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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Spent at Fishersville Show (Blog 126)

Today, I drove to Fishersville, Virginia  for the Western Virginia Sports Show held annually in February at Expoland.  For the September issue of Virginia Game & Fish every year, I profile four of the hunters who entered trophy bucks.  

It is fascinating interviewing these fortunate and talented individuals and learning, so to speak, the stories behind the stories.  Another great thing about the show is that I am able to meet guides, outfitters, and folks in the fishing and hunting business in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.     

I also am able to touch base with friends in the outdoors business, as today, for example, I was able to talk with people such as Jim Clay, Sherry Crumley, and Dennis Campbell.  I also talked to some outfitters that I hope to go fishing and hunting with in the future.

I can't reveal here the stories behind the stories on those trophy bucks, of course, because that article will go in a magazine, but I can state that visiting the Western Virginia Sportshow is a great way to spend a winter day.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cutting Wood on a Saturday, Part II (Blog 125)

Today, Saturday, I continued to work on providing our firewood needs and in freeing up some hard mast trees.  Soon, March will arrive and my Saturdays will be filled with river smallmouth trips and some native brook trout fishing, but, for now, I want to finish some timber cutting chores.

The first task was to cut up an ash that crashed into a  ladder stand several years ago.  The wood has seasoned nicely, though the stand has long since made its way to a recycling bin.  After that, I cut up a downed oak and a fallen ironwood tree.  Ironwood must be the hardest wood I have ever tried to saw through.

While toting the wood back to Elaine's and my house, I spotted a small oak that I had never noticed before.  Four small red cedars and two Virginia pines encircled the four-foot-tall oak, so I felled them all in order to give the young oak a real chance to grow and hopefully thrive.  I just really enjoy releasing a tree so that it can perhaps reach its potential.

After that it was time to babysit my grandson and to watch North Carolina host UVA - which resulted in a Tarheel victory.  Nothing momentous happened today, but it was surely a great way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cutting Wood on a Saturday (Blog 124)

Saturday afternoon, my beloved North Carolina Tarheels were being blown out of a game against Miami, and I must confess that I turned off the game part way through the second half and began early what Elaine's and my scheduled Saturday chore was...cutting firewood.

I used to despise winter, especially after the late muzzleloader and squirrel seasons ended.  But now, I truly enjoy this time of year.  I like going behind our house and cutting up for firewood hardwoods that have fallen.  Today, Elaine and I worked on a fallen ash and a downed oak, plus a black walnut that had been damaged during the high winds that took place last June.

The downed oak was easily turned into firewood and is already stacked in our garage.  The ash was much larger, so it will be split Sunday afternoon.  The black walnut is too green for firewood this season but will serve nicely next year.

Another activity that we enjoy doing is looking for opportunities to do some Timber Stand Improvement.  Two Virginia pines that are crowding a quartet of oaks are just begging to be cut, and that deed is on our list of future Saturday activities.  It was definitely good to go into the woods after a disappointing UNC loss today.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Heritage Rhode Island Red Chicks? (Blog 123)

Currently, Elaine and I are in the midst of a debate on whether we will try to purchase chicks to raise this spring.  I told Elaine that the final decision is hers because given that I am away teaching school Monday through Friday, she will be the primary caretaker.

Right now, Elaine is leaning toward us purchasing some heritage Rhode Island Reds.  In May of 2011, we bought 10 "industrial" RIR chicks.  We only have two birds left from that purchase (Ruby and Little Spotty Hen) as two chicks died not long after the purchase and the other six were roosters.
We bought two young hens in August of that year (they were crosses between Rhode Island Reds and Whites).

The quartet has done a great job of producing eggs up until the last three months or so.  But the production that was once three or four eggs per day has dropped to only six or seven eggs a week.  Part of the decline has been because our hens are moulting, but part also is that egg production decreases once hens reach two years or so.

We have always been interested in "heritage or traditional" apples, so we thought that we would like to try raising heritage RIRs.  The problem is that we don't know where to buy heritage chicks.  If anyone can help with this, we would appreciate that individual e-mailing us or leaving a comment.