Good for the stomach, good for the soul (sole?)

Yellow Birch flesh. Closeups of bark reveal all sorts of interesting textures and patersn
Yellow Birch flesh. Closeups of bark reveal all sorts of interesting textures and patterns.
Snakeskin, or bark?
Snakeskin, or bark?
Vineyard where deer, turkesy and sandhills dwell. In fall you can smell ripe grapes for miles! There is a great brown trout stream less than 15 minutes from this loke. Nah, I ain't telling.
Vineyard where deer, turkeys and sand hills dwell. In fall you can smell ripe grapes for miles! There is a great brown trout stream less than 15 minutes from this loke. Nah, I ain't sayin' where, sayin?

You owe it to your taste buds to try this dressing. Serve it over chicken on bed of raddicio, or any sort of white-fleshed fish instead of chicken, pan-fried. Also great over brook trout, but if you do brook trout, be sure to  add a pinch of brown sugar to the fish before pan-frying.

Here tiz, doubled to provide enough for 6-8 fillets:

Call Honey-Scallion Dressing:

5  TBSPN fresh-squeezed lemon juice

4 TBSPN chopped green onions (scallions)

1 TSPN salt

2 TSPN bottled fresh ginger (e.g. Spice World)

1/2 TSPN dark sesame oil

Mix it and spoon onto the fish or chicken. You will not be disappointed.

I’m throwing in a couple of local photos for your enjoyment.

A friend today told us he saw 15 deer in the woods on our trail about a week ago, including a buck with an antler still  in place. My friend Robochef  saw two bucks in the swamp below his house, one a huge  buck , about three weeks ago, antlers still upright. I’d always thought shedding took place in Jan- Feb, but obviously I was wrong. The longer you live the more you find out you don’t know… I like it.

We saw our red-tail family, heard a red-belly woodpecker, and Shanny kicked a bunny. Supposed to snow tomorrow.

Over.

Random Ruminations

From one of my notebooks:  I doubt that kids in camo /are counting carbs /or spaced out /by Janet Jackson’s AWOL breast.

Al Jazeera in the U.S. = Fox TV, politically skewed, morally indignant with all who disagree, total amateur hour, an exercise in volume rather than journalism. All the news and snarks,   and verbal shite that can be slung at the enemy: defined in jihadi terms as  liberals, democrats, populists, anything but conservatives who are imagined to populate and rule the world. Actually many do  (did?)– e.g, AIG, bonus bozos and all.

Last night Shanahan went out for his pre-bed constitutional and encountered a large possum —  now deceased:  His 4th. You’d think the word would go out possum to possum. Yesterday during his walk, he flushed both a  rabbit and a deer, and then to bag a night-possum? That possum was what author Stephen Crane referred to as “gone coon”  [a dead duck to entirely soil the metaphors] as soon as Shanny and he went nose-to nose. Possums sure can hiss and put up a fearsome front. They talk the talk, but got no walk to match. Like a lot of people we know.

Trout bums, like serial killers, fit two broad categories: organized or spontaneous. Personally, I’m a blend, depending on mood.

I have a friend who does trout fishing logistics like Patton: “Yeah, yeah bring it all, lets go fish.” Definitely not a LIFO  man in loading the Green Streamer (Last In, First Out ).

Why is it that Hemingway went to the U.P. only once?  He wrote eloquently of  his trip in short stories, but never went back. Talk about getting the most our of an experience.

I have ballistrophobic friends, who fear bullets. They will go to inner and south Chicago, but not to the U.P. What’s up with that?  28  C.P.S. students have been shot this year. None in the Yoop that I know of. Apples and oranges? Some people fear the unknown rural far more than the known urban. I’m not one of them.

Pantophobes fear everything.

This sort of blog entry falls under the term “gallimaufry.” Look it up.

I found this note in my scribbling, whilst in the Yoop meandering: poisson d’Avril = April fish, meaning foolish, gullible, newly hatched and free of ice, easily caught. Nice. I may use it.

Early May in the Yoop can be nice for fishing. Some high-50 days, not a lot of snow, and no skeets or blackflies. Course it can also be a bliz. You buys your ticket and takes your chances.

In my notebook I dreamed of a dark-haired, small and shapely woman in graustarkian fashion — meaning, roughly translated, never-never love.

Cop I know on the school beat calls the plethora of cell phone sexting and texting and so forth one continuous dramarama. It puts him in high dudgeon.

I know a teacher who once taught at a middle school where students secretly used the janitor’s closet for close encounters of a sexual kind and referred to it as the Boom Boom Room. Indeed.

Hairsbreadth in England  is technically 1/48 of an inch. That’s probably a dimension not worth parsing, much less splitting.

The word “ghoti” is pronounced “fish.” Playwright George Bernard Shaw is famous for using the word, but it is attributed it to another person — a scholar. The word is used to illustrate the difficulty of English spelling. (Gh) pronounced as f in “laugh” / (o) pronounced as  the (I) in women (wimin) and (ti) pronounced as in nation. This is an appropriately weird entry to close on. But let me leave you with some nice visual things from recent meanderings. Goal this year is to tour all nature preserves in SW Michigan, and in those areas of the U.P. where a chunk of summer will be spent in Woods Cop research, rock-hounding and brook trout ghoting.

FYI: you can now get the Woods Cop books off Kindle. All it costs is $360 for the device and $9.99 for a book. It’s a new world, folks. Probably people said the same thing when Gutenberg’s invention became widely known.

Shout-out to all students’ at Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy: We all mourn your losses. The senseless loss of one person, especially a child,  is a loss for all of us. Back in my service days we used to say: Don’t let the bastards get you down. Press on.

Over.

Walking into the Al Sabo preserve west of  Portage.
Walking into the Al Sabo preserve west of Portage.
Valley View, deep in the Al Sabo. Stunning vista in fall.
Valley View, deep in the Al Sabo. Stunning vista in fall.
Vertical Black and White -- lichen at eye-catching best.
Vertical Black and White -- lichen at eye-catching best.
Ye mighty bending oak of olde. Where beith Robin and his band of highbinders?
Ye mighty bending oak of olde. Prithy, where findeth we, one Robin Hood and his band of highbinders?

.

The Stuff We See And Hear

Daughter-in-law, Leann, shot me an email today with a link to sony.com/ebooks, where they are advertising that  I wrote a book called, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to New York City: A Native New Yorker’s Secrets of Giving the Good Life. There is so much wrong with this link, starting with I didn’t write the book. Let’s just chalk up another huge score for the electronic world. The author, I think, is actually one Bob Grader and I have to hand it to him: I like the title.

cousins-getting-acquainted
Da Dawgs at Play

And yesterday, Mighty McThor (The Rocket Dog) came to visit. He got along quite well with everyone, even the old Shan-man and just before departing for home the little guy and El Chubbo did some chasing and mock attacking in the back yard. I caught them in a pre-attack pose….

And earlier yesterday while on a walk in the Al Sabo Preserve we ran across this tree upon which someone had written a name in permanent marker. This raises a lot of questions and observations: 1) Has anti-violence in schools emphasis totally eliminated kids carrying and knowing  how to use a pen or pocket knife? 2) Mackinzie (sic). This seems an odd spelling to me. Perhaps the author is not a good speller, or only knows MacK from afar? 3) I have it on good authority that permanent marker pens disappear regularly from school art rooms; 4) This tree is dead smack in the middle of the trail and one wonders if the tree-scribe is either so damn used to following instructions and staying within the lines to not dare to venture two feet left or right, or so used to fondling electronic games in couch potatoland they are fearful of being eaten by lions and tigers and bears if they step off the beaten path?

Oh well: Whole thing seems sad, and I love the coincidence of two “Mac” encounters in the same day Talk about random!

Over.

By pen, not pen-knife. Sad
By pen, not pen-knife. Sad.

Fire in the Hole

Last night we  drove down to Edwardsburg to see The Wizard of Oz. Wonderful production in a fantastic performing arts center; Jambe Longue’s nieces (Elizabeth and Megan) were in the show, both of them  (twins) are immensely talented young women. In fact, it seems that there are a large number of kids in Edwardsburg’s sophomore class with a lot of talent. One wonders what sort of cosmic chance enables the formation of such pools of specificity.

On the way back at midnight, we drove in and out of smoke ribbons  from fires — for nearly 80 miles. It was weird. We also passed through the fugues of fertilizer in pig country. Paper this morning says that the counties around Kalamazoo had a lot of grass fires yesterday; apparently that phenomenon extended all the way to the Indiana state line.

I always tear up at plays put on by high school students. It is in many ways the ultimate team and cooperative endeavor. Drama, like sport, requires trust in your teammates and doing your own job as part of the group effort. It should remind us all that there are many important learning experiences  above and beyond academics and test-taking, and the lessons in these other things often more enduring and meaningful.

Nice day. Time to walk the Shan before the arrival from MacThor.

Over.

Vernal Equinox

Spring arrived at 0744 today just as the  sky was turning light; how’s that for dramatic effect?

Just back from our walk, bright sun, 32 degrees, no snow on the ground, and I stopped counting robins at 50. Meanwhile, my four-legged, no-brained walking companion located a dessicated red squirrel corpse which he ate by running ahead of me, stopping and gnawing until it was gone.  Having finished this,  he came slobbering over to me, sat by my leg and stared at the pocket where I keep treats. What a jerk.

My grandpuppy Mac-Thor is coming to visit on Sunday. This ought to be interesting.

Have a nice spring. That’s an order. Over.

Thursday Morning Questions & Observations

In college, I  got four-point in nihilism. My mom was so proud.

You think Republicans and Democrats are pissed off about bailout bonus
babies: How about Commies?

I’m not too good in math, so help me with this. Okay, I got $8 million as a retention bonus from AIG and Congress is now
going to pass a law so the IRS can get 90% back and punish me.  You mean I
only get to keep $800,000? Boo hoo.

Fool: It’s the new four-letter word.

I’m not following this: Dubya’s Secretary of the Treasury demanded hundreds
of billions of $$, which he then gave to companies without asking on what,
how, or when they would spend it, and now the Republicans are pissed off at
the Democrats?

Did you read yesterday’s newspaper?
Oh wait, there aren’t any more newspapers.

Bin Laden is thought to be in Pakistan. Tell me again why we are sending more troops to
Afghanistan?

You heard it here first: Osama bin Laden and D.B. Cooper are sharing a cave.

Did I hear elected officials call for illegal vigilante actions against AIG
bonus babies, then excuse it as “just rhetoric?” Isn’t yelling “Fire” in a
crowded theater “just rhetoric?”

Has anyone noticed that in profile Sec Treasury Geithner looks a lot like
Bobby Kennedy? Or head-on, like a deer in the headlights? Every time I hear
him talk I wonder if English is his third or fourth language. Obviously “Finance” is his first language, but by all accounts he’s not fluent in that either.

Congressional hearings are the same as morality plays: Almost all make-believe, and without morale or morals.

How come there’s been no call for faith-based corporate bailouts?

What’s the exact amount of co-pay for health care for members of the US congress?

We support our troops. Tell me again: How?

How about we put all the AIG bonus babies into the Contender show, arm them
with rolls of nickels, and see who emerges as champion.

News this morning: The Federal Reserve is “dumping” another trillion into
the economy. What economy? Mars?

I can’t say I’ve ever experienced benefit from trickle-down economics, though I have frequently felt the government trickling down on me. Oh wait:  That’s just yellow rain.

Let me understand this: The nominal , self-appointed spokesperson for the Grand Old Party and
leftwing conservatives is a former Hillbilly heroin addict?

I was hunting birds  yesterday and accidentally shot a friend in the face.
When the cops came I told them to go away, we’d take care of things. I spent
the night in jail, trying to call Dick Cheney, but he refused to come to the phone.

‘Ave a noyce dye, mites.

Over.

Rules for St. Paddy’s Day

First of all, Erin go bragh. To tell the truth, I’ve never understood whether this saying is cheering erin’s brassiere, or lack of same. Whatever. To get you through this glorious day, here’s a few tried Irish rules for keeping the peace today.

1) Don’t drink from a bottle during a verbal dustup with some silly and verbose arsehole in the tavern;

2) If the silly arsehole insists on fisticuffs inside the tavern, politely invite him outside the tavern, off premises;

3) If the obnoxious arsehole refuses to go out into the alley, pick up the bottle you’re not drinking from and smack the silly bastard in the noggin. Then dump his unconscious butt outside and go back inside to Rule Number One;

4) St. Paddy’s Day is too short for puttin up with silly and aggressive arseholes, or a buncha silly rules; and,

5) Always fight unfairly in a tavern. It saves time and energy and usually brings the right outcome.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to da hull bunchayas.

Over.

Ides of March

Great sunny weekend, robins all over the place, chippies running wild through the birdfeed, no sign of juncos, who might have moved north. Spent many hours walking in the woods around here over the weekend, just taking things in. One place we call the Pileated Forest. We saw three pileated woodpeckers and heard seven more. Also checked in on redtail nest which has been used the past two springs, but which seems unattended so far this year. We’ll check back in April.  Shanahan ran until his tongue hung out, and found something alive in a small log and then played tug of war with me when I tried to take it away from him.  He’s been on a diet, but he is still STRONG! And hardheaded.

The great thing about walking slowly in the woods — still-hunting (walk, pause, look, listen) is all the small things that begin to come into focus for you. March without snow is a great time to be in the woods to get a candid look at the terrain and topography — before green hair covers all.

So, do yourself a favor and go take a slow walk.  I few pix follow to give you the flavor — if I can get the software to work properly. Every time there’s an improvement, there isn’t, if you get my drift. And last week I learned from lady in Australia that some bozos had shot a “porn bot” into the site, which has now been purged.  Sometimes, the electronic world seems to have more jerks per capita than the real world — or maybe it’s just the concentration of whackadoodles.

Enjoy spring: Over.

The Pileated Forest is filled with oaks, and thus lots of deer and turkeys moving around, pawing at the ground in winter.
The Pileated Forest is filled with oaks, and thus lots of deer and turkeys moving around, pawing at the acorns in winter.
Classic hairy coyote scat in the forest
Classic hairy coyote scat in the forest
Jambe Longue spotted this owl scat in the oak leaves. Check the little bones -- telltale sign!
Jambe Longue spotted this owl scat in the oak leaves. Check the little bones -- telltale sign!
This looks to me like a big shark feeding on a big fish. Let your imagination to when you are in the woods.
This looks to me like a great gray bark-shark feeding on a big fish. Let your imagination loose when you are in the woods!
Beautiful fungus on a cherry tree. Cherry trees are next to the vineyard. Nature's palette is unreal. And so are shapes and textures, if you're a painter, sculptor, or photographer.
Beautiful fungus on a cherry tree. Cherry trees are next to the vineyard. Nature's palette is unreal. And so are shapes and textures, if you're a painter, sculptor, or photographer.
Sycamores (Ghost Trees) we have in abundance, even in our oak forests in this part of the state. They are particularly beautiful undressed of leaves.
Sycamores (Ghost Trees) we have in abundance, even in our oak forests in this part of the state. They are particularly beautiful, undressed of their leaves.
In a sea of dead oak leaves a splash of bright green moss in the sunlight can cause you to reach for your sunglasses.
In a sea of dead oak leaves a splash of bright green moss in the sunlight can cause you to reach for your sunglasses.
These goiters are viral in nature and make for some interesting shapes on trees.
These goiters are viral in nature and make for some interesting shapes on trees.
The texture of this bark is identical to a pair of ostrich skin boots I own.
The texture of this bark is identical to a pair of ostrich skin boots I own.
Meet My second grandpuppy, Mac-Thor, a beagle, doxey mix and a handsome little brute.
Meet My second grandpuppy, Mac-Thor, a beagle, doxey mix and a handsome little brute. Shanny and I have not met him yet.
Redtail Hawk nest, so far unused this year. It's been used two years in a row.
Redtail Hawk nest, so far unused this year. It's been used two years in a row.
Pileated Forest
Pileated Forest
"Any coons up there?"
"Any coons up there?"
"My log, my log, my log!"
"My log, my log, my log!"
Grape Hill, adjacent to Pileated Forest.
Grape Hill, adjacent to Pileated Forest. In Autumn it's a great place to see turkeys.

Doodly-squat

Sitting here half asleep this morning I heard on the radio a report of a UK  researcher who did an experiment that showed doodlers retained 29% more information from a litanous, boring message than non-doodlers. Doodling, she says, is an indicator of boredom and the doodler using  the activity to keep the brain alert and stimulated, rather than allowing it to slide off into active daydreaming. Funny, I’ve doodled my whole life in just about every environment one can imagine and always felt that I was pretty much picking up on what was being said. Teachers used to complain and whine  to my parents about my lack of concentration — to wit:  my incessant doodling — to them, a sign that I was on the road to academic hell or, I suppose,  somewhere even worse.  There’s a British term for people who use specious reasoning  “the wrong kind of snow.” So, to all those people shoveling the wrong kind of snow at my parents and me in my youth, I  have but one word. Hah!

Robochef brought me a  book a couple of days ago. Entitled The Meadow, by poet James Galvin. If you want to read a fine account of the west, I recommend it. This is an exquisite piece of writing.

Lunch yesterday with the MSU gents was a fine time. Good men.

And yesterday, very late in the day, a flock of 30 or more robins were seen  cavorting in the leaves where all the ground-cover got hacked away by Consumer’s Energy last year. Spring’s got to be sniffing us, though at 17 this morning, it’s somewhat hard to imagine.

May the star that guides your personal boat burn bright and true. Me, I’ve got work to do.

Over.

Signs of Spring

Low 40s today, cool wind from the east, but very nice conditions. Never mind the day started with a lab tech having to poke two holes in my arm to draw blood for my monthly coumadin check. I asked her why.

Her professional, scientific answer? “I don’t know. It just happens sometimes.” ISYN

Shanny and I took two walks today  and saw our first robins of this spring — five of them.  Also the redbelly woodpecker pair was out as was  the redtail hawk pair on a power line just east of  us.

One night last week Shanahan put himself to bed, as he often does, and I was downstairs reading, and for some reason decided to whistle. Never been worth a damn at it. With my teeth not glued in, I’m even worse, but this time I managed some tweets and the dog came charging down the stairs all fluffed up and wondering what was going on. I was shocked. When he was a pup I used to issue my pathetic whistles and he never responded; I always assumed he was ignoring me, but perhaps not. So adding one and one, I got out my survival whistle and now when we walk I let him range out, then blow the whistle, yell his name’ and he comes charging back and sits at my feet to get a treat. Only time he ignores the whistle is when he’s on a scent. This dog learns faster and easier than any dog I’ve ever been around.

For some reason we have loads of doves [dovoodles?] near here and no hunting season, so I expect more over time. Today I listened to several Shanny spooked and realized their wings make a slight popping sound just before their little squeal issues like a loose fanbelt. I like observing and learning, and today Shanny did something I’ve never seen him do. He spotted some doves in a thicket, stopped and lifted his left front paw. Probably he was just pausing before charging forward, but it looked like a pointing posture.

Good times this week. My old copilot and friend Mike [Goose the Golden Guinea] Vairo [St. Ignace Saints] is in town to see his 92-years-young mom, Dorothy, and sis, Mary Kay.  On wednesday Goose and our old MSU classmates Gary Smalt and Dave ‘”Beetle” Burns are coming over for a lunch of beef burgundy stew, some vino and cervezas, unt a lot of catching up. Haven’t seen Beetle since 1965. Looking forward to it.

Mike is one of those special people who makes a point of staying in touch with old friends, something not easily done, but greatly appreciated. Once in Thailand after a relatively late, drunken post-mission night I awoke in the morning to find a small card on my chest. It was from the base chapel at U-Tapao and on it was written, “A mass was offered today for the soul of Lt. Joseph T. Heywood.” That’s the Goose.

Over.