What is cedar oil?

October 1st, 2014 by webmaster

Have you ever even heard of cedar oil? I hadn’t until last year. It turns out the distilled oil of cedarwood has all kinds of uses, indoors and outdoors. Who knew? We have a local company in my town that just started bottling and selling the stuff for a dozen different applications, so I looked into what it is.

With the rustic back country topics we like to cover here, you probably know cedarwood oil as a product to restore the natural properties that make cedar furniture so practical. Cedar smells good to us (well, most of us), but not to bugs; cedar chests and closet liners are great because, when they’re working properly, bugs don’t want to get anywhere near them. They naturally hate the smell of cedar, and it’s even toxic to some pests on contact. But what happens over time as those natural properties fade? The bugs invade. They get in your clothes and possessions. All you need to do is get some cedar oil and rub it into your old cedar furniture, and the smell and bug repellent properties are back.

Wait a second, bug repellent? That’s right, outdoorsmen. You can use cedar oil as a natural bug repellent. It keeps dangerous biters like ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes away, and even wasps and flies stay away from it. Wash your clothes with some cedar oil mixed in your laundry detergent before you go out hunting or hiking (it even helps as a cover scent since it’s a naturally woody scent). You can even mix it in your hunting dog’s shampoo to keep fleas and ticks off while you’re out in the woods. It might not be as powerful or long lasting as some of the heavy duty treatments like Frontline, but it’s natural and topical instead of getting into your pet’s system. (Keep it away from the small pets and cats–there is a possibility of toxicity in small animals, but it’s safe for humans and grown dogs.) You can even keep pests out of your house with it by treating your doorways and windows with cedar oil.

Check out Cedar Oil Warehouse to buy cedar oil and give it a try.

Byrd Knives – Cara Cara 2, or the cheap Spyderco Endura

October 1st, 2014 by CB

Byrd Cara Cara2As I had a birthday in late September, my dad handed me a long, rectangular package, wrapped up tightly in birthday paper. It was a form I hadn’t seen in a long time; I couldn’t guess what it could be until I began to claw at the wrapping paper, and I saw the familiar designs of a Spyderco knife box—except this one was colored green instead of red and had a different brand name across it: Byrd Knife.

Once upon a time (some twenty years ago or so), Spyderco’s most popular knife models, the Endura and Delica, could be had for the vicinity of $30. Nowadays, with the improvements in design, materials, construction, and of course, our good buddy inflation, these models more commonly sell in the $65-$75 range. (Nevermind the $115 MSRP!) Many of Spyderco’s newer models with more exotic materials like carbon fiber and titanium handles, and enthusiast blade steels like CTS-XHP easily break into the $150 to $300 territory.

Enter Byrd, Spyderco’s economy line with cheaper materials and construction, built in China, but with genuine Spyderco design. Today, I’m reviewing the Byrd Cara Cara2, the second generation of what is essentially the Byrd version of the Spyderco Endura.

The Cara Cara2 carries a suggested retail price of $33.95, but you can find it online for closer to $20. You might be thinking, “A cheap knife from China? Puh-lease!” and a year ago, I probably would have agreed with you; I’ve been carrying a Spyderco Sage for three years now, a higher-middle end knife with carbon fiber handle scales, full liners, and CPM-S30V steel, and I just wouldn’t have seen myself approving of a twenty-dollar Chinese knife, but let me tell you: wow, what a knife for the price. I’ll start with the construction.

This knife is built solid, other than a small amount of side-to-side blade play (unnoticeable when locked open, but my blade tends to favor one side of the handle when closed). The backlock locks up tight. The handle is made with FRN (fiberglass-reinforced nylon), the mainstay handle material of Spyderco’s ClipIt knives; it features deep, bi-directional texturing for solid traction on the handle and a 50/50 choil (a finger groove half-way on the blade tang and half-way on the handle so you can comfortably choke up on the blade for fine control). The entire knife is assembled with Torx screws through nested steel liners; even the blade pivot is adjustable with a Torx screwdriver. They didn’t skimp on the pocket clip design, either; it’s almost exactly the same metal four-way clip seen on many of Spyderco’s main line of knives, with no sharp edges and a lanyard hole through the base of it. It’s fastened with three Torx screws and can be mounted in four positions for whatever your preference is; left or right side, tip-up or tip-down carry.

The blade steel, 8Cr13MoV, is said by Spyderco to be very similar to AUS8, the Japanese steel that was used in the early Spyderco Endura and Delica models. While I haven’t had the opportunity to put the edge through the paces to see how it holds up, you don’t have to look far to find knife enthusiasts attesting that, while edge retention is lesser than higher end Japanese or American steels, it makes up for it in ease of sharpening—and, of course, price.

The blade features a full flat grind that narrows to a very thin, very fine point. I was breaking down large air bubble packing material with the Cara Cara2 and it was almost frightening how effortlessly the thing pierced the plastic. Not a hard cutting chore by any means, but you notice the difference; this knife came scary sharp from the factory. It’s available in combo edge (half plain, half serrated) and plain edge; I got the combo edge version and noticed that even the plain portion of the edge is chisel ground (ground only on one side) which should simplify sharpening. It should prove to be an excellent slicer, though how incredibly narrow it is at the tip concerns me; broken tips could be a problem for harder users.

Considering the solid construction and excellent design features like screw assembly, nested liners, a four-way clip, and ample jimping along the thumb ramp and choil, I dare say the Byrd Cara Cara 2 is a better knife than the earlier generations of the Spyderco Endura, and for a lower price. It brings almost all the same features the table as the current 4th generation Endura, except the fit and finish is visibly a little “cheaper”, and you don’t get the fan-favorite Japanese VG10 blade steel.

Want an excellent knife on a budget? Take a look at Byrd. If you know anyone who carries a throwaway convenience store knife… well, might I make a suggestion for their next birthday or Christmas gift?

A Sad Day for the Deer Scent Business

October 7th, 2011 by webmaster

As you probably know I am friends with Bill Harmon. Well Bill recently sold Harmon Deer Scents to a big company. I know why he did it and I am glad he was successful enough to sell his company for a profit. Now he can spend more time fishing and keeping his darling wife happy. That said, I like dealing with small business owners so I set out to find a new line of deer scents.

I know a few different people in the business so I decided to go with someone that hasn’t been around too long and might hang on to their company for awhile.

If you want to try a new deer attractant then I suggest that you give Big Rack Deer Scents a try. They have 100% deer urine and the price is right at less than $10 per bottle. The first place I tried their Big Boss deer scent was my front yard and I kid you not, 2 hours after pouring some of the urine on a tree stump a big momma deer came strolling through the area.  At that point I decided to put out some corn and sure enough the next day I caught her and 2 little Bambis eating the corn.

I will keep you updated as I experiment some more and I will be ready with the camera too.

Rusty Nuts and Bolts

June 6th, 2011 by webmaster

I found a bass boat for sale at a really good price so I purchased it with the idea that I could restore it and make a few bucks… Well, you probably know how that goes. The first thing I encountered was some very rusty nuts and bolts on the seats and console. This became a project and I couldn’t believe these nuts and bolts were not stainless steel. I have run in to this on some farm equipment I have rebuilt too and it always makes life miserable.

While I was ordering stainless steel hardware I came across a website that makes plastic caps for nuts and bolts. I was thinking to myself how wonderful life would be if every steel nut and bolt had one of these on it. Maybe I need to call my congressmen and get them involved. You know how the government needs to be involved in everything? Well, let’s make stainless steel or covered nuts mandatory. They could name the bill “Cover Your Nuts”.

All kidding aside, why do people make outdoor equipment like boats, generators, lawn mowers, pressure washers, backhoes, stump grinders, any outdoor equipment with metal fasteners that are going to rust? It makes no sense, where is pride in manufacturing these days?

So I didn’t look into the price of the caps I just purchased stainless steel but I thought they were pretty cool and I might check around and see if someone sells an assortment of these nut covers. That’s my rant for today.

P.S. I sold the boat and made a nice little profit so I can do a little more fishing and a lot less labor.

CWD – Chronic Wasting Disease

February 25th, 2011 by webmaster

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has changed the landscape of the marketing of pure urines. Bill Harmon sees a time in the USA when state by state the use of pure urines will be banned by short-sighted individuals who do not understand CWD. Every single deer farm in this country is subject to CWD testing and monitoring of the animals that supply this industry. The deer are CLEAN – the farms test clean for not having the disease. You can not spread a disease if the animals that you get urines from do not have the disease. This logic won’t matter to those who control the DNR of each state, whom will make the decision to ban Pure urines.

This disease has been here a lot longer than experts say and it is here to stay, no matter what man does. Not one single human has ever contracted CWD. Not one single human has ever died from Chronic Wasting Disease. It is not the “MAD Cow” virus. The nose of a deer, which is always wet, is a transporter of germs and such, but the pure urines that are sold are not carriers of the dreaded CWD virus. Most of us are humble farmers with a love of deer. We don’t own shooting farms or shooting ranches. We grieve over even a fawn dying on our watch ~ Bill Harmon

Synthetic Hunting Scents

September 16th, 2010 by Deer Hunter

There are a number of reasons for the increased interest in synthetic deer scents or any synthetic lures for that matter. Recently Bill Harmon wrote an article on Government regulations that have been created or are being proposed. These regulations, in his opinion, are based on bad information about CWD (chronic wasting disease). You can read his message at Synthetic Deer Scents.

As you probably know there are proposals around the USA and Canada to prevent hunters from purchasing and/or possessing real animal urine. See Ontario Regulation Proposal Notice for more information.

Another popular reason to purchase synthetic hunting scents is that some people just don’t like the idea of storing or carrying real animal urine.

For those that don’t know about CWD it is considered similar to Mad Cow and effects the brain in deer, elk, and moose. Most of the reports are related to deer farms and not animals in the wild.

Plastic Pistols – the Glock 19 vs. Springfield Armory XD-9

September 2nd, 2010 by CB

For some time, three brands have dominated the mid-level polymer handgun market, that being the Glock series which truly pioneered the polymer pistol industry, the Springfield Armory XD series, which brought another option to the table and resolved some perceived problems of the Glock, and the relative newcomer, the Smith & Wesson M&P series. Today I’m looking at the older two: the Glock 19, and the Springfield Armory XD-9 with the 4-inch “service model” barrel.

The Glock 19 is, of course, the downsized version of the original Glock 17, a 9mm pistol that, though it wasn’t the original polymer framed pistol, truly brought the concept to the public eye, as well as spawned the myth that there are widely available “plastic pistols” that are undetectable by metal detectors and x-rays, a myth that is perpetuated to this day. (The truth, of course, is that there is far more metal in a Glock pistol than there is plastic and it won’t evade detection any better than any other hunk of steel!) The Glock series has been continuously refined and elaborated since its introduction in 1982, and is now available in a variety of sizes and fires many different cartridges.

The Springfield Armory XD series is a design created by Croatian manufacturer HS Produkt and rebranded for distribution in the United States. It has several similar features to the Glock line, which has given way to plenty of comparison and competition. The XD is a semi-automatic, striker-fired handgun with a polymer frame, available in several sizes and calibers – all of which also describe the Glock.

So what sets these two apart?

The Safety

The Glock has been relentlessly criticized through the years for its lack of an external safety switch; its only external safety feature is a “button” on the front of the trigger that is disengaged by pulling the trigger to fire the gun. This feature makes the gun very simple to use, as it has no switch to find and disengage before it can be fired. If used in a self defense situation, this could even save your life. On the other hand, some think of this as unsafe, as an object could potentially catch and pull the trigger, and without a secondary safety feature, nothing is preventing the gun from firing.  The Glock series also has a number of internal safety features that prevent it from being fired by any function except a complete pull of the trigger, such as dropping the gun.

The XD also has no external safety switch (though some specialized models have been made available relatively recently that are equipped with safety switches), and it has a trigger safety similar to the Glock series, but additionally, a grip safety has been added, similar to 1911 style pistols; a large “button” on the rear of the grip that is disengaged by the user’s hand gripping the gun, and is engaged automatically when the grip is released. This way, if an object were to catch the trigger without the grip safety being pressed at the same time, the gun is unable to fire. For convenience, there is also a striker indicator on the back of the gun that indicates if the gun is cocked and ready to fire, and a chamber loaded indicator on top of the slide to indicate if a round is chambered. (For the record, I don’t recommend trusting a chamber loaded indicator. Always inspect the chamber yourself!)

There are benefits and drawbacks to each, of course. A random object catching the trigger is pretty unlikely, but in that event, the Glock is a little more prone to fire accidentally. The XD’s grip safety would seem to solve this problem while keeping the gun just as simple to use, but personally, the XD’s grip doesn’t quite fit my hand and in some cases, it’s possible for a loose shooting grip to not completely disengage the grip safety, rendering the gun inoperable. On the range, this would just be an annoyance, but in a self defense situation, it could be a very bad thing.

The Grip

The single biggest difference, and what makes many fans of one detest the other, is the grip. The Glock uses a somewhat unusual grip angle, sweeping back a few degrees farther than many other popular handguns, causing many who have practiced extensively with other guns, such as the 1911, to naturally point the Glock too high. Of course, this comes down simply to personal preference, and millions – myself included – obviously don’t have this problem.

The Glock 19 grip has a set of finger grooves sculpted into the front strap, and is actually considerably shorter than that of the XD, by around half an inch. The front-to-muzzle length of the guns are nearly identical, and for the extra grip length, the XD only holds one additional round over the Glock’s fifteen. The capacity is odd, as the Glock’s frame is almost exactly the same width as the XD’s, and the walls of the Glock magazine are even thicker than the XD’s, being made of plastic with a thin metal liner for reinforcement, where the XD’s is entirely metal, it seems that the XD would fit a round or two more in there.

The XD has a shallower grip angle, roughly the same angle as the 1911, so those who are uncomfortable with the angle on the Glock will find themselves right at home here. The front strap is a little bit more rounded, doesn’t have finger grooves, and the checkering feels a little less aggressive. The texture of it is a little more comfortable, but traction may be sacrificed.

The entire shape of the XD’s grip is considerably different than that of the Glock and will play a big part in any choice between the two.

The Trigger

Both guns’ triggers are equipped with a trigger safety which only allows the trigger to move when direct, rearward pressure is applied, which helps prevent accidental firing. The trigger safety doesn’t detract from the trigger pull in any way, as both are nearly unnoticeable.

The trigger pulls feel distinct on each. Both have a fairly large amount of slack before the trigger break, which a shooter can easily get a feel for and quickly overcome. The XD’s trigger pull is lighter than the Glock’s, both in slack and break. However, the Glock trigger seems to break crisper and sooner, with less travel, while the XD feels a little smoother, but with more travel.

The Glock trigger is well known for its short reset, allowing quick follow-up shots instead of requiring the shooter to completely release the trigger to fire again. The XD’s trigger reset is a little longer, with some travel, which would conceivably slow down fast shooting. Like the grip, the trigger comes down to personal preference.

The Verdict

I didn’t cover how the two shoot because it’s almost certain that either gun is more accurate than you are. Some people just can’t shoot a Glock, some people just can’t shoot an XD; it all comes down to preference and how the gun fits you. While features can help you decide, the major factor in a decision between either of these fine firearms should really come down to how the gun fits you and how well you can shoot it. If you can rent one or shoot a friend’s before you buy, that’s the way to go!

While I personally prefer the feel of the Glock, it’s easy to see why both of these have the popularity they do, with their ease of use, durability, and dependability.

Trout Fishing Tips for Beginners

July 26th, 2010 by Fishing Guide

Trout Fishing Tips for Beginners

There is nothing quite like reeling in a beautiful trout out of a crystal clear lake in the early morning. While trout fishing requires a different skill set than other forms of freshwater fishing, it is pretty easy to learn the basics if you know where to get started. Let’s take a quick look at everything that you need to know in order to get out into the wild and land your first big trout.

One of the first thing to consider when you are learning how to fish for trout is how to find the best locations in a waterway for different species of trout. Brook trout prefer to gather is fresh pools along small streams of very fresh water. Rainbow trout are typically either found in rough whitewater rivers or other fast moving bodies of water. Brown trout, on the other hand, spend the majority of their time under the cover of branches and outcrops in pools that are fairly undisturbed.

After you have learned where to find the fish, it is time to focus on what types of bait these fish eat in their natural habitat. Most trout are typically top feeders and have a preference for flies and water insects. They will also eat grub, worms, mollusks and smaller fish.

Finally, it is time to head out and start honing your trout fishing techniques. While many experienced sportsmen prefer to fish for trout by using advanced fly fishing techniques, a beginner can land his first trout by using a basic bait and tackle rig. If you are eager to start catching some trout regardless of size, simply find a nearby stream that has a reputation for having plenty of brook trout and set up a basic rig with a piece of nightcrawler on the end. Cast the bait into the deeper pools of the stream and have a little patience until you get a nice, solid bite before you set the hook.

For rainbow trout, nothing beats a spin caster rig with a bit of bait on the end when you are first. Cast the tackle as far out as possible and crank it in as slowly as possible while keeping the rig near the surface of the water. Brown trout are considerably more difficult to catch, but you can try bait casting you rig into calm, fresh pools of river water and waiting for a bite.

If you are looking for an Orvis Endorsed fly fishing lodge or area that you can build your home and enjoy fly fishing then look no further than the real estate in North Georgia known as Falling Waters.

Salmon Fishing With The Family

June 15th, 2010 by Fishing Guide

My name is Karen and I have a fishing story for you. Each year my family travels to Michigan to do a little salmon fishing. We are always very lucky and catch some really big salmon. Our annual trip started years ago when one of my husband’s friends asked him to take a fishing trip to Michigan. Harold, my husband, has been going for the last 28 years now. We usually fish in the Betsy River which looks a lot like our own Cartecay River here in North Georgia. Our catch weigh in from 12 lbs to 30 lbs.
We like to fish in Benzonia, a little village in Benize County MI. It is about 30 minutes from Traverse City. Over the years we have added to our little fishing family, our children and several of Harold’s brothers and their families make the trip too. It is not uncommon for us to have a fishing party of 20 people or so.
The ladies always take a day and go looking for antiques and cherry pies. Michigan is the cherry capital and each year they have the National Cherry Festival on the shores of West Grand Traverse Bay. They have great cherry pies.
That’s my fishing story, we have several of the fish mounted in our cabin to remind us of our family tradition and the joy that fishing has brought to our friends and family. If you haven’t been fishing with your family lately I encourage you to plan a trip today, even if it’s just for a day.

Karen owns a cabin on Mountaintown Creek in North Ga. Be sure to visit her cabin rental website.

Fishing In North Georgia

May 24th, 2010 by Fishing Guide

From sparkling mountain streams, to rushing rivers with rugged banks, to peaceful lakes with all of the above, those looking for fishing in North Georgia won’t run out of options on where to fish or what to fish for. Trout, Bass, Catfish, Walleye and even Sturgeon call North Georgia home and what the bears don’t eat is yours for the taking in most areas.

Bank fish the Coosawattee River in Ellijay GA and you might find yourself with a record Rainbow Trout on the end of your line. Enjoy Carters Lake for a day and land yourself the Bass you thought always
got away or show off your skills by going for the big boys and landing yourself the elusive hundred pound catfish that has had generations of fisherman cursing the waters for the “one that got away.”

From experienced anglers to novice beginners, there is a place to fish for everyone. Watch the excitement on your child’s face the first time a fish bites his hook; feel your heart race when you feel the tug of a large Catfish on your line; watch with awe as the Bass jump and play in the waters in front of you and enjoy the serenity that fishing in North Georgia brings you.

Fishing in North Georgia is an experience you don’t want to miss, witness the beauty of the area while enjoying the time honored tradition of fishing.

Visit the author Robert C. at his North Georgia Cabin Rentals website. Book your next vacation rental online and enjoy your stay in the Blue Ridge Mountains.