Category Archives: For Fun!

On Squirrels

In a prior post I alluded to the battle we are having with squirrels. Actually, just the gray kind.

They weren’t bothering us until we installed our bird feeder: a predictable outcome to be sure.

I had been moving them on their way with a shot from my BB pistol. But, they would quickly return after receiving the mild sting delivered by such a measly weapon.

Recently, I upgraded our varmint defense to a pump action BB/pellet rifle. Something that would be a little more unforgettable – even lethal (depending on the number of pumps).

I asked Cindy if she’d dare eat the potential game but she would have NOTHING of it, unless of course it was our ONLY option for protein.

You see, for any city folks reading this, people actually do eat squirrels. As a kid, a neighbor of ours was known to indulge in the backyard delicacy from time-to-time. And, Cindy happens to have a cookbook that includes a recipe for rabbit stew, which provides a suggestion for alternative ingredients. That is, it indicates that you can substitute squirrel for rabbit.

Anyway, armed with my newest rifle, we witnessed the “improved” affect it has on our birdseed thieves.

Memories of varmint hunting with my childhood buddies returned…

We didn’t see squirrels for the rest of that day. However, they were back the following day.

Seeing that we don’t want to be eating squirrels (unless it is our only option for protein), given the rule: if you kill it you must eat it, I only apply 5 pumps which serves to deliver quite a severe spank.

They do go away for a while, but soon return.

One day I wasn’t home and Cindy had a chance to guard our bird feeder. Upon seeing “one of” our arch enemies, she grabbed the loaded gun and popped off a shot which scared the varmint away.

But, as usual, it quickly returned to feed.

Cindy promptly grabbed the gun and tried to reload it, to no avail. I had apparently not given her the proper training. So, she opened the slider to the deck and screamed at the top of her lungs which scared the critter away.

But, it now more quickly returned. She again opened the slider with the unloaded gun in hand and started screaming. The squirrel continued devouring our birdseed, as it looked straight at her.

Apparently, it knew that she could do it no harm with words and an unloaded gun. So, it just sat there mocking her. And, eating…

I heard this story upon returning from my trip to town and promptly showed her how to reload the BB gun. We held class away from all windows, so the squirrels don’t yet know she is trained.

We shall see how she does on her next watch, guarding our feeder. This will occur when I take my next business trip to the big city 🙂

On Ice Fishing

There is nothing like ice fishing from the comfort of one’s own living room 🙂

I’m presently sitting in the warmth of my new “ice shack”, drafting this post, continuously looking up to see if there is a flag. Cindy says that I’m going to hurt my neck.

Looking closely at the picture below, you’ll see 3 traps. They are beyond the hole, that has frozen back over, which the boys made in the ice last weekend. You see, they seem to have made a pact. Every time they visit they will take a dip in the lake. This time it was doing cannon balls into the hole they made in the ice with a sledgehammer. There are videos on Facebook proving this feat 🙂

If my brothers were here at the time, I’m sure we would have been in on it as well. Right Roger…Glen?!?

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I wish I would have snapped this photo when the bald eagle flew by, for the second time today.

I have to say, though, I had forgotten most of my ice fishing skills and techniques. The last time I remember setting traps was when I was but a young lad of 14-15. If I recall correctly, my buddies and I went ice fishing on Quakish Lake, just outside of Millinocket.

After setting traps, which I had borrowed from my dad, and enjoying the company of friends, I saw it. That long-anticipated bright orange flag waving in the air! I promptly hightailed it across the ice, hauled the trap out of the water and began pulling up the line. Surprisingly, the mouth of the fish was almost as big as the hole I had made in the ice. The sheer excitement of it all! But then, much to my dismay, it dropped off the line. Yep, that was the one that got away.

Fast forward ~36 years.

Our cove is now frozen over and I’m told there should be fish under that ice. I didn’t dare venture out there until the demonstration put on by the boys last weekend. Since I had a little time yesterday afternoon, Cindy and I took a trip back to civilization to get the necessary gear and bait to again try my hand at ice fishing.

Fortunately, the nearby Walmart sells some of the gear at a fantastic price. Here we acquired:

  • A few traps
  • 200′ of line
  • A ladle (the handle end serves as a chipper to break the ice that re-forms over the hole made in the ice, and the ladle end serves to scoop the newly busted-up ice out of said hole)
  • A depth finder (a fancy name for a weight with a clip on it which you hang on your line and then drop into the hole to determine the depth of the water in the spot in which you are about to set your bait

And, back at home, I had all the other basic fishing gear used in the warmer weather, some of which can also be used for ice fishing (like hooks, silly). In addition, I had the tools to get through the ice: a sledgehammer and pick ax (the latter of the two is the preferred). When the ice gets thicker I’ll be taking my nephew up on his offer to use his ice auger. For now, I’ll do it the old fashioned way…

We then went to the local bait shop to pick up some live bait – and maybe a few pointers on ice fishing (since it had been such a long time since my last experience).

On entering the bait shop, I humbly (more like sheepishly) mentioned to the young lady working there: “The the last time I went ice fishing was more than 30 years ago. Can you remind me of what I need?” Thankfully, there was no-one else in the store to laugh at me, other than Cindy 🙂

I told her what I already had for gear and was reassured that all I needed was the live bait and a bait bucket. Bummer. I have a bucket at home that would have served the purpose, had I brought it with me…

With this confirmation we acquired a baker’s dozen emerald shiners which were dumped into my new bucket. We were good to go!

Upon getting home in the late afternoon, I quickly rigged one of my traps, grabbed the pick ax and bait bucket, and cautiously walked out into the middle of the cove. I carried a long board with me for safety, in the event I broke through the ice.

After hacking a hole in the ice I plunged my hand into the bait bucket and grabbed a shiner. I then wrangled with the little guy until it finally “accepted” the hook into its back. Unfortunately, he stopped wriggling around so much. I just remembered one of the lessons: Don’t injure the spine of your trusty bait, or it won’t be fit to attract your prey.

Today I set all 3 of my traps, properly placing the bait on each so that they could swim around in my attempt to catch supper. For some reason, Cindy is lining up chicken. Where is your faith woman?

We will see a flag yet. I’ll keep you posted!

I will now go check my traps; an absolutely exhausting exercise I must perform about every hour 🙂

Life is good!

Life Is Better At The Lake

It has now been 50 days since we moved into our lake home. And, we couldn’t be happier.

Yes, there was PAIN in the transition. But, we won’t focus on that 🙂

We have been blessed by many family member visits (the 4 boys, my parents, our nephew and his family, my brother and his family) including their help unloading the U-Haul, unpacking, “beginning” to get ourselves organized and tidying up the place.

All we can say, as stated on the set of coasters my brother Roger gave us, is:

I’m reminded daily of what a very good church friend of ours (who owns a home on the water) frequently says: There is ALWAYS something happening at the lake.

To be clear, he isn’t referring to ANY hustle and bustle that can be found in a town or city…

When Cindy and I were on the hunt for our new home we scoped out over 30 lakefront properties inside of 30 days. We had the opportunity to view some beautiful houses with terrible waterfront, some awful cottages with breathtaking waterfront and many properties in between. To be honest, I was prepared to jump on any number of these (projects). Fortunately, Cindy would have none of it 🙂

Finally, we visited what could truly be considered a home. How did we know? Well, after thoroughly viewing the property and being fairly impressed we were struck by what we considered our sign. That is, as we were exiting the basement to the yard, facing the lake, Cindy called our attention to a fox trotting across the property. The way her story goes is that the fox stopped for a moment, looked at her and said, with attitude: “Uh-huh, I’m a fox.” and then continued on its way.

We were sold.

Since moving in we have experienced an abundance of wildlife and natural phenomenon.

During our first night’s stay, Cindy said she spotted a deer drinking from the lake. Unfortunately, she didn’t wake me for this so I had to (jealously) believe her. The next day I was able to confirm her sighting after finding MANY deer tracks clearly planted in the ground along the shore. Since then fresh deer tracks have continued to appear but we’ve yet to experience another sighting.

Until about 2 weeks ago our little cove had been frequented daily by ducks, loons and mergansers.

The ducks show-up quietly by swimming into the cove or by a more pronounced arrival as they come in for a landing, skimming gracefully across the surface of the water. In watching the ducks feed Cindy would comment: Look, a duck. Then, as it plunged its head underwater to feed she would say: Oh no, its a penguin. If you’ve ever seen a duck feeding you might make the same duck/penguin observation 🙂

Our ducks have since flown south.

Surprisingly, even yesterday I heard loons calling in the distance.

And, we are still viewing mergansers, although not up close, as our cove has begun to freeze over.

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To be honest, until we were on the hunt for our lake home, I didn’t know what a merganser was. We had seen them before (at Mooselookmeguntic Lake) but never did the research to confirm the name.

During the viewing of one of the homes we saw a group of them swimming across the surface of the lake and then diving (like loons) for fish. But, unlike loons, they seem to fish in, well, a pack. That is, they dip their heads below the surface in their search of fish. Once spotted the group skims furiously across the water to round up their prey and then they dive to feast. The fish don’t stand a chance 🙂

I asked our realtor if he knew what these birds were called, observing that they were NOT loons. He said: Meganzas in his distinct New England accent. You’ll notice there are no “R’s” in the name…Thinking nothing of this, I later shared the name of these birds with my dad who had (surprisingly) never heard of these (meganzas). However, after he did some research online he was able to make the connection and update my understanding. Mergansers Craig, mergansers 🙂

One of the most beautiful sightings, which we’ve experienced a few times now, is a large bald eagle soaring majestically across our cove. There is nothing like clearly seeing the white head, dark brown body and white tail of our national bird. I would love to get a picture but I dare not take my eyes off of it during its flight for fear I might miss a second of its journey. Our latest sighting was on Christmas day.

Speaking of Christmas…We decided to change things up. You see, our nephew works for a lobster packing company, enabling him to get fresh lobster at “boat price.” So, our Christmas meal was a lobster feast, enjoyed by almost everyone (Cindy, my parents, our nephew and his family and myself). The 4 boys (again) gave this delicacy a try and unanimously decided that they really, really, really don’t like it. No problem! All the more for the rest of us 🙂

After the lobster feast many of us took up the dare of going for a swim. Actually, it really couldn’t be considered swimming. It was more of a leap into the frigid water, feeling the resulting pain and getting out as quickly as possible. Prior to doing so, Ethan was challenging us to swim with him to a rock in the middle of the cove. But, after experiencing the quick plunge he agreed that a longer duration in the water would most certainly result in hypothermia.

Here is a picture of the boys viewing the lake, on Christmas afternoon.

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Now that I’ve shared some of our experiences with the wildlife, I thought I’d share a natural phenomenon that occurred during our first snowstorm since being here.

A few days ago, while the snow was falling, I decided to walk out on the little peninsula jutting out into the lake, from our land. While the lake had not yet begun to freeze over, the heavy snow was creating a layer of slush and ice in the cove. As I looked closer I observed what could only be described as flowers in the ice.

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God’s creation is simply amazing.

Life is good!

Well, it’s time to get started for the day. You see, with ANY home comes maintenance projects to keep one busy. The current one we are undertaking is some minor patching and painting of the interior.

So, gotta go for now.

Happy New Year!