Biscuits with a Side of Quail Hunting

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Andalusia attorney, Mike Jones, taking a shot at one of the many quail during the hunt.

My post this week will be about a trip we made to Florala, Alabama, to shoot some photos at the Wildcat Creek Hunting Lodge. The lodge is owned and operated by Al Cravey, along with fellow hunter and good friend, Cecil Ammons. He started this business in 1999 and wanted to be able to provide great experiences for every customer that ventured there. One of the main attractions to the lodge is the superb quail hunting. The land in which the lodge stands on is more than perfect for the sport. An attorney from Andalusia, Mike Jones, was also there hunting while we were shooting photos.

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Cecil Ammons and Mike Jones watching the dogs every move until they find a covey of quail.

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A closeup shot of a Bobwhite quail.

Cravey prepared for the hunt by placing a covey of quail into a pile of brush, so the dogs could sniff out them and someone would be able to take a shot. All three of the men, even Mrs. Davis and I, enjoyed watching the dogs try to find were the quail were. The dogs would run, jump and bark until they found every last quail.

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Owner of Wildcat Creek Hunting Lodge, Al Cravey, is preparing a covey of quail for the dogs to sniff out.

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Good friends, Cecil and Al, standing on the porch of the Wiley House, which is the name of the hunting lodge. The Wiley House is estimated to have been built around 1922.

After the hunt, we enjoyed a delicious steak and homemade buttermilk biscuits made by Cravey. Those were the best biscuits I have ever had in my entire life! This particular adventure was exciting, because one of my photos was chosen to be the cover photo for the January 2015 issue of Neighbors. I felt truly humbled for one of them to have been chosen. The whole day was definitely a memorable, but possibly one of my favorite parts was the delicious meal.

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Al Cravey with one of his extremely well trained hunting dogs and one of the several prizes from the day.

“Hot” Humidity Makes a Great Day for a Tour

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Cotton blossoms just beginning to bloom at one of the experiment station’s several cotton fields.

Towards the end of the month of August, 2014, a much warmer month than the present one, Mrs. Davis and I made yet another trip. This time our destination was to the Crops Field Day in Headland, Alabama at Auburn University’s Experiment Station. Headland is located just north of Dothan in the southern part of Alabama. Although the day was definitely warm, the humidity was not at all pleasant. Because it was so humid, my camera lens immediately began to fog up as soon as I got it out of my camera bag. This was an annoyance, because it was several minutes before I was able to shoot photographs of the tour.

This Auburn experiment station performs research on various crops, soil and different planting strategies throughout the year. Much of the research at the facility was being performed on peanuts, cotton and sesame seeds. Several rows of peanuts were planted in what is known as a “twin row,” which is two rows of peanuts planted very close together. This is done to see whether water is conserved since both of the rows are almost on top of each other. There were also many acres of cotton that had been planted around the station.

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A tour group listening intently to a scientist from Auburn University.

Tours were set up in the fields for persons attending. Scientists form Auburn University discussed plant production, how to control diseases, sesame seed production and ways to produce more peanuts. Every tour was different and had some very interesting information. I learned that if you are a peanut farmer, you could possibly rotate it with sesame.

Along with all the interesting information, we also came home with several great looking photos. The cotton had just started to bloom, which was quite a sight to see. The blossoms consisted of deep shades of pink to white. Each was unique in its own way. The sesame was fascinating, because I had never seen it planted before. There were very small orange/yellow blossoms on almost every plant.

We ended up having a great time on that warm August day. Information was shared, photos were taken and all had fun!

To view more blogs, please click here or here.

 

Dogs, or Cats, Are Where It’s at!

Having an animal as a pet is not only beneficial for the person, or family that owns the pet; it can also be beneficial to the pet itself. I believe that every person or family should own at least one animal as a pet.

Growing up in the rural, southern part of Alabama, there have been many animals that have lived in the backyard of the Hicks household, even a few inside. Several dogs, chickens, turtles, fish, hermit crabs, and even rabbits had established their lives at my house throughout the years. Animals can be a wonderful way to teach, not only children, but adults also, how to care for them. Everyone can learn how caring for animals is important and can impact their lives. They can teach you extremely valuable lessons. Children can learn responsibilities as to feeding and providing the animals with food and water, cleaning out the cage or area the animal lives in, and even the emotion of love.

Each type of animal has different need. For example, a dog or cat needs to have stimulation (play time) in order to release pint up energy, where as a hermit crab simply needs a rock to climb on. I currently have one dog, one rabbit and a few saltwater fish. Having these animals has been a great experience, but each one requires special care. The saltwater fish require many hours of work and also time to keep them and the tank up to par, so they can grow and thrive. I once had a rooster, who lived for almost seven years. He wasn’t the nicest rooster in the world, but he earned his keep “cockle doo a doing” throughout his life.

Animals can also be a great way for one to just get outside and enjoy some time in the sun. The spring months are always exciting, because the weather is usually great and that means the dog walks shall commence! Walking your dog can be great exercise, which I certainly could use more of. There can be many health benefits to owning a pet.

There are thousands of animals that can make great pets, so your choices are certainly not limited. I believe every person should be able to experience pets and all of their “awesomeness” that comes with them.

Until next time…

A Hidden Gem in Alabama

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Rock Bridge Canyon Park Director, Mike Franklin on his horse, just in front of one of the parks natural waterfalls.

Waterfalls, ice and horses are just a few of the things that I photographed on my next adventure with ALFA and their Neighbors magazine. This was an extremely cold day in January 2014, just after “Snowmageddon.” We left very early for our destination, Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park, which is in Hodges, Alabama. Hodges is located in northwest Alabama in Franklin County.

Rock Bridge Canyon is an equestrian and hiking park, featuring several natural waterfalls and over 20 miles of hiking trails for humans and horses. The park also has a natural rock bridge which is one-hundred feet high and eighty-two feet long. You can even camp in the park with an RV or by just using a tent!

When we arrived, we were greeted with warm welcomes by the park administrators and also the Saddle Club. The Saddle Club is a group of horseback riders that frequently visit the park to ride the trails and just have fun. We were there to shoot photographs of them riding through the park. The park itself is absolutely amazing. There are thousands of trees and the waterfalls are breath taking. We followed the riders down to the main waterfall to get a shot of Mike Franklin on his horse for a possible cover photo. Mike is the park director of Rock Bridge Canyon and also the police chief of Hodges. Most of the water had been frozen during the ice storm, so it was very cold.

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A group of riders enjoying the trails through the park.

I was able to get a tour of the park by walking a few of the trails while taking photos of the horseback riders and the scenery. At one point, we were standing under the rock bridge, which seemed much larger than the numbers I previously provided. It was dark, massive, and astounding all at the same time. We wrapped up at the park and afterwards, we had a great lunch at small café, just down the road from the park.

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Icicles hanging off a ledge, slowly melting away after the ice storm.

I had never heard of Hodges before this trip, much less of Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park. Both are definitely hidden gems in northwest Alabama that I hope I can visit soon again.

To read the article from Neighbors about Rock Bridge Canyon, please click here.