Man Down

Rip Torn but not funny


Last week, John and Bryce built a wooden tree stand with 2×6′s, a generous platform, with side rails.  These guys are professionals, making sure the monstrosity weighed in at 350 lbs. and installed it on a parcel of our farm John refers to as his “Legacy Land”.

Fast forward to high noon on Saturday, May 26, 2018:  The characters in this three ring circus were Uncle Bob and his son, Johnnie, who came up to work the land so when November rolls around, Johnnie can drop another 140 class buck or better. The ringleader was my husband John.   Despite the long walk through the vines and brush and all the bugs, they were getting a lot done.  John climbed up the newly built tree stand to tighten the turnbuckle.  I guess stands have to “settle” and then you tighten them.  Just as he reached the top, about 25′ up, and unbuckled the turnbuckle, the 3″ “guaranteed for life” peg he was standing on cracked in half.  No safety net.  The lions roared as Humpty Dumpty fell.

On the way down, John twisted to shove the ladder away from crashing on top of him.  When he did that, his body rotated and within milliseconds, he was flat on his back in 6″ of water.  A corner of the ladder stand ripped through his super thick Cabela’s jeans and he had his bell rung.  Send in the clown cars for distraction.  The two man crowd gasped at the horror.

He saw stars for a moment and Bob and Johnnie did a great job getting him out of the woods.  He was slow, but ambulatory.  So fortunate for the water to break his high fall, that he wasn’t impaled by a stump or stick, that he didn’t land on a log.  He just took a licking and kept on ticking.  The only message he left me on my phone was, “When are you going to be home, I might need some of your oils.”  So of course I took my sweet a**  time coming home, stopping for a Culver’s butter burger after boot camp yoga, completely unaware of his near death experience.

He looked okay, nothing tingled, no blood, no bruising so I couldn’t talk him into going to the hospital.  So I did the next best thing.  Applied ice packs and DoTERRA oils up and down his spine.  The next day he got up and went to work in Saginaw followed by attending a house warming party for another nephew and checking on some of his franchisees in the area.  Still, he refuses medical care.  Whatever.  You can’t fix the 150 percent Polish in him.

This morning, only two days since the fat lady sang, he was up at 3:30 a.m. to do a cooking segment on the morning news.  Ahhhh…now, finally, he admits, “I might have over done it.”

Note the picture on the wall: lots of his DNR Successful Deer Hunter Patches



Take Two and Call Medicine Man Charters in the Morning


I’ve known Captain Ed for about 6 years now.  He is a man with a plan and plenty of jokes to keep the fish biting.  We went out today on a walleye charter in Canada waters where we could keep 6 walleye each.  I lost track of the upgrading we did to come in with a bucket full of finger licking good eaters.  Today’s trip included Steve Kovacs and his wife, Laurie, who was AMAZING.  She began fishing before she could walk.

The morning was custom ordered.  Light winds, warm temps, and a Ranger boat with a 300 Merc, 4 stroke on the back.  Pedal down to Motown on Lake St. Clair, one of the best fisheries in the United States.  Within 1.5 hours, we had our limit on the Detroit River, by the Canadian Club plant.  Figures.

Captain Ed said he could put us in the range of trophy smallmouth bass (my favorites) as soon as he cleaned the walleye and we headed back to the dock to regroup, slug some water and he  put the dressed walleye on ice. ”

We busted a move 7 miles to the land of Oz and sure enough, the smallies were hitting, but they were tricky devils.  We had the squirreliest minnows I’ve ever seen and they danced above the fish beds so we could land some lunkers.  Steve and Laurie both shouted “Fish On!” at the same time and there it was….a double.  Both fish were in the 19 to 20″ range and danced their way on top of the water, giving us all a heart attack.

Finally is was my turn.  I had a sketchy minnow who slinked in the shallows, over the fish beds and rocks until finally, a tug.  Then another tug.  When the moment felt right, I set the hook and landed a 20-1/4″ smallmouth.  He protested and spanked the surface, but Ed was quick with the net and we landed him.  3/4″ short of a Master Angler designation.  Still, a great fish and a fighter to the last.  We released all the bass, split the walleye and I made it back to Grand Blanc in time for my ballroom dance lessons.  Whew.  I stunk like fish but couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face when “Stayin’ Alive” played and we did the hustle.

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.

Mayday! Mayday!!!!


Lou Ann with the first biggie of the day!

It was a bit nippy in late April, when Bill and Lou Ann McLaren teamed up with me in the Detroit River to fight some walleye during the spring spawning run, where fish from Lake Erie head into Lake St. Clair.  Of Course we were with our trusty Captain, Ed –who operates Medicine Man Charters and he is quick to break out a joke if the fishing slows down.  I couldn’t sleep the night before, dreaming about some of the monsters Captain Ed has netted in years past.  There were times when we limited out within two hours, throwing 5 lb. walleye back because bigger ones were in the net.  Mmm…2015 sure sizzled, coated in cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese, frying in a cast iron skillet.

Click on this beauty and see it full size!

Our hot spot took us past the Renaissance Center (which it will always be to me) and past some manufacturing sites, eerily belching out rolling, white steam. Lou Ann can sure take some pretty pictures and she captured the cityscape.

The whole point of the story is that me, the Great White Fish Kisser, did not land a single one. 







WTF stands for Where’s The Fish?  EVERYONE ELSE caught walleye and smallmouth bass while I clenched my miserable pole with frozen fingers that began to curl and freeze on the reel.  I jigged; I swear.  5,000 pulls earned me nothing but a “skunked” award.  I can, however, tell a few new jokes.

Alysha had her game face on, all buttoned up in her woolies and North Face down.  Real Girls Fish.

The following week, I went back out on the lake, with Captain Ed, and the day proved colder, iced with blowing winds.  This time I brought a trump card, a real women’s pro with me…Alysha Doellner, my future daughter-in-law and reigning First Place Champion in the Women’s Salmon Fishing Tournament on Lake Michigan.  Yeah, sh*t got real.

We landed 16 fish that day and in the process of tossing them from the bow to the live well at the stern (for 3 points) we almost got hit by a freighter.  Captain Ed had to rip that big engine on his Ranger boat ASAP as we reeled in. Dicey. It came up from behind–that sneaky iron devil; in stealth mode.  
Afterwards, Captain Ed said that it is really fun in the shipping channels, when the morning fog rolls in, because these behemoths are weirdly almost silent (killers).  I’m a believer!
Many photo credits to Lou Ann McLaren.

These Bald Eagles Act Like An Old Married Couple


The eagle on the left had a fish.  The one on the right made a play for it.  During their struggle, it fell to the ground.

After he dropped his fish, they both just sat there looking so upset!  They kept looking down at the ground, the fish would do a little flopping, but no one picked it up. “It’s all your fault, no we’re are both screwed!”  If they had fingers, they would be pointing.  These eagles were so funny.

The woman behind the lens, capturing this squabble, is LouAnn Adair McLaren.  She always seems to be in the right place at the right time, making it look easy.  It’s not. For years I’ve enjoyed seeing her work on Facebook and thought to share her cute eagle FISH FAIL here, with her permission.  She travels extensively and specializes in North American fish and wildlife.


Facts About Bald Eagles from the National Eagle Center:


In the wild, 70-80% of eagles die before they reach adulthood at five years of age. An eagle that makes it to adulthood might live 20-25 years. In captivity, eagles are known to live much longer, 40+ and up to 50 years, due to a controlled environment, nutrient rich diet and veterinary care.

Bald eagles are found across North America and typically near lakes and rivers.


Eagles use both monocular and binocular vision, meaning they can use they eyes independently or together depending on what they are looking at.  An eagle eye has two focal points (called “fovea”  [singular] or “foveae”  [plural]) one of which looks forward and the other to the side at about a 45 degree angle. These two foveae allow eagles to see straight ahead and to the side simultaneously. The fovea at 45 degrees is used to view things at long distances. An eagle can see something the size of a rabbit running at three miles away.

Eagles can achieve 30 mph using powerful wing-beats and even faster when diving after prey (stoop). Bald eagles can dive at up to 100 mph; golden eagles at up to 150 mph.


The average wingspan ranges from 6 to 7.5 feet (182cm-229cm).  Wingspan of an eagle depends on overall size. Eagles in northern parts of their range tend to be larger overall, including a larger wingspan.

How much does a bald eagle weigh?  Weight varies depending on latitude and gender.  Generally, males weigh approximately 25% less than females from the same area. The average weight of a female bald eagle is 10-14 pounds, however there exists great variation depending on where an eagle is from. Southern bald eagles tend to be smaller than those in northern parts of their range. For example in Alaska, females might weigh up to 18 pounds, whereas eagles in Florida can weigh as little as 6-8 pounds.

Bald eagles and other cold weather birds have special circulation in their feet and legs that allow them to withstand very cold temperatures. A complex set of arteries and veins in the leg ensure that most of the heat is ‘exchanged’, before it reaches the exposed legs and feet. This counter-current heat exchange helps to ensure that a minimal amount of heat is lost through blood flowing to the legs and feet.  Bird legs and feet also have little soft tissue, so they don’t require as much warm blood flow. When they need a quick warm up, they can tuck one foot up against their body, underneath all those warm down feathers – a great way to warm up the toes!


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

Page 1 of 1212345...10...Last »
© Copyright The Painted Post - Suski Web Design LLC