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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Gobbler Scouting in Virginia (Blog 288)

Yesterday, friend Doak Harbison and I spent a marvelous morning scouting for turkeys in Franklin County, Virginia.  We heard at least a dozen different gobblers, probably closer to 15, as well as numerous hens.  Of course, all that cacophony of sound may not translate into success on April 9, but still the turkey talk was impressive.

What was also a thrill for me was hearing numerous species of songbirds.  I heard my first pine warblers, Louisiana waterthrush, chipping sparrows, and hooded warblers of the season. But the best bird of the day is what Doak and I thought might have been a rough-legged hawk, though we were not totally convinced.

We will be hunting at this Franklin County farm on opening day.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Working to Renew a Former Trout Stream (Blog 287)

Last weekend, I continued working to reinvigorate a former trout stream that flows through my 94-acre parcel in Monroe County, West Virginia. After school let out for the day, I drove the 56 miles to the land and planted 20 trees, 10 each of sycamores and silky dogwoods.

This part of the creek formerly suffered damage from livestock-caused erosion, and the banks have been worn down in a number of places.  It is at those places where I planted the trees.

One learns something about a particular piece of land almost everytime the property is visited.  On this occasion, I found where a small spring dribbled into my creek - a fount that I have never noticed before.  Hopefully that spring, and the improvements I've done and will do, will one day result in trout being restored there.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Smallmouth Fishing on the New River (Blog 286)

This past Saturday as part of Britt Stoudenmire and his New River Outdoor Company's annual March "Guides' Tournament" I had the chance to fish with guides Steve Journell and Boo Garber.  The goal is to catch, measure, and release your best five smallmouth bass per boat, and the three of us had a quintet of smallmouths that measured, as I recall, around 92 inches.

March action, or action really just about anytime on the New, can be that good.  Our total was good enough for a tie for first place.  To be truthful, my losing a 21-inch or so smallmouth was the reason my team failed to win, but such is life and such, sometimes, are my fishing skills.

In any event, Britt and his guides are always a pleasure to fish with.  For more information:  The picture below shows Steve playing a trophy smallmouth while Boo readies the net.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Living the Locavore Lifestyle Book Comes Out (Blog 285)

Elaine's and my new book, Living the Locavore Lifestyle, has just come out.  It's about how by hunting and fishing for food, as well as gathering wild berries, mushrooms, and nuts, planting a garden, raising chickens and fruit trees, and buying locally grown produce and meats, people can lead a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

For the book, Elaine wrote most of the recipes while I interviewed folks from the Quality Deer Management Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, and guides and fishermen like Britt Stoudenmire, Herschel Finch, and Richard Furman, well-
known outdoors people such as Jim and Sherry Crumley, as well as expert small game hunters such as Jay Honse and Jerry Paitsel.

If folks are interested in signed, dedicated copies, they can send a check for $17.50 to us at 1009 Brunswick Forge Road, Troutville, VA 24175.  That amount covers taxes and shipping.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Rhode Island Red Chicks Arrive (Post 284)

Wednesday our heritage Rhode Island Red chicks arrived from Dick Horstman, a well-known breeder of birds from Pennsylvania.  We also ordered chicks for two friends, Bryce Clingenpeel and Zach Kyle who will be raising heritage birds for the first time.

The plan is for us to periodically exchange hens so as to inject new genes into the mix.  It is always exciting to greet two-day-old chicks, but this is especially true when the birds are heritage ones.

Elaine has done a superlative job helping our young charges feel at home, assiduously setting up their brooder and making sure that clean water and food are always present.  Many times every day we go downstairs to the brooder and talk to our birds so that they can become accustomed to us.

All in all, it has been a good week on the chicken front.  Our three heritage Rhode Island Red pullets, that arrived from Horstman last year, had a fantastic week of egg production - their best yet by far.