Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blog of the Week: The Run*A*Round Ranch Report

For this blog of the week, I'm featuring something a little different. The Run*A*Round Ranch Report is owned by Theresa, aka TexWisGirl, who lives in Texas. She is originally from Central Wisconsin and moved to Texas when she was twenty. Theresa and her family live on a ranch with their horses, dogs, a cat, and various wildlife. 

Theresa's blog is not about hunting or fishing which are topics that comprise much of my own blog. I've learned to visit and follow blogs that are outside of those interests and The Run*A*Round Ranch Report is one of them. I enjoy Theresa's blog because of the wonderful photos and how she incorporates them in her great posts. She is one of the most active blogger's I follow, often posting more than once a day. Her blog makes mine look like it has cobwebs. It is a real pleasure to read and her photos are not only very good, but enjoyable to look at. 

Theresa herself is very active in commenting on other blogs and follows those that are outside her own hobbies and interests. If you are looking for something refreshing and not necessarily related to hunting or fishing, you should definitely visit The Run*A*Round Ranch Report and give Theresa a follow! She has an excellent blog full of great material! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Where Do They Come Up With These?

I decided it was time to bring a little levity back to my blog and a recent conversation with a Twitter friend gave me the idea for this post. Most of you probably know of some funny or weird names of towns or places in your state. I've known of a few here in Kentucky, but decided to do a little research and see just how many strange town names we have. For your amusement, I have compiled a list of names in the Bluegrass State - some silly and some slightly embarrassing. And, yes, these are real places. 
Kentucky Place Names

Bear Wallow
Beaver Lick
Bee Lick
Big Bone Lick
Big Beaver Lick
Black Bottom
Black Gnat
Black Snake
Cut Shin 
Deer Lick
Future City
Gays Creek  
Knob Lick
Monkey's Eyebrow
Mud Lick
Number One
Possum Trot
Rabbit Hash
Swamp Branch
Wolf Lick

You may have noticed "Lick" is a common theme. Don't ask me, I just live here. Personally, I wouldn't want to lick any of those.

Google this for your state and see what strange names you have. I would be interested to know if anybody can top this list. I don't know if that would be a good thing or not.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For Grandpa

If you read my previous blog post, you know my grandfather passed away recently. This is just a short addendum to that...

Michigan's firearms deer season opened on Monday, November 15th - the day after the memorial service for our grandfather. My youngest brother, Adam, lives in MI and we were staying with him over the weekend. My other brother and I had to drive back to Kentucky on Monday morning. Adam was long gone when we awoke on Monday because he wanted to be in the woods well before first light. We had said our goodbye's the night before.

As we were traveling south on the Interstate, I received a text message at about 10:30 that had a picture attached. The message consisted of two words-

"for grandpa". 

Adam was hunting on our grandparent's farm and had killed a 9 point. I immediately called him and I could tell he was very excited and emotional. It was a thrill for him to take the buck on our grandparent's farm and dedicate it to our grandfather! I'm sure Grandpa was smiling down in approval.

For Grandpa

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Always My Hero

Theodore A. Borsum
August 24, 1921 - November 10, 2010

It's very difficult to know where to begin with something like this. Just six weeks ago I lost a good friend and now my grandfather is gone. I'm not even sure I'm ready to write this, but at the same time I know it will be therapeutic. That's my hope, anyway.

My grandpa, known to most as Ted, was the primary influence on my outdoor passion. I have a cousin a year younger than me and a middle brother who is two years younger than me. As kids, we were the Three Musketeers. Our grandpa shared his love for the outdoors and shooting with us at a very young age. We spent many hours on the farm shooting and hunting. Grandpa watched over us as we shot paper targets, tin cans, clay pigeons, and groundhogs. He belonged to a trap and skeet club and would take us so we could see how the pro's did it.

Grandpa shooting from his handmade bench 

My grandfather was an expert at reloading ammunition. He did it all - shotgun shells, rifle cartridges, and pistol cartridges. In one area of the basement, there were work benches with loaders mounted on them and he showed us the proper methods for loading ammunition. As kids and teenagers, we weren't always patient enough to listen, but in the long run I learned a lot from those lessons.

My grandpa served in the Army Air Force during World War II as an aerial gunner and gunnery instructor. After leaving the service, he and my grandmother bought a farm and he later began working as a steel fabricator. He became a Project Engineer for two companies until he retired at the age of 75. He was the Project Engineer for the team responsible for developing the elevator system in the St. Louis Arch. My grandfather was one of those people who could envision something in his head and then make it with his own hands. He was an excellent steel and wood worker. The back of my grandparent's garage consists of a workshop where he brought many of his creations to life.

My grandfather in his workshop

My grandparent's farm comprises forty acres in lower Michigan. They bought the place long before I was born. To me, it's like the family homestead. I can't possibly convey the good times I've had there over the years. Grandpa worked the farm for a bit at first, but when he began his career as an engineer, the farm land itself was leased out to other farmers to work.

Grandpa on the ol' Allis Chalmers tractor

Shooting and woodworking weren't the only talents my grandfather possessed. He was also a small aircraft pilot. My brothers and I grew up in West Virginia after our father was given a job transfer from Michigan. I'll always remember Grandpa flying to WV and picking us up and flying us back to Michigan. He even let us take turns flying the plane. It was an awesome experience! It was definitely much faster than the usual eight hour drive.

My youngest brother with our grandfather

My grandfather was a very practical man. He was quiet, laid back, and never bragged. I never heard him raise his voice in anger. He would give you the shirt off his back and the last dollar in his pocket if you needed it. At the same time, he wasn't one to reward laziness. He worked hard, didn't complain, and expected the same from others. I'll always remember one occasion when us three boys had done quite a bit of shooting. We were always eager to send the lead down range, but usually not as quick to clean the guns or reload the ammo we had shot up. We were in the basement after the shooting session and doing a slacker's job of reloading ammo. I think Grandpa had been patient with us many times and decided we needed to get a bit more serious. When he walked in and saw that we were goofing off, in a stern voice he said, "You shoot a few, you reload a few". For him to use that tone with us, we knew he meant business. Yet, even then it wasn't out of anger.

Hunting in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

For many years, my grandparent's owned a cabin in northern Michigan. We made numerous trips to spend a few days there. Grandpa took us fishing, glassing for deer, and sometimes we'd drive to Lake Michigan. And we always stopped at the local ice cream shop which was well known for its great ice cream. My grandpa's truck at the time had a topper on the bed and I'll never forget sitting back there with a battery powered AM/FM radio listening to country music as we drove around the small town.

Grandpa shooting pool

I learned many things from my grandfather - from shooting guns to shooting pool. Although, I was never able to match his skill at the latter. As is typical in life, many of the things I learned from him I didn't realize until I was older and a bit wiser. I've always respected my grandfather, but didn't always know when he was trying to teach me something. Funny how those things often click later on.

With Grandpa after my return from Desert Storm

As a kid, I just assumed my grandfather would be here forever. He was 89 and his passing was not unexpected, but I still have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that he's gone. He was truly the patriarch of the family. When he was a little older, we jokingly referred to him as "The Pope". He and my grandmother were the rock of the family. They would lend a hand wherever it was needed and you never left their table hungry. They came from a generation that worked hard, lived simply, and were generous.

Doing what he loved to do

I had the opportunity to speak with my grandpa one last time and I'm so glad I did. We spoke about various things for several minutes and, naturally, the conversation turned to hunting. Before we were done, I thanked him for taking the time to introduce me to the outdoors when I was young. If I hadn't told him how much I appreciated that, I would have regretted it the rest of my life. 

Ted Borsum is survived by his wife, three sisters, three daughters, six grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. My grandfather may be gone now, but he will always be my hero. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pet Peeves. Or I'm With Stupid.

Sooner or later we all deal with "stupid" people. Some of us more often than others. The hunting, fishing, shooting, and outdoors community is not exempt from the not-so-funny, annoying, and sometimes dangerous behavior of these people. I call them stupid, but often they know exactly what they're doing and their actions are intentional. Or they know better, but just don't care. No matter how you categorize them, there are things people do that really get on my last nerve and give the rest of us that proverbial bad name. I'm going to list some of the things I've experienced that annoy the happy right outta me and then see what pet peeves you have. I'm going to venture a guess that they're very similar. 

This Ain't Your Personal Garbage Dump
There's no excuse for leaving trash behind. Period. I've been in the woods and come across pop or beer cans that looked like they had been there for ten years. That stuff doesn't just magically disappear. Same goes for plastic items. If somebody wants to do that to their own land that's one thing, but it should never be done on public land or when a guest on another owner's property. Throwing trash into a lake or stream is even worse because it's not nearly as easy to clean up. This one is pretty straightforward. If you carry it in, carry it out.

(Gypsies, Tramps, and) Thieves 
Many of us who spend time outdoors have experienced theft of some kind. I hate thieves. Treestands, trail cams, ATV's, firearms, fishing tackle, and even downed game have all been targets of thieves. Vehicles parked at landings, access points, and hunting locations are popular targets. There's simply no excuse. I normally won't leave stands on public land. A good friend I hunt with bought a cheap hang-on stand to use on some public land we occasionally hunt. He locks it on the tree, but if somebody steals it, his thought is that he's not out a lot of money. If it doesn't belong to you, there's no excuse for taking it. Thieves have ruined many an outing for people. In my mind, it's worse if the people who steal are other hunters or anglers. They don't deserve to be called sportsmen because sportsmen don't behave that way. 

Don't Crowd Me, Bro 
You get in the woods or on the water nice and early and get all set up. You're excited and hopeful. The next thing you know, you see another hunter come in and set up fifty yards away or another boat pulls up within casting distance of you. It is possible to end up close to another hunter without realizing they're there at first. When you do figure it out, common courtesy would dictate you move on and find another spot. Crowding other anglers is usually not a mistake. Nobody likes being cut off on a lake or river.

Last April, three of us were turkey hunting on our land. We heard a tom gobbling and had to do some work covering a lot of ground to get in position to call him in. We went back and forth with this tom for quite some time. He sounded hot, but after thirty minutes, it became apparent he was moving away from us. Shortly after that, we heard a gunshot. Long story short, the people who own land adjacent to ours were literally hunting six feet from the property line. A lot of the calling we heard was actually them trying to coax the tom from our property onto theirs. They had shot at the turkey as it flew past them, but weren't sure if they hit it. This wasn't the first time they had hunted right on the line. And it wasn't the first time we had confronted them about it. Yes, they were on their property, but whats aggravating is they own 800 hundred acres - many times the amount of land we have. They could easily hunt far enough away from our property that we would never see each other, but they choose not to. This is a matter of common courtesy and respect in my book.

Safety or Lack Thereof
Nothing gets me out of my happy place faster than unsafe firearms handling. I don't want a gun pointed in my direction...ever. And don't try to be funny and say, "don't worry, it's not loaded". People who can't master the simple rules of firearms safety don't deserve to have them. Don't stand around and chit chat with your gun casually pointed in the direction of others. Don't sight in your gun or check your scope's zero by shooting without knowing what's in the background. And don't take shots at game unless you know you have a safe background. People who walk around with their finger in the trigger guard are just asking for trouble.

Anglers have their share of problems, too, with people who operate boats or jet skis in a reckless manner. I avoid fishing a lot of lakes during the summer for this very reason. There are just too many idiot operators on the water.

This is another pet peeve that is not only highly annoying, but also illegal. If you don't belong there, don't be there. It's one thing to be genuinely lost or mixed up, but when you know you are hunting or fishing where you shouldn't be, I have no sympathy. The people who feign ignorance when caught are the worst. And if they shoot game while trespassing, now they've also stolen what doesn't belong to them. Do the work and seek permission like the majority of sportsmen. 

Generally Poor Behavior
I cringe when I see somebody fishing or hunting and acting a fool. We joke about the beer drinkin' redneck hunter stereotypes, but there's a reason those stereotypes exist...because some people actually behave that way. How does tossing beer cans out the window of your big, noisy four-wheel drive truck while "road hunting" promote anything but a negative image? Rudeness is not a good way to make a favorable impression on the general public, either. For that matter, it doesn't go over well with other hunters or anglers. People will generally remember a negative encounter more so than a good one. The non-fishing, non-hunting public often associates bad behavior with all sportsmen. We have enough to deal with in protecting our sport without slobs making it more difficult.

What Are Yours?
These are big pet peeves in my outdoors book. What are things you've seen or experienced that annoy you? And it doesn't just happen to hunters and anglers. Campers, hikers, photographers, and anyone who spends time outdoors have seen things that flip their switch. I know my list isn't all inclusive. And that's unfortunate.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Double the Color

This double rainbow appeared after a recent storm. It was quite stunning in person! Since it was impossible to get the entire thing in one shot, I had to settle for a photo of each end. You can enlarge them for a little better view. I wasn't sure if the pot o' gold was at McDonalds or the water tower. Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 1, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Magnum Boots USA and heyBJK Boot Giveaway

I won't keep you in suspense by burying the name of the winner way down in this post. The winner of the Work Horse 6.0 boots is- 

Congratulations, texwisgirl! You should be receiving a message from me. If you haven't yet, please let me know.

Before we wrap this up, I want to thank everyone who participated! A special thank you goes out to Dennis at Fishing With Dad and Michael at Troutrageous! for promoting this giveaway on their respective blogs! Thanks, guys! I appreciate everyone who mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook, as well! 

Big thanks, of course, to Magnum Boots USA for the Work Horse 6.0 boots prize and their support in putting on this giveaway! They have a great team of folks who are a class act!

Thanks again and I hope you all enjoyed it!