Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Oh the knives that have been lost through the years...

Since the post about "The kind of men who carry a pocket knife", I have had a good bit of discussion about the pocket knife in the picture.  This knife was made by "The Ideal Knife Company". 

Now this was not some fancy big name brand knife.  It was the type that was sold in gas stations on cardboard displays.  Not exactly the kind of knife that they kept in the glass display case. 

The Ideal Knife Company made the Ideal camper and a JR model that were very popular in the 1970's.  The knife that I have is a similar model to the Jr camper.  While I would like to lay claim to being one of those guys who has carried the same ole trusty knife for most of my life, the truth is that my little Ideal knife was probably put away in a drawer for most of the near 40 years that I have owned it.  It has become special to me because it was the first knife that I ever owned and it was then, that I felt my father put his trust in me.  Trust enough that I could have my very own knife!  This would become the most special part about this cheap gas station knife, that I now keep stored away with other prized possessions in my Liberty safe

 The wear on the blade mostly came from learning the proper way to sharpen a knife as I put many hours on a whet stone fine tuning the craft.  This little Ideal knife became my test subject in learning the intricacies of proper angles and stone selection.

 It wasn't long in the pocket before I put this little gas station knife away and moved on to the likes of a my prized case canoe.  I truly thought the world of my case canoe, but somehow I let it part ways with me.   The canoe was one of my favorites that I let slip away.  Many years later my wife had heard me talk about my knife so much that she decided to replace it for me.  She went to a vintage collectors store and found a beautiful 1975 Case Canoe just like the one pictured below......  I may get in trouble for this one...... yep I lost it also.  Does that make me a "loser"????  J/K 

This seems to be the fate of oh so many knives.  As a young boy, my focus was often on catching one more fish than taking care of responsibilities, so I probably left it laying on the ground beside my tackle box on the banks of the creek.  I miss that knife.  That leads me to make this post about all the knives that have parted ways with their owners and the places where that sort of atrocity would take place.  

There are no telling how many boys (of all ages) in a rush to get back to fishing, have left a pocket knife laying on the ground after tying on a new lure.

Engine compartments seem to be a location of departure for knives to break free from their owners.  Throughout the years I have decided that I might be better off to hire someone to work on engines for me, just so I don't loose another knife in the process.  

A knife sure comes in handy for a small wiring job..... until you set it down and forget about it..

Our pocket knives are often left in laying in odd locations where they were once put to use. 

Knives lost under the hood of truck have been common place in my life.  Often closing the hood in disgust or simply in haste to get back to my travels after a quick repair.  A pocket knife seems to be one tool that is so easy to find it's resting place under the hood only to bounce off a mile or so down the road, likely only moments before one realizes where they left it.  Speaking of leaving knives in and around vehicles, the rear bumper of a pickup truck has claimed so many knives that I'm sure some C.E.O. of a knife company was able to buy a new vacation home just from the profits of replacements.   

There is no way that the bumper of a truck is a good place to set anything down, but it seems to be oh so convienent of a spot for conversation that I am ashamed to say I have left more than one knife to ride out it's last ride on the bumper.  

Often knives tend to be left in the location of particular frustration. No one ever enjoys having to cut vines from under a bush hog or wrapped around a garden tiller.  After typically laying on the ground in a precarious position, most people are ready to get back at it and rush the job. The process of the this particular affair, lends itself to the loss of a good knife.  After first cutting the outer layer,  the vines are often easier to remove by hand pulling.  This is where things go bad...... Instead of putting back in your pocket,  you lay the knife down, because you may need it again shortly after pulling a few loose.  BAD MOVE!   S#@$# Da#$@! $##$#*  and a few other bad words that may have not even been made up yet..   Lost another knife....

Bush hogs, tillers, and lawnmowers reap a toll on pocket knife owners, and I think they may be proud of it too...

A knife that has seen it's share hard work is hard pressed to stay with it's owner for long.  Work in some form or another is culprit of knives being left behind.  Years ago, I was doing a remodel job and when we pulled the sheet rock from the wall I found a knife left stuck in the wood much like the photo below.  

I have found several knives that were left behind at jobsites, but more times than I care to admit, I have been the one who left the poor unsuspecting knife to fend for itself.....

Boxes and packing materials seem to responsible for a lot of knife/owner breakups.....

I have found many a razor knife in packaging and laying on pallets. 

Around the farm a pocket knife is used oh so much.   When cutting hay wrapping and strings, a pocket knife is an essential tool, but also one that seems to find it's way out to pasture during the process.   I am not sure if the cows are saving them up in an arsenal for a later attack.   I'm afraid that one day an over protective momma cow may pull one out and tell me to not touch her baby.

For me, it's probably best that I just never set my pocket knife down.  EVER!

Why?  Just put it in your pocket.....

Now sometimes, it is not out of shear neglect that a pocket knife and it's owner part ways.  Certain pants pockets are just not conducive to keeping things in when you sit down.  A church pew, a reclining chair, multiple couches,  all camp chairs, and even a hammock have all been the  location of the divorce of the union of knife and owner.   

There is no doubt that the cracks of comfy chairs and couches have laid claim to many a knife.

The floorboard of a farm tractor has likely felt many pocket knife bounce off of it as it left the owners pocket.  

     Now to speak of loosing a knife, it is evident from the comments that TSA has been responsible for more knives leaving home than most any other loss that I can think of.  I have never lost one to TSA, but I have been known to bury a knife in a flower pot or landscaping outside a venue with hopes of returning to get it one day.  

If anyone happens to find a SOG Titanium knife in some landscaping near the Alabama State house,  keep it.  It served me well!

There are so many stories of lost pocket knives.  Feel free to link up with us on Facebook at the The Natural South.  Join our group and share your stories and even photos of your favorite knives and southern adventures.  The Natural South Group

Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  


Non nobis Domine

Monday, February 4, 2019

The art of discussion

Yesterday having been the biggest sporting event of the year, I am totally happy to report that the closest I got to the "Super Bowl" was the bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup that my beautiful bride made for us last night..  It was in fact a "super" bowl of soup.     Although I didn't gain anything from the Super Bowl, I did gain some super information yesterday morning from my pastor.  I didn't get out since I had been running a fever for a couple days and thought it would be best to stay home and not spread whatever cold I had with everyone else.  So, since we didn't get out,  the wife and I decided to watch our Sunday morning gathering live on the internet.  Yep, we partner with one of those, big city churches that has technology and stuff.  I'm sure glad we do.  If not, we would have missed a real nugget of information yesterday. 

Connect before you correct

Here in the South folks have always been willing to speak their minds and willing to listen to what others have to say also.   I have made a posts about the old men that sit around the local restaurants and just talk, argue, and laugh.  Here in my neck of the woods, open discussion has never been much of a problem until recent years.  I'm afraid that tradition is all but gone.    A few days ago a friend posted an opinion on facebook that involved politics.  Everyone knows that's a good way to start a fight.  She made a simple statement, that if anyone knows her well, would know that she has a heart of pure gold and had good reason for her opinion.   The mob of people that were quick to jump on her ready to fight, didn't want to hear her heart.  They didn't care to hear her reason.  They didn't want discussion.   They wanted her to be silent.    The art of discussion is truly lost.   Most people have no concept how to listen,  process thought,  and then logically respond.   The majority that engage in any form of debate listen simply to respond,  not to understand.   To put it plainly,  no one cares to "understand". They just care to "win" said debate.   Unfortunately there are no winners on either side when this happens.

God gave us two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we talk.

Now that brings me back to my "super" information,  "Connect before you correct".  We must be intentional in our efforts to connect with the people around us.  It is normal for me to be a bit of an observer, taking note of the people and places that surround us. Before I engage in a situation, I like to be aware of what I getting into.  This has always been for my own protection, both physically and mentally.  The lesson that pastor Matt taught yesterday put that into a new perspective for me.  We must learn to listen beyond the face of the words of those that disagree with us.  If we do not attempt to connect with and have an understanding of where they are coming from then we have no chance to correct where they are going.   

The old saying goes,  no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.  Next time you see a political post that you disagree with or a person with a different view on life, or even a person who doesn't see faith in the same manner, don't be quick to attempt to correct them.   Make sure that you take a minute to observe there life, invest some time,  build a relationship, and earn that right to correct them.   

In no way will you ever change someone's politics by calling them stupid.  You will never make a addict clean by telling them to "get some help".  You will not help someone who is struggling financially by telling them to "get a job".  You will never change someone's view of Christ unless they can view the love of Christ in your life and interactions with them.

We would all do well to hone our listening skills so we can better understand others.  The best way to help our neighbors is to invest into their lives.  The best way to change the polarization that is happening in our country is by caring about each other. The best way to show the love of Christ is by "Connection".  

Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  


Non nobis Domine


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Busyness: the state of not having your priorities where they should be.

The whirlwind we call life......

Here in the South, we have historically always known that wasting time had nothing to do with sitting on the porch swing.  When they say that things move at a slower pace down here, that has always been by design.  Until recent years, Southerners have kept certain aspects of life as a priority.  When I was kid, "visiting" was a thing.  Sunday afternoons were spent with loved ones.  A phone call was not the proper way to check up on somebody who was sick.     

Often I have attempted to admonish others to use time wisely.    To make the most of life while you can.  

I have spent many years living caught up in this whirlwind we call life.  Often I felt that if I was not being productive, that I was somehow less successful.  I understand.  I get it.  We all find ourselves wrapped up in trying to make the most of our time. Our priorities seem to be: To pay bills, to put food on the table, to buy the latest and greatest cell phone, or to buy more stuff,  more stinking stuff....... Recent events in my life have caused me to take heed to my own words, to explore more, to hug longer, to listen often, and to simply make time for people.  Time is the single most valuable part of our life. For many years I have told people to always remember that "We are only as busy as we allow ourselves to be".  Unfortunately, most of the time this was used out of selfish ambition to convince some unwary soul to venture off on a particularly difficult hike or paddle trip or some other off the wall place that I wanted to explore.  You see, "I'm too busy" is the standard go to excuse.  Somehow, I just always knew that one shouldn't always put making money as top priority. 

Busyness is nothing more than having your priorities misplaced.  In the end, we will never wish that we had spent one more day at the office nor a little more time mowing grass.  Carve out margin in your life to spend a few more minutes with your loved ones.  Place that work email on hold to call your college buddies.  Let that dang grass grow a little taller in trade for a few extra stories told over a cup of coffee with friends.  The time we have is borrowed.  Our lives are made richer by the adventures lived and the ones we share them with.  So if you find yourself in conversation with me and I tend to stick around a bit longer, to hug instead of just shake hands, or to just show up out of the blue, you should just know that I have a renewed spirit of how to spend the time that I have borrowed and that you are part of it.  

  Fill your life with adventure and people, not work and things.  

Monday, January 21, 2019

Today's carry 1/21/19

Today's carry knives,  I know, quite a difference in styles. 

I suppose that in the grand scheme of things,  they both are cut from the same cloth.

 I'm going to be brief.  Lots of work still to be done on this cold day. 

Both knives and people follow a similar path in that we all have unique talents endowed to us.  It is  only in the real world, where put our abilities to the test, that we develop an appreciation for our differences.    I am certainly no elitist when it comes to my knives.  These two knives that I am carrying today are very different in origin,  function,  and form.  They both play an important role in this world.   The old Kabar folder has probably seen more of this world than I, and been through much.  It holds a traditional, almost elegant, mystique that has developed quite a following.   The folding sheffield razor knife is a sort of new breed if you will.  Always sharp (cause you can just swap the blade in an instant).  Built certainly for function over form.  Though quite different,  they both can get the job done.  We may have varied tastes and opinions,  but when it comes right down to it, it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

Learn to appreciate the unique differences of this world and apply it to your life.

Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  


Non nobis Domine

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Masculinity In A World Gone Mad

Due to my recent blog post The kind of men who carry pocket knives , I have received some negative feedback, messages, and comments  accusing me of glorifying masculinity. I am thick skinned so it doesn’t bother me too much.  If they had said I am an awful writer, poor with grammar, or even dim witted, I could get along with it, but calling me a misogynist is simply where I draw the line.  What it did positively for me was bring me to the thought of what is masculinity?

The article didn’t compare carrying a knife with masculinity as one message suggested.  It didn’t say that women couldn’t or shouldn’t carry. It was simply about the historical and cultural significance of The kind of men who carry pocket knives.  I am sorry if it came off in a negative way. However, I am not sorry that it is written about men who are willing to keep a versatile tool with them at all times.  I am not sorry that it was written about their willingness to fix what is broken. I am not sorry that it was written about men that are willing to help others.  I am not sorry that it was written about MEN!

Recent events with the likes of Roy Moore, Brett Kavanaugh, #metoo, “baby it’s cold outside”, etc.  have brought with them a flood of negative narratives towards men. It seems that masculinity is under fire.  All things masculine. I was ready to fire back!

Gillette recently released an ad about hyper-masculinity.    This Gillette ad has stirred quite a bit of emotion recently.  Until today my only exposure was listening to a couple talk show hosts bash the ad and talk about how it was a seemingly ridiculous idea to trash their target customers.  At first I was ready to jump in with them with angst, to stand up for men everywhere. While I’m not terribly keen on bashing men, I don't think anyone should get a free pass either.  As every man should do, I decided to check it out for myself and formulate my own opinion.  I watched it, then I watched it again. I didn’t see the reasoning behind the uproar. In fact, I liked it! It seems that the same people who are upset about this are the ones that don’t like my pocket knife either.   

“The Best A Man Can Get”  What a statement.  Or is it an admonishment? Shouldn’t we hold each other accountable? 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17) .    

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things  (Philippians 4:8).

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts (Marcus Aurelius).  

Do I agree with every word of the ad? Of course not.

Do I think we as men should shun all things masculine?  Absolutely not!

Am I proud to be a man who will stand strong in a world gone mad?  You betcha!

A “REAL” man will stand up for what is right!
I am not ashamed of being a man, nor all things masculine that go along with that! It is who I was made to be. My mission is truly that I may be able help develop the same sense of masculinity in my son and in the men that I choose to surround myself with.   Genesis 1:27, 31 tells us, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them … God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (NIV).

Stand up for what is right! Be prepared to take care of things yourself! Take the time to fix it right!

Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  


Non nobis Domine

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Local Diners and Overalls

In the heart of most every southern town is an almost daily "meeting of the minds".   

This morning as I sat eating breakfast in the company of good friends and strangers, I began to look around and take note.  Through the clatter of dishes, the laughter,  and  the old men arguing I began to see another tradition that seems to be fading away.    Almost daily, men and women gather around tables, booths, and counters all over the land to discuss the weather,  politics,  religion,  high school sports,  and  anything else that makes good gossip.   I  love it!  Often the faces of those who gather are wrinkled and worn, but sometimes they are pierced and tattooed.   Either way,  I guess they gather because they have learned the secret to  the local diner.   It is here that lies are told,  legends are made, and lives are filled. 

If you seldom take part in your local "meeting of the minds", maybe you should.  The topics may not be relevant,  the stories may not be be new, but one thing is for sure, the heartbeats of the ones there are much stronger when a new face takes interest in what they have to say.

Seek out your local diner. Spend a little time there in conversation with the old man in overalls,  with the kid wearing baggy pants,  with the guy in the cowboy hat, and don't forget to talk with the ones serving all this madness.  Whether you fit in with the late night after-ballgame crowd,  the early morning coffee sippers, or the lunchtime gathering,  it is at the local diner that you will find a wisdom deeper than the words that you will hear.  

I'm afraid  one of the biggest mistakes we make is assuming that others think the same way we think. Young or old,  we were made for interacting with each other.   It seems the less we get to know our neighbors,  the less we know ourselves.   

Just my ramblings for the day,  JEJ

Going out today!

Non nobis Domine

Monday, January 14, 2019

Today's carry

Just thought I would share today's carry.   Someone is going to get a leatherman micra today. 

Non nobis Domine

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The best view comes after the hardest climb

"The best view comes after the hardest climb"

This old photo from 10 years ago was taken shortly after a difficult climb both physically and mentally. Many times in life it's easy to give in, to back off, or simply walk away. I have always believed that overcoming obstacles and adversity are what makes the journey more memorable. 

Now this spot was not that high in altitude. It didn't overlook some grand valley, nor some beautiful lake. I have driven in an automobile to scenic overlooks where the view was beautiful, but few are etched into my mind like the ones that appear after hours of difficulty on the trail. Ahh, those are the sweet ones. The ones that the memory clings to. 

Our lives are filled with trials and tribulations, and it is in those moments of determination where we have to dig deep, that is where we find the "best views". 

Persevere in your struggle. The view will be worth it.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Kind Of Men Who Carry A Pocket Knife

The Kind Of Men Who Carry A Pocket Knife

Less than 40 years have passed and I am astonished to see how the times have changed since my father bought this knife for me as just a small boy. I do still have it, which by today’s standards is an anomaly. I’ll leave the discussion of our throwaway culture for another time.

Yes, this pocket knife has witnessed many changes in our society. Technology, communication, transportation, and even education have dramatically changed from the way it was just a generation ago. My pocket knife and I are neither quite certain if all the changes have been for the good. When I look across the landscape of America and take note of the differences, the greatest change that I see is in the people themselves.

Growing up in rural Northeast Alabama in the foothills of the Appalachians, I was privileged to catch the tale end of what was an era marked by ruggedness and self-sufficiency. I grew up around men that were willing to fix what was broken and take the time to do it right. My father was a Vietnam veteran and the product of growing up farming the hills of these same mountains where I was raised. He always carried a small pocket knife much like the one pictured. He had an affinity for Case knives, but would carry the occasional “Old timer” or “Buck” or even “Schrade”. One thing was for sure, that he had one with him, wherever he was.  You could also be pretty sure that his pocket knife would be so sharp that if you were to stare at it too long your eyeballs would bleed.   Now that's pretty sharp....    The pocket knife was an important part of his life. Whether it was to slice a freshly picked apple, or to cut some twine, (coincidentally twine can patch most any broken farm implement until you can get home) he was always prepared. At Christmas time, my father always had his knife waiting to help open those pesky gifts that needed cutting open as only a father can do best.

My father was not the only man in my young life that I watched wield his trusty 3 bladed pocket knife as if it was a surgeon's scalpel. My uncles, my friend’s dads, my bosses, they all carried pocket knives. I watched. I learned. I saw a resourcefulness in the these men, that is seldom seen today. For my father and so many others of a generation gone by, a pocket knife was an essential tool for daily life. The men who carry pocket knives are hardworking, do it yourselfer types, who were raised to rely on themselves and be prepared in nearly every situation. I have seen a pocket knife start a tractor, remove a splinter, slice a watermelon, carve a toy, and open a can. They have been used to clean wild game, cut gum/tar out of hair, sharpen a pencil, cutting fishing bait, and teaching responsibility. The list goes on and on. The uses of the pocket knife are as varied and strong as the men who use them.

I adopted this tool at a very early age as one that would always be at my side. A pocket knife has always been a part of who I am. So much so that I was almost offended when I would encounter a grown man who didn’t have one in his own pocket. I took it upon myself in my 20’s to start gifting knives. Sometimes to random strangers, sometimes to close friends. The conversation would generally start by asking if I could borrow someone’s knife, knowing full well that I had 2 in my own pocket. If the answer was a proud “why sure”, then I would gladly take the knife and inspect it for its level of wear as an indicator of how much work it had actually seen. Often paying a simple compliment as I return the knife. If the answer was that they didn’t have a knife to let me borrow, I would quickly reach into my pocket and deliver one to their hand along with a reference to the fact that every man should carry a knife. To date, I have given out somewhere north of 300 knives.

So, who are the kind of men who carry pocket knives today? They are typically utilitarian. They are the type of men who work hard for a living, fix what is broken, and stand fearless in the face of a world full of evil. To put it simply, they are the type of men that I feel this world needs more of.

If you find yourself in a tight spot and need some help, just ask the guy with the pocket knife. Although they are few are far between these days, chances are he can and will be able to lend a hand.

I carry, do you? JEJ

Until next time:  Be Safe. Be Careful. Behave. Don’t Do Anything Illegal, Immoral, Unethical, Or Just Plain Stupid.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wild Turkey in Alabama


When I say "Wild Turkey in Alabama" I'm not talking about the bourbon of choice this Saturday in at the Iron bowl. 
I am talking about meleagris gallapovo. 

A game bird native to North and Central America.  

The wild turkey is the most popular game bird in the world.  Without a doubt the wild turkey is one of wildlife conservation's best success stories.  In the early 19th century the population of wild turkey had been reduced to about 30,000 birds.  Through much effort on the part of private and government agencies working together the wild turkey has rebounded to approximately 7 million birds in North America. 

There are 5 sub species of turkey in North America.

Photos courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation


The Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallapavo silvestris) is one of the largest of the five subspecies. Adult males, or gobblers, may weigh 20 pounds or more. The body feathers of gobblers have a rich, metallic, copper/bronze iridescence. The tips of the tail feathers have a dark buff or chocolate brown color. Hens have a drab appearance to help camouflage them while setting on the nest. The Eastern wild turkey inhabits most of the eastern forest, from southern Canada to north Florida and westward to Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota. The Eastern subspecies of the wild turkey is the one that inhabits Alabama.


The Florida wild turkey (Meleagris gallapavo osceola), also called the Osceola, is found only on the peninsula of Florida. This subspecies of wild turkey was named for the Seminole Indian Chief Osceola. It is similar to the Eastern wild turkey, but smaller and darker in color, with wider black bars on the wing feathers. The large tail feathers are tipped with brown and are similar to the Eastern. These turkeys inhabit the piney woods, prairies and hardwood hammocks of south and central Florida. 


The Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia) is native to the brushy scrub of the southern Great Plains, western Texas, and northeastern Mexico. They may be found in elevations up to 6,000 feet in mountainous areas, but generally favor country that is more open than the woodland habitat favored by their Eastern cousins. Overall, Rio Grande turkeys are comparatively pale and copper colored. They are distinguished from the Eastern and Florida subspecies by having tail and rump feathers tipped with yellowish buff or tan color. Rio Grande turkeys may form large flocks of several hundred birds during the winter months and may range several miles from roosting sites each day. 


The Merriam’s wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) is found primarily in the ponderosa pine, western mountain regions of the United States. Adult males are distinguished from the Eastern, Florida, and Rio Grande by the nearly white feathers on the lower back and tail feather margins. It is comparable in size to the Eastern turkey, but has a blacker appearance with blue purple and bronze reflections.
Archeologists believe that about 2,000 years ago the Native Americans of the southwestern United States domesticated a turkey similar to the wild Merriam’s turkey. When the Spanish explored southern Mexico in the middle 1500s, they found tame turkeys being kept by Native Americans throughout that area. This now extinct turkey of southern Mexico (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo) is believed to be the ancestral stock of the domestic turkey that the Spanish encountered. This domesticated turkey was brought back to Spain and was widely accepted throughout Europe. The domesticated turkey was brought back to America by the English colonists of the Atlantic seaboard.


The Gould’s turkey (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana) is found in portions of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as northern Mexico. The Gould’s turkey is a bird of the mountainous areas of this region. It is the largest of the five subspecies and resembles the Merriam’s turkey. They have longer legs, larger feet, and larger center tail feathers than any of the other wild turkey subspecies in North America. Gould’s differ by having distinctive white tips on the tail feathers and tail rump coverts that usually separate to show an “eyelash” appearance. Lower back and rump feathers have copper and greenish-gold reflections, unlike the faintly iridescent velvety black found on the Merriam’s. Gould’s body plumage is somewhat blue-green in coloration.


The Ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata) is a different species than the other wild turkeys of North America. The Ocellated turkey only exists in a 50,000 square mile area of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. The Ocellated turkey is easily distinguished from its North American cousins in appearance. The body feathers of both male and female birds have a bronze-green iridescence. The tail feathers in both sexes are blue-gray in color, with a well-defined eye-shaped, blue-bronze colored spot near the end, followed with a bright gold tip.

The Aztec of Mexico domesticated the Mexican subspecies of the wild turkey (called guajolotes) and the Spanish explorers took some of these back to Europe in the mid-16th Century where they became common farmyard animals. These domestic turkeys eventually completed the circuit and came back to North American turkey farms from Europe. In fact the domesticated versions are so much larger and with so much more breast meat that they are unable to fly and have lost the instincts their wild cousins depend upon for their survival. The Mexican subspecies is now endangered in the wild but the other subspecies in North America are thriving.

Wild turkeys can fly and run at incredible speeds. They reach up to 55 mph flying and 25 mph running. They are also far more beautiful than the white domestic version that becomes the supermarket’s butterball. The wild turkey’s dark feathers are iridescent with shades of red, green and copper that shine when hit by the sun. The male bird (called a gobbler, or Tom) is the most colorful with a bright red head and neck wattle with a beautiful fan of tail feathers that it spreads out to impress the lady turkeys (called hens).

So if you sit down to a thanksgiving turkey meal this year, you should think a little about the wild turkey and give thanks and respect to the history of where the bird came from.  



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fungus Among Us!


These photos are left unidentified on purpose.  It is easy to mislabel mushrooms and with the fairly common occurrence of poisonous fungi, I will leave the i.d. to true experts (I think you would do well to do the same).  

Mushrooms can be aesthetically pleasing parts of the natural landscape and can also serve as a source of edible goodness for those that have the taste for them and are able to safely identify the ones that will not kill you.   

Image result for red mushrooms of alabama

In general, this is my response to the often asked question "Eat or don't eat this mushroom":   

Possible but...... Can't tell from the photo, so NO.

 Simple rule, don't eat what you are not sure of . In general these are the rules I follow:

Avoid mushrooms with white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sack like base called a volva. You may be missing out on some good edible ones, but it means you will be avoiding some deadly ones

Avoid mushrooms with red on the cap or stem. Again you will be missing out on some good mushrooms but more importantly you won't be picking poisonous ones.

Finally don't consume any mushrooms you are 100% sure of what they are. I know I have already mentioned this but it is by far the most important rule.
Avoid mushrooms with red on the cap or stem. Again you will be missing out on some good mushrooms but more importantly you won't be picking poisonous ones.
Finally don't consume any mushrooms you are 100% sure of what they are. I know I have already mentioned this but it is by far the most important rule.

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Oh the knives that have been lost through the years...

Since the post about " The kind of men who carry a pocket knife ", I have had a good bit of discussion about the pocket knife in t...