Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Large Smallmouth Equals Large Smiles!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

My son-in-law Glen Pafford is a fishing fanatic.  every chance he gets he has a line in the water somewhere.  glen is a carpet store owner and does most of his installations by himself, so his fishing time is limited.  He has a 14 foot aluminum boat at my cabin and I have a 50 pound thrust electric trolling motor that he uses.  His son kyle is his fishing buddy and they are quite competitive when it comes to “Who caught the biggest, who caught the most!

Glen has a couple spots around my place he likes to fish, when at the cabin, but one spot in particular seems to keep him coming back for more.  He would not want me to divulge the name of the lake, so we’ll just keep quite about that.  On numerous occasions all of us have fished from the shore of this lake and caught rock bass, perch, and sunfish, but never a true lunker!

This past weekend Glen finally reeled in a very respectable smallmouth while fishing for perch.  He was actually reeling in a hook with a minnow attached when the “smallie” attacked!  Glen set the hook and the fight was on! Kyle manned the net and did a great job of getting the prize into the boat. twenty inch 4-5 pound smallmouth are not real common as far as I know.  At least I’ve never caught one that big!

It just goes to show you that persistence does indeed have it’s rewards!

Take a Kid Fishing and You’ll get a Reward

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Last weekend I had three of my grandson’s and one of their buddies up north at the cabin.  My son-in-law Glen has a small boat and always takes his boy Kyle fishing when their in camp.

On the first day we arrived Glen went to McCormick Lake and He and Kyle caught about 10 small perch!  well that really interested the boys, so I made up some poles for us to tag along on the following day.  Glen and Kyle still used the boat, but I stayed on shore with the boys.  Mccormick Lake is crystal clear and know to have some huge brown trout inhabiting its deep waters.  There is a special knack in catching these fish, one that I don’t possess, so we were after the rock bass, perch, and yellow bellies that stay in the shallows.

Grandson Jacob used lures and small shiners while I hooked up Brady and Drew with the old fashioned favorite “worms!” Eight year old Brady was the first to land a fish and his smile he couldn’t contain.  He ran it over to show his mom and dad and continued to do so after every rock bass he caught.  Drew reeled in a young smallmouth and then caught a sunfish while Jacob was having no luck.  I even caught a few when Brady was showing off his catch.  Those rock bass give quite a fight and are tons of fun to catch.

About two hours in we ran out of worms and decided to call it quits, but as yet Jacob was empty handed.  I was about 50 feet away from him and saw my bobber go under fast.  I yelled to Jacob to come grab the pole before this “monster” got away. Much to his delight he landed the biggest rock bass of the day.

The reward for me was seeing these boys enjoying the great outdoors.  No phones, I pads, or texting going on, just miles and miles of heartfelt smiles.  Memories they’ll share of the “biggest” (Jacob) – “the most” (Brady) – and “the biggest variety” (Drew) will last for many years to come.  That’s my reward and I’m sticking to it!

And by the way Kyle and his dad caught 10 more perch to add to their “fish fry!”

Mike

Michigan Youth Hunt and Bear Season are Upon Us!

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Just returned from the north woods and I think things are looking pretty good for the September 16,17 early deer hunt!  Seen more deer this summer than I have in the last several years.  there are at least 4 different young bucks hanging around my place with a nice little basket rack 8 pointer just waiting for my 12 year old grandson to “pop” him!  Still seeing fawns with spots and the does look nice and healthy.

Although there is not a fall turkey season around my place, next spring should be a bonanza, as turkey are all over the place!

Bear opener is just a few days away (Sept. 10th) and five of the Ansel clan drew a third hunt permit.  We hunt private property in the Marquette area and bear have been meandering right through the Baldwins camp where we have hunted for over 40 years. The Department of Natural Resources has stated that there has been a record number of bear nuisance complaints this year.  Seems the bear population has increased in both the Lower and Upper Peninsula, which is a boon for the bear hunters.

My place is in the Red Oak bear unit, but the chances of drawing a permit for it are “nil!” It wood probably take me 6-7 years before I could possibly draw one for Red Oak!  I have seen numerous bear on my property and just this last weekend found a pile of bear scat 12 feet from my deer blind.  I’m to old to wait that long and old friendships are hard to lay aside.  We always have a great time with Dick, Gary, Gregg, Paula, Matt, and now the grandkids Hunter, Jack, Ryan, and Dylan!  Looking forward to some “brookie” dinners and possibly some fresh bear backstraps!

Mike

Long Weekend With Friends At The Cabin!

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Just returned from a long weekend at the cabin.  My wife and I took two ladies from our church up to experience the wonder of the area.  Friday the three girls shopped and visited the Amish Bulk House along with a store we call the Amish Wal-Mart! They also visited a Christian book store in Fairview.  I stayed at the cabin cut grass and moved part of the popple tree that was cut down two weeks ago.  Spread some dirt around and did just a small amount of work on the new cabin.  I had set a live trap for a “Porky” that’s been chewing on my new cabin and ended up catching a feral cat!

We have three turkey hens that hang out around the cabin and one of them hatched 12 chicks and one hatched 7 chicks.  The third one never had any young ones.  Well when we arrived and got settled in we found that the hen with 12 young now had 7, and the hen with 7 now had six.  Foxes, Coyotes, and I’m thinking feral cats have been feasting on these young birds.  They can fly but have to constantly be on the lookout for predators!

Saturday we went to the AuSable Valley Railroad and road the train with our guest.  Winnie Webb’s deceased husband Gary used to work for the railroad so she was enthralled by the events of the day.  After the ride we went to Cedar Valley Golf and Amusement Park and played 18 holes of putt-putt golf.  The Amusement Park has tons of rides, arcades, carnival food, and batting cages.  If your not into amusement parks but like to golf the course is one of the finest in the area.  I play it every chance I get.

Late afternoon we headed for the Lewiston Lodge for a great dinner by East Twin Lake.  We capped the night off with an ice cream cone as we met up with old friends Ed and Pat Alger, who have a place in Lewiston.

Great friends, great fellowship, and an agreement to do it again in the future.  We love it in God’s country!

Mike

Basement Family Room Repairs

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Six weeks ago our basement flooded during a rainstorm the dumped 3 inches of rain in our area. Panelling, dry wall, carpeting, furniture, and anything on the floor was water logged!  We had insurance, but not enough to cover the help I needed from the various “trades” needed to renovate my “man cave!” The only way to tackle this problem was to “do it myself!”  My son-in-law ripped up the carpet, and I had help getting the furniture up into the garage, but I’ve been on my own since!

I ordered a load of tongue and groove pre stained siding in 1″ x 6″ and have been pecking away at installation.  It’s the same wood I’m using on my cabin in Luzerne.  I eliminated a closet and put a recessed shelve in it’s place.  New insulation, vapor barrier, and drywall had to be installed first.  Many trips up and down the steps has my “new” hip hurting, among other muscle aches and pains, but last evening I put up the final piece of panelling.  I still have trim work to do, but now I can start moving my mounts back on the walls and out of my wife’s laundry room! she will appreciate that I’m sure!

Carpet and furniture are next.  Actually we are thinking about some vinyl plank flooring that would not get ruined if we ever flood again?  I’ll be glad to get my room back.  It may come in handy if North Korea starts the “beginning of the end!” My Kingdom is not of this world as I realise all things in this life are temporary at best, and my hope rest in the promise of Jesus to “Never leave of forsake me!”

Mike

M-50 and Hillsdale County Michigan’s Scenic Drive

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Took a ride from my house up M-50 to north of Onstead a couple days ago.  It’s a very relaxing and scenic drive through the heart of “big buck” country (Hillsdale!)  The corn is high so I didn’t see any deer, but I did see quite a few turkeys.  Just south of the small town of Michigan Center I saw a group of 9 Tom’s feeding about 30 yards off the road.  I turned my car around and was able to snap a few photo’s of them.  The leader had a huge (12-14 inch) beard, and the others were 8 inches and up.  If you zoom in on the second photo you’ll see Mr. Long Beard on the right.  Sure would like to see one like that during hunting season!

Mike

Billy the lumberjack!

Friday, July 28th, 2017

I have been building a new cabin on my property in Luzerne and am winding down on the major issues.  It has been a long tedious process!  When your doing most of the work yourself, and you live 240 miles away it can really drain you.

Just this past week I had the propane tank installed, with the regulator so I can run my on-demand hot water heater, and my furnace.  This has worried me a bit as the water heater sat all winter, and I was hoping there were no problems mechanically.  I also needed to make sure the furnace worked along with the blower kit I purchased for it!  Turns out both water heater and furnace performed flawlessly. Strike that off my list!

There was one other major issue that needed my attention as soon as possible.  I have a 100 foot tall Poppel tree that is 2 foot off my front porch.  About half way up the tree takes an abrupt turn toward my cabin!  This year i have had at least 12 similar trees break off during one of the many strong storms we have had move through the area.  If this “baby” goes my cabin would be directly in harms way.

I asked my neighbors if they knew a tree cutter (lumberjack) and they gave me a name of a guy that only lived about 4 miles away.  Billy, or Bill came over the same evening I called, gave me a price, and said he would be over the next evening to “take her down!”  He even showed me where he would “lay” this giant poppel out!

sure enough he showed up next evening with his soon to be son-in-law and his darling grand-daughter.  He explained what he was going to do, doned his equipment and scaled that tree in a few short minutes.  He stopped about 70 feet up and tied off a rope that his helper pulled over to the “drop zone!”  He cranked up his 20 inch HusQvarna and notched the east side of the tree.  He then moved to the south/west side and started to cut.  When the tree started its journey to the ground Bill’s son-in-law pulled that heavy, enormous, sky busting, poppel to the ground exactly where Bill said it would fall.  I was impressed!  It took longer to “slice and dice” it into manageable pieces than it did to bring it down (three minutes!)

I have a few more trees that need to go, and Bill will be the guy I call.  It was nice talking with him and he had a lot in common with my friend Pastor Bob Baltrip.  We even got to enjoy the wonders of a pretty little lady who thought “Papa” was the greatest!  Thanks Bill for such a great job at removing that tree before “Mother Nature” did!

Mike

Cedar Valley Golfing With Friends!

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

This past week my wife and I were at our place in Luzerne with good friends Ed and Linda Ponzy and Bob and Linda Baltrip. Everyone brought their golf clubs including both Linda’s!

Monday morning we showed up at Cedar Valley Golf Course in Comins, just about 5 miles North of Fairview.  I have played the course many times over the years, but this would be my first chance to play this year.  Cedar Valley is under new ownership, as Mike and Rebecca Harrington manage the course (and amusement park) for the owners John and Carole Kulhavi.  Both Bob and Ed have golfed here before, but this is the first time the three of us have been able to play together on this “gem” of a course.  Even if you don’t play your best round you will enjoy yourself I promise!  The course is in one of the most awesome “northern” settings one could imagine.  Majestic pines, maples, oaks, and cherry trees line this superbly laid out 18 hole course. Throw in some strategically laid out ponds, hills, and valley’s and you have the making of some great memories, not to mention some wonderful photo ops.  The grounds are beautiful, especially around the clubhouse with it’s dazzling array of flowers, and newly remodeled buildings!

Monday morning we arrived about 8:30 and were able to get right on with no problem.  The greens were in excellent shape, but you better know how to putt, as the pin placements are tough.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely and were back at the cabin by 1:00 o’clock!

Tuesday is dollar a hole day ($18 bucks and a cart) plus dollar hotdogs and dollar drinks.  Linda Baltrip would join us on Tuesday and my wife and Linda P. would go along for the ride!  We arrived at the same time as Monday, but found 20 cars in the parking lot ahead of us!  At the Pro Shop we were told it would be 3-1/2 hours before we could get on, we were all so disappointed!  Our sad faces must of done the trick as we were told if we could “mount up” immediately we could go off the front!  We set a record getting our clubs on the carts and driving over to the number one hole.  Again it was such a beautiful day playing with good friends on such a lovely course that we hardly complained when we “drowned” a brand new ball.  Like Bob likes to say “Hey we aren’t good enough to complain!”  Even though the course draws a lot of golfers for the Tuesday special things moved well on the course and we finished in decent time.

I am now trying to get three of my golf playing brothers to take a few days and come up for some fun at Cedar Valley.  Hopefully in the next few weeks they will be able to also enjoy this “Gem of the pines” in Comins Michigan.

Who’s Your Caddy?

Friday, July 14th, 2017

I have an awesome 12 year old grandson who happens to play some pretty good golf.  I started him playing when he was 6 years old after his mother bought him a kids set of clubs through Costco. His dad is a baseball fanatic, so I am awarded very little time to hone Kyle’s skills on the course, but he has been able to squeeze in a few golf lessons each year.  While he is an excellent little ball player, in my opinion, he is a natural born golfer!  One of the most perfect swings I’ve ever seen, and a coach’s dream! He actually listens to and comprehends instructions?  His golf teacher has been wonderful with Kyle and expects good things from him.

Two weeks ago I caddied for him at his first U.S. Kids Golf Tournament at Fox Hills in Lavonia.  He had only 3 rounds of golf under his belt while his competitors play in leagues, are members of country clubs, and receive private instructions year round! We were not sure how Kyle would “stack up” against these tried and honed veterans, but it wasn’t long before we knew he could stick with them!  On a course he never played before, shooting from the seniors “T”s, he shot a 86 for third place in the 11-12 year old age group. He actually turned in a better score than 6 other boys and should of taken second place except for a scoring blunder.

Just a few days ago I again caddied for Kyle at the La-Z-Boy open held at Green Meadows Golf course in Monroe.  Kyle was the defending age group champion, which he has won for the past two years. The 11-12 year old play nine holes a day on consecutive days.  Day one we started on the back nine with a par five being hole number 10!  Kyle started off with a worm burner on his drive, a duffed second shot, a ball in the creek, and a 4 putt for a ten (10!)  The two kids in his grouping (including a young lady) both had a better score!  I had never seen him put so many “bad” shots together on one hole?  Golf is 75% mental and Kyle was sinking fast!

We approached the next hole which was a par 3 at 190 yards.  Kyle triple bogied it (6) which means he had a score of 16 on just two holes!  I pulled him aside and said he was not sweeping the ground or keeping his head down long enough. He responded with a bogie on the next par five, a birdy, and back to back pars!  To make a long story short he shot a 43 for the nine holes which was rather remarkable considering the lousy start!

Day two saw us on the front nine which plays 2 strokes harder then the back nine.  Even with a penalty stroke for hitting one in the creek Kyle shot an amazing 41 on the tougher front nine.  His 84 was good enough to defend his title and he actually scored better than most boys in the 13-14 year old bracket.  Without the horrendous start on day one he could of “spanked” both age brackets handley!

When people ask “Who’s your caddy?”  Kyle responds “It’s my ole Grand-Daddy!”  My pleasure grandson, congratulations!

Mike

Forth of July at the Cabin!

Friday, July 7th, 2017


Made it up to Luzerne over the 4th of July with my wife and daughter Tara, husband Glen, and grandson Kyle. I had some work to do on the new place and had hired a local Mennonite builder to take care of several jobs I just don’t have the time or energy to do!  I do not want to let the “cat out of the bag” so I will not reveal his name, as I don’t want him to be so busy he can’t squeeze me in again!  While there he finished the upstairs of our “barn house” and finished a kitchen wall and small door downstairs! Meanwhile I was completing the bathroom ceiling and making our front yard bigger!

Monday evening we had a bonfire and did s’mores.  during the day we had several turkeys pay us a visit and I even was able to film one eating out of my hand!

The morning of July forth the gang packed up and drove to Traverse city for the fireworks and to sun on the beach.  Glen and Kyle also rented kayak’s and paddled the bay area.  I choose to stay and work around the cabin!  Crowds are not my thing, and besides who’s going to do what needs to be done if not me?

I worked most of the 4th. on expanding our lawn area by cutting cherry trees, brush, poplar’s, stumps, and burning debris and dead logs/branches in our fire pit!  I had a continuous fire for several hours.  I then used my John Deere to cut ferns and fauna and level the “playing field!”

I then took a nice long break and started on the bathroom ceiling.  I ended up finishing it on the next day.  I also fixed some loose boards on the zip-line platform and mowed the 4×4 trail around my property.  I felt it was more like “Labor Day” than the Fourth, but I also felt a sense of accomplishment.

Now I’m home working on my “honey do” list which should keep me “off” the streets and out of trouble!  At least for awhile!

Mike