Tuesday, May 22, 2012

4 men, a Lady, and Tickinois

We decided we would take a trip to Illinois to do a little turkey hunting. A friend of ours has some land and it was suppose to be covered up with turkeys. My husband, Shane, is a big turkey hunter, me, not so much. In fact  I have never turkey hunted before. We took all 3 boys with us on this trip. Two of which have been turkey hunting, but Holt and I are  were rookies.
We left on a Thursday night 935 PM to be exact after Gage and Owen's little league game. I managed to drive until about 330 AM and had to pull over somewhere in Missouri. I had had all I could take. I had chewed 2 packs of gum, and had listened to the radio loudly while all of the men folk( ages 30 something, 10, 8, and 5) were snoring away. Every now and then one would wake up to see where we were, and Shane woke up long enough to guide me through the back way of Memphis., TN. When I finally pulled over and switched from driver to passenger, I was able to sleep a few hours before we stopped to fill up and the boys woke up. There was NO going back to sleep after that because they were full of a thousand questions. I mean did they think of all these questions while they slept..GEEEZZ!
Let me just say I have never seen fields for miles and miles like they have in Illinois. Down here we don't see that because we are covered up with forest. It  took a little getting use to.
We went through Mark Twain's home town, and got all kinds of questions like " Who is Mark Twain?"...Really? I thought they would have learned that in school by now?!
We rolled into Carthage, IL about 10 AM.
I was tired and ill and wanted to sleep. BUT NO! We had to go set up the blind for turkey hunting...not a happy camper!
After we got all that done we checked into the Prairie Winds Motel...can you say Anthony Perkins type, you know from, Psycho???  I t was a good little motel though and the people were friendly, even though the thought we had accents. Anyway, I finally got to sleep. I am sure everyone was thankful of that.
The next day, 430 AM came awful early, we made it to our spots. We were suppose to be able to sit in the blind and kill a turkey, but that was not the case. Illinois had had a mild winter and everything was about a month early. The grass was thigh high and extremely thick. Owen, Holt  and I wasted our first morning, but I didn't know what I was doing anyway. Shane, however, managed to kill one quickly.

Over the weekend we met up with some friends of ours that live there. Ryan took Holt and me hunting one morning. We walked and climbed listening and moving. Let's just say this was not flat country we were on here, it was uphill both was... We finally get on a turkey and he is gobbling his head off. We had to move on him several times because he was on another ridge. We sat and waited and he finally made an appearance. Only he was behind some thick trees and undergrowth. He was hung up for about 20 minutes just gobblin' and struttin'. He finally decided to mosey on around into a clearing where I could get a shot. AND BANG!!!! I would love to show you a picture of the turkey I killed, but I MISSED! Yep that's right shot right over him....WTH!! As soon as we realized I had missed, Holt says to me " Momma, were you aiming?" and " Its my turn to shot now because you missed you didn't aim very well?" He continued to give me third degree about missing...really? Your 5 and you are giving me the blues about missing a turkey?
While all this was going on Shane had the older 2 boys, and Gage wouldn't pull the trigger and Owen missed too.
Well Ryan had to go back to work the next day, so I was on my own. Shane gave me a lesson on using a slate call that evening. The next day I tromped through the woods with Gage as a tag along while Owen and Holt went with Shane. Wish I could show you a picture of a turkey here too, but  we had technical difficulties like scaring a turkey off the roost. Then we were able to get on 2 turkeys both gobblin and struttin'. They were coming up the ridge all I could see were the very tops of the tail feathers when the strutted, and the tip of their heads when they gobbled. They were coming, I just knew they were about to top the hill, when, ***POOF**** off they went. I don't know what happened. SO I was one ticked off lady.
The next day we were at it again.Owen and I ventured back into the woods. Once again I scared a turkey off the roost, I am so terrible at this! I finally get on a turkey and I am waiting and waiting, he is gobbling like crazy and all of a sudden he stops and I never here another word. Not sure what happened, but we had seen a coyote upclose and personal the afternoon before. Shane and I were walking towards the creek when we met the coyote literally face to face at the top of a hill. We were both caught so off guard we just stood there and the coyote ran off. I think we scared it as much as it scared us becuase it had a look on its face like WTH???!! wen hears two more turkeys and as we are easing up the road we come up on two gobblers in the road and scare them...yes I suck I know! While Owen and I were hunting Shane, Holt and Gage were hunting and once again Gage would not pull the trigger on his turkey.
This place did have a lot of turkeys, but I couldn't get it done. Let me just say that turkey hunting is a lot of work, and is literally for the birds. Will I doit again? Maybe, but it is the most frustrating thing to be on a turkey and it change its mind about what it wants to do. There were alot of ugly words said these few days.

Let me tell you what we did manage to get though, TICKS, and lots of them. They were everywhere. Everyday we would get about 20 off of us and then when we made it back to the motel we would find more. They were so bad that we find them in the truck and on the outside of the truck. The place that we hunted, use to be a dairy farm, had not been farmed in many years  and they had not done any burning, so it was a tick oasis. The boys aptly named it Tickinois.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gone too long

Well, it has been a while since our last post. Way too long actually. We have been busy with life and to be perfectly honest I have been too lazy to post. We have been hunting and fishing though.
So I guess I will post some pictures and update y'all on all of our adventures.

Let me start with Gage's first big bass. It was about 6 pounds and he caught it on a brim bait. He was so excited, aptly naming it
To his dismay she was caught and released.

Owen and Gage have both killed turkeys this year with their Dad.

Shane has also killed a couple of turkeys and one really good old bird.

 Gage and Popee with Gage's Turkey. Popee is Gage's 94 year old Great Grandfather.



Shane also had a deep sea fishing adventure. They caught over 2000 lbs. of yellow fin tuna and he caught a 300 lbs. Blue Marlin.

Shane on the back of the boat headed out.

Blue Marlin


Some of the fish they caught.

Shane and some of the tuna.

Supper on the boat.

Those are 2x6 plank that the fish are on.

Hope y'all enjoyed our update we have more adventures to come.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"We were Organic When Organic Wasn't COOoooll"

My family and I have been organic, free ranging, green living, ecologically sound, environmentally friendly, antibiotic free, self sufficient eaters for a long time. We started long before the organic movement came to pass. All of these environmentalist, green living, organic living/eating people think that they are on to something new. Really?
News flash...


My husband's family always had a very large garden we are talking lots of acres, but not necessarily a farm in the latter years. Mr. David, "Popee", who just turned 94 years old, WWII veteran, and still lives in he same place he was born and raised, always grew enough to feed his family as well as enough to sell or mostly give away to many other families. They also harvested there own meat whether it was a cow that they raised or a free ranging wild animal. Popee grew up during the great depression and they had to survive the best way they could. They grew their own food and killed and ate their own meat.  And raised two children.
Popee and Mamaw
Picture taken by their great granddaughter BrieAnna Harper

My husband tells stories of being a young child and having to help harvest the garden. Rows and rows of field peas, butter beans, which he will not eat to this day, tomatoes, okra, acres of corn,etc. Helping in the garden went on for years until Popee got to where he couldn't do it like he use to. Now we( my brother in law, Stanton) have a much smaller garden- which I hope to help make it bigger this year--that my boys and I helped in a little. It is a pain in the arse to say the least, but we know where it came from and what went into it.

I met my husband when I was 16--- you know that's only been like a few years ago, wink wink, nod, nod. As far as I know, I don't know that my mother in law ever had to buy much, if any, beef from the store. I think she always used free range, organic, grass fed, acorn fed, wild deer. The fish were also harvested out of the creeks, ponds, or the river. The turkeys were also free range.

My dad was born in a dirt floor cabin and was 1 of 7 children. They had to keep their milk, which they milked fresh from their milk cow, in the creek to keep it cold. He tells stories of getting in trouble for eating the fresh cream off the top because my Grandmother needed it to make fresh churned butter.They also had a smoke house to cure their own meat. They killed what they needed, and ate it to survive. They also raised animals for slaughter and had a garden.

So you see, "We were organic when organic wasn't cOOooool".

I recently became an addict of the website pinterest. The other day I saw an anti-hunting "pin" that said something to the affect of  Why don't people just get their meat from the grocery store where no animals were harmed...I could not find that pin again to save my life, I have looked for it for days. Then a blogger/twitter friend wrote an article with a similar sentiment that also came from pinterest... Hunt Like Your Hungry "Cowardly Hunter" . Seriously where do people think the meat products come from in the grocery store? Do they think they just magically appear and no animal had to be slaughtered for that nice juicy ribeye to get in that little cellophane and styrofoam package. What about those chicken pieces...do they think they just laid them like an egg all processed and breaded?

In our grocery store, ground beef is anywhere from $3.50-3.98 a pound. The other day we put up a little more than 50 lbs of ground deer meat. Now it cost us $10.00 for the beef fat that we mixed with it and we ground it ourselves. So let's see 50lbs of  free range venison for $10 = about  20 cents a lb... Not only is this environmentally sound, but economical as well..Geez I have 3 growing boys and husband.  Not to mention we have several shoulder roast, hams and loins that we put in the freezer 2 days ago. Now this may not last all year, but it will last a while.

I understand that some people may not like meat or they choose not to eat it, or they just can't see themselves killing or eating Bambi, or  Little Bunny Foo Foo; however don't condemn me or my family because we  CHOOSE to be green and help sustain ourselves through hunting, and fishing. I mean don't hate us because we are OG.... Original Green! We aren't hatein' on them because they are stealing some of our OG swagga.

We, as hunters and fisherman, were stewards for the environment long before this  green movement came to be as well. Hunters and their organizations are far more responsible and conscious of environmental issues than most non hunters. We usually plant products to help fed and maintain the health of our wildlife populations. We have been responsible for the growth of populations of different wild game, which were non existent or on the brink of being non existent in areas. There are many organizations that hunters contribute financially to as well and  donate their harvest to in order to help feed people who for some reason can not feed their self.

I suppose the point is "A Country Boy Can Survive"...Thank you Hank Williams, Jr.

Just like tonight, we went after school and caught some nice little bass from an old pond in the middle of no where. The boys are enjoying the freshly fried organically grown  bass with fresh homemade french fries. We have been doing stuff just like this for years.

So Hunt On my fellow OGs!

The Small Print
I don't believe in "If its brown its down" or "Shooting anything that moves." Yes I hunt big bucks or trophy hunt, but I assure you I also eat what I kill. By hunting mature deer you equalize the herd and allow the herd to grow.
If you choose to be a vegetarian or vegan that's your choice, but I don't, I like to be a omnivore.
Yes, I have killed Bambi's momma and daddy and Little Bunny Foo Foo too. I also ate them.
Please feel free to leave a comment, but if you do so in a disrespectful manner please understand you will get a disrespectful response. We all have our opinions and our ways of life. When the Apocalypse comes I will be able to survive. Will you without the grocery store?
Yes, I do shop at the grocery store and yes I buy meat there, BUT I know animals had to be slaughter for it to get there, and I don't have a problem with that.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The HEART of the Matter

So the other day while we were skinning the deer, the boys and Shane decided  they wanted to try to eat the deer's heart. ( YIKES!!!) "What you talkin' 'bout  Willis?", was my reaction. I mean seriously...I don't eat much fish, much less organ meat. It just sounds disgusting...Right?!
Well, I always try to try new things, so I decided I was game. Now those who know me well know that smells and textures are important to me...so I was weary to say the least. I'm not a picky eater by any means, but....deer HEART???

We came home and tried our hand at cooking the deer heart, and this is what we discovered.

First we got the heart out of the deer and washed in cold water REALLY well.

There is a fine membrane around the heart that you need to peel off. Its a bit like trying to find the end of a piece of scotch tape. But just keep working and peel it off.

Next we started at the smaller end and began to slice it in to small slices about a half inch thick.

At the top of the heart you will find the ventricles and fat, we discarded those. You will be able to tell a difference in firmness. This area is almost hard.

Then we cut those pieces into smaller pieces.

We soaked it in cold water to try and make sure we got all of the blood clots out of the meat.

We then cooked it 3 different ways. We didn't really know where to start so we just winged it.
I soaked some in Italian dressing, cumin, and cajun seasoning, some in worcestershire and cajun seasoning, and floured and fried the rest. I pan seared the other two.

Now, I am no Georgia Pellegrini , but I was really impressed with what we did. I was surprised that it tasted really good. For some reason I was thinking it would taste like the liver and onions my mother use to make me eat (YUCK!!), pleasantly I was very impressed. The texture was fine it seemed to be a lot like any other piece of deer meat, and it didn't smell any different.

The boys enjoyed it too!

What we did as an experiment was very simple, but watch out because next year we will be trying it again. I am definitely going to be doing some research and try to find a good recipe or maybe create one.

The Finale!!

Well I suppose this is it. The End. The inevitable. The finale. The fat lady has sung. It is official, Alabama's 2011-2012 deer season has come and gone. Finished.  BOOOOO!!!!

Anyway, we went out with a a BANG!, literally. Gage killed a seven point hunting by his self Monday. So it was his first kill sitting by his self. He was so excited he could hardly contain his self.
I wish I could  have recorded him when we pulled up. Hilarious!

Gage's Uncle Stanton decided since it was his first buck by his self that he needed to be re-initiated...

Notice the little fella in the back ground!! LOL!
Tuesday the very last day at last light I shot  a small "cull" buck. He turned out to be a 6 point, but I thought he was bigger. He came out close to the stand running a doe, I tried to wake Owen, but couldn't and shot him before he left the patch. Not too much to brag on, but hey more MEAT!!!

Yes, I was dressed in a tank top and hunting pants. I had a jacket and a sweater, but it was hot...So that was a first to be dressed like that to kill a deer.

Hope everyone had a good season. So long deer season, til we meet again...

So in the mean time:

Yep, that's what's for supper!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Black Bear

So our weather has really been terrible in south Alabama lately and so has our hunting. Now let me say that we have seen some deer and I have let a 9 point walk and the same 8 point walk twice to the dismay of my 8 year old. I suppose I should have let him shoot the 8 point, but it was 4:15 in the afternoon and I thought a much bigger deer was going to grace us with his presence, however; he must have had something else on his mind. So I have endured 4 days of... "Why didn't you let me shoot that deer?", and "Momma, I can't believe you didn't let me shoot it! Will you let me shoot it next time?", every 30 minutes.
We have captured a few nice bucks on our game cameras though.

A friend of mine, Karen Baxter, sent me some pictures of a black bear that they have captured on their game camera. Black bears in south Alabama are not that common to see. They are also illegal to kill and are protected in our area. They caught the bear in a patch aptly named "The Bear Patch".


We only have a few more days left of our deer season, so hopefully we will be able to get a few more before the season is out.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Vacation Round Up

Like many people we were busy during Christmas vacation. This year our time was shorter, by 3 days, than normal due to a change in the school schedule. However, we persevered and were able to fit in a lot of happenings.
We started off with a duck hunt at the beaver pond one morning. The hubs had scouted it the day before and it was loaded with ducks. We had some ran move the day and night before, but we set out on that adventure anyway  only to find - as usual with ducks- they are there one day and not the next. The walk across the beaver dam was a little treacherous,but hey anything for ducks, right??!! We were able to get a few though...

We also took a trip to Cuba, Alabama to visit my other BNL, Scott. They have a hunting camp up that way so we took the kids and they got to have a good time with their cousins.
Also the hubs and Owen got lucky and found this little fella wandering around.

The deer came in about 4:20 and he was trying to get Owen set up to shoot and before he could the deer walked out the field. When the deer came back in Shane took the shot.

Holt also "killed" his first buck with his Uncle Stanton on a deer drive. According to Holt he shot the deer. He "says" he pulled the trigger and Uncle Stanton helped hold the shot gun. Well, that's their story and they are sticking to it anyway. After a little celebrateing and dancing around Uncle Stanton was able to snap a picture.

More Pictures from the hunting camp

Airsoft War!!!

BTW those airsoft plastic BBs hurt like the dickens!!

Hope everyone enjoyed there Christmas Holiday and

We celebrated the new year with a family get together at the skinin' shed. We grilled, cooked collards in the old cast iron wash pot( you can see it hanging over the fire in the picture) and roasted marshmallows by the fire. However, no one in my crew made it to see midnight central time. But I am sure we were awake to celebrate in other time zones.