Into the Outdoors - Signs of Spring

Well, here we are. Just a short time left until Spring arrives. Maybe I am just a bit too eager, but it would seem that some of the earliest signs are starting to show up. I have noticed that things have started to green up ever so slightly. The grass in my lawn looks better, and there are, of course, some weeds popping up. Quite frankly, I am glad to see them. There are also a few bugs flying around on the warm days. lthough they will be a nuisance later on, they are kind of a welcome sight now. I should add, however, that as I am writing this, the temperature is cold, and it is spitting snow.

My friend Dave Lewis tells me that the red winged blackbirds are back. In fact, he saw a huge flock of probably fifty birds at his feeder. That is a really good sign. The males arrive first, followed by the females. Their beautiful, trilling song is bound to cheer you up. Although I have yet to see any, robins are showing up in more and more yards.

A sure sign of spring is that the groundhogs are out of hibernation, I recently saw an unfortunate woodchuck dead along the road. This, of course, sends a clear message. The time is here to blow the dust off the old varmint gun. This includes a wide variety of calibers. In fact, some hunt ‘chucks with the same rifle they use for deer. If you don’t care about the meat, that’s an OK choice. There are, however, calibers that are more closely geared toward the little whistle pigs. A personal favorite of mine is the 223. I have an H & R single shot, with a scope and bipod, which never ceases to amaze me with its accuracy. When you come right down to it, though, I have shot more groundhogs with my old Mossberg 22 rimfire than with any other gun I own or have ever owned. It has always done the job for me. A 22, of course, requires you to get closer, and that can greatly improve your stalking skills.

As many readers know, I’m an “If it dies, it fries” type of guy. That philosophy includes groundhogs. When properly prepared, it is hard to find better eating than groundhog. Old Bub’s mother and aunt used to prepare them in such a way that they were a meal fit for a king. As I have gotten older, though, I find cleaning them to be really gross. Consequently, I no longer hunt them. They are every bit as tasty as squirrel or rabbit, maybe even better. There are lots of websites that will tell you how to get them ready for the table.

Another really wonderful thing about early Spring is the singing of the frogs. It hasn’t happened yet, as far as I know, but it will soon. For me, there is just something extra special about that beautiful music from nature. Due to my hearing, I have to be fairly close to them to hear them, but I know where to go.

You know, this year has produced the worst case of cabin fiver I have ever had. I am not sure of the reason, although I do indeed have some theories. One of them is not being able to cook outside. Even if I dress against the cold, my outdoor appliances, such as the grill and smoker, do not seem to work well at low temperatures. When we get a nice day, I will probably fire up the grill. I also bought a new smoker, and I can hardly wait to try it out.

If cabin fever is also affecting you, hang in there. It will be over soon.

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