Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer Trail Cams

I bought a GoPro a few years ago.  I haven't really found a good use until just recently.  I've been using it as a trail cam for fishing.  It's amazing the fish you will see under the water.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Spring Foraging: Mayapples

Now is the time of the mayapples.  Podophyllum peltatum.  This is an interesting plant.  I was just told the berries were edible, but after further research, I am a little hesitant on that point.  Green Dean says the fruit is edible in small quantities.  The majority of the plant is poisonous.  It does have some medicinal uses, particularly topically, as a treatment for plantar's warts.

Mayapples grow in clusters, usually from a single root.  The flowers are white, and are found under the foliage.  They start growing in early spring, and flower in April and May.  The fruits are harvested in the summer, depending on where you are located. The leaves remind me of Tree Stars from the first Land Before Time movie. 

Again, every part of the plant, except the fully ripe fruit is poisonous.  Don't eat the seeds. 

Green Dean

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spring Foraging: Morels

Warning:  Never ever eat a wild mushroom, until it has been identified by an expert.  Wild mushrooms will kill you, and there are very few antidotes to their virulent poisons.  All information contained in this article is for education purposes only.  Again, almost all wild mushrooms will kill you in a terrible painful fashion.

Nothing says spring like fresh morel mushrooms.  And now is the time to find them.  We've been enjoying our very short turkey season the last two weekends.  While the turkeys didn't cooperate, the morels did. 

The morel (Morchella) mushroom only grows in the spring.  Morels typically start to "bloom" when the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees, and there is quite a bit of moisture.  We found ours last weekend, in the middle of a rain storm.  Note to self:  Don't turkey hunt in the rain.  

Morels are easy to identify, look for a brain like shape, growing on a stem.  There is only one look-a-like, but to tell the difference, cut the mushroom in half, if it's hollow, it's a morel.  If it's not, it's false morel.  Not much else to it.  They will grow in the same locations year after year after year.  Once you find them, mark them and come back next year to pick them. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Daily Bible Reading

This is not the normal topic of conversation for this blog, but then again, what is when you only post a few times a year.  Something I've been trying to do regularly for a few years now is daily Bible reading.  This is hard.  Life gets in the way, things happen.  The Devil is always out to stop you. 

There are many plans out there for reading the bible in a year, reading the bible in a few years.  Here are a few links.

I'm not affiliated with any of these sites, I just wanted to put a few links for someone to get started in.  I have no knowledge of how well these plans actually work.  Various plans include, but are not limited to:
  • Chronological
  • Historical
  • Old and New Testament Together
  • Beginning to End
  • Blended
I'm interested in trying the Chronological, and the Historical plans.  I may have to try those in a few years, when I'm done with my current plan.  Which is what I actually wanted to write about today.

I've never actually read the whole Bible in one year.  What I like to do, instead, is start at the beginning, and read 2 chapters a day starting in Genesis and ending in Revelations.  This takes several years.  There are 1,189 chapters in total.  Extrapolating the numbers, it would take 594 days, or almost two years to read the whole thing.  I will exclude Proverbs (31 chapters, convenient hey?) and Psalms (150, also a very convenient number).

My current schedule is to read, 2 chapters a day in one book, excluding Proverbs and Psalms.  I start with a chapter of Psalms.  I believe that any good quiet time with God starts with praise of His Almighty power, and what better way to praise God than to read the Psalms.

Next I like to read a chapter of Proverbs everyday (2 on the last day of every other month).  I find that by continuously rereading Proverbs, I find new insights every month, and it is amazing how relevant the advice is to your daily life.  Today, I read chapter 21 of Proverbs.  There were several verses that struck me, actually, Proverbs 21 has so much actionable advice, it's crazy.   The big one was verse 20.  "The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get."  We have been trying to pay off all of our debt over the last few years, and some days it's very, very hard to care about the why.  But then I think what will life be like without student loans and house payments.  And I realize that verses like this are very powerful motivators for everyday life.

Lastly, I read 2 chapters of whatever book is next.  Currently, I am working my through Ezekiel, and it's hard.  Ezekiel had a hard job.  Which of course leads me to realized that while I don't always like my job, God has called me to it, and I don't have to eat my food cooked over human dung.  Or lie flat for almost two years.  Yeah, I have a pretty good job.  Thanks, God, for that. 

The last bit of advice I have is to take notes.  Certain passages will ring true at different times of your life.  I use Evernote, and I have a notebook for every book, and every chapter has it's own page (or multiple pages, depending on how many times I've read it).  It's a nice way to look back and see what struck you as important on different days in the past.  To see how far you've come, or how far you still have to go.  Proverbs is rapidly getting larger and larger, as the months progress, and different verses stick out to me.  I've considered getting a paper notebook, but for me, the benefits of electronic storage outweigh the benefits of physical paper. 

Also as you read the Bible, you will start to see where certain verses come together, and where different authors had the same ideas.  Proverbs 21:3 matches perfectly with the ideas presented in Psalm 50.  God doesn't want or need our sacrifices.  He does want our obedience, and love. 

These are things I never would have put together without God perfectly matching up my daily readings today. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Scouting: Deer Droppings

I have a love/hate relationship with deer hunting.  I enjoy it while the weather is nice, but as the season drags on, I begin to hate it.  The only thing that really keeps me deer hunting is the allure of lots of "free" meat.  You can only hunt deer that exist, and one way to see where deer are is by reading sign. Today's sign is all about deer poop.

This is a picture of deer scat.  Rabbit scat is very similar, but is much smaller, and usually closer together.  We could tell these were very fresh from how much moisture there was in them.  Older scat will be drier, and more crumbly.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Early Squirrel Season

Squirrel Cuttings

Early fall squirrels is my favorite time of the year.  If you get a good rain, it will usually cool off enough to make being the woods quite fun.  It's still early enough, that you will almost certainly have the woods to yourself, and best of all, the squirrels are still uneducated to the dangers of humans hunting them.

Hunting squirrels is always about finding what they are feeding on.  In the last summer/early fall, they are almost always feeding on hickory nuts.  My brother and I went a few weeks ago, and we found one, and managed to shoot it, the next thing you know there wear at least 8 to 10 squirrels leaping everywhere around this tree, fleeing.  It was the most fun we had had hunting in a long time.

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During this time of the year, I prefer #5 or #6 shot in a 12 gauge.  You really need the extra penetration this will give you to punch through the leaves.  Which brings me to another reason I love this time of year.  All the leaves on the trees make it a lot harder for the squirrels to see you, which lets you get away with a lot more mistakes while hunting them.  This is a great time to bring a youngster with you to teach them woodsmanship, and squirrel hunting.  Just look for where the leaves are shaking, and you've probably found a squirrel.

While I prefer walking and making the squirrels move, another good strategy can be to find a good hickory tree, and sit off to the side with a .22 and pick them off one by one.  With a good quiet .22, you can relax, and pick off quite a few squirrels in the same tree.  This can also be great practice for larger game later in the season, and again, can be a great way to teach a child to hunt proficiently.

Foraging: Goldenrod

What to say about goldenrod?  Yes the same but different goldenrod
 that is found in teas.  Goldenrod is plant that is found abuntantly through much of the nation.  It grows wild just about everywhere.  There are over 120 species,  all of them can be used for teas, but some varieties are better than others.  Luckily, goldenrod is very easy identify once it starts flowering.

Alternating Leaves
Goldenrod is plant that can grow up to 6 feet tall.  The flowers are a very bright yellow.  The leaves are alternating, with no stem.

You can use the leaves and the flowers for a tea.  You should harvest the leaves before the plant starts to flower, as the leaves will start to fall apart soon.  Collect the flowers before they open, hang upside to dry, and use to make tea.

One important thing about foraging for Goldenrod,  they flower in the fall, and are a very important source of food for honeybees in the fall.  Be very careful how much you harvest, and make sure you leave more for the bees than you take. 
Goldenrod Plants

Goldenrod is a aquaretic (it promotes the loss of water from the body).  It has been used to help with kidney stones, and some diseases of the urinary tract.  The young leaves can be used in salads.   It can also be used to make tinctures.  It has also been used as a mouth rinse.  It has also been applied to the skin to improve would healing.