Monday, November 19, 2012

Deer Opener 2012


The 2012 Deer Season opener was a success. Arlene bagged a nice fat four-point buck about 12:45 PM.   It was an odd time for deer to be roaming around but there he was. She decided that rather than waiting like she usually does, she would go ahead and take her deer early.

It was a good thing because we never saw another thing for the next two days.

We had to do things a little differently this year as Arlene was celebrating her 70th birthday on Wednesday, November 14th. So her daughters and grandchildren came over for sloppy joes and cake and ice cream at 5:00 PM. It was a really nice party.

I had run out to camp early and got the generator running to warm up the trailer and unloaded our gear. Then I came back to the Soo for the party. After the party, we jumped in the car and headed to camp.

We got to camp and squared everything away and went to bed early. At 5:30 AM we were up early to get ready and by 6:30 were both out in our deer shacks. I saw quite a few deer in the morning and it was about 12:30 when I called Arlene and told her I was going to take a break and fill up the generator.

Just as I was headed to the trailer, I heard a shot and knew it was Arlene. I called her on the radio and sure enough, she had got a buck.   I changed my clothes and in my rush to get out there, slammed my thumb in the trailer door.   Man did that hurt.
I jumped in the car and went to help her with the deer. He didn't run far but ended up in a thicket. We tied his legs up and tied a rope around his neck and both gave a big pull on the rope and he didn't even budge. What the heck? He wasn't very tall but he must have been pretty damn solid or we are getting pretty damn weak because we could not move him. We managed to drag him about five feet and could not pull him over a fallen log.   After about ten minutes of pulling and tugging and swearing, we got him over the log.
Finally, I said "I'm going to go get my 4-wheeler". So, I get the 4-wheeler and get back to her hunting spot. Now there is no easy way to get that 4-wheeler back to where that deer is. I tried a couple of different routes and got stuck four or five times but managed to finally get the buggy back there. We got him tied up and I drove him out of there through a little path that Arlene had cleared for me.

It was kind of nice to take care of a deer in the daylight instead of in the dark. We had him taken care of and hung up on the Buck Pole by 3:00 PM. Mary Sue came up and gave us and hand and then she and Arlene "celebrated" R's deer while I went out and went hunting for the rest of the day. When I got back to the trailer, they were pretty happy.

Mary had to go to her Dad's and we had to go to my brother Chris's house to get my trailer. I took Arlene out to dinner at the Sundown Lounge. Mary's sister called and left a message for us while we were at dinner. So we called her back and found out that they were going up to Hessel casino for a while so we met them up there.

We stayed until closing and headed back to camp. It had been a long, long day.

Friday morning at 5:30 AM when the alarm went off, I could have stayed in bed but got up and went hunting. Arlene went out to her shack also but came in about 10:30 AM and sat with me for the rest of the day. We didn't see a thing.

The deer processer that we used last year, didn't have his sign up this year so we had to find a processer.  We had seen a number on a sign on the way to Chris and Judy's house for deer processing so we gave the number a call. The man's name was Dave and he said to bring the deer in as it was supposed to be 50 degrees the next day.
So, here we are in the dark, taking the deer down and wrestling him onto Arlene's 4-wheeler and into the trailer. We took some pictures as we forgot to do that before we hung him up the day before and headed out to 18-mile road to deliver him. We didn't get back until after 8:00 PM and had dinner and went to bed.
Saturday, Arlene slept in and I went out hunting and didn't see a thing. About noon Mom called and said that she would be up later to deliver R's birthday present.
Chris, Judy and Ross came up about 12:30 PM as I had promised Ross he could sit in the deer blind with me that afternoon. Now, my nephew was born in Denver, lived in Albuquerque and moved here from Spokane and has never been hunting. Not to mention that he can barely sit still for more than 5 minutes so his parents were doubtful about his ability to sit still in the deer shack.

But, they left him in my care and we went out to sit in the shack at 3:45 PM. He did great! I had him bring a book to read and gave him the job of operating the deer call. Just before dark two deer came in and then a few minutes later, another doe appeared. It was really cool watching him watch them! He found it odd that when it got pretty dark, he couldn't see them very well with his naked eye but they were still visible with the binoculars.

When we were ready to come in, I told him to use the buck grunt call to run them off so they didn't see us get out of the shack. He thought that was funny the way the grunt call scared them.

His folks came up a little later to pick him up and R fed them all her daughter Janet's world famous deer season lasagna made with wild leeks and venison. We had a nice visit with them and then went to bed shortly after they left.

Sunday, R slept in again but I went out and sat at 6:30 AM. All I saw was our little resident spikehorn about 9:00 AM. Arlene came out about 9:30 AM and sat with me until 1:00 PM. Then it was time to do our chores and pack up our stuff.

Why does the time spent at deer camp go so fast? I guess it is because we enjoy it so much.

Well, we have one more weekend of deer season left so hopefully we'll have another buck story to tell.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Birthday Weekend at Camp Chicken

For the first time ever, I decided to take a day off for my birthday weekend.  So I took last Friday off and we decided to go to camp and play some golf to celebrate.

Arlene and I got up early on Friday and packed up our golf clubs and camp gear and headed to Camp Chicken.  We got to camp and got unloaded and set up.  It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny and the leaves were just spectacular.

The weekend before, we had a big family dinner at Chris and Judy's new house to celebrate Aunt Mary, Cindy and my birthdays. Mom, Dad, Dad's sister Mary, Chris, Judy, Ross, Cindy, Aunt Mary's son Chuck and his girlfriend Sue, Arlene, her sister Judy and Mary Sue all came.

Arlene cooked baby back ribs on the grill, and whitefish and perch and we had a real feast.   Everyone had a great time.  Here is a photo of my nephew Ross and me being silly.

We had decided to go play golf at Hessel Ridge on Friday, which is only about 5 miles or so from camp.  We played 9 holes and it couldn't have been more perfect.  The weather was so warm and sunny and the leaves were really beautiful.  It is a really nice course.

After golf, we went for a ride around the Hessel-Cedarville area and decided to try the Snow's Bar in Cedarville for dinner.  There were a lot of cars there, which is always a good sign.  We ordered the special which was all-you-can-eat walleye dinner with homemade french fries and cole slaw.  It was delicious and the service was really great.  Highly recommended.

On the way back to camp, we stopped off at the Hessel casino for Lady's night and played for quite a while.  We did okay and came out about even for the evening. 

When we got back to camp, we made some coffee and decided to play a game of Phase 10 before bed.  Unfortunately, Arlene ended up with some intestinal distress and had to make a flying trip to the outhouse.  So that was an a bad end to the evening.  She was sleeping on the couch when at 1:30 AM, I heard her say "oh no!".  I jumped out of bed and immediately knew what was wrong.  A skunk had sprayed right beside the trailer.  I have never had anything smell so horribly as that smell.  My eyes were burning and I wanted to throw up.  I mean, I have smelled skunk before but not that close.

I said to here, "we have to get out of here" but she convinced me that the skunk could still be out there and could spray again if we tried to leave.  It was hideous!  I spent the rest of the night with my head covered up.

The next morning, the smell wasn't nearly so bad.  Thank goodness, he had sprayed away from the trailer and not underneath it on directly on it.  Arlene thought that something was after him and that was why he sprayed.

We wanted to put up the deer feeders that day but we had to run to town first and get some corn at the feed mill.  We got back to camp and loaded the feeders in the car and spend the morning getting those set up.

We were going to set up our trail cameras but I forgot the memory cards so we couldn't do that.  It will have to wait for another weekend.

So we decided to get the 4-wheelers out and go for a ride.  We spent the rest of the afternoon riding around and just enjoying the day.  We took a break and had a late lunch and decided to go for a car ride and look for deer.

We weren't disappointed as we saw some nice bucks out in the fields.  We went for a really long ride, down Town Line road to the very end and then across Jarvie road to M-48 and back east to Hancock road to Town Line again.  We decided to go to the casino for awhile and played for a few hours.

We got back to camp and had a peaceful night with no further skunk attacks.  Thank goodness for that.

We slept in Sunday morning and after enjoying some coffee decided to go cut up a poplar tree that was blocking one of our 4-wheeler trails.  We managed to cut it up into chunks that we could roll out of the way.  It was a good thing that we brought the chain saw as there were limbs and the tops of a couple of trees down on several of our roads.  It took us awhile to get them cleaned up and off of our trails.

We got back to camp and Mom surprised us with a visit.  I started a fire so we could cook hot dogs over the fire and made lunch for all of us.  Mom had already had lunch but couldn't resist a hot dog cooked over the open fire.  They taste the best that way.  We had a nice time visiting with her.

All too soon it was time to pack up and head home.  It was a shame too as the weather was so nice.  It had been the most beautiful weekend.  Three straight days of mild, sunny weather had made it really nice. 

It had been one of the nicest birthdays I could have had.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day 2012

Finally, a weekend at Camp Chicken!

It has been too hot to even go to camp this summer so we have been golfing instead. But the forecast for Labor Day weekend looked good so we decided to go. R and I went up on Friday, after we stopped and played golf. Mary Sue and Tiny came up Saturday morning.

We have been working on removing a large rock from the camp area but unfortunately, the more we dug around it, the larger it became.

Mary took the sledge hammer to it and managed to break off a big chunk of it. The rest will have to wait on help from Ronnie and his tractor.

The big news is that Arlene bought a nice pop-up for use at camp as an extra place for company to sleep and for us to take to Brimley State Park to camp when it is hot.

It is really nice and even has heated mattresses. Judi and Anthony and Dallas came up to camp to stay for the first time in a very long time and were the first ones to stay overnight in the new camper.

Dallas is Anthony's new dog. They got him at the shelter and we think he must have been some kind of assistance dog as he is very attached to Anthony and very attentive to him.

Saturday morning while Mary hammered away at the rock, Arlene and I washed the trailer awning.  It is amazing how dirty it gets just rolled up on the trailer!

Then Mary and I set up the croquet area so that when everyone got there we could play.  After Chris, Judy and Ross came we had a few rousing games before dinner was ready.

Arlene grilled pork loin, venison tenderloins, baked potatoes for dinner and Chris, Judy, Ross, Cindy, Judi, Anthony, Mary Sue, Arlene and I all had dinner together.  Judy had brought a potato salad and we had sliced cucumbers and tomatoes also.  It was a feast!

After dinner everyone but Mary and I went for a walk to work off the huge dinner and Mary helped me with the dishes. 

The really big news is that my brother Chris got a faculty position at LSSU so he and his wife Judy and my nephew Ross are living here now.  They bought a dome house half-way between Pickford and the Soo.  We are all very happy that they are here!

After dinner we played more croquet and then sat around the fire all night until about 12:30 AM.  It was so beautiful with the full moon.  We haven't been able to have a fire for a long time due to the drought conditions in the area.  But with all the rain in recent weeks, the ground isn't so terribly dry.

Sunday was just as nice a day as Saturday had been.  We puttered around camp and then about 11:00 Arlene decided she wanted breakfast so I went to town for sausages and eggs.  Boy was that good.

After breakfast, we took turns playing cards and croquet and just relaxing.

Arlene had invited everyone for dinner again on Sunday.  We were having grilled polish sausages and hot dogs.  We all ate too much again.  Even Mom came up around dinner time just to have a real hot dog.  Dad only lets her have the turkey ones....Yuck!

After dinner we sat around the fire again.  We decided to have a game of "Attack Uno".  We haven't played that in forever.  We had to sit at the big picnic table to play.  I think we need a lantern for the table so that we can see the cards.

The evening was really perfect with nice temperatures and the full moon came up about 10:00 PM.  Anthony and Judi had to leave after dinner but enjoyed their stay very much.

Chris had brought up his big telescope, but the optics had been jarred somewhat in the move from Spokane and needed to be aligned.  He couldn't get it quite right, so we couldn't look at any far away galaxies but looking at the moon through it was really spectacular.

We stayed up well past midnight and slept like logs until 8:00 AM.  We wanted to get packed up and out of camp by noon so we could stop at Chris and Judy's house to pick up the washer and dryer that was in their house when they moved in.  They are a smaller set and we can get rid of our old set and use them.  Now we just have to get them down to the basement.

Why is it that weekends at camp just fly by?  All in all it was a great weekend and hopefully we will get nice weather this fall and can spend many more weekends at Camp Chicken.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Early Spring

We have had a really crazy winter here. The weather has been mostly mild until the first week of March and then we got a real old-fashioned U.P. Blizzard.

My brother Chris was in Marquette, MI for an interview and ended up stranded up there. We managed to get him a ride to the Soo to my house and then I took him out to Mom and Dad's in Pickford.

Overnight, Pickford got 15 inches of snow and a big-time blizzard. By Saturday morning, my Trailblazer was buried in Mom and Dad's driveway.

Thankfully, the next day, the weather cleared. I drove Chris back to the Soo as he had an interview at LSSU the next morning. Then Tuesday, I drove him back to Saginaw to catch his flight back to Spokane.

We were really worried about camp but couldn't get up there to check on it as the road up to camp was blocked with the snow that fell.

Finally, last Saturday, we were able to drive in. The road in was pretty rough but once we got to our own camp road, it was fine. There was only about 6 inches of snow left in the camp area and thankfully no damage to either the trailer or the storage shed.

What a relief.

The day started foggy but by noon it had cleared off and while Arlene checked the trailer for mice and other damage, I dug out the firepit and made a fire. All of the melting snow had the awning full of water so we put it down so that it could drain out.

We had fun walking around the camp area looking at all of the tracks. There were large deer tracks that were fresh enough to be from that morning. Hard to tell if it was a doe or a buck but it was pretty big.

There were also some rather small catlike tracks that Arlene thought was a fox. Other than that, there were no other tracks. I like being at camp when there is snow and you can see what kind of animals have been passing through.

We walked back and checked Arlene's deer shack and took a long walk over to where I had left one of our pop-up blinds. When we left last deer season, I didn't get time to take it down. Amazingly, it was still standing so we took it down and hauled it back to camp.

All in all, it was a nice relaxing day. Reluctantly, we decided that it was getting late, so we packed up and headed back out.

We stopped at Main Street Cafe in Pickford, for dinner and then headed home.

Now I am sitting in my chair, unable to do much as I had knee surgery on Thursday. It is doing okay but I am bored sitting around like this doing nothing. Hopefully, I will be up and about by next weekend and ready for another trip to Camp Chicken.