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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Little Jerry versus Russell (Blog Thirty-nine)

Elaine and I have been having spirited, good natured debates over whether Little Jerry (photo below) or Russell is the alpha male in our chicken run.  Elaine has exclusive naming rights of our young chickens (at eight-plus weeks of age they are no longer chicks but aren't full grown either) and has named Little Jerry after the ill-fated rooster in the Seinfeld episode. Russell received his name because Elaine (I am doubtful of the veracity of this explanation) said that Russell told her what his name is.   The only other fowl she has given a name to is Little Spotty Hen because of her timid nature, smaller size, and spots on her upper tail feathers.

 Little Jerry features an extended black ruff and a black tail while Russell is known for his streaked ruff and blackish tail.  I believe Little Jerry should receive the nod as alpha male because he is the bravest of our flock, always the first to explore something new.  For example, whenever I put a new object into the run, such as a feeder or a bowl with some treat, Little Jerry is always the first to be audacious enough to check out the item and pronounce it acceptable to the others.  The others will often cower while Little Jerry explores this new thing.  Little Jerry also usually leads the other chickens out of the coop in the morning.  Now, Elaine will give her reasons for pronouncing Russell's superiority.
Bruce is welcome to his opinions but Russell is stronger than Little Jerry and in any barnyard boxing match between the two, Russell always proverbially takes his nemesis down.  The former has truly had him on the ground under his feet.  A case could be made that Jerry is not really brave, that he is impulsive, not bold, about checking out new things.  As our daughter Sarah said recently: "If Russell really can talk, he truly does have a leg up on Little Jerry."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New River Fest (Blog Thirty-eight)

Coming up soon on July 2 will be the third annual New River Fest.  I will be there to sign copies of my four books on river fishing, and there will be a number of other activities for folks to enjoy.

The event will take place at the Cascades Events Park located on US 460 one mile west of  Pembroke, Virginia in Giles County. As always, this will be a family centered event with vendors as well as Bluegrass music headlined by Larry Keel and Natural Bridge.

Among the highlights will be a “Ride River Run” triathlon, the 1st annual New River Fishing Tournament, the 3rd annual Canoe and Kayak Race, and a first ever Archery Shoot. A kids’ casting competition, paddle-boarding, fly casting and tying, pony rides, and canoeing, kayaking, and tubing the New River are among the activities.  General admission is free, entry and activity fees vary. See for more information or to pre-register.
Please come by my booth and talk fishing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time for Summer River Smallmouths (Blog Thirty-seven)

One of the best things about being an outdoor writer/photographer is that my job allows/requires me to go fishing a great deal, especially in the summer.  Obviously with all four of my books being about river smallmouth fishing, that is the kind of angling that I enjoy the most.

Starting Sunday when I will be fishing the New with Jimmy Dobes of Mahoney's Sports in Johnson City, Tennessee and Matt Frondorf of Buckeye Baits in Cincinnati, Ohio, I will begin a series of excursions that will take me to Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina upland rivers.

When I am not chasing after river smallies this summer, I will be seeking out brook trout in mountain rills or angling for stocked and wild trout in the same three states.  Of course, trout fishing is my second favorite kind of angling.

One of the things I like best about these two kinds of fishing is that I can do well without a motorized boat, a considerable expense of course.  For most kinds of trout fishing, all that is required is a desire to wade upstream.  Summer is simply my favorite time to go fishing.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chicks Day Out (Blog Thirty-six)

Well, this weekend has been a big chick adventure….. they
all went on a road trip. Bruce and I decided, after much discussion, to try them in
the chicken run a few hours each weekend day, when we could be outside with

them to deter predators.  We have not

secured the top netting yet to protect against raptors.
Our plan on Saturday was to carry them out one by one in our
hands.  On the first trip, Bruce and I
each had a chick, then I stayed in the run as he carried the rest one at a
time.  Oh, the fear!  The ones outside were motionless for
minutes.  At last they began to creep
around, but as I was sitting on the grass, I became their security
blanket.  At one point I had five chicks
in my lap, until one walked, clawed, and flew to my shoulder.  First outdoor chick reminder:  keep a plastic spoon in your pocket to scrape
chicken poop off your pants. 
Three brave chicks ventured up the ramp to the open coop
door.  Number 1 in line peered inside,
and when Numbers 2 and 3 tried to do the same, they pushed Number 1
inside.  Of course they had to follow.  All three stayed there, perched on the edge
of a nesting box, until Bruce lifted them out.
A final big adventure was making tiny forays into the “jungle”
– a thicket of day lilies inside their run. The first to do this caused quite a hubbub among the others as he
rustled around….lions, tigers, bears?  Oh
Sunday, our daughter Sarah and her husband David came over
for lunch, and Sarah and I baby sat the chicks for several hours.  When Bruce and I returned the chicks to the
indoors, we used a shorter and much more effective method - putting all of them
together into a plastic storage box.  They sat safely on the bottom for the big
ride.  The day’s adventure wore them out,
and they slept hard for most of the evening. In two weeks, we hope to have the chicks living in their coop and run full