Summer Days Outdoor Memories, MAKE SOME!

Camping+ Kids+ Catfish = Great Outdoor Memories!

Yes, it is hot outside today but, even in the heat, the summer outdoors calls to me. I guess part of the allure is the fact that like many folks, I spend way too much time in the office and if I am outdoors during the week, it is to travel for business meetings and other non recreational matters.

I have made time to go fishing a couple of times so far this summer and have plans for a few more trips before it is over. Weird thing is, time can’t possibly be measured the same way it was when I was a child! Summer was three years long it seemed and days on the river were 30 hours long. Fishing with cane poles, old Shakespeare fly rods tipped with #10 white popping bugs, or “Zebco 202″ cat-fishing reels. Days were spent fishing, swimming and water skiing or riding an “inner-tube” pulled behind a fishing boat. Cups filled with “Kool-aid” from a glass jug, or sweet tea were the drinks available and lunches were mostly leftovers from supper or breakfast, baloney and cheese crackers or Jiff peanut butter sandwiches. Man! what a menu!

We drank water from cool, clear springs that trickled out of the slate rock or limestone walls along the Tombigbee river as we fished in flat bottom, home made Cypress wood “skiffs”. We sat along the bank at dusk and caught old “grunting” blues and channel catfish until we were ready for supper and some fun time around the camp fire. We sat and listened to the “grown-ups” pick guitars, saw on a fiddle or caress a tune from a little mandolin that hummed like the mosquitoes we tried to keep at bay with bug spray and running through the smoke from the camp fire.

We dined on fried fish most nights, or bar-b-cue deer hams, hot dogs, burgers, or fried chicken.The two week period around the Fourth of July holiday was “camp time” as we called it. My family and four or five other families that were mom and dad’s friends, all got together and went camping along the Tombigbee River near Boligee Alabama, In Greene County.

The river was at that time, free from any commercial traffic or dams until far downstream at Demopolis. It was, at that time, pristine, natural, and as beautiful as any place I have been in my life, even to this day. We camped out on an elevated sandy bank where a cold, tannin colored, creek flowed into the river and the cold water from the creek was as refreshing as any place you would want to be on a hot summer day. We had a rope swing and a couple of dive platforms nailed on trees that leaned out over the waters at the mouth of the creek. It was better than any “city” pool I had ever visited with my “uptown”cousins!

The tents were all make-shift varieties from horse trailers to old Army surplus units. My dad used a large canvas and old rusty tin pieces to fashion a “lean-to” style tent and us kids slept on the ground on pallets of old cotton ticked quilts laid over hay spread down for a mattress.  We laid in our pallets protected from the “skeeters” by thick cotton quilts and canvas doors to the tent. At night, we listended to the various owls, crickets, cikadas and a billion other bugs in a chorus as primal as the wonderful piece of earth we laid on. I have slept in five star hotels since then and none compared to the sleep I got on those trips!

Mornings, we awoke to a “luxury” of smells, from camp fire coffee brewing, to slab bacon cooking in big black iron skillets, eggs, sausage, grits, home fries, and even biscuits cooked in several dutch ovens! Home-made jellies and preserves, home-made butter and cold “home-squeezed” milk rounded out the breakfast that made us kids think we were the luckiest on the planet!  And, I believe we were!

After breakfast, we could choose to go back to bed, to go with “the men” to run the trot lines, fish from the bank, or after the obligatory “hour after a meal rest time”, we could go jump in the river!  I loved to go with my dad to run the trot lines and that was my choice most of the time in my younger years at the camp. In later years, dad would let my older brother run the lines and I would go help him, but he tended to be too bossy so if dad did not make me go, I opted to swim early, swim often and swim all day!

We called the camp, “Gypsy Hollow”, a moniker one of the adults penned on it due to the make up of odd camping fixtures and the camp fire with the music each night. It was a summer memory that is among my most precious of summer days outdoors in a much simpler, much richer, time and place in my life. As an adult, I sometimes think I have been a poor parent in respect to providing memories of such quality to my boys. We did beach trips, mountain trips, amusement parks, a trip  to Yellowstone and other such venues that we could afford in our “modern life and times” but, doggone it! they never did get to experience a two week stay in a paradise called “Gypsy Hollow”.

Make some summertime memories OUTDOORS with your kids, before they are grown and gone.

Until next week,

~postoak~

 

Looking for a Hunting Club or Lease? Now is The Time!

Find that right lease or club to join and you could find a big Buck !

Yesterday was the “official” first day of summer. Depending on who you are and what stage of life you find yourself in, the responses range from “HOORAY!” to “Oh Lord give me strength!” With me being in the latter group of folks who are less than thrilled with a work load that ramps up to full throttle, and keeping up a ”too large” yard complete with a concrete “money pit”. Throw in the other summer time headaches and the only way I can stay sane some days is to start a fall count-down. Or actually, a first day of hunting season count down.

There are some useful aspects of summer and finding a new hunting land lease or joining a new hunting club is one of the more enjoyable parts of this little slice of “Jalapeno weather season”. I have found it is best to start early and review lots of options before you surrender that big check that you hope will repay you with some big times and a big buck. Or in my case, a big gobbler!

Where to look ? I have found numerous sites that offer both leases and clubs to join. Hope you find one of these to suit your hunting dreams!

A site I just found this year is http://alabamahuntclubs.com/index.php  Another is http://resourcemgt.com/ .

A good timber company site is  http://www.soterrallc.com/Soterra/huntingInterestedParty.action

The west central Alabama folks might want to visit http://www.westerveltwildlife.com/hunting-leases/  and Plum Creek has some smaller leases for a family or buddy lease plan http://www.plumcreek.com/Recreation/LeasingOpportunities/tabid/143/Default.aspx.

I will finish for now with one of my favorite sites to find a lease or a club membership to some good properties, http://www.afoa.org/hunt.htm.

And if you are not into web site searches, The Bulletin Board usually has a number of folks advertising for members this time of year. A good friend just told me of  big club up near Lake Martin Dam that is looking for members so if anyone is interested just send me a email request to postoakman@gmail.com and I will send you his contact information.

Looking forward to hunting season, I am

~postoak~  thanks for reading!

 

 

 

National Wild Turkey Federation Chapter Hosts Another Great Event

This past weekend, The Elmore County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted a great event for kids and youth at Beautiful Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka. The event, known as  J.A.K.E.S. Day, in honor of the term used to describe a young gobbler in his first year of life.

The event is a hands-on teaching event where children and youth from the river region can receive instruction and take part in many outdoor activities as well as see displays of outdoor and pioneer style crafts such as wood carving where such experts as Dr.Robert Parker used a type of hatchet called a “foot add” and other primitive style hand tools to carve out beautiful wooden platters and serving bowls, reminiscent of those used in pioneer days and carved entirely by hand tools.Mr. Bob Gantt showed his skills as a wood carver with a foot driven lathe and a hand-held ”draw knife” to create beautiful serving spoons and ladles from native hardwoods. Both men produced items from start to finish on site so the kids and us adults, could see the process in detail. Both are real craftsman of the highest order in the pioneer carving arts!

Kids got to try their wood working skills out too. They were able to make personalized walking staffs to take home and build their own Blue Bird houses, thanks to a big volunteer effort by some local teachers and others from the community.

The Army National Guard once again was a great sponsor, providing Tee shirts for all the participants and hosting an on site venue. Alabama Power Company employees took a leading role once again in signing up participants, working at different events and helping prepare lunch for the crowd of future outdoor sports enthusiast.

The kids and youth were treated to other outdoor opportunities such as shooting, archery, and wildlife identification. Turkey calling was once again my station for demonstrating and instructing each youngster in the art of turkey calling and turkey hunting basics along with each of them having the opportunity to try their hand at turkey calling with a friction call and a box call.  Each of the Jakes who wanted one, were able to pick out a Wild Turkey Feather to take home and there were many young ladies who adorned their pony tails with the feathers that made them look at least a little bit like the native American children who walked those very grounds of Fort Toulouse several hundred years ago!

The weather was cloudy and warm with a shower at noon, but that did not hamper most of the participants who were also there to witness the weigh-in of the Anglers for Kids Bass Tournament that has partnered with the NWTF over the past few years to make the event even bigger.

The leadership for the event was another stellar effort on the part of NWTF Chapter leaders, Carole and Chet Mathews and Jenifer and Ladon Glover. They put in long hours and displayed a willingness to make this event, which has garnered National Awards in past years, to another winning conclusion. Thanks Leaders!

This Weekend – Big Gun Show at the Shriner’s Temple on the Eastern Boulevard is a great event to go see, trade, sell and of course buy, guns, ammo, knives, hunting gear, and other items that appeal to the sportsman. I know I will be there for a close up look! Hope to see you there!

Until next posting,

Post Oak out…..doors!

 

 

 

June – A month of Outdoor Opportunities

Chainsaw carving at last years Jakes EventJune is a month that flies by so fast, you might miss it if you don’t get outdoors and do a little of that “carpe’ diem” stuff! Seize the day to go try your luck on a pond, lake, creek, or river. Central Alabama has miles of shoreline and acres upon acres of beautiful lakes to dunk a cricket, drown a worm, or cast a line with your favorite lure for a big bass or a nice bream on an ultra-light reel. I love to fish and plan to take a couple more trips before June has slid right off the calendar.

However, This weekend I will be doing some volunteer work with my fellow Elmore County NWTF Committee members to put on our annual “Jakes Day” event at Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka.This event is one where we teach kids from 5 to 17 about the various aspects of outdoor sports such as hunting, shooting, fishing, Identifying and appreciating nature, crafts such as carving are also part of the exhibits for the youngsters to see and enjoy.

Many of the exhibits are created for the kids to “try it out” BB gun shooting, archery, turkey calling, and even hatchet throwing! It is a great event and one that has one National recognition as the best Jakes event in the entire nation in years past. Our Jakes Chairperson, Carole Matthews and her husband Chet, head up the event along with a small “army” of volunteers will make it once again a great day for kids around Central Alabama to get out and enjoy the great outdoors! Fort Toulouse is a very beautiful and shady location on the banks of the Coosa and a great place to visit anytime. I will be there demonstrating turkey calling and discussing turkey hunting basics for the youngsters. I also make it a point to hand out wild turkey feathers to every kid who wants one and that is usually most of them. What a great use for my feathers from this spring’s birds!

A Gun Collectors show will be coming up next weekend at the Shriner’s Temple on the Eastern Boulevard and I can’t help but go there! I rarely miss a gun show in Montgomery or Birmingham as they are great events to find guns, hunting and shooting collectibles, old coins, knives and other “guy” stuff. I love the gun shows!

June is a great month to get outdoors, don’t let it slip on by you. The 4th of July will be here before you know it. Buy a cane pole and a bunch of crickets or worms then take a kid or some one who has never had the opportunity to watch that cork slip under and feel the fight of a big, tasty bream! As my granddaughters says is is “awesome!”

Until next week,

~Postoak~