MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600, 700, Prē, HTC Evo, Samsung 5, Pixel 3. Now it serves as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Friday, May 28, 2021

Another Ride and Walk in the Woods - 2021 Edition

 

This is my grandfather George Neumann (animation courtesy of MyHeritage). In 1945 he and my grandmother Anne Neumann bought a fishing and hunting camp on the Escanaba River. In 1956 they bought a lakefront property on Big Shag Lake. And in 1950 they bought 200 acres of commercial forest land in Baraga and Iron County. George and Anne died decades ago, but the properties are still in the family and enjoyed by the generations that followed.  

We spent every summer as kids exploring, playing and fishing on the lake and in the river. Looking back it's clear that, to a large degree, we took the properties for granted growing up. I guess we assumed every Chicago kid got to go play in the woods and fish in lakes and rivers throughout their childhood. Now I cannot help but reflect how much these properties shaped the people we became and a glue that binds the extended family that enjoy them now.  

Family Forestland

The commercial forest land was and is the least visited of the three properties. It's in the middle of nowhere, hard to get to, no lake, no river, just trees. Yet it may turn out to be the family's most important legacy. Now owned by my father and cousin Emily, we are in the fourth generation of the family to be actively involved in managing this land. The stewardship of this forestland and assuring it was maintained in a healthy and sustainable way across multiple harvests over the last seventy years is source of considerable pride in the family.

Two years ago we toured the property with Justin - the forester who runs Green Timber Consulting Foresters. It was twenty years after the last cut. We hired them to cruise the property, mark the trees for a selective cut, and manage the bid and logging process. This day we'll tour the property with Brian - a forester that works for Justin  at GTCF. Brian was primarily responsible to oversee, monitor, and manage the loggers working the property over the last two years. 

Harlan, Emily, Brian, Kowayne
Representing the family on this walkabout were two of George and Anne's grandsons - Harlan and me -  their great-granddaughter Emily and her husband Kowayne. 
First things first... unload the ATV's



We can cover more ground this way...

... and we had a lot of ground to cover.

Some pics and vids from our day in the woods: 


Rolling - looking for corners - Brian adds his name to the tag

Brian explains

A big birch growing out of an old stump

Emily declined to stand on the stump as I requested.

 
We specify the White Pines on the property are off limits to the loggers.

Brian, Harlan. ....
... Emily, Kowayne

A good day. Learned a lot. Happy with the post harvest aftermath. 

As has become a tradition after one of these walkabouts, we wrap the day with a local delicacy... 


... a cudighi 'to go' from Ralphs Italian Deli.

It's good. 



Sunday, May 23, 2021

Over The River And Through The Woods (with Bears).

 
The first trek of the year into "Lil Camp" on the Escanaba often requires a chain saw to clear winter treefall on the "road". Last year, there was so much winter storm damage that, after hacking our way in, all we had time to do was have a beer, turn around, and head back. 

This year a different story. It was an easy drive in. 

On arrival we had time to stop, relax, and mindfully reflect on that important moment in each day when one switches from coffee to beer before proceeding with the projects of the day. 

We had two goals for this excursion. 1) Fish for trout and 2) reset the trail cam / automated timed feeder. 

Fishing First: We Catch Trout

Harlan, Clover and I make it down to the river hacking through the underbrush that has overgrown the trail. 

Clover is fearless in the cold water, clambering over rocks in the riffles and swimming to keep up with us as we wade downstream. The river was high, but safe.


We each hooked a trout on the first cast. Except for Clover. She wasn't fishing.



My best day ever fishing on the Escanaba. I've caught trout here before, but they're generally few and far between. I caught more trout this day at this spot than I've caught life-to-date up to this day. We took enough brookies for a nice fry. 


Earlier Harlan texted Emily about our plans for the day. While we were on the river they arrived. Emily led Kowayne and Arthur down to find us. An impressive bit of trail bashing. I'm not sure they were confident in her directions, but she got them down and back. I think. 


Next up - Reset the Trail Cam / Feeder 

Next up, we relocate, reset, and reload the trail cam and automated feeder. It's a bigger job than one would think. Particularly the process of suspending 20 pounds of corn in the feeder eight feet off the ground. But we got it done:

 Now we wait to see what critters will stop by for a snack.

UPDATE June 5, 2021 - This Happened: 

The very next day after reloading the trail-cam and feeder, mamma bear and her cubs show up.

And the next day...

... and the day after that.

Then, four days later, Papa Bear showed up. This at 9:44: 


He checks out the situation, and at 9:49 he is snuffling among the corn on the ground...


and apparently finds it unsatisfying. Because at 9:51...


... he is sauntering back from the tree that held the cable suspending the feeder and the feeder is now on the ground. And 15 minutes later his head is in the can and eating his fill.


So it's back to the drawing board.  

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Back to the Lake


 After a red-eye flight, a day game at Wrigley, and a day shopping for supplies, we're packed and heading North. An early Saturday departure. Harlan, Dad, Clover and I caravan in two cars. 

Halfway there... Crossing the Leo Vigo Memorial Bridge

We made good time with a stop in Marinette....


... for a butter burger at Culvers (Harlan & Dad across the street at the picnic table) and a fill up for gas. Cannot resist weighing in with a reminder of how screwed up California politics can be. At the time this picture was taken, gas was approaching $5.00 a gallon in Ca. A combination of high gas taxes and a ridiculous regulatory policies produce the most regressive possible burden on the people who can afford it least - working class Californians with long commutes who cannot afford high priced rents and real estate near their job. 

Moving on... Katie and Joel prepared a fun greeting and special treats for us in "Upper Earth":


We arrived to 80 degrees in late afternoon. Harlan goes for a swim and...


... Dad does some fly fishing for bluegills off the dock...


... under Clover's watchful eye. 

We'll be here for a few weeks. I think I'll diverge from the usual chronological narrative to summarize the trip by the Five "Fs" - Food, Forestry, Fishing, Friends and Family. Not necessarily in that order.  

Speaking of food... 

Grams Pastie and Laughing Fish Beer
Apropos

There was no interest in cooking after the drive, so we started the trip with pastys and beer picked up along the way. 


Sunset at the lake. Almost feels normal, again. I like it. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

SFO => ORD => Wrigley Field

 Wrigley Field Bleachers 5/20/21 

One would think that, during a pandemic, when one is mostly constrained to staying home, one would become more productive on indoor activities like maintaining a blog. One would be wrong. 

It's been a year since I lasted posted on this blog. No excuses. No explanation. However, there is a certain symmetry. My last post documented my annual pilgrimage to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, running the travel gauntlet in the early days of the pandemic. Now, I am getting back on the blogging horse by documenting the same trip while fully vaccinated and in the waning days of the pandemic.  A lot that happened in the intervening months, and maybe someday I'll backfill some intervening notable experiences. Probably not, but it could happen.

In the meantime, let's proceed from this moment and just pretend that last year didn't happen.

As noted, we're vaccinated, the pandemic light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, but we're still in the tunnel and it's prudent to take precautions.  As I did last year, booked a red-eye on a big jet, hoping for fewer passengers, empty seats and planning for an early morning transit through O'Hare. Took Uber to SFO, sailed through security and got on board. As it turns out, the flight was packed. Still,  I was impressed with United's more comfortable improved seats and screens in "Economy Plus" on board this 777.

 
 

Harlan met me at the airport early and armed with day game Wrigley Field bleacher tickets. We got there in time for batting practice. 



When trying to get used to "normal" again, what better place to attend my first large scale public event than a Cubs game at Wrigley?

Hi Harry!


 
Usual fare


 

This was the last game with pandemic restricted attendance...


... which afforded us a unique opportunity in the right field bleachers,


I doubt that I will ever again be able to stretch out like this in the bleachers during a beautiful day game at Wrigley Field. Once in a lifetime. 

Cubs win 5-2:

"CHICAGO -- — Playing without two of their biggest bats, the Chicago Cubs found enough offense once again. Ian Happ led the way. Happ homered twice and drove in three runs, helping Chicago beat the Washington Nationals 5-2 on Thursday."

A great start to the trip.