The Wild Game Camera at the House

The pilot and I love wildlife. We enjoying viewing the wildlife as much as hunting it. The pilot came home the other day with a new toy, a game camera. This camera is motion activated when “things” walk in front of it. It also has an infrared flash so it can take night pictures without having a flash that would scare the animals. Here are a few pictures of what the pilot has captured.

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The racoons like the timeframe of 7:15 to 7:45. We thought there was just one fat one, but there are a few pictures with several coons.

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The area the pilot is capturing is a creek bottom. It holds some water most of the time and attracts the wildlife. Once we start feeding, we will put another camera on the food.

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We did get a whitetail buck deer on the camera. We have seen several doe in person, but still haven’t seen this guy.

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Here is a really fun picture of a bobcat. It’s hard to see, but look in the bottom right corner of the picture.

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And the last one of the bobcat. It is in the center all the way to the left of the picture.

 

The pilot is enjoying checking the camera, and I think it’s really neat to be able to see all of the wildlife you would otherwise not know was there.

-Morgan

A Woman’s Version of Deer Hunting in Texas (KBBD)

My parents have a ranch outside of Brady, Texas. The pilot and I love to go deer hunting, and it’s an extra bonus that we get to fly there. It’s a short hop, skip and a jump from Austin to Brady, and we figure we have a plane so we might as well use it!

We decided to go to Brady for the annual family gathering at the ranch for opening weekend. It was a little different this year because my father was out of state at a wedding and my brother and sister-in-law were staying close to home with a 2nd baby on the way. So it was my mother, the pilot and I, along with a few family friends.

We eat venison year round. There is usually enough food that we can give away quite a bit and never come close to running out. This year, however, we ran out of one of our favorite staples, venison breakfast sausage. We substitute it in all of our recipes for hamburger meat as well as breakfast sausage. Without this, we had to suffer and buy hamburger meat at the local grocery. It was time to hunt.

The weather was quite hot for opening weekend with highs near 80 degrees. We sat in one of the deer blinds together and scouted out deer. There are many beautiful animals in Brady. We have spent a lot of time culling out deer that have bad genetics and letting the bigger bucks breed. Whatever we have done has surely worked because we have seen some beautiful deer.

 

We came back and did an afternoon hunt to find a young 7 point. We try to remove these early in the season if they don’t have equal horns on both sides. The reason we do that early in the season is to keep them from breeding. We want all the monster 10 points to make new babies! I harvested the 7 point and he dropped in his tracks.

I really love to hunt. I can sit in a stand and simply shoot with just my camera. Over the years I have harvested some very large animals, so I have learned to look at the big bucks we currently have and enjoy their beauty. I can’t wait to go back. It’s the pilots turn to harvest a trophy this year. Hopefully I will have some pictures of a monster soon!

Ran the San Antonio Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon

The pilot has ran quite a few 1/2 marathons, 10k’s and 5k’s. We decided to run the “mini” marathon in San Antonio this year. The mini marathon is a 3 mile course, where the 1/2 marathon is 13.1 miles and the full is 26.2 miles.

When we arrived, I was feeling spunky and told the pilot I wanted to do the 1/2 marathon. It looked to be sold out, so I was bummed. When we looked for our registration numbers, it had both of our names on there twice. The pilot had received a special to sign up and forgot that he had done it. We went to the registration desk and they offered a refund. The pilot had pulled a quad, and decided to stick with the mini marathon and I stayed with the 1/2.

Here we are at the check in expo.

This all sounded like a great idea at the time. The pilot and I have ran a few 1/2′s together and we would actually run the first 3 together. Usually I am the one taking the pictures while he runs, but today the roles were reversed. We lined up in our corral, which is based on how fast your are and were ready to go.

 

The race started and the first 3 miles felt great. The pilots legs did well and he finished the mini marathon strong. I continued on. The pilot would rendezvous with me at different points and take pictures. About mile 10 I hit the wall, but determined I finished the race.

All in all, it was a good day. I am glad I did the 1/2 marathon, but would much prefer to do them with the pilot. It’s nice to be able to have company for roughly 3 hours of running.

A Trip to the Minneapolis, Minnesota Zoo (KMSP)

The pilot and I made the trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota (KMSP) for our second annual SCRAPFEST. Last year the pilot flew my mom, Micah (our cousin) and me up there and it was quite a long trip…it took about 6 hours to to get there and the pilot was exhausted. As a result, this year we used our points and flew up commercially. It has been quite a while since I have had to pack and plan a commercial flight; I did not enjoy the process…having to be there 2 hours before, pay for every bag I packed, and go through the body scan  was enough to encourage me to have the pilot fly me more often. The two hour flight was a nice surprise…I took a little nap and we were there. Even better was the fact that it was early in the day and the pilot was well rested and we were able to hit the zoo before checking into our hotel.

Other than school field trips when I was a little girl I have never been to a zoo on a weekday before and it was wonderful to be there with so few other visitors. I absolutely love the zoo…the pilot is really wonderful about taking me to visit the nice zoos when we travel and the Minneapolis Zoo was beautiful and had some of the largest animal enclosures that I have ever seen.

 

There were a few animals that were highlights for us. One of the first enclosures we came to had these adorable monkeys. The pilot and I love to “monkey” on another…the monkeys were cleaning each other the same way that we do. There was also an adorable baby that jumped on its dad’s back and then hung on it’s mom’s leg; it was so much fun to watch.

Not far from these cuties were a number of other monkey families, but 2 of them were obviously used to the camera and really knew how to ham for the camera. The black and white monkey came right down by the glass when we got out the camera and did a number of really adorable poses.

The other, little monkey remind me of those bug eyed little stuffed animals. He also came down to the glass so that he could get as good of a look at us as we got of him.

The pilot and I strolled through the park. Most of the animals were up and recently fed so we got the opportunity to see the majority of the animals. Although the pronghorns did not come down the hill the pilot made sure to remind me that I still owe him a prong horn hunt for a bet I lost a few years back.

We spent the longest amount of time on some of the smallest animals. The prairie dogs provided an enormous  amount of entertainment. Running in and out of the ground, eating their fruits and vegetables, and chasing each other around…the pilot and I watched for like 20 minutes. There are tons of them in the colony and they are truly entertaining.

You can tell that the zoo is built for the cold weather, we spent most of the time looking at animal enclosures from indoors, a big change from our warm climate…without sunscreen I did not even need sunscreen although we were there for hours. The Penguins really liked the pilot. For 10 minutes this penguin followed the pilot back and forth at the glass.

There was a bunch of publicity for a brand new exhibit for 3 rescued bears. The official opening was a few days away but we got a sneak peak at them. The 2 females slept the whole time we were there, but the male woke up on our last trip by their enclosure and worked it for the crowd.

Before we headed to the underwater exhibits we rode the tram around the park. I was amazed by the amount of undeveloped land that the zoo owns. Someday that zoo is going to be enormous. Our tour guide gave us our very own car so that we could scoot back and forth and have a great view of the animals on both sides of the car. We saw a number of the animals that we had seen on the ground but overhead we got a much better view of a number of the animals. From the tram our favorite animals were the camels that had waded into the middle of their green pond and were covered in the green stuff. It was a little warm, so I guess they were keeping themselves cool…it was also interesting to learn that the humps are not water they are fat. The little one on the edge was a baby, the babies weighs more than 100 pounds when they are born.

After the tram we made one last stop before heading to the hotel to check in at the underwater exhibit. My favorite part about the tanks is that there were a number of species living together. The large tank had more species than I could count…but I tried. There were some large puffer fish and some pretty big sharks that I enjoyed watching…but I was surprised that they did not eat any of the fish in the tank with them. The zoo must keep them well fed.

I love to touch and feed the animals so we had to adventure by the tide pools before we could leave. There were 2 separate tanks full of animals that I got to touch, so I did. Although it was a rush to touch the sting rays and sharks I think I actually enjoyed the aneminies and starfish a little more…there were many more textures in that tank. The sting rays were a a little slimy to the touch and the sharks were a little rough, but the reef creatures were plentiful. Even the variety of starfish all felt a little different.

The pilot is not much for touching the creatures but he did get in on the underwater fun.

On the scale of zoos that we have visited I would put the Minneapolis Zoo close to the top. It was a very relaxing peaceful day. On a 1-10 I would give it a 9.

Desert Sleding in White Sands

The pilot flew out to Alamogordo, New Mexico (KALM) to meet up with mom and I on our scrap trip. It was a good excuse for him to get a few hours of flight time in and it was wonderful to see him on my extended vacation. Usually the pilot brings my father as well, I am really excited that he came even though my dad could not make the trip fit in his schedule. The pilot is really wonderful about trying to tie flights into things that I really enjoy.

The pilot is not much for sitting around all day (which is what I usually do on the scrap trips) so it was important that we have activities scheduled for the couple of days that he visited. It is wonderful that the pilot comes, we would never enjoy the beautiful places and all they have to offer without his encouragement. It is only a 16 mile trip down the mountain from Cloudcroft to pick him up but it is important to know that those 16 miles take like 45 minutes because it is such a steep incline and the road is so windy.

On a Saturday morning the pilot, mom, Runway and my parents dog Avery loaded up in the car at 5:45am and made the trek down the mountain. We wanted to make sure that we made it to White Sands National Monument when it opened at 7am.

With the dogs we wanted to make sure that we got the park before it got hot. Avery, my parents lab, is old and does not do well in the heat. We were blessed, the house that we rented had sleds, otherwise we would have had to wait until the gift shop opened at 8 to rent them.

That early in the morning there were a few other people in the park, but it really felt like we had the place to ourselves. We picked a sand “mountain” and we climbed up and sled down until we were all too tired to go any more. Runway went up and down with EVERYONE. We thought after we got him tired that we would be able to convince him to sit on a sled and go down, but even when he was exhausted we could not get him to go down with us as a family.

We tried out both kinds of sleds, the red disk and the blue sleds that were more rectangular shaped.

It was a lot easier to get speed on the blue sleds and they were a lot easier to control. We had such an exceptional time climbing up and sledding down the hill. We even convinced my mother to go down the mountain. The pilot had to convince her, I tried and she was not budging but the pilot can sell water to a drowning person and had no issue convincing her to go down with him the first time and then a number of times after that.

The three of us had a really good time, BUT I think the dogs enjoyed it the most. The two of them ran up and down and up and down the mountain. Our little man, runway,  ran and ran and ran until he was so tired he could not go any longer, it was the first time we have EVER been able to totally wear him out. I think he ate his body weight in sand so that probably weighed him down a little.

We spent about an hour sledding and hiking around. Then we drove the 16 mile loop that the park makes before heading to the gift shop.I have a love for ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS so the pilot always tries to stop and find me an ornament to add to the tree. We have a really good time talking about our trips in December when we put the tree up and then again in Mid-January when we finally get around to taking it down. Although I am trying to give it up he treated me to a Dr. Pepper and chips to share with the dogs. The pilot love to pick up a t-shirt from the places that we go, the iSled shirt will be his reminder of all our fun.

On the trip back up the mountain, we stopped at a small  Cherry Festival in High Rolls, New Mexico. I cannot help myself when it comes to fresh fruit. I am not sure what I expected a cherry festival to be like but it was a wonderful little arts and crafts fair. The pilot bought me a new apron and matching tortilla warmer that forest animals on them.

We even made it back to the house before lunch. While it was warming up at the base of the mountain, we enjoyed the cool air at 8500 feet of elevation.

 

Fishing with the Gators

For Mother’s Day the pilot and I took his mom Fishing with Ray, Top Cat Fishing, at Choke Canyon. Ray is really wonderful about picking us up at the Live Oak Airport (8T6) in George West, Texas so we can go and come same day. After making the round trip same day last weekend I recommend renting one of the cabins in the park. After getting up at 3 to be there by 6 and fishing all day it is really rough on the pilot to fly home late. For the second time in a row we had to hold over the Three Rivers VOR because the airport was, as the pilot says, socked in.

Sunrise over George West

I know that he was excited about maintaining his currency, but, honestly, I prefer to skip being included in flying around in circles first thing in the morning. The sunrise was really beautiful from the sky but I would rather see it from the fishing boat.

The Lake is really down but with our droughts in Texas, but the Alligators were out in full force and the lake was really beautiful. According to Ray, the gator population is the result of nuisance gators from Houston, so thank you Houston, the gators entertained us. We got to see one chasing a Gator Gar, the large gar totally cleared the water trying to get away. We got to see them doing their mating rituals, it made for a really entertaining morning.

Ray had the poles bending all day. There were even a few times when all three of us had fish on at the same time. Ray’s terrible smelling catfish bait did the trick and we reeled until we were exhausted.

I love to fish BUT I love to fish even more when I catch the biggest fish of the day. There were a few times that the pilots pole bent over and I thought he might have hooked the big one, but when we called it a day I got to be the one who caught the largest and smallest catfish of the day.

Growing up in a family where hunting and fishing is something you do even before you learn to write your name I sometimes forget that not everyone has had a lifetime of experiences to fish with. The pilot’s mom, Linda, had a slow start to the day while she got a feel for it, but once she got the hook set figured out she put the pilot and I to shame with all the fish she was bringing in. It was really nice that all of us were bringing fish in the boat.

It was a wonderful trip for some family fishing, in a beautiful place with a really great guide…And we made it home in time to sleep in our own beds.