2012 trips to the

cabin in the woods bullmoose

INDEX to blogs for ALL the years is at

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


Note; NO MORE ENTRIES; On June 20, 2012, my surgeon told me I have cancer of the pancreas and liver, and have only 3 months to live. NO MORE trips to my little paradise up north.

A NEW BLOG about my FINAL and BEST trip lives at http://www.sticksite.com/death.html.


Trip Number 2 in 2012:

May 5, 2012: I was anxious to check the two trailcams to see what pictures they had grabbed. I needed some pictures of rabbits partly with the white winter fur and partly brown, for my "rabbit" website (under construction). And, I needed to set up the rain barrels, and hopefully, try out the new Nikon P510 camera. And one more reason to go up there today: a Super Moon tonight! At Rycroft we stopped a moment to look at the trainload of parts for the new wind turbines which are being built at Tumbler Ridge.


At the cabin we were most pleasantly surprised to be able to drive right to the door. We walked up the GVC-4 and changed the SD cards. We looked around for some fungus on birch trees and found some; there might be a market for them too.

punk fungus

We drove up the road and at the first creek, wondered if we would have millions of tiny frogs again, when I saw something that looked like a mass of frog eggs on the ground near the water. And that is what it was; many "gobs" of them in the grass where the water had been but the water level dropped and now they were on the ground.

frog eggs

I figured they would dry out and die so we went back to the cabin and got a bucket and a little scoop. We collected all of them; they stuck together beautifully. Then we left the bucket and went north to collect the 7 sticks I had hidden in the bush last fall, and cleaned up whatever garbage we saw along the road. We saw two deer also. Then we went back, put a few of the frog eggs into a jar and I took all the rest to my "frog pond" and dumped them there.

frog eggs

In the evening the moon did come up as a "Super Moon" and I spent a lot of time taking pictures of it. None were good. Unfortunately, the Nikon battery died before I was done and there was no way to charge it. Too bad it does not run on AA batteries.


Sunday: A beautiful day and one deer to be seen first thing. There were two rabbits around the cabin much of the morning and I took lots of pictures of them. Beno came to show us his new Jeep and his bow/arrows. As per normal, I took plenty of pictures of all that too.


I set all 22 mousetraps. I took the new Generator out of the shed, filled the tank for the first time and it started on the second pull. We took a long hike all the way up Tanner Creek Road, then east to the A4, over to the M1 and back down that and finally the M2. We were tired. On this hike we noted plenty of moose nuggets and one small bird which I did not recognize.

moose nuggets


We have seen a very few mosquitos so far.

Monday: When I got up there were 11 Whitetailed deer visible in my field. The pair of rabbits were around all the time; at one point one of them was under the deck while Marie was standing on the deck.


I happened to think of the little whistles we used to make out of willow twigs so went and cut a piece of willow to try. I could not slide the bark off the 3-inch piece but did notice that the bark did come off well. That, of course, made me wonder if sticks would peel yet. Pussy Willows are starting to show so it might work. I cut several sticks and they skinned better than I had expected, so cut some more (Scout) sticks. The ones with smooth bark peeled reasonably well but did need scraping with something like the backside of a knife-blade. By day's end I had cleaned up 11 of them. In the evening we could see 11 deer out in the field again; all Whitetails.



Tuesday: Overcast but not cold. John came by to return my old hearing aids. While we were chatting, outside, a family of Grey Jays came by. There were several “Juveniles” which surprised us as it is only May 8 and we figured they would not even be hatched so early.

juvenile grey jay

There were some purple finches on the bird-feeder today.

Wednesday: I had set out some kitchen scraps by the van and this morning a rabbit was there enjoying a “kitchen-scrap-breakfast.”

It was not until I got home that I checked the SD cards from the trailcams. Of the 1,000+ pictures they took, I kept these two only; a coyote and a pine marten:


pine marten


Before starting my trips to the cabin this year, I thought it might be fun to share with you some of the email I get. In dealing with The Public, you run across "all kinds" of people. Recently I ran across one with a good sense of humor; here is our email discussion about some sticks:

Hello Good sir,
I wish to enquire about the purchase of a stick of the diamond willow specification. As part of a long and will though out project I am attempting to construct some sort of staff with which I can dance with at a drug driven hipster fest involving copious amounts of weed and bass specific music. My question to you good sir would be an enquiry about the possible purchase of:
a) A single diamond willow stick there in the range of 60" long and 3-4" in diameter
b) 3 or 4 thinner 60'' diamond willow sticks 1" or less in diameter
c) the original staff used by Gandalf the Grey not Gandalf the white after he sold himself out for further screen time in the 2nd and 3rd movies.
I live in Calgary Alberta and am a serious buyer if you have diamond willow sticks which meet my specifications.
I would be willing to purchase 5 sticks, as long they meet the specifeications above, my preference would be 3-4 with a diameter less then 1'' & one of witch has a 3-4 inch in diameter. all of witch are +60'' tall.
Thank you for your time. Nicholas !

Hello, sir Nicholas................ “copious amount of weed..............” hmmmmmmmmm, sounds fascinating; did not know such events took place in CALGARY............. learn something every day.
Yes, I do have the sticks you require; just a matter of you choosing THE ones.
Attached is a pic of “Group G” to choose from. See the ones that will go well with weed?
The only Gandalf I know of is a stick customer in Sweden so I can’t comment on the gent you mention or his taste in stix.

Unfourtunatley such a event does not transpire withing the restricting confines of Calgary, but rather in the liberating free land of the Simon Valley - a place where dreams are lived. I do ap[preciate your expeaddeated response to my enquiry, I am interested in sticks 1, 3, 10, 16, and 25 of the G groupb attached. These are magnificnent specimens of the diamond willow species I cannot help but comment on your incredible skills of finding and liberating these trees to a higher calling. I am very excited to scult these sticks with the passion of the universe itself into an increduible staff which I will gladly share the result with you.
How shall we go about exchaning an amount of currency for said sticks in a timely and secure fashion?

Ah, so. NOT in CowTown, then. Understood.
OK, to get this show on the road, please give me your snail-mail addy, Nicholas, and I’ll figure postage and total.

............ address here...............
What postal company do you usually refer to in these circumstances. I would prefer to avoid UPS out of my own personal bias and bad experiences. Please note that I do not require these sticks immediately and express mail or overnight ninja convoy shipping will not be necessary.!

Ah, gotcha; no, I prefer NOT to use either Ninja nor UPS for probably the same reasons. Post is cheapest and quite fast.
The figure “3 business days” and will be asking for $21. So, that would make it $121.
If that turns your crank, then, how about a postal money order, payable to me and mailed to me:
Ken Laninga
...... address here........
Sound like a plan?

In the past I have found payment of the interweb is both fast and secure. Is Paypal an option for you in this transaction?!

YES, by all means, good sir! Here is the comment I usually send re that:
You can pay in either of these 2 ways: etc etc
So, if you do THAT Paypal thingie, then I can mail them when I venture forth into the COLD on Tuesday on my way to spend a week in the bush far away from distractions such as email and TV.

Making labels now

Ah you are indeed a good sir. Time alone in the bush with ones thoughts and reflections are what makes real men. I suspect you are also a man capable of growing a full and noble beard. I have sent you the following 125 units of Canadian currency, I extend my extensive thanks to you in this transaction. Your quick and professional replies have made this purchase a real pleasure. I cannot wait to receive these stick and morphogenesize them into a soul invigorating expression of wood and triumph.
I pass along my sincerest of wishes for your expedition into the woods. May your life be full of surreal experiences and plentiful of diamond willows!

Hi, Nicholas; they are in the mail now...........


Trip Number 1 in 2012:

Monday, April 2: I had recently finished sorting the 633 Diamond Willow sticks (+ Scout sticks) harvested in 2011, so it was time to Get Out There again. The weather forecast was quite good. Roads, both paved and gravel, were, 99.99% of the way, in excellent condition. We saw no wildlife until we reached John's land and there we saw a bunch of 9 Muledeer. I got the two SD cards from the trailcams. It was very wet on the GVC-4 and I got pretty wet too; on snowshoes yet. One of the SD cards was empty and the other had 800 images on it. Apparently, I had not turned the one camera on when I left it 4 months ago. I reset all the mouse traps. We shoveled a path from the van to the cabin. In places the snow was 14 inches deep.

trail in snow

Tuesday: another beautiful day. We hiked up the road a mile and back. In the ditch, we noted how the running water had foamed in places, and the foam had frozen, leaving some very artistic designs.

frozen foam

The snow had been plowed right to the very end of the road. No mice in the traps this morning. We managed to haul the new generator from the van to the shed by using one of the toboggans.


We both have Kindles so we have lots of reading to do. We walked to the far east end of the field (a two-mile hike total) to view the water run-off. In the area around the cabin there is a lot of sign of moose; piles of nuggets everywhere.

Wednesday: Time to go back to the city. There were 2 deer just east of the cabin this morning, and a coyote further down. On the way home we noted several new road-killed deer and moose and saw a Bald Eagle feeding on one of them. A raven was staying very close to the eagle.

eagle and raven

When we passed the Fourth Creek Hall, we thought it was being destroyed by fire. Turns out they burned part of it, to rebuild it.

Fourth Creek Hall

The one Trailcam had 800 pictures but many of them were of rabbits which did not show well (white on white!) and a lot showed absolutely nothing. I did find 3 that had something worth looking at, imho, and here are those:


On the way into town I stopped at Princess Auto and bought a postal scale for the fungus which I sell.



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