Archive for April, 2009

Survivors

April 29, 2009

On yesterday’s walk I was amazed at how some things survive the brutal winters up here.  I’ve always liked moss–the different colors, textures–and find it absolutely beautiful among the snow and muck.

moss

I think some of that is lichens?  Anyway, I especially like the light green spongy moss that’s up here year-round.  It looks artificial. 

I also wandered across a giant ant hill by the Eagle’s Nest cabin.  It’s covered in grass, but those little critters were working away.  This hill is about the size of an ottoman.

anthill

They were coming in and out of here like crazy...working away.

They were coming in and out of here like crazy...working away.

Not so lucky at survival were the pine squirrel that “fell” out of a tree today.  Pine squirrels–for the unfamiliar–are about half the size of normal squirrels.  They eat holes in screens, garbage lids, etc.  That thing was barking up a storm and they are such destructive critters.  All I know is that it fell from the tree…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

This evening, we witnessed the chain of life.  A mature eagle flew right by our kitchen window.  We looked out our living room window and saw this eagle eating a duck!  I thought it was a fish, but Steve identified it as a duck.

eagle1

Then, two more eagles came into view.  They scuffled and fell through the ice.  The original eagle flew off with the duck and continued to eat it in a tree! 

They eventually flew away.

They eventually flew away.

Out and About

April 29, 2009

Yesterday’s snow pretty much melted off today.  I took a good walk back from the B & P Variety.  Along the way I saw a weasel-type critter but that’s about it.  I didn’t have my camera so just use your imagination.

Steve and I drove down Peffley’s road today to check on the docks.  They appear to have moved from where he left them.  There were a bunch of mergansers down there and a bunch of golden eyes on our end of the big hole.  I’ll try to get photos yet this week. 

We could hear what I thought was a pileated woodpecker today.  It turned out to be a flicker.  We get redbellied woodpeckers at our Iowa house–they look a lot like a flicker–but the flickers up here are big and yellowish.  We’ll end up with a ton of them around Camp.

They sound like a jackhammer when they peck.

They sound like a jackhammer when they peck.

I walked around some more looking for interesting stuff.  That’s the nice thing about this blog:  I’m trying to look at things through your eyes and am not taking things for granted as much.  Behind Steve’s upper maintenance bldg. I found these odd bones.
We're pretty sure they're grouse.

We're pretty sure they're grouse.

In front of Steve’s lower maintenance bldg I found this odd creature.
Busy getting boats ready.

Busy getting boats ready.

We keep hearing the drumming grouse.  I walked way into the bush (behind Steve in the above photo).  Finally a female grouse flew into the tree above me and I was able to get her picture (it’s becoming clear that I’ll need a super-duper camera if I’m going to be any kind of blogger).
It was way up high, eating something off the branches.

It was way up high, eating something off the branches.

Speaking of grouse, I made a tasty grouse stirfry for dinner the other night.  The ruffed grouse are all white meat and taste like chicken (to me).  The spruce grouse are all dark meat and taste a bit like pine needles.  I made a bison/broccoli/mushroom scramble for breakfast yesterday.  Last night we had pizza and I put spicy bear sausage in the sauce.  Tonight is eye of round moose steaks.  I guess when I adopted my mom’s rule of “you kill it and clean it, I’ll cook it” I never knew what I was getting into!

SNOW!

April 27, 2009

That is the worst four-letter word I know.  We awoke to it this morning:(  Anyone who knows me well knows that I (Andrea) HATE snow!!  I don’t like Iowa winters and certainly want no part of a NW Ontario one.  Here are a couple of photos I shot this morning

Looking from my deck to the cleaning facility.

Looking from my deck to the cleaning facility.

This is from the corner of our deck looking at the big hole.

This is from the corner of our deck looking at the big hole.

Yes, I know it could be worse.  I was shocked our second season up here when it snowed on Oct. 6!!!  Holy cow:  imagine if it did that every year–snowed through April and started again in Oct.  They’d have only five months without snow.  I can’t even stand the thought.  Here are pictures from when he arrived last week, April 21.
Snow on the lower level April 21 '09.

Snow on the lower level April 21 '09.

Taken from our deck looking toward the Eagle's Nest cabin.

Taken from our deck looking toward the Eagle's Nest cabin.

As a testament to my dislike of the snow, have you noticed that all of the photos are taken from our deck?!!  If I could, I’d hibernate pretty much all winter.  To prove how much worse things could be, I’ll close with these photos from May 1, 2008.  We awoke to 18″ of fresh snow over what was already a bunch of snow.  I would have headed back to Iowa but our vehicles wouldn’t make it out of the lower level:(  Steve shoveled in hip-deep snow by the Bear’s Den.
That's Cabin 3 (from our deck of course).

That's Cabin 3 (from our deck of course).

That's the corner of the Bear's Den.

That's the corner of the Bear's Den.

Sunday, April 26

April 26, 2009

Happy 18th bday Caleb Michael Orman, our 3rd oldest nephew and 6th oldest of all the nieces/nephews.

Our day was fairly quiet.  We had friends from Dryden visit this morning.  I worked on our house a bit more.  Stinky and I walked around the yard and found an eagle feather and some mysterious-looking “sign.”  I thought it was wolf but the location seems improbable.  Stinky sure sniffed all around and even blew her coat a bit. 

I’m excited for the Amazing Race and Sopranos finale this evening. 

The hole is almost in front of our house.  I’ll take a photo when it gets there.  We had pleasant temps today, but tonight is supposed to get pretty chilly.  Steve built a fire this afternoon. 

Tomorrow I need to start getting ready for the spring cleaning crew.  More on that tomorrow:)

Saturday, April 25

April 25, 2009

We went for a drive to Ear Falls yesterday.  There was a HUGE bull moose on the side of the road.  His spikes were quite long and very big around.  He was most impressive!  He was the first I’ve seen although Steve says we drove right between two on the way up.  I did not see them(?)  Either he’s hallucinating or I’m oblivious–a scary thought since I was driving.

eagle

This evening an eagle flew into a tree right in front of Cabin 5.  I took this photo from my living room (you can see the screen marks).  It was probably fishing since the big hole is almost to our cabin now.

Not much else to report today.  We’re still unpacking, organizing, resting up.  Steve has gotten the trash truck and the Toyota both running–they both start right up each spring (knock on wood).  Old war horses!

To Blog or Not To Blog…

April 24, 2009

that was indeed the question.  We have come to realize that this is a great way to communicate with our guests/friends.  Many of you keep in touch with us throughout the year, and this is a great way to give you little pieces more often than we’re able through e-mail.  You’ll still get personal replies as well, but this will give you a Tall Pines Camp “fix” when needed.

We were outside today trying to find a male grouse we could hear drumming.  I wanted to get a photo of him but to no avail.  The drumming sounds like a slow “thud…thud…,” then picks up speed until it sounds like a drum roll.  It is part of the mating ritual…they use their wings to make the sound and puff up all big for the ladies.

This one's for you, Sandi.

This one's for you, Sandi.

We saw another “sign” of wildlife.  There were fresh moose droppings between Steve’s two maintenance buildings.  Someone’s been wandering around up there.  I think I found some wolf hair on a branch while we were looking for the grouse. 

I walked back from the B & P Variety Store (where we get our mail) yesterday for some exercise.  A couple of guys were out working in a ditch along 105.  Looks like some beavers went crazy in there!  There were chewed logs everywhere and we think they blocked the drainage pipe, so these guys were placing a grate over the entrance of the pipe.  Environmental hazards, those beavers.

Last Year & This Year

April 23, 2009

I was able to find a picture of the lake when we arrived last year, mid-April, 2008.

This was thick ice that lasted almost another month.

This was thick ice that lasted almost another month.


I took a picture yesterday, April 22, 2009, of the lake. As you can see, there’s a huge hole forming. That hole is a very good thing!
The lake is thawing at a good rate.

The lake is thawing at a good rate.


We should have no problem making ice-out before opener. Last year we weren’t able to put the docks in until 2 DAYS prior to opener! That’s more stress than we care to deal with ever again:)

Hello world!

April 22, 2009

We officially entered Camp the afternoon of April 21.  Our trip up was uneventful, and the Border crossing was quick and painless! 

There was quite a bit of snow in the driveway but we were able to get in without much problem–even the boat Steve pulled and the trailer Andrea pulled.  The “external” side of our buildings looks fine; we’ll not get inside any cabins for a week or so.

The lake is still frozen though showing signs of melting.  It is far ahead of last year at this time.  I’ll try to post a picture yet today.