Friday, September 30, 2011

Four-Wheelin' Color Tour

Our oldest son stopped in for a visit for a few days enroute from Nipigon, Canada, to Grand Rapids, MI. He's been working in Canada since June, so we were thrilled to spend some time with him. The colors of nature are brilliant, so we hopped on the quads and went for a color tour. Here we are leaving the house.

Stopping to check the river for salmon.

Lots of salmon...

Came back later and caught us a keeper!
Supper's on!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hello Autumn!

I apologize to my regular readers for the prolonged absence. I caught a bug of sorts, or should I say it caught me, and it pulled me down for the count over the weekend.

I fell, and observed fall. Humph.

Sometimes it takes getting sick to force one to slow down and really witness the ever-changing colors. That's how it has seemed up here. One day I spot a splash of red in a maple, then by days end it blends with orange, to yellow, and voila! There is a palette of countryside colors everywhere! Even the green ferns have turned to the color of taupe I would gladly paint my walls. And then you have the purple of the wild asters that coincide beautifully. Would I have dared dreamed that color match up myself? I think there is a lot to be learned from nature.

And even the sky fights for attention this time of year. Nature in all of it's glory.

So for tonight's post, I'll share with you the pictures I have captured of fall's arrival and lengthy stay I hope. I'm not ready for the white stuff - just yet!

Enjoying supper on the St. Mary's River as a freighter glides by.

The sky wants in on the color swatch.

Hubby's deer blind.

View from the blind.

Hey, I want one, too!
<insert whine here>

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No Lions, No Tigers, Just Bear!

This is the time of year our quiet country road becomes a major thoroughfare. As I write this, I watch the pickup trucks disappear into the Hiawatha National Forest, only to re-emerge moments to hours later - all in pursuit of the elusive black bear. The hunt is on...

Some bear hunters hunt out of tree stands, hoping their bait pile of sugary snacks, vanilla extract, all drenched in disposed cooking oil from the nearest restaurant, will attract more than flies and bees. This potpourri of odors doesn't appeal to the moose, but curiosity will bring them in for a quick lookey see. We captured this grainy shot below on our game camera. It's kind of like shooting a picture of the elusive Big Foot! Bluurry! Grin.

Eventually, a bear with a sweet tooth will swagger in and chow down. Usually at night, after the hunter has gone to bed. Frustrating.

Other bear hunters prefer to hunt with their dogs. They release their trained dogs and monitor their activity and current location by the collar the dogs wear and the state of the art radios the hunters carry. The chase is on until a bear climbs a tree, is trapped by the howling dogs, and the hunter drives to the location and shoots the bear.

We prefer the tree stand approach.

Yesterday, we were fishing down by the river in the afternoon with our own dogs lolly-gagging through the river and the woods. We could hear the faint Beagle-like yelp of bear dogs in the distance, getting closer and closer to the Grizzly Den. We knew they were on the scent of a bear. My dog, Bear,

was not quite as content as in this picture and began whining like crazy while pacing between us and the truck, visibly agitated and quite certain we were under attack. Ike looked on nervously into the woods, then studied Hubby's smiling face and then my face trying to assess the danger level from my wrinkled forehead. Confused for sure, I'm guessing he was wishing for respite in his dog house...

I gave hubby the camera with the order to shoot the bear if'/when it crossed the river, then I stayed close to the cabin with the three dogs (chickens, all four of us), just in case that bear decided to cross the river and come our way. Brave Hubby disappeared around the bend of the river to get the best shot possible. But the bear had a different direction in mind and took a hard left turning away from the river at the very last moment. Whew.

But no pic.

Neither Hubby, or sons, or myself obtained a license this year. I have enough points to get one next year. But for now, I can share with you the success Hubby and son had two years back.

After 3 days of hunting...son got his first bear, a sow. The timing was perfect as son had to leave for work the next day. As usual, his dog, Tess, had to pose pretty and be in the picture, too!

After 9 straight persistent days, Hubby got his bear, a boar, in a cedar swamp.

They say bear meat is sweet. I don't know. I only process the bear using it for jerky, burger, and steaks. The guys all said it was good. I'll take their word for it!

We've been stopping in at the check-in spot in Strongs to see the bear that are being brought in and documented. So far, since the 10th of September, just under 30 bears have been brought in. Strongs, Michigan, is officially recognized as the Black Bear Capital of Michigan.

For the most part, it is a safe sport. Until, that is, you come across a protective mama bear. Here's an interesting article that was the talk of the coffee shops this week. Click on the link below.

Trout Lake is about 15 miles west of us.
This is why I walk with a can of Mace in my pocket. 
(Don't worry mom.)

Fishing was Great!!

And so was the fish fry!

Have a blessed week, everyone!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Time out...

Now that my day job is in full swing, I am fortunate to witness many a beautiful sunrise. The mornings are getting chillier everyday, and usually fog lingers, but it makes for beautiful wide open spaces.

I get to see Canada everyday.

But my favorite part of my day job is my 30 minute lunch break. (When I was a kid in school and a grownup would ask me what my favorite subject was, my response was always "Recess!" I guess that kid still exists...)

I am blessed to be able to eat my lunch in a little park along the St. Mary's River, a block away from work, right next to the Soo Locks. I am a freighter junkie at heart, and love watching those magnificent steel contraptions silently, effortlessly glide by on their way to additional exciting places.

This is my favorite freighter, the Arthur Anderson. She accompanied the Edmund Fitzgerald that fateful night of November 10, 1975. 

There is a company in the Soo called the Soo Marine Supply and the name says it all. They have a boat called the Ojibway which transports supplies to the passing ships. Hubby and I were fortunate to witness first hand how the operation works two summers back when we were invited to tag along...

We watched them load up supplies on shore...

and rode along as they delivered the supplies to a passing freighter. The Ojibway hooked up alongside the Lee A. Tregurtha and unloaded the goods.

Well, this past week, I was able to view the process from the shoreline.

Recess was fun!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Behind the Falls...

Remember this post on the majestic Tahquamenon Falls?

This weekend we were invited to take a trip to the backside of the Tahquamenon Falls.

First, we had to board the Toonerville Trolly.

Some of the locals arrived by bus.

The ride took about an hour. Everyone kept their eyes peeled for the bear that frequent the area.

Arriving at the Tahquamenon River and our boat.

The ride and river were beautiful, and so was the day...

Upon arriving at our destination, which took two hours one way, we exited the boat and walked 3/4 of a mile to the falls.

See those people on the other side? That's where I took the first picture on this post. You can drive to that side of the falls. But the only way to get to this side of the falls is via the Toonerville Trolly, snowmobile, or four-wheeler which we've done numerous times. But this was our first trolly/boat ride!

Then we hiked to the back of the falls. Incredible!

I wonder what the people on the other side of the river were thinking at this point. Perhaps, what in the world are we thinking?

The path back.

Once we returned to the boat, we discovered, (and heard) an approaching storm that only got us a little wet.

We never did see a bear. But we did see a bald eagle that I was too slow to capture on film, numerous Kingfishers, and plenty of herons.

Another wonderful day in the UP, eh?