27 November 2018

Deer Hunting

The PA antlered deer season started on Monday and I was seeing deer all day long, but none that were legal. This little guy and a friend spent most of the day circling my deer stand.



By the afternoon I was seeing lots of deer, but no shooters in this bunch.



Day 2 started with my two little friends continuing to do the same thing as on day one. Still waiting for the right buck.

20 November 2018

Thanksgiving Turkeys

I found this flock of turkeys in our back yard this morning. They didn't stay very long and continued to head for the township road.



As they walked on the far side of our garage I approached from the other side to see how close I could get to them. I wasn't quick enough, but was able to get within 10 yards before they spotted me.



The turkeys didn't want to hang around for a group photo and flew across the township road and into the neighbor's field.



About a half hour later I found this turkey up the road in another neighbor's lawn. This bird looked dazed and confused, or maybe just tired of all the snow and rain.

18 November 2018

Scouting for Bucks

It's another week until the start of deer season in PA and I was scouting for bucks this afternoon when I found this guy chasing a local neighborhood doe.



At first glance this buck looked promising. But he will be safe this year since he doesn't meet the legal requirements of at least 3 points to an antler. Maybe next year.

16 November 2018

Snow Storm

The first major snow storm for this season dumped over 10 inches of snow in our neighborhood.



I took a couple of photos of the snow with the drone but soon realized most of the landing areas for the drone were still covered with too much snow to land on.



A drone photo of the back side of the house and the table on the deck where I measured the snow.

I spent the rest of the day plowing snow.

15 November 2018

Snow Won't Stop The Rut

The first major winter (late fall) storm moved into the neighborhood this afternoon. I did a drive around our property and spotted a nice buck in the distance following a doe, but I wasn't able to get a photo due to the snow coming down. I found a small group of doe looking for a meal in the snow while one of their friends was on a date with the buck.



The cold snow didn't seem to melt on the deer or bother them.

14 November 2018

And The Rut Goes On ...

I was driving around our cabin property this afternoon when I found these two bucks scoping out this young doe.



Time to decide which buck gets to move in on the doe ...



While the bucks were sparring the doe walked off.

13 November 2018

What to Buck ???

I was out late in the afternoon checking out the deer rut and looking for any nice bucks in the neighborhood, when I came across this buck trying to make a move on a doe. It wasn't until the buck turned his head to look at me that I noticed his unusual rack and a bloody ear.



This buck has 3 points on his right side and only one long spike on the left. Some bucks are "wall hangers" and this isn't one of them. I would like to think the bloody ear came from a fight with a larger buck (which I'm still looking for).

12 November 2018

The "Rut"

The annual breeding season for whitetail deer, known as the rut, has started in our neighborhood. Since the bucks are more active and less cautious than usual during the rut, I did a quick drive around our property looking for deer activity. No bucks early in the afternoon, but I did get this doe to pose for me.



Later in the afternoon, near dark, I did get this photo of a buck.

31 October 2018

Drone Photos

I was out testing the new drone today. This was my second attempt to fly a drone and took it up to about 500 feet and took this photo of our cabin property.



A photo of Miner's Pond. I had to stop flying due to high wind warnings from the drone.

26 October 2018

Sky Camera

Since I take a lot of photos, why not branch out and get some shots from a different angle. My new camera is a Mavic 2 Pro Quadcopter (drone). Drone technology has evolved to a point where I may be able to fly this camera in the sky. I'm still working on the per-flight check list and training videos before my first flight.



For the camera "geeks", this drone has a 20MP camera, designed by Hasselblad, with 1” CMOS sensor and can shot 4K HDR video.


19 October 2018

Planting Walnuts

The day started off with a frosty 30F but soon warmed up to 50F (with no rain), a perfect day to plant some black walnuts. These two buckets contain about 800 black walnuts that I removed the outer hull from.



This section of field is still waterlogged from this year's wet weather. Mary was able to navigate straight rows as I walked behind the tractor and dropped the walnuts in the furrow. After a couple of hours we had planted the 800 walnuts and a few more chestnuts.

18 October 2018

Coming Soon... Turkey Season

The fall turkey season starts in 9 days and this flock is enjoying today's sunshine.



I was checking a new drainage project at one of my food plots when I found these birds looking for a meal. After watching the turkeys for about 20 minutes they walked within 20 feet of my truck.

10 October 2018

Planting Chestnuts

I managed to collect some chestnuts that the deer and squirrels didn't get and decided to plant the nuts at our cabin property. I modified my 3-point hitch middle buster to plant chestnuts/walnuts by attaching a steel pipe behind the main shank and sub-soiler chisel point. The steel pipe allows me to drop the nuts into a furrow created by the sub-soiler.



It didn't take too long to plant approximately 400 chestnuts in this field. Hopefully the squirrels won't find all the chestnuts I planted and a few trees will grow.

05 October 2018

Chestnuts

We have a few Chestnut trees in our lawn and the recent heavy rain has caused the nuts to start dropping. These are Chinese Chestnut trees that we planted and not the American Chestnut trees that were nearly wiped out by chestnut blight 100 years ago. I do have one American Chestnut on our property that is barely surviving. Chinese Chestnut trees are resistant to the blight and people have been back-breeding Chinese chestnuts into American chestnut populations to confer blight resistance.



The Chestnut fruit (nut) is contained in a spiny (very sharp) "burr". The burrs contain one to four nuts and when they reach maturity, the burrs turn yellow-brown and split open in two or four sections to release the nuts. These burrs are so sharp they will penetrate heavy leather gloves.



Some of the Chestnuts I have collected this year. After they have dried I will plant them for wildlife habitat.



Prior to the chestnut blight there were nearly four billion American chestnut trees in North America and a main source of food for wildlife. Some of the local deer looking for chestnuts under the neighbor's tree.

28 September 2018

Wood Turtle

Another 0.40 inches of rain last night and while I was checking my wildlife food plot I found this Wood Turtle at the edge of the field. This is only the second wood turtle I've ever found and the wood turtle is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (http://www.iucnredlist.org).



The age of a wood turtle can be estimated by counting the growth rings and grooves known as ‘annuli’ that mark its shell. This turtle is about 18 to 20 years old.



Unlike snapping turtles which are very aggressive, the wood turtle is very docile and known to be great pets. The wood turtle is legally protected by all the states and provinces where it lives, and is totally protected from commercial collection and trade. Like many endangered turtle species, captive breeding programs are used to satisfying the demand for wood turtles as pets.

27 September 2018

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!!

This area of the Northeast hasn't dried out since this spring and the ground is saturated. I have been trying to plant some wildlife food plots but all this rain hasn't been helpful. I was finally able to plant this field with winter wheat last week but the ground was unable to absorb 0.60 inches of rain yesterday.



This isn't standing water in a flat field, it's a stream of water from other fields flowing across this field and taking seeds with it. Some of my other food plots have been so wet the seeds rotted in the ground.



A small stream of water flowing out of the field.

26 September 2018

Milk Snake

While watering some plants in our solarium, which is attached to the garage, I found this small eastern milk snake looking for the nearest exit.



This snake was about the size of a pencil and had just shed its old layer of skin.



The eastern milk snake is generally docile and often kept as pets since it rarely attempts to bite unless it feels restrained.

25 September 2018

Turkey Day

No, it isn't Thanksgiving. It was another cool/wet day after more rain last night and we decided to check for flooding in local streams when we spotted this flock of turkeys and deer.





After checking the local streams we drove to our cabin property and found another flock of turkeys and some deer in one of the food plots.



My next stop was behind our barn where we found another 6 turkeys.



The gobbler in the flock. Hopefully the turkeys will stay in the area until the fall turkey season.

18 September 2018

Home Sweet Home

During the hot days of summer I noticed several of the neighborhood deer take advantage of cool/shaded area under our cabin. This young buck is starting to use this spot during cool/rainy weather.



There's not much space under the cabin but the young buck showed me how he can crawl out.





Time to stretch.