Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cabbage, Rabbits, and Giving Back

The last few weeks have been busy ones for me, which is the excuse I'm going to give for the recent lack of blog posts. It seems like this time of year would be a slow time for me as an outdoorsman, with deer season over and fishing possible but not likely for the next month or two. However, it's been just the opposite. Here's a rambling account of the month of January, as it relates to my outdoor pursuits.

Beagles working the thicket
A couple of Saturdays ago I went on another rabbit hunt, but this hunt involved lots of walking through some good looking rabbit cover with the dogs only jumping one rabbit. It was still a nice day to be outdoors with good dogs and good friends, and a walk in the woods is always worthwhile, rabbits or not. It was a mystery that we didn't jump more rabbits, because we were hunting areas that had been productive for us during past seasons. It seemed more like a deer hunt instead of a rabbit hunt, as we jumped deer several times during the course of the day. Luckily the dogs left the deer alone for the most part, although they did have to be called off of the first group of deer that we jumped.

Clay watching for a rabbit
In the meantime, the cabbage plants that my wife and I set out back during the fall were finally ready to be harvested. I'm not too much of a winter gardener but I do usually grow a few cabbage and occasionally some broccoli. There is something about being able to pick fresh vegetables in January that still amazes me, and the slaw and cooked cabbage was a nice compliment to a meal of pintos and cornbread on a cold night. I'm not sure if it's just the fact that we grew it or not, but cabbage from the garden always seems to have a different flavor than cabbage from the grocery store. It could be my imagination, but it does give me an excuse to plant a few every year.
My wife Trina with a winter cabbage from the garden
This past Saturday a good friend and I went squirrel hunting, but once again it turned out to be a nice walk in the woods carrying a .22 rifle. It was the day after we had experienced some nasty winter weather, and I think this might have affected the squirrel movement. We covered a lot of ground, and did manage to find some several rubbed trees that the deer had left behind, but we didn't see a single squirrel. We did hear two barred owls calling to each other, and found some fresh scratchings left behind by a flock of turkeys.

Hunter Safety Instructor Badge
To top it all off, this week I have been helping teach Hunter Safety after school. This past summer a friend and fellow agriculture teacher and I took the course to become certified NC Hunter Safety Volunteer Instructors and this week marks the second time we have taught the class. I'm thoroughly enjoying teaching this, both because I love any chance to share my passion for the outdoors, and also because I feel like in some small way I'm helping preserve the outdoor lifestyle for future generations. It makes me feel good to know that some of my students share my love of the outdoors, and hopefully through that they will become motivated to become the next generation of sportsmen conservationists.

It has been a busy January for sure, but all the different directions my outdoor ramblings have taken me in this past month have only helped make it more interesting.

Thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph


  1. It does sound like you have kept yourself busy.
    For some reason the hares in Maine do not seem to be in large numbers this year either.
    Congrats on your instructor certification and I am looking forward to seeing more posts when things slow down for you.

    1. Thanks Peter! Hopefully the blogging will become a little more regular here soon. Our rabbit season runs through the end of February so hopefully we will find a few more.

  2. Wonderful news, glad you are teaching hunter education. I hope I can be an instructor someday.Your cabbage is surely better than commercial crops.

    1. Thanks Reverend Fowl! I am enjoying teaching the hunter safety course. The class to become an instructor was enjoyable too, we got the opportunity to shoot skeet during one part of the instructor training. We hardly ever buy cabbage at the store anymore, the garden has us spoiled.

  3. Winter cabbage sounds great to me! Love the stuff when it's cold and fresh (vs. boiled). Chasing rabbits and squirrels sounds like healthy winter sport, too, complementary to the garden greens, and teaching kids the value of the outdoor experience. Way to go!

    1. Thanks Walt! I love that winter cabbage almost any way it can be fixed, from fresh out of the garden to slaw to cooked. The rabbits and squirrels provided a nice excuse to get out and roam around the woods, although both days I never fired a shot.


Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!