Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Update

Skyler was very particular while lining up her fish -- each one had to face a certain direction and the ones you see out of line -- well they did that themselves -- she was having trouble keeping up with their flopping --
well, not too many anyway.

Skyler beside the trophy of fish for the day!
We had another spectacular weekend filled with family-time galore.  Saturday we decided to go ice fishing as a family and spent some 6 hours doin' just that -- the last couple hours Paul's dad and his wife Karen joined us as well.  Now, when I say ice fishing.....I mean ice fishing.  We are sitting out in the open on a lake on a bucket or lawn chair with a bunch of wax worms in our pocket -- like everything else -- we do it the old-fashioned way.  We started out with 72 wax worms and caught 172 fish (yep, I typed that right...172) -- Skyler counted every single one.  We had a blast -- we were catching them about as quick as we could pull them in!  It took us about three hours to clean all those little guys but it was well worth it and now we will have many meals of Bluegill in the Grissoms' eatin' future.  While we were cleaning fish, Skyler was dissecting what was left of several fish after the meat had been removed.  It was actually very interesting to dissect them and I think she learned a few new things. 

Sunday I met up with my friend Ali in the early morning and we went on a butt-busting hike through timber and grasslands for about an hour.  I love that she is always willing to spend time outdoors with me -- no matter what the reason!!  After I returned home Paul and I made another trek out to our property that we bow hunt and hiked and planned for several hours -- just an awesome time to be outside getting great exercise and planning some more for next year's hunting and deer stand placement changes.  Poor Skyler was down with a cold but still was a trooper all weekend.  Can't wait until next weekend!!  After work tonight I trekked with Skyler back into Milan where she and a friend are participating in a 4H weekly project series.  She is working on some very crafty items and I will have to post some pictures of her projects once they are completed.

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family Night

Skyler climbing up a deadfall for the fun of it (and although you can't tell in the picture -- she is also throwing snow at me to make my picture taking a little bit tough.

One of the many tops that the deer were munching on -- you can see that this end has been bitten off.

Skyler making "supper" from the snow and sawdust.
Since we didn't have any plans after work last night, we decided to make a quick run to the timber for some family time and exercise before nightfall.  Skyler can make anything fun and I got some quick snapshots of her climbing a dead tree (while throwing snow at me) and mixing up "supper" with snow and sawdust.  She also counted the rings on some of the trees we just cut and one of the smaller ones was 32 years old.  We were pretty happy to see that the deer had already gone crazy for the tops of the trees that were just cut down yesterday.  There were tracks and droppings all around -- and tons of the buds already chewed off.  We got to see several deer (none of which knew we were there) and a couple turkeys.  What a great way to end our day!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sweet Sunday

Paul is the dot of a person on the left lower corner -- he was dropping quite a huge tree...

Here is Paul doing some more of his magic!
Skyler was invited to a sleepover at a friend's house Saturday night -- so before Paul and I went to pick her up Sunday morning, we made our way out into the timber.  It was a balmy 4 degrees when we left the house.  Our intent was to create some more deer bedding habitat in our main hunting property.  I took some pictures of Paul running the chainsaw.  Now, in addition to more bedding areas, the deer can browse on the little buds that were growing on the tops of these trees -- and as we saw last year -- when we cut trees down this time of year, the deer hit it hard.  Food is harder to come by now and their reserves are down so they swarm every time we do this.  In addition, now that the canopy has been opened, this allows more light to penetrate the forest floor which allows more grasses and shrubs to grow and benefit the wildlife later!!

Skyler, her friend Alex and Barbara who they made a pillow with.

This afternoon -- Skyler and her 4H group went to Hope Creek Nursing home to make lap blankets and pillows with some of the residents there.  Skyler did a great job and really enjoyed visiting with everyone.  She has a knack for conversation with the elderly -- a great gift!!
Skyler and her friend Alex helping make a pillow.

The whole 4-H group

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back in the Swing of Things

Paul and Dan went hunting this past weekend and both were able to make perfect shots on two beautiful does -- great job guys!!

Now that the last late doe season closed on Sunday evening, we are back in the swing of things.  The timbers are ours again -- since most people who hunt will go back to their daily lives, if they haven't already, and won't spend much time in the woods again until next deer season.  We get to enter the timbers knowing that we are probably some of the few people enjoying them this time of year -- our very personal relationship with the timbers and its inhabitants continues.

We celebrated having the timbers to ourselves first thing Monday by spending most of the day with frozen ice pellets covering our hats while we cut, split, loaded and hauled several loads of firewood from the timber. With the icy rain we had that day -- it made for some pretty slippery work trying to get a good grip on the heavy chunks of wood that were covered in ice -- but we got it done.  Skyler and Shadow explored the timber and Skyler made a "snow woman" with sticks for eyes and grass for hair down on the icy creek.  Pretty sure the deer are wonderin' where the snow woman came from. We also worked on butchering two deer and shoveled five driveways. It was a great way to spend the day -- getting some much-needed exercise and beginning again our regular outings to the timbers we love.  Sounds like we get to shovel all those driveways again tomorrow -- for the third time in a week -- since we have another bout of snow comin' tonight.  I am pretty sure that we will be a little more grateful than most when spring comes.  Skyler is our sidewalk shoveler and we are proud that she is also willing to give up her time to help out the elderly and sick who cannot shovel for themselves.

Here is a picture I took of Skyler and Shadow waiting for her bus to come the other morning -- I could take this picture just about every day as we all wait for her bus to come.  Shadow is pretty anxious for the bus to arrive every morning and afternoon -- not quite sure where he thinks the bus takes his best friend every day -- but he is always glad when she comes back home!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We had an awesome New Year's Eve.  There was no hoopla, no champagne or whiskey, no kiss at midnight (cuz we were asleep by then), no great pictures with friends...but what we had was better.  We were together as a family.  We wrote notes that are now tucked away to be read when New Year's Eve 2011 arrives.  We went for a family walk at about 10 pm and talked about our hopes for the coming year and expressed to each other how much fun this past year has been.  Earlier in the afternoon Paul and I went hunting...we did not shoot anything but we saw the last light of 2010 leave the sky while sitting in the timber we are so familiar with---very fitting for us.  So although we didn't bring in the new year as is customary in our culture -- we brought it in the way the Grissoms do best -- together as a family and watching wildlife in the timbers.  Hope your new year celebration was just as great!