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18 Oct

Woods Cop Training

I happened to stop by the District 2 DNR office in Newberry one morning, looking to use the files.

Law Secretary Michelle Zellars said, “Hey, what’re you doing today?”

“Putzing in files, why?”

“Training, they need help with a first aid scenario.”

“Count me in.”

Off we went to the high school, where Pat McManus briefed me in, then hauled me back out to a site near the range where they set me up. The scenario is this. A frantic woman calls the county. She’s stumbled across a bloody man in the woods and she asks for help. When the CO arrives on the scene he finds a bloody man — holding a very big bloody knife, and so first aid must wait until the armed man is disarmed. My briefer told me to force each officer to at least touch his handgun in order to enforce me dropping the weapon. And away we went. Patrick took the photos. It was a great scenario and I even managed to get a fine short story out of the day.

CO Jerry Fitzgibbon makes it clear that I should drop the knife. Which I do.

Big Mike Hamill finds me with the knife and firmly suggests I put down the weapon. It's like getting a directive from King Kong.

Michelle Zellars (R) is playing the woman swho reported the bloody man and once the officers are on scene she proceeds to complicate matters by screaming she'll put the whole think on YouTube. Here CO Kellie Nightlinger tells her to back off. Michelle was so pesky that CO Hammill cuffed her and hauled her off the scene.

18 Oct

Summer Pix

Bird-Watcher With Fuel

Here we see if blog will upload pix. By the way, WMUK interview did not air this morning. No idea why. I’m rusty at this blog-deal.




Upstream on the Big Two Hearted

Not-So-Smiley's Smallie

Smiley's Smallie

Looks like rain over the Two Hearted

Rock Garden Closeup

Beach Bones

Mr. Brown Eyes

Interior Decoration

What waders do when you aren't watching...


15 Oct

Corrections & More Information

Whoops, sorry, I’m speaking at Books and More in Albion on October 29, not duh..August 29. Did taped interview with Zinta Aistars for WMUK Arts and More this afternoon. The interview will air on WMUK-FM (102.1) at 0750 on Tuesday, Oct 18, and same time on Friday, Oct 21.  Moo You 28, U of M 14. Bohoo x4. Over.

15 Oct

It Returneth to Bloggery

Well, it’s been wee long, but Jambe Longues and I returned yesterday from five months in the U.P. Will tell tales eventually. Blog was mired in the broke-down-bin from July, just fixed as we returned. Lon is doing well with her post-surgery and cancer. Her Tamoxofen threw a heap of side effects at her and after phone consultation with doc, she went off it. She comes from a family which is historically supersensitive to drug therapies. She and doctor will decide next step, but she’s feisty and got her strength back. It was a fine spring,summer, and fall up north. Hard to come back, but I have no interest in demonstrating machonessity vs old man (old woman?) winter worse than what we endure here. Lots of great pix to come in weeks ahead. As usual blogging will be sporadic as I do other book-related things. This summer got bunch of poems written, and more than 2 dozen short stories, which I will soon start to clean up for submission to my publisher. We caught some fish — smallies, brookies, and cohos– and found gobs of agates. It’s taken three years but we finally think we know what agates actually are and we are doing a more comprehensive culling job. Hope everyone had a good summer. Force of Blood is at book stores now. Next one is about oneturdone.  Got radio interview taping this afternoon at WMUK-FM at WMU. The interview with Zinta Aistairs will be broadcast Tuesday and Friday morning, not sure of times, but will post when I find out. Friday night there is reading/signing at Kazoo Books here in town. I’ll be reading some of the short stories written this summer. And on Oct. 24th I’m speaking to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Grayling, the meeting to be held at the Elks Lodge. It’s open to the public. Hamburger dinner is at six. I’ll speak around 7. And on August 29th, 1100-1400, we’ll be at Books & More in Albion. I will read short stories there, and sign too.Would  say here youse enjoy some some pix, but dis t’ing just say me picture not allowed on account security reasons (unspecified, of course). Da usual b.s. from da computer world, eh? Any other t’ings we buy and use in our lives be out of business in t’ree weeks with such garbagolic reliability, lack of human info. Bah humbug.  Hope you had great summers. Hey Sevie, Mike & Max: hold down da fort up there, boys. Over

10 Jul

Black Bears: Sometimes Cute, Always Potentially Deadly

Good morning. This is a story from July 8, 1948 63-years ago this past Wednesday CHIPPEWA COUNTY– A black bear came into the yard of the Mission Hill home of Marquette National Forest tower man Arthur Pomranky, grabbed his three-year-old daughter Carol Ann, and carried her away.

The girl’s body was recovered two hours later, and a quarter-mile away near a creek by bear hunter/tracker Alex Van Leuven of Brimley and his labrador retriever Snowshoe.

iroquois Point fisherman Wayne Weston had just returned ashore from tending nets when he and brother Vico were summoned to join what became a 100-man search party (media acccounts of the day called the gaggle a “posse.”) Weston encountered the bear returning to the body and killed it with five bullets (the final pair of the make-sure kind).

Soo veterinarian Dr. C.D. Logsdon found parts of the child’s body in the animal’s body during necropsy. This is the only fatal bear attack in Michigan that I’m aware of and why the girl was taken has never been determined. Tests showed the bear was not rabid, nor did it have injuries or “abnormalities” that might have accounted for its behavior.

One theory, from Frank MacDougall (1948 deputy of Ontario Lands and Forests), was that the chilld was mistaken for a pig. Mr.MacDougall told reporters, “Bears are unable to distinguish between a young child and a pig.” How the man came to know this is not reported. And reports don’t tell us the family kept pigs

Surely a sad and wrenching story, but there’s more to the nightmare.

Mid-afternoon that day (@1430) the child’s mother and a friend were in the kitchen, feet from Carol Ann, who was playing with her dolls at the bottom of the three steps up to the porch from the yard. The house was near the fire tower and beside a wooded embankment.

Mrs. Pomanky’s back was to the screen door; her neighbor was ironin The two women heard a cry and turned to see Carol Ann with her hand on the screen, and a bear on the steps behind her. They watched in horror as the animal grabbed her by the head, pulled her out into the yard, dropped her there, picked her up by the arm and dragged her over the embankment. The girl’s mother grabbed her husband’s 32.20 revolver, but was too shook up to get it loaded, much less discharge it.

Try to imagine living the rest of your life with THAT memory.

We rarely read of bear attacks in our state, in part because newspapers are disappearing and becoming smaller, and i’m not aware of any government agency that records and tracks such data. But i suspect there are more blood-drawing 9no necessarily fatal) encounters than we think. I remember from high school days a pulpie from Engadine having a scrap with a bear and barely [nip] escaping witrh his life. I also remember reports of two attacks in the Crawford/Oscod County area, one involving a bear in an apiary, and another where a bear snatched up someone’s foo-foo dog (smaller than a football). No fatalities in either bout (including the mutt).

i read in an old book that 18/20 people killed by black bears were instances of predation.14 of the 18, like Carol Ann Pomranky, took place in daytime. By contrast most fatal grizz attacks are at night.

50% of the 14 predation victims were under-18; five of them were under-10. Nine attacks involved adults and the authors, whose names I didn’t write down, referred to three cases similar to Pomranky.

This week i found an article datelined CALGARY, BC about a study by the U of Calgary’s Stephen Herrero whose research has led him to conclude that black bear encounters are on the rise and more likely to occur in Canada or Alaska (rather than in the lower 48 states). Herroro writes that very few attacks involve sows protecting cubs. Herrero collected data covering 1900 – 2009.

The biggest surprise, according to Herrero, was the disproportionate participation by males in predatory attacks.

From 1900 – 2009 63 people were killed in 59 black bear attacks in the U.S. and Canada, 86 percent of these since 1960. The most serious attacks are 3.5 times more common in Canada and Alaska, perhaps, the researcher speculates, because northern bears are “more food stressed.”

There are an estimated 900,000 black bears roaming North America (15x the grizz population). Michigan’s bear population is in the range of 18-20,000 animals, 90% of them in the U.P.

Herrero advises us to ‘act aggressively in a predatory situation. The less you do, the more confident and dangerous the bear becomes.

We might speculate that since 1960 increasing numbers of people hav been encroaching bear territories, including building houses, etc. This undoubtedly increases man-bear contacts.

Our friend Jen Gabriel about six years ago was walking the North Country Trail near her Lake Superior home (@ 300 yards north of where i am writing this morning), She had her three daughters with her: Arie, Anastasia, and Alexandra. Alex, the eldest was walking behind mom, who was carrying Arie, and holding Ann’s hand. Alex said, “Hey mom, there’s a bear and mom thought “yeah sure’ but turned around and sure enough a bear was on the trail yards behind them. Jen had to take the kids onto the open beach below to get the animal to turn away. Might just have been a curious young creature. But this place is @ 50 miles as the core flies from Mission Hill.

If you are out in our woods, you need to be bear-wise.

Friends Jay and Donna arrive this afternoon, God and his bride, the lovely Laurie in three weeks, same week as Bullsido camp. First time in 35 I will have missed camp, but it doen’t feel right to leave Lonnie alone. Her radiation knocked her on her butt, but she is getting stronger as summer goes on. Over.

09 Jul

Sort of Back In Service

Howdy from the UP, Deer Park area [north of Newberry, @ 30-some miles. Been here since mid-May, hunting agates, fishing, exploring, and most of all, writing. We finally broke down and bought cheap cell phones that work from the cabin. And we bought an iPad, which seems to work when it is in the mood, and there is no wind (which here is practically never). This will be my first attempt at doing a blog from the cabin. Without my son there is no way to upload pix now, so words will have to suffice. Loads of interesting stuff to share, but will keep this first remote upload brief. End of this month is my 50th high school reunion and we’re looking forward to that. The big barrier to blogging is the new keyboard, which by any writer’s professional guage ia pure junkola. Keyboard was made for soft-handed Munchkins with itsy bitsy diggies.
While up here, I’ve done some unusual things with the DNR District 2 (and some Lansing) folks. We have a wolf living in the swamp across the lake and have heard it a half-dozen times. We hear from or five coyote packs on an irregular basis, and same for the loons. We have a resident black bear a half-mile east of us and have seen three others, one of them an impressive galoot. Seeing about 2 deer a day. Last two years we saw amost none, and there seem to be lots of fawns about, Wx has been Yooper regular, with morning porch ice in May, coupla hail deposits, and some hot and humid south winds bringing in clouds of carnivorous stable flies, that bite even through wool socks, and leave bloody wounds. Mosquitos, noseeums, black flies, and deer flies not bad at all. Hope you are all having a good summer.
Remember, Force of Blood will be out Sept. 1. Will have inaugural signing at Snowbound Books in Marquette, Saturday Sept 3 (check their site for the times).
Signing At Deer Park Lodge store, Sept 17, which coincides with the Rock On! agate show Sept 17-18. The signing event will start 11 a.m. an go to 2.p.m.,
There will be readings/signings in Escanaba and Newberry,details here when arrangements are set, Will be in Dearborn at Great Lakes Booksellers Oct 16, and at a Kalamazoo event with KAzoo Books later that same week. Yesterday we attended the memorial service at the St. Ignace Methodist Church for Dorothy Vairo, who passed away earlier this year, just short od her 95th and in pretty good health until her last six months. She once royally chewed my ass for calling her beloved U.P,. a wilderness. She never hid her opinions, or her love. She will be missed by all whp were privileged to know her. All from da YOOP for now. Be safe. Over,.

13 May

All Triskaidekaphobics and Friggatriskaidekaphobics Relax

Friday the 13th is nearly  finito. Only had one unconfirmed tornado spotted in the county, the dog is sick, and a god-squad broadast ministry out of California (where else?) guarantees the world is ending May 21. Whaddyagonnado….?

This is my last blog for quite some time, unless I can figure out how to work this software from the UP on a computer fueled by campfire wood. If not, I’ll check back sometime in late August, and remember, new hardback Woods Cop, Force of Blood and Death Roe (in softcover at same time) come out early September. First book signing will be in Marquette at Snowbound Books, Sept 3, 1-3 p.m. We should beat the snow. Let us depart with some interesting pix from CO Nightlinger in the UP, and another from Henry Kisor, author some great mysteries set in Porcupine County (you can figure out the real-world location. Henry has a cabin in that realm and knows the area well. Over.

Triple Trouble. The three kits will be moved to a remote location in the U.P. therein to live the remainder of their natural lives.

But, one cannot begin a journey until a free meal is devoured....

Succinct and to the point. Reminds me of all those people with no military service who are always yapping about what the military should and shouldn't, and can and cannot do. Hogwash.

11 May

Fishing Reports Starting to Come in


High-water trout from South Branch of the Paint River, Iron County.

My friend CO Dave Painter and son Brandon floated the South Branch of the Paint. Water high, operating canoe not easy, but they saw a lot of nice fish and managed the three in the photo. Also heard from friend Joe Guild up in Grayling the Au Sable river has been fishing pretty well, though yesterday a long streamer trip did not produce. So it goes. Over.

10 May

Mother’s Day Remembered

Photos here from our day on the Pere Marquette on Mother’s Day. Perfecto weather!

Get-in on Little South Branch of the Pere Marquette, place we call Two Chimneys.

Little South at Two Chimneys

Baltimore (Northern) Oriole at Two Chimneys (upper right center)

Jambe Longue put the stealth creep on this sandhill crane and got a nice closeup shot!

Two Chimneys

Ironwood on the banks of the Touhi Hunt Club. Looks like muscles rippling under the bark.

Little Asylum Lake, night before the PM trip, lots of wood ducks here and also an odd infrequently seen bird called a Sora.

Picnic shopping at La Mexicana, pre PM trip. All kinds of good stuff!

Stopped at Stop-N-Rob up north and saw these birds on bag of bird seed with a hole in it. I could hear them singing, "Should we?"

This guy mumbled, "Dudes, I'm all over it!"

Legendary Touhi Hunt Club

Ms. Doet Boersma contemplating the Little South at The Little Cabin in the Woods.

PM, Flies Only stretch, above Sessions

Ironwood at Miss Smiths, PM, Flies-Only.

Pere Marquette Palz.

Tick-time and we don't mean clocks. Be prepared. Long sleeves, you know the drill.

Strike Dog on the wall at the hacienda.

We got home and to our surprise found this beautiful cluster of forget-me-nots. I had a packet of seeds, years-old, and last spring dug a small hole and dropped them in, then forgot them. But they didn't let me for get them and never will. Gorgeous flowers!

Best way to look at forget-me-nots is close and personal!

09 May

Pere Marquette on Mother’s Day

What a day yesterday was!  Jambe Longue and I took our new friend Doet Boersma up to the PM yesterday so she could get some photos for her artwork. Bluebird sky, soft air, it was spectacular day. I’ll post photos when Lonnie gets them dumped into the ‘puter. We stopped to see friends Dick and Lu Schwikert on the Little South Branch of the PM and saw some late steelhead on gravel. Dick also told me he’s had two reports in the last week of coho salmon spawning with Steelhead. Ordinarily they spawn in fall with Kings, but Chinooks are mayhaps too much competition. Sizewise they match up better with steelies. Course not an established thing, but an interesting report by any standard. Also, I finally found an ironwood  tree! Was actually leaning on one when I realized what it was! Been looking for them for years. And we saw orioles and rosebreasted grosbeaks and lots of stuff. River is quite high still, though dropping. Shanny swam in just about every spot we stopped. Dick says the bears haven’t been spotted yet in the Baldwin area, but it shouldn’t be long before they come snooping for bird feeders! Spring is flexing its muscles — finally!

Meanwhile my friend Jack Schneider from Marquette sent photo of eagle he took Saturday on his way home from work. Gorgeous creature. And I lifted a couple of fox kit photos off CO Kellie Nightlinger’s Facebook site. Enjoy. Bay tomorrow with  pix from the PM trip.

Keeping the vigil.

Look at me!

Little one

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