Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fall Duck Hunting 2015

The past duck hunting season was one of the best ones I can remember. It wasn't the amount ducks we shot which made it good, personally that doesn't matter, but the number of times we were able to get out. As far as hunting goes, it is top of the list for me personally. We are fortunate to be an a location we can go out if the conditions are good and if we only have 45min to a hour, typically the best time to hunt anyways.  If the kids miss first hour, we can call and say they were hunting and be excused instead of making up an excuse!  Also, the weather this fall has made it very nice to be out. Maybe too nice for duck hunting but the days the wind was right, a northwest flow, cloudy and some weather (rain or even a little bit of snow), it was pretty good. The favorite part I like is paddling out in the dark, setting up in the blind and watching the sun rise over the horizon. We had many different combinations this fall of hunters, from friends to family and was good to see all four boys get out at some point. 

The first morning I got out was the coldest to start out fall. The moon was setting to the right as the sun was rising to the east. Usually the winter months when I am grooming I enjoying this nature occurrence. 

Fog rising from the lake from the cool morning. The temp actually dropped, which is typical, as the sun cracked the horizon.


Paddling along.

Heading back in through the fog.
The low areas were free of frost when we left but the trademark dip at dawn with clear skies set a coating of frost on the low lying areas.

Camo coverage.

Taking a photo of ducks inside the kitchen breaks code but these pair of wood ducks were unique. Jens and his friend Reed with a pair of woodies from the morning hunt.

One of them had a band. Ever time we are out, my dad asks if there were every any banded birds. He was pretty excited and even more so after he logged in the number online.

When I was Jens age, if we shot a banded bird, we would mail in the band. Now you go online and record the number than they send you a pdf to print off. All good. Pretty interesting the duck was banded in Hampshire County, Mass. Probably migrated south for the winter, hooked up with some Midwest birds and decided to go back north with them. 

The boys like to eat duck. Myself included. We immediately clean the ducks when we return and freeze them. Usually we save a few for consumption for lunch or that evening. 

I've got a few different ways to cook them, this time just a simple pan fry with some seasonings for a quick lunch.

Nice variety one morning during MEA. Jens and his friends got out every morning except once. 

Drew and Jens with a ruffed grouse after duck hunting earlier.

My good friend Bruce Adelsman came up for a few days to duck hunt for the firs time. We went out two mornings. The weather wasn't the best, wrong wind and timing but nice to take him out.
Wind in the face not good for birds.

View from the lake towards the blind.

Lunch time! Your duck is ready boys!

Probably the highlight of the season was the night Jon, Jens and family friend Drew and I went out the night before to camp out in the open under the stars. We couldn't of had a better night.  The paddle out was slow as we were in no rush to get to the blind. We stopped multiple times taking in the still night, observing the incredibly bright stars above and the glow from the city lights of Fargo Moorhead to the west.
After we set up, we got a nice fire going for a evening snack and lively conversation.
Tucked inside the sleeping bags as the day was ready to break.
The day would turn out to be too nice again for duck hunting but a exploration on the island where  plans remain for a future outpost cabin to spend the night before and to ski out to in the winter.
Morning fire and coffee.

Morning harvest.

Included in were two beautiful red heads. One of the neat things about duck hunting is the variety of waterfowl species.

Whatever color meat you want to call it, doesn't get much better.

Paddling back in.

Another great morning.

Paddling back in after the morning hunt with Ryan and Ripley.
Back at the landing with Uncle Ryan and Ripley.
Jens and Drew after a wet morning but great duck hunting weather.
Jake has been super busy his final year of college, being a student, working and captain of the Nordic ski team. Got home one weekend to get out bagged a few nice ones.
Jens got his first deer the morning of deer hunting opener. Few hours later, he was in the duck blind.

What a great season!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Family Time

Fall is flying by with a taste of winter already. Probably has been the busiest one I can remember not only at the resort but with kids activities. It's crazy how fast time flies, you don't really seem to notice until one day you stop and really think about it how fast things clip along. Maybe we think about it more with Jake and Jon both being seniors this year.

The other weekend we were once again scattered in different directions with kids in different spots while keeping things moving at the resort. Sunday evening all six of us found our way to Duluth to catch a odd evening game that night as Jon was playing his final game in the regular season of the fall league he has playing in.

After the game we all went out to eat with Jake's friends Ethan and Anna. Fun times.

Maybe once a year we eat sushi. We cleaned our plates!

Always treasure the moments we are all together as those times seem fewer now days.

Kids are growing up!

Since we had three different cars there?!!? I ended up driving home solo. But before heading back I hit up the dirt at Piedmont which is my favorite place to mountain bike in Duluth. I crossed over to Brewer Park trail (photo above) and did that loop than hit up the new Kissing Booth loop that Jake said was his favorite in town. The loop reminded me of the old Powder Monkey course at Spirit Mountain. Hand built trail, very technical and probably the most exhilarating trail I rode all summer and fall.

The Piedmont trail is a more old school trail and stands out among the new trails being built in Duluth which is part of the massive Grand Traverse trail that will feature over 100 miles of singletrack. Pretty impressive.

Great late autumn scenes.

I had the trail all to myself. I am a Strava junkie (cycling app to track rides) and it is interesting to see the rider use on Strava compared to guestimates. I am wonder how many mountain bikers, from citizen to racers use the app. Unless there is a fee being charged, how else is number of riders monitored?

Last week we had our first taste of winter, waking up to snow not forecasted. It was just enough to convince Jack to log the first ski of the year.

The first strides.

It snowed most of that day but with the ground being warm, it melted. However, that night it started snowing hard again, like really hard, and suddenly there was 4" on the ground. Looking at the radar and forecast, it didn't look to last long so I went out for a ski on pretty nice first ski condition. My skis didn't hit the ground and the glide was pretty darn good. Ended up skiing for an hour making up a loop.

With the snow being sticky, the trees and forest was flocked amazingly. Having just a headlamp it was hard to get the full affect but the woods was soft and surreal. By morning the snow was all gone for the most part and only a memory remained.

Confirmation time of year and gathering of families minus a few folks. Nephew Grant above and Jack below.

Always fun  times when we are together. Cheers!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Perham>Shattuck>Long Prairie

The cross country season is winding down with just one regular season meet left. Last week the boys ran at Perham on Thursday. 

One of the features of the Perham course is the "mounds". Lead pack coming over. Perham has a strong cc program and has state and national titles to back it up. There is a good rivalry between Detroit Lakes and Perham now. At the home meet, DL just nipped Perham but wasn't too happen at the Yellojackets home course. 
 Jack coming around the corner.
 Jon chasing.
 Post race.

 Skate park near the course, outskirts of town.

Dirt jump track close proximity. Nice thinking by city officials to make some cheap entertainment for local kids (and adults) utilizing a open area.

 Rode over to the meet, taking back roads, enjoying some nice color on quiet back roads.

 Random item for sale. Wonder if comes with bait. Only in MN.
Sightseeing features while rolling through Frazee.

Another wedding weekend and great weather once again. Setting up Friday afternoon. Finished the day pan frying walleye for the overnight guests at 9m than went down to the cities, taking Jon for the weekend games of hockey.
 Arrived at 1am and up at 630 to head down to Shattuck to play the Prep team for their family weekend.
 Before the game I scoped out the complex checking out the facility. Jon's team didn't get to play in the "old" arena but enjoyed taking the sights in nonetheless.
 Poster from a Euro tourney. I'm sure who ever was there from Shattuck, won it.
 Zach Parise is off to a great start with the Wild this year. Will his photo be replaced with one hoisting "the Cup"?
 Just a few photos on the recognition wall.
Jon's Great Plains team, consisting of kids mostly from Single A schools in northern MN built up a 6-1 lead, holding off a late game surge by Shattuck to win 7-5. Not many teams put than many goals vs Shattuck I'm thinking. I think they were stunned. Jon said the chirps from the GP team towards SSM were some of the best/worst he's eard! Oliver Wahlstrom is the real deal though for SSM. Remember that name.
 The weather Saturday morning was gorgeous, approaching 80 degrees. Quiet fields outside.

 But the Shattuck Prep soccer team was scheduled to play inside the dome so that is where they played. Sounds absorbed by the turf and dead air space. 

 I have a feeling that some of the people purchasing rugs are still buying drugs.
 Back at the resort....Jonell having fun with the bridesmaids that put on all her old dresses from prom and donated from other weddings etc. Jonell continues to do an amazing job with the weddings.
 Sunday was take a nephew mountain biking day so took Garrett out to Lebanon hills for a lap around the main loop before Jon's final game on Sunday.

 Enjoying the fast and flowy trail.

 Sunday, opposite of the rink Jon was playing on had the U17 NDTP team. They were playing one of the teams in the league Jon's team is in. 99 birth years, playing vs teams featuring mostly 97, 98 and some 99 birth years. Very fun hockey to watch. Skill level at the top and good chance quite a few of these kids will be playing Pro in 4-6 years.

 Monday was Mid State conference champs in Long Prairie.
 Sunday the temp reached the mid 90's in western MN. Monday a cold front came through, dropping the temp to the mid 40's with 50 mph winds. Good reason to put on the Nordic suit. Aaron Johnson taking the boys championship along with the boys team from DL. Nice work.
 Bros post race. Love it.
 Mexican market near the golf course. Replenished the pintos and jalapenos purchased in Pelican Rapids which can't be purchased in DL.
Short week for the boys with school only running on Monday and Tuesday. Some great hunting over MEA, beautiful fall weather continues. Next post highlighting the duck hunting season.