By Any Means Necessary (aka Hunting Yooper Stewart Style)

(WARNING: Graphic photos below – if you are squeamish about dead animals, stop now!)

For the past two years my husband has battled the woods and the elements in an attempt to score some organically-raised, free-range venison (aka he’s gone deer hunting). As the new guy at work, however, he’s the last to get vacation time for this event, and seeing as the rifle season is only two-weeks long, he’s limited to an hour here and there before and after work. After a few days of non-stop working and hunting, he’s usually exhausted and hasn’t been able to kill anything yet.

The year he tried something different – he smashed our car into a deer.wreck

It wasn’t actually by choice, and it did cause quite a bit of damage to our car, but Yooper Stewart is safe, the car is fully covered, and YS finally managed to bag a buck (a 7-point buck at that). As luck would have it, YS was actually pulling the trailer, so he tossed the great car-killer into the back and brought it home.

payback

 

Technically YS still had to get to work (he was on his way before the little run-in), but his deer-hunting boss understood the value of free, fresh meat. A friend offered to process the deer for us, but not until the following week. With the predicted temperatures at 75 degrees for the day, YS had to at least gut and cool the carcass in order to preserve it.

gutting

After watching a demonstration on YouTube and talking with a friend about proper technique, YS started the process of gutting a deer – the first time he’s done this in 20 years. (FYI – “How to Gut a Deer in Eight Minutes” works on YouTube with an experienced hunter gutting a deer conveniently located on a hill. For the rest of us, plan on half an hour).

rinsing

I’ll spare you the really gross pictures (though we have them – my aunt took pictures of EVERYTHING). After the gutting, YS had to rinse the deer well. Having hit him with the car, some of the intestines exploded, releasing its contents into the deer. YS took his time cleaning – no one wants deer poop in their venison.

ummm

 

As I said, with predicted temps in the mid-seventies, cooling the carcass was critical. The original plan included a tarp and bags of ice, but then it occurred to us – we had an empty chest freezer in the garage! Commence operation Freezer Stuff.

tongue

The whole dragging-to-the-freezer process humored me (especially when this happened), but then YS needed help getting the deer into the freezer. That required me touching the deer. I’m not all that squeamish, but touching the deer’s head…I know it’s not possible, but I kept expecting it to wake up and thrash. I don’t know why that was my biggest fear, but it was. Regardless, I’m keen on the idea of “free” meat for the winter, so I sucked it up.

He wasn’t a natural fit for the freezer, so YS grabbed a hatchet and got creative. (Icky picture below).

freezer

 

That will work for now (and it will guarantee that my chest freezer gets a head-to-toe, inside-and-out soak and scrub down with commercial strength hydrogen peroxide – to be performed by YS).

trophy

It may not be exactly how YS planned to provide meat for his family, but it worked, and now he has a nice, 7-point rack to show off.

Staying Busy, Yooper Style

I have horribly neglected this site all summer, and I apologize. It’s not that there aren’t stories to tell, we’ve just been good-and-busy, so I’ve been pouring my time into the paying gigs. Summer vacation is officially over, however, so I have a few minutes to let you know what’s been going on.

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After putting on his most comfortable around-the-house outfit (plaid and camo is a favorite combo), YS took Aunt Linda outside to show her the compost pile. It’s a must-know location for disposing of a watermelon that’s spoiled when you cut into it (bleh).

DSC02771Then he busted out his favorite toy: the dual-bevel, sliding, compact mitre saw (I had no idea what any of that meant before I got married). He uses it at least once a month for various projects. This summer he used it to help organize his Legos (that deserves a post of it’s own).

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Let’s just say the Lego project involved a lot of shelves.

boat

One of his favorite activities was driving our friends’ boat. It had been years since he’d been on a motorboat, and he loved it. (Besides the camo, have you noticed the other theme throughout these pictures? I swear these are summer photos, it was just a rather cool summer).DSC02800

There were a few really nice days, so we made sure to take advantage, and his new favorite way to enjoy the outdoors was in our new kayaks. We’ve rented them before, but this year someone generously bought two for us. We took full advantage, exploring Grand Traverse Bay and the Chain-of-Lakes. Generally YS is the slowest moving person I know, but put him in a ‘yak and I can’t keep up.DSC02847We even managed to find some time to play tourist and go up to Mackinac Island for the day. We thought a weekday would be less crowded than the weekend, so we drove up on a Monday…the Monday when the Chicago-Mackinac sailboat race was ending. That’ll teach us to check a calendar.

This doesn’t show half of what we did this summer, but it’s a pretty fair representation. Regardless of what he was doing, YS stayed true to himself – camo, hoodies, and a beard. It’s all part of his master plan to convince me that camo and hoodies are all-occasion wear.

 

 

 

July 4th Extravaganza

fireworks 4

Redneck in a fireworks store!!

It all started with a “quick” stop at the Pro Fireworks store in Williamsburg. Knowing that he and my dad would need supplies for their annual explosives display, Yooper Stewart came home with $25 worth of artillery shells and Black Cats. He also cruised the store, checking out supplies and prices. Having purchased fireworks with my father before, he knew right away that he could get twice as many supplies at Pro Fireworks for the price they usually paid at the fireworks tents. That led to another stop at the store.

fireworks 2

I literally couldn’t fit all of the fireworks in one photo.

Watching YS in a fireworks store is like watching my seven year-old niece cruise the doll aisle at Toys R Us set to the theme song of The Lego Movie: “Everything is AWESOME!” At one point we were looking at another fireworks box (they all looked the same to me) when we heard an employee in the next aisle say, “loudest one in the store!” Yooper Stewart ran around the corner to find out what it was. Thirty minutes (and $75) later, we had quite the supply (which, of course, doesn’t mean he and my dad didn’t still go to a fireworks tent to buy just a few more things).

Set-up started at about 8 p.m. on July 4. The past method has been setting all of the fireworks on a piece of plywood on top of two saw horses. After last year’s excitement (a Roman candle accidentally setting off some of the stand-by fireworks), they decided to upgrade: active fireworks on the plywood, back-ups in a wheel barrow (we’re very high tech).

fireworks

Almost ready…

The first firework went off around 8:06 p.m., with additional “test runs” happening until 9:30 p.m. That’s when the big show started! And kept going…and going…and going. Yooper Stewart, my dad, and my  second-cousin Mike blew things up until 11 p.m. Some of the fuses were loose, but they lit ‘em anyway. They didn’t know how loud, big, or bright some would be, so they lit ‘em to find out. Not sure if you can light that cake within 3″ of another cake? Why don’t we light it and see what happens?

They had a BLAST! (I spent much of the night ducking behind patio chairs). I’d love to say that I can’t wait until next year, but honestly, I could have bought a really nice pair of shoes with that money. Yooper Stewart, however, is already looking forward to bigger and better explosions (the neighbor’s show was louder – he and my dad need to top that).

The Next Generation

Yooper Stewart isn’t really a kid person. It’s not that he doesn’t like them, he just doesn’t have much experience and they can sense it. His #1 goal when dealing with kids: prevent tears. It doesn’t take tykes long to figure that out and use it to their advantage. YS recognizes this weakness, so he usually tries to avoid being alone with kids, but they love him. They seek him out and follow him, loving his easy spirit, kindness, and willingness to blow up firecrackers at any moment.

Legos and the outdoors - perfect!

Legos and the outdoors – perfect!

One of his biggest fans is JT. Yooper Stewart is one of her favorite snuggle buddies.

Recently JT spent the weekend with us. It wasn’t entirely planned, so YS and I had some work we needed to accomplish. Since the weather had finally warmed up, we decided to work outside so JT could play in the yard and burn off some energy. As soon as she saw YS sorting Legos, however, she wanted in. Because YS was sorting and organizing, it didn’t really work to have her playing with those particular bricks, but that wasn’t a problem. When it comes to Legos and outdoor work space, we can always find a way.

DSC02758JT – the next generation.

 

Missing: Yooper Stewart

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Last seen May 7, 2014, approximately 4 p.m. near the bathroom. After 30 minutes of  buzzing and rushing water, he has not been seen.

Wanted for questioning: handsome man with deep dimples.

DSC02754Originally suspected to be Yooper Stewart in disguise, that theory was immediately dismissed when strange man was seen loading the dishwasher, a skill as yet unmastered by Yooper Stewart.

DSC02751If you’ve seen Yooper Stewart, please feed him, then send him home.

 

 

Always Ready, Always Prepared

Sam’s Club was made for Yooper Stewart. The man loves to be prepared for any situation. He’s doesn’t always know what he’ll need (or how much he’ll need) for possible future scenarios, so having lots of everything works well for him. His garage is a shrine to his desire to be ready.

DSC02668I’m not really sure what these are (I think they’re the glass tops of old power lines, but don’t quote me on that). I don’t know what he’s going to do with them, but he has six, just in case.

DSC02669 Why use one garbage tote when you can use three? Strange bit of info: we don’t actually have trash service at our house. As part of our village taxes, we take our garbage to the compactor station for disposal. I think YS puts the garbage bags in these until he’s ready to make a trip to the station (which I can’t imagine smells nice during the summer).DSC02670

If you’re going to have one grill, you might as well have two. These are different, though. We’re a fully equipped BBQ stop, with gas and charcoal options available.DSC02671

YS and I have been married for eight years. He’s been selling tires ever since we’ve been married. I don’t know where they come from. I don’t know how we always have them (they’re rarely from old vehicles), but these are only eight of the 12+ tires we currently own (that number doesn’t include the summer and winter tires we actually use on our cars).DSC02672Old salad containers make the BEST Lego holders (you can seal them, stack them, and still see inside to quickly find what you need). These have yet to be put to work, but I’m sure their day is coming.

As I took these photos, it occurred to me that my honey may have learned these habits from someone.

Me: Were you ever a boy scout?

YS: For a while, but I didn’t like it. You always did everything as a group, and there weren’t any girls.

So much for that idea.

Auxiliary Assistance

Ocassionally Yooper Stewart lends a hand around the house. I enjoy doing laundry, but he likes playing with the HE, large-capacity washer and dryer, so every now and then he washes a load. Though nothing about laundry is particularly news worthy, everything with Yooper Stewart has the potential to be.

On my way to bed last night, I found a few randomly placed articles of clothing. I had a pretty good idea of what was going on, but I couldn’t help asking.

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Note the unconventional hook-through-the-belt-loop hanging technique.

Me: So, what’s up with the pants?

Yooper Stewart: That’s my auxiliary drying rack.

Of course it.

Yooper Stewart’s Grocery Games

Grocery shopping: a constant test of discipline and concentration.

Yooper Stewart and I don’t have a good history of grocery shopping. One day we walked into Meijer with a list of 8-9 items. We left with a cart full of food and a $180 bill. After that I decided we shouldn’t shop together anymore. The Meijer is, unfortunately, not very close to my house, and I don’t like to drive. YS works a couple of miles from the store, so it’s tempting to send him there after work. We’ve tried this route a few times, but we still have a few kinks to work out.

1. Coupons: I’m not sure how he does it, but Yooper Stewart can’t keep track of coupons. He’s prone to leave them in his car or, my personal favorite, see a coupon for one brand of coffee creamer, but come home with the other.

2. Tired wandering: Yooper Stewart has a physical job. After work, he’s tired. Meijer doesn’t just sell food; they have garden supplies, camping gear, and Legos. It can sometimes take him over an hour to buy a dozen items.

3. Four pears, three people: YS isn’t the greatest buyer of produce. We now have three adults in our home, but he doesn’t think about that when buying fruit. He buys just enough to fill the produce bag. That often means four pears for three people, which translates into another trip to the store, which usually means another night of cruising the Lego aisle.

4. Sales: YS loves a sale. He can’t pass them up. I once asked for a bottle of antacids. He came home with five bottles (and thousands of tablets). We haven’t bought Tums in years. More recently I wanted some cream cheese. Instead of 4-5 8 oz. blocks of cheese, I ended up with 10+ 7 oz. tubs of plain and flavored cream cheese. I didn’t really need it (or want it), but at least it didn’t cost much.

We still haven’t figured out a fool-proof shopping technique, but we make it work (even if it means using honey cream cheese in the lasagna). At least it keeps dinners interesting!

The Organic Influence of Yooper Stewart

Meet my nephew, Butter Bean. He lives on the other side of the country. His dad is a city boy from Long Island. His uncle, however, is Yooper Stewart. Notice the influence:

Yooper Hipster

Camouflage – check

Something Lego – check

Something Star Wars – check

Scruffy beard – give it a few years

Butter Bean has tapped into his city-boy roots, though, and loves to wear some stylish headgear. For that reason he has earned himself a new nickname. You may now call him Yooper Hipster.