Welcome to SCHOCK MCCOY PRODUCTIONS by J.H. McCoy.  This website is named in honor of my mother, 
Gloria (Schock) McCoy, and dedicated to her memory.  Since it was founded in 2015, her JOURNAL and ALBUM have always been prominent features, but now some of her recipes have been added to the website (RECIPES).  
    The HOMEPAGE is "seasonal" and changes during the year when the seasons do.  It contains some of my articles from my hometown newspaper.  The NEWS section features recent photographs and comments on the local scene.  
PHOTO-ESSAYS is a record of my trips to iconic locations in the U.S.  A short history of the Schock family, written over 50 years ago (1970) by my great-uncle,  Edward D. Schock, is presented in HISTORY.  I edited it in 2020.   
    I hope that you will always find something interesting on this website and that you will tell others about it.    
Thank you for stopping by.  Please sign the Guest Book, and come back soon!   

J.H. (John Herbert) McCoy 
9636 Roberts Rd., Harbor Beach, MI 48441 // [email protected] // (989) 551-9487 (cell) 
      
                 

   ESTABLISHED:
JANUARY 30, 2015
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***CLICK ON THE NAME FOR A SHORT VIDEO***
E. HEMINGWAY
 (Nobel Speech)
"TEMPUS FUGIT"
    (Click on small "pics" to enlarge)
Canada geese fly by.
TODAY
YESTERDAY


SAND BEACH TOWNSHIP
&
MICHIGAN'S THUMB
J.H. MCCOY
+++ SPRING 2024 +++


NEW
NEW
NEW
"THE SCHOCK FAMILY TREE" by Edward D. Schock (1970) edited by J.H.McCoy
Read it in HISTORY


REST IN

 PEACE

JOHN MUIR (NATIONAL PARK SERVICE VIDEO)  "A GLORIOUS JOURNEY" - 22 MINUTES
Born 101 years ago, Jan 30, 1923
         FROM THE MINDEN CITY HERALD BY J.H. MCCOY
NIGHT-FLYING MONARCH
from The Minden City Herald, 9/2/21
At first, I thought a large, colorful moth was fluttering around the back porch light. I soon realized, however, that it was a monarch butterfly.  Surprisingly, it continued to buzz the light and bang off the screen door.   I got my iPhone and tried to take a picture.

When I stepped out on the deck, the butterfly circled and brushed by me in its erratic flight.  Occasionally, it landed on a nearby object: the screen door, the top of the light, a deck chair.  But each time, darkness and shadows made it impossible to get a good photo.

Eventually, it landed on my foot… then my pant leg.  I took a few pictures from above, but its wings were closed.

At one point, I noticed that it was resting on the deck.   I reached down, and the butterfly crawled up on my fingers.  I slowly maneuvered it into the light, eliminating the shadows and documenting what I consider a very strange and unusual event.

After putting the monarch down on a cushion and taking a few more pictures, I turned off the porch light; and my “unexpected and unexplained visitor” flew back into the darkness.

********************* 
         Photo by J.H. McCoy, Sand Beach Township, August 26, 2021  
AWARD WINNING ARTICLES - MICHIGAN PRESS ASSOCIATION
                    BETTER NEWSPAPERS CONTEST - 2022 & 2023
"The Michigan Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest allows member journalists, photojournalists, columnists, designers to show off their best work. Each year, a state press association reviews thousands of entries submitted by Michigan newspapers and Individual members. The increased competition inspires all journalists to produce better work, which in turn, nurtures stronger communities."  
from www.michiganpressassociation.org / Check the website for a list of all winners.
                                 THIRD PLACE - "PHOTO-STORIES" - 2022
       (SMALL WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, UNDER 3,000 CIRCULATION)

 J.H. MCCOY - THE MINDEN CITY HERALD - NIGHT-FLYING MONARCH 
OLDEST LIGHTHOUSE IN THE THUMB 
 YOUNG RACCOONS ON THEIR OWN
TIMBERDOODLE ON THE LAWN - 6/9/23
SNOWY OWL AT THE HARBOR BEACH MARINA
APRIL 3-4, 2023
ARTICLE IN "THE MINDEN CITY HERALD" - 4/13/23
THE SNOWY OWL'S "SPRING FLING" ENDED ON APRIL 5!  
NOBODY HAS SEEN IT SINCE.
SNOWY OWL IN HARBOR BEACH

THE MINDEN CITY HERALD

APRIL 13, 2023
A Snowy Owl was seen and photographed at the Harbor Beach Marina on Monday and Tuesday of the first week of April.  It was sitting among the boulders in front of the rental cabins at the north end of the harbor.  The heavily streaked “Snowy” was extremely tame and ignored cars and traffic.  It even tolerated pedestrians, walking by on the sidewalk.
   
I took pictures on both days from a parked vehicle.  I left the car only once.  On Tuesday morning, I pulled up to the line of boulders without seeing the owl. I was going to check the rocks for signs of a kill.  The photographer who took pictures on the first day said that the owl was feeding on something.
  
I got out of the car, walked around the back of it, and then suddenly froze when I saw the yellow eyes.  The Snowy Owl was sitting quietly among the boulders about 50 feet away, watching my every move.  I retraced my steps, climbed back into the car, and once again snapped some pictures. (The owl photo was one I took that morning.)

Later, I began to wonder if the owl was sick or injured.  After all, I had never seen it fly, and it was in the same general location for two days in a row.  But it looked healthy and moved normally.
  
Then on Wednesday, it was gone - nobody has seen it since.   Evidently, the springtime Snowy Owl decided that it was finally time to end it strange sojourn 
in Harbor Beach and return to its home on the Arctic tundra.
   
*********

More pictures of the Snowy Owl can be found on the Homepage of my website, Schock McCoy Productions. www.schockmccoyproductions.com

After the owl disappeared, I posted several iPhone pictures of it on “Birding Michigan,” a Facebook site for people interested in Michigan birds. I also 
reported it to eBird, the electronic birding website of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. www.ebird.org  

Out of sync with the calendar, a Snowy Owl seems at home in the boulders at the Harbor Beach Marina.
"HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES" - HURON CITY
ICONIC HARBOR BEACH LIGHTHOUSE (1885) AND MIGRATING CANADA GEESE
  MIGRATING SANDHILL CRANES  
SANILAC COUNTY - AUTUMN 2023
"THAT IS ONE GOOD THING ABOUT THE WORLD - THERE ARE ALWAYS SURE TO BE MORE SPRINGS."
L.M. MONTGOMERY (1874-1942)
1619
MAIN
STREET
Without their mother to teach them, the young raccoons have no fear of cars or traffic.  No adult raccoon would allow a vehicle to get that close.  I drove by them in the weeds by the side of the road, turned around, came back and parked right across from them.  They were probably hungry; they were constantly searching for something to eat in the grass and on the road.  One investigated a cigarette butt.  Again, without their mother to teach them where to find food easily and to avoid danger, their chances of survival are not good. (iPhone pictures, Huron County, Rubicon Twp. 6/8/23)
OPOSSUMS ON THE MOVE
in THE MINDEN CITY HERALD - JULY 13, 2023
READ THE ARTICLE IN "THE CAMERA SKETCH BOOK" 
RING-BILLED GULLS AT THE MARINA IN HB
...finding something to eat in the water??
"O PIONEERS!" by WILLA CATHER (1913)
"The land belongs to the future... that's the way it seems to me.  How many of the names on the county clerk's plat will be there in fifty years? ... We come and go, but the land is always here.  And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it --- for a little while."  Alexandra Bergson - final chapter
(photo: deserted homestead in Huron County)
FRESH SNOW AND A TEMPORARY "LAWN  ORNAMENT,"
ROBERTS RD., SAND BEACH TWP.
posted on Facebook, January 23, 2024
 CHANGING FACE OF AGRICULTURE: 
BALED WHEAT STRAW IN THE THUMB
LABOR-INTENSIVE SQUARE BALES ARE GONE!
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
BEST "SUMMER BIRD"
 HURON COUNTY (RUBICON TOWNSHIP)
AUGUST 8, 2023

REPORTED EARLIER SEVERAL TIMES
ON THE 
RARE BIRD ALERT
WILD BERGAMOT 
LIKED BY BUTTERFLIES AND BUMBLEBEES
GROWING WILD WHERE THE BACKLAWN IS UNCUT
(Photo on "John H. McCoy" Facebook page, August 9, 2023.  "Schock McCoy Productions" is also on Facebook with literary and historical content.  "Like Us" there.)  
FARM COUNTRY RAINBOW
ANDY DUFRESNE - "THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION"
"HOPE IS A GOOD THING, MAYBE THE BEST OF THINGS, AND NO GOOD THING EVER DIES."
BEST "BACKYARD BUTTERFLY" ... SO FAR
EASTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL ON WILD BERGAMOT
                                   AUGUST 20, 2023
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"REQUIEM AETERNAM DONA EI, DOMINE...."
BY ANY MEASURE, A LIFE WELL-LIVED
CHERYL MARIE LAPINE
MAY 6, 1952  -  AUGUST 14, 2023
  REST IN PEACE, CHERYL LAPINE

"WHAT WE DO IN LIFE, ECHOES IN ETERNITY"
My deep sympathy to Pat and the entire LaPine family. 
"ONCE IN A BLUE MOON"
LAKE HURON - SAND BEACH TOWNSHIP AUGUST 30, 2023
          The next BLUE MOON will occur on May 31, 2026.  However, a 
BLUE MOON, which is also a "SUPERMOON," will not happen until 2037.
"ETERNAL REST GRANT ONTO HER, O LORD...."

CLICK ON SMALL PICTURES
MIGRATING WINTER WREN IN THE BACKYARD  
          October 15, 2023 - through a window
WINTER WREN - "a very round, dark wren, told from the House Wren by its smaller size, much stubbier tail, stronger eyebrow, and heavily barred belly.  Often bobs body and flicks wings.  Mouselike and secretive; stays near the ground."  [from the "Peterson Field Guide To Birds"]
DITTO - MORE MIGRANTS - HERMIT THRUSH
POSTED ON FACEBOOK: "A small flock of Canada Geese at Harbor Beach, flying off to feed as a December day comes to an end (12/6/23)."  
Good response: 43 LIKES; 7 COMMENTS.
ANCIENT ENEMIES IN HURON COUNTY
               NOVEMBER 14, 2023
POSTED ON FACEBOOK: DECEMBER 3, 2023
LIKE THE "BIG WOODS" - STANDING CORN IS A PLACE OF SAFETY FOR DEER DURING THE FIREARM DEER SEASON,
WHICH BEGAN ON NOVEMBER 15, 2023.
STANDING CORN IN MID-NOVEMBER (HURON CO.)
(VERNAL EQUINOX ++  MARCH 19, 2024  ++  11:06 P.M. EDT)
"THE EARTH LAUGHS IN FLOWERS."
RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882)
"I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD / THAT FLOATS ON HIGH O' VALES AND HILLS / WHEN ALL AT ONCE I SAW A CROWD / A HOST OF GOLDEN DAFFODILS"
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770-1850)
"SPRING IS THE TIME OF PLANS AND PROJECTS."
 LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910)
"SPRING PASSES AND ONE REMEMBERS 
ONE'S INNOCENCE."
YOKO ONO (1933)
"WHERE FLOWERS BLOOM, SO DOES HOPE."
LADY BIRD JOHNSON (1912-2007)
"NO WINTER LASTS FOREVER; NO SPRING SKIPS ITS TURN."
HAL BORLAND (1900-1978)
GLORIA (SCHOCK) MCCOY
"SPRING WON'T LET ME STAY IN THE HOUSE ANY LONGER!  
I MUST GET OUT AND BREATHE THE AIR DEEPLY AGAIN."  GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911)
CLICK 
ON PIC
SPRING    2013
      HONORABLE MENTION - "PHOTO STORIES" - 2023
(SMALL WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, UNDER 3,000 CIRCULATION)
J.H. MCCOY - THE MINDEN CITY HERALD
WHEN THE RINGNECK WAS KING
It has been 130 years since Chinese Ring-necked Pheasants were first hunted in the United States.  The year was 1892, and hunters in Oregon harvested over 50,000 birds during the new pheasant hunting season.  The first ringnecks were shipped directly from China by U.S. consul general Owen Nickerson Denny (1838-1900) and released in the Willamette Valley in the early 1880s.  They flourished and spread, and soon the population was large enough to support a hunting season.  It was the first official pheasant hunt in the nation.  

Following Oregon’s lead, the Michigan Conservation Department (forerunner of the DNR) began a large pen-rearing operation and in 1917, started releasing pheasants in southern Michigan and the Thumb.  At the time, the state was favored with ideal pheasant habitat: small farms, brushy fence lines, orchards, pasture fields, and acres of wild, uncultivated land.

The pen-reared pheasants thrived, and Michigan held its first official pheasant hunt eight years later; it opened on October 15, 1925.  And the rest is history!

Southern Michigan became a mecca for pheasant hunters – some said it was the best pheasant hunting in the country - and the Thumb was the ultimate “hot spot.”  Every October, hunters flocked to the area with their dogs - they hunted the farm county and harvested countless roosters.  It was pheasant hunting at its finest.

In 1952, the opening day of pheasant season was changed from October 15 to October 20. Currently, that day is still the traditional opener. 

When I was young, pheasant season began at 10 a.m. on October 20 and ended on November 10.  There was no Sunday hunting in either Sanilac or Huron County, so basically it was a short season.

Today, pheasant season is open through November 14 and then resumes again in certain areas in December, including the Thumb.

It might be hard to believe, but by the 1940s over 1 million pheasants were harvested annually 
in Michigan.  The hunting success continued into the 1960s.  I read one statistic which claimed that at least a half-million birds were shot every year between 1940 and 1964 except for the year 1947.  That’s a far cry from the DNR statistic which stated that in 2010 Michigan hunters killed 38,000 rooster pheasants.

In the heyday of pheasant hunting in the Thumb, October 20 was much bigger than the opening day of deer season.  Of course, at that time, you had to go “up North” to hunt deer.  Pheasant hunters came here from all over Michigan and from nearby states as well. 

I remember one of my father’s friends from Indiana who traveled to Minden City each year to hunt pheasants on opening day.  Television personality Mort Neff (1903-1990), originator and host of “Michigan Outdoors,” often hunted pheasants in the Thumb, sometimes filming the action for his Thursday night TV show. 

Eventually, however, the pheasant population collapsed; and bird numbers plummeted in the Thumb and in southern Michigan.  When the habitat disappeared, so did the pheasants.  Gone were the small family farms, fencerows, pasture fields, and wild land – replaced by large farms and row crops, planted almost road to road.  Herbicides and modern fertilizers reduced ground cover, and urbanization and an increase in predators further impacted pheasant numbers.

The days when “the ringneck was king” are gone, but memories remain.  I will never forget the anticipation that was in the air before the pheasant opener.  I was a young boy then, and to me, it was the greatest time of the year.  I looked forward to my trip to the old hardware store to purchase a box of 20 gauge shells and a small game license – at the time, a colorful numbered back tag, which was placed in a plastic sleeve and pinned to the back of a hunting coat. On October 20, I could hardly wait for the clock to strike 10 a.m.

I think that is why I still watch for pheasants along the road during the traditional pheasant hunting season.  Now, however, I carry a camera instead of a shotgun.

As a rule, pheasants are not easy to photograph, but the one I saw north of Harbor Beach on November 6 was rather obliging.  Since the rooster was sitting right next to the road and pheasant season was open, he was lucky that I had a camera and not a shotgun.

The photo I took of the ringneck as it slowly moved away from the road and into cover was the best one of the day, even though some of the image is blurred by weeds and tall grass.
However, that is how pheasants are most often seen, partially hidden by vegetation.

Looking at it now, the beauty and dignity of this iconic gamebird are on full display – a reminder of the days when “the ringneck was king” and states like Michigan worked tirelessly to establish a viable pheasant population within their borders.