Archive for July, 2011

Sturgeon Past and Present

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

In this picture my great uncle Elwin is holding a nice stringer of pike, and his son Elwin III (sailor hat) is hefting a nice sturgeon, along with a friend of his.  These fish were caught right here in Michigan, but I couldn’t tell you what lake.  My great uncle and his family did quite a bit of camping and fishing all over the state.  Uncle Elwin was originally from Sault Ste. Marie Canada, but moved to Dearborn as a young man.

The picture of the sturgeon really grabs your attention, or at least it does mine.  When I was a kid we lived only a coupe hundred yards from the Raisin River.  Actually everyone calls it the River Raisin (river of grapes) around here.  Anyway when I was about 7 years old I saw three boys carrying a huge fish on a pole.  The pole went through it’s mouth and out the other end.  It was huge!  The third boy was in charge of carrying the spears.  Seeing how I was seven and that was the first sturgeon I had ever seen, I thought it was an alligator.  I went home and told my dad about the boys with the alligator, and he got a big laugh out of that one.  It wasn’t till some time later that I saw a picture of a sturgeon in Outdoor Life, and then realized that is what I had seen.

Later that same summer I was walking the shallows of the river bank, and I spooked about a 3-4 foot sturgeon.  I also saw a huge 6 footer while small mouth bass fishing in Lake Huron on Duncan Bay.  Sturgeon are a rare sight here in Michigan, and for me to see three of them in my lifetime ain’t to shabby.  The ones in the River Raisin must have been some of the last sturgeon to inhabit that waterway.  Dams were built, and this gentle giant just faded into oblivion.  Female sturgeon take 20-25 years to reach sexual maturity, and then spawn only every other year.  Sturgeon used to inhabit all the great Lakes, and would spawn up the clean clear tributaries along the shorelines.  The Black River in Cheboygan County still has spawning sturgeon each spring, but they are rare elsewhere.  They are currently listed as a state threatened species.  Michigan and Wisconsin hold the last major population of these fish.  Just seeing one is quite a thrill, as they are definitely a relic from the age of dinosaurs.

Mike

Vacation Bible School

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

This year my wife and I decided to do a vacation bible school at our house.  Some of the grand-kids, some cousins, and a friend, have all been attending.  First day we studied creation and Adam and Eve in the garden.  Today we did Noah and the flood along with Gods reminder of His love for us (the rainbow.)  The kids made a rainbow using the appropriate colors in the shape of a hand.  They also used chalk to do rainbows on the driveway.

Earlier we watched a movie on creation, and had popcorn and drinks.  The kids all knew their Scripture verse from the day before.  It was Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Strange that what we are teaching the children, used to be taught in our public schools.  In fact the bible was one of the main resources used by our fledgling school system.  Today our enlightened leaders have decided that it isn’t good for our children to learn to love others, obey God, and keep His commandments.  Evidently it’s much more beneficial in our society to install metal detectors, have lockdowns, do weapons checks, drug searches, and lower grade standards.  No wonder we don’t even come close to the rest of the world concerning global educational testing.  We used to be the leader when morals, ethics, and discipline were taught, but others must know something I don’t know, cause those values have been thrown under the bus.

I’m thankful though that my wife and I can still teach these biblical principles in our home, without fear of reprisal.  The way this nation is headed, I’m thinking  that may not always  be so, for future generations.  Lets hope I’m wrong on that one!

Pictured above is Ava, Makaylee, Eden, and Addy (back row) and Caleb, Kyle, and Jacob (front row.)

Mike

 

 

Our Little All-Star

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Seven year old grand-daughter Ava getting on base again.  In her first year of coach pitch Ava has only made four outs all season long.  She is the best hitter on her team, and went three for four last evening.  At the end of the game the coach called the team together, and announced his four “all-star” picks.  Our Ava was first on his list, and will be playing tomorrow evening, as long as they don’t call the game, due to excessive heat!

Papa and her mother have been working with her, and she’s really starting to hit the ball hard.  My daughter Courtney was an excellent ball player when she was young.  More than once she made the outfielders wish they had backed up, as she’d smack it over their heads.  Ava has even a better swing, but only time will tell if she wants to stick with softball.  She’s way to young to be pushed into someone else’ s dreams.  At this stage we just want her, and her team to have fun.  Far to often coaches and parents take forms of fun and recreation way to serious.  Life is short, and there will be all kinds of time to get serious about things later on.  I don’t believe in living your fantasies through your kids.  Childhood is a time for fun and making lasting moments in time, that kids can look back on fondly.

So tomorrow night you go out there and have some fun Ava.  Your Mom, Papa, and Grandma will be cheering for you all the way.  Enjoy the opportunity to be a normal happy kid.  We love you.

Mike

Kids and Smores and Summer Plans

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Hey what better place to roast some marshmallows, and make smores, but in your own driveway.  My grandson Logan (from Chicago) was in town, and three of his cousins were over, so after a “hot” game of tag, they were all ready for a treat.  I used some really dry wood from an old cherry tree I had to cut down, and just smelling the smoke was nice.  The cousins Skyler, Logan, Addy, and Ava all had there fill of this summer “sweet” tradition, and didn’t even mind that we weren’t up north sitting around the campfire.

I just read Art Summers article over at “Simplyoutdoors.net” about Michigan going with no age limit for kids to hunt.  Wow!  I really never thought I see that happen in my lifetime.  I have several grand-kids that I can hunt our new property with.  What a boon to hunting families all over the state.  I think you guys in Lansing got this one right!

Just waiting for the title company to get the paperwork in order, so we can descend on our new camp.  I haven’t told many people about it, but already I have several “new” best friends!  Ha! Ha!  My kids and grand-kids all want to be able to get up there before school starts, and check things out.  I want to get some deer stands in place for the October opener.  Hopefully by the end of the month we’ll be heading our wagon train in a northward direction.  “Wagons Ho!”

Mike

Dreams Can Come True

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Can a person ever be to old to have dreams?  I certainly hope not!

My father (Norm) instilled the love of nature and hunting in all six of his sons.  Everyone of us “boys” cherish the memories we have, in the field with our dad.  What awesome precious memories.  We each have our favorite “story” about an event that centered around “Bear” as we liked to call him.  In fact we could tell numerous stories about this man we loved so much.  One thing we can’t tell though is, we never had a up north place to call our own.  We always rented someone else’ s place, in the vicinity of dads stomping grounds (Lewiston.)

For most of my 50 plus years of hunting I have done the same.  Always wanting my own little piece of Heaven on Earth, but never quite able to make it happen.  Not that I hadn’t tried.  My dear wife will tell you of all the “Honey you won’t believe this place I just found,” while searching some real estate ad from up north.  I fact she did let me purchase two different pieces of property, for which I have always regretted.  Had to hire a lawyer on one, and lost a ton of money on the other!   So little wifey-pooh is in no mood to nod her head in agreement again.  Can’t say as I blame her, but just two weeks ago I “really-really” did find my dream cabin.

It took some coaxing, sweet talking, and help from my girls, but Momma finally relented, and we soon will be the owners of this sweet little cabin on 10 northern acres.  In fact it’s only about 20 miles from where my dad used to take us deer hunting.  Three bedrooms, pole barn, screened in front porch, Amish kitchen, deer and turkey galore, a.t.v. trails, and the Au Sable River just a mile away.  Closing date can’t come soon enough.  Dreams can come true!  You only need to be patient, and never give up.

Mike

 

 

The Buck Stops Here

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

This is not a very good picture, as I snapped it off a video that my friend John sent me.  You get the drift though.  This is a little four pointer that John has dubbed “bucky” who is not very intimidated by John’s presence.  John can get within 10 yards of bucky, and even talk out-loud, without the deer running off.  As you can see he even knows where to cross John’s trail in the right spot (notice the deer crossing sign.)

Hopefully I’ll be doing another blog about John and his property soon.  It’s a lovely place, with deer, turkey, and rabbits galore.

Hard to believe were almost half way through the summer vacation months.  My wife goes back to school the third week of August, and she can’t believe how fast the time is flying by.  Next thing ya know bear season will be upon us, and then bow deer season come Oct.  I hope to have my own place this deer season, but that’s another story.

Mike

4th. of July 2011

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

The pyromaniacs, the audience, and the show!  My grandson Quinn and his buddy Brandon put on quite a show for us last evening.  Kyle and Jacob wait for things to get underway, and also try and keep the mosquitoes at bay.  A blanket helped, but “spray” was necessary!

The boys did a good job, and actually had the same amount of fingers as when they started.  That’s always a good thing.  I had an m-80 go off just as I released it, when I was 19 years old, and had to miss three weeks of work waiting for the burns to heal!  Not fun!  Actually both boys had a few powder burns, but nothing to serious.  The two boys did some giant sparklers after the “main” event, then everyone headed toward home.  As my wife and I drove our 12 miles , to the house, we saw more people celebrating the 4th. than we can ever remember.  We noticed many of the fireworks were red, white, and blue.  Could people be more patriotic this year ya think?

Anyway we hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday, and you aren’t to bummed out about going back to work!

Mike

Garage Sale Turtle

Friday, July 1st, 2011

You never know what you’ll find at a garage sale.  Two weeks ago my daughter Tara and my wife had a garage sale at her place in LaSalle Mi.  My brother Darryl and his wife Cathy stopped by, as they are into garage sales.  We talked for about a half an hour, as customers came in and out of the garage.  Darryl had parked his escape in the middle of the driveway, and as he was getting ready to leave; yelled at me “Look what’s under my car!”  From where I was at I thought it looked like he ran over the neighbors cat.

As I approached the car I could see this huge reptilian tail sticking out from under it.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  One of the biggest snapping turtles I’ve ever seen had just crawled from (who knows where) right into our garage sale.  Several customers were snapping pictures on their cell phones, as I hoisted him for all to see.  He was strong and quite heavy.  I’m guessing he was an “old timer.”  Actually he had moss growing on his back, but we were stymied as to where he came from.  The closest creek was almost a mile away, and Tara lives on a well traveled road.

Darryl wanted to take him and get some rare turtle meat, which by the way is very delicious.  I hated to see the “old timer” end up as turtle soup, so later that evening I called Darryl to see if he had yet “harmed” the snapper!  Thank God he didn’t!  In fact he was thinking just like me, and said “I just couldn’t do it.”  “That old boy has been around a long time, and I sure didn’t feel right about doing him in.”   He let him go in a swamp over by his house.  I guess it was kind of a good thing he was garage sailing, as it may of just saved his life.

The turtle is on the right, and that’s grandson Kyle on the left, in case you were confused!

Mike