Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"The Vest" is gone as Jim Tressel Resigns....The Buckeye Shirt wearing dog however, is still around...

The Memorial Day Weekend was indeed like the true beginning of Summer...hot and humid, with a round of storms on Saturday Night, just to keep the grass growing and the farmers out of the fields...and one more hot one today, with a high predicted of 94, chance of more storms tonight....then, so they predict, it will be less hot, less humid, and less rainy for the next 10 days or so....we will see.

The End of the Vest Era at The Ohio State University____

 Stick a fork in Jim Tressel, the button down, straight laced, coach of Ohio State Football....he has resigned after the charges of lying about many things finally got to be too much.  Record wise he will go down as the greatest coach in OSU Football history, even beating the likes of Woody Hayes, who resigned some 34 years ago, after slugging a Clemson player at the end of a Bowl Defeat.  Personally I could respect what Woody did, Hell I would probably have done the same given the situation...The Vest, not so much.  Jim Tressel gave up his position and power, because of his slave like worship/devotion for one sorry punk son of a bitch, named Terrelle Pryor.


When the recruiting wars began for the athletic, but stupid in mind and soul, quarterback from Pennsylvania, 4 years ago, the Buckeye Nation was all a ga-ga about getting this clown.   Now it appears, Ohio State may have won the battle to put Pryor in a Buckeye uniform, but lost the war.  The signing of TP was the worst move in Buckeye Football history....and Tressel, who fell on his sword for Pryor and 4 others of the infamous "Tat 5" paid the ultimate price.  And you can bet more penalties and forfeits are coming from the equally corrupt NCAA.

So the Vest is gone, even oldest son Sam, who attends OSU, and works for the Big Ten Network and OSU.Com likes Tressel, and feels his undoing was the "Tat 5"...he thinks that when and if they come back off their 5 game suspensions...the OSU fans in the stands will not treat them kindly.   Frankly I don't care...I became sick of Tressel and his act when he tossed the entire Senior class and especially quarterback Todd Boeckman under the bus, all for the glory of Pryor, back in 2008 season...I figured right then he was a snake in the grass, and Pryor was a useless piece of trash...seems I was right on both counts.  And I've been a Buckeye football fan for 50 years.

My guess is The Vest will never coach in college again....but the NFL has a place for him on the sidelines...look for Tressel to resurface, perhaps at Cleveland, with the Browns, they deserve each other...and Hell maybe Pryor can be his savior there?  {insert major league eyeroll}

The Buckeye Dog is still here____

As I wrote on yesterday's post, late Saturday afternoon, a small Pekingese or Lhasa Apso type dog, wearing a Ohio State jersey(how appropriate given yesterday's news} came wandering into our back yard through the open garage doors....after contacting the police, checking the Fairgrounds, and even taking a photo(attached) of him and posting it on a sign in the front yard saying "Dog Found, Inquire Within" there have been no takers or no calls, contacts, etc.  Now this guy was previously groomed, wearing a shirt of somebody's favorite football team, so somebody has to miss him...hopefully today will be the day...but if not, he has a home here, until somebody comes calling...he seems to be well behaved, and has taken over the fenced-in backyard as his personal turf.

ACME Baseball was slated to start tonight...I am scheduled to work here in Celina as they were to host Minster....that won't happen however, as both Minster, and Delphos St. Johns(the team I was scheduled to umpire for 9 times but was rained out 8 of those) made the D4 State Semi Finals...if both teams win on Thursday, the two league rivals (DSJ won the regular season league title and match up) would square off for a State Title...good luck to both!  So unless Celina has secured another team to take Minster's place...my season will begin tomorrow at Convoy Crestview...

Patricia and I are heading for Lima today, to check out "stuff" for the November arrival of Grandkid #1...

back later>>>

Photos-The Vest is History at OSU, all because of the mistake named Terrelle Pryor...anybody missing a approx 2 year old male dog wearing a OSU Jersey?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Found Dog....Celina, Ohio

Last evening after Anissa had returned to her house across town, I was sitting on the back steps with Patricia, who had worked digging and weeding most of the day, in the heat and humidity, while I drank beer and smoked cigars appreciating her work.  I looked up and see this dog coming through the open side door of our garage.  A funny looking Pekingese type dog, or maybe a Pug faced PeekaPoo...not really sure, but here he comes, wearing a Ohio State Football Jersey(how appropriate considering OSU Football Coach Jim Tressel resigned under pressure today)...and he walks into the yard.  Reagan the aging Airedale was in the house enjoying the A/C, so except for us, he had the back yard to himself...

His "shirt" was dirty and he appeared hungry...so we gave him some water and dry food...and let Reagan out to greet him.  After some fear of the much larger dog, he finally settled in...for the NIGHT!  Could not find anybody looking for him.  So he spent the night on the back steps, and ate a couple bowls of food.

This morning I checked with the police, Patricia went to the fairgrounds and checked with the small group of campers over there...but thus far...no takers.  Now somebody has to be missing this dog...you don't dress a canine up in a OSU shirt and put him out on his own....do you?

Oh' well, that and the heat are the topics of this Memorial Day around here....Say a big thank you to all that came before and since who have paid the sacrifice for this Nation.....and stay vigilant against those like the current bastard in the White House, who are doing all they can to destroy what the real heroes paid the ultimate price to defend.

And if you're missing a dog...drop me a e-mail!

back later>>>>

Photo-Here is he...we will call him "Buckeye" for now...until his owners show up to claim him...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Unofficial Beginning of My Summer...

Ugly, foggy, wet, and cloudy, is how the day begins...I was all set to complete one more leg in the seemingly endless job of lawn mowing today...it was time to get over to mom's and hack my way through hers with the Law Boy.  Then I thought, "maybe I'll take the Toro over", it being much quicker and smoother to maneuver through somewhat high and not so dry grass.  But after walking outside to feed the backyard birds and squirrels, I realized that it is just too wet to do any yards today...or at least until later, if and when the sun comes out and dries things off a bit.

We had one more round of storms last night, and another Tornado Warning in the south part of the county and over in Auglaize County...I don't think that any twister touched down...just some cold funnel type clouds were seen.  So, despite some storms possible on Saturday night, it appears that we may be in for a long time in coming change in the weather...sunny, hot, humid, and mercifully drier, for the most part weather.  We can use it.

Today begins Patricia's Summer vacation from school...the kids are out of school, and the teachers get their annual break from the war with Columbus and DC BureauRats trying to tell them how and what to teach to fit the Politically Correct mode that has infested our nation from one end to the other.  The Lapdog NEA(National Education Association) and their state affiliates pushing their Rainbow Agenda right down parents, good teachers, and students throats...but I digress.  The point is, school is out, and with that I have to change my lifestyle as well.  Not always an easy thing to do at my age.  Of course on this first day of her "Summer"..she isn't even around, down in Columbus with a friend, taking care of some business.  They left at 6am...so actually this morning is no different than most weekdays during the fall, winter, and spring.

Instead of sitting on the computer with just the sleeping dog and cat lying on the rugs near the computer enclosure for 2 hours each morning....Patricia will usually be up and about before me, and beginning her summer projects...which is fine by me, the less time I sit around this keyboard during good weather(if it really comes), the better.  She has her projects,  one is fixing up one of the empty bedrooms to house a crib and other items to be taken care of for the future(our first) grandchild who is due in late November...all is going well on that front so far.  We actually get to find out the sex of the future Houseworth on Father's Day weekend.

Meanwhile I made myself a half~assed list of things to do...or at least try to accomplish.  All sandwiched around summer baseball umpire work, which will take up the bulk of June, and into parts of July.

I've got to get the down/drain spouting cleaned out...at least the lower level stuff I can reach...the winter grime and leaves have plugged some up....even though they are less than 2 years old.  I've got to paint the east side and south part of the garage...two parts that I ignored during the house painting project in 2009...also a couple of touch up spots need done elsewhere.  The Jeep and Buick...both of my alternate vehicles need to be back on the road...then one(probably the Jeep if all things work out with the 77 Buick), needs to get sold.  4 cars with two licensed drivers is not necessary, nor can I justify the insurance premiums on all four...three, with one as a back up, are fine...

We have a wedding, Patricia's nephew, Dr Mike, is getting hitched in Wisconsin in late July...Patricia, Hal, and wife Lisa, are going...I've been trying to beg out...and may, we will see.  The Kokomo and Dayton Reunions in September and October for Vietnam Veterans(Kokomo) and Vietnam Security Police Association(Dayton) are coming up...need to save for them as well.  You never know how many we have left.  The VSPA in Dayton hopefully will see the reunion of at least a handful of guys that have not seen each other since 1969 or 70, the guys of the 14th SPS at Nha Trang, AB.

So, there you have it....although it's 50 degrees, cloudy, and foggy outside...our Summer Vacation has unofficially began...let it roll.

back later>>>

Photo-Summer officially is about a month away, but ours begins today...This means the usual Dark and Stout Beers will give way, for the most part, to the American Lagers, like Miller Lite...and the Howard County, Indiana, Vietnam Veterans and the VSPA Reunions will be on the agenda as Summer winds down and fall begins.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marathon Baseball/Marathon Storm Systems

The storms rolled in and out of Western Ohio throughout the day and overnight yesterday and early this morning....to be honest, our little world in Mercer County probably got off easy compared to areas north towards Findlay, and south through the Dayton area, and even more so in southern Indiana...of course in Missouri, those long suffering people got hammered again.

More details on my new Western Ohio weather blog at:

Centerville, Ohio...Hal outruns the storms

As the second of three batches of storms ripped into the area,  Patrica went over to mom's place and brought her here for supper and to ride out the worst of the weather...meanwhile the worst of the early evening storms took aim on youngest son Hal's town of Centerville, Ohio,(just south and east of Dayton) and the surrounding bergs.  Hal arrived home in time to beat the storm, but had no way of getting his Ford Focus in the garage....and when the 2" hail hit...his ride too a hit.  Photos enclosed:

Other towns were hit worse, and some of the fantastic damage reports can be found at WHIO~TV:


It was a Hell of a ride last night....

The Reds Lose...in 19 innings__

While all that drama was going on, our storms, at least the first batch, was heading east and north...Mom decided to head for home, so I kicked back, watched the Reds, the Stanley Cup, and WHIO, with remote in hand to see where the action was best.

The Reds looked like they have of late...and after a hosing by the first base umpire, some stupid base running by Brandon Phillips, and some unwise swings when they had the Phillies pitchers down...the score stood 4-4 heading into the bottom of the 18th inning...the major storms passed and I headed for bed...the Reds?  Well they couldn't hit a non-pitcher(Philadelphia was out of bullpen hurlers)..and lost in the 19th inning...5-4.  Ugly road trip, as they appear destined to fall out of the NL Central race by early June, if this keeps up.  They play the final of the 4 game series this afternoon in Philly...both team could be exhausted.

 The Stanley Cup continues to be a great show, despite having no teams left to root for or against....Tampa Bay defeated Boston last night to tie the Eastern series at 3 games each....tomorrow they head back to Taxyer2shits and the winner will face off against Vancouver in the Finals starting this coming week...Go Lightning..there I've picked a team to root for.

In the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in Columbus, Ohio State scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th to stay in the winner's bracket with a 5-3 win over Minnesota...they play again tonight, weather permitting....be sure to stop by the new Weather Blog for more photos and details of last nights storms:


back later>>>>>

Photos-Dark Clouds roll through Mercer County, Ohio, we were spared the worst of the 3 major storm fronts yesterday and last night....Hal's Hail, bigger than a quarter, but smaller than the Softball size stuff in Bellbrook....and his car(double click for dents) have getting "Stoned" in Centerville...the trees took a beating as well.  The Reds sink in 19 innings...they are now 1 up and 6 down on an ugly road trip...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A New (Ad)Venture...Midwest Weather

After I had done some lawn work and did a 30 minute walk to top it off, I was heading outside to drink a cod one...the oldest of my two sisters(but still younger than me) had sent me an e-mail with a warning about today's predicted outbreak of storms.  I answered back..."Great, Just Freaking, Great"....she sent a reply reminding me of Grandma's "Weather Diary" that she kept on a daily basis....and it got me to thinking{always dangerous in it's own right}.  I usually start these blogs off with a opening paragraph about the weather...so..."Why not just start another blog, strictly about the weather facing/affecting West Ohio in particular, and the Midwest in general?  Yep, just what I need...more diversions on the computer, with warmer weather coming....

Usually I spend about 90 minutes to two hours on the Internet each morning, except weekends, after that, especially if the weather is good, I only check in before hitting the sack, or if I am expecting a e-mail sports contract.  So I think to myself, "If I can get this thing started, it should not take more than a half hour each morning to recap the days weather outlook with a few words, forecast, and maybe a photo or two....So here we go:

 I have not even figured out how to lay it out...but while waiting for the grass to dry at home and at mom's, and before the storms smash into the area(Chicago is getting clobbered right now)...away I go..

back later>>>>

Photo-A Brilliant Sunset at the Flying J Truck Stop near Sayre, Oklahoma, back in 2008...more weather photos like this will be on display on the new Weather Blog...and a look at the 8 O'Clock Radar for the Great Lakes and our area...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Spring Baseball Season Ends...the Rain Continues

Garry and I headed south and east 60 miles to Bellefontaine about 3pm yesterday to finish up our Varsity High School Baseball gigs for the year...the Summer seasons of ACME and American Legion Baseball begin soon enough, with my first contest slated for May 31st at Celina....

The season flew by, as it always does in, swift fashion....all-in-all, I was disappointed in the way things went this season.  The weather, for the most part, was the primary reason for my discontent...with yesterday being just the 6th game that I wore the usual short sleeved umpire shirt, the rest I donned jacket and/or long sleeves.  In all  I completed 32 games out of a season schedule of 48...right at 67%, which, by all standards is right at average, with some games being switched out for others.  In addition to the weather, I just got in two tournament games, after having been assigned to about 20 the previous 3 seasons, including 3 Regional Contests in that time period...this year the Regional and State Semi and Finals are still to be played, with the State Champions being crowned on June 4th in Columbus. So for me, it's on to a long hot summer of baseball...something I am less inclined to do in the numbers as in past years...but time will tell.  Meanwhile Football is less than 3 months down the road...and we really have not even tasted warm weather yet!

The Downpours Continue____

Garry and I got our game in despite storms to the north and west, and especially to the southwest...where Missouri got hammered again.  As the final out was made on a 3-2 Kenton Ridge win over Bellefontaine, a few rain drops came from the sky...by the time were reached the small berg of Jackson Center on Ohio 274, both our cell phones were ringing...Hal and Patricia on mine, and then Garry's wife Lisa, and friend Tim, on his....all sides updating us on the weather action, while Garry checked out the Radar on his phone screen.  There was no way we were not going to get clobbered, whichever route we took back to Celina.  I finally opted to drive I-75 to US 33 to Wapakoneta, then west to Celina.  It turned out to be a wild, wet, ride...with strong north and west winds and torrential downpours across fields and roadways.  By the time we made home, the sun was out, and just the drenched streets remained.....the storms then passed during the night, with our little neck of the woods probably getting the least of the heavy rains.

The farmers will be shut out of the fields for awhile longer, while the endless mowing will continue for the homeowners of the Midwest.  Any dry day needs to be taken advantage of, with lawns in constant mega growth.  We have some storms on the way for tonight and then the rest of the week, right on through Sunday, look wet.  Maybe, maybe, by early next week, things will look brighter, but I'm not buying that just yet.

Meanwhile I will enjoy my short break from the baseball diamonds....

back later>>>>

Photos-Spring Baseball for me is finished, now a weeks break before the Summer Season begins...and some of the results of our Mulch Party over the weekend...the question is, will the rains drown out our work?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Say a prayer for Joplin, Missouri...the bad weather beat goes on

After seeing the damage, death, destruction and reading about the same in Southwest Missouri, our little wet and cold spring doesn't seem so bad:


Watched the Weather Channel reports, while Fox and the rest of the lame 24/7 "news" outlets were doing specials with idiots like Geraldo Moronrivera about a 3 year old murder case in Orlando, Florida...good move Fox.  I don't know why I stopped watching???  24/7 of that idiotic wedding in Britain(who gives a rat's ass?), dumping Beck, and ignoring news for tabloid headlines...congratulations, you have caught up with MSNBC and CNN in the who cares category? Might as well waste time on the National Enquirer....

Anyway, the storms were something to behold...check out this youtube video from a convenience store as the storm hit...not much to view, but the sounds are chilling enough:  


As for this part of the world in West Central Ohio....we had a warm and mostly dry, at least considering what we have had the past 2 months, weekend.  Patricia and I got out in the yard....she bought 10 bags of mulch, and used 9 of them in the back yard fence edges to get rid of weeds and highlight the flowers...I replanted a row or two of Sunflowers...some just were not able to get out from under the thick mud and clay, left by the persistent rains, so I replanted and am hoping for the best.

I also got out the chain saw and trimmed the brush and cut back on the lower parts of the Evergreens around the fence...mowed our lawn Saturday, and Mom's on Sunday....in-between I drank plenty of beer and smoked a couple of cigars with Nick, as he stopped by on Saturday night....and listened to the Reds slump, getting swept by the Indians in Cleveland.  The traction they gained by winning 5 straight over the Cardinals and Cubs is gone, as they return the favor with 5 straight loses against Pittsburgh and Cleveland...now 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis, they head for 4 games in Philly, the scene of last seasons playoff disaster.

We had a shower early Saturday night, while Nick and I sat under the trees in the back yard...then last night a big storm front came through, we got some rain, but the majority of the first front hit north, and then overnight, the second batch went south....we lucked out for now.  However, the rain and storms are forecast for the next week, it appears this is going to be one of those years, where nothing much dries out...I hate it!

Garry and I are slated to do a final regular season league game down in Bellefontaine tonight...but that doesn't look likely, considering the forecast....regardless, I am done until May 31st when ACME kicks off.....enough for now, time to get out and walk...

back later>>>>                               Photos-A massive tornado rumbles through Joplin, Missouri, killing scores and destroying much of the city of 50.000. The Brush Pile from our yard, waits for city pick-up crews.  The Reds take a dump in Cleveland, seems that's about all that that city is good for.  And despite the rains that have played havoc with planting the Annuals....the Perennials and local Grand Lake Canadian Geese have no problem growing and reproducing for another year...guess the Guess didn't get the message from ODNR, to stay off and out of Grand Lake?

Friday, May 20, 2011

A one or two day respite before the storms return...

With another baseball rain out yesterday, I decided to look back at my sports/baseball umpire calender since the first of April, and see exactly how many rainy days we have had over the past 6 weeks...Mind Boggling was the report.  However, we may indeed get a day or maybe two days in without a shower...Maybe!


By the end of the weekend, the rains, in the form of scattered Thunder Storms will return, and last for much of next week...looks like those farm boys will stay locked out of the fertile fields of West Central Ohio....at $10,000 an acre, that land is not earning it's keep...meanwhile the heavy rains, following a winter of rain and snow continues to pollute Grand Lake....swimming and eating any fish(why would you eat fish our of our 13,000 acre cesspool?), will be shut down again this Summer...the boating may be allowed...like that(state warnings) would stop us anyway?


So it appears this will be another Summer of discontent for the fans of Grand Lake St. Marys....

With a day of sunshine, it appears I will get a game in at Spencerville tonight...Garry and I are scheduled to work down south 60 miles to Bellefontaine on Monday, but that is up in the air....depending on the rainy forecast coming into play.  That will end my Spring season, no Regional or State games this season...Oh Well~guess I didn't kiss enough butt with the bigwigs in Columbus...but with 3 Regional and 10 District games worked the past three seasons, I cannot complain.  I just wish that OHSAA would give some of the good younger umpires a chance...to see old farts, my age and older, who can no longer move(at least I'm in good shape and can still get up and down the basepaths, football fields, and basketball courts), but can still kiss ass, getting the State and Regional games is making/has made for years, a farce of the selection process. 

If any of the big guns read that, I may never get another tournament game...but you know what?  At 62 years old,  I don't need them, and the truth needs to be told...the process past the District Level is a joke....

I will get out and walk this morning...probably with a trip past Grand Lake Road, maybe snap a photo, just to see if my camera is back working, after it's Michigan cold stream drowning...it is working to a degree thus far.  But even after all the drying out, it still has some bugs...and I won't put up with that long...when it comes to things like computers, XM Radios(another story), and cameras...I don't have a lot of patience.

OK...with the weather good for a short time...I am outta here>>>>

enjoy the weekend, back later....

Photos-While Grand Lake St Mary may look pristine in my photographs...the under belly if full of hideous Blue~Green Alga, and is unsafe for swimming and fishing alike...Boating?  Probably not safe for that either, but you know what, we still will be out on it....Bar Stool Open is Set for August 6, 2011.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mushroom Hunt part #3, Remembering Mt Saint Helen 31 years later...

Another miserable day of rain and colder than normal conditions, that have plagued this part of the world, yesterday in Ohio.  So bad that a front is spinning all the way off the Atlantic Ocean, and bringing rain bands from east to west, something you seldom see, at least not to the extent that it is happening this week.  I have not seen the sun since last Thursday when we left for upper Michigan....and with the exception of Friday and the daylight hours on Saturday, the rain is predicted to continue unabated through the end of the month of May....."Un-Freaking Believable".  This may be worse than that long, cold, wet, Spring of 1981...it is however predicted to warm up into the 70s by Friday.   Needless to say the fields are not planted, the flowers are slow in coming up, the lawns are not getting mowed, and baseball tournament time, and the completion of the regular league season, are getting canceled or, at least in the tournament case, set back.  Miserable is not an overused word in this case.

Michigan Mushroom Hunt...epilogue___

After our encounter with the Eastern Hog Nosed snake, we all thought was a Timber Rattler, we headed out on our quest for the Morel Mushooms...more like Mushroom in this case...I think the gang found maybe 3 on this trip out of camp...I got shutout...again.  In fact I found my entire stash near Cousin Moe's place around Alanson, earlier that afternoon.

After getting back to camp, we threw a few logs on the fire, and began to cook the nightly meal, drink some beer, and fire up a few hand-rolled cigars.   As we sat around the campfire and grill, we noticed a Jeep Wrangler, much like mine, pull up near where we found the snake....Rick and Clint went over to greet the lone occupant of the Jeep, to warn him about our "Rattlesnake", and offer him a bite to eat and a beer.  This guy, named Jimmy, in turn offered us a "Cocktail" of Vodka and Club Soda...all but Clint declined, preferring to stick with the barley brew.  Talking with Jimmy, we discovered that in addition to the two bags filled with Morels he had, it seems he was a 40 year old law student from Jackson, Michigan(via Seattle), that usually spent the entire month of May in Northern Michigan, hunting and selling the various eatable Mushrooms.  Jimmy sat around telling us how he went about his month long adventure.  The guy kept logs, pay books, and charts...he was into it.

Drowning My Camera___

About that time, I decided to grab a couple of beers from their resting place in our adjacent stream...at 38 degrees in the water, we figured it was a great place to keep the beer cold.  So we placed those in a large Grapefruit sack, which we also used to collect our Morels.  As I bent over the stream, plucked out a couple of cans, I slipped a bit, dropping one can in the shallow stream, as I reached for that, my Fuji Camera came out of it's carrying case, which was hooked to my belt(Note photo with me and Moe at top, you can see the case with camera on my belt line)...the camera plunked into the frigid water...it took me two grabs to pull it out, by that time it was submerged and pretty much done for the duration of the trip, if not forever.  Jimmy rescued the 75 cent beer, but my $100 Fuji was soaked to the core.  I took the SD Chip out and dried if off...the camera and batteries were not working.  It's been 2 days since I pulled it out of the dry rice to absorb the moister...I manage to take one grainy photo with it on Monday, but nothing that I will be able to use...I have had it back in the rice for the past 48 hours...I will pluck it out this afternoon, if it doesn't work like I think it should, I will make plans on buying a new one.  At least the chip, with the snake other other photos was waterproof, and I saved those photos.

At 12.2 Mega Pixels and easy to use(plus usually great photos) I hate to lose the Fuji, but I see that there are some 14 MPs out there in the same price range...so that might be my next option.  I am not going back to my old Sony 1MPs from a dozen or more years ago...I remember those suckers cost upwards of a thousand buck, and although convenient, don't have the quality of today's smaller digital.  Time has certainly been kind to the folks that like digital cameras.  On a related note, my XM Radio has also gone south...I have a spare that fits into the car...not sure whether I will activate that, or dump the entire system.  At $15 a month, it's not bad, and I have had if for about 4 years....but not sure if I use it as much as I should for the money...something to mull over in the next two weeks, before they post June's payment.

Finishing Up the Trip____

Lite but persistent rains came to the campsite, as we retired for the night.....it was still with us, along with colder temperatures, when we climbed out of the tents on Saturday morning....

We packed up and headed south for Mesick, the old stomping grounds of years past....the rains picked up, and Rick's boys, Clay and Guy, headed south for Indiana.  Clay had a Purdue graduation to attend, and Guy had to work on Sunday.  Clint, Rick, and I, took the Quad Cab Ford 150 and headed for the woods...as we drove the muddy back service roads, the rains increased.....we found a spot that Jimmy had told us about, and donning our rain gear we headed out.  A hour later, soaked to the bone, with no new Morel finds, we decided to end the trip right then and there.   5 hours later we were sitting in Rick's garage, smoking cigars, drinking a few final beers, discussing what had went wrong with the hunt.

As it turned out, Rick and wife Toni, had found more Morels on their 17 acres in one hour than we collected in Michigan in 48 hours, and hundreds miles driven and hundreds of dollars spent.  Don't get me wrong, the main point of our annual Mushroom Hunting is to get away from it all....but we would like to come back with a thousand Mushrooms, or even 500 one of these years.....as they say in Cubs Baseball..."Wait Until Next Year"!!

May 18, 1980...Where were you when Mt Saint Helen's blew her top?

One half my life ago...I'm now 62, when I was 31 back in the spring of 1980, I was spending my final few months in Dodge City, Kansas, as radio News Director for stations KGNO and KDCK...Dodge City Broadcasting.

The news that May had been awash with stories of a possible large explosion at a thought dormant volcano in the great northwest.  That morning while preparing for the next newscast...I heard the bells ringing on my AP Wire machine....Mount St. Helens had indeed exploded:


The above link is from last year, the 30th Anniversary of the event....I still remember as the ash plume backed up towards the vast prairie that houses Dodge City and the Kansas Plains...more than a thousand miles to the east of explosion, the skies darkened for several days...that is what I was doing on this day in 1980....are you old enough to remember that?

back later>>>> 

Photos-top...Mt Saint Helens several hours after the eruption...My Fuji Camera, not in working order anymore...The lack of finding hundreds of Morels did dampen, but did not ruin our annual Michigan trip...Mt Saint Helens at the moment it erpupted on May 18, 1981, leaving the side and surrounding area destroyed, and at least 57 people dead.

Below:  Final photos of our trip and campsite around Boyne Falls, Michigan, this past weekend:  Double Click for larger views....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mushrooms, Meeting Cousin Moe, Rain, and Hog Nosed Snakes...Part #2/Snakes from my past, Venice, Florida...

Since returning from Northern Lower Michigan, the one thing that has not changed around these parts is the miserable, wet, cold, weather this spring has brought....the only good news is that the Summer months ahead are expected to be below normal, temperature wise...maybe we will get a break from the heat and humidity, which is sure to be around, considering the record rains that continue to fall.  My game at Lima Central Catholic yesterday was canceled, giving me a chance to mow both our lawn and Mom's....just Anissa's to go, and then probably back at it over the weekend.  The equally bad news concerning the rains...they are, this morning, backing up from the east coast, and now appear they will be around until at least Thursday...the extended forecast until the early days of June, don't look much dryer...warmer, yes, dryer?, not this year.

A Michigan Hog Nose and Snakes from my past_____

After leaving Cousin Moe's part of Michigan and returning the 30 miles south to the Boyne Falls area, we re-started the campfire...being in a damp, open location, we did not need to worry about starting any wildfires from our site....so we left the logs on the fire and kept the campsite warm, even while we were gone, and we had plenty of neighboring campers to keep an eye on things while we wandered off in search of the elusive Morels.  As we headed out towards the hills and woods to the north, some 50 yards from the campfire, I hear Rick say "Hey, what is this thing"?...I look over and can see what can only be described as a pile of dog dung....until Rick poked it with his walking stick.  That's when it came alive and headed away from the our walking path...until Clint, our 58 year old college buddy, decided to grab this snake by it's tail!  They come in all ages folks....lol!

By this time I was convince it was a Massasauga or Northern Michigan Timber Rattlesnake...although by the time Clint dropped it, it looked more like a Viper of some sort...whatever I thought, the damn thing looked poisonous to me.  Rick and the boys headed north, away from the action, while Clint and I decided to screw around with the snake...whatever it might be.  Clint was looking for a "Pet" to take to his house aquarium back in Kenton.  I wanted to get some good photos of the thing, so I could figure out just what the Hell we had come upon.

I grew up in South Florida back in the wild days of that area...the 1950s and 60s, long before the mass Blue Hair and Northern Snowbird Migration period.... and before the developers decided to pave the damn state from end to end, except for a few beaches.  My brother Mike and I had robbed Alligator nests, collecting small young gators, and keeping them until their teeth and bites got too dangerous for our fingers.  We also had a variety of snakes for pets... Rat Snakes, Black Racers, etc, to go with the Gopher Turtles and Toads we kept for varying lengths of time, until we got bored and let them go, or they took off and escaped on their own.  On two notable occasions I had face to face encounters with a couple of Florida's deadly snakes...and even a albino Wild Bore(which I wrote about on this blog a few moons ago).  But the snakes are today's subjects...

While living in South Venice, Florida, in the early and mid 50s...our home was a old trailer camp, where we rented a cottage at Alston's.  Our neighbors were the Ellis family...a family of good ol' boys and girls from the south.  Billy was the oldest son, and at about a year older than Mike(who at 2+ years older than me was the oldest sibling of our small tribe)...we boys constructed a "club house".  It was made of plywood, and we had candles and blankets in the interior, a dangerous combination in itself...but not nearly so dangerous as the one afternoon when we returned from an outing and decided to hang out in our little house.

After setting in BSing for a few minutes, we heard Billy cry out:  "SNAKE!!!!!"...and he wasn't bullshitting.  I looked towards the north and saw a large slithering beast heading under the old army blankets that covered the dirt floor.  Billy grabbed the forked stick, as he did, he knocked out the candle that dimly lit the club house.  Mike bolted towards the hinged door, opened that, giving us some light, and I, quicker than I had ever been before, or would ever be since, was right on his heels...leaving Billy and the Snake.  Billy had that sucker pinned down with his forked walking stick, as we ran to get dad and Billy's old man...Dad came running with his shotgun, as we watched Billy back out of the plywood house, still holding the snake down with stick.  As he back off, Dad took care of the snake with one well place shot with the 12 gauge....as it turned out, it was a 5 foot Diamondback Rattler....the two fathers made quick work of our Club House...pushing it over, and after adding gas, burned that sucker down.

The next notable encounter was a few years later, when my childhood friend, Mike Graff, and I used to prowl the streets and surrounding wooded areas of our Edgewood Section of the eastern side of Venice.  One day while exploring the area to the south, which today is a city recreational park, we came across a small stream that had become swollen and deeper, because of the summer rains of 1961...at 2 or 3 feet deep, we decided to walk across to get to some climbing trees on the other side....as we sunk down to neck levels and cruised across, I looked to my right, and not 3 feet away, was a adult Water Moccasin....looking me right in the eyes.  Needless to say, I was assholes, legs, and elbows, getting out of that ditch....Mike Graff was quicker than me, and led the way to the tree stand to the south, we didn't look back.   After our day of activity in the woods, we took the long way back....just so we would not have to cross that damn "ditch" again.  Snakes were a part of living in South Florida...our Red Bone Hound, "Brandy" killed one in our yard..sadly she paid the price as the snake sunk it's fangs into her neck, and she died as well...a few hours later at the vets.  I don't hate snakes, and am not afraid of them...but I do respect them, and unlike our friend Clint, I'm not picking one up without knowing just what kind it is.

So I know a little about snakes...but was puzzled by this one...it looked mean, looked to be poisionis, but had no rattles and never showed a fang....even while Clint was screwing with it, and I was snapping photos with my soon to be wet camera.  I finally told Clint to leave it alone...rattler or not, this thing had to be a protected variety, besides, I am not into killing wildlife just for the sake of killing....this thing was in a hurry to leave, and wasn't going to bother anybody.  After we returned from another not-so-successful try at mushrooming, I called Cousin Moe, and asked him if he knew what if might be.....

Moe, wasn't sure from my description, but guessed that, since it had no rattles, it was probably a young Timber Rattlesnake.  I wasn't sure, because it was somewhere between 18 inches and two feet long...but that was as good a guess as I had.  I would not find out until returning home on Sunday night, that we were wrong about the type of snake and the dangers.   After researching our "Rattlesnake" online for a few hours Sunday night, I was convinced that our deadly snake was just a scared Eastern Hog-Nose, that was more frightened of us, than we were of him(or her).....but it sure made for good photos and some stories to tell around the campfires of future trips.

For more on the Eastern Hog-Nose Snake check out this link:

As you can tell by the second photo...this is the snake we encountered....guess we didn't really have to check our sleeping bags and boots before we next used them...but I wasn't taking any chances.

Tomorrow, The Mushroom Hunting Goes South_____

Shortly after our Snake encounter and mushroom walk, which netted another 3 or 4 blacks...we headed back to camp, to eat supper, which was to be followed by some serious Cigar Smoking and beer drinking....we would get some unexpected advice from a Veteran Mushroom Hunter, from Jackson, Michigan.  That and the final part of my trip story coming up tomorrow....

back later>>>>

Photos-top left, my best shot, as the Hog Nose appears to be smiling at me...then as he looked as we came across it...looks dangerous to me, but he was just hiding out.  Our campfire and the small Trout filled stream we camped beside..which I also drowned my Fuji Camera in....at least the chip was waterproof, the camera?  Not so much...more on that tomorrow....Alston's Cottages in South Venice, the "X" is where we called home from 1954 until the Summer of 1957...brother Mike, me, and the various Poling cousins, and Ellis clam, spent many hours hiking and avoiding getting bitten or eaten in the swampy area to the east(right looking at the photo)..and finally a top view of our Hog Nose...looking much like the one on the attached link:


Monday, May 16, 2011

Mushrooms, Meeting Cousin Moe, Rain, and Hog Nosed Snakes...Part #1

Made it back from Michigan, not so high, and not dry either.....

We gathered just a few Mushrooms...gotta believe we were in between the black Morels, the Greys, and the Yellows the pop out and various times of May....at least that's what we were telling ourselves.  Those "gung-ho" hunters were bringing back bags of 600-700 blacks....they were selling for about $50 a pound at the area gas stations in and around Boyne Falls, and Mesick.  We had our best luck near cousin Moe Houseworth's place in Alanson, in the far reaches of the northern lower peninsula.  In retrospect we probably should have stayed up that way...went out with Moe to a local fish fry and got drunk....instead we headed back to the campsite near Boyne Falls, and ran into a dangerous looking("dangerous looking" being the keywords after some research) snake, and month long mushroom hunter with a bottle of Vodka, and a handful of Morels.

Cousin Moe, Hog Nosed Snake, and then the rains came____

We headed out of Rick's Acres in northern Indiana about Noon on Thursday for the far north country...it was unusually hot and humid for the season, especially considering just how cold and wet it had been around these parts for the entire spring thus far....it was 88 degrees when we arrived at our location, which is some 15 miles east of Boyne City, Michigan, at 5pm....things would cool down, and the rains would arrive by the time we packed up and headed south for Mesick on Saturday Morning.....

After setting up camp next to a small stream, that turns out to be home, despite it's shallow depth, to a collection of Brown Trout...albeit, the ones we saw, were small in size.  Checking the temperature of the spring fed stream, it read 38 degrees on the thermometer...we would not be doing any swimming in this one, although later on, I would try, and my prized Fuji Film Camera, would take a dip....it may not recover...but the chip did, and I saved a few photos, some of those on here today....and more on tomorrow's blog post.

Caps,  aka Morel knockoffs, seemed to be the Mushroom of choice....not a particular good eating "schroom"....but Blacks and some Greys were being found...rather than tell of our failures in that department, it's best to say we were just a bit "in-between" on the season.  I(t appears it was bit early for Yellows, the Greys were south, and the Blacks and caps also were winding down.  Thursday night was spent around our campfire, drinking beer, eating snack, smoking good cigars, and bullshitting the boys with stories of our youth, which I'm sure they had heard from Rick, Clint, and me, a few times before.  Retiring for the night, it was warm but comfortable in the tent...the weather would cool off and go downhill from this point on....

Friday after a few walks in the woods and hills, where Clint, and Rick's youngest son, Guy, found the most Blacks, we decided to head north towards Petoskey and Cousin Moe Houseworth's place in Alanson.  I had "known" Moe for about a half dozen years, via e-mails, Genealogy Research, and phone conversations...but had never met the man in person.  We had a common ground...Houseworth Genes, Conservative( Far Right?) Politics, The Second Amendment...beer, and the outdoors, so I was sure we would hit it off...we did.

After all of us having a greeting and a beer at Moe's place, Moe and me, jumped into his Caddy, and with the rest following in the truck, we headed the back roads towards what we hoped would be a collection point of a handy supply of Mushrooms....we had our best finds on those hills, and in retrospect, probably should have stuck around longer...things Morel-wise went down hill after that.  We should have stayed the rest of the afternoon in the woods, and then went with Moe to the Friday Fish Fry in town.....as it was we headed back south to the camp, where we met a snake, a "gung-ho" mushroom hunter from Jackson, Michigan, and my camera got a bath, all in the name of saving a beer....

Those stories and more on Part #2...coming tomorrow...

back later>>>>

Photos-Moe Houseworth and Me....I stand about 5'11" and 185...so you can see, Cousin Moe, is a bit larger man than his older(by 3 years) 2nd cousin, PRH....The Creek where we camped...we watch some lady camping near us take a small Brown Trout of this spot....they were living in the shallows...and with no depth deeper than a foot or so, it was amazing to see these small Browns getting caught...some of the flowers near out site, and my buddy the Eastern Hog Nose, which at the time, I thought to be a North Michigan Timber Rattler....scary looking dude, ain't he...More photos of the Snake and the Mushroom Hunt tomorrow....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here...Spring HS Baseball winds down.

We started the regular season game at Elida at about 4:15 yesterday...visiting Paulding had a senior awards banquet scheduled for early evening and wanted to be sure to get back in plenty of time...lucky we got it going early.  As the final out was being made at Ed Sandy Field, a bolt of lightning came down somewhere to the south and west.  This would have meant an automatic 30 minute delay, at least....but we finished up the 9-6 Elida win, just ahead of the storm, which ironically moved to the south of town and near the Allen/Auglaize County Line. 

As I headed south to the local BP station on Lima's southwest corner, where I filled the van, at $4.09, thank you Master Obammy, you sorry son of a bitch, or are you still blaming the evil George Bush for the economic collapse you are fostering?  That filling took $55, the beer I purchase for the evening, another $7...making a grand total of $62 dollars spent, my fee for the Varsity baseball game was $60....damn boys, we be getting rich doing these games.  As I pulled out and headed towards Wapak Road, I called Patricia, who informed me Celina was in a major downpour, and they were reporting hail, large and heavy hail, to the north near Mercer and Neptune...the second town being right on my rural route home. 

After hanging up(do you "hang up" a cell phone?)...I approached the intersection of Wapak Road and State Rt 117....the hail mixed with rain was coming down pretty heavy, real heavy...the ice was about dime size...and rather than continuing my trip on Wapak, I cut to the west on 117 towards Spencerville and Kossuth....a mile or so down that road, the rain ceased and the hail was gone...I had lucked out.  The rest of the trip, as I picked up State Route 197 through Neptune into Celina, was uneventful...it had rained and there was hail, but that all was heading east.  Walking into the house the air was heavy....and I decided to fire up the Central A/C for the first time of the season....drawing the humidity out of the air, I kicked back and watched the Reds defeat the Astros...and then Detroit's Red Wings, once down 3 games to none, come from behind once again, and even that best of 7 series with San Jose at 3 games a piece.

Baseball, where did the season go?

Yesterday's unneeded and unwelcome rain storm, was just another fly in the ointment of the long, wet, and up until the past couple of days, cold spring.  The farmers have yet to touch the fields, and are running a month late in most cases...they have to be getting antsy....and with the extended forecast, it appears that they won't be getting anything planted in the foreseeable future, maybe early June?

The high school baseball season, usually my favorite time of the year to work sports, has fared somewhat better.  Despite the rains, which occur on a almost daily basis, I have so far I have gotten in 30 of 46 scheduled games...frankly about average.  I usually expect to get 2/3rd of my scheduled number in...and we are close to that so far.  Despite not getting the number of Tournament game assignments as the past few years...I am happy with the schedule, just not so much with the weather.  The past 2 games have marked just the fourth and fifth time that I wore short sleeve shirts, without a jacket...and that is a rarity for the season, despite the weather's usual ups and downs.

I have at least one game scheduled for next week, after my return from Michigan...then my Spring season is finished, and the ACME and American Legion season will begin in late May and last through June and much of July....by that time, I am sure we will see plenty of hot weather games...with short sleeve shirts.

That will finish this blogging thing for the next few days...I will return late Sunday or Monday, and hopefully with Mushrooms and plenty of good photos from the trip to Boyne, Michigan....time now to get things in order for the trip....

back later>>>>>