Monthly Archives: March 2015
I came to a realization of sorts today. Well maybe not just today. It has kind of been a slow awakening. Anyway, it does not really matter when. What I have come to understand is that there are a lot of people out there who have no idea what it means to be a hunter. I know, NEWS FLASH, right? There are a LOT of people who do not in any way, shape, or form know anything about what hunters do, how they hunt, or what it means to be a hunter to, well, hunters!
Please do not misunderstand me, I have ran into my share of people who think they know what My Handy Man and I do. There have been those that ask me how I could kill Bambi or even Bambi’s mother. (I promise that I have never shot an arrow or a bullet at a fawn nor any other cartoon deer for that matter!)
There have been some that have accused me of being heartless. One lady told me that she thought I was a terrible person to kill those poor innocent woodland creatures after I had already explained to her that in my house we hunt for our food. And this was while she was at the very same moment eating a CHICKEN sandwich! I wanted to ask her if she planned to become a vegetarian right then or would she wait until after she finished her lunch!
So I thought I might clear a few things up. I thought maybe a bit of hunting insight would be in order. We follow a certain set of rules or ideals as hunters. In general, most of the hunters that I have had the pleasure to meet abide by a certain creed. Now I am the first to admit that there are some people out there who ignore any sense of ecological balance or hunting etiquette. But here is an idea of how things around my hunting property work.
#1 We work our lease ouselves and do our best to provide quality food for the wildlife living on our property. Some people may call this “baiting” deer, however we hunt in dry, south Texas. Providing quality food plots, protein sources, or ample water is important for wildlife health.
#2 Low fences equal fair chase. I will not say anything against high fence places as I have never hunted a high fence. However, I will say that a hunter that I know and respect, who has hunted high-fence multiple times, has told me that the places he goes to happen to have hundreds to thousands of acres that in effect make them fair chase places to hunt. There are great debates about low fence versus high fence and I will not go there. I can only speak to my experience, and my experience is that the deer on our property are free to come and go as they please.
#3 We employ a wildlife biologist who comes out every year. Through aerial views, trail cameras, and spotting, he tells us the proper ratio of bucks to does that we should harvest from our property to maintain our wildlife in the healthiest manner. Not only does he let us know how many deer to take, but also the amount of turkey, quail, and predators to maintain a good balance.
#4 We do not always take “trophy” bucks. Some years, we cull out our herd so to speak. Some deer have something wrong with them genetically, such as no brow tines, or eye guards if you prefer. These things are important since they use them for protection. When we see these deer, we take them so they have less of a chance to pass those genetic deficits on to their offspring. And guess what? Those deer taste the exact same as a “trophy” buck!
#5 We are discriminating in what we do harvest. We do not go out and blast away at everything we see. We try to make sure and take mature bucks and mature does. Unless they happen to be one of the previously mentioned deer that we choose to cull. As a matter of fact, we do not take anything less than 5 years old, if we can help it. Obviously deer don’t carry around their birth certificates, but there are aging techniques that we employ to make sure that we properly “age” the deer before we shoot.
#6 Close is not good enough. We practice, A LOT, both during the off-season and during hunting season. Especially bow hunters, but I suspect that rifle hunters practice a lot, too. We do not want to injure a deer or anything else. We want every shot to be the most ethical shot we can make. I am not saying that bad shots do not take place, but it is in our best interest and the animal’s best interest to take the most ethical shot we can make. The thought of injuring an animal makes most hunters sick and they will continue to track their kill for as long as it takes.
#7 This is the last one I will address right now, but it is really just a drop in the bucket of things hunters do for wildlife. We love what we hunt. I mean we love the wildlife and we want to preserve it for eternity. I do not duck hunt, not because I don’t want to, just because I have not had the opportunity. However, I purchase federal duck stamps every year. Why? Because the money I spend to purchase them, goes back into preserving them. In my book, that makes it money well spent. I will continue to support the preservation of wildlife and use my money and my voice to defend the animals as well as the way of life that I love.
I was talking to My Handy Man one night in January. We were headed back from The Ranch and he was mentally preparing himself for the long run of surgeries that were spread out in front of him. As our conversations tend to do, we covered a wide variety of topics.
Where did we want to hunt this year? The same place versus a new place. What did we want to eat and where did we want to stop? Wherever and whatever you want, my love. (I can tell you that over 50% of any arguments we have are over restaurants. Maybe 75%. Trust me, it is better to just pick a place!) What are our plans for the future/his career/my career? Heavy and life-changing choices. Why did we think God was doing these things in our life right now?
As far as my career, I will always want to be at home taking care of my family. I cannot help or change that. It is the way God made me. I love being at home, cooking, cleaning, and looking to my family’s needs. I was completely born in the wrong decade! My admiration goes to those career-minded women who enjoy being out in the world and climbing a corporate ladder. I do not, have not, nor
will I ever enjoy working outside my home.
That being said, during this time that we find ourselves in, I am both thankful to have a degree and happy to go out and make a living to help our family. I am glad I went to school because God knew that this time in our lives was coming and we needed to be prepared for it. However, I am not okay with the situation where I am currently employed and will possibly have to change it. More on that in a later post.
My Handy Man is a different story. He loves working and providing for his family. I love that he does so enjoy it. He also loves to serve the Lord and he has the true heart of a servant. What he hates, though, is to be stuck in the house for any extended period of time. He does okay for a day, barely, but past that he gets fidgety, unsettled, and downright irritable. The trouble with this is that he will not be released to do his current career, probably ever. We think we have come up with an alternative that will make him happy. We will see.
As far as our future goes, only God knows what will happen. I know that His plan is to use both of us. In what capacity, I do not know yet. I do know one thing for certain though, neither of us wants to be like Jonah. We do not want to run from whatever God wants us to do. I told My Handy Man that I think we should take this time of surgery and recovery to evaluate our lives and see if we are doing what God wants from us. We may find ourselves right on track or way off base.
However we need to be prepared for our lives to change. He may call us to stay and serve right where we are. Then again, He may call us to pick up and go elsewhere. We have to be prepared and okay with leaving our home, work, the large family close by, and the comfort of serving in a church that we love. It sounds scary right now, but we know that with God all things are possible, profitable to us, and probable. He will ask us to choose Him first, no matter what that entails.
All the time!
Today is my first day back at work since My Handy Man’s latest surgery. I was exhausted this morning. We both are. He hurts and neither one of us has been sleeping well. We are both just out of sorts and our schedule is messed up. I should be very ready for bed when I get home tonight!
I imagine I will look something like this, but less angelic and with more drooling!
Right off the bat, and of course after I had already left the house, I realized that I didn’t bring anything to have for lunch or breakfast. Not a good thing when one is trying to eat healthy and get in shape for the next hunting season. Time is running out. Spring Turkey Season is right around the corner, but I am pretty sure we will have to sit that one out, since it will be hard for My Handy Man to go hunting on crutches. Spring Turkey Season aside, there is exactly 194 days until Fall Bow Season! (Yes, I realize I capitalized that like it is a proper holiday, but it is just that important! Deal with it!)
Anyway back to this morning’s tragedy, no breakfast and no lunch! Nothing healthy to eat. My lovely coworkers hung Happy Birthday signs up on every door because they were not able to be with me yesterday.
And then I walk into the break room to find this…..
Temptation right off the bat! Not even clocked in and already there are scrumptious donuts mocking me! And not the regular kind, these suckers came from Krispy Kreme! The real deal chock-full of yummy goodness! The ladies that I work with have a notorious sweet tooth.
Well, I clocked in as fast as possible and booked it for my office! I tapped out a hasty email thanking them for remembering my special day and then scrambled through my desk and cabinet searching for anything even remotely healthy!
These are all I could find! There were exactly two Meal Replacement bars. They are okay in a low-calorie sort of way. However, as far as healthy goes… it is iffy because they are too high in sugar and things that I cannot pronounce to be really considered healthy. Regardless, I am stuck with them because I want to meet the goals that I have set for my self.
One of those goals is to eat food that is equal parts real and healthy for my body. The other goal is to be in great shape for Fall hunting because I really want to stalk and shoot something. I already bow hunt, and besides spearing something, stalking seems like the ultimate challenge in harvesting meat. That is just my thinking on the matter, but there it is anyway. So for the love of hunting, I am now sitting in my office, alone, munching on a protein meal replacement bar….. Note to self: I really need to come up with some recipes for convenience whole or whole-ish foods to keep in the freezer at work!
What are some of the ways you get ready for hunting season?
There is a saying that goes something like this…. “We plan and God laughs.” Well, I do not know who said it or if that is exactly what was said, but that is the gist. And, that is about as true a statement as any I have ever heard. Today is my birthday and just like any other birthday, I am looking back and considering my life. Where did I go wrong? What did I do right? How do I want to see my life next year? In five years? In ten years?
This is a hard post to write. However, it has been a long time coming. I have been in a funk, so to speak, for the last year. Almost in mourning, but not quite. You see, I have too many blessings in my life to allow myself to fall into full-fledged outright depression-filled mourning. I am too much of a look-on-the-bright-side-every-cloud-has-a-silver-lining sort of girl.
Have I lost anyone special to me? No. How is the job situation? Still have one. Where is my life headed? Ah, there it is….. I just don’t know.
In January 2014, My Handy Man had back surgery and by June we knew it had failed. January 2015, he had shoulder surgery to fix a torn rotator cuff. As I am typing this, he is asleep on the couch and recovering from knee reconstruction surgery. No, he was not in some major car accident nor does he have some tragic disease that is affecting his joints. He was hurt in the military, then hurt some more when the military doctors did his first surgery, and is now having to be rebuilt. He has at least two more surgeries to look forward to, one on his ankle and another on his back. He hates it, I hate it for him, however that is the situation that we find ourselves in. On a bright side kind of note, he will be the bionic man once he is finished.
He is the sort of man who takes the good with the bad, does not complain too much, and in everything he does his very best. He will survive this and prosper, because that is who he is. And, failure is not an option for him. He was, is, and always will be my hero.
I have spent this year kind of lost and trying to survive as well. I detest seeing him in pain. I am a planner and I hate when plans do not come together like I had envisioned. I took a job that I thought was a dream job, one that would help us through this rough patch, and be good for us. I was wrong. Not on everything…. it does pay the bills and has helped us get by. However, that is about it. I am more stressed than I have ever been, I do not enjoy it at all, and I need to find another place for me. I will continue to be thankful for having the work though.
The funk or the mourning that I find myself in, is one of my own making. Well mostly, since neither one of us could have predicted that My Handy Man would have to have five surgeries over two and a half years. But I digress, the mourning comes as a result of plans or dreams not being fulfilled. By having an idea of where our life was headed and the reality of being on the cusp of seeing our dreams come true, and then having the rug pulled out from under us.
A lot of good things have happened to us over the past year and also a lot of not so good things. I know that if there was a room full of people and we all threw our problems into a pile in the center of the room, then I would more than likely reach back in to take my own problems out, rather than trade with anyone else for theirs. We have been to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And right now, we are tired.
By this time, I thought we would have a growing homestead. Instead, we have a house in a subdivision. I am not complaining, because it is a beautiful house that keeps the rain off our heads. Still, it is not the dream place we had envisioned. I also thought our life would be simpler with less stress and less bills. Alternatively, we have more stress and bigger bills. Even so, we have managed to pay some nonsense debt off. My Handy Man was supposed to have a great job in the hospital where he makes good money and both of us would have plenty of free time to share with the other and build our homestead. According to his surgeon, he will not be released to go to work in the hospital ever. And still, awesome man that he is, My Handy Man started up his own business that he can do as he is able and he makes great money when he is able to work. And I know that the situation that we find ourselves in is not a permanent one, those dreams still may come true in time, but I also need to make peace with the fact that they may not. We may never be able to be full-time homesteaders, and I need to accept that and be okay with it. That does not mean that I will give up on that dream, I will just continue to live my life and putting one step in front of the other toward that goal. In the meantime though, I need to find myself moving toward other things that I long for and can achieve right now.
I have struggled where to go with this blog. In the beginning, I had envisioned a blog that would chronicle the passage from corporate world to homestead. And maybe it can still be that, in a big picture sort of way. I do not have to have the answer right away, I will figure out where I want to go with this thing. We still have many simple things that we love to do, besides the owning of an actual homestead, that I can blog about.
We are hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. We enjoy fishing, camping, hiking, and exploring. The thought of and the actual act of providing meat for our table stokes us. And, then there is the preparing of said meat. We can also support our local farmers through farmers markets and such. And too, we can document the movement from convenience foods to homemade whole foods. And as always, there is a lot to discuss about the preparation for another exciting hunting season. There are many aspects to being self-sufficient and the excursion toward a simpler existence that need to be documented. One day we may find ourselves on that homestead, but for right now it is the journey that counts for us. So I am changing the point of my blog because I cannot continue to mourn for what we have not yet achieved. Instead, I choose to focus on what is happening at this moment in time. I still have plenty of worthwhile things to say……
I love this idea! Especially, for a Christmas fund. We hunt from September through January, so that puts a bit of a stretch on the finances as far as Christmas shopping goes. This would be a perfect way to put up so money for that!
I believe that through knowledge and discipline, financial peace is possible for all of us. -Dave Ramsey
I’ve been contacted by quite a few of you asking for a copy of the 52 Week Money Challenge, which shows me that I am not the only one looking to save money. While you won’t save a MAJOR windfall doing this challenge, you will gain financial discipline. It’s harder than you think to get in the habit of saving but once up pick up the skill, it’s well worth the effort. If you are new to She Makes Cents, I am happy to report that I paid off my credit card doing this challenge as additional payments over the minimum. I am now adding this extra money to my wedding savings account after I see how much I have left from doing a zero based budget…aka, my saving…
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You get what you pay for. That’s an adage we generally believe in. But does it hold up with respect to ammunition? We set out to answer that question by testing the accuracy of a variety of value-priced .308 hunting ammo against more costly stuff.
Using three .308 rifles in the test—one hunting rig and two precision rifles that we knew would be ringers.
We put a number of budget and premium loads through all three rifles over the course of one day, ensuring the results wouldn’t be influenced by different environmental conditions. We also used a standard 5-shot-group protocol, and shot two groups with each load at 100 yards. As a control to establish a baseline level of accuracy for each rifle, we also shot 5-shot groups using Federal’s Gold Medal load with 175-grain Sierra BTHPs.
Using the baseline match load to calculate a ratio for each hunting load by dividing the size of the hunting-load…
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