Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shhhhhhh I'm Hunting Rabbits

Rabbit hunting with Son and Grand-son. Well...more like 2 and a half hours of chasing rabbits around. You know how it is. You walk around as quiet as you can...two feet ahead of you a rabbit suddenly appears and then runs off before you can say "Bugs".
The ranch has quite a large cotton tail population. Not to mention an abundant assortment of other rodents, mice, rats, and other ground dwelling critters. The hawks and Owls are very healthy.
I've never seen any coyotes but I've discovered their scat and seen their prints in the mud on occasion by the pond.
Eric and Zep wanted to go rabbit hunting. Eric had discovered a rather appetizing recipe for rabbit and was anxious to try it out. I needed to recover a ladder that I had left at the shed because I needed to clear out my gutters before winter rain hits and I promised the dear wife that I would hang Christmas lights up this year at the house.
So...we got a bright early start on Saturday afternoon around 2pm. That put us at the ranch around 3pm. By my reckoning that gives us about 2.5 hours of daylight left.
We had lots of fun. At dusk, I decided to grab my ladder and take it to the truck. Now, you need to understand that the distance from the shed to where I parked my truck is about one quarter of a mile. Later on that fact will become more clear.
Once I had stowed my ladder securely in the bed of my truck and tied it down, I decided to go look for Eric and Zep. My now it was getting pretty dark. I found them about 800 feet away, still hunting.
Eric had just taken a shot and asked me to go to the truck and get his LED flashlight so he could track the blood trail. I went to the truck to retrieve the light.
Back in the brush, there was no sign of a blood trail so we began our walk back to the truck. Along the way, Eric heard a rustle in the brush, shined his light on it and saw a single glowing eye. He handed me the light and asked me to keep in on that spot and he took another shot. We saw the rabbit hop about 3 feet and stop.
(Now, I'm going to pause here and mention that Eric was using a .177 pellet gun that he had just bought at Wal-Mart. We had zeroed in the scope previously and he was really chomping at the bit to use it to get a rabbit.)
Okay, back to the story. I kept the light on it while Eric took another shot. Down went the rabbit right at the spot. Upon further inspection, we learned that the first shot had gone through it's ear. The second shot in the head. It was a fully grown rabbit about a year old based on what it's ears and teeth looked like.
We walked back to the truck, there was a small table nearby that would be perfect for quartering the bunny.
Eric started skinning it and then asked me if I had any water. I answered, "I have some water back in the shed. Do you want me to go get it?" He replied in the affirmative. So...I headed back to the shed. Remember how far I said it was? By now it was pitch black outside. The sky was clear and there were so many stars visible that I couldn't identify anything. The milkyway was visible and I was looking heavenward as I walked.
When I was about 800 feet from the truck, I heard a pack of coyotes going wild, the howls and barking was awesome. I can't help it, I love that sound. I thought to myself, "They must be feasting on rabbit or something. They sounds like they are quite happy." As I turned a curve, it got suddenly very quiet. My mind immediately raced and I realized that the coyotes were much closer than I must have thought. Then after a moment, I told myself that the sudden silence at my approach means that I'm the predator here. So, I turned on my flashlight and shined it around the woods and kept walking to the shed to retrieve the water. On my return trip, I saw a huge owl swoop down from overhead to retrieve something on the path and vanish into the trees. To be honest, at that moment, I was having the time of my life.
When I got back to Eric and Zep, He was almost done with the process and needed the water to rinse off the meat and his knife. He packed it in ice and went were on our way back to the city.
All in all, I got a pretty good amount of walking done. It was a very nice night.
I hope you enjoy the pictures that I took.

The Shed is Up

Me and my sons all went out to the ranch and finished building the shed. It now has four sides, windows and a door. We'll have to wait for Todd to get back from his TDY assignment before we put up weather proofing, siding etc. The pitch of the roof isn't much but I think it'll be alright. The center is 12 inches higher than the edges. Todd is planning on getting regular siding installed when he gets back. After that we'll work on wind and/or solar power for electricity. It may not look like much but it is solid and has already held up to some very high winds. Since none of us are carpenters, I think we did a good job. Here are some pictures.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Framing has begun

We hand carried every single stick of lumber through the trails we cut. So every piece you see here was carried 1200 feet from where we park. Once we got all of the lumber hauled back to the site, it was time to start framing. We all managed to pick a free weekend (labor day weekend) and we got busy. I loaded up everything into the RV and hooked it up. It is always a good time when I'm able to work side by side along with my sons. The worse thing about the whole thing was that I realized that the sun was simple sucking all of my energy out of me. If I moved into the shade I was fine or if the sun was blocked by a cloud. The second that the sun was directly on me, I would almost black out. I realized that my blood pressure medicine specifically says "avoid direct sunlight", but I didn't think it would be my Kryptonite. The pictures below will tell the story and you'll be able to see how things came together. Not too bad for a couple of guys that really don't know anything about carpentry. Laying out the first section. Two walls up and braced.
Me and Eric standing under the only shade available.
Four walls up and braced.
Ok, not much of a pitch to the roof, but what can I say? Did I mention that I'm not a carpenter? That is a 1 foot rise over 8 feet.
Todd did reveal a talent for trying to kick over the ladder while he was standing on it. Now I know why his ladder is bent. Ha Ha!