Search This Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Black Rat Snake in the Henhouse (Blog 296)

Yesterday evening, Elaine and I received a phone call from our daughter Sarah, who lives across the hollow from us with her husband David and their two boys. Sarah said that a huge snake was in the main nesting box of the henhouse, and that David was out walking.

Elaine and I hurried over, and Sarah's depiction of the snake was not hyperbole.  The black rat snake was  over six feet long (David later held it up for measuring purposes) and the reptile had stuffed itself with eggs, which were slowly making their way down the snake's body.

When David returned from his walk, he and I experienced an "interesting" time extracting the snake from the henhouse, using a combination of hoes, rakes, and shovels to do so.

It's been an interesting time the last 10 days or so out in our rural Virginia hollow.  Last week, we watched as a copperhead consumed a chipmunk while in our driveway and now the henhouse episode.  Soon to come, no doubt, will be the annual visitation of skinks slinking into our house, and, maybe, like one summer, a flying squirrel coming down the chimney.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Strawberry Season (Blog 295)

Strawberry season lasts a glorious ten days or so in our Botetourt County, Virginia garden, and we are coming to the end of it.  Elaine has made strawberry jam (see picture below) as well as strawberry pie and we have enjoyed these red berries with our oatmeal and yogurt.  As good as the strawberry pie can be, I have to say that the jam is my favorite.  We will save these jars for the winter when we can enjoy this spring harvest once again.

It's not only the strawberry plants that are producing right now, so are the chives, onions, and spinach.  Few meals are as good as a venison burger with onions and spinach, chives on a baked potato, plus any sort of vegetable dish and strawberries in some form of dessert.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

West Virginia Turkey Season Ends (Blog 294)

This morning, I drove to our Monroe County, West Virginia land to hunt on the final day of spring gobbler season.  On my first visit to the land, I heard five different gobblers, so I had hopes that this outing would prove fruitful.

I was able to call in two turkeys over the course of the morning, but they were both hens.  In fact, on the last two Saturdays of the season, I called in a total of four hens, but no gobblers.

Turkey hunting is often a perplexing pastime, but these last two Saturdays have been overly so.  Where did all the gobblers on the mountain go? I heard not a single one the last three visits.  Why didn't any of those hens have a tom in tow?

Anyway, though my Virginia and Tennessee seasons went well, I blanked in West Virginia and don't really understand why.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Living off the Land (Blog 293)

This week has been a wonderful one for Elaine and me living off what the land has to offer us and others.  We've had various venison themed meals for our entrees, egg dishes from our chickens, a blackberry pie from the wild berries we picked last summer, and early season onions, spinach, chives, and asparagus from our garden.

The strawberry plants are setting fruit, as are our crabapple and cherry trees. Our Rome apple tree will hopefully do the same soon. I've planted 18 tomato plants and hopefully this weekend, if no more rain falls, I can at long last plant zuke and squash seeds.

Tomorrow morning, I'll be turkey hunting in West Virginia, hoping to add to our freezer supply of venison and wild turkey.  The hens should be on the nest by now, and I hope the toms will come when called.