Category Archives: Outdoors

Squirrels Attack!

 

McSquizzy

McSquizzy

 

Long-time readers of this blog might have the opinion that I am prejudiced against squirrels. While I have written about previous confrontations with the pesky varmints cute little critters, I firmly believe there is a place for them in this world: right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy.

Occasionally, we outdoorsmen are accused of exaggeration. Some question the accuracy of our measurements or the veracity of our reports. Some would say it is impossible for a fish to be so big that the level of the lake drops three inches when he is taken out. Some would say that a buck with a rack that looks like a rocking chair on his head is beyond the realm of plausibility. They might, and I emphasize MIGHT, have a point, but I assure you that what I am about to tell you is the pure, unadulterated truth. I will not blame the reader for skepticism. Had I not witnessed it first hand, I would be slow to believe it myself, but in the words of the late, great Wendy Bagwell, this is a fact with my hand up.

There are those who think that squirrels are just cute, energetic little things that are happy all the time. They labor under the misconception that squirrels, while perhaps a bit shy around humans are basically harmless and the only thought that goes through their acorn-sized mind is where to find the next nut.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Squirrels are devious, destructive beasts who are capable of distinguishing between different types of firearms, planning coordinated attacks and are intent upon inflicting bodily harm on humans.

A few days ago, my two sons and I went deer hunting on my grandmother’s farm. It was a nice fall afternoon and the total absence of deer was counter-balanced by the serenity of the great outdoors. The boys were located in their hunting spots and I was comfortably situated in my hunting chair with my feet propped up on a fallen log. Life was good and I was completely relaxed.

The tranquility was suddenly shattered by an explosion of shrill chattering and barking. A squirrel had completed a recon mission on my situation and decided that I did not pose a threat to him. He doubtlessly knew this from the orange vest I was wearing and the deer rifle that I was holding (I told you they could tell the difference between guns). He jumped from behind a tree and engaged in a rush of angry monologue. I am not fluent in Squirrelese, but I had no doubt of the content of his words. He was cussing me out. This is not unusual, it has happened to me, and many other woodsmen, before.

While the first squirrel was continuing his diatribe against me, I began to hear objects striking the ground close behind me. I turned around in my seat and craned my neck to look up in the hickory tree behind me. Another squirrel had snuck up behind me while I was distracted by his partner and was bombing me with nuts. He would scamper along a limb until he found a nut that hadn’t yet fallen, pull the nut off the branch and launch it in my direction. He fired six or seven shots. He didn’t just chunk them randomly, I could see him actually taking aim, adjusting for the wind and elevation. The only thing that kept me from getting hit was the fact that he was too weak to throw them far enough away from the tree. Had he been as big as even a fox squirrel or raccoon, I would undoubtedly have knots on my head now.

So be careful, my friends, next time you are around these scampering, chattering, bombarding menaces. They may look cute and charming, but they are probably just on a recon mission to find the best way to attack you.

Advertisements

In the Boondocks

   Last week was the week of fall break for schools in our area. Although we home-school our sons, we try to follow the local calendar and so we took time off as well. Wanting to get out and enjoy the mild fall weather and get away from home for a little while, we decided on a camping trip to one of our wonderful Georgia state parks.

   After calling around to a few parks to the north and west of us, I found that their campgrounds were all filled for the weekend. Turning my attention to the east, I found the Stephen C. Foster State Park in Okefenokee Swamp. When I called I was greeted by a very friendly lady who assured me that there were plenty of campsites available. She warned me, though, that if we were coming I should bring everything I needed with me because there was absolutely nothing around where she was. I reserved a spot and we began to load up our Jeep for the trip.

   We found the park to be located seventeen miles in the heart of Okefenokee Swamp. It was literally at the end of the road, but it was an absolutely gorgeous place to camp. Wildlife was abundant and we saw a large number of deer, along with squirrels, raccoons (who overran our campsite during the night), a fox, a possum, an otter, a variety of birds and of course, alligators (sorry, Beverly, Pogo didn’t show up 😉 ).

   Friday night was very relaxing as we sat by the fire under the moonlight. The only sounds that could be heard were the crickets chirping and an occasional owl hooting.

   On Saturday, we rented a boat and traveled about 4 or 5 miles up various creeks and waterways through the swamp. Gigantic cypress trees towered overhead and reflected in the still black water. Water lilies were blooming as were black-eyed Susans and other wildflowers. At times the waterways became so narrow that there was only a few inches of clearance on either side of the boat as we passed between trees.

   It was an amazingly refreshing time that we hated to see end. We all left reluctantly, counting the days until we can go back.

Going Camping

Our boys are on fall break this week. We have decided to get out of the house tonight, so we are going to go camping in Okeefenokee Swamp. If the gators, bears and skeeters don’t eat me, I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

Have a blessed weekend.

A Blessed Week

Last week was one that was full of blessings. I suppose we could really say that about every week, but this one was especially so.

Our church held Vacation Bible School beginning on Sunday evening. We had an incredible week that was the highest attended we have ever had. The kids were enthusiastic and the adults really worked together as a team. Several good contacts with unchurched families were made. Most importantly, two children placed their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

On Tuesday, we got the news that my oldest son, Clay, had received a good report on an unusual mole that had been removed from his back a couple of weeks ago. The doctor said that it was not malignant. Thanks a bunch to all of you who offered prayers on his behalf.

After such a full week, we were ready for a little getaway, so my family and I travelled to the Julian Bruce State Park at St. George Island, Florida. We had a wonderful day at the beach and experienced some beautiful sights. Some sea turtles had recently hatched and you could see the trails through the sand where they had made their way to the water. We saw a number of different birds, but to cap everything off, we had all four swam out to the sand bar that was about forty or fifty yards offshore. While we were there, playing in about three feet of crystal-clear water, four dolphins came swimming by within just a few yards of us. They were unhurried, one even stuck his head out of the water to get a better look at us. It was an amazing moment.

On the way back home, we swung by our old haunt, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and drove down to the lighthouse at sunset. On our way in we had a close encounter with a raccoon. Coming out we got a good look at a great horned owl and a pair of ospreys. We even got to see a whip-poor-will. As often as I have heard these birds sing at night, this was the first one I had actually seen.

Praise the Lord for His everlasting goodness.

 

A Day Observing God’s Glory

It happened a little over a week ago, but I am just now finding the time to write about it. My two sons and I took a field trip to our favorite haunt, St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge. It would take a whole series of posts to describe all that we saw and experienced, but it was an incredible day observing the glory of God in His creation.

We were able to get within arm’s length of baby alligators, saw some awesome sights on a hiking trail, identified over 50 different species of birds, had a nice picnic lunch, took a boat ride on the nearby Wakulla River where we saw a 12 1/2 foot long gator literally launch himself out of the water in an attempt to catch a FLYING great blue heron. We then went swimming in the 69 degree water of the springs there. We grilled some brats and sausage for supper and discovered a new dessert that was almost too good to be true, ROASTED CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS STUCK BETWEEN THE SEPARATED PARTS OF AN OREO COOKIE. (Kings should eat so well.) We saw deer, a raccoon, got buzzed by a bat, serenaded by bullfrogs and illuminated by fireflies.

It was a trip that started at 7:30 A.M. and ended about 10:00 P.M. and it was non-stop, but we all decided we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Here are a few pictures of some of the things we saw.

A baby alligator

 

Is God great or what?

Bits and Pieces

It’s been quite a weekend. On Friday, I took my two sons along with my mom and dad to St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge. We had attempted to go the week before, but had to postpone the trip due to sickness.

We had a great time and saw a variety of birds including, wild turkey, bald eagle, osprey (a really big one), white ibis, glossy ibis, wood stork, egrets and herons of several varieties (including a beautiful great blue heron), kingfisher, pelicans and some blue-wing teal. We also saw a deer as we were leaving. Migrating butterflies were everywhere and we were able to see a really nice rainbow.

On Saturday, my wife and I went with some friends to see the Seminoles beat up on North Carolina State. It was a great game, even though the weather was a little wierd. We had a lightening delay of about 49 minutes, but when we re-entered the stadium, there was a beautiful double rainbow arching over the field. (I wonder if there is any significance in that? hmmm).

We had a wonderful day at church yesterday. There was a great spirit in the services and the fellowship was sweet. Last night we had several members share some scriptures that they had been reading and talk about what they were learning from the Word. It was really great and some edifying thoughts were brought out. On the way to church, we saw yet another rainbow, making it the first time in my life that I have seen rainbows on three consecutive days.

I also want to share with those of you who might be interested about a blog that some friends are running right now. Keith and Julie Parker and their son race are the son-in-law, daughter and grandson of Cleve and Judy Dixon who attend Pine Park Baptist Church. Keith recently graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. They are in the process of adopting a little boy from Viet Nam. Julie is keeping a blog of their trip and the process. You can read about it here. Please keep this family in your prayers as they travel.

I hope you have a blessed day. Come back soon.

Weekend Survey

The family and I are going to go down to St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge (pictured in my header) to do some hiking and birding this afternoon. We have plans for a picnic supper and hopefully the bald eagles have returned after the summer.

As majestic as the eagles are, however, I would have to say that the bird that fascinates me the most is the Great Blue Heron. These birds have some amazing beauty and I never get tired of watching them hunt for supper in the wading pools with the sun setting in the background.

So, with that in mind, this week’s survey is for the birds. Which bird is your favorite?

God bless and have a great weekend.

Oh, yeah, the ‘Noles are gonna take Alabama down hard!