Category Archives: nimrod

Neighbors and Community

(Note this is from Jan 30, 2013 from another blog I am combining with The Diaries.)

Last week Mother Nature decided to turn the house around the ranch into a Winter Wonderland. Nothing new for SW Michigan. Let the jet stream align with a warm Lake Michigan and hold onto your mittens! The mediocre-olgists called for 6-10 inches of snow. Not much for some, other it may grind things to a halt. Around here its the former. No biggie. Its Michigan y’all!


Last week everything aligned and we go snow. And more snow. After three days of lake effect snow we have about 20 inches in the backyard. Again not a big deal just more than I was expecting. Went from a single time snow blowing the driveway to do it 3 times in 3 days. Just wasn’t expecting it. But was ready and dealt with it.


Anyway I am getting distracted. While blowing snow on the 2nd day I saw the neighbor the east get on his little UTV. He plowed his drive in no time. Cools beans. Then I see him go to the neighbors to the west. Cool.
The neighbor to the west has had a variety of medical issues over the last year and isn’t in a condition to handle clearing out 15 inches of snow. Granted his son usually comes out and plows his drive but knowing the East Neighbor is thinking of him and taking care of him is good to know.


Note on the East Neighbor. He and his wife are good people. We only talk to them once or twice a year. We each keep to ourselves. A couple years back during a similar lake effect storm I was out with a horrid illness and lost my voice (bad since I have to talk on the phone just to work). Our drive was getting pretty bad. One day East Neighbor plowed it, with out being asked. It was amazing to know he was there to help. I told K and the kids to make some ‘Nanner bread. Didn’t have money to pay him but a couple warm loaves of fresh ‘Nanner bread got my point across.


I keep getting distracted. While blowing snow, East Neighbor drove back from West Neighbor’s. He pulled into our drive and up to me. We talk for about 20 minutes about hunting, fishing, weather, life, etc.
The point I am trying to make is you don’t have to eat dinner every night with your neighbors to be a community. One of the main tenants of survival I have learned from the Survival Podcast is community. This is a great example of how it works. My neighbors and I stay out of each others business until one needs help. Then we step up and act like neighbors. Doesn’t seem hard eh?




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Filed under 13 skills, nimrod, old school

Tying Rubber Spiders (Video)

Hey folks! Today I am going to show you a video on how I tie rubber spiders. These are my go to fly when I am chasing panfish and even bass with my flyrod. This was my first video of tying flies and a big teacher of what and what not to do.

Very simple fly that works very well for panfish. I often use a small soft hackle fly under a rubber spider if I am not sure what the fish want. I will show how to tie my soft hackle fly in a different video and one on how I set up the dropper set up. I mention technical difficulties in the video. That means Murph sneaker up and shut off the camera while I was concentrating on tying the spider. Why doesn’t anyone take me up on my offer to drop Murph off at their house?

Rubber Spiders

Here is how I tie rubber spiders to slay the ‘gills!

Here is a picture of the bass I mentioned in the video. It smacked a green rubber spider like a freight train. Both kids were enamored with the bucket mouth.

If you like what you see share it with your friends and subscribe to the Nimrod Diaries Youtube channel. We would love to hear what you think of the video.

Join us on the Nimrod Diaries Facebook page and on Twitter @nimroddiaries.

Until next time get outdoors and bring the kids with you. They will thank you for it.

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Filed under fishing, fly tying, michigan, nimrod

Yes, You Can Make Butter at Home!

“We can’t make butter in a jar!!” Monkey Boy proclaimed when I told him and his sister sidekick we were going to make butter.

“Trust me buddy we can do it,” I replied.  My assurance fell on deaf ears as he looked at this like one of the many crazy ideas Nimrod comes up with.

The idea of making butter with the kids has been in my mind for awhile. I don’t recall where I first read of this way of making butter but let me state this is NOT my idea. Butter has been made at home, in jars, in churns, etc for a very long time.

I love teaching kids and others how to make things at home as I always find myself learning along the way. The idea of not relying on a store and its supply chain to eat well has intrigued me for quite awhile. Granted to make butter like this you need a supply of heavy whipping cream. If you live in a semi rural area you should be able to find alternative and local sources. Thus keeping your money in your local economy, helping a local farmer and giving you peace of mind knowing what is in the food your feed your family.

Will we come to a time when our local stores have trouble or can not get food in? Hope not. Even if it never happens there are many ways for your family to eat well with local food and as I said your money stays in your local economy… not lost into a chain store. If the time comes where in coming food supplies are short knowing how to feed your family on locally available sources will be very handy. If you just want to have some fun with your family and watch your kids faces when they actually make their own butter… whatever works for you and your family. Don’t over complicate it.

Another benefit is keeping these ways alive. We may never need to make our own butter. Maybe we will. Either way keeping the ways of our ancestors alive hurts no one and can provide low cost and fun entertainment for your family. Then if the time comes where we need to rely on ourselves to provide for our families the learning curve will be way shorter.

These directions are how we made our butter based on my memory. It works and makes some great butter. These are guidelines for you but be sure to research things like shelf life, caloric value, etc if you or a family member is sensitive to those things.

(My apologies for the mediocre pictures. My camera battery was charging. These were taken with the camera in my phone. They get the point across but are not very good.)

We started with 2 things. One half pint of heavy whipping cream and one quart mason jar with lid. That’s it. No other additives or equipment needed. Well I guess you need someone to shake the jar but if you talk up the kids enough they will provide most all the energy needed.

Pour the heavy whipping cream into the jar, put the lid on it and shake. Keep shaking!

About 3 minutes in the liquid will start to thicken as it changes into whipped cream. Keep shaking!

About 3 more minutes before you get a thick whipped cream.

At this point Monkey Boy and Munda had trouble shaking the whipped cream so Yoop took over.

After about 3 minutes the whipped cream goes back to a semi liquid. Keep shaking!

You will start to notice a ball of solid in the middle. That’s the butta baby! Keep shaking!

I timed it at about 6 minutes after the heavy whipped cream stage to where the butter is done. Times will vary but it gives you a rough time frame.

Once you see the butter ball… or is it a ball of butter? Anyway once it looks like butter and you aren’t getting any more liquid out your done. You can stop shaking now!

Congrats!! You have made your own butter. Took about 15 minutes and is a tad bit of work. But its cheaper and more fun than buying real butter in the store.

Find a suitable container and put the butter into it. Now enjoy the fruits of your labor! When I asked Monkey Boy if it was good he said it was “DELICIOUS!” (no emphasis added)

I asked Munda if it was good and with a mouth full she replied “Yummmmm!” That is about the best stamp of approval you will get from my kids.

Munda and I delivered some of the butter to our neighbors. Turns out they were just sitting down for a dinner of pork roasted with taters and veggies and some rolls that were fresh out of the oven. I called later and asked how the butter was. Grandma B replied “Excellent.” She also asked for us to show her how we made it. Another stamp of approval.

Whoa… wait a minute… I got ahead of myself. You didn’t dump out the liquid when you put the butter in the container did you? DON’T! That my friends is called butter milk. Yea the stuff used in cooking. You can use it where you would use store bought buttermilk. We haven’t decided what we are going to use ours for but I will post the update on Facebook and Twitter once we do.

Here is the break down of what we used and what we ended up with. I made a second batch before writing this to get a better idea of the times of each stage.

1 pint of heavy whipping cream for $3.78 (2 half pints @ $1.89 each)

We had the mason jar and lid on hand. If you don’t a similar container would work fine. Just make sure the lid fits tight. Would hate to have the lid come off and the contents to fly across your house!

We ended up filling an 8 ounce butter container, with a tad extra. Lets say about 10 ounces as an estimate.

We put the buttermilk in a pint mason jar. The graduated markings on the side read just under 1 cup of buttermilk.

Not as cheap as margarine in the store. Doesn’t need to be. You can say you know whats in the butter, you and your family had some fun making it, etc. Those two alone make up for the price variance.

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We would love to hear about your adventures making butter at home.  The future is you, pass it on!

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Filed under butter, kids, nimrod, old school, self sufficiency

Review: Ice Fishing: The Ultimate Guide by Tim Allard

At last.  The long awaited and much talked about book review is here.

Awhile back Nimrod came into possession of a book. Not any old book  Ice Fishing: The Ultimate Guide by Tim Allard.  The book was won during a birthday celebration at the Outdoor Blogger Network. To start off I want to give a special Thanks to the Outdoor Blogger Network for hosting the giveaway and to Fox Chapel Publishing for donating the book to be given away. Be sure to check them out

Doing a book review is a bit out of the norm for us here at the Nimrod Diaries. Sitting down to work on it Nimrod started getting flashbacks to times long ago forgotten. Times when book reports were common place and working to fool the teacher was the main game. After the cold sweats and nightmares subsided I realized this review would be different than those old book reports. This time I actually read the whole book and with that I actually enjoyed the book.

The first part of the book I checked out were the pictures.  Being a novice (i.e. wannabe) photographer I noticed right away these are not your run of the mill ice fishing pictures. Mr Allard has assembled a wonderful collection of various fish species brought out of small holes by ice anglers. It would be a disservice to the photography if you skipped over it to get to the print. Lets be realistic who doesn’t like shiny all color photos of scaly beasts over black print on white paper?

After dreaming of fighting the scaly beasts in the pictures I decided I should put on the cheaters and get to it. The first part of the book went slow. Not because of the writing or the topic because every time I sat down to read something else came up. It was not until the Nimrod clan landed in the Great not so White North before I had time to sit, relax and jump in.

The most important part of ice fishing is not the perfect jig, the latest and greatest rod. Its not even knowing how to cook your catch. The most important part is safety on the ice.  This includes reading the ice; making sure there is enough to hold you and gear; as well as dressing for the conditions. Mr. Allard covers all of this.

The book includes several chapters on gear used for ice fishing. Rods, reels, tip ups, line, lures/tackle, live bait, tools and “other” are covered. I will include the chapter on “Ice Breakers” ( I love that term and will be sure to use it on the lake) with gear.  Ice Breakers covers ways to create a hole in the froze water to get at the scaly critters. A section on ice saws would have been a nice addition.  Granted they are almost solely used for cutting larger holes for spearing but a few paragraphs on them would inform the reader of another option.

The chapters on electronics and shelters were eye openers for Nimrod.  We were raised going out on the ice, sitting on a bucket and moving if no fish were biting. Turns out they make things now days that keep you out of the wind and also can show you what is below the ice before you drop your line. You could even add a small heater to keep from freezing body parts off.  Man the sky is the limit when you use your head and think of ways to make life better.

The venison and potatoes of the book were the species specific chapters of the book.  Mr. Allard does a wonderful job explaining the species, how to find them and have I mentioned the pictures?  There is a chapter on each walleye, perch, crappie, sunfish (Nimrods favorite), pike, trout (rainbow, brook and brown), lake trout, whitefish, eel pout and bass (the last three are one chapter).

Each species specific chapter is broken down into 4 segments:

Species Summary gives you an overview of the species. Do the school? Actively feed day or night? What depth are they general found in? Plus more. Won’t go as far as saying everything you need to know on each species is listed but you won’t find much left out.

Finding (insert species) Under the ice gives tips and advice on where to start looking for the fish. Structure ques, depth ranges, movements as season moves on.

The last segments are Jigging Tactics and Setline Tactics (dead sticking or tip-ups) for each species. If the species chapters are the venison and taters, these sections are the tenderloin of the book. The best of the best. Mr. Allard describes techniques to entice fish to strike. Many are applicable for all species. Without these methods Nimrod would be a more informed ice fisherman but with no (new) knowledge on how to effectively catch fish.

Mother Nature has been abusing those in southern Michigan. Winter has been warm. Too warm.  Not until the last few days, maybe week, has there been safe ice to get out fishing.  Mid January???? Come on Momma Nature. That was cruel. You will be hearing from me soon. These conditions made it hard, no it has made it impossible to get on the water and try out Mr. Allards techniques. Luckily this has changed.

Life at the Nimrod Ranch has been busy. Work, family, school, Scouts, etc, etc. So when word started to spread that the ice was safe to get out fishing it took Nimrod a few days to get out. There were too many “lines in water” I needed to take care of before heading out. Nonetheless it happened.

First ice trip of the year was a welcome relief. Adding Mr. Allard’s teaching to my tackle box worked. Here is a picture of the biggest bluegill of the night.

He hit while I was using one of the jigging methods from the book. Not a monster but respectably beautiful fish. The tale of the tape was 8 ¾ inches long with a sweet bright orange breast. I tried to squish out a full 9 inches but it just wasn’t happening.

Would I have caught this and the other ‘gills without using the methods from this book? No one will ever know. What I do know is I did and I plan on doing so again and again and again.

To be honest as I started to read the book I was taken back by the name dropping.  It was like reading the script of a NASCAR driver who just won a race. I have to thank Chevy, Coke, Go Daddy, DuPont, Home Depot, Menards, Sally Mae, Freddy Mac, blah, blah, blah for winning the race. One day I made a comment to Yoop about this and she promptly put me in my place.

Turns out Mr. Allard wasn’t dropping names for his own benefit. He is giving us a starting point for finding products to keep us safe, warm, dry, on the fish, etc.  After Yoop slapped me with the Obvious stick I liked Mr Allard even more.  Whether your looking for electronics, safety items, cold weather gear, lures/jigs, rods, etc Mr. Allard has provided a great starting list for your search.

The title,  Ice Fishing: The Ultimate Guide, says it all.  This is THE guide for the beginner or experience ice fisherman. Never been a professional or expert so I would only be guessing on its usefulness to those anglers.  Just remember you can learn something from everyone.

This books gets the Nimrod seal of approval. If you didn’t win one be sure to buy one. I have no doubt it will make you a better ice angler.

Next step? Nimrod was invited to ice fish northern Michigan for perch and walleye. Stay tuned to see how it turns out.  Be sure to “like” the Nimrod Diaries Facebook page for quick updates.


Filed under fishing, Ice Fishing, nimrod, Outdoor Blogger Network, Product review

A New Season of Bow Hunting Is Here

Its that time of the year again. The most glorious time of the year. When God was creating times of the year, he set Fall a side and made it his special work. There is nothing about Fall that is not great.

The first relief from the summer heat, the crops stop growing as the they get ready to be harvested. Bear hunting, elk hunting, fall turkey hunting, small game hunting, fall trout and salmon runs. I think I covered it all. Oh wait… I knew I missed something… DEER HUNTING. How could I forget the greatest of the great? At least the greatest of the great we can do on a regular basis in Michigan.

October brings cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, nippy frost covered mornings, and bow hunting. What more could a Nimrod ask for? Besides Mud taking Murph home like he was supposed to, a new sled, a woring tree stand, a large plot of land but I digress.

The hunt is on and I am working. Mostly anyway. I made it out for opening morn, even if briefly. Spent the part of daylight in the woods as night faded into day. Or is it day scared away night? Either way I was there.

You often read how the woods come alive as the sun rises and warms the air. Not this day. It was a clear cool night, and as the sun brightened everything below it, the woods remained quiet. So quiet the only living creatures I saw during my sit was a red tail hawk and a cottontail rabbit.

And no. The Hawk was not eating the rabbit, not that I saw anyway.

Overall it was a great sit. A little short but it was great to be back in the woods with a bow in hand. Was even better since Murph slept in and wasn’t nearby to play any of his antics.

I will part with the idea that its on. Oh yea, for certain its on and there are many Nimrod memories waiting to be had in the near future.

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Filed under archery, bow hunting, fall, michigan, nimrod, opener