Archive for February, 2023

Ringneck Pheasants

I had not walked more than fifty feet when I heard the first crow of a male Ringneck Pheasants. Another short distance and I could see one up the hill on a cut over area. The walk continued and I would hear two other birds crowing. I thought that is a god sign. The birds have made it through the worst of the winter season, although this has been a very mild winter.

I walked over an hour as I began to circle back towards the jeep. Suddenly I saw some movement in the dried vegetation. One, two, three…four male pheasants were sulking around in the cover hoping I would not disturb them. I maneuvered around to a more open area and behold, here come da birds! I began taking photos whenever more open shots came about.

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The morning temperature was 56 degrees with a high reaching the upper sixties, maybe even seventy. Sure, feels like spring though the date is February 15. Laurie’s surgery is a month old, and she is getting around fairly well, although she is still required to wear a boot. She uses a knee walker and crutches. Anyway, I felt comfortable to leave her alone for an appreciative time. She agreed.

My hike would last for a little over four hours and was totally enjoyable being out in this weather. However, the winds were rough as it howled through the trees. One could refer to these winds as, the “blowing the hat off the head” winds.

One of the first interests were the two Turkey Vultures enjoying floating in those high winds. Normally, for this area the buzzards don’t migrate here until around mid-March. I watched for a few moments before proceeding.

The walk discovered many signs of the wildlife in the area. I found a tree with a hollow near the base. I gazed into the hole and saw piles of Porcupine scat. The prickly feller was, no doubt, somewhere up that hollow. probably would not be a good idea to reach was up in that hollow.

Porky scat in a hollow tree.

Porcupine gnawings

I found bear sign a few times. The bruin used the tree as a marking zone. The outside was gnawed and/or dug into with their claws. Such sign lasts a long time.

Bear sign, one of several I found.

Although I didn’t hear any gobbling, I did see turkey scat and scratchings here and there. Later I saw a gobbler far off moving left to right. His journey found him behind some briars. I moved quickly utilizing the briars and the wind to my advantage. I went around a contour and spotted the bird feeding within shotgun range. I readied the camera and waiting for a photo opportunity. There would be two gobblers…a longbeard and a Jake. I managed about eight or ten pics before they disappeared after they spotted my presence.

I circled around on my return trip towards the Jeep, I happened to look down and spotted a buck shed. The antler was a two-point. I looked around but failed to find another. Not many years ago I found two shed within a few feet of each other.

Deer shed

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The Fiddle

I have wondered about obtaining a fiddle for a few years now. The hope for me is to learn enough to add some fiddle notes on the CDs I make. A month ago, I acquired a fiddle, but as the photo shows the instrument is in need of some love and maybe a few repairs.

Inside the fiddle states this instrument is a copy of a Jakobus Stainer and made in Germany.

The neck was completely off the fiddle’s body. The fiddle nut was missing. the nut is a wood or bone piece that fits at the end of the neck board. There was no bridge for the strings to rest on. Two metal fine tuners were missing. Also, the bow used to drift along the strings to make the sounds did not have any horsehair. The horsehair is stretched on the bow.

So, once I assessed the needs I began searching and ordering parts. I have all the parts needed including strings. I have been working on making the nut out of bone. The neck and other wood repairs have been reglued with Hide Glue. My next step is to glue the nut in place once I have all the sizing completed with the string guide slots filed in.

I as given a fiddle this past week. It too has seen past issues, but it helps to use it for the measurements often in millimeters.

One point all the readers of this post must know. I do not know how to play a fiddle! Ha ha. I hope to work on that once the fiddle is all completed. Wish me luck!

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