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22 Oct

Another Day in The Woods

Nature's paintbrush.

Nature’s paintbrush.

DAY  156– DEER PARK, Mi. Morning opened with snow on the deck. Waves in Lake Superior for dog to run the beach, so we headed east on Seven Mile Fire Lane to look around and let him galavant, which he did with great gusto. More shrooms, a bit more color, and so forth. Photos next. Over.

Snow squalls over Muskallonge Lake

Snow squalls over Muskallonge Lake

Same tree, from beach level, 3-40 feet lower than previous shot.

Same tree, from beach level, 3-40 feet lower than previous shot.

Midday on the Big Lake. Note leaning pine upper left of photo.

Midday on the Big Lake. Note leaning pine upper left of photo.

Birch tumors.

Birch tumors.

 

Ground twins.

Ground twins.

Hanging on.

Hanging on.

Nature's maskirovka.

Nature’s maskirovka.

Reindeer lichen and some kind of moss living in symbiotic sinfulness.

Reindeer lichen and some kind of moss living in symbiotic sinfulness.

It takes only a little bit of color to bring things alive.

It takes only a little bit of color to bring things alive.

I'm thinking this will stimulate a painting this winter. Something large 3 x 5 ft and bright colored.

I’m thinking this will stimulate a painting this winter. Something large 3 x 5 ft and bright colored.

East on Seven Mile, between CR 407 and CR 410. If you stay on this all the way to it's end it will put you right on the Two Hearted River.

East on Seven Mile, between CR 407 and CR 410. If you stay on this all the way to it’s end it will put you right on the Two Hearted River.

Splash!

Splash!

0600 on the deck.

0600 on the deck.

21 Oct

A Day of Oddities

DAY 155: Monday, October 21, 2013, DEER PARK– This day was on the weird side. We headed for town to get flu shots and about 10 miles south of here, between Pine Stump and Wolf Inn we passed what looked like they might be wolves, on a two track, close to CR 407, so I did a flip-flop and we went back and got pix. Realized once we got pix on cameras they’re probably dogs, most likely sled dogs, but they could be bear hounds, I suppose. Both have collars, but we see no telemetry wires or antennae. We saw these animals around 10 a.m. heading east on Sleeper Lake Road (more name than road). Later we checked for tracks and I found tracks more like dogs, and fresh, and only two wolf tracks, but they were old and judged solely on size. Also found what appear to be old moose tracks. Former CO and pal Dave Van’t Hof thinks they look like caribous, but that would be truly odd. Way back in the 20s there was a heard of caribou up in this area, but they died out. Transplants, not survivors over time. And this weekend pal Zael Lutz of Trout Lake put up info on elk being seen around Trout Lake this summer and fall. Wow!

After flu shots, lunch at Pickelman’s Pantry, and other errands, we came back north and took Shaksper for his run over on Seven Mile Fire Lane. 35 mph NW winds made it way too “messy” for a beach perambulation. While he ran, I discovered oodles of strange fall mushrooms, which make for some neat photos. We still have some nice color up her on Lake Superior and I will post  photos from the whole day here, but may have to break them into two batches.  Days here are endlessly interesting the woods filled with all kinds of stuff to see and explore, but you have to get on the dirt and off the hardtop. Oh and we saws our tenth bear of the season, on CR 407 south of Halfway Lake and the houndsmen were right on top of it.  We’ll be out of here in ten days. Hard to believe. Over.

Okay, we're outta here!

Okay, we’re outta here!

Are we never going to have privacy?

Are we never going to have privacy?

Hey dudes, Wassup?

Hey dudes, Wassup?

Moose track..

Moose track..

Sleeper Lake Road. The dogs carefully went around the "road pond" in the picture..

Sleeper Lake Road. The dogs carefully went around the “road pond” in the picture..

Sleeper Lake terrain, where we saw the dogs.

Sleeper Lake terrain, where we saw the dogs.

Mooned by Shrooms?

Mooned by Shrooms?

Possible "stumpers"

Possible “stumpers”

Spores on top

Spores on top

Unt more.

Unt more.

The top of this looks like a Brenda Stinson muffin!

The top of this looks like a Brenda Stinson muffin!

Yet more.

Yet more.

And more shrooms, upon shrooms.

And more shrooms, upon shrooms.

And shrooms.

And shrooms.

Autumn shrooms

Autumn shrooms

See Satchell Paige for caption.

See Satchell Paige for caption.

Two-track running north off Seven Mile Fire Lane.

Two-track running north off Seven Mile Fire Lane.

Color is still good just east of Musky State Park:. Lake Superior is short distance to the right (north) through the trees you see.

Color is still good just east of Musky State Park:. Lake Superior is short distance to the right (north) through the trees you see.

Color still nice at our place.

Color still nice at our place.

 

 

20 Oct

Giants

Jay and Donna,Our Georgia friends ( interned in Kalamazoo until the end of the Civil war) found this giant puffball near Donna’s studio and did not know it was edible. They are kayakers. I guess giant puffies don’t grow in Kayaks, if you wash them out. How sad. if they grew on plastic in Kayaks your victuals could travel with you en plein air.

GIant Puffball from Asylum Lake Neighborhood.

GIant Puffball from Asylum Lake Neighborhood.

20 Oct

Boneyard

Bullhead skull from this summer, for our collection.

New specimen, just out of the pickling barrel.

New specimen, just out of the pickling barrel.

20 Oct

DAY 154

27 degrees, the sky is clear,  sun coming up, moon going down,   both simultaneously and at the same time. Over

The moon goes down.

The moon goes down.

 

The sun comes up.

The sun comes up.

18 Oct

Beachblasts of Final Color

Won’t be long until the leaves are down and history. Took the camera along yesterday to capture its final glory. Color up here tends to hit the Lake Superior beaches last. These photos are from October 17. Over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dressed to Hunt Agates

Dressed to Hunt Agates

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

18 Oct

After the Nap

We hunted agates midday today and got rained on, temp a 45 NW wind. Found a bunch two days in row, not yet sorted. After the nap Brenda Stinson brought homemade muffies (OUTSTANDING!) and our tamales arrived from HOT TAMALES in  Ft Worth, TexASS. Tonight’s dinner. Ah, and a new poem is bubbling forth. Over.

 

Twos days of agate picking.

Twos days of agate picking.

Brenda's Muffins.

Brenda’s Muffins.

Texas-size box of tamales from Texas.

Texas-size box of tamales from Texas.

18 Oct

Slow and Low in an SR-71

As some infamous aviator said a long time ago, “ALTITUDE IS LIFE, AIRSPEED IS LIFE INSURANCE!!!SR-71

 

  Brian   Shul, Retired SR-71 Blackbird Pilot via Plane and Pilot Magazine
 
  As a former SR-71 pilot and keynote speaker, the question I'm most often   asked is :
 
  'How fast would that SR-71 fly ? '? I can be assured of hearing that   question several times at any event I attend.
 
  It's an interesting question, given the aircraft's proclivity for speed.   But there really isn't a single number to give . . as the turbo ramjet would   always give you a little more speed if you wanted it to.
 
  It was common to see 35 miles a minute.? But we typically flew a programmed Mach   number.
 
  But because we never wanted to harm the plane in any way, we never let it   'run out ' to any limits of temperature or speed.
 
  Thus, each SR-71 pilot had his own personal ' high ' speed that he saw at   some point during our missions.
 
  I saw my highest speed over Libya whe n Khadafy fired two missiles my way   when max power was in order.
 
  Let's just say that the Blackbird truly loved speed . . and effortlessly   took us to high Mach numbers . . we had not previously seen.
 
  So it was with great surprise, when at the end of one of my   presentations, someone asked : ' What was the SLOWEST . . you ever flew the   Blackbird ? '
 
  This was a first. After   giving it some thought, I was reminded of a story that I had never shared   before, and relayed the following:?I was flying the SR-71 out of RAF Mildenhall,? England, with my back seater, Walt   Watson. We were returning from a mission over Europe and the Iron Curtain   when we received a radio transmission from home base.
  As we scooted acro ss   Denmark in three minutes, we learned that a small RAF base in the English   countryside had requested an SR-71 fly-past.
 
  The Commander of air cadets there, a former Blackbird pilot, thought it would be a motivating moment   for the young lads to see the mighty SR-71 perform a low approach.
  No problem, we were happy to do it.
 
  After a quick aerial refueling over the North Sea ($$$-W W), we proceeded to   find the small airfield.? In the back seat, Walter had a myriad of sophisticated   navigation equipment and he began to vector me toward the field.
 
  Descending to subsonic, we found ourselves over a densely wooded area in the   slight haze.
 
  Like most former WWII British airfields, the one we were looking for had a   small tower and little surrounding infrastructure.? Walter told me we were close.? And that I should be able to see the   field.
 
  But as far as I could see in the haze . . I saw nothing but trees.? We got a little lower, and? I pulled the throttles back from our   325 knot cruise.
 
  With the gear up . . anything under 275 knots . . was plaint uncomfortable.? Walt said were practically over the   field. Looking hard . . there was nothing in my windscreen.
 
  I banked the jet and started a gentle circling maneuver. . hoping to pick up anything   that looked like a field.? Meanwhile, below, the Commander had taken the Cadets up on the   control tower’s cat walk . . to get a prime view.
 
  It was a quiet, still day with no wind and partial gray overcast.? Walter continued to give me indications   that the field should be below us.? But in the overcast and haze, I   couldn’t see it.
 
  But the longer we continued to circle and peer out . . the slower we got.   With our power back, the awaiting cadets had silence.
 
  I must have had good instructors in my flying career, as something told me I   better cross-check the gauges.
 
  As I noticed the airspeed indicator s-l-i-d-e below 160 knots, my heart   stopped.
 
  My adrenalin-filled left hand . . shoved both throttles FULL FORWARD !
 
  At this point we weren’t really flying…but were falling in a slight bank.? Just at that moment both afterburners   lit with a thunderous roar of flame!? And, what a joyous feeling that was as   the aircraft fell into full view of the shocked observers on the catwalk.
 
  Shattering the absolute quiet of that morning, they now had 107 feet of   fire-breathing titanium in their faces as the plane leveled and accelerated,   in full burner, on the their side of the infield . . much closer than   expected . . maintaining what could only be described as some sort of   ultimate knife-edge aerobatic pass.
 
  We proceeded back to Mildenhall without incident . . not saying a word to   each other for those next 14 minutes.? After landing, our commander greeted us   . . and we were both certain he was reaching for our wings.
 
  Instead, he heartily shook our hands and said the Commander had told him it   was the greatest SR-71 fly-past he had ever seen.? Especially how we had surprised them   with such a precise maneuver that could only be described as . .   breathtaking.
 
  Some of the cadet’s hats were blown off.? The sight of the plan form of the plane   in full afterburner . . dropping right in front of them . . was stunning . .   unbelievable.
 
  Walt and I both understood the concept of ‘ breathtaking ‘ very well that   morning. And we sheepishly replied that the Cadets seemed . . just excited .   . to see our low approach.
 
  As we retired to the equipment room to change from space suits to flight   suits, we just sat there-. . hadn’t spoken a word since ‘ the pass.’? Finally, Walter looked at me and said :? ‘ I saw One hundred fifty-six knots.? What did you see ?

Trying to   find my voice I stammered : ' One hundred fifty-two.'

We sat in   silence for a moment.? Then Walt calmly said : ' Don't ever do   that to me again ! '

And I never   d id.
 
  A year later, Walter and I were having lunch in the Mildenhall Officer's   club, and overheard an officer talking to some cadets about an SR-71 fly-past   that he'd seen one day.
 
  Of course, by now the story included kids falling off the tower and   screaming as the heat of the jet singed their eyebrows.
 
  As we stood there with lunch trays in our hands, the officer noticed our   HABU [shoulder patch icon of a deadly snake] and asked us to verify to the   Cadets that such an event occurred.
 
  Walt just shook his head and said : ' It was probably just a routine low   approach . ..they're pretty impressive in that airplane.'
 
  Impressive . . indeed.
 
  Little did I realize that LOW SPEED experience . . would become one of   the most requested of my stories.? It's ironic . . that people now became   very interested in how slow the . . World's fastest jet aircraft . . can fly.
 
  Regardless of your speed . . It's always a good idea to keep up your   instrument cross-check, I'm certain you'll agree.
 
  However keep your Mach up, too.

 

18 Oct

Thoughts of a Septuagenarian

I recently read Phil Caputo’s THE LONGEST ROAD, the tale of a memorable and long road-trip undertaken by his wife and him to drive from Key West to as far as you can go on road in Alaska, which is Deadhorse, on the Beaufort Sea. Caputo turned 70 around the time of that trip and briefly mused on age in the story and it struck me as germane. I myself today turn 70, (which strikes me as both ludicrous and unbelievable) because this happens to be the lifespan allotted in the Bible. Psalm 90, Verse 10: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four score years, yet is their labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off and we fly away.” Eerie. Reading this is like getting an injection of some sort of nuke-juiced juju.

The Bible calls for an end, and ironically this appears to apply to us in that we will most likely not be able to come back to Deer Park next year and, because of this, we have put out feelers and the infamous “word,” to friends, as we seek  a new UP refuge for next May through October. Or, failing the Yoop, perhaps somewhere BTB on trout water. We’d love to spend five months on a trout stream and be able to experience its moods and changes, but at this point we are facing an open end for 2014, and shall land where fate dictates. So, change is in the wind, as it always is for life is change, as is age, and I’ve never felt so creative in my threescore and ten years. Lots of my writer colleagues maintain they have trouble getting stories to come to them. My problem is the opposite. I have more in my head than I can possibly ever write, and they are percolating all the time.

Historian-Novelist Bernard DeVoto wrote: “Exactly how any novel grows in a writer’s mind will always be, I think, beyond research. But certainly the process is in large part one of accretion, of feeling for the true thing in emotion and action, of testing and modifying and amplifying it, of fumbling through the false or the merely plausible to be true, or if you like, apparently true. Characters grow in the mind, not unlike embryos growing in the womb. Scenes for the expression of emotion, meaning, or significant event. The scenes grow and develop and proliferate. Additional meanings besides the originally intended ones are revealed in them. They form sequences and these come to be seen as necessary. There is rejection, substitution, adaption, adjustment. Content is being shaped into form; form is developing into content.”

This is as apt a description of the indescribable that I’ve ever run across.

Readers are often urging me to write faster (mostly because they are older, I think). But you cahn only write at the speed your creativity will allow you – like a built-in speed control or governor (prototype for a computer filter?). Just yesterday I finished the first final draft of MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN, Lute Bapcat and Sergey Zakov’s second outing. I began the actual writing with 1,223 words on May 1, 2012 and have been imagining and writing the story pretty well ever since, finishing yesterday with a manuscript at 100,310 words, about average novel length.  MOUNTAINS began its life under the title of JABBERTOWN. The day before the finish, we were in Newberry, having lunch at Pickelman’s Pantry and I wrote the first line to a short story in one of the fly leafs of a biography of Edward Albee. I had no idea this had been brewing, but it popped out as we waited for breakfast and last night after dinner I finished the first rough draft of the story, which will come in around 2,500 words or so and has for the moment a working title of “First Day of the Last Day of the World.” This title only came to me as I wrote the first line. I often get ideas for titles, that may eventually become poems or short stories, or novels and I maintain a living list which I update every time I think of a new one. The titles alone may help me with something down the line, or not.

I maintain a living Limpy Lexicon as well, the latest entry in that, “Feeding the Indians,” meaning “going to a tribal casono.”

HARD GROUND came out just this past spring and I am seriously  working on another collection to be called EXTREME GROUND, all female characters in various first-responder jobs. As a writer with only brothers, I feel  compelled to create strong, fully developed female characters doing jobs that people my age have always associated with men for reasons we don’t need to jaw about here. I like strong tell-it-like-it- is, in-your-face women. So, we shall see.

Meanwhile I have another novel done. It’s called BROWN BALL and sometime this winter I will put it into play with my agent. This story stands alone,  that is, not part of any series, and is set in San Antonio Texas in the summer of 1956. I want to wait until after deer season to give it my full attention.

And I know the next Bapcat book will be set in 1918, in Russia with a group of American soldiers called the Polar Bears, many of whom (most?) were from Upper Michigan. No title for that story yet.  I’ll let the narrative and pre-writing mind-cooking phase give it to me. And the next Grady Service, Number 10 in his parade, has a working title of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY. A story of the sorts of off-the-deep-end extremists for deer hunting type COs sometimes encounter. The story will be based on a couple of actual cases, one of which I was inside to observe. And so it goes. The stories are up in my head,  always cooking and growing and solidifying and fermenting, waiting for their turn to run through my wrist onto a piece of paper. And of course, I continue to write poems, mostly for the discipline they teach in economy of words, and imagery, and cadence and meter. I admire poets and what they do.

Finally I got word on Monday that GRAY’S SPORTING JOURNAL will publish one of my pieces in the March/April 2014 issue. The title of the story is Les Truites Rose. I sent my revisions to the editor this morning. Fun piece.

So much to write, so little time to do it all. One day my grave marker may say, RAN OUT OF TIME, NOT ALTITUDE, GAS OR STORIES.

Enough middle-of the-night meander-blathering.  Two days ago Lonnie got to watch an osprey and a bald eagle soaring together on autumn wind thermals. Change approaches  us once again and it is like going into a time machine without effective  destination controls and one day finding ourselves spilled out in a new place with new people and things to explore and think about. Damn fine birthday gift, if you ask me. Nothing is worse for a writer than to stand still and look back nodding contently while he awaits his next fart or belch, like a dumbass bobbledeyhead on the dashboard of a ‘65 Mustang. A writer is both pilot and navigator and the only place for our eyes is ahead, always ahead.  The two most worthless things in life? The runway behind you and the altitude above you.  Joseph Heywood, Septuagenarian.  I can see my mom smiling at that. This is going to take some getting used to. Over

17 Oct

Ending the Day

Dinner with Don Madorski at the Pine Stump Eatery. Full moon rising through the pines to the east. Good night all. Over.

 

Northern Goshawk,  near Lake Superior Beach, this afternoon.

Northern Goshawk, near Lake Superior Beach, this afternoon.

Full Moon in Luce Lace

Full Moon in Luce Lace

 

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