Still Breathing:)

July 14, 2018

Yes we are.  Camp is small again this week, and Gruper and I continue to take it easy.  Becky, Mackayla and Emily all left late last week.  The girls both wanted to make their own souvenir–an acrylic painting:)  Check these out!


I’d love to say they got their creative talents from me…but…

I drove Emily into Minnesota, handed her off, and returned to Camp all in one day (500 miles)!  Our visit was nice, and Emily was able to experience a taste of our “other” life.  The drive was quite pretty:


The girls enjoyed their plane ride, as did Mr. Bentley!  We told him he could climb on board and look around.  Unbeknownst to him, he was going up with his mom and grandma!  His enthusiasm after the flight could be summed up in one word:  joy!



As you can see, he was “flying high”!

This adventure with his mom and grandma was significant:  his papa (Big O, John O’Neill) passed nearly a year ago, and this family needed to return to Tall Pines Camp.  Gruper and I honestly felt it was very important to help with closure.  The ladies did a great job!  Nita operated a tiller–something I don’t care to do–and both she and Rachel provided multiple opportunities for Bentley to fish, frolic, and heal.


That boy caught that fish 100% on his own!  His papa is so proud!  Bentley left a picture that is hanging on our fridge as I type (and get teary):


Enjoy Alabama, Buddy (drive your mum nuts with the sand)!

Doug and his beautiful family returned last week, and brought friends!  The boys spent a lot of time fishing, in spite of mayflies and warm temps.  Warren released this northern


and Evan released a walleye seed!


Erika and Monika took advantage of massages(!), and the boys all took a painting class!

The ladies also joined me for what I thought would be a “pancake and muffin pick.”  I was very wrong…folks, I have 1 gallon in the freezer already!  #banner season


Doug was with Duane when he released this BEAUTIFUL fish!


Yes, he could have kept that walleye as his 18″+, but he CHOSE to return her to the lake!  Thank you, Duane!  We look forward to seeing you and Jan again next year!

Gruper and I sneaked out for our first fishing session this week!  He boated two bass and a perfect eater walleye for me; I boated nothing.  I was plucked repeatedly, lost a small walleye (I think) before it reached surface, and had my line cut–most probably by a northern.  Surface temps were around 74, and flies–not may–were most active.  We still had a very nice time!

Rod and family are here for two weeks.  They enjoy the northern hunt as well as chilling!  We are excited that my gal Sal and our matriarch Pat will be here today!  Our third quiet week will be filled with love and relaxation!  I’ll close with Doug and Erika’s definition of perfection (I think)!




Time for a Breather

July 3, 2018

Hi there!  Yes, it’s that time of year when Camp is smaller, the pace a bit slower, and the owners a bit more relaxed!  The temps have been downright cool in the evenings, making for nice sleeping.  We are still seeing a few pesky mayflies but not big herds of them.

Last week was a bit tougher for the anglers.  We began seeing a few walleye by week’s end.  Reports were that they were starting at about 8′ and moving deeper.  Folks were having success in the narrows between 2nd and 3rd Lakes as well as on humps.  I added a big walleye and northern from Dave as well as a big walleye from Ryan to our Big Fish page (

This week has started slow.  Reports are that the tried and true walleye spots and “one and done.”  Two of our cabins are folks who have fished this lake for YEARS, and they are still trying to hit their stride.  I believe they will:)

Mike, Pete, Ron and the boys were here a couple of weeks ago.  They had a blast and did a fine job figuring things out around here!







I’m not sure what their bait of choice was…


Kirk and Wendy were here a couple of weeks ago too!  They returned for a week of rest and relaxation.  They thoroughly seem to enjoy themselves during their stay.  Here are a few of their pics:



Nice perches, Kirk!


You, too, Wendy;)


Here’s a great sunset from the deck of Cabin 4:


So with a smaller Camp we usually get a bit o’ family!  Becky and Mackayla returned and brought our youngest niece Emily from Minnesota!  Emily turned 15 during her visit!  Remember when Anna turned 16 here so many years ago!  It must be a thing:)  Anyway, the girls were able to spend some time in the lake:


and I tried to make pancakes that said “15,”

and best of all:  the girls got to take a scenic ride in a float plane!


All in all, it’s been a great visit!  They still have a couple of days left but the time has “flown” by!

Hard Work!

June 26, 2018

Oh, summer, she is upon us!  Last week’s mayfly sightings and hot, humid temps were our first signs.  We began this week with a 40-degree drop in temps overnight and a huge electrical storm.  Add to that the continued mayfly hatch and you have your work cut out for you if you are an angler this week!

Last week’s guests were the most diligent we’ve seen!  They got out there and worked it!  I posted big walleye from Jeanine, Ryan C., Johnny and a late one from Jim Q., northerns from Johnny; and bass from Johnny and John.  I think I’m doing pretty well at keeping up with the photos–if not, please forgive me!  The hatch had walleye anywhere from 2-10′.  Johnny left a great report:  he was using a #18 floating Rapala jerk bait.  Smallies were on topwaters (one specific product was a Whopper Popper).  Johnny’s 47″ northern was caught while fly fishing!  Again, everyone was out there hustling.

Tony decided to fish off the dock a few times.  This was nice!


Wayne and Shirley returned for their annual adventure.  They saw the North Bay Moose


and THREE of these on their way home


On the lake they saw a few things as well:



That might be a sport show pic;)  Thanks for bringing friends, too!  We’ll see you next year!


John and Tony brought wives and friends!  Rich was new to us and has a nice bass:


John found a bigger perch than Wayne’s…


He got to hold his wife Jeanine’s 25″ walleye too!


What a beautiful fish!  Thanks for putting her back, Jeanine!

Ryan R. and his boys returned for another great year!  Laura stayed home, leaving Ryan to tend to his sons’ angling needs.  I guess I should mention that Brayden and Parker are 7 and 5; bear in mind that this isn’t their first trip to Tall Pines Camp…which means this isn’t their first rodeo AT ALL…





They can’t all be giants (but it’s bigger than Wayne’s)…


Sometimes Dad gets to fish…

but what to do with the boys????


or you can just let them be boys…



and that’s a big part of the secret to making them want to fish forever!  Thanks for sharing them again–they are certainly something!  Hopefully Laura will join you guys again next year:)

OK…time to go.  I loved this pic John took last week so it’s my closer!


Life is Beautiful

June 19, 2018

Hi there!  I realize I’m incredibly late but things have been very, very busy around here.  I’m embarrassed to say that I have precious little blog fodder due to the craziness.  I forgot to ask my guys (AG/KB) for their camera card, which usually provides us with at least one entire entry.  I’ll bet Mary had some nice fish pics, but she blew out of here with a swollen appendix.  Several folks owe me big fish pics, and my excuses go on and on:)

Last week was an incredible week fishing-wise, weather-wise and guest-wise.  Nearly everyone was a used guest, with the occasional newbie thrown in for good measure.  Walleye and perch were plentiful!  Our Perchmaster Mark was here.  Good grief, even fishing for bass they found piggy perch!  I know that Ann, Jim, Mark and Kobie all released walleye at least 24″!  It was just a very good week all around!  Most angers reported walleye around 10′.

This week is going to be warm (again).  The mornings are great but give way to some heat in the afternoon.  Bass are coming out to play big time (Whopper Popper was a particular favorite of one guest).  We are seeing some pesky mayflies on Keynote and North Bay; however, we’re still seeing walleye, perch, bass and northern as well.  Cross your fingers for a small, quick hatch!

Steve B. was here a couple of weeks ago.  He’s been coming to Tall Pines Camp for longer than we’ve been here!  He left me with some beautiful scenery shots:


Check out these reflections!


My personal fave:


Thanks, Steve!  See you next year!

Wes and Nancy returned this year with Brad and Mary (appendix woman).  I believe Wes told me that he and Nancy were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary–Congratulations!  They decided to add bodies to their original four and brought Abigail and Hiram along!  Rumor has it that Hiram may need a fishing intervention!  Here are some of Wes’s photos (btw:  he does more than just dabble in photography)!

Both sets of falls caught his (and Abigail’s) eye this year:



I loved these views from above…

It may have been Wes and Nancy’s anniversary, but love was in the air everywhere (nice shirt, Nancy)!


I really liked this pic of Brad and Mary (pre-appendix attack):


Something about this photo struck me as Herculean…


As much as we dislike pelicans around here, these pics were pretty cool:



Wes didn’t disappoint when it came to sunsets!

I liked these pink clouds…


I was able to grab a few photos this week.  We’ve been quite turtle-y this year, and this guy was cruising the driveway by Cabin 5.  I chased him into the grass so he didn’t get squished by an unsuspecting motorist:


Darlene and I have been staining the house.  While I was trimming a basement window, this toad jumped up to get my attention!


I’ve also been squeezing in time to plant flowers (finally)!  I didn’t need to plant these lupines; Gruper keeps spreading seeds every fall and it seems to be working!


We’re light almost ’round-the-clock these days.  I awoke around 11:00 a couple of nights ago and could tell the sky was worth a look.  Here’s what I saw:


Nice, eh?

Until next time!


Whirlwind (or is it a landslide?)

June 10, 2018

UPDATE:  Mary left Friday morning for the hospital.  Her appendix was giving her fits.  She spent the night in Dryden, and Brad picked her up on his way home Saturday.  I received a call this morning FROM MARY.  They drove straight home yesterday.  Her appendix was ready to pop, so she had surgery at 9:00 last night and will be home tomorrow.  Wow…what a way to end a vacation, eh???  Heal quickly and God bless, Mary!

Wow!  That week flew by quickly!  We had a lot going on around Camp–as we always do this time of year–and just when we hit our stride, it’s time to start all over!  Fishing was good, and Mark got a workout cleaning fish for our guests.  We saw lots of great eater walleye and perch, as well as some just right northerns.  I’ve caught up on the Big Fish page (I think): (scroll down and click when you see the Big Fish icon).  William released 24 and 26″ walleyes; Skip released a fat 39.5″ northern; Dave and William each added 19″ish smallies; and I’m waiting for some additional photos.  Thanks in advance…

Our first potluck was a carnivore’s paradise!  I did venison loaf and rhubarb upside-down cake.  We had meatballs, chicken, ribs, sausage bread, a meaty pasta dish, etc.  Chris made a yummy bean salad and a made coleslaw–that was ’bout it for veggies!  Suffice it to say we had a batch of happy anglers!

Last week’s guests pretty much all know each other due to annual roll-over.  It’s so funny when they see each other!  They’re also very helpful with fishing spots and techniques.  Skip and William helped out Chris and his son Finn.  I was delighted when Finn reported releasing a 23″ walleye!  I know that pic will be coming, and I’ll certainly share it!  That was one proud young man!  Stay tuned for more pics from last week in the near future.

This is Paul


He was part of a group of four who visited two weeks ago.  These guys can fish!  Paul added a 24″ walleye to the Big Fish page.  He caught a few more fish as well…

Here’s Paul with his dad Bob


Those fellas had a meal that night!


Bob added a 36″ northern to the big fish page!  He, too, caught some nice fish during their stay



Paul and Bob were hanging out with Terry


and Brian (who caught a cute northern)


Brian’s catches improved along the way; he added a 19″ smallie and a 25″ walleye to the Big Fish page!  Here are a couple more of his fishes…


Terry was the man to beat, though!  He added 3, 25″ walleye, a 26″ walleye and a 36″ northern to the Big Fish page!


I think I spied a key to their success and a possible angling aid in this photo…


They liked whistler jigs and/or roadrunners with twister tails attached. They were going light (1/8 oz.) ’cause the fish are still shallow.

These guys are here for more than the angling though.  They enjoy their time together and they truly enjoy God’s country!  Here are some nice photos:


I think sunbeams find these guys



But it wasn’t all sunshine–rain’s a comin’!


I loved this hole in the sky and the great clouds


A familiar sight around Camp;)


I’m guessing they saw humor in this…do your laundry, buy some tackle…you can also buy water dispenser refills in there!


The guys enjoyed some very nice sunsets during their stay…

My personal favorite….


I’ll close with my favorite pic of theirs:)  Have a good week!


Winter’s Back!

June 3, 2018

Wow!  It is cold and rainy here!  Things started going south mid-week and just continued to increase in nastiness!  Add to that a midnight power outage Friday–making for Camp turnover without power yesterday–and I think I’ll hibernate for a while!  The forecast assures me that things will be better as the week progresses.  I sure hope so….brrrr!  Honestly, Gruper has built a fire in the house for two days now:(

Fishing, on the other hand, was fantastic last week!  We had a super group of people who also happened to be super good anglers!  Many large fish were released.  Reports were 6-10′ for walleye.  Greg’s group were here on a short stay and had a super time.  They shared hot spots that have not disappointed!

Tom and Carol estimated that they released more than 20 fish greater than 20″ long:)  Here are a couple of their walleye releases:



That one was one of many Carol caught that day!  She proclaimed that it was one of her best angling days EVER!  We love hearing that!  Not only that, they roadtripped to Red Lake on a rainy day and saw THREE moose!  Tom usually finds a good northern or two


and they always find plenty to eat!


Another thing we love to hear is when guests can’t find walleye small enough to keep!  We heard that a couple of times last week.  Bob and his group had incredible fishing nearly every day.  His group are true men of God who come for the fellowship, the fishing and the chance to spend a week in God’s country!  Terry is a super angler.  He reported boating 60 walleye one morning.  Their group was over 100 walleye one day, and on their last day they released four, 25″ walleye!  Terry released a beautiful 26″ as well.  I’ll go through their (many) photos and devote next week’s entry to their group:)

Kevin first visited us YEARS ago.  He returned last year, bringing his wife, daughter and parents.  They returned last week and had a BLAST!  Their fishing was off the charts for size!  Sherry, his mom, caught (and released) per personal best:  a 25″ walleye!


Beautiful!  Kevin, Ruth and Dave all released big, healthy fish as well:




They were not short of eaters either




These eagles found something as well!


Emma did not have any big fish photos; however, she did have a very lovely vacation with her parents and grandparents.  She found time for a manicure,




and crafting with Andrea!  Here is her salted silk scarf:


She is a great kid who is truly high on life!  We thought we needed a selfie so we wouldn’t forget each other until next year:


Yes, that’s right:  they’re coming back next year!  We’re happy about that ’cause these are great people


who know the road to happiness and great memories!left turn

While Emma pedalboated, I tried out my new toy (it’s a paddleboard/kayak combo)


The pollen on the lake before this cold snap was remarkably beautiful!


Then winter returned (kind of)!  I’ve been spending time indoors with Ms. Freya who has a gentle reminder during these crazy busy weeks:



Thanks for respecting our wishes and waiting until noon!  We truly appreciate it!

Until next time!





One Week In…

May 27, 2018

PLEASE NOTE:  We have been under a “no open fire” ban since opener.  If you plan to have shore lunches, please bring a Coleman-type stove to use.  I’ll let you know when we receive word that the ban has been lifted.

Well, we have survived our 15th opening week!  We had a nice group of guests and pretty good fishing.  Temps were the warmest we’ve ever seen for opener:  near 80 and sunny pretty much every single day.  Sunscreen was in high demand!

Opening week anglers have their tried and true spots.  Walleye were staying fairly true to form in spite of the unseasonably warm weather.  The surface temp for opening day was around 48.  By Wednesday it had raised to 60ish.  Some bays were 70!  Things are to cool off a bit this week which would be nice.  Paul and Tony fished every day.  On Thursday they boated 113 walleye!  They were fishing shallow–about 5-7′.  This is too shallow:

too shallow

We overheard another boat saying they had 200+ walleye one day.

Paul and Tony added some fish to our not-quite-up-and-running Big Fish page including a couple of walleye, bass, and a northern.  Here’s Paul with another northern


and a table full of perch


and Justin with a killer perch;)


Paul and Tony were in the right place at the right time to see Mama Moose and her calf (look closely):


Our pets have finally shown up!  We had three one morning.  Here’s today’s lone ranger:

pet northern



is a doll and a very good sport.  She returned with her motley crew yet again.  I shared a few of their fishing photos last week. I offered her a cabin of her own but she refused, saying that someone had to keep these guys in line.  She is quite the angler and dutifully guides these guys around the lake to catch fish:









This crew actually seems to have as much fun when they’re not fishing…

man down



They invited Sonny and Kathy to shore lunch one day (one thing I LOVE about my guests–most of them are soooo friendly)!  They even delivered lunch to them:)


A few things concern me, however.  Jeff, in particular, presents with some disturbing tendencies…



They were able to sit and watch a yearling bull for nearly an hour one day!

He allowed them to get quite close and just didn’t seem to care (a special note here about the incredible reflections my friend took the time to include in these shots):




Wow!  They came back truly affected that day!  That’s when you know you really are in God’s country up here.  Here’s more evidence if you need it;)


How about a sunset???


How ’bout “See you next year”???

group pic

I love that photo!  Here’s one that took my breath away:


God’s country, I say.  Until next week…





Open for Business, 2018

May 20, 2018

It’s official:  the 2018 season has begun!  Here’s a sign of the times…


We fixed the broken post and got ‘er done!  The weather has been awfully nice, and we’ve been able to get lots of outside work done.  We finally received a lot of rain Friday, and the lake has risen visibly; however, we could use more rain and I’ll not complain if we get more.

Yesterday was walleye opener.  Darnell, Party of 4, returned with great expectations!  Keynote did not disappoint yesterday, and the group was able to find many nice walleye.  Vicky reported that 4, 20’s; 3, 19’s; and several 18’s were returned to Wabaskang.  She knows that pleases us to no end!  Here are a few nice shots:





The group also found some smallies yesterday evening:



Their adventure was not without its challenges, however.  There was a small problem with the trailer hitch en route


Vicky had to tolerate A LOT of snoring and had to BUY HER OWN COFFEE (etiquette dictates that the driver has to purchase nothing)…


and there was a social hour almost immediately after they arrived (her cheesecake is to.die.for.)

social hour

Male bonding…


She took a pretty picture:)


and even spotted a Grupe in the wild!


Speaking of Gruper, he found some really cool moss!

It’s really pretty green, resembles coral, and creeps!  I think we should transplant it to the hill in front of Cabins 2 and 3!  While examining the moss I saw bird carnage:


Something got hold of a grouse I guess:(  There were lots of feathers and parts:(

I had a nice shot at some glitter the other night


but nothing tops this sunset!  It had every color imaginable:)  See you next week!



Happy Day, Moms!

May 13, 2018

We hope all you moms have gotten to do whatever makes you happy today!

Camplife is nearly ready to begin.  In less than a week we will have people all over the place here!  For my end, all the cabins have been spring-cleaned.  I will finish making up the beds and hanging curtains today.  I need to spend a good amount of time under the Bear’s Den getting organized for the season, but cabins come first.

For Gruper’s end, things are going pretty smoothly as well.  Ice was officially out by Monday.  Here’s a pic of the last bit of shoreline accumulation

shore ice

It looked like a big slushie toward the end!  We have had some windy days, but Friday brought us a glass lake first thing in the morning.  You all know what that means!


The docks are in place and ready for boats!  That bench looks like it’s ready for bodies as well!  Good thing Friday was so calm ’cause it’s been pretty windy ever since.

This week will find Gruper and Mark freshening boats and getting them ready for season.  Oh, that’s right:  Mark is returning this year!  He joined us around Week 3 last year, finished out the season, and indicated that he wouldn’t mind doing it again!  Life is easier when we don’t have to start out training someone.  Darlene will also be working around Camp part-time.  We are delighted to have her; she helps keep me in line.

I’ve not seen much wildlife yet but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  Freya was right about some hinkiness around here.  We have a fox again this year

Here’s a great “where’s Waldo” grouse shot


Gruper has seen a moose and a bear already this year (I have not)!  The bear was a pretty good one:


Apparently I’ve been too busy to get to go critter watching;)  I have spent a bit of time in the kitchen of course.  We entertained Friday evening.  I tried to do a lot of fruit and veggie things, e.g., stuffed mushrooms and an OCD veggie tray:


The main plate was green beans almondine and Andalusian pork (the one with that olive, caper, tomato salad on top).  Those both turned out very well.  HOWEVER, I wowed myself with a recipe I’d seen on fb

cake roll

That bad boy is a fruit-filled angel food cake roll!  I topped it with more of the fruit as I served.  It was really, really good if I do say so myself, and I do.

With the too-nice temps we’ve been having, the sunsets have been gorgeous!



Here’s an early morning foggy narrows shot


My fave for this entry is an ice reflection from last week:


Spectacular!  See you next week!

Well, It Is Sunday…

May 6, 2018

and it seems only right that I begin the blog schedule:)  The weather has been absolutely beautiful, with daytime temps in the mid 60’s and plenty of sunshine.  We could use some rain–and you know how I hate to admit that–but we’re sure it will come.  This lovely weather has done wonders with the ice!  We had nice winds on Friday that brought large chunks to shore:


We have a HUGE chunk moving toward shore now, and then we will be clear to the narrows on this end:

See how I incorporated a great reflection into that pic;)  Some things NEVER change.



and I took a walkabout yesterday afternoon.  The only winter damage we could see was to one of the posts of our “Welcome to Tall Pines Camp” sign:


We’ll assume that’s an easy fix.  We wanted to show off our new crib along the driveway:


Please be sure to admire it when you arrive.

I continued the driveway walk on my own; Freya senses hinkiness beyond the actual camp.  This is the poo I was seeing everywhere–Gruper says it from grouse:


Honestly, there’s a lot of it coming out of those little birds!  This mystery substance was up by his shop:


I found one set of paw-like tracks, perhaps from a fox?


The entire driveway has LOTS of moose and deer tracks.  I’d say at least two moose are using the driveway daily for their walk, and there’s a trail into the bush through some wet ground:

I know this is short, but so am I:)  Stay tuned.