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
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.
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
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
For 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.”