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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Revitalizing a Former Trout Stream (Blog 305)

Today, I went over to my Gap Mills, West Virginia land with John Loope of the Roanoke Trout Unlimited chapter.  Our mission was to check on the survival of the 10 sycamores and 10 silky dogwoods that I planted this past March, check on the stability of in-stream structures constructed last summer with Roanoake TU members Morgan Wilson and Barry Witt, create three more in-stream structures to deepen the creek, and, finally, seine some minnows and other creatures to check on the productivity of the creek.

Every thing went extremely well.  The vast majority of the planted trees are growing well, last year's stream structures look to be aging well, and John and I positioned three more in the creek.  Aquatic life looked good in the creek, and we even found a rock bass in the stream.

John believes that brook trout may be ready to be stocked in the stream next spring.  That would be a wonderful thing if possible.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Benefit Book Signing for Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Blog 304)

Saturday, Elaine and I traveled to Shenandoah River State Park to do a benefit book signing for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. It always makes us feel good to contribute something to the cause of land conservation.  Over the years, we have been able to put 412 acres under easement; land that will be permanently protected from being developed.

Groups like the VOF on the state level and groups like the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy and New River Land Trust on the local level are well worth supporting by those who are interested in protecting rural Virginia from development. It is a cause worth championing.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Virginia Turkey Gobbling on July 16 (Blog 303)

Yesterday morning I was taking a walk around 6:40 down our rural Botetourt County, Virginia road when I heard a wild turkey hen yelp, immediately followed by another hen answering her yelp. As a hardcore turkey hunting fanatic, I couldn't let that outburst go unchallenged, so I yelped back with my mouth. The two hens yelped in return, and then a tom sent out a thundering gobble.

Well, now, that was interesting I thought.  So I yelped again, the two hens yelped back, and the gobbler thundered again. I have heard mature toms gobbling in July before, so that event wasn't new, but still it is always fascinating to hear the males sounding off this time of year.

As I walked farther and farther away, the hens continued to yelp at each other, but I heard no more eruptions from the gobbler.  Apparently, he had said all he was going to say... at least for this time of year.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Joys of a Two-Year-Old Eating Ice Cream (Blog 302)

This weekend, Elaine and I babysat our two grandsons, four-year-old Sam and two-year-old Eli. It was a hot weekend, and the power was out most of it because of a servere thunderstorm. When the weather turns muggy, what better to eat than vanilla ice cream cones, which Elaine and the boys did on several occasions.

Sam, with the wisdom and deterity of an older child, did a commendable job, by and large, of consuming his treat.  There were a minimum of spills and stickiness.

Eli, however, was not concerned about dexterity and neatness and social conventions.  It was ice cream, it was hot, and here was a young man who was not in any hurry.  Eli patiently savored every drop and dab of vanilla, revelling in it running down his chin, dribbling down his arms, and making his entire wardrobe a sweet, sticky mess. This boy knows how to enjoy an ice cream cone, as I hope these pictures indicate.