Garden Update, Wild Edibles & Local Grant Opportunity
Posted by

I’ve been pleased with my garden’s growth since planting two and a half weeks ago. The plants that I grew in the basement are really taking and I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision to straw in between the rows.

Had a chance to grab a couple small bags of ramps last several weeks and enjoyed mixing them into stir fry recipes and sauteed by themselves.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been working hard in the yard – front and back – to get more light on to the lawn and renovate some of the dilapidated shrubbery. If you’re local to Columbus, OH, and have an address that qualifies, this small grant program for private landowners chips in $50 or $100 towards eco-friendly landscaping. No strings attached, check it out at the Community Rebates Backyard Program.

“Budget” Long-Range Optics for my New 6.5 CM
Posted by

You’ve seen the general philosophy expressed many times if you’re a long time Smorgasbord reader. Synthetic golf pants in lieu of Kuiu or Sitka “mountain gear”, Salomon boots instead of Crispis or Lowa boots, discount backpacker’s puffy instead of a high dollar option, solid color earth tones instead of the up-charged marketplace camouflage patterns, the list goes on.

SWFA (SouthWestern Firearms, Inc.) provides an economical route to equipping your rifle with a quality set of optics with a full range of features. I settled on the 3-15×42 model that runs in the mid $600s price range. My dad was put on to SWFA scopes by a former military guy who has high praise for their rugged build and dependability, quality glass, and full spec features list. Boy am I glad he did! I was fortunate to grab up the scope with covers and sunshade extender, shipped to my door for $457! Leading up to that purchase and afterwards, I have struggled to find anything comparable with a price tag less than $750-$800 and that’s being conservative.

I still have not made it to the range yet, but I’m moving closer to that part of the process. Looking forward to seeing what the x-Bolt set-up will do and will update when I find out.

Late April Crappie Fishing Trip
Posted by

Spring is definitely ahead of normal pace and the near-spawn hungry and shallow crappies are proof. We took advantage of light(-ish) winds yesterday – necessary to survive big lake adventures in a canoe – and headed out with 3 dozen minnows in the aerated 5-gallon bucket. It took over 3 hours to locate some brush with any receptive fish, but we finally did. The males were scattered along a 40-50 foot stretch of brushy shoreline and the larger females were staging 10-15 feet further offshore in 3-4′ deeper water. We landed around 15 with 5 throwbacks. The keepers ranged from just 1/8-1/4″ over the 9″ minimum to 2, 12″ers. 9 keeper crappie with one bonus bluegill in total.

Spring crappie fishing has become of the activities that I most look forward to because Raelyn enjoys it so much. The only thing that took us back to the boat ramp yesterday was her almost having a bathroom emergency. Hopefully this weekend’s rain and windy forecast does not put the rest of the crappie spawn fishing in jeopardy, because we’d love to get out a time or two more to keep stocking the freezer.

Pronghorn Hunting—What’s the Allure?
Posted by

This post is based on a conversation I had with dad about a month ago, and he shared some insights that I hadn’t quite pieced together in my own mind yet. I have always thought that pronghorn hunting should not be as fun as it is – stated another way, the experience of antelope hunting is always more fun and more enjoyable and more satisfying than you would predict given the old adage “anything worth having is worth working hard for.” Because let’s be honest – most of the time, a hunter does not have to work hard to fill his antelope tag.

For the Eastern white-tail hunter (long way of identifying hunters like my dad), it’s an ultra-packed compression of an entire season’s long effort into what could potentially boil down to a 60 or 90 minute episode of extreme intensity. At most, the entire 3 or 4 months of a deer season grind will play out over the course of 5 or 6 days; it amplifies, magnifies, swells – several low low lows, several high high highs. In course of an Easterner’s whitetail deer season, you might have a week or two or even a month to recover from a low before you replace that feeling with a high (only exception might be from instant you release an arrow, suspect a hit, and the drama-filled sequence to recovery). In pronghorn hunting, the months-long journey of a deer season transpires almost overnight, sometimes quite literally. That rollercoaster of emotion is what a pronghorn hunt is at its heart.

Pronghorn hunting is supremely enjoyable for adults, but think about the implications for introducing new hunters to the outdoors, or better yet – children and youth. It is exactly these sort of experiences that offer promise of action, animals, some shooting, and likely a filled tag. While punching tags should not be the end-all-be-all of any hunt, success sure goes a long ways in ensuring that introductory moment to the outdoors is a memorable one, and provides a taste that keeps young (can also be read new) hunters engaged, interested, and hungry for more.

Spring Smallies
Posted by

A buddy and I took the ol’ red canoe on its maiden 2017 voyage last Saturday. Even though we were both anxious to do a bit more spring deer scouting for next fall, the weather was just too perfect combined with solid water conditions to let go by the wayside. I took a simple approach from the first cast to the last – white Fluke Jr. on one rod and a small jighead with a 2” plastic greenish orange crawfish looking creature on the other. I ended up with 6 bites in a 6 hour float – not exactly on-fire fishing – and landed 4 fish. Five of my 6 bites came from within 10 feet of obvious rock and boulder structure, and all but one fish came on the jighead on a moderate speed up-down-up jigged retrieve. The highlight of the day was one of my best smallies ever, didn’t measure but I’d guess in the 16-17” range, as well as the diverse bird life that we encountered. Lots of paired off wood ducks, a great-horned owl that we bumped into twice, and the birding highlight – a stunning couple of black-crowned night herons.

Infolinks 2013