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Friday, July 23, 2010

Prairie Dogs Visit Cheese Country

The Zosel's were pleased to entertain the CW (Wayne & Carol or is it Carol & Wayne?) at their rented cottage on McLain Lake  Thursday and Friday.  A good time was had by all.  On Thursday evening a campfire was conducted on the lakeshore where 'tin foil' dinners were cooked to perfection for the main course.  Wayne shared his talent as a time keeper to add precision to the cooking process.  The dinner was followed by the making of cherry pies over the coals. Behind the scenes, chef Eve, was responsible for putting together the ingredients of the delicious fare. 
Friday turned out to be a fine day as well and was high-lighted by a walk around the entire lake by the men folk. 

Eve Catches Fish!

Eve with billy big mouth bass
Eve shows she is not limited to catching sunfish.  Here she demonstrates her skill on a fine bass.  However, since Wayne and Carol departed, Chuck and Eve caught 50 sunnies - all released to grow for next year.  While we were fishing and releasing we released a small bluegill which had swallowed the hook.  The poor critter wasn't looking too healthy and lay listlessly on it's side floating away from the boat.  Suddenly, out of the blue swooped an eagle and snagged the fish in it's talons, giving us an exciting glimpse of life and death in nature.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lunch At McLain on Tuesday

Paul, Jackie and Joanne gather at the picnic table to consume their 'Tacos in a Bag'.  This is one way to minimize the work for the kitchen crew.  They do a great job and deserve all the help they can get.  Joanne and Sheri provided the meals and Jackie pitched in on the cooking.  It was all good.  Thanks Ladies! 
Dave had to leave early this morning to work at school. Paul's family had to leave early for Zack's baseball game this evening.  Joanne, Jackie and Nick left this afternoon to fulfill prior commitments at home.  Al stuck around a little longer to do (what else?) a little more fishing.  Dave came back around 6 to pick up the camper and Al.  The old folks are now alone at the Lake. 

Everybody Line Up Nice Now

Al carefully lines up 10 meaty sunnies he and Grandpa caught this afternoon for a group photo before the cleaning operation. 

The Mighty Fishermen Pose Before Cleaning Catch

Al and Grampa pause for a photo op before cleaning the fish for supper. 

A Fine Meal of Fish

Dave, Gramps and Al enjoy a meal of sunfish fresh from the lake. 

Monday at McLain

Here are a few of the survivors of the Monday activities.  Paul, Sheri, Kate and Zack returned late from Duluth where Zack had a baseball game.  Grandma and Grandpa waited up and kept the fire burning so they could have their midnight snack of s'mores. 

Fire on the Beach

Campers enjoy the warmth of the traditional fire on the beach.   Smores were made on the spot as Nick faithly stirs the fire. 

Let the Games Begin!

Katie is in deep concentration as she opens the "McLain Olymics" with the first of several events.  Success at each event is rewarded with huge sums of (bogus) money presented by games director Grandma Eve.  Presumably, the $ will be worth something at redemption time.  In this stunt, the contestant must lift the (hard-boiled) egg from the top of the bottle with a string loop and place it on the top of another bottle without dropping it. 

Where Have I Seen This Before?

Yet another photo of Al with a fish.  Yet, this one is worthy of note as this bass vies for the perhaps the largest bass caught in McLain recently. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The End of a Sunny Sunday on McLain

It was a beautiful and busy day for the McLain crew with fishing, eating and a river trip.  Sunday started with threatening clouds on McLain Lake, but ended with sunshine and this lovely sunset.  Photo by Eve

Happy Al catches 2 bass!

Fisherman Al caught 2 bass one right after another just before supper on Sunday evening.  These bass were carefully released into the lake minutes after the photo was taken.  Earlier Sunday, Al, Zack and Grandpa went out and caught sunnies, bass and a yellow bullhead. 

The Annual Float on the Namekagon River

Once again the McLain group made the pilgrimage to Trego to take a tube,canoe and kayak float down the river. 
Here is a shot of some of the crew as they stop for a hearty lunch along a sandbar in the river.  We've had plenty of rain so the river was generally plenty deep.  We did find this shallow spot to make time for lunch.  The day was sunny and the temperature was in the upper 70's with a nice breeze. 
Brenda, Rachel, Brian and Logan, we missed you this year!

Cool Customers on the Namekagon

Dave, Al and Nick enjoy the refreshing waters of the Namekagon River today.  Al is sporting the glasses he salvaged from the bottom of the river. 

A Good Day for Wildlife on the River

This deer was kind enough to share the river with us.  We also saw a muskrat, beautiful damsel flies and dragon flies.  Happy to say there were no nasty biting flies today.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sweet Berries of Blue

This past week I went out to hunt the wary blueberry.  I know they grow in bogs, but I went out to the sandy barrens near our home because there usually aren't so many mosquitoes there.  With all the rain we have had so far this spring and summer, I expected a super abundant crop.  But for some reason they weren't 'everywhere'.  It took some hunting to find a few and then a few lead to a few more.  I'll let you in on my secret:  I found the best patches of berries in the partially shaded areas.  Please don't spread it around.  I have picked a couple of quarts or more so far and I will plan to go some more this week.

If you look at the next 3 posts you will see that there is more to see in the sandy jack pine barrens this time of year. 


The waxy fragrant flowers of this shinleaf were hidden in the tall grass adding up to a pleasant surprise.  Shinleaf, which I usually call pyrola, the genus to which it belongs.  It is in the wintergreen family.  My Audubon field guide tells me the name 'shin leaf' relates to the fact that the leaves of this plant can be used as a plaster to relieve pain and is referred to as a 'shin' plaster.

Wood Lilly

The wood lily is sure to catch your eye with it's brilliant orange color and its upright posture.  It is a native and grows in the sand country with the blueberries, bergamot and dense blazing star amid the jack pines and scrub oaks.

Wild Bergamot and More