Heat Map

Monday, December 31, 2007

It is NEVER to late...

They always say that it is never too late to do the right thing, so I guess today would be a good day to get all my 2007 Resolutions done, eh?

The year wrapped up with spending time with the family. The family has grown considerably over the years and now it is overwhelming to have us all together at the same time. I thought growing up with four sisters was bad, but now most of them have little families of their own which really packs the parents house.

After everyone headed home I was completely lost in the silence at my house. The quiet was refreshing and scary all at the same time. All good things come to an end, so I guess it is time for me to hit the books and get some homework finished.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


If anyone happens to have favorite recipes for cooking Pheasant and would like to share, I am looking for a few recipes to add to my collection. Thanks...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Heading home...

The last day of hunting started out with an early morning and a hearty breakfast. All four of the guys were along for the outing. We traveled the enchanted highway on the way to the hunting fields and some monstrous pheasants on the way down. The pheasants that were not larger than normal size were plentiful and it seemed sad to have to pass them up on the way.

We started off in the same vicinity as Saturday so we had a good idea what we were getting ourselves into. A quick stop at the base of operations for the ranch gave us permission for the day and some pointers on where copious numbers of pheasants have

been known to hang out. Little D and Big D went to the middle of the field to block while K and I walked in from the road. It didn’t take many steps into the field to see the birds running and Red’s nose was busy. Red has improved considerably and has been doing a great job in the field. Wasn’t very long and I finally bagged my first pheasant of the trip. Than the fun started and we were off and running. In a little less than five hours we limited out and started back to the Mayberry Ranchette.

The rest of the evening was spent eating (like we already hadn’t done enough of that yet), cleaning birds and visiting. The trip went by quickly and it didn’t seem possible that we would be heading home already; Six days go by extremely fast when hunting and visiting.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

More news from the field

On Monday we had a full day of hunting planned, but got off to a late start with more chores needing done around the place. When we arrived at the first hunting spot the rancher mentioned having problems with some red fox around his place. I was more than happy to oblige him and we headed out to scout the area and found a decent spot to visualize the den from cover. A quick glassing of the area showed no signs of any critters, but we did find several places where fox tracks were chasing cotton tail tracks. Tried our hands at trying to raise some reds with a wounded rabbit call and got absolutely nothing. Well, maybe if the hunting party was a little bit more patient we might have eventually called something in, but not everyone can spend 30 minutes sitting still and just waiting for something to happen. So after a couple of stands it became apparent that either the foxes weren’t interested or our tactic wasn’t going to work for us and we went back to hunting birds.

We made a couple of runs through a corn stubble field and managed to flush nothing. Red was having a hard time concentrating on the stubble field and kept trying to wander off towards an adjoining grass field. Since Red seemed extremely focused we figured we would trust his nose and walk the grass field that he showed so much interest in. We flushed two hens almost immediately and we knew the nose was on for the day. There were several more covies of Huns in the field and they were faster than even the quickest gun slinger of the group. We chased them around the field a couple of times but were unsuccessful in our attempts. While unsuccessful in hunting, there was plenty of awesome scenery to see and enjoy.

Christmas Day started out with a quick trip to the field while the noon feast was being prepared. Let me just say, my sister can still cook and I showed my appreciation by stuffing myself way past the point of safe operating limits. The first field of the day resulted in a full pickup load of firewood, I guess I missed that part in the pheasant hunting discussion; not that I was arguing against the opportunity to run a chainsaw and fall a couple of dead trees. With dinner rapidly approaching we headed back to a field we had walked the previous day and happened along some more Huns and Sharptail. Little D was caught napping while walking through the field and failed to even shoulder the shotgun as Huns where flying all around him, I wish I had it on video as he had such an interesting look on his face during the whole ordeal. This would be the same kid who gave me all sorts of harassment for not bagging any Pheasants the first day out. The Sharptail were a little more difficult to deal with but I managed to drop two into the game bag. Of course this was a significant event that called for photographs right there in the field. I had finally bagged my first birds of the trip.

Once we got back to town, Red was extremely excited to see me. He didn’t get to go with us and he was feeling pretty neglected but that was remedied by a sniff of the take. Now it all made

sense why there was no room for the dog in the truck as we unloaded a pickup load of firewood. The afternoon was filled with games, visiting and I even managed to get some homework done.

Tomorrow is back to the land of the Pheasants to see if maybe I have finally learned enough to be successful against the little creatures.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Little T

Here is a picture of my newest nephew on Sunday morning. He was looking at his Mom almost as if to say, “You have got to be kidding me. Who let me Uncle in and how many days did you say he was staying?” He is such a cute kid, I just wish I would get to spend more time with them. Can't believe how much the kids have grown.

Schooled in the Field

We arrived in ND with just enough time to relax for a few minutes and than out to the fields for the first day of hunting. This would be my first time every hunting birds and would set the stage for my enjoyment for my continued enjoyment of the sporting event. Due to a family member illness one of the hunting party was unable to join (he was also the landowner), which left us with no set place to hunt. We were able to get permission on a couple of pieces of land that my brother-in-law hunted on previously. At the first place we hunted I learned a valued lesson, getting out of the truck will cause all birds in a 200 yard radius to take flight. The entire area seemed to explode with birds before we even had the guns out of the cases.

The lessons didn’t stop there; the next lesson was stepping on a hen in the tall reeds results in another explosion but this time right at my feet. I have kicked up pheasants when deer hunting so the sound of them leaving their hiding place was not a huge surprise at all. The next lesson was ALWAYS check the safety. We were working a decent size patch of tall grass and I could see them running around about 200 yards out and the deer hunter in me kicked in. I tried keeping track of them while working my way down the field and trying to keep a watchful eye for other fliers. Most of them were flying towards my B-in-L so I wasn’t at all ready for what would happen next. I had lost sight of the runners but I was still working toward were I had seen them last when all of the sudden he jumped and flew right at me. The whole times I was thinking, ROOSTER! Yeah, through gloved hands and a hard to operate safety even with his pass seven feet away the little bugger was able to fly away unharmed. This of course brought a bout of laughter from the B-in-L with a nice “You forgot the safety, huh!”

By now I figured I had most of it figured out and there couldn’t be that many more lessons to learn, after all how hard is it to hit a moving target with a shotgun? After several more rounds through the fields I found myself walking behind Red (the dog of the day), when I learned another valuable lesson. ALWAYS trust the dog. Red hasn’t had much hunting time so he was a bit rusty about his duties with a bird dog, a tidbit that caused me to second guess him. Red was circling a small patch of grass and kept darting back to the same spot which I should have know he was on to something, but I kept right on truckin. Red must have either gotten fed up with me or just irritated at the bird because he lunged into the patch and up flew a hen, yeap once again directed right at me. So all along, he had a bird pinned down but I failed to realize he had really found one. The sudden flight of the Hen caused a rooster to take flight a little further away and once again, a shot and a miss for me.

We had a quick stop over at some friends of my B-in-L’s for coffee and to reformulate a game plan. The guy is from Chile, so conversation required a little concentration but it was a much needed break from expending shells. What started out to be coffee turned into a feast of t-bone steaks and some great visiting. We hunted the shelter belts behind his house where he said the pheasants liked to take cover on the windy days. Using all the lessons I had learned I knew for sure this was it, my turn to finally drop a rooster. It didn’t take much time before the call came from the outside of the shelter belt and the gunshot that sent one spiraling out of the sky like a shot up WWII bomber. And there it was not even 50 yards in front of me walking towards me, a rooster unawares. Could I be so lucky to get one running right towards me up a lane in the shelter belt? A bout the same time I heard some more take flight, and they were making a short pass over my position. Up came the shotgun and BLAM! As he passed over head and started losing altitude I heard ROOSTER! from the B-in-L. I watched the one I had just shot fall to the ground behind me with a thump and directed my concentration at the two hens and a rooster flying towards me. Had I finally gotten the hang of hunting pheasants? Up came the shotgun, rooster was in alignment, a nice squeeze of the trigger followed by a click! Yeap, I hadn’t been counting my shells and there was no deafening roar that would have sent another rooster to the game bag. The miss still wasn’t so bad because I had my first rooster on the ground behind me. As I fed more shells into my shotgun I walked to where I had last seen my first rooster. A quick look around told me, I still had another lesson to learn. While there were feathers visible on the ground there was no rooster. Now I have learned the valuable lesson, don’t count your downed rooster until you have his talons in your hand. We searched and searched and could only find tracks leading away from the place I should have found my first pheasant.

The first day of hunting left me with an empty game bag, compared to my B-in-L who managed to limit out for the day. The day was over and I was feeling the 36 hours without sleep and just looking forward to getting home and a bowl of hot soup. The learning curve was steep and I was climbing the curve but I am sure there is still more schooling available.

Monday will start out with a well rested more educated me taking to the field still in search of my first rooster. If nothing else the trip will be filled with good eating, B-in-L really knows his way around the breakfast stove. A vacation of great food, awesome company and copious amounts of fresh air can never be a bad thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Couldn't ask for better weather

Well, the weather has been wonderful on the trip out. Clear sky with moon light all the way. We hit a little snow at Dickinson, but the roads have been pretty much bare and dry all the way here. The truck stop has free Wi-Fi so I should be able to get a few posts in when I am out here. One has got to love technology!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The end is near

Finally, Friday has arrived and I feel like I have packed up everything except the kitchen sink. Hopefully I didn't forget anything that can't be replaced by a quick stop off at a Wal-mart (Not that I really want to go to Wal-mart this time of year anyways). Now if I can just manage to get through the work day, at least I have a huge deadline today so that will make the day fly by!

Not sure of internet status where I will be staying in ND, but I know I will have to track a connection down at least once to turn in my homework, so I will try to post. Otherwise, there will be a recap of everything when I get back into town next week.

For all those traveling this weekend, drive safe and have a great trip.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bah Humbug!

I love this time of year, all the hustle bustle and rudeness. It seems like every one gets all into the need to give gifts and forget that maybe giving a little bit of courtesy while shopping goes light years beyond that perfect gift that you got at half price. Last night after work I stopped by the store to pick up meats and cheese to assemble a meat and cheese tray for work. Since I wasn't picking up much I decided that I didn't need a cart, which was a mistake. While not having the cart made me more mobile and easier to get around it just about cost me some limbs. The cart would have given the rude customers something to run into instead of running me over with their carts when they are trying to force their way through the crowd of shoppers. Once again, I am reminded why I like to hide this time of year and stay away from society. For all those out there who still have shopping to do, watch out for the three cart pile up on aisle 10.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shooting Sticks

Due to the length of the DIY shooting sticks post I have moved it to here, Varminter Freds. So I have probably really bitten off way more than I can chew by keeping multiple blogs for different slivers of me, but it should keep my life interesting. Plus that way, I can post varmint stories and pictures by themselves for those who don't enjoy such carnage. :)

So for those who are of the hunting, shooting or varminting persuasion, check out VFs for all that stuff...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Water Pressure...

The utility work has finally been completed so the water pressure in my area has reached an acceptable level. Now if the City would just get all the holes patched that they created when they dug up the water mains. I was completely amazed what it felt like to take a hot shower with a little something behind it. The water used to barely spray out of the shower head and any additional water demand in the house would cause a significant change in shower flow, but not any more. Heck, I can even run a sprinkler(not that I would need to in the middle of winter) and still be able to shower. :)

The best part of the whole upgrade of the utility service, a water main was ruptured! And of course since it is a weekend, the city will just let that flow water until Monday. Should be some decent ice skating as well!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Got to keep them updated!

2007 was a great year in my life and it is wrapping up like a lump of coal! The year started out much like other years with some resolutions. Now that the end of the year is here I look back on the resolutions and realize that very few of them got resolved. The resolutions were: Physical Fitness, letting go of 2006 and exploring my life. Now we can get down to the nuts and bolts of my year.

I am still working for GPD and enjoying my job immensely. During the course of the year the company changed ownership which resulted in some minor changes. I am still classified as an Engineer Intern and should be taking my professional engineering exam next spring. That will be a tremendous milestone in my career and I anxiously look to putting that behind me.

The Turtle is still feared in my house, and I managed to loose my perfect 4.0 GPA in 2007. With all my activities and responsibilities I forgot to delegate enough time to my studies and tarnished the perfect GPA that I had going. Other than that, the classes have been excellent and I have been able to put several of the classes to work which has made all the lost nights and weekends worth the commitment. I will be finishing up the degree in May and can’t wait to get that all behind me and open a new chapter in my life.

I was promoted to Captain at the fire department during 2007, which was an extreme surprise for me since I was only in the Lieutenant position for two months when I got the promotion. The extra bugles come with a lot of extra duties and as a result I have been spread that much thinner. The station is no longer blessed with my presence twice a week, since I decided that a reduction in my time spent at the station allowed me more time for my studies. I do look forward to being back in the station and getting to know the new guys and gals (three female recruits this year). I still work at the State Fire Training school during the fire academies doing logistic work and filling in for coaches when there is a need.

The fire department brought several great moments in my life this past year. I was deployed on three of the big wild land fires this summer and every one of them was like a little mini vacation that was extremely relaxing and refreshing. Some of the highlights from these trips can be seen in the slide show, below. I was also involved in a very interesting fire investigation. There was a house fire in our district that started and burned undetected in a house that the renters had just vacated. The fire actually self extinguished and was found several weeks later when the landlord went to check on the rental. It was amazing to see all the practical aspects of my classes and to be able to understand the actual fire behavior in the building. When I get some spare time I hope to take all the information that I gathered and put together a report of the incident, with the help of the state fire school, to use for fire behavior in the department.

The annual hunting trip this year included all the guys in the family, which was nice for the guys to do something together. Krandal and Duster didn’t hunt this year but still went along for the experience. I came home with un-notched tags this year, for some reason I just wasn’t into the shooting part of hunting. We hunting a new area this year which was a steep learning curve, but it was still great to get out of the house and to get some hunting done. My season is still not over and will wrap up with bird and coyote hunting around Christmas in North Dakota. I will be spending Christmas with my sister and her family, and getting several days of hunting while I am out there. I am anxiously looking forward to that vacation.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season!

Here goes...

As part of my 2008 New Years Resolutions I am starting a blog of the highlights of my life. Well, maybe I shouldn't call it the highlights since I am sure that it is bound to include some of the dirt as well.

In nine days I leave for my winter vacation and I am looking forward to the trip. This year I am going out to North Dakota to try my hand at upland bird hunting, pheasant and sharp-tail. I have never done any sort of bird hunting so it will be an interesting learning experience. I will be staying with my sister and her family, her husband is going to be providing the hunting experience. I don't think I will be able to post anything when I am out there, but will post the highlights of the trip when I get back.