Tag Archives: North Carolina

Squirrel, the Other White Meat.

English: Squirrel eating from bird feeder. Thi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you have a garden? How about bird feeders? Do you like to watch the various types of avian swoop down to enjoy the bounty of nuts and seeds you have placed on high for their nourishment, only to have their smorgasbord pilfered by the scourge of the forest, the thief on high, the pine top marauder, the villainous vermin, the tree rat of record… I’m speaking of none other than the common gray squirrel?

The truth be known I enjoy looking at colorful birds as much as the next guy, but I figure they can get their own food. When it comes to squirrels, all you’re doing is ringing the dinner bell when you fill those bird feeders… although I do take exception when the furry little critters commence to gnawing on things other than nuts and seeds.

First, let me explain that I haven’t hunted for many years. I don’t mind the sport. In fact, I feel it is necessary for a healthy ecosystem. I enjoy the exotic cuts of meat I receive from friends that do hunt; it’s just not in my nature to sit out in the freezing cold at the crack of dawn waiting to blast Bambi to kingdom come.

However, it is in my nature to stand out on the beach, in the middle of January, at the crack of dawn, with the wind blowing twenty knots, trying to catch a striped bass.

I don’t know why, but this is the best segue I could come up with to get back to the squirrel thing. So hold on tight cause here goes:

I used to enjoy watching them frolic in the trees, gathering food for the winter. Then one day my pickup truck had an unusually strong smell of gasoline. When all was said and done, the cute little fur balls had done over three hundred dollars’ worth of damage. I was a bit perturbed, but also perplexed as to why they would chew on a fuel line. Eventually, I just let it slide.

Sometime later my pickup truck began to smell of gasoline once again; the odor of which was unusually strong. You guessed it, three hundred plus green backs. This time I swore vengeance, but I eventually cooled off and let it slide. Wow! What a nice guy.

Soon after this we attempted to hook up our trailer to our car. Low and behold our psychotic tree rats had given up petroleum fumes for hydrocarbons. In other words, they chewed up the plastic electrical connection housing on my trailer. I don’t know what I did this time, but I eventually let it slide.

Just got the van back… six hundred dollars’ worth of damage to the wiring system.

You’ve heard the old adage, “fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.” I guess, fool me any more than that and I’m just stupid. At any rate, I’m now armed and the carnage has begun. I’ll keep you apprised of the body count.

On a lighter note my wife found that something was gnawing on our hot peppers. Upon closer inspection we discovered not one, but two lime green caterpillars approximately five inches long and the diameter of an adult thumb.

I hope my petroleum junkie squirrels and my pepper grubbing anaconda caterpillars don’t get together. I’ll end up with fuzzy green cold blooded tree climbing mammals that drink my gas, eat the neighbors and demand to sleep in between me and my wife during the winter.

Post script:   Ya gotta be careful when it comes to this stuff, cause if you take time to think about it (and I hope you do) you never know what might happen. If you don’t want to take my word for it, then just ask the 400 pound crawfish that lives under my house.

Hmm, sounds like my next science fiction novel…Time to get busy.

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Sounds Kind of Fishy to Me…

Cape Hatteras Light, 2005

Cape Hatteras Light, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I think back to my most fond memories, I would have to say they involve a rod and reel and a young man twenty-eight years my junior, my son Eric.

We would make a yearly (and occasionally bi-annually) sojourn to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, namely the island of Cape Hatteras. Not only would these trips include serious hours of not catching fish, but soon became gourmet outings also.

We would rent a motel for a long weekend. The one we normally chose had a front porch that would enable us to grill. We would stop by the store and purchase enough food for a specific dinner each night. Lunch would be simple, usually hummus, tapenade and chips and we would seek out a local restaurant for breakfast.

Here’s how a typical day would begin: We would sleep until we decided to get up. No alarm clocks allowed. Then it was off to the restaurant for multiple cups of coffee and wonderfully greasy eggs, assorted breakfast meats, hash browns and possibly a pancake or two. Then back to the motel for some serious reconnaissance.

We would walk to the shore and check out the conditions, then return to the motel to suit up and gather together our gear. Once we were armed with chest-waders, sand spikes, fish-finder rigs and numerous other tools of the trade, we staked our claim on the beach.

After our base camp was established (sand chairs, sand spikes and a cooler), we would retrieve our chunks of bunker we used for bait. We then employed pre-tied, homemade fish-finder rigs, affixed them to the line, attached a sinker and threaded the bait to a circle hook.

Once we surveyed the surf and determined where the troughs were in between sandbars, normally a 100-yard cast or so would be sufficient. Now it was time to wait. We would pass the time by watching the calming waves, talking about anything that entered our minds or even reading a book.

Occasionally, the rod would bend double and we knew the chase was on. Depending on the species, it was usually no more than a 20 to 30 minute fight. Sometimes, a youngster would take a nibble and a 45 second fight would ensue.

At the end of the day, we would take our catch, clean it, bag it in water to prevent freezer burn and then toss it into the freezer.

That night, we would prepare a gourmet dinner, find something good to watch on TV, and eventually go to sleep and ready ourselves for the next day’s hunt.

A weekend was never enough. It had to be a long weekend (Friday to Monday) and occasionally we’d slip in an additional day if possible.

Catching fish is probably my favorite past-time. But that’s not what these trips were about. They were about a father and a son spending true quality time together. A child is a gift from God that is to be treasured, nurtured, corrected when necessary, but most of all loved.

My son is my pride and joy and a wonderful blessing in my life. And oh yeah, it was on one of these trips that he suggested I try my hand at creative writing.

So just remember: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll sit out in a boat and drink beer.

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Listen Closely…It Really is Going to be Alright

English: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Français : L...

English: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Français : Le phare de Cape Hatteras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever had someone tell you when you’re in a tense situation to go to your happy place? Is this something that you’re able to accomplish? For me, there is no such thing as a “happy place” in my head. When I close my eyes, all I see are the inside of my eyelids.

My happy place entails luggage, vehicle, and enough gas to make it there. One I remember fondly is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. I and my wife would travel there every October for our anniversary. She would read and I would fish.

The next trip would be in the winter with my son to fish for Striped Bass. The trip after that was usually in spring with my son to fish for Drum, Blues, and anything else that would bite our hooks. The fishing, the wonderful meals we would prepare, and the just being together would make for a long, wonderful weekend. We would leave Friday morning and not return until Monday, sometimes with coolers of fish and sometimes with coolers of melted ice.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of beaching a 30 lb. fish in the surf, or for that matter an 8 ounce Spot. Whether or not we caught fish was really immaterial. It was the time spent together that was most enjoyable.

I haven’t been able to fish in this manner for several years due to life’s unforeseen hiccups barring my path with unforeseen obstacles, as it does with us all. But God has brought me even closer to my family than I could have ever realized.

I am now in the middle of writing my autobiography. As I write, I take the time to remember the many situations that make my life my own. Even if you’re writing a work of fiction, be thorough. Make the work your own. I guess what I mean to say is to claim ownership over your writing. Don’t be afraid to put a piece of yourself in your characters. You will find that this will make your story more interesting because you are writing about something you know…that something being you.

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