Category Archives: Hunting & Fishing

February on the Farm

NOTE:  This post contains images of animals that were hunted, killed, and consumed.  Viewer Take Note…

As I said in the previous post, I took the Farm Manager position at Halve Ewe Herd in South Carolina.  It was an unexpected change of plans, but we have learned to roll with those in the past couple of years.  This farm, at around 1,000 acres, quickly turned into a vast area to explore and experience for our whole family.  The swamp seemed to be calling to all of us, the peaceful sound of birds and other wildlife at the edge of the swamp is very relaxing.  Here are a few pictures from another spring that feeds the swamp.  These pictures were taken very early one morning, the fog hanging over the swamp gave it an erie cold feel.  I tried to imagine soldiers during the Civil War filling their canteens in these springs, as well as the workers that built the railroad just out of view in the mid 1800’s.

After working in the gardens for a few days, we came to realize one of the reasons our crops were not growing very well happened to be a very healthy population of wild rabbits.  A ride on the Kubota just after dusk revealed the massive herd we were dealing with.  I decided to build a rabbit trap using some of the materials we recovered from the old tenant house we demolished.  This trap worked pretty good, but we never managed to catch a rabbit in it.  My old 12 gauge shotgun was a much more effective tool, and Thomas the chef made some great rabbit dishes.  We also found a great spot looking out over the swamp from the railroad tracks to watch the sunset.

A few days into the month, we had our 2nd ice storm.  This storm came with much more ice and damage than the first, our power was out for almost a week.  Our summer in Oregon without electricity brought out the Dutch Oven skills, so we ate in style despite the power shortage.  The ice was beautiful, but very destructive.  The Live Oak and Magnolia trees, that keep their leaves all winter, were hit very hard.


The previous included the beginning stages of the rabbit chalet I started to build from wood salvaged from the house demolition.  Here are the girls painting the roof (covered by tin that was removed from the house) and doing a good job of it.

The wild rabbits mentioned earlier put me in hunting mode, here are the first two I managed to bag.  I also utilized the “on farm” bird dog, and scored a couple woodcocks (not on the same day).  These critters were utilized to the best of my ability, the rabbits were made into rabbit salad (think chicken salad) by Chef Thomas.  He made an awesome dish with the woodcocks too.  The skins of the rabbits were saved to be tanned at a later date, and the feathers from the birds were saved to be used by the girls in craft and jewelry making.  The cuts of meat I managed to use from the birds were the breasts (dark meat), livers, hearts, and leg quarters.

The farm prides itself on impacting the environment in a positive way.  The land is home to a huge variety of wildlife, and they are nurtured by the intentional planting of wildlife feed plots.  The feed plots are providing food for deer, turkey, rabbits, squirrel, various birds, and wild hogs.  In turn, the property is peppered by various tree stands that are used by hunters both living on the property and family friends.  The deer sausage that filled the freezer at the farm house was a great perk for working there.  The girls helped me replace some bad boards on the ladder of this tree stand, they had to be the first to check it out.

Halve Ewe Herd - Feb 2014

Come back to check out what we managed to get into during the month of March on the farm…

Beer, Fish, and Hippy Stickers – Yep, Oregon

Combining a few of our favorite aspects of the summer in these photos, the roaring campfires in our awesome stone fireplace and the Pacific Northwest Micro Brew Scene.  The variety of specialty beers is amazing, and my favorite from the summer was the Twilight ale, I miss it now that we are on the other side of the country.  There are so many different flavors and subtle hints of specialty ingredients available in the micro brew beers, it is interesting to think that many of them are available in the brewery itself.  Sipping one of these after a crazy weekend of working was a good way to wind down.

While in Oregon, I tried my hand at fishing several times but never had the luck I had hoped for.  It was a warm summer, so the lake trout were not active by the time we made it out for mid-day spur of the moment fishing adventures.  We didn’t have the extra funds needed for me to go on a chartered fishing trip, so I managed to find the Native Americans selling fresh caught salmon in Hood River, Oregon.  I met several people camping in our campgrounds that recommended I go to them, so we did just that.  They had a few large coolers filled with some huge fish.

The fish made it back to our bus and I cut one of them into steaks for the freezer, the other had a few steaks removed then I smoked the tail section.  That was BY FAR the best fish I had ever prepared.  I split a cedar plank from some of our firewood we had cut in the campground while working the previous week.  I soaked the plank in water for half an hour while the coals heated up (this keeps the plank from bursting into flames).  Then, I laid the tail section on the plank and closed the lid for a while.  The smell of the cedar burning was a constant from our campsite since that is the majority of our firewood fuel, but this was different for sure.  Within just a few minutes, you could smell the salmon slowly roasting as the fat dripped from the plank onto the coals.  I will never forget that meal, and I don’t think the others that enjoyed it with me will either… The dutch oven contained some veggies to go with the fish, we will have some dutch oven cooking posts coming up that will showcase our summer vittles…


Shortly after we got the salmon, our new-to-us van “Boober” had to get some decorations.  Our friends, the Condie’s, operate a mobile vinyl decal business hippymotorsusa.com and had been hanging out with us for a few days.  Jason brought over some decals for the girls to pick through and explained how to apply them to the van.  The stickering of the van went a little more overboard than I had originally anticipated, but it has been fun watching peoples reactions to it.  Especially when they are standing in the parking lot of the local grocery store staring at the van, and I come hop in the drivers seat and drive away.  Several jaws have dropped, but the best has been the truck drivers reaction when they saw the Night Foreman at this years Sugar Beet Harvest hop out of what I have dubbed the princess fairy van. The decals are so realistic, they even confused a bumble bee for half an hour…  I did get a few stickers of my own on the drivers door, even though they are pastel colors they are still gears so I will claim them…

Hippy Motors USA offers custom sticker kits so check them out and use the coupon code “scholl” for 15% off of your order.  This offer is valid one week from the release of this post…

The last picture is the first time Boober was loaded on the trailer as we are getting ready to leave Oregon at the end of our summer there.  Don’t worry, there are more Oregon posts coming, I just liked the picture of the freshly stickered Boober on the trailer…

 

Cleaning and Cooking Fish – Brewer Lake, ND

Once we arrived at Brewer Lake, we decided we wanted to stick around for as long as we could before the Sugar Beet Harvest began.  We purchased ND fishing licenses so we could both have some fun, and save some money on a few meals.  I grew up fishing in the mountain streams of Western North Carolina, but had not spent much time on a lake.  I had fun catching the fish with the girls, they were very good at using artificial lures by the end of our 3 week stay.

I don’t have an exact total for the number of fish we caught while at the lake, but I am sure it was well over 100 keepers.  We had several fish fries, and still have a couple bags of fillets in our freezer.  I had not filleted many fish prior to arriving at this lake, but I decided to dive in and practice as much as I could while we were there.

In the following video, I fillet a perch, a crappie, and a bass, then I show a brief example of a fish fry complete with hush puppies and fried squash.

In the next video, I show how to clean crappie for pan frying.  I also show the full camp cooking method I used to prepare some very tasty fish.