Thursday, December 24, 2009

Love at first sight

Last night we had a massive thunder storm with severe thunder storm warnings and tornado warning all night. One daughter and my wife had been up since three am and me and the other kid got up at five, but it was still raining so I couldn't go out hunting as I had planned. As the clouds broke and the rain stopped my wife went to take a nap. I was about to go out hunting when she went to lay down so I stayed in with the kids.

I kept thinking that the deer might be out for a wander as the sun came out, but since I don't know what I am doing I didn't think much of it. After about a half hour I cracked the front door open and and standing next to a small pile of corn right in the center of the road is a deer. When I open the door her little ears pop up and she looks straight at me, but doesn't bolt. I slightly shut the door and grab the rifle out of the gun case. I tell both kids to hush since they are sitting on the couch about twelve feet from the door. When I open the door her head whips back around and looks straight at me, but she doesn't bolt.

Now the deer has turned side ways and I aim the rifle out the door and have a nice clean shot, but I know if I try to go outside through this door the deer's gone. I should have took my shot standing in the entry way, but I thought the kids would freak. I didn't know if would effect their hearing and since my oldest already wears hearing aids I didn't want to risk even a tiny bit of hearing loss for them. So I drop the rifle down and gently shut the front door. Looking out the window I can still see it so I try to go around back.

When I pull open the back door it lets out a big ol' SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK. Crap salad, now I know it's gone and when I get to edge of the car port the deer has bolted. I don't know how to guess how much they weigh or how old they, but this one looked Delicious.

Next time, I would make the kids go in the back bathroom and shut both doors. I would also listen to my father who said we needed to WD-40 the hinges on the door, just the day before.
I must admit I was excited. I have been hoping to get a shot since I started putting out corn, but this was the first time I even got a look. I never thought I would see the point of hunting, but now I get it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Something likes the deer corn

I have been putting out corn for a few weeks now, and this feeder has been up for a few days. So I don't know what happened today that the bees decided they had to swarm the corn. This picture was taken about one oclock, by three oclock the bees had at least doubled if not more. Not only are they trying to get into the feeder so aggressively that the corn is spilling out all over the ground, but the corn on the ground is covered with bees.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A new hope

So far, no venison has hit the table and my loving wife has mocked my powers as a warrior hunter. To be fair this is my first season hunting, no one has ever taught me how to hunt, and I don't own any camouflage clothing. So really I got like a three stroke handicap to use an analogy from a sport I have no idea how to play.
I see tracks all the time, but have no way to control or know when they are coming to eat the corn. So I had to go for the upgrade. As cheap as I am I shelled out the forty bucks for a bucket feeder that uses a photocell with two preset feed times. The little metal plate spins an hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. Hopefully, this mean that hungry deer will know when it is breakfast and dinner time.
After the snow that we had a few weeks ago the ground is covered with dead grass. This should make the corn even more of a draw for the deer. Now that school is on holiday and the wife and kids don't have to leave in the morning soI can slip out the door before sunrise if I can drag my fat ass out a bed and brave the cold. I only have a few weeks before regular season ends and black powder season begins so I have step up my effort. I don't own a musket and unless I find myself joining the continental army I don't have plans to buy one. Besides deer hunting the only thing else I don't know how to do is stop writing in italics.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome to my nightmare

As far as gardening goes I don't have much to do now during the winter although I probably should be tilling more and if I had space clear this might be a good time to plant some trees. During this time the focus is turning to two things. Clearing fence and land and the old garage. Call it a shed, barn garage whatever this thing has some serious problems. Probably built in the early forties it is a miracle that it is even still standing since I don't think any work has been done to it for forty or fifty years. The pine tree right next to it is about two and half feet wide and maybe 150 tall and located directly between this building and my house.

I think as long as this tree has been growing people having been dumping trash in and around this thing.
We probably should have had it knocked down and burned, but one it is to close to the house and two I can't bring my self to get rid of something useful, just because it is ugly. Amazingly the roof truss are still solid and haven't begun to rot. So I intend to spend a couple hundred bucks on 4x4 posts and 2x4s to shore it up so it wont collapse and use it for storage of equipment like the mower, tiller and hopefully a tractor one day.

The big problem is that before I can fix it I have to clean out all the junk. I am almost positive that some of the items hanging on the walls have been on the same nail since the 1940's. For some reason the whole inside area is covered with layer upon layer of crap. Not just junk, because if you pick up a layer of trash you uncover a layer of junk and when you pick up that layer of trash you find another layer of junk.
As bad as this picture is this is after countless trips to the local trash collection dump. I do realize that thrash man don't come around here, but this is ridiculous. Why when we are surrounded with all this no land why would everything be piled up right next to the house.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Dark Forest

That is how I always refer to area behind our house. The ten acres was a nice clear pasture when my wife was a growing up out here. Slowly the pines have crept up and and by the time we moved here they had gotten large enough that they could no longer be mowed down by a tractor with a brush hog. This is the area closest to the house an extremely high density Field of pasture pine which you can barely walk through. Over time I have gone for enough walks with a machete that I have a fairly clear path back into the second part of the pasture.
I am not sure why, but at one point the pasture was divided by a fence and along the fence line these large pine are towering above the field of small trees that choke each other. It is only around 30 yard from the fence around the house, but the small pines are so dense you can't see where that fence line is anymore until you are right next to it. When we first moved here this area of the property didn't bother me, but now it drives me nuts. I want to clear the whole area, but the cost is going to be big. If I had a better idea of what I was doing I would have insisted that the loggers clear this area when they logged the rest of the property even if we had to pay them to take the timber. If we hire a bulldozer to come out and level it then we have burn massive piles of timber or let it rot which would take fifteen or twenty years.
Past the fence line the trees open up into a much more spread out field where the trees have grown much larger and you can walk fairly easily through the woods. I do love to wander through this part of the property and watch the birds freak out as the have lots of low nests that spend most of their time undisturbed. There are often large patches of grass matted down and covered with deer droppings where they are bedding down.
If we can ever get it clear we want to replant most if it with trees, just not pines. The problem is pines are not good for much except pulp and timber. It doesn't even make good firewood, because it has too much pitch and your chimney will catch fire if you burn it too much. My ultimate goal would be to plant a small orchard of pecan, peach, pear, walnut, and maybe a few other things that grow well here. Not a for a commercial operation, but so that when my kids are old enough to have their kids the trees will be mature and producing fruit and nuts. Looking around I found the West Texas Nursery run by the Texas forest service which sells packets of seedlings which should help attract either deer or Quail & Pheasant Wildlife Packet which I would like to plant. Most of the land in our county is being logged and replanted with pine timber, so I think in twenty years it might be a good idea to have a few other types of trees around. The strangest thing however is that while I am trying to figure out how to get rid of these trees my brother in California has just started working as a logger. Maybe next time he comes to visit I can put him to work.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Only the carrots weathered the storm

After a rare bit of snow the only thing left is the carrots. Small as these ones that my daughter picked might be there is still hope they will grow into real carrots.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Salvage from the old Garage

So far I haven't managed to get a take a deer yet. They were eating the corn and leaving clear tracks but, two days a go we were coming home much later than usual when we saw a big fat racoon happily munching on the corn I had laid out for the deer. Now that the racoons have found it there will be no way to stop them except by making it so they can't get to it. hopefully I can get the old timer to work, but if not i have hung it low enough so that if they try to to eat the corn out of it more should come out as they bang it around. We shall see.