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I like share my life and experiences with my friends and thought this would be a great way to do it. My photo's, videos and story's

Sunday, January 31, 2010

1-30-10 A RIDE ALONG THE MASON TRACT




 


 


took a ride to the Durants Castle yesterday and saw these deer.


The Castle used to be along the Mason Tract but now is nother much but a memory. It was built at the cost of a half milliion dollars back in the early 30's and burned to the ground before anyone even lived in it, with no insurance I was told.  There are pictures of the old castle at the site but it is hard to believe that such a huge building could have ever been there. Nothing is left but some foundations.

I grabbed these pictures with my video camera and then watched them on my Computer and grabbed the stills. I gues I could have grabbed the stills while I was there but didn't think about it.

There was an old dock there for canoeist to use but it has been taken out and a new one built by the DNR a short distance down stream.

I saw quite a few deer on the drive back there and managed to catch these few.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Maui - Video Clips

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Maui - Video Clips

We are going on a Helicopter ride on the island of Maui with this outfit. It ought to be exciting. I will have a bunch of pictures and video to post after we get back from the flight, if we have Wifi in the Hotel.

A combination of our West Maui and Hana/Haleakala Tours - with an exciting extra bonus! This detailed tour of the entire island begins with a flight exploration of the most magnificent West Maui valleys, rainforest, and waterfalls. Then comes the bonus: we land at our scenic and exclusive remote landing site at Ulupalakua Ranch, on the slopes of Haleakala. Refreshments are served while you enjoy the breathtaking scenery and pastoral setting for approximately 20 minutes. The flight then continues for a 45-minute exploration of East Maui, including Hana & Haleakala.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Blue Racer and Mrs Scott

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Monday, January 12, 2004
My Story-When I was about 15, I guess, I had a pet Blue Racer. This snake was over 6 ft long. It was a beauty. I caught it in the spring and had tamed it down pretty well.

They can climb trees and we had a small elm in the back yard, about 10 or 12 ft tall and I would put him up to it, early on a hot day and he would bask up there all day long. It didn't have to hunt for food so it was satisfied with the situation.

I had sorta kept it quite that I had it as the neighbors were a pain and would complain. I had a Mississauga Rattler for a pet, for a short time but the neighbors had complained to the cops and I had to get rid of it.

One day late in the season I decided to have some fun with it. I had planned on turning it loose, so it could hibernate for the winter anyway.

I had a buddy named Larry Scott. His mother was quite a woman. Six ft one and 240 lbs if she weighed a dang pound. She was like one of our buddies but one you listened to. His dad was a ratty little sucker that you just wanted to slap because you knew GOD didn't like him, making him so ugly!

Anyway, back to the snake. I took this snake, which is a constrictor, and wrapped it around my neck, with its head tucked under my shirt. Over this I wore my light jacket.

It being a chilly day the snake didn't mind as I was warm. The shake was tame a bit, which only meant it rarely bit.

I went over to Larry's and went in the house. Mas Scott saw me and asked me to give her my jacket. I pulled that thing off and as she reached for the jacket the snake pulled his head out of the shirt to look around.

Mrs Scott was in mid reach when that big old snake head reared out and I never new a bigassed woman could scream so loud or run so fast. It scared the crap out of me because I just knew she could beat me to death, if she ever took a mind to.

Now Mrs Scott was a tough old woman and knew all the bad words and she used them about then. I was a laughing but I doubt it was sounding like a laugh as there just had to be a bit of terror mixed in. She came at me and the only thing that saved my young foolish ass was the snake. She was not gonna get close enough to thump me as long as that 6 ft snake was wrapped around my dang neck!

She was a yelling, "Get out! Get out you rotten little son of a beach! I am a gonna snap your neck the next time I see you?"

She coulda done it too and I was about thinking I had pushed it a bit too far. I didn't give a good rip if I scared her but I did care that she scared ME!!

I took off for home and avoided the Scott house for the next week or so. She sent a message with Larry that I could come back but to leave the dam snake home or she would cram it where the sun don't shine. I knowed that was a lie though. She sure the heck coulda done it but it would mean she would have to touch the snake and she was not gonna do that!

She was one good woman and I miss her. I don't miss Larry though but that is another story.

I turned the snake loose soon after but caught another one, years later that was 7 ft 6 inches or more


# posted by Royal : 9:01 AM

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fishing White Lake #8

Terry, Norm and I were talking over what those two guys that were camped at the end of Ravine Lake had told us. There was a fairly large lake to the north east of their cabin but the only way to get there was an old Moose Trail. Now you might think a moose trail would be easy to hike on but it ain’t so. They could be dang rough to follow, especially though boggy country. Those long legged suckers could walk where a man could not and there was nobody clearing blow downs for them. Right Wayne? :D

The lake was a fly in lake. Fly-in lakes are regulated by Department of Lands and Forest, Canadian DNR. The lakes are inspected to make sure the water is potable and they are leased to the outfitter to set up camps and bring in fishermen.

Anyone can fish these lakes. Just because an outfitter has a camp on the lake does not mean that they have exclusive rights to the lake. They just have rights to the camp Some of the camps are pretty nice, gas stoves and refrigerators. Decent stoves for heat, etc. Some are pretty dang crude. I mean really crude. I will get to a story about my first flyin camp on Oswald Lake some time.

This lake we wanted to hike to was a flyin lake. I have no idea what the name of it was. Lake Canyoubiteyourtitsoff will work.

The fishermen at the cabin told us there was an aluminum boat at the other end of the trail. It was owned by a lodge out on the highway and they would rent it out. The lodge hired a float plane to fly the boat back into the lake in the spring and just leave it. It was not locked up but a person was to pay at the lodge.

We decided to try the lake. What the heck, it was a flyin lake and they were suppose to be good fishing. None of us could afford the price of a flyin lake and this was the next best thing.

Early in the morning we headed for the landing and we went to the lodge, which was only a few miles north and paid for a days rental. 20 bloody dollars for a dang day! This must have been in around 1967 and that was a lot of money! Well we paid it and told them we would be using it the next day.

We were pretty excited about the idea of fishing this lake. We had no idea what to expect except we were hoping for some food fish. Fishing in Canada can be iffy just like anywhere else.

Next morning we were up at daybreak and I threw together a quick breakfast. Bacon, eggs and lots of coffee.We packed out fishing gear and since it looked like it was gonna be a clear day we left the rain gear in camp. We packed fixings for a shore lunch too. As was usual we just took hotdogs and buns along with the fixings. They were easy and didn’t take up much room.

Soon we were headed north on Ravine Lake. Like I said before, it is a long and narrow lake. I don’t know how many miles long it is but with the little 51/2 hp Evenrude pushing that boat of mine it took a while. It was a beautiful run though. Not a sign that man had ever been there. We saw Beaver of course and an occasional Moose in the shallows of some little inlet or another. The would just look at us but really pay us no mine.

We finally came to the cabin and pulled in. The two fishermen came out.It seems they were not early risers and what the heck, they were going to be there for a month. We told them that we were going to fish the other lake and they said they were figureing we would.

The boat was back there but we had to lug in the motor and gas along with our fishing tackle and food. Well it did not look far on the map! And it wasn’t but it was a rough hike. The fishermen told us we were going to have problems getting all our gear over that trail as it was pretty wet and there were a lot of dead falls. I guess we could call that an understatement.

I threw the motor over one shoulder and the gas can in the other hand. It helped balance me a little and with them getting the rest we headed off down that little trail. With high hopes I might add.

I don’t remember much about that hike other than that it was miserable. It was hot and wet and the dang bugs were horrible. The black flys were out in droves and what blood they missed the dang skeeters got. We had plenty of repellent but it sweated off as fast as we sprayed it on.

The distance was not bad, maybe a couple miles, as I look at tehe map I think it might have been less but remember, this was a long time ago. I don’t remember but I do remember coming to the deadfalls and having to crawl over and through them and have the motor and gas passed through to me. We had to do the same with the other gear too. We had to take turns with the motor and gas because it was just too rough to lug all the way for one man.

Finally we got to the lake but we were hard pressed to even see the dang lake. It was so thick. Actually we came to the boat first. The back end was in the lake and the nose on the end of the trail and we could see the lake over the end of the boat. Brush was closed in all around us and over the boat. It was half full of water too.

I will never forget. That dang boat was a 10 ft flat bottom Viking Boat and it was old and beat to hell. All dented and banged up but it was all we had. We were lucky that there was a can there to bail it out with. We tried to drag it up to dump it but it was too full. We bailed it down, skeeters and black flys dining on us but finally got it hauled up and dumped.

We just looked at each other and shrugged and started loading it up. I crawled to the rear, motor in hand and secured it to the transom. They passed back the gas can and tackle, which I soon stowed.

I got out and we shoved that stinking little boat through the brush and into the water. I got in first and they followed. I started the motor and threw it in reverse. We edged our way out into the lake and got our first look at a real flyin lake. Lake Canyoubiteyourtitsoff! Come on fish!

Norm said, “Hey this boat leaks like a seive! I looked down and sure nuff, there was an inch of water in the boat and it was rising! What the hell! With the three of us in that little boat the thing was tippy as hell and now it was gonna SINK?? Cripe! I eased toward shore and they started looking for wher the water was coming in. Any movement by any of us made it feel like it was gonna tip over and it was spookey going.

One of them found that the seam between the bottom and side had a split in it about four or five inches long and the water was coming in pretty fast. What the hell to do. We fished around in our tackle boxes and could find nothing to plug the hole! 20 bucks for this? I smoked at the time and dumped my cigarettes in my tackle box and told Terry to try to stuff the empty pack in the split, which he did. This slowed the leak but we were still taking water. We had to bail all the time. I don’t really remember what we used to bail with, probably brought the can from shore but it was almost a full time job.

We decided to hold to shore and try to find some fish. Holding to shore in case we sunk just didn’t make much sense where we were. Heck if we sunk we might as well cut our throats because getting to shore would not really be a plus. We just would not drown but would be lucky enough to be eaten alive by bugs. If we got to shore there were no roads and the trail was invisible now. We had marked it by a small island, maybe 70 or 80 ft in diameter about a hundred yards off shore from the trail. Man if we had not marked it we would never have found it when we went back.

We casted the little bays and trolled a bit but we were not really doing very well. It was miserable fishing in that little boat and it took constant bailing and the slightest move by any of us made it feel like it was going over. 20 bloody bucks for this piece of crap.

We caught a few fish, Pike it seems, we wanted to get into some walleye for camp meat but the were not biting. We headed to the right when we started fishing and went a long way is seems. As I look at the lake using Google Maps I realize that it sprawls all over the place. It is narrow, as you can see and there are lots of inlets and bays to fish.

We decided to eat something and headed back to that little island. It was just a little thing but had some stunted pine on it. Like all the islands in that country, it is just bedrock. We pulled into the inshore side of the island and hauled the boat up. Didn’t want the dnag thing to sink just a setting there! We hauled our gear out and tipped it over to drain the water. We got to looking at the split and it was a good one. We had our hotdogs wrapped in tinfoil and decided to pack that in the split before we headed out fishing again.

We try to always make our camps and shore lunchs on islands or bare points if possible. This helps keep the bugs down. If you have never been in northern Canada during black fly season you just can not imagine what they can be like. I have seen them so thick that my buddy at the other end of the canoe was hard to see. That is another story though. They were not that bad here but they were pretty thick. It is funny and lucky that you are able to ignore them eventually if they are not biting. Bug spray will keep them from biting but it does not stop them from checking your out. In droves!! They will get in you mouth, ears and eyes. They will get into your dang hair and burrow to your dang skalp! Liberal use of OFF and lack of baths keep them at bay though.

We built a fire on the bare rock and got a hot fire going. Then we threw some moss on it to make a bit of smoke. That helps keep the bugs at bay too and is much better than getting your old self et.

We cut some twigs to roast the hotdogs on and dug out the fixings, which were rather skimpy. Mustard and Catsup. We might have had something else too but I can not remember now. Probably not.

We ate and it was a lazy day. The fish were not biting and the dang boat was a sinking and we were in no hurry to get back out on the lake. I wanted to fish though! The other two were satisfied to set and fart and burp and bitch.

I decided to see if I could catch anything from shore. I grabbed my rod , with my trusty floating Rapala and wormed through the small trees, they were maybe 15 ft tall, to the lake side of the little rock pile. I made a few cast and while watching my Rapala work I thought I saw a follow up.Pike will do that all the time. They will follow a dang lure right up to the boat and stare at you. I was not sure though because that water up there is stained with tannin, sorta looks like Root Beer.

I cast out again and worked it in a little slower. Something hit it and I pulled it in. It was a small, maybe 10 in Walleye! I yelled to my buddies, “Hey, I got a dang Walleye!” They called me a lyin bastud and continued their burping and fartin and butching. Well I tossed it back because I wanted some MEAT! Not some little pissant like that!

I cast out again and caught another one and again another. I went through the brush and told them to pack up because there was a school of them over there and we had to get into them before they wandered off..

I flipped the boat over and started putting the motor back on and they tossed the fishing gear in, finally believing that I had gotten into to some Walleye. They had packed the hole with the tin foil, notice I can not spell Aluminum? :D, while I fished though on the other side of the island. They were dumbarses though but I didn’t know it yet..

We pushed the boat out and I headed around the island.

Walleye are school fish. Just like minnows and smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass are more solitary but where you find one walleye you are sure to find more. We swung around that island and threw out our lures and started trolling. We were using floating Rapallas, which look like a minnow but had a sinker about a foot ahead of it. This would take the lure down but if we hung up on a rock we could usually just give some slack and they would float free. Saves a lot of lures :D

I slowed to trolling speed and approached the area I was casting and one of us got a hit, I misremember who. I kicked the motor into neutral until it was in and on the stringer and started again. Every pass we caught one walleye but they were small and that is slow fishing. We had to find the main school.

While we were doing this one of them had to constantly bail. I asked if they had used the foil to plug the hole and they assured me that they had. Seemed like a lot of water was coming in though!

I swung the boat around the island to make a pass between the island and shore. Maybe they were there. Someone caught another one and it was a good one. Maybe three lbs or so! This is more like it. On the stringer it went! “Bail the dang boat Norm!” Geesh, the water was an inch or so deep and I had my hands full with my pole and the motor. He grabbed the bail bucket.

We made another pass and we had a double on ! They were both nice fish and were just tossed in the bottom of the boat. Well what the he11 there was plenty of water to keep them alive! Dumbarses were not bailing because the fishing was too fast! We were fishing and catching and tossing them in the bottom of that little piece of crap boat and having a ball.

We were getting into pike too! We just threw them back because I sure the hell was not gonna be a lugging any dang pike back over that trail! We were having a ball and any thought of the boat sinking was lost in the thrill of the moment I guess.

I looked down at the boat bottom and I swear that the sight was amazing! There had to be four inches of water now and it was full of dang nice walleye!! The bottom was covered with the dang things and they were swimming all over the place. Well not swimming maybe but the bottom was covered with them.

I looked at the hole and the water was streaming in. I asked where the hell the foil plug was and one of them said, “Right there under the seat!” and turned to the fish he was fighting. The dang fools had packed it in from the inside and the water pressure and us jumping around had just popped it out. I told them to jam it in from outside but they did it the easy way.

I ran the boat up on the little island and started a bailing the thing out again. The fish were covering the bottom by now and it was dangerous to try to stand up. Fish slime all over the place. I grabbed the foil and with the back of my knife, jammed it in and made as good a seal as I could. What the heck, I was having a ball to and wanted to get back out. I sure the heck didn’t want to sink though!

I am not gonna pretend that I remember every fish we caught but one I do remember.

We were making a pass, right where we had been hitting them, when I got a hit. I rared back on the rod and kicked the motor out of gear. It felt like I had snagged bottom but I was not sure. The boat drifted and Terry asked if I had one on and I told him I was not sure. I kept watching the rod tip for any movement. If you hold it fairly tight and just drift with the breeze, there was not much of one that day, any movement by the fish is usually seen. I saw none, just a steady arcing of the rod tip. Hummmm?

I let out some slack. The line seemed to be moving away from me. I looked in the water to see if we had current but the water was slack and there was little breeze.. I told Terry that I was not sure but I thought I had a fish on and if it was, it was one big sucker! I was using a bass rod with 10# test line.

I let out a little slack again and it moved off! By golly that was a fish! I let it go a ways, it swam slowly but steadly away and rammed the hooks home again. Now he started acting like a fish but it would not turn my way, in fact the boat was slowly being pulled by the fish. It was a small boat and I have had bigger boats than this pulled. It is not like a fast pull but just a steady pull against a bent rod.

It was not out very far but down at about a 45 degree angle. I kept the pressure on him and he still pulled away. My drag was set fairly tight but it slipped a bit in jerks. It was a bit of a standoff.

I did not know for sure if it was a Pike or Walleye but what ever it was was big! Pike and Walleye fight differently. Every big pike I have caught will make a run and when you get its head turned you can feel it shake its head. If you watch where the line enters the water you can usually see it move from side to side. Not much and not enough to make you bet on it but it gives you a feeling. A pike feeling.

A big Walleye will fight much the same but I have never really seen the head shake. They may do it but I have not noticed it. A walleye will stay on the bottom if he can and this one CAN. This sucker was on the bottom and hanging tight. In fact I fought this thing until it was up to the boat but still on the bottom. It was not moving either. It decided to just stay there and as hard as I hauled on the rod, it stayed.

Heck, I started thinking I had lost it. I looked at Terry and Norm. Then I looked at the bottom of the dang boat. There was a good 6 inches of water in that dang boat and I yelled to start bailing! Cripe I was gonna get the fish of a lifetime and have to swim it to shore!! Geeesh. We were so intent on that dang fish we could have sunk!

The fish would not move. I bet I sat there for five minutes, watching that rod tip for any sign of life. There was none, just a tight arc. Finally with a shrug I let out some slack and watched. Not much slack but a little. We watched.

All of a sudden it started moving off again and this time it meant business. It moved out and I hauled back on the rod and it started going to the right, in the direction of the little island. The line was singing through the water and it seemed to be going to go around the boat. I had to watch it now because you did not want it under the boat. That crappy boat had so many snags and such on it that it would snap the line for sure.

I swung the pole over their heads and then he was around the other side of the boat. Norm had bailed the boat down to the fish. Geesh. What a mess. The boat was swimming with walleye.

I fought that sucker for a little longer and had it up to the boat again but again he was on the bottom. I figured I would just have to wait him out.

All of a sudden the line went slack. Just like that. Slack! I looked down and the Rapalla came bobbing to the surface. It was weighted to dive but would float when still. I looked at my companions and shrugged my shoulders. I picked up the Rapalla and the hooks were not even straightened out. The finish was torn to heck but how that dang hook pulled free is beyond me.

What I think happened is that the bottom of those lakes are covered with rocks and if the fish got behind one and snagged that lure on one, it could easily jerk its head free and swim off, leaving me snagged to the rock. If the front lip was hung on the rock it would simply float free and I think that is what happened. I will always wonder what I had. I feel it was one he11 of a walleye but will never know.

It was getting late by now and we had a long way to go with a bunch of fish AND all the gear. We headed for the trailhead and offloaded.

We had caught 14 nice pike and 29 walleye. The limit was 6 per man per day at the time- if I remember right, so we had to throw some back. We picked the 18 largest and threw the rest back in. The pike we had not even kept.

That hike back was rough! It was rough but we were young and we had it to do. We got back to the cabin and we were whipped. We still had the length of Ravine Lake to traverse but it was just riding in the boat. The two guy at the cabin were supprised at our success.

The ride back to base camp was really nice. The sun was setting and as soon as the sun was down the northern lights started showing. I have rarely seen them up there but they are spooky. We got back in full dark but it is a day I will never forget.

I just set up my scanner so it will scan my old slides and I think I found a couple from tha trip. I will post them if I can get a decient picture out of them. They are old and in bad shape.

Thanks for coming along on a wonderful trip

Underwater Fishing

This is a fast job but pretty much what happened.
Jim asked me to re-post the story about the underwater fishing I did . I can not get into the Archives, it seems, so I will have to re-do the story.
Back a few years I used to do a lot of bottle hunting in the St Clare River. This river runs between Lake Huron and Lake St Clare, which in turn runs into the Detroit River and Lake Erie. The river runs north to south with Canada on the eastern shore.
This river has been used for commerce since the white man first opened the country to trapping. Every ship that has ever plied lakes Superior, Michigan or Huron has had to use this river, which they still do. Hundreds of thousands of boats and ships have sailed these waters and the bottom is covered with the trash of the centuries. In places the sediment is feet thick and full of old bottles and other trash.
I have many hours on the bottom with scuba gear, collecting bottles. It is a lot of work and some times fruitless if I do not pick a productive site.
My favorite spot is in the city of St Clare. I have seen old pictures of the river front and there was a long boardwalk running along it. In fact the boardwalk was running above it. The people living along the river would just pitch their trash in the river and it would acclimate on the bottom, many places feet thick. The trick was to find those spots.
The bottom is covered with broken bottles, many blob topped and embossed. I have found hundreds of the things.
Now there is a park running along the river for about 8 blocks or so. This is well maintained and it is about a 80ft between the road and the river. They welcome the divers. Most of the divers are there to experience current diving and as the river is wider, thus shallower there than at Port Huron, it is easier on the new divers nerves.
Between the road there is a wide grassy area and then a boardwalk. Between the boardwalk and the water is a four foot high fence made of pipe. In this fence there are openings, in these there are ladders for swimmers and divers to access the river.. The water runs south which is left to right.
We would don our equipment and with a dive bag on my left wrist for holding my finds and a ping-pong paddle on the right for fanning the hard sediment on the bottom. We did this to dig holes. We would fan the bottom and depend on the current to carry away the debris. This way was the best because we didn’t risk breaking any bottles that might turn up.
In doing this, we would often wash out crawfish and other little morsels the fish loved. I am getting ahead of myself now.
The water is about 15 ft deep at the wall and the bottom is level for about 6 ft. Then it goes down at a 55 or 60 degree angle to the depth of about 35 ft where it levels off. This bank is where we would hunt for bottles. I have found some on the flats but we don’t like to get out into the shipping lanes. I have some story’s about that!!
What we would do is drop down the drop and find a likely spot and start digging. Now I never was sure what the hell a likely looking spot was but we would pick one.
If there were more than one of us and many times I went along, we would try to stagger so the debris from one digger would not blow down into the claim of another. This was not usually a problem as there was three or four hundred feet of bank we hunted. I have found 28 different types of ink bottles along there. Some have found bottles worth a couple thousand dollars along there although I never did.
I noticed one interesting thing. As I fanned the bottom I noticed that there were always a school of fish on the downstream side of me. They would just be setting there and when a crawdad was washed out by my digging, one of them would dart out and slurp it out.
These fish were usually small mouth bass and sheep head. ##### big small mouth bass too!! I know I saw many that would go 5 or 6 bs or maybe a bit more and that is one hell of a small mouth bass!!
One day I was digging and not finding much. I saw a little crawdad in my pit and caught him. I looked down stream at the school of hungry fish and tossed it into the current. A bass snapped that thing up is a flash.
Now those fish were only about 4 ft away from me and I did not concern them much at all. They just watched for little tidbits I would wash up. I looked around a bit of fishing line snagged to a log. I broke off a chunk of it and saw that there was a hook on the end. I then looked around for another crawdad. When I caught one I threaded it on the hook through the base of its tail. This left him frisky and ready to swim away. He was not going far as I only had four feet of line or so.
I dropped that guy into the current and it washed down to the waiting fish. It did not wash down for long!! A small mouth snagged him up and took off. He felt that hook and the fun was on. It fought like heck and was soon in my hands. The line was heavy and the fish was only a couple pounds so there was not much of a fight.
I turned it loose as I did not want to be caught taking a game fish in an illegal fashion. It was fun though..
On the way home I got to thinking. Why was it illegal? I had a fishing license. I went to the DNR the next week and saw the ranger and told him what I was thinking of doing. I told him I wanted to take a fishing pole to the bottom and bait it up and catch fish. He said that if I had a legal license, a legal fishing pole, there was nothing saying I had to be on the surface! Well I was right after all. I could not figure what would be wrong with it, only that nobody did it.
I dug through my fishing equipment and found an old ice- fishing rod. For you southern folk that is a short rod and the one I had had a reel built onto it. That should work, I figured.
The next chance I had I headed for the river, pole packed with my equipment. I got to the river and there were not many people around, which was fine with me. I rigged up and dropped into the water. I then headed or the bottom, pole in hand along with my bottle diggin tools.
I had not a clue how long it would take to attract fish,as I have never paid attention. I found a likely spot, rather free of snags and laid the pole in a secure spot, out of the current,as I did not want to have to go down stream to Lake Erie to get the pole. The current is still pretty stiff in that spot.
I then started fanning for bottles, all the while watching for crawdads t use as bait. It was not long before I had an audience. The fish started lining up, waiting for the food to be washed up. Boy there were some nice bass showing up!
I saw a crawdad finally and with a bit of doing, caught him. I threaded the hook through his tail and with my legs locked around a stump so as not to wash down stream, released the crawdad into the current.
Like before the dam fish fought to be the one to get the bait. A big old small mouth snagged him up and headed for Lake Erie! I had a stupid little rod with a one foot pole and he had the current fighting for him. I I let him run for a little bit but since I had 20 lb test line on that little rod, I managed to horse him back to me. That ##### thing was running up stream and down stream and under me and headed for the surface! I was just a holding on and trying not to get strangled in the ##### 20 lb test line.
When I finally got him back to me it was not as it he was done or nothing. He just wanted to look me over it seemed and when he did he headed for Erie again. He swam around and around and up and down and wore my arse out! I finally got him back to me again and then what??? I had not thought that far along it seems. I had cranked him to the end of my rod and he was as fresh as when I hooked him. I would guess he was around 31/2 to 4 lb and they are strong. I grabbed that bad boy in a head lock. Try that some time! Anyway I got my hand around him at the gills and got a death grip on him I then got my other hand on his head and with all I could muster, broke his back at the top of his gills.
I then got him off the hook and into my bag.
I did catch a few more that day but I suspect the blood in the water bothered them. They were hesitant to bite and even though I caught a limit, it was work. It was a lot of fun though and an interesting memory.
I have talked to others since and they have gone into spawning beds of bluegill and caught many of them.

Turds

I am up here in Michigan's north land and we still have quite a bit of snow in the woods. Not as much as a couple weeks ago but a foot or so in places. The good thing is the fact that there is a good crust on it and the walking is not bad.

As I said before, I came up here because I needed to clear my head a bit and also find out what is involved in putting up a workshop, garage or whatever you call it. I went to the lumber yard and told the guy there what I was thinking about and he broke out some plans and gave me a price on material. A rough idea anyway. I am thinking about a 24X28 with one of those barn like roofs so I can have storage up there. Tomorrow I have to go up to Grayling to see what is involved in getting the permits and such.

The county has been clearing the right of way in our area and I decided I could use the wood they left for campfires so I spent a little time today gathering it and bring it home. It is junk wood, pine and poplar but it will burn fine for family campfires. I got two truck loads of it today. Some of the dang stuff is six or eight ft long. I will have to cut it up later but I got it home.

I have looked for a few Caches too but it is rough going. They are out in the woods and as I said the woods are still full of snow. I have a 4WD so I figured what the heck and went anyway.

Now for reason for the name of this post. One of the things that makes me really love this new hobby of mine is that it gets me into areas that I would never ever find on my own. There was a cache a couple miles from Mike Quinns place up here that was in an old Ghost Town. I had never heard of it but maybe Mike has. You can drive pretty close to it on good roads and walk back in.

After a little hunting I found the cache in an old basement. I started looking around and found a number of old basement holes. Now I have a potential place to swing a detector this summer. I would never have known it was there without the geocaching.

I decided to try to find a cache in another old ghost town called Pere Cheney, which is not too far from here. The only way I have ever been there is down a little two track through a pine forest. It is not much wider than my truck and when I got there I saw the only thing that had been down it this winter was a few snowmobiles. Problem was, after I finished with the wood I had a toddy. A strong toddy in fact. :D I then decided to find the Pere Cheney cache. Dumbarse me. I got to the two track and heck it did not look bad to me. Well to me and the toddy it did not look bad.

I dropped that bad boy in 4WD and down the dang two track I went. It did not take me long to see that I might have been wise to think this through a bit more. Heck I am up here alone and if a dummy gets stuck with a 4WD, he is STUCK!

I drove a mile or so and the dang trail got tight! In fact I hit a tree with my right mirror but they just fold back when that happens and you can just push them back. I was a bouncing and banging all over the cab of that truck because you have to keep a moving forward. Don't want to stop in that dang snow!

Then I had to stop. Dang tree had fallen half way across the trail. I got out and pushed my mirror back in place and tried to drag the tree out of the way. It was not too big, maybe a foot through and rotten but it was frozen to the ground. I kicked it and stomped it but it would not budge. Hell with it I thought. I will drive into it and try to bust it free. Dumbass! I got back in the truck and nudged it forward and bumped it and gave it a litte gas. The tires spun a little and I felt it settle a little.

Now a good thing about the cold air and working is the fact that the toddy did not have the influence it did 15 minutes before and I got out and looked the situation over. This was dumb!

I looked back the way I had come and there was not a dang place I could see to turn around but I was not going to go forward. To heck with Pere Cheney! I got backin the truck and started backing up. It is hard to do in that dang snow and I found the dang tree that hit my mirror. I hit it again going the other way. I didn't know it until today but they were fold both ways!

I backed a couple hundred yards, heck I figured I was gonna have to back the whole way, when I found a little wide spot that I could back into. I did so and so and headed out to the main road.

I decided to go find another in the area. I just could not get to Pere Cheney until the snow left. I punched in the numbers of the next cache into my GPS and off I went. I went a ways, made a couple turns and looked up and guess what I come to? Pere Cheney! Heck, my buddy always took me through the dang woods the couple times I had been there and I never knew that it was on a dang good road!

I decided to go to the next cache and leave that one for a later time so off I went, chasing the arrow on my GPS. It took me to a two track again. I thought about it and said what the heck and followed it. It parallel a railroad track and was covered with deep snow but what the heck, I never said I was smart.

This two track was wider than the one I tried to take to Pere Cheney and I made good time, even though the snow was deeper. I kept following the arrow and popped out on another good road. Heck I could have driven right to where I was, without going off road, if I had known the area!

I turned left and crossed the tracks and dang if the GPS arrow did not take me up another dang two track. I popped it in 4WD and off I went. Now this was one muddy sucker. Holes full of water but I pushed through them. I had to go around a couple because they looked as if they could be deep. See I was getting smarter!

After about a mile and a half of this crap I saw I was within a quarter mile of my target and I pulled off the trail. I got out and following the GPS arrow, I headed into the woods.

There was quite a bit of snow and I did not figure I would find the cache as they are usually on the ground or close to it. I saw this old log and the GPS said the cache was within a few feet of it. THey are not dead on accurate but I usually follow it down to the feet and then turn it off and start looking.

At the end of the log I saw a big pile of turds. I did not know what they were from but I didn't remember seeing them before. I got down on all fours and looked back in the hole behind this pile of poop. The pile was about a half bushel!

There was a dang Porcupine a looking back at me from about two feet away. I jumped back a bit and he turned his back on me. That was enough and I told him I was not gonna bother him. You bet you butt I ain't gonna mess with him, he was not messing with me!

I grabbed a hand full of Porcupine turds so I could take a picture. I just knew that you folks would love to see them. I know little hillbilly girls learn how to thread them on strings to make necklaces. I can always go back and get some more to send to Linda, or anyone else that wants some.

I gotta get them out of my coat pocket be before Mary sticks her hand in there. They are all nice and dry though. Most of them anyway. :D

That is how my day today went. And it is not over.

Oh yes, I forgot, I also got on the roof and took my woodburner stack apart and cleaned it and cleared an ice dam on the eave of the house.

A couple deer came in today and I thought one had a white stripe down its side. I had never seen one like that but looking closer I could see that it was wounded. Its hide was torn, not down to the meat but just through the hide. I have no idea how this could have happened but it is amazing to me that it seemed not to notice it at all and did not even have a limp.They were extremely shy though and took off as soon as they saw me.

Now I have to find something to do the rest of the day.

Time for a toddy I guess :D

Thanks for sharing my day with me.

Canada Fishing

This story is about the last trip I took into the wilds of Canada with the boys. My companions on this trip were Ray Bennett and a friend of several trips Dave Pryor. Ray was a diving buddy of mine and Dave was an electrician I had worked with for many years. Ray was a heck of a man. He had had heart problems all his life. He died a couple years ago at the age of 55. He had his first valve replacement at the age of 19 and that means they were experimenting on him. He had had two replacements since. That is what finally killed him. He was 5ft 7 and 220 lbs. I always told him if he was 2 inches taller he would be a perfect sphere!! That would always get his dander up. He was a hairy sucker too. Geeesh! Ray was the guy that was running down the shore a cussing me at Lorenze lake! Dave was a feisty sucker. Bad nerves. While we were working together he would take up to 10 Valiums a day to keep cool. I didn’t know a person could live taking that many. After two days in the woods, he seldom needed any! Those were great trips and he could unwind up there. He had never done anything like that until he started going up with us.

I can’t remember the name of this lake so maybe I will call it Gore Lake because as I remember it, it sucked. We flew into this lake in early June and the weather at that time of year is pretty iffy. You can have beautiful weather with millions of blackflies or it could be snowing and cold. The cold never bothered my much but some would get a bit testy. Like Ray! He was on blood thinners and it bothered him. I remember flying into a lake and we had to dodge the squalls on the way in. That is another story! :D

Well when we flew into the bush the weather was beautiful. The camp was a tent camp at the south end of the lake. The reason I can remember the end of the lake it was on will become apparent in the next story. I’m gonna bust this one up a bit.

We were flying in a Dehavilland, Beaver. Now if I spelt that sucker right it is pure luck. You pilots will know what I am talking about. They are a single engine float plane that has power to spare. I think it is about 400hp or so. They are one of the primary planes that are used by the bush pilots.. The Beaver and Otter. I have flown in on a Cessna but don’t remember which. 172 or something like that. The Beaver it noisy and they fill them with all the gear they can get in them. On my later trips they had instruments and even radios in them but the early ones didn’t. I have flown into the bush with the pilot navigating with a dang map on his lap!

As is usual the pilot circled the lake before approaching for a landing. Checking for floating logs and fishing boats in his landing area. He then lines up on the longest stretch of water and at treetop level, slips it to the water. Those guys are great pilots. Course they fly from dawn to dusk all summer long with probably a landing every half-hour or so. They get plenty of practice.

On this day the lake was like glass and it was a fun flight. We landed and the pilot swung the plane around and taxied up to the camp. There was no dock but a bit of a sandy beach which he just ran the pontoons up on. .

There were people fishing the lake the previous week and their gear was setting on the beach awaiting the plane. We got out and said our hellos. As usual we asked how the fishing was and had them mark on the map where they had caught fish. Then they helped us unload our gear and in turn we aided them load theirs.

It was a beautiful camp. Two tents, which were on frames, which meant we would not be sleeping on the ground. We would have a wooden floor. :D They were unheated but that was never a problem. The openings of the tents were facing the water, which meant they were facing north. There was a campfire and a good pile of firewood right in front of the tents. We heard the plane preparing for takeoff so we walked down to the beach to watch. I always loved to see them take off. As they leave the water and disappear over the trees. As I stand there, listening to the sound of the plane disappearing, I start getting the feeling that we are alone. That is what we go up there for. The solitude and freedom to relax which not many of us get the chance to do.

We then started lugging our gear up to the camp. On the way I looked down and saw a damn mouse!! Fat hairy little sucker reminded me of Ray. I called them over and pointed him out. He was just a setting there, next to the path eating lichens. Wasn’t scared at all. We had become accustom to that because the wildlife in the bush aren’t normally scared of us. Heck the damn Canadian Jays and chipmunks will get right on the table and fight us for the dam food sometimes. Anyway he was cute. I reched down and could even touch the little guy. He just hunched up and kept on eating. I called him little Ray to Ray’s objection. More about him at a later time. Ray took a liking to the little guy

We were anxious to get fishing but we had to get camp set up. Like I said, there were already two tents set up but we had to organize our gear. Only time the whole week that it would be organized, I’ll tell you! One tent was for gear and the other was for sleeping.

The facilities in some of those camps were a bit crude. There is no woman on the planet that would live under the conditions that we did in some of those camps. The toilets were a bit crude to say the least. The best thing that could be said about them was the fact that they were up wind. Usually! :D The one we had at this camp was, about 50 ft downwind of camp, a 4 inch log, tied between two trees about 3 and a half ft off the ground or so. A hole was then dug in the ground and you had to drop your drawers, take aim at the hole and let er go!! Had to keep your heels out of the way so as you didn’t load up your britches. One thing that was a problem at that time of the year was the fact that the air was full of black flies. You could always go at night but the skeeters weren’t much better. Both would chew on your necessaries horrible like. Ain’t no place to have no swolt necessaries!! Itches too.

I was smart on this trip. I had gone to Kmart and bought a portable toilet. Only cost 6 bucks so it wasn’t what you would call real sturdy but it was all I could afford. All it was was a seat with legs and a bag that attached under it. I figured all I had to do is spray it full of Black Flag and then when I used it the fly could not get my parts. Never gave a lot of thought to what Black Flag would do to my parts though. Anyway, I figured it would beat the heck out of a damn log between two trees!!

Now Ray took exception to my toilet. He laughed at it and gave me a hard time. Course I took it like the gentleman I am. Damn cow! Our toilet was, as I said about 50 ft downwind of camp. Which would be to the west, on a rise. All brushy so a person could have a little privacy. Like who the heck would want to watch anyway? I found that the thing worked pretty well. I didn’t trust to put my full weight on the thing as I weighed about 220 myself at that time, but with a little balancing and concentration, it was a hell of a lot better than the log they were using.

I would always come down from my trip to the hill and laud the advantages of my portable toilet. Ray laughed at first but the flies were pretty bad at first and he was getting pretty much fly bit on his trips. I laughed and told him that I did not have that problem because of the Black Flag. I also told the boy he was not gonna use it no matter how much he begged!! Well we got to bickering back and forth and he said he was gonna use it if he wanted to. Course I didn’t care but I got to squalling just to make him feel good. He grabbed up his paper and headed for the hill. I told him to take a new bag and change mine and course he told me to go to hell and I was gonna burry HIS crap for him! He did have a testy streak in him at times.

Well up the hill he went. I yelled, “Don’t put all your fat assed weight on it” He told me to go to hell, that if it would hold me it would hold him. I guess I failed to tell the lad that I didn’t put all my weight on it. Hummm. I thought I told him. Anyway Dave and I were setting at the fire and Ray was up the hill. I grabbed my camera and ran up the hill to take a pic. Corse he was in a no position to run. He was just getting settled and ran me off!! I then went down to the campfire with Dave!
All of a sudden we heard a hell of a squallin’ noise! He was a using the Lord’s name in vain, I will tell you. In conjunction with mine it seemed. That and a bunch of noises that I didn’t really recognize as humanoid. We didn’t know what the heck had happened but when we looked up the hill he was gone. That is where the damn noise was coming from though. The boy was a calling ME names!! Heck I didn’t do nothing! We started up the rise and thin he appeared. He was pissed! Sorta red faced like as I remember. He was sorta on his knees and trying to drag his drawers up. The looks of his drawers made me wonder just why he wanted to do that. He got them up enough to hide what we didn’t want to see anyway and headed for the lake. As he turned around we saw that the portable had collapsed. He had put all his weight on the darned thing and smushed it. Course when he smushed it he sat in it. Bet he wished he had used his own bag now!! I said,”Hey, you smushed my terlet!!” Dave and I were laughing so damn hard that I almost peed myself. Ray was a bustin brush a trying to get to the lake so he could clean his fat ass! He had a bit of a waddle anyway but with his drawers around his knees and him trying to push through the brush with his elbows it was a sight to see! I wish I had a video of that!! He was just a bellering all the way down. I wasn’t all that sure I was gonna live through this one, I’ll tell you!
Thing about June in the bush is the fact that the water is cold. Ice had only been out for a couple weeks and it was bitter. Didn’t stop my buddy Ray!! He sat right down in that water and glared at me. I figured he might want some privacy so we went back to camp. I went up and looked at my terlet and yelled at him that he had to fix it for me. He said something about shoving it somewhere so I thought it was better to bury it. Couldn’t be fixed anyway, I guess.

After Ray got cleaned up a bit and changed, he settled down. That is until he found that I had forgotten to tell him that I didn’t put all my weight on it! He would not have listened anyway the way I figure!!

This is but one of the events in this camp and I will tell more later.

Climbing Devils Tower Part 1

Like I said in the last post, it is important to gain some skills and conditioning before you attempt some of this stuff. My big mouth and Pats complete lack of common sense got me into this and I knew I sure the hell didn’t know anything about climbing and neither did Pat.

Someone told us about a place in Pontiac, called Planet Rock. It is a climbing gym which is a great place to get the skills you need and in gaining this skill, you condition the parts of your body that needs it the task at hand. A climbing Gym is a place with high walls and on these walls are attached projections that are used for climbing. These are of many shapes and sizes. Some are pretty small and others are, what are called, buckets. Buckets are what you want but there aren’t really as many as you would like. The whole wall is covered with them and quite a few climbers can be accommodated at one time.

The three of us, Pat, Fred and I went to the gym the first day to sign up. There were quite a few people there climbing and it surprised me that there were so many women. When I mentioned it to the person that was showing us the ropes, no pun intended, he said that women make better climbers than men in many instances. This is because, climbing is a leg thing and men make the mistake of relying too much on their arms. Women don’t normally have this upper body strength and rely on leg muscles and balance, which is exactly what, is needed. You try to climb something like the Tower with just your arms and you won’t get much past the rubble pile!! 

We went in there and I will tell you, I was a bit intimidated! Whole bunch of hard body’s there I will tell you. Young men and women that were in terrific shape. No fatties there!! You young guys want to know where to meet some women in great shape , don’t go to the bars! Go to a climbing gym!! We got in there and signed up. The first thing they do is take you out and show you the ropes. They show you how to get in your harness and how to rope up. You always have to climb in two man teams. One man on the ground belaying and the other climbing. The first wall I was to climb was 56ft. That is a long way up there but a hell of a lot farther down, I was to learn. The rope is tied to your harness on a D ring. It goes up the wall and through a pulley that is on a chain at the top. Then it comes back down and through your partner’s dring. . He controls you in case you fall, which happens often. Your partner is also anchored by a rope, to the floor because if the climber is heaver than the belayer and the climber falls, they meet in the center! That sucks! Pat, being a horney little sucker, had to be watched because of all the hard bodies in that place. Pat is a small guy. Maybe a hundred and fifty, tops , at that time and both Fred and I were slapping the hell out of 240 so it was important to keep Pats mind on the job at hand. I wasn’t there at the time but Fred said that pat didn’t tie to the floor one time and he did meet Fred in the middle. Not good! 

I will never forget the first time I climbed that wall. It was the first time that I climbed ANY wall for that matter. The EGO is a marvelous thing. That was the driving force that even got me to think about doing it. Here were my buddies waiting their turns and I was thinking that I was hoping that the Guardian Angel of Dumb Asses was setting on my shoulder! There are walls of different levels of difficulty. We were on one of the easier walls for our first try. Some of the more difficult walls had overhangs and other obstacles on them. I was all tied off and Pat was belaying me. Off I went. I looked up that damn wall and it sure looked high. I reached up and grabbed my first hold. I pulled myself up, securing a foothold and drawing myself up, looking for the next hold. It is hard and in some spots you have to lunge for a handhold. That is what the belayer is for. If you miss he is to lock down on the rope and keep you from falling. In climbing you are not allowed to touch the rope. They will give you hell if they see you touch it. This is ROCK climbing, not rope climbing! It is a pretty slow process going up the wall. A handhold here and stretch out for a foot hold. Sometimes you don’t think there is a way. Sometimes you have to stretch out as far as you can and still lack 6 inches to the hold. Damn! You look down and make sure Pat is not talking to some chick and get his eye. He nods and you lunge. Made it! Aaaah  now what?

It is a slow, exhausting process for the novist. I was doing everything wrong. Climbing with my arms and pulling myself up. I finally got to the top and reached for the chain, holding the pully. Big Grin!!  I turned around and looked down. Damn!! At 56 ft Pat looked like an ant!! That is a long way up!! A hell of a lot farther down as I was learning!!

Pat and Fred cheered and Pat set to lower me on belay. He said. “I got you! Common down!” OK says I and tried to open my right hand which had an incredible grip on the chain! I look at it like it had a life of its own. I could not make that damn hand open up. I looked down and they yelled, What’s wrong?” I looked around and saw a bunch of people looking at me with little knowing smiles on their faces. Clowns I thought. I looked up at that damn trator of a right hand and figured I would out smart it. I reached up with my left hand and latched onto the chain and willed the right to relax. It worked!! That was more like it. Now I looked down and said I was on my way. Damn left hand would not open now. I was in a fix! My hands were cowards or maybe they knew something I didn’t. I couldn’t spend the rest of my damn life on that damn wall so I just grabbed the rope with both hands and relaxed. Pat started lowering me and I was able to take my hands off the rope. The rest was fun. Just bouncing off the wall with your feet and being lowered. Problem is, Pat is the type of guy you would like to strangle on occasion. He loved to let you free fall until you almost were to the floor before he locked down the rope, on occasion. Paybacks were a joy though.

Some of the climbers are remarkable. One guy was climbing with his 12 year old. I was watching him one day and the dad was putting the kid through some tough drills. I swear he had the kid climbing blindfolded. From bottom to top on one of the harder walls with a blindfold on. Is saw another guy climb one of the easier walls without using his hands other than his thumbs for balance. Hell I would have held on with my damn teeth if I could have.

You signed up to climb by the number of times you climbed a week. I signed up for unlimited so I could get in shape and was climbing quite a bit. I did this for about four months. One day I had just started my climb and I heard a loud POP! My ring finger on my right hand instantly went numb. I didn’t really know what the hell had happened but I dropped to the floor and looked at it. It was starting to swell as I looked at it. Didn’t hurt as it was numb. What had happened was that it had popped out of joint and had popped right back in, but the damage was done.

I walked around holding it and noticed a guy with each of his knuckles wrapped in a criss cross pattern. I went up t him and asked just why he did that. He said that if he didn’t his knuckles would pop out of joint! OH! Says I.

That was the end of my climbing for the year. It took about a month and a half to heal and all the swelling to go down but as it was getting close to the time of the trip, I didn’t want to re injure it and maybe have to cancel the trip for me. We still had a couple months but another injury and I would not have time to heal.
The days on the wall got easier as they went along and I gained enough skills and just as importantly, the confidence to challenge the Tower. I knew I could get up that bad boy now. That was until I got out there and saw it again. Those pictures fall way short of giving you a accurate impression of just how huge and high that thing is!!

Next Installment---Trip out!! Opera!! 

Bees

A SWARM OF BEES
Ten or fifteen years ago I was working the third shift. That was from about PM to AM.

I was working with an electrician, Jerry White. Jerry was a part time farmer and had a few honey bee hives. They were on his 10 acre farm when he bought it and he was in the learning stage of bee-ology :D Me? I didn't know squat.

Someone, I don't remember who, came up to me and told me about a swarm of bees on the side of the building. I went out to look as I had never seen one. Man what a bunch of bees.

There they were, a circle of them about the size of a garbage can lid and about 4 inches thick!! :shock :shock I had never seen so many bees in one place and my first reaction was to back off. They could have carried me off!! They were on the wall of the building and only about three feet off the ground. It was dark out but they were under a light, which was on the wall of the building.

I knew Jerry had bees so I went and told him about them. Foolishly I figured anyone that had bees would know something about them.

He said he wanted them and asked ME :shock :shock how to get them!! Dumbass :lol

I was always into nature and such and knew more than average, just because I like to read anything I could about it and had picked up a few things. None of the things I really remembered had diddly to do with swarming bees though.

I did remember that I read somewhere that they were very docile when they were swarming and easily caught. Right :shock Being blessed with a line of BS and not wanting to tell Jerry that I didn't know squat I dredged up the little I did know and told him we could catch them.

He said How? I told him that we needed something to put them in. He went and found a cardboard box, about 1x1x2 and said it might work. What the hell does he mean might?? :shock It has gotta!

We got come duct tape and taped that box up so there was no way they could get out, if we were lucky enough to get them in the dang thing. We then used a pencil to poke small holes in it in case the bees needed air.

All the time we were looking at each other with a, (you sure a dumbass for being even thinking of doing this, Look) He kept asking me if I was sure it would work and I said sure I was. I was lying.

We cut a couple little 6x6 squares of cardboard to scrape them off the wall, in case we could not talk them into walking off and getting into the box. We didn't know if that was the way to do it but I sure was not gonna use my hand :shock :D

Some of our fellow workers saw what we were up to and said we were nuts. I guess they were right but we were on a mission now and I wanted to know if what I had read, about their docilness when in swarm, was true.

We walked out to the swarm and stood there looking at it. Boy was it big! It was right there in front of us and seemed so quiet and calm. No bees even bothered to fly out to look us over, even though we were less than a yard away. The bees did not seem to be asleep, at least the outer ones, as they were constantly moving.

I knew the queen was in the center of the mass somewhere and I told Jerry that we had to make sure that we got them all and that the hive would die without her.

Both of us were ready. Both of us were scared. We had a planned retreat, which was plain stupid because if we pissed off that swarm we had no chance of getting away.

We looked at each other and gave the-What the hell- look and one of us held the box directly under the swarm, one edge against the wall at an angle. So far so good.

We just stood there and watched the bees. They did not seem to even take notice, although I was convinced that I was gonna get et and it was all Jerry's fault. The look on Jerry's fact told me that he was a thinking I was a dumbass and I had let his mothers little boy astray.

Well we both took the scrapers and put them against the wall, directly above the mass, still holding the box tightly against the wall, under them. We were still scared to actually do it but looking at each other, we both said, "What the ****" and started gently scraping the bees into the box.

I was amazed because they just plopped in without any fuss at all. After the first glob of them, there must have been a hundred or so, we just proceeded to scrape them all into the box. Not one even threatened to bite us and seemed intent on keeping the queen happy and warm. We never saw her but she had to be in there as we only missed a few bees. We could have gotten them but they were crawling up the wall and I figured we had been very lucky as it was.

We folded the top on the box and taped the seams, trapping the bees. We had an audience of course and they seemed disappointed that we were not stung to death. One guy said that we were very brave and I said, "I know that" :D all the time thanking the stars that I had read that book right.

Jerry took them home and introduced them to a new hive. I am not sure if they were successful or not but it is a memory that comes back every time someone mentions bees.

Swamps

I posted a couple pictures of a swamp I went hiking in yesterday and it got me to thinking.

Swamps have always been like a magnate to me, even when I was a little kid. I grew up in a small town and as I said before, my area is full of lakes. In my county alone there are over four hundred natural lakes and back then, that meant lots of swamps for a young kid to wander in.

There was a swamp about a block north of our house. It was like heaven to me. Lots of cattails, frogs, snakes etc. From my earliest years I was down there every chance I got. I am not sure if I remember it or if I just think I do from hearing the story but it seems my parents did not like me playing in "The Swamp" when I was little.

One time it seems I had wandered down there, I was about four years old. I came home muddy of course. You can't catch critters without getting a bit of mud on you, no matter how hard you tried. I am sure that at that age I didn't try to stay clean very hard.

My parents cornered me and asked me if I had been down to the swamp and I told them I had not. I swore to them I had been nowhere near the swamp and they could not get me to fess up. Finally my dad asked me how deep the water was and I was quick to point to my muddy knees and say, "It was this deep" Busted! I was teased about that for years.

About a half mile north of the swamp was Silvan lake. There was a drainage ditch running between them. In the spring it was full and we always looked forward to the big northern pike running up the ditch and into the swamp to spawn. The Swamp was only maybe three feet deep but that was plenty for them to spawn. To a young kid they like sharks and so big. Some of the bigger boys in the neighborhood would go out at night and spear any they could find but the DNR watch out for them. It was really amazing to see a ten lb pike laying in a ditch that one could jump across.

In the summer the swamp would eventually dry up and when there was no more than a small mucky area of water left, no more than the size of a wash tub, we would go down and catch every tadpole and salamander left and turn them loose in deeper water in the lake. I didn't like to see them die that way.

The swamp was full of cattails. In the fall, when the swamp was dry, we would trails through the cattails. We would make hiding areas and some times we would get together and play a sorta have a tag and hide and seek in them. We would tie cattails together across the trails and get someone to chase us. Man they would come after us, usually the big kids and in the twisting trails we would lead them into the trap and we would jump it but they would hit it wide open and go flying. It was a ball. We would go around a corner and out of their sight, sidestep into the cattails, letting the pursuer run by. We spent many hours in the fall in the swamp. .

Winter it would flood again and man used it for ice skating.

We would catch many snakes in the spring. It was like a right of spring and we would sometimes catch thirty or forty in an afternoon. I would never kill them but kept many as pets. I loved it when I caught a pregnant female as it was very interesting watching them give birth. We would always eventually turn them loose.

I like the swamps because it is really the area that you will always be close to nature. Watching them breed and take care of their young was always fun to me. I had my butterfly collections and insects.It is just me.

I have not changed much in my later years. I remember going to Florida. I would usually go alone and haul my bass boat. I would go out in the swamps early in the morning and come back just before dark. I didn't care if I caught any fish or not. I was in my element.

I have a cousin that lives on the St Johns river. I would put in at his place, head up river to Duns Creek and then take it up to Crescent Lake. At that time there was very few homes on the Creek but there were sure a lot gators. Gators, Eagles, osprey and an occasional Manatee. I would motor up to Crescent Lake and head to the left. It is an awesome area. Gators all over the place. I would cast near them and the suckers would head for my lure. I had a ball with them but sure didn't want to hook one. As I would be slowly motoring in the shallows I would occasionally spook an alligator gar. Now those suckers are big and scare the crap out of you.

It is a bird watchers paradise down there, as it is in any swamp if a person opens his eyes. There is always something going on. Always.

In the spring I used to get up early before school and go to the swamp and tap the maple trees. I didn't know what I was doing but I got sap out. I would drink it raw. Takes too much to boil down.

Yes I love swamps. That is where the wildlife is.

Stalls

My instructor never told me what we were gonna do. We went up to 1500 ft or so and she

told me to put the plane in slow flight, full flaps, back on the fuel to idle and

slowly pull back the stick.

The thing was a wallering like an old sow and I felt like I had the thing standing on

its tail. I kept looking at her like a calf looking at a new gate and she smiled and

said pull it back more. I thought she was nuts. She never even mentioned we were gonna

do our first stall! I was not sure what a stall was at that point. I was soon to find

out.

I kept pullin back and my eyes were just looking at sky when the stall warning started

a squalling, come to think of it it had been squalling all the way through this.

Anyway, all of a sudden the plane dropped out of the sky and in a split second of

dumbhead I gave it left rudder. Now in a stall you don't want to give no dang left

rudder! Well I dun it!

That dang plane rolled onto its left side and down we were a going! I was a wee bit

startled, and looked at her. I then looked at the ground coming up at me at a hell of

a rate. Maybe I looked at the ground first but I was not keeping track. She sorta

laughed in a panic sorta way and yelled. "I got it" and I gave it to her! She got it

under control and I mentioned that it would have been nice if she had let me know what

the hell was gonna happen. I was her first student ever it seems.

After that we would head out to the practice area and she would tell me to take it up

to 2000 ft to practice stalls. I told her that I think 5000 ft made more sense to me.

I would take it up to 5000, our airport altitude was about 950ft, and we would

practice them. I HATED them and I knew it was because of that first experience. They

scared me. I never had that happen again because I knew what I had done but I still

hated them.

I never finished my lessons but a few year ago I decided to give it a try again. I was

doing fine but when my new instructor told me that we were gonna do stalls the next

flight the old butterflies started. I decided I was gonna do them and do them well. I

went over all the steps in my head, full laps, back off the power, raise the nose

until he stall warning starts and then continue pulling back, the stall starts, shove

the nose forward, full throttle and above all, a LITTLE right rudder to counter act

the natural left roll because of the torque of the engine. Over and over in my head I

flew that pattern.

The next day we took off and headed out the the practice area. I was a little nervous

but I was determined that I was gonna control this thing.

I had already told my new instructor of my experiences with stalls ten years before and

we went up to 5000 ft. :D

He looked at me and nodded. I took a deep breath and backed off the throttle and

started adding flaps. As the speed bleeds off and the nose comes up you try to

maintain altitude. That dang plane is hard to keep in the air, at least for a

know nothing like me. It just seems to waller around but I was determined to keep my

head.

The stall warning was a squalling and I kept pulling it back, the plane was a standing

on its tail it seemed, then it dropped. I concentrate on the steps, the main one

being no left rudder :D then nose down, full throttle and as I recovered, and gained

speed, bring the flaps up.

It was beautiful. I sorta had the idea in my head that I wanted to get the air speed

up as fast as possible so I threw the plane into a bit of a dive :D, haha skeered that

little prick a bit, but I had it under complete control. I smiled and told him I

wanted to do another and he nodded and I went into it again, this time I didn't need

as much forward thrust on the stick and it was much smoother. I did it again and it

was smoother yet! It got so it was pretty dnag smooth and I was enjoying it.

I had gotten over the initial fear from 10 years before and let my brain get to

working on the problem and it was pretty easy. I guess that is the way with most

things. Get over the fear and then you can think.

I never did finish my lessons this time either :D Now I do not have the money

Squirrel

A couple weeks ago I made a post about a baby squirrel I had adopted. I really had no choice in the matter. I guess I could have squershed the little guy but it was my fault he was orphaned.

We have black squirrels and chipmunks all over the place and they are feeder robbers. I don't want to kill them so I have a live trap and catch them and relocate them about four miles away. I have relocated over 20 of the suckers. I don't do it during breeding season as I don't want to have any baby's starving.

Well I screwed up. I relocated three of the things a few weeks back and the next day I found two baby squirrels in the lawn. One was dead and the other was sorta stunned. The nest was about 70 ft up and it is amazing they both didn't die. I figure one of the ones I relocated the day before was a mother and these little guys got hungry and came out and fell. I felt like a dang jerk and figured it was up to me to raise the guy until he is big enough to turn loose.

It is hard to find an eyedropper with a size of a squirrels nipple and in fact I had no idea how big a squirrels nipple was. I went to the drug store and told the gal I needed a baby bottle with a squirrels nipple on it. She gave me one of those looks.

I finally settled on one that I thought was rather big but the regular eyedropper would take for ever to feed him. I got some half and half and home I went. I heated the milk up and proceeded to start feeding him. Man that little sucker was starved and sucking like a pro. The problem was he got too much and was snorting the stuff out his nose. Man he spraying that milk all over the place but kept trying. Between the two of us we figured out how to do it so he would not drown but honestly, it took two weeks to get it right. That poor guy.

It is very interesting raising these little guys. I have done it with red squirrels too and if they are not eating, they are sleeping. I think that is the way nature protects them in the nest because if they ate and then ran around, they would not last long in the dang tree.

After a week I tried to see if he would eat some peanut butter and put some on a cookie. Man he went for that! Made a dang mess but he got most of it down. It made it easier with the milk too as he would fill up on the peanut butter and cookie and just drink a little milk.

I started slippin a few nuts in too and seeds and he started working on them, As you can see in the pictures, he has grown quite a bit. The first two are the original ones, right after I found him and the rest I took today.

I came up to Roscommon today, just me and my squirrel for a couple weeks. We are having some open houses and Mary throws me out so I won't make a mess of the house. "Please mister, don't throw me in that briar patch" :D:D:D: I have a lot to do up here to keep me busy.

I brought the squirrel with the intention of letting him get some freedom in preparation of turning him loose.

He is very tame and I am his mama. As soon as I got him I took off my t-shirt and let him use it as bedding. I wanted him to get used to my scent and every time I change his bedding I do the same. He has never even offered to bite and is very gentle.

right after I got here today I took his cage, a canary cage, out on the deck and took him out. I just put him on my shoulder and went for a walk around the yard and up to check the mail. He likes this and climbs all over me, in fact the little guy climbed on top of my dang head! Now I gotta tell you that they have sharp little claws! I took him off but not before he shit on my dang head.

I went back around the house and sat on the deck again. Man he was looking all over the place in wonder. I just took him off my shoulder and put him on the railing and sat back to see what he would do. If he took off, fine but I would let him decide when that would be.

He looked around and moved a little bit. This was his first shot of real freedom. He looked over at me and I kept talking to him. He finally jumped down on the deck and it was fun to watch him explore his new world. He finally jumped to the ground and I just sat the watching. He then disappeared under the deck. Now we would see. I went out in the yard and looked over the flower beds, every once in a while looking back to see if he had reappeared. He was under there exploring for about ten minutes and finally came out. He looked like he was looking for me, which he probably was as I am his mama. :D

I walked over and put my hand down and he jumped on and was soon on my shoulder again. This time we went for a longer walk, I just wanted him to get used to the sounds of the woods, we are in a thick woods. I took him to a small tree and put him in it. He was not sure about this now. :D He climbed a bit but when I got close he jumped to my chest again. Oh well, maybe tomorrow:D

Finally I ended back at the deck again and put him on the railing again. It is fun watching him explore. I noticed the bird feeders were empty so I just left him there to explore and went around the house to the garage to get a can of bird feed. I got it and walked back around the house and the little sucker was setting on the railing, sopping wet. What the heck? Man he was a chattering at me and I could see he wanted me to pick him up. I reached down and he jumped for me and ran up and nestled against my neck. That guy was soaked.

I looked down at his little wet footprints and back tracked him. They came from a big empty planter in the corner. I looked in and it had at least a foot of water in it from the rain. He must have been exploring it and slipped in. Man he could have drown and I do know it shook him up a bit. I had a little hand towel and dried him off. He seemed to appreciate it.

He is not in his cage asleep and we will do it again tomorrow. I want to release him as soon as I can but it will be his decision.

The north country is coming alive. As I have been typing this I have been watching the back. I have seen hummingbirds, Red Breasted Grosbeak, Orioles, Pileated Woodpeckers and right now some doves on the feeder. The woods are alive and I just love it.

"Don't throw me in that briar patch" :D

Ain't much of a story maybe but it is how I spent the last few hours. I just wanted to share it with my friends.

Spunky the Skunk

I wrote a story about the last one and posted it a couple years ago.

I never had it decented and it had the run of the house, when my wife would put up with it.

I had a cage outside where I kept him. I would open it up, when I was working in the garden and he would follow me around like a pet coon. He would eat all the bugs and grubs he could get his little paws on.

We would walk in the woods and he would follow. I would be doing whatever and he would follow, looking under rotten logs and such. It would sorta sicken me when the little guy would catch a salamander. He would just set there and eat it alive. The head always went first so it was fast :shock

My brother came over one day when I was not home. I worked second shift at the time. He had a brand new van that he was showing off. He had brought his doberman along.

Gary was getting ready to leave and the dog was running around the yard. Gary was standing there talking to my wife and called the dog. The dog saw the skunks cage. :lol

He ran up and did what all stupid dog do. It started barking at the skunk. Well the skunk did what skunks do when dogs startle them. He sprayed that doberman in the mouth! Now I have never tasted skunk spray but from the dogs reaction, it tastes rather bad.

That dog started foaming at the mouth and howling. It was bellering when it dove into my brothers brand new van too :shock :shock slobbering foamy skunk piss all over the thing.

I guess Gary was a yelling at the dog but the dog was not paying attention to much other than the skunk piss :shock :shock and who could blame it?

He got the dog out and my wife, who was a canner, got some canned tomato's out and they rubbed it into the dogs fur. I was not there but they said it did a good job of getting the smell out. The van took a while longer to get back to normal, I expect.

Skunks go into a feeding frenzy in the fall. They hibernate and they lay on all the fat they can. I was wanting to turn it loose so it could go wild but had not as of yet.

It got to be a pain feeding him. I would make up a big bowl of dogfood, cover it with bacon grease and mix in a vitamin pill. It got so he would attack the stuff.

the cage was actually big enough to get into and the door was a normal hinged frame, covered with chain link fence, which is what the cage was made of.

It had a hasp with a screw driver stuck in it to hold it closed.

I would squat down with the bowl of food in my left hand. I would then reach up with the right and pull the screwdriver out. Holding the screwdriver I would then pull the door open and put the food in front of the door, on the cage floor.

The little bastard started going nuts for the food and dang near attacked it :shock He had never bitten me but by god, I was afraid he was gonna, the way he was acting. I would yell at him and the little turd would swing his butt around at me in a threatening manner. That sucked. He had never sprayed me but nailed a neighbor kid once when he poked a stick in the cage.

One time I was feeding him and lost my presence of mind. I set the food in, holding the screwdriver in my right hand and he, as normal dove at the food. It pissed me off and like I said,I had a brain fart. I looked at him, cussed him and holding the screwdriver by the blade, rapped him sorta hard between the eyes.

Now I came to my senses rather fast. He was pissed but a bit addled by the rap on the head. He swung his arse around and seeing this I reacted instinctively. I yelled, "Oh, SHIT" and while I was doing so, I rolled backwards and to the left. I rolled and kept rolling.

It was a dam good thing too as he unloaded at me. Man did that stuff stink but as luck would have it, the wind was going away from me.

My neighbor, two doors down wind, who's kid had been nailed, laughed and yelled, "Did he get you!" I yelled, which I feel disappointed the dam fool.

I looked toward the cage, half expecting the little bastard to be coming after me but he wasn't. He was calmly eating his food.

I had to close the door now but was a bit leery to attempt it. I started talking to him but he was gluttonously eating the food. He kept watching me as he ate. As I neared the cage he, still eating, swung his arse at me but luckly it was just a threat. A threat that I took seriously, I might add.

I reached over and slowly swung the door shut and he continued his eating.

I would love to say now that I never did a stupid thing like that again but I must not lie. About a week later, in identical manner, I clobbered the thing again. Same thing happened. And I got away with it again.

I have a bit of a temper and it got the best of me. From then on,the first thing I would do, after pulling the screwdriver was to stick it in the dang ground, out of reach. This worked fine.

That little bugger liked to screw with me. I got it from a neighbor that knew I was an animal nut. I have had pet skunks, possum, rabbit, coon, crow, muskrat, mole (now there is a stupid pet to have) I have had snakes-Gardner, blue racers, hog nose, eastern water snakes, Masauga rattlers and more. I even had a sparrow hawk that I raised up and released. I just liked animals.

Anyway, she called me up and said she had something for me. It was in a big cardboard box. They had seen it along the road and the mother had been hit by a car. A dog was after the little guy so they rescued it.

It was about the size of your fist and scared to death,huddled down in the corner. I picked up the box and all and carried it home, which was about 10 houses away.

When I got him home he just hid in the corner of the box. I was not about to reach down and pick him up as they are armed from birth. I just sat there and talked to him.

Eventually he started settling down. It did not take long, maybe a half hour or so. He finally looked up and started moving around. I reached down and just held my hand there, about a foot from him. I sat there and talked to him. He finally came over and sniffed my hand and seemed to except it, At least I hoped he excepted it because I was getting tired of being nice to the little sucker :O)

I picked him up and he was fine.

I then build a cage for him. He was kept in the cage most of the time but I tried to let him out as much as I could. I told about taking him in the woods and such and that was to let him learn how to forage for himself. He was fine. I knew I would turn him loose in the fall.

Many times I would go out and call to him. He knew I was gonna let him out and he would start a dancing at the door and make skunk noises. I would pull the door open and he would hope out and start dancing around. I would say, "Lets go to the garden" and off he would go. Trouble was he would sometimes run around my dang feet and I was afraid I would step on him.

He would run ahead of me and then stop and face me. Then he would dance and squall and swing his ass at me, as if to squirt me! The little sucker liked to see me jump, I think. then he would take off a chattering, only to do it again. He loved to play like that but never sprayed me or anyone else that didn't have it coming.

Late in the fall,when he was getting fat and sassy, I was thinking about taking him out and dumping him somewhere. It had to be done and I had to find a place that was remote.

He was really fat on the diet I had him on. He was now full grown an as fat and sleek a skunk I have ever seen. One evening I had him down to the garden and it was time to go in the house. I reached down to pick him up and he reached under and bit me. Now he had never bitten me before. Not once. A dang skunk bites different than many animals. They bite and hang on, grinding their teeth into the flesh. My flesh as it turned out!

I yelled and jerked my hand back, tearing the hell out of my finger in the process. I threw him on the ground and cussed him. I went stomping up to the house and went in to tend to my hand. My wife asked me what had happened and I told her.

I bandaged my hand up and she asked me if the skunk was in its cage and I told her no and it was not gonna be.

I figured it was his way to tell me it was time to go and I never saw him again. We lived in the country and that was good enough for him I guess. I didn't go back to the garden until morning and he was gone.

I hope he did well