Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking forward to looking back on 2009

Yet another year comes to a close. Where does the time go? The first time I realized that time did actually speed by quickly was my last day of 5th grade in Mr. Ellis' class. As we awaited our report cards and the ring of the final bell of the school year to embark on a long awaited summer vacation, I stood in complete amazement for a moment in time and actually realized that the school year had sped by. I'm not sure what brought that realization on at what to me seems to be an early age to actually recognize that but just the same it happened. Now the months go by like weeks and weeks like days and before we know it Christmas is behind us, some of us are still cleaning up debris from the occasion, we are complaining about the cold and realizing that yet another year has come and gone.

This year has been one of significant changes for me. A roller coaster of a ride for sure. There have been high points, low points, challenges, memorable moments and certainly moments I never want to remember. What I have learned first hand is that what doesn't kill you truly makes you stronger!

Now on the brink of 2010 I look ahead with great excitement. Going back to college as a single mother of two will present challenges of it's own, but I'm confident that with good planning and maybe a little bit of luck this will be one of the most successful years ever. However busy I get I will still be making plenty of time to get outdoors both on my own and with my two children. It has been my experience that Mother Nature is both healing and nurturing, two things everyone of all ages can use at any point in their life. So as I look forward to looking back on 2009 I am also welcoming 2010 with great anticipation and eagerness.

Classes start January 11th so I'll certainly be sneaking in some ice fishing time in the next two weeks. So long as the cold snap continues there will be lots of ice building on the lakes and it will be at a thickness desirable for safe ice fishing.

Happy New Year to all! May the new year bring big fish, a sizable buck, maybe even a moose and the pictures to prove your fishing/hunting tales.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Wonderland

It's that time of year again. The first snow storm of the season. I was dressed down in my official George Costanza get up, complete with jogging pants, cotton shirt (that had a bleach stain on it) my Bean boots only partially laced up, pom pom hat and my daughters pink mittens. What a scene! I didn't realize how ill prepared I was for this storm. Food and water wise we were golden, however when I went to search for mittens...oopsie. None! Thankfully the girls have several pairs and this one particular pair were a tad bit too big for Haley so sure enough, they did the trick for me.

Mind you I actually enjoy shoveling snow. However, we were starting to get 'wet' snow which means it was getting heavy and the forecast was predicting it to turn to freezing rain. So, I thought I had best get my booty out there before it got too difficult to shovel. My obliques certainly felt the burn. Shoveling snow is always a satisfying work out for me. One because it does get your heart going and two you can see what you have accomplished when you are done!

As you can see from the picture, I certainly did have my work cut out for me. Between playing with the dog, running in and checking on the kids and actually shoveling it only took me about an hour total. Nothing to write home about really but like I said, it was the first storm of the year so I have a while to build up to record timing.

A few things to keep in mind when shoveling:
1. Bend your legs, not at your waist. This puts less pressure on your back so as to avoid back injuries.
2. Dress warm, wear cottons so that the materials draw the moisture away from your body.
3. Hydrate frequently.

Happy digging out!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skunked...and it really does stink!

Another year of 'Deer' season has come and gone and other than a pile of hunting clothes needing to be laundered and a gun cabinet full of rifles, shot guns and hand guns needing to be cleaned I have nothing to show for my efforts. I will say despite ending the season empty handed I do enjoy just being out doors. Heading to the woods or Deer Camp with friends and family is certainly a highlight in the year for me.

My southern Maine excursion last weekend was great! Over slept, locked ourselves out of camp and even had to haul a guys truck out of a slippery predicament. Sounds bad but I actually had a blast! Alarm was set for 4:30 a.m. last day of hunting season..woke up and it was pouring out. General consensus of course (after having a mere two hours of sleep and seeing the down pour) was to go back to bed for a while! After sleeping several more hours we got up around 8:30am and although still drizzling we decided to grab our gear and head out to Josh's Deer Camp and hunt out behind there for the remainder of the day. Made sense considering we were going to stay the night out there anyways. As we were leaving I decided to grab my sunglasses on a whim hoping I might get to use them at some point (even though the sun was behind clouds at the time). After about half an hour it stopped raining and the sun came out. Wish I could say it was an educated guess that I would need them or even a chance that the weather forecast had predicted sun. However, it was mere dumb luck. Just the same it definitely lifted our spirits to see the sun come out and know we weren't going to get completely drenched for the afternoon hunt.

Deer camp was exactly as I had expected. A nice yet simple camp off a 4-wheeler trail surrounded by pines, maples and oaks. The smell of the wet leaves, damp pine needles and the smoke from a fire started in the wood stove has me settling in quite nicely. Truck is unloaded and we are dressed in our hunter orange, guns in hand and head out the door. After checking my compass we head off down the trail. Several logging roads on each side of the trail go off in many directions. The one I head down has a small tree rubbed to a toothpick so this is very promising! Josh tells me 'Just down this trail a little ways there is a little brook and just past that is a nice place to sit where you can see in either direction for quite a ways.' Sounds good to me! With the sun beating on my cheeks and the cool air swirling around me I'm off and plan to meet back up in an hour and a half or so. I take a quick glance at the sun because I don't have a watch with me. I know, I know...this sounds ridiculous but I'm actually a pretty good judge of telling approximately what time it is by the amount of daylight and the positioning of the sun. Now I come across this 'brook' which is more like a frickin' raging river. Seriously, I could have taken a bath or gone for a swim it was so deep and moving quickly. Opting not to risk dropping my gun (actually my dad's gun) in this 'brook' I walk down stream a little ways and find a few suitable stepping stones and make my way across. I took my time walking the trail. I'm not one who can sit for very long as I get too fidgety. However, not wanting to deviate too far from where my hunting partner was expecting me to be I decided to climb part of a steep hill to a ridge that ran along half way up. This way I could see if he was coming to look for me or not. I actually did manage to sit for about an hour. The wind was extremely strong and with branches falling and leaves swirling like mini tornadoes I figured it was about time to head back. About half way back I met up with Josh who had explained one of his buddies, Matt, had come down with his 2 wheel drive and will probably need help getting out later. No worries, still several hours of hunting first.

Matt found a great spot to camp out for the remainder of day light. Surrounded by rubs and scrapes not too far from the ridge where I was sitting Matt set up his blind and hunkered down for the rest of the afternoon. Again, taking direction from my hunting partner I start down yet another logging road. Taking my time and finding a nice pine tree to sit down and lean against I took in all the nature surrounding me. I watched a rabbit hop by (poor things stand out like sore thumbs right now), listened to the wood pecker a few trees over and watching the chipmunks gathering food combined with all the smells the forest has to offer I was very content. After about 40 minutes it was time to meet up with Josh again. Still quiet in the woods. No shots fired and there was only about an hour and a half left of day light. The probability of knocking down a deer during 'regular' hunting season was dwindling and fast. We made our way back to camp to stoke the stove and regroup. Starting back out we went in the opposite direction to find a good place to sit before the sun set. The wind seemed to have picked up even more and as the sun quickly faded so did this years hunting season for me.

Not all was lost. As I stated in the outset, just being in the woods enjoying nature is quite satisfying for me. Mind you, I was still somewhat disappointed but not nearly as disappointed as my hunting buddy. He had spent all week hunting (various locations) and came up empty handed. Of course this week is black powder and being the die hard hunter he is, he's out there
again this week with his muzzle loader. After talking with many of my friends and acquaintances we are part of a very large 'club' this year. Many hunters came up empty handed. Some are heading out with their muzzle loaders like Josh. I hope for his sanity (and maybe even a little bit of his pride) :) He is able to tag out this hunting season.

Next on my agenda is to do a little rabbit hunting. I want to take up duck hunting next year and want to warm my Labrador Retriever, Scout, up to the sound of the shot gun. While we are waiting for the lakes to freeze over for ice fishing, Scout and I will make our way though some woods to do a little dog training and snag a hare or two for my Grandma to make Wabbit-Stew.

Grand Lake Stream

Grand Lake Stream
I love this place!