Fisheries biologist and Purina Aqua Ambassador Greg Grimes explains how his family chooses to enjoy backyard life when he’s not hard at work on a client pond project.
Greg Grimes: I’m blessed to have worked in the outdoors as a wildlife and fishery biologist for the last 28 years, as well as live on seven acres in Ball Ground, GA—just a stone’s throw from the 156-acres Forsyth, GA property I grew up on. And, I’ve been equally blessed to have my wife of 21 years, Wendy, right there beside me in the outdoors, and two boys (ages 10 and 14) who are able expose their friends to God’s creation on our six-acre pond or the Towaliga River . . . All with our chocolate lab Stella in tow!
GG: Our 156-acre homestead contains a mile of river frontage, five miles of hiking/biking trails, and a six-acre pond that allow us to spend quality time outdoors. I would say the 20-person lodge we built is one of our property’s most unique features. Namely, how we’re able to use it as the focal point of our family ministry to share God’s great outdoors with those not regularly exposed to the gifts nature provides.
GG: Between the river, pond or woods, that’d be a tough call. But I’d have to say the kids would say the pond and its 100-foot slip ‘n slide!
GG: From fishing, hunting and axe throwing, down to sleeping in primitive campsites (or, on slightly fancier patio porch beds), our rural home fully supports the outdoor lifestyle we love to lead.
GG: Even though I manage ponds for a living, it would have to be staying on top of the lake to ensure it always produces the quantity and quality of fish that everyone enjoys.
GG: If food plots count, it’d have to be mowing the clover high in order to promote green, lush growth, and discourage competing grass growth. My second tip would be to add cover. While we have some great open hardwoods, our resident wildlife wouldn’t be nearly as prone to show themselves if we hadn’t added the proper cover they need to feel protected.
GG: Far and away, I’d have to say our dock. Whether folks use it for rest in the sun or casting out a line, everyone loves it. Other family and guest favorite would have to be our deck’s porch bed, and the kids would definitely say the slip ‘n slide.
GG: Of course! “CAMMO” (Creating Almighty Memories and Mission Opportunities) is what we’re all about here when it comes to introducing others to hunting and fishing. So far, our property’s allowed about eight folks to harvest their first deer. We’ve also hosted turkey, squirrel, coon and dove hunts here, and numerous guests have caught personal-best bass from our pond. (Our biggest so far is an 11.78-lb. lunker caught by six-year-old angler!
GG: That’s easy: Hosting anyone—usually family, friends, or our event visitors—who’s looking to enjoy God’s big backyard!
GG: My favorite backyard meal would probably a pork shoulder my wife’s prepared on our Big Green Egg. It falls off the bone, feeds a crowd, and we’re able to make carnitas with the leftovers. A family favorite that I usually cook would have to be pond-caught catfish that’s cooked the same day in my MAC DADDY fryer. Pair this with hand-cut fries and folks think I’m the gourmet cook of the family! Plus, involving kids in the process and teaching them how to properly fillet the fish allows me to teach them a valuable life skill.