Archive for August, 2011

The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad

Monday, August 29th, 2011

This past weekend we were at our cabin near Mio, and decided to take the AuSable Valley Railroad for a ride.  Located just east of Fairview Michigan, it is one of those pleasant little surprises that leaves you saying “I’m really glad we done that!”  The railroad is a 1/4 scale passenger train with a couple diesel engines and also a steam engine.  The 20 minute ride takes you through a 115 foot wooden tunnel, and two trestles.  The longest one (220 feet) goes over the Comins Creek Vally.  That’s the one you see in the picture.

You purchase your ticket from the train depot, where you can buy some popcorn and a coke while you wait for your ride.  There’s also a gift shop.  The whole operation is first class.  It’s clean, well kept, and a definite adventure to put on your “fun things” to do list.  The owners are friendly and go out of their way to make sure you enjoy yourself.

So if you are ever in the Mio/Fairview area; do you and your family a favor, and take them for a ride on the AuSable Valley Railroad.  Call for open dates, as Labor day and a couple Fall color days are the only times she’ll be running for the rest of the year.

Health Care Help For The Middle Class-What a Joke

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can afford any more help from the Obama Administration!  I have acid reflux disease, and Nexium has helped me immensely.  My provider “Mich. Blue Cross Blue Shield” recently decided they would no longer cover Nexium, and instead told me I now had to buy an over the counter pill.  I tried them, and they do not work for me like Nexium.  When I inquired about buying them out of pocket, I was told it would cost close to $500 dollars for a three months supply.  Thanks, but no thanks.

The little tube of ointment below the pill bottle is for my grand-daughters warts.  My daughter paid $210.00 dollars, out of pocket for an once or two of salve.  Must have gold particles in it!  Insurance doesn’t cover my office calls which run from $80 to $230 bucks.  I try my darnedest to stay away from the Dr. office.  I now pay for blood work, cardiogram’s, stress test, and a portion of most other test and procedures.  Any co-pay I may have has tripled in just the last year.

Yes sir – they are taking care of us in Washington.  If what was crammed down our throats was so good, why is every politician in Washington exempt from it.  I don’t think 99% of those “crooks” have a clue what normal working class Americans go through on a daily basis.  It would be nice to clean “house” and “senate” and the Oval Office in 2012, but were like sheep being led to the slaughter.  Were so apathetic I guess we deserve what we get, but I can’t afford to much more of their help.

Mike

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

I guess I’m just an old “sissy” when it comes to sittin in the woods – now that I have my own property.  I’ve always kind of envied those guys with the carpeted ground blinds, along with their La-Z-Boys and heaters.  So now I’m in the process of building my own.  It will be seven (7) by five (5) feet which should give me ample room for a grandkid or two.  Hopefully I’ll put the walls together here, and then haul it all up north.

 

Just getting the wood home was quite a chore.  I tied 8- 2x4x14’s and 4 sheets of plywood to my little trailer after leaving Lowe’s.  As I pulled onto the main highway I lost two of the long 2×4’s.  A women pulled along side of me and said I was loosing my load.  As I pulled in a used car lot, a Lowe’s truck pulled in behind me.  The two young men asked where I was headed, and said they were going in that direction, so just throw the wood on there truck.  We put all the 2×4’s on the truck and tied down the plywood again on my trailer.  I then headed back to get the two x fours I lost.  As I pulled onto the main road all the plywood scattered on the highway.  I pulled off as a semi truck and eight cars ran over my osb boards.  The two Lowe’s workers (Frank and Jeff) ran over and helped me get them off the road.  I couldn’t believe they weren’t damaged.  We then threw everything on their truck, and they delivered them right to my door.  Thank God they were there, as this old man was getting wore out.

Mike

Mike’s Weight Loss Guide

Friday, August 19th, 2011

I told my wife that the more time I spend up north, the more likely I am to loose some weight.  Just check out the picture of me hauling wood.  That ain’t kool-aid soaking through my shirt, that’s sweat!  There’s so much to do, but I enjoy every minute of it.

It looks like I’m on a big snapping turtle roll.  This one was crossing a back country road, and I stopped to help him cross.  Didn’t want to see him smashed all over the pavement.  He didn’t exactly appreciate the gesture, as he tried his darnedest to clamp down on my hand.  I swear this old boy had a longer neck than most snappers, as he came pretty close to making me regret I picked him up.  Before I grabbed his tail, I tried to pick him up by his shell.  I let go in a hurry as that long neck came within an inch of my hand, and you could hear those jaws “snap!”  Last I saw him he was headed for a little swamp on the other side of the road.

You can see I’m starting to hang some of my own mounts at the cabin.  The deer head and the fish go really well, and I’ve made a couple coat racks I’m going to hang, next time I’m there.  The food plot continues to grow, but I still haven’t started on my new ground blind.  Labor day weekend I plan on work, work, and more work.  I don’t care it’s the kind of work I like, and the side benefit is dropping some weight.  Can’t beat that exercise plan!

Mike

Lightning and Water Don’t Mix

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Me and three of the grand sons checking out the Ausable River just a mile from my cabin.  The 4-wheeler trails lead right to the rivers edge.  In fact Quinn went for a swim here a couple days later.

We rafted the river on Sunday, but I have no pictures.  Daughter Mindy had a waterproof camera, and she has yet to send me some pics.  The canoe livery, where we rented our tubes, warned us of the dangers on the water.  Sally said “If you see a storm approaching, get off the water fast!”  I asked her why she was so adamant about it, and she said “didn’t you hear?”  I said “hear what?”  “Well two women were killed and one of their husbands has third degree burns from his waist down!”  “You don’t play with lightning!”  “Get off the water if there is even a hint of danger.”  Well she had our attention!  In fact I almost canceled out, as we had eleven of us going and  six were kids.

Unfortunately this had happened the weekend before.  The two woman were electrocuted in the water and the mans lower body had third degree burns.  The lightning bolt hit the water almost 100 feet away from them, but due to parts of their bodies touching the water they were a conduit for the electricity.

Please take this as good advice and a warning.  Anyone  on a river or lake should seek safety when storm clouds bring trouble.  Lightning kills more people per year than most of us imagine.  Around 370 people are struck by lightning each year with about 70 of those dying!  Better to be safe than sorry when on the water in a storm.

Mike

A Full Service Surprise

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Recently, while spending time at my camp in Luzerne, my brother and I drove through Fairview.  We were on our way to Cedar Valley golf course, but needed to stop and get gas.  I pulled over to one of the local service stations, and got quite a pleasant surprise.  As I stepped out of the car to pump my gas, a very friendly face appeared from the station.  He beat me to the pump and asked how much gas I wanted?  I told him he didn’t have to do that, and he smiled and replied “It’s my job.”  With jobs and the economy “in the tank” I sure wasn’t going wrestle the hose away from an honest to goodness “full service gas station attendant!”

The guys name was Aaron Handrich, and he worked for Cliff’s Fairview Garage on Miller road.  The gas was the same price as the self serve, down the road, so it was a bonus getting my gas pumped and my windshield cleaned.  When’s the last time that happened to you?  I can’t remember the last time I was actually treated like a “customer!”  Aaron was a pleasant conversationalist, and seemed to enjoy what he was doing.  It’s guys like Aaron and Cliff’s Garage that are the backbone of this great land.  Problem now a days is so many Mom and Pop business can’t make a go of it, and are closing their doors.  Washington is so out of touch with the worries and concerns of the average American, and it doesn’t appear that anything is going to change in the foreseeable future.

Randy (my brother) and I truly appreciate you Aaron and your contribution to society, along with the little gas station you represent so well.  Anytime I’m near Fairview, and need gas, I promise to stop at Cliff’s place and say hi.  Hoping you all peace and contentment in all you put your hands to.

Cutting Wood With Bucky

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Just returned from a long weekend at the new camp, and cut some firewood for the firepit.  Brother Randy went with me for that purpose, and also to get a few rounds of golf in.  Randy hurt his back and wasn’t able to help very much, but he still kicked my butt in golf.  It’s one thing to get beat, but quite humbling to be beaten by someone with a physical problem.

I cut down about seven dead trees, and then cut them up into manageable pieces.  While  I was running the chain saw a small buck walked up behind me, and stood watching.  I turned around and started talking to him as I tried to get closer.  He wagged his tail back and forth showing me he was not alarmed, as I gently talked and walked.  At 10 yards I decided I would stop, and my friend “Bucky” never did spook.  I told him I would do my best to keep him safe this year, as this deer would not be representative of the wily whitetails as we know them.  If he stays on my property he will be given “sanctuary!”

The food plot is up and growing after just 9 days since planting.  I hope the deer give it a chance to fully mature before chowing down on it.  The whitetail clover is doing well and the grasses are about two inches in length.  This will be interesting, as I have never hunted a food plot before.  Still have stands to place, or build, but that won’t happen until I can establish some kind of pattern on the deers’ movements.  Can’t wait to get back up north.

A Bearded Lady

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

It’s been awhile since I wrote a post, but I have an excellent excuse!  I was up north enjoying the cabin and 10 acres I just purchased last week.  To say we had a good time would be an understatement.  My wife and I enjoyed a few days to ourselves, and then 10 of our kids and grandkids joined us.  We rode four wheelers, tubed the AuSable river, watched deer from the front porch, planted food plots, chopped wood, ate out, had bonfires, played games, and just had a good time with one another.

I wanted to post this picture of the hen turkey we saw our second day at the camp.  At first I thought it was a Tom, but after closer inspection saw that it was a “bearded lady!”  That’s right!  I have seen three hens (with beards) before, but the beards have only been 2-3 inches long.  This particular bird has a 8-9 inch beard, which I would assume to be very unusual.  I mean “my goodness” it’s a trophy hen!  The DNR regulations for turkey hunting states that “you may take one bearded turkey with your permit.”  It is not specific as to the turkey having to be a male (Tom.)  It was explained to us years ago that some females do grow a small beard – thus the DNR statement.  This hen should be in a traveling sideshow with the circus it’s beard is so long.  I hope you can see it well in the picture, as it may be long, but it’s rather thin.

Nature is so cool.  Seems like every time I get out I have the distinct pleasure to hear, see, or experience something different.  I’ll be writing more about our excursion in up coming blogs.