Monday, January 31, 2011

The turkey fryer!

In case you were wondering how I was able to fry the turkey in my previous post without the use of any oil, this is the contraption that did it.  It is an infrared Turkey fryer from Char-Broil.  I cannot tell you how easy this thing was to use.  All you do is hook up your propane bottle, light it up, and bingo, you are ready to cook.  The book says it works by bouncing infrared heat all around the inside of the round pan.  Being from the South, we are known for frying just about anything and we like to fry in things such as peanut oil or vegetable oil or just straight up lard!  This thing uses no oil, but the turkey came out with a crispy brown skin and the juices flowed from the middle just like your Grandma's fried chicken at Sunday dinner.  All I did was coat the turkey with some of my favorite rub, put it in the basket and lower it into the cooker.  It takes about ten minutes per pound, so my turkey breast took about an hour and a half.

I'm looking forward to trying different things in the cooker because of how easy it was to use and how easy it was to clean up.  Hardly any mess at all.  The book gives directions on how to cook hams, roasts, Boston butts, etc.  If you are looking for an easy cooking tool for your shop or your home, give this thing a try.

**Shameless blog promotion-  If you want to see the turkey that I cooked over the weekend, click on my post entitled "Weekend Work!"  Scroll to the bottom.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend work!

The weather in South Georgia was beautiful this past weekend with temperatures in the high 60's and even some low 70's with plenty of sunshine.  For me that meant being outside, and since there was no open hunting season for me to enjoy, I spent my time outside getting some work done in the shop!  You may remember that I have a new project that I recently started.  This weekend provided some time to move ahead with it and make some progress.  Here are the results...

I started by taking the little table apart to see what I was working with.  Notice that one section of the bottom rails is already broken.  That will not be fun!

Stripper at work!!  No not the topless kind!
My son took this picture when I wasn't looking.  He did a pretty good job capturing his old man really hunkering down and working that paint off of that leg!
Not sanded yet, but most of the paint is gone off of each leg!  That was an all afternoon job.  I did take breaks to play catch and feed the pitching machine for my little man!
After church I decided to see if I could finish up the sanding on the top shelf.  I had to take a belt sander to it, but I think it will turn out just fine.  I am hoping that a coat of stain will help hide the wood filler that someone left me!

Overall I felt like I got a lot done.  I know it may not look like much, but you will have to trust me when I say that I already have a good bit of hours in on this project.  The little table is ruff and it has a long way to go, but I like the small challenges that it is giving me and I hope that I can overcome them and end up with a nice little piece when I am finished!  As the afternoon was drawing to a close, I fetched my reward for a hard days work!  See below....

Oil-less perfection!

My wife gave me an oil-less turkey fryer for Christmas.  As I was working in the shop I decided to give that thing a whirl!  This is what I was blessed with.  I will never fry another turkey the old fashion way.  This thing was a piece of cake!  I just rubbed it down with some seasoning and placed it in the cooker for about an hour and a half.  It is delicious and as juicy as it can be.  Turkey sandwiches anyone????

Here's to great weekends!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Daddy Kissies!!

If there is a better drug than this, then I don't want to know!!!!

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'll take these guys over 10 below!

I was reading The Downeast Duck Hunter's blog the other day about how much fun he and the Rabid Outdoorsman were having ice fishing or chasing small predators across the wonderful state of Maine.  I try to be a good blog follower and leave comments on most post that are written, so I left a small blurb about how much I thought I would enjoy hunting or fishing with them if the weather was a little warmer.  You see, here in South Georgia if the weather gets to be about 20 degrees we go looking for supplies of water and milk because the world is most definitely coming to an end!!  Being the good blogger that The DEDH is, he replied to my comment with one of his own.  He said that he would rather have 10 below temps than poisonous snakes any day!  Georgia is known for such things as water moccasins and the Eastern Diamondback Rattle Snake.  It seems to me that I read that Maine does not have ONE poisonous snake in the whole state.  In an effort to poke a little fun at my blogging friend from up north, I offer the following pictures and while smiling ask, "What's the big deal?"

Smile!!  The author at a very young age of 19!

I drug up some twenty year old pictures of me and some of my friendsssss.  My hometown was once the home of the Rattlesnake Round-up.  In fact the round-up lasted for about 25 years before strong pressure from environmentalist made the decision an easy one and the Rattlesnake round-up was turned into the Wild Chicken Festival about 10 years ago. (Fitzgerald has Wild Chickens running around its downtown, but that is another post for another day!)  About the time the DEDH was making comments about our local wildlife, the hunting crazy chick at "Hunt Like You Are Hungry" was asking what to do after duck season ends.  I was reminded what we use to do during the time between deer/duck season and turkey season.  We hunted Rattlesnakes!!

No, I am not a complete red-neck!  This was actually kind of fun and very profitable.  At one time, live rattlesnakes were bringing $10 a foot.  All you had to do was find the snake, get over your fear of handling him and sell him at the local round-up.  A 4 foot snake made you $40.  If you had ten of them, you just made yourself $400.  It was easy money, because as you can probably figure out, there was not that many of us doing this!!

We never had a land owner tell us that we could NOT hunt snakes on his property!  How did you do it you might ask?  It requires a long hard hose, a good pair of brier britches and a lot of walking.  Rattlesnakes can be found in the bottom of gopher tortoise holes during the colder months here in the South.  One end of your hose is plugged up and inserted into a gopher hole on the side of a field or any sandy ridge.  The hose is run down to the bottom and twisted several times.  If the snake is in the hole, he will be pretty mad at getting hit with the hose and will began to rattle.  You place your ear to the other end of the hose and if he is sounding off, you can hear him clear as a bell.  In the old days, you would put a little gasoline into your end of the hose and blow air down to the other end.  The fumes from the gas would make the snake crawl out and you sacked him up and took him home.  We changed tactics when it became a concern about using the gasoline and the effects that it may be having on other animals living in the hole.  We developed a hooking mechanism that would catch the snake in the hide and slowly pull him out.  It didn't seem to hurt the snake at all and was better for the environment.  If that didn't work, you started digging!!  Daddy and I might catch 4 or five snakes every Saturday during the months of January and February.  We would sell them at the round-up in March.  It may have been a crazy type of hunting, but it was hunting!!  And it was FUN!!

I haven't hunted a Rattlesnake in the last 15 years, but I really do miss the fun that we use to have.  The round-up is no more, but people around here still talk about it.  All of my friends went hunting with me at least once.  Some of them will say that they went twice.  There first and last!  But most of the time it was just me and Daddy!  That may have been what I liked the most!

Who could be scared of this cute little thing??

So DEDH, I'm going to say that I will leave that 10 below stuff for you to play in, because these dangerous  little guys sure have supplied me with some great hunting memories!  When you want to warm up a little, your invitation is always open to visit South Georgia and I will be glad to guide you on a little snake hunting venture of your own! :)  Hope to see you soon bud!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Barrett-Jackson Brings Me Back!

I spent most of the past weekend watching the Barret-Jackson Classic Auto Auction in Scotsdale, AZ.  For those of you who are not familiar with Barret-Jackson, they hold 4 big auctions each year that are featured on the Speed Channel.  They auction off vintage cars from better days and the amount of money spent on these vehicles will leave you asking yourself, "What economic crisis???".  There are some beautiful vehicles that come across the stage and someone is made very happy when the gavel comes down and the auctioneer yells SOLD!  I watch because I am so amazed by the beautiy of an older car and the love and effection that has gone into restoring a piece of American History.  I also watch because I can sort of relate to the plight of someone who is willing to take a piece of junk and turn it into a treasure.  You see, I have done it three times with three great trucks!  The following article was written by me about 7 years ago and published in Bronco Driver Magazine.  Hope you enjoy!

Hello, My Name is Trey, and I am a Broncoholic!”

I can remember feeling the excitement as my Dad and I rode with my uncle across town to meet a guy about buying a new truck. I was 10 years old, and the only thing I knew was that Daddy, who happened to be my hero, was about to have something new at the house. I really didn’t care what type of vehicle it was, all I cared about was that I got to tell my friends that Daddy has a “new” truck, and that my Daddy’s truck could beat your Daddy’s truck. That truck turned out to be a 1974 Ford Bronco. My Uncle had a 1976 Bronco Ranger, and had turned my Dad on to the idea of owning a Bronco. I can remember as Dad and I took it for a test drive how my head would snap back every time Dad would hit the gas. He got a big kick out of watching me laugh under the stress of the powerful little Ford. He bought the truck, brought it home, and started a love affair for his son with the most wonderful machine ever built.

The little Bronco was burgundy with a white top and had uncut fenders. Dad put a set of headers on it and had it sounding really good. I loved to be in the Bronco, taking it hunting and fishing or just riding all over town. He really didn’t do much to change the look of the Bronco. He just kept it pretty much stock all the way down to the plain white rims and silver hubcaps. He kept the Bronco for a few years, and I can remember the day that he traded it. I was crushed, but he traded for a bigger vehicle because he said that he needed more room. Even though the Bronco was gone from home, it never left my mind or my heart.

A year or so went by before I got hit head on with truck fever. I had just turned 15, and had already been warning Mom and Dad that it was time to find me a vehicle worthy of my sure to be higher social status when I turned 16. What happened next was almost too good to be true. Riding by the local bank one day, I spotted a little green 1972 half-cab Bronco in the back parking lot. Being from a small town, I knew that this lot was reserved for repossessed vehicles, and was surely set to be sold. We stopped and gave the Bronco a look. The body was very straight and had no rust. The fenders were uncut and it had stock factory rims on stock tires. The interior was in need of a little work, but for the most part was ok. We went in the bank a found out that they planned to auction off the truck along with several others. I told Dad that this is it! He told me that he would bid on the truck, but that I better be sure that this is what I wanted. There was never any doubt. He bought the truck for $1,900, and the fun began. About half way home the Bronco started a violent vibration that nearly knocked out my fillings. We pulled over and started checking things out. Nothing was on fire, and as far as we could tell nothing had fallen off, so we continued the journey at a much slower pace. We got home and started what soon became a weekly ritual, trying to find out what is wrong with the Bronco. We replaced all of the U-joints in the drive line, and that fixed the vibration problem. Now we could drive it without feeling like you were riding a buzz saw, and I got the same head jerk reaction that I had received as a kid when I stepped on the gas. The little pony had plenty of power under the hood with its 302, but also had its share of problems. I was introduced to all of the little problems that a Bronco can have, and I learned an awful lot along the way. Some of the problems included gear shifter arms that came apart all of the time (I think I have robbed every carter key in every junk yard in the southern part of Georgia), blinker nightmares, unpredictable drum brakes, a heater that worked when it wanted to, windows that may or may not roll down, doors that may or may not lock, and a carburetor that always seemed to flood just when a pretty girl was watching. But this was my baby!! Dad made an agreement with me. He would get it running and safe to drive, but if I wanted it to look any different than it did, I would have to pay for it myself. I had an after school job and had done pretty well saving my money, so the transformation was on. The first thing was to get rid of the green and make way for some bigger tires. I took the truck to a local painter and body man by the name of Phil Luke, who would wind up doing three Broncos for me over the next 15 years. We ordered a set of flares from K Bar S, cut the fenders, and decided on a jet-black paint job. Phil had a set of burgundy high back seats that he gave to me, so the factory seats were trashed (we didn’t have E-Bay back then). The entire truck was sprayed black inside and out. The homemade bumpers and grill were sprayed white, and a white pin stripe was taken down the side. It was the prettiest thing I had ever seen, except for one problem. It still had those skinny, ugly, white wheels and worn out tires. No problem, except funds were running extremely low!! This is where a mother’s love has saved many a broken hearted little boy. Mom footed the bill on a set of chrome rims and tires for Trey’s Pony. I was still 15 and only a couple of months away from being able to drive on a full time basis, but Mom and Dad would let me drive it around the block or to church on Sunday’s. That Bronco was my world. I remember the first time I took her out cruising after I turned 16. Because of a well placed hole in the muffler, the Bronco had a killer rumble. I got asked 10 times if I wanted to race. I just said no thanks, but show me the mud. Off to the local clay pits to see how much damage I could do. Everyone who has owned a Bronco understands its thirst for mud. She did well on our maiden voyage and made the locals proud. We cruised back into town and promptly ran it over a curb when the brakes decided to take a small vacation. Luckily we came to rest only a few feet from the fire hydrant that we were about to dismantle. So was the life of that little 1972 Half-Cab! Proud one minute, hiding my head the next. I will never forget the night that I got pulled over by a local policeman in the middle of town with lights flashing. I was scared to death. Here I was 16 years old and had no idea what was about to happen. The officer walked up to the door and asked me if I liked my Bronco. I said yes and he proceeded to tell me how he was thinking about buying one. I then asked him if I had done anything wrong and he told me no, he just wanted to check out my truck and couldn’t get me to stop any other way. I drove the Half-cab for about a year and a half before Dad and I decided that it was costing way too much to keep it running on a consistent basis, and it wasn’t the safest vehicle either. The unsure brakes had almost gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion. Sixteen years old with a sporty 302 can cause a heavy foot and some breath taking brake to the floor situations. I was also growing a little tired of it leaving me on the side of the road, at the worst possible times. My girlfriend was getting a little tired of walking. We made a decision to sell the Bronco and move on to better things. A 1984 4x4 Bronco II!!

I never new luxury until now! Power steering, automatic, power door locks and windows, and nice quiet interior. I brought her home, cleaned her up, and talked Mom into buying her second set of tires and rims. She’s a great Mom!! The new Pony was just what the doctor ordered. I could date in style, carry around all my friends, and still sling a little mud at the clay pits. I had the seats redone, new shocks, and a new exhaust put on. After someone ran into my rear end while it was parked on the street, I had it repainted on their insurance company’s dime. I spent the last 2 years of high school and all 4 years of college driving that little truck. It has been all over the state of Georgia going on numerous road trips. Every precious memory that I have during those great years of my life involve that Bronco II, from the girls I dated, to the friends that I hauled to all of those parties, to all of the trips back and forth to college, to all of the hunting trips between Dad and me. Including one snowy Georgia morning (the only one that I can remember us having in the past ten years) when Dad and I blazed a trail to our hunting club to try our deer hunting luck with white powder on the ground. The little Bronco held to the snow-covered road with all four paws, as we watched other vehicles slide all over the place. That truck was always there! I got every bit of good out of that Bronco over those 6 years. We went through two engines two transfer cases and one transmission. The last transfer case did me in, and Dad decided that the truck was not safe to be on the road back and forth between Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and home. We sold the Bronco II for $3,500 and put that towards the purchase of a new pick-up. I was Bronco-less for a span of two years.

In 1997 I started to feel a little calling from deep inside my heart. I knew it was the Bronco crazies that I had managed to put aside for the last two years. They wanted out, and I was ready to let them loose. I had now been out of college for two years and had a very good job traveling the state of Georgia in a sales position. More importantly I had what every Bronco owner must have to start a restoration project, MONEY, and this time it was my own! I started looking around during my travels and checking the local truck traders, but was not having much luck finding what I was looking for. I also realized that the Bronco craze has infected more and more people in this part of the country. Prices had risen tremendously since I had purchased my first half-cab. A rusted bucket of bolts was being priced in the $5,000 range. This was more than I was willing to spend at the time. Then one day on the side of the road in Quincy, Florida, I found a pretty beat up 1972 Sport. I stopped to check it out and found that the motor ran great, the windows and door parts were fine, the transmission was fine, the “3 on the tree” changed smoothly, the brakes were recently re-done, all the lights and blinkers worked, and it was equipped with a nice set of 33x12.50 tires and chrome wheels that still looked fairly new, with a three inch lift. The Bronco’s body was another thing all together. Florida means salt water, and salt water means rust. I could read the radio faceplate from behind the truck. The tailgate was nothing more than a bunch of rust held together by the air in between it. It had some surface rust, but surprisingly, the floor panels were okay, and the top was in good shape. All of the fender flares were busted, and the seats and door panels were awful. But it had no leaks that I could see, and I figured I had already saved $800 on the tires and rims, so I paid the lady $2,000 and hauled her home. Since everything was in working order, the first step was to improve her looks a bit and take care of the rust.

I called Phil Luke again, and made my call to James Duff for my flares. Phil found me an old tailgate and made other small body repairs to get me ready to paint. This time we went with a cherry red finish trimmed in black. I made several trips to Obsolete Ford in Nashville, Georgia to pick up things such as light covers, side mirrors, and seals. I bought all of the interior door parts and a dash cover from Duff, and pretty soon had her looking like I wanted. My uncle found me two seats and we got them mounted in, as well as a new carpet kit for the floor. I had the back seat re-covered and the windows tinted. I put a Rancho shock kit on the Bronco with adjustable stiffness that was controlled by a key pad mounted under the front dash. Once again I had a Bronco that looked great, drove great, and performed well, and boy could it perform!!

I drove the Bronco to visit my uncle, who was on a camping trip with twenty other people on the Flint River in middle Georgia. The night before I arrived, they experienced heavy rains and a lot of wind damage. My uncle called me and said that the three-mile trail into camp was pretty ruff, and that not one vehicle had made it all the way back to the river without some help from a 4X4 tractor. I asked him if he had tried the trail with his ’76 Bronco, and he told me that the only time he was going to try was on the way out the next day. I decided to make a go of it anyway. As I pulled off of the main road, all I could see was deep red Georgia clay, and some serious ruts. I locked her in to 4-wheel drive and kept in mind that it was only 3 miles. It turned into the most thrilling three miles that I have every driven. The Pony and I threw Georgia clay all over that trail and rumbled into camp with a big grin and a muddy roof. Everyone there knew what I had just done, and all said they would never have believed it. My uncle said he had been waiting by his cell phone for me to call, but swore he would never doubt a Bronco again. He should have known better. I sat in camp with pride as other cell phones rang, and the tractor was fired up to go fetch lost souls. I drove her out of camp that same night, and had as much fun going out as I did going in. I stopped by the local car wash and gave the Pony a much-needed bath before we went home.

The Bronco was not my daily driver, so I was able to keep it clean and well maintained, and probably only put 2,000 miles on it in a year. I had changed jobs at this time and had begun my career at a local bank. I would drive it to work at least once a week, and would always get offers to buy my truck. I would always say no, until one day when someone from out of town that was passing through stepped into my office. Like my father has once done for me, he was looking for an old Bronco for his son. He said that he had seen my Bronco parked at the bank when he would come through town on Fridays, and that he wanted it for his son. He made me a very generous offer and told me to think about it over the weekend, and that he would call me on Monday. I studied it over the weekend and decided that the offer was too good to be true and I let him drive it off the next Friday. I was once again without a Bronco, but I already had a plan. My Uncle still had that ’76 Ranger, and it had been parked in the yard for the better part of a year.

It was family reunion time in October of 2001, and as we drove north from Fitzgerald, I told my Dad that I was going to buy another Bronco that day. He looked at me kind of funny and asked where I had found another one. I told him that I was going to buy Uncle Johnnie’s 1976. I really had no idea if Johnnie would sell it to me or not, but the Bronco had been sitting up for quite some time, and I knew that it was just wasting away. Johnnie had planned to restore this daily driver with an off-frame restoration, but kids and other priorities turned his interest in other directions. He got a steal on a new pick-up that made it easier to haul two boys, and parked the Bronco. It was calling me from 75 miles away! This is the Bronco that everyone wants. A 1976 Ranger with power steering, power disk brakes, and an automatic, whom the previous owner drove on a daily basis and kept very well maintained. The top half on the engine had been rebuilt and all of the brake lines and exhaust were brand new. It didn’t look the way I wanted it to, but what fun would it be if you found one that did? At lunch that day, with a mouth full of Grand-Mama’s dressing, I asked Johnnie what he planned to do with the Bronco, and he told me that he was thinking about selling it. I had to hold back my excitement and my mouth full of dressing! I told him that I may be interested, and we worked out what I thought was a very fair deal. I went to pick it up 3 days later. The Bronco fired up (with a little begging and pleading) and I drove it onto the trailer. She wasn’t running very well though. I took the Bronco to my good friend Josh McClelland, owner of McClelland Racing and Ben Hill Auto Parts, and told him that the truck had run fine before it sat up for a year, and that I wanted it running fine again. One carburetor later, and the little Pony did just that. I was back in the Bronco business.

My next call was again to my good friend Mr. Phil Luke. It was time for some paint and body work. This time I choose Ford Chrome Yellow paint with black trim and black Linex interior. Phil told me that this had better be the last one because he wasn’t getting any younger, but he agreed to tackle the project. All of the usual parts were ordered (flares, interior, seals, tires and wheels, etc.), as well as a few other surprises over the next couple of years. I have spent more money and have gone further on this ’76 than any of the other Broncos that I have owned. I have been very lucky to find trucks that have had very little rust and very little problems mechanically, so I have not had to tackle a major renovation, but what I have done has still been very rewarding and very fun. I have added to the ’76 a James Duff Ultimate Suspension package, with help from local suspension guru Jeff Blease of Jeff’s Jeeps, custom made seats with yellow trim from CJ’s Customs of Fitzgerald, a complete sound system from Segrave’s Sound Center, a custom roll-bar from McClelland Racing, and a new C-4 transmission. Plans are on the horizon for a set of headers and maybe some new bumpers, but now I have a child of my own and I will have to except that the Bronco is not tops on the list anymore. I have shown great restraint in the fact that I try not to fix anything until it brakes. Besides, I figure if I have to really think of ways to spend money on the thing, then it must be pretty close to being finished.

I once told someone that bringing these awesome vehicles back from the dead is the thrill of owning one. I have had so much fun with all of my Broncos, and I could not have done the things that I have done without help from great friends and the people at James Duff. I love to hear someone say that they love my truck and ask what year is it. I cannot read enough about these trucks and I want to absorb as much information as I can about them. I have people call me on a regular basis to ask me about buying one for them selves, and I simply tell them good luck in finding one, and if you do, please call me to help you bring it back to life. I still have the burning passion for Broncos, and I feel very blessed to have had the Bronco in my life, and I plan on keeping the ’76 around as long as she will hold together. I look forward to riding my 7-month old son around town when he is older, and I can’t wait for the day that he tells me that he wants one for his own. Then I can start all over again.

Back to present day 2011!  I bet some of you didn't know that I was a published author!  :)  I enjoyed putting it together at the time.  I am sad to say that I sold the yellow Bronco a few years ago.  Someone paid me a good bit of money for it, but it still feels like I sold a little part of my soul!  I sold it because it just wasn't practicle to own anymore when I started my married life and our family.  A classic vehicle is expensive to maintain and I know me well enough to know that I would have continued to spend money on it even if it didn't need it.  Do I miss it??  You bet!  I still love these old trucks and hope to own another one one day.  But I want to be in a position where I can be on the buyers side of a transaction at Barrett-Jackson.  I want to buy a completely restored trailer queen with a hefty price tag!  Years from now I want people to say, "Look at that little old man in that classic truck.  He must be crazy to spend that kind of money!". 

Nope, just reliving childhood dreams!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

OBN writing prompt! Kids!

The Outdoor Blogger Network has asked all of us fellow followers to write a story about a childhood hunting memory or a memory that you helped to create for a child in the field.  I often write about my own childhood memories and you can find stories in several of my older post, so I decided to write about a great memory made with my son Reid.  Above is the nice little 8 point that I shot in November of 2009.  Reid was with me when I killed this deer and the story goes like this.....

Daddy and I have a two man ladder stand that we call the double stand.  Daddy bought it with one purpose in mind.  That purpose was his grandson.  He wanted to be able to take Reid hunting with him.  Reid went on his first deer hunt at the age of five.  He was barely big enough to see over the camo cover that was draped over the shooting rail on the stand.  In fact he would have to stand up to look through his binoculars and see if anything was moving around.  I think he got to see a few deer that first year, but he mostly took naps and ate snacks.  He gets that from his Papa.

Year two of the double stand was the 2009 hunting season.  A year older and Reid was itching to go hunting.  He was bigger and seemed to grasp the concept of sitting still, being quiet and waiting for deer.  He hunted with his Papa and actually saw several deer and turkeys.  He had learned to be quite and move slow when he lifted his binoculars to watch the local wildlife.  My Dad is a great teacher! 

It was Saturday afternoon and Daddy couldn't go.  I decided that I would take Reid and sit on the double stand with him.  He told me that he wanted me to kill a deer so that he could watch.  I just told him that we would try real hard but that he had to "hold his mouth" just right if we were going to be successful.  We made the trip to the hunting club and got into the stand.  Reid got all of his snacks set out just right and got his binoculars out.  He was ready!  It didn't take long for me to realize that he had turned into a little deer hunter.  He sat very still and only whispered when he asked me something.  He paid attention to what was going on around him and even pointed out the first turkey before I had even seen him.  That one turkey turned into 20 and before long they were all around us.  Reid asked me if we could shoot one and I told him no.  He was disappointed.

A little while later 4 does stepped out into the clear cut to browse around.  Reid saw them and told me to shoot one.  I told him that we were not hunting Mama deer, we were hunting buck deer. (he knows the difference because Papa has buck deer hanging on his wall) He was not happy that I wouldn't shoot one of them, but I told him to just wait and maybe a buck deer would come out.

Wouldn't you know it, not five minutes later a 3 point buck walks out right under the stand.  Reid is now scream whispering at me to shoot the buck deer, shoot the buck deer!!!  I try to explain to my now impatient son that even though this is a buck deer, he is very young and we need to let him grow and get bigger.  He was again very disappointed!

As the minutes pass, I look up to see a pretty nice 8 point step into the clear cut.  Reid sees him too.  I can already hear his excitement as he draws his breath to say something to me.  I tell him to freeze as I lift my gun to take a look at him through the scope.  I have to admit that I quickly went through several thought processes.  My first thought was that this deer was a borderline shooter and one that needed another year to grow.  My second thought was my son's hunting experience and if I didn't shoot this deer he would become frustrated with this whole deer hunting thing and not want to come back.  I made a quick decision and told Reid to cover his ears.  I dropped the buck in his tracks at about 75 yards.

Before I could get the gun off my shoulder, Reid's feet were on the first rung of the ladder on his way down from the stand.  He was going to that deer.  I asked him about all his stuff and he just told me to bring it when I came down.  I put all of our stuff into our packs and made my way down.  Reid was already at the deer and looking very excited.  At that moment I knew that I had made the right choice on shooting that 8 point even if he wasn't as big as I would have liked for him to be.  I knew that I had made a memory for my son that would last a lifetime and hopefully I helped to light a little flame in him that will make him want to always go hunting with his Daddy.

Reid still talks about that hunt a year later.  It is funny how kids have no concept of time as Reid always say "you remember that deer that I shot yesterday?".  Yep buddy!  I remember! 

I hope that I always do!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's Project time!

I picked up this little table at an antique shop not far from my hometown.  I had seen the table there over the summer, but the woman was unwilling to come down on her price.  I left it where I found it.  I re-entered the little shop this past week to find the neglected table still sitting in the same spot.  This time the lady was ready to do some dealing.  I paid next to nothing for it and brought her home.  The table is in pretty bad shape.  It sits fairly sturdy, but it has some warping on the top and you can tell that someone has tried to do some "repairs".  I thought the price was worth the gamble so I decided to take a look under the three layers of paint. 

Time to put these tools to work!!!

Bonus points to anyone who can identify the photo shown in the top right of this picture!

It is really too cold to be trying to strip any furniture in the shop, but I was curious as to what I had.  This little table is kind of unique in that it doesn't have a bottom shelf.  You don't usually see that with these types of tables, so if I can make this thing turn out, it just might make a neat little piece.  I decided to just try and take the layers off of the top section to get a better look.

This is what I found.  As you can see, someone has tried to do some work on this table before.  Those white dots that you see in the middle of the surface are holes filled with wood filler.  They also filled in the space between the two sections of wood with wood filler.  I don't understand why they would do that.  It looks just fine with a small gap between the sections.  It gives it character.  The wood is very old and is pitted in certain sections.  There is paint deep in the grooves of the wood that will be difficult to get out.  It is going to take a lot of work on this section alone.

Here is what the top looks like after I did a little sanding and cleaned it with mineral spirits.  It all depends on how much more I can do with this top, but this table may be one that receives a heavy coat of a dark stain.

The good news is that the legs of the table look great and have very little design.  They will clean up quickly.

Stay tuned to see how this project turns out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A perplexing question????

I read and follow a lot of blogs.  I enjoy experiencing stories from all over the country about different hunting or fishing adventures that I do not get to be a part of here in South Georgia.  For example, I have never been on a Rocky Mountain Elk Hunt or Alaskan Moose Hunt.  With that in mind I would like to give a shout out to one of my favorite blogs' "The Downeast Duck Hunter".  The DEDH lives in Maine (which is definitly not "Down East" from where I am from, more like "Up North") and gets to do some pretty neat hunting.  He chases sea ducks with a passion and also does his share of ice fishing.  Here in South Georgia the only kind of fishing that we do in any ice is when we reach in the bottom of the cooler to fish out another beer.  I always feel cold after reading one his his ice fishing stories.  He also fishes for lobster and is starting to get into a inland duck hunting groove.  Did I mention that he is also training to become a licenced guide for the state of Maine.  If I ever make it up there one day, I'm giving him a call.  Check out his blog if you haven't already!

Now on to my question!  The DEDH seems to stay pretty busy with his work, raising a family, and his hunting adventures.  Can someone please tell me how he has the time to do all of these things, write a great blog, and quarterback the Green Bay Packers?????

I just couldn't help myself! :)

You really should follow his blog even if you are not a Packers fan!!

Happy Hunting DEDH!!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

End of the season!

Yesterday was the last day of dove season here in South Georgia.  In a lot of ways it feels like the end of my hunting season for this year.  I'm sure that we could go chase some Bob Whites to pass the time, but for the most part my guns will be cleaned and put in the cabinet until the turkeys start gobbling in the spring.  The year ended on a good note as Daddy, Reid and I went on one of the best dove hunts that I have been on in several years.  It was a perfect day in which the sun was shinning and the sky was raining doves.  Josey the wonder dog did better than expected on just her second dove hunt.  She retrieves very well, but I have got to train her to only retrieve my birds and not to chase birds all over the field.  I am hoping that the Outdoor Blogger Network will have a give away on a shock collar soon.   It was a very good way to end what was a very good year of hunting for me.

March of 2010 started my year off with a good turkey on opening day.  An afternoon bird in which Daddy and I got to double up.  You can check out the play by play here.  I followed up that success with two more birds later in the year.  Here is my picture displaying my success for the 2010 turkey season!

After Turkey season I usually focus my efforts on little league baseball and my golf game, but we do still find time to do some fishing,

At the end of summer it is time to start thinking about college football and dove season.  Reid did very well this year as he went with me several times.  You can read about our opening day here.

Deer season starts in October and some of you may remember that I was blessed this year with an awesome buck!

November brings another trip to Kansas to do some true upland hunting and chase those beautiful ring necks.  I enjoy this time with my Dad and this years story can be found here.

We even did some squirrel hunting this year that didn't even require a rifle.  We let Ruby do the work!

Doves season rolls back around and here we go again, only this time I found out that I had a pretty good bird dog living in the house.

So now I guess you could consider me in waiting mode.  I will be waiting for spring training to start in about 6 weeks.  I will be waiting for March and the gobble of that first spring turkey (my wife loves the way I practice my turkey calling during this down time!).  I will then wait again for college football and the start of dove season around labor day.  I will then wait for deer season and my annual trip to Kansas with my Dad.  The we will wait for the second dove season to start on those cooler days in November and December, and then we will once again start over with our waiting for it all to start over again!!!


Thanks for following me on all of my hunting adventures!  If you didn't catch them the first time, then hopefully this little post will help you to go back and catch up!

March can not get here fast enough!!!!!!  Yelp, yelp, yelp.....Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Donnie Baseball", my hero!

-2,153 career hits
-222 career Home runs
-1,099 career RBI's
-.307 lifetime batting average
-9 Gold gloves
-6 All Star games
-1985 AL MVP
-1984 AL batting title winner
-3 Silver Slugger awards
-My baseball hero!

The National Baseball Writers Association is responsible for electing members to the Baseball Hall of Fame every year at this time.  They have chosen to enshrine Roberto Alomar (90% of votes) and Bert Blyleven (79% of votes) in the class of 2011.  Both of these men are worthy of the Hall and I am glad that they have both gotten in.  It takes 75% of the over 500 votes to be placed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Don Mattingly, the current manager of the LA Dodgers received 13.6% of the vote total.  To me that is very disappointing!

Growing up in the 80's as a kid who loved everything baseball, there was no bigger player in my eyes than "Donnie Baseball", Don Mattingly.  He had the absolute smoothest swing that you ever saw and was not afraid to get a little dirt on his uniform.  I thought he was the coolest thing in the world at the time and I made sure that I watched him every Saturday as NBC would always carry the Yankees on their Saturday game of the week.  Mattingly was destined for the Hall of Fame.  He was a great hitter who hit for a high average and also had a little pop.  He won a batting title, an MVP, 9 Gold Gloves, and set some impressive records along the way like hitting a home run in 8 straight games and hitting 6 Grand Slams in one season.  But, Donnie Baseball was unfortunate in the fact that he played his career for the Yankees when the Yankees were not very good.  He never had an oportunity to add a World Series ring to his resume, which can sometimes bolster a few more votes for the hall.  His career was also cut short due to a bad back.  Although he still managed to carry a .290 batting average over the last 5 years of his career, he lost most of his power and was not able to go everyday.  A Hall of Fame start of a career was derailed by injury.  That Stinks!!  I still consider him to be one of the best that I ever saw play the game and I still get a little sad when I think about what might have been if it wasn't for his back troubles.  If he never gets in the Baseball Hal of Fame, he will still be in mine!

I can not write a post like this one and not mention another great player from the 80's that played for my team, the Atlanta Braves!  Dale Murphy received 12.6% of the votes tallied this year for the Hall.  Murph is a two time NL MVP and one of the premier power hitters of the 80's.  Like Mattingly, he played on some pretty bad Braves teams, but finds himself in some pretty elite company.  In the 1980's, only Mike Schmidt had more home runs, and Eddie Murry had more RBI's that Dale Murphy.  Schmidt and Murry are currently in the Hall of Fame.  Murphy finished his career with 398 home runs, but his last five years were not kind to him in the batting average department.  Hitting only .238 in his last five years as compared to .289 in the five previous really hurt his Hall chances in my opinion.  Dale Murphy is an all around great person who wouldn't know a steroid if it looked him in the face.  If the Hall of Fame had a wing for good guys, Dale Murphy would have the first bust.  I hope he has a chance to make it one day because for a lot of fans in South Georgia who watched him hit those home runs to right field and carry a terrible Braves team on his back, he is definitly a Hall of Fame player.

I had both of these posters as a kid and they bring back a lot of great memories.  I wonder if kids today still worship players like we did and hang their posters on the wall or wear their jerseys or collect their baseball cards.  Things seemed to be different back then and ball players seemed to be more real.  They were worthy of being heros.  I hope that my son will love the game and love his heros.  He already enjoys watching the Braves and we have started a baseball card collection.  He likes looking at them but I have to admit that the collection is probably more for me right now.  It makes me feel like a kid again and helps me to remember what it was like to have heros!!

Good luck to "Donnie Baseball" and Dale Murphy!  You are both Hall of Fame in my book!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You call it what???

I am a proud member of the Outdoor Blogger Network.  It is a great site that brings people like me together to share our outdoor blogs.  You may have noticed their tag on the right hand side of my page.  They feature bloggers each week, have giveaways, and inspire topics in which to write.  They have asked members this week to tell everyone how their blog got its name.  I have had several people ask me about the title of my blog, so I will be glad to help the OBN this week!

Brave Eagles Hunt with Antique Brownings came about very simply.  I was sitting in my office trying to come up with a name for this little blog and I was not getting very far.  I was not even sure that I could do this blogging thing.  I had been encouraged by my preacher to give it a try and my mother had recently started a blog of her own, so I decided to give it a shot.  Being a marketing major, I turned to an old trick that I learned when you are trying to come up with a unique idea.  I got out a piece of paper and starting brain storming by writing things down that interest me or best describe who I am.  As I was filling up my paper I decided that maybe I could do a little play on words for the title of my blog.

I'm an "All In" type of guy.  What I mean by this is that I am the type of person who is 100% committed to the things that I deem important.  If you are a manufacture and I like your product, then I am definitely your man.  I will use nothing else!  If I am a fan of your team, then I am your biggest fan and will fight for my team until the bitter end.  If I enjoy a hobby then I will work until I am the best that I can be at that particular hobby.  With that in mind I started looking at my scribblings on my little piece of paper and started picking things out.  I found the Atlanta Braves, The Georgia Southern Eagles, hunting and fishing, refinishing antique furniture, Browning shotguns and many more items that I could use for a name but settled on these.  Thus was the birth of...

Brave Eagles Hunt with Antique Brownings!!

I thought it did a pretty good job of describing the things I like.  With almost a year of blogging under my belt I have come to realize that I write about a lot more than just these things, but I hope that you get the basic idea!

Thanks Outdoor Blogger Network for all that you do!