I have been fortunate to have the entire Christmas and New Year’s holiday off. I started it off by heading north to spend Christmas with my family. First up was Christmas Eve with my dad and his family. It has been many years since I have been able to spend Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family, probably since before I moved to Sacramento in 1987. None of the cousins that I grew up with were there as they have all grown up and moved away, but all of the cousins that were in diapers in 1987 were there. None of them really remember me. Fortunately, Facebook will help us keep in touch better. It was really great to see their parents whom I have fond memories as a child. For the first time, I participated in the Christmas program where everyone does something. I was a last minute addition and played a reading of The Polar Express. I promised next year, that I would read it myself.
After an evening with the Ward/Wing family, I headed to my mom’s for the rest of the week. Christmas Day was busy with Tolley friends and family, kids, kids, and more kids. By 2:00, I needed a nap.
The day after Christmas was a day that I had been waiting for for a long time. Finally, a chance to hunt with Jimmy, Ryan and Aaron. I tried to plan a hunt here in Sacramento, but it ended up raining and it didn’t work out. Since I was going to be up for a fewe days, Jimmy and Ryan planned a nice hunting day for us. They found a guy who raises pheasants and found some state land to hunt them on. Come hunt day, Jimmy, Ryan, Aaron, and Uncle Frank headed out for some hunting. My sister-in-law and neice tagged along to take some video. But before we could hunt, first we needed birds. We headed over to the pheasant farm where we first had to CATCH the pheasants. Yep, you heard me… we had to CATCH them before we could hunt them. So, Jimmy, Ryan and Aaron headed into the bird pen to catch us some 15 birds. Not such an easy task… those buggers are fast, heavy and when flying blind at your head, can be dangerous. Angie recorded it and you can clearly hear us lauging our butts off at them. After about 15 minutes they emerged safe and sound from the bird pen and we headed out to the hunting spot where we met my uncle Frank. CATCH BIRDS… CHECK
We picked a spot, geared up and the boys headed out to the field to plant the birds. This was their first time planting birds as these guys usually hunt wild stuff. I on the other hand have only hunted planted birds. Although I didn’t volunteer to plant birds, those things have claws! Planting the birds didn’t occur without casualties… claws poked holes in both Jimmy and Ryan. PLANT BIRDS… CHECK
I was a bit concerned going into this hunt because Ryan brought his lab and Aaron brought his jack russell terrier in addition to Roxie. As I have found in the past, even with all of Roxie’s training, she isn’t strong enough to hold while other dogs are running around free, flushing and chasing birds. We tried to keep them on seperate ends of the field, but it just wasn’t possible. I took the first coupld of birds to work with Roxie and not attempt to shoot. She did OK. By the time we cleared the first field, I hadn’t made a single shot. The boys encouraged me to get up there and get me a bird… so I did. I knew I should have just put my gun away and worked Roxie but this was my first time hunting with my family and I really wanted to show what a good hunter me and Roxie were. Unfortunately, I didn’t do either of those things. While I tried to shoot, Roxie chased along with the other dogs and training wise, was a complete disaster. Hunting wise, Roxie did good. She found her birds, pointed (even though a couple were behind her as she pointed) and retreived the birds shot for her. At one point, Jimmy and I headed over to another field to find a bird that had flown over there. Jimmy saw where it landed and as we got near the area, Roxie picked up the scent, and tracked that bird until she found it and went on point. It was a beautiful point, and no one was around with a camera!! Well, I had one, but once again, I was focused on trying to shoot and couldn’t get a photo nor could I catch Roxie as she flushed and chased the bird. I couldn’t even shoot becuase she was chasing up a hill. Jimmy was able to get a shot off and apparently hit the bird because it landed and Roxie came back with it.
But wait, I need to back up a bit… back to field one. Jimmy and Frank planted this field and there were a lot of blackberry bushes out there which the birds once released headed straight for. One bird was deeply embedded in the largest pile and there was no way Roxie was going in there. But… jack russell Lucky did! Man, that little dog LOVES to hunt pheasant. She hunted, flushed and retreived birds that I swear were bigger than she was! The photo here shows the boys stomping through the bushes, while Lucky is in there somewhere looking for that damed bird. I think it was about 15-20 minutes before it finally came out and someone shot it. Poor little Lucky was all scratched up, but she was happy!
All in all we found 11 of 15 birds planted. The remaining birds will just become dinner for some other wild animal. We came home happy and tired.
Here is the video Angie took:
On Sunday, Mom and I had some girl time and did some shopping and a movie. I headed home on Monday in time to head to a Kings game thanks to Darcy who invited me to attend the past season ticket holder “We Want You Back” meeting, dinner and game. The Kings are in need of some money… The game was a lot of fun, it’s been a while since I have been to one. Even better was that it was a really good game and we WON!
I spent the rest of the week getting things done at home, working on BWCA stuff, my website, and cleaning the house. I spent New Year’s Eve at home with Tracy watching one of our favorite TV shows, Ally McBeal. I cooked a nice pot roast dinner and yummy dessert of peppermint white chocolate rice crispy treats. It was a nice quiet evening at home. I was supposed to head to the horse race track on Friday with Anna, but ended up coming down with some sort of bug that kept me home and in bed. Finally after almost all day my headache is going away and now, I’m going back to bed.
Well, that’s all for now.