Category Archives: For Fun!

Ever Been Pecked by a Ruffed Grouse?

Last evening I decided to go for a walk. I started through the woods in our back yard which connects to a nearby dirt road. Continuing down the road, I ended up in a clearing where the boys and I often shoot our guns. As I was standing there admiring nature I heard a noise similar to that of foraging squirrels.

But wait, it seemed more substantial than that.

As I patiently waited, out of the thicket emerged a ruffed grouse. How did I know it was a ruffed grouse? I’ll explain that shortly. For now, let’s focus on this particular encounter.

As I stood there almost motionless, except for the occasional swatting of flies, it walked right up to me, constantly pecking the ground for food.


I was a bit concerned what it might do, with its hawk-like beak, if it thought my toe was a worm. Fortunately, it was only interested in seeds and the like 🙂

After it circled me several times I decided to squat down for a closer look and to snap a picture.


I then put my hand out and it didn’t back up. This bird was simply NOT afraid! So, to test things I put my hand within striking distance and it did just that: it pecked me. Not enough to draw blood, but a good peck just the same!

OK, so you want to get aggressive?

I stood up and moved towards it and it still didn’t back down! Instead, it jumped in the air with wings fully spread in an attempt to look more fearsome and scare off its opposition.

A bit startled, I repeated this cycle of moving towards it, putting my foot out, etc. and it simply repeated its defensive posture of leaping, wings spread wide and making a pecking motion in mid air.

The reality is that, if necessary (and we needed dinner), I could have grabbed it by the neck or dropped a rock on its head and it would be all over.

Instead, I decided to walk away and let it live another day.

However, this thing seemed to be quite territorial as it kept circling me in what appeared to be an attempt to escort me from its turf. In fact, as I got back onto the dirt road it was still following me in the pucker brush, until it felt I was no longer in its space.

Now, how did I know that it was a ruffed grouse?

Earlier in the summer we had several encounters along our dirt road with a yet to be identified game-bird. A good name for it would have been a chicken, in that it would play chicken with our vehicle. Really!

We’d be driving down the road and this bird would dart out of the bushes and stop right in front of our vehicle. Slamming on the brakes (we weren’t going that fast as it is a bumpy dirt road) we’d stop to see if it emerged from either side of the vehicle. Nothing. So, we continued on our way.

This happened several times to Cindy, Evan, Ian and myself.

Cindy made several attempts to photograph it, but it is heavily camouflaged and difficult to see in the bush. My initial thought was that it was a partridge, although a dumb one…

Finally, we were able to get a better glimpse of it as it stood on the side of the road. And, Ian was able to snap a picture. Once we had that picture we went online.

Turns out it was a ruffed grouse.

Over the following weeks we saw it less and less, until no recent sightings had been made. We thought that it likely met its demise on the underside of a vehicle.

Well, last evening proves we still have a ruffed grouse in the neighborhood. Although, if this species isn’t careful it will go the way of the dodo bird.

That’s it for now!

Cindy and I are going for a walk to get the mail. It’s been a couple of days. You KNOW we are going to see if we can have another ruffed grouse encounter!

Circle of Life

As I began writing this post a deer walked within 30 feet of our deck, while Evan and I were sitting outside enjoying the view. This has pretty much become a daily occurrence. In fact, while I was on a recent business trip Evan was able to snap a photo capturing 2 unique members of the animal kingdom at once.

In the picture below you’ll see a great blue heron to the left of our kayaks, near the water’s edge and a deer at the bottom right, eating the neighbor’s blueberries 🙂


The great blue heron lives in the waterfowl protection area which is adjacent to our property. We see him coming and going frequently through-out the day. Over the 4th Ian took a video of this giant bird catching a sizable fish! After seizing its prey he flew off with the fish still flapping around trying to escape its captor.

Speaking of catching fish…Until recently, I had to shamefully confess that, after spending a number of vacations on Sebago Lake and living here for over 18 months, I had never pulled a fish from these waters. Thankfully, that changed a few days ago when I was casting a lure off our dock. After several casts I’m proud to say that a fish struck and I brought him in. It was a good-sized white perch! Had we been camping he would have quickly been gutted and readied for dinner. Instead, I released him for another day…


I can now sleep peacefully 🙂

Speaking of sleeping peacefully…Last night something pretty violent occurred on our dock! I was awakened just after midnight by the shrieks of what sounded like a young girl being dismembered. Upon hearing the sound I got up from bed, peered out the window and could just barely make out a dark object with hunched back, about the size of a raccoon, walking from the end of the dock towards land. After doing some research I have pretty much confirmed that it was a fishercat. These are vicious creatures that make a blood curdling sound upon taking their prey. He probably nabbed a duckling or merganser chick, as they often sleep on the end of our dock. Click here to check out a YouTube video sharing a recording of a fishercat.

Another woodland creature that gives off a similar high-pitched sound, which we’ve often heard at night, is a red fox. It could easily be mistaken for a fishercat, however, fishercats have a more gurgling sound, while a fox sounds like a lady screaming. Click here to listen to the sound of a red fox.

If you’ve never stayed in the woods or heard these 2 creatures sound off you probably will not sleep well after your first experience hearing them, as you wonder what could possibly be going on in the wilderness around you. Especially, if you’ve been whiling away the hours reading a Stephen King horror novel…

On a lighter note, completing the circle of life, several of us witnessed 2 fish mating on the 4th of July. For a few days prior we had seen a clear circular spot at the bottom of the lake just off of our dock, as a single fish swam around within. Perhaps a female nesting, waiting for her mate? Then, to our surprise, another fish had entered the circle and they were performing their act of procreation. I won’t share the video here to ensure this site maintains its PG status 🙂

In closing, it is truly amazing what you are able to witness in nature, when you are simply paying attention.

All the best!

Horses and The Cost of Convenience

Last week, Cindy and I acquired a number of horses.

260 to be exact.

They came packaged in the form of 2 Seadoos, each powered by 130 horse engines.

So far we’ve had about 8 hours of running them on the lake.

The result: my shoulders are killing me from the vicious beating I’ve given mine over the last few days. Advil only helps a little 🙂

But oh, what fun. Below is a picture of my Mom and I on mine, over Memorial Day Weekend.


Cindy has the identical twin…


As you might imagine, horses take a lot of hay (in this case gasoline). Especially when ridden for long periods of time with the throttle to the handle; achieving a top speed of 56 mph (so far). They say ours will “approach” 60 when fully broken in.

Our new friends and neighbors have one that will do 75 mph. We are more than fine with ours 🙂

What we didn’t previously realize is the HUGE difference in the price of gas at a marina vs. what can be acquired at the local roadside filling station. In our case, a difference of 85 cents per gallon.

Consider the following:

  • Since each of our units take almost 16 gallons of gas we will pay over $27 more at a marina than if we filled them with fuel purchased at a gas station.
  • In less than a week we’ve had to fill them 3 times which “would have” amounted to an excess fuel charge of around $80.

The only “trouble” (or inconvenience) involves buying a few extra 5-gallon gas tanks (costing around $13 apiece at Walmart), filling them and carting them home for the horses.

Given the above, we more than paid for the extra fuel tanks at around 1.5 refills, and are now running “in the black.”

That said, it isn’t that we will never fill up at a marina. We are on a large lake (connected to other bodies of water) and could easily find ourselves so far from homeport, and want to remain out there, that we’d naturally have to take advantage of the “convenience factor” of one of the many marinas.

However, for normal, planned refills we shall take the do-it-yourself approach.

Well, the horses are again kicking at the barn door. Cindy and I will take them out shortly for a picnic somewhere on the lake.

Happy (belated) Memorial Day

p.s. – A very, very special THANK YOU goes out to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice (their very lives) resulting in the MANY freedoms that we now enjoy in our country. Let’s NOT take that for granted. Instead, let’s get out there and DO SOMETHING!