Friday, December 21, 2012
Christmas was always a big deal at my house while I was growing up. It still is! My parents always made sure that we had great Christmas mornings with plenty of presents and things from Santa. Some of my favorite Christmas morning memories include new baseball bats, new guns and a 4 wheeler. All of those were very big ticket items and cost my parents a lot of money, but my favorite gifts on Christmas morning have always been and always will be found in my stocking.
It's the little things I like. Baseball cards, golf tees, small hunting gadgets, chap stick, a new pocket knife, etc, etc. My Mom always had a way of customizing your stocking so that you knew it was meant for you. A nice little personal touch to remind you that even though you now have a pile full of new gifts, the little things still matter too.
My favorite day of Christmas shopping each year is the one I spend by myself shopping for stocking stuffers for my wife and kids. I try to put a lot of thought into the small items that will fit into the limited space of a stocking. Bath oils or a new necklace for my wife. New art supplies for my daughter. A cool new gadget for my son. It does my heart good to see them enjoy the smallest gift as much as the biggest. Cool things really do come in small packages!
This Christmas, my wish for you and your family is that you will embrace the gift of the little things that this life has to offer. If you can find happiness in the little things, then everything else should fall right into place.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Monday, December 17, 2012
I sat and watched the final seconds of the Georgia Southern Football season tick away on Friday night with a since of disappointment in the fact that our season was ending but also proud that my boys were once again one of the last four teams standing. It has been a good year for the boys in blue and I am a very proud alumnus! Now that football is over, it's time for me to get off my lazy tail and get back to work in the shop!
The table that you see above has been sitting unfinished in a pile under my counter for about four months. I picked it up in an antique shop around Macon, GA and never got around to completing it. Saturday, it got all of my attention. It is a very nice tiger oak table, but what I really like about it is the fact that it still has a label under the bottom shelf. This table came from The Knoxville Table and Chair Co in Knoxville, TN. Why is that important? It's really not, but this is the second table that I have bought from this small company that went out of business sometime in the early 20's. The first table sits in my living room and can be seen below!
They really made nice solid pieces of oak furniture and liked to use tiger oak. I'll take all that I can find!
I was also able to polish up a very nice round top table that looks a lot like the one above. I have it for sale at a friends shop. I forgot to take a picture. Let me know if you need a last minute Christmas gift!!
Monday, December 3, 2012
To my loyal few followers, please allow me this time to say that I am sorry for my lack of posting in the month of November. I needed a vacation to re-charge the batteries, so I took one. I took a two week vacation from work in which I tried my best to stay away from a computer, and I took a month long vacation from Blogging. So here is what is going on in my world...
Josey is ready for a good bird shoot! Thanksgiving came and went without me firing a shot in the dove field. My farming friends have been busy with a bumper crop this year and our dove hunts have been put on the back burner. I am hoping all of that will change this weekend!
I found a little time to get out in the shop and refinish this gun stock. This gun belonged to my Grandfather and is now owned by my Uncle. It was worn with age and needed some attention. It now looks like new!
I went to a wedding! One of my fraternity brothers got married on the weekend of the 10th. It just happened to also be my 10 year wedding anniversary. My wife and I celebrated in style with some brothers I have not seen in almost 20 years. I was great!!
Other than that, there is not much going on! I hope to get back on the blogging trail with updates from a good dove shoot!
See you soon!
Monday, November 5, 2012
Our local recreation department joins forces each year with departments from two other counties to put on a Tri-County soccer tournament. We do not have soccer all-star teams, we just enter all league teams from each county and play one big tournament. Reid's team, the Tigers, had a disappointing season loosing the first two playoff games, but decided to put everything together for the Tri-county tournament. They played well and finished with a 4-0 record to win first place in their division. I was very proud of Reid as he played very well in his mid-field position. I think we only allowed two goals in four games with Reid doing more than his part in keeping the ball on our end of the field! He loves the game of soccer and I am glad the he has been able to find some success.
Reid and his coach, Terry Harper
The winning team!
Thanks to all you coaches out there! You really do make a difference! It has been a great season!!
Monday, October 22, 2012
Opening day of rifle season 2012 was a beautiful cool crisp fall morning that had me up early with anticipation. The hunting usually does not get very good here until the rut in mid November, but we had put in some extra work this off season and I was eager to try my luck in a new stand that has shown some promise via trail cam pics and good sign.
The morning did not disappoint as two does moved into my new food plot from the direction in which I thought they would. They fed around for a few minutes until a small buck ran them off. He was just a small 6 point, but I was encouraged at the deer activity. Unfortunately, I had to leave the stand a little early to make sure that I made it on time to a road race that my son was running in that morning. Was it worth leaving early for???
Yep! He won the mile race by one second! He has entered three races and has won two and finished 2nd in the other. Run on buddy!!
The rest of the deer hunting weekend went much the same as we saw several does and a few small bucks. We have a pretty good idea of the deer we want to shoot. Here are a couple of shots of the guys we are after!
They will be hard to get until they let there guard down during the rut, but you can bet I'll be there giving it my best shot!
Good luck this season to all of you!!
Friday, October 19, 2012
The second and final hunting day began with the Duckman cursing Mother Nature. I really only had one more goal in mind and that was a Drake Eider. They only way to have a chance at my bird was to hit the open water. The only problem was that the wind was blowing 20-25 mph with gust up to 35. This makes for some pretty ruff sea ducking.
We put the boat in the water and bundled up to face the 29 degree temps and breezy conditions. I was well equipped today since my luggage had finally arrived. I was never once cold as my Browning jacket and rain suit pants did their job.
We set the decoys out and anchored the boat. No easy task since the wind was working against the rushing tide. The tide moves so much here in Maine that I didn't know we were set up in the same spot as we were the day before. Some of the small islands that I saw yesterday were currently under the sea. The Duckman told me that the water rises and drops about ten feet with the changing tides. Wow!
We waited. We got a few birds to look in our direction, but not many. The conditions made it hard for them to see the decoys. I just wanted one duck and hopefully he would be sporting those white feathers that I longed for. I finally got my chance as a Drake Eider turned our way and approached from the rear of the boat. I would be able to take a head on shot which was very helpful because the boat was riding those 4-5 foot seas like a fast moving roller coaster. As he got close I raised up and steadied my legs. One shot and drop! I poured it to him again and my goal was met!
I missed a few more but I'll be honest, those suckers are hard to kill and I need more time on the water to get my sea shooting legs under me. I have a new respect for Tony as he makes this type of gunning look easy. I'll have to get him on a South Georgia dove shoot and let him be humbled by those little greys who fly in all directions at once.
Saturday night was something that all us Southern boys dream of! Fresh lobster and all I could eat! Mrs. Duckman went out of her way to make sure that I had a meal fit for a king Maine style!!
Even though the hunting was not great on the last day, I had a ball! The trip was perfect and one that I looking forward to making again one day. Tony and his family made me feel like one of their own and I am so thankful that I have excellent friends in the great state of Maine! Stay tuned as the adventures between the Duckman and The Brave Eagle are bound to continue. I have it on good authority that The Duckman is trying to fly south for the winter. Their may just be a spring turkey hunt and some lunker bass fishing on the horizon!
Until next time....This is how we roll!!!
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
|Black Duck drake and hen taken by the Duckman and the Brave Eagle|
We loaded the boat and headed for the landing, which is just right around the cove from the Duckman's house. We were in the water and on our way out in about 20 minutes. It had begun to spit a little rain and the winds were up, but I was just glad to be there. We tucked the boat into a cove that would help block the wind a little and set out the decoys. It was nice watching the Duckman work. Believe me when I say that this man knows what he is doing and it didn't take long before he put the first duck in our spread. Of course I missed that first shot that I took as I was getting my sea legs under me. I can't say that I have ever fired a shotgun while surfing, but that is exactly what it felt like I was trying to accomplish! Sea ducking ain't easy!!
The birds worked fairly well for us considering the weather and I was finally able to connect with a Patch-head, or what we call in South Georgia, a coot! It really is a pretty bird and I would wind up killing two of them on this morning.
We worked the birds for a while, but with the rain and gusting winds, the action was slowing down. I was able to take a white-wing before we decided to move to more open water in search of an Eider.
We gathered up the decoys and moved to another area. We had only been there and set up for about 10 minutes when we spotted my prize headed in our direction. My goal was to get a drake Eider and hold those white feathers in my hand. It could not have been a more perfect shot except I didn't take it. As all of you know, I'm a Browning man!! I did not have my Browning on this trip. I was instead shooting the Duckman's Beretta. Although I had been shooting this gun all morning, in my excitement I had forgotten that the safety on a Beretta is in front of the trigger guard, not the back like my Brownings. The duck was landing as I was pushing on the back of that trigger guard with all of the power that my trigger finger could muster. When I realized my mistake I found the correct safety position and opened fire on my sitting duck. Big mistake! As the shot pattern spread all around my target, my Eider dove down deep and swam. We think he may be surfacing somewhere on the West coast by now. We never saw him again. I cussed! We set back up because that is what hunters do. We try again!
The next duck to fly by was a hen Eider. She buzzed our set up and decided she liked what she saw. As she made the turn to circle back around I found the safety switch and and got ready. This time would be no doubt. I swung the gun and down she went with one clean shot. I had an Eider and we had had enough of the weather. We packed up and headed in. I'll let the pictures show the day's success.
After the photo session, we went inside and ate a late lunch. My luggage arrived and I was finally able to shower and put on some fresh clothes. What did we do next??
Stay tuned for part three of my Maine adventure!!
Monday, October 15, 2012
The official planning for this trip started in 2010 as I clicked on the blog of The Downeast Duck Hunter. I knew I liked the Duckman right off the bat. I was interested in the types of hunting and fishing that he did in a land that I have always wanted to visit. It started out simply by me leaving comments after his post and he responding. We quickly moved to rapid fire question and answer sessions on Yahoo and eventually to text messaging each other from the field with pictures of success. One day I picked up the phone and made a call. It took us a while to understand each other as those folks up North "tawk" a little funny, but a great friendship developed and we now share each others lives on an almost daily basis. This trip was bound to happen!
I left home on Thursday morning gearing up for a full day of travel. I arrived at the Atlanta airport and checked in, making sure to ask the attendant if my bag was checked all the way through to Bar Harbor after my connecting flight in Boston. He assured me that my bag would be there waiting on me. I had a bad feeling but I chalked it up to regular nerves. The flight to Boston was nice and we arrived on time. The Boston airport
Once they called for the boarding of the 6 passengers on my flight to Bar Harbor, they gathered us all up at the plane and asked if anyone was interested in sitting in the co-pilot seat.
We taxied up to the terminal and I started to laugh. I had told the Duckman that I would meet him at baggage claim not knowing the size of the Bar Harbor airport. I could see Tony standing inside of the 1,500 square foot building waiving as we parked 20 feet from the front door. Baggage claim was on the ground next to the plane.
I went inside and shook the hand of my friend for the first time. We talked about my travel up as we waited for them to get all of the bags unloaded. As I was watching, I got that sinking feeling. I did not see my bag. I didn't see it because it was not there. Delta did not take my bag to Cape Air for my connecting flight. I was in Maine with no gear and the next flight was not due to arrive until tomorrow. Nothing I could do but go to Wal-mart and buy a toothbrush and contact case and hope for the best. The folks at Cape Air collected all of my information and told me that they would deliver my bag to me the next day. (It worked out ok as the weather was not too cold the first morning. I borrowed some boots from Tony's buddy, ski pants to cover my jeans, I had my hunting jacket on board with me, and the Duckman provided the rest. My bags arrived about 2:00 the next day as promised)
We struck out for Beals Island and the 1 hour trip seemed to take about 5 minutes as the Duckman and I talked the whole way. The conversation was mostly me asking questions about Maine and the Duckman asking about how it compares to South Georgia. Tony was worried about the weather and the possibility of rain and high winds the next day, so we tried to make our hunting plans accordingly. We arrived at my home for the weekend and I was shown to my room by the Duckman's lovely, patient, caring, best cook ever, duck spotting, hostess with the most-est, wife Mrs. Duckman. I was given the royal treatment by my host and felt right at home. We stayed up and talked for a while and got ready for the morning hunt. My hodgepodge of gear was gathered and I went to bed falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!
You do not have to be up at sunrise to shoot sea ducks, but I was. The view from Tony's kitchen table is breath taking as the sun comes up over the harbor. I was enjoying some bacon and eggs and my second cup of coffee when Mrs. Duckman spotted some black ducks landing in the water just in front of the house. We jumped up and threw on a jacket and boots, loaded the guns and stalked out to the water's edge keeping some brush between the Black ducks and ourselves. We waited for them to swim our way, but luck was not working with us. We backed up and regrouped. They had gone the other way and so did we. We crept along the shoreline and I crawled over a small group of rocks and took a peak over. I spotted the ducks feeding in a little group tucked in next to a pier. I told the Duckman that they were about ten yards too far for a shot from where we were. The only problem is that we had run out of shoreline cover and therefore could not stalk any further for a closer shot. I told the Duckman to get ready and follow me. I jumped up and ran towards the little group. By the time they figured out what was going on I had closed the distance. As they started to rise from the water, my trigger finger was ready and with a boom over the morning harbor, my Black duck was down. Tony had a follow up shot on a passing hen and the day's limit of Black ducks was met before breakfast was over. This Maine duck hunting thing is pretty easy so far!
This was the start to a great weekend of hunting! I'll fill you in on the rest on the next post1 Stay tuned!
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
Talk about a quick strike attack! I had to put down my bacon as the sun was rising in the Duckman's backyard. Black ducks were spotted on the water and a quick Turkey like stalking was in order. Final results are two black ducks down!
Good start to a great weekend in Maine, even without my luggage! Hopefully I will have some gear by this afternoon!!!!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Duckman, I'll see you tomorrow!
Monday, October 1, 2012
It was the night we had all been waiting for. The First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald, GA was host to the open Pinewood Derby racing event of the century. Crowds gathered from all over Ben Hill County to witness the streaking bolts of lightning burning down the church's new metal race track. The racing contestants were made up of current RA racers, past RA racers, racers of the "sugar and spice" variety and one old man (me)!
The Luckie Race Shop has been open for weeks designing new cars and tweaking old cars to prepare for the bulls-eye that was on the team's chest. Everyone was gunning to knock off the Luckie Team from their lofty perch earned last racing season by the legendary "Under Armour" car captained by Reid. Little sister would also be joining the act this year with a racer of her on. The "My Little Pony" Mustang has a little something under the hood as well and was built for speed and cuteness!
My Little Pony is ready to strut her stuff!!
The Under Armour car is ready to start its engine!
The only car in the adult division! They fear me!!
The races began with the boys division and The Under Armour Car did not disappoint. It breezed through the competition on its way to the title to keep its FBC unbeaten streak alive.
The girls were up next and the My Little Pony Car was put to the test early. We had never raced this car before, so we had no idea what to expect. Mia was all smiles as she won each race and moved into the finals. She won hands down and the Luckie Race team collected its second ribbon of the night!
We took the top 4 finishers from each division and had a combined race. It didn't take long for The Under Armour and My Little Pony to square off side by side on the track. My Little Pony got out of the gate strong and even had the lead at the turn, but the Under Armour used a late push to win by the slimmest of margins. Little Sister was not happy! My Little Pony fought back through the losers bracket to once again face off against Big Brother. I would love to tell you she pulled it off, but the Under Armour was just too strong. Reid won again!
The last race of the night and the biggest fan draw of the evening pitted Father against Son and Daughter. The Georgia Southern Car was placed on the track in three wide fashion to take on the winner of the boys division and the winner of the girls division. It just so happens that all three cars call the Luckie Race shop headquarters. As the cars were set in motion I admit that I was torn between my own competitive nature and the desire to see my kids succeed. It didn't last long! I smoked 'em!!! Dad is still the king!!
We had a great time and I can't wait for our RA race this winter. Reid has already claimed the Georgia Southern car for our next race. It should be fun as the bulls-eye just got a little bit bigger!!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The races season is opening a little early this year. Our church has decided to have a church wide derby race this Sunday that includes anyone who wants to race. Kids, adults, novices and professionals like myself. :) As many of you may recall, my son and I won the RA derby event last year and of course we are entered to race in this event. But little sister decided that she wanted a car for this race and big brother is a little worried as the pretty little pink and purple mustang that you see above is primed for an upset. Reid will be racing the legendary Under Armour car and his title is on the line. Stay tuned for race results next week!
|RA Champs 2012|
This is gonna be a fun ride!!!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The first hint of cooler weather has tickled South Georgia and the trees are slowly staring to show signs of shedding their green leaves. The corn has been picked and the fields have been host to early season bird shoots with the popping of shotguns ringing over the horizon. The peanuts are being turned over daily in preparation for the thrashing they will receive when they are harvested with red and green combines spitting out discarded vines and dumping the nuts into waiting wagons. The cotton has been sprayed and the dried up leafy foliage is opening its camo curtain to reveal fields of snow white bulbs that will be gathered around the same time hunters are climbing into their tree stands in October. All of this tells me that fall is here in South Georgia and my heart knows it's hunting season.
It is very hard to express the feelings of those who have the pleasure of living "The Hunting Life". People outside of our world do not understand the emotional ties and bonds that we as hunters feel with the outdoors and the game that we pursue. I am never more at peace with myself or my world than I am when I am outdoors with a fine gun cradled in my arms walking along with my dog hunting wings or sitting in a tree stand watching the sunset as deer are feeding along in a dark green food plot that I prepared. Being outside in this environment for me is being as close to God as I can get. I know me made this world and I am more than happy to allow myself to be immersed in its beauty that can be found on a pine hill in South Georgia or a 2 mile long field of Milo under the bright blue skies of Kansas.
But I don't just get caught up in the moments that I am in the field. The Hunting Life consumes me in just about everything I do. If its not hunting season, then I am waiting for hunting season. From September through March when one season ends, I prepare for the other. It's the summer months that are hard to live with as I wait for fall to arrive. I often find myself cleaning my guns as I recall great hunting memories with each one of them. I constantly scan magazines and read about hunting all over the country. I sit up late at night and watch the Outdoor Channel to see them chase long beards, big bucks, and fast flying game birds. I long to be a part of it.
Sometimes as I sit and "look for answers that ponder me so" (a little Jimmy Buffet reference for ya), I find myself wondering why the Hunting Life gets to me so. I think I know the answer and I will give it to you, but I would also like to hear what the Hunting Life means to you my fellow blogger. I challenge you to write your own blog about your Hunting Life and what role it plays in your life. I think the self reflecting will do all of us hunters some good and it might just be a little fun.
Here is why I think the Hunting Life tugs at my soul. Memories of the perfect hunt! We all have memories of perfect days in the field. Those kinds of days where we think that it just can't get any better than this. But you know what we do? We go hunting again and try to relive those precious memories afield and at the same time we are constantly creating new memories. It is a never ending cycle. Each and every hunting experience has the opportunity to be our next "perfect" hunt. I have so many perfect days stored in my memory banks that I can recall on a regular basis.
- The first time I sat by myself on a dove field. I killed two doves with a single shot 410.
- The first deer I ever shot and how I yelled with excitement ruining the rest of the hunt for other hunters in the area.
- The first time I ever killed more birds than my Dad.
- The deer hunting trips with a camper full of friends.
- My first turkey hunt is one for the ages!
- Every time my Dad and I "double up" on two big toms. (It's happened 4 times)
- Killing an 8 point while Reid was in the stand with me.
- And on and on and on....
If you think about the adrenalin spent on these hunting adventures and the excitement felt at the end of the day, then it is easy to understand that a hunter's body and soul could just possibly crave and need that rush. We want it and we want to share it with others, especially those that we love. During the off season we spend time away from the sport that we love and we start to miss it. By the time fall comes around our craving for the outdoors and a shotgun in our hands has reached a fever pitch and we are over come with anxiety and a strong need to get back out there and do the thing that we love most! That's why I'm glad I'm a hunter! That's why I live for fall!!
I live the Hunting Life. How about you?
Monday, September 17, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Sunday afternoon football has always been nap time at my house, or work time in the shop, or play time with the kids. I don't know that I have watched more than a handful of games over the past few years. I get my football fix on Friday night and all day Saturday. But I have a feeling that is all about to change. I have a new hobby. This new hobby is seeing just how bad my new fantasy football team can perform with me as its General Manager. I was stupid enough to allow the Downeast Duck Hunter to talk me into joining a Fantasy Football league and my limited knowledge of the Pro game came through with shining colors this past week.
- I finished dead last in points scored this week
- My bench players scored more points than my starters
- My number one draft pick didn't show up for practice until two days before the first game
- I was a 24 point under dog before the first snap
- I asked for insider help from ESPN and it caused me to do worse
- I was awarded the LIMP Award this week by my league for the poorest performance
HOWEVER, I did watch more Pro football this past week than I have in the past 10 years! I'm not sure that is a good thing!!
So I will go into the second week of Fantasy Football reading all of the projections and trying to field a team that might actually score me some points. My competitive side of me will not allow me to give up and my commitment side will not allow me to not finish what I started. Please note however that I will play the remaining part of this season under protest. DDH I told you I didn't want to do this! I like the REAL world!
Oh look, I'm favored by 4 in week two!!!!!! Look out boys, the Brave Eagle is back!!!!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Once again all is right in the world! Dove season is open here in South Georgia and the Luckie boys hit the corn fields this weekend for an early season shoot. The weather was overcast and rainy, which allowed me to take Josey the Wonder Dog with us. The temperature was in the mid to high 80's, but the wet weather and plenty of drinking water kept Josey from getting over heated as she earned her keep picking up bird after bird.
It was a good shoot and I got my limit in pretty good fashion. It was the first time I burned any powder this season and I shot fairly well. I missed some I should have hit and hit some I should have missed, so it all worked out in the end. We finished the day cleaning birds and I fired up the grease out in the shop. We watched and listened to college football and enjoyed eating the days harvest while Josey took a well deserved nap on her bed under my work bench.
As as was cooking I received a call from an experienced bird hunter and dog handler that had been on the same shoot. He called to tell me how impressed he was watching Josey retrieve birds. I told him that she was no where near a "finished" dog, but he said that he was most impressed at how well mannered she was and how well she did at staying with me and not running all over the field. Josey is very good and staying at "home" near the blind and will quickly come "here" when she is called. She wore her e-collar but I only had to give her a reminder beep once. She did really well on her first hunt this season and I was a very proud Daddy after that phone call!
I'm looking forward to cooler days and more dove shoots this fall and winter! There is nothing better than hunting with my son and father and watching a good dog do what it was meant to do!
Here Josey! Good girl!!