2011 trips to the

cabin in the woods bullmoose

INDEX to blogs for ALL the years is at
http://www.sticksite.com/blog.html




"GVC" refers to one of the four "Game Viewing Corridors" which we have cut through the swamps.

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Trip Number 1 in 2012:

Wednesday, Nov. 23: There

buck

Beno came by in the evening.

beno

Thursday: -18°C this morning; I scraped some of the snow off the roof and brought the generator out of the shed. To move it, I had made this little "cart" which worked fine:

cart

It was time to change the oil in the generator for the first time. It was very thick so I set a tiny propane heater beside it. Then I went to take my siesta. Next thing I knew Marie was screaming hysterically. She was outside so I ran out without a doubt that there was a flying saucer on the lawn and some green aliens were busy moving my firewood into their craft. Instead, I found the generator engulfed in flames. I rushed back in and grabbed the fire extinguisher and put out the fire. Too late; the machine was basically destroyed:

burned_generator

After lunch I took a long hike and we tried out the new GMRS radios; they seem OK.

Friday: much warmer; about -5. A good day to knock down some trees that were impediments to Argo travel on my trail system.

Saturday: Warmer AGAIN; only -3C. The sun did not make any appearance today.

Sunday: STILL warmer! Before sunrise it was +6°C already. During the night the snow went down drastically. We saw the sun for a few moments today; the temp gradually dropped all day to -13C. After dark we went with lights to look for rabbits but did not see any even though there was lots of sign. My trailcam, hung very low on a willow, did get plenty of pictures of the little critters: (actually, they are "Snowshoe hares."

burned_generator

Even though we can't seem to find them, there seems to be a good number of them, going by their sign:

hare sign

Monday: Colder again; -13 this morning. A Muledeer doe with fawn were visible on the field. I felled some big dead pine trees at the NW corner of my land to keep trespassers out of the cutline there. I did a very poor job and some got hung up. This trip we are not using the (propane) fridge but use a large plastic "tote" which we keep cold with snow.

Wednesday: -10°C with a clear sky. Beno came by; he had seen lots of game. He said he'd come back after lunch and we'd have a look for game. Well after lunch I started on foot figuring he would catch up. I went all the way to the wagonwheel; seeing 3 marten trap boxes along the way:

marten box

Beno never did show so by the time I got back I had put on 4 miles and was pooped. I saw a cow moose with calf cross in front of me. Almost 2 miles north is a very large "beaver slough" and there was, some years ago, a significant beaver colony. They had a HUGE lodge and many "canals" for floating wood to their lodge. Then an oil company wanted to freeze the road so they could get in. They drilled holes in the ice, pumped out the water and sprinkled that on the road at night to freeze. An earlier picture on my blog shows the frozen road. I came along one day and saw what was happening. The water was being removed; the ice was sinking down and the beavers would not be able to survive the winter. The "oil guy" told me they thought there were no beavers there. THAT was 100% baloney. Turns out even though I was able to stop them, it was too late and all the beavers were starved and frozen to death. No doubt this is happening all over Canada but people rarely see it happening. Here is the lodge now; showing by the weeds growing ON the lodge, that all the beavers are gone.

beaverlodge

Thursday: time to go back to town; roads were excellent. I dropped off the burned generator at Honda and they told me within the hour it was not fixable. Next day I got a Champion 500W generator at Canadian Tire for $600.

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Trip Number 13 in 2011:

Monday, Nov. 7: One more trip to marvel at God's handiwork. We hiked to the trail-cam and changed SD cards and also mounted the new Bushnell trail-cam which Bushnell sent me to replace the defective camera.

Tuesday: We left the cabin 45 minutes before sunrise, driving up the Shell Road. On the way we passed a calf moose which was behind the bison fence, 20 feet from us. We drove a lot of roads to various wells and saw one Muledeer and three Whitetails; no antlers.

oilwell

Back at the cabin about 9, we saw five Muledeer 200 yards east; one a small buck. We had "Smores" with our lunch.

smores

We used a "kit" but you can make them without. Just take 2 Graham wafers, lay a thin square of chocolate on one of them, toast a marshmallow and set it on the chocolate and add the other wafer. Squeeze. Very tasty. There is no snow (yet) and the temp was close to zero C about noon. After my siesta I hiked north and followed a game trail. As I walked along very slowly and quietly on the trail, suddenly I was started by the flushing of a Ruffed Grouse which had been sitting no more than 3 feet from me. A second one was only 5 feet away, slowly walking to the edge of the trail. At the cabin we could see 5 Mulies at the far end of the field. One young buck was hanging around 4 does, nibbling on the oats left on the edge of the field, missed by the combine.

deer

Wednesday: I set the Muledeer decoy out for a few hours, with a rag which had some "Doe Estrus" on it. This is that decoy, NOT a real deer:

deer decoy

Thursday: Heavy fog for part of the morning. A doe with twins was headed east near the SW part of my field; a buck was headed west, nose down, on a mission. When they met, the doe and family ran past him and kept going. He stood there looking after them as if he was saying, "Hey, what the.......! Was it something I said!?" At the far end of the field a pair of coyotes were mousing and west of us others were howling.

Friday: I'm typing this on/at 11-11-11-11-11, that is, at 11:11 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011. There were wolf tracks 50 yards east of the cabin.

Saturday: more snow. Got the Bushnell camera; had to set the sensitivity to "low" because it had 200+ movie clips showing nothing but waving weeds.

Sunday: After lunch we started some "trail maintenance" work. We got a good start and hope to finish this week.

Monday: Kevin and Vicky came to tell us that moments before, they had seen some kind of cat race across the road by my driveway, headed into the bush behind my shed and they thought it might have been a lynx or a cougar so they wanted us to be warned. I found the tracks and took some pictures but I suspect it was a lynx or a very young cougar.

cat-track

We lit the two biggest brush-piles and they burned well.

brush pile fire

brush pile fire

Tuesday: from the kitchen window, well before legal hunting time, I saw a Whitetail doe 100 yards away. From the other window I saw a very nice buck eyeing her. He went to try his luck but if I read her lips correctly, she told him, "sorry, big fella; not out here in the open." He trotted back to the bush and soon she followed. I finished the trail-maintenance job and then took a long hike east. I did see one Whitetail but had no time to put the scope on it.

Wednesday, Nov. 16: When I got up at 5:30, the stove had burned completely out and it was cold. Outside, it was -20C. It was so cold that even most of the deer were staying in the relative "warmth" of the bush; there were only 3 to be seen. Well after legal hunting time started, and the does were gone, a buck came from the south-west looking for a doe to "be friendly with." When the rising sun shone through some trees on the horizon, it looked like a forest fire:

sunrise

There are a lot of rabbit tracks but we have not seen a rabbit. Their white winter coats serve them well. We managed to catch a weather forecast on radio and it looks scary so we decided to get out while we can.

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Trip Number 12 in 2011:

Thursday, Oct. 27: Conrad had a good start on baling the straw:

round bales

We used the GPS to write down sunrise and sunset times for the next week. Accuracy was within 24 feet. By the end of the half-day that we had been here, I'd seen one bear, 4 Ruffed Grouse, 3 moose, 8 Muledeer and 3,134 Canada Geese.

geese

Friday: I did inventory of the sticks and it turns out I have over 1,000 here. Thousands of geese coming over again.

Saturday: The big 4x4 Mulie was in the field this morning.

Sunday: Windy again. I took a long hike north-east and coming back ran across a cow moose with calf.

Monday: Found some fungus on this walk. Thousands of geese coming over the cabin.

Tuesday: I took a long hike west of the roadsign and then north on cutlines. It was very rough going due to trees down and a couple of times I lost the cutline and worried about getting out. I kept the sun in the 2PM position so had no serious trouble. I found a few sticks (had a saw with me) and a good number of fungus. Today I learned that this is not a good time of year to harvest those; they are brittle. Best to harvest them when sap is running and they are like wet sponges. I called Marie when I got back to the road and she came to get me. Thousands of geese still coming over, it seems most of them fly directly over the cabin.

Wednesday, Nov. 2: Mid-morning, about the time that John and Diana would be flying out of Grande Prairie to their winter paradise of Arizona, it started to snow. Good timing!

snowstorm

After lunch I took a long hike in the bush. Beno came by and we agreed to do a bit of hunting by road tomorrow. There were 10 Muledeer in the field; very light rain late in the day. Fewer geese than earlier days. They clearly were headed south.

Thursday: I was at John's house for Beno at 7 and we began our road-hunt around 8. We put on a lot of miles with his Jeep and all we saw was 2 or 3 cow moose and two bulls. The bulls were 105 yards away and one walked toward us until he was only 65 yards; an easy shot but we were not looking to shoot moose. We then took a look at Beno's land where we saw a bison. While I was taking a hike, later, Beno told Marie that Ed and Calvin were coming so I drove to Beno's land and met them; they had been walking Beno's land. As Beno was walking toward us there was a cow moose with calf between us.

moose

Friday: When I left the cabin at 7:15, it was ninus mineteen C. (yeh; your vocal cords freeze up) and went to Beno's ( John's) place. We did about 40 miles on his jeep and saw five moose; one small bull was only about 75 yards from the road/trail and I walked toward him so I was about 60 yards.

moose

moose

Small antlers but a huge body. We saw some gorgeous scenery; down one old cutline we saw a cow-moose:

scenery

scenery

scenery

Saturday: We decided to go back to town for a day or two to take care of things. Good trip.

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Trip Number 11 in 2011:

Monday, Oct. 17: I found that trespassers had bashed their way onto my land going over the logs I put there, and going right past my sign.

Tuesday: Rain; lots of geese coming over.

Wednesday: today we expect Gerry R. to arrive for a load of sticks. Five Whitetail deer in the morning in this end of the field and approximately 6 Mulies at the other end, including the 3x3 buck and the "spike" buck as well as a pair of coyotes. There was one very large hawk (eagle?) looking for mice too.

hawk

buck

One doe with fawn walked within 30 yards of the blind. Around sundown I saw one more deer a very long way west of me, toward the cabin and using the camera I got a good enough look to see that he was the 5x6 buck. I walked toward him, got my crosshairs on him, but did not shoot. Marie had seen him from the cabin, and a bear as well.

Thursday: Beno and Bill McLean came to invite us to supper. They told us John had shot a moose this morning. Bill emailed me a copy of the pic he took: (thanks, Bill!)

moose

On the GVC-3 I found a very tiny shed moose antler with two points. Must have been dropped there by a coyote. In the later afternoon I took my usual hunt and at one time I saw 18 deer and one bear. There were at least two small bucks. It was a big surprise to find a pussycat in the bush!

cat

One of the little bucks was a 1x2 Mulie and the other a 3x3 Mulie.

buck

buck

buck

Friday: another cool one: -6C. Late in the day Conrad started combining; there was a lot of dust so it looked like the swaths were nice and dry. He could not have gone more than 100 yards when it started to drizzle and by 6:30 the rain had turned to snow. By dark everything was white.

Saturday: In the deer-blind it was cold so I used the catalytic heater for the first time and it worked. By the time I left, after sunset, there were 8 Mulies to my east and three to the west. On the way back my friendly doe was there and she let me walk past her within 35 yards as she continued to graze in the oats stubbles. Marie had told me there was a bear ahead of me and the 4x4 buck and I did see them. The bear was only about 75 yards and not very afraid. After I got back to the cabin, the bear was out in the swaths again. I carry my little walkie-talkie and Marie watches from the cabin so that if there is a bear in the way, she can tell me to watch out.

bear

Sunday: I hiked the usual trails late in the day; the fallen leaves were still moist so the going was fairly quiet. In spite of that, I saw no game.

This is the view from the deer-blind on a typical evening:

deer-blind

Monday: Time to go back to town. We made a complaint at the Wildlife Department in Spirit River, about the trespassers.

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Trip Number 10 in 2011:

Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011: We left mid-morning and headed north. This time I was sporting 16 stitches in my right temple, from skin-cancer surgery last Wednesday. We did a bit more of the large maintenance job on the park, I got the SD card from the trailcam. It had apparently been set wrong and had not taken any pictures. Around 4 PM I walked to the deer-blind on the edge of my field. There were 9 Muledeer not too far from it and they all ignored me. One doe was particularly close and she eventually wandered around behind the deer-blind into the bush where she laid down for an hour or so, 40 yards away. Then she came back out to feed and by then she had done a complete circle around my deer-blind. Shortly before sundown, the two big bucks came out:

big mulie bucks

They were about 175 yards from the blind when I took pictures and video of them. A coyote trotted by and the deer took little notice of it but when it and another started howling, the deer got very startled.

big mulie bucks

I left before sundown as it was cloudy and not good for pictures. There were no bears to be seen but plenty of evidence that they had been enjoying the swathed oats. We saw 14 deer in the field. Now that the oats are in swaths, the bears like to take a big mouthful into the bush to eat it and they drop plenty of it along the way.

Sunday: It was too cloudy last night to see the Draconids Meteor Shower. Nice and clear this morning. At this end of my field there were 3 Whitetail does, each with one fawn, and and half-way down the field were 2 Muledeer does, each with one fawn. I keep a list at the cabin of all the year's meteor showers; I get that list from http://www.theskyscrapers.org/meteors/ We continued our work on the park. In the evening we saw one more piece of the Draconids go by; like a sparkler. At the cabin we could see four Muledeer at the far end. I took a hike but saw/heard nothing. Then, back at the cabin, we could see 4 Mulies at the far end of the field, four more halfway down, and 5 Whitetails at this end, including a nice buck, and there was a good-sized black bear about where the deer-blind sits. Light too low for pictures.

Monday: The four antlerless Mulies were in my west quarter again, this time with the big 4x4 buck and at the far east end there were four deer. We finally finished the park maintenance job; hopefully that won't be needed again for 4 or 5 years:

private park

In the late afternoon I walked to the deer blind and sat there until about 7:10. There were some deer nearby; I saw about 15 and one rabbit. Within the last few weeks, we have learned that the Hutterites have bought up a vast amount of land here.

Tuesday: At sunrise (8:18) it was cloudy and the temp was 4C. At the east end of the field were 5 Mulies including a buck and in the middle of the field were 6 Mulies. I set up a target and test-fired the 7mm. Took a hike north and then east and jumped a Muledeer doe there. Then sat in the deer-blind until after sunset; had 11 deer not far away, including a "spiker" Mulie and a 3x3 Mulie.

muledeer

muledeer

There was a black bear with 3 cubs very close also.

Wednesday: Seven antlerless Whitetails within 50 yards of the cabin and two exited via the park. At the east end of my field were 11 Muledeer. Ice on the bird-bath today. Around noon I saw a bear 400 yards east of the cabin, on the 3rd swath from the bush. I took my 30-30 and camera and got within 70 yards before he spooked.

bear

In the afternoon I hiked northeast in the bush quite a distance and again, jumped a Mulie doe on the A4 trail. Then I sat in the deer-blind until sunset when there were 13 Mulies around me including two bucks. Neither buck was one of the two big ones.

Thursday: time to go back to town.

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Trip Number 9 in 2011:

Tues. Sept. 20: Late in the day I walked to my deer-blind. Half way there I met a bear feeding in the oats.


bear

I urged him/her to leave and he/she obliged me. At the far end of the field was one bison and eventually one doe came out.


doe and bison

Around 8:30 I hiked back to the cabin, seeing one Whitetail deer on my way. Connie (my sister who was visiting) and Marie were there and they had seen a female bear with three cubs just about where I had seen the single bear. Guess I walked past very close to them, never seeing a thing. This week I'm reading Ben Gray's book about his fantastic voyage on his own ship, the Idlewild, around the world. See more about that at http://www.idlewildexpedition.ca/.


Wednesday: Up at 7:10; sunup was officially 7:38 AM according to my handheld GPS. There were two large bucks at the far end of my field. I drove to the SE corner of my land to scare them back into the safety of the trees; there was a doe in that location also; they were very close to my deer-blind as you can see behind the largest of the two bucks:


deer blind

We started mowing the alfalfa in the park with Marie cutting the tiny poplar trees with a saw. This "Park" is the area behind the cabin where we have removed most of the trees and all of the undergrowth. We seeded alfalfa there several years ago. Now, a lot of new poplar trees are coming up and we need to clean it all up. Then we thinned the willows in the low area just east of the cabin to make game more visible. We changed the trailcam SD cards and then drove east to harvest the Chaga Mushroom which Marie and I found last week. On my way to the deer blind I saw a Whitetail doe with a fawn. I'd been in the deer blind awhile when I saw the two big Muledeer bucks at my east end headed south. I put the rifle out the little window to view them through my rifle-scope. The moment I did, I saw a good-sized black bear 20 feet away, walking straight toward me. I quickly put the rifle down and grabbed the camera. By the time I was ready, the bear was right at the little window, a bare 12 inches from me. I shot one picture but by then he'd dropped back down and ran off.


bear

I then took my radio and told Marie what was happening. The bear came back out 10 minutes later, but this time around 60 yards east of me. There he continued to feed. When I finally got out and headed back, I had Marie watch for bears that I might run into. All I saw was a pair of very excellent Whitetail bucks.


Thursday, Sept. 22: Up at 5:38. Sister Connie and I took a long hike. We jumped two large Muledeer does and found a bit of Fungus. Connie found one very nice one (near the top of the picture):


fungus

Back at the cabin we were playing with my spudgun when I noticed the two large Muledeer bucks in the middle of my field. Connie and I stalked them with cameras and we halved the distance.


two bucks

They seemed to be going SW so we walked south on the road to my granaries; I climbed one but the bucks were not coming so I took a picture of the cabin from the top of the steel granary and we returned to the cabin.


two bucks

There were two does out there as well and after awhile, two Whitetail does near the cabin; they came within 35 yards of us. We had put out the shower bag, in the box, but the sun could not get through the clouds so we had to heat the water on the stove.


shower bag

As long as there is unobstructed sunlight, it gets very hot very quickly in that insulated box.


Friday: I went to my deer-blind; a 20-minute hike. On the way I jumped one bear and two deer. There is a miserable weed which sticks its seeds on your clothing, just like Velcro.


weed seed

While there I saw 4 deer. I kept in contact with Marie and Connie with my walkie-talkie. On the way back, I checked with them for bears but they had not seen anything at all. I had not gone far when I did see what appeared to be a fairly large bear in the oats. He kept standing straight up every few moments. I was reluctant to get between him and the bush so I went south on the old wash and then west in the oats to work my way around him. I had one finger on the 7mm safety and the other on the trigger. Never saw that bear again and made it back to the cabin in good shape.


Saturday: a breezy, cloudy morning. Two Whitetail does in the west quarter. I mowed in the park until the lawnmower ran out of gas. We took a long walk up north; found no Chaga and no fungus. In the evening I walked to the deer-blind. Half-way there I ran into that bear again. He was very unafraid so let me take some pictures.


bear

Just before I got to the blind, I noted the smaller of the two big Muledeer bucks 200 yards south of the blind, in the oats, watching me. I continued and he continued feeding on his oatmeal.


buck

There were two doe Mulies to the east. When I decided to go back to the cabin, around 10 minutes after sunset, I looked in the direction of the cabin and saw, 75 yards away, a black bear sow with at least 2 cubs. I scared them away getting out of the blind. A bit further, the single bear was out again so I approached slowly but not quietly. He came out on the trail and ambled west, ahead of me and I followed. Every time he stopped to look at me or sniff the oats, I stopped also. This way we continued for at least 300 yards as if we were taking a stroll together. We were probably as close as about 40 yards. Finally he'd had enough and ran into the trees a very short distance. As I passed, I could see him and hear him breaking some fallen twigs. A most interesting stroll.


Sunday: A threat of rain this morning with unusual cloud formations:

clouds

During supper we had watched a bear on the GVC-3 ("Game Viewing Corridor") and it went into the oats and I did run into that one; it did not hang around but ran into the bush. At the far end of my field I saw two Muledeer does. The light was poor for photography so I went back. Large flocks of Sandhill Cranes were coming over but they were not migrating yet. Marie had come to meet me and was 75 yards from the cabin. Back at the cabin, I could see, with binocs. the Big Buck in the oats on the east quarter; he must have watched me walk by. A bit later another bear was close to the cabin. It wandered to the oats exactly where Marie had walked a bit earlier. This one looked larger than the first one.


Monday: Rain overnight. The Big Buck was in the oats on the west quarter and a bear on the GVC-1. Conrad started swathing the oats so I walked over and chatted with him on the east quarter.


swathing

We cut one more willow bush out of the wet area near the cabin and took down the Bushnell trailcam; it takes all daytime pictures in the color pink so needs some attention. We drove west a few miles and checked for sticks and fungus; found some 27 Scout sticks. In the evening there was a bear in the new swaths and a few deer. The power supply is dead so we used the propane lamp to read by.


Tuesday: Time to go back to the city. On the way home we had to stop once to let a bull moose cross in front of us while hunters were trying to shoot it, and later, a Muledeer doe.

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Trip Number 8 in 2011:

Tuesday, Sept. 13; After we got the stove going and the fridge running, I changed the trailcam SD cards; I got some footage of a sow black bear with twin cubs on the GVC-3. The bird-bath had been tipped over by a bear, the two fly-traps had been taken away by said bear, and the same party left a pile of half-digested oats on my lawn; not a good trade for me. Pretty soon we saw a single bear feeding in the oats so I went to pay my respects. By the time I got within 140 yards, he left.

bear

I had brought up a box of apples for John & Diana and they sure made the van smell nice. I mentioned to Marie that there was some danger that a bear might smell them and try to break into the van. Marie told me to "lock the doors."

Wednesday: It was +4C this morning and there were 5 Muledeer just off the far end of my field; a mile east. One was a big buck; even at a mile, his antlers were very obvious. Just east of the cabin there were 2 Whitetail does enjoying their oatmeal breakfast. In the field we saw one large Whitetail buck.

buck

Thursday: In the evening and I could see one very nice 5x5 Muledeer buck with a much smaller buck in the east quarter.

Friday: There were two Whitetail does within 200 yards of the cabin, east, first, then there were two does; one with one fawn and the other with twins, just off the lawn, and then, after I'd done my outdoor chores, two Muledeer does came from the granaries' direction and went into the park.

doe

Rain all day. We saw several large flocks of Sandhill Cranes fly over, headed SouthEast. There was a small black bear 75 yards away, on the GVC-4. In late afternoon, with rain clouds all around, when the sun broke through, the view was very nice.

rainclouds

Saturday, Sept. 17: first day of the rifle-hunting season. Time to go back to the city; company coming.

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Trip Number 7 in 2011:

Connie and Keith Browning from Calgary arrived in Grande Prairie late Friday, Sept. 2. Next morning we all 4, in two vehicles, went up to the cabin and came back today, Monday afternoon. The two City Slickers have to be back at work Tuesday morning. We had, imho, a great time up there. We even chased a bison on my land, with the Argo (which ran fine!!!) and we did see one bear in my field although a long way off. We took two long Argo trips, saw lots and also picked an ice-cream pail of Rose Hips (not to be confused with Marie Rose’s hips!) which K&C will make wine with. Hope it stays ok until they get home. We had a nice dinner Sunday evening at J&D’s place, and Beno was there too. The weather was fantastic all the time and still is.

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Trip Number 6 in 2011:

Tuesday, August 16: We arrived at 3:30. First thing I always do is start the (propane) fridge. This time it did not light immediately and I kept flicking the bbq lighter attempting to start it. Then there was a big flash of flame and it went. I went to haul more stuff from the van. Then a loud shout from Marie that there was smoke all over the cabin. I rushed in and found that the old towel which always lays on top of the fridge, was in flame! Quickly I put it out and opened all the windows to let out the smoke. We went to work on the GVC-4 (our FOURTH Game Viewing Corridor) and found a very old moose skull with one antler, mostly buried. It took a lot of digging to get it out. Never saw it there last trip even though I had sawed some roots on that exact spot; just took that one point to be a root, I guess. Here is how it showed:

old antler

Obviously, it had been there many years. I took a long time to dig it out and cut out the birch roots which had grown over top of it. Then I found that one antler had been broken off before it got buried here:

old moose antler

Wednesday: One doe in the park and one bison at the east end of the field. A small 3x3 Whitetail buck came very close to the cabin.

whitetail buck

I cleaned 3 more dry sticks. We worked some more on the GVC-4. When I was mowing the yard I came very close to the cabin and scared 3 bats out of hiding between the boards of the cabin. Apparently there were more in the bathouse. Marie took another stab at the strawberry patch and did some serious cleaning there. We worked more on the GVC-4. There was a tiny bit of rain and hail but there was a lot more of it around. We refilled the "gold-fish pond" and I skinned a few more dry sticks.

Thursday: One of the sticks I skinned was probably one of the very best I'd ever seen and I plan to keep this one. John mentioned his 'raised garden' which Marie and I saw not long ago. This turned Marie on so we made one too. We'll fill it with soil later this fall. Marie did a lot more work on the strawberry patch and we did a lot more on the GVC-4. We set up the new tent so I can skin sticks out there instead of in the cabin.

screen tent

The "doghouse" is for housing the generator when we are using it. I skinned a few more sticks.

Friday: Some bison in Jerry's field and 2 Whitetail does each with one fawn on mine. Marie worked hard on the strawberry patches again and I skinned more sticks. We did some more work on the GVC-4 and I used the chainsaw on that job. I sorted through all 500+ "Reject" sticks and pulled out 33 to use for Antique Diamond Willow End Tables." Also I finished mowing the yard.

Saturday: Much like Friday.

Sunday: A very windy day.

Monday: We finished the GVC-4; I wonder how long it really is; probably at least 200 yards.

game viewing corridor

The GVC-4 is the wide one on the left; much wider than the GVC-3 a bit to the right of it. I finished the last of the dry sticks and also the ones for the end tables. We walked to the beaverdam and found there was plenty of beaver activity. Back at the cabin there was a large spider (large by local standards) eating a grasshopper on a bison skull.

spider

I started making a chair for use on the GVC-4 deer-blind.

Tuesday: 3+ deer at the far end of the GVC-4; our first sighting. So that GVC works!

viewing deer

On the field bordering mine on the south, there are a huge number of bison; possibly a thousand head. I found one large green caterpillar on the wall of the white shed and later one more black one on the lawn. I put them into a box made for that purpose many years ago and added some clover and wolf-willow. A bit later there were a few dozen tiny white cocoons all over the green caterpillar. I have no idea what that is all about.

caterpillar

caterpillar

caterpillar

caterpillar

Wednesday: Time to go back home to the noisy city.

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Trip Number 5 in 2011:

Again, I'll put the pictures of this trip after the text.

Saturday, July 30, 2011: a slight drizzle of rain in Grande Prairie but the forecast for Silver Valley was OK so we left about 9. We moved the trail cams; the pictures this time were not worth keeping. We walked to the creek and found the little frogs much as we had left them a few days ago. I grabbed 200 or 300 of them and took them to my frog pond, 150 yards NE of the cabin. Then we went looking for fungus as this morning I sold the last 3 "groups" which I had and I was completely out of them. We did find a few. (http://www.sticksite.com/fungus/) Mosquitos are fairly bad today.

Sunday: a bit of rain overnight so we stayed in to let the grass dry. Three mice in the traps. There was a black bear on the GVC-3. We 3 watched the bear and while doing so, two deer came of the park; a buck and a doe Whitetail. The bear was very close to my Bushnell trailcam but did not get shot by that camera. We had lunch and then did some work on the "doghouse" for the generator. Then we took a long hike to check out the willows which I know have fungi on them. We found several. Marie also saw one deer. It was very wet in the bush. We decided to cut a GVC-4 through the swamp and we placed flags to show where it will be. ("GVC" of course, means "Game Viewing Corridor" and we have four completed.)

Monday: light rain overnight and a bit more during the morning. I skinned 5 dry sticks of the 45 or so that I have to do. I had put bird-seed in the feeder but there have been no Bluejays and not even a single Robin on the mowed lawn. This is very odd; I wonder if they know something we don't. A Muledeer doe came out of the bush a half mile east and came to the cabin where she turned into the park. One mouse in the traps. We started the GVC-4 and did maybe 35 yards of it.

Tuesday: August 2: I skinned some dry sticks and some Reject sticks which I hope to use for an antique end-table replica. Marie got serious about cleaning the cabin and did the whole works. At one point I happened to look down the field and saw two large Muledeer bucks crossing.visit.

Wednesday: One Muledeer doe on the lawn and one Bluejay at the bird feeder. We walked to the creek to find fewer frogs and that the beavers had the culvert very effectively blocked. As we approached we did not notice the beaver in the pond there and suddenly with a very loud splash, he/she dove startling us greatly. I found there was a lot of toadflax on my side of the road.

Thursday: another HOT, dry day. I mowed the yard again; filling the catcher bag about 10 times. I changed the SD cards on the trailcams.

Friday: Time to go back to the city to check email etc. At Spirit River I talked to the fellows at Baja and they feel confident that they can fix the Argo so I left it there, trailer and all.

black bear

whitetails

mushrooms

fungus

chagachaga

mushrooms

fungus

moss

mushroom

generator shed

wildlife viewing

toadflax

And two from the trailcam, taken while we were here this week:

moose on trailcam

bucks

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Trip Number 4 in 2011:

Friday, July 22: we left town around 4:00 PM. Had not been to the cabin since the last time and that was a long time ago. At the cabin we were happy to find that we were able, in spite of an abundance of rain, to drive to the cabin door. I went looking in the sheds and found some dry, OLD boards which was just what I needed for an antique end-table project. The rain gauge was about full, as were all the rain barrels. I started on the lawn, raising the mower high off the ground. I got about 40% done when I felt that both the mower and this old man needed a rest. I got the two trail cams and brought them in. There were mosquitos but it was not as bad as expected. We had two net hoodies to wear but did not use them.

THIS time, I'll put the pictures of this trip AFTER all the text.

Saturday: RAIN again. That puts and end to the lawn mowing and strawberry patches cleanup! There were a cow moose and calf feeding along the edge of the field. Later, at the far end of my field, i.e. a mile away, were 8 bison headed north and six more were there later. We saw one deer. I cut one birch pole about 25 feet long to make two skinned poles and to hiking sticks with bark. The bottom end of this tree was only about 4 inches in diameter. It rained more or less all day so no lawn-mowing. The odd thing was, there were tens of thousands of tiny black frogs everywhere. It was virtually impossible to walk down the middle of the road without stepping on them. I'd never seen so many frogs before.

Sunday: it turned out to be a gorgeous day so instead of going home, we kept at it. First, I moved the trailcams. Then I went to work on the lawn again. After about 6 hours I had gone over all of it for the first time leaving the grass/weeds about 4 inches tall. Then I lowered the lawnmower as low as it would go and did the whole thing again. I did not get finished by the end of the day. Marie was still hard at work on the first of the two strawberry patches; few plants remained; weeds had been very successful. I walked up the road a very short way and took a few more pictures of the frogs. Oddly, nothing seemed to be feeding on the tiny frogs. In the lawn I did see a larger green frog and luckily for him/her, I saw it before the lawnmower decapitated him/her. I put it safely into the bush. At least two mice were less fortunate; I scalped them with the lawnmower. Now that the lawn is nearly all mowed very short it looks like a million bucks. Well, maybe not a million, $27.95 maybe. It was hot today and humid. Fortunately, we had enough water to set up the shower bag and heated it for a refreshing shower.

Monday; my 70th birthday. Nice day; two mice in the traps. There was a doe with a spotted fawn nearby. I got back to the mowing and spent most of the day on that. One big toad decided he wanted no part of my lawnmower and hopped out of the way just in time. I caught him and asked him to pose for my camera after which I expressed my gratitude by releasing him in a safe area where lawnmowers were very scarce. A few minutes later the same happened with a small frog. I did much of the yard a third time and by then it looked better than it ever had. Marie gave up on the strawberries. I gave up on the gooseberries and mowed them down as I had done several years ago. We went down to the beaverdam and Marie had fun poking holes in it. We also hiked the one of my trails a bit but it was too wet to go far. There was one small bison in the east end of my field in the afternoon and in the evening it came out of the bush a half mile from the cabin.

Tuesday: another beeoootiful day. Time to go see what life is like in the city even though I would prefer to stay and admire my newly-mowed yard. Had a good drive home; had to slow down once for a huge bull buffalo standing on the shoulder of the road a mile or two south of John's place.

As for the trailcams: the Bushnell, in the park, got 314 ten-second movie clips of bull elk, Muledeer, Whitetail deer and coyotes. The Tasco, on the GVC-3, had 1622 still pictures of moose, bears and deer, but 95% were of a new branch that decided to start growing right in front of the camera lens!

Now the pictures of this trip:

moose

bison

deer

mouse

frogs

tadpoles

little frogs

little frogs

little frogs

frogs

toad

toad

frog

lawn

bumblebee

doe and fawn

grasshopper

dragonfly

A video clip should show here; you can double-click it to replay it.

And now a few pictures from the Tasco trailcam; it was about 180 yards from the cabin:

A bear bumped the camera. It was aimed at one of my deer-blinds, made of sticks, branches etc.

trailcam pic

trailcam pic

trailcam pic

trailcam pic

trailcam pic

trailcam pic

trailcam pic

trailcam pic

The Bushnell trailcam took only video/movie clips so I won't add them here in the interest of space.

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Diamond Willow Stick Harvest:

As of today, June 12, I've been out "stick-ing" four times. May 18 and 19 were the first two trips but sticks were NOT skinning well yet. Should have stayed home. Sore hands! On June 1, I went out and got 85 and they skinned OK. On June 8 we (Marie and I) went out again and got 93. We saw one bear, two deer, one fisher and 12,548 mosquitos. I find I can skin 30 - 40 per day without completely destroying my hands. Got them piled and drying in the garage. Picture on my stick-making page; note the fan. Tomorrow, June 13, plan is to give it another shot. Maybe I'll collect some Fungus and some "Labrador Tea" as well.

UPDATE: It was raining when I picked Marie up at her house, and the sky in the direction we were headed was very black. On the way we had to run the windshield wipers on "HIGH" speed. Then just before we got to the gravel road we go on, it turned dry and beautiful. The gravel road was dusty. I found a couple of very good spots and by 4:00 PM we had a load of 134 sticks and one (old) shed moose antler. We also saw 2 deer and 2 Sandhill Cranes which I'm sure were the "Greater" and not the "Lesser" variety; they were "huge!"

Since then I picked up a very nice camcorder; one that I can hang around my neck in the bush so that if I ever have a "Close Encounter" of the Furry Kind, my heirs will have a final video taken by "The Late." This camcorder cost me a whole TEN DOLLARS! There is a picture of it near the bottom of my "Making Movies" page at http://www.sticksite.com/movies/index.html. UPDATE on that: it did not work; it bounced around far too much.

We went out again but rain turned us back. Then we went out on July 5 and managed to get 147 sticks BUT the going was VERY tough; the bush is one huge swamp. Lots of mosquitos too. With a little luck, I might get in one more trip this year and then it will be all over again for another year.

Update July 9, 2011: Rain, Rain and more Rain here! It is so bad now that the beavers are wearing life-jackets! But, I did manage, in the garage, to skin the last of the last load of sticks. Here is the result of this year's harvest so far (there are more (dry) sticks behind this pile.

diamond willow sticks

I run the fan a couple of hours each day to prevent mould ("mold") from starting on the sticks. Now I have 16 tons of willow bark to get rid of! We have been getting them south of Grande Prairie and here is the view from the top of the Wapiti River hill, south side, on our way home.

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Trip Number 3 in 2011:

Wednesday, May 11: We left about 9:30 AM. Good drive; saw a wee bit of snow along the road in a few shady spots. About 10 miles from the cabin we had to slow down to let 3 muledeer cross the road. My yard was dry enough to drive right to the cabin door and there was not a trace of snow at all! We set up the rain barrels. We walked to the beaverdam and cut two holes in it. The water was clear so it did not appear any beavers had been there lately. We walked NE to my "frog-pond" which was very full of water but it was so cloudy that no frogs were heard. Plenty of new scrapes to be seen; trademarks left by deer, moose, elk.

scrape

Thursday: We drove north with the van to look for a little spruce tree to replace the one destroyed by a bison but when we found one, and stuck the shovel into the ground, we found that three inches down, the ground was still frozen hard as rock. So that will have to be done later. The two holes we had dug into the beaverdam had not been repaired at all. There were two rabbits on the lawn; nearly totally brown now.

rabbit

Friday the 13th: There were 3 deer in my field and a rabbit 8 feet from the window, first thing in the morning. I don't know what this reddish stuff is called; it grows in the park.

redstuff

As I was typing this a little woodpecker went nuts on the eavestrough 8 feet from my ears. I just about crapped myself. Like a machine gun.

Saturday: one deer in the field, one rabbit on the lawn and zero mice in the traps. We cut a bit of firewood, tried to start the Argo (no way would it go) and took a 2 1/2 hour walk in the bush mostly on my east quarter, looking for sheds (antlers) and fungus; did not find any. My favorite Juniper seemed to be doing well.

juniper

One thing we noticed: each year we seem to walk slower and slower and this year emphasized that fact. Wonder why. It took us 2 1/2 hours to take a 2 1/2 hour walk! A very nice sunny day but the wind was chilly and very strong. We could see a tractor working and leaving a large cloud of dust, to the southeast of my land. The trails are VERY wet all over.

wet road

Sunday: Time to go back to the city. VERY windy. I got the two SD cards from the trail cams; one showed a moose walking by, less than 200 yards from the cabin, in daylight. There was heavy smoke all over the country from west of Spirit River to just before we got to Grande Prairie. Later we found there was a very bad forest fire at Slave Lake.

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Trip Number 2 in 2011:

Sunday, April 24, 2011, Marie and I left the city around 10 AM. At the cabin, as expected, we had to leave the van at the end of the driveway and walk in on 12 - 20 inches of snow. We kept breaking through so the going was tough. I dumped the toboggan once. We soon had the cabin warmed up and I started a fire on the yard to burn more of the branches which did not burn earlier in the winter. We drove to the east end of my field and found that the ditching job had left the situation in much worse condition than it was before that job was done.

spring runoff

Water running all over my field and very little going down the ditch. I took a lot of pictures. There was buffalo chips all over the roads. I spent some time reading my Kindle.

Monday: Lots of Juncos feeding on bird-seed spilled by the bluejays. This one was feeding at the feeder and fending off competitors.

junco

Marie finished shoveling a path from the cabin to the van through heavy, wet snow that was up to 14 inches deep. That was a LOT of work but now we can enjoy it the rest of the summer!

snow trail

Tuesday: There are two butterflies out already; I was able to get a picture of one of them:

butterfly

On our 4-mile hike we saw 11 deer. During the day, no fewer than six little birds flew into our main window; all escaped, seemingly unhurt.

Wednesday: I raked and burned a bit more so the area is 99% clear again. You can just barely make out a bit of smoke rising.

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Trip Number 1 in 2011:

Friday, March 18: The temp was only about -4C so we went to the cabin again, first trip this year. Two road-killed moose along the highway and a live one a few miles from the cabin. At the cabin the snow was plowed right to the driveway; no further. After unloading the van, I used the new, long pole (made from tent poles) to scrape the bottom 4 feet of snow off both sides of the cabin roof, and I burned the last of the brush piles:

fire

We got a very good burn in spite of snow on it. The snow in the yard was too deep to move around without snowshoes so we did not drag any more wood to the burn even though there was a lot of that within 20 feet of the burn. I tried walking to the bird-feeder without snowshoes but that was impossible. This was my first trip to the cabin with my new KINDLE and my first chance to really USE it. It worked great; I have already got 161 (all free) books in it. Now, what to do with all the books in my "library?" I have some very good, even rare ones but now, I prefer reading books on the Kindle!

Saturday: Not very cold; we tried to take a snowshoe hike but did not get more than 100 yards from the cabin; seems there were two reasons for this: 1. The snow was wet on top so stayed on the snowshoes, making them heavy and 2. I seem to have gotten about 10 years older than I was last December. I got two long birch poles out of the shed to cut into 3' pieces and include with my "Cane Kits." The snow in the yard is 28 inches deep and the snowshoes go down about 8 inches. I put some bird-seed into the feeder. We messed around with a way to move the generator in and out using two long poles to handle it like a wheelbarrow, on a piece of plywood which has two casters under one end.

Sunday: SNOW! Heavy snowfall this morning. Five Bluejays at the bird-feeder. There was a slight breeze as well so it was not very nice out and we stayed in pretty well all day, reading. Nice to have the Kindle!

snow trail

Monday: STILL Snowing! Time to get out of here if we still can. We did not bring food for more than the weekend. Should not have a problem unless roads are icy. The temp is about -5C this morning. The snow was drifting on the road quite a bit so another day at the cabin might have snowed us in. There is about 30 inches of snow on the yard now.

snow

The snowplow had been to the corner a mile south, coming from the south, but had turned east instead of north to my cabin. The roads were fine all the way home.

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a long, cold winter:

It has been a long, cold winter and even Feb. 18, 2011, when it *had* been warm with snow melting, we got dumped back in the freezer and woke up to -31C; this was on the Weather Network page: COLD

This gave me plenty of time to stay HOME and do all kinds of cool 'puter stuff. This involved finding some really neat FREE software which I have listed on my FREEWARE page which now has 93 (!!!) items on it with #94 coming.

Another cool thing happened, one of my all-time favorite software tools was updated. YOU can get a free trial download of it too!! Warning: It is ADDICTIVE! Honest. Trust me on this one. I LOVE THIS ONE!! Here is the graphic to click; if it does not show, you'll need to "Allow Scripts" for this page: