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……
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.