Working the Fat of the Land for Bees and Monarchs

Just fired off an email to my local Natural Resources Conservationist.

You can find yours here: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?type=mobile

I was made aware that there are programs in place to help you out financially if you create monarch butterfly and honey bee habitat. Seeing as Katie and I are looking to reclaim 6 acres of gravel pit back to fields this seems like the perfect opportunity to try and leech from the government which is the ultimate rich man/poor man move.

For more info on this program visit :

http://nrcs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=8c9b052d51214cc3b6742a4ddf0a98cc

Camping Recap : Bay Furnace Campground : A Historical Monument to the Upper Peninsula’s Iron Ore Heritage with a Stunning view of the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore Conveniently Located Directly Across the Highway from a Casino Where Your Destructive Gambling Addiction and the Dead Eyed Visage of Saint Nicholas are Beckoning You to Bet All Your Money on Black and Leave Your Wife and Child and Never Look Back.

Bay Furnace Campground : It was very neat and clean. The facilities were also freshly updated and well maintained. Plenty of beach to go around even if you don’t nab a spot directly on the lake shore. 5/5. We stayed here Labor Day weekend 2019 for our second anniversary!

Here are some photos :

Firstly : The furnace itself! Yes, this is named Bay Furnace because it is a bay where there was a giant blast furnace where they made pig iron. IMHO Furnace Bay makes more sense but what the hell do I know?

 

It was pretty odd to think that where we were camping was a developed town built up around a giant blast furnace at one point. Kind of humbling to think that in 200 years any evidence of my ass being here could just be wiped away. (This is called foreshadowing, kids. You may have to be a bit of uh inteleckshual to understand it.)

 

Campsite and Beach Views! That land mass across the water is Grand Island.

 

 

The following photos were taken along the beach just off of the Sand Point Marsh Trail where it connects with the North Country Trail.

Nap Time!

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Post Nap Asshattery!

*Models Booty* *realizes it’s a video she’s taking*

“There’s something wrong with you. I’m normal.”

You’re normal?

“I’m normal, but there’s something wrong with you.”

What’s wrong with me?

“Well, you married me for one so that’s like the biggest mistake you could make.”

I see. What’s my second problem?

“YOUR FACE.”

And the look I was given after the video was taken and her phone got nabbed!

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My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Superior State of Mind : Well, I’m Done Pond-ering.

If you want back story read the post them watch the video.

I had originally intended on digging out a pond / swimming hole because I’ve just always wanted to have one. I have this weird phobia about swimming in water that I can’t see the bottom of and if I dig a hole in the ground the odds of something you’d see on river monsters biting off my toes are close to 0%. For the time being I am giving up on that dream. I am unsure as to what the hell if any permits I am going to have to deal with to dig this thing out. I’d rather not have the DNR or DEQ or ATF or any of nem ner big gubmint agencies out on muh property(Side Note: If you haven’t checked out the sovereign citizen movement I suggest you do. I love watching these guys try to talk in some crazy moon language to try and legal-ese their way out of not having a license and registration. It almost always ends in them getting pulled through a broken window or having the K9 unit ripping a guys arm apart. HILARIOUS!). I’ve found that avoiding fines has been crucial to my ability to pay back my massive amounts of tax debt.

The second reason that I wanted the pond was as a water source for reclaiming the gravel pit and trying to establish plants and a root base.(We want to plant monarch butterfly and honeybee habitat plants. (I’m turning into a hippy.)) At the time I thought my only option would be to use a DC submersible pump running off a solar setup to force the water out of the pond and into water storage of some kind. That was dumb.

What’s one way to get water without digging? Pounding a pole into the ground! I ran to the local hardware store grabbed a sand point, connecting collar, 10′ of 1 1/4″ galvanized pipe, a check valve, and a 1 1/4″ to 3/4″ garden hose adapter. I very safely stood on the boxside of my truck with wet feet to pound the mother down, down into the ground. Thankfully I didn’t hit any major obstructions and just used a pipe wrench to turn the pipe if it stopped making progress. I probably could’ve just pounded the sand point down and pulled water, but pipe is cheap, and Katie has really been encouraging me to take risks now that I have a life insurance policy.

I soon realized that I had forgotten to grab a generator for the AC pump. SMOOTH!! I did the next smartest thing I could by connecting everything including a garden hose. I have been know to puff tuff in my time and began to pull a vacuum with my lungs. Much to my surprise it actually worked really well and I was able to get potentially contaminated water in my mouth as a reward. (Remember how Katie has been encouraging me to take risks?)

Cut to: My wife coordinating with family members buying me some solar panels for my birthday. She was very disappointed when they arrived with the words SOLAR PANELS written across the packaging in giant letters when I got home before her. I was pretty ecstatic about this as it let me order everything I needed to get a test run done in with them.

AND THAT’S WHERE THE VIDEO PICKS UP!

WHAT HAS OCCURRED SINCE THIS VIDEO WAS SHOT?!?!?!

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Water Barrels Acquired. 6 @ 55 gallons @ $8 a pop! Now, I’m no math major but that’s at least 200 gallons of water I can store for only $160! The plan is to put them at the highest point in the pit to create water pressure so we can run sprinklers. I plan on connecting them all by using the bung plugs on top with a series of 2″ PVC pipe and burying them upside down so that we can draw and fill easily with everything protected from the elements. For a rough idea of what I am thinking of check out this guy’s setup without the need for a diverter as I am planning on making some kind of a waterfall out of anything excess that runs out a hole on the top.

Superior State of Mind : Where we’re going we won’t need window trimmings.

You may have noticed that there hasn’t been much action on our plans to build a new home. No, this isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually spectacular.

We had originally planned on purchasing a 2.5 acre lot on an extremely desirable piece of property. When that never materialized we began looking at alternative options like purchasing another home on the cheap like I did with our current one and remodeling it.

The problem with remodeling, especially when you are residing in it while doing the work is that it just plain sucks. Everything you own is constantly in the way and always at risk of getting covered in dust, debris, paint, etc. If you need to poop, good luck! The shitter’s back ordered so here’s the bucket! I was kind and bought the cutout lid for it so the thin walls of the bucket don’t dig into your haunches while you squat.

I refuse to do that again. In fact, I have been the procrastination king on our current house because I am just burned the eff out on doing crap on this house. The punch list for the house includes :

  • Finish Trim : Floor trim, room transitions
  • Paint Trim
  • Small amount of soffit & fascia work
  • Finish vinyl siding around the front porch (only been 5 years since I started)
  • Fix the foundation on the southwest corner(needs a new footing dug in in the crawlspace)
  • Move the dog kennel away from the road and driveway
  • Repaint the backyard deck
  • Put burlap curtains up around the front porch for times we want privacy

I want out. I am going nuts in this place because I want what’s next. I’ve lived here for over 8 years and am getting the itch to move into a place with a G D garage and some room to stretch my legs!

Enter : Katie’s Find.

35 acres. 35 acres of land in the most convenient damn place it could be. It’s closer to the shop where we run our business (I could bike to work in 20 minutes), it’s closer to Katie’s job, and it’s 35 damn acres! 35 acres at under $1500 an acre! Unheard of. An absolute steal.

Pics or it didn’t happen though, right?

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The closing date is July 12th. It can’t get here soon enough!

 

Camping Recap : Craig Lake State Park

Craig Lake State Park is located in Champion Township, Baraga County, MI. It is Michigan’s most remote state park featuring six islands on the 374 acre lake with granite bluffs and is over 8400 acres in total.

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We are lucky enough to live within a 2 hour drive of this rustic campground. Katie and her family have been here many times but this was the first trip I was able to tag along. Graduation season cut into this trip but since it was so close it was easy to shoot up on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

The road in was very easy to locate using Google Maps. Signs warn of treacherous roads but they were in good condition even with the tremendous amount of rain we’ve gotten and the extremely high water table. A small crossover like a Ford Escape or a Rav4 would be more than enough to get in if the roads stay in this condition. The road is easily navigable but expect about a 20+ minute drive to get into the campground parking lot off of M28. Twists, bends, oncoming traffic, ruts and the occasional dirtbike poppin a wheelie force you to take it easy on your way in. I don’t think the speedometer made it over 20mph the entire drive in.

Katie and I joined our group as they were on Day 3 of their adventure. They had camped on the north shore of the Lake at campsite 2, but since they were departing early Sunday morning we were able to catch them at campsite 11. We basically car camped as we had planned on kayaking in to meet them at 2 but they changed their plans to get a jump start on their 10+ hour drive back to Indiana.

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Some views from the North Shore.

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The following is a photo series I call : Why Joe should never be put in charge of canoeing.

The Approach

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The Collision

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The Conclusion

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With the help of a paddle a canoe and a branch I once again swept my wife off her feet.

Second Attempt:

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The highlight of the canoeing was the bald eagle’s nest we spotted. It was massive, about 6′ in diameter. Unfortunately we have no photos as I am always on the verge of capsizing any canoe I occupy. Did I mention I hate canoes?

Here’s some views of camp site 11.

I really wish that we had had more time to camp this weekend but life milestones and a rainy Memorial Day sent us home early with a quick pit stop at the Corner Cafe.

Other highlights of the trip included :

  • Carl losing his truck keys in his pants pocket
  • Joe forgetting his quilt for his hammock and borrowing Larry’s wolfie fleece blanket
  • Carl losing his hearing aids in the bag in his hands
  • Joe convincing Katie to only pack a light blanket even though it got down to 36 degrees
  • Something bumping into Katie in the night and knocking her underquilt off so so she froze all night and couldn’t sleep
  • Carl in his mid 60s discovering vodka and cranberry juice as a drink combination

Other amenities to the campground :

  • Connects to the Baraga State and Michigamme State Forest. You have access to over 15 thousand acres of public land.
  • Located along the North Country Trail
  • Near Van Riper State Park
  • has BEAUTIFUL ADA accessible cabins
  • A feeling of complete seclusion with an easy hike in.
  • Tree branches which work well to dispatch wives

Bluefin Bay Resort

Not far from the border of Canada in Minnesota, on the rocky shores of Lake Superior, is a place called Bluefin Bay Resort. Not going to sugarcoat it…I adore this place!! My husband and I went there last year on our honeymoon for one night and were bummed we did not reserve a second night. This year I took my sister Jennifer as a birthday present and stayed for two days. It was amazing! The staff was wonderful and super friendly. The room was clean and comfortable. We of course went with the cheapest room we could. They have a full range of rooms available. Our room was a small, one queen bed room. It had a fridge, microwave, tv and a nice bathroom. It was about $100 a night. The best thing about Bluefin? Everything is complementary!

Well, not everything, but pretty close! All equipment such as bikes, helmets, kayaks, etc are all complementary for guests. Not only that, but they have complementary guided tours and excursions. My sister and I went on a guided hike tour to a waterfall. Joe and I went on a canoe guided tour on a river. I saved the best for last! Every night at 6:00 they light campfires and give smores to all the guests. Yum! This is just barely the tip of the iceberg.

What is not complementary? The delicious food at the restaurants on the resort, but the food still worth it! If you want to save on the cost of food you can bring food along and store in the the fridge. They have grills available for use. The spa also costs some money and, if you want to go, make sure you book well in advance. The only thing left when Jennifer and I arrived was the very expensive back massage.

In all we had an amazing time and I recommend Bluefin to anyone looking for a beautiful place to vacation at. Check out my video of our time there!