Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Welcomed Sight

I saw this fella crossing the old lane that leads to the Back40 orchard.

This is the first Box Turtle I've seen in years here on the homestead.  A friend who is into reptiles said it was a male. I was just happy to see it slowly plodding across the lane going about it's daily business.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


A Myer's Royal Limbertwig. An old southern Appalachian mountain variety. Delicious flavor. One of my first Limbertwig varieties to bear fruit.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Birdbox Surprise

I happened to check a bird box yesterday that I hadn't looked in for a good while.  It's located in some thick birch and pines and I had hoped to attract Chickadee's to it.  It has been in place for several years but was always empty when I checked it. This time when I peeked in I got a nice surprise when a Flying Squirrel poked it's nose out at me.

Only once over the many years that I've been checking birdboxes have I had a Flying Squirrel use one. She scampered out of the box and up a birch sapling and I caught a glimpse of babies in the nest. I quickly shut the top of the box and took a couple of pics of her before leaving her to go back to the business of raising her young.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Perfect Timing

I've been wearing the shock collar on Bliss for the past few weeks just to get her use to wearing it.  I've used the vibration mode several times to call her back in when she strays too far but today offered the perfect opportunity to use the shock mode.  She was running around the Home Orchard beyond the trees in an area that I only mow once a year. The grass is approaching knee height and the dogs enjoy hunting for mice, voles and rabbits there. I just happened to be watching Bliss running through the grass when a small fawn jumped up in front of her. Of course she gave chase. I quickly turned the transmitter to the shock mode and gave her a touch of electricity .  She immediately let out a yelp and came running back to me for "protection". I made a fuss over her and told her she was a "good girl".  I use the shock collar very sparingly but in this instance I had the perfect situation and was able to use it knowing she would associate the shock with the deer. We'll see if she needs a future lesson in the month's to come.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Tree Frog

Saw this little fella yesterday in one of my apple trees. Nice camouflage pattern.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The First

I found the 1st Monarch butterfly caterpillar of the summer this week on a milkweed plant.

I also ate the 1st Chestnut crabapple of the season.  One of my favorite apples, although tiny by most peoples standard, it's an explosion of flavors when you bite into one.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Journey to Old Hemlock

Janet and I traveled to Old Hemlock the home of the late George and Kay Evans near Bruceton Mills WV on Saturday for an open house tour. The house has been maintained exactly as it was when George and Kay were alive. I have most of George's bird hunting books and also have a large collection of his magazine articles on grouse and woodcock hunting so I had some idea as to what to expect, but to see it all first hand was a delightful experience. From the old Remington typewriter he used to type his stories on to the cut glass bowls that held wishbones from every grouse he ever shot over his Old Hemlock setters it was pure nirvana for a bird hunter.

George was a very talented musician and had this piano custom made for Old Hemlock and played classical music most evenings before dinner.
This old percussion rifle hanging in the long room has an interesting story. Kay's father was a doctor for a large lumber company in WV.  The wife of one of the lumberjacks took deathly ill and after several weeks of constant care Kay's father nursed her back to good health.  The lumberjack had no money to pay for the time Kay's father spent with his wife so offered this gun as payment which her father excepted.
The fireplace in their bedroom with the 1st edition of all of George's hunting books and George and Kay's mystery novels.
This is an old letter from Melvin Heath an old lumberjack from Davis WV that guided George and Kay when they first started to hunt the Canaan Valley.  It says "if you want to hunt woodcock you had better come up this week, they are on the move".  George wrote several interesting stories about Melvin and his life in the Canaan Valley.
A sculpture of Old Hemlock Ruff's head George made from a sandstone from the old barn's foundation.
I didn't take near enough pictures for I was in awe of the history this old house held. If your a bird hunter and especially if you hunt behind Ryman-type setters you need to make the trip to Old Hemlock to "drink in" the history of one of the greatest bird hunting authors that ever lived.