Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: nature

Dumping Trash at a Rural Bug Out Location

Trash dumped in a rural area

One of the issues with having a remote bug out location, such as a cabin, is people dumping trash. Typically the trash is dumped on the side of the road so county clean up crews will pick up the trash. However, rarely will someone dump trash on someones property. This is especially true if someone has a bug out location on a remote rural road.

When people dump trash on the dirt roads near the farm, I dig through the trash and look for anything with a name or address. If there is a name, or some kind of identifying information, then the sheriff can be called. I have called the sheriff several times on people who dumped trash near the bug out location.

Typically, a sheriff deputy will drive out, I will give him (or her) something with a name or address, then the deputy will go to their home, and tell them to clean the trash up. People can be stupid. They dump trash on the side of the road, and they leave a bill, or pill bottle in with the trash.

Having an envelope with their name and address on it makes calling the sheriff much easier. The deputy drives up, hand them the envelope, and the deputy takes care of it from there.

June 2018 Fishing Trip on the Angelina River – A Short Story

Southeast Texas alligator

The day started a little earlier than others when the alarm went off at 5:00 am. As soon as the alarm went off a war of attrition began in my head. One voice was talking about how comfortable the bed was and to forget about the fishing trip. The other voice was telling me to get up and go because in a few weeks the full brunt of the Texas heat will be here.

Realizing in another three or four weeks the July heat wave will be upon us, I decided to crawl (though reluctantly) out of bed and head to the shower. There is something refreshing about getting a morning shower.

Attire for the day was Levis jeans, green Carhart shirt, and Justin leather work boots. Typically, I wear shorts and sneakers on fishing trips, but this trip was different. Part of this trip was for pictures and videos. Rather than walking through a swampy area with sneakers, to decided to wear boots.

All of the gear had been loaded in either the Toyota T100 truck, or in the Weldbilt aluminum boat the night before. All that needed to be done was take a shower, get dressed, grab my everyday carry gear, and head out the door. I had wanted to leave the house around 5:30, but was able to leave around 5:20 or so.

Driving to the Angelina River

The Peace and Quiet of Nature Photography

Bee Tree slough on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

For some people nature photography is going somewhere, taking pictures, and the go back home.

My personal feelings on nature photography and nature in general, people and nature have a special connection that has been forgotten. Up until around 10,000 years ago humans were hunter-gatherers. We followed the herds and were in tune with nature. However, all of that changed as the last ice age ended.

As the curtains drew closed on the last ice age, the large animals that supports our ancestors died off. A great number of animals even went extinct. Probably as a result of the mass extinctions, our ancestors turned to farming and gardening. Rather than following herds, our ancestors domesticated various animals, such as the goat, sheep, chicken… etc. Rather than foraging for wild edibles, crops were cultivated.

In the grand scheme of human history, we have a hundreds of thousands of years as hunter-gatherers, and 10,000 years of town and city building. In the grand scheme of human history, cities have been around for the blink of an eye. The rest of our history was sent in sparse communities, and as hunter-gatherers.

Nature Photography, Peace and Quiet

Been Working on the Boat for Summer Fishing

Boating on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

Something I dearly love about spring, but was skipped this year, and that is going out on the boat. In March and April we had something like six weeks straight where it rained every weekend. It seemed like as soon as the rain stopped, the heat started.

Here it is mid-May, and it seems summer has arrived with a vengeance. Here we are in mid-May and daytime temps are in the low 90s. Where did spring go? I thought we were suppose to ease into the summer heat. It seems like only a few days ago daytime temps were in the 70s. Then again, this is Texas.

For one reason or another I have been putting off working on the boat. Last time it was in the water was two years ago, which is a shame. In all honesty, I love being out on the water. It seems like in only 20 – 30 minutes someone can go back 10,000 years in time.

I usually put the boat in at the Bevil Port boat launch of hwy 63 just north of Jasper, Texas. Once the boat is in the water, I head south on the Angelina River to Bee Tree Slough. Bee Tree Slough seems like time rolls back to the stone age.

Summer Fishing

Using A Pocket Compass While Hiking With The Dogs

Dogs on a hiking trip

Awhile back we talked about a 50 cent pocket compass I ordered off Ebay. Rather than buying the compass from an online store, just go straight to the source and cut out the middle man.

Paracord zipper pulls were added to my packs, and then the compass was attached to the paracord. Is the pocket compass a primary land navigation aid? Of course not. The pocket compass is used in conjunction with other navigation aids.

For example, while on a recent hiking trip with the dogs we stopped next to a nice pool of water to take a break. While the dogs were playing, I looked at the pocket compass to make sure we were headed in the right direction.

I know the area and there was no way we could have become lost. A pipeline passes through the forest just a few hundred yards from where the dogs and I stopped. Then there is a dirt road that bisects the pipeline. No matter which way we headed, we would hit either the road or the pipeline, as long as we traveled in a straight line.

Using a Pocket Compass

The Story of Buster My Black Mouth Cur Farm Dog

Buster black mouth cur farm dog

On the Saturday morning of March 10th, 2018 I went to open the chicken house, and my Cur dog was not with the other two. Zoey, Ellis and Buster usually run together. Zoey and Ellis were home, but Buster was not.

He was not home before Saturday night. When dark rolled around, I was very concerned.

Sunday, I spent 3/4 of the day looking for buster. The rest of the day was spent getting ready for Monday.

Monday, got up and wrote some articles for alloutdoor, spent the rest of the day looking for Buster. Did a hiking trip through the area where the dogs usually prowl.

Monday night I was an emotional train wreck. Blaming myself for not having him fixed… etc.

6:30 Tuesday morning Buster was at the front door. Back leg looks like it was clipped by a vehicle. Nothing bad, just some road rash.

He is probably the most affectionate dog I have ever owned. He loves to snuggle in the bed, and will sometimes sleep with his head on my shoulder.

Spring Is a Beautiful Time of Year

Spring time sprouts on a fig trees

Spring is a wonderful time of year. Everything is blooming, birds are migrating, leaves are coming out, and farm supply stores have their plants in stock. This is one time of the year that is special to a lot of people.

The cold wet weather of winter is yielding to the warmer temperatures of spring. Old man winter is not finished though as March is an active time of year. The back and forth between cold and warm weather may remind observers of young boys having a shoving match on a school playground.

Eventually though, as sure as the sun sets and rises, old man winter must yield to spring, and spring must yield to summer. Before the oppressive summer heat sets in, maybe we should get outside and enjoy the warmer weather?

The winter of 2017 – 2018 will be one for the record books. Most of the nation has been cooped up in our homes for weeks on end. Our only ventures outside have been to go to work, home, buy groceries.. and the absolute necessities.

Watch The Dogs And I Walk Around The Farm

Puppy on a nature walk

Dogs and I went for a walk around the farm and made a video about it. I was looking for oak trees that may have blown over during a recent storm. The roots of oak trees run close to the top of the soil. When the soil becomes saturated, and then we get some high winds, there is a chance an oak tree will uproot an fall over.

Once we find a tree that has blown over, it is just a matter of cutting the tree up and splitting it for firewood. Unfortunately, we did not find any blown over trees this trip.

Pine trees on the other hand, they have a deeo tap root that is supposed to be around half as deep as the tree is tall. Because of the tap root, pine trees rarely blow over. If the winds get high enough, a pine tree is more likely to snap in half than blow over.

Nature Conservation Area

Nature Will Reclaim What Is Hers

Dog at Sawmill

The day will come when nature will reclaim what is hers. That is not speculation, it is the honest truth. In the grand scheme of things, modern humans have only been around for a split second.

For several hundred thousand years our ancestors were bands of nomadic tribes who followed the herds. Around 10,000 years ago our ancestors developed agriculture and domesticated livestock (animal husbandry).

We only entered the space age a few decades ago.

For all the progress we claim to have made, we still kill each other over money, jealously, and religion. How do we rate whether a society is successful? Maybe by how well we take care of each other? Studies show Neanderthals took care of their sick and injured. Even primates take care of their injured. Yet, we have people dying because they can not afford medical care.

In our lust for money human compassion has been cast to the wayside.

Nature

Losing Love For The Land

Dumping trash in rural areas

There was once a time when our ancestors roamed and followed the migrating herds. Our very survival depended on what the land produced. Migrating herds ate the grass, and we ate the animals. Plants grew roots and berries, and we are the roots and berries.

Somewhere around 10,000 years go something changed. Hunter gatherers were slowly replaced by farmers. No longer did our ancestors depend on migrating herds, as we raised our on herds. No longer did we have to forage for roots and berries because we raised our own.

Then came cities, money… and eventually the industrial revolution. Somewhere along that timeline we no longer looked at the land as something to be loved and cared for. It was a resource to be exploited and harvested.

One of my Dogs Passed Away

Pet dog Buckshot

It is with deep regret that I have to make this post. The newest dog to the pack, a four month old puppy by the name of Buckshot, ran in front of a truck, was ran over and died on August 4th, 2017.

There is a private dirt road that goes through the farm that my cousins use to access their home. It was on that road, Buckshot ran in front of my cousins truck and was ran over. He did not suffer and passed away just a few seconds after the accident.

Several months ago one of my cousins brought Buckshot home for her mother, my aunt. My aunt, being an older lady may have had difficulties taking care of the puppy. It seemed like every day Buckshot was at my house to play with my dogs and look for food. I put a feed bowl on the front porch and would make sure the puppy had plenty of food.

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

There were a couple of locations that had perfect squirrel habitat, but there were no signs of squirrels being in the area. There were no pine cones that had been tore apart, no half eaten acorns nor did I see any squirrels.

As I followed a creek that runs along the back of the property, the timber transitioned from pine and oak to mostly oak and iron wood. Iron wood is a tree that grows in the shade of larger trees. It does not produce any kind of nut for squirrels or deer. It is mostly used for its hard wood to make walking sticks and bows.

Several years ago a lot of the older pine trees were cut off the property. Pine trees are a renewable resource when managed properly. Several large pine trees were left on the property to so they could reseed the area. Their seedlings float in the wind and can travel several hundred feet, depending on how the wind is blowing. I expected to see oaks and ironwood, but I also expected to see pine tree saplings coming up. I was rather surprised when I did not see hardly any pine saplings.

Planting Pine Trees

Love Respect and Dignity For Trees

Pin oak tree cut up for firewood

A couple of months ago a couple of oak trees fell on the back of the property. At first I was going to do a video and article about stockpiling firewood. As the project progressed, I came to the realization that the trees were symbolic of what the world needed most – love, respect and dignity.

If people would show everyone around them, everything, and the world itself those things things, everything would be better off. Our lives would be better, the world would be a better place, our families would be better, our children would be better,,, everything would be better.

The tree I was working on in the video is a water oak (Quercus nigra), also called a pin oak. The other tree that fell is a live oak. The live oak has a bunch of intertwined limbs that is going to make it rather difficult to cut up. The pin oak has a nice straight trunk with just about all of the limbs at the top. Since the pin oak is going to be easier to cut up I started with it.

Both trees fell across a washed out area next to a creek. The tree top was on the bank of the creek, while the root ball was on another bank. A Stihl MS310 was used to cut off the top and cut up the trunk. The bank was too steep to carry the logs up to the truck, so a tractor and rope was used to pull the logs up the bank.

Planting Loblolly and Longleaf seeds

Tree Hugger

When settlers moved into the southern portion of the United States they were greeted by vast forest of Longleaf and Loblolly pine trees. These were majestic trees reaching heights of over 100 feet tall.

Human greed knows no ends. Vast tracts of virgin timber were cut down with no regard to conservation or the effects upon wildlife. By the time the 1930s arrived the Southeast Texas wild Turkey and Whitetail Deer were pretty much extinct. Because their populations had been decimated, turkey and deer had to be reintroduced to regions of Southeast Texas.

The Red-cockaded woodpecker which nest exclusively in Longleaf pine trees was almost made extinct by deforestation. The woodpecker covers less than 1% of its original territory.

What lessons did we learn from deforestation and habitat destruction? Not much. Timber companies still cut down old growth oak trees to make way for pine plantations. Thousands of acres are clear cut and replanted in fast growing hybrid pine trees. Old growth forest are gone forever, or are they?

One of my projects here on the farm is to restore a few acres for old growth oak and pine trees.

Disrespect For Nature

Bee Tree Slough Jasper Texas

Friday April 25, 2014 my daughter and I went fishing on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas. We left the house around 7:30am, went to the Exxon gas station at the intersection of HWY 96 and HWY 190 for a bag of ice, went to the donut shop on HWY 190 then headed to Bevil Port.

For breakfast my daughter got a large kolache while I got a ham, egg and cheese croissant. While at the donut shop I asked my daughter if she wanted a chocolate milk to drink. She promptly replied she was not three years old anymore. I smiled, gave her a hug, and told her something like “nope, you are not three years old anymore.” Kids grow up so fast it seems time flies by.

The launch at Bevil Port was typical. Pull the boat around, unstrap, make sure the plug is in, load tackle box, life jackets, 5 gallon bucket of noodles, then pull around and back the boat down. The starter switch on the motor is going out, so I had to use the pull rope to crank the motor.

After a couple of pulls that Evinrude 30 fired up and off we went.

Trash on the river

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018