Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quiet Weekend at Camp

Arlene and I took off early from work Friday to head to camp. On the way, I called Mom to let her know that we were going and she said that their garage door had quit working. So after unpacking we headed to Mom and Dad's to have a look.

The door is definitely broken and needs a new spring (the big one that attaches to the rod that makes the door go up and down.

We went back to camp and decided to clean up the area on the other side of the place where the motorhome used to sit. We had piled branches, logs and stuff in the holes hoping it would rot and fill them up, but it never really did and just looked messy.

I know, it is the woods, but we like camp to look neat and clean. So we hauled away two trailer loads of brush and made a new brush pile in the meadow.

About 6:00 PM we headed to Hessel for dinner with a short detour to the fields near camp to do a little scouting.

Saw a couple of nice spikehorns, and while we were turning around, noticed what appeared to be four large doe in the second field back. I dug out the binoculars from under the back seat to take a closer look. The "doe" turned out to be a nice buck, at least a six-point, quite possibly larger.

We headed on to Hessel and stayed until they closed the place.

Saturday was quite cool and cloudy and we were both concerned as we had invited Mom and Dad, Cindy and Arlene's brother Wayne and his wife Joan up for dinner. We usually celebrate my sister Cindy and my birthdays by going out for brunch but we thought we would change it up this year and invite everyone for dinner. Arlene generously volunteered to cook.

About 11:30 AM, Mary and Tiny surprised us with a visit and we sat around chatting by the fire for awhile. Of course, we aren't much for sitting around, so we went up to the hill to see if we could dig out this huge limestone rock that Arlene's sister Judy wanted for part of her walkway. An hour later after excavating a three foot hole and breaking the shovel, we got that thing out and loaded on my little trailer. Wow, was it heavy.

About 2:00 PM, the sun finally appeared and saved the day for our dinner as we had planned on eating outside. Arlene started cooking and everyone showed up on time.

We had a real feast: grilled whitefish cooked on cedar boards that we had soaked for three hours, bison tenderloin, chicken breast, boiled red garden potatoes, peas, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet onions and bread with frosted brownies for dessert. It was great.

After dinner, we sat and visited by the fire. We were so busy that I forgot to take any pictures.

Everyone but Cindy left by 9:00 PM and we built a real roaring fire and stayed out until almost 11:30 PM.

Sunday, we slept in until almost 10 AM, unheard of for us. Usually, we are up by at least 8:00 AM.

We took a ride on the 4-wheelers and checked our trail cameras but no bear pictures, thank goodness. Our bear must have just been passing through.

We packed up early as we had to go to Cindy's and spray down her outside entryway with stuff to kill the hundreds of spiders that have taken up residence there.

It was like a Halloween movie as I was spraying, the spiders were coming down on webs trying to get away from the spray. Yuck. I was smacking them with the broom and killing them. Now her only outside broom is full of dead spider guts, so I went to Walmart tonight and bought her a new one.

We helped her take her air conditioner out of her window as it is supposed to turn quite cool this week.

No camp this weekend, although we may go up Sunday and check the cameras and cut some wood if the weather is decent. Arlene's great-granddaughter, Madison, is turning three on Saturday, so we are going to her birthday party.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Camp 9-11-09

A couple of weeks ago, Arlene and I bought this stuff called "C'Mere Deer". It is a powder or liquid product that is supposed to bring in the deer like crazy.

So we thought that we would try some. The weekend before, we sprinkled some at our two hunting spots, the Taj Mahal and the Cadillac Shack and put up our trail cameras.

Saturday, we went to check for pictures but found none. While I was fiddling with Arlene's trail cam at the Cadillac spot, she decided to spread some more of the "C'Mere Deer".

Within a minute, we could hear rustling in the brush as something approached us.

"Wow", I said, "that worked fast".

Suddenly, a chipmunk appeared and headed straight for us. He stopped a few inches from where I was kneeling at the camera and peeked around the tree at me. He was so cute.

Skirting Arlene and I, he headed straight for the log where she had poured the "C'Mere Deer" and began licking it like crazy. We were laughing so hard I almost wet my pants.

Apparently high on the powder, he ran over to the food block I had set out and attacked it, trying to chew the small bits of corn out of the block.

Soon another chipmunk appeared and began to scurry around.

I told Arlene that they should call this stuff "Chipmunk Crack" instead of "C'Mere Deer"!

Finally, we left the "monks" to their meal and headed back to cook dinner for Cindy and Arlene's sister, Judy. Arlene was making Porterhouse Steak, baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

Boy was it GOOD!

After dinner, we spent a beautiful evening by the fire and did some stargazing with the telescope.

Sunday morning, we decided to go check the deer camera at Arlene's shack again. This time we took the digital camera so that we could just do a quick scan of the memory card to see if there were any pictures.

I plugged the card in the camera and took a look.

Hey, there's a deer! Hey, there's another deer! Hey, there's a ...... oh my gosh...there's a BEAR!

In the eight years we have been using trail cameras at camp, we have never, ever had a photo of a bear until Sunday.

And guess what he was doing??? He was licking the log that had the "C'mere Deer" spread on it.

Needless to say, we brought the "C'Mere Deer" home with us and don't plan on using it any more.

Why don't they put on the label: "Attracts Chipmunks and Bears!!!!

We aren't at camp this weekend, as Arlene has a had a death in her family and has to attend a wake on Sunday. But, this afternoon, we are going to go to camp and check those cameras again and make sure the bear didn't come back.

The Cadillac shack is no more than 200 yards, as the crow flies, from camp so we want to be real sure we don't have a bear problem.

Sunday, we tried to make as much noise as possible. I took out my .357 mag revolver and shot about 40 rounds at our little target range. Then I got out the .380 and the .22 pistols and did the same. Hopefully, the noise will convince the bear that camp is not the place for him/her.

I'll keep you posted on today's photos.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend at Camp Chicken

Friday, September 4

It was a sad day for my family as Mom, Dad, Cindy and I went to Pellston to attend my Uncle Ed's memorial service. Uncle Ed was married to my Dad's only sister, Aunt Mary. I drove us down and back and by the time I got back home it was after 4:00 pm.

Arlene had everything ready so we just had to load the car and hitch up the trailer and we were off. We were going to just unload and go to Hessel to the casino for dinner but I was kind of worn out from the day so we decided to just stay at camp.

We aren't much for taking it easy, so we decided to get started early on our Saturday project. My Dad had given Dan a little utility trailer last year and he had put a sort of flat bed out of 2x4's on it. We decided that with a little re-design we could put a box on it and make a nice little wagon to haul wood. So Friday night we took all the 2x4's off of it.

We played a game of Phase 10 and went to bed early.

Saturday, September 5

We were up early and headed into town to pick up nuts and bolts to attach our wagon "ribs" to the wagon.

We used a thicker sheet of OSB board for the floor and after some careful cutting with the saw managed to cut slots for the "ribs" to fit in and got the floor secured. Arlene and I stained it and while it was drying, we measured and cut the sides.

After we had it all screwed together we stained the finished product. We used scrap lumber left over from Arlene's hunting shack and our camp shed so the whole project cost us a total of $5.00.!

How do you like our little five dollar wagon?

Cindy came up for a dinner of grilled Brats, corn-on-the-cob from a camp neighbor's garden, and Bush's grillin beans with canned potatoes added.

After dinner it had cooled off quite a bit so I started a fire and we had coffee. Mom surprised us by dropping by for a visit and we had a really nice time chatting with her.

Just before dark, I dug the camp telescope out from under the bed and put it together and aimed it at what I thought was Mars. To my surprise, the big object in the southeastern sky was Jupiter with three of it's moons orbiting around it. When the full moon came up, we turned the telescope on it and took turns gazing into the moon. It had been a great day!

Sunday, September 6

Sunday dawned warm and sunny just like the last two days at camp. We slept in and relaxed drinking coffee. We spent the morning putting up our deer cams and putting out food blocks for the deer at Arlene's Cadillac Shack, the Taj Mahal bow shack and one at the end of the camp clearing.

About 1:15 Arlene's daughter Janet surprised us with a visit and she brought little Chayse, Arlene's newest great-grandson for his first trip to Camp Chicken. He is five months old now and really growing.

Of course, Arlene had to take him for his very first 4-wheeler ride.

As you can tell, he wasn't afraid at all, but seemed really interested in how his "GG"'s buggy worked.

I called Mom and told her that Janet had brought the baby up so that she could spend some time with him and she was at camp in a flash.

Soon afterward, his mom, Steph, Auntie Sara, and cousin Anna pulled in and it was like old times at camp when they all used to come for the weekend. Before long they had the badminton net up and had a game going.

Chayse relaxed on my Mother's lap while he watched his Mom play badminton.

Mom must have a pretty comfortable lap, because he was asleep in no time.

Soon, Arlene's sister Judy and their niece Cheryl arrived. Cheryl was here for a visit. My sister Cindy pulled in shortly after and we had quite a lively crew at camp.

Arlene had brought lots of food and Janet and the girls brought hot dogs and chips.

While Arlene cooked dinner, the whole crew went up into the woods to help Judy pick up some flat limestone rocks for a walkway she is making at her house. One thing that Camp Chicken has a bounty of is ROCKS. Gram used to call camp, "Stony Lonesome", which I think is a pretty cool name too.

Finally, Arlene had dinner ready and we all sat down to a feast of grilled fresh whitefish, pork country ribs, bratwurst, hot dogs, fried potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and garlic and herb french bread toasted on the grill. Yum, Yum!!!

After stuffing ourselves at dinner, everyone relaxed by the fire. The girls helped clear and I did the dishes.

All too soon everyone had to leave and camp was once again quiet.

Arlene, Cindy and I spent the entire evening around a roaring fire. Just as it got dark the coyotes began to howl very, very close to camp so I went and got one of my handguns out and set it by my table, just in case. It was actually nice to hear them. The wolves had driven them out of our area in the past two years.

I got the telescope out again and we looked at the moon and Jupiter. Before long it was almost midnight. Evening is my favorite time at camp. I love sitting around the fire. There is something comforting about a fire. Maybe it something buried deep in our DNA from long ago; fire means life and warmth.

Monday, September 7

Sigh, last day of a long weekend at camp. Time just flies by at Camp Chicken.

Our trailer has a mouse problem! We have been catching the little buggers all weekend. So today was clean out the cupboards and cubby hole day. Arlene and I vacuumed up mouse poop and used Clorox disinfecting wipes to clean up all the places where they hide and mess. We can't figure out how they are getting in.

While Arlene was finishing cleaning the bathroom, definitely a one-woman job, I was putting some things away in the shed when I found a nest of leaves and stuff up in the part of the shed where we have some boards laid on the rafters. As I was brushing the leaves down, I saw a MOUSE running for cover in the soffets(sp).

I grabbed the ladder and my heavy leather gloves and tried to get him. I had to move the ladder as I chased him back and forth from one soffet area to another. Arlene was now outside cleaning the grill when she could hear swearing, banging and thumping from the shed. She came over to see what the heck was going on.

I finally figured out that where each rafter met the soffet board, there was a gap there that the mouse was running through and getting away from me. So I took two pieces of 2x4's and slowly began working the mouse to the middle soffet.

Finally, I had him trapped but to my surprise, there wasn't just one mouse, there were FOUR MICE. One by one, I caught and killed each one, sorry ASPCA, but they had to go! Actually, one of them managed to escape and I chased him all over while Arlene laughed her *ss off at the picture of me chasing the little critter.

Later, I took mouse poison and put it everywhere I could think of; the outhouse, the new shed, the old shed, the motor home, under the woodpiles, everywhere.

As the day grew hotter and hotter, we decided to pack up and head home.

Next weekend, the MOUSE WAR will go on.