Friday, December 21, 2012

Let It Snow!

I had to update you all on the status of the snowstorm and show you pics. We received at least 16 inches of snow and it is still snowing. The wind is wild and the plow has already been up and down our road twice. Steve is out plowing and I bundled up and took the dogs for a walk down to the mailbox and back.

Steve plowed down at the groomer barn first and then the neighbor's driveway. Bear watched me try to maneuver down our driveway through the path she had made.

They started running all over the place when they realized we were going for a walk.

Our cars are still in the same place as yesterday when Steve moved them out of the tree's way. (See yesterday's blog for more info on the tree.)

Looking west down the snowmobile trail.

Looking east down our road.

Lots of blowing snow.

The only tracks were those of Bear and Ike. Even Steve's tractor tracks are covered up.

Patiently waiting for me.

We found Steve at the groomer barn.

Work still in progress.

That's a bathroom they are putting in.

The electrical should start this week and next week the heating.
Getting closer!

Then Steve went back to plowing...

...and the dogs and I headed back home.

Looks like lake effect in the west.
More Snow!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Twelve Things That Need to Go Into the HHR and a Tree...

First, my car. It is a Chevy HHR and for the most part, a very roomy car.
We are taking it downstate for Christmas and that worrisome thought about how is everything going to fit inspired me to create my own chorus version of 
The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The Twelve Things that Need to Go Into My HHR

Twelve Christmas Gifts
 (at least)
Eleven Plus Packages of Frozen Pork 
(Our oldest son ordered a 1/4 pig from a friend up here.)
Ten Frozen Venison Steaks
 (Actually 52 Steaks. We processed a deer for our youngest son.)
Nine Kitchen Items 
(For serving 23 at a party on Sunday.)
Eight Misc. Food Items from Gordon Foods Service
Seven Packages of Corn 
(for two Christmas Parties. The corn is not from GFS)
Six Days Worth of Clothes 
(as well as coats, boots, Christmas socks, etc.)
Five Pounds of Frozen Meatballs
 (to put in the Crock Pot)
Four Packages of Christmas Plates and Napkins
Three Spiral Hams
Two Big Black Excited Dogs 
(along with leashes, dog treats, dog beds, dog food, and a shock collar with charger 
so Bear doesn't steal the neighbors chickens. Again.)
And A Crock Pot in The Back Seat.
(For the meatballs).

Again, I show you the car. It is going to take a Christmas miracle.

Now. The Tree.
Not a Christmas Tree, but a big, tall, very dead tree.
This was Steve yesterday, analyzing yet again for the umpteenth time 
the unsafe tree in our backyard.

Today we are blessed to be in the midst of a snowstorm that is suppose to leave 12 plus inches of snow in its wake. But tonight the wind kicks in and there are 50 mile per hour wind gusts predicted. As I write this, the snow is whipping sideways outside my window. We're hoping our electricity doesn't go out as it seems to do with many of the storms that pass through. (Currently, we are losing our TV satellite).
And we are hoping the bad boy above doesn't fall over.

So as the storm kicked in...(that's my wood duck house in the background. Thanks Jay!)

and after re-analyzing the tree one last time I hope, Steve took out his ladder. And I prayed.

Because what you can't see is that the tree is leaning towards the house and with the help of gravity will fall on the house. So, Steve hooked up a cable high in the dead tree and wrapped it around the base of a big Pine tree in the woods to control how the tree fell when he cut it down with the chain saw.

Me (calling out from the house): "Hey, can I help in any way?"
Him (hesitation): "Naw, everything should go ok."


He moved the vehicles very far from the house, but never once told me to go into the garage, stay to the far side of the house, go stand by the truck and car...

stopped for a moment to chit-chat with our snow plow guy,

then proceeded to cut,

and cut.
My nervousness got the better of me and I went into the other room.
Soon I heard a loud thump away from the house. I grabbed my camera and ran to the front room only to see his beaming face waiting for me outside the window.
Him: "Didn't you watch?"
Me (shaking my head): "I was too nervous."
Him (pointing in the direction of the tree): 
"Perfect! It fell perfect, just as I knew it would!"

I took a deep breath.

No more big ugly scary tree and we'll get a good night's sleep tonight 
as we listen to the wind howling outside.

As Steve was getting ready to chop down the tree,
Ike chomped on a deer antler shed he found somewhere,
while Bear pretended not to care.

(Ike on the right. Bear on the left pretending to sleep.)

But it was too much to bear for Bear. 
She wanted a nibble and was just waiting for Ike to share.
(FYI: the dogs were in the kennel when the tree came down.)

This next week will be busy and fun hanging out with friends and family while making lasting memories.  I may not be back on for awhile, or I may just surprise you (like I did this week. I posted twice! Applause!). But in any event, I want to wish every blog reader a very Merry Christmas full of Joy and Peace as we focus on the reason for Christmas and how very blessed we all are that Jesus was born! The whole miracle is truly amazing and I love what the Bible says conveying Jesus' mother Mary's peaceful disposition on that first Christmas night:

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:9 (NIV)

I wish that for all of us -- peaceful events and warm memories that we treasure up and ponder forever.

(And I hope you all share :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

What to Talk About...

With the recent tragic events that occurred last Friday, it has been hard for me to come up with a post. I've been at a blank, and that usually doesn't happen. I usually have some idea of what I'm going to write about. Having worked in the school system for 15 years, primarily nose to nose with Kindergartners through 5th graders, and having gone through the practice procedures of "hiding" in the event that such a horrible event could happen, it hits all too close to my heart. So tragic. So senseless. Big sad sigh.

So let's talk about the weather up here in the UP.
It matches the mood of the nation - cloudy and dreary.
But I LOVE snow and we've been getting a lot of it.
It snows, then it melts a bit, it might drizzle, then it snows some more.
The above picture was taken moments ago.
A slow, very light snow is falling, yet it is 34 degrees outside.

Yesterday, it took a little longer than usual to get to church. Bottom line, we walked in late, along with other fellow parishioners. Saturday night we received about 5-6 inches of heavy wet snow, and the plows don't usually run on the weekends. After church we went to the local cafe for lunch, and we were the only hungry residents in Rudyard - or so it seemed. Even the waitress was amazed at how empty town was. The above picture is behind our house in the middle of the afternoon - dark and foggy! But in the midst of the dreariness, the plow did come through!

Today, Bear, Ike, and I are hanging out by the wood burner...

...while Steve is working at the new groomer barn 3/4 of a mile down the road from our house. This picture was taken a few days ago - the sun is not shining today. Even with all the snow, no grooming has happened yet. We need the snow to stay, then the guys can go out and start making a solid base for the snow that has yet to fall. Below are some pics from last week when we did get some nice snowfall. I wish I could bottle it up and bring it downstate for Christmas later in the week!

You can hardly see Steve or the dogs!

I let Ike and Bear indoors to thaw out by the wood burner.
They thanked me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Out of the Woods...For the Moment

This was my view for 14 days. Let me repeat, 14 loooooong daaaays. Firearm Deer Season is 15 days long, but I had to take one day off in the middle of it all, just to get my sanity in check. During these 14 days, I didn't SEE one deer. Oh sure, we have all kinds of does and bucks on the game cameras, but those deer would come in after dark - ALL THE TIME. On my last afternoon of hunting on November 30, I left my blind at 5:35 pm because it was too dark for me to shoot. On camera we discovered an 8 inch spike came in at 5:50 pm taking the same trail in that I took out. If he had come in 15 minutes earlier, we would have stood nose to nose on the trail!

On day 1, opener morning, it was a little chilly so I turned my Buddy heater on.  It swooshed to life, then began emitting flames from the inside out! It's not suppose to work that way!!! I turned the heater off but the flames grew larger, so I grabbed my rifle, and bolted through the floor door, placing the gun by a far tree. Then I went to the outdoor propane tank and turned the propane flow off (or so I thought. Steve informed me later I turned it all the way OPEN.) Anyhow, I went back into the blind to retrieve my Ipods and Kindle. The fire was going out, thank goodness, because at that time the woods were VERY dry and I didn't want my blind to go up in flames and spread throughout the area. I said a thank you prayer. However, there was one last surprise. As the flames snuffed out, a huge cloud of smoke escaped the heater, filling my blind with a fog so thick I had to go outside to see. From the outside, I watched as it billowed through the cracks of the windows I had opened in the event I HAD seen a deer and needed to shoot. Well, now I smelled like a bonfire, but as I stared at my small wooden house on stilts, I reminded myself that I am contained in that wooden box and up off the ground so maybe the deer wouldn't smell me (yah, right), so my electronic friends and my rifle and I returned to the wooden mini house (after the smoke cleared). I rearranged things, sat back, and wondered just how many deer I spooked away. Apparently all of the day deer.

(The reason for the fire was that the mice had built a nest 
in the heater using mostly dry stuff, 
including tearing apart a magazine I had left from bear hunting.)

Oh well, in 14 days I read my daily devotions and a spiritual book called Lessons from a Sheep Dog by Phillip Keller, (VERY good, by the way, especially if you love dogs), two additional books: a novel called Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Shack Revisited by C. Baxter Kruger, (both also very good), played 70 games of Scrabble (my new addiction), and read again the manual - front to back - that came with my camera (and I still don't understand it all). 

So I sat through sunshine,


frosty mornings,

and snow!

We had our first ever Thanksgiving dinner at the Grizzly Den. Our son, Riley, was able to join us for dinner and deer camp for 5 nights. The turkey was delicious. The stuffing not so much. It ended up outside for the Chickadees.

They did eat the stuffing up off the ground, as did the flying squirrels by night, but the birds also loved the suet. This Chickadee is waiting it's turn while clinging to an icicle.

A few random pics of deer camp.

My favorite place to drink my morning coffee. I only went out a few mornings to hunt as my camera showed the deer slept in, too.

Riley slept in one morning, but he's forgiven as he arrived at 11:45 pm the night before.

After hunting Thanksgiving evening, we all sat outside way past dark as it was very warm and the moon and stars were so bright.

A few days later it all changed!

Everyday someone would go the mile and a half back home to feed the dogs. On the day I took off, we went for a long walk. 

And it snowed some more!

The snow left everything beautiful.
Below are some random pics.

Notice the empty buck pole?

Steve's blind

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

View from my blind. I LOVE hunting when there is snow on the ground!

We know they're out there!

At the height of deer hunting we had 4 hunters at the Grizzly Den. Out of six tags for the deer season, two have been filled, so it wasn't a bust this year. 
Black powder starts Friday, so we have one more chance.

Thanks for being patient with this blog, 
all of you, who stop by to hear about life in the UP!