Sunday, December 20, 2009

Annual Christmas Letter Returns

Hello again everyone. It is that time of year again. That’s right. College Bowl season. Go Badgers!!!! It is also time once again to update all you all on the events of the past year. Earlier this year, our family got a new addition. No, we didn’t catch a Chinese baby shot from a tee shirt gun at a sporting event.. We got a dog. Shiloh, the Golden Destroyer. How did that happen you might ask? Well, I tell you. I was tricked!!!!! I remember it quite well. (Hand to chin. Do do do… do do.) It was a blustery winter day. Early February. Super Bowl Sunday to be exact and some team I don’t care about was playing not the Bears. It was around the 6th hour of the pre game extravaganza. I was deep in a chili cheese dip coma and I hear a faint, cherub voice coming from behind me. “Honey, Sweetie, I’m taking Jake up to Hamilton and getting a dog. I’ll be back in a little bit.” “Yea, yea, sounds good.” I reply, as some commentator is saying something about 3rd down red zone efficiency. When I awoke from my coma, I find a dog licking my face. Then back to licking its……well, you know. Then back to my face. Oh man. If he wasn’t so darn cute, I would have punted him half way down the street. So over the course of a few months and plenty of accidents and mishaps and what not, he fit right in. On the plus side, I do know how to walk on water. Or, at least, urine soaked carpet. Same thing really. Later in the year I got some troubling doctor type news. I’ve been feeling off for a couple of months and couldn’t quite figure out what it was. So, as any good American still lucky enough to have health insurance, I went to the doctor. After a little too thorough examination, he came to the conclusion that I was suffering from Coulrophobia. It is no big deal really. I just have to stay away from circussess’s, certain fast food establishments, In Living Colour reruns, Kristel’s big red shoes, and that one guy at the downtown Greyhound bus station. Speaking of Kristel, she is well on her way at becoming an English Major in the Literary Army. I’ll have to salute her more’er. She just needs one more Spanish class and she’ll be done. Wait a second, one more SPANISH class? That sounds a lil’ funny. Spanish for an English Major? Strange. I’m just glad she passed her Basket Weaving class. (Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas?). Jacob……Ah, Jacob. That little weasel. He has been a huge pain in the…..We interrupt this boring Christmas newsletter for the premiere episode of……Phil Cooks up some Low/No Salt Dishes!!!! Now we join the program already in progress…. “So I says, is that your dog or did someone step on a shoe. Ha, ha, thank you. I know, I know. Now back to the recipe. So you’ve taken the ground beef, deer, whatever out of the freezer. Next, call your wife and ask her how to defrost it. If you don’t have a wife, I’ll go ahead and tell ya what she says. Apparently there is a button on the microwave that says “Defrost”. Do that. Good. Next, y’all take a bucket of unsalted butter and grease a skillet pan good. Now, make sure you turn the exhaust fan on, cause it is goin’ get a lil’ smoky. Then form the clump of beef, deer, whatever into something resembling a hamburger pattie or two. Plop them into a preheated skillet. Let’em cook a bit then flip them over. After they fall apart, just break dem up into bits and pieces. Cook’em good until some of the small pieces turn black. That is how you know they are done. Dish it up on a plate. Squeeze the special “low salt” ketchup and honey mustard on top. Don’t be bashful now. There… now garnish with the B&G unsalted bread and butter chips (now no longer available, humph). Mmmm, mmmm, now that is lookin’ good. Season it up good now. You don’t want to taste the beef, deer, whatever. There…..all done. You’ve just made yourself a Phil’s Hamburger Scramble. Enjoy. Oh, y’all should wait a couple of hours before goin’ anywhere after enjoyin’ your Phil’s Hamburger Scramble. Just in case y’all need that “home field” advantage. You know what I mean.”.…..Back to the Christmas letter…….So as you can see, we’ve had one busy year. I know, I know, should have wrote more on the rehab thing, but we are out of time….Merry Christmas y’all and to y’all a good night.

Philip, Kristel, Jacob, and Shiloh

Kristel’s Note: This year the paragraph was invented, but Phil, in his usual fashion, chose to ignore this development. Also, Jacob started his own publishing house. He is on track to be the McDonald’s of literature: “Billions and Billions written….and strewn about the house.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another long time between posts......

I know, I know. Why have a blog if you ain't goin' blog. I've got a lot on my plate. First and foremost, I'm recovering from a shoulder injury. The kid is misbehaving. The planets have not aligned yet. I still have not processed the Red Sox getting bounced out of the playoffs. Okay, okay, so I've been lazy. is your stinkin' post.

Jake spots the allusive Kristel Finch

"Smile Jake" (Take 72)

A relate to the Famous Janesville Cow. Found outside a Cheese Shop in Michigan.
Mmmmmm, cheese.

Jake gettin' ready for Army. (AD reference anybody?)

Random Butterfly

Jake spotting the really allusive Phil Finch

Jake.....down for the count.

Random Flower

Kristel floating on the water

Jake learnin' 'bout cow parts.

If'n you don't like my captions, make your own. The most cleverest one gets nothing.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Happenings......

Hello again folks. Had a terrific three day weekend. I took Friday off to spend the day up at my boss's'sss's lake place with my family.


And I wasn't allowed to take the camera. It was a fun, fun time. Shiloh, our golden retriever, went as well and had a blast swimming in the water. My shoulders got a lil' burned and they hurt, but I was told I was just being a big baby and to suck it up.

Saturday evening we went to Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area on a whim towards the evening. Went to Area D marsh and saw a boat load of Green Herons. There had to be 25 or better of them. Also saw 3 Sandhill Cranes, which we had never seen before. Footage was found on those guys.......

Today (Sunday) we went to Eagle Marsh in Fort Wayne in hopes of seeing the recently reported Blue Grosbeak, but to no avail. We got out there around noon and it was hot. How hot was it???? Well, hot. Didn't spend a bunch of time out there. Towards the evening Jake and I went back out to Eagle Marsh. We saw 21 Great Egrets, about 150 Red Winged Blackbirds, some Bobolinks, Pied Billed Grebes, Lesser Yellowlegs. Jake wants to call it Hop Bunting Marsh, because every time we took a step either grasshoppers or frogs jumped out of the way and it seems like every other bird we saw was an Indigo Bunting. We also met some birders out there looking at either a Semipalmated Sandpiper or a Western Sandpiper. I'm leaning more towards a Semipalmated Sandpiper, they were leaning more towards the Western. Neither of us were too awful sure. Them buggers are hard to tell apart and it was too far out to get a good picture of it. Couple of pictures Jake wanted me to take.......

Some sort of butterfly, I guess.

Monarch Caterpiller

When we got home, we found this guy on the cone flowers in front of the house.

Eastern Tigerswallow Butterfly

All in all a very good, but tiring weekend.


Post Script: That wife of mine made a great Low Sodium Salsa and Low Sodium Black Bean Dip. Food with actual taste. I can eat good, flavorful food again. Yippee!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hey, Where Did Ya Go?!?!?!?!

Hello again everybody. It has been awhile since my last post. I've been coming to terms with my newly diagnosed Meniere's disease. I've been doing a little bit of research on it and the subsequent low salt diet. In a word or sucks. But, of course, it could always be worse than this. So for that, I am thankful. Anyway, still had some chances to go hiking at Eagle Marsh and here are the picture highlights......

A flower of some sort.


Pretty sure this is a female or juv. Bobolink

Large Milkweed Bug

Lesser Yellowlegs

Coot Family

Blue Winged Teals

Green Heron and Killdeer

Hooded Merganser

Swallows (Barn, Bank, Bank, Tree)

So there you go. Looking forward to the shorebird migration coming up soon. Hopefully Eagle Marsh attracts plenty of them. Till next time, PDUB out.

Post Script: Anybody know any good low/no salt foods or recipes

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Eagle Marsh Weekend


Hey there.......hows it goin'?

Wanted to get back to Eagle Marsh after the Open House last weekend. So what better time than this weekend.

Saturday Morning

I got up at 6:15 (check local listings) and nudged the wife to see if she wanted to go. A groggy "no" was her response. I went. After a quick stop at DD (America runs on that stuff) I arrived at just about 7am. Decided to do the big loop first. Nothing of note until I got to the back corner of the property, then the birds where everywhere. Indigo buntings, Song Sparrows, Yellow Warbler, Eastern Kingbird, all types of Swallows, and many more I probably missed. A bird explosion I tell ya.

It was very wet from all of the dew. My shoes and socks were soaked. Next I went straight up the middle of the property. Cutting in between the two big wetland areas. Here is where I saw Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Mallards, a TON of Red Winged Blackbirds and Killdeer, yet more Swallows.

Next, I walked the path towards the Engle Road entrance. Here I saw an Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood Pewee, a bunch of Bluebirds. Got to the main entrance and walked up towards the barn. Saw a couple of Dickcissels. Heard a bunch more.

At the barn there had to be a hundred or so Bank Swallows. (I think they are Bank Swallows anyway). All on the electrical wires.

Tree Swallow sitting up on his house y'all.

On the long walk back to the car I took a trail that turned out not to be a trail. Ran into a Belted Kingfisher.

After a few hundred mosquito and horsefly bites, I finally made it back to the car after 4 hours of stompin' around. It was a very good morning of wilderness walkin'.

Sunday Afternoon

Talked the wife into going with me back to Eagle Marsh. We got there a little before noon. Parked at the main entrance this time. Walked the path up to the barn. More Dickcissels and Swallows. And this guy.......

A Spotted Sandpiper.
Never seen one of these afore (a Jake word). We also spooked what was probably a Green Heron, but we never got a good look as it flew away from us and we never saw it again. A Great Blue Heron was nice enough to pose for some pictures.

Went back to the car and drove to the opposite side of the marsh by the Boy Scout building. Walked the path between the hotels and marsh. Saw a couple of Dickcissels (boy.....they're really fond of this place) as well as Bluebirds, Turkey Vultures, Song Sparrows, Indigo Buntings. Oh, and the several thousand Red Winged Blackbirds and Killdeer.

Next, we made it through the middle of the marsh and walked the back side. Here we spotted another Sandpiper. Wasn't sure exactly what it was until we got home, but it turned out to be a Juvenile Spotted Sandpiper. That or the uber rare Common Sandpiper made it all the way down from the Alaska/Russia area.

This lil' fella was unaware of our presence for a few minutes. It was so close I could've kicked it. Well, maybe a step and then kick.

Next we Saw these two. Another Yellow Warbler and a Cedar Waxwing.

The walk along I69 didn't produce much except my wife's allergies kicked in with all the hay they got down. Finally made it back to the car after a total of a 3 hour tour. What to do after such a wonderful afternoon? Zesto! You betcha'

Later for you

Post Script: Photos for you

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Eagle Marsh and Summer Tanager (Part Deux)

Had a wonderful, fun filled day today. First, Jake and I went to the open house at Eagle Marsh. Ate lunch first (of course) and then went on a guided nature walk.

At the end of the nature walk, got a somewhat nice picture of a killdeer.

Went to the barn and saw these three fellows next.....

Barred Owl
Red Shouldered Hawk

Jake's favorite was the Screech Owl because he "is sooooooooo cuuuuuuuuuute".

Eastern Screech Owl

Next we took another nature walk. You know, for kids. They netted a baby turtle, bugs, frogs, etc. from one of the ponds. Jake had a lot more fun on this one. He loved the teeny tiny minnows in one of the buckets.

It is a pretty cool place. I can't wait to get back out there when there are less peeps around to do a little birding. They have an impressive bird list already. Check it out online at (FIXED)
and donate some coin while you're at it.

And to top the day off. Kristel, Jake, and I went to Cook's Landing in Allen County to see if we could show the boy his first Summer Tanager. After waiting ten minutes or so........

There he was. Still battling his evil twin brother and still not getting a good shot in.
All in all, a very satisfying day.

Later for you,


Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Tanager

We went to Cook's Landing off of Coldwater Road in Allen County because of some reports
of a Summer Tanager. We have not seen one of these bad boys yet so we decided to check it out this past Saturday. We got there and waited for a few minutes and...................nothing.
We got out of the car and looked around a bit. Not that big of a place. Got back in the car and suddenly......

He was protecting his territory from his evil twin brother in the side view mirror. Never could quite get in a good shot. It stuck around and bonked into the mirror for awhile until Kristel started feeling bad for it and we left about 15 to 20 minutes later.

Took Jacob back there on Sunday evening.
But no such luck that time.
He really wants to see one, so we'll probably head back out sometime soon.