Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Scrape

The Scrape
Midday scouting hike about the deer woods, I found an interesting development on the trail not far from my south stand! A buck has created a sign post we hunters call a scrape. The scrape is much like the fire hydrant on a street corner is to dogs. The story the scrape tells other deer is; who has recently passed by, who is nearing heat, what bucks are in the area. So, as to a hunter, the scrape is a great place to keep an eye on during season. It's no guarantee mind you, but a place of interest to watch.

This scrape was made within the past few days and is not 30 yards, if that, from one of my stands. So, keeping an eye on it will be somewhat easy.

The Scrape be will freshened by the Buck that created it and by other Buck that can stand as a challenge. The Scrape is pawed by the Buck hoofs, leaving scent from glands. Raked by their antlers and peed upon. Does, will visit these scrapes and leave her signature by also peeing upon the scrape.

The Licking Branch
A Licking Branch was also created by this but. If you are familiar with a licking branch, well it is nothing more than a different type of sign post, most often above the scrape. The bucks will rake their racks on these branches, leaving behind scent from a gland at the base of the antlers. Often the branch is broken, but not torn off. It hangs down just above the scrape below. My guess for why the branch is broken is, so the does that are much smaller in size compared to buck are able to smell the branch. In this case, this branch was at least head high, and I am about 5'11. I've witness many scrapes under branches that are much closer to the ground and these are not broken. The breaking of the branch is just a guess mind you.

The Stand
The relationship between this Scrape and Licking Branch to my South Stand, is my luck. So keeping an eye on it will be easy enough.

Again, this is signs posts are not a slam dunk in getting a deer. It's a spot of interest to the deer and hunter, which both can and will end up ignoring as the season progresses.

To those that hunt, be careful and make sure of what you are shooting at. To those that don't hunt, this is who I am and it is my winter's meat supply. -Bill

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Meep! Meep! Are you mom?

Honey Bees
Click me!
Took the camera for a walk this morning to see what is blooming and the change the SD cards in the trail cams. I just love seeing what's move out there when I'm not. After changing the first camera's card, I moved down the trail as quietly as I can. The trail breaks out of the wood lot into an old field full on Goldenrod yet to bloom. Then, after a bit the trail bends west through a Willow swamp and into an open small open space in the Popples. As I rounded a small bend in the Willow swamp, I froze in my tracks as a doe was but 40 yards away standing on the trail at the far end of the Popple opening just where the trail dead end into the brush. We stood there for the longest time. I don't think she spotted me. As I watched she continued eating and milling around the spot. Every once in awhile she would to the north which was to my right. I knew what that meant! After a few more minutes she bleated, stamped her right foot, turned and walked off into the brush, which Im now noticing is blooming.

As I stood there, a fawn came out onto the trail about half way from me and where the doe stood.
Click me!

Now, here a child is not listening to her mother, I thought to myself. It quickly ushered itself down the trail towards the doe and out of sight.

Not wanting to disturb the doe and fawn, I wander about in the open area looking for Monarch eggs or caterpillars on the Milkweed. After search for some 15 minutes or so, it was time to check out what was blooming where the doe stood earlier.

I quietly walk over and found the Pagoda Dogwoods were blooming and the bees are all over it. As I was trying to capture flower and bee in the same shot, I heard this soft meep sound to my right. At first it kinda sound like a Catbird, but I knew better. The call at first was getting closer, then it veered to the west of me, but not far. Then, right in front of me another meep meep sound and a suddle (I know its spelt wrong, but I like it) movement of the brush. Yes, I knew what was making the sound, but didn't want to frighten it. I continued my efforts of getting a shot of the bees on the flower. Then, a bump on my left knee cap brought my attention back to the little critter walking about in the brush.

Click me!
Yes, it was the fawn! It was now bumping my knee with its nose and calling. I said hello in the quietest and softest voice I could muster. It just stood there looking about. I bent down to get under the tops of the brush to get a better look. That proved to be too much movement as the fawn moved away a few feet in distance.

I continued talking to the little fellow not wanting to frighten it into getting lost from mom. I was able to take some quick shots
Click me!
before it moved off into the brush. I slowly and quietly backed out to the trail and out of the area of the Popple opening. I'm sure mom was worried and wanted to get back to her fawn.

I just love it when Mother Nature says hello!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HomeMade Ice Cream

Got bored waiting out the rain this morning, so I broke out the 2 quart Cuisinart Ice cream Maker for its first batch.

Following the simple ice cream recipe in the booklet, it made some outstanding ice cream!  Well, I think so and that's what counts

1.5 cups Whole Milk*
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream**
1.5 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

* I used store bought Organic milk for this batch, since I was out of Raw Milk
** I used store bought heavy cream, again I was out of Raw Milk

Next batch will bee using Raw Milk (local dairy farmer) Honey (Our bees) and Eggs (Our chickens)

4 c Raw Milk (with cream still in it)
.5 c honey
3 whole eggs

Allow raw milk to settle so that the cream comes to the top (in a half gallon container). Poor the top 4 cups off into a bowl or your ice cream maker (this will make sure you get as much cream in there as possible).

Add 1/2 cup honey and mix. We use a plunge hand mixer to make sure the honey is incorporated well before we add the eggs. Next add the three eggs and mix the same as with the honey. The honey has a nice flavor but you can also add any flavoring you would like at this point.

I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE!  Following the second recipe, using nothing but raw milk, eggs and honey I whipped up this batch of ice cream!

This will be my base vanilla recipe from now on!  Can't wait for the strawberries to coming!

The above recipe was found at SparkRecipes

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins

Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins

No this is not a secret family recipe, one can find it anywhere on the internet.  Nothing like using ones own fresh chicken eggs and rhubarb.

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*The butter and sour cream gives this Rhubarb muffin a special texture

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1.4 inch slices

1 tablespoon granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375°
Beat brown sugar and butter in a bowl on medium speed until creamy. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract.  Beat until well mixed.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda and cinnamon; stir mixture into a creamed mixture by hand just until moistened.  Stir in rhubarb.  Spoon into a greased or paper lined muffin pan.

Sprinkle tops equally with granulated sugar mixture.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Let stand at least 5 minutes, then remove from muffin pan.  Cool on wire rack.

Make 12 muffins

Friday, March 20, 2015


Juneberry or is it Shadberry, Serviceberry or Saskatoon berry and many other local names. It's a small tree or bush in the Rose family (Rosaceae). In many areas this berry is known to be fruit ready in the month of June, therefore the common name Juneberry. The Shadberry name is commonly used in areas that have spring runs of Shad (a small fish).  And yet others known this berry that blooms when the ground as thawed enough in spring to conduct Services for those that passed in winter.  Up in many regions of Canada, this same berry is called the Saskatoon.

Leafcutter Bee

  In most areas, the pollinator will be native bees like the Bumble Bees and Leaf Cutter Bees.  However, if there are Honey Bees in the area, they too will work the blossoms if there are enough in bloom to draw the attention of the Honey Bee.
Honey bee on Juneberry

No matter what you call this berry, seek them out and enjoy this blueberry like wild fruit.  Most all recipes that one would use for blueberries, this wild fruit can be used instead.

Click each image to exploded the size for easier viewing.  You can find me on Facebook talking about Honey bees in a group called Northern Beekeeping.  Please read the ABOUT for instruction on how to join the group.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

By his own hands

 As seen in the Lowell Sun, Wednesday, November 15, 1898 a man took his own life.  This man has come to be known as Adam Cunningham of Paisley Scotland and Lowell Massachusetts.   Adam came to this country about 1860 his wife Mary Henderson.  Sometime in the late 1890's Mary passes away and Adam begins to struggle.  Due to the difficult clarity of the original article (see below) the following is a transcription as it appeared in The Lowell Sun, November 15th.

"Adam Cunningham whose attempted self destruction was briefly reported in yesterday's latest edition of the Sun, died last night at St. John's hospital.  His  wounds were inflicted with a pocket knife instead of a with a razor as first reported.
At the time the unfortunate man committed the deed he was alone in the home.
He had evidently been very deliberate in his preparation as a wet whetstone was found lying near the knife which was on the floor close to a large pool of blood.
His first attempt not proving successful, other than to cause a great loss of blood, he endeavored to make a second attempt but his hand was so unsteady that he could not wield the knife.
He then staggered out of the house and across the yard to the house of his daughter, a Mrs. Sullivan, and attempted to tell her what he had done.  But, the wound and the flow of blood so affected his speech that he could not articulate distinctly.
A teenager was sent at once to the **** **** stone yard and the police notified. Deputy Moffat then called the ambulance, but it had already been notified and was then on the way.
When Dr. Durham arrived the man was in a semi-conscious condition and the doctor gave it as his opinion that the second wound prove fatal.
The cause of the Cunningham's sad set was prompted by a combination of troubles, which produced melancholy or temporary insanity. He had recently buried his wife and was out of employment.
The remains have been removed to his late home, 43 Anderson Street by Undertaker Currier.
Mr. Cunningham was born 53 years ago in Paisley, Scotland and came to Lowell 30 years ago and lived here until his death.  His family consists of three sons and three daughters.  He was a cabinet make by trade and had been a hard and industrious worker."

The original article posted to the left is a little difficult to read, so I transcribed it the best I could.  There is one piece that included two words that I just couldn't make out.  I replaced the two words with asterisks (*).  So, if you can figure out what stone yard is mentioned, I would love to know.

While investigating more about Adam, the death of his wife was discovered to be just months earlier this same year.  Mary died 15 April 1898 and both Adam and Mary are resting in the Edson Cemetery, Lowell Massachusetts.

Also, while research Adam and Mary, I was able to find the names to their parents.  So, another generation found.

Adam's parents;  Thomas Cunningham and Mary Rudd, both of Scotland.   Adam was born 1845 in Scotland.

Mary's parents; Robert Henderson and Catherine Graham, both of Scotland.  Mary was born 1847 in Scotland.

Adam and Mary Cunningham are connected to my family tree through an October 1903 marriage of  their daughter Catherine G Cunningham to John Heaney.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Project: Finding George H Reynolds

George Henry Reynolds; where did he come from and where did he go?   These are the question I have about my great grandfather.

Shortly after the death on my mother Mary M Herrick Reynolds, Jan 2001, I realized I knew so very little about my families tree.  Sure, I had the bits and pieces like my father's family is back east and my mother's family is out west in Washington state.  I even had a hint of a great aunt in Florida.  So, I gathered up my mothers belongings and started to piece the tree back together.  It's been better than twelve years putting things together and along the way I have found relatives all over the place.  And now communicate with many.  But, that is another story, so back to George.  When I started digging, I didn't know my great grandfather by name and knew even less about his wife, my great grand mother.

In my mother's papers was a crude tree outlining my father's side, in which it listed my grand father as George Henry Reynolds.  To this point I only new George Reynolds as my uncle.  So, armed with just these small pieces I started researching the Reynolds in Lowell Massachusetts.   It wasn't  long that I discovered my great grandmother; Elizabeth Anna Wat(t)ers Reynolds, her children James, George and Flossie living in 1900 Lowell Massachusetts.  This find explored into finding the rest of my Reynolds family in Lowell.  However, George is still a mystery!

Along the way a documents came to light putting the family in 1892 Woburn Massachusetts and revealing for the first time my great grandfather was also a George H Reynolds.  So, there were three George's in consecutive generations.  The document was a birth certificate for Flossie Jane Reynolds listing Elizabeth Wat(t)ers as mother and George H Reynolds as father.  George is a mason from England and Elizabeth is from Nova Scotia. Then, my grandfather's birth certificate was found in 1891 Woburn.  This certificate conflicts with the 1900 census claiming he was born in Rhode Island.  This birth certificate also listed Elizabeth of Nova Scotia and George a mason from England.

Soon, I had Elizabeth's family in Nova Scotia outlined, include two sets of 3x great grandparents.  However, nothing more was found about George.  No marriage record for George and Elizabeth.  No birth record for first born son James who was born in 1889 Westville or Truro NS, prior to the family coming to the states.  A good thing happen while searching for George in NS, I found living Watters relatives.  It has been so great to communicate with them.

But, and that is a Big But... no George H Reynolds of England.

So, after many years searching and searching for George without finding a hint, I brought in a professional Genealogist to help.  The following is the new findings that were produced.

George H Reynolds b. Nov 1868 England.  The birth date was found in a document from the Lowell Overseers of the Poor Collection 1896 intake record for Elizabeth Wat(t)ers Reynolds.

George Reynolds, mason, age 24, was living at 15 Centre St., Woburn MA in 1892, “residence the previous year, Providence, Rhode Island.   This information was found in a document List of Polls.

1893 Woburn City Directory
George H Reynolds was living at 20 Hovey Street Woburn in 1893.  He is a Currier.  A Currier is a leather worker, so a bit of conflict with being a mason.  A very interesting and supporting find William D Watters,   William is Elizabeth's younger brother.  He too is working as a Currier.    Upon reviewing the document, it reveals three other George Reynolds living in Woburn MA and working as Currier.  I wonder if there is any family connection.  Something to look into.   This document was a city directory for Woburn MA, which I've seen before but had no supporting data to put claim.  William being in the same house is support enough.

In the Overseers of Poor record for Elizabeth, she states that she separated for George in 1894 and at the time of the intake, she thought he was dead.  No records have been found for support the death.

In the Overseers of the Poor record for Elizabeth, she states that George (my grandfather) was born in Providence.   So, it is my thought that the birth wasn't recorded until the family settled in Woburn, thus a registry for George's birth in Woburn setting up the conflict.

No additional records have been found for George H Reynolds thus far, so the search continues.

Armed with the birth date of 1868 for George, I have enlisted three amateur genealogists in the Truro, Stelleraton and Westville Nova Scotia area to dig into finding any information; migration, marriage, birth of son.  Anything to link George to Elizabeth and James.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Vampire of Chicago

I know you were thinking this will be a story about Vampires lurking about the shadows of the dark and back streets of Chicago.  So, sorry but this story  about a man labeled a Vamp in 1914-19 Chicago newsprint.

What is a Vamp or Vampire in circa 1914 Chicago.  A vamp is an attractive, dangerously flirtatious woman. A vamp in an old movie might wear tight clothes and bright red lipstick. The noun vamp is somewhat old fashioned, implying a woman who uses her charisma and beauty to charm men into doing what she wants them to do. You can also use it as a verb, meaning to tease or flirt, especially in a showy and manipulative way. The word came into use in the early 1900's, from vampire. Some experts connect the first use of vamp with the role of "The Vampire" in the 1915 movie "A Fool There Was."

Our main character is Gilbert Leroy Tutt, son of John and Luella Murphy Tutt.  Gilbert (Bert) grew up in Chicago Illinois and this is where most of this short story takes place.  According to found documents, Bert was born in either Illinois, Kansas or Missouri about 1886.  However, his brother Leslie claims Kansas City MO as his place of birth, so it is reasonable that Bert too was born in the same city.  By the 1900 census, Bert, his mother and brother are living in 24th Ward of Chicago, which bumps up against Lake Michigan west shore line.  Luella is recorded as married, but John was not enumerated with the family. Round about 1907, Bert marries a Nellie Murphy.  This is the first marriage that I have been able to find and it would fit with Bert's age of being 21.  From this marriage Virginia Tutt was born.  Virginia was married to my father in the late 1940's and thus is the initial interest in this family.  To read more about Virginia click here.

Now, to the few articles that have been found, which will explain events much better than I can.  The images can be enlarged for better reading.

In Chicago Daily Tribune July 10 1914 a filing for divorce.

In the Cincinnati Post July 1914 was found a small little announcement of Divorce.  One has to wonder why Cincinnati?

In Chicago Daily Tribune July 1919 was found a lengthy description of Bert's marriages and now trouble with the law.

Click image to enlargen

The enmesh as it was described in the article was Nellie Murphy in 1907 and she divorce Bert in 1914.  However, the article claims the divorce happened in 1912.  Then, in 1913 Bert is marrying again to Grace Allen, which lasted until 1917, which abandonment was claim for reason.  Who abandoned who?  Then July 4th, 1919, the time of this publication, a Ms Julie Peterson is now claiming to be Bert's wife of six days.   I have been informed that at least five marriages Bert would pass through, but I know of only four.

In the Pittsburgh Press July 1919 another article surfaces "Male Vampire of Chicago"

Click image to enlargen

The above article includes more children born to Bert.  The 4528 Sheridan road address can be confirmed on the WW I Registration card for Bert.  This card was dated 1918.

Of the woman that came and left Bert's life they are;  Nellie Murphy (1907-1914), Grace Allen (1913-1917, Julia Peterson (1919-unk), Wada Bowers (1929-1937-38).

I will end the post for now, but will provide updates as new information becomes available.

Please feel free to comment any new information or corrections.  You can also reach me through Facebook, Google and my email address; billrey at hotmail dot com.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

GoldenrRod CrabSpider

Click for larger image
Goldenrod Crab misumena vatia spider an practitioner of camouflage and stealth.  The m. vatia is a species of crab spider with holarctic distribution. 

In North America, where it is the largest and best-known flower spider, it is called the goldenrod crab spider or flower (crab) spider, because it is commonly found hunting in goldenrod in the autumn just prior to the fall hatch.  It is the young spider that will over winter.

Over the years wandering nature with camera in hand, I have come across a few of these spiders having dinner, each time a bee was being consumed.  Other insects are on the menu too; flies, butterflies, grasshoppers and such.

the end of a bee
Click for larger image
This is plant is part of my Facebook series Learn Something Country . #learnsomethingcounty

Other sites you might be interested in;