Makes ya wanna think.

The Pad

Winter Dock

The canoe is resting.
In 2 weeks the ice should be thick enough to hike on. Ice opens up lots of great hikes to beaver lodges and islands.
I always wait until ice fishing shacks are up on the big lakes before walking on my little lakes.

Icebreaking–Last Canoe Trip of the Year

Last week Martel Lake froze and I thought canoeing was done for the year.

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This week we got a warm spell – temp in the 40’s F – so I decided to give canoeing one last shot.

I love icebreaking in a canoe. The ice was crumbly around my dock and along the shore so I was pretty sure I could make it to open water.

I wanted to get some crunchy icebreaking sounds so I stuck my trusty Zoom H2 in my jacket pocket and got this [crunchy ice with intermittent narrative at 2:00; best crunching sounds start at 4:05]:

I was too busy breaking through the ice to take pix until we hit the open lake.

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My dock is in the distance just right and up from center. We paddled through the thin shore ice and then broke through the white patch above.

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It felt good to break through to clear water. Icebreaking with a canoe is great arm exercise because you need to chop into the ice with the paddle and haul the canoe forward up onto the ice, breaking it with the weight of the canoe. Repeat until clear of ice.

Thin ice you can just cruise through. It makes a tinkly sound as it shatters.

Mika and Travis were not happy with our expedition. It’s Wisconsin’s Annual War Against Deer and gunshots in the distance kept them nervous.

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After our icebreaking adventure I tied Mika to a tree and put away the boats and accessories for the winter. I hung lifejackets from the rafters of the screen porch while Travis watched, amused:

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I pulled my canoe onto the bank, where snow will soon cover it.

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The next time I canoe I’ll hear loons.


Ice on Martel Lake

Today’s ice and snow will melt next week when it gets up to 50. It’s nice to have a preview of Winter.

Wisconsin’s annual War Against Deer started today. Neighbors to the south built a major anti-deer emplacement. They started blazing away at dawn. I woke up with a traumatized Travis trembling and panting on top of me. Mika is unusually affectionate today because of all the gunfire.

I blast loud music to cover the sounds of the epic battle, which relaxes the dogs somewhat. The next 9 days of deer season will be trying for all 3 of us.


Stuff and Nonsense

Tony Santucci and I enjoy a gorgeous dusk paddle.
Tony and I enjoy a dusk paddle on Martel Lake.

The Pad has been a social whirlwind this month. Tony Santucci camped with me on Ogre Island. Myrna and Paul took good care of me.

Angry Robot just signed their first two authors from their Submissions Open Month. I’m still waiting (im)patiently to hear from AR about whether they’ll publish Channel Zilch.

Snow expected Saturday so I’m stacking the last of my firewood today.

Next week is my dogs’ least favorite time of the year: Wisconsin’s Annual War Against Deer. I’ll play lots of loud music to mask the sound of gunfire.


Clouds on Fire


I spent an hour paddling in the chill dusk wind. My poor little camera did its best, but the sunset was waaaay more intense than this photo.


Rhythm of the Seasons: Stacking Firewood

This is my 8th autumn at The Pad, the 8th time I’ve stacked firewood for the winter.

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Six face cords of oak: $390. 3 canisters of propane: $240. A winter’s warmth.

The Wengers, local firewood barons, dumped the wood outside my fence 2 weeks ago.

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I’ll try to haul 12 wheelbarrows of wood to my shelter every day—over 160 split logs. That’s about 1 row of logs in the small wood shelter.

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Travis “helps” me every year by walking in front of the wheelbarrow and grinning at me while I stack the wood.  My dogs appreciate a good Stupid Human Trick.

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12 loads takes a nice bite out of the pile.

Next autumn I hope to stack wood at my new cabin in Washington state.


Big Decision: I’m Moving Back to Washington State Next Summer

As much as I love The Pad I’ve decided to return to Washington state next summer. I’ve known for a while that the next stage of my life will be set there.

Daisy, Margaret, and me exploring our favorite camping area in the Cascades – the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

I’ll be looking for a cabin within two hours of Seattle. I’m centering my search Highway 2 just West of Stevens Pass. It’s fun combing zillow.com for cabins near Skykomish and Index.

There are many good reasons for my move. Being closer to Margaret is important. I hope my future is writing science fiction and most of my sci-fi friends are in Seattle and points south on the West Coast. I lived in Washington for 11 years, 93-’04 – working at MSFT and disabled with brainrot. I love  the state. Mountains, ocean, Seattle, lots of fun geeks, and Archie McPhee—what’s not to like?

I’ll miss my Wisconsin paradise. The seven years I’ve spent here were incredibly healing. Martel Lake will always be a part of me. I will try to savor each remaining day. This autumn’s leaves make that an easy task.

Unless Channel Zilch dumps a pile of money in my lap I’ll sell The Pad next summer after I hear the first Loon. I look forward to a hard cold winter.

If I make money in the future I’ll buy a cabin on Martel Lake and spend a few months here every year. As I hike my woods and canoe my lake I have the feeling that I’ll be back.


Ogre Island Sunset #396


I left the dogs at the cabin for tonight’s sunset, something I rarely do. I floated in silence as the sunset ripened from greys to intense ruby.

Three deer came to the shore to drink. Kingfishers chittered angrily at one another while it was still light enough to hunt fish.When the sky turned pink Nighthawks hunted bugs in the sky.


Slow Dusk Paddle around Martel Lake

Still getting used to the seizure meds. I rarely drink. Had a beer out on the lake which turned our dusk canoe trip into a long leisurely paddle.

2011-08-15 Martel Sunset etc. 028Three Trumpeter Swans have been hanging out on local lakes. They were sitting in the forest when we paddled around a point and startled them into the water.

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The Swans were between me and the sun so I drifted and let them swim east. Here they are just under the sunset.

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Travis swam after them when they neared the east shore of Martel. They avoided him until he tired and then they followed him to shore. He’s sleeping soundly by my bed right now.

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I wrote a draft of a Channel Zilch query letter today. Tomorrow I send it to an agent.


Watching slideshows of Winter on a Sweaty Summer Day


Fun pic from a colder, hairier time. Travis and Mika love to pose for pictures with me, don’t they?

 Winter 2008-9 Slideshow