Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Orchard Work

 I've started pruning my apple trees. A chore that I enjoy, shaping each tree, deciding which limb stays and which limb goes.  Limbs that grow inward or cross other limbs are the first to go.



The end result, a nicely balanced tree.


It's also time to collect scion wood, the one year old branches used to graft onto rootstock to produce new trees. Apples do not reproduce true by seeds.  Because it takes two different varieties of apple trees to produce fruit, each seed carries a mixture of genes so each seed produces a distinctly different apple often times nothing like the "mother tree" it grew on. But by grafting a small piece of branch called a scion from a certain tree onto a rootstock (which is basically a "baby apple tree" ) you will produce a tree identical to the tree you cut the scion from. 


The tips of the scion have been dipped in wax to prevent it from drying out.  Labeling is crucial to keeping the scion "true" to name so that the tree you graft is "true" to name. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

RIP Pinecoble Emma

 Emma passed away several days ago.  She left behind many wonderful memories of past hunts.










Saturday, November 28, 2020

Unexpected Ending to My Season

I had hoped to find some flight woodcock during the last week of the season, but instead I'm quarantined at home with the possible covid 19 virus.  Waiting for test results that should have been available several days ago I guess the system is swamped. Janet was exposed to another caregiver who tested positive. We both are suffering body aches, coughs, and chills but no fever yet. Grouse and woodcock come back in after deer season for 2 weeks. Hopefully I'll have the stamina for a few short hunts.  If not I'll be looking forward to the spring flights to give Bliss and Thicket some bird work.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

This Weeks Hunts

 Bliss and I hunted the Church Hill covert earlier this week.  Started off good with a solid point on a hen pheasant who held for the flush.



But the day went downhill from there.  The covert has full of recently stocked pheasants who kept running from Bliss's points and soon she was chasing and flushing them.  We finally found one woodcock in a stand of hawthorn. It held nicely for Bliss but at the flush it dodged behind a hawthorn tree and escaped without a shot fired.


  

Today I traveled north with Bliss to the Blandsburg covert only to find it covered with an inch or more of snow and stocked pheasants everywhere.  After several bump and chases I decided to try the Black Snake Ridge covert that I had found last spring. Covered nicely with aspen, maple and locust it looks like good cover but no birds were found.


Tomorrow if my knee permits me I'll take Thicket and try the Shawnee Creek Covert.
Time is running out with  next week being the last week of the season.





Thursday, November 12, 2020

Finally Success

 Bliss and I finally had some success today in the Harrier Ridge covert.  Her first point was in some open pines that proved to be a hen pheasant. Growing up in Pa hen pheasants were protected but now their legal game and I broke a wing with the left barrel with Bliss making a nice find and retrieve. 


The 16 gauge Model 51  Husqvarna  built in 1912 did it's job.


We worked our way to a series of small ponds with some scattered aspen cover.  And found some woodcock.  The first bird held nicely for Bliss but had it's escape route planned ahead and I missed with both barrels.  Soon she was on point again and I hurried in and flushed the bird.  Lady luck was with me and I dropped it with the left barrel.



We found one more woodcock but it ran out from her point and flushed without a shot.  


Here's hoping that the flights have begun and we'll find a few more birds before the season ends.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

A Quiet Season

 Not much to write about this season so far.  The woodcock have not started to move through, at least in my coverts and native birds are very scarce.  Bliss had two points yesterday in the Blandsburg covert.  The first bird flushed before I could get in position for a shot and the second bird used several larch trees to avoid my pellets.  Warm weather is called for all next week so am not expecting much movement in the migration.  Bliss had an encounter with a porcupine last week with a visit to the vet to remove the quills. Her two encounters last year obviously did not teach her the danger of messing with a quill pig.  Some scenery pictures are all I have to show.








Sunday, October 25, 2020

1st week of Woodcock season results

 Well Bliss and I have the first week of woodcock season under our belts, sadly with little to show for it.Hunted 3 days in three different coverts and managed to find one bird. Bliss handled the bird nicely after it ran out from her point and relocated it, but it flushed before I could get in position for a shot.

Here are some pictures of the coverts we hunted.












It felt good to have a little 16 gauge hammer gun in the crook of my arm.


With rain in the forecast for my more northern coverts I may have to hunt closer to home tomorrow. Hopefully the 2nd week of the season will be more productive than the first.