Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Deer Season Re-Cap

I was fortunate enough to take a nice 8-point buck on 11-11-11 at about 5:20 pm with my bow.

Unfortunately, in the excitement of the moment, I made a pretty poor shot. Arlene, Mary Sue and I ended up tracking my deer for about three hours. He took us down into the thickest part of Camp Chicken.

In our excitement, we forgot a compass and for about an hour we were totally lost back there. The buck kept looping back and making figure-eights and before long we didn't have a clue where we were. I mean, I had a general idea but when you're out in the woods in the dark, that isn't too good.

Finally, we came to a part of the woods we were familiar with. We had come out by the old spring just north of Arlene's shack. What a relief that was. I ran back to camp to get a couple more flashlights and the Blazer and told the girls to stay right there.

Of course, they didn't listen but kept tracking and found the buck just about 20 yards on the other side of our road. He was only about 200 yards from Arlene's deer shack.

We managed to drag him out of the dense thicket he was in and haul him to the car. The rest was fairly easy but it was close to midnight before we finally got him cleaned up and hung on our buckpole.

It was quite a thrill.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trip to the Stirling Camp

Mary's brother George lives in North Carolina and every November he comes home to go deer hunting.

Mary's Dad's property is near Camp Chicken so we volunteered to take the 4-wheelers and load up some apples and sugar beets to take up to the Stirling hunting camp to put out for the deer. George doesn't get here until a day or two before the season starts so he doesn't get a chance to put out any bait for the deer.

We put the apples and beets in Arlene's little trailer and loaded up for our adventure.

When we take the 4-wheelers, Mary always had to hold Tiny, but Arlene came up with this idea for a "Tiny Carrier". She took an old camo back pack and turned it around so the backpack part was in the front. Then she took a bungee cord and attached it to the shoulder straps in the back to hold it in place. We put Tiny inside the bag so she was able to ride without Mary having to hold her.

Tiny actually really likes it. She is comfortable and warm and she can look around and see where we are going.

We headed out to make the trip to the Stirling camp. It is quite a ways away from Camp Chicken, probably at least two miles on two track roads. Part of the road goes through poplar swamp and it gets pretty muddy. The last mile is pretty rough. It was slow going with a fully loaded trailer and both Arlene and Mary on the 4-wheeler.

But we made it and didn't get lost once.

Mary spread out the apples and beets and we put the rest of the bags in the old horse barn for next weekend. Years ago, men would come up in this area and cut pulpwood. My grandfather, Elmer Rutledge, his brother Len, and his cousin, Hughie Leach and their families would live up in these woods and cut pulpwood for a penny a "stick". I think a "stick" was actually a poplar tree. They used horses to drag the "sticks" out of the woods and they kept them in small barns.

We spent some time looking around the hunting camp at the new deck and outhouse that had been added since our last trip up here.

I really liked this old thermometer that was hanging on the front of the cabin.

This sign hangs on the old horse barn welcoming guests to the Stirling camp.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beautiful Weekend at Camp

Last weekend the forecast was for 75 degree temperatures and sunny weather so Arlene, Mary and I had a brainstorm. We would take off work at noon on Friday and go play golf and then go spend the weekend at camp.

It was quite a trick to get our clubs and everything else into the car but we managed it. We couldn't leave Tiny in the car as it was too hot so we took her golfing. Thank goodness Munoscong Golf Club is a very tolerant place and Tiny is a very good little dog.

We had a great time and then headed to camp.

Saturday was so beautiful and we were up early and went to town to get more corn for the deer and then back to camp to cut wood for Mom and Dad. There was a huge ironwood tree down near camp and since it makes great firewood we wanted to get it cut up.

It didn't really take too long to get the tree marked and cut up. Arlene marks the tree we are going to cut up so that the logs are uniform and stack easily and also so that they fit in Mom and Dad's stove.

We got the tree marked, cut up into lengths and loaded in the trailer. Then we took the big trailer down to Mom and Dad's and put the wood away in their woodshed.

After we got back, I took a few photos of the beautiful leaves around the camp clearing.

It was so nice out that we decided to take the 4-wheelers for a ride. When we got back to camp we had a nice surprise; Arlene's daughter Judi and grandson Anthony had come for a visit. We had a really nice dinner of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

Afterward, we built a nice fire and had coffee while we visited. We had another nice surprise when Mom came up for a visit also. It was a really beautiful evening with a full moon rising right at sunset. I took these photos around the campfire but they didn't turn out so well for some reason.

It was a perfect weekend at Camp Chicken.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Busy August.....

It has been a long time since I've written anything from the old Camp Chicken.

We have had a busy summer. Arlene is doing well with her knee replacement and my ribs have finally healed enough after four years to play golf again.

My brother Chris, his wife Judy and my nephew Ross were here for a visit in August for my parent's 60th Wedding Anniversary Party. Unfortunately, Chris had a flu bug for most of the time we were at camp. I didn't get a chance to even take any pictures.

Shortly after that, Arlene's grandson, Clifton, his wife Robin, and his children Savannah and Jack came for a visit and spent a couple of days at camp. Most of the rest of Arlene's family dropped in for the day also.

Chayse and his "GG" return from a walk.

Clif, Rob, Jack, Savannah and Madison enjoy breakfast at camp.

Jack, Madison, and Savannah eating S'mores around the campfire.

Little Courtney in her lawn chair.

Arlene had all of her great-grandchildren at camp at one time; Chayse, Madison, Courtney, Savannah and Jack.

Since that time, Arlene, Mary and I have been busy getting ready for deer season and cutting wood for Mom and Dad.

We put up the corn feeders at Arlene's hunting spot and at camp so that we can watch the deer. I wasn't gettin that much action at camp but they are eating Arlene out of "house and home" as my Gram used to say.

After a careful investigation of the deer cam photos, we finally figured out why.

If you look at the photo you can see that the deer have figured out how to turn their heads sideways and stick their noses in between the "varmint" cage and turn the spinner and dispense their own corn.

We laughed pretty hard when we saw these photos. No wonder she was going through 100 pounds of corn a week. The big ones knock the corn out of the feeder for themselves and the little ones.

I have been entertaining myself hunting those darn turkeys. I thought I was all set this year. Arlene's son-in-law, Dan lent me his turkey gun. He has it all tricked out with camo and a red dot sight. All I had to do, he said, was lay my cheek on the pad and put the red dot right on the turkey's head.

So, I am all ready when the turkeys come in. I put the red dot right on the big gobbler's head and pull the trigger...BANG and the turkey runs away. What the heck? Apparently, I either didn't know how to use the sight or something went wrong.

So I went and got the turkey target he gave me and tried to pattern the shotgun and I was way off. So I decided to go borrow a gun from my Dad. He has a nice 12-gauge, full choke. So I put a light load in it and shot at the turkey target and it patterned pretty nicely. Then I put in the 3-inch, turkey loads (#4) and pulled the trigger and almost blew my shoulder off. WOW!!! Did it kick.

Anyway, Sunday, I got another chance at those dastardly turkeys and somehow I missed again. I have no idea how or why. But, I'll keep trying.

I think this must be the turkey doing his "Victory Dance":

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Sorry that the Camp Chicken Chronicles has been silent of late. It has been a busy spring.

Arlene was doing really well with her new knee until the last week of her therapy and she began to experience a great deal of pain. Turns out she has a stress fracture of the small leg bone in her right leg, the same leg as the new knee. It was very disappointing to her and very frustrating. She is doing better but I don't think it has completely healed.

We were at camp last weekend just in time for the first black fly and mosquito hatch. Wow! I forgot what it was like to be swarmed by biting insects. Whew.

We had been at camp the first weekend in May and it had been great. We set up the croquet game and had some pretty intense matches. Tiny watches with great interest from the cozy comfort of her chair as the game progresses. I noticed that in this photo, you can see that she is getting old. I hate the thoughts of that. She is such a big part of camp now.

We had a very nice time that weekend. It was Mom's 81st birthday on Saturday, May 7th and we went out for brunch on Sunday for her birthday and Dad's. He was 84 on April 25th.

Last weekend, we got to camp about our usual time and tried to cut the grass but the insects swarmed us pretty bad. Mary managed to get the area around the firepit done and I did the long grass where the motor home used to be. The motor home is gone, thank goodness. We don't have to look at that old wreck anymore.

After getting things unloaded we toddled off to Hessel casino for the evening. We didn't have much luck and were tucked in our beds back at camp by 11:30 pm.

Saturday morning was really beautiful and sunny. We got up at 8:00 am and had our donuts and coffee and got to work. Mary and I loaded up all the junk that was piled up around camp. There was an old swing, two BBQ grills, and an old lawn mower. We threw it in the trailer and hauled it up to "Malfunction Junction", the local junk yard.

I just wanted to get rid of it, but as it turned out, the stuff was worth some cash! We headed back to camp to load up the rest of the old lumber from the deck we replaced last summer at home. I wanted to haul it up in the woods and put it on the brush pile on the "Short-cut Road".

Small problem, though, the new Chevy Trailblazer is wider than the old Blazer I used to have, so it barely fit in between some of the trees on the road. Don't think I will be trying that again. We did manage to get the wood unloaded and I had to turn that darn trailer around up in the woods because the rest of the road is blocked by some downed trees.

After a good deal of cussing, I managed to get turned around and get safely back to camp. Our last task of the camp cleanup, was to hook up Dad's old snowmobile trailer to Arlenes big 4-wheeler and haul it over to the other big clearing and out of our way.

We took a break and had some lunch and then headed to Mom and Dad's to load up Dad's riding lawn mower and take it out to Cindy's house so she could mow her back yard. Mary started up her push mower and mowed the front yard for her and we were done in no time.

Back to camp for a relaxing evening. Arlene was grilling T-bone steaks and potatoes for supper. Wow, were those steaks delicious. Cindy came up for dinner and afterward, we made a nice fire and had "Smore's". We were really having a great time, when the wind died down and the bugs got really bad. We had to give up and go inside and play cards for the rest of the evening.

Rain moved in overnight and it was still very wet and cool in the morning. We listened to the weather report over morning coffee and donuts. Severe weather was possible later in the day so we decided to pack it up and come home.

We probably won't spend Memorial Day at camp. Arlene's granddaughter, Sarah is graduating from Sault High on Sunday and her open house is Saturday. Looking forward to socializing with everyone and eating some really great food.

Depending on the weather, we might make a camp run on Monday. We'll see how tired we are from graduation. I have to haul the trailer back to camp anyway.

The city alley plow went by a couple of weeks ago and dug up this big piece of concrete out of our yard and flipped it up onto the lawn. We busted it up into pieces with the sledge hammer and I need to haul it up to camp and get rid of it.

Well, have a great weekend everyone and get outside!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

At Last......

Finally, we were able to take a trip to Camp!

It was supposed to be sunny and mid-thirties today so we called up Mary about 9:00 AM and asked her if she wanted to go to camp. She said that she would love to so I told her that Arlene and I would pick her up about 10:30 AM.

We had no idea what kind of shape the road to camp was in so I loaded up shovels, warm clothing, winter boots, and three pairs of snow shoes just in case. We picked up Mary and headed to Pickford.

No trip to Pickford is complete without a stop at Snickerdoodle's for Jamaican-MeCrazy Coffee and a freshly baked treat of some kind. Snickerdoodle's is a really unique little coffee shop and bakery/restaurant across from the Pickford Presbyterian Church. They serve specialty coffees, fresh baked goods and lunch items and have a really nice selection of homemade jams and other goodies.

We each got our coffee to go and a treat each; Mary got a Bismark, Arlene got a bear claw and I got a cream cheese roll-up and we toddled off to camp.

The road was pretty icy until we got to the corner and once we turned down the camp road, it was just muddy but pretty solid. We took our time and as we got to our camp gate a truck pulled up and stopped. It was Ronny and Tim Leach. They were cutting firewood down at the old Leach farm.

We had a really nice visit with them. The road into camp still had quite a bit of snow on it so we decided to walk in.

It is always a relief to go to camp and find everything is okay after the long winter. We have had some really bad wind storms so I was worried that trees might have fallen on the trailer or our big shed but all was well.

Arlene is doing so wonderful on her new knee. She was able to walk all the way into camp and it is quite a ways. It was just so great to be at camp.

We walked around and just enjoyed being out in the woods. It is always so peaceful at camp. Surprisingly, there were not any mice caught in any of the traps in the trailer.

We decided to go before Arlene got too tired so we drove to Hessel casino. We had a really nice time. Mary and I didn't lose any money and Arlene won about $200, pretty typical.

We left about 6 pm and stopped at Main Street Cafe for dinner and then on home.

The full moon is really spectacular tonite. It is the "Supermoon", the closest the moon will be to the Earth in 18 years. Wow, is it bright. I tried to take pictures of it but it is just so hard to do. They just don't turn out.

Well, until next time, take care everyone.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gladys Susie Wise-Rutledge....We Miss You Gram!

Every year I remember Grandma's birthday. It doesn't seem possible that it has been nine years since she passed on. I know that she is smiling up there in heaven because now Chris, Judy and Ross are living here.

Today was my grandma, Gladys Rutledge's birthday. She would have been 109 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, the Great Depression and all of the major world wars to name a few. 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. Sometimes when I'm driving to Pickford, I'll think, "Oh, I should stop by and see Gram". Then I realize that she is gone.

She had a huge influence in my life. She told us stories about our family history and because of that, we know where we came from and how we got here. She taught us to be frugal with a dollar and to work hard.

Gram loved to read and passed on that love to our Mother, Gloria, who passed it on to us. My brother, sister and I all love to read and my nephew, Ross is a voracious reader. Ross gets his love of reading from his Mother, Judy and from our side of the family too.

Gram also loved the outdoors and was an avid birdwatcher all of her life. She took great pleasure in nature and all of the plants, trees, and animals that inhabit our world.

Gram was a wonderful cook and baker. She made the most incredible ginger/molasses cookies, chocolate chip cookies and my favorite, apple pie. I really miss the apple pie made from the transparent apples that grew on the apple trees at Camp Chicken.

I know that my sister Cindy really misses the ginger cookies.

One time when Gram and Gramp were away, Cindy and our cousin Sandie Nettleton got into Gram's large cookie jar and ate all of the ginger cookies. Boy, were they sick!

When Arlene was desperately ill with cancer and couldn't eat anything at all, Gram baked her ginger cookies every week, and told her to eat them because ginger helps settle your stomach. Arlene says that Gram's ginger cookies helped save her life.

Gram was wonderfully skilled in the old arts of sewing, crocheting, knitting and quilting. For years she quilted with the other Senior Ladies down at the town hall. When she got too old to go down and quilt, she quilted baby quilts at home. Everyone who was blessed with the gift of one of her quilts treasured them always.

Oh, Gram had her moments too. She had an awful temper and could be difficult. When she got very old, sometimes the bad seemed to outweigh the good. There were times when I know she drove my poor Mother crazy.

To my Mother's great credit, she still went to Gram's house every day after my Grandpa passed away in 1983 and made sure she was all right, brought Gram her mail, and did countless chores for her. I know it wasn't easy for her to be Gram's caregiver for so long.

But, as is usually the case, we tend to remember the good times we had with Gram and all of the wonderful things she did in her lifetime.

Happy Birthday, Gram! We sure miss you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Arlene's Surgery

We have had a very busy two and a half weeks.

Arlene had a total knee replacement on February 8th. The surgery was a success but she had a reaction to the morphine they were using in the pain pump. So they switched to Demerol and that made her just as nauseous, poor thing. They finally resorted to percoset and that was a little better.

She had the surgery at 7:00 am on Tuesday, February 8th and was sent home at 10:00 am on Thursday, February 10th. Wow!

Since then, it has been a busy time. We have had a home health nurse, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist visit once or twice a week.

Arlene has been very brave and has religiously done her exercises two or three times a day and as a result is doing remarkably well. She is still in pain, of course, and will be for a while but her mobility is really great.

She still uses her walker but only when she goes out or when she does certain exercises. When she is at home, she can use her cane.

Yesterday, Jamie, her therapist, told her that since she is doing so well, she can go up and down the stairs to the second story as often as she wants. Arlene was really excited to hear that.

We had made the living room into a bedroom for her, and she has been in exile on the first floor since her surgery. Now she can go upstairs and use the shower and soon will be able to go back to sleeping in her own bed. Maybe next week or maybe even tomorrow.

We've learned to take it day by day.

We are both looking forward to being able to go to Camp Chicken soon. The EUP didn't get much snow this winter so we are hoping we will be able to go to camp early this spring.

I really miss Camp in the winter months. It seems like such a long time since we have been there and I'm getting anxious.

Maybe next weekend, we'll drive out and see how far we can go up the road to camp.