Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Turkey callin' contest

For years, Wade and I have been sayin' that we need to hit up a turkey callin' contest just to see what it's all about. I finally got the shits of it and told Tater that we was pickin' one that was close to home and goin'.

The ensuin' research led us to the NWTF-sanctioned callin' contest at the Jaffa Sports Show out in Altoona, PA. The drive wasn't too bad, and we were able to get a few of the other guys on board as well, so Sunday mornin', I stoled Grandma's van and off we went.

Not only were the Shriners excellent hosts, but the venue was nice, and we were pleasantly surprised at the overall quality of the show. There was undoubtedly quite a few vendors and attendees that were there as a result of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show gettin' shitcanned for their own stupidity.

The callin' contest itself was overloaded with talent. Again, there was a lot of overflow from the cancelled contest at the Outdoor Show. As a result, the contest ran an hour or two over the normal schedule. Some of the other guys with us got a little bored, but Tater and I coulda spent all day and all night watchin' 'em work. Even the amateur division was loaded with talented turkey talkers of all ages. I like to think I have a somewhat decent ability with a call, but even the junior division callers were a helluva lot better than I am. Tater, on the other hand, is a pretty fair hand with just about any critter-callin' device, and I'd be surprised if he doesn't enter the amateur contest next year to see how he stacks up.

My to my girl's dismay, turkey calls always prove to be a weakness, and the Jaffa show was no exception. There were several regional callmakers in attendance, all vyin' for my affections. I came back with a few mouthcalls from Tipton Creek Game Calls to play with, and I also picked up Mountain Hollow Game Calls' Zebra Wood Double Slate call. To compliment, I snatched up their Dymondwood striker just for good measure, and it's a damn good soundin' striker.

All told, it was a damn fine day spent with my buddies... we'll look forward to goin' back next year and hopefully watchin' Wade in action.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pictures from Winterfest

As I said, a damn good time was had by all. All things considered though, we were a little more docile than normal. Must be gettin' old or somethin'.

Ron approaches rare form

Spanky's wasted.... big surprise

Kid better not be wasted...

Erik, me, Taylor and Miss Dee

My girl... I'd be shy if I was wearin'
that ugly-ass sweatshirt too.

Matt and Bryn talkin' politics

Low-stakes hold 'em

A little apple pie keepin' Matt company

Monday Maiden

Some lesser-known Maiden for your shitty first day of the week.

Recorded live on 16 October, 1995 from Sofia, Bulgaria.

Horns up!  \m/     \m/

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Breakfast Shots

Winterfest was very much a success, and a damn good time as always.

More pictures to come, but in the meantime, I'll make y'all jealous with this mornin's breakfast of champions... Delicious thick cut bacon, washed down with Crown Maple and chased with real Minute Maid orange juice.

My, oh my.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Preparin' for Winterfest

The awesomeness that is Ron's annual Winterfest party is upon us again. The food's warmin', the beer's coolin', and we're all restin' up for an evenin' of shenanigans.

If only y'all knew what a good time you're missin' tonight...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Metallica

Fear the Fu.

Live from Den Bosch, Netherlands on 7 December, 1992.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One helluva rabbit hunt

Many years back, Matt invited me out to his family farm to tromp on some brush for some bunnies. Damned if we didn't have a fantastic time and even managed to bag some cottontails, and another tradition was born.

Life bein' as it is, it's been a few years since we've been able to partake in a rabbit hunt at the farm, so we decided that come hell or high water, it needed to happen this year. So yesterday, Erik and I loaded up the truck and headed west to meet Matt.

Well, let's just say the brush has never been thicker back there, and the rabbit population is plenty healthy. In just under an hour, we had 11 rabbits anchored, just one shy of the three-man limit. A quick jaunt along the train tracks on the other side of the road finished us out. All told, we probably flushed well over two dozen rabbits in maybe two hours total of huntin'. We didn't have the benefit of a dog... just good ol' fashioned leg power and stompin' on brush and briars. That said, the pain and bleedin' in my legs is slowly startin' to subside, but it damn sure was worth it.

We put the sun to be by skinnin' rabbits and sneakin' hits from mason jars filled with apple pie moonshine that Matt whipped up. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Matt, Erik and I with the day's work

Friday, February 8, 2013

Finally, some geese!

Took awhile, but we finally got into some geese again.

One of our favorite tactics when things are frozen up tighter'n a bull's asshole is to find a pond in the areas where they've been flyin' and bust a hole in the ice. It's a helluva lotta work, but it just pays off time and time again.

This week has been no exception. Dad and Joe busted up a pond on Monday evenin'. Tuesday mornin, Joe made short work of a limit in the mornin'. I joined him on Wednesday and we put down eight birds without too much trouble. We took it easy on yesterday mornin' and left it alone today, but tomorrow it should be good to go again. At the moment I'm plannin' on a bunny hunt with Matt and Erik, but if Matt gets called out on storm trouble I might just have to grab the goose gun instead.

Joe's Tuesday mornin' limit

Wednesday mornin' from the blind

A nice getaway

Part of my girl's Christmas present to me was to plan a few days outta town, preferably in a hot-tub equipped log cabin somewhere. After an evenin' of internettin', we settled on the Hocking Hills out in Ohio.

The little cabin we picked was rather nice... everythin' we needed but nothin' too fancy. The only bitch I really had with it was the coffin-sized shower. My girl is just a little shit and she thought it was too small, so you can only inagine how all 6'4", 300lbs of me felt in there. On the plus side, the hot tub was nice and big and our cabin featured what they called a "feeding station" to keep the wildlife in regular view.

I even managed to pry her outta the hot tub and into the cold to explore some of what the parks around us had to offer. Turns out, the Hocking Hills is one of those nice little hidden gems that you don't hear about, although once you're there you wonder how you didn't. The whole area is full of kick-ass caves, falls, rock formations and other such natural awesomeness. There's a fantastic network of trails to walk on, in varyin' degrees of difficulty. Given the overall frozen conditions and my girl's overall lack of enthusiasm for hard physical activity, we stuck mainly to the established trails, although I would've liked to check out some of the tougher trails.

It's easy to see why Old Man's Cave is considered the premier attraction of the area... it's one of those places that just kinda overwhelms ya once you get down into the bottom. It's not only got the looks, but it's got a cool story to go with it.

Old Man's Cave derives its name from the hermit Richard Rowe who lived in the large recess cave of the gorge. His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee to establish a trading post. He and his two dogs traveled through Ohio along the Scioto River in search of game. On one side trip up Salt Creek, he found the Hocking Region. Rowe lived out his life in the area and is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave. Earlier residents of the cave were two brothers, Nathaniel and Pat Rayon, who came to the area in 1795. They built a permanent cabin 30 feet north of the cave entrance. Both brothers are buried in or near the cave. Their cabin was later dismantled and relocated on the nearby Iles farm to be used as a tobacco drying house.

The top end of Old Man's Cave
View from the bottom
Nifty bridge on the upper end of the caves
We also checked out equally awesome Ash Cave and ventured down to Cedar Falls.

Looking through the falls into Ash Cave

A few icicles en route to Cedar Falls

A rock wall formation at Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls

We did have a few local critters come on to the feedin' station while we were there as well...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bay ducks

Two weeks ago, the ol' man called me up to see what I was doin' the next mornin'. Twelve hours later, me, Joe and Dad were en route to our buddy Robert's house on Sparrow's Point, just south of Baltimore, to hunt some bay ducks.

After breakin' through damn near three miles of ice in Rob's ol' Carolina Skiff, we were treated to a magnificent sunrise and a great duck hunt. Accordin' to Rob, the shootin' wasn't quite as good as would have been due to the calm conditions, but in the end we wound up with a baker's dozen of mostly Buffleheads, with a Blackhead, Gadwal and a Goldeneye thrown in for good measure. Feel free to correct me, as I probably have those species identified incorrectly, but I think that's what they all are. Basically, the little bastards were all the size of a pigeon, but about three times as fast. Very challengin' but fun wingshootin' to say the least.

Red sky at mornin', sailors take warnin'...

The mornin' catch.
Them bufflehead drakes are right purdy.
Breakin' back through the ice on the way back in.

That was my first time for a waterfowl hunt on the bay, but hopefully it won't be my last. As much as I hate the liberal-infested shithole that is Maryland, I never get sick of the Bay or the Shore.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

So God made a farmer.

I'm sure you've already seen it, but it's certainly worth another look...

I don't normally like postin' links from the Puffington Host, but this blog post gives a little bit of background to this damn well-done commercial. And don't think for a minute that Chrysler didn't take one helluva gamble to air a commercial like this. Thankfully (and thus helpin' me maintain a wee bit of hope for the human cause) the ad has been viewed in a mostly positive light thus far.

It also helps that Chrysler will be donating good money to the FFA and other programs based on Social Media's response to this video.

(On a quick side-note.... I never joined the FFA at my school for the simple reason that the advisor, to this day, is nothin' but a pompous, sexist, arrogant ass. I didn't have tits, therefore he wouldn't have made my participation a worthwhile experience. Jackoff advisors aside, the FFA (and ag programs in general) always has and will continue to have my full support.)

Here's the full text from the Paul Harvey's 1978 speech at the National FFA Convention:

And on the 8th day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So, God made a farmer.

God said I need somebody to get up before dawn and milk cows and work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So, God made a farmer.

I need somebody with strong arms. Strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry and have to wait for lunch until his wife is done feeding and visiting with the ladies and telling them to be sure to come back real soon...and mean it. So, God made a farmer.

God said "I need somebody that can shape an ax handle, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And...who, at planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain'n from "tractor back", put in another seventy two hours. So, God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop on mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So, God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees, heave bails and yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink combed pullets...and who will stop his mower for an hour to mend the broken leg of a meadow lark. So, God made a farmer.

It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight...and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed...and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody to replenish the self feeder and then finish a hard days work with a five mile drive to church. Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who'd laugh and then sigh...and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life "doing what dad does". So, God made a farmer.

As a kid who's come from a long line of hard-workin' farmers, there's no way I could not proudly share this video and text.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Small Game Weekend '13

The middle of January found the boys and I upstate for our annual Small Game weekend, otherwise known as a feeble attempt at baggin' some small woodland creatures in between copious amounts of eatin' and drinkin'.

We had a damn good time again this year as always, and we managed to put the smack-down on some more critters than normal.

My girl's brother and I went up a day early so we could hunt Friday a little bit. I had to pull my trail cameras from our deer huntin' spot, so after sleepin' in and relaxin' on Friday mornin, we headed up the hill. I managed to smoke a bunny with my lil' 20-gauge, and Josh broke in his new Christmas present with a fat rabbit of his own.

Our buddy Smitty and a buddy of his raise a bunch of pheasants, and every now and then let 'em go so they can work their dogs and practice their wingshootin'. I wouldn't call it huntin', but we did have one helluva fun Saturday afternoon baggin' some birds.

Most excitin' though was Erik whackin' his first flintlock deer despite the damp weather on Saturday mornin'. As far as I know, his was the first flintlock deer to grace the camp meat pole, which is pretty excitin'.

And of course, Ron was a fantastic host as we enjoyed plenty of good eats and ample beverages over the course of our stay.

Some pictures from the weekend...

Josh's bunny with his new Mossberg 500.

My only bunny of the weekend.
Schlongie's first black-powder deer, taken with a .54-cal TC Hawken.
Bed fulla bird. Tasty, tasty bird.

Friday, February 1, 2013


You wanna talk about a frustratin' chunk of wood and metal that just makes ya wanna spit and cuss, look no further than a flintlock rifle. If the slow re-load time and the weight of the beast isn't enough to drive you to insanity, the tendencies to give a massive hang-fire, or not even go off at all, certainly will. Cleanin' the thing is about as fun as shovin' your arm down a garbage disposal. Worst of all, if you don't clean the damn thing within a few hours of shootin' it, Ye Olde Rust Fairy is always quick to descend upon the beast with her carnal intentions.

My ol' man carried the Hawken for many years. After a particularly damning hunt that resulted in several no-fires at a nice buck, and promptly killin' the stump he shot at on the way out the woods, the Hawken was unceremoniously thrown handed down to my older brother. To my knowledge, the ol' man hasn't touched it since except maybe to shift if in the gun cabinet.

Jesse never really took to it, so Joe and I were the primary handlers for the beast. Now, suffice it to say that Dad didn't exactly take exemplary care of it, nor did I in my youth. The beast actually looks far more beast-like than the pretty new one at the top of the post. The Rust Fairy has worked her wicked ways on it, so the best I can do is clean it religiously and hope for the best.

So what's the point of all this?

As much as I hate that damn thing, I feel the need to carry it. Perhaps is the primal urge to make meat the old-fashioned way. Maybe I just like the thought of success with an arm that I find more challengin' to use than my bow. Perhaps I just like the torture. Regardless, I've been luggin' that beast and all it's necessary accessories around for years to no avail. Runnin' deer, dreadful hang-fires and the dreaded "flinch" have been to blame.

Well, I finally got 'er done.

We've been watchin' deer come out into Grandma's hayfield around dusk now for years. The only reason that we never go after 'em is that her 33-acre farm is lined on two sides by roads, a business, a church, and other sorts of suburbia hell. The only place to successfully sit is about 15 yards off a well-traveled road. The last thing we need is a mortally wounded deer runnin' in front of heavy traffic and into the neighbor's front yard to die, so we have kinda avoided puttin' ourselves in that situation. To my knowledge, nobody's killed a deer there since my grandparents bought it in the sixties.

I finally bit the bullet and tucked myself into the brush along that road, and low and behold, the plan came together. I made the best of a marginal shot; I remembered my breathin', focused through the hang-fire and made a dead-nuts shot on a young doe at 40 yards. Dropped her in her tracks before she could cross the road, which was my goal.

Certainly not the biggest deer, but I'm damn proud of her. Finally gettin' over the hump with a difficult gun was great, but it sure was special to take a deer on my grandparent's farm.

Even though I've crossed that little task of the bucket list, I'm sure next winter you'll find me luggin' that big bitch around some more, prolly cussin' and fussin' the whole way. Besides, I ain't killed a buck with it yet....

As one life ends, another begins...

I'm gonna take a quick break in my quest for catchin' up to deliver some family news...

Some bad news came down the pipe on Tuesday with the passin' of my girl's grandfather, Red. I've only known him a few short years, but it didn't take me long to like him. He was a gentle ol' farm boy, a veteran and overall good man who could usually pull a good story out of his hat with minimal proddin'. My girl and I have been blessed to have all four of our respective grandparents in our lives up until now. I have a pretty realistic outlook on death in general, so while I don't necessarily look forward to the services, I'm glad to celebrate the full and adventurous life that Red enjoyed.

Yet, the world doesn't miss a beat and the "circle of life" continues.

Jesse and my sister-in-law welcomed their second kid into the world on Tuesday afternoon. My little nephew Alex will now have to compete with a cute lil' sister for all the attention. I do pity my brother... that cute lil' Lydia will spend 12 years just a-wrappin' him all around her little finger, and then... who knows. All I know is that I'll do my best to be the cool uncle that steers her towards the wonders of the great outdoors and away from them sly little boys:)  I'm really happy for my brother and sister... they've got a nice little family goin', which I'm just a wee bit jealous of.

Not to be outdone, my good buddy Wade's wife gave birth to their first-born yesterday evenin'... a big ol' boy, just like his daddy. Of the three non-related clowns that I consider my closest friends and huntin' buddies, Wade's the first to pull the trigger on the whole procreation deal. Somethin' tells me that young Luke will be takin' to the great outdoors like a duck to water in just a few short years.