Tuesday, September 28, 2010

...More Candles

Friday was a repeat of the Labor Day Storm. We had 4 inches of rain in less than 24 hours and very high winds. We decided to wait until Saturday morning to go to camp.

Saturday was cloudy and rainy but we decided to go anyway. We got to camp about 9:30 AM and got camp open and the heat on. Arlene wanted to put together her deer feeder so we put the kerosene heater on in our shed and soon it was warm and cozy in there. She and Mary and Tiny stayed in the shed putting together the feeder.

We spent the day getting our feeders positioned and loaded with corn and put up our deer cams. The rain finally quit, thank goodness.

We ate the rest of Mary's chili for dinner, that we had frozen from last weekend. Boy, was it good. Cindy came up just as we finished eating so we gave her the rest of the chili.

We decided to go for a ride to look at the deer. It is our favorite thing to do this time of the year. The bucks are still out in the fields so there's a good chance of seeing some good ones.

We weren't disappointed. There was a huge 8-point laying out in the river field chewing his cud. He was perfectly symmetrical and really gorgeous.

We went on to the Moore hill fields but there wasn't much there so we went on to the Town Line road. There were four really nice bucks there. While we were watching them, two of the bucks started sparring with each other. It isn't too often that you get to see a fight like that. It was a rare treat.

After watching for a while, we headed back to the river fields and in the little field by the Moore Hill, we spotted this little four point about 50 yards away. He posed for a couple of photos for us. He was still in the velvet.

We stopped at the river fields again but the big buck was gone. I took a nice photo of the sunset on the trees with the deer feeding in the fields.

On the way home, we decided to go down to the big field at the end of the road. There were no deer there, but the sunset was incredible. Arlene took some really pretty photos of it.

We headed back to camp and played cards until after 11:00.

Sunday turned out to be as beautiful as Friday had been lousy. Plenty of sunshine. The moon was still high in the sky at 10:00 AM.

Mom, Dad and Cindy were coming up for my birthday celebration at 12:30 PM. Arlene was cooking steaks, boiled red potatoes, and baked carrots on the grill with cheesecake for dessert.

While she prepped lunch, Mary helped me cut up the ironwood that we had pulled down last weekend.

My birthday lunch was the best ever. Mom said that she had never had a steak that good in her life.

Dad had brought the pickup so he left after lunch to go watch the Lions game and Mom stayed until almost 3:00 PM visiting with us. It was a perfect day.

After she left, we decided to go for a 4-wheeler ride. I rode with Arlene and Mary and Tiny took my 4-wheeler. We rode through all of our trails. The woods are so beautiful this time of year. The yellow and orange leaves give the light in the woods a golden glow. It is like being in a fantasy land.

When we got back to camp, Arlene decided to take a ride down to the big field. She punched the big 4-wheeler and had me screaming on the back and we raced out of camp. Mary and Tiny followed at a more sedate pace and caught up with us at the field.

Tiny was warm and cozy tucked in Mary's jacket and seemed to be enjoying her ride.

Sadly, our time at camp was over and we had to close up everything and head home. We decided to check out the fields on the way home. The big buck wasn't in the river field but the four bucks we had seen the previous night were in the same field on the Town Line.

We watched for a while and then headed on home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wood and Candles

Another big wood cutting weekend at Camp Chicken!

Friday night, Arlene, Mary and Tiny, and I got to camp about 5:15 pm and hustled around opening up camp. Ronnie Leach was supposed to drop off the wood splitter at 5:30 pm. When 5:30 came and went, we decided to load up the chain saw and start cutting up the big logs into 14 inch blocks to get a head start on the wood splitting crew.

We cut up one good sized pile of logs and as it was getting pretty dark, we called it a night. Back at camp, Arlene cooked us up some polish sausage and just as we finished dinner, Ronnie and his wife Wava pulled in with the splitter.

I had a nice chat with them and after they left, we decided to take a run to Hessel for the rest of the evening. We were home by 10:30 PM and hit our beds.

The next morning we were up bright and early. We were just finishing our second cup of coffee, when the rest of our "crew" pulled in. Arlene's daughter Janet drove out from the Soo to give us a hand.

It was raining but not too hard so we headed for the woods. Mary and Janet were the wood splitters, Arlene was the measurer and I was the cutter. We had our system down just like a factory.

The sun came out around 11:00 and it turned into a really nice day. We hauled our first trailer load down to Mom and Dad's around noon. We all had to stop at the trailer to take Tylenol and Motrin before we headed out again.

We cut wood all afternoon. When Arlene and I finished cutting up the blocks we helped Mary and Janet with the splitter. Cindy came up just after noon and gave us a hand.

We had a huge load on the trailer by 4:00 pm and loaded the rest onto Arlene's small trailer that was hooked to her 4-wheeler. Then we all headed to Mom and Dad's.

Apparently, we overloaded the trailer and the tires began to smoke half-way to Mom's. I had to ride the 4-wheeler the rest of the way and have Mom bring the pickup back.

We unloaded half the trailer onto the pickup and the whole convoy went to Mom's to unload. We finally got most of it into the woodshed and left some on the pickup for Dad to unload into the new garage.

Arlene headed out early to ride the 4-wheeler back to camp to get the chili on. Mary, Janet, Cindy and I went back to camp for dinner. Boy, were we tired.

Mary had made chili for us and it was really delicious. We were starved. Janet had to eat and then head to the Soo to babysit Chayse for the evening. The rest of us stayed at camp and played cards.

After I smoked everyone at Phase 10, we headed to bed.

Sunday, we didn't get up until 8:00 am and with no work to do, took our time having coffee. Mary and I built a fire and we just sat and rested.

Mom, Dad, and Cindy were coming up at 12:30 pm for lunch and cake for Cindy's birthday.

Arlene cooked her famous burgers on the grill and we had cole slaw, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and chips. It was so good.

We surprised Cindy with a cake and sang Happy Birthday to her. It was a really great day.

Mom and Dad headed home and the four of us just sat and relaxed.

Of course, we aren't much for sitting. I decided to take the 4-wheeler and trailer and pick up the good scraps that were left from the wood splitter. When I got back to camp, Cindy was holding Tiny and Mary and Arlene were over in the woods by my bow shack. There has been an ironwood tree hung up over there for about three years and they decided they would throw a rope over it and try to pull it down.

After several attempts involving a ladder, clippers and a long pole, we decided to tie the rope to my 4-wheeler and yank the thing down. Finally, success. Next weekend, I'll cut it up for Mom and Dad's stove.

We puttered around camp until about 4:00 pm and closed up camp and headed home.

Arlene has to have a lump removed this week so we aren't planning any projects for next weekend that would involve heavy lifting.

We'll put together Arlene's new deer feeder and get our cameras ready and up. I want to take the saw down to her shack and trim up trees and get her area ready for hunting.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Woodchucks at Camp Chicken

The weekend weather looked pretty iffy. A front bringing lots of rain was supposed to roll through the area about noon on Saturday. We needed to get Mom and Dad's winter wood cut, so we decided to go to camp anyway.

Friday was really nice, sunny but cool. We made it to camp about 5:15 and got our woodcutting gear ready and the big trailer hooked up to the car. We headed to the area near Arlene's deer shack where we had a pile of wood that we had gathered the spring before.

About 3/4th of it was still good, so we managed to get it cut up before dusk. We went back to the trailer and decided to go see if the big buck was out in the field again. We saw does with fawns (a good sign) and two small 4-points but no big bucks. So we headed back to camp for dinner.

Arlene made our Friday night favorite: sliced polish sausage, baked beans and fried potatoes all mixed together. It was delicious! We ate it out of our new "cowboy" bowls that Arlene's sister Judy bought for us in Ohio. They are made from metal with a white enamel coating and remind us of the kind of bowls that cowboys use around the campfire.

Saturday morning we were up at 6:10 AM having our coffee and we were out in the woods by 7:30 AM. We knew that we had to beat the rain that was coming by noon. We were really hustling. I think we only took one break. We cut up all the piles of wood that we had collected and loaded them in the utility trailer.

The rain had held off so far. Mom came up for a visit just as we finished and we headed to her house to unload our trailer. We finished up about 2:00 pm and headed back to camp. We just got in the trailer and changed our clothes when the rain came down. After a warm cup of coffee, we opted for a nap. We were pooped!

Cindy came up for supper and we had Arlene's famous hamburgers. Wow, were we hungry. After dinner, we played Phase 10 until 10:00 PM and hit our beds.

Sunday we slept in until 8:00 AM. We had our coffee and headed out for Phase Two of our woodcutting weekend. There were about six large, dead, peeled, maple trees near Arlene's shack that we thought we could cut down.

Now we have a new Husqvarna chain saw and it is a really good saw, but I've never taken down a tree bigger than eight inches and these babies were over a foot in diameter. But, we figured we could try it. I cut it just the way the manual that came with the saw had described and it fell exactly where I wanted it to. I was pretty proud of myself.

We felled at least eight or nine of those big trees and cut them into lengths of four blocks. Then we had to move those big logs. They were to heavy to carry so we flipped them end for end. What a lot of work.

Cindy came up just as we were about half-done and helped us move logs. We put them in piles near our trails and the road so that we can cut them up and split them. Our neighbor at camp, Ronnie Leach, is kind enough to let us use his wood-splitter to split them up.

After our chore was done, Arlene grilled us up some Polish Sausage and we had them on a bun. We were starved. Mom came up for a visit as we were eating.

It was a beautiful sunny day. We took our time closing up camp and left about 4:00 PM. We stopped at Cindy's and put more Round-up on the poplar gads we had cut off. We knocked on her door but when I peeked in, it looked like she was asleep in her chair. So we went to the BP for an ice cream cone and headed home.

We got about two miles when Mary noticed that a large black cloud had come up out of nowhere to the west of us and was moving rapidly toward us. We joked that we had been trying to beat the rain all weekend and now we had to race it home.

As I drove faster the cloud seemed to be gaining on us and by the time we hit 9-mile road it had almost caught us. We hurried to get to the Soo before it hit. We dropped off Mary and Tiny and hustled home. We made it into the house and got everything unloaded as the rain hit.

I was in the shower when the thunder and lightening started. I got out of the shower and went downstairs to check the weather on the Internet because the sky looked really weird. Sure enough, we were under a severe thunderstorm warning.

It was a humdinger too. Some areas near us got baseball sized hail. Mom and Dad had lightening strike so close to the house that it blistered the paint on their back door and the wind was so bad that it blew their storm door open and broke one of the hinges.

Thank goodness we made it home before the thing hit. The storm was pretty severe.

We are hoping for better weather for next weekend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend was a bust! Friday night we had heavy rain and 60 mph winds and it was really scary here in the Soo.

Arlene had gone to Ohio with her sister, so Mary, Cindy and I planned a night at camp for Saturday. But, Saturday's weather wasn't much better than Friday's weather. We had rain and more wind so we canceled our Saturday stay at camp.

Sunday was a little better so when the rain cleared out by 11:30 am, I called the girls and we decided to head to Pickford. Mary, Tiny and I stopped at sister Cindy's trailer first to give her a hand.

We cut away the small poplar trees that had sprouted around her trailer and soaked them with Roundup to see if we can get rid of them. Then we fixed her screen door and back door so that they would latch. Mary fixed her tub faucet so that it would turn on without using pliers. We tried to fix her bathroom door knob but I think it needs a new knob.

Having finished our chores, we all got in the Blazer and headed to camp. It was cool but sunny so we sat outside for awhile and relaxed. I had brought burgers to cook out so I got to try out the new cook shack. My culinary skills are not in Arlene's class but I managed to cook the burgers without burning them.

By then, it had become a little chilly so we decided to eat inside rather than outside. Dinner was pretty good. Burgers, chips, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

After dinner, we opted to stay in and play Phase Ten.

I did remember to take some photos of the new tables we had made from the deck lumber leftover from the "Cluck Shack". They look pretty good if I say so myself.

It had begun to get dark so we closed up camp and decided to take a ride down the Three Mile Road toward Moms. Cindy had to drop off some books for Mom. We saw deer out in the fields near the river. Unfortunately, I only had the little binoculars that I keep in the Blazer console. We saw several nice bucks in the river fields.

We continued on toward Mom's and saw two does with fawns out in the fields. We turned around and started back and noticed some good sized deer that had joined the does and fawns. One deer seemed really large to me so I had Mary and Cindy take a look at it with the little binoculars. It was hanging at the edge of the field about 150 yards from us. Suddenly Mary said "Oh my gosh, that is a big buck".

I took the binoculars and sure enough, he was huge. Biggest buck I've ever seem. I had the camera in the car but it was too dark to get a photo. He seemed unconcerned with our presence and proceeded to walk majestically along the edge of the field.

We watched in awe until he disappeared into the brush at the end of the field. Wow! It was really a thrill to see a big buck like that.

We reluctantly headed to Moms and then home.

Hopefully, we'll get nicer weather for this weekend. We have wood to cut and lots of other chores at camp to get done.