of us fishing so you had to divided the 75 poles and reels by three to truly understand the balance.

Worry clouded my mind. What if one reel should break? I’d be left with only 79 rods and reels for the next ten days-horrors. Doubt, apprehension, beers, all clouded my head. What to do? Shop more? Risk a mere eighty-five plus over carriage of rods and reels?!?!? Decisions had to be made. While watching the fire flames lick the stacked hard woods in the fire-place, the question quickly became: what was the question?

We raced out between the white caps and caught our limit of endurance; blue gills and perch were on the line. We still had about ninety rods and reels left.

But that first night,  now so long ago, I’d searched high and low among line, lures, reels and my hope to find the answer to the question I was looking for. Tellin’ ya, by midnight the questions were gone; work was gone; worry was gone as I relaxed before a northern fireplace at Lake Bonaparte. Then, in a flash of brilliance-sorta- I realized what my question was. Here’s the deal,  I had some doubts after swimming that evening…

Had the winter ice on the lake really gone out?

My always optimistic 8-year-old grandson, Isaiah, would answer that question nine days later.

We’d been swimming in and out of rain for nine days, sometimes four times per day, when Isaiah mentioned as we toweled off on the dock, “Bapa? This really isn’t as bad as swimming in ice cubes.”

That was the good news.

There’s a pride in this. We had worked; we had won. We’d gone out and had fun. Me? I’m so glad the perch are back. It turns out 150 rod and reel combos was enough after all!


I’d put our perch catch in a bucket of water on the dock to await cleaning when a brown mother duck who we’d been giving bread came up on the dock and stood by the bucket. “No!” I said, firmly. “I’m not giving you our fish! Period, end of story!” I did, however, release the two smallest of our eleven off at our dock…..Pals for life!

Cheers…I loved every second.  Lake Bonaparte can make a second last forever. What’s not to love?


Blink-o and Nuttily

Blink-o and Nuttily

Up at the Lake in the Adirondacks. These two nut cases think they live in the house in the background, but really they live in our hearts. My cousin’s daughter’s children make them what to me? Err… neat kids, cousins removed whatever, and oh,  we look forward to stuffing them full of cookies. ( The all important water pump is far back on left-a quintessential strength test all our kids take as a right of passage.).

long ago

long ago

Like really long, long ago. If my head serves me right,,, the baby is my Dad who was born in 1911.His mom, my grandma, and then my great-grandma stand next to him. Baby boys wore dresses back then. It wasn’t until about he 1940s when baby boys were starting to get dressed differently from baby girls.

Grandpa Franque

Grandpa Franque

I grew up in a reading family. My Grandpa Franque died young, a victim of a drunk driver. He’s reading, maybe, the Presidential something….-he was an outspoken man, active in labor and politics. It figures I get this part of my being from this guy. Plus, no one can break their nose on a table top like he could.

Grandma Franque

Grandma Franque

Grandma Franque-she survived having four boys serving during WWll-so did they. She wrote the Rubber Fairy Tales and read them to all her grandchildren. They’ve never been published, but should have been. I hope to have better luck with my books, two of them are currently out on Kindle*. Of course, my sister, Sharon Franquemont, has had a book, You Already Know What to Do, published in eight languages that sold world-wide.  Other’s from this side of my family have been published as well. So yeah, reading and writing runs in the family.

Mom....natural blonde

Mom….natural blonde

I remember a day, I must have been about six. My mom had plopped me up on the new washing machine to examine a bee sting I’d gotten while running barefoot  thru the clover. I stared at her hair; this hair. I told her how beautiful she was( I knew even then, and my friends had mentioned this fact, also). I can see her smiling back, telling me my foot would be okay.

Dale in her sunday best

Dale in her sunday best

Everyone agrees, my wife could only make it with me by having the best of humor….she does. No one makes me laugh harder.

We love the sea. I couldn't resist adding this photo of my wife-

We love the sea. I couldn’t resist adding this photo of my wife-

Mom and Dad on their wedding day

Mom and Dad on their wedding day

This was an important day for me:-)!

Kelly's a Mom; Maya.

Kelly’s a Mom; Maya.

Kelly is our first daughter, a strong, good hearted person. She’s an achiever, a go getter. My dad always woke me up saying, “Up an at em!” Kelly took those words to heart. This is all great news for her first child; Kelly just about makes a good anything, especially a mom.

Ed carrying Joey Sherman on his back.

My brother, Ed, carrying Mary? Sherman on his back.

Is it 1956? Maybe. Hard to tell if this is Joey, or Mary, sisters and both our friends. Thing is, I’d try to carry Dave, my cousin, around on my back too, but sometimes I’d fall down. We were much younger. This horse-back ride thing was all the rage at the time. Lake days for my family; bonding days forever.

completely understandable wink????

completely understandable wink????

President John Kennedy had just been shot in the head. Lyndon Johnson, VP, walks along with Jacquelyn Kennedy just after the shooting and takes a moment to share a wink with Congressman Albert Thomas. Odd timing, huh? Recently this was published in a book:

“Lyndon Johnson’s mistress Madeleine Duncan Brown, on LBJ telling her on the day before JFK’s assassination “after tomorrow those SOB’s will never embarrass me again – that’s no threat – that’s a promise.”**

I think this one photo says more than the entire Warren Report  ever did.

The two of us enjoying Nagasaki at night during one of our visits to Japan.

The two of us enjoying Nagasaki at night during one of our visits to Japan.

My wife and I over look the city.  A glass window catches our reflection-a favorite moment and photo of mine.

Everyone who knows me knows I love the Lake. This shot I have to call prime time me. Young, strong, I had it all then.

Everyone who knows me knows I love the Lake. This shot I have to call prime time me. Young, strong, I had it all then.


gotta love it!

gotta love it!

I’m a nut case for animals. If truth be known, I love people , too, or, the world in general. I never met a rainy day I didn’t like. Thing is, I’ve thought for a long time that when Disney gave life to trees, birds, bees, all sorts of things, even broom sticks, that he was, at least, partially right. I’m most akin to Native American belief when it comes to Nature. We’re only a part of the big picture, only a result of everything and everyone who’s come before us, not the end product…

Cheers-and I’ve lots more pictures to share later on.


*links for both books in the Avatar Magic Series:

Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are both on kindle now.



He helped dig it, and now he loves to sit in it, and on it.

Shadow helped dig it, and now he loves to sit in it, as well as on it.


Whew—what a great spring for gardens here in Northern Florida! Today’s pick of four more pounds of string beans brings this year’s total green bean pick up to 22.5 pounds!!! Second place for green bean pickin’ poundage in my gardens over the past 35 years, and we’re not done.! I do believe Shadow loves the garden as much as I do!


Plus, Shadow loves to eat the garden...Fresh picked green beans, his favorite.

Plus, Shadow loves to eat the garden…Fresh picked green beans, his favorite.


Master Gardener and friend, Sue, has a much more organized approach to her garden-thing of beauty

Master Gardener and friend, Sue, has a much more organized approach to her garden-thing of beauty. Of course, this is mostly done with mirrors..odd, huh?!?!

I’m forever old school, not just with my low profile fishin’ boat, out board and then electric motor kicker by the side….In gardens too. I still till by hand, using my dad’s shovels, rakes and hoe that are AT LEAST 75 years old! WTH?

Shadow and I went for the jungle look....Shadow??Has anyone seen Shadow?

Shadow and I went for the jungle look….Shadow??Has anyone seen Shadow?

I’m  standing between some of our 6 foot plus tall tomato plants, holding up today’s 4 pounds of green beans and the first two-pounds of pole bean pick. The tomatoes have had brown spot , or wilt problems as of late, but I think this year’s  plants will yield nicely. Yesterday, Shadow chomped down a strawberry and loved it! Wondering-will he love Tomatoes too…..?

We starting digging the plot months ago.....I'm not sure he had the vision.....

We starting digging the plot months ago…..I’m not sure he had the vision…..

This is an amazing dog. A Catahoula Leopard (Mix-but all are) Louisiana state’s Dog breed since 1979, Shadow’s webbed feet to his toe tips gives him a paw up on other swimming dogs, and his herding instinct goes hand in hand with his instant cornering abilities. (The breed is labeled, ” Herding”) Recently, Australia has started importing the dog  for their stamina …they can run, herd, for hours-like eight- with just periods of momentary rest..

We caught a good break on spring weather,,,and I think Shadow got the idea of the garden by the time this shot was taken, always careful to walk between the rows, and then on any plant he wanted.

We caught a good break on spring weather,,,and I think Shadow got the idea of the garden by the time this shot was taken. He’s always careful to walk between the rows, and then on any plant he wants. Here I’m saying a short prayer for the plants, that some will survive Shadow’s interest.


Now we both stomp around, picking food, and lying on the soft green bean plants.

Now we both stomp around, picking food, and lying on the soft green bean plants.

Yesterday,  I discovered inch worms, cutters, had moved into our broccoli. I squashed many  right on the leaves they were eating. Shadow watched, and then began to simply eat the leaves…..that should do it! So far, the green bean  and broccoli leaves, though handy to carry around in the mouth, have nothing on the tasty lettuce leaves Shadow crunches often. I was convinced we had a puppy when we first got Shadow then, after seeing him swim, I started to think he was actually a duck. Now? I’m not sure….. oh yeah- he’s a Catahoula Leopard-the smaller, brown-eyed variety; that explains it all.

Here Shadow, have another green bean while Dale takes out shot....

Here Shadow, have another green bean while Dale takes the shot….

Four green beans per day is Shadow’s absolute limit….Limits, BTW, are something Shadow doesn’t quite get.  And, while  red-tailed hawks can call all they like from above, a low flying jumbo jet is terrifying….!

There’s more garden days ahead! More great summer days with a wigglin’ puppy at our feet. Joy of  Joys. Ol’ Bug-a-boo, Have another bone, Morning wiggles, Puppy face, Flop ear face, Shadow, who we also call Release the Kraken has earned every name…




I’m writing a book series. Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are both on kindle now.


BTW—-new book out by my daughter-Laura Dale Bell:

Saving Jane---Laura's new book on Kindle.

Saving Jane—Laura’s new book on Kindle.

The Book!  Follow the twisting, ever turning interpersonal skills of Chase and Jane and a cast of intriguing characters. Love blooms hot, but who will get burned? Uplifting, riveting; read the reviews here:


How did I ever survive?
How did I ever survive?

There’s not much I can say but that my parents spent years trying to kill me. There are records, receipts,  even pictures that prove my parents dragged me up to Lake Bonaparte each year of my young, unprotected life.

 That's me, all alone-outcast off to the right of the group....tears, no, huge sobs.

That’s me, all alone-outcast off to the right of the group….tears, no, huge sobs.

So what’s wrong with a lake in the Adirondacks? Basically, the Morgans were, are and always will be the problem.

Big gang-not to be taken lightly-
Big gang-not to be taken lightly-

How I survived these summer vacation ordeals is the stuff of epic novels. But, to be fair for no reason , there were other problems with the lake besides the Morgan  family fiasco.

It started right off with the ten-hour drive  on up to the lake. I got strapped down in the car while my sister and brother ate Frito’s and drank soda. Me? I got dry bones and water after the dog was done eating and drinking.

Kept me chained to the back seat of the car.
Mom and Dad kept me chained to the back seat of the car.

I suppose this was all to make starving up at the lake seem enjoyable.  Anyway, there’s no doubt my older cousin Joe, famous for turtle diving, tried to kill me too.

“Go ahead. Jump!”

High rocks got their name for a reason. What did an abused kid like myself know about heights? I was kept in the basement of my carpeted bedroom room forced to play with plastic soldiers all my life. I remember falling through the air towards the water with my arms swinging and my legs wiggling while Joe laughed, “Ha ha ha” from above.

"Psst- you wanna dive off of high rocks...." Joe caught whispering here.
“Psst- you wanna dive off of high rocks….” Joe caught whispering here.

I wore a red stomach for the rest of that summer. Thing is I’ve always figured surviving this made me a walking miracle.

High Rocks are in the back round-

High Rocks are in the background-

My cousin, Robin, (Joe’s brother), tried to sun bake me alive in boats with motors that only stopped working when we were out on the lake as far away as we could be from home.

Robin was still laughin' about that one oar thing....
Robin was still laughin’ about that one oar thing….

The, “We only have one paddle in the boat,” trick that bunch used daily was a way to be sure I was the only one rowing. I took my time. Why hurry back to shore when David was running around in stinky diapers–his obvious ploy was to gas me out.

David, sans diapers....
David, sans diapers….

But I kept  my chin up through it all-knowing that these cousin who were trying to off me didn’t love me either. Uncle Mo made all that clear.

My Aunt and Uncle owned a hole in the ground called Natural Bridge Caverns that the town of Natural Bridge was named after. Several summers I was forced to give guided tours through the spider infested death trap they called an underground river. Their boat only floated out of sheer determination.

One boat was caught floating in this shot....
The boat was caught floating in this shot….truly amazing!

It’s clear now that  Uncle Mo was praying I’d never surface again each time he gave me the heaviest of passengers to take on tour.

This, the entrance to The Natural Bridge caverns--Uncle Mo took bets on me not  making back out...
This, the entrance to The Natural Bridge caverns–Uncle Mo took bets on me not making it back out…

I’ll never know why I’d take the ten-cent tips I got and walk back up out of those killing caverns. Heck, I knew what was waiting for me once I did.

You see, every morning my Aunt Virginia would beat the bejeebers out of me with a broom, but she never left marks cause she never actually hit me with that tool. No, first thing every morning, if I’d survived the night before after Joe and Robin spent it keeping me up til’ four AM with cousin laughter, I was made to sweep no less than five thousand steps that led from my relative’s mansion down four-hundred feet to the lake below.

this was the small broom-you should see the other one.

this was the small broom-you should see the other one.

1/2 way doc, just 2500 down the steps of the 5000 I had to sweep.
shot taken  at the 1/2 way dock, just 2500 down the steps of the 5000 I had to sweep.

My morning eggs were always given  to me  right upon the surface of these steps no later than 3pm after I’d finished my so-called morning sweeping. This was tireless work, but not as terrifying as watching Robin cut heads off.

About once a-day, Robin would wield a very sharp knife and point it in my direction. “Watch this.”

He cut fish heads off without regard for anything but the blood and guts of it all. He’d force me to whop the ones too small to clean off the dock edge or boat side so they’d float up for the sea gulls to scarf up. The kicker was he always took the cooler looking bluegills to smash, leaving me with less notable sunfish or perch which made this entire memory quite ghastly, smelly too. This is , at least in part, why I always need couches,  doctor.

There’s so much more…Here, my wife caught the lake sleeping on a lazy afternoon.

Lake blues...
Lake blues…
I have to admit, our camp up there is nice.

A grand Old House-but not our camp.

A grand Old House-but not our camp.

Just driving up there in July can be challenging.

Summer has a bit to it.

Summer has a bite to it.

Welcome...anyone for a swim? I think this shot of our camp was taken sometime around July 23rd.-just a guess.

Welcome…anyone for a swim? I think this shot of our camp was taken in July-just a just a guess.


(Avatar Magic, by Gerald Franquemont, is on Kindle and the book can be downloaded onto most computers or reading devices.)

(Avatar Magic, by Gerald Franquemont, is out on kindle and downloadable onto most readers. Book two should be available by All Hallow’s Eve.)

Recently,a fellow Face Book connection complained about this blog being too political, so I’ve checked the facts..

Thing is, politics is something that sticks in many people’s craw like a mosquito you see in your bedroom just before you turn off the light. The subject can take a bite out of your peace-of-mind; as much as Americans  want our freedom to speak our own mind it bugs the hell out us when others see political situations  differently than we do.mosquito

Politics has a special way of bugging people…..

Just the facts ma’am– the blog has over 12,937 views from over nine different countries since 2009. In all,  over 1360 comments are posted on this blog.

Going back to July 11th of this year ( the entire body of work contains over 313 posts published since 2009) I find this is the break down of subject matter for the past 3 months.

Family posts……7

Travel….3 blogs

Humor (my term:-))…..2


Philosophy on time and eroding environment(non-political)…..4

Only from the goodness of my heart do I recommend my recent face book critic wear a hair net when making some statements.....check your facts, is all i"m saying.

Only from the goodness of my heart do I recommend my recent face book critic wear a hair net when making some statements…..check your facts, this is all I’m saying.

So nah, Politics is not a major subject on this blog, however,  those posts with political themes are often the most largely read. I don’t stretch nor smear the truth with agendas but rather I express my view honestly and report the facts as published by  worthwhile news worthy outfits-i.e. I don’t quote Fox news and mean it and I don’t use John Daily/Rachel Maddow as my bible. It is interesting to me, being one among a family equally divided politically from right to left and in between, how many family members seem too irritated by opposing view points as of late to be able to read, follow along or speak their own mind when it comes to political differences.  We all embrace the freedoms associated with being Americans but then fall silent when it comes to expressing our views about the most important issues that effect our daily lives.

It’s no coincidence that I’ve seen  the divide and silence in a polarized readership increase since 2010 during exactly the same period we’ve seen a refusal to talk or negotiate take place in our congress. 

In short, readership can call me any name in the book…..I love a good debate.

Call me what you like!

Call me what you like!

Today, there’s so much more to write  about! Few of us know of what’s happening in Spain; there’s so much to say about Johannesburg, South Africa; what’s the minimum wage’s real value today?;what does the default mean to us and the world?; when Lake freezes over; Gulf shrimp; football; library stuff and family matters…so much more.

What this all means is I’ll be writing my fingers off to the bone—-waiting, as always, to read your own opinions about whatever I post. That’s the fun of it.  Cheers.

This could be a good weight loss program.......

This could be a good weight loss program…….

Franque23… post up soon.

Where did my boat go?

Where did my boat go?

(Avatar Magic, by Gerald Franquemont, is out on Kindle and it can be downloaded onto most readers.)

NO, not my motor mouth. Actually, I’m taking about my four stroke Mercury six horse power motor that comes in at a light weight of 55 pounds. The 9.9 Mercury was actually a better buy than the six horse power but  at 83 pounds the 9.9 weighed just under one thousand more pounds than the lighter six. That was the determining factor in my choice of purchase, that and the fact I couldn’t stand to watch the 9.9 Mercury motor and my boat sink together by my dockside. Of  course, with my dockside water depth at 41/2 feet, I could still stand in the sunken boat and  fish that way. But, I figured using the submerged motor in this case would be a no go. Added to this grim situation would be the rising oil and gas from the sunken motor that would float on the surface of the water I’d be standing in.  The better buy 9.9 motor purchase just seemed pointless.

I bought the six Mercury and relish hot dogs, sometimes hamburgers, various other dips along with my decision to do so as I carry this light-weight motor up and down the three thousand steps that lead from my camp to the dock below. No, don’t be stupid-I don’t do that every time I fish. After the first year, I figured I could just leave my motor on the boat each day so all that motor hauling stopped soon enough. Though, I have to mention my wife, Dale, said carrying that motor made my butt tight, and she keeps talking about bigger motors, I think.

About the motor. Yeah zoooommmm goes my 12 foot aluminum boat. It takes some distance  on my lake(it’s my lake now apparently) to plane my boat before it really takes off then all heck breaks lose-literally. My running lights have smashed numerous times, boat bolts twist off, tackle, poles and me go flying. The simple fishing boat thing becomes a monstrous wave skipping machine, whap!splat!Bam, wham,wha,wha,wha wham. Of course , I’ve adjusted the tilt, looked at the short motor, talked to God and fish alike but to no avail. My flying boat-capades continue.

My favorite ride with this motor was planing at 1/2 speed-the ride was smooth, even, flowing right along. But who can go 1/2 throttle? Not me or me either. So I slap along the lake’s surface spilling beers I’m not drinking as I go. I even tie an anchor to my leg so  I won’t lose it if I happen to flip the boat.

What’s so miraculous about my wave boat skipping motor? That was rude of you to ask but I’ll answer your question anyway. It’s all about when another person gets in the boat. That’s when my high flying piece of aluminum hull settles down into a mind-boggling water plow of a boat that makes the distant shore look to be as far off as  China. I can’t tell you how many fishermen I’ve thrown overboard due to this miraculous slow-down sensation of a boat motor. The whole thing is nuts, especially for those fishermen who can’t swim. But who in their right mind gets in a boat if they can’t swim? See? There’s the problem right there with the whole being thrown overboard thing. I need a lawyer.

Don’t go into adding weights to my boots as a solution to my too fast of a motor problem either- I tried that. At first, to be fair, I put the weight into my boots  like friends said to do but then left them in my closet. I soon figured out they meant for me to bring the boots on board(who knew?), maybe wear them, but none of that helped. That’s when I was told they said weight the boat, not my boots. Well, let me tell ya, my boat motor hates dead weight-it doesn’t help a bit. Only live weight until I throw it overboard helps slow my boat down.

See? My motor’s a miracle. I call it my fast or slow motor. It’s all pretty fancy if I do say so myself.  I can’t wait until next summer to try out different sorts of cousins in my boat, thinking their type of weight may make the difference I’m searching for when it comes to a smooth , fast ride.

Cheers! NO fears with or without beers.

people waiting to ride in my miracle boat.....

people waiting to ride in my miracle boat…..


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