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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Salmon Fishing on Lake Michigan

A Family Friend Holding up a Salmon
on Lake Michigan
Dear readers, 
One of the best, and most unique, parts about living in Michigan, is the fact that our state borders four out of the five Great Lakes (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie). During the summer it is very common for Michiganders, and out-of-staters alike, to vacation on or near one of Michigan's beautiful Great Lake beaches. Regardless of whether you are interested in taking a swim, going for a boat ride, fishing, or just enjoying the scenery from the shore or the dock, visiting one of the Great Lakes is always an enjoyable experience.   

Be that as it may, today I would like to narrow the focus to discussing salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, since this is a blog which is geared towards sportsmen such as myself. Moreover, another reason why I wanted to talk about salmon, is because it happens to be one of my favorite dishes. Feel free to read a previous post of mine, which is entitled Scrumptious Salmon, if you are interested in learning a few nutritional facts about eating this majestic ray-finned fish. However, the salmon I wrote about in that post was, of course, Alaskan Sockeye Salmon and you won't be finding any of those bad boys swimming in Lake Michigan.  

Being educated anglers and outdoorsmen, I am sure that you are aware of the fact that there are several different species of salmon. According to Salmon Fishing Now, there are a total of seven different members of the salmon family. They are: the Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Chum, Pink, Atlantic, and Steelhead. 

You can visit Salmon Fishing Now's page on the types of salmon, and read their descriptions of the seven distinct species of salmon, right here: 


Returning to salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, if you visit Lake Michigan Angler's page on salmon fishing, you will learn that four different species of salmon swim in Lake Michigan. The Chinook, Coho, Pink and also the Atlantic can all be found in this particular Great Lake. However, the Pink and Atlantic Salmon are far more scarce, as they only migrate into Lake Michigan occasionally.       

You can find Lake Michigan Angler's page on salmon fishing right here:

You may be surprised to learn that freshwater salmon were first introduced into Lake Michigan in the late nineteenth century, but over time, they would ultimately disappear. However, salmon were reintroduced into Lake Michigan in the 1960s, thanks to a man named Howard Tanner, who was the state fisheries chief at the time. A fantastic article which was written in 2011 by Howard Meyerson, and can be found on Mlive, tells us his story. 

In 1964, Tanner was told by Ralph MacMullan, the director of the Department of Conservation which was the forerunner to the Department of Natural Resources, to "do something spectacular." The reason he was told to do something spectacular was because Lake Michigan's fisheries were in peril at the time. Trout had become extinct in Lake Michigan, due in part to over-fishing, and the whitefish population was withering as well. As a result, the commercial fishing industry was on the decline,and something needed to be done to remedy this dire situation. Tanner came up with the idea to stock salmon in Lake Michigan, but it was not the most popular concept, and he had uncertainties about it himself. In the article, Tanner, who was 87 at the time the piece was written, recalled thinking that he would either be remembered as a "hero" or a "bum." 

To make a long story short, the decision to stock "Coho salmon smolts," in Bear Creek and the Platte River, which are two tributaries of Lake Michigan, was ultimately made. Chinook salmon would later be introduced as well. By 1967, the experiment had turned out to be a huge success, which drew national attention, and Tanner recalls that fishermen began coming from "everywhere."     

Read the full story about the man who was responsible for reintroducing salmon into Lake Michigan right here: 

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I really enjoy writing about my home state, and sharing information about life in "The Mitten" with my audience. I constantly remind myself to write the story only I can tell. While this is not a story that only I could have written, as was the case with my story about our dog Karli, the Great Lakes are a subject that I am very interested in and feel passionate about as a Michigander nevertheless. Therefore, I felt that I was able to bring an extra layer of fervor to this post. Please feel free to leave your comments. I really enjoy hearing what my readers have to say. Thank you very much.   

Till next time,
BF   

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wild Turkey Jerky

Dear readers,
The photograph above shows an instantly recognizable, delicious, and manly snack of jerky on display. However, this scrumptious "meat candy," which your eyes are currently gazing upon, is neither beef nor venison jerky. It happens to have been made out of the famous North American wild bird that our ancestors have been devouring for centuries, which Christopher Columbus once introduced to Europe, and would eventually go on to become the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving feasts. Due to the fact that fall turkey season is right around the corner, I simply felt an obligation to write a post about a tasty treat that can be made from the gobbling bird. Today, we are fortunate enough to still be able to hunt and cook turkey, thanks to great wildlife management and conservation strategies employed by our friends at the DNR, and we should celebrate it.  

I would like to encourage you to check out Tuscola Today's article "Tales of a flourishing Thumb turkey population," if you are interested in a great story about the comeback of the wild turkey, and an ever blooming turkey population in "The Thumb" of Michigan which can be found right here: http://archive.tuscolatoday.com/?p=29824 .

I thought you might be interested in learning a few nutritional facts about turkey as well. Frank Whittemore has a great article on Livestrong, entitled Turkey Nutrition Information, in which he articulates the benefits of eating turkey. Some of the benefits of eating turkey, which he describes, include the facts that turkey has more protein per gram than beef, and also chicken, and it is lower in fat and cholesterol than these two members of its meat brethren as well. Moreover, turkey is also a terrific source of vitamins and minerals, such as niacin, Vitamin B6, and selenium.           

Read Mr. Whittemore's full article right here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/41364-turkey-nutrition-information/.


If you are interested in a recipe for turkey jerky, Mark's Daily Apple  has a great turkey jerky recipe which can be found right here:http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-make-turkey-jerky-thats-super-easy-and-tastes-like-thanksgiving/#axzz2a9o3LTct .

Till next time,
BF

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Outdoor Dog Toys & Games




Dear readers, 
Due to the popularity of my post about the day we brought our dog Karli into our lives, I thought you might enjoy a follow up post about a few of her favorite toys and games. However, before I begin, I would like to send out a special thank you to everyone who read and commented on that aforementioned post, and offered their incredibly kind words about Karli as well as my writing. I honestly cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. 

The photograph above shows a few of Karli's favorite outdoor items on display on our picnic table. From left to right: A Gander Mountain Ruffwear Lunker Toy, an older Gander Mountain Ruffwear Lunker Toy which has seen better days, three durable Kong Balls, A Kong Classic, and a Kong Goodie Bone with a homemade lanyard. I have long been a fan of Kong products, as they are quite impervious, and perfect for the dog who chews everything. You may have also taken notice of the baseball bat in the left hand corner of the picture as well. The reason for this is because I use the bat to hit Karli ground balls. If you are wondering how I do this, I simply toss up the Kong Balls, I hit them lightly across the yard, and she chases them and returns them to me. "Grounders," as I like to call it, has been one of our favorite games for the past few years. After Karli gets bored with this game, she sometimes enjoys playing with either the Gander Mountain Lunker Toy, or the Kong Bone with the lanyard which essentially serves the same purpose. Sometimes she wants me to throw these toys for her, while other times she just to wants to play the game by herself and do laps through the yard, with the lanyard in her mouth, and the toy trailing behind her.  

All dogs require exercise, and a basic Google search for "German
Karli Posing and Enjoying a Summer Breeze
Shorthaired Pointer," which is Karli's breed, will inform you that a GSP is certainly no exception. However, during the summer, it is also imperative to make sure that your dog does not spend too much time in the heat as well. Therefore, it is essential for a dog owner/trainer/watcher to become extra cautious, and develop a routine that will allow their dog to get the exercise that he or she requires, while ensuring that they do not get overheated. The trick is, as you may have guessed, a combination of shorter play sessions, indoor games, taking them out for a walk early in the morning or late at night, and making sure that they have plenty of water to ensure that they are properly hydrated. Therefore, I would like to recommend the following articles, as they provide helpful tips on how to exercise your dog during the summer, as well as how to make sure that they are getting enough water.  

"Hydration and Dogs: 7 ways to keep your dog drinking enough water" by J.T. Clough, which can be found right here: http://www.examiner.com/article/hydration-and-dogs-7-ways-to-keep-your-dog-drinking-enough-water
&
"Cesar's Top Summer Tips" By Cesar Millan, which can be found right here: http://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/dog-health/top-summer-tips


Feel free to comment & let me know what games your dogs like to play! 

Till next time, 
BF


Friday, July 19, 2013

Eight Reasons Why Fall is the Greatest Season


Every year, after the MLB All Star Game has concluded, the thought of autumn, my favorite season, begins to slowly crawl back into my mind. Before I go any further, however, I will admit, that the older I get, the more I do realize how important it is to "live in the moment," and refrain from "wishing time away." Be that as it may, I still cannot help myself from thinking about the fact that September 1st is only a mere six weeks away as I sit here on this smoldering 92 degree day. As a matter of fact, the sweltering heat that is currently surging through the Midwest has many others, besides myself, yearning for cooler temperatures as well. Therefore, I guess it would be fair for me to use that as an excuse to begin the countdown to September. Below, I have decided to kick start "Fall Fever" by compiling a list of eight reasons for why I believe autumn is the greatest season.  

Postseason Baseball: Being an avid baseball fan, it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoy the playoff race during the final month of the season, as well as the subsequent postseason, which immediately follows in October. From an injured Kirk Gibson hitting a walk off home run in Game One of the 1988 World Series, to the Red Sox coming back from 3-0 in 2004 ALCS, and winning four straight to beat the Yankees, advance to the World Series, and go on to sweep the Cardinals, there is an abundance of evidence to prove that October baseball is nothing short of magical. The Detroit Tigers, my favorite team, have been in the playoffs the past two seasons, and made it to the World Series last year only to be swept by the San Francisco Giants. Hopefully, they can go all the way this year!

Football Season: Many people look forward to fall for the start of football season. I myself have never been much of a football guy, which makes me a bit of an anomaly, especially among Michiganders, due to the fact that college football is really big around here. However, I have the utmost respect for this venerable autumn tradition, as well as fans of college football and the NFL nevertheless. Since football is certainly a man thing, I could not in good conscience omit it from my list of reasons to look forward to fall on a blog entitled The Way of The Alpha Male. 

TV Shows: Hell on Wheels, The Walking Dead, and Sons of Anarchy, which have been three of my favorite manly shows over the past few years, will be returning this fall with brand new seasons. How could anyone possibly go wrong with a show about "walkers" (zombies), a show about bikers, and a show about an outlaw cowboy?

Friendlier Outdoor Weather: Another one the reasons I love fall is because of the crispy, clean, and cool air which rejuvenates my senses and alleviates my summer sinuses. I can finally take my dog out to play, or take her for a walk, without either of us getting overheated. I can enjoy raking and bagging leaves with a cool breeze, and never break a sweat, which I would take over mowing the lawn in 90 degree heat any day. 

Food and Beverages: I am a guy that likes to eat, which I have hinted to in previous posts, and the brisk weather fall provides is certainly more amenable to my appetite. During the summer I tend to eat lighter, as the heat reduces my cravings for large meals. I love diving into a nice, big, and juicy steak, or a scrumptious 16 oz. slab of salmon, and then following it up with a delectable desert, such as apple pie or apple crisp, on a breezy autumn day. Moreover, fall also marks the time of the year when we bring back seasonal classics such as apple cider,caramel apples, and pumpkin pie! For us adults, fall is also, of course, the season when Octoberfest hits the shelves once again. Fall and winter are more suitable seasons to drink darker beers such as porters and stouts as well. 

Hunting: From wearing waders and waterfowl hunting in the swamps, to hunting ruffed grouse in the field with your bird dog, to sitting in a cold deer blind in November and hoping to get the buck of your dreams while you salivate over venison jerky, fall is certainly a special time of the year for sportsmen and outdoorsmen. Fun fact: In Michigan, many deer camps have a tradition of watching Escanaba in da Moonlight on the eve of opening day of deer season. Check it out if you haven’t seen it…it’s a rather funny flick! 

Fall Bonfires: There is nothing quite like the aroma of a bonfire in the fall, especially when you are burning brown autumn leaves on top of your kindling wood.   

Holidays: From Labor Day, to Halloween, to Thanksgiving all through the winter holiday season, fall provides wonderful opportunities for us to spend time with our families and count our blessings.

Although the season of fall does not “officially” start until September 22nd, the first of September marks the beginning of fall in my book. September 1st is usually around the time when I allow myself to enjoy my first Octoberfest beer of the year, eat my first slice of apple crisp, and bring my blue jeans and cowboy boots out of retirement. Fall is home to many special memories of mine, from carving pumpkins and trick or treating in my childhood, to the first time my father took me deer hunting in my adolescence, to when we picked up our puppy, Karli, which I wrote about last week. The list I have created above is by no means exhaustive. Please leave your comments below and let me know what you like the most about fall, or feel free to tell me what your favorite season is.

Thanks & Let's start the countdown to September 1st! 


Till next time, friends-
BF

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bird Dog Seasonings





Dear readers, 
I would like to strongly recommend that you give the products of Bird Dog Seasonings a try. Being an avid outdoorsman, the label of the bottle shown in the photograph above caught the attention of my eyes at first glance. Furthermore, once I tasted what was inside, I would discover that my taste buds found it to be agreeable as well. Bird Dog Seasonings is located in my home state of Michigan, and their products are currently available at five different stores in the state. However, you can also order their products directly from their website if it is easier for you and you are interested. The ingredients, of Bird Dog Seasonings' original formula which is shown above, consist of "salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and spices." Moreover, there is no MSG in Bird Dog Seasonings' products either. 

Bird Dog Seasonings' Original is not too spicy or hot, and if you are looking for a little extra something to tickle your tongue, you can't possibly go wrong with Bird Dog Seasonings' Original. Bird Dog Seasonings does, however, offer a Cajun version of their product if you are looking for a little more zing. 

You can add Bird Dog Seasonings' Original to essentially any dish you would like to, and the back of the bottle actually reads that it is good on everything "from beef and chicken to fish and fries... and everything in between!" Over the past few days, I myself have had it on american fries, hash browns, steak, and salmon and I can certainly vouch that it has made each and every one of these food items taste a little more delicious. 

For more information on Bird Dog Seasonings', such as ordering information and the locations in Michigan where their products are sold, please visit their website right here: http://birddogseasonings.com/ .

Thanks & Till next time,
BF

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Things Made in America: Zippo Lighters


I am not a smoker. However, I still love Zippo lighters nevertheless. Furthermore, there are many other uses for a lighter other than firing up a cigarette or a cigar. The inspiration for this post actually sprung forth after I watched an episode of Mountain Men on the History Channel. Monty, the one who lives deep within the Alaskan wilderness, was speaking of how carrying a lighter in your pocket can save your life especially when you are living as close to the Arctic Circle as he is. Few would argue with him that having a lighter with you, or a book of matches for that matter, exponentially simplifies the process of making a fire. Moreover, Zippo lighters are still made in the good ol' US of A, and I may start doing a monthly segment on this blog entitled Things Made in America with this post serving as the first installment of the series. 

What is your favorite American made item? Please leave your comments below and let me know!    

Thanks & Till next time,
BF

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Karli: The Day we Brought Home our Dream Dog


Karli in the Winter of 2010 
On Thursday, October 1st 2009, my life changed forever. After my father had awoken me at 4:00 a.m. on the morning of this quintessential autumn day, which has since become perpetually ingrained into my memory, I enthusiastically jumped out of bed, ate breakfast, and got dressed in record time. We then shot out of the door, hopped into my father’s Ford pick-up, and embarked on a nine hour round trip. Our destination was an unincorporated community in Minden Township, which is located in the thumb of “The Mitten,” and happens to be the site of a dog kennel which breeds bird dogs. Our mission was to purchase a new puppy. More specifically, we were looking for a German shorthaired pointer pup. We had just lost our GSP of more than fifteen years, Tara, six weeks prior to this adventure, and the absence of a canine had created a profound chasm in our lives which was aching to be remedied. After more than a decade and a half of great memories with the GSP breed, there was simply no other conceivable alternative for us.  
My father had seen that this particular kennel had put an ad in a newspaper for a brand new litter of GSPs earlier in the week, and immediately scheduled an appointment for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. He asked me to be his "wingman" on this expedition, I happily accepted, and he and I were determined to not be one second tardy. On the journey there, my father and I sipped on freshly brewed coffee as we listened to a couple of local DJs from our neck of the woods discuss Detroit Tigers baseball on their morning show on the local classic rock station. The Tigers, who had been scuffling down the stretch, were hoping to stumble across the finish line and limp into the playoffs. One of the DJs was telling the boys to go out and “win this for Ernie.” The Ernie that he was speaking of was, of course, Ernie Harwell: the Detroit Tigers legendary broadcaster who had recently revealed that he was suffering from terminal bile duct cancer. We all knew that barring a miracle, the 2009 MLB postseason would most likely be the last one that Ernie would ever witness. 
As we continued to drive further east, and watch the day become brighter, my father and I chatted about various topics. We talked briefly about what the name of our dog would be, but we had already, for all practical purposes, decided that we would be naming her Karli. We thought that Karli would be a fitting name for a female GSP, after doing strenuous research on our quest to find the perfect dog name, and discovering the fact that the German meaning for the name Karli happens to be “womanly strength.”
 Hours later, as we were inching closer to our destination, we nearly became lost. However, my dad, being as determined as he was, and always is, would never allow that to occur. He pulled into a gas station, asked for directions, and we were quickly back on track. As we neared the kennel, we proceeded to drive through miles of beautiful, serene, and tranquil eastern Michigan farmland. It reminded me of the kind of amicable and peaceful paradise I have always dreamed about living in. My father, despite being a lifelong resident of the state of Michigan, had never been to this part of the state. Neither had I. 
After we had finally arrived at the kennel, and read the sign which had confirmed we were in the right place, we drove up to the gates, and a few older dogs, who were in a cage and guarding the premises, began barking at us. After they realized that we were nice guys, and were not a threat, we then proceeded to hop out of the truck and walk over to the cage where the GSP puppies were being held.
“Look at these little shorthairs!” I remember by dad exclaiming.
“I can’t believe how small they are,” I replied.    
Moments later the owner of the kennel walked up behind us.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” he said to us. 
My dad introduced himself, and then me, and the owner proceeded to shake our hands. The three of us then reached into the cage, and we each picked up one female puppy out of the litter. The ticked, brown headed, brown tailed, and three spotted little girl I now cradled in my arms would ultimately become Karli. We then brought the three puppies over to a field behind the kennel and let them run and play. I still remember how funny and playful these three little sisters were. I watched as they chased each other’s tails and nuzzled each other’s noses. Then, the dog I had been carrying moments earlier, came over and bit the shoelace on my right shoe as if she were trying to untie it. I cracked a wide smile.
 “Is that the one you want?” Asked my dad.
“Yes,” I replied. “I think it is.”
I remember the owner saying that he liked the one with the white tail, but I had made up my mind that we would be taking the one with the brown tail home with us, and nothing on this Earth could have possibly made me decide otherwise. I knew deep down inside that this dog belonged with us. It was a feeling I couldn't, and still cannot, explain. I also remember the owner saying that we had actually cut ahead of a gentleman who had an earlier appointment, but he gave us the first pick out of the litter nevertheless. If we hadn't arrived as early as we did, there is a chance that someone else could have taken our Karli. It made me realize, as cliché as it sounds, that it really is funny how life works out sometimes.
I remember staring at Karli’s green eyes, which later became brown, as my dad filled out the paperwork before we made our way back to the truck. “Welcome to the family, kid,” my father said to Karli as we hopped back into his Ford and buckled our seat belts. “You’re coming to the best home ever.”  
I still remember how Karli sat on my lap the entire ride home.  The owner had given me a teething bone, which Karli licked at from time to time, but it rested in my shirt pocket for the majority of the trip back home. At one point Karli turned around and started licking my face as if to say thank you for picking me. “She’s bonding with you right now, Brad,” my dad said as he glanced at Karli and I riding in the passenger’s seat. “You are getting a four hour head start on everybody else back at home,” he continued.
Prior to our arrival at the kennel, we lost the signal to the classic rock station we had been listening to, and changed the dial over to a local country station. I still remember listening to Jason Aldean’s relaxing classic Big Green Tractor, as this seven pound little puppy snoozed on my lap. I continued petting Karli, as she snored, and as we got closer to home we were able to pick up the Tigers game. The Tigers would go on to lose, but we had much more important things on the horizon.  
We spent the rest of 2009 watching Karli run, play, grow, and assimilate into the family at a rapid speed. She learned the meaning of several words, the names of objects, all of our names, as well as phrases such as “let’s go play” and “nap time” at an incredibly torrid pace. I was going to college locally at the time, and just a year and a half removed from high school, and on the verge of entering into a new phase of my life. I decided to devote the majority of my time to two things: being the best possible student I could be and being the best pal to Karli that I possibly could be.
Karli being my "Dog Parrot"
In the Winter of 2010
When I would do my homework, I would bring Karli into the computer chair with me, so she could take a nap on my lap. However, she would always climb behind by back, and lie on my shoulders, and then rest her head over one of my shoulders as if she were my “dog parrot.” Moreover, whenever I would come home from school, I would always see her in the window looking at me, because she knew the sound of my vehicle. Furthermore, regardless of how much homework I had to do, how many lengthy papers I had to write, or how many tests I needed to study for, taking Karli outside to play was always the first thing I ever did after coming home. 
        Right now, I sit here as a college graduate, as I finished my Bachelor’s Degree last May, hoping to ignite a writing career, with Karli lying on the floor and chewing her favorite moose oven mitt as I tell the world the story of the day we brought her home. Next month we will be celebrating her fourth birthday, and on October 1st , we will be celebrating the fourth anniversary of the day she became a part of our family. I will forever be thankful that she was brought into our lives, and that I was able to play such an important role in hers. The stories and memories that have accumulated in these first four years are endless. I believe now, more than ever, that a dog truly is “man’s best friend” which is why I have decided to share this story to my blog The Way of the Alpha Male. I hope you have enjoyed my story, and please don’t be shy, and feel free to comment on it.


Karli chewing on one of her favorite balls in the Fall of 2012

Till next time,
BF





Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I'm Putting Up the Flag



Tomorrow we Americans will be celebrating the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. If you are not too busy, please take three minutes out of your day, to watch this terrific video, and listen to what this man has to say about why he flies the American flag. 

Till next time, 
BF 


Monday, July 1, 2013

Steak & Potatoes for Breakfast


Friends, 
I am sorry to begin this post by reiterating the old cliche that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the fact remains that it is. Therefore, before going any further, I would like to strongly encourage anyone who does not eat breakfast regularly to read fitday.com's  article entitled Fact or Fiction: Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day which can be found right here: 


The photo above shows a nice manly plate of steak and sliced potatoes, or American fries as some may call them, cooked in a black cast iron pan. This is a delectable meal and if you add a cup of coffee to the mix you are really in business! I do understand, however, that many people have finite time, and are forced to skip breakfast, or merely squeeze down a pop tart before heading to work, but steak and sliced potatoes certainly makes for a wonderful and nutritious breakfast provided one can find the time to prepare it in the morning. I mentioned in a previous post of mine, entitled An Alpha Meal, which you can find in my archives, that by eating lean and organic cuts of red meat, you will be providing your body with important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and protein. For more information, please feel free to go back and re-read that post, or check out the article I referenced in that post right here: 


Potatoes are also very beneficial to one's diet. Frank Whittemore has a great article on Livestrong, entitled Potato Nutrition Information, in which he describes how potatoes are a terrific source of vitamin C, B6, minerals, dietary fiber, and also complex carbohydrates. In his article, Mr. Whittemore also provides information on how potatoes should be stored, the temperature at which they should be served at, and debunks the theory that potatoes are to blame for weight gain.    

Check out Mr. Whittemore's full article right here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/42142-potato-nutrition-information/.

Till next time,
BF