Pint-Sized Powerhouse

There are countless things that could be classified under this title; for instance, you might even know some people who you would lump under it. For our sake at Voyager Village, this week’s “pint-sized powerhouse” was but a mere drone. When I first looked at it, it seemed more like a toy than an industrial tool. I was astounded to find out it can fly up to 40 mph, and was allowed to fly at a maximum height of 400 feet in the air.

Ready for take off on 7 tee

Ready for take off on 7 tee

Clay Schnell, the owner, made piloting the drone look simple, but I know that’s not the case from my few tangles with my sons’ toy helicopters. The main goal was to get a hole-by-hole flight of the golf course in order to upload and promote its beauty on our website. All of us that live, play and gather here know what a wonderful sight Voyager is to behold, and soon we will be able to share that with anybody anywhere virtually. I will let you know as soon as the final product is available on our website. I wish Clay a huge thanks for his work and the opportunity to see the process in action.

I leave you with some snapshots from the drone’s flight, which I hope will inspire you to want to get out and explore our beautiful area. Don’t forget that next Wednesday I will be giving a hayride and walk from 11 am to 1 pm leaving from the deck of the clubhouse—weather permitting.


Hole #7


Lake Little Bear


View from above the clubhouse

Enjoy your weekend!

-Steve Johnson


The Great Migration

This past week saw people and wildlife on the move in search of desired needs or wants. For some people, this meant flocking to the Voyager Village Arts and Craft sale last weekend. This year the weather was perfect and an aerial photo sent in by Bob Ellson shows the magnitude of people in one location just to find beautiful handmade gifts, food and drinks, or just plain fun. The organizers and volunteers did a great job and were kind enough to bring over some leftover drinks and ice cream bars for the maintenance staff, which have been savored all week.ac6428

I was pleasantly surprised to see a few hummingbirds and monarch butterflies still hanging around my flower garden. Certainly most of local hummers and monarchs are gone but there are always a few stragglers that take advantage of the flowers until Jack Frost says no more.img_41131

Many of the local birds have already raised their young and in the next month or so there will be a lot of different birds passing through from the north headed to warmer climates for the winter.  Many of our very own residents will be joining them soon.  We will certainly miss all them all but I will do my best to keep everyone informed as to what is going on up here in the “North Woods.”

I leave you with a few pictures of some of my favorite insects that you won’t be seeing for quite sometime unless you head south.


Swallowtail Butterfly


Luna Moth

-Steve Johnson

Have a Great Weekend!

I want to personally thank all of you for following my blog and making such kind comments. It’s really empowers me to make my weekly posts knowing that so many people are following and enjoying my content. I know many of you really enjoy the pictures so I always try to find something interesting for you. A bountiful harvest from my garden is the main theme for me this week.  This time of the year there are so many great, fresh things to eat, but you always need to beware of the Fall’s cold. Jack Frost is always there waiting, but today my table is filled with his favorites.

Sorry Jack these fruits and veggies are mine!

Sorry Jack these fruits and veggies are mine!

This week we made our best efforts to have the course and facilities in great shape for the holiday weekend.  Staff and tons of volunteers worked like busy bees to get everything ready for the Arts and Crafts Show this weekend at the Community Center on Highway A.  The weather looks great so get out and enjoy this great community event!

Food and Crafts await you!

Food and Crafts await you!

I will leave you with a great picture of the golf course today.  I hope it inspires you to get out and enjoy the great weather, crafts and courses.


Blue and green do mix together nicely!

 -Steve Johnson


These past two weeks have been a mad dash for the grounds staff trying to get most of our aeration done before Labor Day.  After that we lose more than one third of our staff.   On Tuesday we punched and cleaned up all the fairways on the front nine.  This is a great accomplishment given the size of our staff and the equipment that we have, but ultimately it was made possible by unselfish acts that the entire team made to reach a common goal. No matter what I needed them to do, there was always somebody willing to sacrifice their time to get the job done.  Such dedication is incredible to find these days and it’s happening right here in Voyager Village, so when you see any of the grounds staff next week tell them “thanks”.

The deer have been tag-teaming up also on our pumpkin patch this past week.  They have been jumping and plowing through the fence and eating away in the patch.  As I feared once they got a taste for pumpkins it is hard for them to stop.  They ate almost half of the pumpkins this past week and we tried to remedy this by improving our fence.  The only good news is that some of the best pumpkins I had are okay, as I had covered them to keep the sun off.  My best pumpkin is thankfully in my garden at home this year and is presently close to 800 pounds.

As I drove around this morning fertilizing the greens I noticed that the cool damp morning had slowed down the usually hasty dragonflies.  The dew had coated him and seemed to leave even his eyes fogged over.

Dewey Drangonfly

Dewey Dragonfly

As fall rolls around I can’t wait for all the great photo opportunities. I encourage all of you to team up with me next month as I plan to take a hike near the clubhouse Wednesday September 21 from 11AM to 1PM   We will meet at the clubhouse deck and I will take you on a hay ride to one of the many beautiful spots in Voyager Village.  From there I will take you on a fun-filled hike.  I hope you will join me for Walking Wednesday.

Fall is coming to Voyager Villager soon

Fall is coming to Voyager Villager soon



Sneaky Surprises

The past two weeks have been filled with a lot of surprises that kept me on my toes.  Lately we saw the golf course loaded with mushrooms, whose growth have been fueled by the damp weather.  Tee boxes turn into mini forest of mushrooms overnight and made for some conversation in the maintenance shop.  These mushrooms pose no risk to the turf but they will harm you if you tried to cook them up.


Mushroom Tees

A plant called Indian Pipe has also been showing up in the dense forests these days. These unique organisms look like a type of mushroom but they are not. It is actually a herbaceous perennial plant that is white in color because it doesn’t contain any chlorophyll within it. It is parasitic and instead steals nutrients from trees and fungi.


Who says being pasty white looks bad

I went to my truck the other day, and found a Fox Snake—or what some people call a pine snake—resting underneath, probably trying to stay out of the hot sun. He was a good sized specimen and looked like he could eat quite a few mice in one sitting. Fox Snakes are actually quite helpful in that department so I got a stick and got him to slither off into the grass. I must admit, he wasn’t the happiest with me poking him and was quite quick to let me know.


Look at this Smug Snake

This week ended with a visit to the pumpkin patch. I was surprised and disappointed to discover the gate had been left open to a four-legged visitor.  The deer quickly found the pumpkin patch to be a endless all-you-can-eat buffet.  It caused damage to three of my pumpkins and one of the green squash.  According the the visitor the squash must have tasted the best because they ate right through it in one night. I have been amazed in the past as to how much pumpkin a deer can eat in one day.  Lets hope that they save us some for Fall Fest.


Couldn’t you wait until the pumpkin pie was done!

The last thing that I want everyone to know is the canoeing at Cadotte this Saturday has been cancelled do to the poor weather forecast.  I will plan to host another event in September which I will announce next week in my blog once I have had time to look over the calendar.  Thank you for your support.

Thank You Berry Much

One of my favorite things to do since I was a little Steve is picking, and of course eating, berries. My youngest son certainly enjoys the latter and even volunteered to help last night when I came home from picking blackberries. This year’s blackberry crop is splendid after a very disappointing blueberry season.

The main drivers behind such a wonderful crop are, believe it or not, the July storm of 2011. It left many areas open to sunlight- which berries love. Right now it is just enough time after the storm for the berry plants to get established, and this year the weather has been perfect: the spring was good for pollination and the recent rainfall has supported a healthy crop. Moisture in particular can be a huge issue in this sand county. Please take some time and get out these next few weeks to pick and eat away while they last. If you decide to make a pie and have some leftover, you can stop on over and visit my staff and I. You will find we’re as helpful as my three boys when it comes to cleaning up food.


Blackberry Delight

August also brings the spectacular “rising of the sunflower heads” and then their bow after a great performance. This week they opened their show and are sure to put a smile on your face. I observed a field on County Road A many times, and I know in the past there has been fields on County Road H.


Sunflower Selfie

The weather will be perfect this weekend so get outside and enjoy it before summer fades away too. Please note that the mosquitoes are terrible these days so get going during the daylight, as once the sun goes down you certainly won’t be alone.


Are You Calling Me Ugly? Wait Until I Get Kissed!


Summer sights

This week I saw a bunch of cool things going on in the Village, and decided to focus more on capturing photos for this week’s blog. On Tuesday night a storm rolled in, and I raced over to the club to shutdown the irrigation system and to help protect it from lightening damage. On my way from the maintenance shop to the pump house I noticed this menacing cloud hanging over the club. Luckily, we got off the hook with only some torrential rain, a few hail chunks, and some wind.

Shelf cloud over first green on July 26

Shelf cloud over first green on July 26

Later this week I was greeted this showy caterpillar that was munching on some of my dill in the garden. These turn into beautiful black swallowtail butterflies so if you want to see them flying around in your yard add some dill to your flowerbed to better your odds.

Next I ran into this plump old frog that lives near hole 11 . I’m sure it hides in one of the ponds on 11 in the winter as they like fish-less waters and travels to the long grass on top of the hill to forage in the summer. It looks like its been doing fine for itself for some years now.


Northern Leopard Frog

Lastly, it was a tough week on some of my best giant pumpkins. First, my best pumpkin that I was growing in my garden got hit by a down draft from a thunderstorm last Saturday night and about a third of its vine was damaged. I then found Sunday morning that the best pumpkin at work had been hit by a golf ball. I have been trying to heal up the wound so rot does not get into the fruit and take it down. My pumpkin at home is a bright yellow right now which normally means it will turn a brilliant orange as it matures. The biggest one at work is more white and may not get as colorful unless I get the can of kryon pumpkin orange out at harvest time.  No joke it works give it a try.

Giant Pumpkin July 28 120" circumference and about 400 pounds

Giant Pumpkin July 28
120″ circumference and about 400 pounds

Giant pumpkin damage from a golf ball

You can see my tears to the left of the injury

Cool that Summer Sun

How to cool the summer sun. :)

How to cool the summer sun.🙂

This week certainly felt and looked like summer, as the heat and humidity hit us hard.  I was amazed to wake up Thursday morning at 3:30 AM to go work and find that it was 81 degrees outside with a dew point of 75.  This sultry heat was soon extinguished that morning as a storm rolled through, creating an incredible display of lightning flashes that were followed with plenty of wind and rain.

All of these wind storms are certainly causing a lot of damage to the pumpkins this year.  The large leaves that allow the pumpkins to catch sunlight also catch the wind and rip the roots of the pumpkin out of the ground and cause the vines to get twisted and damaged.  I still have managed to raise a few decent ones this year and I will display them next week on my blog.

Giant pumpkin plant

Giant pumpkin plant

July has been tough on many of us with all the storms and unfortunately there are more potential coming this Saturday afternoon and evening.  In the meantime I encourage all of you to get outside and enjoy our beautiful lakes and cool off from the summer sun.   Tomorrow at 10 AM I will be hosting my Explore Outdoors for kids at the Little Bear Lake and the beach house.  We will be playing in the sand making the areas best sandcastles and looking at some plants, fish and wildlife that hang out at this very popular beach.

Happy little sand turtle

Happy little sand turtle

I hope to see you all tomorrow.


The Power of Water

Storm approaches on July 11

Storm approaches on July 11

This past week we saw more than one instance of why water is the most important and powerful forces in the world.  Water is certainly the most influential shaper of the Earth’s surface.  We learned first hand what it can do; many of our roads, driveways and sloped surfaces fell to the evil cast on July 11th as nine+ inches of rain descended upon the Voyager Village area.

path erosion

Cart Path Erosion

This weeks event was for sure of epic proportions; seeing as many of our local river neared or exceeded their all time record highs.  Unfortunately, for some that have already suffered from flooding, there may be even more heavy rain tonight into tomorrow.  Let’s hope for some moderation this time.

Bank washout hole 14

Bank washout hole 14

On the surprising flip-side, yesterday while cutting sod, but an inch below the surface I found powdery, dry soil.  “How is this possible?” one might ask.  “You just told me it rained over nine inches!”  The explanation is, quite simply, the water ran off.  Usually sand is very porous, but sometimes the sand particles can become coated with organic matter.  This causes the soil to become hydrophobic: the charges on the sand particles actually repel the charges of the water like two magnetic poles might due.

The other shocker for many was the ability for the course to absorb the rain.  Years of continued drainage projects on the course have slowly improved our course’s capability to deal with heavy rain.  Even I was amazed at how well hole 11 handled the record rainfall event.  I could not believe that there was no standing water on the fairway the next morning.  When I look back and think about all the hard work that went into that drainage project, it become apparent that it was all worth it.  Results like these results are what drive me each day.  This is why I love my job and I hope you love yours.

Have a  wonderful day!





Early to Rise

Hopefully all of you took a little time over the weekend to enjoy yourselves.  I was lucky enough to be at work this weekend, as I needed to stop in and see if West Cadotte was ready for our annual member family picnic.  I was excited to get over that morning, as I had noticed as the sun started to rise that there was going to be something special happening that day.

I must admit that I stood on our beautiful beach in awe, watching and listening as I was treated to one of the best “good mornings” mother nature has ever given.  I needed not say a word, shake a hand or pay a fee for admission.  The stars of this show appear daily in Voyager for those who seek them out, and that is what I love about living in this area.

The cool air was crisp, complimenting the fog that raced across the lake as if late for a meeting with the heavenly sky. A pair of loons sang out their morning wake-up call so clear that no other creature dared to match or compete with.  I was not alone on the bank that morning; a muskrat sat nearby enjoying a breakfast of grass.  The spectacle was so incredible that 30 pictures later I still don’t know which one is the best. So here are three of, in my opinion, the best pictures of that morning, and I will leave it for you to decide if there is a best.