Friday, January 31, 2014


Least Sandpiper (c) 2013 HVI

We made it through another one. Some are making resolutions; knowing that they will not follow through. I would rather reflect and change some things. The spinning wheel is getting kind of old. We are all guilty of the over and over process. January is the time when we are waiting on spring. We wait and wait for the thaw. It arrives and we will run out and plant our lettuce, onions and peas. Then, the rains come. We get a couple of pleasant weeks, then it gets hot and we are waiting for autumn. Soon the snow will again be falling. Over and over; here we go again.
I've heard of some who can sit and watch the same movie over and over. Myself, if I've seen it once; that’s enough. Time is too precious to waste. You will realize this as you get older and wiser. New places are exciting to find and interesting to explore. I got to enjoy my most pleasant deer season, ever. Why? I found a new and interesting location; that apparently has yet to be found by others. I don’t know how many years I’ll get to utilize this spot. Something always happens to my good places. How did I find it? I found it because I am always looking for somewhere else. Sometimes I am rewarded. I actually found this location 3 years ago. I just never was able to go during deer season. I had the time in 2012 and was able to take advantage of the opportunity. I’m glad I did. I've pretty much been stuck hunting the same location for the last twelve years and I was sick of it after two.
Looking back at 2012; there weren't many high points or low points. It was pretty much the same old stuff as the same time as in previous years. Very predictable we get. Quick, what are you going to be doing on May 25? I’ll be planting tomatoes and trout heads. Yep, each tomato goes in on a fish head and a handful of compost. I’ll probably be dragging out the air conditioner at about that time, too. Every year is the same, except that we are a year older. Maybe not wiser; but guaranteed to be older.

I could easily sit here and write that I’m going to do this and that. I know that some of those statements will become true, but many will not. Dreaming and doing are two very different things. I prefer to search, explore and take advantage of the opportunities that arrive. Who knows what the future will bring? We all know the past. Pretty boring, wasn't it? The old routine will always be the same old things. New discoveries will always bring a sparkle to your eye and a little spring in your step. Yes, it is January and it is a long time until spring. Spring is good; it’s always something to look forward to; especially on a cold winter day. Happy New Year, but do something new.

This article first appeared in the January print edition of Two-Lane Livin (c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved. Photo (c) 2013 High Virginia Images

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

No Worries

Garlic (c) 2013 HVI
I planted my garlic on Columbus Day; just as I always do. When planted on this date, it is usually all up by Thanksgiving. Not this year. I walked out and looked at it on Thanksgiving Day. The first 20 feet or so was up; every single one. The next 10 feet or so (I'm not a measurer or straight line gardener) was barren, clear to the end. There was a single garlic plant emerged at the very end.

The first thing that popped in my mind was that I will have to buy garlic from someone in 2014. Then I began trying to figure out what happened. Logically, one would assume that I had planted a bad garlic clove. But, what about the one that came up on the end. It didn't make sense that there was one good clove out of the whole head. I had more garlic that could have been planted but decided that Thanksgiving was just too late. Oh well, I'll plant some first thing in March and hope it does well.

I walked out in the garden on January 14th and it is all up now. The row is complete. I don't know what happened, but all is well.

(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Trophy Hunting

White Ibis (c) HVI
The harvest season is over; freezers and cellars are full. I had a real good deer season but only a fair garden season. It will do. I wish there were a few more trout in the freezer. I can only stand so much of the aggravation that goes along with fishing our stocked trout streams.

To me, the fish, game and crops all fall into the same category. Survival of the locavore. I wouldn't have it any other way. I do not hunt for fun or trophies. I hunt for venison. I rarely fish for fun. I fish for the freezer. If you look at all of the fish consumption advisories for West Virginia waters; you will see why I fish for stocked trout. Yes, I love to fly fish for fun. But thanks to fuel prices it just isn't feasible to drive anywhere to do anything; just for enjoyment.

What do I do for fun and entertainment? One answer there: Birding. The one thing that can be done year-round, anywhere. My trophies are birds seen and photographed. Bird trophies in one local are not the same as another location. Bird trophies are dependent on your location, only. A Swainson's Warbler doesn't raise eyebrows in an Alabama canebrake. They are of note here in the WV mountains, though. The same can be said for Snow Geese, Canvasbacks and many other waterfowl species. Most shorebirds are trophies in this region. Sanderlings don't get much response when seen at the beach. But, they do at the Elkins K-Mart.
Sanderling (c) HVI
Yes, bird trophies can be as large as an eagle or as small as a sparrow. You will never know what you may find; if you do not go out and look. I can think of nothing else that can bring more outdoor enjoyment with minimal expense than birding. You never know what may be found or when it will be found. That is the great thing about it. Give it a try and you will become more involved with each find.
Northern Shrike (c) HVI

(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors All Photos (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved