Friday, June 7, 2013

Gone Fishing, Up A Tree, and Mr. Quills Was Back...


Steve received a phone call from a friend from church this past Monday asking him if he would be interested in filling a fourth spot in a boat the next day and go fishing on the St. Mary's River and out the mouth onto Lake Huron by DeTour Reef Lighthouse. 
He caught this beautiful Laker! 
We soaked a cedar plank in water overnight, seasoned the fish with Tones Lemon Pepper (Sam's Club) and Penzeys 4/S Seasoned Salt and Penzeys BBQ 3000 spice. Penzeys is my favorite spice store. They have every spice you could possibly imagine. You can check out the location of their stores on their website www.penzeys.com. Along with spices to order, their website offers recipes and an opportunity to sign up for their free catalog. DO IT! Every season they send a catalog filled to the brim with spices and recipes and a coupon on the front for a free spice of the month. Sometimes they require you to purchase something, and sometimes you don't have to purchase anything at all.

Back to the fish...
With water bottle in hand, Steve grilled the big boy for 30 minutes. He had to put out a few fires as you can see on the left. When the fish flaked nicely, we sat at the picnic table and ate our dinner of fish and chips - the chips were red potatoes I washed then sliced lengthwise into french fry strips, put them on a foiled-lined greased baking sheet, sprayed the potato strips with butter flavored Pam, sprinkled with sea salt and Tones Rosemary Garlic seasoning (Sam's Club), then put the pan in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. They get nice and brown. I then turned the oven down to 375 degrees until the fish was ready. We dipped them in either sour creme or ketchup.
Yum!
We dipped our fish in nothing.
We both decided it was one of THE best grilled fish we had ever made all by ourselves!


Our patio!

Can you see what Steve's been up to in the distance?


Getting all our wood cut for the winter!

Now to the Up A Tree part of this post...

After Steve left bright and early Tuesday morning, the red squirrels decided to taunt the dogs like no other day. There were 3 trees that the dogs kept running to, all excited and looking up, barking nonstop. I had only two .22 shells left, so I decided I wasn't going to hunt squirrels with the dogs that morning. Besides, I really couldn't see what they were barking at for sure. 

Perhaps a porcupine?
Now I'm curious.

I went outside to check it out - with my gun and the two .22 shells just in case.
Nothing.
Or so I thought.
I came around the corner of the house and looked up in the pine tree right behind the house next to the dog kennel and stopped. 
What in the world?


It was the color of a golden lab.


It was 3/4 of the way up the tree.
I hustled into the house and traded the gun for the binoculars.
Nope, it wasn't a porcupine. Whew.
But the creature stayed all curled up like that ALL day. I didn't know if it was incredibly tired or dying or...rabid? It looked a bit mangy from my viewpoint, but this time of year everything does.

Later in the day Steve came home proudly showing his catch of the day. I followed him into the house, listening politely about his fishing excursion, who caught what, how big, etc. Usually I would be all ears, but I had something to share with him, and though the critter hadn't moved all day, I was sure it would now take off while we were in the house.

I peered over Steve's shoulder as he cleaned the fish. then paced over to his other side and peered over that shoulder standing on my tiptoes. Then I'd scurry into the other room to make sure unknown critter hadn't moved. Nope.

Finally, I couldn't stand it. "Could you please clean that fish a little faster? There's something outside in the tree that I really want you to see. I have no idea what it is. Maybe a humongous light tan raccoon?"

Steve looked at me kind of funny, put the fish in the frig, then followed me out the door.

I handed him the binoculars. "See there?" I pointed. "Three quarters up that tree?"

He didn't say a word, just circled the tree slowly...

Finally he spoke.
"I don't know," he said with hesitance. "Its either a bear cub or the biggest raccoon I've ever seen. Did you take a look at it's hands?"

I nodded, then swallowed, looking around me into the woods.
"If its a cub, then the mother should be around, right?"

"Uh, huh," he says. "I'm calling Jimmy."
He disappeared into the house to make the call, then came out and announced Jimmy, our neighbor who is BIG into hunting and has lived his whole life in the UP, was on his way.

Jimmy arrived and he and his two little boys, ages 3 & 4, looked up into the tree.
"What is it, dad?"
Jimmy was as silent and baffled like Steve and I as he peered through the binoculars we had handed him as he exited his truck..


Turns out it was a gigantic raccoon. Both guys agreed it had to go before it made a mess of things around our place or was sick and attacked the dogs.


Jimmy took the deceased raccoon home. He'll use the carcass to train his dogs as to what a raccoon is, etc.. Jimmy has many dogs he uses for hunting. In fact, at the moment, they have a litter of 7-week old beagles. The little boys were asking dad all kinds of questions as they checked out the raccoon close-up.


Remember last summer I painted our back steps to cover up the gnawing the porcupine had done?




Well, Mr. Quills must have made house under our deck while we were gone and made a mess of my stairs again. Why doesn't he just eat birdseed? It would be so much simpler!
The porcupines are in great abundance. We've seen just as many dead alongside the road as we have alive. I have not taken the dogs on a walk with me since we returned. They don't like that so I have to be sneaky so Ike doesn't cry. And another thing in full abundance in the UP are the ticks. Even though the dogs are treated, Steve had to pull a big one off Ike the other night. He used dish soap to loosen the tick's grip, then removed it when it let go so as not to leave the head behind. Someone told me to mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray the dogs because the ticks wouldn't even get on the dog's fur this way because they don't like the smell. I'm mixing me some of that up today!

Well, its a beautiful day in the UP and I'm going out to work in my gardens. We had a little frost this past Sunday, but my plants survived. Monday night Steve and I covered them. Looking forward to fresh veggies and fresh fish this summer. :)

Have a great and safe weekend everyone!
~D

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