Petoskey Is More Than A City, Or A Stone

August 29th, 2016

IMG_6254IMG_6247I know it has been awhile since I wrote a post, but my wife and I just spent a week in Charlevoix with 18 other members of our family.  We stayed at a huge rental home right on Lake Charlevoix.  Actually we were the only ones there for the first two days! I will get into that in another post, but first let me tell you about one of the highlights of our trip.

As some know I have been a Facebook friend of Warren Petoskey for about a year.  If the name sounds familiar it may be because there is a beautiful town named Petoskey and the Michigan State stone is a Petoskey stone.  Bet hardly anyone knows the story of the Petoskey clan, or that they are descendants of the great Chief  Petoskey that was born in 1787.  Warren’s Great Great Grandpa Petoskey had a wigwam along the shoreline called Seven Mile Point.  Many “moons” ago Warren was taken to the Point by an Elder named Joe Mitchell.  Property at the Point was being sub-divided into housing lots, and in the midst of that stood a brass plaque and a ring of stones that marked Chief Petoskey’s fire pit!  Warren remarked that he felt he was standing on hallowed ground!  No doubt he was indeed sensing the prayers and offerings of his Grandpa that were made to Creator so many generations ago!  Warren sat on a huge flat stone near the fire ring and was enveloped by the smoke of emotions known only to those Native Americans who’s land this was!  Two of Warren’s sons were with him (William and Josiah) as Warren helped mark the stones that would then be moved to sacred land in Cross Village.

My wife and I visited the statue that was erected for Chief Petoskey, along with Warren and his wife Barbara.  You could see the tip of seven mile point out in Lake Michigan.  It’s hard to imagine how desolate and wild it was back when the Chief hunted, trapped, and raised his family there.  While living there a Jesuit priest tried to get Chief Petoskey to sign over the native children concerning attending a Catholic mission school.  He knew of other native children being sent away and they were never heard from again.  There are Petoskey relatives living in Wisconsin due to the removal of native children.  Many atrocities happened in those mission schools, as the native culture was eradicated from the children.  Many suffer the effects to this day!

Chief Petoskey was wise to the ways of his “so called” liberators and moved his family to “Mukwa Sebing” (Bear River) where he helped the Hudson Bay Fur Traders run a post, along with his sons.  This was in 1836 and that same year he bought 440 acres of land from the Federal Government along the shores of Lake Michigan and present day Petoskey.  In 1837 Michigan was declared a state, but the Federal Government never transferred Chief Petoskey’s deed down to the state level, and you can guess what happened to the land after that.  To say it was stolen would not be an exaggeration!  The Chief was constantly told that he and his people would all be sent to Kansas if they would not send their children to boarding schools!  The Catholic Church and the government worked hand in hand in trying to eradicate a culture they didn’t understand or appreciate!  What a sad commentary that has been hidden behind government bureaucracy (lies) for decades!

I am like most people and would think that all the relatives of Chief Petoskey would be held in high regard and certainly be very affluent?  I mean one of the most beautiful towns in Michigan is named after him along with the state stone (Petoskey stone.) Well that is not how this story goes.  The statue of Chief Petoskey (holding his feathers and pipe) looks over the land he helped settle, and that is the inheritance left his family!  “Justice” I think not!

There are still many relatives living in the area and just recently were recognised by the Federal Government as a tribe (Little Traverse Bay Odawa and the Little River Band of Odawa.)  I had the honor to meet with With Warren Petoskey and his wife Barbara this past week.  Warren is Chief Petoskey’s great great grandson.  My wife and I were able to have a luncheon with tribal members and Elders at the invitation of Warren.  My great grandmother was Northern Cree, and I felt like I was among my ancestral roots as I enjoyed myself in the presence of these original Americans.  The Petoskey’s were very gracious and kind toward us, and we will always hold them in high esteem.

Mike

Yellowstone River Closings

August 21st, 2016

IMG_5699(Reuters) — Montana wildlife officials have closed a lengthy stretch of the Yellowstone River to all recreational activities at the height of the summer tourist season following the deaths of thousands of fish this week from a rare but virulent microbial parasite.

The drastic move, announced on Friday, was aimed at preventing the parasite’s spread to other waters in a state where fly fishing is a cherished pastime for residents and a key draw for visiting anglers who spend millions of dollars in pursuit of elusive trout in pristine waters.

The closure, imposed by the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency, covers more than 150 miles (240 km) of the Yellowstone River and its tributaries outside Yellowstone National Park.

Fishing, boating and all other recreational activities are prohibited indefinitely.

Fish and Wildlife Director Jeff Hagener said the closure “will have a significant impact on many people,” but is necessary “to protect this public resource for present and future generations.”

The agency has found more than 2,000 dead mountain whitefish along stretches of the Yellowstone River, with an estimated 20,000 or more whitefish presumed killed in the massive outbreak. Some rainbow trout and Yellowstone cutthroat trout have also been affected.

A microscopic parasite is infecting fish with proliferative kidney disease, a rare but serious condition that has only been found in two isolated spots in Montana over the past two decades. It poses no risk to humans, officials said.

Low stream flows and higher water temperatures this summer have exacerbated the effects of the disease on fish populations in the Yellowstone.

The closed river section runs from the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park, at Gardiner, and continues east and south nearly to Billings, the state’s largest city.

Whitefish, brook trout, and lake trout are native to yellowstone and have sharply declined over the last decade.  That is one reason why this death toll of whitefish is devastating to the efforts by the park service to protect and restore these native species.

Guide Shoots Charging Grizzly!

August 19th, 2016

bear 2014 004A guide leading a fishing expedition into the Alaskan wilderness recently used a 9-millimeter pistol to kill a large male grizzly bear that had charged to within just a few feet of his two clients.

The harrowing encounter occurred in the remote Becharof Wilderness, within Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, as Phil Shoemaker was leading a man and his wife through dense brush to a nearby stream.

Shoemaker wrote about the incident last week in the NRA’s American Hunter, and included photos showing the bear carcass and one of his clients. (Warning: some might find the photos to be disturbing.)

Shoemaker explained that in his 33 years as an outfitter based in the refuge, this was the first time he was compelled “to shoot an unwounded bear to protect ether myself or clients.”

He described his clients merely as “Larry and his wife.”

They were hiking to a stream popular among male grizzly bears, which typically are “less of a problem than sows with cubs.”

But something had clearly angered this male grizzly.

Shoemaker writes:

“Before we reached the stream, while we were walking through dense brush and tall grass, we heard a growl and deep ‘woof’ of a bear approximately 6 feet to our right.

“We had been talking loudly but must have startled a sleeping bear. It sounded like it made a movement toward us, and I shouted loudly and the bear ran back through the brush…. Within 15 seconds, we could hear it growling and charging through the dense brush from the opposite side.”

RELATED: Grizzly bears attack two women in two days in Alberta, Canada

Shoemaker, who had drawn his pistol by this time, explained that the “highly agitated” bear charged Larry and his wife, who fell backwards into the brush as he took aim and began to fire.

“She said the bear’s face was close enough to hers that it could have bitten her,” Shoemaker writes, in reference to Larry’s wife.

It’s difficult to stop a charging bear with a 9-millimeter pistol, but Shoemaker aimed for vital areas – the first shot was to the neck – and struck the animal with seven shots, the last as the bear had turned to try to run off.

Shoemaker could not be reached for comment but Dom Watts, a spokesman for Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, told GrindTV that he was aware of the incident, after which Shoemaker was compelled to follow a specific protocol.

According to state regulations, anyone killing a bear in self defense must notify theAlaska Department of Fish and Game “immediately.”

That person must also surrender the bear’s head, hide and claws to the agency, as soon as possible.

 

Turkey’s “Rising!”

August 16th, 2016

IMG_6064IMG_5786IMG_1547I have been “raising turkeys now for the past 3 months.  I had 14 babies (delivered) UPS, and I also have one big tom and three hens.  The tom mated with the hens and all toll they each had nest totalling thirty two eggs.  You would think that I would have turkeys coming out my “ears” but that is not what happened!  Out of all those eggs only 7 hatched!  Either the hens were to inexperienced to stay on the nest till the whole “clutch” hatched, or they went into protective mode on their newly born chicks?

Out of those 7 chicks only three are still roaming the pen.  One drowned, and I assume the other three were killed by a predator that dug it’s way into the enclosure! The chicks are a month old but can fly and roost with the three hens.  They are very social birds and hang out together and always roost together in the evening.

I had separated the Tom as he would not leave the three hens alone and I figured they needed a break from his “lustful” attitude. He has been pinning away in his own pen as he “molts” and waits for the day he can get back with his “girls!”  He also would like another “crack” at me, as he has always been quite aggressive toward anyone that would come close enough to his “bad attitude!”  He “nailed” me once and now I take a water hose in his pen which keeps him at bay while I feed and change his water.

I never released the young birds (14) into the large pen as I wasn’t sure the hens would take to them.  They have their own pen which they have outgrown for sure.  I will be transferring them soon as they are now big enough to fend for them selves.  I still am not sure how many males are among the fourteen birds, but it looks like five for sure.  Even at such a young age the strut and gobble as they prance around the enclosure.  Recently I snapped a picture of them all sitting on the roost together. They seem to like each others company and so far there has been no problems with any of them “picking” on one another.

They go through the feed and water quickly, and I have to constantly check on them.  It’s more work than I bargained for, but it’s been rewarding to see them grow.  Besides that they think I’m their “momma” and it’s neat to see them all rush to me when I call “Peep, peep, peep!”

Mike

Men Feeding Black Bear May Pay Dearly?

August 12th, 2016

A video on social media showing two unidentified men feeding a black bear what appears to be rice cakes sparked public outrage and an investigation by wildlife officials in Canada.

The incident occurred in April at the side of Highway 4 near Tofino on Vancouver Island where one of the men can be seen brazenly reaching out to the black bear with the food in his hand and the bear readily taking it.

A fed bear is a dead bear is the common refrain used to inform the public about why it is bad to feed bears.

“It is illegal to feed dangerous wildlife because it’s extremely dangerous for both the public and that bear,” Port Alberni conservation officer Daniel Eichstadter told CTV News Vancouver in May. “It may expect food from somebody else who stops and injure somebody that way.

“It’s putting everybody and that animal at risk and the best thing to do is show that animal some respect and give it some space. View it from afar and don’t put other people and that animal at risk.”

CTV News reported Thursday that tips streamed into the conservation office, eventually leading officers to the two men, who remained unidentified.

The men were charged with intentionally feeding dangerous wildlife under the BC Wildlife Act. Both paid the price for their misdeed. Each were fined $345.

BC Conservation Officer Daniel Eichstadter told CTV News that officers monitoring the area where the incident happened and have noticed some bears coming to the edge of the highway looking for food, adding that two bears were killed by vehicles in that same area.
Read more at http://www.grindtv.com/wildlife/two-men-feed-black-bear-hand-pay-price-video/#QOACeKpAxWIFqR1v.99

Michigan DNR Issues Warning About Dumping Aquarium Raised Fish Into States Waterways!

August 11th, 2016

This probably would come as a shock for any angler: reeling in a red-bellied pacu, complete with human-like teeth.

These fish aren’t native to Michigan but hail from South America, and they’ve been caught three times in July, probably because of pet owners who no longer can care for them, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Three pacu were reported — two from Lake St. Clair and one from the Port Huron area, both on the eastern side of Michigan.

The red-bellied pacu, or scientifically known as Piaractus brachypomus, is most common in the continent’s Amazon basin but are imported to the U.S. and internationally.

Officials don’t consider the fish to be invasive despite it being a non-native fish to Michigan. The DNR says a 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assessment concluded the risk posed by pacus in the U.S. is uncertain because of a lack of research on the fish’s negative impacts.

Let’s be clear: those square teeth are scary-looking, but they’re used to break down nuts and seeds.

If an aquarium owner’s pacu has outgrown its tank, there are options to properly take care of it rather than dumping it in the nearest waterway.

“If your pacu has outgrown its tank or begun to feed on your other fish, rather than releasing it into a pond or stream, consider donating or trading it with another hobbyist, an environmental learning center, an aquarium or a zoo,” said Paige Filice of Michigan State University. “You can also check with the pet store where you purchased the fish to see if they will take it back.

Filice is part of a statewide campaign to Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes, or RIPPLE.

Cut Road Deaths With Mountain Lions?

August 2nd, 2016
 

Coming Soon “A Wolf” In Your Neighborhood!

August 1st, 2016

Interior Department officials placed the welfare of wolves over public safety, neglecting to inform residents when wolves were roaming and killing cattle in New Mexico, according to a new audit.

An official in charge of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, which was established to conserve the species, was found to be protecting wolves she considered “genetically valuable,” even though they posed a danger to residents in the area.

The agency’s inspector general released an audit last month detailing how the former program coordinator covered up complaints against a wolf that posed a “human safety hazard.”

Team employees in Catron County “deliberately avoided documenting complaints to protect certain wolves,” the inspector general found. Allegations made by the Catron County Board of Commissioners were confirmed by Fish and Wildlife Service employees.

“As an example, the county employee described an incident involving one male wolf, serial number M1133, that had been captured in a residential area of Reserve, NM (the Catron County seat), after numerous complaints,” the inspector general said. “[The Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program] said that wolf M1133 could be paired with a female and released because [the program] considered the wolf genetically valuable and stated that it had no documented history of nuisance behavior. [Interagency Field Team] IFT personnel, including the former IFT coordinator, met with ranchers and county officials to discuss the release plan

So You Want To Build Your Own Cabin?

July 30th, 2016

IMG_5769IMG_5743IMG_4311Almost a year ago there was talk of putting up another cabin on my 10 acres in Luzerne.  I already have the original cabin and another Amish built cabin we call the bunkhouse.  We put that up to help with the overflow when all 24 family members show up!  We are now at the point were even the “bunkhouse” is not nearly enough especially when grandkids show up with friends! So we went back to our Amish builder (North Star Storage Barns of Mio) and came up with a plan that should “fill the bill!”

We had to get on a waiting list of several months as Laverne  is swamped with work.  We decided to go with a barn style building that is 16×30 with a full upstairs loft.  three weeks ago Dave and I had to clear out the woods for a cabin and septic system.  About 25 trees were involved in making room for our building.  Cutting, de-limbing, and cutting them in 2 foot pieces was backbreaking and time consuming.

We had an excavator come in and pull stumps, grade, and lay down 8 inches of crushed stone!  Within a few days my Amish builder is on site and in 2 days I have a 16×30 cabin shell.  Now the real work begins!

Last weekend I went north to start the plumbing so my excavator can know where to run my sewer line.  I also am tapping into my 5 horse power well pump to bring water to the place.  That means a 225 foot trench dug 5 foot deep then run the line run inside the cabin.  I built a 2 x 6 inch wall for the bathroom and installed a toilet and shower base along with insulating behind the green board I had to put up for the shower walls.  I also drilled holes through the wall 2 x 4’s and started my hot and cold water lines.  whew!  That kicked this old mans butt!

Furnace, water heater, insulation, electricity, propane tank and lines, staining the outside, flooring, and kitchen installation are still on the menu.  I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but i’m hear to tell you this is not an undertaking for the faint of heart. You better have deep pockets and pay someone else to do it all, or have a lot of time and energy on your hands.

Mike

 

 

 

 

Only One True North American Wolf Species?

July 28th, 2016