St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Carnes Homestead along the St. Croix River

West Sterling, Section 26, Polk Co WI
Great Grandpa's old Homestead 160 acres

for additional photos check at

Sunday, September 19, 2010

River Road Ramble 2010

Stops on the 5th Annual River Road Ramble

Keyed to the map (online at

A. Festival Theatre Historic Downtown St. Croix Falls

3rd Annual Costume Sale – Saturday, September 25th in the front courtyard. Beverage sales all afternoon. Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood Saturday, September 25th @ 7:30

Claudia Schmidt, Sunday, September 26th, 2:00

B. The famous Wolf Creek Bar (Little Swedes) historical spot has been serving liquor continuously since 1832!! Photos of “old” Wolf Creek on display. Great year round spot for dining, socializing and watching sports.

C. Penny Lane 2566 240th Ave (Cty Rd G)

Eclectic shopping. Handcrafted items, unique treasures, odds 'n ends, purses, dolls, vintage glassware and pottery, sasonal items and homegrown produce. New and used bargains. Homestead of John Penny.

D. Wolf Creek Methodist Church 2417 River Road – maps available Lunch served from 11 to 2. Large rummage and Bake Sale, produce, coffee, rolls, lunch. Opening at 8 am.

E1. Antique Horse Drawn Vehicles and Garage sale 2586 River Road. Collection of original, carefully restored, antique sleighs and wheeled vehicles and appointments will be on display. Garage sale, saddle, tack and other driving appointments will be for sale.

E2. Sterling Homemakers 2586 River Road Sterling H.C.E Garage and Bake Sale. Proceed help residents in need, supports local scholarships and community projects.

F. Sunshine Gardens 2747 Evergreen Ave.Sunshine Gardens Wed thru Sat. 10 to 6. FREE PLANTS!? HOW? Stop in for our 'Pick-a-chip' Sale! Pick-a-chip and save $1, $5 of get your entire purchase FREE!! Saturday 9am – 5pm only. Browse our Trees, Ornamental Shrubs, Perennials, Fruiting Shrubs, Water Plants, Ironworks and handmade items. Cookies, lemonade and coffee provided all day. Don't forget – FALL IS A GREAT TIME TO PLANT!

G. Hanson Farm 2558 Evergreen Ave. Farm market, apples, squash, pumpkins, maple syrup and seasonal garden produce

H. Multi-family Garage sale 13017 Solness Rd, located almost to Grantsburg off Hwy 87. Seven family garage sale. Something for everyone: clothing, crafts, collectibles, glassware, books, households, perennial plants, guy stuff and much more!!

I. Holmes Lake Orchard 20338 Range Line Rd 1 mile east of Hwy 87 on Cty Z. U-pick apples stop and enjoy the beautiful setting and delicious fruit.

J. C. Kapp Art Studio and Golden Egg Farm Christine Kapp – maps available Open house/Rustic Barn Art Studio. Located inside our big red barn, second floor. Meet the artist and see some of her vintage themed oil paintings. She will have art and prints for sale.

K. At-las Antiques downtown Atlas (Cty Rd B) Antiques, gifts, collectibles, wonderful “old fashioned” gardens. Don't miss this stop; you'll be telling your friends about this one of a kind shop. Located in the old general store and living quarters.

L. Cushing 240th Ave. choose anyone of the three exits. “The small town with the big heart” SEL HS Histoical “Memory Room” and Museum Community Center 2nd floor – entrance on east side of building. Large collection of area photographs and information. Display of farm and dairy equipment, first Post Office, Country Schools and Churches. Copies of Cushing Wisconsin History available for purchase. - maps available

Suzy Q's Snowshoe Tavern a great place for breakfast, lunch of dinner. Daily specials, We have whatever you are hungry for. Ramble special – $1.00 off appetizers or Burger Basket.

The Dugout Bar and Grill Sports Bar – famous for delicious burgers always serving daily specials. Sponsor of 13 area teams: fastpitch, softball, pool, bowling leagues, trap and more. *Suzy Q's and The Dugout are co-sponsors of the Cushing Fundays Adult Soapbox Derby

M. Pole Barn Sale 2355 215th Ave. Pole barn sale: Circular saw blades 11” to 24”, collectables, beeswax, tools, hubcaps, old pulleys, household, misc.

N. Eureka Center

Townhall – School on Hwy 87 just north of 210th st. - maps available. Open house of the beautifully restored school house. Interesting display of Eureka history, pictures, artifacts, stories and farm memorabilia including antique tractors. Serving ice cream and rootbeer. Hosted by Betty and Sherman Jensen

Eureka Farmers Market Oktoberfest A special farmers market with a classic car show 10 -5. NE corner of Hwy 87 and 210th St.

K.J's Eureka Tavern popular spot for “locals” you should stop too! Building sits on original site of 1904 Eureka creamery. Walls from 1915 creamery are visable in the current tavern and dining area. Good food and friendly staff. Stop and visit

O. Chateau St. Croix Winery and Vineyard 1998 Hwy 87. World class wines in the St. Croix River Valley. Tasting, tours and more. There is no better way to end you day of traveling “the loop!” Relax and enjoy a glass of wine in the rural setting of this amazing place.

Historical Sites

1 Festival Theatre 210 Washington Street, St. Croix Falls. In the late 1880's St. Croix Falls was a bustling river town, and as it continued to grow, citizens interested in cultural endevors wanted to build an auditorium. Construction began in 1916, and continued throughout the year, and in 1917, while WWI raged overseas, citizens of St. Croix Falls gathered to watch silent film-The Battle Cry of Peace. The history of the building is very interesting. Originally designed to have a civic community center on the first floor and auditorium on the second floor, which was changed to a

movie theatre. Read all about the changes and growth of this remarkable building and the people who have kept theatre in the valley of over 92 years.

2 St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Visitors Center – 401 Hamilton St. St. Croix Falls. The St. Croix scenic riverway is 154 miles, flowing from Gordon, WI to its confluence with the Mississippi River System. It is one of the last undisturbed, large floodplain rivers in the upper Midwest The river is an unrivaled combination of exceptional natural and cultural recourses and scenic, aesthetic and recreational value. The Visitor Center is open

daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm. A large variety of brochures and maps are available.

3 Spangler's Landing – located on the River Road; watch for Nat't Riverway signs The Spangler family settled right on the river and provided a stopping place for travelers heading north on the River Road from St. Croix Falls, It is said that there was a pause

in the rapids on the river at ths spot, so boats trying to run the rapids could rest too. The rapids have been gone for 100 years since the power dam in St. Croix Falls flooded them all the way to Wolf Creek.

4 Nevers Dam – located on the River Road watch for Nat'l Riverway signs. There is access to the wild river at this spot. You may be able to see some remaining parts of the Nevers Dam that once stood here. In 1890, Charlie Nevers had a stopping place

along the river. Loggers sent millions of logs down the St. Croix and found them getting jammed on the rapids, especially at St. Croix Falls. To solve the problem, they built a huge wooden dam where Charlie had lived. They stopped the logs there, built up a great head of water and then let them go with a rush that took them all way through St. Croix Falls, and sped them on their way to the sawmills at Stillwater.

5 Wolf Creek Methodist Church and Cemetery 2417 River Road

This is the site of the first Wolf Creek School that was built in 1882. The school burned down in 1922, and was replaces by the current building that is now used as the Methodist Church. Wolf Creek was an early Indian trading post by 1831, and a loggers moved through, farmers and other settlers followed them and Wolf Creek became a “blooming community.” By 1860 there was a dam and mill on Wolf Creek, a Post Office, General Store (the proprietor's records are at the SEL HS Memory Room) doctor's

office, a school and church congregation. With the Homestead Law of 1862 allowing people to claim up to 160 acres of US land and get it for free after 5 years of improving it, settlers rushed in. Take a walk through the cemetery, there are family graves dating back to 1859 or earlier.

6 Ives Stopping Place and Cemetery – a few miles North of Wolf Creek.

Site of one of many stopping places used by the early settlers who traveled along the “road to the pineries.” The oxen in the wood at the logging camps could live on wild hay, but the horses used by the settlers traveling up the River Road, needed better feed. Creating the necessity for stopping places along the way.

7 Bush Bakke/ Pioneer Cemetery – Evergreen Ave. west of the River Road. This cemetery was used 1880 – 1920. There are many families that settled in the 400 acres of Sterling Township forest on the barrens that are buried here. The church built in

1879 was constructed of logs with white pine boards covering it. Today a memorial church stands on the original site. Some of the grave sites have raised rectangles of dirt around them, some grave markers are partially hidden, and there are also depressions there the pin boxes have given way. The little church and historical displays inside were recently damaged by arson in 2008 and has been lovingly restored – stop in to see.

8 Trade River – you will cross this river several times while traveling the “loop.” This river was used by the logging camps in the 1850's. Huge white pines floated down river to the St. Croix. The Trade, however, was much too small to get logs all the way, so a series of dams were built. In the spring the logs and water built up behind one dam, which was them released, and the logs roared on to the next, until they reached the St. Croix.

9 Grettum Flowage – cross over the Trade River and head north into Burnett Co. Hwy 87 and the River Road both cross the Trade River. At one time two roads joined together at the river and headed north as one. Take the River Road north until it seems to

dead end in a lake. This is the Grettum Flowage.

10 & 11 Trade River and Trade River School – a town located on one of the dam sites. Turn east off Hwy 87 at the new Trade River Evangelical Church, and you will enter what was once the thriving community of Trade River. Stores, mill, telephone and electrical company, old church, sawmill, furniture factory...all that remains is the cemetery and a few houses. The Trade River School, with merry-go-round in the yard, was closed in the 1940's.

12 Orr School – another “country school” along hwy 87 located at 285th This is the 4th Orr Lake School, it was closed in 1950 and remodeled into a home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

We crossed the border into Canada at 1:30 pm today on Hwy 59 out of MN. At the border we were asked to show our "id." We showed passports.
"What gifts are you bringing in?"
"Twelve 8 oz bottles of WI maple syrup and 4 lbs of WI cheese to take to Seattle."
"How long are you staying?"
"About a week--camping out in a tent."
"Any Liquor or Tobacco?"
"Do you know anyone in Canada?"
"Yes, my old girlfriend from college, Annie, lives in Winnipeg."
Looking at my wife, the border guard said "Hope you are not going to go visit her, are you?"
"She said she will be out of town whatever week it is I come through."
"Well, that's good! Enjoy yourselves!"
And so we drove on into Canada for about two hours until we found Stephen Field State Park near Roland--south and a little west of Winnipeg.
Our cell phones don't work anymore--tracfones appear to not work at all away from the border.
The farmers were harvesting canola--swathing it to let it dry and then combining it. Lots of wheat and oats being combined too. Not much corn; soybeans look like they had too much water early on. The Canadian dollar and American dollar are about equal right now. At the grocery, everyone brought their own reusable bags to put their groceries in. The two lane road speed limit is 100 maximum kilometers per hour. Gas is about 98 cents Canadian per liter-- or about $4 per gallon.

Margo Hauls the gear back to primitive tent camp

At Glendalough State Park in MN, you load a cart with your tent gear and haul it back into the woods. We stopped at this park because Ole Berg and his wife owned part of the park back in the 1890s as their farm. Ole married my great grandpa, John Paulson's sister. Berg and John's half brother Ole Mikkleson both settled near Battle Lake MN. Only trace left are graves in the cemetery and Ole's great grandson, Dr. Robert Nelson, still owns a lake home although he lives in FL.

Onward to Canada

Canada Bound

We leave on a car trip to the west coast though Canada day this Sunday. Our passports are ready, the oil is changed and the car loaded with camping equipment. We have spent the last few months carefully planning travel to a foreign country.

I got DVDs for all the old “Red Green” TV episodes and am listening to them until I get the language down. I am also brushing up my metric measures where everything is in multiples of 10: you buy gasoline, booze, and milk by the liter; your dollars are “loonies” right now worth about the same as a US dollar; distances are in kilometers; and speed limits are kph, in Manitoba they call it killed pheasants per hour. I am having a tough time finding a metric watch and a metric compass—may have wait until I get there to buy them.

I have been practicing on the hilly backroads around home driving on the wrong side of the road and signaling the opposite way on turns, how they do it in those countries who worship the Queen of England.

We don’t have relatives or other old friends in Canada along the way to stay with, so have our tent and plan to camp out in Province parks to keep costs under control. It seems a lot to pay $60 for one night in a motel just to sleep with my own wife.

We meet a lot of Canadians camping in the south during the winter. For socialists, they seem like pretty nice folks.

I checked and our auto insurance is good in Canada. “Just be sure and follow the local driving rules that are often different than in the US,” said my agent.

I asked our health insurance company if we would be covered in Canada and was told “No, in Canada health care is free, so our insurance won’t cover you. Good luck in getting care where medical treatment is a right rather than a privilege.” Worried, I called the hospital in Winnipeg and asked a nurse and sure enough, it is free up there. So, while I was talking to her, I scheduled a few small preventative procedures for August 16th; a heart transplant, full body liposuction, and a new knee.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today we got the car loaded with tent, cots, clothes, gifts, etc. We head out for a trip to Seattle through Canada backroads tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Taps at Wolf Creek cemetery

Wolf Creek Cemetery Polk Co Wisconsin along the St. Croix River

Monday, June 7, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 Wolf Creek

An excellent program this year

I tried to upload the video of the bugler, but blogger just hangs on it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

End of Maple season

We pulled up the buckets on April 3rd.  The early warm season stopped maple sap running a few weeks early!  By the 4th we had all the equipment put away.  Now for a week's rest and then we begin final filtering and bottling of the syrup.  A few light spring rains are greening the grass and it looks like a quick transistion into summer in underway!

Picture of Janna and Dawn's maple syrup cooker made by brother Everett

Friday, April 2, 2010

End of maple syrup season

Today we pulled up the maple taps and buckets and are cooking down the last batch of syrup. The buds are out on the maple trees and the sap has stopped running--almost 3 weeks early. We will have about the average 1 quart of syrup per tap hole this year. Testing our maple trees sweetness ran from 3.5 to 6% (refractometer readings).

It is the earliest start, earliest end and shortest actual run I can remember. We had about 1 week that the trees ran moderately well. Last year was a double production year, this one about average.

A few spring flowers, hepaticas, were already blooming in the woods--normally happens about mid April. Everything is early this year and dry so far. A few sprinkles as of 12:30 today. Our area has had three consecutive years of below average moisture--very dry for parts of the season. Last year it was dry April - July. Earlier years July through September. Bad enough to effect the crops and the gardens.

The beavers finally showed up on the open lake two days ago. I thought they might have been trapped over winter. Several sandhill cranes are doing their spring mating rituals in the fields just south of the cabin. Lots of ducks, geese, on the lake with a pair of trumpeter swans often there. The tree swallows showed up yesterday along with the Phoebe. Lots of robins. A couple of black butterflies with yellow fringed wings were around yesterday. Most of the fish that died over winter are cleaned up by the eagles, crows and gulls. A few eagles are still on the lake in the morning.

We will clean the buckets and sap equipment and put it away for the season. My healing broken leg worked pretty good and I was able to carry buckets on side hills. The knee feels stiff, and a little insecure (probably from already losing the ACL back in 1988 skiing). But it works!!

Starting to thunder right now--maybe our first rain of the season to green up the grass!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Polk Men's Discussion Group tours hyrdroponic greenhouse

We took a tour of the nearby tomato greenhouse.  Pretty intersting. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fire near the Lake

h 30th a forest fire broke out on the Sterling Barrens about 3 miles west of the Lake.  It burned about 150 acres on a very windy dry spring day.  The first picture shows the pumper backed into Trade River, used to fill the fire truck tankers with water. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lake Ice off--earliest yet!

The lake opened the earliest ever in my memory on March 28th
(average is April 15th). There were a few hundred smaller panfish
that didn't make it through the winter, floating to the top as the ice
melted--a slightly larger than normal winter fish kill. On the 28th,
there were 14 bald eagles, countless gulls and crows all doing spring
cleaning to clear fish, floating just under the thin remaining ice.
The sap run has been early and so far an average year. The warm up we
are having this week is likely to end the season. Mom planted peas,
radishes and lettuce in the garden for the first time in March this
year. I am afraid trappers may have gotten the beaver family, as I
see no signs of them this spring around their house. The pair of
trumpeter swans claimed the lake three weeks ago. Over all it looks
like Spring is about three weeks ahead of time. My neighbor tells me
"these early springs and dry weather are Al Gore's fault--he and his
global warming hooey. If he'd shut up, things would get back to
normal." Margo and son Scott are making the sap collecting easy for me
as I get my leg back functioning again. I have what Margo call's a
"Walter Brennan limp."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Warmest March in my memory

We have about half of our maple syrup taps out as of yesterday. The sap is running just a little--has been too warm. The snow is all gone. The lake looks like it will be open within two days. The earliest it has opened before in my memory is the last day of March. Normal is about April 15-20th.
The St Croix River is open far below Nevers Dam area. The channel is choked with ice several miles above the power dam in St. Croix Falls--broken ice at the Lion's club part with solid ice the last 1/2 mile to the dam. With two 60 degree day's coming, I would guess the river will clear by Friday and the lake will open.
It has been beautiful weather having April in March--but not good maple weather yet. Forecast is to cool back down to 40s and 20s next week so that should get the sap running.
Mom saw her first 3 robins today.
I am getting around on my leg, broken 4 months ago, OK. Not smoothly, but OK.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maple Syrup Season Begins

We are back to WI at the lake and ready to tap maples. There is hardly any snow left here--muddy and wet, but the ground clear. The bald eagle was feeding at the spring where a small opening in the lake ice shows lots of small fish dead from the winter. This is normal--they come up into the spring to get more oxygen and many die. We won't know if there was a bigger fish kill until the lake begins to open up.
Where the creek runs into the lake is also a small open pond area. A pair of trumpeter swans have moved in and are claiming the lake already. Probably the pair that stayed here last year.
I tapped one tree this morning and it is just barely dripping. We will tap a bunch more tomorrow.

Cooking the sap

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Back in MN -- trip over

After a lot of fog through Iowa, causing us to stay at Clear Lake overnight, we made it home on March 10th. Lots of fog in MN and lots of snow left here too--mostly white yet with a foot or more. It is supposed to be rainy and wet through the weekend. We head to WI to open the cabin on Friday and tap maples on the weekend if the weather is OK. In NW WI there is supposed to be less snow.
Probably should have stayed south another few days and let the snow disappear! It was a nice trip and my goal of walking on my formerly broken leg is mostly accomplished.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Headed home Monday. Got to Branson and stayed overnight. About 550 miles to get to Pine Island today.

Margo spent part of the week earning some money collecting Spanish Moss from the alligator infested bayous and hanging it at Chicot Park to improve the scenery for tourists!

Staying with full hookups in Louisiana State Parks was $8 per night with our Senior Pass (Federal card). Very good deal!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Winding down

We are at Lake Clairborne State Park in Northern LA. Very nice last two days -- mids 60s and sunny. We probably will stay until Monday and then head back to MN. The temperatures at the maple sugarbush in WI are hitting 40s and 50s and getting me ready to get up there and tap in case the season is early this year. Margo would like to stay longer, but having made syrup for so many years, I know that the whole season can be done by the end of March some years.

Probably drive to Branson on Monday and then on home on Tuesday and to WI on Wednesday if all goes well.

We have been gone since Feb 19th so will be about 3 weeks when we get back.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 14: Margo's Anniversary and a Cajun Singer

Ron Keddy sings a Cajun song

March 4: Day 14 Margo's 38th Anniversary
To celebrate 38 years of being married, we went into town and had a Cajun special lunch at Cafe La Salle. It included shrimp gumbo and rice as the appetizer, crawfish, oysters, little shrimp, big shrimp, catfish, shrimp etouffe, rice, fries, onion rings and garlic bread. After the appetizer, we were both pretty full, but as it was our anniversary and the restaurant owner wanted us to have the best; we ate our way through everything! It was delicious. We managed to crawl out to our car and go back to the camper and take a nap.
Our new campers across the lane came in last night. Ron and Ceil Keddy from about 40 miles away. He is a Cajun--didn't speak English until he learned it in school. He invited us over in the later afternoon to sing a anniversary Cajun song. He sang a few more too. The video above is one that most of you have heard before.
Very sunny nice day. We are headed out tomorrow for a park along the northern border of LA for another week before heading home. Brother Everett tapped a couple of maples and said they dripped a little. Son Scott says the snow is melting in Pine Island!
Nice day here! Still full. The Cajuns are really nice people!

March 3,4 Gambling and Tabasco

Gulf of Mexico fishing boat

Tabasco bottling at Avery Island LA

Resurrection fern growing on a Live Oak Tree

March 2,3: Gambling and Music

We took two long day drives; one north to Alexandria and the other south to the coast on Tuesday and Wednesday. To the north we found nothing too much but woods. We did stop at one of the many local “casinos,” the name given to small extensions to gas stations where there are video gambling machines. We tried video poker, but the games were totally rigged in favor of the casino. You couldn’t win at poker without 3 of a kind (not even 2 pair), and then only get your money back. We used the 5 cent machines so spent only $6 to get an hour of entertainment and second hand smoke!

Wednesday we went south and stopped at the Cajun music hall of fame. All the musicians who had been chosen and pictures and biographies on the wall. Lots of old fiddles, accordions and a very nice woman tour guide told us about the history of Cajun music (the music from the white French settlers) versus Creole (Black) music and Zydeco, a more modern version of Creole.

We also went to Avery Island, a salt dome hill in the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Genuine Tabasco pepper sauce is made there in the Tabasco factory since 1868. They grow peppers on the island, mine salt there and have a huge factory to make the stuff. The whole area smelled pleasantly of Tabasco!

Lots of oil wells along the coast. Some of the running and others not. Most of the activity is in the Gulf with oil drilling platforms in the ocean.

March 4th: Our 38th Anniversary! We plan to try Crawfish for lunch!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 11: Raining and Reading

Monday Day 11:

photo of 1995 Buick Roadmaster and popup trailer taken in southern MO day 2, no snow!

It rained and rained all day and into the night. We took a long drive north to Alexandria and around mostly through pine and hardwood swamp/forests. Came back to the camper in the afternoon, turned on the heater and we read while the rain pounded on the canvas roof. Very relaxing!

We see lots of robins here, especially after the rains. The rice and crawfish fields have lots of white egrets and ducks. Many of the same birds you see in the spring in WI/MN are here now. The cardinals are singing each morning and are thick too.

The campers who moved in for the weekend all left and we are again on our own in the park. I think we will move on tomorrow too--find another place to explore. Maybe down to the ocean--about 60 miles south.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Class of 1965

St. Croix Falls


Its time for our 45th class reunion! Activities are being
planned to coincide with Wannigan Days.

Date, Location & Time: Saturday,

July 17th, 2010, at the Dresser Pizzeria (Hwy 35), social hour beginning at 5:00 pm, dinner to follow.

Cost per person: $20.00 buffet dinner ( non alcoholic beverages and dessert included). Beer and wine

can be purchased separately.

A casual get-together is also planned for Friday, July 17th, at Indian Creek Orchard Winery & Grill (next to Tangens) at 6:00 pm. Alumni can order off the menu or just have a drink and then attend Wannigan
Days activities.

Tee times will be available for golf at St. Croix Valley Golf Course on Saturday morning, July 16th, starting at l0:00 am for those interested.

Please complete the following (even if you cannot attend) and return it to us by April 17th, 2010 . Enclose check payable to: Class of 65 Reunion Committee, Gordy Peterson, 2004 110th Ave, Dresser, Wi 54009.
Also, let us know if you can come Friday night (yes___no___) and Saturday or golf (yes___no___). Write on back if extra space is needed. We really want to hear from you!

Name, Address, E-mail address, Phone Number:

Spouse, Children, Grandchildren:

Most Unforgettable Moment at SCF HS:

Tell Us About Yourself:

Invite anyone you see from other classes to come and reminisce with us. They can join us for any part of the reunion and if they would like to come on Saturday night, just have them send reservation and $20.00 per person to Gordy.

Any questions, call: Gary Harlander, 651-437-6363,

Gordy Peterson, 715-755-2644,

Jerry Pieper, 715-294-3836,

Donna Witasek, 715-557-0693,

Day 10: Canadians and a Zydeco Band

Sunday –Day 10

Last night a couple parked across the road from us and set up their tent. The evening was nice with an almost full moon in the clear sky and temperatures still in the 50s after hitting 60 during the day.

After the neighbors were settled in, I strolled over and introduced myself. They were Martin and Donna from Nova Scotia, Canada. They invited us to sit down and visit.

“We are slowly coming back from having spent some of the winter in Mexico.” Of course, I had to know more so I ask them about it.

“We parked our van in McAllen Texas, and then took busses to travel around in Mexico. We had a travel guide, but stayed away from the normal tourist sites and the big cities. We like the smaller towns. We didn’t plan ahead to get a room—there were always rooms available at the hotels in town. Nice ones for low cost. “

“Weren’t you nervous about robbers?”

“No, it’s like in a big city—travel in the daytime and on the normal buses and you get along fine. The Mexican people are very nice and eager to help out. You don’t need to know Spanish to get along, although it is nice to be able to speak some. We pick a destination and take the bus and find a room and stay for as long as we like. There are a lot of Canadians, Americans and especially Europeans traveling around Mexico in he winter.”

We visited a little more before I asked, “so, how is the Canadian medical system for you?”

“Excellent!” We never have to pay for anything and we have always gotten treatment right away including for our parents when they got old. It does cost us from our Province sales tax. Each Province is required to provide health care for the people and has the choice of how to do it, but must cover a set of items. In Nova Scotia there is a 14% sales tax, 7% goes for our health care costs. We don’t pay for anything and are really pleased with the care we get, and our friends and relatives. When my mother fell and broke her arm, she was in the hospital for 6 weeks and scheduled to come home. When I told them that I couldn’t get things ready for another week, they kept her until I was ready. “

“There are some private pay options if you have money. You can pay to see a doctor on his private time and get some things that might be questionable to get done right away, so rich people don’t get too bothered—they can buy instant optional treatments. Any thing that is pressing, like my friend’s colon cancer is treated immediately—she had her diagnois on Wednesday her surgery on Monday and was back home by the end of the week—looks like she is cured, and she was 84 years old.”

Martin said “our son is in Boston working as a highway engineer (Martin was born in the USA and moved to Canada in the 1970s). He tells me about the problems getting health care in the US when he got layed off for a few months. He thought he would have to come back to Canada if he had any health problems or he would go broke.”

We made breakfast ourselves. Toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, but not grits. Excellent!

Decided to make a tourist day of it by going south to Lafayette and visiting the Cajun center and the nearby historic village.

At the Cajun center viewed two 15 minute movies. The first was on he Cajuns (Acadian) history from their move from France to Nova Scotia (Acadia) and the ongoing battles between British and French, their relocation south etc. The second was about the history of part of the bayou where floods made a local town disappear. Pretty good.

Then we went for a long walk between buildings on the reconstructed village next door. Lots of old buildings to look through and a live Zydeco band playing with people dancing. We are trying to distinguish between Zydeco, Creole and Cajun music and their histories. It appears that if the band is black and has a washboard instrument, it is Zydeco or Creole. If it is white and loaded with fiddles and accordians it is probably Cajun. Both have accordians as their main instrument. The music was very loud and lots of dancing--sort of waltzes and maybe 2-steps?

It got up to 70 degrees and felt almost uncomfortable! A few mosquitoes started finding their way in the camper.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


We watched a farmer pickup his crawfish traps today. He says the cold weather has made the season slow with small mudbugs (crawdads, crayfish) this year. He had rice on the field last year, then switched to crawfish for a year and next year will rotate back to rice again. In a good day he gets five sacks full, today only 1 sack with small ones.

Day 9: Sunny Saturday

The rains lasted most of the night and early morning was 44 and cloudy. We drove west to Pine Prairie to the Pine Cove restaurant for an early breakfast. It is a cement block building shared with a video store. The inside had 20 tables and chairs and at the end a buffet type counter. No one was eating there. We went to the counter and I ordered scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, a biscuit and coffee. No biscuits today, so toast. Margo had a two egg ham and cheese omlet. One cook and one counter lady.

We poured our own coffee and sat down to wait. The walls were painted light green and were covered with wood shelves—the one to three shelf versions you might find at the Good will, all painted dark green and holding colorful mugs with food pictures on them and metal food tins and some miscellaneous jugs and jars. Overall, looked neat and clean.

The breakfast came on a plastic platter with silverware. The food was good; nothing special. Grits were good. Packets of jelly and butter. Sort of a mix of fast food and slow food. Price for both of us and coffee was about $9.00. OK.

We drove on toward Eunice to do some shopping. Along the way were many flooded fields with crawfish trap tops sticking up; often filled with ducks, egrets and cranes. At one, the harvesting boat was out in the water collecting shrimp. We stopped and turned on the video mode of the camera and visited with the crew.

We drove into town and bought a little food, some coat hangers, laundry supplies and a set of cheap speakers for the laptop (forgot to bring any along) and a $6 toaster. Then we took a long slow drive out through the countryside looking at the farming fields, homes and scenery. There are many nice houses; many shabby houses; clean roads and very dirty roads; smooth ones and pot-holed ones.

Did our monthly online banking and paid the bills. Several more campers moved into the park during the day and so a few bikers, hikers, fishermen etc were around the area.

Made a run into town to mail cards to Mom Hanson and Dad Wilkens. Stopped at the Sonic Drive-in for a fish sandwich for supper. Not too bad for fast food. Looks like an oldtime car drive-in, and you eat in the car. Temps got up to 60 today with the sun and felt very good.

Did some walking without the cane, but by later in the day, everything starts to ache. Back home for the evening to read and look on the internet. We had stopped at Floyd’s music store in Ville Platte and bought a CD with Cajun music from the 60s to listen to tonight. Pretty nice day!

Day 8 Good Breakfast and RAIN

Day 8: Raining

The forecast was for rain all day and it was right. It rained through the day and the night too, sometimes hard.

We drove seven miles to Ville Platte to try Café de la Salle for breakfast. The sign along the road said open M-F 8 am- 2pm lunch. We guessed that if they opened at 8, they would have something for breakfast.

We pulled in at 8:30. No cars in the parking lot. A dark brown neat and unassuming building. We stepped into the café and looked around. Cash register, buffet under glass table, and tables and chairs for about 60; mostly 4 per table with a few seating 6.

The walls were decorated with pictures, old signs and some antiques on a shelf. In one corner was a large Rotary banner behind a podium pushed against the wall and a few Rotary signs. A sixteen by eight foot wall painting of a Cajun paddling through a cypress swamp covered part of one wall. It was colorful and primitive.

Three plump middle aged ladies were sitting at one of the tables having breakfast. “Do you serve breakfast here?” I asked. “Yeah, just made a pan of biscuits and have a fresh pot of coffee on.” We sat at a wall table for four. Each table had a small wood boat (a bateaux) with salt, pepper, sauce, knapkins etc in the center. Each had a number and the French word for the number (we were at 4, quattre I think).

One of the ladies got up and brought us menus and a breakfast menu. Pretty standard choices. We picked scrambled eggs, bisquit, grits, and Margo bacon and me ham. “We come in and open up and first have a big breakfast,” said the waitress, “that’s why we are so fat. Where y’all from.” She spoke with the southern/Cajun accent. Minnesota. Came down to see how to get a winning football team,” a line that has worked pretty good with everyone around being avid New Orleans Saints fans.

“We needed that win at the Superbowl after all the bad things with the hurricane. And such a good Christian man, Drew Breese, to take us to the win!” as she took our order.

The tables had a glass plate on top of a dark table cloth. Under the glass were menus and religious mottos. She soon brought us our coffee in blue green mugs that said “First Baptist Church of Ville Platte” on them. The coffee was good, although the creamer was powdered.

Soon our meal arrived. A large white dinner plate with real silverware. On it was a huge, 4x4 irregularly shaped biscuit and our eggs and meat. Margo had two round crisp bacon pieces. I had a round slice of ham (thin sandwich style). A bowl of fresh grits and two small dishes, one with butter and one with grape jelly. The whole meal had the pleasant flavor of butter. The grits were good. The biscuit excellent; bottom crispy and butter soaked. The eggs scrambled in butter. I have been looking for a real southern breakfast with a fried ham slice with a bone in the center, so was disappointed, but the slice did taste good. It was the best breakfast we have had so far—and very filling. It cost $11.50 for the two of us with coffee. We recommend it! The only problem is it is not open on the weekends and only has breakfast and lunch. We plan to try lunch where the specialty is all kinds of local seafood including shrimp and crawdads running $5 to $11.

We went for a long drive in the rain out through the country and saw many white birds, egrets possibly, and hundreds of ducks in the bayous. In the early afternoon we returned to the camper in the heavy rain and read, did some email and napped. The campsites are still mostly empty with only one neighbor pulling in for the weekend.

One thing that puzzles us are the empty businesses in the towns around the area. Some downtowns seem to be half closed/boarded up. Even gas stations and businesses around the towns are closed in large numbers. The buildings seem to be kept up, so it appears the closings are in the last few years. We wonder if it is all from the recent recession or of longer standing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 7: Cops, Tires and Laundry

Day 7 A New Tire; Cops Raid the Park and Clean Clothes.

Last night, just before dark, a red pickup truck roared around the campsite loop, stopping and starting with squealing tires. It made the loop two times and then we couldn’t hear it anymore. A few minutes later, two police cars came through the narrow campsite loop. “Somebody called in the speeded,” commented Margo. “Probably some kid with his truck showing off,” I replied.

Ten minutes later and a parade of another police car, an ambulance truck, a fire truck and another police car came through the lane. “Wonder if the kid cracked up the car?” I speculated.

That night was quiet except when the raccoon dug into the elevated barrel garbage can with the heavy wood lid and threw everything out on the ground. Early sunshine woke us up. There was a little frost on the car and about 32. The sun was warming up nicely so we made breakfast—French toast, bacon, fried potatoes and coffee on the camp stove outside, eating it inside. Breakfast was excellent!\

The tire was almost flat, so I pumped it up at about 9:00 am, and after a short walk we turned on the computer to c-span to listen to the health-care summit, expecting a call from the Goodyear tire dealer at 11. We listened and cleaned the dishes and got the dirty clothes ready for the laundromat. Mostly the summit started with Reps and Dems restating their positions. However, it did appear that the President was trying to find areas of agreement.

At eleven, the phone rang and Faye DeVille told us the tire was ready and to come on over and get it mounted. As we drove out the campsite loop, the lone RV camper on the other side was walking his dog. The tent campsite was empty.

“What was the excitement last night?” I asked him. “You probably don’t want to know!” he replied. “A man and woman, in their 50s have been camping there for a few days. Yesterday afternoon, they came home and started arguing. I was just across from them and heard everything. The man started beating the woman, so I called 911 and the police came out. They both had gotten drunk in town. He was vomiting a few times and finally passed out before the police showed up. She was polite until the cops found an AK-47 rifle, a shotgun and a handgun in the tent and put her in handcuffs. Then she swore a blue streak. They took the man, still passed out, away in the ambulance and her in the cop car. Someone came and took down the tent and drove away the car.”

We drove on into Ville Platte and got our tire changed and were sent on our way. $143.40 seems kind of high for a single tire. It will be nice not to have to worry about a continually leaking tire. “Use Green Slime,” said a guy waiting in the shop for his tire,” it will stop most any leak.”

Faye, the clerk, told us about camping with her husband in their RV. “He’s dead now, but he always had us carry a pistol just in case. I was more scared of us having the pistol than I was of a thief. We never had any trouble, and I still go camping now that Bill is dead and don’t worry about it.”

We tried Popeye’s fast food for lunch and had the $4.99 shrimp, fries and biscuit basket with a pop. The shrimp were good, as was the biscuit, but the fries were pretty limp.

We stopped at the tourist info center, city hall, to locate a Laundromat. A man there asked Margo “You in here for the census taker test?” “No, just looking for a Laundromat.” “Nothing much open in this town anymore, you have to go to Opelousas or Eunice.“ I was at the library across the street looking for some more 25 cent books to read when Margo came in and asked about a Laundromat. “None in town anymore, you have to go about 9 miles to Mamou—one on main street there.”

We headed out of town to Mamou. Along the road were many 5-20 acre flat, flooded ponds with water in them. Others were dry, with 1 foot dikes around them. In some were red topped things sticking up every so often. The signs had “Fresh Shimp” and “Crawfish” for sale. At one place there was a large wire fenced bin of the red things. They were nets, maybe 2 feet long with the red top end. I imagine they are for catching the shrimp or crawdads.

Margo picked up a local phone book at the tourist center. It listed companies dealing in rice. Possibly some of the wet fields are for rice and others for shrimp and crawfish (locals don’t say crayfish, but crawfish, crawdads, or mudbugs).

We found the Laundromat. No coin machine, no bathroom, but the machines were clean and worked. This small town is like the others in the area in that about half of the businesses are empty. Many of the streets are very pretty with huge live oaks along the way and holly hedges and flowers. There are a mixture of very nice, very old, very shabby houses and buildings. Lots of farming with big tractors and machinery out of town. The tractors have three tires on each of the four corners, probably to keep them from sinking into the mostly watersoaked fields.

The local newspapers are filled with Republican Governor Bobby Jindahl and his efforts to cut his way out of $3 billion budget shortage. Sounds just like MN, as Jindahl is raising huge amounts of money out of state for a presidential run in 2012,, like Pawlenty. Both are trying hard to get all the stimulus money and federal pork they can while telling everyone how terrible it is for the feds to hand it out. Biting the hand that feeds you is what one writer said.

Tomorrow, Friday, with a good tire, a rested leg, and a $20 we are headed to see what tourism spots are around. Walking is still slow and stiff after the first week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Deer Hunting Story from the 1960s remembered in the 1980s

The scene is at brother Everett’s deer hunting shack on “the sixty,” the rolling hills, woods and fields that formed the cow pasture until twenty years ago. Bordered on the west by Wolf Creek and ten miles of sand barrens, and otherwise surrounded by fields and other pasture, it was and is one of the favorite hunting places for my family. His shack is 16x16, built of home sawn lumber in the front yard and drug up the road on skids to the top of a hill, overlooking a large valley and opposite ridge. It has been in place for 30 years or so, sitting on cement blocks, held in place with cables and earth anchors after having blown part way down the hill in a storm years ago.

It is a wonderful hunting spot. It is high enough so you can see all the way to home looking south, to Gullicksons and the Bass Lake school to the east, to the big ridge west of Wolf creek and overlook the valley to the north. When Ev planted some trees around the shack, which stands on the only level spot around, he dug up several stone tools. Indians had appreciated the spot for camping too. Nearby, a century ago, was an old farm house and barn. John Nelson drug the house down the road to our farm using it for a granary, pulling up the well casing and leaving the only trace of the old buildings, a slight depression in the ground.

The date of this memory is somewhere in the early 1980s, after Dad sold the cattle, but before the valley grew thick with trees. Now the open pasture is gone except where Ev clears some shooting lanes.

Windows on all four sides of the shack let the hunter watch for deer while warming up inside. He can quickly step out for a shot at a deer. In one corner was an old wood cookstove for heating, cooking and keeping a coffee pot warm. There is an old couch, an easy chair, one of the old iron framed cots from the bunkhouse at Never’s dam, a table and some folding chairs for company. A gas lantern substitutes for electricity for overnight stays. Nearby, a two-holer stands on the edge of the valley. It has Dutch doors so with the top one open you get a full view of the valley and yet have privacy.

The date of this story is on a Thanksgiving afternoon, about 3:00 pm. The shack is crowded with Dad, his four sons, and a few grandsons. We just got up from Mom’s dinner table after eating turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, squash, cranberries and apple and pumpkin piessss. We are too stuffed to go out and hunt in the woods, and the 15 degree weather and north wind are too chilling after the warm house. So we fire up the woodstove at the shack and sit around looking out the windows hoping a deer won’t come too close and we have to shoot it.

“Do you remember what year it was that I shot the buck that died in Roger Lake?” I asked, hoping to tell the story of “The Floating Buck.”

“Well, I still had my ’55 Bel Aire that I bought from the money I earned at Nelson pea vinery when I was 16, that was 1960. I bought it the next spring and I got rid of that in ’64 when I went to Fortuna to teach. I remember how hard it was to clean the blood out of the trunk!” replied Marvin, “That narrows it to the hunting seasons of 61, 62 or 63. I think it must have been ’63, when I was going to PoCoTeCo (Polk Co Teacher’s College).”

“Yeah, I think ’63 sounds right. You know that was the first buck I shot on my own. I never knew deer floated until that one that died right in the middle of Roger Lake,” I continued. That was the third year I was using Uncle Chan’s old 32 special. It had that nickel steel long octagon barrel with the filed off “V” sight and the gold bead. It was a good deer gun.”

“Channy bought that from Lloyd (his brother). Afterwards, Lloyd, wanted to buy it back, but Chan liked it and wouldn’t sell or trade it back. Chan was a really good hunter. He was patient; he could sneak through the woods so quietly he got what he was after. When he turned fifty, he quit hunting. Said he had enough,” said Dad.

I continued, “I think the long barrel made it easy to aim. It was a too heavy though. You know in the ‘60s hardly anyone used a scope around here. Scopes were for long distance shooting out on the barrens with thirty-ought-sixes and our short distance through-the-brush was for open sights and 30-30’s or the specials. I really like the 30-30 carbine I have now for shooting better than the special. You know, they say there have been more deer shot with a 30-30 than any other gun.”

“Ha,” snorted Ev, “that’s right, more deer have been shot with a 30-30, but I bet you half of them weren’t killed. Not enough power. You need a 30-06, or some bigger gun to kill the deer.”

“I suppose a 30-06 it might be good to have if a mad elephant escapes from the zoo, but with a deer it depends on whether you want to turn it into hamburger with your bullets! You don’t dare shoot those big guns except downhill or the bullet might hit somebody in Minnesota. I guess if you aren’t a good shot then you gotta do what you gotta do. You remember Grandpa’s old 45-90 army gun? It had sights that flipped up and said ¼, ½, ¾, and one mile. The one mile sight must have tipped up a full inch,” I replied.

“You were going to tell about a deer floating,” reminded nephew Bryce. “Why would they float when they’re dead?”

“They’ve got hollow hairs that not only keep them warm, but make ‘em float like a cork,” noted Byron, “so what happened that he got into the lake anyway?”

“That was the year I tried bow hunting the first time with that fiberglass bow I got from Sears. I found a spot on the south end of the west ridge where I was next to the big deer trail going to Bert’s corn field. I saw a lot of deer, but nothing but fawns came close enough to shoot. I had a big stump to sit on and was pretty much hidden in the trees. It was a good spot, so I tried it on opening morning for gun hunting.”

“I bought one of those fiberglass bows too,” replied Ev, “still got it. They had 45, 55, and 65 pound pulls for the same price, so of course I got the 65—more bow for the money I figured. If I could have pulled the darn thing back, I might of got a deer with it. It wasn’t recurved, no pulleys, just straight fiberglass. I finally used it to replace the broken rear spring in the old Rambler. Even there it was a little too stiff. When did you shoot the deer?”

“It was a cold, probably about 20 degrees. We had about an inch of new snow, perfect for seeing and tracking. I was dressed warm enough so I figured I could sit for two hours. You know, buckle boots with felt liners just weren’t very warm,even with two pairs of wool socks. I had Marv drop me off at the sixty at 6:30. He went on down to his forty behind Granpa’s place. I snuck into the woods and sat down on my stump well before light.”

“How high was the stump?” asked Byron. “You know in those days they didn’t let you climb a tree or have a deer stand. I think you could sit in a tree, on a stump, or have a deer stand as long as both of your feet touched the ground. Bow hunters started going up in the trees, and sometime later they made it legal to do it for gun hunters. Can’t remember when though.”

“When I was hunting prairie dogs in ND back in ‘64, the rule was you could drive around the open range with loaded guns in the car, but when you shot you had to have one foot on the ground,” added Marvin, “you know, I only had a two year teaching degree and the salary was so poor in Fortuna, I don’t know what I would have done without Prairie Dog Stew.”

”Anyway, I was sat on that stump watching the morning light come. By 8 am, I was froze through. Hadn’t seen anything yet. I was busy wiggling my toes and shifting in my coats trying to warm up when I saw a flash way ahead on the next ridge. I watched as a deer came into a clearing about 50 yards ahead and stopped. He had come past me on the other side of the big swamp and had come back to the trail I was on, but going away from me, I continued”

“You know that big swamp must have a spring feeding it. When I had the DNR come in and make those ponds, that is the only one that stays full of water all summer,” said Everett, who bought the sixty from Dad and Mom after they quit the cows.

“That ridge you were sitting on is all gravel,” said Dad, “I was always going to open my own gravel pit there. Just too many hills to get back to it to make it worth the bother. John Nelson, who bought it back in the early 1900s said he cut enough big timber off that sixty to build the barn at home. He was surprised when I cut off enough to build the garage in 1949. He’d stripped it clean only thirty years earlier.”

“There’s some pretty nice aspen coming on the ridge in the middle. It won’t be long before it is ready to saw,” added Ev. “So where did you hit the deer?”

“I could see he had a small fork. I had a buck only license. I think that wasn’t one of those party deer years where four hunters could get a doe tag. I pulled up and aimed as best as I could. He was almost exactly facing away. He was far enough away, so I really sort of centered him in the sights and shot once.”

“Those party deer tags were a good idea,” said Dad. “When I was young, and lived on my Dad’s farm south of Barron, there weren’t any deer there at all. We all went up to Uncle Rick’s farm in Birchwood to hunt. He let us camp out in the haymow. It would have been easier on Aunt Mary if we could have shot a doe for her to help feed us. Dad told me that during the forty years he had a farm there he never saw a deer there. One time there was a deer track, and all the hunters in the area headed out after it with their dogs. They always went north to hunt.”

“Well, I shot one time at the buck. He reared up, like Silver and the Lone Ranger, and bucked around a bunch then took off running full speed over the ridge. I knew I had hit him enough to make him jump, so I beat it over to the spot. There was a little blood on the fresh snow. Not a lot. Luckily the snow was still fresh, so hardly any tracks were there but my buck. I headed out at a trot on the fresh trail, following spots of blood. He was headed north on the ridge just east of the creek. ”

“It’s better to wait a little before you track a wounded deer. If they are hit bad, they go a little ways, then bed down. Then, if you walk slowly, you can sneak up on them. If you chase them, they take of and cover a lot of territory before they die, “ said Dad.

“If you had a decent sized gun, you wouldn’t have that trouble,” said Byron. “With my thirty-ought-six you just hit em in the tail, and the shock is so big they die from a heart attack.”

“Why do they call it a thirty-ought-six? Why not a thirty-oh-six, or a 306 or something?” asked Marvin.

“Thirty is the caliber,” said Ev, “and 1906 is the date the model was patented, I think. A lot of people do call it a thirty-oh-six, just the old people use ought.”

“The old timers, like your grandpa’s, called the years 1901 to 1909 the oughts. Grandpa said “I bought the farm in ought-two, Alvin was born in ought-four, and great grandpa built his new house next door in ought-seven, you know the one that blew down in the tornado of ’29. So a gun that came out in 1906, was an ought-six model,” explained Dad. “I imagine the 2001-2009 ought to be the next oughts,” he added. “So did the deer go into Arnold Swanson’s pasture from ours?”

“His tracks looked like he was running wide open when he jumped the fence to Arnolds. He was down the hill pretty far, where Lily lake is. The lake was open all the way up to Roger, so I figured he would run along the west side. I followed him until the tracks disappeared in the tall wet cattail swamps along the south end of Roger Lake. The lake was mostly still open, just ice around the edge, so I figured I would just walk on up skirting the lake and see if I could pick up the trail.”

“I used to have an old tin boat on Lily Lake, “ said Dad. The first couple of years I was farming, Uncle Channy and I did had some good luck fishing up there and in Roger. Then I got married and had a bunch of kids to support, and never got back fishing until I retired forty years later. I should go back up in there and try it again.”

“Ice fishing is pretty good on Roger most winters,” said Byron, “mostly sunfish and crappies and some northerns. They bite better there than on Wolf or Orr. It is just hard to get back to the lake when the snow comes unless you have a snowmobile.”

“Do you remember the summer of 1965 when you and I worked at the plastic factory in Dresser,” said Marvin. “We went up there a lot in the morning. Caught sunnies mostly. Mac Fors always had an old wooden row boat on the lake that anyone could use when he wasn’t there. If I remember right, that’s how we got your deer out.”

“You’re jumping ahead in the story. Well, I walked all the way to the north end of Roger Lake without seeing any fresh track coming out. I met a hunter, one of the Brenizer’s I think, up on a ridge overlooking the whole side of the lake. ‘Did you see a deer come running up here along the lake or ridge about 10 minutes ago?’ I asked. “No haven’t seen a thing. Was that you who took the shot down south?” “Yeah, I wounded a buck and lost his trail in the cattails at the south east end of the lake. Thought he might have come out along here.” “I was watching close after you shot and didn’t see a thing, maybe he stopped in the cattails.”

I decided I was going to have to get down in the cattails, even if I got my feet wet, and take the walk back along the lake. The cattails area was pretty much frozen and gave good footing, with only an occasional breakthrough. I walked right out to the edge as far as I dared. The lake was frozen about 30 feet from the cattails and then open in the middle. I stopped looking for tracks and looked across the lake. There, about two thirds of the way across the lake from the south was a deer floating in the water, high enough so his head and shoulders were clearly out and I could see it was a buck; my buck!

I could also see Mac’s old rowboat across the lake, over on Uncle Maurice’s shore. What should I do? By that time, Dad would be out in the woods somewhere. I only knew where Marv was hunting, so decided to walk down to him, about a mile away. I followed the creek down and crossed at the old road crossing and into his 40 and found him.
To be continued
See part 2 at this link  Part 2 hunting story