Deer Me


Paddling in the August sun made my bare shoulders smell like burnt potato chips. Purposefully, I put my wrist up to my tongue to taste pure salt. Time to ditch the canoe and fulfill a promise I made to myself earlier in the day to go swimming with my dog. I haven’t been in a bathing suit in 10 years, convinced that no one wants to look at old lady parts –yet I was yearning for the childhood thrill of making three backwards somersaults in a row underwater and floating on my back, looking up at the sky.

My objective all along was to be brave, not be seen, and be quick.   My swimming hole would have to be secluded. After passing up two possible sites, I settled on one across from a lively beaver dam. I love beavers and hoped to get some brownie points by aggravating one bad enough to slap his tail at me. I shivered for a minute in waist deep water, steeling myself for the plunge. Hmmm….much colder than it looked. I kept saying, “Just do it….do it….GO!” Elvis was singing “It’s Now or Never” as I pushed off hard, leaving the earth and years behind, sinking up to my neck in orange tannin-colored water, common in Michigan’s upper peninsula.

Now my legs were working like eggbeaters in the water, treading it, as I called Remi out to me. She had been on the shore doing a pretty good impression of Scooby Doo’s “Rutt-Roh” look.  I blew bubbles at her, clapped and called her out to me. After a sufficient amount of begging, she figured, ah, what the heck, and took the plunge–steering towards me with her built-in tail rudder and pumping her back legs until we were nose to nose, hearts smiling.

All of a sudden, to my left, I heard a huge kersplash followed by a smaller kersplash. Surreal. There we were, out in the deep water, the two of us dog paddling with a doe and a fawn. The doe was in high gear, cutting 30 yards straight to the mainland from this island cove and her spotted baby was bawling after her. Remi and I had the “deer in the headlights” look as we shared this spectacle. Safe on the other side, they shook off and quickly disappeared into the woods, thinking nothing of it. All that was left on our side were the two sets of meandering hoof prints on the sandy beach and a miracle I will be thinking about for decades.

Bear Makes Great Catch – Should Play for the Tigers!


During a recent trip to a park in Seattle known for its “waving bears,”  these motorists had an awesome encounter.  A giant grizzly, who had perfected his begging, was sitting up on his haunches, looking for an easy mark.  He was very close to the road and only a few strands of electric fencing kept him in check.

It wasn’t long before the couple in this 24 second video fell prey to his shenanigans.

They stopped the car and waved. Sure enough, Yogi waves back.  He even flashed them a teddy bear smile. This guy knew how to work it and before long, the passenger was putty in his hands.  She disobeyed every “Don’t Feed The Bears” sign and flipped him a hunk of bread. Incredibly, the bear reached out with his catcher’s mitt, like a pro, and snagged it.  CUTENESS OVERLOAD as they all share a special moment.  Click on the orange type below – to see it all go down.

Great Catch

Old Man Winter Needs to DIE

When that cold-hot-cold-snow-melt-ice-hot-cold-windy-slushy in between season called March in Michigan gives me a headache, I chug a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows to quiet the fever.  With a blankie wrapped tightly, I keep warm, waiting for camping season.  Last year the fever hit when the sun came out and melted all the snow, exposing some green for the first time in forever. To top that off, I saw a skunk in the road and had to wonder if it meant six more weeks of anything?

Then I spied my first robin bursting with blue eggs, as she collected sticks and little pieces of this and that to pad her nest.   I’m deliriously dreaming about roasting hot dogs over a snapping flame –with a stick customized by my trusty “Swiss”.  My hibernating mind is starting to wake up with the crocuses and it drifts above my consciousness, letting in the smell of cowboy coffee percolating in my Grandpa’s dented pot as I listen to bacon sizzling in a heavy cast iron skillet.

There is nothing like the sound of kerosene gas flowing up into a Coleman lantern at night which, upon ignition, takes on a life light of its own–bathing us in soft yellow hues.  Every kind of insect is attracted to it’s nectar core. I can see my Dad striking the match and posting it on a nail, way up and off to the side.

Soon it will be time to go mushroom hunting and time to put all the lawn chairs in a circle around the fire and time to sing Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World and time to collect mint leaves to brew Grandma’s mint tea and time to gather drift wood in the bow of a row boat and and time to pick daisies and black-eyed susans and time to wear flip-flops and time to chop wood and time to catch a fish and time to discover new trails on hikes and time to see eagles soar and time to see deer in the woods and time to catch a lightning bug and time to skinny dip and time to tell ghost stories and time to drop blueberries into a tin cup and time to appreciate a full moon and time to dig up a can of worms and time to take a picture of a sunrise and time to grill and time to just be happy and time to open the graham crackers and time to fire up the ‘ol 1964 Johnson 20 and time to strip down into your skivvies and crawl into the sack….exhausted from not having enough time when it comes to camping!

When All The Stars Align…A Moment Like This Is Captured On Film


We pulled up anchor and headed back to camp with a boatload of fish. The August sun was hot and our bellies were empty.  There was only one cola left in the cooler and Mother Nature was calling.  On approach, we slowed down to witness a four legged athlete named Dock–and HE CAN FLY.

We cut the engine and drifted, in awe, when we saw how high and tight his moves were.  Dock, a German Shorthaired Pointer pup, had “Zee German Engineering” running on all four cylinders and he was stroked and bored!  His owner cartwheeled the dummy time and time again…and then the magic happened. It really was something to behold.

CLICK this orange link and WATCH this Amazing Athete


Big Bull Moose Sighting!

Big Bull Moose  

Click on above video link!

Since the 70′s, when every day tee shirts caught on, I’ve resented each Yooper tee with moose on it.  Hey, shirts with black bears and beaver shots are ok.  Celebrating slogans like “Say ya to da UP, eh?” or those making fun of Beer Camp, Pasties, and Trolls living south of da bridge are good.  I’ve just got a 50 year grudge with Moose shirts.  Until I saw an incredible bull moose tear it up on U.S. 2 at the MI95 junction in Iron Mountain. What happened next blew me away.

This mature bull shredded everything in his path as he filled his tank on berries and brush leaves.  He seemed nice enough and sort of tame.  Traffic came to a standstill and impatient folks bailed out to see what the commotion was.  After they figured it out, each raced back to their trusty rusties to retrieve cell phones and cameras.  Folks began gathering quick and there were more oooohs and aaaahs than fireworks on the 4th of July.   Sparks shot off the nearby cell phone tower as callers lit it up.   Eventually, every bar stool within a five mile radius was empty. We had us a spectacle–a true Yooper miracle…until a guy wearing steel toed Carhartt boots said, “Hey, hold my beer!”


Get off at Exit 69 on Big Beaver Road–How Hard Can it Be?

“Big BEEverr” Pronouncing this major artery through the city of Troy, Michigan almost always draws snickers from out-of-towners.   It is embarrassing to give them directions in this town to anywhere, even a place as simple as a shopping mall.  I blame dead folks: the ones who long ago snickered at leaving us this legacy.   They know what they did.

These 1950′s engineers were in charge of road planning.  They selected all the junctions as I-75 was designed. Big Beaver Road, which was originally named in the 1800′s after a nearby beaver pond, was assigned (cover your eyes, kids) EXIT 69.  If these clowns had added one more intersection before or after Big Beaver Road, a lot of teens and t’weens would have had nothing to giggle about.   Worse, the old Playboy Club, was there, further perpetuating the urban legend factor. Take heart, Michiganders, we are in good company:






Kentuckians don’t want you to know is that there are two villages in Northern KY: Beaver Lick and Big Bone Lick.)

For those of you needing some extra R&R, you could pull over here: 

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