Friday, January 30, 2015

Two Old Girls Sharing a Bite

Here's Hattie (soon to be 14 years old) and Sunny our Morgan mare (soon to be 31 years old) sharing some sweet stock.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hunting Chaps

I want to share my experiences with the new hunting chaps I bought this year from Stone Creek Hunting Supplies. Made by a local company based near Lake Raystown in Huntingdon county Pa. it's a family run business that manufactures chaps, vests, hunting jackets, bibs, leashes, and collars on site and carries a full line of dog supplies leaning toward coon hounds and beagles. Some of you may remember the Wick Outdoor Works brand of chaps from years ago that were noted for their toughness because of the extremely tightly woven light weight nylon fabric used. Stone Creek supplied Wick Outdoor Works with dog leashes and collars and when Wick decided to retire and close down their business Stone Creek bought some of their machinery to manufacture clothing made from the same fabric that made the Wick brand famous. Since they were located only about an hour away I decided to pick up my chaps myself instead of having them shipped. I located their small shop just off  Route 26 and had an enjoyable visit buying my chaps and talking "dog" with the owners son.

The initial reason I become interested in this brand of chaps was the near full length zipper. Most chaps have a zipper that reaches the knee and can be hard to get on and off over hunting boots that are often times muddy after a hunt. With the Stone Creek chaps near full length lifetime warranty zipper they are much easier to put on and off. The fabric although very lightweight is very tough. Most of my coverts consist of multi-flora rose, barberry, and greenbrier tangles. The fabric these chaps are made from repel these briers like nothing I've ever worn.
Now for the only "fault" that I have with these chaps and I hate to call it a fault. They have a waterproof lining which for me makes my legs sweat in temperatures above 40 degrees. Now I confess to sweating easily and usually dress much lighter than most people.
On a whim (for they seemed like very accommodating people) I called them up and explained my "problem" with their chaps. No problem they said they could make me a pair without the waterproof lining in a few days that should eliminate my problem.  So now I have a pair of warm weather chaps and a pair of cold weather chaps that I can also "loan" out if need be.
So if your looking for a pair of hunting chaps I suggest giving these a look. Super tough, light weight, with a lifetime near full length zipper these chaps are well worth the $45 dollars (with the waterproof lining-$40 without) and their made by a small family run business here in the USA.

Stone Creek Hunting Supplies give them a look.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Who Would Have Thought

that an old leather glove could be so much fun.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Thicket pics

Thicket is growing by leaps and bounds so thought I'd post a few recent pics.

                              Sharing some sweet feed with our old Morgan mare Sunny.

Enjoying a sunny day in the home orchard.

Thicket's going to be large for a "modern" female Ryman perhaps weighting 60 lbs when she "fills out" but that doesn't bother me.  As I grow older and begin to slow down my pace through the coverts and also with my deteriorating hearing a slower closer working setter will suit me just fine.

On those bitter cold days we all keep warm in the manshed. Relaxing on various old recliners and the old couch and dreaming of the woodcock flights this spring.



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Late Hangers

It's what I call apple trees that hold their fruit late into the winter months. It's always a special moment to be wandering through woods and thickets and come across on old gnarled apple tree still holding it's weather shriveled fruit on a cold and snowy winters day. I'm lucky to have one growing on the farm. The old Sinkhole apple tree with it's multi-trunks sprouted from a seed years ago is a reliable producer of a greenish russeted apple that shows little damage from insects or disease.

A hard "tart" apple not for eating it probably would pass for a cider apple. I tried one of the old beauties just the other day. It was well fermented with the taste of hard cider. If you could stand to eat enough of them I'm sure you would get "tipsy".
I fed it to Sunny our old Morgan mare and she followed me around nudging me for more of them.

I plan on taking some scionwood from the old tree and grafting it to some B118 rootstock that will produce a near standard sized tree, but should start to bear fruit in 4-6 years much sooner that a tree grafted to a seedling rootstock which may take as many as 10-15 years to bear fruit.

I was lucky enough to get some scionwood last spring from an internet acquaintance who goes by the name of CrazyEd. He had discovered a late hanging apple tree in Wisconsin that he named the Airport Apple.

I grafted two B118 rootstocks with this scion and they are now firmly planted in the Back40.  Someday the Back40 wildlife will be enjoying fruits late into the winter months from these late hangers.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Covert, An Old Covert, and a Tease

Emma and I hunted a new covert last week. Christened the Keal Run covert it consists of a ridgeside clearcut, a hollow with a stream, and another ridge covered with grapetangles and downed treetops. We hunted the clearcut first. The deer fence had been recently removed making a nice path around the perimeter to walk.

Although the cover looked nice we didn't move any grouse this day, but will be hunting it again next season.
We next hunted up the hollow along the stream.

 This area also proved to be void of grouse.
We finally started up the opposite ridge with it's tangles of grapes.

A ridge like this should have held grouse in numbers, but we managed only one wild flush.
Back at the truck I decided to try Porcupine  Ridge which was nearby. It's just a short hunt with thick autumn olive and grape tangles but today the grouse were there. In the space of 20 minutes we had 1 wild flush, and two points neither of which gave me a shot, but it was nice to end the day moving some birds.
The next day Thicket and I headed north for her 1st hunt away from home. I decided on the Church Hill covert as I usually found a few grouse there although I've yet to carry one out of this covert. I didn't take many pics as I had left the hammerguns at home and was carrying my Grulla in hopes of getting a shot at a wild flushed grouse to get some feathers in Thickets mouth.

Thicket hunted nicely and pushed out a single grouse off the ridge above me as I walked an old logging road. I caught a glimpse of the bird flushing and could see Thicket standing watching the bird sail away. Later as we worked our way along the logging road I saw Thicket suddenly run off the downhill side of the road and a pair a grouse flushed.
We found this den. It looked too big for a groundhog, maybe a fox or coyote??
The sun was in the wrong position in this pic, but I added a sepia tone to make it more viewable.
We ended the day with no shots fired, but I still considered it a successful hunt with Thicket showing me that she was getting the idea of what these "walks in the woods" were all about.
With the weather forecast looking dismal for the weekend and bitter cold for next week Emma and I headed out for what could be our last trip to my northern coverts.
I decided on the Brady Ridge-Pheasant Road coverts as I had moved a number of grouse there last time. We left the truck at  9:00 with the temp. at 27 degrees and a stiff wind blowing. We tried the windy side of the ridge first with no luck then moved over the top to the sheltered side. It felt much warmer there but we only found one bird who didn't hold for Emma to point as it flushed out of a downed treetop.
With no more bird contacts we moved on to the Pheasant Road covert.

After a big circle of weaving our way through the tree tops and briers we got back to the truck with only one wild flush.
On the drive back to the paved road and civilization a small grouse ran across in front of the truck. As I slowed to watch it flush down through the open timber, movement just off the road caught my eye and I saw what had attracted her to this place.

Just feet off the road this boy strutted his stuff as if to tease me before sailing away after his lady friend. To me it was a nice way to end the day.