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Welcoming the birds back for Spring

Saw my first bluebird of the year the other day. Beautiful male sitting on a mail box on my way to work. I told Yoop about it and she reminded me we needed to clean out the bird houses after last year. Easy enough, back out the screw, open the side and take everything out. Spray with some disinfectant. Close and screw the screw back in. Your done.
Here is a picture of one of our houses that the tufted tiitmice used last year.

Even had a piece of egg shell left in it. I of coursed save the shell to show the kids!

Keep in touch with us by liking the Nimrod Diaries Facebook page! See ya outdoors!


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Growing Food in a Green Desert

I heard an analogy a while back, I don’t recall where, but it talked about a man who used the majority of his land to grow food for his family. He had beds of herbs and flowers, beds of carrots, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, etc, etc. He collects his “waste” from his produce and returns them to the beds or a separate pile to compost. The area around his home, his yard if you will, supports itself and nothing is wasted, placed in bags for pickup by the local government.

After years of his “yard” supporting itself and providing his family, friends and neighbors with bounties of food a man comes by. The man, a salesmen approaches out guy and tries to sell our guy the benefits of grass. The salesman gives his best line about how the grass will improve the looks of our mans yard and how all the cool guys are doing it. All you have to do is water it every day and need to cut it once a week.

Our man asks the salesman if he can eat it. No he replies.

“So let me make sure I understand you. I have to water it, I have to cut it and it doesn’t give me anything in return?”

“Yes sir” replied the salesman.

“Why should I plant grass when I can plant vegetables and trees, water and maintain them and get food at the same time?”

The salesman gives our guy an odd look and states “Because it looks pretty.”

Our guy rolls his eyes in disgust and walks back to his house.

Weird when you step back and take a look at it from a different angle, eh?

Reversing the norm reveals the flawed idea of a widespread grass lawn. The yard consumes water, consumes time to mow and maintain. All the while not returning any measurable value to the owner.

Why would we exert the energy to maintain something that gives us nothing to us? Why not take the energy and create a garden or garden beds? Heck, even flower beds will give something in return. Grass just takes, takes, takes and comes back for more.

To spin it back the other way what is stopping you from turning part of your pretty grass yard into a space that will give back and not just take from you? For me, the look of a wild prairie is more appealing than a manicured lawn.

We are not far removed from a time when every family grew a garden. Why did we get away from it? Does raising some tomatoes, squash and beans really take that much of our time? After planting they will take less of your time than your glorified “green desert” does now. Some water as needed. Maybe some weeding every few weeks.

Adding a garden will get you and your family outside, away from the tv, video games, etc. Once you get your hands dirty digging in the dirt, once your kids get their hands in the dirt it will all be worth it. Sounds funny but its therapeutic. Try it.

Many kids today don’t know where their food comes from. When he was young Monkey Boy was a very picky eater.  One of the things that helped him was helping us plant the veggies and harvest the garden.  When a kids grows the food he is much more willing to try new things.

There is something about growing your own food even kids realize is cool and normal.

If you do not know a lot about gardening don’t be scared. Ask around, ask me, go to the library and check out a few books. Or just get the ground worked up, buy some seeds which can be relatively cheap or buy plants from the store and put them in the ground.   Mother Nature pretty much does the rest.  Its been going on for eons so don’t over think it!

Neither option is overly expensive. Have fun and learn. Get with your grandma, grandpa or older relatives. Ask them your questions. Learn the way they did it, learn what works for you and create your own way.  Be sure to include your kids in the process as well.  They love to get dirty and learn new things.   Just don’t be too harsh if they step on your plants as you go!

To be honest I have had a working knowledge of gardening for awhile but not a lot of hands on experience. That’s changing. I would suggest if you are just starting to learn to garden organically.

Chemicals will keep the kids from helping and make us use gloves for awhile not letting us get our hands in the dirt.

Here at the Ranch we are going to expand our garden next spring. We, well at least I am. Have a few idea to experiment with to see what can be done. I will share those when the time comes.

As always we would love to hear from you about your garden, your experience and your plans. Together we can learn more than on our own. Also please share with any friend you have who would enjoy this post or anything we do.

A small side, the idea for this came to me after listening to Episode 1002 of The Survival Podcast. I recommend listening and checking out their forum. Great resource to learn about gardening and pretty much everything to get you and your family ready to deal with anything that happens.

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Nimrod Diaries Hunting Calendar

Don’t have all the Michigan hunting seasons memorized?   Thats ok.

Nimrod did some work with google calendar and created the Nimrod Diaries Hunting Calendar.
Book mark the Hunting Calendar page for future reference.   If you see a season we missed let us know.

Best of luck in the woods and on the water this Fall!



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The Winds of Change are Blowing

To our new friends and to those who have been with us awhile… Welcome back!

In the past the Nimrod Diaries has been a place for me to exercise my creative ideas, no matter how limited, and create (hopefully) humorous stories about my life, specifically my outdoor adventures.   It went well for awhile. However my well of humor seems to have dried up.   Or I have writers block.   Either way it is not working right now.

While I really enjoy writing the humorous side of things and those stories will not disappear.   I just can not sit and watch the blog doing nothing while I work on filling the humor well or breaking the writing block.   I truly believe we have something special working here at the Nimrod Diaries.  What that is I don’t know but plan to work hard to find out.

I read a quote the other day that was the motivating idea behind some changes:

“You have to stir the pot every then and again or else a scum will start to form.”

I have yet to figure out who to attribute the quote to but whomever said it is a genius.

So where is Nimrod Diaries heading? Great question.  As mentioned above the humor style of the writing will continue and the strictly humor stories will continue to appear.  To answer the question Nimrod Diaries is expanding.  We are moving to a traditional blog styling covering day to day items from Nimrod’s World.  This will include the new Nimrod Diaries podcast, the Nimrod beer reviews and several other items that are on the menu for the future.  As well as continued content on Facebook and Twitter.

The goal is not only interact more with you but to pass on what we are doing in the Nimrod world, in hopes it will get you involved in your own life, closer to your family and loving life more than ever.

How will we do this?   Sit back and watch.   Like us over on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check back here at the Diaries.

The future is you.   Walk along with us and make it a better place for everyone.

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Open Letter to Momma Nature: Substandard Michigan Winter

Momma Nature:

I am contacting you on behalf of Ice Fishermen and winter Sportsmen across southern Michigan. Although this correspondence is coming after you have decided to finally turn the water into ice; the concerns laid out herein are still true and valid.

Michigan is well known as a state that incurs four seasons. The seasons being Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each season has weather conditions that are expected as the calendar turns. Winter, as this is what is in contention, is expected to be cold and snowy. With the cold, the inland lakes, as well as bays of the Great Lakes and some tributary rivers, freeze solid enough to support a human with fishing gear. Sportsmen have an expectation for you to make this happen. However you have failed them.

Many towns and business rely on you to freeze the above mentioned bodies of water. This long standing reliance allows them to prepare for the upcoming freeze by stocking their business to accommodate the humans who need to supply themselves for fishing excursions on the above mentioned FROZEN bodies of water. It is not debatable, this year you have also failed them.

This winter you have taken it upon yourself to delay the freezing of the lakes and the amount of snowfall has been sub-par. No matter what reason you have for the delay it is inexcusable. You have a duty to the Sportsmen of this fine State to follow through on past practices. Waiting until the middle of January to freeze bodies of water to a safe level is not within those expectations.

As referenced above, this correspondence comes after you have the lakes frozen to a safe thickness. On behalf of the Sportsmen of Michigan, thank you for doing your part. However the delay in this process can not be ignored.

Prior to the recent freeze many Sportsmen had resorted to mock fishing on puddles in their driveways, shopping with their loved ones, spending too much money on new ice fishing gear, pacing in circles among, holding meaningful conversations with their spouses and other abominable things. These were done to satisfy or overcome the primordial instinct to fish during winter as a direct result of your failing to provide Winter.  Rumor is some Sportsmen have even taken up needle point and crocheting. The bizarre actions are a direct result of you failing in your longstanding expectations.

Michigan has long been know as “The Winter Wonderland.” This slogan has even adorned license plates issued by the State. This year southern Michigan has been anything but a Winter Wonderland. Your attempt to live up to the standard expectation has been mediocre at best. As one of countless Michiganaders who enjoy ALL four seasons I implore you to rectify these wrongs.

This correspondence is to indicate to you that the wrongs you have done to the winter Sportsmen of Michigan have not gone unnoticed. These wrongs need to be corrected immediately. Further the Sportsmen of Michigan stand ready to pursue this matter to whatever extent is needed to remedy the wrongs.

Truly yours;


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A year in pictures… sort of.

I am sitting at the computer looking through pictures from the past year, really organizing them since I have put it off for a year.  The reminiscing and a photo prompt over at the Outdoor Blogger Network lead me to create this not yet end of  year Nimrod clan part of a year in pictures.

What follows is a few pictures I think they tell the story of our year.  Lots of fishing, lots of smiles and countless memories. Trust me selecting just a handful of pictures was tough but I think these display our year well. I hope you enjoy!

Get the kids outside- they will thank you for it.

Munda helping Nimrod clean some fish for supper.

Mundas first fishing trip.

Monkey at the bow.

Prepping the tent.

Checking out the baby horses at the Great relatives

Monkey pointing the way to the mushroom hole.

Munda chillin before a voyage.

Checking out the remnants of the balloon she popped.

A dandy!

Another Dandy!

Monkeys first catfish.

Nimrod's personal best largemouth caught on a fly rod.

Keeping the butterfly garden watered.

The Fishing Princess (just ask her!)

Heading out for Mundas first bow hunt.

Monkey and Nimrod heading out for an evening sit.Monkey and Nimrod heading out for an evening sit.

Monkey and Logger.

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Brief Hiatus

This time its actually a legit reason for a break.  Not only are we in the middle of the Michigan firearm deer season.  Nimrod went and decided to slice his non trigger index finger nearly in half.  Well its not that bad but the doc at the ER felt it was a good time to practice his stitching and left me with 21 of the darn things.

Short story about the finger and how no good deed goes unpunished:  Someone close to Nimrod needed a deer skinned because they have back problems and don’t need to make it worse.  Nimrod had a few minutes to spare and can skin a deer with the best.   3/4’s of the way through, I made an odd cut but no worries.  I work my way around the cut when I hear something behind me.  I turn and see nothing.  I turn back to the deer at hand and continue.   A few seconds later, at the point where knife met hide the cosmos lined up the knife continued through the hide and into my non trigger index finger.

I have nicked my fingers enough to know I can handle most of them with copious amounts of anti germ cream and band aids.  However when I see multiple layers of sub cutaneous matter that should not see the light of day I realize its not time to play macho man… especially dealing with wild game skin/meat.  I won’t gross you out by posting pictures of the mess but will be glad to share with anyone interested!

On the positive side there was no nerve or tendon damage and we were still able to make the annual trip to the Great (not so) White North.  Deer sightings are down but it still beats not being here.  I even made Momma Nature so mad she gave us some snow!

Another positive is I have to keep the finger clean so if the good Lord blesses me with a deer either Logger or Yoop will be stuck field dressing it.  I am truly heart broken about this but have to follow the doctors orders… especially when they benefit you!

While we are in the Northland I am posting brief updates on our Facebook page.  Internet time is limited and the connection is slow, like my typing right now.  Please like our Facebook page.  Posting there is less painful and won’t wear out my spell check.  Let me know your Facebook page and I would be glad to reciprocate the”like” (or is it “liking”?)

Hope everyone is having a wonder late fall/early winter.

Happy Thanks giving from the Nimrod Clan.

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Outdoor Safety

Personal safety can mean different things to different people.  You will prepare differently if you are setting off in the back country of the west over hitting the local wood lots or streams in the Midwest.  The key is preparing for what Murph can and will throw your way.

The Outdoor Blogger Network has given a writing prompt concerning scary situations and preparing for them.  A simple late fall trip to a local trout stream could turn bad if you slip and break something to the point you are no longer ambulatory.  If no one knows where you are and you have no means to signal to people where you are, you just may well turn into turtle food.

I racked my brain for times where I felt that little bit of being scared during an outing. I was unable to think of anytime it has happened.  I would like to think that my prepping and minimizing risk in the field has prevented the situation from getting to that point.  It is more likely that Nimrod is just not smart enough to realize the peril of the situation and trudged through it until I was back safely.  Either way I figured I could share a few things I do to ensure my safety or at the very least proper recovery of my body if any bad things happen.

As you know, Nimrod spends the majority of time in the rural areas of south west Michigan.  Even the largest track of land is crossed with trails and two tracks.  Walk in a straight line long enough you WILL hit a road.  Walk in circles long enough you will be disoriented and dizzy, trust me I know.  So my prepping is probably woefully inadequate for true wilderness outings.

Always carry a compass or GPS.  If your me you carry both.  I always carry a sharp knife, a sharpening stone, a means of defense and a means of communication (i.e. cell phone or 2-way radio).  In cold months I include strike anywhere matches, air activated hand warmers, change of socks/gloves and winter headgear.  You never know who or what you may stumble upon; or what might stumble upon you.  Not everyone is your friend and like it or not there are people out there who want to do you harm.  You may also come across someone who needs your assistance to seek medical help.  Without a way to call you may not be of much help for their survival.

Building redundancy into your plan will save you when the time comes to enact your preps.  As I heard several times in the military “Two is one, one is none.”  Murph will ensure that things will break and batteries will die.  Always when you need them the most.

Have a plan and tell the plan to someone.  Before I set out on an adventure I tell Yoop the rough idea of where I am going and when I plan on getting back.  I have a map and mark on it where I plan to be.  Plans change and you may not be on the exact ridge you said but if the worst happens, this will shrink the search area considerably.  If there are major changes I will call her on my cell phone and describe the new area of operations.

This may seem like overkill but I feel I owe it to Yoop and the monsters.  Nimrod gets time to wander about Gods creation but my true duty is to my family.  I see it like wearing a safety harness when in a tree stand.    It tilts the odds in my favor if Murph decides to join me on the adventure.

I want to give my thoughts on carrying a cell phone with you while you’re out in a non wilderness setting.  I have read about people who head off the pavement and do not want to be bothered.  No doubt one reason we seek to escape the concrete jungle war zone is to get away from the annoyances of day to day life.  However most don’t think it through.

If you follow my plan, when you fail to return at the designated time someone will know something might be up.  Will they head out looking for you?  Will they just try to call?  Will they call for assistance from local law enforcement or fire service personnel?  All depends on the person and what plans you have worked out.

To pay the bills Nimrod has worked in the 911 industry for around 5 years.  I am far from an expert on the technical aspect cell phones/towers/etc but I will share what I have found out answering the call when it rings.

We are not talk about a 911 call from your phone.  Most of the time the information will come in relatively easily when the call is made directly.  If I get a call saying your late; they think something has happened; getting a pinpoint location if your phone is powered off is not likely.  I won’t say it can’t happen but will say I have never been able to get a pin point location when the phone is off.  This will turn the search into a large area, that will take time to complete.  We have a motto where I work.  “Dispatchers save seconds, seconds save lives.”  Often time isn’t critical.  However the one time it is could make a difference in your survival to hunt or fish or hike or bird watch or ??? or ??? or ???.  You get the idea.

Help us help you.  If you don’t want to be bothered in the field, turn your phone on silent not off.  Have a plan.  Tell someone where you are going to be and when you will be back.  If your plans change let your contact know and update them on what changes are being made.  These are basic ideas and may seem like over kill when your wandering the woodlots in the Midwest but your life may depend on how prepared you are.

After years and years of dealing with Murphs antics I like to think I have learned how to deal with problems with they arise.  Whether it is planning ahead of time or having what I need to get to safety.  We hope our experience and planning can help you stay safe when you are out enjoying Gods wonderful creation.

Stay safe, have fun and take lots of pictures!

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The (Broken) Process

The urge.   You know the one.  You are going to sit down and write a masterpiece.  Something powerful, meaningful.  Something that will set the world on fire.

If your me, you do some internet “research.”   You search for that one piece of data that will support your whole idea.  You search and search.  You tweak your search words, refining you word selection as you go.  You find a few things that are close.   Yet the creme de la cream is elusive.

After awhile you stop looking.  You open your word processing software and start to type.  After awhile, you reread what you have written and notice you have strayed off your topic.  Is it fixable?  Maybe.

You read your work again and another idea comes to the forefront.  Oh yea!  This is the one.  The data you need is slightly different.  You start the search again.  You have a small jump start, as the topic is somewhat related to the last one.  You tweak the search again.  But the creme de la cream is no where to be found.  You again stop looking.

Not to be deterred, you save your first rambling, never know when it may make sense to someone, and open another document.  You start tapping the keys again.  You get a few more paragraphs this time.  As you reread it you again stray off the intended topic.  Would someone really want to read the rambling?  Is there any flow?  Would a normal person be able to understand you?  You hit save again.

You take a break, grab something to drink.  Go do some deep thinking on the thinking chair.  Then it hits you.  The best idea you have had.  You finish your thinking and go back to the computer.  You open another document and you stare at the white screen.

After a few minutes you realize your stuck.  You reach for a hunting magazine for inspiration but realize you left them at the thinking chair.  Instead you click over to your favorite outdoor site.  You check in with your buddies.  See what the latest catch or kill is.  You check out the latest gear.  You catch up on unimportant emails.

You close the sites and go back to your blank document.  You tap out a few sentences.  You read them.  They are worst than the first two times.  You erase them and try again.  Same results.   After staring at a blank screen for another few more minutes.  You realize that you are stuck.  Hopelessly stuck.   What to do?

Click over to Outdoor Blogger Network and find another blog to read.  At least someone out there isn’t having a mental block.

A special thanks to, Johan, for letting us use this piece during a time when Nimrods head isn’t quite right.   Thanks!

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Nimrod on Checking Acorn Crops

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