Saturday, January 28, 2012

Afternoon Walk -Wednesday

Wednesday morning started with taking care of things for my Mom. Grocery shopping , catching up on important business communications, checking on the schedule for upcoming appointments etc....

Coming home to get the paperwork done it was time for a change of pace by mid-afternoon, I wanted to take advantage of the mild temperatures.Snow continued to carpet the ground as I set out to scope the landscape for deer sheds. Hearing about others beginning to be successful on their quest for collecting had sent the twitch through me to see if anything was laying around here yet...
Miss Kitty pussy footing through the snow

I alluded to my walking companions in my last post.

Bless her little heart this is the second outing Miss Kitty followed my usual walking buddy and me through the snow.

The last occasion she went with us, she would stop,  yowl,look around and keep on coming. She could have gone back to the house...silly thing just kept following. I can truly say I have been adopted.

Sadie was having a great time running everywhere to checkout the scents galore. She stopped sniffing for a minute when I called to get her to look at me. 

I'll have to admit she has become quite a ham when the camera gets pulled out. That is unless I make a motion for heading out the door first.

 Poor girl always gets messy paws, and wet all over in this type of weather with snow, or mud, but I know she doesn't mind.

Sadie always must lead the way and  Miss Kitty wanted to be in front of me at this point in our expedition. The challenge began!

These two always have a season of discontent before they finally get on with the task at hand.

I can't remember now how many seasons of discontent there were while we were out.

Sadie and Miss Kitty listen to Ruby bay

Attention! Attention,PLEASE!!!

Ruby, our neighbor's Tree Walking Coonhound was visiting on the southside of our property with her owner. They had come to check a  raccoon trap.

Little Ruby doesn't go anywhere without announcing her approach...while she is riding in the pickup anyway. Last summer we had some excitement when she took off and wouldn't answer our calls. Created a worry for a time.

Picking up where I left off before Ruby dropped in - I was still batting zero in my search for sheds this Wednesday afternoon, so I headed the pack back home over another trail in the chance I might pass an antler tucked in a conspicuous spot. By the time we got close to the house the cat was lagging far behind and we came straggling in just in time for the animals to eat their supper.

As it stands now I  am going to have to keep looking, because my score remained at zero for this shed hunting expedition...


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Great Salt Lick

I am sure with winter weather knocking at your door, wherever you might live that receives snow,  traveling on the  highways have added an extra coat of road additives to the side of your car or truck. Heading to the car wash gets a bit laborious to keep it clean.

Here at Timber Life we always have some assistance with giving our vehicles a bath without moving them from their parking spot.

It wasn't until three or four  years ago we actually had this kind of activity start, a mystery for a time.

The rock salt and brine used here in Iowa seems to have a twofold purpose; one for the road, and after the animals found it a dietary mineral source.

These pictures were taken last weekend...

Checking Saturday this side of the car was almost licked clean by our nocturnal visitors and they were starting on the other side.

Yes,you may have already guessed! The deer are the culprits.

Rain came and washed the car the rest of the way.
I guess I will have to go somewhere now the car has gotten cleaned off to renew the mineral content.

However, after today's snow possibilities and cold this weekend, the weather forecast is, let me rub my eyes here,  for up to 50 degrees on Monday and 40's the rest of the week . Spring for the first week of February?!?

With the unseasonable temperatures it has given me more of a chance to take advantage of walks in the timber and fields. Check back to see who goes along...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter has Arrived

The  bubble broke this week keeping us without the seasonal snow cover . Up until now the little amounts dropped in fast moving fronts have disappeared within hours or a day at most. Tuesday, brought 2-3 inches and on radar the storm today is expanding. As of the forecast this morning they are telling us 3", but a chance for more might be possible.,time will tell...Don't want wind above 5 mph the dreaded drifts would start whipping up and closing the driveway.

Picture taken at 7:54 AM

Not the first time for the air to be filled with snow at Timber Life this year...However, it is the first time for us to see an accumulation on the increase.

Ah! Recent weather update says the snow should end in Des Moines by the end of the morning . Wouldn't you know it the roads are reportedly slick in my neck of the woods. Hubby's commute home could be interesting  later today.
Latest Local update 9:08 AM

Wait a few minutes - it appears we are again going to luck out without a huge deluge of those big snowflakes continuing to drift earthwards.

I am already looking forward to the February thaw, or at least temps in the 20's without wind. "Could we be in for winter into late March???", I say with a sigh...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lake State Fishing - Minnesota Fishing Newsletter

Four years ago my Hubby and I took a trip out west to celebrate my 50th Birthday...I wrote a few blogposts about our excursion and my impression of some of the Sporting Goods stores we happened by along the way.

Some how I began getting email advertisements from  the second company listed under the Sponsor Partners. Later, I started getting email from Forum Communications up at Fargo, ND, they keep me informed of  consumer deals happening in their neighborhood. I don't mind at all  - I like visiting North Dakota once in a while...

My weekly updates from Reeds Family Outdoor Outfitters out of two Minnesota locations ended;I began to get the Minnesota Fishing Newsletter instead. So, it turns out I can still touch base with Reeds and a whole bunch more.Looks like the Minnesota ice fishermen  are going to have some good conditions to get out to the ice fishing shack.

Here's hoping you find the Lake State Fishing information fun and helpful in the planning of your next ice fishing weekend.

Issue #78                                                                                                                   January/16/2012

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Minnesota Fishing Reports



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Howdy LakeStater's!   The Staff Team at Lake State Fishing would like to wish all of our LSF friends and family a belated Happy New Year. We've been busy running around the state of Minnesota chasing down the bite and just released our first episode of On the Ice with Lake State Fishing which you can find below. We hope you enjoy and have a safe season on the ice!

We encourage everyone to register for FREE at LSF to take advantage of free features like classifieds, chat rooms, prize giveaways, our talk forums, and much more. Click Here 

ON THE ICE WITH LAKE STATE FISHING - #1 The LSF crew targets big panfish while ice fishing in northern Minnesota. Come along with Mike Potter, Brad Hawthorne, and Bob Bohland for the fun. Click Here - Episode #1  on the ice #1 screen shot

FORUM SPOTLIGHT -  LAKE OF THE WOODS  One of the best features of Lake State Fishing is the free discussion forums. The forums are frequented daily by thousands of anglers who logon to find lake info, share fishing reports, research products, and to take advantage of our free classifieds.     We want to make everyone aware that our Lake of the Woods forum has everything you need to know before heading up to the big lake. We got you covered when it comes to ice conditions, ice road access info, where to stay, and of course how the bite is right now. Lake of the Woods Info - Click Here

                                                   REGIONAL FISHING REPORTS  

BEMIDJI AREA- Staffer's from LSF get on some big crappies... View More   

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The Wigwamfisherman gives an ice update from the sky!... View More   

WRIGHT COUNTY: A limit of walleyes can still be found close to the metro... View More 

LAKE WINNIPEG: Don't view this link if you don't want to see tons of trophy fish... View More 

Please remember to post all your fishing adventures in our discussion forums. Click Here - Your Area Report  

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Disclaimer: This post was done purely to pass along information I received in my email box. I will not receive financial compensation for the promotion of any company or product. Thanks for your visit!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Iowa Ice Fishing

I received my Iowa Fishing Report for this week.

Ice had been an inconsistent commodity so far this winter. Last night and today should get some layers started ... it will take a while for solid ice since we are to see temps in the mid 30's Saturday, up to the upper 40's both Sunday and Monday.  Get beyond that it looks like more seasonal C-o-l-d will arrive.
 Some blowing snow in the air, -7 wind chill here at Timber Life

Maybe the anglers will  finally be able to get the ice augers and Ice Fishing Houses out to catch a few walleye, blue gill, crappie and a coveted  trout  in the stocked bodies of water.

Following are some local ice condition reports for different parts of Iowa.

For immediate release: January 12, 2012
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.
Crawford Creek Impoundment
Ice conditions remain poor at Crawford Creek.
Badger Lake
Ice is variable at Badger Lake with conditions ranging from open water to 5 inches of ice.
Brushy Creek Lake
Ice has formed over most of the lake, but it is still considered unsafe.
Bacon Creek Lake
The next trout stocking for Bacon Creek has been moved to Jan. 28 due to poor ice conditions.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
About half of Storm Lake was open on Wednesday.  Wind action continues to affect ice conditions.  Anglers are allowed three walleye per day, all fish between 17 and 22 inches must be released. Anglers are allowed one walleye over 22 inches.
Swan Lake
One-third of lake has open water with poor ice conditions everywhere else.
Black Hawk Lake
Town Bay is mostly open with variable ice conditions across the rest of the lake.  Special walleye regulations on Black Hawk Lake are three per walleye per day and all fish must be at least 15 inches.  Aerators are in operation in Town Bay.
Moorland Pond
The Moorland Pond trout stocking has been postponed until March 24 due to poor ice conditions.
Ice conditions continue to be variable and unsafe at many lakes.  For more information, contact Ben Wallace or Don Herrig at the Black Hawk District Office in Lake View at 712-657-2638.
Beeds Lake
Ice thickness is 4 to 6 inches. There is some open water on the northwest side of the lake. Bluegill and a few crappies are biting on wax worms.
Lake Smith
Ice thickness is 4 to 6 inches.  
Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 8 inches. Yellow bass fishing is fair. Anglers are having success fishing the Farmers Beach area in 6 to 8 feet of water with a small jig tipped with a wax worm or spike. A few walleyes are being caught using the same method. You have to keep moving to catch fish.
Lake Cornelia
Ice thickness is 4 to 5 inches.
Little Wall Lake
Ice is not safe, a lot of open water.
Crystal Lake
Ice thickness is 4 to 6 inches.
Silver Lake (Worth)
Silver Lake will undergo a lake renovation project starting this winter. The fishing regulations have been relaxed. Anglers with a valid fishing license may take fish by any means except dynamite, poison, electroshocking, or any stupefying substances. The daily bag and minimum length restrictions are lifted.
For more fishing information in the north central area contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Big Spirit Lake
Ice fishing is not recommended on Big Spirit Lake.  The recent warm weather and wind has opened an area of water from the footbridge down to marble beach, and all the way across to reeds run.  The rest of the lake has inconsistent ice conditions.
West Okoboji Lake
Ice fishing is not recommended on West Okoboji until ice conditions improve.
Virgin Lake
Fishing regulations are now relaxed at Virgin Lake.  Anglers can now harvest as many fish as they would like by any means except dynamite, poison, electroshocking devises, or any stupefying substances.  This promiscuous fishing is designated to allow anglers to salvage and utilize the imperiled fish population in Virgin Lake before they die off due to the drawdown.
Ice fishing is not recommended on area lakes.  Recent warm weather and wind has opened up large areas on most lakes.  Once the wind dies down, realize that if these areas are frozen over it is going to be very thin ice.  Be sure to check with local bait shops for current ice conditions before traveling to these lakes. For more information, call the Spirit Lake hatchery at 712-336-1840.
Volga Lake
Ice depths on Volga Lake are extremely variable.  It is not advisable to go on the ice.  Open water is reported around the boat ramp.  Bluegill - No Report:   Largemouth Bass - No Report:   Crappie - No Report:
Lake Hendricks
Lake Hendricks has about 7 inches of ice.  Use caution around the aerator.  Bluegill - Slow:   Largemouth Bass - Slow:   Crappie - Slow:
Lake Meyer
Ice depths are extremely variable ranging from 2 to 8 inches depending on where the sun hits.   Water in the lake is a bit cloudy.  Fish are more active the last hour before sundown.  Northern Pike - No Report:   Bluegill - Good: Stay along weed lines to find fish.  Anglers are catching all sizes.  Largemouth Bass - Slow: A few nice size bass continue to be caught.  Crappie - Slow: Crappies are suspended about six feet off bottom in deeper water and can be found around brush piles.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.  Smallmouth Bass - No Report:   Walleye - No Report:
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.  Northern Pike - No Report:   Smallmouth Bass - No Report:   Walleye - No Report:
Turkey River (below Clermont)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.
Wapsi River (state line to Tripoli)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
Anglers are taking nice catches of fish below the Nashua dam.  Ice depths vary if there is any in the backwaters.  Use caution when going on ice especially ice over flowing water.  Northern Pike - Fair: Anglers are using a minnow and a jig below the dam at Nashua for best luck.  Smallmouth Bass - No Report:   Crappie - No Report:     Walleye - Good: Anglers report good catches of walleye below the Nashua dam using a jig and minnow.
Decorah District Streams
A generally mild winter has produced more northeast Iowa dry fly opportunities than normal.  Try small (#18-#24), sparse mayfly patterns for trout rising to early afternoon midge and baetis hatches.  Streamers, nymphs and wet flies have taken occasional fish as well.  Streams are low and very clear, so an angler's approach and presentation are important.  Keep a low profile.  
Ice depths vary depending on the lake.  Anglers are reminded to use extreme caution when going out on the ice especially with the recent mild weather.  Check ice depth frequently.  Due to variable ice conditions throughout the state, winter urban pond stocking dates have been changed; call the fisheries office for the district the pond is in to find out when they will be stocked. Contact Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324 for more local information.
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Concentrate efforts in the deeper overwintering pools for walleye.  Walleye - Good: Jigs tipped with or without a twistertail and minnow has been most productive.
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
Concentrate efforts in the deeper overwintering pools for walleye.  Walleye - Good: Jigs tipped with or without a twistertail and minnow has been most productive.
Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
Concentrate efforts in the deeper overwintering pools for walleye.  Walleye - Fair: Jigs tipped with or without a twistertail and minnow would be most productive.
Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
Concentrate efforts in the deeper overwintering pools for walleye.  Walleye - Fair: Jigs tipped with or without a twistertail and minnow would be most productive.
The interior rivers recently iced over but may open up again by the weekend. Reports on the Cedar River for walleye last week were very good for numbers and size. Very little ice fishing has occurred in our region due to thin ice conditions; use extreme caution when heading onto thin ice. The trout stocking for North Prairie Lake has been postponed until Jan. 20. Call the Manchester District Office at 563-927-3276 for additional information.
Mississippi River Pool 9
A lot of anglers have been fishing Blackhawk Lake above Lansing on the Wisconsin side as well as Shore Slough and the Village Creek Boat Ramp with good success. Ice thickness is near six inches in the center but caution should be used near shorelines.  Bluegill - Good: Good catches of bluegill in Blackhawk Lake with a lot of sorting.
Mississippi River Pool 10
Anglers have been fishing Sturgeon Slough by McGregor and Greymore and Abrough by Prairie du Chien with good success.  Ice at Bussey Lake is six inches on the upper end but caution should be used along shorelines. The ice on Johnson Slough in the Sny Magill area is not safe to cross. The boat ramp at Lynxville is open but that may change if cold weather persists.  Bluegill - Good: Good catches of bluegill on Bussey with some sorting but anglers should be very cautious of weak ice.  Sauger - Good: Sauger fishing has been steady with a few limits caught.  Walleye - Fair: A few walleyes being picked up in the tail waters
Mississippi River Pool 11
Not a lot of ice fishing is occurring on Pool 11 due to lack of access to safe ice, but forecasts for colder weather may improve conditions to access Sunfish Lake and Mud Lake. Again caution should be used in areas near shore or that may have current.  Anglers have been catching fish in the marina at Mud Lake. Boat ramps in Guttenberg are open for tail water fishing.  Sauger - Good: Sauger fishing has been steady with a few limits caught.
Recent warm weather weakened ice near shorelines and with the snow there is a lot of slush ice near shorelines.  Most areas on the Upper Mississippi received 3 to 5 inches of snow and snow blown into river valleys may insulate ice in areas.  Forecasts for cold nights ahead should strengthen ice but caution should be used in areas near shore or areas that may have current.
Mississippi River Pool 12
Tail water fishing continues in Pool 12. Ice fishing is limited; review ice safety tips before venturing out.  Tail water stage is at 5.3 feet and stable.  Sauger - Good: Small sauger continue to bite sporadically.  Most anglers are using a three-way rig with a minnow or a jig and minnow. 
Mississippi River Pool 13
Tail water stage at Bellevue is stable at 5.1 feet. Ice fishing is limited; review ice safety tips before venturing out.   Ice fishing conditions are marginal at best.  Sauger - Good: Angers are catching small sauger in the tail waters using a three way rig with a minnow or a jig and minnow.   A few nicer sized fish are being caught.
Mississippi River Pool 14
Tail water is completely open.  Tail water stage is 5.3 feet at Fulton, Ill.  Sauger - Good: Some nicer sauger reported in the creel.   Most anglers using a three-way with a minnow, or a jig and a minnow.  Some folks also using ring worms with no bait.
Mississippi River Pool 15
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.
Open water conditions persist in the tail waters of Pools 12 through 15.  Limited backwater fishing has been occurring; use caution as ice thickness is marginal in many places.   Ice fishing will be very dangerous with the addition of snow insulating the thin ice. 
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 5.30 feet. Ice conditions are not safe for ice fishing. Be aware with recent cold temperatures boat access may become limited.  Sauger - Good: Anglers have been catching some saugers in Pool 16. Try fishing in the tail waters on the Iowa side above the casino. Most fish are being caught on jigs and minnows or on jigs and soft plastics.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 4.08 feet. Ice conditions are not safe for ice fishing. Be aware with recent cold temperatures boat access may become limited.   Sauger - Fair: Some saugers are being caught in the tail waters on jigs and minnows.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 4.26 feet. Ice conditions are not safe for ice fishing. Be aware with recent cold temperatures boat access may become limited.  Sauger - Good: Anglers have been catching saugers in the tail waters. Most fish are being caught on jigs and minnows or on jigs and soft plastics.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 2.16 feet. Ice conditions are not safe for ice fishing. Be aware with recent cold temperatures boat access may become limited.  Sauger - Fair: Tail water fishing for saugers has been hit or miss. Most fish are being caught on jigs and minnows or on jigs and soft plastics.
Mississippi River Pools 16-19: Anglers have been catching saugers and walleyes in the tail waters this past week. Access to the tail waters may become limited with the recent cold temperatures as some ramps may begin to freeze in. Ice conditions are not safe for ice fishing. Remember to clean, drain, and dry your boat before going to another water body. For more fishing information on Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
Lake Belva Deer
Unsafe ice conditions.
Pollmiller Park Lake
Unsafe ice conditions
Lake of the Hills
Unsafe ice conditions.  While the ice is thick enough to hold up geese, it isn't for people.
Lake Darling District Farm Ponds
Most area ponds have less than one-half inch of ice. Wednesday we had a high temp in the mid 50s. Thursday (today) is the first day weather conditions have been favorable for forming ice in a long t time.
For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling fisheries office at 319-694-2430.
Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)
Outflow from Coralville Reservoir is 600 cubic feet per second as of Jan. 12. Flows will drop to about 580 CFS and hold steady.  Walleye - Slow: Walleyes are being caught below the dams on jig/minnows and ringworms. Many smaller fish are being caught but nicer fish are also being picked up.
Most bodies of water are crusted over, but the ice is unsafe. There has been very little fishing activity in the region. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
Red Haw Lake
The lake does not have enough ice to support anglers.
Hawthorn Lake (aka Barnes City Lake)
The lake renovation work is complete.  New fish habitat areas have been built along with some new jetties.  The lake is full.  Fingerlings were stocked in May 2011.
Lake Sugema
Lake Sugema contains the invasive plant brittle naiad so make sure to inspect and clean your boat and trailer.  There is not yet enough ice to support ice anglers.  Most of the lake has open water.
Rathbun Reservoir
The lake level is 904.18 feet with 904.0 feet being normal pool.  Water temperature has been in the lower 30s.  Some of the coves and bays have ice but not enough to support ice fishing.  The main lake still has open water.  Don't forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry boats and other equipment before transporting to another water body.
For further fishing reports in south central Iowa call the Rathbun fish hatchery at 641-647-2406
Lake Petoka
The winter trout stocking will occur unannounced prior to Feb. 1.  The stocking will be unannounced to avoid a large crowd gathered in a small area on unsafe ice.
Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
The winter trout stocking will occur unannounced prior to Feb. 1.  The stocking will be unannounced to avoid a large crowd gathered in a small area on unsafe ice.
Cold temps may finally allow ice anglers to get their gear out this weekend.  Most ponds and some lakes may have enough ice to allow ice fishing.  Anglers are urged to be very cautious and check ice thickness frequently.  Larger, deeper lakes may still have ice too thin.  The winter trout stockings in Lake Petoka and Ada Hayden will occur unannounced prior to Feb. 1.  For more information on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.
Lake Anita
There have been no reports of ice fishing at this time.
Big Lake (Including Gilbert's Pond)
The trout stocking at West Big Lake is being delayed until March to avoid stocking during unsafe ice conditions.
Ice is beginning to form with cold temperatures. Ice conditions will vary by lake due to factors such as location in the district, wind, and waterfowl. Call ahead for before you travel. For more information call the southwest district office at 712-769-2587.
Little River Watershed Lake
The lake has been lowered 15 feet to allow shoreline improvements and fish habitat construction.  Construction is underway and expected to be complete by mid-spring.  The fish will be restocked in the spring.
Sands Timber Lake (Blockton Reservoir)
The lake has been drained to allow in-lake water quality improvements to be constructed.  Completion is expected by mid-spring.
Green Valley Lake
The lake level is down eight feet.  The in-lake sediment removal project is complete.  The water level will be allowed to rise and runoff permits.  The fish were restocking in 2009 and have grown very well.  Bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, and channel catfish are all very good sized.  Anglers should be able to catch good numbers of quality fish this winter and spring.
Summitt Lake
The lake has been drained to allow the reconstruction of the concrete spillway.  Completion is expected in late spring.
The ice is very thin in most places.  Most water bodies have some open water and some areas with ice.  Do not walk on the ice.  A boat could be used to access traditional ice fishing areas.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Geese Geese

Geese Geese and more Geese!

The weather has remained extremely mild for January here in Iowa. Open waters or partially open waters have kept geese situated in urban locations around our capitol city of Des Moines.

I found geese sitting on a  sand pit in Johnston, a suburb of Des Moines along I-80/I-35 on January 5th, but didn't stop to get a picture. My path was leading me over to Fisher Lake where the Bald Eagles had a reported presence since December 21st.

November 28, 2010

The following picture is being pulled out of my archives...Hubby and I were headed north on I-35 following a family Thanksgiving.

We were driving our pickup that had slightly tinted windows and the light of the late afternoon left the digital exposure dark.My intent on getting the picture was to catch the moment as the geese were flying s from west to east over the interstate headed in the direction of the airport. Going in for a landing perhaps?!?
Getting more pictures in Ankeny, a growing city north of Des Moines, on I-35 back on December 29th, 2011 kept me in awe. The birds like to congregate in the vicinity of the airport due to some water features created by corporations and a hotel.

Parked at the gas island of a Casey's convenience store I started snapping pictures ...

The car filled with gas I was on my way.

The geese are definitely focused on the way they want to head. Waves and waves of them passed by with the same thing in mind.

No stopping to chat, for the target lake was almost under foot as they reached this point.

Just a few more wing flaps for these tired natural aviators.
Then I moved over to the lake by the  Comfort Inn hotel where they were coming to rest.

I didn't want to look straight up as the geese passed over in the event something would come following the  gravitational pull of our atmosphere.

Luck was with bombs came to rest in my vector.
Ice shelves gave some of the geese enough support to stand on one leg for a nap.

My visit was short so I don't know how long these guys and gals actually were able to tuck there beaks under a wing.

As I stood taking pictures another car pulled up behind me. A young woman headed closer to the group.

I stayed back to keep stress for the geese to a minimum.

Yesterday, on a trip into town I stopped at Bondurant, a little town I pass on this route to my destination. They have a little sports complex/park situated by  highway 330.

This  group was but a small sample of all the geese that were scratching the ground or sitting at waters edge preparing for whatever direction the winds were about to take them.

Each year it seems as though we host these winged water fowl longer and longer. Some have decided our marshes and farm ponds are great places to raise a family...oh to see how many will return to set up their own households.

Our weather has taken a turn towards winter over the last 24 hours , snow was a dusting, and flurries persist  here at Timber Life. The blustery winds are finally sending its chill and I imagine the waters will begin closing up for a few months- our winged visitors will have to finally get on their way further south...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Timber Life Buck Scrape

My dog Sadie and I were out walking the last of October looking for signs of bucks setting up their territories.The first scrape was noted on October 18th and a day later the second scrape was getting a start.

We checked the north pasture and then a specific tree on the south side of the ravine splitting our property. These two areas seem to be the first places where the buck activities become most notable - they have favorite scrapes that let me know when the heat is on the rise. After that all the little trees are marked for sending out messages.Then low and behold if they aren't scored again when it is time for the separation of antlers.

October 21st, my trail camera caught some stills of a buck marking the scrape that seems to have become an active spot in the last two years. The pictures seem to verify what you read about...rubbing the head, face and turning around to include bodily fluids in the mix of the cocktail.

My short little video is actually longer than the sum total of all the seconds on the time stamps on the far lower right hand corners of the pictures. I don't use my movie mode on the camera yet, because I haven't invested in a 16GB SD card to have enough space to capture all that information.

The Whitetail Rut season is over here in Iowa and the bucks are on the downhill slide of testosterone levels. Night time images of anterless bucks started  to appear on December 18th...seeing fresh blood and holes where the bone was once attached to the skull is setting off an alarm. Time to get out for some shed hunting before the varmints carry them all away...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Public Hunting

Public Hunting is a definitely a subject concerning hunters as private property owners are continuing the downturn in allowing other people into their private grounds,farms,or timbers. I am glad Iowa and other states have set aside wildlife areas where men and women can get out to participate in their chosen outdoor activities given these facts.

We have Public Hunting Grounds not far away at Hendrickson Marsh. Lately it is continually being groomed to improve it for migratory birds.Trees being cut down on shorelines - water drained to keep fish populations down that disturb plant growth. Last spring was  the best migrations I had witnessed since moving here 19 years ago.
Old boat ramp looking towards new concrete structure Story County side of marsh

I don't hunt public grounds, because I have a farm/timber setup. In an answer to the question that might arise about letting others have access to my land to is limited - neighbors and a few others. I have found leftover garbage dispersed in the timber...they probably figured with all the acres available how would anyone run across spent shells or crumpled beer cans?

Getting back to my original thought  here -There are days when I decide to stop by the marsh on my way back from errands,go over to visit when I hear migratory bird activity, or just take a few minutes to watch the resident Bald Eagles and Red Tailed Hawks when they are dancing on the thermals.

 Getting some pictures of two of the parking areas around the marsh within the last week- it raises concerns for me.

If we as citizens share the same space hunter/non-hunter what kind of reputation would you say the hunter would get after the non-hunter saw these dumpings? I enjoy my trips to a place that has wild life diversity  and I am experiencing strong emotion about the garbage strewn across the messes up the definition of pristine countryside.

Here is another question that I would ask  hunters,city dweller ,out of state visitors, or locals, who felt it necessary to leave behind their spent shells and thirst quenching containers.  I hope they have a chance to read this blogpost...

Why would a landowner want anyone to hunt their land if this is how they disrespected  land owned by themselves, their family, their neighbors, so on and so on????
Get the picture?
Just an honest question in trying to understand why people think it is okay to leave garbage in someone else's backyard?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Iowa Eagle Watch Fisher Lake - Saylorville Lake Area

Last year we were treated to an Eagle nest cam up at Decorah. It kept many intrigued for months...Even today they still have the camera at the ready if a pair of Eagles should happen to call the nest their nursery once again.

I wouldn't call myself a birdwatcher specifically, but I do pay attention to the total picture, winged,4-footed, ground huggers and whatever it takes to makeup our part of the world.

Our local marsh has been a host to a resident pair of Eagles, but that will be a post for another day.

Reports of an increased Eagle presence at a little swamp known as Fisher Lake, east of the Des Moines River southeast of  Saylorville Lake came before Christmas last year. I had been past the little body of water after Thanksgiving - it teemed with bird life, only I didn't take time to stop and look since I had a schedule to meet.

This visit came on December 29th,2011. The sun and blue skies have been keeping us company with the unseasonably warm temperatures. I have to say that the limited travel problems that occurred a few times so far has been much appreciated.
The water level of our ponds, small lakes and marshes have suffered due to the lack of rain, or snow, for that matter yet this winter. I will say this with a wink since soon we will probably be hoping for a break in a stretch of continous precipitation.

It appeared to me that between the two trees becoming perches for the raptors there was a division between the immature and the mature on this visit.The tree where the youngsters sat was located at the north or the far edge of the lake in the first picture.

The mature eagles were more numerous and  found a tree closer to the front of the lake on the right of the picture.

This turned out to be a fun picture...the Gulls and Eagles shared the lake when the waters were open.

 I visited the lake on Thursday, this week to find a smaller Eagle count, no Gulls, and Crows were still a constant presence. The low water level left a sheet of ice...a perch for the Eagles to attempt a little ice fishing?

Time will tell when my next visit will come to check on the Bald Eagles of Fisher Lake...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cabela's Stop and Shop - December 26,2010

Welcome to the Rogers, MN Cabela's. I had been passed this location before, but today would be my first visit to checkout the interior design.

The clouds disappeared and the sun beamed brightly as we came into the Minneapolis suburbs.New fallen snow added a great touch for the Christmas holiday.
Kayaks anyone?!? I know at least one person who has gotten into kayaking to be able to glide across the Iowa reservoirs and rivers  to watch the wildlife that frequents those habitats.

At this point I am not inclined to get that close to dipping into the rivers or reservoirs.

I was impressed with the collection of layout duck blinds hanging by the front door. Should I start hunting geese from my fields I would consider one of these to keep me concealed at the edge of the feeding decoys.
Cabela's was a very busy place for a Sunday forenoon, of course it was the day after Christmas. What should I expect?  The shopping experience for my Christmas present from Hubby was a good one. We shopped for a specific item and  was pleased with customer service, even on one of the busiest days of the season.

After our visit to Cabela's, we were off to Culver's for a bite to eat, and then it was time to get back on the road to complete the last part of our Christmas excursion that Hubby and I started late afternoon of Wednesday the 22nd.

Making our way past the Owatonna Cabela's we got back into the clouds we had escaped a couple hours to the north. Reaching this point I was glad to know that in 2 1/2 hours we would be arriving home. The 6 inches of new fallen snow, and wind, the day before our return brought into question the condition of our 1/2 mile long drive. Would our pick-up be able to get us from the road to the house? Unfortunately, we ended up walking  a little over a quarter of a mile...grabbing only the things that we could carry without too much added stress - drifts , balancing acts and all you know. We were uncertain of what lye ahead.

 The good thing, even with our little hike, we did make it home before dark as planned.It was time to unwind...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Next Leg of the Journey Home - December 2010

Now that we got beyond the neck twisting deer stand watch, I was continually scouring the countryside for wildlife. It seemed at least the beasts of the timber and field were smarter than the humans in staying put during the cold.
A stray deer was not to be seen ,but I did happen to find a solitary elk grazing through the snow cover at a commercial elk farm next to the interstate.

In the distance I found a shooting club that provided fuel for my imagination - seeing the shooting lanes busy with hunters practicing in spring ,summertime and fall weather for the upcoming seasons.

This lake had two visible huts from my vantage point on the run. The ice fishing huts were starting to take their places on the lakes. I was entertained by seeing  some very nice - palatial palaces to spend hours participating in the long winter activity - ice fishing, passing us going the opposite direction.

In fact on a trailer following one of the huts there was a full sized sofa  and ice grinding paraphernalia that I assumed was accompanying this one particular hut I felt might be something I wouldn't mind using. As we passed one exit there was a huge sign advertising an upcoming ice fishing tournament with a top prize of $50,000.00. I see that as a great way  to to make some money doing the things you are passionate about.

Whoops! I guess there was one more deer stand on our route just west of Avon,MN...definitely in a spot where a lot of traffic is constantly moving. You wonder how things go for the hunters during the hunting seasons? I bet the deer are so used to extra activity, alarms may not often be apart of their behavior.

I would like to conclude today's post with a picture of the Red River Trails 3-D Archery Club woods by Avon,MN. My early fall travels have brought me past during some of their busy club activities, but the winter weather during this trip made the trails peacefully silent...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Iowa Caucuses Tomorrow

Iowa Caucus Day,January 3,2012. Boy, OH Boy! Am I ever ready for this Political event to get completed already.

The Straw Poll in August was another event for which I can say I am glad it is over. That was another time period where you dreaded to answer the phone because of all the politicians wanting you to know about themselves. We are constantly bombarded with television ads and phone calls for far to long in my book.

Yesterday, Sunday, New Year's Day, we were only called twice by the politicians . Both calls came between 4:30 - 4:35. One was a recorded message from Bill with Winning America Back...a constant robo-call and then a three question survey from Newt 2012. Sometimes the callers identify themselves upfront, but most of the time you have to wait until the end to discover exactly who is calling.I wanted to start keeping track how many times our phone rang from the same individuals.

Today, the calls started at -

11:30 - with call staff from Rick Perry's campaign headquarters. Checking to see who we would be caucusing for tomorrow night and if we knew where our caucus was being held.

11:33 - The Iowa Christian Leaders in Government group, a recorded message, wanted me to call Rick Santorum to let him know how disturbed by his voting record on abortion and a few other family issues I was.

12:12 - A local politician, Brad Zaun, named campaign chairman recently, called in support of Michelle Bachmann and wanted us to call into a Caucus meeting tonight in preparation for the real thing tomorrow night.

12:33 - Local radio talk show host, Steve Deace, called in support of Newt Gingrich - paid for by Newt    2012

12:48 - Representative Jason Shultz called to give me some more reasons why I shouldn't vote for Rick Santorum. Instead I should vote for Ron Paul - paid for by the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign Committee

Woohoo! At the time of this observation a little over an hour had since the last call. I believe however that things will heat up again around 4:30 when they think us working class people should be getting home from work. Then I perceive from past experience, calls could go as late as 8:30 or 9:00. At least they did at the end of last week.

Well, it's 4:52PM and the house is far.

For my Iowa readers - here are some Des Moines Register campaign trail videos to help you make your choices for the caucuses tomorrow evening. Maybe my out of state readers can get prepared as well for what is coming to your neighborhoods if they haven't already...

Deer Stand Row

I want to pick-up where I left off in the last post...

Ah yes! Deer Stand Row as I have titled it. I have had several opportunities to see the stands in winter and summer. Most definitely harder to locate some of them during the summer months with foliage all around. My picture taking on the way home always seemed to point out the driver's side of the car , because our trip west a few days before came during the dark of night.

Coming up to the Pelican Lake area started my field searches - ending around Brandon...All my pictures taken in this post  are at Interstate speed. No stopping to get a good shot.

Here is the first deer stand that I caught sight of and was able to capture a digital image of on our way home. I did see others that I didn't have a chance to get pictures of because as soon as I saw them we were gone.

Even though winter allowed  for trees to be leafless, some stands were still camouflaged by tucking them into the edges of field and tight treelines.

The deer stands that I saw most were of the elevated varieties...since they stood out the most.

Hurry! Hurry! This one was taken out the back passenger window on the Driver's side of the car from the front passenger seat.

I was glad to have Hubby's set of eyes to help survey the countryside. Trying to see both directions north and south of our traveling lanes kept my head going back and forth...Whiplash!
This deer stand brings to conclusion today's "Deer Stand Row" post and  is my belongs to Long Lake Lodge  at Brandon,MN. Oh to have a double decker like that one!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Year Ago - The Day After Christmas

What a difference a year makes in  time and place...I would like to flashback to where I left off - the day after Christmas 2010 on our way back from Jamestown, ND.

We finished packing up the car, with Sadie taking her place in the backseat, we got on our way before daylight.  Hubby and I wanted to make some stops, but still get home in time to beat sundown.Snow was in the air and the passing lane of  eastbound I-94 was absent of tire marks as our car lights reflected back from the twinkling crystals.

Light of day finally came rising off the horizon through the misty cold winter clouds as we reached Fargo/Moorhead.
East of Moorhead, MN

It was after 9:00 before the greyness began to melt away with intermittent snow still blowing across the road.

The color of the sky ranged from pastel pinks to blue and finally warm orange as the sun rose between the openings of the swiftly changing cloud banks.
Hubby and I were still a long way from home.

Camera in hand I intended to find points of interest as we sped onto the next available Cabela's to stop and shop.

Heading eastward brought us onto a stretch of road that has come to carry the label Deer Stand Rowe to me. It seemed to have the greatest concentration of visible stands from the interstate - lying not far from our present location.

Check back for another installment of our flashback to our trip home in 2010 - see the variety of stands and locations...