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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Preparing for Opening Day of Virginia's Urban Archery (Blog 354)

I am almost ready for next Saturday and the opening of Virginia's urban archery season. My Parker crossbow is sighted in, the hang-on stand is positioned, and shooting lanes have been cut on the Roanoke County parcel I am going to hunt on.

This weekend, I want to shoot a few more times with the crossbow, put my camo in a scent-free container, and pack a daypack. I am also waiting back to hear from another place in Roanoke County where I might could hunt on Labor Day Monday.

Today, I also told Elaine that she needs to wait around the house in case I kill a deer early next Saturday.  I hope we can butcher a whitetail later that morning.  One never knows, though, what the outcome will be in the deer woods.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Walking in the Dark (Blog 353)

One of the joys in my life is walking three miles in the dark before I head to teach high school English. If I time the morning ramble right, I can hear both night and morning birds before I return home to let out our Rhode Island Red chickens.

This morning, for example, while walking up our driveway I heard a barred owl on our creek bottom and the quaverings of a screech owl on the edge of our clearcut. A little while later, I harked to the hoots of a great-horned owl. I was hoping for the fourth member of the morning quartet to chime in - a chuck-wills-widow, but he was silent this morning.

On the way home as dawn began to break, I heard a towhee singing, though instead of his usual "drink your teaaaaa," he only made it to "drink your" before stopping. It is, afterall, August, far past prime singing time. Following the towhee were the usual suspects: Carolina wrens, catbirds, brown thrashers, cardinals, and robins.

As I walked down the driveway, I heard our rooster Don crowing - all was right with the world.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Scouting for Deer in Virginia Mountains (Blog 352)

Today, Elaine and I drove up into the mountains to our Craig County, Virginia land on Johns Creek to do some pre-season scouting, but mostly to check on the ladder stand and trim some shooting lanes. The ladder stand needed a new belt as the old one was quite worn and the proverbial accident waiting to happen.

I can't stand waiting until the week before bow season to check on stands, stand sites, and to cut shooting lanes.  Do those chores now and don't return until the season begins is my philosophy. I have three weeks before Roanoke County's urban archery season begins and then another month until the regular bow season begins.  I am looking forward to both seasons.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My first fiction novel, Ninth Grade Blues is Published (Blog 351)

Like many people, I've had many goals in life: marrying a great woman, having children and now grandchildren, being a high school English teacher, becoming an outdoor writer, and living out in the country on land where I could hunt and fish. Because of marrying Elaine, everything fell into place over time.

But I never had a goal of writing a novel, and to my continuing surprise, my first work of fiction, Ninth Grade Blues, came out a few days ago. It's a Young Adult novel, following the lives of four ninth graders, their hopes and dreams, successes and failures, their freshman year of high school. If you're interested in learning more, please contact me at I wrote the book for students who don't particularly like school and who are often indifferent readers. Below is the cover.