Porcupine Encounter! Guest Post!
Feb01

Porcupine Encounter! Guest Post!

When I first posted this picture on social media, I got a variety of comments about it. Some people ‘got’ it and realized how unique the photo was and how it was pretty cool that I was that close to a porcupine. Other people made comments like: “What happened after the picture?” (with the assumption that I shot it after the encounter). Basically it all boils down to time and place; if this porcupine was within a half mile of my farm and the dogs, I would have most likely taken alternative actions. Pests are pests, but porcupines don’t go looking for trouble.   They’re just trying to find their next meal, which this guy proved when he cowered at our approach. I think it would be awfully boring if we didn’t see porcupines in the trees, or magpies calling their crew together over a newly discovered carcass in the bush, or even muskrats swimming through a small water pot in a pasture. If it’s not directly harming me or my animals, it can stay (with the exception of skunks and raccoons.   My hatred for them has been a lifelong struggle as a chicken, pheasant and waterfowl owner).  I’m not saying I’ve never disposed of a porcupine because I’d be lying!  I’m also not a fan of them around the farm yard, especially when my overly curious horse got too close to one.  Let me tell you, pulling 57 quills out of the muzzle of a 1200 pound horse who is trying to stomp you with his front feet while ripping out strands of barbed wire fencing in the meantime, is not my idea of a good time. However, this particular porcupine was within a mile of the south Saskatchewan River, and no where near any farm yards. This great photo op came about when my brother and I were out moose hunting one afternoon and on our way back to the truck, we came across this young porcupine in a stubble field who was just cleaning up some grain that was thrown over by the combine. He wasn’t hurting anyone or anything.   He was just minding his business enjoying his supper. My favorite comment: “You’re lucky you didn’t get stuck with a quill” (I was at least 2 feet behind this guy).  There is a common misconception that porcupines can “throw” their quills… they can’t! The only way that a quill can be extracted from the body of a porcupine is from direct pressure on the quill causing the barbed end to pierce the muzzle/paw/etc of the animal and therefore being released from the back of...

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Crab Chowder!!! Amazing Recipe by Leslie Crawford
Jan26

Crab Chowder!!! Amazing Recipe by Leslie Crawford

I know it sounds impossible, but sometimes after a big crab boil (which is the best dinner around, even if it does make for slow eating…), we have leftovers. Gasp! After your cleaned crabs are boiled, first and foremost, you gotta pick em. Which isn’t nearly as fun when you’re not stuffing your face…. but still totally worth the effort! So now you have fresh caught, deliciously boiled, and clean picked lump blue crab meat. What to do? Crab cakes come to mind first… but that seemed a little too typical for me. Too easy. I was looking for something out of the box. Plus, yesterday was a cold and drizzly day, so I knew a soup would hit the spot!   So, here’s the skinny on making your own delicious pot of crab chowder: Which, by the way, is not a “skinny” soup. This is a full fat, delicious comfort food soup. Crab Chowder Recipe Boil the carrots and potatoes: The first thing you’ll want to do is peel and chop 3-5 medium potatoes (I used red potatoes because that is what was in my pantry) and 3 large carrots, also chopped. Place these in a soup pot and add just enough stock to cover the potatoes and carrots well, but don’t make them swim! Cover, turn the heat on med/high and let them boil. Fry up some chopped bacon: Now you’ll need 5-10 slices of bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces. Fry these up in a large skillet until they reach your preferred crispness level. These will be served as a topping for the soup. I got mine a little too crunchy for my tastes, but that’s ok! Now, drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel and forget about them until setting the table. Sautee onion, celery, garlic, and mushrooms: To the bacon grease, add one large diced onion and about 3 stalks of chopped celery (which I was out of…boo) and let them cook until the onions start to get clear. Now add a Tbsp of chopped garlic and some chopped mushrooms if you have them (I was also out! Eeek!). Let this cook another minute or so until it smells fragrant. Make a roux, like a gravy: Now while you’re grease is still hot (but don’t let it start smoking!) you’re going to add flour, in a less than exact manner, as if you were making white gravy… Add a little at a time (1-2 Tbsp) and start whisking. You want the grease to be soaked up by the flour, but not be quite as cakey as mine was (I was a bit heavy-handed with...

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Limits Are Made To Be Pushed..  Angie’s Journey With A Spear
Jan21

Limits Are Made To Be Pushed.. Angie’s Journey With A Spear

“Failure is only an option if you quit.” This is something I tell myself often, and especially when I’ve set a goal that to some may seem unattainable…even to myself at times. I’m frequently asked if there is anything I cannot do. First of all, I am no Wonder Woman, or even close to being perfect, I am simply stubborn, and when I put my mind to something I WILL figure out a way to accomplish it. So with that said, I guess I haven’t found anything yet I cannot do. Other than, as my husband Adam would say, “pee standing up.” Like I did with bow hunting nineteen years ago, I simply decided one day I wanted to hunt with a bow. I didn’t really know anyone at the time that was a bow hunter, and absolutely knew little to nothing about bows, or hunting with one, but it appealed to me on many levels. I was really getting tired of the rat race of rifle season in Central Nebraska. After I picked up the bow I had a ton of help from many different people for which I am forever grateful. The spear however has been a completely different story. As with the bow, about a year ago I just up and decided I wanted a spear. I enjoy throwing knives, so why not try a spear? Adam took it in stride just like he does everything with me and simply said, “Lord, have mercy,” and then promptly put a homemade spear together, a broom handle with a spear head screwed on the end of it. Now you might ask as I did, “what should I use for a target?” It would be the first of many questions I had about spears, and no one to ask the questions of. I had a thin section of a cotton wood tree that I used for throwing knives, so that’s what I used. The next few months I threw that broom-handle spear thousands of times at that piece of cottonwood. Thankfully it came fairly natural for me, and was pretty easy to throw. So the idea of actually hunting with a spear started to creep into my head and consume me until one day I finally blurted it out. I don’t remember Adam’s exact response, but I’m sure it involved laughing. However, he is fully aware after nineteen years of marriage, to know that I wasn’t joking, so the very next day he brought the loader tractor into the yard, parked it over the top of a round bale and said, “Get your spear. If you think you’re going...

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Moments Like This… Guest Post
May04

Moments Like This… Guest Post

  “Move quickly”!  The tall damp grass muffles our foot falls, as we try to avoid an early morning face plant brought on by some unforeseen object in the dark. The sun has just started to illuminate the inky sky, as gobbles echo down the valley. We race toward the avian thunder coming from a roosting tree ahead, praying our movement will go unnoticed. A large oak tree 50 yards out appears to be the perfect end point of our mad scramble. The three of us slide into position like a baseball player stealing home plate. Within minutes (that seem like hours) there is a chorus of hair raising gobbles, pounding heartbeats, a fire red head bobbing through the brilliant sea of green, and an ever so quiet click of a safety being released… My 16 year old niece, Audrey has drawn a turkey hunt in our home state of California. She has asked my husband, Joe and I to join her on the adventure and she let us know that she is determined to drive home with a cooler full of fresh turkey meat! On opening morning of her hunt, the three of us start the 2.5 mile hike under a moonless sky, long before sun up. Our pant legs get soaked from the dew covered grass, as we meander through the dense oak trees and rolling hills. We crest the top of a ridge, plant ourselves against some trees and listen for lonely gobblers still in the roost, broadcasting their position to anything willing to listen. Within minutes we hear one, but it’s a ways off. We grab our gear and the race begins to pinpoint the roosting area. The gobbles become louder as we close the distance in the dark. In time, the morning twilight reveals the lay of the land and thunderous gobbles rumble through the crisp spring air. Who doesn’t love turkey hunting? We glance to the oak tree we want for our set up, lean over to reduce our profile, and sprint to the designated spot. Once there I scramble out in front of us a few yards, quickly set up a lone Avian X hen decoy, and slide back into position next to Audrey. I range several trees and whisper the ranges. I look into Audrey’s eyes and I can see she is ready. Joe strategically sets up about 10 yards behind the two of us and preps the play list. The birds are out of the roost and the chess match begins. Joe calls softly and a few gobblers respond. Time passes and the sequence continues. Joe calls again and the...

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A Day in The Life of Angie – Make That Call Sing by Angie Kokes
Mar11

A Day in The Life of Angie – Make That Call Sing by Angie Kokes

Growing up in a hunting family I always had access to help and the equipment I needed, but tirelessly found my mind yearning to do everything myself.  I didn’t want to be the girl who had to have her hook baited or birds cleaned by anyone but me.  And my stubbornness to do so has shaped me into the hunter and angler I am today.  I like to call it the self taught by trying all the wrong ways first and then figuring out all the right ways later…chalking that up to my stubborn streak.  However this worked well for me over the years accept in the goose blind. Goose hunting was something that was always done with my dad, brother and their friends and eventually my husband. Since there is a lot of work that goes into goose hunting, blind building, setting decoys, etc., when you’re allowed in the blind the last thing you want to do is screw the hunt up for everyone else, and so I never blew a call.  Well not exactly never, but the few times I did attempt it I was met with unfavorable looks from the other hunters,  and comments like, “you sound like a dying rabbit, you need to go home and practice.”  So I would just sit back and let the masters work the birds and when they brought them down I was the hunter who would shoot and not be heard…at least not heard blowing a call. Fast forward dozens of seasons to my having my own blind.  I still had experienced callers out to hunt several times but on one blustery day with a blizzard starting to howl my husband, brother in law and I gave it a go on our own, all of us basically non-existent in the skills of calling geese department.  By mid morning we had no birds and the guys decided they better stop playing and get home to feed the cattle.  I opted out of actually being responsible and decided I wanted to stay and hunt, I just knew in my heart this was going to be a good day for birds.   They shrugged their shoulders and left mumbling some sarcastic form of good luck with that. I’d been secretly wanting to goose hunt on my own for some time, and now was as good a time as any to let that call screech!  I let the boys get well out of range of any sound I was about to make before I started my  “it’s about time Angie learned to blow a call session.”  Rummaging through the calls I picked out a couple...

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Take a Stand on Treestand Safety!
Sep14

Take a Stand on Treestand Safety!

Ladder Treestand Safety Tips by Dana Sacia, Guest Blogger If you are a bow hunter, you have heard time and time again … Safety first, Safety first, Safety first. You may even know someone that has had a treestand accident. The thought of that happening intimidated me so much that it took me years to climb up and get in one. I realized if I wanted to experience bow hunting from high ground, I was going to have to figure out how to over come this fear. The first thing I needed to do was to become educated on how to be as safe as possible. I wanted to ensure myself memorable and enjoyable hunts for years to come without an accident. It didn’t take long to realize it really is pretty simple. All I had to do was apply a little basic knowledge and become aware of the importance of safety. Once that happened, I was able to enjoy the excitement of hunting from a new view and perspective while remaining safe and sound. Safety Harnesses Wearing a safety vest or full body harness is one of the most important aspects to consider before climbing into a treestand. Statistics show that 30% of bow hunters will experience a fall or accident from lack of safety while hunting out of a ladder stand. Being in a hurry can be the number one result of an accident. As soon as you get into the stand, strap yourself in and then get settled. A strong and sturdy safety rope (or strap) should be attached to both your harness and the tree to prevent you from falling more than 12 inches. See more at:  Summit Journal  Safety harness should fit securely. Good harnesses have shock absorption and are made of highly durable materials. The comfort of safety harness has greatly improved over the last several years. Some brands of safety harnesses include: • Hunter Safety Systems: Contour • Summit Stands: Fast-Back Deluxe • Robinson Outdoors: Tree Spider • Big Game Trees: EZ On • Gorilla: G20 Setting up a Ladder Stand I personally hunt out of a ladder stand so the first thing to consider when preparing to set one up is finding a healthy tree. Try to pick a solid, strong, and heavy tree. Make sure you choose one that is nest free to any animals so you are not interrupting any home. Once you have selected the perfect tree, clean the debris at the base of it. This will eliminate tripping over any rocks or thick brush when you are entering or exiting the stand. It will also show you if...

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