Fabulous Fall


Shoal Lake

For me fall is by far the best time of the year. I personally don’t like hot humid weather so the cooler up-and-down temperatures seem perfect to me. The fall colors of the vegetation are truly breath taking at times. The onslaught of bugs has been reduced to a few pesky wasps, hornets and everyone’s favorite: the Asian Lady Beatles.  This time of the year, everybody seems to have a little more spring in their step. It’s almost as if there is an urgency that fills the crisp air, like beavers trying to fill their lodge and surrounds with enough supplies to last the impeding long winter ahead.


Loon Creek

This fall has been exceptionally warm just like our spring was.  A few light frosts is all that Jack Frost has manage to muster. Typically by Fall Fest, the leaves on the golf course are scarce to find but this year is a different story.  This fall will hopefully play out in front of us in a manner that is exceptionable for all of us.


S’mores await you!

In the meantime lets continue to enjoy the what’s left of this beautiful season and try to make time in our busy lives to appreciate what a wonderful place that we live in.  I hope to see you all at 7 pm tonight for the lighting of the pumpkins at the clubhouse and again on Saturday for all the wonderful activities from noon to four.  Come see what may be the first 1000 pound pumpkin ever grown in Burnett County to go under my knife.  Regardless if it really is that heavy (I am merely using a chart to estimate) it truly is a beauty that you should all come see.  If you would like a seed from this particular pumpkin to grow next year just hunt me down and I would be honored to oblige.


The Beast needs your smiles.


Leaves aren’t all Bad

As the wind blew today the sky and ground filled with leaves. One leaf is harmless enough, but a thousand of them dancing across the golf course or your yard is a different story.  For us, leaves and pine needles are a lot of work.   These needles fall like darts thrown by the mightiest of men and lodge deep into the ground, just daring you to remove them from the premise.  Like a bug on your windshield they hang on for dear life, proving to be a formidable opponent.  For the husky warriors on the grounds crew, who brave the morning cold, work means an approaching end to other golf season.  Armed with massive turbine blowers that create category 5 wind speeds and machines filled with whirling rubber teeth that aim to swallow a hundreds of pine needles up at a time they do battle.  Yet even with our best efforts, some always survive to fight for other day!


Work or ?

Leaves are much like their cousins: the snowflake.  Their beauty is hard to describe and no two seem alike.  These days, Voyager Village and the surrounding area are full of magnificent fall displays.  A pile of leaves can be the end product of this beauty and a hard days work, or just the beginning of fun for some kids filled with more energy than that 30 mph wind.

I hope you will join me next week to witness this great spectacular, as some Webster School kids are coming to Voyager Village on Friday October 21 from 12:30-2:30 to help out people in need for their annual Make A Difference Day.  If you know someone that needs their leaves raked up or want to join in please feel to contact me at stevejohnson@voyagervillage.com or call 715-259-3924.

Better use PLAY!

Better use PLAY!

We hope to use some of these leaves gathered that day for our our annual leaf pile hunt during our annual Fall Fest Extravaganza on Saturday October 22, from Noon to 4 pm.  Come play some games, have great food and drinks, get your picture taken with one of my giant pumpkins or just relax on a hayride through our beautiful golf course. If you can’t make it Saturday stop in Friday night at 7pm at the clubhouse for the Lighting of the Giant Carved Pumpkins and smores by the fire afterwards.


Hayride anyone? The views aren’t bad

Hope to see you there!


Fall Fun

This week ended with some much needed sunshine and the picking of this years pumpkins.  This year looked really promising for lots of giant pumpkins but that dream slowly deteriorated as the days passed by.  Deer caused the heaviest toll as they jumped or plowed their way through our makeshift fence to gain access to one of their favorite foods: pumpkins.  Mice and voles joined in on the feast and added to the overall damage.  To add insult to injury, we damaged one in the process of picking it up.  A field that once held over a dozen large pumpkins has been whittled down to just four; two of which have suffered damage from the deer. Hopefully they will make it too the Lighting of the Pumpkins on October 21st.


Deer trying their luck at carving

One must always look for the positive in any situation and this year it came from my own garden; I reserved a little space to plant a giant pumpkin for myself.  I picked a seed that was from a nice colored pumpkin but not known to grow any extraordinary giants.  Surprisingly however, it did very well and has produced a pumpkin that I estimated to be anywhere 850 to 1000 pounds.  So I loaded it up Thursday evening and brought it to work to be stored until we are ready to put it on display for Fall Fest—which takes place Saturday, October 22.


Charlie Brown would be proud.

I was busy this week also taking a few other pictures of things.  For me picture-taking is a great way relax and share my passion of outdoors with you.  These coming weeks should offer some great opportunities with all the great fall color around the Villager so enjoy!


One big mushroom!


One dirty frog!

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