2010 trips to the

cabin in the woods moose with snowman

More about the cabin at http://www.sticksite.com/cabin/ .

INDEX to blogs for ALL the years at


Trip Number 16 for 2010:

Wednesday, Dec. 15: It was about -18C with a wind which made it feel more like -30C. The roads were mainly good but as we got further north, we ran into more falling and drifting snow and the temperature dropped. We wondered when the funeral was scheduled for all the snowplow and sand-truck operators.


The last 2 miles, there were no more vehicle tracks in the snow at all; we were first; NOT a Good Thing.

At the cabin we were unpleasantly surprised to find about 13 inches of snow on the ground.

It was cold enough in the cabin that neither the BBQ lighter nor the cigarette lighter would work to start the wood stove. Back to wood matches.

I tried to set on fire the brush piles in the park but they would not burn; too much snow on and in them. I got one of the trailcams but by then my fingers were so cold I could not get the second one even though it was only 20 yards from the first one. I had to go in and warm up first.

Heavy snow was falling non-stop. It soon got dark and I started the "high-test gas" lamp so we could see.


Thursday: Still snowing. As soon as it was slightly less dark, I noticed a black "thing" about 30 yards south from the kitchen window; there was a cow moose nibbling on my little apple trees. As I watched she came to within 3 feet of the cabin door and nibbled on the birch tree which touches the cabin corner. I took several flash pictures but that was virtually impossible through the windows. My camera's automatic focus beam left a green mark on the moose; maybe my finger was too fast on the shutter button:


It was -23C and at the far end of the field were a cow moose with calf. The sun came up very late and did not rise far above the horizon. I got the generator from the van and filled it with gas and oil. Then I set it in place and tried to start it. No go; even though it had 0W-30 oil (kept inside), I could hardly turn it over. So, we dragged it (100 pounds!) into the cabin to warm up. Then we went to work on the 3 brush piles in the park; we moved each one to free it from snow, and burned them; we got a very good burn.


The snowplow came and did the road; he went a few yards past my driveway and then back out. We walked to the road to see his work and noted a Black Aberdeen Angus on the road at my granaries.

When it got dark we dragged the generator back out and on the very first pull it started. I made a bit of a temporary shelter for it until I put the doghouse together.

This "doghouse" is just a shelter for the generator while we are at the cabin; when we leave we'll lock it into the cabin or one of the sheds.

Friday: -21C this morning; there was a cow moose with twins in the middle of the field. It was heavily overcast. Good day for a nice long hike.


The Angus steer was on the road again.


We hiked 3 miles; all the way to Beno's place where I hung an "INVITE" on his gate.

Much of the way was uphill; fortunately, not steep. Going back was easier.


I had hoped to enjoy some Belgian chocolate squares which I had bought at NoFrills but when I went to open the package, saw the "fine print" and it told me that this was a "kit" only; I had to MAKE them first. Lesson: always read the Fine Print.

snow trail

Saturday: only -16C this morning. I shoveled a path from the van to the cabin and then from the cabin to the big brush pile which we plan to burn next trip. I cleared the snow off most of the firewood bins.

Sunday: About -13C and time to head back to the city. After an early lunch, we left. The road was mostly good but there was ice and we saw one vehicle which had just slid into the ditch. The towtruck was just arriving.


Trip Number 15 for 2010:


Sat, Nov. 20: At the cabin it was -16C. Lots of deer tracks around the cabin. I went to sit in the deer-blind. I kept the little space heater going; it was noisy and gave a moist heat so that the little glass windows froze over. But it did help a lot and did not bother the deer. About 10 does/fawns came out and one tiny buck. Also one Whitetail with the Mulies. Four Whitetails in the west end also.

Monday: This morning it was -31C (-22F) so I chopped firewood until my hands were so cold that I had to go in for awhile.


Wednesday: Much warmer; about -17C with a beautiful red sunrise. I tried to take pictures of it with the new Canon SX20 IS. I hung the driveway alarm in the park near the Tasco trailcam. No, just before an animal gets his/her picture taken, the alarm should tell me about it.

Thursday: Today after dark, the driveway alarm went off so I pointed the spotlight into the park. Sure enough, there was a deer standing by the alarm.

Friday: About -4C at sunrise. Chopped a bit of wood; snow much of the day so stayed inside reading. There was a large owl hunting mice around the cabin.

Saturday: This is the view of the cabin from a mile east, the southeast corner of my land.

About noon I noticed fresh moose tracks on the lawn, on top of the tracks I had made earlier this morning. I thought I'd say "Hello" so got onto the track and 15 minutes later caught up to this cow moose. Later I drove to the SE corner of my field. On the way there was a bull bison on the road so I recorded him running ahead of the van. I walked across my field to the deer blind and sat in it about 2 1/2 hours. Six Muledeer came out; no antlers. When I left, one doe and fawn did not run away; in fact I walked within 50 yards of the doe and she barely paid any attention to me at all.


This is the view from the little deer-blind. The hole has a piece of glass that slides open and a tiny "curtain" I can drop down over the glass. The shelf below the window is to set a camera on to give it some stability. As you can see, some of the deer came fairly close to my van.

I happened to look toward the granaries after legal shooting time and noticed a dark spot that seemed out of place. I put the binocs on it and saw that it was a very big Whitetail buck, slowly headed straight toward me. I watched him come to within 50 yards of me and then a coyote frightened him into the bush.

Monday: Saw a white weasel running across the lawn to the brown shed, with a mouse in his teeth. By 10:15 the fog had lifted so I could see the far end of my field. With binocs I watched a coyote mousing out there and while watching him, I saw another weasel, also with a mouse, run from the bbq to the cabin. Hopefully it is a pair and they'll stay around to keep the mice down.

Tuesday, Nov. 30: Sunrise at 9:01 AM today; temp -6C. Three moose at 9:00 AM in the next field. I drove there (6 miles round trip) and scared them into the bush on my east quarter; maybe saved their lives. It was a cow with twins. There are rabbit tracks everywhere now. Have not seen it like that for 40 years. Walked my trails in the bush. Saw one moose with calf.

Wednesday: Hunting season is over now but for an extended cow elk season for special draw holders. Up at 8 AM; -13C, fog to the east and a cow moose went by 125 yards east of the cabin. When I got home there was a muledeer buck and doe across the fence in the neighbor's yard. I walked to within 15 feet of them.

Earlier, I had shot some video of BlueJays and Grey Jays taking the mice which I had removed from the mouse-traps. That video is now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0jE1gEP1WI.


Trip Number 14 for 2010:

Wed. Nov. 10: Left the cabin yesterday to go back to the city for grub and check email. I had expected $$ to be in the mail for a stick order and did not want the customer to wait any longer than necessary. Unfortunately, it did not arrive. Left for the cabin again this morning; out of town by 9:55.

buck muledeer
Saw one more fresh road-kill Muledeer and two live Whitetails feeding along the road. At the cabin I put a computer chair into the deer blind. Now I can swivel from one little window to another. I sat in the deer-blind a long time and one small buck did come very close; I shot him with the JVC camcorder and the Canon S5. It was very cold but the new chair was great.

contrailsThursday: -13C at sunrise. There was a lot of talk on the news when I was home, about contrails in the sky off the coast of Los Angeles; some claimed it had to be a rocket and others maintain it must have been a jet aircraft. Whichever, we have them here too.

One Angus beef nearby until a cow moose with calf came running from the southeast toward my bush, and chased the beef north as a truck came from the south. A few deer to be seen. Seems the Whitetails come out later and leave earlier now. Took a 1-hour, 2 1/2 mile hike and retrieved both trailcams; soon it will be too cold for them to work and snow too deep to go check them.

mooseMonday: Up at 11:15 to put wood in the stove and again at 7:15. A trace of snow overnight. I was looking out well before sunrise and noticed, 75 yards from the window, a dark spot in the tall grass but I could not see what it was. As it got lighter, I saw that it was a moose laying down. As it got lighter yet, I saw it was a calf and the cow was 10 feet away, standing at a willow bush enjoying breakfast. Eventually they got up and continued to browse while I spent the next hour or so taking pictures of them. Hope they manage to survive to the end of the hunting season.

All moose calves here have a light-colored patch on the shoulder. Seems unique to our area.

Thursday: time to go to town for supplies and check snail mail and email. About -16C at sunrise; snowy and heavy overcast. No real panic to leave; if I wait a bit, sanding trucks might be out making the roads a bit safer.


Trip Number 13 for 2010:

icyclesThursday, Oct. 28: some snow along the road making it easier to see any wildlife that might be wanting to cross. I left before 8 AM, alone. I used one my GPS's to make a list of sunrise and sunset times for the next few days just in case I happen to see a critter which deserves my Whitetail license or my Elk license. I went to John's for supper and I showed off my new 25-million candlepower spotlight. The fog was still here even after I got back to the cabin. The carbon monoxide warning was going nuts when I got back. I opened the door and windows and aired the place best I could, but it was cold. Eventually it seemed safe go to bed. I set the alarm right near the bed because without my hearing aids, I would not have hear it, had it gone off during the night.

Friday: About -2C in the morning. Nice icycles hanging on the cabin; snow starting to slide down off the roof too.

About 9 deer in my field and 5 bison in the next field.

fly strip

I stuck a couple of the new fly-catching strips on the window. They seem like an excellent way to go. They are sold at Canadian Tire and come from Victor, the people who make mouse traps etc.

Saturday: The smoke was terrible in the cabin this morning; my eyes were sore from it. I hoped that John or Beno might come by so then I could take the ladder, climb onto the roof and remove the screen from the chimney. Soon John arrived and I did remove the screen; no more smoke problem. After he left I took a 2-hour hike along the M1 trail. No game. In the evening there were 23 Muledeer in the east end of my field. One was a huge buck whose body-size seemed to be about 3x larger than any of the other mature deer. It was too dark to see his rack well. On the west end there were 2 Whitetails; a doe with fawn.


Sunday, Oct. 31: Sunrise is 8 AM but my watch reads 8:48 and the sun is not up yet; not sure if we have a Daylight Savings Time switch here or what is going on. Geese still in the area; I see quite a few flocks. The 5 bison still on Jerry's field; two Whitetails at this end of my field. Plus 3C at sunrise; overcast; had a very few drops of rain. I walked to the deer-blind where I sat until after sundown; a very long time. There were 13 deer when I left and when I got out of the blind they did not scatter. One small buck was very interested in the west end of an east-bound doe.


One little doe figured maybe the peas straw was better at the top of the bale than at the bottom.

Monday: Heavy overcast and +3C this morning; a bit of rain overnight. Four bison in Jerry's fescue; two Whitetails nearer the cabin. Lots of geese flying over.

Tuesday: off to John's at 9:15 to go with them to town. Decided to spend the night in town and head out after the snail-mail arrives.

new highway
Wednesday: Back to the cabin. On highway 49, I turned off onto the new highway 727 to check it out. It crossed one river and then the Ksituan River and the work they've done there to prevent erosion was incredible. Artistic even. I came to the end of 727 where I turned left/ west onto 680 which took me to the Blueberry Mountain store.

doe and fawn

At the cabin there was evidence of very strong wind; the cover on the kindling wood bin had blown off. At 3:30 there were several Muledeer in the field already so I hiked 20 minutes to the deer blind. I got within 30 yards of a few of the deer while walking. Some time later there were 13 out there but no bucks. At sundown I went back and when I got back there were 17 plus 3 Whitetails.

Thursday: As I stepped out the door in the morning, two large flocks of Canada Geese went over the cabin at low altitude. I devised a way to cut the logs in pieces the proper length; all the same; that worked well and I cut one of the downed trees. Beno came and told me about his guiding experience and how they had accidentally killed a cow moose. That cost two $115. fines. He was tipped very generously by one hunter. The hunters, from the USA, said they would not come to Canada again, due to the hassle at the border. In the evening I could see 28 deer at the far end including two very small bucks and one Whitetail buck.

bucking logs
mice and shrew

Friday: A warm but windy morning; +5C. Cloudy all morning.

The trapline yielded 2 mice and one shrew.

By noon I had 3 of the 6 logs bucked and piled.

Those pointed-nosed shews sure are tiny.

There were a lot of buffalo on the road just south a bit from my granaries.

Early afternoon I processed one more log and then went to sit in the deer-blind. By the time the sun went down it was very cold and there were 13 deer out including one small buck near the deer-blind. It was a cold trip back, 3/4 mile, to the cabin.

firewoodSaturday: -5C at sunrise. There were 4 black bovines at the east end, on Jerry's. Still some geese around. Beno came by for a short visit. I finished the last of the 6 logs and took down another dead poplar too. Saw 7 grouse today.

Rabbits are white now. One in the bush; one on the lawn. Lots of mulies at the east end in the evening. One small buck was showing amorous intentions toward a female but she did not seem overly excited by his approach.

I finished hauling all the 13-inch lengths of firewood to the yard, ready for splitting when it is COLD.

I hiked to my trailcams and changed cards. In the bush along the A4, I jumped a small Muledeer buck; he would have been very easy to shoot.

Also saw two black Angus in the bush along a trail. Took a long hike north; saw one very nice Whitetail buck but was not sure how good his rack was so let him go.

The cutlines were impossible to travel due to trees being broken off last year.

Monday: a frosty morning; yesterday's snow did not stay on the ground. Sat in the deer-blind from about 3 PM to 5:30. Had one doe come within inches of me and a 2x2 buck about 20 feet; I could not raise the camera to shoot him; too close. No big bucks. A very nice, clear, but chilly day.

Tuesday: nice whitetail buck as well as doe plus twins in the west quarter, cow and calf moose in the next field. About -9C at sunrise. Plenty of cloud today.


Trip Number 12 for 2010:

Monday, Oct. 11: At 11 AM, I was at Futureshop to get my newest camera; Canon SX30 IS. At the cabin, the usual crew of deer in my field and 2 escaped bison in in the next field.

Tuesday: A cool day and windy. We took a walk north and then I took a hike east to change cards on the trailcams; no good pictures.

One poplar tree fell down in the park so I cut it up by hand for firewood.

There were still lots of geese coming over, going NW to sleep for the night.

In the evening there were the usual 10 Muledeer at the far end of my field, including 2 big bucks, and 3 Whitetails at this end.

Wednesday: I felled 2 small dead poplars, then three dead, very large evergreens. All came down exactly where I wanted them to fall and it was not a huge job to get all the branches cleared away and put blocks under the logs. I set the camcorder on the tripod and recorded each one of them coming down. The video is at Youtube: (coming)


So now there are five log evergreen logs laying down on blocks in the park. At 5 to 4 PM, I went to the deer blind on my field. Last night we had seen about 10 Mulies there with two big bucks. This time I wanted better pictures of the big buck. I got into the blind and within minutes there were 5 Mulies in the field; odd they had not seen me. I watched and more came out including the smaller of the two bucks. Then a doe came out 50 yards from me, east of the blind; all the deer were east; the cabin was to the west almost 3/4 mile. Then the big buck came out west of me, toward the cabin, only 50 yards away. I knew he was headed to the other mulies, east of me so I opened the hole facing south as well as west. I took his picture and video from the west porthole, the south and the east porthole as he walked by me, very close. The video on Youtube:


This is a shot I took out of the video as he walked past me.

Thursday: Two mice in the 26 traps this morning; I set them on the picnic table and set the camcorder on the tripod nearby, pointed in the direction in which I expected the Bluejays to fly with the mice. In a half hour, both mice were gone so I assumed I had the video I wanted.

After lunch we went by Argo to the deer-blind on the field and moved it east and cleaned it.


Friday: Two moose came out on the east end. No geese. In the afternoon we worked on the deer-blind some more and as it looked like rain we went back to the cabin. The skies were very threatening but only a very few drops landed on us.

These clouds had a lot of "bark" but no "bite."


Saturday: Made a tarp cover for the generator so it can sit beside the cabin.

In mid-afternoon, two bison appeared in the park, 60 yards north of the cabin.

One rabbit, partly white, on the yard.


Sunday: In the PM we did a bit of cleanup on the trails; lots of very strong winds lately have brought down a lot of trees. We did run across this doe and her fawn.

At 3:45 I walked to the deer blind; got back at 7; saw only a few Mulies and moments after I got back 4 Whitetails came out. Marie told me that shortly after I had left, two bison came through the yard, within 30 feet of the cabin. Four swans flew over.

bucks sparring
By the way, In case the video is not available, here is one pic I took of the two bucks sparring.


This is a better shot of the smaller Muledeer buck before the larger one came up to him.

Wednesday: There was a young bullmoose 30 yards from the window, strolling by inspecting the place. It was not yet light enough for pictures.


Thursday: a wet morning; no mice in the traps.

I drained the rain barrel and filled the new goldfish pond. Here it is before I filled it. Back to town today.

So NOW I have to finish the video of the Jays taking the dead mice.

A few days after this trip, I took the Canon SX30 back for a full refund; the picture quality just is not what it should be.

We see coyotes from time to time and hear them frequently. In their honor, I put this little video on Youtube:

And here is Yours Truly falling some big trees:


Trip Number 11 for 2010:

Tuesday, Sept. 28:At the cabin we found the crop had been harvested and there was a bull bison in my east quarter. After unloading, I filled 3 small one-pound propane bottles from the 20-pounder we'd brought up. For details on that, see my "Cottage Tips" page at http://www.sticksite.com/cottage/index.html

At suppertime there were more deer and later we counted about 20 in my field. The light was so poor that good photography was impossible.

Wednesday: Beautiful day again; first thing in the morning I saw only 5 deer and one bison. Geese still coming over and some landed in my field. I set up all the sticks that are left for the SPECIAL and photographed them for my BIG SPECIAL OFFER. We drove the Argo 2 miles north to my favorite area for getting Rails, and cleaned part of the cutline there; It took a lot of chainsaw work but now it will be relatively easy to get to those Rails if customers want them. About 20 deer visible in my field in the evening.

diamond willow
I skinned two more sticks; they sure look nice when done. In the middle of the afternoon, a young bullmoose trotted across the field, 200 yards east.

Saturday: Seven Whitetail deer in this end of the field and 5 Mulies at the far end. About +10C by sunrise already.John visited in the afternoon; told us Beno's hunt was a flop. He had hunted in northern B.C.

Sunday: There are enough peas left on the field, both in the pods and shelled out, to feed a small African village for 115 years! We went NE with the Argo to get a few sticks I'd marked a few years ago. The Argo had starting problems again. Then we took the van north and west to get a few sticks. I was watching for "dry" sticks and did find 6 of those but also saw some very good "Super Rails" and even though I don't want to handle them anymore, had to take them. I hate myself when I do that. I decided that since there was no wind at all, it might be a good time to drop the second huge tree. It was going to be tricky to drop it precisely where it would not damage other trees so I took great care and it fell within a millimeter of where I wanted it. This one was very long: 47 feet. A lot of geese came over in the evening. Later there were 19 Muledeer in the east end of my field including one big buck and one big Whitetail buck on this end of the field.

Monday: About +2C at sunrise and about 9 deer visible first thing. I skinned two more dry sticks. No mice in the traps but hundreds of geese landed in the east end of my field. So much for the African village! Conrad started baling but after only 3 bales he left. When he was gone, the geese came in again, by the hundreds if not thousands. And then the deer. At the east end, near the geese, were 14 Muledeer including a buck and at the west end there were 10 Whitetails.

Wednesday: By sunrise, the temp was already up to 10C. And likewise, by sunrise, all but one of the deer had left the field. After an early lunch, we left for the city. On the way we noted a pickup truck parked a mile north of the Moonshine Lake turnoff, badly damaged, with a moose calf, dead, nearby.


Trip Number 10 for 2010:

Saturday, Sept. 18: First in the morning I got an email from nephew, Beno, with a picture of the huge bull elk he nailed yesterday, the first day of the season.

bull elk

wildlifeIt was a cold morning, -4C in Grande Prairie. On the rain barrels, we found almost a half inch of ice. We took the Argo to change the SD card on the trailcam and at another spot, I dumped two pails of apple mash and hung up my second trailcam, a Bushnell. The first SD card had 6 pictures; one of a cow moose. In the evening we saw, from the cabin, 1 cow moose near 3 Whitetail deer including one buck, 3 bears (sow with yearlings), two Muledeer. A bit later, one big Whitetail buck came out near the cabin.

Sunday: One mouse in the traps and as usual, I put it on the big rock at the edge of my lawn. Beno came for a visit and I mentioned to him that last trip, I saw a Bluejay pick up a dead mouse from the rock and take off with it. No sooner had I told him, than a Bluejay came to the rock and took my latest offering; he dropped it twice, but did manage. I started a goldfish pond next to the lawn. John came by and I told him. He countered "well, won't it freeze and kill the goldfish?" "Ha!" I told him, "I have it ALL figured out; I'm filling it with ANTIFREEZE!" While John was here we could see a bull bison in my field, grazing on peas and resting in it.

sunriseMonday: Sun-up reminded me of a forest fire. A bison bull was in my east quarter all day long.


Tuesday: A beautiful but cold (-4C) morning with about 9 deer visible from the cabin. I was watching for a flock of geese to fly over for a photo, while keeping an eye on 3 deer which were 200 yards east, when two deer walked by the window, only 50 feet from me.

cow and bull moose

Then two moose, a cow and a bull, came out of the bush and crossed my field. The sun was gorgeous as it came up with a jet vapour trail through it, and what I think were "sundogs."

deer and moose

We took a walk to change the two SD cards in the cameras; the Tasco had got shots of two muledeer bucks and a cow moose.


Later we could see 4 Muledeer at the far end of the field and two Whitetails at this end; while watching them, a black bear came out of the park, 60 yards from the window. He wandered east along the far end of the field and scared off the deer there.

He seemed to ignore the cabin completely.


He was still visible a mile east.

cow and calf

Wednesday: Up at 7; well before sunup; a cool morning: -4C.

Very soon I could see the Whitetail doe with twins very near the cabin. After they went into the park, a cow moose with calf took their place and hung nearby for more than an hour.

buck mulie

Many flocks of geese flew over. Lot of deer to be seen, including bucks.


Flock after flock of geese flew over; just as they do every morning and every evening.

goldfish pond
We finished digging the little goldfish pond and as it was double-digit temperature, we lined it with concrete.

Thursday: Conrad started combining the peas which, he tells me, are to be sold for human consumption.

pine log
We cut down one of the big pine trees in the park for firewood. I set it on a block cut off the top end and found to my surprise, that the whole log, 26 feet long and 15 inches diameter at the base, happened to be perfectly balanced; could not have done that if I'd tried.

See video below.

Friday: LOTS of flights of geese morning and evening.

Here is the video, at YouTube, of the balanced log:

Here is the video, at YouTube, of the geese:

Saturday: Time to go back to the city, after customer "Wes" had come for his load of Diamond Willow. When we got back to GP, the temp was a balmy 23C. (that's ABOVE zero!)


Trip Number 9 for 2010:

Friday, Sept. 3: As soon as we had the van unloaded, we took the Argo to check the Trailcam. I replaced the 4GB SD card and then we went to move the camera to the waterhole where I had wanted to put it in the first place. I took a wrong turn first, but there was a second water hole there. Unfortunately, even though all our rain barrels were full, this hole was empty. So, off to the second waterhole. The trail was impassible. For the trip down to the creek, I went to check the hole while Marie sawed trees which were laying across the trail. I hung the camera on a poplar about 10 feet from the waterhole. Then we left. I did use the chainsaw on all the larger logs but there is still an awful lot of cutting to do before we can drive the Argo to the waterhole.

pink sky
There is quite a lot of yellow on the trees now. Along the edge of the field about 300 yards east of the cabin there is a spot where a bison has been rolling in the dirt.

The Whitetail doe with her two spotted fawns was near the cabin again. Then a larger, grey Whitetail doe with one spotted fawn came out too.

It got very dark early and we had a few drops of rain while the sky turned pink and had a nice rainbow.

antlersSaturday: The same five Whitetails were around the cabin and so was one rabbit and a squirrel.

The doe with twins was on the lawn.

Saturday: The same five Whitetails were around the cabin again and so was one rabbit and a squirrel.

The doe with twins were on the lawn, sniffing at the old antlers and drinking at the tiny pond I made for them.

Two more trees on the yard had been destroyed by bison.


At suppertime there were 5 Whitetails east of the cabin; two does with fawns. The does were brown last time we were here but now they are grey.

A bit later there were two Muledeer bucks and a bison bull with a cow and her calf also were in my field.

Several times today we had short rainfalls.

These 3 escapees are enjoying a feed of Field Peas.


Sunday: The 3 bison were still in my field as were the 2 Muledeer bucks and one of the now-grey does with 2 fawns.

Lots of rain overnight.

Two more mice in the traps.

One bull bison came right onto the lawn and I yelled at him to get away so he did.

small hawk

There was a tiny hawk, about the size of a bluejay giving a bluejay a hard time. I don't know what kind of hawk this is but (s)he is about the size of the bluejay.

sandhill cranes

A large flock of Sandhill Cranes went over, heading south-east.

It was cool and wet all day and we had the stove going much of the day.

foggy morning

Monday: Six deer in the field. Another cool, wet day. It soon cleared and turned out to be a nice day. Lots of Sandhill Cranes flying over at high altitude again, headed SE.

The twigs on the picnic table are bits of kindling, drying.

Wed: heavy fog as I got up but it soon left. There were two deer about 30 yards from the window when I got up so they saw me and quickly left. (the doe with single fawn) At the far end of the field were a cow moose and calf. In the evening we could see, with binocs, nine deer in my field, including 4 Muledeer bucks. One Whitetail doe with fawn was less than 200 yards away. We noted some geese flying over; one flock seemed totally silent which is unusual so Marie remarked on that fact. I explained to her that these were probably all male geese.


I've been using raisins for bait in the mouse traps but the last two mornings, all four traps in one shed had the raisins completely removed, without springing the traps so I spent quite awhile retrofitting four traps.


In the afternoon we hiked to the Trailcam and changed SD cards.

In places where there were lots of spruce trees, it was clear that squirrels were getting ready for winter.


When we got back to the field there were 3 deer between us and the cabin.

In the evening we could see 9 deer in my field and one bison just off the end of my field.

In the bush we found bison sign too.

There was bear poop 100 yards east of the cabin.


Friday: Another foggy morning.

Two mice in the traps which I retrofitted yesterday so that works!


There is a spider which makes a web on top of the grass, with funnel down to where (s)he sits in ambush.

This morning these webs were all over the lawn, clearly visible due to the dew on them.

Here is one.


There were at least 4 Ruffed Grouse on the lawn.


I'd been hoping to get some close-up shots of a large dragonfly but there are few around this summer. I saw a very big one land on the deck so sneaked up on it and managed to get the Canon lens within a few millimeters of it and took a lot of pictures of it.

One more "catch" for my insect page at http://www.sticksite.com/insects/index.html.


In the evening we enjoyed watching several deer on the field; one Whitetail buck came almost onto the lawn; a small buck but the first Whitetail buck we've seen. The doe with twins was on the lawn a bit later. Here you see 3 of them on the "GVC #3" (Game Viewing Corridor Number 3) which we made recently.

Picture taken from the cabin window.


I tackled a new way to retrofit the mouse traps using thin aluminum.

This way you don't need small bolts

red willow

Saturday: Nice morning, but cold; about 3C.

Diana showed us some willow which they had found and which was so red in color as to be unique. Here it is; I wonder WHAT it is.


Trip Number 8 for 2010:

Thursday, August 12: It was raining lightly but we left anyway, around 11 AM. After some miles the sky turned totally clear; not a cloud to be seen. Then a but further north it started to cloud over again.


After unloading the van it rained a bit more. The top 3 rain barrels were full.

The big Muledeer buck was in the field again.

It was too wet to hike into the bush so I hung my new "el cheapo" trailcam on a pine tree the park, 75 yards from the cabin.

Friday: Up at 6; heavy overcast, threatening more rain. There were 2 mice in the traps around the outside of the cabin. We took a hike on my trails and hung the trailcam in the bush by one of my own trails.


Just a moment after we started our hike, in my park, 100 yards north of the cabin I found a huge caterpillar. Subsequent study confirmed my suspicion that this is a Glover's Silk Moth. We kept it.

wildlife viewing

Saturday: We did some work on the GVC #3 (Game-Viewing-Corridor) North-East from the cabin and we are about 100 yards in now. This picture shows it completed, taken from the cabin window, and it is 200 yards from the camera to the end of that corridor.


I spent quite awhile looking for insects to photograph and found several large spiders. This one was busy eating a fly.

I tried to make a print of a spiderweb on black paper but that failed.

Sunday: Saw some bucks and does, and we did a lot of work on the GVC.

Monday: up late: 6:38.


One Whitetail doe plus another with two spotted fawns.

A few drops of rain, threatening rain all day; beautiful view of sunlight coming through the clouds.

The cocoon has turned brown now.

Two mice in the traps this morning.

Tuesday: up at 6:30: A foggy morning, after rain during the night.


I walked around the yard photographing spider webs.

Went to the far end of the GVC #3 and cleaned up the deer blind I had made there with many of the thicker pieces of willow. It is now a horseshoe - shaped spot where I can hide to hunt.

ruffed grouse

In the park, a Ruffed Grouse met me. I went back to the cabin for the camera and it waited for me to take its picture.

One mouse in the traps today.

elkWe took the Argo to move the Trail Cam. I changed the 4Gb SD card and we went north a bit further, hoping to make it to a waterhole I know of. The trail was so badly filled with broken trees that after working up a sweat cutting and moving them, we gave up; hung the camera on the nearest tree and went back.

I did get three shots of bull elk on the first SD card. This is one of them showing the velvet coming off.


The new GVC was less than 24 hours old when already we saw, from the cabin, some deer and one or two rabbits in it.

The trees you see at the far end of the GVC here, are 200 yards from the cabin.


The trails are very hard to navigate now, and it took a vast amount of cutting our way through. I had not brought the chainsaw so did a lot of it by hand this time.


It seemed odd to find my entire field seeded to peas. One hundred and thirty acres of them!

Wednesday: Up at 5:30;We were still tired from Tuesday's trip to mount the trail-cam and with the high relative humpty-diddly and heat that we did virtually nothing all day.

Friday: Up at 6:05


There was a rabbit on the lawn and at 6:30, a big Muledeer buck came out of the trees a half mile east.

Time to go back to the city to pay bills, download emails etc.

On the way back we had to stop for a big muledeer buck. The dashcam picked him up too.


A bit later there were some Sharptail Grouse on the paved road, which made us stop and take pictures. There were a dozen or so.

I left the trailcam out in the bush.

This trip was more of an "insect collecting" trip. Recently I got interested in the SMALLER GAME so started a new website for that; no link to it yet on my main page. It is sort of "secret" for now but it is hiding at http://www.sticksite.com/insects/.

Here are a couple of spiders I got recently: (the first one was in Grande Prairie)

wolf spider



Trip Number 7 for 2010:

Monday, July 26, Marie and I went north again; this is the day after our super Gold Panning Workshop on the Wapiti River.

The temp was 24C. At the cabin all was well; there was nobody at the chalet. I unloaded all the dry sticks harvested south of GrPr this season, to be skinned in the cabin this winter, and unloaded some more FREE Diamond Willow to be given away with my ONE TIME SPECIAL. Then I loaded up some Rails which a customer has asked for.


A bit later I noticed two bucks in the middle of my field. With my Canon, I stalked them. Before I got there, I jumped a doe Whitetail and saw another doe at my deer blind on the edge of the field.

I managed to get close enough to the two Muledeer bucks; they were laying down in the Field Peas with only heads showing.


When they saw me they stood up but did not run. I took lots of pictures and then walked back making sure to keep on the higher spots so they could see me leaving. When I got back to the cabin, they were still out there.

There was sign of bears all over; all the anthills were dug up.

Tuesday: A very foggy morning. The coffee grounds which I had put on ant hills had not affected the ants at all. Looks like I'll have to buy some AntOut at Canadian Tire. Diazinon works but it is too poisonous. This morning there were 3 more mice in the traps around the cabin (outside); the raisins work well for bait. The "bear bait" which we had brought was now thawed so I dumped it beside the lawn; mostly chicken bones and skin etc. There were 2 bucks and 3 does at the far end of my field. In mid-afternoon, one big buck was still in the middle of the field, east end, not far from a bison in the next field. The temp went up to 28C this afternoon and we sat in the cool Green Room awhile. One lesson I learned was don't ever run a lawn mower over an over-ripe squirrel on a hot day. The stench.........! All winter I'd collected kitchen scraps such as chicken skin and bones, freezing them. Now I dumped them beside the lawn to see what wildlife might come in.

panoramaA hundred yards south of the cabin there is a wet area, covered with willows. Big game passes by there all the time so long ago, I cut two wide swaths through that willow so we can see the game better. Today I cleaned out the new-grown willow on one of the swaths; little did I realize that next morning this job would pay off.


In the evening we drove to the end of the road which had been very freshly graveled. We saw 3 or 4 deer and one tiny duck which appeared to have temporarily lost its mother. When I stopped the van, it ran under the van.

Marie shooed it into the grass hoping it would soon be reunited with mama duck.

bull elk

Wednesday: I got up at 6:00 AM and there were elk feeding in front of my granaries.


They made their way along the edge of the field toward the cabin.

They crossed my one swath very nicely, shown on my earlier panorama shot as "View 1."

I could see the elk down the end of it.

At this point, the "View 2" swath was not cleared yet.

bull elk

This was worth waking Marie up for, so I did.

They came to within about 100 yards SE of the cabin but the sun was not completely up yet so picture-taking was not very good.

bull elk

All four had nice big racks.

One deer was hanging out with them.

They worked their way east, down the field, eating peas as they went.

bull elk

They truly are a beautiful creature and so HUGE compared with any of the deer we have.

bull elk

It was not easy to get all four on one picture but I did manage this one.

bull elk

All four were no more than about 100 yards from the window where I sat with my camera.

Three in one pic was a bit easier.

bull elk

Wouldn't this be a fantastic thing to see when you're hunting!?

big buck

The big buck was in the field all day.


While we were visiting, Beno pointed out a small Whitetail doe 100 feet away in the park behind the cabin.


This small muledeer doe came to inspect the pile of old shed antlers.

Thursday: While it was still too dark to see well, there was at least one cow moose with a calf 200 yards east. A doe came along with the moose and when the moose turned into the bush, the doe came to the cabin and hung around for at least the next hour.


The big Muledeer buck was 300 yards away in the field. A bit later there were two Muledeer does nearby and one of them had a Whitetail doe hanging out with her. Even when they were far down the field, they were still together.

I widened the paths through the swamp south of the cabin again.

big buck

While we were watching the two big bucks a long way east, there was a small Muledeer buck with little fork antlers with a doe near the cabin; they came so close that they were within 50 feet of us.


We sat in the Green Room awhile; I noted that two of the spruce had been damaged by a buck; one quite badly.

In the early evening we got rain! An answer to prayers. Then in the park I noticed a Whitetail doe with two spotted fawns. The fawns ran through the park like they were speeding bullets. There was a "low-light" problem here, unfortunately.


Saturday: Up at about 5:10 AM in time to see a whole bunch of bats. I opened the door and took pictures but when I closed it, it squeeked and that, it seems, scared away a coyote feeding on the kitchen scraps I had dumped on Tuesday.

The Whitetail doe with her two large, spotted fawns, was nearby. It was a very wet morning, after the 2/10 inch of rain so I wandered around trying to get good pictures of spider webs.


The moisture on the web makes for beautiful pictures but taking such is most difficult; I'll try to do better next time.

Sunday, August 1: up at 5:40 and too late to see any bats or big game today. Time to go back to the city for a few days.


While the BIG game is nice to photograph, sometimes the very small wildlife can be interesting also. Like this butterfly.

Or is this a moth, maybe?


And this one.


And this one; actually a different view of the same one.


And this caterpillar.


And this one.


And this one.


And this one with its fake eyes, complete with eyebrows.


No, I did not forget this blog after Trip Number 5, of May 4. Here's the scoop:

Two reasons made it look like my Sticking days were over, at the cabin:

1. Two heavy snowfalls, Oct. 2, 2009, and spring 2010, while the leaves were out, made a lot of trees break and bend so badly that all the trails became impassible.

2. It seemed that after 15+ years of sticking there, I might be out of business.

By great coincidence, a good friend showed me an area far away from the cabin where the sticking is VERY good. So, naturally, I switched areas. Here is a brief version of the sticking trips there:

The details of the switch to a new area follows in the section below the line of asterisks:


Trip Number 6 in 2010:

On Saturday, July 10, Marie and I took a huge load of sticks to the cabin; these were mostly my 103 Rejects collected here. We visited briefly with John & Diana. John had completed his new Diamond Willow deck.

Diamond Willow deck

At the cabin all was well; there had been very little rain so the lawn was badly overgrown but not as bad as I'd expected.

In the field, Conrad had seeded "field peas" but they were not doing well due to lack of rain. Beno came by and he figured the peas would bring in elk.


The beavers were still in the creek about 100 yards north of the cabin, in spite of my many attempts to chase them away. They had rebuilt the dam even though there was very little water.


The two little strawberry patches were doing fine but overloaded with weeds in spite of us putting "carpet" down before we put on the soil. I raised the lawnmower as high as possible and spent many hours working on the lawn; it did not look as good as it should so needs a second round of mowing. In one strawberry patch, we found a toad the first one I've ever seen at the cabin. Odd; Beno had just told us that there were a lot of toads around.


There were 5 ant-hills in the lawn and I poured dry coffee grounds on them to see if that discourages them. On the lawn I nearly stepped in a juicy pile of bison poop. There was one deer in the park on Saturday. We loaded up the Rails which customers had requested.

Sunday morning there were 3 Muledeer bucks near the cabin. I drove to the end of the road and spooked 6 bull Elk. They were running so my pictures were too blurred to keep. In spite of that, this pic shows 4 of the bulls:

4 elk

Later there was one Muledeer doe on the lawn. Later there was one deer near my granaries.


I climbed the cabin roof and put screen around the chimney to keep squirrels and birds out. Three or four times, over the years, I've found such critters in my stove. I found that my slightly-sweaty bare feet were best for traction on the slick, metal roof.


We hiked one of my many trails in the bush, and noted that even near the cabin, most ant-hills had been clawed up, indicating bears nearby so I carried my 30-30.

ant hill

My trails are, to a large extent, no longer open due to snowfalls when the leaves were still out.

trees bent by snow

The squirrels had been busy along my hiking trail "Tanner Creek Road."


I have many old moose racks along the trail and had hung them into trees but many of them had been torn down, probably by a bear even though they are very old and weathered.

moose antler

The Indian Paintbrush were in bloom:


On the way home, near Spirit River, we enjoyed, as usual, the view to the north:


On Thursday, June 24, I decided it must be dry enough to try for another load of sticks even though I really *was* afraid to run into a mean bear. I took my shotgun along and left at 7:36 AM. By 4 PM it started to rain a little and that was fine with me because I was extremely tired. Once I saw a big animal on the road behind me, a very long way off so I could not even tell what it was. I got home by 4:52 and after a shower unloaded the van. I had 213 sticks! Broke my own record. NOW I have one huge skinning job to do.

June 30: Well, we tried again. Looked FINE until we got to the first gas well. Met a fellow from BP (yes!!) there and he agrees that there are a lot of bears in that area; Griz and Black.

We went further but due to mud, we stopped and had lunch and then turned and went back. It was very wet IN the bush too; too wet to wander around in there.

We took the "scenic route" this time.

We did not get rained on, did not get stuck nor did we get attacked by bears or Great White Sharks.

So, it was a good day.

On July 1, I finished processing that load.

On Saturday, July 3, I went out alone to find some very thin Diamond Willow twigs for the cup-rack I am making. I left at 10:00 and was back by 2:00 with about 60 sticks plus some twigs.


Now to let those twigs dry and fit them into this rack to replace the temporary pegs.


This next section tells about the trips to a new area for sticks:

On Friday, May 14, 2010, Marie, Jack & Wilma Ames (not their real names) and I went south again. We had gone there previously for a picnic and for Jack to show me the area.

We tried in 3 areas; hardly any of the sticks peeled well. We saw one small brown bear, a yearling bull moose and 7 deer. I had been asked about "Labrador Tea" by Sara Little-Crow Russel and did find a lot of that too; I took home a few leaves to dry.


It had been very dry and very cool most of this spring hence the sticks not skinning well. Well, a day or two later the rains came. And came. And came. And came with SNOW on Friday, May 22. On Saturday I got up to see about 3 inches of snow on the ground. Trees had been breaking off all over the country bringing down powerlines. This means sticking is delayed again.

On Tuesday, May 25, Marie and I tried again. It was VERY wet in the bush, VERY thick bush and VERY hard to do anything BUT I did find a lot of sticks. I even saw a garter snake. There were still little patches of snow all over in the bush, and much of the time I was walking in water up to 10 inches deep. I did suffer a violent attack from a vicious tree and Marie had to wipe blood off me. On the way home we saw a Great Horned Owl.

I was so exhausted I went to bed at 9. I'm not as young as I used to be when I was not as old as I am now!


On Saturday, May 29, Marie and I thought we'd try it again. Since "flattered scowers" were in the weather forecast, it might be good to have some on hand to skin as soon as that rain was gone. Back home at 4:30 with 74 sticks, including some VERY good ones.

I carry a brown paper bag for garbage. Every bit of it I find goes into the bag. It makes me feel good to know I'm doing the country a small favour.

Next day we tried again. We used the old golf bag carrying thingy on wheels and that helped when I went down an old cutline. Then the rain came and soaked everything suggesting that a trip home would be in order.

Next day we went out again and got a good load. We saw almost zero mosquitos.

By Friday I had them all skinned and had 3 large garbage bags of packed bark.

The sticks at the bottom of the pile, i.e. the ones harvested June 4, skinned just fine.

Saturday, June 12: I went out (alone) about 10:45 AM and was back with 105 sticks by 3:30 PM. I saw a large Grizzly at one oilwell and he ambled into the trees so I moved no less than 200 yards from that spot to start my Sticking. I hauled several arm-loads to the van and as I was bringing one more back, I saw a large Black Bear only 100 yards from the van, on the road, ambling away. He must have been very close to me in the bush; just as well I did not see him. I had seen a few more nice sticks there, so I made sure the bear spray can was still on my belt before I went back in. This one was no hurry at all, even with me hollering my greetings. So I shot him. With my Canon. Here is the result. I suspect this was a 400-pound bear with the Grizzly being much the same size.

black bear

Now to skin these 105 and then go look for more until the sticking season ends when the sap stops running about mid-July.

On Wednesday, June 16, I went back out alone, leaving at 9:30 and mailed some sticks on my way out. By 4:30 I was too tired to continue sticking so went home, getting home by 5:00 P.M. and immediately jumped into the shower. Next morning I unloaded the van: 142 sticks including one 15-footer and one Scout Stick. My biggest haul ever in one day.

On Thursday I re-arranged the sticks in the garage and found a bit of mould on one of them. Quickly, I rushed to Canadian Tire and bought a powerful 20-inch fan to circulate air over the drying sticks. On Thursday and Friday I skinned about 75 of the 142. Next day I gave my poor, sore hands a rest.

skinning sticks

Trip Number 5 in 2010:

Tuesday, May 4: it was a cold, snowy, windy day. We saw a bunch of 6 Muledeer on the way. The further north we went, the better the weather. After lunch we went to the cabin and saw a moose feeding 100 yards south of the cabin. It was cold but there was almost no snow. I filled the bird-feeder and soon a couple of Juncos were enjoying my offering.


There was very light snow falling and I mentioned that to Marie. She replied that it was pollen; not snow. So I marched her outside and we held out our hands to let some of the flakes land on our skin. They quickly melted, indicating that it really was snow. Henceforth, every time it snows, one of us will say "there is more pollen falling." I set up the 10 Super Rails which I'd brought from town and took a picture of those.


We got 11 sticks and 3 of them peeled well. I was telling Marie that Connie C was going to have a laparoscopy. When she asked what that was, I explained: "well, you know the word "lapidary" which refers to making jewellery out of rocks, so this must be where they cut a hole in her tummy, pour in a bunch of rocks, and tumble her."

Wednesday: First off there were 2 deer in the field and two rabbits on the lawn. They have completely lost their white winter coats.


The temperature was only zero C and it was heavy overcast. There were no mice in the traps this morning. The sapsuckers are making the usual very loud noise on the boards of the firewood bins. Click below to hear them:

The flickers are very noisy too.

At noon there were 4 deer 200 yards east of the cabin and two further away. We went a mile west and got 23 sticks; all smooth-bark "Scout Sticks." Only one of them peeled well. I found one excellent fungus too and a bison skull.

bison skull

There was ice on some of the small bodies of water in the bush. We hiked out into my field to take one more look for the arrow I lost last trip. I found it, about 200 yards from where I had shot it. In the evening there were 9 Whitetail deer 220 yards east of the cabin. Here are five of them:


Thursday: Another cold day; it started with -2C. There were 2 bison a mile east on the neighbor's land and on my east end there were 4 elk and 3 deer. There was snow and hail, off and on all day. The temp did make it up to nearly 10C. In the evening there were 3 elk at my deer-blind.

Friday: The day started cold at 0C and two Whitetail deer just behind the cabin in my park.


Saturday: another cold morning: -5C. There were 5 elk a mile east of the cabin, on Jerry's land. Time to head back to the city. We have not see a single mosquito on this trip; must be too cold for them.


Trip Number 4 in 2010:

This time, I'll put ALL the text just ahead of ALL the pictures.

I just got some new eyeglasses for an incredibly low price and NOW I CAN SEE AGAIN! These came from ClearlyContacts in Vancouver, B.C. VERY good people to deal with. I did it all online; you can find them at http://www.ClearlyContacts.ca.

Tuesday, April 20: The day was hot and my air conditioner had not yet been refilled so we had to put up with 24C. The further north we got the more green we saw. We saw three deer too. We found 4 loose bison a half mile before we got to the cabin. At the cabin we unloaded and then did all the usual chores necessary after 6 months of winter. I reset the 20 mouse traps, picked out some Rails for a customer, set the rain barrels so they would fill, etc. We walked to the slough which is about 220 yards from the cabin to see if we could find the frogs which were causing an uproar. They were hard to see but after we had sat quietly for 5 minutes they started their songs again. They were very loud to me, after so many years of not being able to hear them at all. Later in the day we watched 6 elk crossing my field; when they got to the fence they went back.

Wednesday: When I got up there were 2 deer 400 yards east of the cabin and 4 Whitetails less than 200 yards east of the cabin. There were lots of geese flying over too. A cool morning so I got the stove going for awhile. We walked to the beaverdam and found that the beavers were gone, leaving a terrible mess. There were 4 mice in the traps this morning; the raisins work well for bait. We set up the Rails and photographed them. A HOT day; 24C in the shade. My nephew came over as I was about to fire my crossbow for the first time. I shot an arrow into the air........... it fell to earth; I know not where. We never did find that one. We set up a target.

Thursday: There were Purple Finches at the bird feeder and while shooting them from the east window, I glanced out the north window and there were 2 deer in the park. We took a short hike and later I took a long hike north; a mile north there were 2 deer together with 3 elk.

Friday: Marie was going to Edmonton with Jolene Olsson so we left early. Beno was just going by, to look at the wildlife north of the cabin.

And now the photos of this trip:

elk rails crossbow deer Purple Finch swans

Trip Number 3 in 2010:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010: We had not been here long when I saw a coyote 200 yards east. We took a 1 1/2 hour hike, Marie on skis and me on snowshoes. On one trail, we heard some large animal snorting in the bush ahead of us. I could see a bit of movement but not enough to identify it. I assumed it was an angry bison and told Marie to stay where she was, get ready to slip out of her skis and up a tree if necessary while I went on ahead thinking that it would take me several precious seconds to get out of my snowshoes. Nothing bothered me but I saw two deer cross the line far ahead. The snorting noise was repeated several times. Finally I motioned for Marie to come and we continued without seeing the critter that caused the concern. Snow keeps sliding off the cabin roof and crashes to the ground with a "whoomp" that rattles the windows. At suppertime we could see the bison calf still at the bale on the east quarter, exactly as it was last trip.

Thursday: Lots of vapor trails from big jets apparently coming from and going to Alaska. I had brought with me some printout material about the Python programming language from http://www.inventwithpython.com/. It is surprisingly like the QuickBasic 4.5 which I used years ago to write programs. A coyote was not far from the cabin and it jumped on top of one of the bales.

coyote coyote

We took another long hike on skis, snowshoes. Tracks all over every place; tracks of moose, bison elk, deer etc. Moose are decorating the country with piles of nuggets everywhere.

moose poop

We saw two coyotes heading for the bison calf living by the bale. I could not imagine them tackling the calf and, in fact, trotted right by it.

Friday: Another long hike; we need the exercise. When we got to the trail, we were as close to the bison calf as we would ever be, so I tried to take a picture of it.


This morning Conrad appeared on my field with tractor and trailer to haul out some more bales. I waved him over and we visited quite awhile.


After lunch we took another 1 1/2-hour hike on my trails. The snow is now getting very wet and heavy so this has to be the last such hike. Every bale on the field has a lot of tracks leading to it, mostly moose and bison.


Now it is time to head back to the city so we'll make our getaway in the morning, on the frost.

Sunday: nice trip back home.


Trip Number 2 in 2010:

coyote roadkill

Tues, Feb. 16: we arrived about 1:15 PM. A few miles before we got there, we saw a bald eagle and some ravens feeding on a road-killed coyote.

As usual, I had my dash-cam running for the entire trip but the eagle was too far for decent footage.

No problem with the coyote.

bison calf

A half mile before we got to the cabin there was a young bison calf on the road so we followed it as it trotted ahead.

On the right in this pic you can see one of my granaries and a tiny bit of the cabin.

The road goes north a bit more than a mile, then west a mile, then ends.

bison calf

At my driveway, it turned in.

I got the first load on the toboggan and pulled that on snowshoes to the cabin. Once there, the bison ran around my birch tree and came back, straight at me. I could not believe it would charge me and in fact, it did not, but decided to go around the OTHER side of the cabin where we had, last trip, shoveled a trail toward the bush past the outhouse.


Wednesday: A gorgeous day; about -4C at sunrise. We found a butterfly in the window, fluttering around. It seemed to be of a type we had never seen before.

This was indeed very, very strange; a butterfly in the middle of WINTER??

brush-pile fire

I brought in some firewood and kindling, checked the sheds and then set on fire the brush-pile.

The pile was unusually large this time; all the bark from sticks harvested in 2009 plus all the broken trees and branches resulting from the snowfall on October 2, 2009.


After lunch we went on a long snowshoe hike. It was too far for Marie. It was excellent exercise though; we were gone about an hour and a half.

This is on one of my many private trails.


It was a good hike; something one should do every day.

My new little beard helped keep me warm. That's my story but Marie does not believe me.

OK, I'll take it off in spring or sooner.

Note the bent trees due to that early snowfall; I hope they come back up next spring.

squirrel food

Where there were a lot of spruce trees, it was obvious that squirrels were doing just Fine, Thank You, eating seeds from spruce cones and leaving the scraps in piles.

deer's leg

I had expected to find evidence of a wolf kill and we did; it was part of a deer's leg, near the cabin.


It was neat to see how mice had come out of the bush to feed at the bales on the field. They had travelled on top of the snow. Our snowshoes went down into the snow about 8 inches and under them was probably another 8 inches.

Yes, there are tracks of something a bit larger too; probably moose or bison.

When we got back to the cabin, the camera batteries were dead. I put in 4 more; Energizer rechargeable ones, but all of those were dead too. It was getting warmer and snow was starting to stick to the snowshoes. In the evening, near sundown, four bison came out at the far end of the field.

Friday: the day started cold: -15C but was beautiful. There are a lot of mouse tracks from the house, the 8 feet to the bird feeder and I had set some traps, baited with raisins by the propane tank. One of them had a mouse in it this morning.


In the morning we both read our books and after lunch we took a 2-hour hike. I found one willow with 3 fungi on it. This time Marie used cross-country skis; she found that much easier than snowshoes.

Neat how the snow hangs on a branch like this, sometimes.


The temp was around freezing in the afternoon; we worked up quite a sweat on our hike. I took a small saw and cut our way through some places where the trails were blocked.

In the bush the snow is covered with tracks of all sorts, from mouse to moose.


Saturday: the day started cold; about -15C with a very beatiful sunrise.

So far, the snow and ice have not slid off the cabin roof; usually it does. And we have had the temperature up to 90C.

I've seen two meteorites this trip; this is not the time of year to expect many of them; the next Meteor Shower is in April. I keep a printout of them handy; every year I print a new one from the website at http://www.theskyscrapers.org/meteors/.


The temp was not able to climb up to the freezing point but it was a super beautiful day. The one little bison calf has clearly decided to live on my east quarter, right beside a hay (read "weeds") bale by the bison fence.

It was too far for a pic, but it happens to be the little round dot right below this visiting elephant.

Sunday: We had an early lunch and then were off to Grande Prairie again.


Trip Number 1 in 2010:

If it had not been so very cold, I'd have visited the cabin much sooner. In early December, one morning the temp was -47F here in Grande Prairie. That does not play nice with my Raynaud's Syndrome. And then, January 1, my annual auction of the Best of the Best Diamond Willow sticks kept me home for a couple of weeks.

This cow moose was resting near the cabin long ago; Don Pratt added the snowman and Diamond Willow stick.

WELCOME, btw, from me, Ken Laninga, in northern Alberta, Canada, to this, my BLOG.

It is still WINTER here; I checked my shadow just now and it appears that we are due for another 52 weeks of winter.

Tues, Jan. 19: My friend Marie and I arrived around 12:30 and it took about 3 hours to get the cabin comfortably warm. The road had been snow-plowed to my driveway, no further.

winter road

This is the view of the main road, from where my driveway turns in. This road goes north a mile and then west a mile and then ends. There are no buildings of any kind north of my cabin.

First thing I always do is empty the stove of all the ashes from the previous trip and get a fire going. In the stove this time I found a dead squirrel! After hauling our stuff on 3 toboggan loads, I got the 15 Rails I needed for customers who had asked for them. The temp outside was around -10C and there is about 14 inches of snow on the yard. It sure is nice to be away from the city with all its noise etc. So very peaceful here; no signs of life of any kind other than an occasional bird.

hay field

The field with the bales was much the same as it was last time we were here.


Wednesday: By 8:15 AM it was still dark. The temp is about -15C. We kept the fire going, of course, all night. I had filled the bird feeder and 3 bluejays were enjoying the offering.


I skinned dry sticks while Marie did her jigsaw puzzle and five bison fed in my field; east end. If you look very carefully, you can see 3 of them in this pic.

rabbit tracks

Around noon I figured it would be nice to walk south on the road to the top of the hill to take a picture of the cabin for my blog. So we did that. There were enough rabbit tracks to make it seem as if maybe they are making a come-back after many years' absence.


There were wolf tracks on the road too but they were not particularly large. I would hate to be a rabbit in this area! When we saw an animal far ahead on the road, I wished I had brought at least a hunting knife along for protection. It turned out to be a coyote.

road to cabin

Looking north, from a mile south of the cabin, you can see the cabin and my 3 granaries; the chalet is across the road, in the trees. Where the road appears to end, it goes one mile west and then really does end.

bison collage

Thursday, Jan. 21. Today is the birthday of my brother John. John is spending his second winter in Arizona where he bought a condo a week or two ago. I made a collage of pictures of/for him and also a new "Wanted" poster and sent those down there on CD to get printed. This is a tiny version of the collage; it is a pic of his home place from the south, with a bison-shape design of 72 pictures of John which have been cropped. He was a bison rancher before retirement.

wanted poster

This is a small version of the "Wanted" poster; this new one has nails in the corners and bullet holes. I have other pages in my various websites detailing how I made these.

After lunch we took the same hike as yesterday.

bull moose bull moose In the afternoon a young bullmoose came out to feed on a bale about 250 yards from the cabin. If his antlers had been any smaller, I would have mistaken him for a cow moose.

cutline Friday: In the afternoon we decided to try a bit of cross-country skiing so we went north up the road on old vehicle tracks to where there is a cutline which we use a great deal. I checked to see how it looked and was dismayed at what I saw. Due to the snowfall last October 2, it is impassible.

broken poplar

No way to use it with skis, nor horses, nor Argo. It looks like my sticking days are over. This is a very bad development. Even large trees are broken off.

Now it is time to head back for the city for a few days of bill-paying, stick-selling (hopefully) and general chores.