Friday, November 30, 2007

Last day of the hunt

Last day of the 2007 rifle season and I'm heading out late. Yesterday the snow was waist-deep. It isn't more than 2 feet deep here at the house and where I hunt is less that 4 miles from here, but the amount of snow out there is simply staggering. It was cold, little more than 10 degrees, so I kept leaving the blind to still hunt and let me tell you, THAT is a workout. Slog 2-3 miles through waist-deep snow, weighed down with 25-30 pounds of gear and clothing. Keeps you warm, though.

It was also beautiful. I left the camera in the truck and snapped a few photos on the way out, but the camera must have been frozen-they didn't come out right??? Anyhoo, today I am putting off heading out into the woods because of my experience getting in and out, yesterday. The snow is so deep that it pushes over the hood of my truck in some places and I barely made it out last night. I was really sweating it. What the fuck do you do if your truck gets stuck in waist-deep snow a few miles back in the woods? Spring melt is a looong way off and I have no idea who might be able to get in to some place like my hunting area, let alone effect a rescue. I wouldn't even hunt today if i didn't have to get my tent blind out of there.

But off I go. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Always vigilant

I've always been a worrier, I suppose. 24/7, non-stop I find myself playing through every worst scenario that might possibly invade my life. I'm always on the lookout for power tool dismemberment, paring knife cuts, trip hazards, electrocution from dropping a toaster in the bathtub, you name it. Driving? Forget it. I am the king of knowing exactly what every car in sight is capable of doing. Only once can I recall this habit definitely saving my life, but it most assuredly did while sitting at a light waiting to turn left, many years ago.

Tonight I saw an accident coming and couldn't do a thing about it. My daughter and I were leaving the dentist office, downtown. It's your typical, turn-of-the-century mining town-narrow, two-lane, one-way, downtown street lined with buildings. It was early evening, traffic was heavy and the street was clogged with snow. It was also snowing. People lined the streets, window-shopping and what-not. A rather large family (like 8-10 people, not BIG people) began to cross the street from right-to-left. They hurried out in front of a car in the right lane and attempted to get to the clear, left lane. A truck traveling behind the car pulled into the left lane, passing it and accelerating right into the family, hitting a little boy and knocking him right out of his shoes-I saw them flying even further than he flew. I was right behind the truck until he moved out to pass. Saw the family taking a really big chance, saw the truck was accelerating right up behind the car and knew he would pull out to pass and I knew the whole family could not hope to avoid getting fucking whacked by that truck. It was not pretty, but the boy will live and in fact, seemed unhurt. I doubt he totally escaped injury after flying several feet into the air and getting knocked out of his shoes and most likely felt nothing due to the adrenaline rush from getting run over by a truck, but I'm sure he'll live and that's the important thing.

I can't seem to get this out of my mind. I called PW to make sure LP was safe and to have her reminded to beware of traffic. I called my oldest boy to remind him, even though he's 17. I called Mr. Bud to have him remind his boys, too and still I can't shake this bad feeling.

Sooo, for those of you with children, remind them to be vigilant. Tell them about the little boy, who thought he was safe with Mom and Dad and tell them to watch for themselves and to be careful, especially now that winter is here and driving conditions deteriorate. Be safe out there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Still in the bush

Yep. I'm still hitting the woods every day. This morning at 5am I was treated to 10 degrees, 30-40 mph winds and the worst snowstorm I have ever seen. A foot of white shit dumped on us this morning and the drive into the woods? The worst time I've ever had behind the wheel. couldn't do more than 5 mph and spent more time stopped with my head sticking out the window, trying to figure out if I had driven off the trail, or not. More often than not, I was off the trail. The 5 minute drive to where I park took 40 minutes. The 2 minute walk to my blind took 1/2 hour due to walking past the little trail and into the big ridge at the end of the 2-track and then back-tracking right past the trail again, only to end up back back at the truck. It was pretty frustrating.

My blind is one of those tent jobs and I was amazed to find it still standing, not blown away, or caved in from the snow load. In fact, that was one of the reasons I embarked on such an insane trip this morning-I was worried about loosing the blind, as well as needing to pack down a trail in (it's supposed to snow for days) and I also wanted to feed the poor deer. As the snow deepens, forage is harder and harder to find here in the western upper peninsula. So, I sat in my shaking, snapping, tearing blind in the dark, in a blinding snowstorm, drinking coffee for 3 hours. Then, the storm broke and I was able get out and scout the area. Drifts of nearly 2 feet and man was it cold. It wasn't long before my face and beard were all crusted over with ice, which oddly enough seems to keep it warmer than when exposed to the wind. I walked a mile, or two through a series of small ridges planted with spruce and pine, hoping to find deer bedded down out of the wind, but found only a few fresh tracks.

After making it back to the truck, it took a half hour to defrost the windows, so I sat on the edge of a snow-crusted swamp with a steaming cup of coffee, watching loose snow blow through the grasses . Once the windows cleared, I drove down the 2-track to my blind, only to spook a buck with what looked to be a nice rack, feeding on the bait pile. I wished him luck as I turned around and headed home to snuggle on the couch with LP, who has a day off from school due to the storm. Two more days left in the hunt.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tenderloin of Bambi

Just a few days left in the hunt, which is OK by me. My feet, knees and back have all but given out. I'm tired of feeding does and spikehorns. A day full of does and spikes is like a tray full of stems and seeds-a definite buzzkill.

Anyway, I'm heading out once again to track that 10-point, this time across the clear cut, which is going to be agonizing. It's about 250 acres of up and down, punctuated by tag alders, brier patches, and flooded skid steer ruts. It's all in the quest for meat in the freezer and I'm just motivated enough by the fact that I actually put venison in my freezer last night after picking up my first deer from the butcher with LP. Tonight, after a hard day in the bush I'll be dining on venison steaks and tenderloin!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

I really am a pirate

I saw this over at Doug's and thought for sure I would come out as the dark knight, but noooo, I really am a pirate.

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with
You scored as Captain Jack Sparrow

Roguish,quick-witted, and incredibly lucky, Jack Sparrow is a pirate who sometimes ends up being a hero, against his better judgement. Captain Jack looks out for #1, but he can be counted on (usually) to do the right thing. He has an incredibly persuasive tongue, a mind that borders on genius or insanity, and an incredible talent for getting into trouble and getting out of it. Maybe its brains, maybe its genius, or maybe its just plain luck. Or maybe a mixture of all three.

Captain Jack Sparrow


Batman, the Dark Knight




William Wallace


The Terminator


Lara Croft


Indiana Jones


The Amazing Spider-Man


James Bond, Agent 007


Neo, the "One"


El Zorro


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving hunt

LP and I managed to hike the bush out to the blind this morning before dawn, buttressed by bowls of oatmeal and several mugs of hot cocoa. It was crisp and cold and a perfect morning for the hunt. We re-supplied the bait pile with a bucket of corn and settled down in the blind under a big, warm blanket and quietly waited for both sunrise and deer to crest the ridge we sat huddled below.

Being a seasoned hunter, first sitting a blind at age three, she quickly fell asleep taking advantage of the pre-dawn wait. At first light she woke on her own, asked for a cup of cocoa and eyed the bait pile like it was going to grow legs and walk off if we didn't keep an eye on it.

Her patience was soon rewarded with the appearance of a spikehorn-a newcomer to the blind. He put on a good show, browsing the pile and the nearby stands of trees, returning to the pile over and over.

Finally, after about 30 minutes, he wandered off back up the ridge, so we spent another 15 minutes over another cup of cocoa then rolled out of the blind to greet the day and inspect the pile and tracks left by our spikehorn. We noted he browsed the corn, ignored the carrots and while he used a well-worn trail coming off the ridge, he forged his own way back up through the trees.

We inspected the surrounding area, spying numerous fresh tracks around the blind, including one set that showed we were followed to the blind by a small doe who must have been awful curious. Packing up our gear, we dropped it back at the truck and then headed into the bush to take advantage of the fresh snow that fell while we sat the blind. We tracked deer out into a clear-cut area and scouted it from a small rise at one end. Nothing moved, but we stood holding hands, watching the sun glistening across a sea of small, snow-covered spruces and after a while we decided to call it a perfect morning and head back to the cove to see if Mom was awake, yet.


It's 5am. Once again I am showered, coffeed (with a splash of Baileys) and ready to hit the woods. It's about 20 degrees and there's a fresh coat of snow over everything. Today is always a special day, what with hunting and turkey, football and family, but today LP is heading out in the bush to hunt this year. She first hunted with me at age 3 and I am quite pleased she appreciates the hunt and is developing the respect for nature and the environment that kids today often don't understand. There's also something inherently beautiful in watching your 3 year old gut a big buck. I just have to get her some camo. She's wearing pink, again...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Meat in the freezer

Harvested a 4-point at dusk tonight. He came to the bait pile the first two mornings and evenings, but my son and I let him off in hopes of something a little bigger. Made up my mind to take him yesterday and of course he didn't show. Yesterday and today I hunted alone and was visited by various button bucks, does and fawns, but nothing legal. A 10-point made a short appearance about 150 yards off the pile but remained in the trees. He also passed behind me as I sat on a rise in the middle of a swamp adjacent to my blind, on day two, but I didn't get a shot.

Finally, while some little button buck sat mooching off my corn and apples, the 4-point walked in tonight and I dropped him before he had a chance to get a mouthful. The old Marlin .35 packs a punch and I blew out his heart right through the shoulder bone. Since he dropped right there, I stepped out of the blind and walked right up. To my surprise, the button buck was still standing off to one side, obviously confused. I told him, "This is the part where you're supposed to run away", and he did.

PW and LP drove out into the bush after dark (I LOVE my girls!) to help me toss him into the back of the pickup after I field-dressed him and we drove out to a small market about 15 miles out of town where he'll get processed into steaks, roasts, hamburger and sausage. Yummy.

Now that I've got meat in the freezer, I'm going to stalk that 10-point from dusk till dawn. No more apple-poppin for me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Yo. It's 4:45am. Showered, working on my second cuppa joe. Just about to wake up number one son and get breakfast pasties a-cookin. There's a few inches of new snow on the ground and my dog is grumpy because;

I left the light on next to his couch all night.

I stomped down at 1am, booting him off of said couch to blog and watch the weather channel.

I stomped down at 4am, booting him off of said couch to blog and watch the weather channel.

I get a bakery-fresh, breakfast pasty and he got a bowl of dog food.

I'm heading into the field. Everyone have a safe and peaceful opening day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


It's nearly one am, the night before opening day and I cannot sleep. I went to be d at 10:30. My alarm goes off in 3 hours, dammit! Couldn't sleep last night, either. Tossed and turned until 7am. Funny, I'm not overly excited about hunting this year, even though it's been two years since I last hunted. The only thing I'm excited about is that my oldest will be hunting with me the first two days and then I take out LP and PW.

It's been blowing and snowing for about 4 hours with maybe 2-3 inches fallen so far. Must be about 30 degrees out there with winds gusting to 30-35. Going to be cold in the blind but I'm thankful I wasn't planning to sit a tree stand!! I only hope the blind didn't blow away or shred in the high winds today. It's a tent blind and winds gusted over 40-45 today:(

I just saw on the weather channel that there's a cyclone (hurricanes are called cyclones in the Indian and Southern oceans) heading toward India. I have a lot of friends working off of India this year and I hope they are all going to be OK.

Well, that's it for me-I polished off a bowl of cereal and need to try to sleep for the next 3 hours. Hope you hunters out there put meat in the freezer.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

in preparation for the hunt

I'm sure nobody cares, any more than you care to see a half-dozen pics of my bathroom in a shambles, but here are a bunch of shots from where I thought I was going to locate my deer blind. This morning, the oldest boy, LP and I set it up about 200 yards from here in a narrow cut through a stand of birch, alder and oak, at the base of the ridge shown in the second photo below. The general area looks to be a good spot, at first glance. As you can see from the photos, cover, water, bedding areas, food and natural lanes for traveling to and fro all exist within a few hundred yards. I think this area sees deer in the general vicinity all day and night, if the hunting pressure remains low.

Today we only saw a fox, who, oddly enough, crossed our tracks only 75 yards behind my truck only 1-2 minutes after we stopped to unload the blind and some bait. He was right here, as a matter of fact...

So far, only deer and my tracks show up in the snow and they are hitting the bait piles, hard. Yes, this year I have gotten so old and tired as to join the sorry ranks of apple-poppers across this great nation. It's like hunting people in a grocery store-sit at the end of the frozen foods isle and pop some poor fucker in the head as he reaches for a frozen pepperoni and mushroom, but I’m out of shape and not good for much else besides nodding off in a folding chair after the coffee wears off.

Really, I will get out and still-hunt the ridge as much as my tired, old bones will let me and I even put the ass warmer back, that I tossed in my cart at Wal-Mart, Friday. I'll sit my blind in the morning and maybe evening, but otherwise, it's walk and post, walk and post, walk and post as much as possible. Oh, the oldest and I are contemplating taking pics, or shooting video during our first two days.

I should note these woods begin just about 500 yards South of my house and stretch for about 20 miles to the next road South.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The pit of despair

Alright, I'm taking a short break from life to gather up some long overdue blogging bits and promised photos of my exploits in the bathroom. That doesn't sound exactly right, but you get the idea, right? Well, the day before starting the bathroom I built an oak filing cabinet and drank a bottle of wine. I forgot about this until just now when I saw this photo:

As I said, the next day I began stripping the one hundred year old horsehair plaster from the wood lath, along with various other layers of paint, wallpaper, and laminate board. One hundred years is a long time and shit can really accumulate on walls, floors and ceilings over a century.

Gutting the room while keeping it completely functional for the two girls made things a little tough, what with cleaning up the job site every twenty minutes so SOMEBODY could pee

and interesting when you find things like certain fixtures hanging out in space for a few days.

And a long-boarded up window!

And wires laid ACROSS the suds, secured by bent-over, rusty nails...

And the fact that scale and other unmentionables have clogged your pipes so bad that...

When you touch one with even one finger, it splits like an overripe fucking tomato.

Oh, and look! The tiny spot of rotten floor has actually spread from under the tub all the way to New Mexico:)

Happy, happy thoughts as the six-day deadline looms awfully big in the window (and I don't have to tell you we're all getting a little tired up here). Sorry, I fall into Jim Lovell mode when dealing with disasters. Strap a ticking time-bomb to my chest and I'll start quoting Jim like Alan Shepard at an Apollo 14 party after too many glasses of champagne.

So, here I am after my first 36 hour shift in the pit of despair-

I was obviously not happy, or coherent, but I did something strange, a sort of foretelling. Inexplicably, I took a picture of my yet, undamaged left hand. W.T,F?

After a short nap to shake the cobwebs out of my ears, I re-built one of the walls and added a sill to nail the floor to, since it was hanging in space, with no joists under it. You can see the sistered wall studs and the sill, along with the corner of my basement, old plumbing, the top of the water heater and a lot of dust and debris.

It was right about here that I began my somewhat foolish 56 hour shift in order to make crew-x in 4 days hence. Bad move, as things get real fuzzy and my left hand disintegrates.

From looking at these photos for the first time, I can see I took about 250 photos during the infamous 56 hour shift. Most of them don't make any sense and I'm sure I don't want to know what I was thinking while shooting shots of joist pockets, piles of rotten wood and my dog coming to inspect the hole to the basement that was now my bathroom, but I can see from this self-portrait that I was in pretty bad shape. This was only 30 hours into the 56...

At 40 hours, I gained my second wind and still retained my sense of humor...

And my sense of decor, putting up a LP original before drywall..

All in all, it was a good shift. I destroyed my hand, started smoking again, lost about 10 pounds, put in a sub floor, wiring, an exhaust fan, a vent stack, insulation, vapor barrier and drywalled the ceiling and one wall. Not bad for a one-armed man with no sleep. Near the end, Mr. Bud showed up to finish the drywall, I drove to the bar for pizza, taking pictures while driving after going about 55 hours with no sleep
(asshat) and then passed out on the couch.

Since then, the bathroom has progressed, slowly. Very slowly. It should be complete sometime in 2009.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pick a country, any country

Injuring my hand has made a mess of my work schedule! Alaska gets canceled. Egypt was next, but suddenly I was booked for New Zealand with Egypt on hold. Just a couple days ago I found myself scheduled for Mexico instead and assumed New Zealand was out. This morning I find out I'm scheduled for both countries at the same time, but the office just realized they can't split me in two, so now both jobs are on hold. Deer season off? Christmas off? Who fucking knows? I can only assume from all this that I'm really headed to the moon, next. I'll pick up a moon rock for you, Blondie.

I've spent the last 3 hours draining, flushing and installing two new elements in my water heater. What a thankless, shitty job.

Tomorrow night I am going to spend the night at a hotel with my oldest daughter and four, or five of her teen-age friends. I suspect this too, will be a thankless, shitty job...

Pictures are coming, I swear.