Green Wooden Boats

Following Jesus Cover

In the 1950’s and 60’s, when I was growing up in southern Indiana, I only remember wooden rowboats, and all were green. 

I remember the first boat I helped my father build. We built it with yellow poplar. Yellow poplar is a strong, lightweight wood, that was highly valued for furniture making. My father owned a sawmill, therefore, we had access to the lumber we needed. My father set aside two wide clear boards fourteen feet long, for the sides. He then cut four inch wide boards for the bottom. All the lumber was clear, knot and blemish free. This boat came to a point in front. It was easy to row and handle. Slat bottom boats were common in those days. While the wood was painted, it was not sealed tight. The wood would swell and seal the joints against leaks. The old wood boats were great. They were quiet and very stable. You didn’t move them in and out of the water much. They were heavy to move, plus you didn’t want them to dry out and start to leak.

We used this first boat for several years. We would put it in the water in the spring and take it out in the fall. Each winter it seemed to dry out more and more, and by spring the joints would be cracked apart. The last year I remember using this boat, the cracks between the slats were nearly one-quarter wide.  We put it in our pond, to allow the wood to swell up and seal the cracks. After a week or so, we pulled it out with the tractor. We bailed the water out and it was good to go.

We hauled it to the White River, where we put out trotlines for catfish. The boat spent the summer on the water. When we weren’t using it. It was tied to a tree on shore. That fall when we took it out of the water, it had soaked up so much water that it took six men to lift it out of the water and load it on a flatbed truck. Continue reading

Following Jesus and Fishing along the Way

My latest book is a little different. I love the outdoors and spend a great deal of time outside. We are blessed to live in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Penisula. This book is a collection of forty plus stories and lessons learned from a lifetime spent exploring and enjoying the great outdoors. 

Following Jesus Cover

The adventures began in the hills of southern Indiana in the 1950’s. It was a time when hunting and fishing were just a part of life, and life itself was simple. From the hills of southern Indiana, I eventually end up living in the vast forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

For nearly forty years, my wife Linda and I have resided on a small spring fed lake smack-dab in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest twenty miles from the closest small town.

When you spend a lifetime in God’s great outdoors, you will naturally have many adventures. Some are humorous, some may be dangerous, but all of them leave their own story and lesson in life.

A sample of the stories included are:

Terror in the Night * Never Pick a Skunk Up by the Tail * Treed by a Bear * Suicide Cave * The Shrinking Catfish * One Mad Water Moccasin * Bear Attack

Lost

swamp

Story 1

My hunting buddies Huck and Les were heading to the Upper Peninsula for the opening of the Michigan deer season. I couldn’t get away to go with them, but I would be able to join them in a couple days.

Upon arriving in the U. P., they found a camping spot and immediately began setting up camp. We would be hunting in the big cedar swamps along the north shore of Lake Michigan. As soon as camp was set up, Huck and Les headed for the swamp to scout hunting spots for when the season opened at daylight the next morning. Continue reading

A Long Shot

Hope Shack

a-long-shotMy first deer I shot with a bow, was at a distance that would have been a better shot for a rifle. Before I tell you how long the shot was. I want to give you some background. That way you will understand why such a shot was even taken.

I have shot a bow for a long as I can remember. I made my first bow, with my dad’s help, from ash saplings. After that came solid fiberglass bows, and wood longbows. In the early 60’s I purchased a Bear Grizzly recurve bow. It was a vast improvement over my previous bows. I shot this bow for several years.

Where I grew up in Indiana, there were very few deer in those days. My hunting was mostly confined to small game. Bowhunting was not a common sport then. It seemed that archery was more of a shooting sport, rather…

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Green Wooden Boats

Hope Shack

Old Weathered Wooden Row Boat abandoned in the by RandyNyhofPhotos, $12.00: In the 1950’s and 60’s, when I was growing up, I only remember wooden row boats, and all of them were green.

I remember the first boat I helped my father build. We built it with yellow poplar. Yellow poplar is a strong, lightweight wood, that was highly valued for furniture making. My father owned a sawmill, therefore, we had access to the lumber we needed. Dad set aside two wide clear boards fourteen feet long, for the sides. He then cut four inch wide boards for the bottom. All the lumber was clear, knot and blemish free. This boat came to a point in front. It was easy to row and handle. Slat bottom boats were common in those days. While the wood was painted, it was not sealed tight. The wood would swell and seal the joints against leaks. The old wood boats were great. They were quiet…

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A Skunk Tale

Hope Shack

Many years ago when I was much younger, I would trap fur in the late fall and winter. I trapped coyote, fox, raccoon, beaver, muskrat and mink. I enjoyed trapping, it was another way to extend my time outdoors. It was also a way to supplement my income.

A downside of fox trapping was that you would occasionally catch a skunk. There is just no good way to remove a skunk from a trap, without encountering some skunk smell. Even if you shoot them without their spraying, their muscles will relax and out will come this most unpleasant aroma.

I had a friend, Clark, who also trapped. When Clark was a teenager, his uncle told him that if you picked a skunk up by the tail so that its hind feet was off the ground, it would be not able to spray. He explained that a skunk needed to brace…

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The Blood Trail

GE DIGITAL CAMERAFor many years I set up deer camp on the edge of a large cedar swamp. It was at the end of an old logging road, nearly three miles from the nearest gravel road. Deer camp is a tradition in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as it is in many parts of the country. Over the years there have been many different people in the camp. This year it would just be my brother Mark, his wife Deb and myself. My brother and his wife had driven to the U.P. from Arkansas. For several years they made the trip. While they enjoyed deer hunting, Mark said the best part was the deer camp, campfires, and visiting. However, he always seemed to shoot his buck every time. The following is his story of one of those hunts.

“I was in my treestand early. The day was just breaking. The forest was coming alive. And, to top it off it was snowing.

Huge snowflakes were steadily falling. It gave a surreal feel to the woods. It was almost too perfect. It was going to be a great morning.”

Continue reading

Treed by a Bear

Hope Shack

I was sitting twelve feet above the ground in my bowhunting stand, deep in a cedar swamp. Twenty-five yards in front of me, three little bear cubs were feeding on a bait pile. Somewhere below and behind me was a large sow bear, intent on protecting her cubs. This was making me a little nervous.  To make matters worse, it was quickly getting dark.

 This was not exactly the best situation to be in. Black bears are normally afraid of man and attacks are rare.  However, most black bear attacks that do occur are when humans get too close to a bear’s cubs or come between the sow and cubs.   That’s exactly where I was.

The sow and the three yearling cubs had come to the bait about an hour earlier. I had become so entranced in watching them, that I didn’t realize it was getting dark. The sow…

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Northern Pike Stories

Hope Shack

Michigan Northern Pike Esox luciusAs I mentioned in previous stories, we live on a lake in the Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On a spring day, my wife Linda, had taken the paddle boat and was fishing along shore. She was fishing with worms for panfish and bass. She had hooked a bass about a foot long and was reeling it in when a northern pike grabbed it. The pike was about three feet long.

I was working in the garage when I heard her yelling for me to bring a dip net. She was paddling for the dock with the pike in tow. The pike amazingly still had the bass clamped in it’s jaws. She maneuvered the boat and pike close to the dock. As the pike swam near the dock, I swooped it up along with the bass into the dip net .

As I lifted it free…

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The Storm

Hope Shack

Pictured Rocks Wallpaper

It promised to be a fun day for my wife Linda and myself. We were heading out on Lake Superior in our twenty-one foot Starcraft cuddy cabin. We were going to run up along the Pictured Rocks coast toward Grand Marais. It is a beautiful area with high colored cliffs, waterfalls, rock towers such as Miners Castle and Chapel Rock. We always enjoy the scenery and take too many pictures. Today was overcast so it would not be a good day for taking pictures. Yesterday I had checked the weather forecast for today. Prediction was for overcast conditions with two to three foot waves. Not ideal conditions, but we had been looking forward to today, it would be okay. Before the day was over I would regret not getting a more up-to-date forecast.

We were several miles out when conditions suddenly changed. The wind picked up from out of the…

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