Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Irish Vision

Ashford castle sits in the middle of practically nowhere against the little village of Cong. It is spectacularly beautiful and great to let the pressure of work to slowly ebb away as you relax.
It sits at the edge of a great lake and the waters are clear and clean. The grounds are magnificent with walking trails and hidden gardens to delight the eye.

There is a nice little 9-hole golf course in front that we played. We spent a lot of time exploring the grounds and did a little falconing. A truly exciting and interesting sport as they would land on your arm and then take off again. Here Denise and our friend Patti Penski cautiously admire the great falcons.

We shot skeet, which was a lot of fun as the shotgun we used was a perfectly balanced over-and-under-Browning that fit the eye perfectly and everyone got the hang of it very quickly and we managed to blast them pretty well. I think we got the limit. Sally Crocker did so well that she quickly became Annie Oakley with the big gun.

Some of our troop tried the Equestrian Center for fun. If you are from Mississippi, it means they went horse riding. Here is Denise admiring the horses while Karin Williamson is not quite so eager. They made you wear helmets and would not let you chase the foxes at all.
We also got to go on a lake tour which was fun. The Castle had several nice lounges and a fun bar called the Dungeon too. They also had Guinness! Will talk about Cong and the wonderful Irish people next.

A Major "Thank You"

Thank you to all the people that kept this blog running smooth while I was away. Marian from Marians' Hunting Stories and Jody at The Hunters Wife did an excellent job and I owe them big time. Jody may get a shirt out of this. They are a lot funnier than I am.
The great tales from Al at My Dismal Swamp were funny and reminded me of a few strange encounters I have experienced.
To all the people that left great comments thank you and I need to link up with my new friend over at One wink At A Time.
Thank you and I want you all to come see me. Merci'.

Monday, September 29, 2008

From Kudzu to Shamrocks

We left Memphis and headed for New York and landed at LaGuardia Airport. the first thing that you will notice is that it is bigger than Memphis. In fact, it is bigger than Memphis and Water Valley rolled into one. The skyline really is something to see. The second thing I got was a dose of Taxicabs. Do not be fooled, they are expensive. In our stupidity we had to go from LaGuardia to JFK to catch our plane. The info we had was it was almost next door. $50 later we arrived at JFK and our flight on Aer Lingus to Shannon, Ireland. The flight was 5 1/2 hours and we arrived at 5:00AM their time. It was still dark. We stumbled out of the terminal and the first thing I found out about Ireland was that those damn fools drive on the wrong side of the road! I went to hire a driver for the 2 hour trip to Ashford Castle and the man said that will be around $192. Crap! When I questioned them they thought it was funny because they were talking about Euros not dollars. I went to the currency exchange.
The American dollar was worth .60 cents! Holy Moly, half our money just got thrown away! The car was roughly $300 American! Nothing to do but grit our teeth and go.
This is where it really got interesting.
We hopped in the car with and the driver took off. We are racing across the country while he is happily telling us about everything in view. My face is pale and Denise has her eyes closed. The roads there seem about 10 to 12 feet wide with everyone driving about 70 mph. On each side, exactly 6 inches from the road is a rock wall 4 to 8 feet in height. Each curve we slid around we had to turn our bodies sideways!
Finally after many close calls that the driver seemed not to notice, we arrived at Ashford Castle. Please visit their website, you will be amazed. Their pics are a whole lot more dramatic than mine. Castle, Ghost, Lake Monster and Golf all in one place.
Oh yes, there is Guinness beer too!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Big Al -vs- The Big Eyed Monster

A message from Al - Some stories are best told in the course of conversation, and this might be one of those stories, so in order to make it worth reading I went back and told a bit of the history of it all, so you can get a feel for time and place. I hope I succeeded at that. Mind you this type of writing isn't my stick, but it was fun retelling the past.....maybe I'll do some more of it. With each story there is another and another....some funny, some tragic. My friend Doc, who I mention in this story was murdered a few years also....and that place of his that was as dear to me as it was him is gone...clear cut and farm land now. And me, I live back in town now. Back in the house I grew up in. Moved back in with my father in his last few years of life, and something I wouldn't trade for all those beautiful sunrises and sunsets I got to experience for a good enough amount of time...But I've got memories...of Doc. Of his place and of mine. And of my dad, who in reality made it all possible. And I've got you, who made me put this memory down for posterity. Thank you Marian. Al

A good while back I wrote Rex an account of a terrible, but true, event. The object of concern was of an armadillo and a near death experience I’d had with such. I think what I wrote was in reply to one of Rex’s, or perhaps one of Rex's daughters (?) blogs about an encounter she had had with one of the evil creatures. In conclusion I told Rex that one day I would tell him the tale about another true happening from my past.

Marian was kind enough to post that first story on this blog, Rex, after all, had said that he might if I wouldn’t. Well, women being women, she has insisted on me telling the second story as well…and Rex being gone and unable to do anything about it…here goes.

To make this thoroughly fascinating story at least somewhat interesting let me start in the beginning. Here I was, a long, long time ago…

I had a good friend who was a veterinarian, ag-pilot, cattle rancher (and a tad eccentric/hermit). We called him Doc. Everybody called him Doc. Doc was an unusual character to say the least, but that’s an entirely different story.

I hunted with Doc. Doc had one of those special places that you don’t find very often. Unkempt comes to mind, but don’t let that say something it shouldn’t, for Doc loved it that way… wild, grown up and over grown. He had horses and cows and a house way up off the ground where they would often get in bad weather and such. And it wasn’t unusual to find a deer there, under his house, or maybe in his barn. Some of the deer around Doc’s place were almost tame, so when hunting you had to be extra careful… and there is ANOTHER story.

Well, Doc never ever asked anything of me to get to hunt on his land, but occasionally he would ask for something. I never took it as an obligation or requirement or such, but as a friend I would always gladly lend Doc a hand when the odd occasion arose.

One of several of those odd occasions occurred and it found me helping him to haul hay. He made those big round bales that you need a tractor to load and also a tractor to pull the trailer that you loaded it on, so trailer hauling duty fell to me. This day found us several miles from his place, picking up hay he’d cut the week before off of another friends place. I love that term when it comes to land – “place”.

Anyway, Doc knew that I was looking for a ‘place’ of my own. Somewhere out in the country. Somewhere where we could have horses and all the dogs a wife could want. As we drove down a long seemingly deserted road Doc stopped and got off his tractor. I pulled up behind him and shut mine down, thinking something was wrong. “You still looking for a house out in the country?” he asked.

I replied that I was, but wasn’t having much luck finding anywhere that I could come close to affording. “What about this one?” he asked. I swear that I had no clue a house was anywhere within a mile of where I was standing. There wasn’t, except for the one hidden by the tall grass and weeds along side of the road.

We made a trek back through the growth and found a diamond. Not only was it what I thought was one of the most beautiful homes in this part of the country, but it had a pond too. A three acre pond. And a pasture to boot. To make a long story short, I bought the place for next to nothing. That’s another story in itself…

But back to THIS story. My wife and I had both grown up within some city limits. Me in Tallulah, her in Shreveport. Neither of us knew much at all about country life, but that didn’t matter, we weren’t planning on being farmers or anything like that. I just had visions of being a gentleman rancher… that’s all.

Being unaccustomed to the country life we were a bit afraid of the unknown. Different noises, even a different darkness… it took a bit of getting used to. And we weren’t used to it yet.

On night as we lay in bed, in the deafening silence that the country can have sometimes, I heard a noise. A weird, rustling, noise, different than I ever heard before… then a crash. Not like glass, more like metal. Then quiet. Then another noise that did sound like glass, or something, tinkling! I lay there frozen. Eyes wide as saucers. My wife asked under her breath, “What the H--- was that?”

I wanted real bad to say it was a dog or something, but I knew it wasn’t. There was somebody, or something, just down the hall, in the den.

Being Mr. Protection for my wife (read that as chicken), I kept my trusty old .45 on the nightstand beside me. Gun in hand it was time to investigate. Much like the other story that night found me once again clad in boxers, creeping down a darkened hallway. Holding my breath (and hearing my heartbeat) I slowly walked into the den.

Just inside the doorway I stopped and looked around the dark room. Ever so slowly I eased forward. Then I saw it, standing to my right, two huge eyes, open wide and looking back at me. A BIG EYED MONSTER! I spun, raised my gun, and just before squeezing off a round, up it went. Fast as that! Up over my head! Up to the balcony overlooking my den! Dang Owl!

Thankfully there was no floor cleanup required, oh but ever so close.

Somehow a big old hoot owl had come down my chimney, knocked over the screen in front and had lit upon the top of my television. Exactly at human height he stood there staring at me. Big round staring eyes. The lucky part of all this is I don’t have an overly itchy trigger finger, or some poor endangered specie of an owl would have bit the big one that night. The owl and the five hundred dollar plate glass window behind him, or perhaps the brand new color TV.

I pondered for a bit on how to remove said owl from the balcony overlooking my den and finally decided to go out and get a fishing net from the garage. It seemed like a sound idea. How hard would it be to net an owl? When I went out of the door the thing followed right along behind, just like he knew just what a door was for. Well, in hind sight it could have been HIS house in the first place…

We've had a few laughs about this over the years, and heck, it was even funny at the time. My house in the country had some really good memories. One Easter morning I had two Bald Eagles in the tree in my front yard. Every fall thousands of ducks, in the air, in my pond, and in the slew across the road. Deer tracks in my yard. Bass in my pond… And not only for me, but others as well. An acquaintance had also looked at the house before I bought it. When he went inside he found a doe making herself at home inside, apparently coming and going often and at will through an open back door. Who scared who worse no one knows….

I miss the place. I don’t miss the road I had to travel to get to town and back, but the place I miss a bunch. It was paradise, but sometimes good things do have to come to an end don’t they. I hope you’ve found this story a good one, this is THE END.

Al - My Dismal Swamp ~
Thank you Al for sharing your story with us! It was great! Marian

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I’m going to take this opportunity today, as a guest blogger, to let you how Rex and I met and how he became my mentor and friend.

Rex came to my website, A Dixie Lady Deer Hunter, through a forum and on January 29, 2007, he entered, …“nice site, good to see another Mississippian writing about hunting.” As always, I return a thank you to anyone who signs my guestbook. He soon wrote me back and told me that being a lady deer hunter I could inform and encourage other lady hunters. I let him know that I also had a blog called, Marian’s Hunting Stories, etc., etc., etc., and had only made four posts within three months and that I had lost interest. He continued to encouraged me to write and to do my best and if I had a problem he would help me. With both of us living right here in Mississippi, he soon invited my husband and I to come to the Christmas Place Plantation Hunting Club, which is only an hour and half drive northeast of Vicksburg in the Delta. We hit it off at our first meeting and talked about blogging, friends we have made while blogging and about the Outdoor Bloggers Summit (OBS) and how we looked forward to meeting everyone at the summit one day.

It’s always a fun time at the camp, telling hunting/ghost stories around the camp fire, riding around the Christmas Place on 4-wheelers and gators, fishing, checking out the different deer stands and especially visiting with his Dad, Hershel ‘The Chief‘ Howell and his family and friends! Just this past hunting season I harvested my first deer at the camp, a nice 135 lb. doe. Rex has not only become my blogging mentor, but a good friend as well to both my husband and I.

On February 8, 2008, Steven Bradley asked the question on his blog, "Do you have a blogging mentor"? I replied and told him about Rex and he said, “Marian. sounds like Rex is closer to the true definition of a mentor than some of what I’m describing here. Most of the people I’m describing in this post are people you might never meet. Of course the blogging mentors I talk about here are no substitute for a real life mentor who you can talk to. I think you’re ahead of the game.”

I’ll always be grateful for his continued support and true friendship.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Road Trip Continued

Last week I wrote about visiting the famous Christmas Place but I had a few things I needed to be certain of before I take my road trip...

Do you know how to make Mississippi Mud Pie?
Do I get a copy of your Dad's book and will he sign it for me?
Can I be in the front row of the famous Christmas Card this year?
Will Denise take me shopping?
Do I get a t-shirt?
Do I get to drive the tractor, boat, 4-wheeler?
Is there anything else I could drive?

I will have a few more request on Wednesday. Until then...

I'm the The Hunter's Wife

P.S. - I hope Rex and Denise are having a wonderful time!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Big Al -vs- The Armadillo

Armadillo's are nothing to play with; I was almost killed by one once. No lie.

My wife, daughter, and I had just moved to the country...both of us having grown up city folks, my wife in Shreveport, myself in Tallulah, LA. Not quite settled in the ways of country life, we were somewhat skiddish, to say the least.

One night, after we had gone to bed, I heard a noise coming from somewhere outside...and about just then the dog cut loose. Fully awake, I grabbed my trusty .45 off of the night stand (can't be too careful you know, out in the wild like we were) and I crept slowly toward the front of the house.

Whatever it was I could tell was in the garage...the dog seemed to have it bayed there. Here I was, never mind I was dressed only in a too small pair of boxer shorts, slowly creeping through the kitchen, ever so slowly with gun in hand, and easing to the kitchen door. I stood and listened for any human sounds that might tip me as to how many assailants I was about to face. I heard nothing but barking and growling from outside the door.

Ever so slowly, I opened the door and peeked out into the garage. Seeing nothing I ever so slowly opened the screen door, poked my head out and glanced around. Whatever it was, or WHO ever it was, couldn't be seen...just the dogs, growling and barking at something that had to be there.

With gun at the ready, I slowly stepped out side...and planted my foot firmly onto the back of a now overly excited armadillo.

Do you know just how fast an armadillo can move? Well, I can't give you an exact figure, but let me just say it's at least 10 times whatever it is you think it is...and he did.

I rode said armadillo for the full .08 seconds that seemed to be an eternity. It's an experience Disney only wishes it could capture, I assure you. Contrary to physical law, his mad dash forward also seemed to toss me well up into the air, spin me around, and deposit me upon my tiller, which I had stored out of the way there.

I was virtually impaled on top of the implement; feet now up by the handlebar, one arm neatly woven among the curves of the tines, with the spark plug firmly planted in my back! Worse than that, a hysterical wife!

Hysterical, not out of any fear of my eminent demise, or at least serious need for expert medical attention...no, just laughing hysterically at the sad sight laying there before her eyes. Ahhh, love! Ain't it grand...?

Anyway, It was two days before I could drag myself out of bed, and the better part of a week before I could return to work,...and I was stove up for at least a month or more...pierced back, cuts up the arm, several bruised ribs, a twisted spine, twisted ankle, skint knee (? go figure), ...and a damaged and almost irreparable ego.

I hate those dastardly creatures! I hate them, I hate them, I hate them... They look so..., so funny looking, yet they are deadly, I tell you. Deadly. - Al

P.S. Every last word of the above is true. When I've got more time I'll tell you about the big eyed monster that I found in my den...true story too!
Story contributed by Big Al's - My Dismal Swamp for Rex's Deer Camp Blog.
Many thanks Big Al! Marian

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Road Trip - Christmas Place

Rex has invited me and my hunter to the famous Christmas Place on a few occasions. I love a good road trip but heading to the Christmas Place has me a bit concerned.

Will there be a Hilton in the area? And not Paris. The comfy kind with a pool, jacuzzi, bar.
Are there alligators?
Are there swampy things?
Will we be put to work at camp? I can't afford to break another finger nail.
Is it hunting season there?
Is Thunderhoof off limits?
Do I get a shirt like Marian?

These are just a few thoughts at the moment. I will add more in the next few days. I really have to give this some thought.

The Hunter's Wife

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gone to Ireland

Rex and Denise left early this morning for Ireland. In doing some research I found out a few facts about it. Ireland is the 3rd largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island in the world. It lies to the north-west of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islet. To the east of Ireland, separated by the Irish Sea, is the island of Great Britain. Politically, the state Ireland (described as the Republic of Ireland in cases of ambiguity) covers five-sixths of the island, with Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, covering the remainder in the north-east. The population of the island is slightly over 6 million (2007), with 4.4 million in the Republic of Ireland (1.7 million in Greater Dublin) and an estimated 1.75 million in Northern Ireland (800,000 in Greater Belfast).

A few places they may see while there ~

The Blarney Castle

The Spire of Dublin

Cliffs of Moher

The Ha'penny Bridge

and of course.....

The Irish Elk or Giant Deer, (Megaloceros giganteus), is one of the largest that ever lived in Ireland and could possibly be an ancestor to Thunderhoof. The species has been carbon dated to 11,000 years ago. Its old common name ‘Irish Elk’ is misleading and skeletons have been found in the Irish bogs. The Irish Elk stood about 6.9 feet tall at the shoulders, and it also had the largest antlers. Maybe Rex and Denise can make it over to the Natural History Museum in Dublin to see the skeletons of the Giant Deer.

Safe Travels and God Speed!
Marian's Hunting Stories, etc., etc., etc.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Before I Go

Am leaving in the morning before day. If anyone wants to post here please contact Marian or Jody, they have the keys and will handle anything that comes up.

I may be in Ireland but with the weather changing, I will be dreaming of Thunderhoof. Unless, of course that stupid deer follows me. I really need a vacation.
We will make sure to stop by Loch Ness and get a pic of Denise and Nessie together, and Big Al wants me to catch him a ghost or two.

Things are heating up at the camp and several super nice bucks have been seen just wandering around. I think that while I am away, they might actually get some work done. NAHHH! Dad has been dove hunting with his faithful companion Trigger and he is keeping Camo for me this week. I expect my dog to be a heck of a lot trimmer when I get back, if she doesn't starve to death.
Yes, Dad is still as mean and tough as ever and going strong.

The lake is full and any of you that are taking fishing notes needs to know that right now is the perfect time to be out there catching them. It is also time for me to be going up the lake to get my deerstand ready. I think Jody could catch a boatload, pink rod and all.

Will miss going to camp as the season turns but I can feel the pull on me everyday to get there. It will not be long until we are back there exchanging stories and strategies, lies and friendship, walking the woods and scouting for the elusive big buck. Take a breathe, deer season is coming. Back soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Hodgepodge

Another damn supervisor!

Rex and Mark
30 years of friendship

We replaced the stand at the
arrowhead field and are going
to get it fixed up for Marian.

me actually working!

The wild hogs have returned with a vengeance.
This is me pointing out a hog wallow so that
Phillip will know what he is looking for when he comes down to take care of this porcine

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Castle Blogging

Next Tuesday we leave for Ireland. I am having trouble with that stupid deer too. He says he is an Irish Elk and wants to go with us. I told him his horns were too big to get on the plane. HA!
I will give a ghost report from the battlements if possible and I am going to catch one of those damn leprechauns too. Keep him in my pocket.
I will be gone at least 10 days and would love for some of you to guest blog.
Marian has already voluteered to keep the joint open and I would really like for some of you guys to write a post or two and keep things running smooth.
Email me if you would be willing to help cover for me while I am gone.
If I see that Wallace guy over there, I will get his autograph.
I hope that stupid deer stays home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bear Facts

I just received this picture from my brother James. He is in the middle of bear hunting season and a local doctor from Water Valley, Dr. Steve Edwards, is up visiting him and harvested this nice bear with a bow.
James' company is J. Howell Alaskan Outfitters. For a wonderful and exciting hunt in the wilds, call him at 907-733-2948
or email him at jamiehowell@starband.net

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dead Tractor

As expected, a certain lawyer is wearing a neck brace and screaming about a hurt back. We think this lawsuit will disappear, as the lawyer is very likely to disappear as well.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Present For Marian

We went to camp this weekend to try and get something accomplished. Since Trent burned the big tractor, he finished bushogging with the little tractor and Mark and I cleared fields and roads with the chainsaw.
The famous Marian from Marians' Hunting Stories came to visit and it was really great to see her again. I brought her a present that I picked up at the 2008 Watermelon Carnival. Hope you all like it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fall In The Air

I woke this morning with a touch of fall in the air. It felt like football and deer seasons were calling me. I was reminded of frosty mornings watching deer slip quietly past me as I tried not to shake, of cold days around our crackling campfire talking about the Rebels and the big buck being admired on the pole.
I felt the pull of the Christmas Place this morning. It seems to call to me and even with my eyes closed I can point directly at it. I can't wait to get there.
Mark is coming this weekend and hopefully Marian is too.
I have a gift for her.
Trent burned the tractor so little planting will be done but there is always plenty of work to do. See you there!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Burning Tractor

The day started out as a regular day. Trent filled the tractor and got ready to go to the fields. Now Trent is a lawyer and well.. enough said. He ain't no tractor driver. He took off, made it to the field below the leevee and started cutting.
Boy, that tractor sure was putting out a lot of smoke for some reason. He stopped, opened the hood and peeped in. He had no idea what he was looking at or for. Boy, that tractor sure is smoking a lot. He went back to cutting, and soon he had to stand up to see through the smoke. Boy, that was a lot of smoke. Suddenly an idea occurred to him that maybe, just maybe there might be a problem. A ball of fire 10 feet high erupted from underneath the fuel tank.
With lightning reflexes Trent tried to slam the gas lever up to stop the tractor. He slammed it the wrong way. The tractor took off leaving fire and burning tractor parts scattered in it's wake. As Trent jumped, the realization hit that a 12 foot disc was being pulled right behind the tractor, hell it was on fire too! In mid-air Trent did the cat move, hit rolled and escaped. He sat up only to watch the tractor hauling booty across the field as it burned uncontrollably. Finally, the fuel lines burned through and the tractor eased to a stop. A wall of fire devoured it as Trent sat there watching in amazement. He thought "Boy, that's a lot of smoke."
The moral of this story is simple. Never let a damn lawyer drive the tractor.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Night At the Lammeys'

The Lammey camp is about 15 minutes north of Oxford, near Abbeville, MS. Growing up the Lammeys were in our camp there, but finally the brothers chipped in together and got their own place. The brothers are Jim, Ed, LD, Cullen. Big Jim and Ed are gone now but what a life they had!
Jimmy, Paul and I got together every chance we could to hunt and as we got older, we went to college together, chased girls (through those camps) partied and enjoyed each others company immensely. As Davin got older, he easily fit in with us along with our cousin, Burney.

We don't see the Lammeys very often now and it was a treat for me to get invited to dinner at their camp last Sunday. They gave us the royal treatment and it was great to reunite with them. Here is a pic of Jimmy and Davin in the kitchen.
That Davin can cook!

Here is a pic of James, Jimmy and Matt sitting at the table eating with Denise.
If that table coud talk..............

All the kids and Camo got along great, it made me remember how Paul, Jimmy and I got along as we grew up.
Here is a pic of Spencer with his cousin Anthony, eating, cutting up and having a great time. Hope we can keep it going.
Here are some great cousins and friends. Jimmy, my lost cousin Jana, and Davin.
You will see them at the Youth hunt!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Victorious Weekend

It was a great weekend with Water Valley winning their big game on Friday night against Coffeeville.

Saturday morning we headed for the Grove at Ole Miss to tailgate with Mark and his family. It was great to be back there and everywhere we went we saw old friends. Here is Tyler Jones (being Mr. Rebel), Mark and my cousin Davin Lammey, plus a bevy of beautiful girls in the background.

This pic is my cousin Jim Lammey talking to the Roses' and Dr. Evil.
Paul aka Dr. Evil has his hand out trying to get their wallets.

A pic of two young honey's showing their spirit. My daughter Sarah and her friend Ashley.

I went over and took a pic with the old people at the ATO old folks home.
There's Hinkle, Zouboukos, Me, Dr. Evil, Mark, Chicken-Man and Schull.
The Rebels had a big night and won over their northern enemy at Memphis.