A fun day in the outdoors

By DAN GEDDINGS
Posted 8/5/18

"Come on," I told my grandson Chase, "we'll have a fun day." It was an early Saturday morning, and we were headed to the Lowcountry.

I was pulling a trailer loaded with a sign-in structure, or hunting stand kiosk. I had a step ladder strapped on …

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A fun day in the outdoors

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"Come on," I told my grandson Chase, "we'll have a fun day." It was an early Saturday morning, and we were headed to the Lowcountry.

I was pulling a trailer loaded with a sign-in structure, or hunting stand kiosk. I had a step ladder strapped on the back of the truck, two bags of ready-mix concrete, hole diggers and a cooler full of water and soft drinks.

On the way, Clayton and I talked about our plans for the day, and Chase managed to get in a little snooze time, in the back seat.

The gate was open on the Clubhouse Road, and the sandy surface was marked with more than a few tire tracks. So we drove on in to see who was around. We hadn't been to the club in a few weeks and were startled to see the road in such good condition.

The timber company had cut a large area around the clubhouse between the deer season and the turkey season. They had left the roads in terrible shape. But somebody had fixed this road, and it was in excellent condition.

At the clubhouse, I recognized Robert Long and his family gathered around one of the nearby campers. I got out to look at the slough behind the clubhouse, and Chase and his Uncle Clayton walked over to look at the river. Robert came over and greeted me. They had come for the day to have a picnic and to celebrate his son's birthday.

After a few minutes, we piled back in the truck and headed back to the main gate to install the sign-in kiosk. Someone had built one on the club a while back, but it was an eyesore. It sagged and leaned and had a mailbox to hold our sign-in book. The one that I had was built for a property that we no longer hunted and had sat unused in my back yard for a while. When someone at a club meeting complained about the unsightly sign-in box, I volunteered to replace it with the one that I had.

Clayton and I pulled up the old structure and laid it to one side, then he and Chase walked the road looking for arrowheads and pottery while I dug post holes for the 4x4 post that support the new kiosk. I took a little break until they got back to the truck, then Clayton and I took the structure frame from the trailer, with some help from Chase, and stood it in the new post holes. We got the bags of concrete and poured the dry mix around the post and packed it with the shovel handle. I put the level on the post and the front shelf, and we adjusted the structure until it was plumb and level. We then finished filling the holes in with some of the dirt from the post holes. The structure was now level and rock solid.

I had removed the exterior plywood from the shelf and face of the structure for easier handling and transport. Clayton and I fitted the plywood in place and nailed it down. Chase wanted to nail some, so I let him hammer in some of the nails that he could reach on the shelf. Next came the roof, which required use of the step ladder. After the new plywood roof was installed, it was time for another break.

We sat on the tailgate and drank ice-cold sodas and had some snacks. The morning was still cool and the spot was shady, and we lingered for a time, admiring our work.

The last thing to install was the box to hold our sign-in book. Clayton held the wooden box in place while I used a portable drill to secure the box to the face of the structure with screws. Chase wanted to operate the drill, so I let him run in the last two screws. He wanted to do the things that we were doing. It looked like fun.

We put the ladder on the now empty trailer and loaded up all the tools. Our work was done, and it was time to go check on the chufa patches. Chase wanted to ride on the back of the truck, so Clayton climbed on the back with him, and they took a seat on the metal toolbox. I turned the truck around, and we headed back into the club.

I turned onto Parler Road, and we stopped at the chufa patch toward the end. Chufa looks like common nutgrass, and I didn't want anyone to plow it up, so I had put out some signs to alert other club members that something was indeed planted there. They had served their purpose, and we picked up the signs and headed to the next patch on Jerry Road. On the way, Clayton and I talked about the chufa. It was a word that Chase had not heard before, and he repeated it over and over and laughed out loud at himself.

At Jerry, we picked up the signs, then spent some time looking for pottery shards and arrowheads. There is so much pottery at this site that Clayton and I usually ignore it and focus on the arrowheads and scrapers that can be found there. Chase was delighted to find some pottery, and we celebrated the finds with him.

We drove some more club roads and crossed a rocked-in stream. Water came up high on the sides of the truck. We were having fun. We didn't go hunting or fishing that day, but we had fun in the outdoors.

Reach Dan Geddings at cdgeddings@gmail.com.