Recognition should be given to all those who have gone before; family members, friends, and others that may have influenced me in their own quiet way.

Special recogition should go to my father Kenneth (Kenny to all who knew him) and my grandfathers Selby and Chester (Jake), both born in the 1890s. All of these gentlemen influenced me in their own way...with time fishing, hunting, trapping, or just time spent togeher.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nature's Life Cycle

If you spend much time in the woods and surrounding grass land areas; you will sooner or later encounter the remains of animals. This is normally in the form of scattered bones; left from the predators and scavengers. As most know, the deer population is very large; and as would therefore be expected, it is quite common to find deer bones and remains. Below are a few of the pictures I have collected over the last several years.

Because they are so common; I will begin with photos of White Tail Deer remains.

                                     A nice buck's skull.....this was a nice find!

                                   This is very typical of what you find...the bones scattered from scavengers.

           And this one is unusual, in that it is mostly intact....a doe or buck after the antler shed

                                        A nice little spike buck skull

                                 Again............typical scattered remains.

This may be a bit graphic for some.....a doe carcass.This was in the winter and it was pretty well frozen, but you can see that scavengers were consuming it.

The remains of a hen pheasant...probably a meal for a predator...possibly coyote or hawk.

Raccoon skeleton...I may not have known for sure what it was if not for the tail still there.

What little is left of a cardinal after being eaten by a predator... a hawk? fox? owl?...

 And even the predators fall prey to something...injury? age? sickness? This is a Redtail Hawk.

Another skeleton of sorts....a quite old Red Cedar. Note the nice condition of the wood inside from where I cut back the surface.

A shed snake skin; with my walking stick for length comparison (the walking stick is about waist high)...not sure the species of snake

The beginning of the life cycle...a Killdeer nest...these are interesting....usually just a few sticks in a rocky area.

Young Robert Pearson..age just 12 years old...who died back in 1837......I would love to know more of both his and his family's life in the early years of settlement in our area....This stone is in the Workheiser Cemetery on a bluff in the woods overlooking the Middlefork River valley.

Until next week....or whenever I get to another update..............

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

Have you ever eaten fried green tomatoes? It seems we had them somewhat regularly when growing up.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked most of our tomatoes, including the green ones. I sliced and fried the green tomatoes and was disappointed in the results and taste. A day or two later, I was on the phone with my cousin Ronnie. He stated that he was frying tomatoes as we spoke, He suggested dipping them heavily in flour. Later I tried again with a heavy coating of flour......and they were much better.....but still did not seem as good as the ones Mom used to fry for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Busy as a Beaver

Beavers are fascinating animals. I seldom see them; but very often see evidence of their presence. I have come across their dams in marshes, small streams, and even now and then across a narrow area of the Middlefork River. I do not know if they have a particular species of tree that they prefer over others; but it is common to see Hackberry trees that they have cut down and also Cottonwood. It could be that both just grow close to the streams. Following are a few pictures I have taken over the last several years.

                                       A group of downed Cottonwoods

                                          Hackberry tree

Another Hackberry with fresh Spring growth

Dam across Middlefork River

                                          Dam in a marsh

Beaver house at marsh edge
                                            Beaver swimming in marsh

Cottonwood with my glove to show the size of the tree

                                              Just another downed Hackberry

If you get a chance, take a walk along the streams in your area. There might be beaver work there for you to see first hand. If not, you still get a great chance to enjoy a day outdoors.
Until next time.......

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quick and Easy Cordage

Here is a pretty easy way to make some quick cordage to use if out in the woods. This could be used to hold a bundle of limbs, lash poles together, etc. It would not be for something requiring great strength.

This is just made of strips of Elm bark, from smaller saplings or limbs, braided together. It must be from the younger saplings or limbs, because of the smooth nature of the younger bark. Other trees would probably work also; young willow comes to mind. Elm bark strips of pretty easily when it is freshly cut.

I made this a couple of years ago, and did not think to take pictures in progress. I had trimmed an Elm tree, took the limbs, that were from about 1" diameter to 2" diameter; then just took my pocket knife and started cutting strips about1/4" wide or so. When started, you should be able to just peel it off by hand, down the length of the limb. You can make the cord as long as you want, by splicing in additional pieces as you go. To do this, you should stagger the strips, so that a new pieces spliced in is always started from a different point.

I just braided these, as that is very quick and easy. If you do not know how to braid, there are probably online pictorials that can help. You basically just keep alternately wrapping one piece over the next to the middle; using three pieces. There are other ways to make cordage, from plant or bark fiber, that will produce a stronger cord; using the "reverse wrap" method. There are lots of online resources for that if interested. What I am discussing, is just a quick and easy shortcut.

The cord pictures is about 5 feet long; and I did splice in pieces as I went to get that length. After a couple of
years, it is not as flexible as it was when fresh, but could still be used to tie a bundle together. It would not be strong in tension.

Give it a try and have fun with it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Hiking Pals

Following are pictures of my constant companions when I am out and about. They have great fun, but Shiloh is now 12 and is in pain afterwards....but still wants to go the hikes are now shorter to help her.

Emma to left and Shiloh on the right

 Look close....Shiloh climbed into the tree!

On the river ice....they love to run on the ice.

There is a coon under this log that they are after......

Emma chose to walk this tree across the stream...about half way she had second thoughts...but made it.

Shiloh put a squirrel up this tree

Those are my buddies when out and about.....