Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring ??

Well, spring is not here yet. We had more snow last night and today, probably about 2 inches instead of the forecast of 6 - 8 inches. Yuckkkkkkk.

So I went to the basement to clean our deer rifles, that I am ashamed to say, I didn't do the week after deer season. Maybe because deer season left me feeling kind of sad.

We didn't see hardly any deer and we had wolves howling right in camp on two consecutive weekends. Add that to the fact that someone shot the mother of our twin fawns and it just put me in a real crappy mood.

We can't figure out why we have so few deer on the property any more. I expect it has to do with our neighbors huge food plots to the north of us, WOLVES, and the after-effects of violent windstorms that have changed the entire property by knocking down many, many trees.

But, I getting off target here. Normally, I really enjoy cleaning our rifles. I love guns, always have.

When I was little, my Dad had a bunch of gun catalogs because he was going to be a gunsmith. I don't know why he never became one but I sure loved those books.

I look at a gun the way some people look in awe at a Picasso or a Da Vinci. To me a gun is a beautiful work of art. I especially love rifles because of the wooden stocks, there is just something really beautiful about the wood and metal together.

Arlene thinks I am nuts, of course. She just doesn't get it. To her a gun is a tool, just like a hammer or a screwdriver. It is an implement used to kill game to put food on the table, period. She doesn't understand when I go babbling on and on about the newest Taurus line of handguns or about the latest gun that Dan, her son-in-law is customizing. Frankly, she thinks we are both nuts! Sigh.

I decided to clean my Ruger 10/22 while I was at it. I had forgotten what a beautiful little rifle it is, so I took some photos of it.

The checkering on the stock is especially beautiful and the photos really don't do it justice.

Our local Chippewa County Shooter's Association Gun Show is this weekend and since it is supposed to snow, again, I may have to sneak off to take a look.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Saturday Drive To Camp Chicken

We took a nice drive to Camp today and saw partridge, lots and lots of deer and three bald eagles. Unfortunately, the eagles were about three hundred yards away but I did my best to get a shot of at least one of them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From the Camp Chicken Diary...

In the early days of Camp Chicken, I got the idea of keeping a camp diary. We could record what we did on the weekends we were there and keep a record of our camp adventures.

Here is an excerpt from our Camp Chicken Diary...

When we first began going to Camp Chicken on weekends, our good friend Kathy would go with us.

Kathy had never done any kind of outdoor activites and was a complete novice in the woods. She didn't know how to make a fire or use a hand saw to cut wood.

In those early days, we cut all of our campfire wood by hand with a small camp saw. Arlene and I took turns gathering wood for the fire and cutting up small trees for our wood pile. As you can imagine, it was a lot of work.

We tried to teach Kathy how to use the hand saw, but it took her a very long time to cut up a few small sticks of wood for our fire.

One day, Arlene and I were going to leave camp for a few hours to watch Arlene's grandson, Clifton, run at a cross-country meet. Before we left, she told Kathy that she had to cut some firewood and make a good fire so that Arlene could cook our dinner when we returned.

When we returned, a large fire was burning in the firepit and Kathy was relaxing in her chair by the fire. My Mom and Dad were sitting by the fire visiting with her.

"Wow," Arlene said, "great fire, Kath, how did you do it?"

"Well," Kathy replied, "I cut up the wood and built a fire. I know how to do stuff."

Upon a closer inspection of the fire, Arlene noticed that the logs in the fire were quite large, too large for Kathy to have cut with a hand saw.

A quick check in the back of my Dad's pickup confirmed our suspicions. Dad's chainsaw was in the pickup bed.

"All right, Kathy" Arlene said, "tell the truth. Harry cut up the wood for you with his chainsaw and he was the one who built the fire, right?"

The guilty look on Kathy and my parent's faces told the whole story. They had come up for a visit and when Kathy told them that she was supposed to cut wood and start a fire, my Dad took pity on her and did her chores.

Our good friend Kathy is no longer with us. Sadly, she passed away from stomach cancer several years ago. We miss her at Camp Chicken. In fact, she deserves much of the credit for the Camp Chicken name. But, that's another story.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gladys Susie Rutledge

On March 5th, my grandma, Gladys Rutledge would have been 105 years old. She passed away at the age of 100 on April 18th, 2004.

It is because of her and my grandpa, Elmer Rutledge, that Camp Chicken even exists. It belonged to them and when Gram passed, it was passed on to my mother, Gloria Smith.

Gram lived through many trials and changes. She saw America change in so many ways. The things we take for granted today; cars, telephones, indoor plumbing, electricity, radio, and television were all "new" things in her lifetime.

Gram loved Camp Chicken, only she called it the "Forty". She liked to sit in a chair outside at camp and listen to the birds and the wind in the trees. She loved the sound of the wind in the trees and would always remark that "the trees are really talking today".

Camp brought her peace, I think, and good memories of the times she spent there with Gramp. They had huge gardens at camp and helped Mom and Dad cut wood to heat our house.

I think of her often when I'm at Camp and sometimes, I feel her presence there. Arlene, who has what I call "Native ESP", sometimes actually sees her spirit there. I think she comes to see what we are up to and to just make sure that we are all right. It is a comforting feeling, really.

I miss her and even now, I'll pick up the phone to call her if there is something on TV that I know she would like to see.

Happy Birthday, Gram!