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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We own and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NUTTIN MUCH

I can’t wait to get out of this “yuck” weather mode. It seems the snow is SLOW to melt, even with all the warm temps, rain and fog. This is a very boring time of year. There is only so much we can do to get ready for the summer business when the weather is like this. At least this year, I don’t have to get help to “unstack” the picnic tables! Last fall, when we were closing the campground down for the season, we knew there was a good chance that Dan would be having his other knee replaced this spring, so we didn’t move the tables all to one area and stack them and tie them together. If you recall, I had a very difficult time last spring finding help to get them “unstacked”, then I had to individually load each one into the loader bucket, take it to the site it belonged on, take it out of the bucket, etc etc. 50 tables don’t seem like much until you have to get off and on and off and on the loader 150 times! I’ve got about 15 of them that I need to stain this spring.

Dan is getting “geared” up for his surgery and asking me to make sure I’ve got plenty of home made cookies on hand for him (it helps him build up his strength…hmmmm, that’s a new one). We decided to make a double batch of Amish sugar cookies the other day. I was at the fridge, getting out a stick of margarine and I tossed it to him. Now, both of us SAW it leave my hand, we SAW it fly through the air, but it never reached Dan’s hand and we couldn’t find it. The kitchen is NOT that big! I seriously thought we had discovered a black hole in my kitchen! We never heard it hit the floor, never heard it land on the counter. You can’t imagine what a creepy feeling it is to witness something like that and no sign of the margarine any place. In a little bit, Dan started chuckling and said “I found it.” When I tossed the stick of margarine to him, some how my “toss” was off a smidgen and the margarine had encountered a cupboard handle on its way to Dan’s hands. It was stuck on the handle! Almost cut right in half! Until he had found it, I had entertained thoughts in those 3 minutes of the missing margarine of NOW being able to figure out where the socks go when they don’t come out of the dryer.

As you know, our snowmobile season is over for this year and we are slowly getting rid of the snow. LAST weekend, while Dan and I were sitting in the living room, watching TV, I said “There goes a snowmobile across the campground!” At first I couldn’t believe my eyes and thought I was seeing things. We don’t even allow our guests to ride where we haven’t plowed and we don’t plow the campground! We watched it go around the backside of the campground and it finally came back so we could see it came from the house to the south of us. I don’t call the people that live there our neighbors because they have been nothing but trouble since they moved in…between them and their dogs. I called the police, which I truly felt bad in doing. NOT because of turning this guy in, but because of all the cut backs and it being Sunday I didn’t know how busy the State Police post would be, or if there would be anyone who wasn’t taking care of something more important than this that could come out. In the meantime, this guy kept zooming around the campground; sometimes he was alone (no helmet) and some times he had a kid on the back (no helmet). We could tell he was going down the nature trail and back by the sewage lagoon (AKA Poop Pond…for those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you will recall that story and photo???) There are signs at both ends of the nature trail that state “NO VEHICLES BEYOND THIS POINT!” The State Police called back about 20 minutes later and said they did not have anyone they could send and wanted to know if this was still going on. I told them he was continuing riding all over and was now even riding back by the sewage lagoon. The State Police said they would try to get Under-Sheriff Mike Jago to come out. Mike arrived and I apologized for having to bother him on his day off. We gave him the info and he left to go talk with “the neighbor”. He came back and told us that the “kid” admitted he had been riding over here, didn’t realize it was private property (yeah, right…after all the discussions we have had with these people???). Mike said “You should have realized it when you saw the sewage lagoon.” He SHOULD have realized it when he crossed the fence line, saw the bathhouse, the 500 gallon propane tank, all the campground pedestals, etc. Don’t ya just love people and their excuses?? He assured Under Sheriff Jago that he wouldn’t do it again. Anyway, all winter long, for several winters, we have not had an issue with anyone riding across our property or even our guests not riding where we haven’t plowed, but ya get to the very end of the season and then ya get a yahoo like this. We haven’t put our snow boots on to go out and check the backside of the campground to make sure he didn’t mow any of our new trees over, or didn’t hit any buried risers in the snow. I WAS ready to head out yesterday and chase their darn dogs out of the campground though. It is bad enough that we sometimes have to clean up after our guest’s dogs, but it REALLY irritates me when our “neighbors” dogs come over here and poop!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

MICHIGAN BURNING PERMIT CHANGES

New burn permit system announced


By Kelly Dame
03/24/2007


Once again it's the time of year when officials begin preparing for brush fires. The State of Michigan also is preparing by getting the word out about a new system to obtain burn permits.


The old system involved calling the Department of Natural Resources Sanford Field Office and leaving information on an answering machine.

That's all changed with a federal grant to the DNR that should help lower costs by eliminating extra lines to field stations, said Jerry Turner of the DNR.

The new system works for Midland County and north to the Upper Peninsula, he said, and can be accessed two ways: By telephone at (866) 922-BURN, or by Internet at www.michigan.gov/burnpermit.

Callers will be given a permit number to write down, and the Internet option allows anyone interested in a permit to input their information and print out a paper copy of their own burn permit. The Internet version also tells people if burn permits are being issued.

The new permits are good for 24 hours at a time, expiring at midnight, rather than for three days like the old ones, Turner said. They also are free and are issued depending on local weather reports. Local fire departments, through the Midland County Central Dispatch Authority, will have the capability to obtain the burn permit number if needed.

The changes are especially important because spring, with it's dead grass and leaves on the ground, is the worst time for out of control wild fires, states a DNR media release.

The only items that can be burned are yard debris like leaves, brush, grass and stumps.

The DNR also offers the following tips:

don't burn on a windy day, * never leave a fire unattended, * clear the area 10 feet around what you plan to burn of combustible material, * have a garden hose, shovel and rake nearby, and * burn small piles at a time.

Turner said the statewide advertising campaign about the change has not yet begun, but he's trying to get a jump on it by advertising on MCTV and at The Dow Chemical Co.

©Midland Daily News 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

NUTTIN MUCH

Every once in a while, in the evening, Dan and I like to have some cheese, crackers and canned oysters. Sometimes we try out different cheeses or cheese spreads.

We have had a container of unopened Swiss Almond cheese spread for a long time and thought before it expired in 2008, we better sample this cheese spread.

Before Survivor came on, I was fixing us each a small plate of crackers with the spread and a few oysters. I had forgotten to purchase snack crackers so I had to use regular saltine crackers, which isn’t a problem…normally.

I opened the container of cheese spread and realized when they stated Almond; they didn’t mean little pieces or just flavoring. There were good size chunks of almonds in this spread. You couldn’t have spread this stuff on corn dodgers or hard tack, let alone on ordinary saltine crackers. What started out as an effort to assemble two attractive little plates of crackers and oysters ended up being a cracker crumb crusade. By the time I managed to put together 6 or 7 crackers for each plate, the crackers were fundamentally crumbs held together with Swiss Almond paste. I truly don’t know how anyone is supposed to use this stuff for cracker spread. No where on the container does it state “Let warm up to room temperature before trying to spread”. I don’t think that would work any way, other than you might be able to readily remove the almonds from it before trying to spread it.

We ate our mess of cracker crumbs and oysters and watched it lightening and rain. We actually had our first thunderstorm of 2007 last night. I guess spring did officially start, but I thought the Weather Wizards said that it started Tuesday night. The calendar states that Wednesday was the Vernal Equinox. There is still at least 2 foot of snow in the campground but our temps for the rest of the week are supposed to be close to the 50° mark. I am ready for spring, and green grass and buds on the trees, and mushroom hunting. Our spring project to do list keeps growing. Once we know that snowmobile season IS over for the year, then it is hard to not get anxious to get rid of the snow and see green. There is a certain window of time between when the snow goes and when things start to green up that it is just plain ugly looking. That is the time of the year when we like to take our vacation. Usually by the time we return, things are “greening up”. Due to Dan having another knee replacement next month, we won’t be venturing anyplace, so we can always hope for next spring to be our “get away”. I hope by the time he is able to get outside and walk around (has to use a walker for a while) that the campground roads have dried up. Right now, everything is mud and yuck.

One thing you might want to consider though, even with the mud and yuck, IS that the Tahquamenon Falls are going to be “ROARING” with this spring thaw and rain. There have been times in the spring that we have gone to the Falls and you can actually feel the ground rumble as you are walking the ¼ mile to the Falls. It is quite an impressive sight. So just because we are in our “yuck” stage right now, if you happened to be heading this way, DO take time to go the Tahquamenon Falls! It is very impressive (unless you have just recently visited Niagara Falls). Then you could venture on up to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The museum won’t be open yet, but to view Lake Superior when the ice is breaking up and waves are carrying it to shore, that is impressive too. Mother Nature at her best!

Come on up and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Wednesday, our day started out with a dark feeling. First I went to the kitchen and started the coffee. Everything was fine until I got out of the shower and was attempting to get dressed. I say attempting because the power went off and when it is off at 6 a.m. it is TOTALLY dark! I knew where MY body parts were, but I wasn’t sure about the clothing I put on the counter….frontwards?? Backwards???

I keep a flashlight in the bathroom because our power IS so very dependable (ha, ha). I should remember as often as I need the flashlight that it would do me good to replace batteries every once in a while. Fortunately my trusty "two lightening bug bright” light made it all the way to the kitchen so I could get a "5 lightening bug bright” light (meaning the batteries were a bit better). From there, I made it to the office so I could shut down the computer (I have a battery back up…learned that EARLY on) and call Newberry Water and Light supervisor. From there, I went back to the kitchen and started looking for candles.

I managed to get 5 candles lit; one vanilla cookie, one musk, one that smells like a sexy, clean man, one peppermint and one bayberry scented. I had to leave three of them in the kitchen so Chewy could see (remember, she has a very hard time seeing in the daylight, let alone the dark). With a start I remembered that the coffee should be done! HALLELUJAH!!! I at least could cart my coffee around in the dark with me!

By this time, Dan finally woke up and wanted to know if the power was off. I think his first clue was that it was TOTALLY dark (see the first paragraph). So I found his little flashlight and took it to him….not that he planned on going anywhere.

With all the various scented candles, I think I finally grasped what my Grandma meant when she referred to a neighbor lady who wore too much perfume; “She smells like a French whore house.” I never got the nerve to ask Grandma exactly how she would be on familiar terms with that particular smell.

Well, the power came on about 20 minutes later. Dan had fallen back to sleep and I started blowing out the flames on the 5 fairly large candles. Did I ever tell you we have an extremely sensitive smoke detector in the living room??? Well, we do. Dan was not very happy to be brought out of his slumber by that sound. And probably tonight, Nick, the Husky, will have a seizure; he doesn’t like the sound either and usually reacts to it by having an epileptic seizure. Chewy can’t hear so she could care less. At this time the odor of the French woman was replaced by the stink of smoldering wicks and smoke. Chewy does have a very good nose and she was not pleased with the scent. Nick and Dan were still yammering about the smoke alarm going off and both of them telling me how rude I am. I was enjoying my second mug of coffee. All is right in the world again. The day can only get better from here on out.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A HAPPY ENDING FOR THIS ATV MOM AND SON

Mother who survived ATV ordeal thanks rescuers, admits mistakes
By Susan Weich

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
03/17/2007

CREVE COEUR — Trapped under an ATV with her 3-year-old son nearby, Rebecca Riley wondered if she would make it out of the dense woods alive.

She tried to stay calm during the 15-hour ordeal, but sometimes she cried softly.

"I didn't want him to see me cry because I didn't want him to see how upset and how exhausted I was and how badly I was hurt," Riley, 28, of Wright City, said Friday in a news conference at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur, where she remains a patient.

Riley suffered chemical burns from spilled gasoline and bruises, but her son was unharmed in Monday's crash, which happened in the southwestern part of Lincoln County near the Fawn Lake landing strip. She and her son Riley Shive were forced to spend the night in the woods after the ATV they were riding flipped, and she got trapped underneath. Before the vehicle rolled, she was able to push her son to safety


Afterward, the boy rushed to her side, but she told him to stay a few feet away because she didn't know whether the dirt beneath her would shift and trap him too. She had fallen face down into a hole off the trail. A large tree stump was at her head, and the ATV was on her back. Her right arm and leg were pinned.

"I told him that everything was going to be all right, somebody would come find us and mommy's going to try to get out of here the best way she knows how," Riley said. "I tried to keep him calm. But it was hard, the whole night it was extremely hard."

Riley tried to dig her way out, and she yelled repeatedly for help.

"When my breath started giving out, I had to stop and just rest myself for a while because I knew I needed to save my breath," she said. "I knew there might not be anybody coming to look for us for a while. I had to be there for Riley."

She acknowledged Friday that she had made several mistakes that could have cost the lives of her and her son.

The two were not wearing helmets, something she said will never happen again. Helmets are not required when riding on private property


She had driven on a trail she was not familiar with and she got lost. She hadn't told anyone where she was going, and she had forgotten her cell phone.

The two had gone for a ride about 5:30 p.m. Both were wearing just T-shirts and pants in the unseasonably warm 70-degree weather. Just before 7 p.m., her ATV got stuck, and the accident happened as she was trying to free the four-wheeler.

As the hours passed, the boy complained about bugs crawling on him, and he worried about snakes. He said he was hungry and thirsty. Riley tossed dirt on him to try to keep him warm. She let him sleep for short periods but then would call his name to make sure that he would wake back up, that he wasn't getting hypothermia.

"He was so brave; we calmed each other," she said.

The next morning, Riley tried again to free herself and accidentally pulled the gas line on the ATV, mistaking it for a tree root. The gasoline spilled on her, causing burns, and she was overcome by the fumes.

"I think I passed out," she said. "All I remember is them pulling me up into the helicopter."
She said the experience had taught her that life is precious, and she said she feels lucky to be alive. She is being treated for an injury to her kidney but is expected to make a full recovery. Her son seemed no worse for the experience as he acted like a typical 3-year-old, sticking his tongue out at the TV cameras, pulling his T-shirt over his head and grabbing at microphones.
Riley expressed her thanks to all their rescuers.

"I love everybody for putting their time and effort into looking for us, just finding us, making sure we were OK," Riley said. "I just want everyone to know, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart."

sweich@post-dispatch.com 636-255-7210

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'M STILL HERE!

I guess it has been a few days since I updated! Time goes too fast anymore. I think I told you in my last update that from here on out updates wouldn’t be as often.

Dan will have his right knee replaced April 11th in the Soo. While we were in the Soo the other day (and just why is it called THE Soo??? You don’t say THE Newberry, or THE Detroit) we went for lunch at the Antlers. Dan’s birthday is March 19th so I told him for his birthday present we’d go out to lunch, his pick of restaurant. We hadn’t been there in a LONG time.

Dan ordered the beef burrito and I had the chicken chimichanga (you may remember my LAST ordeal with a chicken chimi from the Soo!). THESE THINGS WERE HUGE!!! AND SO VERY GOOD!!! And I’m glad we did NOT order extra cheese; there was enough cheese to choke a horse! Prior to our meal arriving, we thought we would stop at the Little Caesar’s and get one of those $5.00 pizza’s to bring home for later in the evening.

While we were there we saw someone who looked very familiar and before we said anything to this fella, we wanted to make sure it was him. It was Charlie Autterson; he USE to own Timber Charlie’s in Newberry and he was over helping at the Antler’s (more or less managing it from the sounds of it). We talked for a bit and I mentioned that we were “celebrating” Dan’s birthday early. When we were done with our meal (I ended up getting a Styrofoam box for mine!) and had already decided we did NOT want to smell pizza for 72 miles, Charlie had this wonderfully, decadent, chocolate brownie, ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream dessert delivered to our table. It was in a good size bowl with two spoons. After that we KNEW we didn’t want any pizza or anything else for a LONG while! All we wanted to do when we got in our car was go to sleep! 72 miles home never seemed SO LONG. Normally we get a 2nd wind after a big meal, but we both just wanted to crawl into bed. For those of you who know Charlie, he hasn’t changed a bit. We let him know that he was missed.

We have officially closed our business till mid May. It always seems strange this time of year when we are closed. This will be the 3rd year that we haven’t been able to take a vacation so we hope next year, neither one of us has to have any surgery and we’ll be able to go someplace. The first part of April, we’ll probably venture downstate to see our family and friends but that will be about it for this year. We hope next year to go to Gettysburgh and back into Tennessee. We LOVE Elkmont Campground in the Smokies…especially when there are bear outside of your tent walking around at night. That adds an element of excitement to trying to get to sleep or trying to get brave enough to walk across the campground to the restrooms.

AND THE MUSHROOMS IN THAT CAMPGROUND ARE HUGE! AND YOU AREN’T SUPPOSED TO PICK THEM BECAUSE IT IS INSIDE THE NATIONAL PARK! I swear, the yellow mushrooms are all as big as pop cans! Last time we were down there, we were walking the dogs around the campground roads and Dan held out his hand and said “Will ya look at this?!” I smacked the underside of his hand and that mushroom went on the wing over his shoulder. He looked positively bewildered and said “What the hell did you do that for??” I pointed to a sign that basically said “DON’T PICK ANYTHING.” WHAT A WASTE!!! Can you imagine mushrooms as big as pop cans, cooking over a campfire in a cast iron skillet???? Ya’d only need two of those things to make a meal for two people!

Take care, feel free to email and keep in touch otherwise!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

THE SEASON IS ALMOST OVER

Hard to believe that snowmobile season is drawing to a close, but ya never know; Mother Nature may surprise us yet before April 1st. As long as there is snow and we are grooming the trails, I will continue to update the report. However, when things wind down, I'm gonna wind down too for a bit. When we close our business, Clementz's Northcountry Campground and Cabins, at the end of snowmobile season, we have about 5-6 weeks to "call our own" before we reopen in May.

Dan, my hubby, may possibly be having his other knee replaced in April (he had the left one done last April) so he'll be laid up for a while if he does. We had hoped to take a short trip downstate to visit family and friends, but even that is up in the air at this time. That will depend on what he finds out Tuesday at his orthopedic surgeon's office. I'D LIKE TO TIME A TRIP TO COINCIDE WITH CEDAR POINT OPENING!!!! I don't see that happening this year!

With snowmobile season drawing to a close, there are still a lot of accidents I'm reading about. A lot of them this week have been in Wisconsin and in Canada. There was a head on collision on Trail #45 a couple of days ago and someone else collided with the Paradise groomer on #8, North of Paradise. I read a story about a man who had been pleading with his local DNR and township to remove a stump from a lake because it was a danger during the winter season (it sticks up above the lake level). The man that had been pleading for 3 years to get it removed hit it and died. With all of that in mind, here is a short news article from Marquette;

Man, 26, killed in Marquette County snowmobile crash
CHAMPION, Mich. -- A 26-year-old man was killed when the snowmobile he was riding left a lake and struck a tree in Marquette County, the state police said.
Matt Kirchhoff, of Michigamme, was last seen Saturday morning near Champion, police said in a news release. Following a search that included help from a Coast Guard helicopter, his body was found early Sunday.
Speed was believed to be a factor in the crash, police said.


Just because there aren't as many people on the trails right now doesn't mean you want to be any less careful. I realize this person was on a lake, but regardless of where you are riding, PLEASE be careful.

Talk with ya soon!

Friday, March 09, 2007

WHO PAYS FOR THE OUT DOORS??

FROM THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS;

The Granholm administration should take a lesson from its so-far skunked bid to increase hunting and fishing license fees: Don't rush the target.

In general, the proposed fee hikes are justified, but they would have come at sportsmen too quickly, suddenly tripling and quadrupling amounts for some licenses.

Outcries at the size of the jumps should have been foreseen by the administration. Resident deer hunters, whose licenses would have gone from $15 to $30, made themselves heard. Among others, so did senior citizens, whose fishing licenses were to leap from $11.20 to $32. So broad was the opposition to such hikes that no lawmaker in either house would even introduce the fee bills.

But though the tactic misfired, it was pointed in the right direction. License fees should be increased. Current fees were adopted in 1996 as part of a plan that called for modest increases in succeeding years. But those later adjustments weren't made, as the DNR instead chose a short-term patch: plugging budget holes with trust-fund reserves. More trouble is a slump in timber sales from state land, from which the state receives a cut. That revenue, projected to be down by $6 million next year, pays for forest management programs. The budget's increases in sportsmen fees would compensate for some of the decline.

The deeper DNR problem is that the Legislature has siphoned almost all general-fund money out of the agency's budget. That's despite the strong economic benefit that all of Michigan gets from DNR-supported activities: snowmobiling, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, park use and more. That broad public gain in the past resulted in sturdy support from the general budget. Thirty years ago, general taxpayer dollars comprised about half of the DNR's budget. Contrast that with the budget proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm for the year beginning Sept. 1: Of the $287.2 million for the DNR, about $25 million or just under
9 percent comes from the general fund -- and half of that goes to local governments in "swamp tax," amounts paid in lieu of taxes on state land.

The fees proposed by Ms. Granholm generally aren't outlandish. For the most part, they are in the same league with charges in neighbor states. But they probably would cut into hunting and fishing, which ought to concern this outdoor-oriented state, and they may shrink the DNR's base of fee-payers.

The long-term solution can't be continued raising of user fees. Also, plain fairness dictates that the general fund provide a greater share of support. That fits both with the widely shared economic benefits of sportsmen activities and the fact that many users of public lands pay little or nothing: backpackers, bird watchers, canoers, mushroom and berry pickers and others.

The answer for now is to raise the fees, but do it over several years. Reduce discounts for seniors, but keep some significant breaks. Most of all, Ms. Granholm and lawmakers need to find a broader base of support for the DNR. That includes state park campgrounds, which also receive no support from the general fund despite the millions of visitors they draw to Michigan and the hundreds of millions of dollars they pump into rural economies.

This doesn't have to be a choice between the outdoors and the schools or health care for the poor. When lawmakers and the governor want to invest in favored purposes, they find the dollars. They regularly put millions into university construction and art subsidies. The last budget had $4 million for the Detroit Zoo. The Super Bowl got $8 million. Michigan's woods and waters are at least as deserving.

DNR TO ENFORCE CAMPING RULES

DNR enforces camping rules
By Jim Anderson
Iron Mountain Daily News
IRON MOUNTAIN — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is enforcing occupancy rules at state forest campsites, issuing citations to campers who leave a site unoccupied for more than a day.

“You can’t just stake out a site and not use it,” explained Ann Wilson, DNR communications representative for the Upper Peninsula.But some campers are growing leery of setting up on state property, risking $90 fines if they leave the site unoccupied, said Howard Miller, a Felch Township resident.Miller said campers are grousing that the DNR is too vigilant about enforcing little-known regulations.

According to the DNR’s general rules for state forest campgrounds, a campsite may be left unoccupied for no more than 24 hours.The DNR is responding to incidents of campers setting up early in the week to “save” a site, but not actually occupying it until the weekend, Wilson said.

Fees at state forest campgrounds are generally $10 per night, but fines for rules violations might run as high as $100 or more per ticket.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

WHAT'S YOUR EMERGENCY, PLEASE

We have talked before about my best friend Anne and the hijinx that we occasionally “get up to”…well, not EVERYTHING has been discussed, but you know that we enjoy seeing each other our once or twice a year and try to make every moment count.

She and Mike will be coming up the first week of June. Mike will be trailering his motorcycle up so he can do some riding while they are here. She and I will find something to do to entertain us, I’m sure.

When they come up, she always plans a menu for all of us while they are staying here. Anne is a terrific cook and really enjoys experimenting with new dishes…and of course, we are all willing to try it out. One of the times she was here, she made some casserole type dish that was made with potatoes, baby onions, some other ingredients and some crunchy stuff that I couldn’t identify…but it was SOO good, so I asked for the recipe. She rattled it off and then she said “and 4 TBLS of Fryin’ Magic.” I told her that I had NO idea what the heck that was. She explained that it is a type of coating, it comes in a box and you can get it at the grocery store.

Well, I looked at our grocery store next time I was in town and I couldn’t come up with any Fryin’ Magic. I couldn’t even come up with Shake and Bake! (Do they still make that stuff???) I emailed her when I got home and told her that there was none to be had in our little burg so she said she would get a couple of boxes and mail them to me. Not only is she a good cook, but she is a very thoughtful person…and this casserole WAS that good that I did want to be able to make it!

This was part of our email conversation;

From Anne; I just hope the box doesn't explode during transport. What a mess that would be! I've got it wrapped pretty good though.

From me: Hey, if it explodes, will I be the center of a postal investigation for “white substance”??

From Anne: Oops.........I hadn't even thought of that! I'm getting this mental image of the post office calling you to come down immediately. When you walk in, there's the postmaster (or mistress whatever the case may be) standing there with Fryin’ Magic all over their face, both hands flat on the counter in front of them, head down, eyes looking up at you. And they say, "Mrs. Clementz.....do you know a person by the name of Anne- ********??

From there we went to the following:
ME: Do you suppose we could end up on the Evening News with this Fryin’ Magic caper???

ANNE: Wouldn't that be hilarious?!? OMG! I can hear Dan Rather:

"There was an alarming incident in a small settlement called Newberry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan today. It involves the post office and a powdery white substance. These types of alarming incidents are becoming commonplace since 911. The FBI was called in. The substance was analyzed & discovered to be the harmless coating mix called Fryin’ Magic. It seems that this item is a little hard to find in the Upper Peninsula. A woman needed some Fryin’ Magic to make a casserole for Thanksgiving. The woman's friend from Lower Michigan packed up a 2 boxes and sent it to her via the US postal service. When it arrived at the post office in Newberry, the packages exploded, coating the entire post office (I told you Newberry is a small settlement) in the white powdery substance. Everyone had a good laugh, and the woman announced that she will have to find another casserole to make as there isn't enough time to get another package of Fryin’ Magic to Newberry before Thanksgiving.

The local Newberry grocery stores have announced that they will start carrying Fryin’ Magic"

None of this actually happened, but it is ironic since that time I HAVE been able to get Fryin’ Magic at the IGA store!

(I want it known that neither Anne nor I take security issues lightly nor do we take the role of law enforcement lightly; we were just having some fun with this.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

QUESTION FOR YOU

Here's a one-question IQ Test to help you decide how you should spend the rest of your day. There is a man who is mute and wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing one's teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done. Now, if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses, how should he express himself? Think about it first before scrolling down for the answer...










He opens his mouth and says. "I would like to buy a pair of sunglasses"

If you got this wrong -- please turn off your computer and call it a day.

I've got mine shutting down right now..

Sunday, March 04, 2007

READ THE FINE PRINT

I had a coupon for a FREE bottle of White Rain shampoo, so I thought “Why not? I always try to find the kind that does what theirs does for a lot less, so why not try White Rain?”

I wish a person could find plain, old, non perfumed shampoo and conditioner….just something that leaves your hair smelling clean. If you get a bottle of shampoo that is supposed to smell like green apples and wild oats then you naturally need to find the compatible hair conditioner. The only bottle of the shampoo I could find was something like “Very Berry”. The only bottle of conditioner I could find was “Coconut”. So, I knew my hair was going to smell like a Pina Colada with a side dish of fruit.

We still had shampoo on our shower caddy but we were out of conditioner so I sat the conditioner in the shower caddy where the conditioner always sets. I thought I might as well put the new bottle of shampoo on the other shelf of the caddy because the existing bottle of shampoo WAS about gone. I made SURE that the conditioner was in the same place that Dan would be use to finding it so he wouldn’t accidentally grab the new “Very Berry” bottle of shampoo and try to use it for conditioner….only to end up soaping his little bit of hair again.

Dan was still out grooming snowmobile trails when I got up yesterday morning so I took my shower and thought I would try the new shampoo. The only thing I could see different between it and the Suave was it sure lathered up better…a little bit goes a long ways. I managed to get all the soap rinsed out of my hair and grabbed the bottle of Coconut “flavored” conditioner. Since I have long hair and it tends to be dry, I always use a generous amount of conditioner. So I “poured” a good amount of conditioner in the palm of my hand and applied it all over my head, to the ends of my hair, making sure I had plenty of coverage. It DID smell nice and maybe the Very Berry smell wouldn’t come through the coconut smell. But why is this stuff all soapy? I KNEW I’d done a good job of rinsing the shampoo out, but I sure was working up a lather! I looked at the bottle and it said SHAMPOO. ARRGGGHHH!!!! It had been in the area of where the conditioners were supposed to be! I just grabbed! I didn’t read the fine print!!!

Remember I said “a little bit goes a long ways”?? Remember I said “I poured a good amount of conditioner in the palm of my hand.”?? I had SO much coconut shampoo lather in my hair that I was beginning to think I’d never get it completely rinsed out. The inside of the tub and the tub drain looked like something you’d see from an episode of the I LOVE LUCY show. There were soap bubbles everywhere.

The soap bubbles finally did go down the drain, after several rinsing of the tub with cold water. AND I actually WAS able to comb my hair without too much difficulty, even without having conditioner. The only problem I am encountering is that I look like Albert Einstein or someone who is in a constant state of static electricity. Fortunately for Dan, he doesn’t have NEAR the amount of hair that I do, so he doesn’t look quite so freakish! I’ve been thinking about getting my hair cut…..

Saturday, March 03, 2007

RENEGADE SNOWMOBILE

Staff Writer
By Gordon Lane

CASCO (March 2, 2007): Dean Dunton left the derby Sunday night without a fish, without hope for the truck, and with a mashed-up car after a renegade snowmobile landed on the roof.
Dunton’s blue Subaru hatchback was the point of impact for an 800 cc Arctic Cat that launched off a snow bank and sailed over the rack of a Chevrolet truck. After the machine plopped onto his car, Dunton said the snowmobile bounced onto the hood of another truck before hitting the ice.

The thing was upside down still wide open,” said Tom Dunn, Dunton’s friend.

Ice fishermen from neighboring shacks said they heard mayhem and a throttle on high, then saw the snowmobile on its back after the crash.

No one was hurt in the accident. Dunn said an 8-year-old boy was operating the machine when the throttle apparently got stuck open. Dunton said the boy jumped off the machine while it continued to accelerate.

Robin Williams at Richardson’s Boat Yard in Windham, which sells snowmobiles, said a throttle stuck open is a rare sight.

“I haven’t heard of one freezing for a long time,” said Williams.

Snowmobiles have several safety features to prevent runaway machines, including kill switches and safety cords. The operator of the machine could not be contacted for comment.

Dunton’s car is now short several windows that blew out as the roof was crushed. He said his insurance won’t cover the damage.

Michael Hartwell contributed to this report.

ARE YOU A BABY BOOMER?

It was fun being a baby boomer... until now. Some of the artists of the 60's are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers.

They include: Herman's Hermits--- Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker.

Ringo Starr--- I Get By With a Little Help From Depends.

The Bee Gees--- How Can You Mend a Broken Hip?

Bobby Darin--- Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash.

Roberta Flack--- The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face. J

ohnny Nash--- I Can't See Clearly Now.

Paul Simon--- Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver

The Commodores--- Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom.

Marvin Gaye--- Heard It Through the Grape Nuts.

Procol Harem--- A Whiter Shade of Hair.

Leo Sayer--- You Make Me Feel Like Napping.

The Temptations--- Papa's Got a Kidney Stone.

Abba--- Denture Queen.

Tony Orlando--- Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall.

Helen Reddy--- I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore.

Leslie Gore--- It's My Procedure, and I'll Cry If I Want To.

And my favorite: Willie Nelson--- On the Commode Again

Friday, March 02, 2007

THE DNR AT WORK

Michigan Conservation Officer Breaks Up Major Poaching Ring in St. Clair County

Six suspects recently were charged with illegally taking deer and shining after a two and one-half month investigation by a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer into a poaching ring operating in St. Clair County in late 2006.

The poachers may have illegally killed as many as 60 white-tailed deer in an area ranging from Port Huron to Capac.

Using a spotlight and powerful scope mounted on one of their .17 caliber hunting rifles, the suspects admitted to shooting at 75 to 100 deer in the area, killing as many as 60. Many of the deer were left unrecovered; while some were sold and others had only their choice steaks removed. The suspects admitted to also shooting at rabbits and domestic cats, and one admitted to shooting at a cow.

Four of the suspects pleaded guilty to the charges and paid fines. Two other cases are pending in St. Clair County Probate Court because the suspects were juveniles at the time of the incidents. The suspects ranged in age from 16 to 20.




DNR works overtime to retrieve excavator

By VICTOR SKINNER
vskinner@record-eagle.com
GLEN ARBOR — Ham Hobson is pretty sure that a weak spot in the ice, not miscalculated ice strength, caused his crew to work overtime to pull a state-owned excavator from the bottom of Glen Lake.

That overtime tab is on top of a $7,275 bill from Elmer's Crane and Dozer Inc., a local construction company the state Department of Natural Resources hired last week to drag the soggy excavator to shore, said Mary Dettloff, spokeswoman for the DNR.

"Of that, $1,400 is cable we had to purchase ... and that cable is an item apparently we get to keep,” Dettloff said.

"There was overtime incurred by five people who worked on Saturday and there was a total three hours of overtime on Friday,” she said.

The DNR's 19-ton John Deere was perched on about 16 inches of ice when the machine crashed into the lake the afternoon of Feb. 20, just as Hobson's three-man crew prepared to dredge a boat access site.

Workers also had parked a six-ton dump truck about 50 feet away from the DNR-owned excavator — a total of about 25 tons of equipment on the ice when it collapsed, said Hobson, unit supervisor for the DNR's Grawn field office.

Workers tried to drive the machine through about a foot-and-a-half of water to shore, but became stuck in the muck.

Several DNR workers and Elmer's employees broke a path through the ice with another excavator and used two large loaders to tow the machine out of the muck to shore the afternoon of Feb. 24.

"We measured it and we had 16 (inches of ice). The thickness was there but the quality wasn't good,” Hobson said. "We dredged that channel in 1992 with the same method.”

The DNR bases safe ice thickness figures on past experience.

"The staff that was out there had 13 years of experience in dredging,” Dettloff said.

But 16 inches of ice isn't enough to hold 25 tons, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose safe ice thickness figures are based on physics and verified with field experiments.

"If ... there is no pre-conditions or cracks in the ice, then 20 inches is sufficient for 25 tons,” said Leonard Zabilansky, research civil engineer for the Corps. "The 20 inches is based on a continuous ice sheet. If you're working near an open hole, you may need more.”

Hobson said ice flexes to rest on the shallow lake's bottom, giving it enough support to hold the equipment.

"The ice will sink down to the lake bottom and set there so you can work,” Hobson said.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials said they won't inspect the lake for possible fuel or other contamination, and the DNR faces no fines.

"We've had bulldozers ... and other equipment go through the ice before,” said Brian Myers, environmental quality analyst with the DEQ's Cadillac office. "We just want people to get them out as fast as they can.”

Thursday, March 01, 2007

WHAT IS IN THERE ANYWAY???

Have you seen the new commercial for Aveeno skin cream?? After learning that it is now made with Shitake mushrooms, I’m wondering if you add some seasoning and a bit of cream cheese if you could make a cracker spread with it? I realize that there is a difference between Shitake mushrooms and the good, old stand by of sponge (moral) mushrooms, but the idea of putting any mushroom in a skin cream and then applying it to my face just doesn’t sit right with me. Michigan Mushrooms are meant to be hunted, cleaned, rolled in flour and fried in butter…not applied to my face. “Exotic” mushrooms from other areas, (the one’s you buy in the store, not on the corner), are to be used in salads, casseroles, fancy dishes…things like that. I think I need to start paying closer attention to what is actually in some of the products that I use.

And speaking of mushrooms, that season won’t be far off. When Dan and I use to live downstate, we would travel to the Mesick area, camp out in the woods and hunt mushrooms. We would actually do this sometimes in early April and we WOULD find mushrooms…the early kind, not the grays or the blacks. One time when we were camped there, a policeman came knocking on our camper door and wanted to know what we were doing out in the woods that time of year. We told him we were mushrooming and he didn’t believe us so we had to show him what was in our cooler! It kind of made us mad that he didn’t believe us, but it was rather funny to see the look on his face. I don’t know if he thought we were out their making drugs or what, but I couldn’t help but wonder why HE would be WAY out there “on patrol” that time of year. Anyway, I digress. Up here, we can find PLENTY of beef steak mushrooms. They come up regardless of what the weather has been. And we know we are going to find a lot of sponge mushrooms IF the black flies and mosquitoes are bad. Who in the heck wants to give up looking for the “elusive mushroom” just because you have applied a whole can of Off and are wearing mosquito netting over your head??? It seems that the years that we aren’t bothered by these winged creatures, we don’t have near the mushrooms…and it all has to stem from the fact that if we have a wet spring, we have more bugs. AND a wet spring and the right temps are perfect to make mushrooms “pop up”.

OK, I admit, I’m getting some what anxious for spring. I’m not quite ready to say good bye to the snowmobilers, but now that the birds are singing their spring songs and it is daylight earlier each day, I can’t help but think of spring!

And speaking of spring and daylight; Beginning in 2007, most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time. SO, on March 11, 2007 we set our clocks ahead. Up until this year, the switch was an April occurrence.

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