Friday, November 30, 2007

Floating Holiday

I had today off from work as a floating holiday to ensure I didn't miss the kids Christmas Play at school tonight. I decided since I had the day off I would partake in one of my favorite past times - you guessed it, Hunting!

Much to my disappointment when I got into my truck this morning I found I had a tire going flat. So being the responsible young man that I am I went to the closest gas station to get a can of fix-a-flat. Now I know one of my arms and at least one leg are in danger of being acquired when I go to purchase gasoline but it turns out you need to be rich to purchase a can of fix-a-flat. It was a small can not even one of the tall boys and they wanted over $9.00. Even though I could have expensed it I just couldn't bring myself to spend more than double what I know I could pay somewhere else. At this point I asked the attendant to turn on the air pump outside ($0.50 cents if you are too lazy to ask!) and when I began to fill the tire up with fresh winter air much to my surprise the leak began to bubble right in front of my nose. I decided to take a trip to our local Goodyear shop and get it fixed properly.

Now you can imagine me sulking in the waiting area as I waited for my vehicle to get pulled in and I sat dreaming of sitting in the woods rather than smelling all the rubber tires on display. Thanks to all the service guys I was out of there by 10:30 and on my way to the farm I hunt on.

When I got to the farm I was thinking about where I wanted to sit for the day and decided due to the time I would walk through the swamp and look for Ariel's hunting cap which we lost last time we went out when walking through all the briar's. I figured I could get to the area that Ariel realized her cap was missing and it would be long enough to cut over to my ground blind and sit for the rest of the day. Well I never found Ariel's cap but as I was approaching the log that we sat on the day she lost it I walked up on a doe and when she turned her head I was able to raise my weapon and take a clean shot at her fully exposed vital area. The shot looked good so I decided to sit and wait 30 minutes before approaching the last area I saw her. After what felt like an eternity I began to approach the clearing I last saw her in when suddenly she stood up 20 yards away. I decided to take a second shot before she ran off and thankfully it was a clean shot and she dropped where she stood. Much to my surprise as I prepared to field dress the deer I looked to my left and discovered I had harvested 2 separate deer!

Thank you Ariel for losing your cap, thank you whoever dropped the 3" sheet rock screw that delayed my hunt as it was buried in my tire, Thank you to the Grant's for allowing me to hunt your property. Now last but by no means least Thank you to my Dad (father-in-law) for dropping everything you were doing to help me with dragging the deer through all the briar's and up the hill-I don't think I could have done it without you!

I am thankful that I live during a time that hunting is not required to provide food for my family but with that said I am glad I have the freedom to go hunting and harvest an animal, especially the beautiful and majestic deer; that God has placed here for us to eat. The meat that is obtained from these deer is one of the healthiest meats we can eat (now that doesn't mean the way I prepare it is always healthy- I love butter!) and the $$ we save on purchasing beef is amazing. Most importantly I enjoy the time I spend in the woods, I get much needed exercise and the quiet time is beneficial for the soul as well as the physical body.

I will be spending tomorrow butchering my deer so hunting season has come to an end for me but the memories will last forever and the meat will fill our bellies at least through the spring.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lasting memories

Today was a special day for me and hopefully the kids as well. I spent the morning hunting with Ariel on our friends family farm. After lunch I went home and took Alex out hunting on our neighbors property. I know there are people out there that might find the thought of a child hunting morbid but I truly believe that the relationship formed with a child while sitting in the woods hunting is a unique one. For starters there are no distractions it is one-on-one. You would be amazed at the quiet conversations that take place. I can remember hunting with my dad as a child and the time we spent together formed lasting memories that nobody can ever take away, memories that I am grateful for as my father is no longer here. Sitting in the woods with my children made me thankful that I have a special relationship with them and that they are interested in my hobbies. My job is to be a good parent first and the product of that is we are friends also. It was nice to spend equal time alone with each child and I was very proud of each of them as it was quite cold out today and they both sat very still and whispered during our conversations. Even though we didn't see any deer we were able to observe plenty of other wildlife which is always enjoyable and educational. I am Thankful for the love of nature my parents instilled in me and the ability I have to pass this love of the outdoors onto my children.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving one day early.

Hurray, Thanksgiving came a day early. I got out of work in time to go hunting for an hour and a half today and I am glad I did. As you can see by the pictures I got my first deer of the year. It dressed out at just under 150 lbs with 3 points for antlers. The best part is Rebecca doesn't have to worry about me being late for the Turkey Day meal this year. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Grant for letting me hunt on your property, thank you Grandpa for the family gun, and thank you to my friends and family for putting up with me every hunting season, now I can go and shave my beard.
To my dad:
As always, Missing you, Wish you were here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I love Snow!

Yes I know I have a serious mental issues. We got our first snow storm today, it may have been only an inch but it was beautiful and white. The only problem was I worked today, I would have been much happier if the snow fell during one of my vacation days but at least I have a nice new paved driveway which made shoveling a lot of fun and much, much easier! (once again I know I have issues) And if you don't love the snow you can never go wrong with watching TV this time of the year as all the Charlie Brown specials are on! Either way we all win.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Celebrate good times!

Happy 33rd Birthday to me! Actually it was 2 weeks ago but due to my work schedule we decided to celebrate today. One of our family traditions is we get to pick our entire B-day meal which sounds easy but I try to do something different every year while trying not to be too difficult. This year I decided on cheese and crackers with seafood chowder and pineapple upside down cake for dessert. Normally I am not allowed to cook for my own party but I really wanted to make the chowder and Becky finally gave in. You see when I was in culinary school I made a seafood newburg that was amazing and wanted to see if I could succeed at making something even better without following a recipe and worrying about a passing grade. Normally I don't like to blow my own horn but all I can say is "darn I'm good" clams, shrimp, lobster, scallops, bacon - Yummy! It was nice to sit down with my family and enjoy a meal together. The cake was a hit also it was exactly what I wanted, the problem I have is that there is less than a year to decide what I want for my 34th B-day meal. Thank you to my family for being an active part of my life and that of my children, I love each one of you and cherish every moment we have together. Thanks for putting up with me (especially Jackie!) as I know I have my moments. For everyone who wants the recipe for the chowder I have autographed copies available for a reasonable monetary donation. : )

Friday, November 16, 2007

Venison, its what's for dinner.

Finally a crisp, cold morning and a great one at that. I got up early and went to pick my best friend Jayson up (the muffin man he is not as I had to call him multiple times while I was sitting in his driveway in order to wake him up from his peaceful slumber) we decided to hunt private land together as I didn't want to hunt private land by myself and he was feeling the same way about hunting state land alone. There is a special bond formed between friends when out hunting together. As many of you know my father passed away when I was a teenager and the memories I have of going hunting with my dad are special to me and I have a lot of emotions that surfaces this time of year from deep within. While driving to our hunting spot we enjoyed listening to some of our favorite 80's music. When we pulled into the property we were planning on hunting there was the majestic deer we were after, laughing as he walked away ever so nonchalantly, at least this time I wasn't locked in the back seat of the truck! I took Jayson and put him in the stand I have been using this year and proceeded to go to my alternate stand. The wind was very strong (I actually had a tree fall and hit me tonight but that's another story) and about 30 minutes after I settled in I received a text from Jayson telling me he was getting sea sick in my stand, so I decided to call him to see if he wanted me to tell him another location and much to my dismay he didn't answer my call-then KABOOM! Yup you guessed it Jayson with stomach doing flip flops managed to shoot a beautiful 7 point 130lb deer. Hopefully I will have my own success this year but for the time being I will reflect on a great day in the field with a friend and his good fortune.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mama, what's vacation?

"Forrest my son, vacation is when someone goes away and never, ever comes

If only vacation from work really worked that way, Mrs. Gump always had a way of putting things so that Forrest could understand but she didn't really know what vacation "was".
Well today was the first day of my vacation and I enjoyed the entire day in God's wonderful creation deer hunting on a family friend's farm. It was a very relaxing day even though there were no deer to be seen. Tonight was special as I saw 3 different owls, there were 2 barn owls flying together and they almost landed in the tree I was sitting in which made the experience very up close and personal. Earlier in the afternoon I had a great horned owl fly past my stand and as I was leaving while standing in a large hay field while talking to the land owner I saw another one swoop down and catch a rabbit which is always exciting. Hopefully I will be able to post pictures of a harvested deer soon but until then if I'm not writing you will know where I am, In the Woods!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fun and games.

I worked at my Boston office today and as many of those who know me realize I spend a lot of time driving due to my service area covering the entire north east. As can be expected I am always looking for new ways to entertain myself while I am on the road. Due to the recent time change for daylight saving it now gets darker earlier. While driving tonight I began to notice the amount of people with satellite radios, their glowing displays mounted on the dash of their vehicles and this got my mind gears turning. I know from experience that my remote control for my satellite radio works with Rebecca's and vice-versa so as I was driving I decided to see if it would work on my fellow commuters radios as well. I am tickled to say it was an entertaining drive home. While sitting in traffic (I don't suggest doing this while in motion as that would be dangerous and irresponsible) I was amazed to see peoples reaction while their receivers mysteriously turned on and off, and channels changed on their own! As the saying goes it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt so as I was laughing hysterically I realized my game might not be found humorous to everyone else so I decided to quit while I was ahead, but all and all it was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

School Daze...

The kids were sent home with their Report Cards for the first Quarter of the school year today. I must admit I enjoyed watching them squirm when I made them sit down with me and Mommy to discuss their grades. Oh the memories, I remember sitting at the end of the table when my dad would look at my report card so many years ago, why I worried I don't understand as my grades were always good. (Keep in mind 79% was a failing grade at E.C.A.)

I am proud to say they are both doing well in school this year. Ariel has wonderful grades for the first quarter although for some strange reason she got a low grade for reading at home, but we will be sure to get that corrected. After all the child reads every night and most times there aren't any pictures in the book, just words. (I like the pictures and I'm not ashamed to say it!)

Alex is also doing well also, his only downfall is that he takes after me and is always talking. (It's not his fault its his Italian showing!)

I am thankful that we are able to send them to such a great school and knowing that they both have teachers who care about them each personally is very comforting. With a little extra effort I know they will be able to correct their weakness and hopefully have even better grades next quarter, either way I will still love them both the same. Thankfully their teachers don't read this so I don't have to worry about being corrected when it comes to all my run-on sentences and poor punctuation! All I can say is "Thank Goodness" for spell checker.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Children - God's little reminders:

I was sitting by the fire pit earlier tonight watching Alex play in the woods with Navarre and my thoughts were flooded with childhood memories. As the boys were jumping off of the boulders and running around I realized that they were unaware of me watching their every move but none the less I was there with them. This got me thinking about my relationship with God and how often I get caught up with myself and fail to realize that He is there with me whether I am acknowledging His presence and including Him in my activity or not. Earlier this year it took a total stranger coming up to me and telling me "God loves you and wants you to know are not alone" only moments after I consciously said to myself that I didn't want to be alone and wish I had someone to keep me company. Needless to say I was instantly aware and somewhat overwhelmed with His presence. Since that day I have made an effort to constantly be aware of God's presence and when I begin to falter it seems there is always a little reminder to get my attention, watching Alex tonight was that reminder.

A short time later I was reminded that He is there to lift us up and comfort us when we need Him and if we have made Him an active part of our lives we don't even have to ask, He is there with us through good times and bad.

I was reminded of this as Ariel and Alex were racing each other on their bicycles (that's right less than 4 days after removing his training wheels Alex is challenging his sister to races). They made a full lap around the house and as they were coming down the hill in front of the pond their tires rubbed together and Ariel had her first major wipe out which included her imitation of superman flying as she went over her handle bars and gravity proved itself to us once again. I was there watching the entire event unfold and was there to lift her up. Thankfully she wasn't hurt (except maybe her pride as she lost the race to her little brother) and together we had a hardy laugh as we replayed her attempt to fly without a plane.

God has blessed me with 2 wonderful and healthy children and has used them to show me that a relationship with Him, just like my childrens' relationship with me, doesn't need to be hard and for that I am grateful and truly blessed.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Go Kyle, GO!

What an awesome race. I worked today so I was stuck listening to the race in the truck on my ride home during which Kyle Busch was leading the race. I was able to sit down when I got home but I would be lying if I said I was able to relax. I surprise myself when I think about the fact that I have become attached to a man whom I have never even met especially considering that I have never been a big sports fan but when it comes to Kyle racing I have gotten emotional on more than one occasion. Kyle led the most laps during the race today but at the end lapped cars were holding him up and he came in a respectable 4th place. With only 2 races left to go this season I looks like his chances for winning the championship are slim but I won't give up till the checkered flag flies in two weeks at the Homestead race. So until the last lap I'll be heard throughout the North Woods yelling "Go Kyle, GO!"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

No more training wheels!

Look MOM two wheels!, while I was setting up this site yesterday Alex came in and asked if I would take off his training wheels. Now I have been putting this off for a while thanks to all the memories and scars I have from a fun filled boyhood, but I can't shelter him forever. When I was done Ariel gave him a few quick pointers and away he went. Thankfully Ariel suggested he stay on the grass for his first few tries - "just in case". He was so proud of himself he asked to go out last night at 8:00pm to practice some more. Of course the answer was no!To our surprise we were awoken a short time before 7:00 this morning to Alex opening the garage door and the cheerful glee of a young boy riding his bike up and down the driveway in the dull morning light.