Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday.. yikes.. sounds ominous

Well it was a very nice Thanksgiving Day... I got to talk to Amberleo and the rest of the family while they watched our 'California Ice Breakers' clip and the elfyourself cards. David and I went to Joy and Richards house. Turned out there was 6 of us. David, Me, Jerry, Joy, Richard, and Richard. We had planned on having 9 so there was plenty of leftovers to bring home.

Today though I worked... slaved away all day at the Post Office... that's ok, I had to work off the turkey, ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash pie we devoured yesterday. It is a bit different here than back home.. when I get to work here I have to shovel snow off the steps/ramp and sidewalk across the front of the building and to the corner. I also have to toss out salt a few times a day. Don't want to have anyone take a header off the ramp into the street.

I sure hope everyone had a good day and good luck to you brave ones who are going shopping on Black Friday. Nothing sounds further from fun to me but some folks just love the deals and all the shopping people ravaging the stores. I however used to work in retail during the holidays... can we say nightmare? I don't like the swarming mad rush anyway to be honest.

Don't get me wrong I love to shop.. well, I actually window shop. I wander and wander looking at everything but I rarely buy anything more than a non-fat no whip triple shot grande mocha.....

Oooooh I shiver just saying that and that red cup just makes me so happy!

Anyway, if I come away from a day of shopping with a great coffee, maybe even a nice lunch, a little teeny bag of something... incense or candle, or a used book or some other such little trinket I am VERY happy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trying to get an exciting Thanksgiving Holiday!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! We are getting ready here. Here is David and I trying to spice up the holiday weekend a bit... the 'sound' starts between second and third ax swing... you may have to play it a couple times to hear it and be able to discern it from my RUNNING AWAY.

From Movies

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Laundry List

“A bear”

Those are the words that were whispered right into my ear this morning.

I had been sleeping nicely, all tucked into our warm nest but those two words immediately woke me up... as I suppose they should. My eyes popped open, and I was awake albeit a little confused. My brain was quickly working without me and while one part of my brain was trying to come all the way out of the fog of sleep, the other part was quickly trying to focus on where I should run… what I should do… listening for where exactly the bear was... trying to decide what my next course of action should be.

An explosion of neurons was/were battling it out in my head, adrenaline was starting to amp up and the two parts of my brain finally joined… my eyes focused and then I realized that it was not David who had whispered to me. He was still sleeping on the other side of the bed… facing the other direction. He had not moved. That did not help that whole adrenaline thing.

I still had not moved as I wanted to be sure of the direction I was going to move in when I needed to. I was still trying to figure out what exactly was going on, and who had whispered in my ear. In the darkness I could sense something was very, very close to me. I could feel it there in the darkness. It was only then that I realized that Cosmo was standing up right next to my head on the bed. Patiently watching me… ever so patient. Staring… waiting.

I have to tell you a little about Cosmo the Magnificent. He sleeps on the bed at my feet usually. When he gets too cold he either comes up to my side or David’s side and nudges us to lift the blanket so he can get underneath. If he does not nudge you (and frankly what is even worse than the nudging) is that he will stand right up next to your pillow and stare right into your face… barely half an inch away… close enough to feel the tickle of his whiskers… just smacking his lips. Believe me with those teeth and that breath you would wake up too. Forget about being woken just by the eerie feeling of someone staring at you.

Well, I looked at him in the moonlight and he just stood there.

“What did you say?” I asked… but he just looked back at me in the darkness … “hah!” he said inside his head, “like I will say it again while you are fully awake. Foolish woman. I will just let you think you are crazy… it is all part of my secret plan to take over the universe… now slave... lift the damn blanket for me so that I may climb underneath and get warm.”

I obeyed and he made a beeline to my toes and curled up and went back to sleep… leaving me still wondering about what I heard.

Deer Camp

Jerry's Deer Camp is nearly complete. We rode out the other day. I rode with David and Delta rode with Grandpa Jerry. (Cosmo the Magnificent stayed home by the fire planning complete domination of the world)

David helped Jerry put this thing together with many parts of our old cabin, and stuff Jerry has been collecting and had used at his old deer camp. Jerry has the propane hooked up, 3 bunks inside, a table, and a huge wood stove. He also has an older propane range (with oven!) hooked up for cooking, and a propane refrigerator outside on the porch, next to the water barrel. The siding is not on yet but it is wrapped and weather tight. They completed it just in time. The siding will come in spring.

The bathroom has also been redone or should I say re-dug... and looks quite accommodating.
Even though it might be chilly.

David's brother Keith and Keith's son Justin from Southern California, and their cousin Scott from Vermont were here for a visit and so as a "house warming"... or I should say "Camp warming "celebration we had a big dinner out there... 9 of us! We had venison steak, creamed corn, boiled red potatoes, pumpkin bread, apple pie and of course ice cream. It was very nice actually and plenty warm enough. In fact, the wood stove Jerry has in there could heat a place three times that big so it almost bakes you out... feels good to pop open the door once in awhile. The visitors did not stay long but while they were here they stayed out at camp... Jerry loved it! He is so proud of it. It was very nice for everyone actually.

De Colores

The color has left us...
after being so saturated with the fall colors this is a very big change.

Actually, I guess I would not say the colors have left... maybe just hibernating like the bear Cosmo was whispering about. The world here has gone from greens, yellows, and reds to blues, grays, white and black. When it is snowing and icy like this it is not so much the sky that is blue... because it is usually gray.. it is the trees, and the ice, and the snow that reflect blue.

It is a faint blue... very faint but it is definitely visible to the eye and to my camera.
Lots of blues and grays.

Actually, as I look out the window while trying to figure out how to describe it... I think I would add that there is a lot of lavender in the scenery as well... and in the early mornings if you are awake you are treated to a tinge of pink.

It sounds a little stark but I don't mind it at all. It has its own beauty really, a quietness... but it is deceiving and I know dang well to take it all very serious. Anywhere you go, if everything you see is brown and tan.... or if it is all white and grey... I think it is a good idea to be very careful. (the inner girl scout is coming out now... let me straighten my sash) The snow is beautiful and soft. It is light... like shredded cotton blowing around.. it almost appears to be dry... but the SECOND it gets on your bare skin it becomes wet and then you are in trouble if you do not get dry and warm right away. In contrast, the desert is saturated with tans, browns, and gold. Also very pretty, but just as dangerous.

The sand may be golden, glistening, and pretty and all... but if bare skin is exposed it is now the lack of moisture that will teach you how fragile you are.

What we have been eating? (More people ask me than then one would think...) Click on the picture for the recipe and no.. I did not do the mint pesto thing... Mint belongs in gum, toothpaste, little red and white candies, and schnapps... not soup. I also did not add the fancy toasted coconut shreds on top but otherwise I followed the recipe very closely.

I have been making a lot of soups, stews, etc. It is a quick go to meal when it is cold outside and when you are wanting to save money like everyone is trying to do currently. That soup above is called Emerald Buddah Soup and I have made it before but I saved the recipe for our move here knowing it would come in handy. There is no meat in it and it is green (green as in color not green as in environmentally sound.) It also is a vegetarian soup and it does not need meat. A nice dark crusty warm bread would be great with it! However, if you must... chicken of course would be wonderful (imagine shredded chicken breast in this picture) but so would maybe a ground sweet pork sausage or something like that.

What I have been wanting to eat? (Besides avocados and fresh vegetables that is?):

Ahh.. it's like butta'!

And last but not least...
Musical Flashbacks

So we were driving to Iron River the other day... on a snowy icy dirt road and Dreams by Fleetwood Mac came on the radio.

I was singing along looking out the window at the forest passing by and

No, that was not the sound of Stevie Nicks' gypsy duds flipping around while she dances...
(like my sister Brooke)

It was the sound of a full on musical flashback.

A flashback all the way to *gasp* 1977... Dreams had just come out... I remembered sitting on a bus singing the song looking out the window at the forest passing by on my way to science camp. I was in 6th grade. Yikes... that was 31 years ago... good grief. It rained the entire week at Science camp. We even were given plastic bags to wear over our coats to keep us from getting too wet. We participated in all the stuff that a good camp had to offer. We learned to make shelters, cook over a fire, act in goofy skits, how to lick banana slugs... it was great fun. When I checked out the science camp website.. not much has changed. What I don't think they told our parents is that they also showed us a film about baby harp seals.. and big burley fishermen literally beating the life out of them with clubs blood splattering everwhere while the babies and the mothers seals screamed. Not that I think that is ok but... Hey boys and girls... can you say... propaganda? I actually remember that week pretty well... there was a lot to remember... including apparently that Fleetwood Mac song.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Scandalous Behavior

Well.. as I mentioned it is hunting season here… one of them... and that brings a lot of folks into the area. Neon orange is everywhere. Our road has been very busy with packs of 3-4 trucks at a time loaded with orange clad men and piles of deer food. I am sure half of them have been drinking at some point during their adventures and all of them have loaded guns.

Ahhh.. how nostalgic… it reminds me of home…

Anyway, the ATV- Snowmobile trails are off limits this time of the year which is not so bad because I think there might be three deer and three hundred hunters wandering around in the woods AND it is too damn cold anyway. Makes me nervous to drive down the county road to tell you the truth. Maybe I should get some kind of orange flag for the Infinity. Kinda like those little ones we used to put on the back of our bikes! In the 70's the flag was ok... the helmet? Not.

I know winter has not really started or anything but it is kinda different when I get up to start my day, check out the weather channel, and see that it says “19 degrees but feels like 11 degrees”. As I write this post I can see that the lake is starting to ice over.

Hunting this time of year is interesting. It is a different kind of hunting... it is not the walking through woods all stealth-like and following tracks, reading the deer poop, and watching for other wilderness type signs until you stumble upon a deer in a meadow kind of hunting like in olden days...

Umm.. that might be a bit much....
or not enough... I don't see any neon orange.

But here most of the hunters come in a day or more early, set up their blinds or just go to ones that have already been set up for them, put more feed out, and sit in there and practice shooting all day before hunting season actually starts.

Um. I don't know if I should point this out or not but deer have ears… big ones.

I was hearing gun fire all day... so I am sure any deer with ears may have heard it too.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining... not really. The one thing that all this hunting does for this area is it brings in a lot of business… hopefully. All the hunting camps that are tucked into the woods around here and frankly look abandoned suddenly now are filled with people… mostly man type people. The hotels are full, the grocery stores are busy, the sporting good stores are busy… a lot of the snow birds around here rent out their places to hunters during this time of the year so there seems to be money flowing. The cabins next door are all full. When you live somewhere that tourists flock in during certain times of the year there are many pros and cons. It is just these tourists aren't in bermuda shorts and shooting with cameras. These tourists are wearing their cammo and shooting with rifles.

Just as a point of information... along with using blinds :

during this particular season you can bait deer so there are huge bags of carrots, corn, and sugar beets out in front of nearly every retail establishment around. You are kind of just supposed to throw out a bucket or two of feed but I have seen trucks with the beds full of bags.

Yes… I said you can bait them. You know, you just feed them until they get comfortable coming to get snacks from you since winter is coming soon and they are trying to eat as much as possible… yeah that's right... you get it... they trust it is a safe place to eat. Then you sit in your blind and shoot them dead. It must be like sitting in the barn shooting cows when they come to get the hay you have put in their manger... trough whatever it is called.

Oh. That sounded snotty. Before sending any frenzied hunters rights emails refer back to my venison post the other day.

Anyway… We went to town yesterday and passed by a motel with a big frame thing out front right on the main road with a huge deer hanging. Speaking of huge deer… one of our neighbor ladies dropped a big fat buck first thing the morning of open season. She was in her blind, and here he comes walking along looking for the pile of apples she has been tossing out into a pile for about a month and *Blammo*. He was a forked horn… small rack but he was a BIG boy. She had him strapped on the back of her ATV and brought him by the Post Office to show me, and of course get her mail. She must have hugged me three times she was so excited. She had already gutted it and was taking it home to hang while she made some pies for church the following day.

Oh and of course we can not forget what else is busy…. the BARS are busy.

Even the bar here in town, which brings me to the latest scandal. I have always kind of thought that running a bar here in town must be a struggle. I do not know of the financial situation at that establishment but it does not seem that it is a real busy place. If it was run more like a pub type place that might be one thing as the restaurant is now closed and people do like to sit and have coffee/soda/beer and chat. In the bar there is a small grill, a surprisingly good sized bar, a pool table, a big screen t.v., and several tables and chairs. However, there do not seem to be many customers. Being a businessman trying to scare up customers the owner has decided that during hunting season he would bring in the gal who used to own the now closed down restaurant to cook breakfasts every morning for the hunters (very good idea) and starting on 11/15 and going through 11/30 he has brought in … Exotic Dancers.

Yes, Exotic Dancers.

That is one way to get people talkin'... you betcha!

Exotic Dancers? LIVE Exotic Dancers? Here? What does that mean?
Who are the girls? Just how 'exotic' are they?

What will they be wearing?

The world is coming to an end... good grief we have gone from Pastys to Pasties!

I have a feeling a hunter might like either one after a very cold day in the blind.

The rumors have been flying that it is local girls doing the dancing. I kind of doubt that since there are like two girls within 50 miles who are of the age that you might want to see dance...


or perhaps he has hired girls from somewhere else to come in for the show.

Well, I say good for him… the guy has to compete somehow. He is not on the main highway and he has three bars 10 miles down the road in either direction that he has to compete with… and they are all on the main highway.

I have to tell you though, I was itching to go down and watch.. at least peak through the window! Oh man I am so curious about the whole scene! Since it just started the other night I am sure SOMEONE was there who will spill the beans and let everyone know if the dancers are home grown yoopers or foreign yoopers. Might be kinda scary either way.

Well with all this talk about hunting.. you hungry yet?

Ha! I just love that picture... had to fit it in somehow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Coo coo catchoo...

We eat a lot of eggs… really. We buy our eggs from some folks here in town. We have ,at a minimum, two eggs every morning and then if I bake anything or if any recipe calls for them we can go through a dozen fast.

When we were staying at Jerry’s house I was the head chef and bottle washer and since it was me cooking I made a big breakfast every morning. That made us go through the eggs even faster. With three of us that was six eggs a morning or 1/2 dozen a day for those of you who know how to count eggs. If possible we would get 4-5 dozen at a time. The folks we got eh eggs from wondered what in the heck we did with all the eggs. Even though I am sure they love their chickens and their own eggs, they must not have been big breakfast eaters. Or maybe they are *gasp* cereal eaters, not that I am opposed to a good bowl of Captain Crunch or Count Chocula now and then.

but I would much rather see this in front of me in the morning...

Look at the avocado. Just ignore that weeping sound.

Anyway, the eggs we get are real eggs right out of free ranging yooper chickens. The prices range from $2 to $2.50 a dozen. (Go look at the eggs in your local co-op and tell me that is not a deal!) We have two connections for these eggs and as it turns out they are father/son of each other. The son and his family lived a bit closer to us while we were at Jerry’s so at first we went there for our eggs. However, it seemed that when we got eggs from the son we learned the hard way that he mostly leaves his egg collection up to his young teenage sons. Now, young teenaged sons frequently are busy with other things and have their minds elsewhere… so every once in awhile when we would get the eggs there, the eggs had been out in the yard for a few days longer than necessary.

You see when free ranging real chicken eggs have been sitting around awhile.. or shall I say being sat upon for awhile... what happens is that you crack them into your pan or bowl and they are a bit closer to a chick than a yolk than most people prefer. So instead we have started getting them from the father… who is actually the Grandfather of those same young teen boys. This has been a pretty good change as I have yet to have eyes staring back out of me from a puddle of yellow in the frying pan.

Hah. That was gross and a bit of an exaggeration …
but you will think about it the next time you crack an egg… I guarantee!

David was helping his Dad out over by the hotel on main street the other day and one of the teen boys was lending a hand as well. They were working away on something and the boy glanced down the road and says to David , “oh geez… there is that egg lady! She comes to our house like every day and gets a whole bunch of eggs!” David chuckled to himself and thought he was going to get a bit of local gossip. He thought, "well I am going to have to check this out and see who this lady is." He looked down the road to see what car the boy was referring to and well… it was me.

David laughed and said “um… Oh… ya know who that is? That's my wife.” They laughed and the boy was kind of embarrassed but not as embarrassed as I was later when David told me the story.

I AM THE EGGLADY... Coo coo catchoo!

Anyway, this particular family I have been talking about has been in this area for a long time. They are one of those families here that you realize is related and intermarried with many other families here in town. The men are all hunters. In fact, one of those teenage boys I mentioned, while he is a slow egg gatherer he is quick enough to have actually gotten his first bear this year and was the talk of the town.

Anyhoo, that was quite a build up but hang on because I am not done quite yet. Another thing you should know is that yoopers are yoopers and they are not at all embarrassed about any choice of dress they may have... or much else for that matter.

They dress and live in a style that is for the most part, strictly utilitarian and that suits me fine. However, at any time of the day, you may be driving along or stopping to visit a neighbor and he/she may be in their underwear… long or short… robe, pajamas, whatever. No one seems to be embarrassed, no one rushes to cover up. Heck, you can be driving along down the road and look over towards a house and in the picture window might be the man of the house, standing in full view from the road, in his tightie whities and cup of coffee in hand. He won't hide... he'll just wave and take another sip of coffee.

So, I go to get my precious eggs and the fella was (at least) in his sweatpants... no shirt, no shoes, whiskers and white hair all wild in the wind, and he was smoking like a chimney stack. (I should mention another thing that seems to run in this family is that as they get a little older their hearing is not what is used to be. So this was a rather noisy encounter. ) He waives me in, hollers that he has a couple dozen eggs for me, and wants to show me his recent kills. So, I follow him into the house chatting loudly. As I walk through the door, immediately on my right is a fresh coyote pelt… not quite this fresh...

but fresh enough because being rather observant I noted it still had red blood on its ears and not dried brown blood. Then I quickly scanned the room and saw there were various stuffed animals of one kind or another all around the room. A bit like Norman Bates’ waiting room at the hotel…

yes... THAT hotel. Anyway, there was a badger up on top of a file cabinet, a set of weasels with their white winter coats forever frozen in a mock play scene on top of a bookcase… birds of various kinds… and of course the obligatory deer heads on the wall. I should mention that this fellow really does have quite a reputation as a good trapper and has taught his grandsons as well (the bear hunting teen mentioned earlier). Well, we got to talking about the weasels… apparently he trapped one the other day. He told me that out in the wild, and during the right time you can trap weasels when they are wearing their white winter coats.

However, he said the one he just got was still brown. It was going after his chickens.

I know I know.. they are cute but they really are quite ferocious
and I WILL fight them for the eggs.

He pointed to the two white weasels up on the bookcase while he was talking at which time I turned my head again to look at them. While my head was turned he moved to the freezer, pulled out a bag, and before I really had a chance to think about it slid a frozen brown weaselsicle out of the bag directly into my hands.

Oh dear.

I played it off, looked the weaselsicle over real good... let him know I was pretty impressed with both his weasel and the coyote... and asked a few questions about the dens we keep finding. From my description he thinks they may be badgers. I believe I will take his word for it.

I like this next picture.

This has turned out to be a long post. Look what I found when I looked out the window this morning:

Actually, I lie. I found it much earlier than this morning. I was up around midnight and even though there was no moon you could look out our windows and see the snow in the trees, and a silhouette of deer feeding down at the molasses block we have by the woodpile. I watched them for a few minutes before I went back to bed.


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