Posts Tagged With: arrows

Lists

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.

Our Soldier sleeping in peace.

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!

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Changes

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……

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Stewardship

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!)

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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.

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#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.

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#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!

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#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.

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#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.
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                    HAPPY HUNTING!

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Hunting For Health

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!

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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.

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And then I walk into the break room to find this…..

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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!

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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?

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Finding That Girl

“Life is complex. Each one of us must make his own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another…. The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness.”- M. Scott Peck

 

 

new mexicoEver since I was around eleven or twelve, I have had this aspiration of living in the boondocks. I remember clearly exactly when that dream sparked to life. I grew up in the Four Corners of New Mexico. My childhood was filled with wide open spaces, big blue skies, and fresh clean air. I could go just about anywhere and do just about anything I wanted. There was always the threat of snakes, mountain lions, and other wild things, but that never held me back. I was essentially unafraid and completely able to spread my wings.

Anyway back to the dream, my grandparents had purchased quite a bit of land in Colorado. We used to go there to get firewood and while the adults were cutting logs, the children were free to play and explore as long as we did not wander off too far and we paid attention to our surroundings. Of course, we would go farther than we were supposed to and we did not pay any attention to the thought of said snakes, mountain lions, elk, or even bears. Even though we had seen firsthand when they happened to wander into town. Fear never crossed my mind, oh but freedom did! I did not recognize as a child that what I was feeling was freedom in its purest state, however that is exactly what it was.

pathOn the Colorado property, we found this old mill and it had been abandoned for a very long time. It was dilapidated and falling completely apart. From the sagging roof of the millhouse to the wheel so tilted that it looked as if it could topple from the slightest breeze, I thought it was beautiful! Of course, I HAD to go inside and explore it. My mother would have killed me if she only knew, but I absolutely could not stop myself. The floors were rotted through in places, so I picked my steps carefully. Dirt and leaves were everywhere, along with probably all manner of slithering, slinking things. I had no idea what it was once used to mill. All I knew was that this place was special as it had the power to fill me with wonder and make me hauntingly sad at the same time. To this day, whenever I pass an abandoned house or a falling down barn, I am instantly filled with the same sense of wonder and sadness. And, I always have to fight the urge to go inside and explore it!

At one point around about when I was eleven or twelve years old, my parents entertained the notion of moving up to the Colorado property. They even went so far as to ask us children what we thought about it. We would be living quite an isolated life and may even be unable to reach town once the roads become impassable in winter. We would have to become more self-sufficient. We would have to work. Hard. We would have to make sure we had enough food, firewood, and supplies necessary to survive a snowed in winter. To me, it sounded like the closest thing to Heaven on Earth!

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For some reason or another, we did not get to move to the Colorado property. We moved to Texas instead just a few years later. And while we live in the “country”, we are still pretty close to town. No room for exploring or spreading my wings here, we are very conveniently located close to anything and everything. Moving to the Colorado property just never happened, but that burning desire of living a self-sustainable life never left me.

I wonder if that is the reason why now the only time I ever feel truly at peace is when we are hunting in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Just My Handy Man, the kid, and me. When we are so far away from civilization that I can go for miles just seeing God’s creation and His creatures, I can breathe and relax. I can explore and be content again. I do not have to wear any makeup or spend time fixing my hair. I do not have to sit in endless, boring meetings or feel all closed up in a small office with one tiny little window. Nowhere, Texas is the only place that I can truly be myself. I can be me again!! I can be that girl who is unafraid to spread her wings and soar. That girl who feels freedom at its best. That girl who is completely at ease in her surroundings. freedom

I am really writing this because I need to remind myself. I need to remember who I am inside. I am not this corporate world version of myself. I am the other girl. The no makeup, no hairspray, outside-loving girl who once lived inside of me. The girl who only makes an appearance during hunting season.

I am writing this because My Handy Man and I have faced many obstacles over the past few months. We are facing these problems now, head on, and this too shall pass. It is like Murphy’s Law has taken up residence in our front yard right now. However, it has not been completely horrible as we had an outstanding hunting season and our life is full of many blessings! My Handy Man will be having surgery in a couple of weeks and we will press on. I have had many negative comments lately on my dream of living a different life. Things like “Raising chickens is too hard”, “Planting a garden is a waste of time”, or my favorite so far “Trying to move out of a corporate world into a self-reliant life is almost impossible and for people who want to move backward in life instead of forward.”

I just need to remind myself of that girl who is still alive somewhere inside of me. The one who dreams of wide open spaces, of having unclipped wings, and a life of true freedom with My Handy Man next to me. I needed to remember the girl who believes in herself, even when others do not.

Thanks for listening!

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Weathering The Storm

“Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something, or just thought we did.” -Author Unknown.

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It has been almost six weeks since I have posted anything. Our life in the past six weeks has been anything but simple. It is a strange thing, but it seems that once one sets their mind to do something, that is when all these things begin popping up to try and throw one off course. Well, we have held steady and kept our eyes on the goal toward a simpler path, but the blogging had to take a back burner for a bit so we could set our feet on some solid ground. storm

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion for My Handy Man and myself. We have had to deal with a funeral, a wedding, some extended family who seem to want to have a Hatfield/McCoy feud over some stupid matter that should have been resolved with a quick “I’m sorry….Please forgive me…. I was wrong.” A hug and a kiss, and can’t we all just be friends. And as much as My Handy Man and I are bound and determined to stay out of it, it seems as if they are trying their hardest to get us to pick a side. We refuse, we are not becoming part of the problem, but a solution is definitely not clear to us at this point any way. We will just keep praying and hopefully they will listen to a Higher Power than us.

We have had another family member who tried to commit suicide and was placed in a mental hospital for a while. Thankfully, this family member was not successful in taking their life and is out now. I cannot imagine feeling that hopeless about a situation and I cannot say what this person was feeling or thinking at that time. I hope that this person realizes that suicide is not an option and if they reach out, they will always find my hand reaching back out to them. My prayer for this particular person is that they learn to face their problems head on. Life is not easy for anyone and it has not been so ever since the beginning of time.

My Handy Man has found out that he has gone from having a bulging disc to a ruptured disc in his back. He also has a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder. He will definitely be requiring surgery and we are currently awaiting a call for a consult with a surgeon. My Handy Man, in all his stubbornness, says that he refuses to have surgery until after hunting season ends! I love that obstinate man, but my prayer for him is that he makes wise choices and that he makes it through whatever medical procedure is deemed necessary with as quick a recovery as possible.

100_5346On a good note, we have snuck in a few hunting trips and have had a pretty successful season thus far. I will write about those in some future posts. We have a much needed hunting trip planned for this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We need to get back out to the middle of nowhere and decompress. We need to be reminded of what we are struggling for and that it is really that important to us.

Better than that though, I have landed a job running my department at work. I have to say that God knows exactly what we need and His timing is impeccable. Just when things are looking impossible, He always provides a way. My prayer for this is that I can learn what I need to know quickly and do a good job for the people that have believed in me enough to give me this opportunity.

We may come in a little behind in our endeavors to live a self-sustained existence than what we first hoped for, but together we will keep on keeping on. Tractor

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Back Again

It has been a while since I posted anything. We had a wonderful time and I will be writing a few blog posts about what happened on our vacation soon. I just wanted to plug back in here and get going with my blog again.

We got back home from our eleven day hunting trip on Monday night. I went back to work Tuesday and have been plagued by sinus problems since. So, all week it has been take medicine, work, take medicine, sleep, take medicine. This cycle keeps repeating itself, but this morning I am feeling much better. My Handy Man left Wednesday for San Antonio on business and he will be back today. I miss his face and cannot wait to see him. I think this week is proof that I need to live in the middle of Nowhere Texas with My Handy Man where we can just hunt, grow our own food, and forget about this concrete jungle. City

If anything, this week has been hectic and has shown me how much I enjoy being out at the ranch. Our trip consisted of getting up every morning at 0500 and going out to hunt until 1000, then coming back to the ranch house to make breakfast from scratch. YUM! Then we would go do some work, take a nap (me), and get ready for the evening hunt. We would head out again at about 1530, stay out until 30 minutes after sunset, and come back to the house where we’d make dinner from scratch again. Finally, we would be snuggled in bed by 2200 on most evenings.

The next morning we would get up and do it all over again. I guess people establish a routine whether they are in the corporate world or living simply. The only difference being that my soul has peace when we are in nature. Simple things like washing dishes, cooking our food, or riding around the ranch make feel like I can breathe. There is no need for television or even a radio. We talked to each other or were silent together. There was no rushing around to try and get things done, so that we could just make it to the next day of rushing around and trying to get things done. Ranch Road

I know that there is always a sense of needing to get things done in life. Whether one lives on a self-sufficient homestead or not, there will always be things that need to be taken care of. It could be that the chicken coops need cleaning, the barn needs a new roof, or the tomatoes are all ripe at the same time and need canning. The contrast to that of course would be the suburban lawn needing mowed, sitting in rush hour traffic, or meeting a deadline at work. The trick is finding out what makes your heart content.

My Handy Man and I always experience a huge culture shock when we come back from The Ranch. Out there it is so dark at night that I literally cannot see my hand in front of my face if it is held out farther than a foot in front of my eyes. My husband laughs because I am a grown woman who requires a nightlight. Hey, it is serious business being in the dark when there are spiders, snakes, and scorpions to deal with! However, while it is so dark and there is not another soul for 5 miles in either direction, the stars are so brilliantly visible that it feels like there are so many more out there than in town. I know that is not the case and there are the same number of stars in the universe no matter where one happens to be, but in town there are too many lights to appreciate the beauty of the night sky.

The sound of the ranch is unique as well. It is not quiet in the middle of Nowhere Texas like one might expect. The sounds are not those of honking horns, sirens, television, music blaring, or continual chatter. The noise of The Ranch is muted but constant. The buzzing of insects, coyotes yipping, hogs squealing, wind whispering, cows grazing, turkeys gobbling, or even deer squawking make hauntingly beautiful music if one will be still and quiet enough to listen for it. Mesquite

The scenes at the ranch are vastly different also. This is not a big shocker to anyone, I am sure. There are miles of emptiness full of the wonder of God’s world. It is not an abyss but it is also not filled up with the creation of man. Everywhere you look there is something to see whether it is a blooming cactus, rabbits scurrying to and fro, rock pathways laid by nature, or the heart pounding beauty of a buck skirting a tree line. One can drive for miles and miles without passing another vehicle. There seems to be an invisible line that we cross when we come back to “civilization”. Suddenly, things just move faster. Concrete rises up into buildings and freeways, billboards flash every 20 feet, thousands of cars zoom in and out of traffic like their motto really is objects in the mirror are losing, and my eyes go into graphic overload. Once that unseen line is crossed, it feels like I have just stepped forward in time about 50 years and I do not like it. I cannot wait to go back to the place where I find my peace, tranquility, and rest.

Does anyone else have a refuge of breathing space? Where is your sanctuary?

 

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The View

The view outside my window this morning. If I were home, I’d be looking at a million things that needed to be done. I could be doing laundry, or yard work, or just watching some brain-numbing television. I could have slept in, would definitely have already eaten breakfast, and been sitting around bored.

Instead I woke at 5:45, donned some camouflage garb, and sucked down a quick cup of coffee. I painted my face, checked to make sure I had all the necessities, and then climbed into the cab of My Handy Man’s truck. We set off for the Clay Hill bow stand long before the sun peeked over the horizon.

After hiking a half mile in, we quickly set up our gear and sat down. We enjoyed watching a little rabbit scurry about as he tried to find his breakfast. We could see birds flitting from one tree to the next. From somewhere I could not see, a turkey was raising quite a ruckus. We watched the sun rise one breathtaking moment at a time.

Before we knew what hit us, we were covered in whitetail. They seemed to come from all directions at once. A doe and a yearling came one way, a couple of spikes came from somewhere else, and from seemingly out of nowhere a nice sized 6 point. That one was a cull buck as he had no brow tines. And, he was mine if only he would step out and into range.

My heart was pounding and it was difficult to control my breathing. Silently, I willed him to take a few steps in my direction. He did not listen to my unspoken plea, just continued to happily munch on the breakfast he had come for. And, then he turned and walked away.

My morning was not filled with to-do lists, Saturday morning relaxation, or even puttering around in the yard. My view could never have been made with human hands. My eyes were filled with the wonder and beauty of God’s creation. And, I cannot wait to go out and see it again.

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