Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 29, 2012 Fall views

On the 27th, I had to go to Thunder Bay for appointments.  I always try to get as much in and done on a trip as possible, since gas is expensive these days.  On the way back, we had our "adventure" for the day at Finger Point, which is just across the Canadian border from us.  It is such a beautiful spot.  My whole trip that day was one of awesome beauty because of the fall colors.  The palisades along the road to Thunder Bay were all reds and golds and sooo striking.  I was wishing for a place to stop and photograph them.  But, there really isn't a spot.  But, sometimes things are best remembered in your head anyway.  But, Finger Point always has a bunch of good photo ops.
Here is a shot of the trail on the way out to the end of the point.  Colors were amazing.  I couldn't have asked for a nicer day.
This is a view from the end of the point.  Toby is pretty warm by now.  It is a good climb to get to the top of this point.  But, so worth the effort.  He got to do a bunch more swimming on the way to the parking lot anyway, so he cooled off.  When you have side trips like this, while doing all your errands, it sure makes for a good day.
Hopefully, we keep our wonderful fall weather going for a while. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26, 2012 Fall Color

Yesterday, my sister-in-law and I did a fall color play day.  We started  out kayaking a lake and the first thing that caught our eye was a beaver coming across the lake with food for his winter feed pile.  From there, we just started around the lake and enjoyed the fall colors, of which there was plenty on this lake, almost surrounded by maples. 
Here is a view of the entrance of the lake and the beavers feed pile.  It was such a pretty morning.
Here she is on a different portion of the lake..enjoying the fall colors.  They were so gorgeous, it was hard to keep paddling and not just look at the colors and details. 
We are getting back around the lake and near that beavers' feed pile.  It's getting late enough he seems to be staying in his house for now.
One last close up of the prettiest beaver feed pile ever.  Having made our way around the lake, before it got too windy, we went back to shore and loaded up.  A beautiful morning to be out in the kayak.  From here, we went on to hiking adventures for the rest of the day.  It clouded up and rain squalls went through for the rest of the day.  But, not enough to slow it down.  It did, however, make for some flat color in some of the photos where we had some amazing overlooks with wonderful panoramic views.  Life in the north woods is always changing....the one constant in this life.  :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012 "Oh deer"...........

This is "Shadow".....the deer that got my "deer" friendships started.  She was 5 years old spring 2012.

Oh dear.....fall is really in the air.  I got up this morning and looked out the window.  There were 12 deer standing around grazing just outside the basement door.  Shadow was one of them with her this years' twins.  Her two older daughters were there.  Zoe was there.  Miz Spectacles and family were there too.  Plus a few others......   It is the time of year the deer start to come around to check and see what is happening in their favorite winter area.  I think it is also thought of as a safe place to leave the kids while they go out romping with a handsome buck for a few days.  So....I go get some treats and out the door I go.  Shadow came on a run and put her head in the bucket.  It is always made very clear to anyone else who would care to pay attention that she is "the deer" around here.  It does get the attention of the others when she always gets first treats and gets her ears rubbed besides.  She loves that.  By now, Zoe is moving into her guard the food, "my yard" mode.  She spent so much time chasing away the "intruders" this morning, she got very little herself.  She was soon peering in the basement window to see where I was and why wasn't I bringing her more treats.
These are Shadow's 2012 twins, a boy and a girl.

Now, you may wonder, what in the heck am I doing with "pet" deer.  I am a deer hunter, after all.  Do you have any idea how interesting my deer hunting is when I go out and meet my "pets" out in the woods, which I do?  Or, have them follow me around......or just stand around near me wondering where the treat is.....    It happens.  Or when I am out where I think I won't run in to them, and then....there they are.....I always have to be sooo sure of my target, to make sure it isn't a pet.  I will have you know there have been a few bucks in this category too.  Although, Shadow is the only "real" pet we can touch and feed by hand.  Zoe interacts, giving head wags and happy dances when you talk to her.  She will come on a run for treats also.  But, Shadow is always the first one there.  If I go out the door and say "where's my Shadow?" she comes on a run, right now.  Too cute.  :)
People also think all deer look alike.  Not so.  Many are rather generic as far as looks.  But, any named ones come with a reference to their looks, as a rule.  Zoe is an exception, named by the grandkids.   The one below, "duckface" was named by Bruce.  This buck has been around a few years also.  He is fairly tame come winter and he wants a treat.  One photo won't give you all the details but his bottom jaw is seriously shorter than the top one.  His bottom jaw is also off set, crooked to one side from the top.  Even the top of his nose is crooked.  He was born with a serious issue, we guess, but he seems to do well even though he has the deformities.
He has a profile that can't be missed in the winter, when the antlers are all shed and you really have to pay attention to who is who out there.  Maybe one day I will get a photo of him in all his glory.  But, so far, only pictures of him shed, as so many of the bucks are by the time they show up in the winter.
Deer are interesting.   When you have watched as many playing in the yard, undisturbed, for as long as I have, you would find some of their games interesting too.  :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20, 2012 "About me"

Photo was taken in 2010 traveling out west.

You know....I don't think there's ever been a time in my life that I didn't enjoy being in the woods.  As kids, we had our tree houses and forts and trails in the woods and, make-believe happenings galore.
Fishing with mom and dad was always fun.  I don't recall what age I started fishing.  But, whether it was through the ice or out of a boat or canoe, I loved it.  I can fish all day and really enjoy myself to this day.  My parents gave my love of the outdoors an early start.  Along the way it grew by leaps and bounds.  Whether I am bird watching or bird hunting, there is always something new to see or learn.
A lot of my adventures came about because of hunting.  I started out with the double-barrel shotgun that shot caps and alder cone shot!  While mom or dad shot the real guns, we practiced with ours.  When I was about 12 years old, I got a real gun....a single shot .410.  Then, weekends it was off "partridge" hunting with mom or dad until I got my firearms safety certificate and could go on my own....and, go I did!  You know, to this day the .410 is my favorite early season partridge gun.
I guess.....hunting was the "good excuse" to get me out in the woods, being quiet and watching the wind, especially bow hunting....since for me, a long shot was 25 yards.  That brought me adventures aplenty...wonderful experiences I've had once and in all probability, will not happen again.
If there is a chance you'll put some food on the table while having a good time, you're more apt to use the excuse, or "justify" the time it hunting or fishing.  These days, I really don't need an excuse; but, it still helps to get me out more consistently for longer periods of time.
Still other encounters or learning experiences came from my years of trapping.  A lot of people asked me, knowing my love of wildlife, how I could do all these things.  Well....there's no one easy answer to that; but, lets say now and then I could set aside the big brown eyes and have further wildlife education.....all of it interesting, all of it useful in a practical sense.
What a lot of people will never learn, if they don't go out and actually participate is a lot more to these activities than bringing home a trophy, a meal, a fur.....whatever the case may be.  It is the whole experience of being out there, observing and learning.  To bring something home is a bonus.  It doesn't always happen.....and, that is ok.  It's about being out there, being invisible, soundless, becoming part of your surroundings.  When you can do this....and be comfortable doing it, you will start learning and observing how wildlife really behaves. may surprise you.
This ends my first installment of my wild nature upbringing.  :)
Photo also taken out west of Toby with me exploring some of the red rock country. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19, 2012 More Foxy Lady!

This is a favorite photo I took one morning when I was out feeding a fox treats and trying to take photos of him.  He took the treats but kept walking circles around me.  In this one, he is sniffing my shoe as I am sitting on my knees, twisted in the snow.  So curious.  Sometimes, the things they do to try and figure things out are so amusing.  One morning, I was feeding a fox treats.  A red squirrel come running down the tree and the fox jumped and pounced on that squirrel so fast, it never knew what happened.  He ate his meal and came back to me for more treats.  Such is nature.  Take advantage when one can.  It is always a learning experience.
Here is mr. fox after getting a full belly.  Just has to sit around and wonder what is next.  Then, lay around and look contented for a while.  Memories and stories, this is just another aspect of what foxes do for me, besides look pretty or cute. I will leave you with one more of a mom and runt kit, watching the other foxes play.  Pretty adorable.  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012 Why am I the "foxy lady?"

This is a young fox I met on one of my travels with a camera who was very curious and posed for me for 35 pictures worth.  All different and charming poses, which a red fox is good at.
I can't remember when I didn't like foxes.  I always wanted one as a pet when I was young.  For about 5 plus years, ending late winter, early spring of 2012, I worked with an adult pair of foxes as they raised several litters in and around my yard.  I was able to hand feed them and interact with them.  I had them....or did they have me....on a schedule.  Twice a day, morning and evening, they showed up for a meal or a treat.  Sometimes, they came more often.  They played around the yard and learned how to hunt.  I watched "mom" kill a mouse and then teach the kit how to hunt a mouse.  Pretty funny.  I, on the other hand, taught them how to hunt "sandwiches."  I will post more photos as I go along of some of these experiences.  Needless to say, I could tell fox stories all day.
One of my first interactions with a young fox was in September when I was a teen.  I was out grouse hunting and happened on to one along the back road.  It didn't seem scared, so I got out of the vehicle and started to squeak at it.  It was curious.  Soon, I was wriggling long grasses and tossing pebbles for it to catch and play with.  What a fun experience.
One of the next serious close up encounters was when I was about 20 years old.  I was bow hunting for deer in an old hay field with a rock pile in it that had long grass to hide me.  Towards evening, I saw a fox coming along the ditch bank.  Well.....getting a bit late to get a deer, I, let's play with the fox.  I did.  I squeaked and called it right in to me.  Just when it was going to pounce on me, I slowly sat up from my crouched position.  It realized something was up and tail was flying as it ran off a few feet.  But, I still hadn't had enough experience with them to know how excited it would have gotten had it leaped in there and there I was.  I didn't want to get scratched up! 
So, these were a couple of the experiences that got my interest going even more.  Once I started working with the one pictured above, in a place I would never see him in again, they had me going.  I wanted to work with the foxes some more.  So, when some started coming around the yard, I had to try to see if I could get them more interested in coming around.  It worked.  I have so enjoyed it.
This is a photo of some of my early "trying to tame" the young foxes.  They are still tentative about this.  However, food is food.  It usually will win a youngster over.  It wasn't long and they all were eating out of my hand....all 6 of them. 
This is just the start of fox photos and "foxy lady" stories.  :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15, 2012. Day of "Firsts."

Today started out with the first frost of the season.  It said 30 degrees on the thermometer when I got up and there was frost on everything.  Even the bird bath and big fountain had ice on them.  The deer were trying to drink out of their favorite spot and "nothing."  What was with that!  As I walked around and checked, it appears that only the cucumbers really got hit hard enough to do serious damage.
It is the first day of grouse season.  My dog, Toby, got so excited when I got out the shotgun and hunting vest to go for a hike.  We had beginning day of season luck too.  Toby flushed two grouse (partridges to him) and he fetched two.  Contented dog laying on the deck right now. 
The other first for today is this.   My friend has been trying to get me to start a blog and post photos of some of my adventures for a while.  So, when I retired, Chicken Mama said she was going to set me up with a blog, give me directions, and off I go.  So, this is my first attempt.  No photos today.  Just short and sweet to see how I and my dial up internet manage a blog.