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2005 Trips to the Cabin

Trip #1:

Marie and I went up on Friday, Feb. 25, by van. We had lunch at John and Diana's place and got a little exercise with the snowshoes. We brought up the new, improved toboggan and it worked very well. There were snowmobile tracks on the yard and in my field in spite of the sign I put up trying to keep them out.toboggan

In the evening we just sat in the dark and chatted, admiring the stars.

Saturday we took another hike with snowshoes; the snow around the cabin was about 18 inches deep and in places there was enough crust that you could stand on it without showshoes. Walking without them was impossible though. There was a lot of damage to willows and birch, thanks to some moose. The moose nuggets were particularly large and since I have recently sold some more, I made a pooper scooper and picked up a whole mess of them and dumped them on the yard hoping they will dry well. When I went into the trees just a little bit north of the cabin to pick some more nuggets, I met a moose. Later in the day Marie and I went up Tanner Creek Road a little ways and ran into that moose again; she was a huge cow and had last year's calf with her. Most of the "nuggets" were frozen into the snow and the pooper scooper quickly died; it was a tin can nailed to the end of a piece of Diamond Willow.

On Sunday we took another short hike up Tanner Creek Road but did not see the moose this time. There were 2 coyotes in the field or close to it . A good part of the time there, we were able to keep the fire out; it was that "warm."

We went back to GrPr on Sunday just after lunch.

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2005 Trip #2:

Arrived at about 8 PM, Friday. Some snow along the road in shady spots. On the way up we saw 15 deer and one moose. We did not stay at John's any longer than to yell out that we would be at the cabin for "awhile." Some on the yard too. Very wet. The yard was not really soft but we did leave tracks on the lawn. When we tried to open the door of the cabin we found that we had no key! We put the little ladder up to the little window on the north wall. Marie could have gone through the hole after I removed the sliding window but then she would have had to go head first down to the floor, over the bookshelf; not a good plan. I could not get my shoulders through the hole. Finally we cut the screen on the kitchen window, put the ladder there and after removing the nails on the inside, on which we hang things like the fly swatter and whisk broom, I got in that way. It did not take long at all to get the cabin nice and warm.

Saturday: cloudy but not cold. Before Marie got up I saw a huge flock of geese fly over; the tail end of the "V" formation looked to be about 1/2 mile wide and there were numerous smaller "V" formations within the larger one. I estimated 500 geese in that formation. Later another "V" of 55 flew over. We took a hike and salvaged a number of birch trees which moose had broken down. Also got a few willows similarly damaged by moose. We saw some bison tracks in the snow so they are still around.

Sunday: we hiked the full length of Tanner Creek Road. Picked up 3 more birch sticks from trees broken by moose. The culvert just north of my driveway is running well but it appears somebody dug up the road a little above the culvert. One vehicle pulling a trailer with one or more quads apparently planned to go north but got stopped by that ditch across the road. Good thing they did not run into it at any speed; they would have had a very sudden and complete stop. I went over and stuck a small orange flag in the mud to indicate the danger. In the PM we took a hike NE up the A3 and back south on the V1 trails.

Monday: In the morning I saw a perfect "V" formation of about 50 geese fly over. I set up the rain barrels so they can start collecting water again. We took a 2.5 mile hike and then to the SE corner of my land to see how the ditch was handling the water. No problem there; the bale in the ditch had done no real damage and the alsike clover prevented erosion. Tracks of bear, moose, elk, buffalo, wolf, coyote and deer in abundance. After supper we took another 2 mile hike north up the road and found a red ribbon along the road marking a small pile of sticks cut last year and promptly forgotten. On this walk, we saw 5 Whitetail deer.

Tuesday: Another gorgeous day. We hiked north a mile and then most of the remaining mile west where we cut some sticks for a wash-stand we planned for the bathroom. It was a long way to carry them. Back at the cabin after 2 hours, we made that stand and it worked fine. We have been seeing a few birds: geese, ducks, hawks, ravens, bluejays, robins, junkos, ducks, ruffed grouse.

washstand


Wednesday: another beeee-ooooo-tiful day. No wind, no rain; just quiet. Time to go back to town for a quick visit.

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2005 Trip #3:

Thursday, May 12, a very nice day; went to the cabin alone. Van full of stuff including two chairs and a native crab apple tree from my back yard. Got to the cabin around 2 PM. Planted the tree, took a short walk.

Friday: a cool, breezy day. Took another short hike and collected two sticks only to find that they did not yet peel well. Gilles came over with Neil P. who inspects crops for wildlife damage. We drove to the SE corner of my field and walked into the field from there. Gilles quickly pointed out deer droppings on the clover. The clover is laying down, matted by the winter's snow. Neil and I walked the mile back to the cabin.

Saturday May 14: Big jet aircraft flying back & forth (to Alaska?) all day; every 10 minutes or so. Had my (solar - heated) shower but had not used the box to heat the water (used only the bag) and it was barely hot enough.



Monday: cool, overcast. Only 13C. I had left both kitchen and bedroom windows wide open and it was manageable. Gilles came at 7:20 to get the grain truck, full of clover. At least one truckload is safe!

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2005 Trip #4:


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2005 Trip #5:

Thursday, May 26: It was still pretty wet in the bush. As we ate supper we saw two deer in the field. I skinned the sticks and we set up the "gazebo" type tent which has screen walls. The mosquitos are pretty thick now. Gilles was harvesting and finished shortly about suppertime. All the rain barrels were full and the rain gauge showed only 1 3/4 cm.

Friday: after putting air in the tires of the Stickshaw, we went north up the road and then east on the wide cutline on the edge of my land, and then followed it north to where we had left the sticks yesterday. At the creek we left the Stickshaw and then brought them to the Stickshaw by carrying them. It was hard work but we made it. There were 28 of various lengths. By bedtime I had most skinned but they did not skin as well as they should at this time of May. The lawn is still only partly cut.
Sunday: Another beautiful, hot but windy day. It got up to about 28C in the shade. The heat was unbearable and the mosquitos worse. We got a small load of sticks and got out of there. Almost back at the cabin, the slough was too much for us and we spun out, even though I was in Low, 4WD. We had to winch out. Then we used all the poles around the place and we used them all to "lay corduroy" on the slough. We had to winch the logs out of the park with the truck; they were pretty heavy. Then I skinned the sticks and then waxed the ends on all the DW sticks. We had set the water out for the solar shower and it was so hot we had to add cold water.

Wed. June 4: One rabbit on the lawn. Saw one rabbit in a slough north also. At 10:00 PM two Whitetail bucks came by and I took pics. Later a cow moose with tiny calf were in the park.

Thurs. At noon we saw 7 muledeer bucks in single file crossing my east quarter back to the trees. Went north around old overgrown lease on the edge of my land and got a good load of sticks. Made a stand for water jugs on the deck. Then an electrical storm with heavy rain. Took almost two 5-gallon pails of water off the tent.

Friday: Hot. Skinned sticks. Wiener roast for supper. Another electrical storm but not as much rain as last night.

Sat: Wet, cooler (13C) at 6:30 AM. Moose and tiny calf came out again 1/2 mile east and exited by my granaries.

moose cow and tiny calf

Then 2 Whitetails, 150 yards east, one male and one female. I noticed that they were starting toward my granaries and then I saw 2 more deer 150 yards south of the cabin. I hiked 3 angle lines NE from the road and got 4 sticks. Back at the cabin we saw a 100 pound light brown bear 150 yards south of the cabin. Beno came and he needed help move bison across the road. Ed came too. We had 75 head+ cross but the others went the wrong way. Threatened rain all day. Skinned sticks in the tent.

Sunday: Rain overnite. Scattered cloud. Skinned remaining sticks and we went north to the roadsign and then NE on a narrow hand-cut "angle" line to where I expected 15 ribbons. Found most of them.

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2005 Trip #6:
Thursday June 9: another hot one. Skinned yesterday's sticks and then mowed the lawn. Then we went north and got a big load of sticks. Skinned a few of them. A small Whitetail buck lay down 75 yards from the cabin and did not bother to leave as we did various things around the cabin. Finally he seemed to get tired of the lawnmower's noise and he sauntered back into the bush. The hot (solar) shower was a real blessing tonight; work in the bush was hot. We also cut 2 small poplar trees and made a "harrows" with nails. This is to drag all over the park after seeding the alfalfa.

Friday: overcast. Finished processing the sticks brought in yesterday. Marie chopped out the Saskatoon patch; I gave up on it; the game will not let them grow. Later as it was drizzling a bit, I went up north then west to the road end and found 7 pieces for sticks. I came back soaking wet. We have not seen any birds on our bird feeder for many days; strange. There were 4 Whitetail deer near the cabin this morning, early.

Saturday: "Soggy Saturday" it is. So much rain on the tent that I'm surprised it had not collapsed. In jamies I went out and ran the water off it. Still raining. No stick-ing today. Late in the afternoon, though, it cleared and I drove the old pickup north 3/4 mile and got a good load. After supper I cut them to length and put them into the tent. I had brought from home a piece of antler and an old knife blade plus a hacksaw, drill, JB Weld and so I made another knife. The first one I made is now my favorite knife for sticks.

Sunday: The day started with a threat of rain. I skinned some sticks, then ran the lawnmower in the park for a bit and then we went north to where I got a load yesterday and we got a very big load.

park showing some mowed; some not

One extremely nice but large stick. Many of them are "US$9 sticks." A flock of 5 swans flew over. In the neighbor's field we saw an elk.

Monday: "Miserable Monday" because by 9 AM it was raining lightly. Pity all the farmers who did not get their seeding done. My field is beautifully green with volunteer clover (again/still) and weeds.I skinned sticks. When done, I bundled up the bark and hung it to dry for kindling.

willow bark hanging to dry

We are making ice-cubes and putting them into the blue Coleman cooler two or three times a day. We had bought a lot of groceries and the fridge is small. I took a pic of the park just now to show how it looks after mowing compared with before mowing; I want to do a piece of it every day but today it will be too wet. Maybe when it is all mowed I'll spray it with Roundup one more time to kill even more weeds before seeding alfalfa. I also took a picture of the 100 DW sticks drying in the bedroom corner (with Marie still asleep in the foreground).

first 100 sticks of 2005

At one point I was at the white shed getting some more sticks and Marie was in the outhouse, with the door open. Suddenly she had a buck deer only six feet away, watching her! Late in the day the weather improved a lot but there was little or no blue sky visible. I waxed the skinned sticks.

Tuesday: Another soggy day with some letup. I skinned sticks all morning while Marie slept. At noon when Marie was cooking over the outside fire-pit, two deer grazed only 100 yards away ignoring her.

marie cooking with deer nearby

Later in the PM we went north and west for the third time and got another small load of sticks. Rain cut the trip short. On our way out back to the truck, we were in a very wet, soggy slough and my foot caught on a snag; I fell face down full length into the loon shit. This made the shower an absolute requirement for this day.

Wednesday: A very NICE day for a change; no rain at all. We took a long walk.

Thursday: Rain overnight AGAIN. No doubt farmers are in a great problem situation again this year. About 10 PM as the sun was almost over the horizon, we noted the 7 muledeer bucks half way down my field, on the south edge, by the little "patch of bush." They were slowly headed west along the fence toward my granaries. In my 'jamies and runners, I headed out the driveway, then south down the road to the granaries. I made it that far and saw they were still coming. I then climbed the east-most granary (steel, 1725 bushel) and started taking pictures as they came toward me. The mosquitos figured Santa had come early; they were driving me nuts. By the time I had taken about 40 pictures, they were so close I could no longer get shots with all seven in them.

seven buck muledeer

Finally my battery ran dead and I proceded to climb back down. This startled the bucks. Just as 2 Whitetails were coming across the field to join the mulies, they all ran north which made them that much closer to Marie watching from the cabin. I walked back and the deer did not run much; they ambled back east and we watched them for awhile.

Saturday: (Super Saturday): sunny all day and we could see deer just about anytime. After supper we were watching two deer south of the cabin and I saw a doe Muledeer with twins east of the cabin 200 yards. We watched them a bit and then I walked out there.

doe and fawn

She and one fawn came very close to me but I never saw the second fawn. Took some pictures.

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2005 Trip #7:

Saturday, July 2: Photographed a beautiful very small reddish bird at the bird feeder. Two deer about 150 yards from the cabin as I skinned sticks in the tent. There must be 1000 buffalo in the 2 fields bordering mine on the south.

bison south of cabin

Sunday: I spent all morning mowing the park. I was barely done when I saw a deer in it. One shot of him with my new Canon EOS 20D digital camera and the shutter noise sent him running. Major disappointment with that camera. Went north a bit with the truck and got a very small load of sticks. They are not skinning well at all; looks like the season is over. If so, it was a very short season. I was skinning sticks beside the cabin and when I went in to make a bit of supper, looked out into the park and saw that a small buck had apparently been resting there all the while I was skinning sticks, about 50 yards off. Soon he got up and another small Whitetail buck joined him.

buck behind cabin

Monday: up at 5:30 and there were 4 W. Bucks in the park. I waxed the 17 sticks that were ready. Went north by Argo and NE up the hand-cut line by the huge beaverdam. I backed in the last hundred yards or so because I would not be able to turn the Argo around beside the water. I got stuck and had to winch out. Got a small load including one very thick piece that could make at least two fantastic table lamps.

Tuesday: Up at 5:25 with light rain.

Wednesday: Threatening rain all morning but very few drops fell so I went north with the Argo to the big beaver-pond. Once I got started there, rain became more or less steady but light so I went back with a small load of sticks.

Thursday: Windy and numerous clouds coming over threatening rain. On our way back from Fred's, we photographed by me standing on the roof of the pickup, 4 deer (bucks) in the Canola crop.

bucks in canola at Freds place

We also saw one doe and what appeared to be 2 elk in the Ben Abel area. In the late afternoon a bull bison was in my field, wandering west, along the fence toward my granaries. He went onto the road there and we did not see him again.

Friday: Today must have been some kind of special day in the life-cycle of a very tiny flying beetle; there were hundreds of them all over. The two W. Bucks were near the cabin again, after several days' absence and in the evening while Marie was outside, a doe Muledeer went by very close, paying no attention to Marie.

buck in Maries flowers


Sat: A M. buck was on the lawn inspecting the picnic table and two W. bucks lay down in the park. The sun had not heated the shower bag enough, being cloudy mosst of the day and we made a fire in the stove to heat some of the water.

Sunday: Nice day.

Tuesday: I spread the Alfalfa seed in the park. After it was in, I dragged the "harrow" I'd made weeks earlier from pieces of poplar with spikes. After supper it rained. Perfect timing. This afternoon the buffalo got moved to the west, across the road.

Wednesday: It was pretty wet so we went back to Grande Prairie.

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2005 Trip #8:

Friday, August 12, 2005: Marie and I left for the cabin late morning. We were shocked at the damage done by buffalo in the yard. Not only was there buffalo dung on the lawn but many of my spruce trees were damaged or completely destroyed. After unloading we went to John's to see where he was; he was making hay on "the homestead" so we went there and chatted with him. He mentioned, among many other things, that there is a real "wolf problem" and Gilles had shot one. Then we went to Orin Toews' house to complain about the damage but there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. I left a note on his door asking him to see me "urgently."

tree destroyed by buffalo trees destroyed by bison

While we were having supper 3 muledeer came within 30' of the cabin; a buck (spikes), a doe and a fawn. Later there was a Whitetail in the park. The alfalfa in the park seems to be taking root.

alfalfa

We went by Gilles' house too but there was no sign of life. On his lawn was what appeared to be a dead, black dog; not very large. We realized later that this was the wolf Gilles had shot. Last time we were here there were no bluejays but this time they come to the bird feeder, look at the window and scream for feed. I cannot hear them at all but Marie sure can.

juvenile bluejay


Saturday: The day started overcast but by mid-morning it was sunny, clear and warm. There was a Whitetail in the park and later the same (spike) Muledeer buck as we saw yesterday. Marie went out and sat on the edge of the deck while this buck was grazing about 35 yards away. I went out with the new Panasonic DMC-F20K digital camera (5 megapixel and 1 Gb SD card) and took pictures. The little buck came straight toward us while Marie talked to him. He came within 30 feet of us.

muledeer buck buck mulie

Marie and I were cutting out some of the willow just east of the cabin to make deer more visible when Orrin Toews drove in. He knew why I had left the message for him to come. I showed him much of the damage. He asked me to send him a bill. So that worked out very well and he visited for an hour or more. After he left, Marie and I went to work cleaning up the damaged trees and we dug up the totem pole (which is a fire-killed pine tree with a lot of "character") and replaced it with a new one which is slightly longer. The old one was set in concrete so it was in there very solidly. We set the new one in concrete too, in the spot where the old one was. Then it started to rain and we went in.

Johns ranch


Sunday; cloudy and threatening rain all day. After lunch we took a hike; going the full length of Tanner Creek Road. I worked on the little pieces of Diamond Willow to hang on your belt; sanding and varnishing them. The idea is to include one with every order of sticks at no charge. It rained from late afternoon on.

diamonds diamonds


Monday: The day started wet and cool. I gave the little pieces of DW a second coat of varnish. Then it cleared and we sorted out, numbered and photographed all the Rails and "Huge ones."

huge diamond willow

Marie cleaned out the JOG (John's Old Granary) and then we took the Argo to the east end of my land to where we have that erosion problem. Gilles had planned to make a dirt berm to keep the water off the land but there is no place to get dirt from. I decided to lay logs along the ditch, on my side. I cut 4 big poplars and we dragged, with the truck, 2 of them to the SE corner of my land where all the water enters from 2 culverts. Then I flooded the truck and it would not start so we walked back, the full mile, to the cabin, picking rocks as we went.

Tuesday: The day started much nicer than yesterday. Two Whitetail bucks came very close and I took a lot of pictures of them. The Panasonic can take about 396 pictures before the 1Gb card is full.

bucks sparring

After lunch we took the truck to the far end of my land and dragged a third log to the first two and with great effort managed to lay it on top of the other two. The truck started fine. Then we dragged the fourth log to the first three. It started to drizzle so we returned to the cabin. A while later we took the Argo to the east end of the field, picking rocks as we went, and pulling the little Argo trailer. We dumped the rocks at the new "three-log" berm and then cut down two more big trees. We left them where they fell, after removing the tops and branches. The Argo cannot pull them out. Then we went back to the cabin and had another good load of rocks. None of the rocks are very big; the largest we found all day could not weigh more than 10 pounds.

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2005 Trip #9:

Friday, August 22, 2005: Every trip to the cabin I wonder what fascinating new experiences are in store for us "this time." Little did I realize that this trip would turn into a buffalo-hunting trip. I knew that would happen some time but never knew when until this time. Long ago I did shoot a cow buffalo for John; it had a bad leg injury and could not even get up anymore. Hardly sporting to shoot her with John and his front-end loader standing ready. At the cabin we unloaded and while I was outside, heard Marie yelling inside. Upon inquiry, I found that there was a bird in the stove. I took him out and let him go outside; it was a flicker. It flew at about 1 meter altitude 30 yards to the bush pile and made a very poor landing there. A bit later it was still there; I took some water and birdseed and left these in the brushpile where he had gone in. (Next day we found it had died) Then we took the Argo to the east end of the field but there was a lot of weed now so we managed to pick only about 50 pounds of stones the full mile. These we dumped between the logs we had laid there last time. On the way back we found even fewer. Gilles had sprayed the field and I hope he got a good kill. In spite of the spraying, there was a deer feeding in the east quarter.

bluejay


Saturday: I got up at 6:30 and there were 3 Whitetails on the lawn; two were bucks. A bit later they and one Muledeer buck were in the park.

Bob Burns and Marie and 510 sticks

Ben Abel had driven into John's yard on his 4wd tractor to tell John that there were a LOT of buffalo in John's hayfield Orin's got out *again.* We went back to the cabin and drove to the end of the road where we saw 3 deer and two elk; one a spike bull. Back at the cabin we sat on the deck chatting and a buck Muledeer went by at 30 yards and never paid any attention to us. A bat flew by, 2 feet above the ground. About all we could hear was ducks and geese.

sunset


Sunday: The day started cloudy with a threat of rain. A few drops did come down so we stayed in the cabin. During a couple of short "ok" periods of weather, I went out and cut some willows in the slough south of the cabin to make a clear "line of sight" through that slough for a better view of wildlife in there.

note new line of sight through the swamp The opening at "B" we made a few years ago and now I added the line at "A" so as to better see game moving through the slough.

We saw a buffalo bull on the road south of my SE corner. There was a hawk sitting on the tall pole by the cabin:

hawk


Monday: We slept with bedroom and kitchen windows wide open because it was not cold and because there was a slight smell of propane. I got up just before 6 and found that the propane (for the fridge) had gone out. Good thing there is a full 20-pound bottle in the shed. At one point I noted that there were at least 200 Canada Geese about 200 yards SW of the cabin in my field. I took a lot of pictures.

geese Canada Geese

geese geese

goose

In the afternoon I took a long hike NE (I carried the "el cheapo Aiptek camera and took this pic)

dead tree

and found quite a few ribbons on good sticks. I put up more ribbons until I ran out. Also in the afternoon we saw a bison bull in Bertram's yard. I took pictures of him from the fence along the road.

buffalo bull


Wednesday: a beautiful day and I got up at 5:36 while the stars were still out. When it was light I started to load up the truck to do some work on the east end where we were putting logs and rocks to prevent erosion. Then I saw that another tree on my yard had been destroyed.

tree destroyed by buffalo

While I was pondering what to do this time about the buffalo problem, I saw a pickup down the road going into the buffalo herd so I raced down there and blew my horn. Eventually it came back to the road and I saw it was Orrin Toews. He came over and I told him that there was a buffalo problem again. He told me that it was time we shot that rogue bull. He asked me where it was now and I told him that if I knew, it would already be dead in a pool of blood. He agreed 100% and made it clear that if he knew where to find it, we'd shoot it right away. I went back to the cabin and grabbed my 7mm Rem. Magnum and told Marie I was just going up the road a piece. I had not gone more than 200 yards when I saw the bull laying in the field across the road. I walked to him, and sort of around him hoping to chase him back to the road. He would not move in spite of my yelling and arm-waving. Finally I shot him in the left shoulder from a range of about 50 feet. He stumbled a tiny bit and just looked at me. I waited a long time. Finally I went back to the van and back to the cabin. There I had Marie follow me on foot as I walked back up the road. I had Marie stand by the nearest tree while I went back to the bull. This time I let him have it in the right shoulder. He did not go down for a few moments. When he was down I shot him in the back/side of the head and that did not finish him either. Finally he faced me and I put the fourth shot into his forehead. That was the end.

hunting buffalo

We went back to the cabin but the truck would not start. So, I boosted it and then we went into the field and used my brand new 15' brass chain and skidded the huge dead bull back to the cabin. Then we went to John's where I phoned Orrin at 864-0101 but there was no answer so I left a message.

swathing

I tried again a half hour later but still no reply. Then we went back to the cabin for lunch. I put a bedsheet over the buffalo to keep the hot sun off him. As I type this, we are waiting to see if anyone shows up to get it. If not, I plan to save the horns and hind quarters. We took the obligatory pictures of the "Great White Hunter" with is rifle and trophy.

buffalo hunt

hunting bison

LATER: nobody showed up so we salvaged the hind quarters after lunch and then went back to GrPr.

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2005 Trip #10:

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005: The field had been worked and was nice and black. The alfalfa we seeded in the park barely shows.

summer fallow

Wednesday: I started emptying the rain barrels and set up the new bird-feeder. That did not work well so it means more work in town on the feeder pole. A lot of buffalo in the field adjoining mine.

lamps

Thursday: Cooler than yesterday this morning and I started a fire first thing. One antlerless Muledeer in the park. Temp at 8 AM was about 8C. Today Marie washed all the windows and it sure is nice to be able to see the outside from the inside. I made numerous changes to the leaf-picker-upper but it still is not working as I would like.

leaf picker

We now have the rain barrels emptied and ready for winter. We took the old pickup to the east end and skidded the 2 remaining logs out of the bush and skidded them to the SE corner where we now have a "berm" to keep the water, hopefully, in the ditch. The berm is about 60 feet long; four logs with 2 on top, and a lot of rocks between. We took a load of rocks in the truck with us and later went east with the Argo pulling the little trailer and we picked rocks as we went. There were not many. On the way back we picked all we saw but there were very few. Then I noted that two machines were cleaning all the brush from the road right-of-way and I made sure they did not cut any of the trees I did not want cut. No problem there.

road work

Then Marie and I drove to the end of the road and saw a few deer. About sundown we took a hike down my trails and got back after sundown; a beautiful, quiet evening. Along my trails we found 6 sticks which I had cut this summer, left leaning along the side of the trails and never recovered. Coyotes are howling.

Friday: A few drops of rain today. I put away the garden hose and then cut a large poplar tree and finally managed to lay it along my property line just north of the driveway, where the land slopes to the first creek.

foggy morning

Marie could hear the slashing crew cleaning up the road where the machines trimmed back the trees and willows.

Sunday: A wet day.

Monday: a chilly day. After lunch we took the Argo up the M2 line to the creek and then went down to the beavers' new "home" with the chainsaw. We cut a lot of limbs off trees they had felled, and threw them closer to the dam they are working on. All the branches we had throw down there yesterday had been used by them. There are quite a few flocks of geese coming over. A squirrel had made a nest lined with buffalo wool, on a box of moose nuggets in the shed. I threw it out. Next day he had brought it all back into the shed; this time into another box. I threw that out too. Then I noted that the bag of the lawnmower was half full of dried mushrooms. Finally I had enough and used my squirrel catcher on him. No more squirrel. This afternoon I saw a large Muledeer buck at the far east end of my field.

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2005 Trip #11:

Sunday, Oct. 9: One beaver was out so we got a close-up look at him/her. We threw a lot of poplar branches etc toward his area of work to help him out a little but by spring, I'm sure, he and his dam will be gone. A male blackbird was feeding with the bluejays at my bird feeder; he hung around all week. We referred to him as "Blackie."

redwing blackbird

At one point Marie asked me, "What do you call that bird again?" I replied, "You mean that black one with the red wings?" "Yes," Marie told me. I told her "That is a Redwing Blackbird."



Tuesday: In the morning, while Marie was sitting at the table doing her puzzle, and I was skinning sticks, I happened to look out and saw 5 muledeer on the lawn, the nearest no more than 30 feet from Marie. I took several pictures.

Muledeer

Muledeer

I set the new bird feeder pole into some wood preserver and will leave that overnight.

bird feeder



Thursday: We saw 8 Sharptailed grouse along my field and 1 Ruffed. We checked on the beaver but his progress is not very good; we should take him back to town, register him at college for "Beaver Dam Building 101."

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2005 Trip #12:

It did not take the bluejays long to start screaming for more seed in the feeder. The blackbird was still here too. The new Coleman electric (8 D cells) lamp was a disappointment; the batteries are already worn down.

Sunday: It was 7:40 AM before there was even the slightest hint of a dawn to follow. I'm still trying to develop a really good harness to carry the GPS high on my left shoulder too.

gps harnass

Monday: We took a 2-hour hike up north and admired the incredible work being done by the beavers up there. Their canals and the size of the trees they bring down are amazing. In the shed I finally caught one of the mice and in the trees I caught one more squirrel in a snare. I finally got my harness made, third attempt, to carry the GPS on my shoulder. Several hundred buffalo are in the neighbor's field 400 yards from the cabin, south. It was warm enough that I barely needed a jacket.

Tuesday: After lunch we took the Argo north to the Wagonwheel and then east to the big canyon, checking all the willow stands for good diamonds. In one of them I found one of the nicest, huge, diamonds I ever saw.

big diamond willow

I had to cut it to haul it on the Argo and even then it was tough to keep it from tipping out.

Wednesday: It was very, very windy today. After lunch we hiked north. We saw 3 grouse; Marie almost stepped on one. When we left the cabin, I figured that due to the noise of the wind, we might get close to game. We had not been under way for more than 15 minutes when we almost got run over by a cow moose with calf. The blackbird was back at the bird feeder. There was a flock of "snow birds" in the field; there must have been a thousand. I emptied the firewbood box (it was close to empty) and then cleaned it and refilled it to the brim.

Thursday: LOTS of jets coming over today; I noted two "side by side" as well.

two jets

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2005 Trip #13:

Sunday, Nov. 6: The poplar firewood we use now does not heat as fast as birch. The bluejays are enjoying the filled bird feeder and "Blackie" the male blackbird is still here too; apparently enjoying the oats that I throw out for him.

Monday: At 12:00 noon we went north. The Argo started fine and so did the Husky chainsaw. We took all the important gear like the camera and GPS and went up the M2 (a wide cutline) about 1 1/2 miles. There, I had left a ribbon to indicate the narrow hand-cut line which we had to go down. We turned the Argo around and headed in on foot; there were a lot of small trees across the trail and we had to use the hand-saw and the chainsaw and a lot of elbow-grease to clear the trail. After a couple of hundred yards I turned on the GPS, got a good reading and used the GPS go guide us directly to the HUGE Diamond Willow. It did a perfect job. We were about 500 yards from the Argo by then, and then had to go about 50 yards off that narrow trail into the trees to get to it. After a couple of pictures I used the chainsaw to cut it down; there were actually 3 large trees and 2 small ones. When that was done we went back to the Argo, with Marie carrying the chainsaw and camera while I carried the 2 smaller DW. Then we went back in and we carried the biggest one out; me on the heavy end and Marie on the thinner end. We had to stop and rest twice. Then we went back in for the second big one and finally for the third one. Then we had all 5 pieces laying beside the Argo. I had figured on tying them onto the side of the Argo but that was not going to work; the load was too big. Finally I decided to lift the heavy ends onto the back of the Argo, pulling up as close as possible to the seat, and then letting the thin ends drag. That way the snow would be to our favor and minimize damage. On the way back to the road we stopped at the two other places where I had found, last trip, two other big ones and we cut them down too. They were tiny compared with the "Huge" one. There was no problem hauling them all back to the yard. We were gone 3 1/2 hours.


huge one huge one
huge one huge one


Tuesday; Radio CJDC, Dawson Creek, report it is -15C in Grande Prairie this morning. We heard shooting nearby and I saw a cow moose with calf coming out of the bush 250 yards east of the cabin and I went to chase them back into my bush. Then there was more shooting so I went out with the camera. Some guys from Calgary had killed a calf moose about 100 yards south of Bertram's trailer. The cow was hanging around and I got extremely close to her and took pictures. She did not want to leave and I did not realize right away that it was her calf that had been shot so she might be upset and dangerous. The hunters came back and loaded up the calf; they already had one in the truck. A bit later I realized that my camera was set on "manual focus" so my pictures were very bad.

cow moose cow moose
cow moose

Back at the cabin I was throwing some oats in the park when I noticed a red-headed woodpecker and took pictures of it.

pilliated woodpecker

I put up the huge DW and took a picture of them against the JOG.

huge one


Wednesday: Yesterday I figured that "any day now" some oil company would approach me with a request for access to my land. Sure enough. Today was the day. Late morning George Hindbo arrived, representing Western Geophysical.

They wanted to go over my land with seismograph activity. We disussed it and then went to see Gilles who signed one contract. Then, back at the cabin, I signed a different contract. After lunch I took a 2-hour hike up north and found some good stick-hunting areas. While I was gone Marie cleaned the cabin from top to bottom. The day had improved drastically and it got to +10C. We had to start up the fridge and quit using the little bedroom as a walk-in fridge.

Thursday: I put a new screen into the outhouse and did a bit of work on the big fly trap I'm making. On my hike I took the new 2-watt GMRS/FRS radio but was disappointed with it. John was quite happy to hear about the Wn. Geo work; this probably means a LOT of $$ in his pocket with zero cost to himself, just like the $1K he just got for letting them use water from one of his dugouts. The temp was up to about +6C today. (I finished the huge fly trap back at home in town:)

fly trap


Friday: I brought in the top of a branch of Diamond Willow for Marie and she skinned it; it has 10 separate points; a very nice piece.

Marie and her tree

About noon I took a 3-hour hike. For safety I had taken the 30-30; there is no snow so bears may be still awake. My walk covered about 6 1/2 miles and I was very exhausted. Went to bed right after supper, about 6:45PM.

Saturday: Got up about 7 AM so I pretty much slept around the clock. As I type this on my Toshiba laptop, it is about 7:20 AM and as yet there is no sign whatever that there will be a day today.

typical sunrise


Sunday: Now everything is completely white; not when we came a week ago when it was "mostly" white. Time to go back to town. I just can't stop myself from going out on log walks and coming back with sticks. The days *are* short; sunrise today is at 8:28AM and sunset at 4:53PM according to my GPS. On the way home we saw 2 roadkilled deer and 2 moose.

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2005 Trip #14:

Sunday, Nov. 20: We hooked up, for the first time, a truck battery with inverter and a 23 Watt fluorescent bulb. That worked.

inverter


Monday: Another gorgeous day. Windy and warm. A pretty red on the eastern sky. One oilwell is visible from the cabin; maybe next time there will be one more; one is, apparently going in on John's land south of mine. Late morning John came over and stayed for lunch. He was enthusiastically bubbling over about the frantic oil activity and how the landowners are rolling in money. Plus, the usual complaints about Orrin Toews' buffalo getting out.

Tuesday: in late morning I was getting some firewood from the bin and whatnot when I noticed a white weasel. He raced around by the sheds and firewood bins quite awhile and I managed to take his pic a few times but he moved so fast and stayed still for such very short moments that it was most difficult to line the camera up on him.

ermine

This must be the day for photographing the VERY small as well as the VERY large wildlife. A bit later I took a hike on my trails hoping to see something to photograph but saw nothing. I kept in touch with Marie on FRS/GMRS radio. At one point I told her I was coming back via Tanner Creek Road (one of my trails) and long before I got back, suddenly here is Marie coming toward me. As we continued back to the cabin, I noticed a cow moose only 40 yards from us standing watching us. I took several pictures of her too.

cow moose

Later in the day we took the Argo and picked up a few sticks we had noticed left along the trails Monday, and cut out some spruce stumps as well as cutting some more disks and firewood off the huge poplar I'd cut a year ago. We came back on the A3 with a big load; the A3 needs some serious maintenance. While we were having supper, the electric light quit suddenly without warning. I changed to the other truck battery and it worked fine again. We got only 6.5 hours out of one battery.

Wednesday: When I got up at 5:30 there was a Muledeer doe standing on the lawn in the light of the moon and stars. The sky has finally cleared and stars are visible again.

Thursday, Nov. 24:

Friday: About noon we took the Argo and trailer and both chainsaws up the A4 line and did some widening there as well, piling up firewood from the thickest poplars I cut.

Here are two pictures of the A4 line, taken from the South end, that is, the field:

trail

trail Note the sign: "A4" on the tree to the right.

We loaded up the Argo and trailer and went back on the A3 with a load; all we could hold. Back at the cabin we piled that up so I can split it Saturday morning when it is quite cold and it will split easier with my splitting axe.


Saturday, Nov. 26: We do have LOTS of firewood, dry; some from many years ago.

firewoodaxe


Sunday: A beautiful but colder day. When I got up at 8:30 it was -8C. As soon as the sun started to come up I walked to the granaries to re-shoot the pictures I had taken earlier, of the cabin from that viewpoint.

cabin

Before I left, we could see many ravens and a pack of at least 6 coyotes half way down my field, on the south side, at the little patch of trees there. After taking the pictures from the granaries, I walked along Orrin's fence, east to the trees a half mile east to see why all the coyotes and ravens.

Note the coyote in the right of the picture: (a very tiny speck/dot)

fence

Sure enough, just as I suspected, another dead buffalo. It was 99% eaten and had a yellow eartag with "39" on it.

dead buffalo

I took a lot of pictures in that area, including some of other coyotes that were still hanging around.

coyote coyote

coyote

Then I walked NE to the start of the A4 line to move a pole we had forgotten there; I did not want it to be in Gilles' way when he starts farming next year. Then west back to the cabin, past the deer-blind:

deer blind

And, facing west toward the cabin:

cabin my 3 granaries on hte left.

A nice long hike (prox. 1 1/2 miles) with great winter scenery. Marie is still melting snow; she loves to do that and accumulate clean water for washing. No doubt when we go home we'll have many gallons left over. She did some laundry too. Then I took a close-up picture of the splitting axe. There are plenty of deer tracks on my field but we have not seen any lately. There were more coyotes than the 6 we saw together; all told there must have been about 8.

Monday: I saw only 5 deer and a couple of coyotes. The deer were in Bertram's field; 2 were bucks and I got some pictures of them.

Muledeer


Tuesday, Nov. 29: As we were packing to go home, "Blackie" showed up again.

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2005 Trip #15:

Thursday, Dec. 8: Marie and I arrived about 1:00 PM, after stopping at Orrin Toews' office where I had a long, sometimes heated discussion with Orrin. He promised to pay soon, as soon as he got paid by Wn. Geo. He disagreed with the statement John had made to me last night about "a whole bunch" of buffalo being out at my place this week. Near the cabin we met some oil people on the road and talked with them about when they might want to do my land. Jason came over about the time we had finished unloading the van and he told me he was surprised at how many buffalo there were running free. He had seen "about 30" on my land yesterday, making a liar out of Orrin. Jason tells me that they can cut the "hand-cut" line on my place tomorrow morning and he'll try to get the mulcher crew over very soon also. It looks like we can manage with little or no new N/S mulching lines at all.

Friday: Shortly after daylight, "Gerard" came to start his 3-man crew cutting an East-West line thru my bush about 100 yards north of the cabin. He has such a strong Newfie accent that I barely understood a word he said. And he has lived in Fairview for 17 years! He and I followed the 3 guys. One led with a GPS, hanging ribbons on the line and the other two followed, cutting as they went.

slashing crew

They cut almost no trees down but cleared the ground so that a cable could be laid there later. the trail was virtually impossible to see except for their tracks and the ribbons. We had some discussion about damage done to poplars by moose or elk; I claim the particular damage was done by teeth and they (Gerry and one of the 3 natives) figure it was from antlers rubbing. I cut out one tree with said marks and brought it back to show other people. One native lad explained to me how his mother used to collect the fungus off willow trees to dry them and burn them. He also told me one mulcher had, yesterday, mulched a bear. Earlier, Gerry had told me one of his crew had also found a hibernating bear but left it. Just before supper I burned the brush pile on the edge of the yard.

brush pile fire


Sunday: Took a hike in the morning, close to the cabin and a longer one in the afternoon. I almost came right back; the wolf tracks on the road near the cabin were huge. Next day I found them about 100 yards north of the cabin on Tanner Creek Road; this is that one:

huge wolf track


Monday: I dragged a magnet through the ashes of the brush pile and took out a lot of nails. I had this idea of making a very small strawberry patch so we hauled out four 8' treated 4x4's and picked a spot for it. We fastened the corners and hauled in dirt. We put up corner posts and cross pieces, all from small poplars. We left the dirt on a piece of plastic so we can spray the weeds before we put the dirt in.

strawberry coop


Tuesday: Overnight the fridge went off too so I have to replace the propane tank. In the morning I took a walk east up the M1 line to where I thought there might be a bear den.

hiking trail

As soon as I got to the M1 line I found myself within 35 yards of 3 Muledeer. Took a pic and kept going.I found the "den" but there was no bear. Then I continued back on the A4 line and found two moose. When I got back to the field, I looked back up the A4 line which I had just walked, and saw a moose at the far end.

hiking trail

Shortly after lunch Jason arrived to tell me that the mulcher was ready to go. I went out with him; the mulcher entered my land at my granaries and followed the edge of the field past the cabin, and east along the bush to the V2 line.

mulcher mulcher
mulcher mulcher
mulcher mulcher
mulcher

By 3:30 the mulcher was gone. Now "they" are supposed to phone me when the remainder of the job will be done, i.e. the cable-laying with helicopters and the actual seismograph work. I hope they call. Probably right after the New Years.

jet overhead

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