Category Archives: Hunting

Hiding Away

Do you ever have those days when you have so much work to do but just can’t get into it?  Do you have those days when you just need to get out of the house but the a guilty conscience tells you “No, not today!”?  Wouldn’t you like to knock that guilt angel off your shoulder and just go?

I have a spot I love to go and don’t have to leave the farm!

My special spot away from home on the farm!

My special spot away from home on the farm!

That would be woods behind our house where my tree stand is located. I could sit back there for hours with a book and camera and just drink it all in!!! If our world gets much crazier I’ll probably be spending a whole lot more time there too!

This spot is my hunting spot about 500 yards from our house but only a few people know where it is.  I hunt there, I read there, I think there, I watch wildlife there and I take lots of pictures there!

Wildlife ventures through!

Wildlife ventures through!

I have shelter from the weather and I hunt there with my bow, rifle but mostly with my camera.

I have shelter from the weather and I hunt there with my bow, rifle but mostly with my camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of my reading is done in this little cottage in the woods!  It’s not a cottage really but it is a 5 x 5 building that has windows on three sides, it has a raised seat that sits one person quite comfortably and it has a hanger for my hat, gloves, camera and bow and it has a storm door on the front with a drop down window for shooting. Best of all it’s not up off the ground!!!  Hubby made it for me!!new-deer-stand-for-bow-season-2015-3 new-deer-stand-for-bow-season-2015-4

This past hunting season I was privileged to see raccoons, deer, turkeys, bobcat kitten, chipmunks, wild birds galore, squirrels  and enjoyed the peace of the woods in a rain shower and a light snow fall.  I read four books while waiting for just the right game to come into focus.  It’s my getaway from this crazy world we live in!!!  Hubby doesn’t mind me slipping off to it occasionally because he has his spots too!

 

The bag of charcoal is in the floor to absorb any human scent so as not to scare off the wildlife.  I have a big  4″ thick swing cushion for the bench so my butt doesn’t get tired or cold.  I take it in after hunting season is over so the mice won’t use it for bedding.  The step is to keep my legs comfortable and not dangling off the edge.  I have a hook latch on the inside to keep the door shut tight.

Do you have a getaway?  Tell us about it!

Mischief – New Resident

Hubby is trying out a new coonhound and her name is Mischief!  She’s quite poor in these pictures and her new home with us will be a castle compared to where she came from.  She’s four years old and he hopes to use her as a young trainer to train his 18 month ladies.  He’s taken her out four times and is pleased but won’t know for sure if he’ll keep her until he can run her a couple nights with the young girls and maybe a night out with his eight year old.  She’s a beautiful dog but she HATES cats, so Cuddles and Fuzzy have learned quick to disappear when she’s lose from he pen.  More updates lady on this pretty lady.

 

Mischief-Walker hound on trial

Mischief-Walker hound on trial

Not quite as rounded as we keep our dogs.  I hate seeing ribs on any animal.  If you can't feed them, you don't need them!!

Not quite as rounded as we keep our dogs. I hate seeing ribs on any animal. If you can’t feed them, you don’t need them!!

She is being well fed and attended to daily.

She is being well fed and attended to daily.

Mischief is ready for a good chase.  Hubby wants a hound that barks on the track.

Mischief is ready for a good chase. Hubby wants a hound that barks on the track.

She will be hunted a few more nights so that he can make the decision and see how she hunts with the other working dogs.

She will be hunted a few more nights so that he can make the decision and see how she hunts with the other working dogs.

The bucks . . . . .

That wonderful venison that we enjoy all year round is starting to tease a little.  This year will be the last year that my granddaughter can enjoy the early youth season and she’s getting a little of the buck fever that we’ve all had.  Here’s some photos of those starting to graze the pastures and clean up the falling apples in the orchards.

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1st big buck at Heathers 06292013 (1)

1st big buck at Heathers 06292013 (6)

IMG_0034These are nice young deer and will be beauties if left to grow a few more years.  With the size of the youngsters, the young does will work fine when it comes to filling the freezer and the canning jars.  Sassy should hopefully have plenty of jerky to last her through the winter months too.  That dog loves her venison jerky!  We have two and a half months to wait until bow season comes in and in the meantime we’ll put out the trail cams and watch the fields and orchards.    We even have a few surprises for the poachers this year!!

Belle

Belle - the traveler

Belle – the traveler

This is our traveling hound.  Hubby has had for a little over a month and you’ll remember week before last that I was begging for any information from anyone that may have seen her.  Belle was gone for exactly seven days on the National Forest that sits between our farm and Johns Creek in Craig County.  The forestry office makes sure the roads going through the National Forest in some areas are closed during the winter months and any real wet seasons to try to keep down on road repairs.  The National Forest Road that Belle was traveling is fourteen miles long and our place is about half way through.  No one lives on these roads except at one end or the other.  The creek was up from snow melt and rain we had been receiving and too high for her to cross.  So she walked and walked and walked.  She came out on what I think is the west end onto a farm that was rented by friends of friends.  Their kids were out playing in the cow pasture and Belle went to them.  She was cold, tired, hungy and I think very happy to finally see some humans.  They took very good care of her until we could pick her up.

Belle is eleven years old, loves to hunt and believe it or not a week after we got her home, Hubby took her and Roxie hunting again but just a mile up the road from our house.  They hunted good but after the first treeing and the coon was out of the tree, Belle was off again.  Roxie followed but went on another track and we don’t know what happened to Belle.  Hubby came home without her AGAIN!!  Thankfully he found her the next morning at a neighbors house which connects to our farm.

Hubby said he knew things weren’t going to go good when he left the truck with the dogs that night because he immediately ran into other hunters and their dogs.  We don’t know if she went to the mountain again after another coon, went looking for the other hunters and their dogs, or if she was trying to find her way back to Botetourt county.  So tonight, he went hunting again but without Belle and only Roxie.  We think maybe we had better get her in better shape and make her more familiar with her new home.  She’s got a long ways to go to put weight back on and build up some stamina.  Here’s a couple more pictures of her and you can tell her ribs are showing and she doesn’t hold herself very good.

Belle

Belle

 

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Another thing I wanted to point out is how much her and Brandy look alike.  Belle has a much grayer face and isn’t quite as big as Brandy.  Here they are side by side:

Brandy

Brandy

Belle - the traveler

Belle – the traveler

She sure does get around good for her age and condition!!

Belle is missing!!

Would those followers of mine be on the lookout for an eleven year old Walker hound.  She has a collar with our name and phone number on it.  We’ve only had Belle for about three weeks and she’s such a lovable hound.  Hubby was coon hunting with her and Roxy on Saturday night on Little Mountain in front of our house.  They treed once in a den tree and hubby pulled them off the tree and moved on.  They took off for awhile and Roxy came back but Belle didn’t.  I”m so afraid she is hurt and can’t get back.  We’ve had her such a short time that I don’t have a picture of her but will post one that looks a lot like her so you’ll know what a Walker looks like if she should come in to your place.  I’m sure she’s cold and hungry now.  She’s very friendly and we want her home bad.  Hubby is hunting in the same area tonight hoping she’ll hear Roxy and come to him.  We got Roxy and Belle from the same owner who gave them to hubby because he was getting too old to hunt them and they love coon hunting.  Those of you that live near know our phone number and can call anytime.   Here’s a picture of Brandy who we think is Belle’s litter mate as they came from the same original owner and both are eleven years old.  Belle is much whiter in the face.

Brandy

Brandy

New girl on premises

She’s five years old and a beauty.  My hubby just brought  home a new coon hunting dog and her name is Roxy.

She’s a beautiful dog and very vocal when we’re near.  She sounds like she’s really talking.  Hubby did a trial hunt with her before bringing her home and planned to take her hunting last night but the weather didn’t cooperate.  We have one other redbone but he (Dan) hasn’t been hunted at all.  We have one other tried and true coon dog and she’s a Walker (Brandy).  Brandy was trained as a bear dog but had a stroke a few years ago while with her previous owner. She’s somewhere around 10 years old and the stroke has definitely slowed her down but she’s quite a  beautiful dog.   Hubby has hunted her several times and wanted to get a new dog started and hunting with Brandy before she’s too old to hunt or has another stroke.  He plans to hunt Roxy here on the farm a few times before running the two dogs together.

Roxy - Pretty girl.

Roxy – Pretty girl.

Roxy checking out one of our cats on the haybales.

Roxy checking out one of our cats on the haybales.

Lady Brandy - Walker hound

Lady Brandy – Walker hound

 

My daughter would say we are dog poor but when you love to hunt, you have dogs.  My son-in-law doesn’t much care for keeping dogs unless you can let them run free.  It’s important to keep hunting dogs chained/pinned to keep them from being taken or learning bad habits.  We love our dogs and take good care of them.  Our granddaughter even loves coon hunting and wants a dog of her own but her folks tell her she’ll just have be part owner of PaPa’s dogs.  We welcome our new lady, Roxy and hope she proves to be the dog hubby has been looking for quite some time.

Youth hunting day & success for my granddaughter

 

On the 29th of September, Virginia had it annual Youth Hunting Day for deer.  This was my granddaughters second year, I think, participating and she went with her grandfather to her mother’s deer stand.  She likes hunting in the afternoon like her Nana and this year she waited about two hours before the opportunity showed itself.  Two bucks came out of the woods into the clearing in front of her stand.  One was very small and the other looked like a monster to her.  She put up her gun and whispered to Papa that she could here her heart beating.  She  sighted in and click . . .  the gun didn’t fire.  Apparently when they got to the stand, Papa loaded the gun but did it gently and quietly so as not to scare anything off  or alert the game to their location.  The gun apparently didn’t load completely and therefore would not go off.  He quickly took it from her and reloaded, the deer looked in their direction but didn’t run because they were well hidden.  Victoria took the gun, sighted in again and shot.  The big  buck fell immediately and the smaller ran off, safe for another day.   She and Papa sat quietly for about five minutes, put the gun on safety and exited the stand.  They started walking up the hill toward the direction the deer fell.

I was watching the entire scene from our front porch and about 500 – 600 yards away with the field glasses. When the deer fell it went in a small dip in the landscape and while they were walking up the hill they could not see it and Victoria was getting nervous.  She thought the deer had got up and ran off which would mean tracking.  Once they got within 10 feet of the kill location they could see the horns sticking up and everyone was very happy.  Papa went to get the truck while she guarded her trophy and calmed down.   When he got back to the kill sight, Victoria got up in the truck to hoist the head and horns while Papa lifted the main weight of the deer.  Papa says Victoria needs to work on her upper body and arm strength because she almost came out of the truck but they finally got it loaded and headed for the house.

I met them at the truck and here are some photos we took once they got it home:

 

Very excited young lady!!

Very excited young lady!!

She was very anxious to get to church the next day to show the pictures to her pastor and all of her male friends that hunt.  She was a little put out when they shunned her and didn’t want to talk about how their hunts went.    We told her not to worry about them and to be very thankful that she was able to help fill the freezer.  I’ve also attached some photos that her Mom and I took the next day in the bright sunshine with her proud Papa.

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Nine-point success story - Grandpa and Victoria

Nine-point success story – Grandpa and Victoria

Youth day perfect shot 2012

youth day 2012

Victorias 9 pointer

Victoria Youth Day 9 pointer 2012

Cant wait to show it off 2012

2012 winner for Victoria

 

There is some funny parts I can’t leave out of this post.  When I was taking pictures of her at the truck when they first bought the deer in Victoria realized that what she and Papa thought was an 8-pointer turned out to be a nine-pointer which made her unbelievably happy.  The other funny part is, Mom has banned her from her stand and told her if she can do that well she can hunt on another acre of the farm.  Now in order to be able to live with this 14 year old, going on 15, we all must hunt harder and better!!  Victoria is a very competitive hunter as you may have read in some of my spring posts when she was turkey hunting with Papa.

She can bearly hold him up 04142012

Happy Hunter 04142012

 

Two good hits!

Two good hits!

 

two of a kind 04142012

Shes a true hunter 04142012

 

The year is almost three quarters gone and what did I do?

                                                                                                                                                                    January -Ice and snow

February-Making maple syrup

January-February – grafting fruit trees

February – March – Seedlings started

March – Baby calves arrive

March-April – Spring turkey hunting for two of my favorite people.

April – fire wood for winter 2012

April – New equipment for working the cattle

April – More new fencing

May – Gardening begins

May – Honeybees cleaning house and we prepare for fresh honey

May – Bee swarming begins

May – Fruit trees bloom and we worry about late frosts.

June 2012 – 1st ever “duratio” in our neck of the woods. Lots of cleanup and keeping hubby busy!

June – Duratio takes down lots of our fruit and nut crop and wreaks havoc on our fencing.

June – Hay time

June – Hay lot is full!

July – Spring cleaning almost done!

July – Harvesting & canning for winter in full swing!

July – A little crafting along the way makes life fun!

July – First barn quilt in Craig County on the barn!! More fun!

August-September – Mammoth pumpkin from the garden. He almost didn’t fit the wheel barrow!

July – August – Fresh vegies from the garden.

September – Potatoes harvested and in the cellar.

September – Plowing to sow the winter crops (turnips & parsnips).

September – Spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce from the last of the tomatoes.

And, here it is the end of September.  Deer season and turkey season is soon to be here.  Baby calves are coming and yearlings are headed to the market.  Two nights of cold temps and frost in the mornings means firing up the wood stoves.  The cycle starts again.

Walk around the farm

Let’s go for a walk on the farm and let’s do it quietly!!  You never know what you might see!!

View of the Mansion from the front porch

From behind the house

Overlooking the hayfields to the west

East view

Back pasture

West toward family cemetery

The mountain

Behind the orchard

The orchard

The flat woods

Our daughters house

More pasture land

HOME!!!

Deer and bow season

The cellar shelves are full, it’s almost time to dig the potatoes and fill the potato bin and the freezers have been organized to determine how much venison and turkey we will need for the winter months.  This all leads up to the hunting season in our area.  We, my husband, myself, daughter, and granddaughter are all avid hunters.  My son and son-in-law love the meat from our hunts but don’t like the hunt itself.  By the end of November, the freezers will be full of all cuts of venison and turkey.  We will have cubed steak, burger, chunks, tenderloin, roasts, and hams and all so healthy for us.

Back to the hunt!  We each have our favorite hunting spots on the farm and hubby is our counselor, tracker and processor!  We’ve spotted so many large bucks on the farm already and the turkeys are showing up sporadically.  I won’t have much vacation this year to hunt but Saturdays are always open and I’ll have a late bow season during our Christmas break.

Our daughter and granddaughter are evening hunters and working half days are ideal for her hunting quests and our granddaughter gets home from school between 3:30 and 4:00 which gives her time to get to her stand as well.

We normally have a few friends join us during the hunting season but have decided this year to keep it strictly family hunting.  We have some new neighbors and not knowing their where-a-bouts tends to make us a little skiddish and for safety purposes and liability.  Our county is 60%+ National Forest and we think other hunters would be better in those woods than ours.  In the past we have told all non-family hunters where to go and asked them to stay in their area to prevent any hunting accidents.  These instructions aren’t always followed and that makes us liable for their safety when they move into an area that we may not know is safe from trespassers or others that aren’t staying where they need to be.  Hunting safety is a VERY BIG issue with us!

Don’t get me wrong, we love the sport but we also like to eat and venison is a healthy choice not only for our diet but our pocketbooks.  We want everyone on the farm to be safe and come in with a good hunting harvest and do it safely!!

Happy hunting everyone!!

Small buck in the orchard 2011

Turkeys on the farm fall 2010

End of Summer clues

You know that summer is coming to an end when the kids start back to school but the real clues are when the garden is being cleaned off for the fall crops, the woodshed is full and the cellar shelves are stocked. I was riding home yesterday and saw a hint of gold and orange in the tops of maple trees on our road. Last night we saw a herd of deer near the house and three of the larger bucks had lost the velvet from their horns. The apples are starting to drop and the wildlife is scarfing it up almost before it hits the ground. The hummingbird population has dropped from 30 to 10 or 12. The chickens molt has come to an end and the new feathers are shining. The cats and dogs on the farm have almost quit shedding. The katydids are screaming way before dark and the evening porch sitting is so much cooler. Best of all, the screech owls are calling!! Fall is near!!

Fall Color

I’m so looking forward to fall and the beautiful colors that come with it.  To make my wait a little less painful I thought I would share these photos of past autumns at the farm.  ENJOY God’s beautiful artwork with me!

Fall means cider time and Sassy is guarding the apples!

August/September Preparation for a bad winter

I can’t believe it’s the end of July!  This year has flown by!!  It’s time to start aggressively storing food for the winter, gathering wood, and winterizing all the animal sheds and the house.  I’ll save the house for last since the next two months will probably turn out to be our hottest months.  The farm equipment should be finished for the year except for a couple tractors.  Hubby always cleans them up and checks everything out for worn parts and replacement parts.  I clean up the garden and yard equipment but still a little early for that.  The major thing now is the garden.  I will have more green beans to can this coming week and weekend, more squash to freeze, onions to store and more cabbage to do something with.  The tomatoes and peppers are near ready yet and the summer “duratio” did away with most of the fruit.  Luckily I stored lots last year.

Hubby worked on filling the wood house again today and the split stack is out of the rain.  We still have a large load to split and more down from the storm to cut & split for the following winter.

All of the hay is stacked and ready for winter and hubby is in the process of cleaning up the hay equipment.  The roofs have been taken care of and I have to put new interior tar paper in the chicken house.  All of the major fence repairs have been made and the pastures are being sheared now.

WILDLIFE everywhere!

It’s been coming and I didn’t even realize it!! The woods and fields are alive with new wildlife and new visions of what’s to come. During our evenings on the farm and the chores are done and supper is over we venture to our swing and chairs on the front porch overlooking almost one half of the farm. It’s quiet as we rarely have much traffic on our country road. We listen to the birds, cows calling for their young to come for supper, birds singing, rooster putting everyone to roost and the frogs croaking in the pond but mostly we listen to the quiet of our blissful life.
Yesterday evening just after sundown we were sitting and listening and looking. While watching the cattle on the mountain pasture we saw several mama deer nursing their twins in different side of the hayfield’s below the pasture. We saw five bucks browsing the pasture aside the cattle and you could tell they were bucks because their velveted black horns show up quite well now. Hubby had seen two different snapping turtles laying eggs in the grass along one of the streams that goes through the farm. We didn’t see but we heard a turkey hen in the tall grass in another pasture field to the right of the house. The pond in front of the house if full of baby bass and perch that have just hatched and the lawn is full of blue, yellow, white and black butterflies seeking nectar from the flowers in the yard. We heard a fox squirrel fussing at the dogs that are housed to close to his den tree which should be full of baby squirrels. We have two wild rabbits that are dutifully watching over their new nests of hairless babes covered with Mom’s pulled fur near the garden. The hummingbird population is growing and the honeybees are had at work.
The cherries are getting ripe. The blackberries and raspberries are full of bloom. The quince tree is full of tiny fruit as is the blueberry bushes. The asparagus and rhubarb continue to flourish. The apple trees were full of bloom earlier but the last freeze got most of that crop but we will persevere. The garden is filling with future winter stores. The asparagus just keeps producing. Life is good and we love the farm and living in the country.

Busy weekend!!

Not only am I proud of the baby quilt I completed but I’m doubly proud of my husband and our fourteen year old granddaughter.  She has become PaPa’s hunting companion and this weekend was the first weekend of Spring Gobbler Season in our neck of the woods.  Victoria decided she wanted to sleep in on Saturday and PaPa went hunting without her.  He had wonderful luck bringing in a 19 pound gobbler with a 7″ beard and we’re going to have a mighty fine feast with it.  We called our daughter and Victoria shortly after he arrived home with the prize and within twenty minutes they arrived at our doorstep to see if Victoria would have the same luck.  They left the house at around 10:30 and were back by 11:10 with a turkey she could hardly carry from her stand.  PaPa said she was pretty excited from the time the turkeys crossed their path until she landed the big one. Apparently she was doing some pretty heavy breathing.  She filled her last permit tag for the season and fared really well during the fall deer season too!  PaPa is pretty proud of his new hunting companion!!

New Kitchen

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Imagine if you will a country kitchen in an old ancestral farm house.  You’ve worked for five years after moving into it making it look and feel like your kitchen.  Everything is decorated in red and white and you have cleaned and waxed the old handmade cupboards and pie safes handed down from one generation to another.  You’ve left everything  the same but for new appliances, paint and laminate floors.  It’s perfect!!  You have your wonderful hubby put up some shelves close to the ceiling for your antique kitchen “what-nots”, cookbooks, decorative farm animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, apples, etc. and EVERYTHING is perfect.  If you had your way you would spend a whole lot more time in it cooking and baking.

Then it happens!!  Your husband goes on that fourth or fifth elk hunt and bags “the big one”.  He kills a 6×6 bull elk that weighs over 1200 pounds and you have 300+ pounds of fresh meat in the freezer.  We are happy, right?? In the beginning he has no intentions of mounting it BUT he’s so proud and no one he knows has one like it.  He has it mounted and he can’t wait for it to come home and see how it looks on the wall.  One year later the elk mount is complete!  It would look great in the living room (8′ ceilings) with the rest of his trophies.  We drive to pick it up and this thing is as big as the kitchen refrigerator!  Imagine it, please!!!  We drive home with it and the ONLY room in the house that it will fit is in my beautiful country kitchen (10′ ceiling).

Now, I can’t complain!!  He is so proud and he’s helped you work so hard to prepare this country home that looked horrible when we moved in it!!  The rooms (every room) in the house is painted  the green of watergate salad.  The floors are not level, the ceiling plaster is cracked and falling down, it hasn’t had a truly real cleaning for years because we inherited the farm from hubby’s aunt and uncle that spent most of their time outdoors.  His aunt kept the house presentable but cared not about frilly “stuff” that I cherish and hated being cooped up in the house.  Anyway, the elk (that I called Moose for the last five years) is mounted onto the wall as you enter the kitchen.  Everything changes!!  You duck your head to go around it, mop under it, and every other thing that requires going near that wall.  Hubby is so proud and can’t wait for all his friends to come visit and he can show off his prize hunt!

Prayers are answered!!!  I know GOD loves me!!  I went home on Friday afternoon from work and walked into my kitchen and Moose is gone!!!  I really didn’t care where or why but finally he tells me it shouldn’t be in the kitchen and no one came to see it anyway.  I’m pretty sure he can see the excitement in my eyes but I try to hold back my enthusiasm!

Saturday morning finds up early and can’t wait to clean and get my beautiful country kitchen back to normal.  I spend all day and even refinish a handmade dish cupboard to spread out some of my dishes.  It took all day but Rita is a very happy country girl!!  Now all I need to do is make some new kitchen rugs and potholders and get back to loving my country home!!

Elk in my kitchen!!