Archive for May, 2014

Zip-Line Fun

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Mem. Day 2014 cabin 074One of the projects that I wanted to get done before the 4th. of July week-end, was installing a zip-line at the cabin.  I had ordered one off E-Bay a few weeks ago.  I ordered an extra 50 feet of cable for a total of 150 foot!

My friend Ed Ponzy helped me install it between two of the trees on the west side of our cabin.  I used one of my ladder deer stands for the platform, and that seemed to work out very well.  The platform is at 14 feet and we tied the cable to the tree at 17 feet from the ground.  You can actually sit on the platform and grip the zip line handle bars (over your head) then push off from a seated position.  We tied off the other end of the cable to a pine tree 130 foot away from the stand, after cutting off a few branches.

Once up and ready to try out there wasn’t anyone very willing to take a “leap of faith!”  The wives were not going to let the kids try it first as we didn’t even know if it was going to work right.  My son-in-law Glen finally said he would be the test pilot, and after several minutes of “collecting” his nerve, he made one small leap for man and one giant leap for the “kids” of mankind!  He had a blast, and I quickly followed with my own zip line follies!  It was a lot of fun, and I’m sure the grandkids are going to love the newest addition to our summer activities.

In the second picture it would appear that I was screaming like a “little girl!”  Trust me I was doing that for effect-I really am not that ugly(scary face for the kids benefit!)

MikeMem. Day 2014 cabin 075

Black Morel’s And The “False” Cousin

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Mem. Day 2014 cabin 018Mem. Day 2014 cabin 017Just returned home from 6 days at the cabin with my wife.  My brother Randy told me to look for some mushrooms while I was up there, but The prime weekend (Mothers Day) had come and gone, and I really don’t have any hardwoods around my place.  I always assumed that mushrooms needed a woods full of hardwood trees to grow.  My place has mostly pines, birch, and poplar so I wasn’t even going to attempt to look for any morel’s! The first morning at camp my friend Ed and Myself were walking through the front yard of the cabin and I spotted a black morel in the grass. Much to our surprise there were about 25 of them right out my front door.  Talk about easy pickings!  We continued looking around the area and along the ditch fronting my property line.  We found 27 more for a total of 52 morel’s right in my own “hardwood-less” yard.  I guess the “morel” of the story is these things taste great no matter where you “stumble” onto them. A word of caution is needed at this point as there weer many big nice looking “false morels” (poison) growing in the same vicinity as the edible black morels.  Posted above is a picture of the black morels along with a picture of the false morels.  Don’t let them fool you as they are not edible and can be quite dangerous if eaten.  Picture on the left is best “left” alone while the one’s on the right are great eating! I fixed a venison tenderloin with about 20 black morels cooked over the grill in butter.  They were absolutely delicious.  I also brought a bag home to my brother who has been patiently waiting to cook them up with a nice sirloin.  Sometimes the best things in life are free!


Michigan’s Common Snapping Turtle

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

birds and turtle 014One species of snapping turtle found in Michigan is the Common Snapping Turtle.  I don’t know if it is all the “common,” as I have only seen a handful in my 67 years!  Well to day was one of those days that I not only saw one of these  aggressive reptiles, but two of them.  They were near a drain tile (12″) laying in the drainage ditch of a neighbors front yard.  I’m assuming it was a male and female.  The larger of the two could hardly fit it’s shell inside the tile, as I approached for a camera shot!  I had to wait till they felt safe to come out into the open again to get my photo. This is the time of year (mid May-mid June) that the female travels far and wide searching for a good nesting area.  She will lay between 20 and 40 eggs, usually in a soft sandy area for incubation purposes.  The Common Snapping Turtle is not fussy about what he eats from fish, insects,amphibians, and even birds are all part of their diet.  These turtles can also be quite aggressive.  They treat you like you owe them money, and there going to collect it!  The turtle shell can be dark grey or black, but is usually covered with moss so it appears green at times.  The mortality rate is very high for turtles, in general, and the Common Snapping Turtle is no different.  Only 2-3 may make it from the nest to adulthood.  No wonder it is a rare sight indeed to see one of Michigan’s “Turtle Wonders!” Mike

Small Cabin – Great Value!

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Cabin bear poop 020Cabin bear poop 022Cabin bear poop 025Recently I read an article about an Eco-Friendly cabin that is actually portable.  It has a total of 400 square feet and is made out of pine with one bedroom, living room, and kitchen.  There are several options such as a bathroom and screened in room, but you still have to hook up utilities where ever you plop this unit down.  The price is a mere $79,000 smackeroos!

I recently had a 12×26 cabin shell built for me by Amish craftsmen.  Total living space is 320 square foot with a 72 square foot screened in front porch.  I installed a small bathroom, paneled the interior, ran electricity, and have a fridge and microwave, along with an electric heater and ceiling fans.  My unit sleeps 6 comfortably and so far I have just a tad over $10,000 dollars invested in my little “bunkhouse.  It sits on 6×6 skids and can be moved if necessary.

We have enjoyed it to the max, and are looking forward to our memorial day weekend with the family.  The grandkids are always arguing as to who gets to stay in the “bunkhouse!  It’s kind of nice to have those 8-9-and 10 year olds away from the main cabin; if you get my drift!  Anyway I think our little cabin is quite a great value when compared to what you have to shell out for a manufactured one.




First Morel Mushrooms of the Year!

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

mothers day 017Yesterday was the big day!  I fixed some of the morel mushrooms I found Sunday along with some venison steaks, and baked potatoes.  It was even better than I anticipated!

First I cut the mushrooms in half and let them sit in a bowl of salted water.  They stayed in the fridge for about a day then I ran cold water over them while making sure I cleaned out any sand or bugs that may have been hiding inside.  I returned them to the fridge in a mixture of egg and milk.  When I got ready to cook them up I put a 1/4 stick of butter in the frying pan and heated it up.  I then rolled the mushrooms in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper.  When the butter was hot I put the morels in the frying pan.  They cooked for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

While I was doing that I had the steaks on the grill, and the baked potatoes in the oven.  The planning was perfect, as everything was done around the same time, and I was more than ready for my first bite of butter fried wild mushrooms!

It was absolutely delicious!  I ate like a king, as I watched the Tiger’s beat Baltimore, and Porcello get another win!”  What a great way to watch your home team win, as you are savoring a meal harvested by your own hands!  I cooked up so many mushrooms that I was able to have a late night snake, as I warmed a plate-full in the microwave.  What a great way to finish off a rainy, windy, tornado warning day!

Morning In The Turkey woods!

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

mushrooms 002I know “almost” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but I almost had my turkey today.  He would of been a Thanksgiving dinner if I had my shotgun rather than my bow.  I worked 5 birds for almost 45 minutes, and the three that finally came close enough for a shot circled around my set-up, and came in from behind me.  I had to do some moving to get into position for a shot.  I figured the yardage for about 30 yards and let one rip!  The bird reacted as if it were hit, and I thought I saw a few feathers fly, but he quickly joined his two buddies and hot footed across the newly plowed farm field.

Upon inspection I found part of a tail feather and a couple smaller feathers from the base of the fan.  Shot a few inches high and just scared the 3 Amigos!  So near, but so far!  I saw several more Tom’s but could not get them to come my way.

I packed things up and decided to look for a few mushrooms on my way out of the woods.  Well at least I was successful at locating about 20 delicious Morel’s.  that doesn’t happen very often, so it soothed my wounded ego somewhat.  I plan on having some buttered sauteed mushrooms smothered on my venison tenderloin within the next day or two.  Hard to believe I still have a couple packages of tenderloins in my freezer.  All in all it was a good morning, and there’s always tomorrow!


Turkey’s Birds and Mushrooms!

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Daddy Daughter Dance 005Things have sure been “slow” in the turkey woods this year.  don’t know if it’s because of the long cold winter or not, but the birds have been very elusive so far.  A few years ago the Ansel men and women were able to bag 8 tom’s.  So far this year only brother Darryl and his boy Derek have had any luck.  Darryl shot a nice bird with a 9 inch beard and Derek dropped one with a 10-1/2 inch beard.  I’ve had the grand-kids out a few times but we aren’t having much success with drawing birds in.  So far I’m getting much of the same reports from all over the state.  Maybe the late season hunt will be the best of the three periods.

On this blog I’m posting a picture of a bird that has been coming into our back yard feeder.  We have a couple different “bird books” but can’t seem to positively identify this bird.  Half looks like a sparrow and half look like some kind of wren.  Hope you “birders” out there can help us out.

Went looking for Morel mushrooms yesterday, but it must be to early yet.  Seems like Mothers day is always a good time to find them and maybe after today’s heat wave (90) degrees they’ll start popping up.  I’m looking forward to a nice big venison steak covered in mushrooms.


This Post Is For The “Birds!”

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

2013 Orlando trip 104pheasant Nina 004backyard turkey 007Crane and yellow finch 013red cardinal 003Crane and yellow finch 003backyard birds 015backyard birds 006song bird 006wood-pecker hepshiba support letter 002Pictures of various birds I’ve taken snapshots of.  (Blue Heron, Egret, Cardinal, Purple Finch, Song Sparrow, Morning Dove, English Sparrow, Eastern Turkey, Downy Woodpecker, Gold Finch, Ring-Neck Pheasant.)  Pictures are not in order.


Second Amendment Alert!

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

001Recently retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens  called for the Second Amendment (The right to bear arms) to be gutted!  Justice Stevens advocates officially changing the constitution so that only government managed entities may be armed!  Does that make you feel all “safe and protected?”  There are many anti Second Amendment advocates out there who think the time has come for the implementation of just such an idea.

Recently columnist Jerry Lange has called for a repeal of the Second Amendment.  Justice Stevens and Mr. Lange are not alone in their quest to answer violent urban crime!  Last year the Minneapolis Post, Vanity Fair, a professor at Texas A and M, along with a host of newspaper editors, cable news shows, and news agencies have been pushing for a repeal of the Second Amendment.  There is even a Facebook page devoted to such an appeal.  Lange stated “I don’t believe the Second Amendment was ever intended to support the kind of gun craziness we contend with today,” Lange continued, “but since it’s always used to ward of any common-sense gun reforms, maybe we ought to fix the Constitution and be done with it.”

What set Lange off was a rash of Jet City shootings which resulted in three fatalities in recent days.  Does the Seattle Times columnist think that any of the people involved in Seattle’s shootings had their guns legally?  Does he think they had a permit to carry?  At the same time these acts of violence are going on around the country, tens of thousands of armed Second Amendment supporters were meeting  in Indianapolis, Puyallup, and Tacoma.  Over 75,000 people visited the NRA convention in Indianapolis with many being openly armed or packing concealed carry handguns.  Nobody suffered an injury or did harm to anyone else!

Chicago has some of the toughest “gun control” laws on the books, but it leads all major city’s in murders and gun related crime.  Gun bans did not prevent those crimes!  The problem rest in the “hearts” of men.  That is where reform, transformation, and change need to take place.  Once we start messing with the Bill of Rights we are on a fast ride down the “slippery slope.”

I guess in the thinking of some, it’s much easier to punish law abiding citizens than to do “heart transplants” on those hell bent on destroying others.