Category Archives: Outdoors

Weekend Survey

   I’m getting ready to take the family over to Lake Seminole State Park. It is a very beautiful and relaxing place away from the telephone and pretty much everything else.

   We will probably do some swimming, fishing, canoeing and just kicking back and relaxing. Later, we will grill some bratwursts (my boys’ favorite) for supper. Which leads me to this week’s questions.

1.  Where is your favorite outdoor getaway?

2.  What is your favorite grilled food?

   The aforementioned location is my personal favorite. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (pictured in my header) is a close second.

   As far as grilling goes, I love it all, but especially a thick, tender ribeye steak that has been nicely marinated in Dale’s Sauce.

   Have fun and be blessed.

Advertisement

And We’re Back!

  What a trip! My dad and I had a wonderful trip to Atlanta the last couple of days to attend the State Evangelism Conference of the Georgia Baptist Convention. We were not able to get there for the entire event but we were thoroughly blessed by what we heard.

    We had the opportunity to hear Dr. Fred Luter, Dr. Ergun Caner, Dr. Johnny Hunt, and Dr. David Jeremiah among others. I was refreshed and challenged on several levels. Charles Billingsley brought some inspiring music as well.

   In addition, we had some wonderful fellowship with some old friends and made some new ones as well. It was especially nice to meet Galen Towns, aka Misawa, and fellowship over a cup of coffee with him. He is a frequent visitor and commentor here and is just as pleasant in person as he is on the web.

   After a quick visit to Bass Pro Shops (I could have stayed there all day) we returned home yesterday feeling a little tired in the body, but very refreshed in the spirit. The only problem is, since my dad is preaching a revival for us at Pine Park next week, I don’t get to preach for another week and a half or so. I may burst a blood vessel or something in the meantime.

Guy’s Day Out

My wife, Amy, has been out of town for the last couple of days at a retreat for minister’s wives in Stone Mountain, GA. This is an annual event that she attends.

Hoping to avoid what happened last year while she was gone, I decided to take my two sons on a hike at St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge in St. Marks, FL. We were joined by my dad.

 We had an absolutely awesome time. This time of year there is a wide variety of birds wintering in the refuge. Among others, we saw two bald eagles, great blue herons, tri-colored herons, black-crowned night heron, wood stork, double-crested cormorant, and a variety of ducks. We also saw deer, several large alligators and an otter.

It was great to get out in the outdoors and see the beauty (my header picture was taken at St. Marks), have a picnic lunch on the side of the trail and enjoy some good company.

I just wanted to share it with you. I hope you have a great weekend.

Games From the Good Ol’ Days

I love to go to family gatherings and get the old folks to telling stories. And when I say “old folks”, I mean that with all the respect in the world. Underneath those gray hairs is a wealth of wisdom and experience, and I have always felt if I can learn from their experience, I may be able to avoid certain courses in the “school of hard knocks”.

 At a recent family get-together, the elder statesman of our family, Ausmus Betts, started telling me about a game he used to play when he was a boy called “root peg”. I knew about marbles, hoops, and had heard of “mumblety peg” but I didn’t know how to play it. Ausmus said that root peg was similar to mumblety peg.

 The game was played with pocket knives (standard equipment in a country boy’s pocket) and, of course, a little peg. They would drive the peg almost all the way into the ground and then take turns trying to throw their knives and stick them in the ground. They would use a variety of trick throwing motions and positions. If one player was able to stick his knife in the ground and the other one wasn’t, the loser would have to get down on his hands and knees and “root the peg” out of the ground using his nose and his teeth.

According to Ausmus, this led to some dirty faces for some.

I found this fascinating and wanted to pass it along to you. Have any of you ever played this? How about other games you may have played as a child?

Bits and Pieces

I just wanted to share some gems that I have found around the web this week. Some are designed to bring a chuckle, some a blessing.

Check out my nephew’s blog. Will is the oldest son of my brother, Cameron. For 8 years old, he does a great job of blogging. Visit his blog and tell him that Uncle Gordon sent you.

T.A. Blankenship has been doing a wonderful series of sermons on the scriptural basis of a pre-millenial, pre-trib rapture. He is about to take a month’s hiatus from blogging, so take the time to read this series.

 Bill Scott has a wonderful devotion that will bless you. HT Janice.

 Ken Fields at World From Our Window has a humorous article about Irritable Clergy Syndrome. (A must-read for those in ministry.)

Bonnie Calhoun is at it again as she lists some altered titles to Christmas carols as provided by various disorders. WARNING: Any liquids in your mouth are liable to wind up on your monitor screen if you attempt to drink a beverage while reading this post.

Southern Gospel fans will enjoy this link. I had not seen Gold City in person in a few years until last Friday night. They have not missed a beat, but are still providing the same great quality music you would expect. Check out their website, particularly the clip of them challenging Ernie Haase and Signature Sound to a steel cage match.

Finally, the Baltimore Sun has published an article detailing one man’s quest to learn more about the erratic and sometime devious behavior of city squirrels. City squirrels may be difficult at times, but I still say that they lack the tenacity and ferociousness of their country cousins. All of this talk about squirrels is driving me NUTS!! (Get it? Squirrels? Nuts? Never mind)

Hope you have a great weekend. If any of you want to hear a great piano player, come visit Pine Park Baptist Church in our 11:00 worship service this Sunday.

The Squirrel Who Wouldn’t Die

Sometime back, I ran a post on What I Love About Fall. In it I mentioned some of the hunting adventures I have had with my two sons, Clay and Glen. One of these we call the episode of the Squirrel Who Wouldn’t Die.

I should probably issue a disclaimer at this point. This is a true story. Every detail is factual. Animals die violently in this story. If you are one of the PETA types or a tree-hugger, you probably should not read this post. This would be a good time to go work on a placard for your next fur coat protest or something. 😉

Now, on with the story.

As I have frequently stated, I live in the country. One thing we like to do in the country is hunt squirrels. Now if you don’t live in the country, you might think that squirrels are simply little fuzzy creatures whose primary purpose in life is to eat acorns and entertain us with their cuteness and their highway aerobics. In fact, earlier this week the Washington Post ran an article about how cool squirrels were. I just shook my head in amazement when I read it.

You see, country squirrels, (perhaps unlike their city kin) are destructive little rascals. When you plant a garden in the spring, they dig up the seeds and eat them. If any corn stalks happen to develop, they climb the stalks and eat the ears of corn. If you happen to salvage any corn, they then break into the corn crib and steal it.

This time of year, they are wreaking havoc on all of the pecan trees. I have a huge oak tree in my yard with plenty of nice sweet acorns. Do you think they are interested? Not on your life! They would rather eat the pecans. I can’t really blame them for their good taste in nuts, it is just that pecans were intended for human consumption.

I digress.

Last year, my neighbor asked me if I would be so kind as to help him eliminate some of these furry little pests. He didn’t have to ask twice. My sons and I being the outdoorsmen that we are, jumped on this opportunity like a chicken on a junebug. Squirrels are fun to hunt, and they taste good, too. Fry them up and serve them with biscuits and gravy and you have meal that is calculated to make a bulldog slap his mama. This is especially true if the squirrels are fattened up on corn and pecans.

We were down behind Mr. Leon’s (my neighbor) barn, when we spotted a squirrel in the top of a humongous hickory tree. I aimed carefully, fired my 12 gauge shotgun, and watched in satisfaction as the target plummeted about 50 feet and bounced off the ground. I then stared in disbelief as he never even stopped to catch his breath but took off running at top speed under a pile of sheet tin that Mr. Leon had stacked behind his barn.

This is where it gets interesting.

I didn’t want to leave an injured animal in the woods. PETA frowns on that, you understand. So I handed my (unloaded) shotgun to Glen and then asked Clay to look under the tin while I lifted it to see if he could see the squirrel.

I lifted the pile of tin and Clay got down on all fours and peered under it. “I can see his tail,” he said. Before I could warn him about the dangers of grabbing the tail of a live squirrel, he latches on with both hands and proceeds to drag the squirrel out of its hiding place.

At that point, business not only picked up, it spiked the chart. Not only was that squirrel not dead, it wasn’t even really hurt that bad (despite my expert marksmanship). What happened next could best be described as a weedeater with the attitude of an F5 tornado. As Clay stedfastly held onto its tail, that squirrel began to scramble for anything it could find in its effort to escape. My leg happened to be close by, so he tried to climb it first. I then engaged in a series of dance moves that had my Baptist brethren seen it, they would have begun to question my orthodoxy.

After disengaging myself from this buzzsaw, I proceeded to try to dispatch it. I pulled out my hunting knife with the intention of decapitating the squirrel. Have you ever seen a squirrel rear up on its hind legs, raise its front claws and snarl like a bad-tempered grizzly? I have, and friend, it isn’t a pleasant sight (I still have nightmares about it). I finally was able to knock him backward and prepared to finish the job. Now all this time, Clay had a death-grip on that squirrel’s tail. Glen hadn’t been much help as he was laughing so hard he could barely stand up.

As the knife blade neared the squirrel’s throat, that little warrior, with Clay still holding his tail, leaped off the ground, wrapped all four legs around the knife blade and began to gnaw on it with his pecan-shell sharpened teeth.

That was one brave little squirrel. If Custer had had a few like him in his regiment, the Battle of the Little Bighorn might have turned out differently.

We finally were able to finish him off. We took him home, cleaned, cooked and ate him. That was the best tasting squirrel I have ever eaten, but six months later, he still gives me indigestion.

What I Love About Fall

Forgive me while I express some exhiliration. I will resume posts of a “spiritual” nature soon, but I must share with you what I am feeling right now. It is coming up on my favorite time of the year, fall. Now those of you who live in more northern climes than do I will probably be thinking, “Don’t you mean ‘autumn’?” You are probably thinking about rolling countryside carpeted in a vivid display of colors that no artist could hope to match. Maybe you are thinking about bonfires and hot chocolate or mulled apple cider as the changing seasons bring a hint of chill to the air.

The fact is, all of that is great. I used to live up north, so I have had the opportunity to enjoy all of that. That is, indeed, a true “autumn”.

Things are different in South Georgia.

We have very little fall color and the leaves don’t even fall off the trees here until late November and December. Hey, it doesn’t even get cold here until January when we have a three-day cold-snap and then it warms back up. We had three inches of snowfall a few years back and it paralyzed the whole area. It doesn’t pay to get out and drive in the snow here. If you don’t know how to drive in the snow, you wind up in the ditch. If you do know how to drive in the snow, people begin to suspect you may really be a Yankee and that can lead to misunderstandings.

But I digress.

Fall is my favorite time of the year.

“Why?” you may ask.

Two words: hunting and football.

Yessirree, in just a few weeks it will be time to take to the woods in search of fresh meat. Getting out with the boys while trying to avoid redbugs, mosquitoes, yellowjackets and rattlesnakes. It seems like everytime we go hunting, it turns into a big adventure of some kind. Sometime I’ll have to tell you about the Great Yellowjacket Caper or the Squirrel Who Wouldn’t Die.

And then there is football.

I dearly love college football. I am proud to be a fan of the Florida State University Seminoles. Believe me, there is no feeling in the world like being among 82,000 of your best friends in Doak Campbell Stadium, on a Saturday afternoon that is still 95 degrees well into October, watching those teams from up north fold like a cheap suit in the middle of the second quarter.

I even enjoy watching games involving teams I care nothing about. The NFL is okay when there aren’t any college games on, but give me the old school spirit anytime. Kickoff is just around the corner. I am making plans for the optimal viewing experience for several games (you need plenty of iced tea and snacks).

My wife is starting to get that resigned look on her face that she always gets this time of year. She knows that our house and conversations are going to be filled with elements of pigskin and junkfood and that the remote control will be stuck on ESPN. I, on the other hand, am going around with a silly grin on my face that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

I am a happy man.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Americana

My family and I had a wonderful day yesterday. To celebrate the Fourth of July, we first went to my Mom’s house for lunch. Several relatives and friends gathered there for a fine meal of pork barbecue, ribs, baked beans, potato salad and Brunswick stew. We ate until we couldn’t hold another bite then waddled into the living room to watch the launch of the space shuttle.

Later that afternoon, my boys went over to my mom’s neighbor’s house and went swimming with her grandchildren. They had such a great time. When they came back, we had boiled peanuts and watermelon. It was great.

After that I took my boys out to my grandma’s farm because they wanted to do some target shooting with their .22 rifles. They raised watermelons on the farm this year and their were quite a few rotten ones laying around that made great targets. Have you ever seen what kind of effect a hollow-point slug has on a watermelon that has been baking in 100 degree heat all day? The results are really quite spectacular.

Last night we went to Faceville, GA, for fireworks. You probably have never heard of this place, it actually makes Mayberry look like a big city, but there are some good folks there. In the fellowship hall of the Baptist church, they were serving fried chicken dinners. The chicken looked wonderful but we were too full of peanuts, watermelon and ribs to even think about eating, so we just got a big ol’ glass of ice tea and went outside to watch the fireworks. There was maybe 100 or so people there and we sat around the bleachers of the old sandlot while the fire department shot the fireworks from foul territory in left field. Before the show started, a little nine-year-old girl sang the hound out of the national anthem over the loudspeaker on the firetruck. As soon as she finished, there were four Civil War re-enactors there who thought it would be funny to sneak up behind everyone and fire their muskets. After everyone got over that, the fireworks began. Because of the small area, the fireworks were literally exploding directly overhead. The crowd would clap, whistle and cheer after every shot. It wasn’t the biggest fireworks display I have ever seen, but I don’t think I have ever enjoyed one any more than I did that one.

We went back to grandma’s where my dad fired off some bottle rockets he had bought for the boys. After my grandma loaded us down with tomatoes and a watermelon, we left and went home.

It was a great day and one that made me very thankful to be an American.

The Great Outdoors

I’ll just give you a quick update of my camping trip that I took with my boys. Hopefully, later this afternoon or evening I will post something else.

We were going to go to a nearby state park, but their campground was already full. We decided to go to my grandmother’s farm and just rough it in the woods. We pitched our tent near her pond and had a great time.

This past week had been quite challenging for me both emotionally and spiritually. I had a great opportunity to “recharge” while on this trip. As we sat there Friday night around the campfire, the wind was blowing through the tree tops, fireflies were everywhere, frogs and crickets were singing, (not a man-made sound anywhere) I watched my boys making s’mores and I realized just how good my life is.

We really need to count our blessings.

Big Fish Story

I had the opportunity this weekend to take my two sons, Clay (age 9) and Glen (age 8), fishing. We didn’t catch a lot, but we made up in quality what we lacked in quantity. I was going to post a picture, but apparently Blogger is having a little technical difficulty in uploading this morning.

Glen caught a 27-inch catfish that weighed at least 8 pounds. Now you have to understand that Glen weighs about 55 pounds. Sounds like an unfair fight, right? Not so fast, my friend. Put the catfish in his element, put Glen on a steep bank covered with slick pinestraw, and put an 11-foot fiberglass pole between them. Now you have all of the ingredients that are necessary for about 5 minutes of intensely entertaining action.

Glen was holding on to that pole with all of his might while trying to keep his footing. The catfish was doing his best tractor pull imitation while I am trying to get to Glen to keep him from getting pulled in. Clay was whooping it up because the catfish had given a spectacular jump out of the water. I hollered for him to grab the net, but the one he brought had a big hole in it. So he went to find another one. By this time Glen was starting to work his way backward up the bank slowly but surely bringing that catfish closer to shore. Clay finally found a net that didn’t have a hole in it, but it was hardly big enough to hold the fish. I decided to use it anyway and succeeded in flipping the fish up on the bank. As soon as we did, the hook fell out of the fish’s mouth. We put him in the bucket and then sat down to get our breath.

Clay had his line (and his heart) broken by another big catfish a few minutes later, so in the picture we took, I let him hold a nice largemouth bass that I caught.

We sure had a good time. For some reason, whenever we go out hunting or fishing, it manages to turn into a big adventure. There is never a dull moment with these two boys!