Earl gets a letter from deer.

Note: I did not write the letter which is reproduced in the text below. I obtained it from Earl.

I went into Earl’s knife shop and like almost every other time I have visited the knife shop I found him leaning back in the old office chair. The ever vigilant Bullitt the bulldog, head of shop security, opened one eye and seeing that I had neither pizza nor cheeseburgers, went back to sleep. I noticed that Earl had a puzzled look on his face

“Whats up Earl?” I asked.

“Well you know that like most folks I have gotten lots of letters. I’ve gotten invitations, bills, love letters, a Dear John letter, sad letters, happy letters, and letters from politicians wanting my vote and/or money. All sorts of letters.”

“You have received love letters?” I asked.

“Of course!”

“Since the fifth grade?”

“Well not too many lately I’ll admit.” Earl said. But that’s not the point here. The point is that this letter is from deer.”

“You mean to tell me that you got a letter from cloven hoof quadrupeds?”

“That’s what it says.”

“Let me see, Earl.”

He handed me the letter which is reproduced below.

Dear Earl,

   We, all board members of western Kentucky Deer-R-Us, understand that windy ridge deer property is under new management. We have some serious concerns we would like to see addressed.

 First, the water situation. The river is out. It is impossible to get a drink between the dead carp. And the smell is sickening. The pond isn’t much better. Have you ever tried to take a drink with a beaver chewing on your nose?? It’s not fun!!

  We would think that 6 to 8 water tanks would solve the problem. If money is an issue, stop buying those big, high plastic boxes. We know what you plan to do in them, and it ain’t bird watching!!

  Next is food. Weeds have taken the place over. Now, you’ve hired some half ass, rookie farmer. He threw some beans out in a mud hole!! What’s next, rice paddies??!!?? There is a small patch of alfalfa and clover, but they ain’t much. What in the hell do you expect us to winter on?? Soured acorns and rag weed?? We can’t even remember what a kernel of corn looks like. We are looking for a little security.

  The rumors are flying. We’ve heard of a place a few miles down the road. Clover fields as far as you can see. Alfalfa up to your belly. Acres of corn. Even a silo, full of corn. Water a plenty and hot does. That’s security!! Rumor has it that’s where the late, great Wooly Bully used to reside. We plan to send scouts out to see if these rumors can be confirmed.

  In closing, please advise of improvements planned as well as schedule. This will help in our future plans.

Yours truly,





“I don’t think many deer can type Earl. Somebody is having some fun with you I believe.”

“Well it’s somebody that knows that I am the mighty hunter that eventually got the elusive Wooly Bully. And, there’s not a lot of people know that. I don’t want the deer to know because that might make them avoid me this season and for seasons to come too.”

“I imagine a human wrote that letter, Earl.”

“Probably so, but is that really how the deer feel, and how much do they know about Wooly Bully and me?”

“Earl I just stopped by for a minute and have to leave. See you later Bullitt.” I said as I got up and started toward the door.

Bullitt slightly opened one eye and wagged his stubby tail. Earl said, “You mentioned deer being cloven hoofed. Did you know some people associate cloven hoofs with the devil. What do you think about that?”

“I’m leaving before this gives me a headache, Earl. See you later.”

Copyright not including the letter Bill North 2014



Earl and Bullitt Head of Security

DSC_1017-2Bullitt keeping his eye on things

I went into Earls work shop where he claims to work hard at making knives. I found him leaning back in his old desk chair reading a magazine. “I see that you are hard at it in order to keep the numbers of knives actually completed up to the high standard that you have set for yourself.” I said.

“Murphy rolled in manure today and I had to give her a bath. She smelled awful.” Earl said indicating a Mountain Feist asleep in a chair. She’s tough to give a bath, you’re lucky not to get scratched up pretty good doing it and she’s been giving me the cold shoulder since the bath.

“And speaking about my dogs, the other day I happened to notice that certain parties have been misspelling this fine dog’s name.” Earl said patting his American Bulldog. “It’s not Bullet, or Bullit, its Bullitt like in the Steve McQueen movie.”

“I’m sorry.” I said. I noticed that today as is so often the case, my visit to Earl’s was starting off with me being put on the defensive.

“You should apologize.”

“I’ll get pizza later, I know he likes that.” I said.

“That might work if it’s loaded up, no onions though.” Earl continued, “Bullitt here is just like Steve McQueen in that movie, brave, honest, and alert to what’s going on at all times. He doesn’t miss a thing. That’s why he’s in charge of security here.”

“He sleeps a lot for somebody that has his paw on the pulse of things here in the cove.” I ventured.

“It might appear that way to those that don’t know any better but he is conserving his strength knowing that he might have to perform at the max any moment. He is ready to spring into action despite what the uninformed such as you might think.”

“I see.”

“You don’t have to take my word for it, there’s several coyotes that can tell you that it can be a mistake to venture inside the perimeter that Bullitt patrols. Bullitt don’t play, he’ll take care of business when he needs to. Anyway, the family has gone to the lake for the weekend. I’ve got the box set of that western Deadwood. If you go get a really good pizza I suppose that Bullitt would think it was alright if you stayed and watched some Deadwood with us.”

“I guess I can do that.”

“Extra large and no onions please.”

“You don’t like onions on your pizza, Earl?” I asked.

“Bullitt doesn’t like them.”


It’s a thirty minute drive from Earl’s to a good pizza place and by the time I had done that both ways and picked up the pizza night was falling. Earl, Murphy and Bullitt had left the shop and were in the house, comfortable on the big, L shaped couch.

After we ate and settled in to watch a couple of episodes of the western Bullitt lay on the couch with his head and chest in my lap and seemed to be asleep as I patted him. Occasionally however he would raise his head and look toward the open window.

“See there.” You think he’s lost in dreamland but he’s alert, constantly checking in case things break bad. “Not much gets by Bullitt.”

“I see.”

“You know, he’s been the least trouble of any dog that we’ve ever had. He’s smart as a whip.”

“I like him, we’re buddies.”

Suddenly Bullitt lifted his head and perked up his ears, looking at the window, and then sprang from my lap and was out a door that had been left partially open. In propelling himself from the couch, one of his back feet placed Bullitt’s eighty or ninety pounds squarely onto the most sensitive area of my body. “Geez I’ve never been kicked there by a dog before!” I complained in pain.

“Well sometimes there is a price for having Bullitt lie in your lap so you can pet him.” Earl said.

Earl was able to choke back laughter at my discomfort but a smile did break through.

“It’s funny isn’t it Earl?”

“I think so.”

Eventually Bullitt returned, a little scuffed up maybe but not bloodied and taking his place on the couch was soon sleeping the sound sleep of the righteous.

“My guess is that some coyote just got his feelings hurt pretty bad.” Earl said.

During the next episode of Deadwood Bullitt got up and calmly went out the door. “Looks like a routine patrol to me.” Earl said. “Although it might be something else, Bullitt doesn’t always let me in on his plans. I imagine because of security reasons.”

“Probably so.

It had gotten pretty late and I was planning on leaving when the episode of Deadwood that we were watching was over. Suddenly Earl said, ”I smell a skunk.” He was looking at the open window. I too smelled it. Just then Bullitt came into the room and as he passed me my eyes started to water.

”Smell him. See if it’s on him.” Earl said from across the room.

“No need to.” I answered.

Earl rushed across the room and bent over to sniff Bullitt. I thought he might collapse but he kept his feet under him and his dinner down as he rushed to get Bullitt out of the house.

Coming back into the reeking room Earl said, “It’s really bad out there. He must have killed it and brought it home. I guess it’s out there somewhere near the house but I’m not looking for it until tomorrow. Bullitt is going to have to sleep outside tonight.”

“Well I’ve enjoyed it, Earl.” I said laughing. “Your house smells really bad.”

As I was leaving I noticed Murphy the Mountain Feist looking at Earl from the chair where she had slept most of the evening. I swear she was looking at him as if to say, “And you just thought manure smelled bad. What do you think now?” She looked amused.

copyright Bill North 2014


















James Batson Scagel folder recreation

James Batson Scagel folder recreation

One of the things that I enjoy about custom / handmade knives is the people that I meet because of my interest in the knives. Actually for me personally, it’s probably the thing that I enjoy the most.


I was not able to attend the Blade Show in Atlanta this year but when Bill Wiggins got home he had a knife to deliver to me. It is a recreation of a Scagel 3 7/8” single bladed trapper that Jim Batson made for me. One side of the tang is marked with a Scagel type kris and the opposite side of the blade is marked “James Batson / Bladesmith”. The blade is just under .080” at the thickest point of the spine and is thin behind the edge. I touched the edge up on a Spyderco stone and it is now really, really sharp. Its traditional look appeals to me and I am proud to own it. Thank you Jim Batson.

Bill North