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Through the Seasons

As a child, I would sit at the base of an ancient oak tree, the woods my only refuge from a world in which I didn't fit.
In summer, the green canopy sheltered me from gathering storms, from both the sky above and the soul within.
On autumn evenings, I would watch the squirrels play on the branches above, and my spirits were lifted.
Winter's cold breath did not keep me away, and I didn't fear the ghosts that the trees had become.
When the first leaves appeared in spring, I would be there to witness life renewed, in both the woods and myself.
Recent posts

Passing On the Hunting Tradition

At ten years old, it was nearly impossible to sit still on the cold, hard ground beneath a huge pine tree, beside my dad as he scanned an old hayfield in search of deer. I was bundled up in his old camouflage coveralls—which were big enough to swallow me whole—and the boredom had started to set in by 9 am. I busied myself, playing with sticks and pinecones as I watched the occasional squirrel or songbird that would come to check us out from a safe distance. It was a cold December morning in Greenwood County, South Carolina, and despite the extra layer of clothing and my thermal underwear, I was shivering, hoping that soon my dad would give up and we would retreat to the comfort of the heated cab of his pick-up truck. I sat back against the tree and pulled my blaze orange stocking hat down over my ears, and drew my head inside of the coveralls to warm up. In just a moment, I was jolted by the thundering blast from my dad’s .58 caliber muzzleloader, and I popped my head out just in time…

Her First One

There was a certain air of anticipation that morning as our guide, Captain Charles King, plied the waters beneath us for signs of schooling striped bass. We came to Santee Cooper Country to immerse ourselves in the sportsman's paradise, and explore all the area had to offer. As our boat cut across beautiful Lake Moultrie, the sun was breaking the eastern horizon with a warm, red glow, casting a soft, picturesque light on one of the most beautiful lakes in the South.

The South Carolina Outdoor Press Association (SCOPe) and members of the Georgia Outdoor Writers (GOA) had converged on the Santee Cooper lakes, as they held their annual fall conference at Black's Camp. As part of the group of  writers and photographers that were on the lake that particular morning. My wife, Melissa and I, along with Georgia outdoor writer, Polly Dean, were matched with an experienced guide, a man whose business is to know these waters and the popular game fish that thrive in great numbers there. Ch…

Elderberry Syrup as a Remedy for Cold and Flu

(Originally published in the Backwoodsman, July/August 2018)
In the U.S., the flu season usually runs from October to May, normally peaking sometime in February. Outside of taking an annual flu shot and costly over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, most remedies for the symptoms are, at best, minimally effective.
There is a home remedy, however, proven to work time and time again.


Black elderberries (Sambucus nigra) have long been used in Europe and North America as a medicinal plant, useful for ailments ranging from a diuretic and laxative to a diaphoretic (promotes sweating). Elderberries contain antioxidants and flavonoids, as well as vitamin A, B, and C. The antiviral compounds in elderberries can be effective fighting not only the common cold, but both influenza A and B.

Flu treatment

Research has proven that the compounds found in the black elderberry can lessen the symptoms of the flu virus, and shorten the duration of the sickness. In a double- blind study, it was found that 93% of thos…

Beaver Dam

My craft drifts on the waterlike a birch leaf, downstreamwith the slowed current.This swamp was once a mere trickle, rushing waterthat undercut high banks.As high as I could reach from the creek bed, wasthe leaf litter and tree roots.Now the water is over thebanks, and standing kneedeep, fifty yards each way.As I drift on, the causeof this flooding, the beaverdam, comes into view.Perhaps the largest I haveever seen in these parts, hundred yards or more across.From base of the slopeon either side of the bottomland, this dam stretches.The architects worked tirelessly,spring, summer and fall,to build this great structure.And every time the soundof running water is heard, the call of duty is answered.A builder comes forthfrom the depths of its lair,and repairs the breach.Weaving in more saplingsand packing sticks and mudin the holes, the dam holds.I survey this engineering feat

What's In Your Pocket?

There's always that sinking feeling you get when you end up in an adverse situation, only to realize you are unprepared, not having critical tools you need to perform the task at hand. You may be at work, stuck in traffic on the interstate, or even in the middle of an apocalypse, when you discover that you are SCREWED, that you went against everything you were taught in the Scouts, or on those survival reality shows on TV. You vow to God, yourself, and Bear Grylls that next time you won't be so careless. That you'll never leave home without it again. 
Next time, you tell yourself, you will be able to cut that length of rope needed to repel down the waterfall, use a flashlight to signal the rescue chopper once you have located a group of lost children in the gorge, or open that beer that you thought had the twist-off cap.
There seems to be a trend in preparedness going on right now referred to as Everyday Carry, or EDC. This simply means that the participants in this subcultu…

The Opinel Knife

This is a departure from the regular content on this blog, but when I find something of quality, I want to pass it along to you.
Quality craftsmanship and affordability are what I look for in outdoor gear. I found out a long time ago that you get what you pay for. While this may be true, there are reasonably priced products out there, if you know where to look. That's how I discovered the Opinel knife.

I was looking for a knife that was durable, hard working, and that looked nice. Also, it would be great if it was easy on the wallet. I purchased my Opinel No. 8 at Mast General Store for $15. The simple beauty of this knife caught my eye, and the fact that is was a traditional working man's knife made in France for over one hundred years, convinced me to make the purchase.

In 1890, Joseph Opinel began making his wooden-handled folding knives in Savoie, France, selling them to farmers, herdsmen, and paysans-vignerons ( peasant winemakers). Soon, the knife became popular with railro…