Been Missin’ the Fishin’

Northwoods Journal

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mark did not get in until 2:30 a.m.  I dozed off and on and didn’t begin to fret until around 2 o’clock.  I was very relieved to finally see the headlights pulling into the driveway.  It took a long time to fight the Revolutionary War, and this time no one won.  Mark’s team finally conceded so he could come home.

Of course, someone had to get up with the dogs first thing.  I let Mark sleep and took care of the dogs and the birds.  I’m telling you, bird feeding is practically a full-time job! It seemed to take forever to fill the feeders, put seed and nuts on the platform, mix up more hummingbird nectar, put out a fresh orange half for the orioles, and re-fill the bird bath with fresh water.  But of course the work is well worth the wonderful reward!

Male Baltimore enjoying a fresh orange.

Male Baltimore enjoying a fresh orange.

Male rose-breasted grosbeak.

Male rose-breasted grosbeak.

I enjoyed my coffee on the porch while watching the birds and the chipmunks.  This little one came to visit me while I had my coffee.  Two others chased each other around the base of the platform feeder like Chip and Dale.

Chip?  Or Dale??

Chip? Or Dale??

Since Mark got up late, we had brunch instead of breakfast.  He fried up bacon and we made French toast from blueberry swirl bread.  We have eaten just about every meal el fresco this weekend – my favorite!  Unfortunately, by dinner time the mosquitoes had gotten quite awful, so eating outside wasn’t quite as pleasant.

I’ve been getting a little bored with hiking around our place, so I suggested to Mark we go over toward Rattlesnake Hills and hike a portion of the High Country Pathway.  We had been on just a tiny portion of the path last year after we climbed Rattlesnake Hill.  We had to stop in town for gas first, and then the drive seemed to take a long time and the trail Mark drove was extremely rough – just the way he likes it!

Here is the entrance to this part of the pathway.  It criss-crosses all over up here.

One of many entry points to the High Country Pathway.

One of many entry points to the High Country Pathway.

I was a bit disappointed with our hike.  For one thing, it got really hot and the path was mostly in open sun through a lot of scrub oak and scraggly pines.  At one point it ran parallel to an area they clear-cut last year, so it wasn’t very pretty.  The only thing of interest was this large serviceberry tree with its lovely white blooms.  Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out landscape photography yet, and this photo doesn’t show the beauty of the tree.

Beautiful serviceberry tree.

Beautiful serviceberry tree.

We took a break under its branches and I tried a couple macro shots of the blooms.  More I need to learn.  Maybe I’ll just stick with birds.

Serviceberry blossoms.

Serviceberry blossoms.

We gave the dogs some water and picked off a bunch of ticks before heading back toward our vehicle via Rattlesnake Creek Trail.  Poor Milo really got wiped out in the heat.  We had to take another break along the way.  First he sat.  Then he lay down.

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Even Daisy was worn out by time we got back to the FJ, and we hadn’t even hiked all that far!

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Mark spent part of the afternoon getting our fishing gear ready for the evening – restringing all our rods with new line, since it’s been two years.  I took lots more photos of the birds.  I’m still working on getting a good chickadee shot!

Still working on that perfect chickadee photo!

Still working on that perfect chickadee photo!

Great crested flycatcher.

Great crested flycatcher.

White-breasted nuthatch.

White-breasted nuthatch.

Ruby chilled out after her strenuous exercise.

Ruby chillaxin'.

Ruby chillaxin’.

Daisy was quite pleased with herself chasing chipmunks.  Is that a happy face or what?

Daisy playing hide-and-seek, with us and the chippies.

Daisy playing hide-and-seek, with us and the chippies.

Mark grilled us some burgers for dinner and then it was time to start loading up to go fishing.  We quickly found out that using the trailer is a lot more work than when we had the pickup.  The canoe fit perfectly on the trailer, but all the gear had to go in the back of the FJ.  Then we had to stop once along Hungry 5 for Mark to tighten the ropes.  When we got to our favorite fishing lake, we encountered more difficulties.

Where we like to fish doesn’t really have an official “boat ramp” or parking area.  Where people park their vehicles (not many, since not too many people fish here) they have to pretty much drive up the side of a hill and there are huge tree roots sticking up everywhere.  Since the trailer is small and the open space tight, Mark couldn’t get it backed around.  We finally unloaded the canoe and carried it to the water.  Then we unhitched the trailer and pulled it up the hill, spinning it around once we got it to the top.  Mark then backed the FJ up to it and hooked it all back up.  There were three people in a boat just offshore watching our entire show.  I had a feeling they were laughing at us!  At least when we left Mark could pull straight down the hill and out.

We had put the canoe in the water backwards, so had to spin it around and then got part way across the lake when Mark realized he had forgotten the stringer, so we had to turn around and go back.  You could tell it’s been two years since we’ve Gone Fishing! LOL

Mark absolutely loves to fish and will stay out on the water until every worm is gone or the last bit of light has faded from the sky.  Me, if the fish aren’t biting, I have a tendency to get bored – bored, bored, bored.  Actually, sitting in a boat while Mark fished is how my first novel, Emma’s Promise, came about.  I was sitting there bored and almost the entire novel came to me like a movie playing in my head!  A couple of years ago, when I got my first nice camera, being bored on the lake is how I got into bird photography.  It gave me something to do when the fish weren’t biting!

There is an old stump sticking out of the water near the shore and for eight years we have seen king birds nest in the old stump.  I was anxious to get photos of them with my new camera but it was more difficult than expected, with the breeze making the canoe move around a lot.  And then every time I would get focused in for a shot, Mark would cast and rock the canoe again!  Soooooo, I had a lot of blurry pictures to delete!  I did manage just a couple of fair shots.

Eastern kingbird.

Eastern kingbird.

Also, this is the best loon photo I’ve ever taken.  We always see a pair of loons on this lake and I looked for them right away, but didn’t see them.  He popped up out of nowhere right behind us!  I was able to get several photos before he dove again, coming up right where a sunbeam went across the water.

Common loon.

Common loon.

The grackles were having a good old time along the shore.  I don’t know what they were doing, but they sounded like an army marching through the weeds.  I got such a big kick out of watching them and listening to their commotion.  I would love to know what they were up to!

We also saw a brown animal swimming, I think probably a muskrat.  All this time, when we’ve seen a brown animal swimming in this lake we assumed it was a beaver, but there are no beaver lodges, so I’m thinking it must be muskrat.  I took one photo but it wasn’t helpful for identification.

Between the two of us, we caught seven nice keeper pan fish – mostly pumpkin seed sunfish, blue gill or a hybrid of the two.  The mosquitoes were swarming us so badly, no matter how much insect repellent we sprayed on, that we finally agreed to row to shore.  Unfortunately, on my last cast I hooked a small painted turtle right through the side of the mouth.  I could have cried!  Mark had to cut the line off at the base of the hook, but there was nothing else we could do.  I was done fishing then.  I don’t ever like to hurt anything in nature!  (Okay, except the fish we catch, those I will eat but I don’t do the gutting and cleaning.)  I know it’s stupid but I felt so bad for that turtle!  (Another thing I often do when I am bored with fishing is feed my worms to the turtles that will come begging at the side of the canoe.)  If anyone is interested, I do bait my own hook and I take my own fish off the hook, unless they are poked through the eyeball or something difficult that requires the needle-nose pliers.

It ended up being a late night, by time we got back to the trailer and Mark cleaned the fish and we got ourselves washed up.  I left the pile of dishes.  I figure they aren’t going anywhere.  It was nearly midnight before we climbed into bed.  Whew, I might need a vacation from all the “rest” we get up here!!

Birds today:  indigo bunting, rose-breasted grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, goldfinch, purple finch, hummingbird, white-breasted nuthatch, chickadee, cowbird, mourning dove, chipping sparrow, great crested flycatcher, robin.

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6 Responses to Been Missin’ the Fishin’

  1. avian101 says:

    I can see that you’re having lots of fun and activities in the woods Amy. Your pictures are looking better and better. Enjoy your vacation! 🙂

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  2. tootlepedal says:

    A very nice picture of the common loon among a good set.

    Like

  3. Just a few days with the new camera and you’re getting some excellent photos already! I’m jealous of your loon photo!

    Your beagles are very cute, I miss having one around, but I don’t think that an apartment is a good place for a beagle.

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    • Thanks, Jerry! I was really happy with the loon photos – the one I posted is the best but a few others were pretty good, too.

      Our beagles are loads of fun but I have to say some days, up there, they are a bit of a pain and very demanding! Daisy pouts and sulks if we don’t take her for her hikes. 🙂 It’s a good thing we love ’em. Since you are so active with walking every day, a beagle would be a good dog for you, but I understand what you mean about the apartment.

      Like

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