Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Attacker

"I don't know what to do, I've tried everything," he muttered.

The raspy scratch of his voice echoed the exhaustion in his eyes.  The bags under his eyes were dark and swollen.  Sleep had not been a companion for some time.

He turned towards the kitchen, taking three steps he stopped and turned his weary self towards the front window, checking.  Every few steps he would repeat the process.  Always checking, looking and listening.  He could not hold out much longer.

The trickling water from the faucet as he filled his glass was the only sound in the house.  A cold and unwelcome sound that seemed to cut the silence like a band-aid being ripped from the skin.
The faucet shrieked as it was turned off and goose bumps raised upon the neck as the house once again turned back into silence.

As he shuffled his way back towards the front room he kept his eyes locked on the window.

"Did you hear that?"he asked.

The visitor shook his head silently.  He was getting concerned.  It was not like his friend to be so uptight.

"What is going on?" he asked him.

"Oh he'll be back, don't you worry.  Only this time I will be ready for him."

"Who?, What?  I don't understand what your talking about", he almost yelled at him.
"Your not making any sense at all and frankly, I'm beginning to get a bit worried."

He looked at his friend with a cold, hardened look.  "You might want to leave, it may get ugly."

As he said those words he reached behind the couch and retrieved an old battered pump action shotgun.

"This time, he won't get away."

"Whoa, whoa what the hell are you doing with a gun," he stammered.

"I told you, I'm tired of the torment, I'm tired of waiting and watching for him to return.  I'm tired of this mess.  Either he goes or I go, it ends today!"

His eyes welled up with tears and his friend could see the true exhaustion that had overtaken him.
He could not imagine what kind of trouble he was in that he would warrant the use of a gun.

"Let me call someone-the cops?  Who is doing this to you?"

"It's too late, I hear him coming back already."

"Who?  Oh my God what in the hell are you talking about?"

He looked at his friend and whispered," Shhh...get over here and duck down behind the couch with me, it will be over shortly."

Fear began to creep into the visitors face and without hesitation he ducked behind the couch next to his now apparently insane or very troubled friend.

He peered up and over the back of the couch.  His friends eyes were locked on the window, partially blocked by the Christmas tree which was in a terrible state of disarray.

Light strands hung loosely and some were even dragging the floor.  A few ornaments lay scattered on the floor and some were shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.  Tinsel and garland strangled the disheveled tree in tied up knots.

He stared intently at the window behind the tree wondering what was going to happen in the next few moments.

Then he heard it to.  A slight thump.  Then a very soft squeak which sounded as if it came from a very small door hinge.  Another thump.  The noise was coming from down the hallway but his friend's gaze was still drawn to the window behind the awful Christmas tree.

In the next instant all hell broke loose.  The slow thumping down the hall turned into a machine gun rat-a-tat of smaller thumps and a howl pierced the silence of the house unlike nothing he had ever heard.  Through the noise of the howling and thumping he heard the small distinct click of the gun's safety being turned off.  He almost vomited.

From his perspective behind the couch, it all went down in slow motion, just like he saw in the movies sometimes.  It was a cat that came leaping down the hallway, teeth exposed and snarling.  An awful moaning howl came from deep within its belly.  As it reached the edge of the living room it leaped through the air, teeth and claws exposed and he could see the whites of the cat's eyes as it prepared to attack.
It flew over the coffee table, knocking a candle and a potted poinsettia  to the floor.  The pot that held the once festive plant shattered and potting soil spewed from it covering the white rug.

The cat still airborne landed smack dab in the middle of the Christmas tree and proceeded to convulse wildly.  Shaking and biting the tree while thrashing with its legs.  Ornaments flew in every direction and shiny silver tinsel rained down in tatters as it was shredded by the evil feline.

In the next instant the shotgun appeared over top of the couch.  The snarling menace stopped its terror briefly but it was too late.  The gun roared and everything went silent except for the painful ringing in the ears.  The cat exploded in a spew of blood, the tree almost cut in half by the shot slowly fell to the side and the window behind it shattered outward into the night.  Instantly the house began to fill with cold air and snowflakes as the wind now poured in through the blown out window.

"Got ya, ya little fucker!"

And that my friends is how I kept the cat out of the Christmas tree this year!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I Finally Found Another Use for Firewood

The days are getting colder and although we do not have any snow on the ground I can hear winter's footsteps just down the hall.  The clear starry nights drop the temperatures into the low 20's and being outside in the early hours of the morning, when no one else is awake, is quite exhilarating.
I would venture to say it wakes me up more than ten cups of coffee ever could.

So of course this is my dreaming time of year.  I love to nestle into the couch with a cup of hot coffee, two snoring dogs and my laptop.  I spend countless hours searching the world for interesting tidbits, things for sale and things for free.  I come across so many things that I have never seen or even heard of.  It's great fun and because I get up so dang early in the morning (pre 5am) I can search for hours before anyone is even awake or worse yet, I feel like I'm committing the ultimate sin of "not getting anything accomplished".

Many of you know I am on a mission topprocure property in Northern Michigan for a vacation spot.
I have been researching a lot of properties and even though I am not financially committed at this exact moment, I do feel as though I am within a years time of pulling the trigger.  Planning, planning and more planning.  Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will my dreams.

So anyways to tie it all together, in my countless hours of research and exploring I have discovered a very unique way of constructing my dream cabin.  Yes the property comes first and then the cabin!
It is unique in that it is a sustainable way to build, it is energy efficient, it is unfathomably creative and artistic (huge selling point for me) and last but not least (as my wife reminds me) incredibly inexpensive.

If you have never seen it let me introduce you to cordwood construction.

It is a construction technique that uses basic firewood splits and mortar to create the walls.  A row of mortar is laid on each side and filled with sawdust in the middle.  Wood is then laid on top of it.  Any pattern and most sizes apply.  You can even tuck in little bits of artwork like glass bottles and colored mason jars.  

The possibilities are endless.  Single story and even two story houses can be built.  It is incredibly strong.  The neat thing is the outside and inside walls are already finished once you build them.  No need for drywall and paint.  

With careful planning you can place all your electrical and plumbing within the walls and you would not see the runs at all.

Remember what I said about artistic?

The pic below is how I would start mine.  I would like a timber frame structure with high ceilings and a loft.  All beams on the interior would be exposed and then I would just fill in the framed spaces with cordwood.

The wood is cheap and most likely I would be able to cut it myself.  I've certainly proved I'm capable of that part!

The major expense would be the concrete foundation slab.  Plumbing and electrical I can do myself although the cost of well and septic would be added in the future.  It might be an outhouse type of cabin for a few years.

I really like the idea of cutting my own posts and having them look natural.  I would go with steel roofing for that part of the country with a steep pitched roof to ward off the snow load and with the high pitched ceilings a loft would be perfect for the sleeping quarters.

There are some incredible photos of this type of construction, too many to even scratch the surface here but I urge you to search it out on the web and see for yourself.

One article I read a family built the entire shell of their cordwood cabin for just under $5000.  ( I spent that on my living room furniture, the washing machine and a dishwasher)  That included the concrete, the plumb and electrical prep work and the roof and windows.  It was in upstate New York where it gets pretty cold and snowy.  The house was 1700 sq. ft.  No tiny little cabin really.  In the end they spent $15,000 total to complete it.  

So the way I see it, with careful planning, a lot of hard work and a nice big batch of serious dedication I can have this complete in a few years.  Virtually mortgage free! (property will most likely be mortgaged but still fairly cheap)

So what did you dream of this morning while enjoying your coffee?


Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Arrival of Fate

The Arrival of Fate

 by J.W. Bushman

In the middle of the night,
she came to me.

The cover of darkness
concealing her intentions.

A quiet shyness lay like a fog bank,
the dust settled for sleep.

Only a quivering star to look upon...
a witness forever away.

silently gliding,
a whisper of black,
closer now.

A trace down a cheek,
fingers so long and slender
and cold.

Her pale face
opens to mine,
her lips red in the dark.

The blood runs quicker now.
I begin to understand.
It is me she wants
She is a stranger,
yet I long.
Her beauty is draped upon her
like perfume on a rose.

I reach out,
my arms, so weak.
My strength is fading.
I can not resist.

Her hand touches mine.
Remorse flows into me.
It tightens upon mine,
nails biting, gouging.

My face questions,
as her's snarls.
Her true intentions unveiled
as her lips turn  from red to blue.

Her eyes begin to bleed
and her skin melts away.
It isn't love she is after...
it is my soul.

The room turns cold,
even the star looks away.
I am locked in her grip,

With a final thrust
her dagger like fingers
enter my chest
wrapping around my heart

Ripping it out
and holding it high
she then begins to feast
Sucking greedily at my soul

I am cold now
Hell has come
Forever shall I lay
in a pool of sorrow

Friday, November 28, 2014

So you think you had some extra money huh?

Hey there loyal readers!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans.  For my Canadian friends...Happy Thursday!

This year I cooked the turkey and then we packed it up and headed for the inlaws where the MIL made all the rest of the side dishes.
A friend of mine suggested the upside down cooking method for roasting our turkey.  So I tried it.

Rinse turkey, pat dry, rub all over with olive oil, season inside and out (unstuffed) then place breast side down on your roasting rack and cook on 325 degrees for one hour.  Pull it back out and flip it back over breast side up.  Baste every so often.  With one hour to go I cover the breast with foil to prevent it from overcooking.  It turned out perfect.  It was a 22 lb. bird and barely fit in my roasting pan.  A cook time of 4 hours and my thermometer read 172 in the thigh.

Once I had waited the hour and flipped I headed out to cut some wood with the neighbor.  I returned home around 1:15.  Turned on the Lion's game and cracked a beer.  The lion's put a good whipping on the Bear's and it was almost a perfect day!  Thankful for that!

On a different note I am still in the midst of cleaning up from deer camp.  The camper was wet and frozen  and has been in my garage half opened up to dry.  I still need to clean it and put it away but I just need a break in the weather.  It hasn't been above freezing so water and a sponge won't take me very far.  The deer finally unfroze just enough for me to get the hide off them and get them boned out and at least in the fridge.  One deer I actually drug into the laundry room and let it sit for a few hours to thaw.  Mamma was pretty stoked about that!  LOL

Last Sunday I was able to get one of the tubs of meat cut up and was planning on grinding and packaging it during the week which I did but not without a few mishaps around the house.  We'll get to that in a minute.

Last Saturday I received an offer from Lowe's home improvement store.  Use your Lowe's credit card for purchases between Nov. 22nd through Dec.11th and get 18 months interest free or 5% off purchase.  Well my wife works at Lowe's and we get 10% off anyways so I opened up their website and started browsing washing machines.  We needed one anyways as ours is so old and doesn't work all that great anymore.
Well what to my wondering eyes should appear but 40% off appliances with money left for beer.
So I started doing the math and now the washing machine she has always wanted is now within our monetary reach.  With change to spare for a new dishwasher as well.

So we ended up purchasing a Samsung front load high efficiency washer with optional steam cycle and a Whirlpool dishwasher with steam sanitize as well. (great for canning jars).
Take 40% off those and then an additional 10% of that and add an extended warranty all for 18 months interest free.  We dropped $1200.  Not a bad deal at all.  I am stoked with the appliances.  Although only a week old I love them.  The washing machine is out of this world.  You can't even tell it's running.  You have to look through the glass door to see if the clothes are moving it's that quiet.

So as we are walking out of the store I look at my wife and say,"We really should have bought a generator."  Given our power outage frequency in this house.  Last year if you totaled all the days we were without power it was probably close to 30 days.  Oh well, I thought.  It can't be as bad as last year.

Powerful front moves through the area.
Wind in excess of 50 mph.
I pull into the driveway after work and hit the button on the garage door opener.  Nothing.
Yep you guessed it.
No power. a bitch.
Then I notice that a tree from the neighbors woodlot has fallen into our yard, across my lawn and has hit my garage.  Luckily it only hit with the topmost branches but it still left big gouges in the wood siding as it scraped down the side.

So me being me I get out the lanterns (that I just put away from deer camp) and the little propane stove (that I just put away from deer camp) and I proceed to boil up some noodles for dinner and I move to the couch with the lantern and my book and settle in for the evening.  It's comfortable camping.  My wife then texts me and tells me to get my arse off the couch and get to the getting place to buy a generator.  She is not going through this again!!!!
Reluctantly I drag myself off the couch and out into the storm which is still blowing like mad.

I meet her at the store (she is working) and pick out a generator.  It is a Generac brand which is supposed to be top of the line.  7000 watts, enough to power my entire house.  I won't tell you the price but it was under a grand...barely! :(

So I open the box at the store so I can access the fuel tank.  I will stop and fill the genny and my gas cans on the way home.  Into the filling station I pull and jump up on the tailgate and slide the genny out (still in box) open the flaps and the gas cap.  I put the nozzle in and pull the trigger.
Well lo and behold the tank has a filter screen in it and will not accept the full pressure from a gas pump.  Gasoline bursts from the opening in the tank covering my face, in my eyes and all over my clothes.  Yay!  This is fun!
After spilling gas all over everything trying to fill the damn thing up I give up after half full.  I fill my cans and head for home.  This is when a deer decides to jump out in front of me.  How I missed it is beyond me.  She should have been whacked by my bumper.  I think I may have actually grazed a hair or two.  It just gets better and better!

By this time the wind is so bad that I am driving with two hands just to keep my truck on the road.
I arrive home and assemble the generator on the tailgate of the truck while wind and snow pummel me.  My neighbor arrives shortly after to help me unload.  This is a heavy unit and I can't lift it by myself.  The genny comes with a big extension cord made for 30 amps.  One end plugs into genny and the other had 4 standard outlets on it.  So I grab a knife and cut the outlet ends off.  Strip the wires and I wire it directly into my fuse panel being sure to shut off the main service breaker.  I toss the cord out the window and plug the gap with bath towels.
By this time it is about 9:30 at night and my wife is just getting home from work.

I roll the genny outside, start it and plug in the cord...nothing.  No lights, no nothing.
The generator isn't idling up like it's supposed to.  I reach over and thumb the governor lever on the carburetor, the idle goes up and the lights come on in the house.

I look the machine all over for an auto idle switch or something that will make it run right and no dice.   So into the garage I go.  Read the manual from start to finish and nothing.  Luckily my internet service is on battery back up so I start searching for an answer online.  Nothing rock solid but from my readings I'v deduced that the genny should run a constant 3500 RPMs.  This model does not have an auto idle.  So back outside I go and by flashlight I can see that the idle screw is backed all the way out.  Sorta like they forgot to set the idle at the factory.
So I spend the next 30 minutes adjusting the idle, running back in the house and checking the lights, the fridge, the blower on the wood stove.  Trying to get the idle right so it is putting out the correct amount of power.  I have no tools to measure idle or power output so I wing it.
Eventually I head off to bed tired and smelling a bit like petrol.

I am pretty sure that is what is wrong with the unit but I am taking it back to the store in hopes that a replacement will be factory set.  Too much money involved for guess work.  All in all it is a really nice genny though.

So needless to say the venison grinding and packaging had to wait a few days.  I did get the one tub all finished though.  It made a bunch of steaks and about 18-20 lbs of burger.  I wrapped it all in saran wrap, sealing out the air and then wrapped it in freezer paper.  Then once it froze I put it in a small cardboard box about 7 packages to a box and put it back in the freezer.  Hopefully the extra steps will protect against the inevitable freezer burn.  Today I will finish the rest of the tubs and hopefully even get the camper put away.

So as you can see it has been eventful around these here parts.  I don't mind really, it's entertaining in an odd sort of way (except the outpouring of money).

Culligan is coming today to install a water softener system to help protect our new appliances and give us better water overall.
Our water isn't bad it just needs a bit of help to be optimal.  We all know how hard water can ruin a dishwasher or washer.

I'll tackle the tree when I get these other things done although I can't help but wonder what people are thinking when they drive by and STILL see a tree leaning against my house.  Lazy guy lives there!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chimney Creek Hunt Camp 2014

365 days in the making
2100 lbs of gear
300 lbs of food
2 round trip airline tickets
280 hours of vacation time from work
11 cases of beer
20 premium cigars
One quart of moonshine
One bottle of Jack Daniels
One bottle of Irish Cream Whiskey

Packed up and headed north

It's deer camp time baby!

We headed off to deer camp Saturday the 8th.  We left the house in the dark around 6:15 am.
We had a long drive ahead of us. 
Our first stop would be at Dad's cottage in Houghton Lake.  We still had to pack his essentials that he leaves there year around like his tree stand and hunting clothes.

From there it was a quick stop for a breakfast sandwich in Roscommon and then non stop to a little town called Mio.
In Mio we hit the grocery store for water and beer.  No sense in carrying a bunch of extra weight all the way up.  So we loaded up 8 cases of beer and a case of bottled water and then back in the truck.

Next stop would be the gas station in Fairview.  A quick fill up and we were headed for the bush.
From Fairview it is a quick run into a little itty bitty town called Comins.  Just outside of Comins we take a dirt road for about 6 miles.  Then we turn onto a two track that leads deep into the woods. Four and a half miles down the two track and we have arrived at Chimney Creek Hunt Camp.

We arrived at camp around 1 pm.  Of course it rained almost the whole way.  Mixed with snow early but the temps came up just enough to make it rain.

So just like last year we set up camp in the rain.  Not only was it raining but it was cold too.  I think the temp was at 33 degrees.  
Once we had camp set up we needed to get some firewood cut.  We needed only enough for the night.  By then the rain was tapering off a bit.  We cut a load of logs and brought them back to camp and bucked them into rounds and split them.

Soon we had a fire roaring and began to warm up and dry out a bit.  Of course the boxes of beer were opened and we indulged heartily although we were all pretty whipped so our evening didn't last long as we fell happily asleep.

Sunday morning arrived and we awoke still tired.  The thing about deer camp is you never seem to get enough rest.  
We had a big breakfast of eggs, fried potatoes with onions and peppers and sausage links.

First thing on the chore list for the day was to get all of our tree stands and blinds set up.
After a few hours of this it was time to cut more wood.  We needed to cut enough wood to last the entire time we were there.  We did not want to be out and about with a chainsaw once the hunting started.  Of course it began to rain again.

The Lions were playing the Dolphins and we were able to get them on the radio so as we drove the two tracks searching for dead trees to cut we listened to the Lions beat the Dolphins.  A close game!
We hauled 4 truckloads of wood this year.

We finished cutting wood late into the night.  The last load was cut into rounds by lantern light.
I was flipping exhausted.  We had dinner ( I think it was pork chops and baked potatoes) and a few beers and it was lights out.  Sore, wet and tired I welcomed the sleeping bag.

This year we decided not to sleep with the heat on in the camper.  It just seemed to get too hot.  We have used the same heater for a few years now but this year it was too much so we just shut it off at night.  It would turn out to be the one of the coldest seasons yet as we would soon find out.

Monday morning we began our hunting.  The alarm went off at 4:20 am and as I reached my arm out of the warm sleeping bag (covered in 4 blankets as well) I felt the bite of the cold air in the camper.  I sleep next to the stove (as I do most of the cooking) and I always have the coffee pot prepped the night before so I can just reach out, fumble around for the lighter and light the burner.
Snapping my arm back into the warmth of my blankets before frostbite set in I wondered if our choice of "no heat" was a good idea.

Soon the coffee pot began to percolate.  If you have ever used a percolating coffee pot you know how long it takes to make a pot of coffee.  Especially when the water in the pot has been sitting there all night in 30 degree temps.  It damn near froze in the pot.  Anyways what seemed like an hour later the pot began to thump.  Ba- dump-Ba-dump.  I lay there in my bunk, head covered in blankets with only a small breathing hole for fresh air listening to the pot sing its tune and knowing that in a few minutes I would have to emerge from my cocoon and shut the pot off and head outside to rid myself of the prior evening's beer.  It was going to be cold.

Slowly I pulled the covers back and in the dim light created by the stove burner I could see my breath billowing into the blackness beyond.  
"Damn", I muttered aloud, "It's freaking freezing."

"Sissy", I hear from the other end of the camper.

"Bite me", I fire back and slip into my still wet boots from the day before.

Oh man are these things cold.  I light the lantern which illuminates the camper and notice that everyone else has their head under the blankets too.  ''Sissy my ass ", I think to myself.
Next I fire up the heater and as it begins to glow I head outside in nothing more than my long underwear and a t-shirt.

It is crisp and it is cold!  I look up into the brightly lit sky and marvel at how bright the moon and stars are up here in the north country.  We miss so much of this down state with our pollution clouds.

Relieved, I head back into the camper which is now warming up quick.  Standing in front of the heater I pull my shirt open and allow the rising heat from the burner to float up inside my shirt.  

I dig my slippers out and toss the cold wet boots aside.  
I grab two coffee mugs and fill them with piping hot coffee.  I clear some clothes off the seat next to the table and settle in with my coffee.  The only sound is the heater humming softly and soon the sounds of the three other hunters fill the camper again.  A snore hear, a fart there, a bubbling whisper thing my brother does which is not quite a snore but not quite regular breathing either.

Soon Dad rolls over and sits up.  He looks tired.  Grabbing his mug he sips the hot life inside of the cup.  He smiles, shakes his head and rubs his arms with his hands as if he is cold.

"Hey it was your idea to sleep without the heat", I remind him.

"I slept fine", he mutters.

For the next 7 days this scenario would be repeated.  
Except it got colder and colder and soon every morning I was shuffling through the snow in my slippers which have zero traction in the snow.  I can attest to this by my return from the makeshift outhouse one morning. 

The outhouse sits up behind the camp and to get there you have to go up this small hill.  
It has a gentle slope and is only about 5 foot higher than camp area but when it is covered in a few inches of snow and you are wearing flat, rubber bottomed slippers it can be treacherous, as my backside found out when it made contact with the ground while I was trying to navigate the slope on my return trip one cold dark morning.

We seen a lot of deer, well I did anyways.  Dad saw a few and Bill and Joe saw even less but all in all it was a successful trip.  On Tuesday Dad and I both arrowed a doe with our bows and we had deer to hang on the pole.  On Wednesday I arrowed a 5 point buck and added him to the pole.

I almost didn't get him.  We have antler point restrictions in the area we hunt.  If you have a combination deer license, which I did, you are allowed to shoot two bucks.  One must have at least three antler points on one side and the other must have a least four antler points on one side.

This deer came from behind me and I was watching him walk down a game trail I clearly Identified him as a 4 point buck.  Two points on each side.  Not a shooter, so I kinda ignored him and then he made a fatal mistake of turning and walking right under my tree.  I mean right under it.  As he walked by I looked down at his rack and saw that one side had a little brow tine and that made three points on one side.  Of course I thought I was screwed because he was right under me, 4 feet away from the bottom of my ladder stand.  I figured he would smell me or see me before I could get the bow up and ready for a shot but as fate would have it he walked out in front of me and turned sideways at 15 feet.
The rest is in the freezer.

Morning hunts were our best.  We did not see many deer at all in the evening which is unusual.  We archery hunted all week long and between the four of us we had roughly 30 deer sightings.  The hunting was good.  Scrapes and rubs were everywhere although we did not see any larger bucks.

It snowed almost non-stop the entire time.  We would wake up to an inch of fresh snow, which made for excellent hunting, and during the day the sun would pop out for just a few minutes and melt most of it.  Then we would get some heavy snow showers and it would drop a half inch of snow in a matter of 20 minutes.  
The wind was not doing us any favors however.  It would be steady in the morning and by 10 am it would begin shift and swirl.  It was usually that way in the evenings as well.  The first 3 days of hunting were the best as the winds were steady in one direction.  We seen the most deer those days.  Once the weather changed and the wind shifted the hunting went stagnant with very limited sightings.  The temperatures ranged from lows around 14 degrees to average highs around 28-30 although one day it hit 40.

I try to stay as scent free as possible but when your in the bush for ten days without running water it is tough to do.  Cooking in the camper and standing around a campfire every night do not help the situation.  I keep my outer gear in a plastic tote in the back of the truck and every morning I get dressed outside and every evening I take it off and put it back in the tote with scent control items.  It helped a little.  The worse part was that they got wet and without anyplace to dry them, they froze.  Every morning I would put on partially frozen gear.  We did have one day where the sun came out for a few hours and it warmed up to around 40 and I was able to hang them in the sunshine which dried them out about 95%.  

One day we had rain move in and it started just as we were getting ready for our afternoon hunt.  It came down hard.  My brother Bill had already left for his stand but the rest of us said no way.  We would get soaked sitting out there in the downpour.  With no way to dry our clothes out we were stuck.  So we went for a ride and on the way back to camp we stopped by Bill's hunting spot and Dad walked up to get him so we could drive into town to the local campground where we could take a shower for a few dollars.  That was the only shower we had in those ten days.  We stopped by the store and replenished our beer supplies as well.

Rifle season started on Saturday the 15th and we were all pretty excited.  Unfortunately it would turn out to be a bust.  I did have a deer come in but it was dark and I could not see if he had the appropriate antler points to fill my second tag so I had to let him walk away even though he stood right in front of me making a scrape.  It just wasn't ethical to make the shot.
I had 4 does walk behind me that morning as well but I was holding out for a buck so I passed.  I made a mental note that I would shoot one if it walked by the next day.  They never did...nothing did.
We got skunked during the gun part of our trip.  Joe didn't see a thing and Bill saw one but couldn't get a shot and the others he seen were like the dark.

All in all we had fun.  Great food such as pork chops, sirloin steaks, deep fried chicken wings and gizzards, venison stew with biscuits, bluegill fillets, smelt and even fried shrimp!  Breakfasts were biscuits and gravy with sausage patties and eggs with fried potatoes and sausage links.  We ate a bunch of English muffins with sausage egg and cheese on them.  Just like the ones you can get at Rotten Ronnie's! (McDonalds)

We managed to plow through 11 boxes of beer and a bottle of Irish cream whiskey which was warm and welcome in our coffee after the morning hunt.   A few hits off the bottle of JD and we all had a sip of the Pecan Pie flavored moonshine.  That stuff was really strong and it only made one appearance the entire time.  

Our annual chimney log fire was a huge success this year as you will see by the video below.

If you've never tried this style of hunting or even camping you should give it a go.  It is a ton of work and not for the feint of heart.  Everything you do in the bush requires work.  Cooking dinner over the fire, washing dishes in the creek, even making coffee takes effort that most folks aren't used to.
No running water, no electricity, no cell phones.  Truly unplugged!

Then add in a 2 mile hike everyday back and forth to your hunting stand, dragging deer, cutting and splitting firewood not to mention hauling it out of the woods in 6 foot lengths.  Building a fire everyday after the evening hunt and waking up at 4:20 am everyday.  You can burn some serious calories!  With as much food as I ate and as many beers as I drank you would have never thought that I would actually lose weight at deer camp-but I did!  That is probably a good thing.

I read a lot while I'm in my stand and this year I finished a book titled "The Son" by Philipp Meyer.
At 561 pages it is a story about a family in 1832 Texas which had just declared independence from Mexico.  The Comanche Indians were still raiding and killing settlers and war with Mexico loomed on.  The story is about one son who was kidnapped by the Comanches and his fight for life and how he grew up and had children of his own and their impact upon the wild Texas frontier from 1832 all the way through the 1980s.  I highly recommend this book.  

Of course the older we get, especially Dad, the harder it gets.  This year was a testament to that as we fought for everything we had at camp.
I am on a mission to procure a small piece of property somewhere up north that adjoins state or federal land where I can begin building a cabin.  I love roughing it but there is a cost on the body and we won't always be able to pay the toll.  

Enjoy the pics and videos!

Daytime shot of camp

Some snow shots

Inside the was wee bit crowded

Our banner for this year

Me cooking breakfast while Jr. looks on.

Left to right
Bill Jr. Bill Sr. Me

Jr., Joe, Me

Dad and Joe

A video from my hunting stand

Our annual Chimney log fire.  This is how we got our camp name.  Every year we burn a hollowed out log which we call a chimney and we camp next to a creek.  Hence the name Chimney Creek Hunt Club

A video of the chimney

Here are some close ups of the flames

That is all I have.  Hope you enjoyed it


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wish Not, Want Not, a weird, creepy little story.

I struggled to stay awake, the blood loss was taking its toll.

From where lay I could just make out the lip of the windowsill if I twisted my neck hard enough. Doing so caused much more pain than I really wanted and so I mostly laid still.

The last time I looked the shadows were growing long on the wooden floor.  Night was coming and as the sun faded from the window so did my chance at rescue.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid", I cursed myself.
The slight bit of anger gave me a small surge of adrenaline and I twisted my head around as much as I could, trying to see out the window.  I wanted to see the sun at least once more before the darkness enveloped me.

The pain was intense, bright flashes and sparks crossed my vision and I almost passed out.  I closed my eyes and opened them, blinking, adjusting to the contrast of the dying light and the fierceness of the reddish orange of the setting sun.

A tiny, elliptical orb was just visible over the distant trees and I watched as it slowly sank behind the trees.  My heart sank with it.  Only a few moments of light remained.

I let my head fall back to the wooden floor with a thunk.
Long, straight rows of hand scraped hickory planks lay stretched out before me.  It had been a labor of love installing these floors and now as my cheek lay pressed against them staring at the endless swirls of grain they soothed me a little.  There was comfort in the workmanship.

I though about all the time and money I had put into this cabin.

Tucked away on 350 acres of prime wooded land far from civilization.  A clear, cold stream flowed through the center of the property, it was loaded with brook trout and one very deep swimming hole which I frequented often during the heat of the summer.
Dressed only in swim trunks and flip flops it was my retreat into nature.  For hours I would lay upon the bank, soaking up the suns rays that radiated their way through the thinning tree canopy.  When I became hot I would immerse myself in the chilled, spring fed waters.  Water so pure you could drink directly from the stream without fear of toxins.

I closed my eyes, shutting out the wooden planks and I began to visualize the giant White Pine groves.  The sweeping gracefulness of their soft boughs.  The quietness of the forest floor covered in the needles of seasons past.  A wondrous place to sit and ponder the universe or read a book or even just take a nap.

I thought about all the trees and the animals which I had so come to love.  The peace and quiet with only the sounds of nature for company.

I thought about the writing den I had spent two years building using only the trees I hand harvested from my own land.
Hewing and scraping the trunks into precious works of usable art, eventually taking the shape of a unique writing desk.
All the bookshelves forged from the sweet surrounding nature.  Years of blood, sweat and tears all coming together to build my escape.

Opening my eyes, I gritted my teeth.  I would not give up, I must fight to survive.  No one would rescue me.  I had to do it on my own.  It was my choice to live like this.  So alone, so far out.  Now when it really counted I needed to make it on my own.

It was stupid to climb up on top of the ladder like that.  All for a stupid light bulb.  It was even stupider to grab a hold of the giant chandelier made entirely of deer antlers .

It let loose of it's moorings on the ceiling and came crashing down on top of me.  A few of the antler points burying themselves deep into my legs and arms.  I was virtually impaled to the floor.

As I lay there in my pity, thinking of what to do next a soft scraping sound drifted from the next room, the kitchen.  I can hear something in there.
What could it be?
Did  I leave the door open?
I must have.

Now some wondering coon or opossum is going to wreak havoc in my house while I lay here helpless.
I begin to holler, "Get outta hear, git"!
The noise stops for a second,  then resumes, it's getting closer now.

Once more I twist my head towards the window, it is almost fully dark but there is something there.  A shape with glowing yellow eyes, I can see the rising moonlight reflecting off its teeth and its breath steams the window.  It's face is made up of wrinkled leather-like skin with clumps of hair growing from it.  The hair is matted and in knots.  Saliva drips from its jowls.  It is hungry.

I left the door open

The scraping sound is even closer now.
It isn't so much as scraping but now I hear the click, click of nails on my precious hand scraped hickory floors and just before all light fades from my cabin and the creature from around the corner leaps and sinks it horrible fangs into my leg I think to myself, "If you scratch my floors..."

Friday, October 31, 2014

Busy, busy, busy.

First off I must apologize for my lackluster blogging of late.  I have been consumed with so many things that when I sit down at the computer I tend to fall asleep.
I'm not terribly worried about it but just thought I would fill you in on the details.

For instance this morning I have been browsing the web for coupons.  I will be going grocery shopping this morning for deer camp stock.  I have to feed 4 people for 10 days.
Where we go is quite secluded and you just don't run to the store if you forget something.  So I sit here and plan every menu to infinite detail.  Right down to how many napkins I need as well as salt and pepper and slices of cheese.  There is only so much room and so many pounds that the truck and camper can carry.  Excess baggage or groceries do not make the list.

Here is a snippet of the list I have made just for breakfast.

66 eggs, 8 lbs of frozen hash browns, 24 sausage links, 32 sausage patties, 1 pound of bacon,16 slices of Canadian bacon, 24 slices of cheese, 24 English Muffins, 2 gallons of orange juice, 1 loaf of bread, 1 tub of butter, 1 bottle of syrup, 1 gallon of milk, 16 biscuits, 4 pouches of sausage gravy mix, salt, pepper, plates, napkins, forks, knives.

Now imagine a list for lunches and dinners as well.

Now imagine all the pots, pans, utensils, blankets, sheets, sleeping bags, clothes, axes, chainsaws, water jugs, coffee pot, lanterns, propane, tarps, crapper, hand warmers, tree stands, shovel, rake, awning, tent stakes, fire cooking grates, back packs, bows, guns, ammunition, hats, gloves, boots...

The list is practically endless.  It takes a lot of time to prep for this event.  Every free minute I have I am immersed in it.  

Unfortunately two members of the hunting party reside in Florida and are unable to assist.  The third, my step son, works and goes to college and when not doing that has several sports he is involved in.  He has no time either.
On the flip side, fortunately, I have no life.  Nuff said!

Here it is on the eve of November.  It is cold and breezy outside.  The rain comes and goes.  Forecast is calling for a slight accumulation of wet slushy snow tonight.  The poor trick or treaters can never seem to catch a break.

Luckily for me most of the leaves have fallen off the trees.  Last night after work I had just enough time and gasoline to get the lawn cleared of leaves and mowed.  Hopefully that is the last time.

I try to get the leaves cleaned up at least once a week so I don't have to spend so much time at the end of the leaf season doing it.

After a years worth of searching I finally found a cap for my truck.  Well, there were others but this one was affordable.  The truck is a 2011 model year so it has been tough finding a used cap that would fit.  Being only a few years old most people that have a cap still have them on their original vehicle.  My diligence paid off.  Even though I had to drive a distance to get it, it was well worth it.

This is a welcome addition to deer camp as well as winter time driving.  I get so tired of having snow in the back of the truck.  It blows around and covers up the back window.  You can't put anything in the bed either.

So anyways you have my story.  Or excuse whichever you choose.  I will return to regular blogging upon my return.  Dad and Jr fly in on the 7th of November and we depart for camp before sunrise on the 8th.  They fly back out on the 19th so we have to be back by then.

It is going to be a great time.  It will be very crowded in my little camper with 4 people but we'll manage somehow.  I can't wait until the day arrives when I buy a piece of land up there and begin building my own little hunting cottage.

Signing off for now,