Archive for December, 2009

Wii Fun

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

PhotobucketOne of the grand-kids (Logan) got a Wii for Christmas, and we had a bowling tournament.  There were 8 of us trying for strikes and spares to see who would be the “Champ!”  This is 5 year old Jay taking his best shot, and we even had 4 year old Kyle throwing  his ball down the T.V. bowling alley.  There was 63 year old “gramps” with his uncontrollable hook and Login with his sweet ball right in the pocket.  Mindy, Mark, . Quinn, Nina, and Lorna all had their chances for the crown, but it was straight shooting Logan that beat us all

I used to bowl on several bowling leagues years ago, but I never did catch on to this Wii bowling.  In fact I came in last place with a meager 83 for a score.  That’s pathetic!   All the grand-kids beat me, much to their delight.  Looks like I’m going to have to put in some practice on the Wii lanes during the winter months.  No more being called “girly grandpa” by those twerpy grand-kids.


The Gathering

Monday, December 28th, 2009

PhotobucketSomeone (me) had the bright idea to take all the grand kids picture on Christmas day.  It’s not that often we have them all under one roof, and my wife’s parents were with us also.   Actually this is the 12th. picture I took of the, can’t stand still and all look at the camera crew, and it’s the best.  Of coarse you’ll notice that the oldest (Quinn) just could not contain himself any longer.  I finally get the other nine, and great grandma and grandpa to all pose as planned, and “bingo” the oldest grand kid has to express himself.  Oh well!  I told him this was the one I was putting on my blog.

Meghan, Mark, Login, and “Bear” (the dog) are packing up Marks truck right now for their journey back to Chicago.  Mindy, Nadia, and McKenzie  just left to head back to Clawson, and Micah and Heather will be leaving later this afternoon to visit Heathers sister.  All twenty two of my kids and grand kids made it for Christmas plus my in-laws and one brother-in-law.  We had a full house, but it was nice having the family together.  The turkey, ham, potato casserole, green rice, crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, spinach wraps, sweet potato casserole, salad, and all the homemade baked goods were well received by all present.

We took time to read the Biblical account of Christ birth from Luke’s gospel, and then asked the kids a few questions about the text.  They paid attention very well.  We played a few games, and generally just enjoyed one another’s company.  A very good day indeed.  Looking forward to the New Year.


Have A Blessed CHRISTMAS

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I just wanted to take time and wish everyone a Blessed Christmas.  This nativity scene has been in our family since 1970.  Actually it’s one of the first gifts I ever bought my wife.  We were married in October of 1970 and I bought this for her just before Christmas.  I got it at Federals Dept. store, and it cost my wife a “back rub!”  With six kids and now twelve grand kids I have had to use glue on a few of the figures.  Baby Jesus and the angels seem to get the most attention.

We have a tradition in our home where, on Christmas morning one of the grand kids takes Jesus from His hiding place, and puts Him in the manger.  We then sing a few songs, including Happy Birthday Jesus.  We write down who had the honor of placing Jesus in the manger, and also video tape the morning, so we know whose turn it is next year.  Usually we emphasize that it is Jesus birthday we are celebrating, and ask the kids a few questions about the “true” meaning of Christmas.  There is a saying that goes “Jesus is the reason for the season!”  If you remove Christ from the Christmas season, what you have left over is “Happy Holidays!”  You have parties, food, friends, family, extravagant buying and selling, In the black, in the red, Santa clause, snowmen, and days off of work.  To some you also have the most depressing time of the year.  It doesn’t take a nuclear scientist to see where some want to take our country concerning the highest Holy Day in all of Christendom.  No public display of Manger scenes, stores not allowing their employees to say “Merry Christmas,” Schools eliminating programs and songs that tell the real story.  It would seem that our government (chided by ACLU lawsuits) bends over backwards so as  not to “offend” other faiths or atheist/agnostics.  On the other hand  Christians can be offended, slandered, and maligned to the hilt, and that’s ok!  I just wonder if those decrying the misappropriated “separation of church and state,” would go to bat for persecuted Christians in  Muslims courts.

Like it or not this nation WAS founded on Judeo/Christian principles.  Not Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, or some swami, Dali Lama, or Rev. Sun-Myung- Moon.  The true History (His Story) of this nation has been undergoing a transformation over the last few decades.  It appears we have  gotten to the point where  public school textbooks will soon totally eliminate any mention of  Christianity  or it’s role in the framing of our Constitution.

I hope each one reading this will take some time to reflect on the true meaning of the season.  God loving us so much that he sent his only Son into the world as a sacrifice for out transgressions.  It started with a babe in the manger, and culminated with a Savior on the cross.  Redemption and Salvation are for ALL that except Him a Savior and love Him as Lord.

Have a Blessed Christmas Mike


Darryl Ansel Shoots 16 Pointer

Friday, December 18th, 2009

PhotobucketGotcha!   Well 8 and 8 does equal 16 right?  Hey it sure sounded good, and besides I have nothing in the freezer yet.  That’s my brother Darryl and his Michigan 8 pointer, and his Ohio 8-pointer.  He’s boiling the meat off the skulls to do a European mount.

Darryl took me out with him last evening, but as usual I didn’t see anything, except a lot of coyote tracks and crap!  Darryl did have a fat little button buck walk right under his stand, but that was it for the evening.  Oh well at least I got out again.

Worked on brother Dean’s water line today, and checked out the area around my stand.  There were a few tracks and some deer droppings which was encouraging.  I’ll give that spot a few more tries before the end of the month.  I sure hope I end up with one in the freezer.


Cabela’s Special Customer and Free Hot Dogs

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

PhotobucketRecently I received a special invitation to a Cabela’s “after hours” sales event.  This event is held Sunday evening after the store closes, and only invitation carrying guest (and their families) are allowed in.  It’s 10-20% off of most items in the store.  They even serve free hot dogs, pop and such.  The only way one can get invited to this special evening is by charging so much on your Cabela’s Visa card over the past year.  Not only did I receive an invite, but my wife did also!  We both have our own cards.  I don’t know if we deserve a pat on the back, or a kick in the butt!  I do know this though, I don’t think I’ll be receiving an invitation next year.

If you check out the items on the hood of my explorer you’ll see it doesn’t amount to very much.  Would you believe there is $172.00 dollars worth of items on display.  I had a $20 dollar off coupon, but still it doesn’t look like much to me.  By the way the arrows were not included, only the $39.00 dollar “rage” broadheads were in that price.  Two days after buying the big package of double A batteries I found the same thing at Walgreen’s for half price.

I love going to Cabela’s!  I love the displays, the selection, the wild game restaurant, but I’m starting to rethink my purchases.  Just because they have 50 different options to choose from doesn’t mean I should have to pay a premium price for most all of their products.  I think I’m going to have to start limiting my visits, and only shop when I have a sales flyer in my hand.  I don’t think I can afford anymore “free” hot dogs this coming year.


Late Season Deer Report

Friday, December 11th, 2009

PhotobucketGary (foreground) and Greg Baldwin working on the new camp in Marquette.  This picture was taken during our Sept. bear hunt, and I’m sure the camp has been moving along nicely since then.  The camp is surrounded by a beautiful stand of Hemlocks and there is a bout a 25 foot drop toward Big creek.  You can hear the sound of the water as it cascades downstream.  A dinner of brook and brown trout are just a few steps from the front door, and deer runways surround the place.  It’s not uncommon for bear to roam the immediate vicinity, and beavers, partridge, mink, and otter are right at home in these woods.  This new camp will be a little more “family” friendly according to Gary.  He said to the hunters it  will still be deer/bear camp, but the wives will have a few more luxuries than the old camp.

I recently got an e-mail from Nancy (Gary’s wife) and she filled me in on the deer camp success for 2009.  As far as the Baldwins go it was a pretty dismal year.  In a camp where it is not uncommon to shoot at least one trophy class swamp buck; not a one was seen!  Dick Baldwin reports that deer numbers are down, but wolf and coyote tracks are showing up everywhere.  Could there be a correlation here?  Greg did take a half rack 8 pointer, and a couple smaller bucks were harvested, just to put some meat in the freezer.  Doe sightings with fawns were rare, as Gary is still trying to fill his muzzle-loader tag.  On our bear hunt we saw several wolves in the area.  We have been hunting around this camp since 1973 and just within the last couple years have the wolves moved in.  I think they can do alot more damage to the deer population than what most of us think.

I was headed up around Petoskey this morning for a muzzle-loader hunt, but the weather man scared me off.  Wind, blowing and drifting snow, and sub-zero wind chills kept me indoors for another week-end.  Art if you or Jeff want to donate some venison I know who’ll take it!

PhotobucketNew camp with generator/hot water tank shed.

The Deer Stand

Monday, December 7th, 2009

PhotobucketWhat do you think of as you gaze upon this tree stand?  Can you see yourself getting settled in a good half hour before sunup, as you hope the sweat doesn’t now freeze to your forehead?  Do you think of your chances to nail that “trophy wall-hanger?”  Can you visualize a doe stealthily winding her way through the woods with a nice mature buck in hot pursuit?  Can you see a little six or an eight making a scrape within your “kill” zone?  Do you hope and anticipate seeing plenty of deer today, even though you haven’t seen one in three days?   Will a big fat doe get your saliva glands going with visions of back-straps in the freezer.  Do you see the wind in your face, and the temperature tolerable for several hours of silent vigil.  Do the chick-a-dees and the squirrels cause you to smile, as they do their thing, unaware of your presence?  Does the “snap” of a branch get your heart racing, as you strain to slowly turn your head in the direction of the noise?  Can you see yourself stiffly rising to a standing position, as four deer you didn’t know were there, “blow” and wave goodbye.    Does the scene flash before you of a “monster” buck staring you in the eyes, just out of range, as he stomps the ground with his front leg.  You freeze every muscle, you don’t even blink your eyes.  You hope beyond hope that your scent doesn’t drift in the deers direction.  Then “Mr. Big” plays his little head down head up game, trying to catch you drawing your bow.  Your body starts to ache, and you finally decide its now or never!  In one swift movement you draw, point, and “what the heck!”  He’s gone!   Man that was close!

Later that evening a fat little six pointer comes strolling right under your stand.  He doesn’t have a clue your there.  He stops at 15 yards slightly quartering away.  You silently draw, pick a spot just behind the shoulder, and zip your arrow seems to melt right through were you were aiming.  The deer races for only about 40 yards and piles up within sight.  He was dead on his feet!  Your adrenaline is pumping so much that you get warm in a hurry, even though you may be shaking like a leaf!  He might not be a new world record, but he’s your trophy, taken on his turf, done the hard way.  To a hunter these moments are priceless, and that’s what keeps us “in the stand.”

I am saving my hunting days for some cold and snow.  I know the deer will be moving more during those kind of conditions, and I have a great little stand of oak trees I’m going to hide in.  You hunters with deer in the freezer, count your blessings.  You hunters still in pursuit, don’t give up.  Its not about the destination, but about the journey.


Ta-Dah “The Tree”

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

PhotobucketThis is how the tree we cut a few days ago looks today.  Both my wife and I are pretty fussy about our live trees, and we agree that this one is almost perfect.  Except for a few branches around the trunk I never had to trim a limb.  for those who cut their own trees you know that is highly unusual.  I strung the lights, but my wife did the rest.  Actually I was laying down, and when I got up her handiwork was complete.  She is very good at decorating the tree, and it looks beautiful.

The evergreen smell, in the house, is invigorating.  We like to turn all the lights off, in the evening, and just turn on the tree lights.  It’s very relaxing and homey.  Sure brings back memories of Christmas past.

Our tree is up a little earlier than usual, so I hope it keeps taking water like it has been.  Still have a few lights to put up outside, and will do that this weekend.  Weatherman is calling for cold temps with a high of 32 degrees Saturday.

Deer hunting has ground to a halt, and it’s looking more and more like a venison-less winter around our house.   I’ve been hunting on my brothers 13 acres, but he has a water line project going on now, and there’s going to be alot of noise and traffic in the area.  Besides I’m going to be helping him lay about 700 foot of water line, as we have to dig the trench before it gets to cold.  If it doesn’t bother the deer a whole bunch I’ll be back at it some time next week.


Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

PhotobucketMy wife and I cutting this years Christmas tree at the Samaria road tree farm.  Daughters Tara, Alena, and Courtney went with us, and their families, as we usually do this time of year.  We take most of the morning and afternoon, as we end up at Matthes Evergreen farm, where they have pony rides, crafts, food, animals, entertainment, and of course St. Nick.  The kids have a blast and for the most part so do the adults.

While we were walking around trying to decide which tree to harvest (notice I didn’t say kill) I was taken aback by the number of deer tracks on this property.  Not only that my little grand-daughter Addisyn found a tail feather from a Tom turkey.  This piece of land has hundreds of visitors on a daily basis, yet the deer are still roaming its boundaries, albeit at night.  No wonder they thrive where they are basically safe from hunting pressure and natural predators.

Anyway the tree is up, and even has the lights on.  I have to wait for my wife now to do her decorating before putting bulbs on it.  I love the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree in the house.

PhotobucketSome of our “tree cutting crew” ready to go find the perfect tree.