Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blood on the Corn

Yesterday morning as drove the girls to school I thought I saw a little black shadow inside the trap so I checked on my way back home after dropping the girls off at school.  This guy perked right up when he heard the car door slam, and by the time I got up to the cage he was slamming from side to side trying to get out.  I was going to go in the house and grab the .410 to shuffle him off this mortal coil, but decided to wait so the girls could see him when they got back from school. 

By the time they got home one of the other guys who hunts out here had solved the pig problem and the girls were very disappointed.  I wanted to show them the black pig because these come from the truly wild pigs that have been here for ages.  The pink pig that was killed a while back came from domestic pigs that have been released.  Apparently at one time here people would trap the hogs, notch there ears to claim them and then let them go again.    I guess it was common courtesy not to kill a hog someone else had notched. 

When me and the girls walked out there all that was left was a splattering of blood on the corn which the pig had been continuing to eat even as I watched it try to bang it's way out.  They didn't seem to be bothered by the blood although I wouldn't shoot one when they are around I don't think they are ready for that yet, but death is just part of country life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

my home amongst the trees

With rifle season opening up in a week I have been thinking a lot about what I can do  to get a better chance at taking at least one deer this year and improving my odds for next year.  Looking around the back porch I had a little bit of left over 2x4s so I decided to take a walk around to see if I could find a good spot to put up a small tree stand.  Behind our house there is an acre or so of very dense pine trees and then behind that it opens up into larger more spaced out trees and I found a couple of trees that were clumped together. After hacking off the inch thick poison ivy vines that work there way up the trees I started building. This may even be too late for me to use it  this year.  With all my tromping around and banging the deer may stay clear of this area, but by next year they will be used to it and pay no attention.  The stand itself is about ten or eleven feet off the ground and goes from 16 inches wide to three feet.  I still have to put on the deck and build some sort of railing.  I will probably buy a ten dollar hunk of camo burlap to use to cover the stand so I will have a good hiding spot.  If I get lucky and take one early next to the feeders on the highline then I think I need a second spot to switch to because I am not sure if they will come to the place where a deer was just killed.  I think they might avoid that area for a while.  If that happens I will bait this area with corn, but otherwise I will wait until next year to bait this spot.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting for bacon

With bow season started and rifle season coming up in a few weeks sacks of corn are flying off the pallets at the feed store as hunters try to create  place where the deer will come for a snack and stay for dinner. The problem is that everything loves to snack on a nice pile of dirty corn.  The area by the house I have squirrels, rabbits, crows, deer, and my own chickens stopping by and getting their fill.  The problem is the hogs.  The hogs are large in number, large in size and eat a ton.  They love to eat the corn that is put out to attract the deer and they are making the rounds from feeder to feeder.  I would imagine the same hogs are also visiting the feeders on the hunting lease land next to us.  I have a very small feeder that takes on sack of corn at a time, but the more serious hunters have large tripod feeders that take eight to ten bags to fill up. No one wants to see the hogs eat seventy bucks worth of corn. 

Unlike deer, hogs can be killed year round by with either bow or rifle and anything else that would do the job.  This is one of the most common ways to get some hogs.  The wife's cousin put this hog trap out near the spot where he normally bow hunts because they are costing him to much cash in corn and not leaving enough for the deer.  The trap has been out for about a week and has been tripped once, but so far hasn't caught anything.  The same trap was used down the road and they trapped ten or twelve hogs, so it's really just a matter of time.  With lots of corn on the ground it will take a while before they get hungry enough to go inside.  If the ground was bare it would take less to get them inside. 

Checking the trap has become part of my morning routine.  Yesterday I clear some brush with the machete so that I could get a clear look from the road as I take the kids to school.  For now anything trapped in here will just get one in the back of the head and trip into the woods to be coyote food. When it's hot outside it is hard to butcher the hogs because the meat will spoil so fast, but a little further into winter and these will be put on the menu.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Disney Land for Bambi

This morning I went wandering around the property looking for a place to build a little tree stand to have a second spot to deer hunt.  Everything here is dry.  The grass is dying and none of the small branches that flow through our property have any water in them.  I guess this is going to be more and more common if the summers have longer dry spells.  When we used to just come here to visit they were never completely dry.  At this point they aren't even mud holes just dry sand.  When I went to the branch that flows along the south side I heard the deer making their weird noises to warn each other as they took of through the woods. I know they are close which made me wonder how far they have to go to find a pond or creek that still has water.  The creek that flows into my wife's grandmothers place has water, but its a couple miles from here. I thought they might like a little drink along the way.  So I filled this plastic turtle that used to be the girls sandbox when they were little with about thirty five gallons of water.

This means that in this little area is a mineral lick, a feeder full of corn and this smiling turtle full of water. This starts about sixty yards from the house at the feeder and extends about another twenty yards,  just beyond that is one of the dry branches.  This tripod feeder that my wife's cousin put out is about another twenty yards and puts out like ten times as much corn as mine.  He is going to put a chair up one of the nearby trees and go bow hunting in this spot.  If Bambi doesn't like all this something will.  So far I have seen lots of squirrels and rabbits visiting both feeders, but haven't seen a deer stopping to munch a little corn.  I was hoping they might apperciate the water, but of course as I write this I can hear the thunder coming so we will probably have an epic rainstorm tonight that fills everything up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall Chores

The unbearable heat has finally lifted in East Texas and we will hopefully have nice fall days for at least a month or two before it starts to be freezing all day long.  The weather here is unpredictable and last year all of December was cold with a very small amount of snow. Since that was the first winter I spent here since we moved out here five years ago I thought it would be warmer.  Sometimes is it 72 degrees on Christmas day.  During this short time of pleasant weather I have a big list of things I want to get done.  I have another couple of weeks before rifle hunting season starts, but my shooting lane is pretty well cleared out.

In the next four weeks I need to:
Clear all the down limbs from around the pump house:
        These have been down since Huricane Ike and this will make the third time I have cleared this area                 because both times before were followed by Huricanes that knocked down a bunch more tree limbs.

Clean out the cistern and the pump house.
      The concrete cistern  holds about three hundred gallons and gets  a layer of silt that comes up out of the         ground with the water and needs to be cleaned out from time to time.

Clear the area next to the old garage for a goat area.
      Around Easter it looks like we are going to be adding a rabbit because our youngest is not gonna let up,          but I want to get a couple goats in the early spring.  It should cost around three to four hundred bucks and       I need a good spot to put them in.

Build some type of green house.
     This will probably be a 4x4's framing out a base, a metal canopy that we already have and some plastic           sheeting.  Hopefully, it will be enough to let us have tomatoes in the winter.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This little piggy

I had intended to write about our trip to the county fair this afternoon, but on our way home this evening we came across my wife's cousin who was just about to head home from his evening bow hunt.  Archery season opened on Friday so we expected he would be out here hunting.  When we pulled up we asked the typical did you get anything question and he said he had a killed a pig so we had to have a look.

This area is right on the fence line of a fifty acre track that the owner doesn't use.  Since it is one of the few places that is total secluded and has not been logged tons of wildlife uses that land for their home base.  On his trail cam he has seen up to forty of these at once so it really is time to thin out the ranks.  pigs can be dangerous as well as  using  up resources and space that could be taken up by more deer. We are hoping to take a pig or two this winter and butcher them, but right now it is warm enough this little thing would be spoiled before we got it cut up.  Tonight it will be food for the coyotes that have been howling like crazy the last couple nights.  I thought I was going to have to load up the shotgun and hangout on the porch last night because they were so close, but I think tonight at least some of them will be munching on this little piggy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The New and Screwed up HughesNet

I just paid five bucks to have my internet service turned back on.  Why is that you might be wondering?  Well, because some dill hole came up with a new way in which our service works.  Living in the middle of nowhere you have pretty limited internet options.  Dial-up blows even in a city with good phones and out here with lines put in in 1962 it blows even harder.  Cable and DSL are not going to come this way.  There is just no way they are ever going to bother running lines just so the four of us who live on this particular dirt road can have service so pretty much your stuck with HughesNet Satellite service if you want your pages to load when your try to open them.  There use to be one competitor AgriStar which oddly enough had exactly the same pricing and services as HughesNet, but they were recently  purchased by HughesNet.

For a long time I was pretty happy with the service.  The dish is pretty tough and didn't even need to realigned after either hurricane Rita or Ike.  We pay the minimum of sixty bucks for their base level of service and the speed has always been sufficent. They have always had what they call a "fair access policy" which is a download limit of 200MB which doesn't sound like much, but  I am online quite a bit blogging, selling on Ebay, using Quirky, surfing around etc and my wife finished her college degree by taking classes online through Lamar University. Basicly we have always found that we could do anything online except watch videos. Which of course means that I have missed out on all the great joys YouTube has to offer. If you download software you can do it at two in the moring when they give you a free time. If all the years we have had this service we had maybe gone over this limit five times, about once a year. 

It used to be that when you went over they would slow your service down so much that you could maybe get your email to open, but that was it.  If you called they would sometimes let it go and reset it and other times you just had to wait twenty four hours.  Recently they came up with a new system where if you go over you could pay five bucks and bingo your speed has been restored or you can wait twenty four hours.  Since they started two months ago we have somehow gone over our limit around ten times. A few days ago I spent an hour on the phone trying to get the tech support guy to tell me what the hell they had changed so that I could avoid this. He of course assured my that nothing had changed and as a sign of good faith reset my service without charge, but I know they messed with something.  Somehow they changed the way they count the megabytes in order to get customers to pay  a little more.  Right now I have no options because they have a monoploy on the market.  I don't really miss living in the city, but I can't explain how much I miss my cable modem right now.