Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009

Well.....the 4 Frisco Blackfords got to experience the first WHITE CHRISTMAS Dallas has seen since 1926! Before that Dallas had Snow on Christmas only in 1871 and 1849. Unbelievable!!!

Relatives were hosted, turkeys were roasted, dressing was consumed, libations swilled and copious amounts of wrapping paper were torn as gifts were exchanged.

The big ticket items:

To Me from Stacey-An iPhone (my conversion to the Dark Side is almost complete)

To Kate from Santa - a new Gateway tablet laptop. EVERYONE---Please email her at katemblackford@gmail.com

To Stacey from Robert - new pair of Dynastar Exclusive Carve Skis and an iPhone too!!!

To Preston - a Transformers helmet, a play toy shotgun, a Nerf sword, & a Tony Romo jersey

In Lonoke........the big shocker. Kate received a Remington model 700 SPS Youth .243 rifle with scope for deer hunting!!!!! My jaw hit the floor!!!!

We spolied each other for sure. Best of all, we were able to have a perfect 2pm Eucharist family service as it snowed to celebrate the birth of Christ.

2009 will be remembered for time with family and the Christmas Season.

Happy New Year to all!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


12-23-09 Hunt @ JN Creek

Old Joke: What's the difference between in-laws and outlaws?

A: Outlaws are WANTED!

Ok, I admit, as in-laws go, I have the best.

As evidence, I submit the Hamiltons who are absolutely great people. They define what America is all about. Very close-knit family that takes care of each other.

I say this because I just took my most recent in-law on a 24 hr hunting trip. This would be my new bro-in-law, Derek Prosser. We headed out yesterday and indulged in way way way too much drinking, eating and fortunately PLENTY of shooting. The menu included a bbq rib dinner, beers-o-plenty followed by Makers Mark brown water, massive breakfast burritos and a cornbread and grilled pork chop lunch. 39 ducks and a single Canada goose fell this morning at JN Creek. Derek fit right in and I gave him my most treasured first shotgun to use: my 1995 Remington 870 Express 12 ga magnum....the most popular pump shotgun ever. He's a great match for my sister and pretty great in-law.....even if he's an attorney and Michigan fan!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Dark Side.......

Ok.....I admit it. I have been a Windows PC customer since roughly 1990. I (like you) have paid for more copies of Windows (Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME--disaster!, Windows 2000, Windows XP and now Windows 7) as well as untold copies of Microsoft Office. I think I can count at least 11 Microsoft PC's owned by our family in 17 years. It would be fair to say we are responsible for roughly 10% of Bill & Melinda Gates immense wealth.

So it is with a bit of shock and remorse that I fully admit I am considering joining the DARK SIDE........yes, you guessed it:


In a world where customer service and simplicity effectively DON'T exist, Apple has bucked the trend.

I say all of this because I have visited the Apple Store twice and I am convinced. They SERVE you, EDUCATE you, and actually make talking computers easy.

Think about their products: iPod, Mac, iTunes, and the dominating iPhone. Try to find a problem with any.

I bought an Apple Airport Extreme router and 2 Airport Express range expanders. Now my iTunes play on ANY stereo in our house, I can share my iTunes library accross all 4 pc's in the house and our network is 3X FASTER! Moreover, it was simple!

Next decision: is our next computer going to be a Macbook or Mac Desktop?

Dell, HP & IBM better check their rear view mirror. Those blinking headlights are Apple getting ready to pass you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!"

The GREATEST Christmas Movie Ever

Dateline: Wednesday, December 9 @ 9:00PM Central

TNT Network - Check your local cable or satellite provider

Yes, that's right! In under a week it begins........

My family has grown tired of my affinity for this movie but it NEVER gets old to me. TNT will air the movie next Wednesday, but beginning at 5PM Dec 24 the 24 hour loop of A Christmas Story.....a tradition that started in 1998 (or earlier). Sadly some of the main characters and the author recently passed away but their careers live on each Christmas.

If you haven't watched it from start to finiash, I dare you to try making it through the entire movie without laughing out loud.......and even better, it's a great kids movie when the rugrats won't settle down on Christmas Eve.

So here's to you Ralphie Parker and your "200 shot Range Model Red Ryder Carbine Action Air Rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time".

The infamous leg lamp

Ralphie: The Pink Nighmare, The deranged Easter Bunny

A slight breach of ettiqute. "The Triple Dog Dare You"

A Classic !!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Snow blankets my office window from the 49th floor of the Trammell Crow Center

By any measure of society the residents of Dallas and most of the Metroplex (excepting Ft. Worth) are.....best aptly described......well.....as DRAMA QUEENS! I can say this as I have now lived here for 15 years. It seems to me (and I am also guilty), that Dallas-ites are always whining about something....a few examples:

1. The Cowboys. This gets really old. Ok---they haven't won a Superbowl since 1996. Get over it. We all want them to win. They don't. They won't.

2. Traffic. Think we have bad traffic? See Also: Houston, NY, NJ, LA, Atlanta

3. And my favorite.....ahh, yes........ The Weather.

Yes---it will always be hot in July/August. But my favorite.......(and this is good).....are the few rare occurences LIKE TODAY when SNOW and ICE hit Dallas.

Nothing brings out the DRAMA like solid precip in Dallas. If you had just landed here from Mars and turned on the radio in Dallas today you would think Armageddon is surely upon us. Seas boiling, 7 year plague, knashing of teeth and clinching of fists, fire and brimstone, dogs and cats sleeping together........you know....The End of the World.

People drive 14 mph on the Tollway, fur coats and space heaters magically appear everywhere, schools cancel based on a 24 hr forecast, workers stay home from work and people seriously consider putting their SUV in 4WD mode when a snowflake appears.

Now, I'm not from Canada, The Yukon, Maine, Alaska, or North Dakota.....but seriously!?!? (I wonder what the Prossers of ND would think about all of this).

Reality Check please: It will probably melt this afternoon.

In the meantime, I'll sit in my igloo (see picture) and enjoy the drama queens of Dallas!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The BUCK Stops Here

What a great 3 days!!!!

Despite rain and sickness, Kate and I embarked on a great 3 day hunting trip on Friday.

After a fine dinner of Rudy's BBQ we awoke at 4am to 45F temps with mist and fog on Saturday morning. There was a 50% chance of rain so we decided to play it safe. With snacks, hot chocolate, an iPod loaded with movies, and Beverly Cleary books in the backpack, we headed in the dark to my 2 year old "box" stand that I made by hand. This deer stand is a 10' high elevated, carpeted, roofed cubicle on stilts overlooking a green carpet of clover and rye grass that I plant each fall for deer grazing. In the darkness, we got situated, loaded the rifle, turned off our headlamps and listened. A barn owl hooted to it's mate not 100 yds away. Coyotes barked at the moon and as the first grey twilight appeared, the woods came alive with red headed woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, wood ducks, grey squirrells chased each other and gathered acorns, and the distant mooing of cattle from JN Creek pastures echoed. About 5:30am Kate too an hour nap awaking just before daylight.
Dad & Kate in the box stand

For those of you that have not hunted white tail deer ever, the most amazing this is truly how a deer can slip through the woods silently. For eaxmple, every few minutes Kate and I would scan 360 degrees around the box stand looking deep into the forest for deer.........then SNAP....the same exact spot you had just viewed 15 seconds earlier, there stood a deer. This time it was a doe and a fawn at 7:30am, feeding on a corn feeder about 90 yards away. I grabbed the binoculars and Kate quietly watched the two feed and eventually move on. Unfortunately there wasn't a buck far behind. We hung in there untill 11:30 and headed back to camp for a lunch of hot chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese while watching the Hogs blast Miss St on TV.
At about 1:30pm we dressed again in our scent-proof clothing (now it was 65F and sunny) and headed to a new spot. This was a "ladder stand" located close to the location of my deer camera----where I had been capturing pictures of several nice bucks. My friend Scott helped me locate this hunting spot but the level of difficulty was higher. In a ladder stand, you wear a 5 point harness attached to the tree to assure safety. As with most things, Kate didn't complain, wore her harness, climbed into the stand and within 30 minutes, a small forked-horn buck snuck past us. Our hunting club rules encorage hunters to shoot only bucks with 8 points. As the sun dropped, Kate watched a movie and we rode the ATV back to camp where we planned our hunt for Sunday morning and had homemade King Ranch casserole for dinner.

Kate in the tree stand
Sunday-----has to be one of the best days ever.
Kate dined on pancakes and we noted that it was especially cold and clear Sunday morning. In the darkness we rode the ATV 2 miles to 1/4 mile within the ladder stand. We made our way to the stand, climbed the 15 ft ladder and settled in. It was 5:36am.....pitch dark with a million stars out and the moon had set already. Our stand was pointed west and right in front of us was Orion's belt (The Little Dipper). We looked at the stars and picked out Venus and Mars and saw 2 shooting stars on the horizon until Kate drifted off to sleep against me. Legal shooting time was 6:32am so at about 6:20am, I woke up Kate and we started listening. I stood up and watched behind us for about 15 minutes. Then I sat down and waited. At 7am fog had rolled in a little and as I scanned the fence bordering our neighbors property to the southeast and suddenly there was something.........A DEER. It quickly jumped the fence onto our side. I patted Kated on the leg and whispered....."deer". As I raised my scope, all I saw was horns.....lots of horns......a legal buck. But it was dicey........two more steps and he'd be behind a tree. Quickly I held steady and clicked the safety off.

The Winchester .30-06 boomed and Kate yelled, "Did you shoot him!?!?". My first reaction was not positive. I just didn't like my shot. I waited a few minutes and decided I had to go see if I had a deer. I unloaded my rifle, climbed down the ladder, reloaded and set off. As I got closer, my hopes dropped..........until I rounded the tree. At 70 yards, there lay a nice 8 point buck not 10 yards from where I shot him. I threw up a "thumbs up" to Kate and she shook her hands over her head and yelled "YEAH!!!!". I walked back to the stand retireved Kate and she ran to the buck. I think she was more excited than I was. Now the real work begins........

Kate holding her buck

I loaded the 200 lb buck on the ATV back rack, tied him down, loaded our equipment and ourselves and we headed to camp. After field dressing the buck, we headed to the hunter check-in station. In Oklahoma, hunters must register their deer. We arrived at the main Durant, OK fire station, weighed and measured the buck and headed back to JN Creek. He was 3 1/2 yrs old, weighed 132 lbs and was the 193rd buck taken in Brayn County OK this year. Back to work........I used 5 specialty knives to butcher the deer in 2 hours showing Kate the anatomy of it all. My buddies returned for lunch and complemented me on the deer, with the usual ribbing that your hunting buddies will give you. He's the 4th biggest of the 12 bucks weve taken in the past 5 years. We have a tradition of mounting the horns on a big 2x12 board we call the "JN Creek Board of Directors" with the hunter's name and Sunday evening we tacked up my new horns and surprised my friend Greg with a steak dinner and birthday cake for his 4oth birthday. What a great day........and the best part was Kate being there through it all.

Kate took this pic of Dad & deer

Monday------Kate, David Carroum and his friends Jon & Joe Dickson and I duck hunted in heavy fog taking 15 birds in 2 hours. Kate used the hunt to shoot 300+ bb's from her Red Ryder Official Carbine Action BB Gun......"she's a deadeye, ain't she"! We packed up and headed back to Dallas after dropping the buck off at famous Kuby's German restaurant to have salami and sausage made. Yum......
A great trip!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Waiting again......23 hours, 35 minutes.......

It's 6:58am, Friday, November 20 and I've been at the office for 45 minutes and it's pouring rain outside. I awoke 2 days ago with a mildly scratchy throat........fast forward.......now it's a full blown head cold and cough. To make matters worse, Kate and I are headed to JN Creek tonight because deer season opens tomorrow morning. My entire family knows that I am just a little grumpy when I'm under the weather. (picture Ebeneezer Scrooge with a toothache and a hang nail).

Correct me if I'm wrong here.........but I'm only guessing that the wiley white tail buck mating call is NOT the cough and hack of a portly 37 year old white male mixed with the effervescent scent of Hall's cherry cough drops!?!?

I'm not expecting much success but I'll keep my fingers crossed.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Robert Preston Blackford: Newly Confirmed Duckhunter

The future of Ducks Unlimited! RPB circa 2009 (with a mouth full of chips)

I picked up Preston from school last Friday for a much anticipated first duck hunt on the most sacred day of the year: The Opener: Nov 7, 2009. 6:28am

The Opener is an event duck hunters look foward to for 291 days each year, and this was Preston's first. I had stirred him into a frenzy for the previous nine months and now we were headed north accross the Red River into Oklahoma to JN Creek Hunting Club armed with hot dogs, smores, Capri Sun and a properly stocked cooler for Dad (read: ice cold Shiner Bock).

Stacey and Kate were also headed north....but to meet Cindy and Preston in Fayetteville and watch the Hogs thump the evil Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Fighting Chickens.

Back to the mission at hand......

We arrived first around 3pm. It's been warm----not exactly a duck hunter's ideal setting. Many many many things are wrong with the waterfowl hunter (as Stacey will agree). For example, the nastier, colder, fiercer the weather predictions get each winter.......the more excited a true duck hunter gets. Snowing with mixed sleet blowing 35 mph from the north = euphoria to a duck hunter. Instead, it was 75F sunny with a strong south wind......ugh. We unpacked, raised the stars and stripes to half staff (Ft. Hood), let Dixie the lab run around camp, prepared the RV, hooked up water, put the bbq dinner in the oven, connected the satellite dish and got the atv out and went for a ride. Preston loves the atv. It's a 700cc Yamaha Grizzly that will go way too fast.......Preston likes fast......think Ricky Bobby in Talledaga Nights ("I wanna go fast!!!").

Scott Cummings "Smoothie" and David Daniel "Horn Dog" arrived around 5 and Greg Whitteker "Half" and his 2 sons arrived around 6. We stuffed ourselves with Rudy's bbq and polished off a few adult beverages.

Alarms were set for 3:30am. I never sleep well before an opener. I awoke at 3:00am, showered, made coffee and waited. Preston ate pancakes, we dressed and headed out----it was a sticky 65F......ick. I put on hip boots and we headed to the pond with newly arrived Ron Geels "Shiner Dog" and Matt Mumper "Probiee" to launch the boat. I jumped in a kayak, and headed to the blind. As I got out of the kayak, what should have been 2 ft deep water, was actually about 3 1/2 deep......d*mn beavers!!!! My hip boots filled with water.....not a good start. So I hunted all day in wet soggy clothing. Preston loved it. He ate all kinds of bad food, counted ducks, watched the iPod, and was overall very well behaved----both days. We got 20 birds Saturday and 16 Sunday including 7 Canada geese. I rectified the beaver dam problem, twice, only to have it rebuilt by them each night.....a futile war. I swear, Roosevelt should have scrapped the plans for the Hoover Dam and just released about 6 beavers: problem solved.

Also, while walking the woods Saturday, I came face to face with a Muy Grande whitetail buck....he was huge. All in all a great weekend but most of all a great introduction for Preston to the world of duck hunting. FYI----he fell asleep before we even got onto paved road on the way home Sunday. I think I have a second hunting buddy now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Picking Something Off the Menu.....

.....with my Winchester Model 70 Springfield .30-06

Through the miracle of infared cameras I've captured these recent pics using my new game camera. Deer season opens Saturday, November 21.
(Derek----do you have buck fever yet?)

Nice 8 pt buck

Another Nice 8 pointer

Yearling spike buck


I estimate a 350 lb wild boar (Go Hogs Go!!)
Mmmmmmmmmm, bacon!!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More pics from Saskatchewan

Because I was sleep deprived and traveling at 70 mph on a slow GSM wireless connection in South Dakota when I posted my first SK trip blog, I thought I'd post some more pics.

Jake----one smart lab

David and Satch -----Satch is an award winning Grand Hunting Retriever

Day 1---chick pea field

Day 2---another chic pea field

Day 3----very foggy and cold---heavy frost

Day 4------1.5 hrs----48 ducks in a wheat field

Day 5-----day 2 in wheat field

Day 6------rainy day----lots of geese

Day 7 ----best duck hunt ever

Jerome Rath's farm

We did a lot of this.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


October 15-25-2009

Burr, Saskatchewan, Canada

Robert Blackford (AKA The Colonel)
Scott Cummings (AKA Smoothie)
Greg Whitteker (AKA Half Empty)
David Daniel (AKA Horn Dog)
David Carroum (AKA Houdini) + Satchel Page (8 yr old black lab)
Ron Geels (AKA Shiner Dog) + Jake (4 yr old black lab)

(Jerome Rath's Farm)
Hosts: Jerome Rath & Kelly & Rachel Abrey

Jerome is a 67 yr old widower that runs an active 100% organic farm in Burr, SK---about 1.5 hrs east of Saskatoon. Without a doubt, the most gracious and generous host and friend we've ever encountered. Jerome, father of 2 grown daughers, embodies the determination and work ethic of the Canadian prarie province farmers. A typical day involves feeding & gathering 130-150 eggs from his laying hens, baking 12-15 homemade pies with fruit grown in his 2 acre fully organic garden, working his cattle or feeding his 1,200 broiler chickens, and havesting potatoes, strawberries, saskatoon berries, onions, cabbage, garlic and carrots from his garden. Jerome bakes daily and sells his vegetables, homemade dishes, and baked goods in the Humboldt, SK farmer's market. Born on the same 160 acres (1/4 section) of land as the 3rd generation of German Catholic immagrants, Jerome's family only received electric power in 1954. If it can be baked or cooked or growth from scratch ---Jerome can do it.

Kelly & Rachel Abrey - Father and mother of 3 children outside Plunkett, SK, the Abrey's are 3rd generation farmers that farm 2,500 acres of canola and wheat, raise alpacas for wool and are nuts for duck and deer hunting (not to mention stark raving mad Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL fans). The Abrey's have some of the largest white tail bucks I will ever see taken right from their farm. Kelly provided unbelievable help to us when we needed permission to hunt his neighbor's farms when we founds the ducks and geese.

The six of us started the 1,780 mile drive to SK at 5am Oct 15 arriving 32 hrs later in Burr, SK......no sleep! The last 8 hrs were in sleet and ice fog. After unpacking and eating a HUGE home style cooked meal by Jerome and family, we scouted for birds. Days 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 & 7 were unbelievable. We shots mostly mallards and saw groups of ducks and geese that numbered as high as 15,000!!!!!! We saw a huge bull moose, the northern lights, bald eagles, fox, and enormous deer. Currently we are driving back thru North Dakota almost to the South Dakota state line. I am hoping to be home in Frisco by 3pm Sunday after driving all night with Scott and David Carroum in time to wish Preston a big 4th Happy Birthday. I have many many pics to share but here are the summary stats.

(Our decoy spread)

10,580 total miles driven between 2 trucks

2 diesel trucks + 2, 16' trailers completely packed
600 duck & goose decoys
7 hunts
8 final approach blinds

Waterfowl Taken:

Day 1----43 birds
3 widgeon
3 pintail
1 green wing teal
1 canada goose
35 mallards

Day 2----50 birds
35 mallards
2 canada geese
2 pintail
2 gadwall
9 widgeon

Day 3----14 birds
3 pintail
10 mallards
1 canada goose

Day 4------48 birds
36 mallards
2 pintail
1 gadwall
9 widgeon

Day 5----48 birds
33 mallards
11 widgeon
4 pintail

Day 6-----51 birds
18 canada geese
29 mallards
2 pintail
1 gadwall
1 widgeon

Day 7-----56 birds
8 widgeon
18 pintail
30 mallards

313 total birds

22 canada geese
291 ducks (198 mallards)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Arkansas 47, Texas A&M 19

In an albeit dismal start to the 2009 Arkansas Razorback season........we 4 Blackfords have one small bright spot: HAVING 365 DAYS OF INTRA-FAMILY BRAGGING RIGHTS!!!!

Yes, after a slow 1st quarter start, the Razorbacks delivered a punishing air attack on Saturday to send the Aggies packing in a 47-19 rout.

In advance of the game, both my sister (Mary Prosser) and I traded traditional Aggie & Razorback barbs, both of us acknowledging neither team would be likely to be bowl bound.......kinda a "battle of the biggest losers". The Razorbacks are 2-2 and Aggies are 3-1 (wins over UAB, NM & Utah St).

As a fan, it was great to see two former Southwest Conference teams play and remember the history of long-gone Razorback greats in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 2000's that also included Stacey's Uncle, Dad and Grandfather: Hartford, Preston & Ray Hamilton.

This one's for you Mary:


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Greatness of College Football

With a little more than a week until the 2009 college football season begins, I think every red-blooded American male (and some females in my family) are looking forward to (in my opinion) the greatest spectacle of sport in our country.

Think about the games every year:

Ohio State-Michigan




Texas-Texas A&M


USC-Notre Dame

More often than not, these games and other big rivalries often decide the #1 team in the land.

So in preparation for the opening kickoff, I'm not sure if the following quotes are all accurate, but they are at least entertaining.

(PS--Mary---we need to have a wager on the Ark-A&M game)

#1. 'Football is only a game. Spiritual things are eternal. Nevertheless, Beat Texas ' Seen on a church sign in Arkansas prior to the 1969 game.

#2. 'After you retire, there's only one big event left... and I ain't ready for that.' Bobby Bowden / Florida State

#3. 'The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.' Lou Holtz / Arkansas

#4. 'When you win, nothing hurts.' Joe Namath / Alabama

#5. 'Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.' Lou Holtz / Arkansas

#6. 'If you want to walk the heavenly streets of gold, you gotta know the password, 'Roll, tide, roll!' Bear Bryant / Alabama

#7. 'A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.' Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

#8. 'There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.' Woody Hayes / Ohio State

#9. 'I don't expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.' Bob Devaney / Nebraska

#10. 'In Alabama , an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant.' Wally Butts / Georgia

#11. 'You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life.' Paul Dietzel / LSU

#12. 'It's kind of hard to rally around a math class.' Bear Bryant / Alabama

#13. When asked if Fayetteville was the end of the world. 'No, but you can see it from here.' Lou Holtz / Arkansas ....

#14. 'I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.' Bear Bryant / Alabama

#15. 'There's one sure way to stop us from scoring-give us the ball near the goal line.' Matty Bell / SMU

#16. 'Lads, you're not to miss practice unless your parents died or you died.' Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

#17. 'I never graduated from Iowa , but I was only there for two terms - Truman's and Eisenhower's.' Alex Karras / Iowa

#18. 'My advice to defensive players: Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in a bad humor.' Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee

#19. 'I could have been a Rhodes Scholar, except for my grades.' Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

#20. 'Always remember... Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David.' Shug Jordan / Auburn

#21. 'They cut us up like boarding house pie. And that's real small pieces.' Darrell Royal / Texas

#22. 'Show me a good and gracious loser, and I'll show you a failure.' Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

#23. 'They whipped us like a tied up goat.' Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

#24. 'I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn't recruit me and he said: 'Well, Walt, we took a look at you and you weren't any good.' Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State

#25. 'Son, you've got a good engine, but your hands aren't on the steering wheel.' Bobby Bowden / Florida State

#26. 'Football is not a contact sport - it is a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.' Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

#27. After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his postgame message to his team: 'All those who need showers, take them.' John McKay / USC

#28. 'If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.' Murray Warmath / Minnesota

#29. 'The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb..' Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

#30. 'Oh, we played about like three tons of buzzard puke this afternoon.' Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

#31. 'It isn't necessary to see a good tackle. You can hear it.' Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

#32. 'We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches.' Darrell Royal / Texas

#33. 'We didn't tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking.' Wilson Matthews / Little Rock Central High School

#34. 'Three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad. Darrell Royal / University of Texas

#35. 'I've found that prayers work best when you have big players.' Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

#36. 'Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football.' John Heisman

Thursday, August 20, 2009


We went for another "picture" last night of Preston's insides. There was no dime, hooray, it's gone!

No allowance for Preston until he is 20! Who knows what he would do with a dollar!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who knew dimes tasted so good....

So while we were in the Bahamas Preston developed a love for money. Every night when we went to dinner, he would gather his "monies" (a few coins) so that he could pay for dinner. We thought it was cute how he wanted to pay and the waitress would kindly take his payment. So on Saturday when I was unpacking our bags and pulled out several coins I didn't think twice about him playing with the dime he took from me.

Look ahead about an hour and imagine a small boy up in his room trying to take a nap. I hear some crying, which is normal when he doesn't want to take a nap, but I appease him and go check any way. When I walk into his room he is saying, "I'm sorry Mommy that I put the money in my mouth!" Of course I start frantically running my hands all around his bed and under his pillows looking for the dime he was playing with earlier, but it is nowhere to be found. I reluctantly ask Preston if he swallowed the dime and he says in a whimper, "yes." Oh Lord, what to do now!

Expecting the worst we head off to the dr. to have pictures taken of the dime. It had already passed through his stomach and was in his intestines. So now we are on the lookout for that stinkin' dime (no pun intended).

Please see the lovely picture below of my crazy boys insides and the shiny dime just sitting there. ONLY BOYS! Kate would never have done this!

Monday, August 17, 2009


(Dixie---the greatest dog ever---and I hunting for Snow Geese in 2003)

The next Countdown has begun......58 days until duck season opens.

For the 5th time since 2000, 5 friends and I will make the 30 hour drive from Texas to Central Saskatchwan, Canada in October. Yes---30 hours.....no stopping. 2 diesel pickups, 6 hunters, 18 shotguns, 3,000 shotshells, 2-16 foot trailers, 500 decoys and an awful lot of beer and food will leave North Texas at 4am Oct 15 and return Oct 25. Sasketchewan, Land of the Living Skies, is the Mt. Everest of waterfowl hunting. It is common in Saskatchewan to see 10,000 snow geese feeding in a harvested rye field...their honks so deafening you literally can't hear your buddy talking next to you. Or 2,000 mallards blackening the face of a 3 acre pond as they migrate south before an arctic blast turns the prarie pothole region of North America into frozen tundra. Or setting your decoys in a frigid marsh with only the Northern Lights providing your "night light".

For me, Saskatchewan represents the way duck hunting surely used to be generations ago. The landscape is an endless rolling plateau of wheat, rye, corn, lentil and grain farms dotted with hundreds of thousands of tiny ponds we call potholes. Here, each spring, millions of mallards, gadwall, pintail, teal, and widgeon hatch the estimated 20-30 million birds that will migrate south each fall.

But what's made this trip more enjoyable, by far, are the hosts. The spirit and humor of the farmers of the prarie provinces in central Canada is unmatched. In the roughly 40 days we've spent in Saskatchewan, we have met some of the most humble, hard working people that have invited us into their homes, allowed us to hunt their expansive farms, and shared more than just a few pilsners and Crown Royals....commonly known as a "pour" in Canada, eh.
How did this addiction occur? I owe a huge debt to my father-in-law and brother-in-law for introducing me to a miserable, windy, rainy 36 degree Thanksgiving first duck hunt, knee deep in underinsulated half wet clothing in Lonoke AR in 1992....and I loved every minute. For 17 years now, I have assembled a small fortune in equipment and supplies in pursuit of ducks and geese and as I sit here writing this, I'm still trying to decide what exactly I'd like for my 37th birthday.....from Cabela's.
So with 58 days left until the big trip, you can bet I'll be strategizing on things like: how to shave an extra 15 min off of that 30 hour drive (each way), consulting with my buddy Scott on decoy counts (we always need more!), menu planning, studying weather patterns, and staring at catalog after catalog of Bass Pro and Cabela's!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer + Tradition = Baseball

I, like many Americans, have a love/ hate relationship with America's pastime: baseball.

The Big Red Machine

LOVE---Some of the best memories I'll ever have will be of the July trips we would take to Ft. Thomas, KY to see both of my grandmothers when I was a young boy. It was roughly 100 mi. from Louisville to Cincinnatti and it seemed like it took an eternity....an eternity to get to my Granny and Grandma's house....where on a few special occasions we would take the bus into downtown Cincy to Riverfront Stadium and see The Big Red Machine (Cincinnatti Reds) play baseball. Names like Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, David Concepcion and Ken Griffey...SENIOR.....all led by manager Sparky Anderson would dominate the National League throughout the 1970's. For the games we didn't attend, we would sit on the screened-in porch and listen to the Reds on AM radio into the summer night.

HATE-Strikes, steroids, unions, selfishness, agents, scandals, money, salary caps, tv rights, owners, money, and more money. These are the things that divide Americans from the its baseball passion. We all get upset when the MLB players and owners continually screw up, but find ourselves buying jerseys and rooting for teams in the playoffs each October.

LOVE-When we moved to Dallas, on occasion, I would wander over to The Ballpark in Arlington to watch the lowly Texas Rangers trip on their own feet......but after all, it is the AMERICAN LEAGUE.....home of the DH....where a pitcher doesn't even bat! And it was fun......not like when I was a kid....but fun. However, tonight.....it's all changed.

Tonight, my business partner and I hosted 2 customers at a shrine to baseball: Fenway Park.

Put this on your "bucket list" if you haven't been.

We sat approx 50 ft from home plate, drank warm beer, yelled at the Oakland A's, ate Fenway Franks and drank more warm beer.....it was the greatest! And....the Red Sox lost!!! And it was still great!!!!!!

PS---Granny---if you are watching, don't worry. I haven't gone over to the DARK SIDE (MLB AL), but I figured Boston Red Sox fans (like all Cinncinnatti Reds fans) hate the Yankees, so I could support the Red Sox for 1 night.

Batter Up! PLAY BALL!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Captiva - Update 2

Wednesday PM - we lounged at the beach as usual. It's been the best weather we've ever had while in Captiva.......best in the 7 trips we've made since 1990. Days were cloudless with literally 1/2 ft waves and aqua blue green clear water. Aunt Ellen Davis bought everyone dinner (thank you Ellen) at Key Lime Bistro and we went to Jensen's Marina http://www.gocaptiva.com/ and watched the manatees that will let you get within few inches of them!!!!!
(Aunt Mary and Preston playing in the surf)

(Kiddos at Jensen's)

Thursday - I actually got Stacey to go fishing with me! This never happens. Dad, Stacey and I left Jensen's at 7am and ran north 6 miles in the Intercoatal Waterway and I got to prove I really can't throw a castnet......which is alot harder than it looks. But truthfully, I threw it well enough to catch 30+ big pinfish and we headed to Redfish Pass to fish the outgoing tide for snook.

(castnetting is an artform)

Apparently the snook were'nt hungry. But Stacey did catch a mangrove snapper and a catfish.

(mangrove snapper)

So we ran to the beach and picked up the kids to watch dolphins which will let you idle right up to them. The kids love watching flipper.

(flipper & son)

I decided since it was very very calm, we would all (Me, Stacey, Kate & Preston) go offshore. We went to a close reef called Pace's Place and anchored. Immediately Kate hooked up something HUGE. My big Star trolling rod almost doubled over as something BIG ran with the bait. I was so proud of her for not dropping the rod....then snap! whatever she hooked must have had teeth because the line broke! Within 15 minutes Stacey caught her first ever Jack Crevalle-----and had a HUGE SMILE!!!

(Jack Crevalle? I think I went to high school with Jack Crevalle!!??)

AND THEN about 2 minutes after Stacey caught her jack, I hooked up on another nice kingfish......THIS TRIP HAS BEEN UNBELIEVABLE AS FAR AS FINDING AND CATCHING OUR OWN FISH!!!!!.

The kids loved riding in the boat all week. We went back to the beach and all played before heading back, swimming in the pool and cooking a big dinner. Dad, Stacey, Mary, Mom & I all stayed up late polishing off Corona's and laughing about a million stories growing up----some I remember----some I don't!!!!

(The perfect boat for the week)

Friday - Not looking forward to leaving, Dad and I made bait again with the castnet and fished Helen's sunken barges by Boca Grande. We caught some nice gag grouper, spanish mackrel, red grouper, and broke off a few fish we never saw. We bagged a nice legal red grouper and headed to the beach. After playing in the sand witht the kids, we regretfully took the boat back to Jensen's and cleaned it thoroughly. Here are a few pics of this great week.....a week we'll all remember for years to come.

(Friday night dinner -Red Grouper)

11 months and we get to come back.....this time with Scott, Deborah, Hunter & Nathan Cummings....our good friends from Frisco, TX.

Happy Birthday again to Mom & Dad......we 3 kids may give you a hard time, but you've earned many great vacations (including this one) for raising us.