Thankful

November 26, 2017

Hi there and Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Honestly, though, every day could be Thanksgiving, couldn’t it? We spent our Thanksgiving with matriarch Pat and family.  The meal was fantastic but the table…no words.

tgivingtable

Hopefully you have received our 2017 newsletter, via either e-mail or U.S. Mail.  Check your trash/spam folder before you contact me, but if you don’t have a newsletter in there let me know and I’ll get one your way.

I forgot a couple of things in this year’s letter.  Of course, as soon as it was done and being printed I remembered:(  Clarke Seely, brother of Donna Lou, brother-in-law of Pete the former owner, and cousin of Lee-the-onion-ring-man, passed away from cancer this summer.  Clarke was very dry and quick-witted.  He never landed at Camp for long–something even he recognized–but it was always a pleasure to see him.  Also, we just found out yesterday that John Schlump passed away in 2017 from cancer.  Gruper knew John from waaaay back–playing softball–but more recently John had visited Camp with family a couple of times.  We are happy he was able to have those times and sad to hear of his passing.

The other piece I omitted was that the hot tub is going to be removed from the Bear’s Den.  This doesn’t affect many of you, but some guests will be disappointed.  Another part fried, and that tub is so aged that replacement becomes nearly impossible.  Our plan is to remove the tub, disconnect the gazebo from the Bear’s Den, and put a nice gas grill in the gazebo for everyone’s use.  In all honesty, the grill will get a lot more use than the hot tub;)

So, Gruper and I arrived in Iowa within a week of each other this year.  We had to live out of the old fridge in the garage (ours died right before we headed to Canada in the spring) while we waited for a new kitchen floor and fridge.  The fridge I wanted was so basic that we had to search high and low!  My floor was finally starting to show wear after 23 years, and I am super-pleased with my new luxury vinyl floor:

kitchen floor

I certainly plan to get another 23 years out of this one!

Socially, our lives are a roller coaster when we return.  Seester Rebecca and I saw the Dirty Dancing musical (nobody puts Baby in a corner).  I’ve roadtripped to Amish country, volunteered for and participated in the Turkey Trot with Sal, and gotten right back into my walking and Y classes.  Gruper has been fishing a couple of times and has the yard in tip-top shape.  I curse Tom Beeks for loaning Gruper his super log splitter;)  Gruper has split A TON of wood and I’ve stacked most of it!  (Note to John and Marie:  I’d like to rent Rylee next year.)

For Gruper’s birthday in early November we visited the Red Rock Grill & Still in Knoxville.  The owners are our “island” people who own the cool cabin on 2nd Lake!  Many of you have met them at potluck.  Let me tell you:  the food was fabulous and the atmosphere is perfect!  Leave it to me to take Gruper on sushi night;) but he enjoyed a lovely prime rib sandwich, and the menu had something for everyone!  We will be back before we head “up” in the spring!  Jennifer took the picture we used for the newsletter:

usatredrockscomp

We have booked our winter getaways!  Sanibel Island it is for the holidays.  I booked us a condo (’cause I like to have a kitchen) for about 10 days.  In February we will join good friends Mike and Chris (formerly of Rocky Shore Lodge) in the Gulf Shores area for several days, then head down the panhandle toward niece Anna, her Air Force hubby Benny, AND THOSE TWINS Michael and Joshua!!!

michaelandjoshua

Navy nephew Jake has been deployed for several months but is due home by Christmas (please pray for his timely return).  His Navy wife Jessi has been holding down the fort on Whidbey Island, Washington.  She has had her hands full with 5-year-old Jack and 6-month-old James.  These military families endure so much.  Please keep all of them in your prayers, always but especially during the holidays.  I hope to get “out west” before I head north in the spring.

jackandjames

Trying to schedule time with the local kiddos is tough!  Rebecca accompanied Gavin on his preschool’s trip to the pumpkin patch!  He is 3 and very independent these days!

gavinandpumpkins

Kay and I have begun preparing for her three grandmas’s Christmas presents!  She is nearly my height at 10!  She enjoyed her first trip to Canada this year and plans to return in 2018!  She is a phenomenal person who cracks me up!

kayatthe stove

Last Monday I ventured over to my biggest brother’s house to do a craft with the little girls.  Dan passed away in April, and Connie is doing a great job of keeping things going.  She is such a good mom and grandma:)  She took this picture of me with Emma (4), Mya (7) and Alysha (7).  Those girls are great crafters and I plan to make this a regular activity for us!

meandlittlegirls

Connie took this pic of Mya with me at the pumpkin patch, too!

myaandme

She had on the coolest Halloween leggings!

Ms. Freya was an absolute pain in the butt for our trip home!  I had to drug her, put her in her carrier in the car, and leave her out there for the night:(  She HATES travel.  Once home in Iowa, though, she is the happiest girl in the world!  She loves it here and rules our small area.  She runs all night behind the house–hunting we guess–and this is what we see allllllll day:

freyapassedout

I join her a bit each day while it’s so nice.  I read a good book and soak up the sun.  I think about how grateful I am for these people, this life, our health…this damn cat;)…

and each of you.  God bless you all.

 

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Fall’s Beauty

October 8, 2017

Welcome back!  This will most likely be my last entry for a while.  Once I’m settled in Iowa I’ll share some pics of the family, etc., but this is my last Camp blog entry until next spring.

Our work here is nearly finished!  We have painted and/or sealed all of the floors.  Gruper is antifreezing drains in sinks, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers.  I have emptied the outside office and organized “command central” (the large space under the Bear’s Den where EVERYTHING is stored).  Of course, the house remains open but I will begin winnowing down groceries, paperwork, etc., in the next day or so.  On one particularly calm morning Gruper was able to put the docks to bed for the season:

movingdocks

The quiet has brought Eldon around pretty much every single day.  S/he hangs out in the tree right above the house:

eldon

My girl Freya has once again become a night owl.  She prefers to be outside at night which is how she rolls in Iowa.  When we are busy up here she prefers to stay in the house and watch out the window.  Now that she’s out all night, this is what she does all day:

freyaout

We have made a lot of time for fun!  We have fished quite a lot–twice in the last week.  I cannot believe how many small walleye we catch (9-12″).  We’ve been able to keep me in eaters as well, though.  I still get stripped quite a bit as we’re fishing a bit deeper, but I’m holding my own out there for numbers.  We’ve caught more perch the last two times out than we do in a season(?)  I’ve kept a couple along the way for breakfast.  Last week Gruper caught a big ‘ol whitefish and I had a grand time teasing him…until two days ago.  Yes, I caught a big ‘ol whitefish too!  I apologize for the lack of photos, but I HATE the punishment camera and am afraid to take the iPad near water.

I’m doing what I do every year at this time:  wondering if it will be my last outing for the year.  I try to absorb the beauty just in case the weather changes or we just plain run out of time.  This year has been unbelievably beautiful.

When we aren’t fishing Gruper may well be hunting for grouse.

grouswe

I go along and enjoy the beauty of the areas he chooses.  I have certainly learned that he is a very good shot!  Most of you know that I’m not a hunter but I certainly enjoy the fruits of his labors.  We had friends over to celebrate the season’s end.  I was able to made surf and turf (crab slabs and grouse), a nice caprese salad, roasted cauliflower and, uh, this:

blueberrylattice

I photoed it prior to baking as I didn’t know if it would still be pretty;)  I hesitated to take some of the grouse for the meal, but my husband assured me he has plenty of time to get his limit.

While he hunted grouse yesterday, I used the iPad for a few pretty pictures.  We’ve been a bit windy for a few days so lots of leaves have fallen.  The cool thing here, though, is that so many of the trees never lose their leaves:)

This was my personal favorite:

drive2

Moose tracks are a bit unusual right now–they know people are looking for them.

moosetrack

If you follow us on facebook (Tall Pines Camp, Ontario) you’ve seen these incredible pics I took one perfect morning:

Again, I have a fave:

9291

Neal and Marji were here about a month ago (my, how times flies).  It’s always nice to see them and they seem to have a genuinely good time.  Their fishing was pretty good this year.  Marji estimates returning at least 15 walleye greater than 18″, about 6 of which were greater than 20″.  Here she is with a nice 22″er:

marjisniceeye

She found some smaller fish as well…

marjiscutebass

She outfished Neal most of the days this year.  We all know what that means:  Neal was the guide!  Good job, Neal!

nealguiding

Marji likes moss.  It really does create some beautiful contrasts and combinations.  I hope Gruper goes back to a good grouse spot before I leave, ’cause I’ll take the iPad and get some moss shots for Marji:)  Here are some of hers:

Yes, I have a couple of favorites!

Our moon has looked like this recently as well:

moon

I liked these rocky water pics:

She caught an eagle and some pesky pelicans…

She found some nice early fall scenery as well:

Love, love, love…

sceneryfall

I liked this foggy mornin’ shot

foggymorn

and this pretty sunset

sunthrutree

Probably my very favoritest shot is this one of Marji on a particularly cold, windy day.  She said she had on every single piece of clothing she could find!

marjibundled

I think that’s her;)

Well, that’s all folks!  Keep an eye on facebook for the occasional shot or info.  Watch for newsletters (mostly e-mailed) around Thanksgiving.  That reminds me, Canadian Thanksgiving is tomorrow (10/9)!  Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends!

Checking In

September 28, 2017

Hi there!  As you can see we’re still here.  We have our last guests in Camp this week.  Every year it happens:  I realize everyone I’ve waited to see during the season has come and gone already.  It’s the oddest feeling.  We start as Gruper and Andrea and we finish as Gruper and Andrea.

Mark’s last day was Saturday.  We appreciate his dedication to seeing us through the season.  Once the docks were adjoined we could really see the difference between those that had been pressure-washed and those that hadn’t, so Mark’s parting responsibility was to make them all beautiful!  You can see the contrast waaaay out there where he’s working:

mydockscontrast

Speaking of contrasts, you know what I love about ours here!  Oh, those contrasts!  This pic came from the boat trailer yard.  I used my i-pad because I just can’t bring myself to use the punishment camera.  Please continue to pray that my real camera can be saved once I’m home.

mycolors

We had been on a string of gray days until yesterday.  It was a picture-perfect day up here!  Gruper and I went for a drive/walk.  He brought home two grouse (I didn’t even see any!).  I thoroughly enjoyed the colors and contrasts the entire time.  Maybe I’ll take the i-pad along for the next adventure.

The gray days made it hard for me to be perky.  I spent a bit of time in kitchen therapy;)  I saw this magazine cover featuring a blueberry galette with a to-die-for pecan crust and decided to give it a whirl:

mydessert

OK…enough about me.  Well, a bit more about me…we went fishing last week.  I brought in a lovely 16″ walleye to feed my own self.  That was the biggest for our outing (one point for me).  We started at a spot on 3rd Lake.  Gruper dropped his jig, bounced once, and caught a walleye (a small one, but the first one no less).  That was it for that spot so we moved around a bit.  Once we got to 2nd Lake things picked up for us.  He caught a nice under-the-slot northern but I chose not to beg or barter for its meat.  We both caught some perch(?) and some smaller walleye.  It was our longest outing this season.

Big walleye continued into the last couple of weeks.  I know I shared one of Bob’s big ones on the last entry, but here’s another:

His passenger Bob did pretty darned well himself!

Ron had a decent catch as well:

ronsnicewalleye

Mallah caught this beauty, held by her man Jon (I may have shared this last time–I’m getting old and losing track):

mallahswalleyecomp

I have a couple more floating around somewhere and will put them on the next entry.

Mallah and Jon were minding their own business driving home when they saw this dude:

mallahsbear

That bear reminds me that Tom sent a couple of great guy pics!  He, Joey and George had a lot of fun during their stay!

dieringerbunch

dieringerbunchselfie

Tom did not get a bear this year:(  Kraig sent a photo from his hunt that I didn’t have!

kraigandgruper

Frank and his crew (some used, some new) returned for their annual fall fun!  The highlight of Frank’s trip usually has something to do with shore lunch;)  He truly goes all-out!

This year they had uninvited guests:

After the huge meal it’s time for boat dancing (I think):

boatdancing

Then more fishing just for the heck of it!

kamish

Until it’s time to sit back on the deck, have a cocktail, and catch a lovely sunset!

pretty

I’d like to mention here that while Frank was in Canada, his wife Brenda was in Texas as a Red Cross volunteer (her first deployment).  As soon as the guys returned home, Frank’s buddy Bender and his wife Annette headed to Florida–mostly in The Keys–and remain there through this week.  God Bless any and all volunteers during these crises.

Bender was especially excited about this year’s trip to Tall Pines Camp!  He was joined by two brothers, a nephew AND his dad Richard!  Looks like he knows what he’s doing!

niceeaterrichard

So, I’ve still got Nemar’s pictures to share which means at least one more blog entry before we call it a season!  Here’s a nice eggplant-hued sunset from Bob:

eggplantsunset

and here’s one I took last night after our grouse drive/walk:

mywedsunset

reflection perfection;)

 

It Happens Sooooo Fast…

September 14, 2017

Hey there!  It seems like we were just arriving for our 14th season and here it is down to the last couple of weeks already!  Time truly flies when you live in six-month increments.  Until today our weather has been gorgeous all week.  Today feels more fall-like:  it’s quite cool, overcast and a bit damp.  We continue to wish for rain; the lake is about as low as we’ve ever seen.

The best thing about this week has been the fishing!  Gruper and I went out last Sunday due to a planned power outage.  Gruper caught first, and then it was all ME!  I caught a nice number of walleye, the biggest of which was 18.5″ and beautiful!  She is back in the lake but we did keep a couple of eaters for me (so he could have cow).  Nemar is back for their annual two weeks, and they are back with a vengeance!  Marji has released many, many walleye over 18″ and, well, Neal has been a good guide;)  Bob and Bob hooked up for fishing due to unfortunate circumstances, and Bob released this beautiful 24″ walleye a couple of days ago:

bobhansen24

Josh was here last week and released this nice ‘eye:

joshswalleye

His buddy Brandon scored a nice piggy perch as well!

brandonsperch

I have been baking up a storm this week–and giving it away to avoid consumption (not the disease, the act of taking in).  I’ve always wanted to try a slab pie…here’s a peach/raspberry creation:

slabpie

I also did the best recipe of a peach/blueberry cobbler/crumble type thing and a funky apple bread with icing (it acted more like bread pudding).  All items received rave reviews!  I’ve got to back off the baking for now, though, as it’s hard to not dig in.

Nearly all boats are pulled and serviced, save for about six.  I’ve closed up four cabins and will do a couple more in the coming week.  Mark will be with us for another week and is staining, etc.

We first met Colton and Andrea at a sports show:)  At that time they were just another nice couple of kids looking for an adventure.  They came to visit a few weeks ago with big news!

savethedate

Yup!  They are officially engaged:)  We loved their “save the date” tackle box!  I love Andrea’s taste in footwear:

andreasboots

and Colton’s willingness to pitch in!

coltoncooking2

coltoncooking1

Looks like he does a good job with the cooking!

coltonsfishdinner

and the guiding

coltondrivingboat

Andrea must be the “catcher”

even if they’re not all keepers…

andreascuteperch

OK…in all fairness Colton released this HUGE bass

coltonsbigbass

and caught plenty of keepers as well;)

Someone was also a trapper!

deadmouse

They could have used Miss Freya up there for a week (she occasionally leaves me a little love)!

mice

As always, I enjoy seeing our slice of Heaven through new guests’ eyes.  Andrea started on the way up:

She had taken many pictures around Camp.  I liked her looks at the lake:

Out on the lake she found loons,

loons

duck butts (for my seester, who LOVES duck butts),

duckbutts

and great eagle shots

including two in a tree (look closely)

eaglessametree

and a great one of an eagle at the water’s edge!

eagleonlake

She saw a different kind of bird taking flight as well.

This shot shows how quiet our falls are right now due to lack of rain…

falls

and this shot captured the lake on a winnnndy day!

roughwaters

I enjoyed these scenery shots (p.s. to my guys:  I think Big Nose and Pygmy Headhunter are the same…)

cliff

Check out this postage stamp reflection…I just loved it!

patchofglitter

Andrea and/or Colton took a lot of nice sun and moon pictures!  Check out this pink series:

and these:

The moon…

and a perfect sunset!

sunset

Thanks so much, you two, for a great week!  You guys caught on so fast and fit right in with our great guests!  The best part is getting to see you up here again before you’re married!  Thanks for re-booking!

Now listen:  I’m about out o’ fodder.  Marji usually has a bit for me and I’ll try to take some nice fall photos with my punishment camera, but please understand that we are winding down for quality blog entries:)  I do promise to touch base at least once more before heading home.

Take care.

Guest Blogger Time!

September 4, 2017

Happy September, All.  Andrea here.  We just finished a fairly quiet week with one cabin of used guests and one cabin of new guests!  Fall weather has begun and–just as most of the season has been–the temps are beautiful.  The mornings really smell like autumn and the colors are beginning to hit our driveway.

I’ve been able to begin closing a couple of cabins.  Gruper and Mark have pulled and winterized a few boats and motors.  We still have about three weeks of a half-full Camp on the horizon but little signs of winding down are appearing.  Mark has been pressure-washing the main dock and it looks like new!

freshdock

We have Tom bear hunting this week–cross your fingers for him!  He has taken a few bears with us so is a seasoned professional:)  Bob and Ron are here for a couple of weeks as are Neal and Marji.  We have some nice newbies in Camp and they have been seen cleaning walleye–always a good thing!  We hear that the walleye are deeper now:  20-30′.  I loaded up George with some heavier jigs this morning, promising that he’d get the big one this week!

Chrissy and family returned a few weeks back.  She tied into a nice bass, and her husband Jim released a beautiful walleye.  I added these to our Big Fish page:

brownbass

brownwalleye

Nice!  Check out these two pics as well.  I think they’ll find their way to a sports show…

browndockcomp

brownsunsetcomp

Beautiful, Chrissy!  Thanks for sharing and see you all next year!

Howard and Diane visited a couple of weeks ago.  Check out her big bass!

johnsonbigbasscomp

Hilarious!  She always enjoys the “local” scenery

johnsonscenery

and Howard enjoys napping while we pick berries;)

johnsonbbs

Diane is a converted dirty picker!  Her initial outing several years ago yielded lots of berries but also lots of leaves, debris, etc.  She is now an immaculate picker.  Another soul saved.  See, Jim, there is hope…

Speaking of Jim, it’s time to bring in our guest blogger…

hanna

Hi, it’s me Hanna again!  This will be my fourth blog for Tall Pines Camp, and I still hold the honor of being the only guest blogger ever!  The only difference is that this year I didn’t make the trip–I stayed home to keep an eye on Nick.  I think I know the drill well enough, though, to still do a good job:)

Jim and Mary enjoyed some good fishing:

tinyperch

Just kidding!  They did catch some eaters!

marysnorthern

walleyejim

walleyeeaters

Mary loves nature.  She always find some good flowers and plants to shoot:

I’ll bet Andrea likes these flowers the best.  The first is an orchid-like flower down by the boat ramp:

flowers5

This one looks like a mini-sunflower:

flowers7

The waterlily shots were probably a hit, too:

Check out the reflection in this photo–incredible:

reflectionlilypads

Mary also finds beauty in stuff people walk by every day…

or drive by every day.

Her keen sense of curiosity makes Mary wonder what lives here…

scenery2

She tried to mess with Andrea with this “Where’s Waldo” shot:

whereswaldo

Jim humored her while fishing long enough to let her get some good bird photos:

Andrea’s favorite will be this incredible shot of a blue heron:

birdheron

She might even think that shot is contest-worthy…

Jim takes Mary berry-picking when evening comes

blueberries

They had a cool mist one morning during their stay

I’ve been there enough to know what the sunsets are like!

Compare Andrea’s opening shot of the “fresh” docks to Mary’s shot a couple of weeks ago:

What a difference a little pressure-washing makes, eh?

Mary likes to capture reflections for Andrea ’cause she’s nice like that!

reflection3

reflection2

reflection1

Andrea already made this one the Camp’s facebook background (Tall Pines Camp, Ontario).

reflection4

So….last year when we got home from Canada, we took on a new roomie–Omar:

omar

Since I had to stay home and watch Nick, Jim and Mary took Omar to Canada for his first birthday:

omar

He’s not yet as savvy as I and has a lot to learn about the ways of the world.  He saw his first walleye:

omarfish

and learned about the Canadian winds!

omarwindy

He discovered that even on vacation you have to work

omarretrieve

but you also get to rest a bit when the work is done:

omarsleeping

He thoroughly enjoyed himself.  I’m glad he got to go–it gave me a week of rest and relaxation!

Andrea will be back next week:)

 

Happy Birthday to ME!

August 28, 2017

Greetings and welcome to my birthday week!  Sure, I still have to get some work done around here, but Gruper and I have fished a bit TWO DAYS IN A ROW!  We’re staying in 2nd Lake to maximize our time and we’re doing quite well!  Yesterday we fished for about two hours.  Gruper was ahead 3 walleye to 0.  Then I went on a rampage and was ahead 4 to 3.  We ended with him taking first, biggest, most (9:7 walleye) AND variety (on my birthday…).  His variety point was for this insanely fat 19″ smallie:

grupersmassivebass

100% of my fish looked like this:

mywalleye

We ended up keeping three 16-17″ers:  one for the freezer, one for my dinner last night (honey walleye) and one for my dinner tonight (broiled walleye).

ourwalleye

Today we caught more fish but much smaller (10-12″).  Gruper took first, I took biggest (15″ish), and we probably tied for most (lots).  Variety was also a tie as he caught a teeny, tiny bass and I caught two just-under-bartering-size northerns.  Both outings were a blast and long overdue:)  Both days 17′ seemed to be the magic number.  We were using minnows and fishing rock piles.  I started with a too-small jig head yesterday and finally switched to 1/8 oz.  Today I switched up again to a 1/4 oz.  Gruper used a 1/4 oz. pretty much all of the time (I must be more of a finesse anger).

I apologize for the crappy quality of the first two photos.  Having killed two very nice cameras with water (one salt, one rain), I am punishing myself by using the absolute cheapest digital camera I could purchase at Walmart.  It is awful.  For obvious reasons, I am reticent to take the i-pad on the boat.  I will use it for around-Camp photos and the crappy camera for on the lake photos.

This was found in a fish last Wednesday.  We had those who thought it was a fish, others who thought it was an eel, and still others who thought it was an eel poult or mud puppy.  It was gross whatever it was:

mysteryfish

We had another Andrea in Camp last week!  Guess what….she has incredible taste in footwear!

andreasboots

She and Colton took, like, a gazillion pictures but I’ll share them in due time.  The recently-engaged couple had a great first-ever trip and are thinking about a pre-honeymoon in 2018!  We certainly hope to see them again.

Kraig and Jenny finished out their two weeks with good fishing and lots of socialization!  Our island friends were here as well, so it’s been a very “social” spell for us.  Jenny and I made two batches of ceviche during her stay (thanks to Bruce D. and Kraig for making the 2nd batch possible):

Jenny and ceviche

Check out this incredible beet salad Jenny created:

beetsalad

and we shared berry desserts (fresh raspberries and blueberries):

berrydesserts

She and Kraig both released big fish this year!  Jenny had a 24.5″ walleye, and Kraig released both a big bass and a big northern.  Photos to come (I’m sure).

Wayne and LeaAnn were here a few weeks back.  They come for the perch (837) and the blueberries!

hagedornblueberries

They get so many because they are obviously dirty pickers;)  I don’t think they keep any perch but they sure bag the berries!  They enjoy their time on the lake:

hagedornwayensnorthern

hagedornpetnorthern

I sure hope Wayne’s not holding my pet in that picture!  Eek.  I liked this pic of a beaver hut:

hagedornhut

But this photo of a bear in the wild (vs. the dump) is great!  It makes me think of Planet of the Apes:

hagedornbear

Grant caught this fish down in the U.S.  He told his dad that they needed to throw it back:)  I guess he’s learned something along the way;)

grantsnicewalleye

Speaking of throwing back…this is funny!  Todd caught this beautiful 25″ walleye and his buddy Ken netted it for him from another boat!  That’s what friends are for!

Steve and Katie were here about a month ago.  It is always a pleasure to have them around.  Katie is a great kid and her dad’s a super nice guy.  They are pretty good anglers:

especially Steve:

steveandseedcomp

They were all about the birds this trip…mergansers, eagles:

That last bunch is having a meeting of the minds, just like Katie and me!

katieandandrea

Maybe we were discussing what to make in painting class?

or where she and her dad would fish (I LOVE this pic)?

katieonboat

They got a good pic of a bear!

dumpbear2

Maybe when it was too foggy to go fishing one morning…

foggymorn

They certainly had some nice sunsets to enjoy, as has everyone this season!

sunsetintense2

See you guys next year…and hopefully Jake can come along;)

Aunt Phyllis only made it to be 98.5 when she passed last year.  Tomorrow would have been her 100th birthday!  Party hearty up there!

aunt phyllis

It Rained Pigs Last Week!

August 21, 2017

Hi there and welcome back.  First up:  an eclipse report.  Nada.  We were cloudy and drizzly all day, ergo no glimpse of the eclipse.  We need the rain in the worst way, though, so I’ll not complain too much.

It was crazy ’round here last week!  Holy buckets did we have some bodies running around!!!  Between guests and friends, I counted 47 forks after potluck!  Wowzer.  Needless to say, Gruper and Andrea are enjoying a more “normal” week.

I wish I could tell you how many walleye over 18″ were released last week.  The fish had transitioned to 15′ and deeper, and our folks were finding them in lots of places.  “South Bay” was just one of many places producing big pigs.  I’ll share a few pics here that I’ve put on the Big Fish page.  I’ll try to catch up in the next day or so (blueberry guiding is devouring my work time;))  Warren released a 23 and a 25!

Joel released a beautiful “24.5”:

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Chuck released a 25″

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Early (do you not LOVE that name???) released a 19″ smallie

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I have several more that I could post.  It was a really, really good week!

Kraig dropped by to shoot a bear…ho hum;)  Yes, opening day, still daylight, old hat:)  That’s what Gruper likes about Kraig’s hunt!  It’s another nice one and has a bit of white on his chest.  Good job, Kraig!  He actually got to just fish for a week and a half!

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Let’s share some photos!  Chris and Finn were here waaaaaay back in early June for their first visit!  They had such a good time that they plan to return in 2018!  Finn’s the kind of kid who enjoys pretty much everything, including a snack on the boat:

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He “caught” on to fishing pretty quickly!

Dad caught a huge bass:

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and Miss Clio, well, she’s just huge!

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See you in the spring, Finn!

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Next up, Scott and Luke!  Actually, they were three generations with Wally:

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Wally nailed a nice bass!

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Luke had nice variety fishing!

and he and Caleb had a good time together

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Caleb’s the poor kid whose first-ever walleye was a 25″er!  Perhaps it’s one that was caught and released this week???  That, my friends, is the beauty of catch and release:)

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Here’s a nice shot of Scott, Luke, Wally, Caleb and the other nine members of their group!  Maybe we’ll see them again…

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Brett and Karen returned for their umpteenth visit and we’re delighted!  Those darned kids of theirs are getting so busy with extracurriculars that they almost didn’t make it this year!  However, our schedules were able to sync and we enjoyed a nice visit.  Tricia is becoming quite the angler:

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If pressed, though, I think she’s cite duck feeding as her favorite Canadian activity;)

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Trent continues to LOVE fishing!

This picture may make its way to the sports shows…

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or perhaps this one will…

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Love it!

Karen’s duties include snack patrol, bait handling and maybe some fishing in between(?)

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She also gets some great pics!

LOOK AT THAT REFLECTION!!!

Brett tries to spend some one-on-one time with each of his kiddos and seems to fully enjoy this week of family harmony!

Just like I’ve now come to understand the importance of catch and release, this family has taught me a bit about tradition.  Here they are for the first visit and for their most recent visit:

I now understand the annual photo!  Thank you:)  I can’t wait to see next year’s picture!

Blog fodder continues to arrive, so I’ll keep blogging:)  Next up:  LeaAnn and Steve and Katie!

Until next time…

Fun!

August 14, 2017

That’s the best way to describe last week.  We had a nice mix of new and used guests, and everyone caught fish!  There was painting, picking, lovely weather, and just plain fun!  I picked some raspberries for Gruper’s favorite pie.  Talk about a labor of love–oy.  I’m sticking with blueberries from here on out.

Wayne and LeaAnn were back.  They come for two things:  perch and blueberries.  The funny thing is that they don’t keep their perch, they just count them.  This year’s total was OVER 800!  As far as berries, they had more in a week than I’ve gotten so far (about 6 gallons for me…more for them).  They (Wayne) are serious about their perching and picking:)  They were fishing cabbage weed edges and casting for northerns.  The perch wanted to join in the action!

Isaac and Steph were new to us.  They had a great week!  Self-described “river rats,” they tackled Wabaskang and did a great job.  They were celebrating 20 years of marriage and the honeymoon they never took:)  They liked Aerobus Arm a lot.  They used #5 Mepps spinners and a Beetle Spin (our guy Duane would be proud!).

Steve and Katie returned as well.  I received some nice pics for them which you’ll see in a week or two.  I’d like to thank everyone who has been sending blog fodder!  I have a nice batch and will always take more!

Most of Fred’s family returned a couple of weeks ago.  It’s always nice to see them.  They’ve been coming since long before us and were part of the welcoming committee when we started here 14 years ago.  Bruce and Steve, two of Fred’s sons, are a bit competitive which adds to their fun.  Grandson Aiden added a nice walleye to the Big Fish page while they visited this year which was exciting.  Here are some other pics from them:

Addison likes to mix it up while she’s out fishing (she’s also a good picker!):

Brennan holds a northern like I do;)

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Here’s Aiden’s nice walleye:

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I loved this pic of three generations!

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Bonnie likes to get into pike of size!

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I can only hope that Diane was doing this for Jean’s class(?)

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Bruce had the long and the short of it a couple of times:

He had a pretty good week of walleye…

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BUT, his brother Steve did note that his “was the largest the group caught. 22″. Bigger than any of Bruce’s.”

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I was floored by some of the incredible sky and reflection pictures I received this year!  Besides our very mild temps this summer, we have had endless beautiful, colorful sunsets!  I’ll start with a few here:

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We’ve had about one foggy morning each week…pretty in its own way:

These pics both stood out to me:

I really liked these sky reflections as well:

WOW.

The simplicity of this reflection made it my second favorite “pic” of the crop;)

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My favorite pic has a spiritual feel to me.  I just love it!  Thanks for sharing all of these pics, Guys!  See you next year:)

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This seems like a good stopping point for now.  See you all soon!

Looking Good!

August 7, 2017

Greetings and Welcome Back!

Our crazy-busy week last week was GRRRRRRREAT!  We had bodies in every cabin, and every cabin had a good week:)  Our newbies took a day or so to get acclimated but found their footing, caught fish, enjoyed some lovely weather and went home begrudgingly.  We added four fish to the Big Fish page of our website (www.tallpinescamp.com):  Cody released a 39″ northern, his Uncle Ron released an 18″+ smallie, Aiden released a 21″ walleye, and Caleb released his first-ever walleye…you guessed it…25″:

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He’s ruined for life!

Trent and Brett reported walleye starting at around 9′.  They did a lost of fishing on 2nd Lake and put some never-before-seen dots on the map!  Thanks, guys!  They brought Karen and Tricia along as well.  Tricia enjoys fishing and mom Karen is in charge of snacks as well as fishing and blueberry picking:)  They promise some pics in the near future.

A lot of slot northern were reported last week.  We had some hard-core northern anglers here and they had a ball.  Eater walleye were not a problem either, with lots of catches reported on 2nd Lake and Keynote.  Perch continue to be in high demand.  I have some serious perchers here this week but get this:  they only keep count…they release them all!  They caught 200+ on Sunday!

Gruper and I went fishing yesterday morning before breakfast.  We stayed on 2nd Lake.  I caught the first and biggest (walleye); he caught most and variety (walleye, perch, smallie).  We fished for about an hour and were pleased that the “fall spots” are starting to produce.  I then enjoyed TWO blueberry picks after breakfast!  I had guided a ton last week and did a bit of scouting as well.  I enjoyed one pick all by myself yesterday, then enjoyed a second with new and used guests:)

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The berries are “berry” nice this season!  Look at that bunch at the top.  I told Gruper some looked like bunches of grapes, so I brought one home to show him.  I’m on my fifth freezer gallon which bodes well for Pat and Sally.

We did turkeys for potluck.  I had enough blueberries to make a big blueberry-banana cake with lemon cream cheese icing.  I took its picture but can’t find it:(  I liked it better than the bundt-style cake I made a few weeks ago.  There was a nice assortment of side dishes and everyone left stuffed.

Kevin was here several years ago with a large guy group.  He liked us enough to return with his wife, daughter and parents this year!  It was a quiet week…a bit too hot…but they had a lovely time and vow to return next year.  They shared some pics (thank you)!

Emma turned out to be a good picker AND she made me sand men!

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She LOVES nature and being outside!

Her folks and Grandma and Grandpa enjoy the outdoors as well.  They fished from the dock several evenings…catching a couple of nice perch out there!

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She was a bit freaked out by the fish but did it!

Her mom and dad caught a couple of NICE bass:

Grandpa found a walleye:

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Thanks again, Kevin, for sharing your family with us!

In our family news, our Navy nephew Jake is currently deployed to the Persian Gulf.  His ship is the USS Nimitz.  Please keep him, his shipmates and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  His Navy wife Jessi is home with their two boys, Jack and James:

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Great-niece Emma turned 4 yesterday!  She shares a birthday with her papa, my brother Dan who passed away in April.  I like to think he’s riding his motorcyle in Heaven, so I created a piece of glass for him:

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I call it Dan’s Highway:)

Until next time…

In Like A Lion

August 1, 2017

Happy August, Everyone!  Can you believe it’s August already???  We just had a pretty fast-but-furious rainstorm, our second since last night.  Last night we had big, big wind and lots of rain with a bit o’ light show for fun.  We really need the rain; the lake has dropped visibly in the last week.  I thought I was going to have to water flowers but should be good now for at least a few days.  We had been quite humid for several days–unusual for up here–so Gruper and I knew we were in for a good thunderstorm.

We were pretty quiet last week.  I was able to pick a couple of times as well as catch up on some camply duties.  Kevin has already sent some pics from their trip.  I plan to share them next week.  Fishing was tough but they didn’t give up!  It was way too hot, way too sunny, way not windy enough, etc.  They were great sports, though, and are planning a 2018 trip!

The quiet week allowed for more project work.  Gruper and Mark replaced the floor in Cabin 3’s bathroom and it looks very nice.  Staining continues always.  Mark has dismantled our cabin’s porch swing and will begin taking a part of the deck apart as well (did you see what I did there???).  

We are anything but quiet this week!  The nice thing is that we are nearly all used people, so I have only 16 new faces to learn.  Fishing results have been pretty good as well:  young Aidan released a 21″ walleye and young Caleb released a 25″ walleye (his first ever).  We all know the problem with setting the bar that high;)  The buckets are showing lots of nice eater-sized walleye and northern, some HUGE smallies and some good piggy perch as well.  

I added two bass to our Big Fish page.  Sean and Kyle from two weeks ago each released 18″+ smallies!  The pics are very nice.

Sean and Kyle were part of Ryan’s group two weeks ago.  These guys were fun guests but serious anglers!  Jeremy had upside-down lake maps on their shirts so they could consult the map without removing their shirts.  They came in with a plan and figured things out during trying conditions.  I think North Bay ended up being their best spot but they were exploring and conquering!  I have some pics from Jeremy to share (thank you)!

Kyle not only released a big smallie, he also gave a nice northern back:

and caught walleye!

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Looks like nearly everyone got into walleye:  Mike, Jeremy, Ryan, Ryan…

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Ryan found himself a big ‘ol bass

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as did Jeremy

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These guys weren’t messing around with tiny perch.  Check out Jeremy’s pigs among their mess:

This looks like the makings of a nice dinner:

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What’s that you say???  Shore lunch featuring northern cakes and walleye!

Hopefully they had room for steaks later!

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Sean might be the oldest but I wouldn’t depend on him to feed the troops (btw, I LOVE this pic):

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Not to add insult to injury, but the sleeve makes me think Sean caught this as well (?)

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It was GREAT meeting all of you!  We certainly hope to see you again:)

I captured some nice sunsets this past week.  However, I’d rather close with a few nice words about a very nice man.  Tall Pines Camp lost a good friend on Sunday.  John (The Big O) O’Neill passed away surrounded by his family after a tedious battle with brain cancer.  John welcomed us when we took over Camp and always had a smile, a “comment,” or a story to make folks smile.  Our condolences go to his wife Nita, daughters Rachel and Tara, grandsons Andrew, Bentley and Charlie, and his siblings including Ed with whom he used to fish up here.  Gone too soon.