Author Archives: lonestarharvester
It does not seem like it should be November already. I cannot imagine where the time has gone. In less than a year, Our Soldier has graduated basic training, went to National Training Center, and has been deployed to Afghanistan. My Handy Man and I seem to be living in a suspended bubble where nothing seems quite right until Our Soldier is back on American soil once more.
As a mother, I cannot even begin to put into words what it feels like to have your child on the far side of the world in a very hostile area. The best way I can think to convey how I feel is that it feels like I am trying to breathe through a wet washcloth with a corset cinched around my ribs and a vise gripping my heart harder with each beat. And the closer it gets to time for his deployment to be over with, the more anxious I feel.
I have terrible dreams, the likes of which, I will not voice. If I go for a few days without hearing from him, I begin to imagine all kinds of horrible scenarios. And I know my imagination has to be much worse than the reality, but whenever one brings a child into this world, it is impossible not to want to wrap them in an embrace that protects them from everything bad in this world and never lets go. At least, that is how it should be. Sadly, that is not the reality for some people.
I know that My Handy Man feels some, if not all, of these things as well. He is usually pretty close-lipped about how all this makes him feel. Maybe it is because he is a man and men usually are not as vocal about feelings and fears. Maybe. Though, I suspect it is because he is a veteran of the United States Army as well. He probably knows better than anyone what Our Soldier is going through on a daily basis.
And both of my soldiers happen to be doers rather than talkers. If either one of them is asked, they would both say that actions speak louder than words. I would have to agree. It does not do any good to talk about doing something or making a change unless one actually does something or makes a change. Though it does make me wonder sometimes if I am the only one feeling this way.
Please do not get me wrong. I am so proud of Our Soldier. And, I am equally as proud of My Handy Man. I would not change either of them for all the gold in the world. I just cannot wait until they are both in the same country again. Once that happens, I will be able to breathe once more. Until then, I will be here watching and waiting.
So back in December, I was doing some thinking. I wanted to slightly change the direction of where and what I wanted this blog to be. No huge changes, just some tweaking. My Handy Man will tell you that this girl is not a fan of change. Whenever anything around our home is going to change, at first I am pretty (okay VERY) resistant to any alteration to what I perceive to be the norm in our lives. Thank God that He gave me a man that embraces change and is more than happy to drag me along until I get used to said change!
The kicker is that I am an ICU nurse and things are always changing at work. At the hospital, I can and will take any change that is thrown my way in stride. Funny, one would think that tendency would bleed over into my home life. Not so. As a matter of fact, the ability to handle the unexpected does not last as far as the nurse’s station. When I come back to whatever computer I have decided was mine, which is the same one I use any time I am working, all of my duties are there lined out in a list.
Yes, I make a list of all the things that I need to accomplish for my patients in the current shift. If, and that is a monumentally giant IF, I have time for anything else during my shift, I also have another running list of things I need to accomplish at work, such as continuing education or whatever else needs to be done. I cannot tell you the satisfaction that I feel every time I get to cross something off my lists. And trust me, I have one for anything that I have to do. I keep a standard running list of groceries needed, bills to be paid, and cleaning chores. Every fall, I have a renewable list of things that I will pack for deer camp.
My Handy Man does not do lists. He thinks I am completely crazy to write and rewrite the same things that I do all the time. I try to describe to him the feeling of peace that lists bring me. However, he does not get it and I cannot….. Or will not??….. No definitely CANNOT change it. I think I was making lists way back in kindergarten and maybe sooner than that. I do not exactly recall when I became a list maker extraordinaire. I will have to check with my mom on that.
But anyway, back to the point of My Handy Man’s contention with my incessant need for a list. I assert that everyone has the need to make lists. My Handy Man makes lists and keeps them inside his very nice looking head, along with a compass that I apparently do not posses. I know that I am not the only one with this obsession. However, My Handy Man says that I make lists to make a list. Which is totally blown out of proportion. I only put the phrase “make a list” on one or maybe two lists, max!
Lists are my security blanket. They are for the most part the only way I get things done. Once the final task is crossed off, I can go home from work and sleep in peace or know that the revolving list of bills have been paid or that I brought everything that I meant to take to deer camp or on vacation or that I have bought everything I needed to when I went to the store. If everything is on the list, then I have assurance that everything is under control. Maybe it is a false assurance or maybe it makes me a bit of a control freak. Hey, it is what it is.
Over the last couple of years, My Handy Man and I have not had too many constants in our lives. Our world has been rocked to and fro. Nevertheless, we maintain and will continue to hold onto the ability to find silver-linings and can count many blessings that have come about, too. The past nine months have been particularly painful, but I think we may have reached some sort of a turning point. For the first time in a while, we finally have some bright spots to look forward to. However, I cannot go into that tonight. I will write about it tomorrow. It is on the list!
Originally posted on FROM SCRATCH CLUB:Coined ‘from scratch holidays‘, we wanted to dedicate most of November & December’s content to various seasonal recipes for your holiday table, edible gifts and reflections on the holiday season as a whole. We have more to come, including radish toasts, DIY coffee creamer, beef jerky, dark chocolate covered…
Life gets in the way sometimes. Or rather, we let life get in the way. It seems as if one second we were in the week before Easter. Now I find myself in the midst of rifle season, the weekend after Thanksgiving!
What happened? Where did the time go? How has so much time passed?
I know, but then I do not know. It feels as if I have lost time, but then I know that I have not. For I can remember every excruciating, happy, sad, painful, joyous, sorrow-filled moment in the half year that has gone by. Times of deep anguish, times of pleasure, times of bitter disappointment, and times of wondrous pride have swept us to and fro this last six months. Neither My Handy Man nor myself has quite grasped everything we have been through. All we know is we went through it together and came out on the other side still holding onto one another. That is saying something. One day I will talk about all that has gone on, every single thing, but that day is not today. For now, all I will say is this, as with everything in life, expect some changes for Lone Star Harvester. The basic principles that I envisioned for this blog will remain, but we will be shaking things up. As we have been shaken up, so shall this blog, and hopefully it will come out stronger for it. Just like My Handy Man and I have. Until next time……
Sticking an arm down the throat of a bear is regarded by some as an effective last-ditch tactic for fending off an attack. There are few animals in North America as frightening as an adult grizzly, and if one of these massive animals get it in their heads to attack you, your day just suddenly […]
Archers are very specific about the bow they use, the sites they mount and the release they settle on, but often overlooked is the actual bow string. They are as vital to your performance as that of the arrow or even the bow itself. But the question is, how do you select your bowstrings? And […]
Article by Phil Bourjaily Our tests at a high-tech ballistic research laboratory may change the way you buy loads and guns…and even how you hunt. Shotgun columnist Bob Brister spent six months shooting at 16-foot-long homemade targets mounted on a trailer hitched to a station wagon that his wife drove past. Brister conducted this novel […]
So turkey season is upon us and though we don’t have wild turkey up in the Wawang region, this delectable bird is the start of the hunting season ahead and a fantastic reward for a difficult hunt!
- Scout first. Before you can shoot a turkey you have to find one. Before hunt season, drive the back-country roads just after dawn and listen for turkey gobbling. Become aware of creeks, trails, fences and pastures, so that during the hunt, you will know where you are going.
- Wear camouflage, as turkeys have very keen eyesight. Suits, caps, facemasks and gloves are essentials, and don’t forget to wear dark socks. Try to match your colors to the plant life around you.
- Pattern your shotgun. Make a target that looks like a turkey’s head and neck. Practice firing from 25, 40 and 45 yards using different choke and ammunition. You’ll know what to expect…
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My Handy Man and I were discussing the upcoming deer season. Neither one of us can contain our excitement over the prospect of what may happen next Fall. We are basically two grown children waiting with unabashed glee at the coming of Christmas day. Only, our Christmas starts the last weekend of September which ushers in Fall bow season in Texas. We cannot wait and I can tell you that there are exactly 176 days until bow season is upon us!
With all the dreams of the upcoming season, there comes the practicality of good planning. What would we like to accomplish before opening day? How do we plan to accomplish these goals? Where would we like our Deer Management Program to take us? Yes, I capitalized it. It needed an “official name”. It is imperative that it is capitalized.
The hallmark of any good management program has to be adequate food and water sources. We have 2300 acres of hunting land in South Texas. On that land, we have 9 ponds and multiple stock tanks. The tanks are filled with well water. So drought withstanding, we tend to be able to keep up with the hydration demands of our wildlife.
We have decided that in addition to the normal spring browse, we will fill our protein feeders a total of five times this year. We have four 1000 pound feeders. That will equate to about 20,000 pounds of protein. Last year, I believe we filled them four times for a total of 16,000 pounds and it really affected the look of our deer. They just seemed to exude health. Their coats were shiny and full, the antler growth was great, and the healthy look was straight across the board from does to fawns to bucks.
In addition to protein, we plan to fill our corn feeders starting in August and ending in February. We have a total of 10 corn feeders on our property. And we generally have to fill them about 4 times each year. Last year, we converted the last 7 of 10 corn feeders to a solar panel so we no longer have to worry about dead batteries. Also at all the corn feeders, we plan to put out mineral/salt licks to ensure that the deer get a good amount of minerals as well.
Last year, we built two permanent bow blinds. Well, one of them was a kid’s fort turned into a gun stand turned into a bow blind. There was this tornado. Long story. Anyway, we recycle. More on that in a later post.
They are double bow box blinds because My Handy Man and I like to hunt together and film each other’s hunts. And let me just say that I have mad filming skills. Just kidding, I do not. I am terrible. I am inept when it comes to electronics and I will say that gracefulness is not my strong suit either. It amazes me that My Handy Man lets me near him with weapons. One of my goals this year, besides not falling and breaking anything, is to become more proficient with the camera and to do a good job filming his hunts. He does a wonderful job filming mine, it is only right to return the favor!
Back to the blinds and the ones we built last year, one of them is for a north wind and one is for a south wind. We did not put metal roofs on them and we have decided that this is a must for where we hunt, so we will be doing that to both old blinds and new alike. This year our plan is to build two more permanent bow blinds. We will probably build them one north and one south again and cozy enough for two bow hunters. That is how we like it.
We have been talking about picking up two pop-up blinds and setting them off the beaten path. We would like to get a couple more game cameras and set them off in the woods somewhere. The idea of getting the cameras that send pictures directly to your phone really appeals to us. And the wallet keeps getting skinnier. We will see.
Last year, we also built a two person rifle stand. We built it ten feet off the ground and it is very nice as well. I do not think we will be building any rifle stands this year. Neither of us really likes to rifle hunt. Our son does like hunting hogs that way though. So we may build more yet. Plus there are a couple of guys on our property that like to hunt the rifle stands.
I will say that I do like the comfort of rifle stands especially when it is cold outside. The problem is that I fall asleep in a rifle stand when I am all warm and snuggled up to My Handy Man. I cannot help it and I cannot change it. Plus, I don’t really want to. It is how God made me. So I better stick to the cold bow blinds. I have talked to a lot of female hunters and it seems that being cold is a common problem. I am always looking for ways to get warmer. Maybe I can get a Heater Body Suit. Yes I think that is what I will do. Alas, the wallet gets lighter.
I would be interested in hearing about other’s plans for the upcoming hunting season.
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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