7/29/2006

Cooler Today!

Well today it finally cooled off after the thunderstorm we had this morning. Yesterday it got up to 98 degrees in the swamp! We don't have air conditioning, so had to rely on our fans to keep us from sweating. Now the mosquitoes will probably be hatching after the rain. I heard some bullfrogs singing this morning, so at least they are happy it rained. We were going to mow the lawn today, but too wet right now to do that. They are predicting more thunderstorms for today. Swamprat is busy working inside our boat in the garage. He was supposed to go fishing on Lake Superior this morning, but the storm put a stop to that! It's now in the 70's outside and it feels good now that it's cooled off.

We have a nice young buck that comes in the yard now. He eats the small apples under the trees in the mornings. Hope he doesn't take a liking to my maple trees? They have grown double their size and are looking healthy right now. My cherry orchard is doing well also for year two. I expect to get cherries next year on them. I did get blossoms but the cherries were very tiny this year. We didn't plant a garden, but we put some lettuce, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and peppers in my "EZ-GRO" planters. They are growing nicely! These would be great for people that live in the city with little space. I want to upgrade to the self-watering one they have out now. It has a timer on it for watering and a reservoir.

The ponds have all sorts of wildlife near their banks now. I see alot of cranes, ducks, eagles, and deer there. We sold our four-wheeler and are buying a "Rhino" that seats two people side by side; so we can both ride. It also goes through rougher terrain than the one we had. With all the many trails we have in the woods it will be a nice addition. Next month we are going to our brother-in-law's fishing tournament on the bay. I have to make a dish to bring to it, as there is a dinner after the tournament. Hope the weather is good to us on that day. Well the sun is trying to shine in between all the clouds. We might get some more rain today also? I am making spaghetti for lunch today and ribs for supper tonight. Yesterday we ate bratwurst made at our local meat company called "Vollwerths" here.

Later today, we are going to ride out to our hunting camp. This year was the big remodel of it. We put on a porch and more windows with screens. We have been using it in the summers lately. It seems whenever someone comes up here they want to stay there free of charge; instead of getting a motel like we have to do when we visit them? Seems Swamprat is always being taken of advantage of by these city folk, but I love him for that. Someday, I hope they will give us the opportunity to stay free at their homes? haha Dream on.... We really don't like to go to the cities anyway and that's probably why they come here? Smile...

Hunting season starts on November 15th and already we are getting e-mailed with reservations for the camp as early as November 10th! It gets earlier and earlier every year. I am off opening day this year and the first weekend of hunting. I hope Swamprat can get his buck THIS year? We didn't have any venison in the freezer for winter and it got expensive buying meat all of the time. You would think his brother would have given us some of his deer? No, he had it made into sausage and shipped it to Arizona. Nice!! So, what goes around comes around... He will go back empty-handed one of these times...No, Swamprat would probably give him some his deer? That's the difference between US and THEM.

I have started collecting Stephen King hardcover books. I want to put them on my bookshelves that Swamprat is supposed to build for me. They are also nice coffee table books. You see, one of my jobs at work is hauling books for our recycling program. So, I can get just about anything I want. You would be amazed at the books people throw out! It's a shame to throw the classics away. I never throw a book away unless it's unreadable. I think of writing as a gift from God and you should never throw that away. You have to have talent to write a good book, poem, novel, or anything else. Reading is relaxing for me....















5/10/2006

In the newspaper today

Well, I made the paper today so I thought I would post the picture on my blog. This is in front of work by one of the vans I drive. This was in the "L'Anse Sentinel", a local paper south of us here. I am new at the computer so hope this turns out alright. haha Swamprat and I went to town to do a few errands and to get his 1972 Chevy Pick-up on the road, since his Blazer died today! He will have to diagnose the problem or else bring it to a garage. Hope it's a minor problem, but you never know? Damn vehicles!

It's been raining on and off today. Got real cold and tomorrow we are only supposed to have a high in the 40's. I made some BBQ beef for supper in my crock pot. Bought some rolls for it today and corn on the cob. They had some nice sweet corn in the store for a change. Got some frosting makings for my cupcakes I am making later on. I plan on bringing them to work tomorrow for everyone to have with their coffee. We all enjoy having goodies at work on our breaks.

My neighbor broke three ribs jumping into the shower with her husband. haha So, she has been walking around gingerly for a few days. We have been teasing her about it, but I know she is in alot of pain. Their dog tangled with a porcupine and they had to bring it to the Vet, poor thing! Barney had quills all over his face and in his mouth. Lots of our dogs have done that and some many times, but mostly they have been sprayed by skunks. Saw three deer at the end of our driveway today on our way to town. They were getting ready to run across the highway. There was one run over the other day by our road and two turkey buzzards were pecking at it.

Got our home theatre hooked-up so now we have surround in our livingroom. Sounds and looks cool. Our son-in-law sells these for a living. Well, it was a good thing we got the lawn mowed the other day because it has been raining everyday since. Sounds like a thunderstorm is coming so I better get off this computer before I get fried. haha Until next time....See Yah!!

5/07/2006

Sunny Sunday

It's a beautiful day in the swamp today. Today we are getting the smoker ready to smoke lake trout. The fire is our fire pit is burning nicely. Have been waiting for the grass to dry so it can be mowed for the first time this year! Then I can start weeding my gardens around here and seperating some perennials so they can grow better. The daffodils are blooming and my tulips started to come out. It's supposed to be in the sixties tomorrow, so it is slowly beginning to warm-up around our area. It has been long awaited and we are anxious for summer to begin. Swamprat got the lake trout Saturday morning when he went fishing with a friend of ours.

Last night we went to a smoked roast beef dinner at our local VFW. They are trying to raise money to expand their parking lot there. They also built a smoking room off the bar area for everyone, which was great! It has an exhaust fan and bar stools to sit on and a small bar mounted on the wall. Some places make people go outside..... So, with that I am sure more people will want to come to the VFW to have a good time. I enjoyed myself last night and the meal was really good! Got to see alot of people I hadn't seen in awhile too. We brought some smoked roast beef home, so we had sandwiches for lunch today and it was delicious! Our friend Dave smokes meats in his own smoker on wheels. He has done pigs also and it always turns out real good. Alot of places hire him when they want to have a party or to raise money. We have our own smoker here.

My oldest daughter and her husband are involved in a major bathroom renovation. So, there has been a few calls here with questions. Smile.....Swamprat is good at just about everything, so we are lucky we can get everything done that is needed ourselves. Contractors charge alot of money for that! It's bad enough you have to buy all the fixtures, tiles, tub, etc. etc.....outrageous prices to remodel anything these days! Our gas prices have lowered now to $2.73 per gallon at the Indian Reservation. They are saying by Memorial Day it will go down more. It shouldn't have risen to begin with, but once again, extremely greedy! The prices should be regulated for consumers. I feel we have been taken advantage of for a very long time and it sickens me.
It's makes it difficult to go to work when you spending alot of your paycheck on gasoline. It's criminal.....

Soon it will be Mother's Day again. I usually spend it at the cemetary, but this year I have to work on it. So, I will have to go on the 20th of May this year. I planned on silk flowers again and some real ones mixed in a planter. I hope they have it mowed by the time I go so it will look nice for Memorial Day. This year I plan on going with brighter colors. I have to bring flowers for mom, grama and grampa, and Uncle Marv. I also put a flower on my friend Boyou's grave there. It is a beautiful cemetary with trees and is behind our little church we used to go to. Now the church is someone's house these days. Funny how things change throughout the years. I know I will be there someday, but Swamprat won't. He insists on being creamated and he wants half his ashes by the hunting camp and the other half in Lake Superior. HaHa So, you gotta do it. Well nothing else, gotta get to work mowing. Swamprat has the mower going for me out there. Hint Hint






4/18/2006

Swamp Life

Not much new in the swamp. That's why I haven't written in quite awhile. The months seem to be flying by now. We finally got spring around here. The days have been in the 50's and some days warmer. We have a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the field now and they call to each other each morning. They are huge birds and almost look prehistoric. They are in our fields or on the edge of the ponds behind the house. We haven't had rain now in awhile and our dirt road is starting to get pretty dusty. We didn't have a flood this year after all, so that was a blessing. I didn't want to use my leave time for it anyway. Summer will be the time for that.

Swamprat is gone turkey hunting at a camp near Iron Mountain. He will be home either tomorrow or Thursday. There are 4 guys at the camp this year. The first three days was spent scouting the area for turkey sign and then the hunt started Monday morning. The area where he hunts is really beautiful. The camp sits on a hill and is surrounded by forest. Most places there are all camps, not used except for hunting.
We don't have wild turkeys in our area. The habitat for them isn't here in the wetlands. So he has to drive a couple of hours away to hunt them. It's not the most exciting drive; as everything looks pretty much the same along that stretch of road.

The wood ticks have come out in our swamp. I had to pull my socks up over my pant legs and wear a turtleneck so they can't crawl on my skin anywhere. I still check myself over though before I hit the sack at night. Most times you can't feel them on you until they start digging in for a blood meal. Nasty things!! We never had them when I was young, but through the years they found their way up north. When I remove one, I take a match to it right away so they won't live to torture me or anyone else again. They carry Lyme's Disease and who knows what else? At first they thought it was only the tiny deer ticks that carried the disease, but they soon found out that all ticks can carry it. This causes all sorts of joint problems, brain problems, and other nasty stuff in humans. God only knows what they do to the animals.

Saw a black bear in the yard while I was busy raking. Good thing I heard it come crashing through the yard. I immediately went into the house and my dog hid in his doghouse. The bear was only here for minutes and then ran off into the woods. They are very unpredictable and are extremely hungry in the spring. The berries aren't out yet and it's alot harder for them to find food, other than other animals....like us humans? haha Oh people will say that they won't harm you, but I don't believe it. If they have a mind to eat you; they will! I never wear perfume when I am in the woods and I am always watchful when I am in their territory. I have come face to face a couple of times and we both ran in opposite directions. haha

Memorial weekend we will be at our hunting camp. This year the boys are putting on new siding and doing some camp renovations. We plan on having a get together with everyone also. I am sure they will slide a fishing trip on the boat in there too! I know Swamprat is anxious to get our boat in the water. This year our neighbor said we could put our boat in one of his boat slips. It will be much easier going fishing this summer without having to launch the boat each trip off the boat trailer. I haven't heard any good fishing reports lately, so I don't think many fish are being caught yet.
We like to fish for cojo salmon, but alot of people like to fish for the lake trout. The lake trout are easier to get than the salmon are. It's either early in the morning or else right before dark that the salmon like to feed. Lake trout can be caught anytime.

I just went outside and the wind is coming out of the East......very cold! They say fish bite least in the East wind and best in the West wind. This has seemed to hold true in all the years we have been fishing. Tomorrow the weather forecast says we are having stronger East winds, so the fishing will not be very good. Tomorrow night is my night out with the girls. We usually go to the tavern and play radio trivia on Wednesday nights. The local radio station asks different questions and we get points for each question answered correctly. Then a cash prize is awarded to the winning team at the end of the year. This week will be our last week of Trivia. Our banquet is on the 26th and the winners will be paid their cash prize then.

Until the next time.....I will try to write in here more often. Don't know if anyone likes to read it, but I enjoy writing about my life in the Upper Peninsula anyway. I have always liked to write my thoughts and this is a good outlet just for that.















3/26/2006

Warmer In The Swamp

It's alot warmer in the swamp today. It's almost 40 degrees today and the flys are buzzing around outside. In comparison to a couple of weeks ago with the blizzard that brought us 3 feet of snow! Work is going great! I am finally getting used to the area south of us and finding everyone's house to pick up for work and for medication drops that I do in the area. I love my co-workers and it is a pleasure going to work now. We have alot of laughs at work and enjoy each other.


Swamprat celebrated his 52nd birthday on Tuesday. I baked him a homemade yellow cake with cream cheese frosting. He got a new tackle box and lots of safety equipment from our oldest daughter that he can use in our boat. We went out to our favorite restaurant for pizza and "fish bowl" drinks. Then on Wednesday was his mom's birthday. We had chicken, smoked salmon from Washington, and three different salads. So, it was a couple days of birthdays here. Next month he is going to Iron Mountain area to hunt wild turkeys. Then on Memorial weekend our friends will be up here to work on the hunting camp and vacation in our UP.

We are all anxious for Spring to arrive. I can't wait to dig around in my gardens and get the ground ready for my perennials to come up. I have alot of spring flowers in yellows and whites that I enjoy. I bought a pink rose bush when I went to Marquette and hope to plant it in the front yard with my other rose bushes. I need to divide alot of my plants this year, so I will be busy doing that before I can plant anything new. I also need to buy some vermiculite, spaghnum moss, and peat moss to plant my new flycatchers in. I want to put some in pots out on the patio. They are inside now on the windowsill catching any flys that happen to land on them. I can actually see some flys inside the plants, so I won't need to fertilize them as long as there are bugs.

Our radio trivia is going good. We aren't in first place, but we all enjoy the night out with each other. We earn points for each question answered correctly. Sometimes people will call-in answers to help us out. It is every Wednesday and on a Country Music station out of Baraga. We are called "The Chassell River Rats". haha Most of the girls on the team are not from the area, but we have all went down the rivers around here at some time or another? There is also an annual river run down the Sturgeon where you can use innertubes, kayaks, or whatever to cruise down the river in. It's also alot of fun dunking each other and having a brew.

Not sure if the swamp will have a flood this year. It all depends on the Sturgeon River and if it overflows it's banks. It empties into our river, "The Snake River". This usually means water on our road and you can't drive out! We watch the river and get supplies if we feel that a flood will happen? I also get some days off of work, so I saved my "Floating Holiday" for that. haha Pardon the pun...Smile. We actually aren't in water, but it has come as close as a foot to the house one year. It depends on the snow melt, if they open the dam up, rainfall, and water shed basically. Sometimes "The Red Cross" comes and asks us if we need any help or want to be evacuated? We are prepared for this and make sure we can survive at least a week, if need be... We also have a freezer. We make sure the gas tank for the grill is full also...so we can grill out and sit on the picnic table. haha We also have chest waders to play in the water.

Living on a wetlands has some disadvantages, but all in all it's a lovely place to live. In the spring all the bullfrogs start singing and the snapping turtles come out to lay their eggs in the hot sand. Then the Sandhill Cranes start calling to each other on the fields and have their offspring near our house. Whitetail deer, black bear, cougars, wolves, fishers, coyote, and more wildlife live in our woods in the swamp. We all own fourwheelers here now, so we have made trails so we can enjoy the property we live on. Lake property has really skyrocketed in this area, so there isn't much hope of getting a place on the lake here. Not unless you are rich!!

Well, I think I will go enjoy the sun outside on our picnic table for awhile now that it's warmer in the swamp....






3/02/2006

March Already?

I can't believe that we are into March already! We have had a few milder days the last few days with temps in the 30's and today we have sleet coming down. My dog, Cuj, is bugging me to let him outside! We have strong winds out there and he wants to go out? Well, Swamprat spoiled him by putting a heating pad in his doghouse and made it all safe so it wouldn't get wet etc....so he is so spoiled. This dog never wants to stay inside for long, unless we have a blizzard or a thunderstorm. He hates thunderstorms. I think he is afraid to miss anything when he is inside. He loves to watch the birds, squirrels, rabbits, or whatever comes into the swamp.

Well I started my new job south of where I live. I work as a Community Support Personnel in another county. I have my own desk, cell phone, use of any of the company vehicles and have keys for everything I need there. I love my new job! I am mostly driving all over the county and going out to lunch with our clients. We run a recycling program so that Developmentally Disabled individuals can earn money and are able to work in our community. It's a great program! I get great satisfaction in knowing that I am helping people, which is what I love to do! The hardest part of the job is hauling the shredded paper to be recycled into a huge semi to be transported to paper mills in our area. Then the mills make paper products that we all use daily. So, it is very cost effective and helps others to make a living.

I work 8 hours a day and have every other weekend off, so I can do all the other nice things I enjoy. We went ice fishing this morning and caught some coho salmon. The herring were biting too, but kept missing them. They are very fast swimmers and fight like crazy, so it's fun to try to catch them. Then the wind started to pick up to 30 mph. so we decided it was a good idea to come home. I made some spaghetti and salad for lunch and now Swamprat is snoozing on the couch. haha When I got home I did some chores around the house. The usual, laundry, vacumning, dusting, and dishes sort of thing. Don't have time to do this with working so much these days.

Tonight I am going to make some baked chicken, baked potatoes, and have some leftover salad from lunch. I was thinking of baking something today and bringing some goodies for everyone at work. So far they have brought cakes, polish puncski, baked red peppers, and chicken. They are a great group to work with! Alot different than the staff at the group home I worked at! THEY were ALL on the same medications as the clients we had! Scarey! Anyway, I will now be going to "Curves" with one of our clients four days a week starting Monday for a half hour each day. So, I am looking forward to getting healthier and maybe getting "buff"? haha " Go Granny Go!!" Smile.....

My grandaughter Julia will be 6 years old on March 5th and she is having a horse themed party this year. So, I hope she enjoys her party and loves her presents we sent her. We rarely get to see her, or our other grandaughter Lexy, so we try and send nice presents at least. It's hard when you live so far away from children and grandchildren. Now our little airline is on strike, so it will be hard getting flights now.
I would love to fly out to Ohio or California for a few days; but too expensive. I was hoping with the strike that I could get a cheap ticket, but it doesn't look promising right now. Who knows though? My boss says to just let him know 2 weeks in advance. So, at least I don't have to live in fear of taking time off anymore? I am finally feeling that I am doing something worthwhile and it feels wonderful! Change is sometimes the best thing that you ever did for yourself. Amen.













2/13/2006

Monday

Today was a busy day for us. We both had some bills to get paid and I had a re-cert. for work. After the training 6 of us went to breakfast and to say goodbye. Now that our group home is closing I won't see alot of my work buddies anymore. I will be in another town working soon. I am excited about the new job, but leary at the same time because of the unknown? I hate starting new jobs! You never know what you are going to face? It takes time to adjust, but you do somehow.....don't you?

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, but I have to work it. Swamprat and I had our own little celebration with shrimp stirfry and some wine for supper tonight. I am doing laundry as I'm writing this. Seems there is an endless supply of that to do always. I didn't get my kitchen floor scrubbed, but I can do that Thursday when I'm off. Housework can wait! We didn't get much snow in the last few days. It has been extremely cold though! Northwest of us got it worse again. We have a cold front on us now though from Canada. I see the East Coast got nailed with a bad "noreaster" though. There was even an eye in the center of that snowstorm! Terrible storm!
We had an 85 car pileup down south of us in Muskegon County. Whiteout.

We still have 3-4 more months of winter to go, so we aren't through with the snow by a longshot. I am glad Swamprat put a plow on his four-wheeler though; it helps alot!
No more back breaking shovelling or scooping going on now! Yes!! Swamprat and I took a ride down to Iron Mountain to see the Home Depot we have there. Have to drive over 2 hours to get to it, but it was a nice ride. The weather was nice and sunny on Saturday yet. Sunday was when we got alittle snow and it was much colder. The weekend forecast says we are supposed to be in the 20's during the day and colder at night. We had -4 degrees for our coldest, so far......Unlike in the years past when we had -35 below and 300 inches of snow for the year. Now that is winter in the UP.

On Friday the people from here decided to have the biggest snowball fight and the largest amount of snow angels ever done anywhere. It was quite a sight and there were hundreds of people at the athletic field doing it. Didn't hear the results, as we were in competition with N. Dakota, so don't know the outcome yet? I will find out and write about it in here later, if I remember? Mind is going these days. hahaha