Sunday, December 01, 2013

2013 Hunt Report

Seems as though nature got the best of us this year. I had a very young and small yearling walk right under my stand during early archery season so I let him go. Now I regret that decision as we got neither deer, nor turkey, goose nor duck nor any other game at all this year.

Our hope is that we will better prepare our property early on in the Spring next year to hopefully drive the game into the land and provide forage and fodder for them to stay so we can harvest fresh meat again next Autumn.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Bridges and Benches

The Family Get-together this past year came and went rather quietly due to scheduling issues around Dad's latest open-heart surgery. Even though he was opened up twice in the same day, his recovery was inconceivably quick and as a result, he was able to spend the day with us after all. Consequently, August passed without much more ado and September arrived before we were even aware.

Our final projects of the year involved rebuilding the bridge over the creek behind the deck and building a sitting bench behind the deck facing what will eventually become the ash cemetery. The only hitch however was my desire to do these two building projects the same way they were done in the pioneer days, using wedge and sledge.

The task involved the use of three 8 foot oak logs for long lasting support and digging out the banks on either side so that the log beams, once laid, in parallel fashion would reveal a level top-line for the cross bars to rest upon.

Next, each cross bar, measuring 5 feet in length, was scored lengthwise with an axe head or wedge. Then, we continued to work the wedges up and down the score line, hammering deeper and deeper with the hand maul until the log split apart right down the middle.

Finally, in order of thickest to thinnest, we worked from the middle out and nailed the cross bar halves directly into the 8 foot beams using 6 inch barn nails. This, of course did not come about without mishap.

Our niece Malissa's boyfriend Brian came out from Michigan to get work so we could bring Missy and the kids out with us. He happened to be with us on this day building our bridge when, while digging out the end holes for the 8 foot beams, and attempting to pry out a large rock that was in the way, Rob slipped off the beam and his shovel handle flew right into Brian's face causing a pretty severe contusion under his left eye.

This caused us much concern for a bit, but we are well stocked with first-aide gear and Mom, with her nursing experience patched him up pretty quickly and so well that he didn't even require stitches. Merely a butterfly was all that became necessary and soon we were back to work.

At last, with the bridge complete, we turned our attention to making the log benches we've been planning. And so, using the same technique, we built the bench on the path to the bridge that back-faces the ash cemetery. We will be placing the other bench below the cabin down by the creek for use when we put in our horseshoe pits and boxes next Spring.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Skeeters and Flies and Bears. Oh My!

July brought us more fun in the form of mosquitoes and black flies. Never-the-less, work progressed on our camp expansion project. When we arrived at the start of the first weekend, we were surprised to discover a clear set of very large bear tracks right through the front yard of camp near the log piles. Obviously, this was the creature that was our mysterious bird feeder marauder which we had discovered on previous weekends up north.

After doing some fishing and cutting up yet more logs for our piles and doing some re-stacking, we finished the week-end out with some more grounds clearing and mowing. The camp is starting to look ship-shape as the navy types are wont to say!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Of Boxes, Tree-zebos and Flaming ATVs

June opened with an interesting weekend which permitted us to finish our Outhouse box in shingle and paint and to build, paint and hang five little bat boxes in hopes of luring the little night critters away from the exposed corners of our cabin and into their own little lairs.

For the outhouse, we chose a barn red to color the outside and keep it in fine fashion with the rest of the structures on our property. The bat boxes were built from kits bought on the internet and each was painted a different color; Blue, Red, Yellow, Green and Purple.

As the month wore on winds and weather caused a tree to blow down across our deck and smash the gazebo right down as if to fold it in half. Shortly after we started clean up of that mess we decided to see if we could start the ATVs for a quick run and in the process of firing up the Polaris, caught it on fire which gave us quite a scare. We actually used a sort of bucket brigade from the creek to get the fire out. This was beginning to feel like a harbinger for the remainder of our year.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spring Projects Have Begun

We began our new Spring projects to clear out space for an orchard, expand our main grounds and build a new outhouse. We also have plans for a few other projects including a bridge rebuild and some rustic benches. But first, a little fishing and a little fun! Rob, John and I went down to the river falls to do a little fishing. It was a truly magnificent morning even though the fish were failing to participate. Dave and the ladies stayed up at the camp to look after Marley and do some hold-over school work.

After awhile, we began the outhouse build. It would be a 4ft by 6ft structure to include space for our home-made wooden compost toilet with a shelf overhead and room in front for our portable shower system so clean-up would be so much more comfortable. By the close of the week-end, we had the structure built and the plastic and sheeting on. Finally, we had the roof attached and ready for shingle. We used the old door from the old tower John built as our door and Rob cut out a moon and drilled some stars in the shape of the big dipper to cap it all off.

The birds are back, and boy are the colors amazing! we have some really beautiful red birds and blue birds to compliment our usual woodpeckers, flickers, grosbeaks, chickadees, finches, hummingbirds and the occasional oriole. I can't wait for warmer temps and more wildlife variations.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Four Men and a Moo

Robinson Park Waterfall
So March went out like a lamb in the frozen north woods even though signs of winter, remained scattered all around in the fields and drifts of the ditches along the roadside. Never-the-less, it was time at last to make a break for the woods! And so John and Dave, Rob and I along with our precious Marley Moo, packed up John's big Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab pickup, late on a Friday night, near the end of March of 2013, and, sunrise not 6 hours away, turned her nose north and hit the road.

After one brief stop for supplies (mmm, doughnuts!), we made our way without a hitch to end of Ed's road facing Pine Hill Trail and the unknown depths of the snow-laden path beyond. Without hesitation, John throws her into 4-wheel low and right on down the road we went. It turns out, we had little to concern ourselves with as the deepest part was a mere 6-inches or so. Then it was quickly build a fire to take the chill off the 23-degree night air and a doughnut and some coffee later we were in our bunks attempting a little sleep before the morning.

Saturday came in rainy and gloomy and looking anything but promising to us. So we decided to feed and water Marley, lock up the cabin so she'd be safe and warm and head into town for breakfast at what is still (Yay!) Amy's. After breakfast we decided to check out Robinson Park and the river level as well as see how things were melting up. The melt-water over the cliffs made for a lovely little waterfall (see photo right) and Rob was particularly delighted as he had never been to the park or the quarry before.

By the time we arrived back at the cabin, the skies had cleared up and the day had warmed significantly. So Dave and John decided to break out the 4-wheelers and pretty soon we were all having a blast turning doughnuts in the snow and making rooster tails (check out our mini movie below). What great fun! Even Marley was getting into it by chasing balls and even swimming in some of the melting pools. We topped the evening off with our first barbecue of the season of Brats and Beans. Mmm, good!

All in all, 'though we had to cut it a little short so we could be back downtown in time for what turned out to be a fantastic Easter dinner at Mom's, it was a fabulous weekend and a great start to our 2013 camping season. Please continue to keep an eye on our blog as we continue to improve our land and post our progress a we go.