Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Grebe Mea Culpa


Great comment post and story. I thought I'd dig deep into my archives and provide you some good company on the coot/grebe tip. Now, you feel so much better getting that a-GREBE-ous infraction off of your chest, that I thought perhaps these kids could help you get through the last bit of your GREBE-ing process---

This young fellow has killed some Coot in the Canoga Marsh...

...but he didn't kill any Grebe.

Little Hannah, Grade 5, has the Grebe thing down though...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Jinx sustained

Well, my time away in the beautiful industrial forests of central NY is now over as my turkey credits have run out for this month. (I thought I would get more time this year, but my wife did not like her mother’s day gift (a .22 with scope and case) and my good standing fell half way through the season.) It ends with no turkeys in the bag but a lot of good memories and a few empty shells.

The picture (do not adjust your screen – it is what it is) is the fourth in a series of empty freezer pictures that adorn my trophy room wall. On the left side of the freezer there should be a plucked tom with an eight-inch beard that jumped from the brush at 8 yards on my way out of the woods opening morning. I find that an 8# 12 ga. w/ a full choked tube does not work very well at that range, unless you value the damage it does to the tree that jumped in from of the bird as it ran away (when you have two tags and an empty freezer you don’t care if you call them all in). On the right hand side should be the jake that I missed with my 20 ga. at 30 yards. That bird quietly came in opposite the other 2 who were gobbling their merry way into my trap. Having been busted and the bird again on the run I decided to try to end his Saturday jog with a lightning fast shot (you grousers would have been proud as to how fast I got off the ground and swung on that bird) and got a few feathers for my collection. I really should have had that bird, clear lane and a good bead, but he must have fallen through the pattern of 6s (gotta be the reason I mmmmmissed). Other than that I hung 3 other birds and enjoyed my few outings – it wasn’t an African safari but it sure was nice.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Reporting in from South Africa

Hello Gentlemen!

This is Safari Jim reporting on location in South Africa.

We just finished our first week in the bush and are back in civilization in Pretoria. Rains have been heavy and the vegetation is thick. Viewing has been difficult. No big cats as of yet, but lots of other great criiters to see. We've had a couple run ins with elephants that would have most of you check your shorts for significant deposits! Wish I had the dogs with, the francolin and quail populations are doing real well!

Got to sample - Hippo, Eland, Impala, Ostrich, Buffalo, and Wildebeest the other night. Concesses was hippo was the perferred choice!

Cabin Boy - Fannie and Lesley pass along their hellos. Today was their last day at the College. Fanie is going to become a Stihl chainsaw salesman south of Durbin. It already obvious that the College will need several months to recooperate from their departure.

We're headed for Pilanesberg National Park for the next 3 days. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up the Big 5 there. So far we've along seen 2 of the Big 5. Then it's on to the Kalahari.

Will try and check in again when we get to Cape Town.

Hope you're all doing well.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Grave Robbing Anti's Will Do Hard Time

Not to detract from the sheer joie de vivre of Cabin Boy's turkey hunting exploits, but this just came across the wire services. I thought it interesting enough to reprint here. enjoy.

Grave Robbing Anti's Will Do Time for Their Crime- (05/18)

Three animal rights zealots who spent years terrorizing a family that bred animals for research have been sentenced to jail. They will each spend twelve years behind bars for a vicious campaign that culminated in the theft of an 82-year-old woman’s body from its grave.

Jon Ablewhite, John Smith and Kerry Whitburn were sentenced on May 11 for their admitted involvement in six years worth of attacks and intimidation against the owners of Darley Oaks Farm in Staffordshire, England. The farm raised guinea pigs for medical research until the terrorism took its toll. It stopped breeding the animals in January 2006.

As part of the terror campaign, the activists stole the body of Gladys Hammond from its grave in Yoxall. Hammond’s son-in-law, Chris Hall, was part owner of Darley Oaks.

“You kept the family on tenterhooks as to when you would return her and you used as a weapon the threat that you would do the same again,” said Judge Michael Pert. “I am firmly of the view that each of you does represent a danger to society.”

Smith, who is considered the most hardened of the four activists, disclosed the location of the woman’s body in what proved to be an unsuccessful attempt to reduce his sentence.

A fourth activist, Josephine Mayo, has been sentenced to four years in jail for her delinquency.

Information on this website can be reprinted with a citation to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jinx Broken

Today I killed a Jake. Today I finally broke my three year spring turkey jinx by low-crawling to within twelve yards of a pre-pubescent Meleagris gallopavo, killing him cleanly with one well placed shot of number four Hevi-Shot. Small spurs, three inch beard, but, what a hunt!

This hunt started like most others here; four AM wake-up, walking to pre-planned positions by 4:30, in position and settled in before 5:00, and then the beautiful pre-dawn wait. Few things one experiences repeatedly are as exhilarating as a turkey’s roost gobble. I can only think of one or two, and those don’t usually happen in the morning, especially not before 9:00 AM, at least not for me.

This morning George Havelin and I made for the public New York State Wildlife Management Area adjacent to my farm. We observed birds headed that way last night, one of which had an eight plus inch beard. We stole quietly in to the big sycamores on a knoll by the creek long before shooting light, and sat until we heard the boys gobble from the roost. When they finally sounded off, things were looking good. We had two birds gobbling, neither more than 100 yards from us. Then, a hen intervened and sang her siren songs of love, sucking those boys right down out of the trees and off in the opposite direction. We tried without success to lure them back, but, knowing the habit of these birds, we retreated to the road and attempted to circle around to the Southeast corner of my front field, where we knew they would end up eventually.

Moments after our arrival in “the front corner”(20 minutes after leaving the sycamores), we heard a gobble about 100 yards away, still in the thicker state land woods, but headed in our direction. Moving out of my hedgerow and South into the state land, George ducked under a huge fallen willow, and I took a forward position, hastily setting up in a thick stand of quaking aspens (I don’t know how they got there). Three minutes passed and we heard the turkeys answer George’s sweet calling, but they were now to my right, heading North, having opted to make straight for my open field and not detouring in our direction as we had hoped. I waited just a few moments and retreated back to George’s willow for a quick conference.

We figured the gobblers, two of them, were trouping straight to a strutting ground beneath a big wolf oak tree in my hedgerow, roughly 80 yards from our position, but concealed by brush and tall grass. We decided I would re-position the decoy in a grassy opening between George and my hedgerow, and that I would conceal myself as best I could in a multi-flora rose bush just beyond the decoy. All the while, the two gobblers were sounding off urgently, seemingly getting closer, still on the opposite side of the hedge row from us.

As I got into position, one of the gobblers thundered his call less than 30 yards from me, still, on the other side of the hedgerow. I saw just a bit of motion and his bright red head. I could also see the second male’s tail, fanned out, but could not see his body. I now felt quite exposed in my rose bush, so I dropped to a prone position and quickly assessed my situation. Those birds were headed right for the corner, and if I could low-crawl quickly and stealthily enough, I could be in position to ambush them in two minutes or less. Otherwise, from where I was currently set up, I would have limited shot potential, and marginal concealment. I decided to go for it.

Fortunately, the grass was tall enough to cover my movement pretty well. I got to about 15 yards from my field and froze when I heard both birds gobbling repeatedly. I heard George, now about 50 yards behind me, turn up the heat on his come-hither calling. I was pressed to the ground, gun up and ready in a very flat prone position and knew I could go no further. I was in a nice opening in the hedgerow and the birds were literally marching my way. I kept seeing the fanned tails of these birds, and glimpses of red, blue, and white heads through the grass to my left. They looked like sails on the ocean, coming to my shores. But, I could not make out a beard and I dared not raise up to have a look. I decided then that the first red head that came into my field of fire and gobbled was going to take a hard hit.

For a moment I became very self aware. My breathing was pretty good, I noticed, but “man, I am totally pumped” I thought, “Huh, I am having a blast right now.” This was somehow notable to me. I heard the spitting, wheezing sound of the first male strutting and was amazed at how close I finally was to a spring turkey. And then I saw the beet red head appear before me. He never saw me. Didn’t sense the bit of algebra and geometry that calculated his death, the firepower decision-making, left barrel or right. Never saw that very slight adjustment I made, a sniper, a snake in the grass, striking violently. Never saw what hit him.

After the shot I kept the bead on him, just in case he had more life in him. Later, I found out that George thought I missed because I didn’t move a muscle after the shot. I watched the bird do his brief acrobatics, and settle. I rolled over slightly, looking back at George with a victorious fist raised in the air. Jinx broken.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Katie update

hopefully Katie updates won't get tedious (. . . "Junior blew his nose for the first time today . . .") but it does give us something to blog about.

Katie went on Deramaxx yesterday and perhaps not coincidentally put weight on her leg for the first time since the surgery. So that's good. We've switched over from ice to heat around the incision, but the range of motion exercises continue to puzzle me as it seems she wants nothing to do with me moving her leg around. I'm probably being too wimpy about it. It's a pity that the three smart guys who have been through doggie ACL surgeries before (STEDMAN, KLEINMAN, AND COGGINS--there, I've said it) just happen also to be the "Three Lame Guys Who Refuse to Read the Blog." I could probably stand to get some advice from them.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Youse Guys Really Are Smart

"Kiplinger's Personal Finance" (June, 2006) currently sports an article called "50 SMART Places To Live." The typical weenie towns - Albecracky, Asheville, Eugene - are all represented. Unaccountably, Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Detroit and so on escape mention.

Anyways, weighing in at #19, one place above the People's Republic of Madison, WI is... State College, PA. Good on youse. Way up on a lofty perch at #8 is Ithaca, NY. "...Ithaca is an Ivy League outpost with great food, beautiful scenery and Naderite politics."

Those wishing to pursue a self-congratulatory read of their idyllic homeplaces may click here. Best when ingested with brie, pears and Chardonnay at the local wi fi cafe. Frikkin' weenie hosers...


In an unrelated matter, my pal Roger The Head Greenskeeper - no kidding. Chinch bugs. Manganese. - stopped my jog yesterday by pulling up on the shoulder in his John Deere. His lab usually rides shotgun. Two years ago - still no kidding - the two were pictured as one of 12 "calendar superintendents" for the Greenskeepers Annual Calendar. Naturally July still hangs proudly on a nail in the shed above oily sockets and cruddy cutting blades.

It seems that Roger's son was graduating from Great Lakes Naval about 2 weeks ago. He and wife leave the dog with grown daughter and head west. While on the road, they one day get a call that pooch is not doing well. Roger calls the vet, who urges Roger to have daughter bring dog in for work "not to exceed $500." Roger instantly OKs this. When he gets home, dog doesn't look too good, so back to the vet for phase 2. More work, more money and an overnight. Roger makes a point of determining price ranges on the vet bill, and is told it wouldn't be too great.

Upon returning to vet's office next day, Roger finds the dog in poor condition, with white gums and blood seeping from the area of the ear. Roger says "no thanks" to further care there, puts the dog in his car, and takes him home. Three blocks from home, his buddy enters a final sleep on the car seat next to him.

Roger may pursue autopsy work. The blood around the ear may suggest some rupturing in the brain area. Roger may or may not pursue this, because the vet is pursuing him with - still no kidding - a bill for $1,400 for his care. In a show of Good Will, the vet will accept about $40 worth of unopened pills back in trade for a $40 credit on Roger's next visit. It's probably redundant for me to add "... if there is one." Or when they're playing hockey on the Styx.

James, give Katie a hug. I still give Bean's little shadow box memorial a pat on his gnarly head daily.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More haiku fame...

My haiku fame continues to spread unabated. I've made it onto the beerhaikudaily site for a second time with this memorable haiku ode to Old Tamarack grouse camp and the Cayuga Bar:

Friday night fish fry
angling for drinks at the bar
I’ll have a Leinie’s

So there, I've got THAT goin' for me . . . .

Monday, May 08, 2006

Best gift for Mother’s Day?

Looking for suggestions for Mother’s day gifts for my wife –anyone got any good ideas? (I’ll save you wise guys the time of suggesting that she be given a new and better husband for Mother’s Day, she already suggested that.)

I had a few ideas: I saw a SKB 100, 20 ga, IC/M w/ 26” pipes on Auction Arms today (sale is up in less than 36 hours). I wonder if my wife would really want that or the matching setter pups in the paper. Decisions, decisions……. There is also a trip for one to sight see in Europe from October 25th to November 15th, but I’m not sure that one is long enough; I’d want here to be able to see all of Europe and not rush back when the colors are so nice in Paris that time of year.

Suggestions anyone?

everyone loves an invalid

Here's a pic from Sunday afternoon's party. My daughter Sophie on the left (with dragonfly face) and one of her friends, petting a clearly attention-starved pokey dotted pointing sissy dogge in her hôpital des invalides.

The Monday morning after . . .

One bright side of the Katie ACL saga is that it will give us something to blog about here in the warm weather months.

Yesterday we held our annual birthday party for my daughter Julia, complete with our annual early season plunge into Taughannock Creek behind the house (pics to follow?). But prior to the party I picked up a lightweight ex-pen for Katie to lounge about in whether indoors or out. Our friend Barb took these shots of Katie during the party.

Jim again: The second incision above the leg was where the vet removed a non-cancerous skin growth. Treatment for the leg right now consists of doggie hydrocodone. In another couple of days she'll be taking Deramaxx as an anti-inflammatory--right now she still has aspirin left in her system and so can't be on the Deramaxx until that's gone.

She gets an icepack on the leg several times a day, leg massage several times a day, and I'm gently doing range of motion exercises with her several times a day. Those are the hardest as she is still quite sore. But I'm trying to be pretty religious about it in the hopes of getting her back in the field at as close to 100% as we can get.

While it may be in poor taste to mention the Dogge Shopping Department, I did learn from Nancy Thurston that she has already bred and placed her litter for this year. She did give me some idea of her predicted breeding plans for next year, so I'm seriously giving that some thought. No word yet from Al Stewart in Michigan, but given the time of year I'm sure he may be busy with breeding bird stuff. I may try to get an actual phone number from Safari Jim so that I can call Al.

Katie gets the sutures out next week and will get a checkup from the vet and physical therapist at that time (mainly to measure range of motion). Contrary to some of the stuff I've read on the web, she won't start really intensive physical rehab therapy until 6-8 weeks after the surgery.

Well, that's about it for now. No turkey hunting for me yet this season, and probably not highly likely at this point--but you never know.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Happy B-Day O'Connor!!

I was so busy turkey chasing that I didn't even realize Mike O'Connor's birthday was upon us (May 1)...actually I just found out about his b-day today, but, anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Katie update

They did the surgery yesterday, the vet said it was a clean tear, and "fresh"... apparently they don't tend to see these injuries this fresh because most people let their injured dogs walk around limping for weeks on end. The doctor did say that Katie's other knee has a fair amount of slop in it too, so they're already bracing us for the likelihood of going through this again in a couple of months on the other knee. The good news is that during the initial exam the vet thought Katie's hips were bad, but after anesthesia and x-rays, she said the hips look okay. basically just age-relative degeneration in all the joints, and the Lyme disease probably doesn't help with that.

We went through this about 12-13 years ago with one of our Boston terriers, and at that time it was an 800 dollar procedure. Needless to say this is basically breaking the bank in an unexpected way, so I've actually gone to our friendly credit union so that we can still pay our regular bills. Going through this again on the other knee? not sure that makes economic sense, but what the heck can you do otherwise . . . let the dog limp around for the next five years? oh well. it's only money.

Prognosis is actually pretty good that she'll hunt again, and this year--no reason not to expect a total and full recovery. As PW said, good thing it happened this time of the year, since I'll be spending all summer rehabbing her: leashed walks, eventually swimming, etc. I'm just hoping the other knee doesn't blow out the night before grouse season.

Other than that, she's at the vet's for two nights, so we'll pick her up Thursday.

that's about that. I do really appreciate everyone asking about her. Other than the money part of it, I feel okay about it. We got her in quickly, she didn't tear it and re-tear it by running on it for a long time, so I'm hopeful we'll be back in business come August or so. we'll see. Keeping our fingers crossed.

The pics are from a pretty decent web site at

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the bright side

Well, at least Katie isn't as bad off as this poor critter . . . .

Not a very nice way to go, eh?