Archive for December, 2010

Last Hunt of 2010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Even though I did put a deer in the freezer, I would not classify this as a “good” hunting year.  I leased (by myself) 100 acres of prime Hillsdale hunting property that included 50 acres of woods.  The lease was not cheap!  During bow season I had one shot at a nice eight pointer, and that’s it!  I saw a total of 9 deer for all of bow season.  The last four days I’ve hunted the property I have not seen one deer.  That includes yesterday.  I have three private land doe permits in my wallet, which will now go to my “useless things” hunting drawer, along with my two buck tags.  I did shoot a big doe opening day of gun, and it’s a good thing I did, as I never had another opportunity to take any more deer.  I have a huge family, and this year I believed I had a legitimate chance to share venison with everybody.  One deer will not last long in my freezer.

I know some of you may be saying “Quit your complaining,” but my expectations didn’t come close to materializing.  It is quite unusual not to take a deer with my bow, especially since I was in one of the most productive areas of the state.  Frankly I didn’t see the deer that are “supposed” to be there.  I have four stands hung in various locations and two ground blinds.  Yesterday I hunted the pop-up in a little swale where there were signs of deer activity.  I had a clear view in three different directions, but no deer showed up.  I heard several shots off in the distance, but nothing really close.  Maybe the deer in this area have gone totally nocturnal.  Hey I guess thats why we call it “hunting” and not killing.  I should know better than to “count my venison before it’s in the freezer!”  Oh well I’m going to savor some back straps this evening (smothered in onions)  and a baked potato with corn ought to help make me feel better about this seasons outcome.

Mike

Beaver Stiks

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Awhile back I started making the grandkids walking sticks.  They are all made from wood that I have collected from beaver ponds or lodges.  That’s why I call them “Beaver Stiks” and came up with the funny looking beaver logo.  Recently I have completed one for Ava, and one for Addy.  Because of our Native American heritage I give each one an appropriate Indian name.  Ava is “Beautiful butterfly,” and Addy is “Cactus Flower.”  You would have to know their personalities to fully understand their chosen names.  It seems each new “stick” gets more intricate than the last one, as I evolve into this winter hobby.  The “stick with the mallard head is my first try at actually putting any paint on them, and this one will be for grandson Logan.  Logan is quite an accomplished BMX racer, thus the name “Wind Walker.”  I’m just finishing up on this one, and now the other grandkids are clamoring for a “stick like Logan’s!   I still have three grandkids to go, and might have to start all over if the protest grow from those that received the first “less detailed” sticks.  Hey it keeps me off the streets, and I really enjoy working with leather, feather, and beads.  It is also satisfying to know they really appreciate something hand made from their old grandpa “Chief 10 Bears.”

Mike

Christmas Locks

Monday, December 27th, 2010

We may have established a new tradition at the Ansel household Christmas morning.  My son-in-law Mark (with daughter Meghan in picture) is Jewish.  At least his dads side of the family is, and Mark took the  Bar-Mitzvah classes as a kid.  Anyway Mark and Meghan bought the ingredients for locks, which my wife and I had never eaten.  Our locks consisted of a bagel with cream cheese, a tomato, onion slice, and smoked salmon.  It was quite a culinary coup to my taste buds.  I didn’t think I was going to like it, but it was a very pleasant surprise indeed.

We had a great day with all the children and grandchildren being here, along with Lorna’s mom and dad.  A great meal, lots of desserts, and a full blown “nerf” war where the order of the day.  We didn’t throw out any gifts or money this year (like last year) and everyone was feeling half way decent.  I had saved a bag of deer jerky for Mark and my son Micah, and we ate about 3 pounds of it, as we munched during the day.

One of the kids had a friend stop over who happens to be a Muslim.  I think it was a very unique day having  Christians, a Jew, and a Muslim under my roof, as we celebrated Christmas, and truly enjoyed one another’s company.  Wish it could be like that in the “real world!”

Mike

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24th, 2010

A very Merry Christmas to all our friends and family.  Ava and Addy are gleefully reading “The Grinch that Stole Christmas!”  We hope that none of you allow that to happen around your house this year.  Send that “old Grinch” packing, and truly welcome the Blessed Spirit of Christmas to have His way with you and yours.  May we always remember “Jesus Is the Reason for the Season!”  Be happy, be safe, and serve a little “wild game” along side that turkey or ham this year.  Happy late season hunting.

Mike

Christmas 2010 is Drawing Near

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Christmas is fast approaching.  the tree is trimmed, and the outdoor lights aglow.  Most presents are wrapped, and four of the grandkids sang their Christmas special at church Sunday.  Everyone is now officially on Christmas vacation.  My daughter Meghan and son-in-law Mark will be arriving, with grandson Logan, tomorrow evening.  We will have a white Christmas, but it looks like our part of the state will miss the forecast storms moving East.

I am chomping at the bits to get out and do some late season hunting, but finding a day to get away is proving almost impossible to do.  Last report from Hillsdale is that a few deer are moving, but nothing like in years past.  I’m going to try and  sneak in an evening in the next couple days.  Hope something good happens.

Mike

The Kingdom Under Glass By Jay Kirk

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Back in October I did a blog on Jay Kirk’s book “The Kingdom Under Glass.”  It’s a true story about Carl Akeley, considered to be the father of modern taxidermy.  What makes this such an interesting read is Carl himself, and they way Jay has captured all the real adventure, heartache, danger, and revolutionary taxidermy ideas of this most intriguing man.  The book also contains love found, as well as love lost for Carl and all the feelings and emotions that encompass close relationships.

Personally I was drawn to the chapters, and stories, about Carl’s quest for collecting museum specimens from all over the world, especially Africa.  Carl didn’t send out subordinates into the field, but took it upon himself to do all the rigors that are associated with a safari, under adverse and extreme conditions.  Eventually these hardships led to health issues for Carl.  We (the reader) must keep in mind that Carl and his team were collecting and preserving these specimens 100 years ago.

I don’t want to give the whole book away, but suffice it to say it is a good read.  Especially after the hunting season is over, and you want something to capture your imagination, while you sit around a cozy fire, and wait for spring.  I highly recommend this book which is available at bookstores, or by calling Jason Liebman (Holt Publishers) at 646-307-5385.

Mike

Jack Smith-A Good Man

Monday, December 13th, 2010

The tall handsome guy on the left is one of those guys that only comes around so often.  His name is Jack Smith, and I’ve know him, and his family for most of my life.  We actually lived in the same neighborhood when we were pre-teens.  Jack was a few years younger than I was, but went to school with my younger brother Darryl.  Jack was only in 9th. grade when he became one of my hero’s.  My brother was halfback on the football team, and Jack was a receiver.  Little brother had a red headed bully giving him a hard time, and Jack stepped between them, and told the bully “If you want a piece of Darryl you’ll have to go through me!”  Jack was no body to mess with, and the agitator knew it, end of story.  I always respected and admired him for doing that.

Jack went on to play varsity baseball and football for Monroe High School, and also was training to be a boxer during his high school years.  He was a speedy, agile, right fielder, who could hit the long ball, as well as hit for average.  He was always a team player.  Never a hot-dog or show boat.  He was a coaches dream, as they all will testify to, including myself.

Back in the mid 1970’s I was fortunate enough to sign Jack up on our Local 723 softball team that I managed and played on.  The picture above is of Jack and Ed Knabush holding the Michigan Industrial State Championship trophy.  Jack played a big part in our team winning our league, district, and then state title.  We even finished forth in the National Regionals.  Oops I’m getting ahead of myself!

Back to Jacks high school days.  Jack had a sister that lived in California, and Jack hooked up with a gym and boxing coach while spending  summers in the sun.  Two years in a row Jack boxed in the California Golden Gloves, and won titles in an impressive fashion.  Jack was even given a write up in Sports Illustrated magazine, who said he was “An up and coming young boxer!”

Well as many of you know “life” isn’t always fair, and Jack lost the first two fingers, on his right hand, in an accident over the Christmas Holidays during his senior year.  As I remember Jack still played baseball, but had to forgo football that last year of high school, as he had “blown” out his knee just before football season.  Jack graduated, and it wasn’t long before his father Fred got him a job at the local Ford Motor plant.  Jack got married to his sweetheart Linda McKinney, and they had two boys (Brian and Scott.)  Both boys were baseball standouts receiving scholarships to the University of Toledo.  Brian went on to play a year of minor league baseball, and now he and Scott are very successful businessmen.  Over the years Jack was a much sought after softball player and coach.  He even was one of the assistant baseball coaches at his old Alma Mater Monroe High.  He took up golf and loved playing with his older brother “Johnny!”  He became a journeyman millwright, and eventually a millwright leader at the plant.

Now we come to the year 2010.  Jack has been retired and presently has the toughest battle of his life going on.  Jack has cancer!  He had a malignant tumor wrap itself around his esophagus and attach itself to his aorta.  Chemo was able to shrink the tumor enough so he could have surgery, but the esophagus had to be removed and his stomach moved up into his chest area.  I don’t know all the details of what Jack and his family have been through this past year, but I do know Jack is a fighter.  Linda is too!  In fact Linda just lost a brother-in-law and her mother in the last month.

I visited with Jack last week, and he looked real good to me, and said he was feeling good, now that they got him on the right pain medication.  Jack and Linda have many friends and family praying for them right now.  That’s where you (the reader) come in.  Please pray for the Smiths!  Put his name on your fridge, add him to a church prayer list, and petition God on his behalf.  He is a good man, and you all know “A good man is hard to find!”  Jacks family needs him, his grandkids need him, and the world needs him.  What more could a man ask for, but to be LOVED, and Jack Smith you are loved by many.

Blessings My Brother

Smile Your On Candid Cuddie-Back

Friday, December 10th, 2010

The two racks that I’m holding are from  two of the bucks I caught on my trail cam this year.  The bigger 8 (he has a busted left brow tine) is the deer I missed during early bow season.  Someone else put a bad shot on him and he died about 60 yards from my tree stand.  Not a bad buck.  He’s the second largest I have on camera.  The other buck is a 9 pointer, believe it or not!  I had a real good picture showing his split brow tine, but couldn’t get it to post.  I have several pics. of this little basket rack.  This is the deer that crossed our field on opening day.  I had him in my scope, but my hunting partners told me not to shoot, that they would head him off on the other side of the fence row.  We could tell he had been shot, but the “boys” never caught up with him.  Six days later I found him laying in a dead fall, so weak he could hardly raise his head.  I mercifully ended his suffering.  Gangrene had set in so the meat was wasted.  He “holed” up only about 80 yards from where we quit looking for him.  In fact Tony must of walked awful close to his hiding spot, as he searched that area a couple days later.  Again this deer died within sight of my tree stand.

I’ve given up on muzzle-loader, and still have four tags in my pocket.  Another donation to the State of Michigan.  My only hope now is that all those deer the DNR says live in Hillsdale County find my 100 acres.  I so wanted to take one with my recurve this year, hence the four extra doe tags.  I had hopes of filling up more than my freezer this year, but hey I have one fat doe in there anyway.

Mike

When All Else Fails – Go Hug A Kid

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

What did “Murphy’s Law” state?  “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong!”  Well yesterday might not of been quite that bad, but it was certainly not the way I had planned the day.

Like many other late season hunters I have been hoping for a good tracking snow.  I was elated when I arrived at my Hillsdale hunting grounds to find about 1-1/2 inches of white powder on the ground.  I opened my little camper and, after plugging in the electrical line, turned the furnace on.  I failed to hear the fan, or the lighting of the burner.  I checked to make sure I had power, and enough propane in the tank, but it was a “no go!”  Problem number one!  Next I was going to change the location of my ground blind, but couldn’t see it from the trailer.  I looked for my $350.00 dollar Nikon binoculars, and they were no where to be found.  Problem number two.  I threw my cloths on, grabbed my tool pouch, and went to start my 4-wheeler.  Dead battery-problem number three!  I had jumper cables in the explorer, so I got the Polaris going, and headed to where my blind should of been.  The last couple days of strong winds had blown my blind about 80 yards from where it was, breaking one of the fiberglass support poles.  Problem number four!

By this time my enthusiasm was waning, but I figured I’d do some scouting, and find out the deers movements in the fresh fallen snow.  I drove the whole perimeter of the 100 acres, and walked the 50 acres of woods and swamps.  Not one set of deer tracks.  I was beginning to feel I wasn’t supposed to be here.  After all this was one of the days I’m supposed to be watching my two grand-daughters.  My wife was going to take over for me when she got home from work, but they would probably be in bed when I returned from the “hunt!”  I was going to miss my time with Ava and Addy.  I know Art (from Simply Outdoors) knows about little girls, and the “hold” they have on your heart, so I figured I’d leave the deer (what deer) for another day.  I hooked up my trailer, after covering my 4-wheeler, and headed back to Monroe and the warm embrace of my girls.  Art has his Abby and I have my Addy.  Who needs a stupid old 10 pointer anyway?  Man I’m getting “soft” in my old age.  Besides I still have the last week of December to look forward to.  That’s if I’m not playing with the 10 grandkids in the snow.

“Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree”

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

My wife returned home from Washington, and we put our tree up the next day.  We usually get it up earlier than this, but she wanted me to wait till she got home.  I love the scent of pine drifting through the house, and we enjoy the tree lights on in the evening as we sit in our living room.  We have decorations from when we were first married, and some that the kids made.

Actually it seems like I just took down the Christmas decorations.  This past year has flown by.  When your my age you kind of want things to slow down just a tad.

I finally had a sales clerk (at Walgreen) wish me a “Merry Christmas!”  You wouldn’t think that was unusual at Christmas time, but the Scrooges of political correctness, and the seperationist are trying to do a Christmas “makeover.”  Most will take the holidays, as long as you leave “The reason for the season” (Jesus) out of the picture.  Some stores have instructed their employees not to say the “Merry Christmas” word.  How silly can this country get?

Mike