Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holidays and Turkey Hunting

Well, we spent much of the last week on the road traveling to see Cathy's family.

I was able to hunt Sunday evening and Monday morning and was hoping to shoot some pigs but didn't see any. Nothing of tremendous interest on the trail cameras, a few good shots of some younger bucks and a bunch more pictures of pigs but they sure seem to have me figured out. I saw 6 deer on Sunday evening and 4 deer on Monday morning but didn't want to shoot any until next year when I have my population figured out better.

On Monday morning I busted a flock of turkeys off their roost on the way to my blind and they scattered everywhere. The rest of the morning they were trying to group back up and I saw and heard several groups at 75 to 100 yards away and then a straggler came by at 43 yards and stopped right in front of me and streched it's neck out and I couldn't resist and I shot it with my rifle in the neck. It dropped right there and with the shot in the neck I didn't ruin any meat shooting it with the rifle. In Texas you can shoot a either sex Turkey in the fall season with any legal weapon. We ended up taking the Turkey with us and cooked it for Christmas dinner with Cathy's family. It was a fairly young turkey and it ended up tasting pretty good.

Later in the morning I saw 2 coyotes just hanging out on a hill about 275 yards away but I didn't take a shot at them. In retrospect I should have tried it, I have target practiced out to 300 yards with fairly decent accuracy and at one point one of the coyotes even layed down for a while so I would have been able to take my time with the shot, but I kept thinking they might come closer but they never did and then they went down into the brush and I never saw them again. If I see them again I'll try the shot.

Eli had a good Christmas and got pretty spoiled. He is starting to walk pretty decently now and goes about 10 or 15 feet at a time now. He had a cold for the last couple weeks but he is about over it now so that is really good too. He got a wagon and some other stuff but we haven't let him play with them outside yet because it has been pretty cold and we don't want to risk him getting sick again.

I'm getting pretty busy at work, it's rapidly getting to be that time of year for me. Nothing else exciting that I can think of.

That's it for now. Nathan

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Eli is 1 year old!!!!

Well, I was late on my last post so I figured I would post this one a day early.

Eli turned 1 year old this past Friday and we celebrated it with a cozy evening at home. We lit a candle on a cupcake for his birthday cake. He ate the entire cupcake and that was after he ate a full dinner just an hour earlier!

His newest pictures start on page 12 of his photo gallery. Eli's photo gallery

He still isn't walking yet. I thought for sure when he started pulling up and walking around holding onto things a couple months ago that it would just be a week or two before he started walking but I was wrong. He has taken a few steps here and there, but if he wants to get somewhere he just drops down to the ground and starts crawling. I think he has a turbo button or something because sometimes he sure can crawl fast!

He can still get into plenty of trouble though, he crawls over to what he wants to get into and then climbs up and starts grabbing things. We are working on teaching him what he can and can't do, and there is no doubt he understands, but he sure likes to push the envelope whenever he can!

It is amazing how fast the year went by. It seems like just a couple days ago that we were bringing him home from the hospital! He goes in for his 1 year checkup on Monday and we are going to have pictures taken on Tuesday. Christmas is right around the corner!

That's it for now.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Male bonding

Well, not much to report from first hand knowledge of Cathy's 1/2 marathon in Dallas. Eli ended up with tonsilitis and he and I stayed home while Cathy went to Dallas to run the 1/2 marathon. We had a pretty good time hanging out at the house and Cathy had some good alone time. She was pretty happy with how she did in the race considering that she hadn't been able to run as much as she wanted to over the last few weeks before the race. She hit the wall around mile 12 but still finished in under 2 1/2 hours which was her goal.

I made a quick trip down to the land one evening this week and checked on my trail cameras. I had a picture of the biggest deer yet and a few other neat pictures as well. Click on my trail camera photo gallery to see all of them. The newest pictures start on the bottom of page 10. Photo Gallery

Eli turns 1 year old tomorrow!!! It is amazing how fast the year has flown. I'll try to get some pictures of his party up on my next post.

That's it for now. Nathan

Monday, December 3, 2007

Pheasant Hunting.

Well, Saturday I went pheasant hunting for the 2nd time in my life. This ended up being a MUCH better experience than my 1st pheasant hunting experience in nearly every way!

The biggest differences were that this time I actually shot a pheasant, and even more importantly this time we didn’t find a dead guy laying out in the middle of a rarely used dirt road! It doesn’t take much to beat that day of hunting!

I was really wondering how this hunt would go because this would be my first time ever going on a professionally guided hunting trip, meaning that someone was actually paying for it, thankfully I wasn’t the one that was doing the paying. A local bank hosts the hunt for some of their customers and this year I was able to go. They provided a great breakfast at their office, and provided us each with a box of shells, a game bag and a nice blaze orange hunting cap that ended up proving very useful on the hunt. After the hunt was over they provided us with an AWESOME lunch.

We hunted 2 areas that were each 300 – 400 acres. Most of it was grown up CRP land, but there were a few areas that were planted in Sudan grass and Johnson grass that was over my head and I’m 6’3”. At some times during the hunt the only way you could keep track of the guys on either side of you was looking for those blaze orange caps!

It had rained the night before and it was pretty windy that morning so the walking was more like wading than anything. The grass was VERY thick and you had to work hard not to trip and fall. There were about 20 hunters and 2 dog handlers running a total of 6 dogs. On both areas that we hunted we would fan out about 15 – 20 yards apart and walk toward the end of the property with the dogs moving back and forth in front of us. Sometimes the dogs would get out too far ahead and I think they actually flushed some of the birds a little earlier than they should have and they just flew ahead of us. At each area one group of guys would go up ahead in a pickup and spread out at the end of the property to act as blockers so the pheasants would actually fly up instead of just running across the road. On the first area we hunted we only had 3 guys volunteer to act as blockers, but the walking was so tough through the thick grass that on the last area we hunted we ended up with more guys blocking than walking!

They did tell us that they had released some pheasants in these areas the day before. I had been worried that this would be a canned hunt with us just walking through the first field and pheasants flying up right and left with us just picking them off as they were released. It didn’t end up being that way at all. For one thing, we saw as many hen pheasants as we saw roosters so I know there were plenty of wild birds in the area. Also with the windy conditions alot of the birds either didn’t flush at all or sometimes they flushed 100+ yards in front of us. I was happy to shoot 2 birds, but it was so thick that even with 6 bird dogs we were unable to find one of the birds that I shot. Overall as a group we ended up shooting just over a dozen birds with about 20 guys so it was not anything like shooting fish in a barrel that I had worried it might be. I had plenty of opportunities and I should have limited out with 3 birds but I hadn’t been bird hunting in a couple months and I was a little more rusty that I thought I would be. I should have gone out and shot some clays a few days earlier. Also I probably should have had a little tighter chokes in my gun for pheasants at least that day. I had an IC and a Skeet choke in and I probably will go with a Skeet and a modified next time I go pheasant hunting.

I didn’t get a picture of the bird before I cleaned it but I may get a picture of the group emailed to me so if I do I will add it later.

Overall it was a very enjoyable experience, but it was a lot more work than I anticipated. I was pretty sore the next day as the muscles that you use to wade through that thick grass are completely different that your normal walking muscles.

That’s pretty much it for now. Cathy will be running a ½ marathon in Dallas next weekend and I’ll try to get some pictures and post on that.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another week goes by...

Spent Thanksgiving with the in-laws this past week. We had some snowy weather, but the roads never got too bad and we were able to travel safely so that was good. On Thursday, one of my brother-in-laws met me at the land to try to see if we could shoot some pigs or turkeys, but it was snowing pretty good, and although we saw a couple deer we didn’t see any pigs or turkey. I did see a coyote but shot and missed it. The neighbors to the north of me shot 2 nice bucks on Monday and sent me a pictue on my phone but I haven't figured out how to get it from my phone to my computer. My old computer had an IR feature that I could send files from my phone to the computer with but my new computer doesn't have that feature.

I’ve been traveling quite a bit with work lately. Spent last week in Tucson, Arizona and this week in Artesia, New Mexico. It has been a bit tough traveling with a little one at home, it seems like he changes quite a bit every time I’m gone for a few days. Over the weekend he took his first few steps so it looks like he will be walking any day now.

I think my postings are going to get a little sparse as my busy season at work is here and I won’t have a whole lot going on as far as hunting and recreational stuff goes over the next few months. I’ll try to keep a weekly post going, but it may be pretty short. I am going on a pheasant hunt this Saturday so I’ll post on that next week.

That’s it for now.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Well, nothing too eventful in the past week, we made about 10lbs of jerky this week and had the rest made into sausage. This week I'm back out on the audit trail in the beautiful town of Sells, Arizona. We stay in Tucson and drive back and forth a little over 60 miles each way. We are hoping that we didn't make a major mistake coming out here this week and traveling home on one of the highest traffic days of the year on Wednesday to get home for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, one thing that I've been thinking about are the wonderful blessings that I have in my life. I'm thankful to have a wonderful wife and a healthy growing baby boy. I work at a great place and enjoy my job and the people that I work with. This year has been exceptionally good so far with Eli being such a joy this first year.

It looks like we are going to be having some bad weather coming up so I'm not sure if I will be taking my brother-in-law and two of his sons hunting down in Fisher county on Thanksgiving day or not. The forecast is for a high of about 35 with a 30% chance of snow.

Well, not much of a post this week, but I want to keep up the habit. Hope anyone reading this has a great Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Success Part 3 - First Texas Whitetail

Well, I spent the weekend down on the land hunting Texas whitetail for the first time and ended up shooting a nice young buck. I'm 99% sure that it is the one in the trail camera picture that I put on last weeks post.

I ended up buying a ground blind and set it on one of the hills on the property and it worked amazingly well. I was pretty much invisible to the animals, I had one pig come within 40 yards and I don't think it ever saw me, but it was moving too fast and there was always some obstruction that didn't allow me to shoot at it. I think I will be building a permanent wooden blind on the hill this summer and using the ground blind for Turkey hunting and other things.

I saw 3 different bucks and passed up one nice 2.5 year old 9 point on three different occasions. I saw 2 does and 2 fawns (all that the same time so I know there were 2 of each) and several pigs. I saw a group of 14 turkeys and LOTS of quail also. Leaving my blind one night I saw 2 rattlesnakes but that wasn't necessarily a good thing! Overall it was interesting to sit in a blind for 3 to 4 hours each morning and evening and watch the world go by as the sun rose and set. The first morning I did get bored toward the end of the morning, but the last morning flew by and I didn't want to leave even though I didn't see any game animals.

I spent some time with the guys who have the hunting lease on the 700 acres to the North of me and they seem like really good folks. After spending the time down there I'm not sure if I am going to shoot any does or not this year. The habitat doesn't look like the deer are overpopulated and so far the buck to doe ratio is skewed with possibly more bucks than does so I think I will wait until next year to shoot a doe.

I will still probably go down and pig hunt a few more times and turkey hunt as well now that I have shot my deer (you only get to shoot 1 buck in Fisher County). I will probably do some quail hunting possibly over Christmas break or something.

Cathy and Eli were in Weatherford for the weekend and I was happy to get home to see them. Eli sure is cute!

That's it for now.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

First time deer hunting in Texas.

Deer hunting season officially started in Texas this past Saturday. This will be my first time to ever deer hunt in Texas although I've hunted deer many years growing up in Montana.

In Montana, baiting any game animal is illegal. The hunting there is nearly all spot and stalk. In Texas, baiting is perfectly legal and is very widespread. You can even buy "Deer Corn" at the Supermarket! When I moved to Texas to go to college, I was shocked at the way they hunt deer here. I joked that it wasn't "hunting" deer, it was "shooting" deer. I felt that way pretty much until last year when I got back into hunting and bought some property here in Texas. Since that time I've talked with lots of people about hunting in Texas, and now even have my own feeder running!

I primarily set the feeder up to try to get an idea of what wildlife I have on my property more so than as true bait, but my conclusion is that it doesn't really work very well as bait for anything but raccoons. The pigs that come and visit it are very sporadic and the deer that come and visit it are more regular but even though the feeder is set to only put out feed during the day the deer primarily come visit it at night. I have a camera setup to take pictures of wildlife as they visit the feeder and this does allow me to get a good idea of the wildlife that is on my property which is really my main reason for setting up the feeder.

I'm completely clueless about hunting deer where you sit somewhere and wait for them to show up or walk by, so I thought about setting up a stand to watch the feeder, but I haven't yet, and am not really sure how well that would work. Most people try to setup trying to catch the deer going to or from the feeder from what I understand.

After not seeing any all summer, I'm finally starting to get some good bucks on camera. My game cameras got pictures of 3 decent bucks within the last week and two of them are in several pics including DAYTIME pictures now that the rut is approaching.

Just a little input on how my perspective has changed on baiting/feeding. It sounds like you are going to be shooting tame animals that come running to the dinner bell when the feeder goes off, but that's not how it works out. (I spent 2 hours watching the feeder tonight and nothing showed up).

There is almost zero chance at spotting and stalking in the thick brush, and with limited agriculture with food sources there aren't really any established game trails going to and from a field where you can hang out and watch from a stand. I think that even with the feeders it may be more difficult to hunt my new land than it is to spot and stalk back in Montana.

I just went down to the land to check the cameras and hunted a couple hours this evening. I had a small 8 point walk up within 25 feet of me when I was changing the card on one of my cameras, I'm not sure he ever saw me. He walked on down the trail a little and checked and worked on a scrape and walked on. I saw him about 1/4 mile down the creek and took some pictures of him with my regular camera. By allowing the younger deer to walk and not shoot them, this allows them to grow a few more years and hopefully become fully mature and come closer to reaching their potential.

I'm going back down there this weekend and probably a couple days next week. I hope I see one of the big ones next time I'm down there!

That's it for now. Nathan

Monday, October 29, 2007

Success Part 2 - Mule Deer Hunting

For mule deer I hunted a few spots that I remembered as a kid and was amazed at how many young bucks there were. The first day out I saw 7 bucks and all of them were fork horns. The 2nd day out I saw 12 bucks, one of them was a decent 3x4 and there were 2 very small 4x4's and the rest were fork horns. I saw plenty of deer each day but nothing even close to what I was looking for. I even thought about taking the decent 3x4 that I saw because the rest of the bucks I had seen were all so young. I was beginning to wonder if I would have to shoot a doe or a fork horn on the last day of the hunt just to fill my tag.

On the 3rd day out I didn't see near as many deer as the previous 2 days. There were fewer hunters out so maybe they weren't moving around as much from the pressure but by 10:00 AM I had only seen 6 does. I watched the does for a while to see what they did (I thought they might lead me to some bedding areas) and after a while I stood up to start walking back to the pickup and I saw horns in the ravine below me! I quickly sat back down and moved around to get some cover between us and checked it out. This was by far the largest deer I had seen so far and I knew if I could get in position to take the shot I was going to try. I had already checked the yardage to the bottom of that ravine and it was 175 yards so definetly within range already. I just had to get setup where I had a clear shot at him. I moved farther down on the hill and laid down on the hill with my rifle resting on my thigh. It made a pretty steady rest and about that time he presented me with a perfect broadside shot and I squeezed the trigger. He immediately whirled and started running away down the ravine. I couldn't believe that I'd missed!! I had already chambered another round and aimed my rifle to where he would have to cross an open spot in the ravine about 75 yards further down. I was trying to steady myself and get ready for what was going to be a difficult shot when I heard him falling down to the bottom of the ravine kicking up some rocks and shale. After that it got quiet. He didn't ever come into the open spot so I moved down to where he had run. He was lying in some brush, I had hit him perfectly behind the shoulder with a double lung shot. The exit wound was barely the size of a quarter with 175 grain Federal Core Lokt ammo so it must have not even hit a rib. When I boned him out I had barely hit the offside shoulder muscle but I don't think the bullet hit any bones.

I checked my gps and it was right at 3/4 of a mile back to the truck with a 400' elevation change. Uphill of course! I boned him out into some plastic garbage bags and hauled them 1 at a time up to the truck in my backpack. 3 miles of roundtrips back and forth to the pickup and my hunting was done.

One other interesting thing was that the deer had warts. Some were larger than a golf ball. I took it to the fish and game department and they said that the meat would be fine and that it was ugly but other than that everything should be fine. The deer had quite a bit of fat on it and the meat looked good so I'm going to go ahead and eat it.

It wasn't a trophy buck by some peoples standards, but it was the largest that I've ever shot so I was pretty happy. It was a little over 21" wide (inside spread) and a little over 21" tall on the rear main beams. I'm definetly going to do a european style mount on it, I don't think anyone would want to look at those warts on a daily basis!

Overally I was very happy with the week of hunting. Both the Deer and the Antelope were larger than any that I had shot as a kid growing up in the area hunting for 6 years, but we never really hunted for horns back then, we were hunting to put meat on the table.

I'm not sure if it takes a good hunter to cash in on a mature animal on public land or if it is just luck, or persistence, especially when you can't really scout the area beforehand to know where the big ones live. I put in 10+ miles of walking each day with some of it on some pretty rough terrain and I think that is what helped me this time. It is amazing the number of hunters that were out there just driving back and forth on the trails hoping a deer would cross in front of them. On one day I was within 75 yards of 2 guys hunting on horseback and I was walking a pretty steady pace and they never even saw me with my flourescent orange on!

But when it all comes down to it I think a lot of it still comes down to luck. I was happy to be lucky on this trip!

That's my report. Nathan

Success Part 1 - Antelope Hunting

Well, I'm back from my Montana combo antelope and mule deer hunt.

The drive there and back was long but pretty uneventful. I listened to several audio books and that makes a tremendous difference on the drive for me. I left the house around 3:00 Thursday afternoon and pulled into Glasgow around 12:00 Friday afternoon. There was still plenty of daylight so my mom hopped in and we drove around the old hunting grounds to get myself familiar with the area again during the daylight because I was planning on heading out before sunrise the next morning.

We saw some antelope but they were all a long way off and most of the time they were running. I saw one decent buck but it was over 1/2 mile away and running hard when I saw it. Overall we saw about 20 antelope but only 1 would have been close enough to shoot and it was a fawn. We drove back into town and I was hoping that tomorrow would be a better day.

I got out to where I wanted to hunt before daylight and saw 3 antelope right as it got light enough to hunt, but they were all does. I went to a spot where we had seen antelope a few times the day before and walked out into the bottom and hung out for a while thinking some might filter in as it got light, but after about an hour of that I decided I was going to have a better chance finding them than I would of them finding me so I went back to the truck and drove around a little.

I saw 2 different groups of antelope way down in the bottom and watched them for awhile to see what they were going to do. One of the groups had 3 bucks in it that didn't stand out as monsters or anything but looked like they were decent. They seemed like they were moving slowly toward some water so I decided to go after them. About 2 miles later I saw them about 1/3rd of a mile away, still walking toward the water so I backed up and went around a hill thinking I could head them off and get into position. Either they sped up or I misjudged how far they were though, because by the time I got to where I thought they would be they were gone. I kept walking in the direction I had seen them moving and spotted them again still about 1/3rd of a mile ahead of me. I stopped and waited until they went over a rise and then went after them. I got to within 300 yards of them in a creek bottom, but I had been walking for close to 3 miles and had crossed a fence line and wasn't sure if I was still on public land or not. It would have been a difficult shot regardless and I decided to pass on it. Then they met up with about a dozen other antelope that were definetly on private land. It was some really nice pasture land and they were settled in grazing. I stood up and made sure they saw me thinking that they would see me and run off, but they seemed to know they were safe on the private land and didn't seem to be in a hurry to run off. I later checked the map and the first area where I passed on taking the shot was actually public land but at the time I wasn't sure so I felt good about my decision.

I walked about 2 miles back to the truck and drove around to the other side of the private land. I could see the antelope still on the pasture and I thought they would continue moving east so I walked down about 1/2 mile and waited to ambush them, however they had other plans. After about an hour they started heading back the other direction right where I had been earlier that morning! By that time I had moved a little over a mile from the truck so I had another mile to walk back to the truck and then I drove back around to where I had been that morning.

I pulled up to a ridge to see if I could find them and saw them about 1/2 mile away down in the bottom. I backed the truck up out of sight and headed off on foot to see if I could cut them off. I walked about a mile around some hills and they were right where I had seen them last. They were bedding down. I belly crawled to the top of the hill attempting to avoid as many catcus as possible and got a good return on my range finder and they were 385 yards away. The wind was blowing pretty hard and I didn't feel confident in that long of a shot so I backed out and walked another 1/2 mile or so around some hills to get a little bit closer. Again I belly crawled the last 20 yards or so and this time I was much closer. I couldn't tell how close I was though because with them laying down and the flat ground and with me laying down I couldn't get a return on my range finder. I also couldn't use my bi-pod because the sage brush was too tall so I couldn't use it. There were 3 bucks in the group of about 20 antelope and I spent a while looking through my binoculars to pick out the largest one. They were all still laying down except for 2 does that were about 50 yards away from the rest of the herd. They had seen the top of my head and were trying to figure out what I was. I knew I didn't have much more time before they got spooked so I just sat up in the sage brush and when the buck I had picked out stood up I took dead aim and squeezed the trigger. I ended up shooting from the cross legged sitting position and hit about 5" forward of where I was aiming, hitting it right at the front of the shoulder at the base of the neck. It dropped like a rock. I calculated the yardage the old fashioned way by stepping it off and it was 220 steps from the spot were I had taken the shot.

Here's a picture of the antelope. I was very happy with the way the picture turned out.

The antelope ended up measuring 13 1/2" from the base to the tip of each horn but it had some decent mass and decent cutters and was a nice looking animal. I was very happy with it as there were a few times during the day where I was really wondering if I would be able to get an antelope or not. It had been 20 years or more since the last time I had been antelope hunting so just finding them on public land was a success.

Step 1 on my combination hunt was a resounding success!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Well, not a very exciting week this week, but I did get some stuff done.

I got the tractor back together and that went pretty well although it took a while. I really feel like I learned alot out of the experience that's for sure. After I got it back together I went back down to the Fisher county land and got the rest of the grain planted. It took another 2 1/2 times around the field to put 60lbs per acre of grain down, but hopefully we will get some rain and it will be worth the effort. I'm definetly going to figure out the settings on the grain drill before I try to plant with it again.

I bought some last minute hunting gear and am trying to get it all sorted out in time for the trip to Montana. I practiced some more with my new rifle and feel pretty confident out to 200 yards. I would like to get in one more round of target practice in this week before we leave. I'm actually getting a little nervous about the trip. I'm preparing myself for the fact that I might not get anything, but hopefully it will be an enjoyable experience even if I don't.

I will be out in the open country in Eastern Montana next week so I will probably skip a week on my posts.

That's it for now.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Hobby or work?

It is interesting to me that people are willing to work extremely hard on something as long as it is considered a hobby, but if it is a job then suddenly it becomes much less fun.

The fuel leak on the tractor isn't going to end up costing a lot to repair in terms of dollars, but it took me about 3 or 4 hours to get the fuel tank pulled off and get it to the folks to get it repaired. Hopefully I will be able to get it put all back together correctly and hopefully I can get it back together in a little less time. Here is a picture of it in progress.

We hired someone to stain and paint the house and they started on it this past week. On Thursday one of them fell off a ladder and broke his arm pretty badly. Not sure why they were even using a ladder as they brought this big lift machine to use instead of ladders but hopefully everything will turn out okay on that end of things. They are doing a good job on the house and it is amazing how badly it needed it.

A few of my sisters stopped by to visit this weekend so that was good. They were impressed with how fast Eli is growing and how cute he is. He is cutting more teeth and had a bad diaper rash, but we have been using a product called Corona that is made for farm animals that works amazingly well and it has mostly cleared up except for a couple spots. He is now standing on his own for very short periods of time and I'm sure he will be walking before we know it.

I had 2 firsts when I was dove hunting on Saturday. I got my limit (15 doves) for the first time ever and did it in less than an hour. They were everywhere! Also while I was hunting I saw a hawk catch a dove in mid-air. There was a loud popping sound and a puff of feathers and then the hawk was on the ground clutching the dove in it's talons. It was pretty cool!

I'm really getting excited about going to Montana in a couple weeks to go hunting. I was drawn for a non-resident Antelope license and a non-resident Deer/Elk combination license. I don't plan on doing any Elk hunting but hopefully I will get an Antelope and a Mule Deer. I've been getting ready to go and did some last minute shopping for hunting supplies this weekend.

I haven't made it back down to the land to overseed the area that I just finished planting but I will probably go down there this week during the week. I talked with someone at the NRCS and we are going to work on a wildlife management plan and possibly sign up for some government programs on improving the habitat and controlling erosion. Hopefully I will meet them out there this week to go over things.

That's about it for now. I may go back and add some pictures on some of these posts if I get some taken.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Whew... I'm Tired!

Well I just finished planting 16 acres and I am beat!

It rained down at the Fisher county property on Tuesday and Wednesday last week so I figured that I should get down there and get my fall food plots planted ASAP. I spent Saturday helping around the house and headed down to the land on Sunday afternoon. The grain drill that I bought a few weeks ago has been sitting on my trailer down at the land for a couple weeks so to haul my tractor down there to unload it I had to borrow a trailer from a friend. I had a hard time getting the tractor far enough forward to get some good weight on the toungue of the trailer so I ended up pulling it down there at about 50 mph and that was the first of several minor things that all seemed to go against making this a quick and easy project.

I got to the land around 5 pm and got the tractor unloaded and got started. I had my 8' tandem disc hooked up already and got started discing a smaller 2 acre field first. Even with the rain 4 days earlier the ground was fairly hard and I had to set my disc to put all the weight on the front to get it to dig in well. Because of this I had to make twice as many passes because when it is set all the way forward it digs in on the sides but not in the middle. So an hour and a half later I got done with the first 2 acres and I knew this was going to take a while.

I moved over to the larger field and got started. An hour or so later and it was starting to get dark, but based on how long it took to do the first field I knew I needed to keep going so I turned my lights on and kept after it. Around 11 pm I was running low on fuel so I went back to the front of the property to refuel and shut the tractor down. I ended up spilling some fuel when I refueled but didn't think much of it at the time. I messed around at the trailer for a few minutes and then went back out to start going again and the tractor wouldn't start. I thought maybe the battery was low from running with the lights on for 3 hours so I tried to jump start it with the pickup but it wouldn't even turn over. After a messing with it for a while I decided I would give up and wait for daylight and try to get it running then.

I went to bed around midnight and set my alarm for 7 am so I could get going as soon as it got light. Around 3 am the power went out and the air conditioner shutting off woke me up. Without the air conditioner running, the crickets chirping outside were so loud I couldn't go back to sleep. I laid there for a while trying to go back to sleep but I kept thinking about the tractor and what could be wrong with it and wondered if the breaker had tripped on the trailer and if I now had an electrical issue with the trailer so I ended up just getting out of bed. I checked the breakers on the trailer and everything was fine and nothing was working at the power pole so I decided that the power was just out and nothing was wrong at my end. I tried to start the tractor again and it was still dead. I had thought about the fuel spill on the tractor and grabbed some paper towels and tried to dry all the electrical wiring that could have gotten wet. I especially cleaned up around the starter and checked all the connections there. I got back on and it fired right up!! I was back in business!

I got back out to the field around 4 am and got after it. After the first pass I saw one of the discs had come off and was laying there in the field. (This is crazy because this happened to me before when working a 5 acre field at my house during the day and I never saw that disc again!) I picked the disc up and looked over the rest to decide what to do. I made another pass to see how much of an issue it was going to be and other than being a little noisy with on gang of discs being loose it seemed to be working okay. I decided that I would keep going and if I got done with this field I might be able to plant another 5 acre field tomorrow as well. Around 7 am that thought ground to a halt as the entire disc came loose from the 3 point hitch as one of the pins came completely off.

I unhooked and drove the tractor back to the trailer and tried to determine exactly what I needed because it is an hour roundtrip drive to go to town and back. I made it into Sweetwater and stopped at the Tractor Supply Company to pick up what I needed to fix it. They had most of what I needed but the staff wasn't very knowledgeable and I ended up having to improvise by using some plumbing fittings to get everything to work out. I bought some fuel and grabbed some McDonalds and headed back to the land. A little over an hour of pounding on the disc later, I had it back together and the plumbing fittings worked as I had hoped. One of the gangs was still a little loose, but overall I was VERY happy with my field repair job.

I got back to the field and a couple hours later was done with the discing. It was a little rough and there were some pretty large clumps of dirt that I had kicked up but I figured it was good enough. Now came time to unload the grain drill and start planting.

Another problem quickly reared it's head. My tractor wasn't strong enough to pick the grain drill up off the trailer it was on! I'm not sure if the grain drill weighed more than the guy who sold it to me said it weighed (he said it weighed 1,100 lbs) or if my tractor just won't lift what it is rated for (it is supposed to be able to lift 1,500 lbs) but it couldn't lift it. Part of the problem was that the tractor can lift less the higher up you go and the way it was loaded, I needed to hook up to the grain drill about 6' off the ground. I played around with it and if I worked everything JUST Right I could use the bucket curl to pick the grain drill 99% off the trailer with just a tiny bit still on it. I got in the pickup and after several attempts and adjustments I was able to drive the trailer out under the grain drill! Now all I needed to do was hook it up to the tractor fill it with grain and start planting, but it never is easy.

I had actually looked at the drill and the tractor hitch and thought before I went to town last time to make sure it would work and thought it would, but when I got ready to hook it up I found out otherwise. I needed a drawbar and that meant another trip into Sweetwater. Lucky for me, Tractor Supply Company had exactly what I needed and after another run through the McDonalds drive through I was back on my way. Without too much difficultly I had the grain drill hooked up and was ready to go. The grain drill is probably 40 or 50 years old and hadn't been used in at least 10 years so I spent a little while greasing it up (it has at least 30 grease zerks) and cleaning the hopper and then dumped about 100lbs of seed in the hopper. I'm planting a mixture of seeds for a fall food plot for wildlife so I put in 1/2 bag of beardless winter wheat, 1/2 bag of triticale, 1/3 bag of oats and 1/2 bag of winter peas and mixed it all together. I double checked everything and I was ready to go!

I made my first pass around the field and everything seemed to be working fine for the most part. Out of the 16 seeders the small discs on the front of 3 of them weren't turning but they were all planting seeds and the springs allowing them to move up and down all seemed to be set correctly and overall I was VERY happy with how it was working. I was concerned about the rate that it was seeding because I don't have a manual for the grain drill and have no clue what it was set at. The guy I bought it from and a guy who sold me a disc that was missing on it both said it was "set for wheat" but that could be anywhere from 35lbs per acre to 60lbs per acre depending on where you were at and what kind of rainfall you expected. Plus I was using 4 different types of seeds all mixed together and the wheat was probably the smallest seed out of the 4. I was hoping to plant the 2 acres and use all 100lbs of seed I had put in the hopper for around 50lbs per acre, but when I got done I still had probably 50lbs of seed still in the hopper. I had tried to be smart and set one of the gears at the 2nd smallest setting instead of the smallest setting and I think that made it seed at a slower rate. I moved it down to the smallest setting and put another 500lbs of seed in and mixed it up and started planting my 14 acre field. Again I was impressed with the old grain drill and it seemed to be working fine. I was also happy that the tractor was pulling it fairly easily and that I wasn't getting beat to death even when I was going on a different line from where I had run the tandem disc. I checked on the seeding and it was pretty hard to tell how fast it was seeding, but it was working well and going steady and that was good. The 3 discs that weren't turning would occasionally build up with trash (weeds, etc.) and I would clean them out. I got over 1/2 way done and I started getting worried about my seeding rate. I could hardly tell that I had made a dent in the seed in the hopper, but the hopper is wider at the top than it is at the bottom and I knew it was putting out seed because I could see it dropping into the chutes. I kept at it and after about 2 hours I was done. I still had about 100lbs of seed in the hopper so that means that I only planted about 30lbs per acre when I would have liked to have put down about 50lbs per acre. I still haven't decided whether I am going to go back and go over it again or just leave it as is.

After I got everything put up and unhitched I noticed that my tractor was leaking diesel fuel. A steady drip, drip about every 2 seconds. I had noticed some diesel had leaked on the trailer Saturday but didn't think much of it and attributed some of the leaking on Sunday and Monday morning to my spill when refueling, but there was no doubt now, there is a leak somewhere. The lights aren't working on the trailer that I borrowed from a friend and I wasn't going to make it home before dark so I moved his trailer around behind some trees so no one would be tempted to steal it and loaded my tractor up on my trailer and brought it home. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out where it is leaking tonight at it will be an easy fix.

I did see some wildlife while I was down there but I was so busy and focused on getting my planting done that I didn't even check what was on my trail camera. I saw a couple coveys of quail and quite a few dove. Around 7:30 pm right before I loaded up my tractor I saw a flock of 12+ turkey by the pond so that was pretty cool.

Other than the novel that I just wrote, not a whole lot going on. Eli just had his 9 month checkup is 30" tall and weighs 20lbs 12oz and has 6 teeth already and is working on 3 more right now.

Well, I'll be amazed if anyone read this entire post but I thought I would put it all down on paper or electrons or whatever you call a post on a blog.

That's it for now.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Another week goes by....

Nothing too exciting this past week. Got to visit with our friends who live in Wyoming some more and did get to go hog hunting on the land in Fisher county. I think I shot a boar hog but somehow it disappeared into the brush and we never found it. Didn't find any blood or anything but I was pretty sure I had hit it. We didn't see anything else the entire night or the next morning but heard some coyotes howling. The trailer was nice to stay the night in and everything went well there. No one got stung by bees!!!

Angel helped me put the steering cylinder back on my tractor. At some point in the tractors lifetime it has been worked on before and several things were not the way they were supposed to be so it took a little more time and effort than we originally thought. The cylinder doesn't leak anymore, but there is still quite a bit of play in the steering so we may get a few more parts and take it apart and put it back together the right way at some point in the future.

I got to spend some time dove hunting and came close to limiting out for the first time ever. I went out at about 6:30 pm and shot 14 birds in just over an hour. I hung around for a while and was sure I would get my limit but a combination of poor shooting and bad luck kept me from getting there. I did get my first visit from a game warden while on my land around the house. He said he had been down in the canyon and heard shooting and figured he would come up and check it out.

Cathy was a group leader at a college ladies day on Saturday so I got to watch Eli. He is now saying Da Da (at least that's what it sounds like to us). Not sure if he knows what he is saying but he has said it several times now.

Another week in the life. Nathan

Monday, September 17, 2007


Well, a lot of stuff happened since my last post, but really not much happened...

On Wednesday I went back to the land to get the trailer leveled out and get everything completely finished and get my tractor back home and got stung a couple more times by some bees. One sting was right under my eye and one sting was on my left ear. After getting stung so many times just a couple weeks earlier, there must have been some residual toxins in my system or something because I had quite a bit of swelling this time. My left ear turned red and about doubled in size and my right side of my face swelled up to the point that I couldn't open my eye all the way. By Thursday night Cathy was calling me the elephant man! Thankfully by Friday night the swelling started to go back down and by Saturday night it was almost back to normal.

I now know a lot more about bees and will be much more careful when I'm down there. Did you know that bees are angered by sweat? A few other things that make them mad are heavy breathing (like if you are working hard outside or running), any fast motions (like when you are waving you arms to shoo them away), exhaust from a combustible engine (like a tractor you are mowing with) and what makes them REALLY, REALLY mad is when you mess with their hive (like when you bump their hive with your tractor). Also when 1 bee stings you it releases a chemical that signals all other bees in the area to come and sting you too! (I can verify this one as well!) I've contacted a guy that is a bee keeper as a hobby and he is interested in coming and collecting the bees but he wants to wait until next spring so he doesn't have to feed them over the winter. We will have to see how it goes, if anyone else gets stung the bees will have to go sooner rather than later.

I ended up buying a 6 1/2' tandem disc in Amarillo and happened to notice someone selling an old grain drill and ended up buying it as well. I'm going to leave them on the new property so I won't have to be hauling implements back and forth with the tractor each time. Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks I will get the 16 acres in the southwest corner of the property planted in winter wheat to help attract deer during the hunting season coming up and to help them through the winter as well.

Some of our friends from camp came down Sunday and stopped off on their way to Abilene to drop one of their daughters off who is moving to Abilene and it was nice to visit them.

Amber and Angel stopped by on Saturday and I showed Angel my new to me grain drill and the disc that I had bought and he noticed the tractor was leaking hydraulic fliud. We pulled the steering cylinder and I ordered a new one and hopefully it will come in early this week so I can put it back together and get the tractor back up and running.

Eli is getting more and more active. He is really getting to be a handful. He sure is cute though!

Well enough boring stuff. Looks like I'll get to go Dove hunting at the house on Tuesday and may get to go hog hunting Wednesday and Thursday down on the new land.

That's about it for now.


Monday, September 10, 2007

More progress!

Well, the 31' trailer is now on location in rural Fisher county! Pulling the trailer down to the land went without a hitch and it fit perfect in the spot we had picked out for it.

Hooking up the electricity didn't work perfect as I had purchased a Square D "HOM" breaker and I needed a Square D "something else" breaker. Silly me just assumed that a Square D breaker was a Square D breaker! After a 130 mile round trip to Abilene (I got to the only hardware store in Sweetwater at 4:04 PM and they closed at 4:00 PM) I was good to go. Within 5 minutes of getting back the power was hooked up and running!

Another snafu was that the 3" PVC fittings that I had purchased didn't fit the 3" PVC that was hooked up to the trailer. I didn't find out about this until AFTER the 130 mile roundtrip into Abilene so the septic is not hooked up yet. The plumbing that was with the trailer was thinwalled PVC and the plumbing that I bought was thickwalled PVC. On smaller diameter PVC it still uses the same fittings but on 3" PVC the same fittings don't work. Another lesson learned.

The last mess up was that I forgot the key to my tractor at home! I had planned on using the tractor to pack the trench from the water line down some more and do a little more work around the trailer. Without a key, the tractor got to sit right where I had parked it.

I brought my camera but never got around to taking a picture of the trailer on site. I had intended to take a picture of the pickup pulling the trailer to give a good perspective on the size of the trailer, but I didn't do that either.

Looking at the radar it looks like it rained pretty good on the land so hopefully some of the loose dirt from the water line trench will have settled. I may end up moving the trailer and packing the trench in some more. The only drawback to the way the trailer ended up fitting was that the wheels ended up right where the water line trench was and they settled in a little and the trailer was sitting a little lower than it should. If I have time to pull the trailer forward a little, pack the dirt down and add some more dirt to the low spot that would help quite a bit.

I did get to dove hunt a little around the house on Sunday and shot 4 dove. I need to figure out how to hunt the wheat field a little better, there are plenty of dove out there but I can't seem to get them to fly around by myself.

Eli is doing good. We have been working on getting him to sleep through the night and he slept through the night 4 out of the last 5 nights and the last 3 nights in a row! The one night that he didn't sleep through the night he woke up crying about every 30 to 45 minutes though and that was miserable. He is growing up fast!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Making progress...

After giving up on the windmill I called about hooking up to the rural water line that runs to the corner of my property and called about installing a septic system and as of the end of the day Friday I had running water and a septic system installed on the property. I was impressed with the speed and ease that they were able to dig the trenches, it looks like I have some pretty good soil.

Dove season opened on Saturday, but I was focused on getting everything working so I didn't spend much time hunting. I hauled my tractor down to the property to mow some of the weeds and fill in the trenches for the water lines and ended up making a bunch of bees mad! I bumped a stack of wood with my tractor and was swarmed by HUNDREDS of bees. I shut the tractor off and jumped to the ground on a full out sprint and was probably stung 20 or 30 times. After a few early attempts to recover my tractor, I just waited a couple hours and finally the bees settled down enough to allow me to jump on the tractor and drive it away.

I met the people who are leasing the property to the North of us and they seemed like really nice folks and had some good things to say about the quality of the wildlife in the area. I'm looking forward to seeing if the deer hunting will live up to my expectations.

I went to Weatherford on Saturday evening and spent Sunday with Cathy's parents and Eli. I sure had missed him. He is continuing to grow and get stronger and faster everyday. I think he will be walking within a month or so.

Well, I think that's about it for now. Planning on moving the nicer trailer down to the property on Saturday. Hopefully everything will go smoothly with that!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The windmill won....

Well, (pun intended) I guess the windmill ended up winning the war after all.

It started off badly when I first looked down the well and it had caved in and was full to the rim with soft dirt. After a lot of effort (a couple hours) I ended up managing to get the hole re-opened by sticking a 1" pvc pipe into the soft dirt that had filled it in then moving up to a 2" pvc pipe and finally pouring some water into the hole. I was proud to have won the battle and got everything ready to get the mud out and get the windmill pumping water the next morning.

After an uneventful night (I didn't see any wildlife on this trip) I managed to muck out about 5 gallons of mud out of the bottom of the 30' well the next morning. The problem was that this is supposed to be a water well so water should have been flowing back in as I pulled the mud out. I thought maybe pouring some water down the well would get it started so I poured about 10 gallons of water into the well and proceeded to pull out about 10 gallons of muddy water. No water was flowing back into the hole! I waited about 30 minutes and there still wasn't any more water in the hole. 4 hours later and I still had a dry hole (there was still about 2' of mud in the bottom of the well) . Depending on how you look at it I either spent 3 weeks with nothing to show for it or I went quite a bit out of my way to get some exercise!

I'm not sure if the well was plugged before I started this whole ordeal or if through my comedy of errors and the hole filling up with dirt it ended up plugging the hole through that. I'm going to call some water well folks in the morning and see if they think there is a chance to renovate the well and get it to start producing water again. More than likely the most likely option is to just drill another well that will be cased and set up correctly for an electric pump so there will be no more need for a windmill.

I just happen to have a co-worker that had his windmill destroyed in a wind storm this year and I will see if he wants to help pitch in some on drilling my new well in exchange for my windmill.

Cathy and Eli are going to be visiting her parents this week, so I'm going to be home alone and I may be able to get back out there sometime again this week and will be trying my best to get things ready for hunting season. Dove season starts this Saturday!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still working on the windmill...

Well, I guess I'll start trying to post once a week at least. I went back down to the land to work on the windmill and made some progresss but it still isn't working. After spending 5 hours working on it I stopped by a convienience store to buy a diet coke and the clerk asked me if I had a fight with my tractor. (I was pretty dirty and worn out). I told her, "No, I had a fight with a windmill". She quickly replied "Well, it looks like the windmill won!".

It may have won the battle but I still think I will win war. The remants of tropical storm Erin passed through this weekend so I didn't go down there and battle the rain but I plan on making the trip one evening this week.

I did kill a large rattlesnake by the pond while I was there. One thing that suprised me is that I walked within 2 feet of the snake before I realized it and it never ratttled at me. It only rattled after I tried to chop off it's head with a grubbing hoe and missed! I ended up shooting it with my .22 rifle.

Not a whole lot else going on. Eli is growing up fast. He is crawling everywhere and starting to get into things that he shouldn't.

I guess that's it for now.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Windmill Repairs

Well, I spent this weekend down on my new land near Snyder, Texas working on the windmill that is on the property. I ended up pulling the drop pipe from the well and it was quite a bit of work and in the end the way it was set up was not quite the standard way. I brought the parts home with me and was able to get everything cleaned up and sorted out and plan on going back down there sometime this week to try to get it pumping water.

I moved my automatic feeder to a new spot and got my trail cameras up and running again. I saw a doe and a fawn by the pond and a covey of 12 quail but no other wildlife this time.

Hunting season is coming up fast and I still have a LOT to get done!

Monday, August 6, 2007

1st Entry

As you can tell from my title, I'm not really that creative. I'm planning on using this blog more as a personal diary than anything else. Some people might find that interesting, most people probably won't.

I'm a little concerned about posting too much personal information on the web but we'll see how this goes.

I have several interests including saltwater reef aquariums, hunting and fishing, and country living. I'm involved with church and enjoy singing as well.

I live on 42 acres of property and own another 160 acres that is 100 miles away that I hunt on.

That's about it for my first post. Maybe it will continue, maybe not.