Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bush-hogging the Hunting Preserve

Our farm is surrounded on two sides by an almost-400-acre hunting preserve that is owned by a bank which also harvests lumber from time to time.  There are about a dozen people on the hunting lease, including Herb and me.  It helps the hunters to have an active member living in our house since the only entrance to the hunting preserve branches off our driveway.

So far, we've only used the hunting preserve as a place for Herb to jog and a place for us to ride when it isn't hunting season.  Perhaps this year Herb will get his hunting license and take advantage of his privilege of hunting since he's agreed to my plea that we not hunt on our own land.  The animals we enjoy watching are safe here!

Recently Jeff, the man in charge of the lease, asked Herb if he would be willing to bush-hog the roads so the hunters' vehicles aren't damaged by the brambles.  The first morning I rode along with Herb.

 Here's Herb on our Kubota, ready to go.  I rode along perched on the left fender (which is a big cramped on this small tractor).  DO NOT try this at home!  It is definitely not safe to ride "piggyback" on a tractor, so--just like mom always said--"Do as I say, not as I do!"
Right next to our driveway where the hunting road branches off, we found a peach tree growing at the edge of the woods.  Who knows how many years it has been there, but it actually has peaches (there's one in the center of the photo) and looks much better than the one we planted in our orchard two years ago!
It took three passes with the 5-foot bush-hog in mos to get the 15-foot clearance Jeff wanted, although in some places the road remained pretty bare.
In other places the road was badly washed with steep banks that were difficult to mow, and in those places I got down rather than risk falling off if I couldn't hang on.
It was really hot, and we appreciated whenever a shady spot beckoned ahead of us.  It was palpably cooler in the shade.
After several hours, we came to an open area where wild blackberry bushes were growing laden with ripe, juicy fruit.  I suggested a break and a snack . . .
. . . and here I am with my spoils.  Wild berries are always wonderful, but I've never had any that tasted that good after a hot morning's work.
While Herb bush-hogged around a fallen hunters' blind, I stood in the shade to finish my berries--and found wild muscadines growing!  We will definitely have to come back here later.
This place may not look like much apart from the view of Lookout Mountain, but I christened it Orchard Knob because of the grapes and berries.  Now this is the kind of hunting ground I like!


  1. Isn't it early for blackberries?

  2. It's actually late for them. Our "tame" blackberries finished up in June. Our wild ones are usually producing late June into early July. But this has been a very strange year, weather-wise. Some of the earlier wild ones dried up at our farm out in Alabama, despite more rain this year than last; all we can think is that it was because of the heat. But that's why we were so happily surprised to find these lush berries out in full sun on this bare hilltop so late in the season.

    We have a theory as to why these plants were so productive. This area had clearly been bush-hogged maybe two years ago, and we think the bushes were mowed down and came back more productive. We're going to experiment with some of our bushes on the Alabama farm. If we're wrong, there are still plenty left.

  3. Sounds like a bunch of fun ;-)

  4. PS I'd go for some deer meat this Thanksgiving, please.


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