Slow down and …………………..

Life is made up of special moments which make it worth living.

There are many cherished moments that are missed due to the stress and fast pace of daily living.

We must slow down and remember how precious it is to be alive and to love.    Lessons Learned in Life

Where Do You Stand?

“Life is not tried it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.” Standing Outside the Fire – Garth Brooks

I am definitely not the type of person who stands outside the fire. I have took chances. Sometimes I won and sometimes I lost. I have celebrated and I have cried. I have never, no never regretted that I chose not to stand outside the fire. By making that choice the fire tempered my spirit, strengthened my soul, and made me a better person. The flames tempered my whole being, taught me respect and made me a survivor!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and remember to spread the love.

Until Next Year!

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“Time will pass and seasons will come and go.” – Roy Bean

The end of the fishing season on the rivers here in Missouri for me has come to the end of the season.  On sunny days I will still float the river but fishing will have to wait until spring.

I know you all are probably getting tired of hearing my fishing stories so I will keep today’s blog short.  I put in the river at 8:30 a.m. and the temperature was 30 degrees. The “weather guessers” were calling for a high of 60.  The fourth cast of the day I caught a largemouth bass.  It appeared the fishing would be good toaday.  So I thought.

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The wind was a force I really didn’t want to deal with.  At one point I was going through a shallow, swift area of the river when a wind gust hit me head on and actually pushed me and the yak back up river against the current.  It made it pretty difficult to fish.

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That morning I caught 2 large mouth bass and one smallmouth bass.  Oh well a bad day on the river is better than a good day at work.  After lunch it didn’t get any better.  I caught 1 smallmouth and 2 perch and that was it.  It wasn’t the way I wanted to end the fishing season but next season will be here before we know it.

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It was a good year.  The Big River really is becoming a trophy smallmouth bass area.  The largest one I caught, actually put in the boat, was 16 inches.  Here in Missouri it takes approximately 7 to 9 years for them to grow to 15 inches.  I also caught a 19 inch largemouth and an 8 pound channel cat.

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I want to thank my high school friends David Tripp and Mark Nelson for taking time out of their busy schedules and doing some fishing with me.  I had a good time and hope you two did also.

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Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  It is very much appreciated.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Photography is one of my passions.  Remember to spread the love, be kind to each other and above all, respect each other.

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All the photos were taken on the Big River near Desloge, MO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Fishing on the Big River

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On October 17, I embarked on another adventure on the Big River.  I had a client that shuttled my yak and I so I could do a straight through float.  I hit the water at 8:30 am and the temp was 37 degrees.  The sun was coming up and the fog was starting to lift.  It was going to be a beautiful day.  The high was supposed to be 55 however the wind was a big pain in the yak.

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Big River near DeSoto, MO

On my third throw of the day I cast my lure around the boat ramp.  I reeled in a couple turns and whammy.  Something hit hard and the fight was on.  I fought it for about 5 minutes and then all of a sudden it was over.  It had got off.  In the next 15 minutes I hooked 3 more and got them about half way to the boat and they would get off.  It was like I was jinxed.

I fished about a half an hour and not a hit.  Then, whammy.  I had one on.  It was a 13 inch smallmouth and it appeared the jinx was over.  I caught 5 more smallies and 1 largemouth and 4 spotted bass.  Around 1 pm I pulled up on a gravel bar and ate lunch.

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My kayak on Big River near DeSoto, MO.

Around 1:30 I started on down the river only to be greeted by a Bald Eagle that Mark and I had seen the week before in the same area.  What a magnificent bird indeed.

I continued to catch fish.  I caught them on a  Rapala floating minnow and a Rebel Wee-Craw which caught the most.  Last week with my buddy Mark I had caught some on a pig and jig and a plastic worm but couldn’t buy a bite with them today.

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A 13 inch largemouth bass

 

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A 16 inch smallmouth bass

The day was going good and then it happened.  I had cast the Wee-Craw and retrieved it a couple turns when wham!  Something had hit the lure and hard.  It started peeling line and headed up stream.  I was in some shallow fast moving water and I knew it was going to create a problem.  I was in good shape as long as the yak stayed in the middle of the river but then I hit a pocket of water that started pushing me to the bank.  I got it right up next to the boat and I saw what was the biggest smallmouth that I had ever hooked.  It looked like something you see in a Bass Pro Shop aquarium.  The 16 inch I had caught was dwarfed by this smallie.  Then, this was all taking place now in about 3 foot of water and I could easily see the bottom, I saw it zero in on a tree branch on the bottom and wrap my line around a limb.  Here I am sitting with one of my biggest dreams right there in front of me and I can’t do anything but watch it tug then finally pull loose.  I was devastated!!!!!

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Rebel Wee-Craw

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Rapala original floating minnow

When the initial shock of losing the biggest smallie I had ever caught wore off I headed on down river making my way to the boat ramp.  Along the way I managed to catch several more smallies and spotted bass.  It was a great day.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to spread the love.  A few more pics of the river that day.

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Big River

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Big River

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Big River

Opinions, Everyone has One

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We all have the right of freedom of speech under the First Amendment.  We all don’t have to agree with one another on our opinions.  Everyone in my circle, that I run with, we all feel the same about God, country, integrity and character. – Luke Scott

Being a 50s baby I am totally lost as what is going on today in America.  I can remember when folks disagreed because of different opinions.  It’s not something that just started.  I don’t remember it getting as ugly (which caused me to write this) as folks are today to each other when their opinions differ.  At the same time we didn’t have “social media” either.

Our opinions aren’t always going to be the same. That is why there is the left and  the right.  I am basically an in the middle kind of guy.  I have never voted a straight ticket.  I always look at the candidate and their views.  Yes, your opinions are as different as night and day but you don’t have the right to threaten or bully each other   The hostilities have got to cease and be replaced with some civility.

“Different people have different opinions, and it’s okay to respect all of them.”  – Juan Pablo Galavis

The thing that bothers me most is the double standard of the left and the violence they are instigating.  Left; the elections were almost 2 years ago and you still won’t accept defeat even after you screwed Sanders and gave the nomination to Clinton.  Bernie would have beat Trump in my opinion even though you don’t think I am entitled to an opinion.  Now you are looking for anything to blame the loss on.  Right; obviously you didn’t understand why rural America got out and voted because you have done nothing.  Don’t think you can’t be voted out.  You have a lot of convincing to do in the next 2 years.

I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them.” – Herbert H. Lehman

It seems that today in this country that the Main Stream News Media is doing their best to incite a riot and create a bigger divide in this country.  I remember when news reporters read the news and didn’t give an opinion.  The way it should be.  Hollywood; shut the “F” up.  The majority of you make me want to puke.  Everyone says Trump is a joke and other countries are laughing at us because of it.  Really?  I guess you haven’t done anything to make other countries laugh at us.  Nobody entertained us like Joe Biden but that was ok.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

You all can believe what you want and think I am crazy but America is circling the drain and we are standing back watching.  First and foremost we are Americans not republicans or democrats.  It is time to bury the hatchet and plug that drain.  Do you think this group coming to the US from Honduras is just a coincidence?

Thanks for reading my blog.  Not a popular subject and I tried to avoid even writing about it but with the events that have went on lately I felt compelled to write about it.  I hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  That isn’t my intention.

Be sure to “share the love.

 

 

A Lazy Day on the River

 

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Big River near Fletcher, MO.

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship” – Thomas Aquinas

On October 9, my long time friend Mark and I finally got together for a float on the Big River.  We have been trying to get together for a float for 3 months now.  It was well worth the wait.  The temps were in the upper 70s, and the water was clear.  It was overcast with the sun popping out from time to time.   All in all it was setting up to be a great day.

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Big River near Fletcher, MO.

I brought along 3 poles and Mark had brought only one.  I use ultra-lights with 4 pound test line.  We launched our yaks at Mammoth access and planned to float to Merrill Horse access.  I believe it is a little over 5 miles.

The leaves on the trees were starting to change colors but unfortunately their colors hadn’t matured yet.  It was quite breezy however we were able to handle it. The river was low but we never had to get out and pull our yaks across shallow places.

 

“Rivers run through our history and folklore, and link us as a people.  They nourish and refresh us and provide a home for dazzling varieties of fish and wildlife and trees and plants of every sort.  We are a nation rich in rivers.” – Charles Kuralt

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I caught this nice 15 1/2 inch smallmouth.

The fish bit real well for a while and then they shut down.  While they were biting they weren’t picky.  We caught them on a Rebel Wee-Craw and Floating Minnow, Pig and Jig, and Plastic Worms (two different colors).  We caught perch,  largemouth and smallmouth.  The length limit of smallmouth in Missouri (on the Big River) is 15 inches.  I choose not to keep smallmouth because it takes one 6 to 7 years to reach 15 inches.

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Big River

“The River…It’s my world, and I don’t want any other.  What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.  Lord! the times we have had together!” Kenneth Grahame

Everything was going smoothly and then it happened.  My paddle broke and we still had some swift places to get through and without the proper paddle they would have been difficult to navigate.  This is why one should always carry a knife with them.

Well I think Mark and I would be classified as country boys and maybe a hillbilly tag on myself.  So we went to work and fixed the paddle good enough to get me back to the boat ramp.  McGyver would have been proud of us.

 

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Paddle Repair 101

It was a good day.  I always enjoy my time on the river and it is nice when a friend goes a long to enjoy it with you.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another and spread the love.

The River; As I See It

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Bourbeuse River in the fall.

 

“The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.” – John Muir

I have been having a battle with writer’s block and I seem to be losing.  Wanted to go to the river this weekend but with forecast calling for 3 to 6 inches of rain in the area and flash flood warnings I decided to pass.  I would have to wait for another chance.

I long for that much needed quiet time on the river with the croaking bullfrogs, crickets, the howling of the coyotes and that occasional slap of the beaver’s tail on the water warning the other beaver in the area that they have an intruder within their territory.

“There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, and ancient mother – love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.” – John Muir

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Borubeuse River on a fall morning.

I love gazing into the night sky at all the stars shining down upon me.   The peace and tranquility soon overtake me and allows my spirit and soul to recharge.  I become one with Nature at this moment and feel all the negative energy exit my being and I begin to look at life with a positive attitude.  It allows me to use logic in my thinking unencumbered by my emotions.  It is a feeling I will never be able to adequately express with words.  It is something that one must experience and feel in their heart before one can understand the true feeling of total peace within oneself.

If for some reason I lose the ability to be able to interact with Nature and the river in this capacity, I will not be long of this world.  I truly understand how John Muir had such and immense love of the mountains.  His mountains are my rivers.  I wish I could just live on the banks of the river and explore it daily.  It is my Utopia my safe place.  My experiences on the river enhance my quality of life and I develop a better understanding of life.  I won’t ever grow tired of the serenity of the river.

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Bourbeuse River (Picture by Double D Acres LLC)

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Until next time, be kind to one another and spread the love.

 

Life 101!

“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” Oliver Goldsmith

Once a person slides through the birth canal and pops out into the world, it’s “game on”, the journey has begun.  Nope you can’t go back.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t scratch and claw your way back into the birth canal and hide.  Now put on your big boy/girl panties and grab life by the horns because it is going to be one hell of a ride.

The first eighteen years is tough.   For the biggest part of those years, someone else makes decisions for you.  There will be times that you will swear those people making those decisions have only one purpose in life.  Yep.  In this complicated world, believe it or not, just one.  Make your life as miserable as they can!  When you start thinking this way, the odds are that you have graduated to teenager status and at this point you know it all.

Then that big day comes.  You achieve adulthood and the biggest surprise, you are alive.  You survived.  Now we are going to see what you are made of.  You thought it was tough when the internet was down for 3 days, well you ain’t seen anything yet.

“No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path.” – Buddha

Now folks this stat may blow you away.  Americans between the ages of 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation.  Pew Research Center’s analysis found that in that age group 32.1 percent will live with their parents.  Marriage/Cohabitating 31.6 percent, Alone/Head of Household 14%, Other 22%               Men are more likely to live with their parents while women are more likely to take a spouse or partner.  Now I don’t know about the rest of you but these numbers blow me away.  Damn if I did that I bet I would still have a curfew of midnight.  In high school my dates could stay out longer than me.  Needless to say I didn’t stay at home until I was 34.  Nope.  Instead I learned how to cook and do laundry.  Do you know how embarrassing it is when your date’s dad says have her home by 1 a.m. and you say I will sir.  Little did he know I had to be home at midnight.

“Life is a journey and it’s about growing and changing and coming to terms with who and what you are and loving who and what you are.” – Kelly McGillis

Well I hope you enjoyed the blog today.  I appreciate you stopping by and reading it.  Shh, don’t read so loud you might wake them up and they might throw me out.  I am still blown away that more people live with their parents than with a partner or spouse.  Be sure to spread the love.

Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO

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On March 4, 1826, Major General Jacob J. Brown, Commanding General of the Army, issued Special Order No. 13 which he instructed Bvt. General Henry Atkinson, Commanding Officer of the 6th Infantry Regiment , and Bvt. Major General Edmund P. Gaines, Commander of the Western Department of the Army,”…to select some position near the mouth of Missouri River [net exceeding a range of 20 miles] which in their judgement may be deamed [sic] the best for the establishment of an infantry school of instruction.”That was the inception of Jefferson Barracks Military Post.  It was an important and active U.S. Army installation from 1826 through 1946.  It is the oldest operating U.S. Military installation west of the Mississippi River.  It is presently used as a base for the Army and Air National Guard.The first conflict that the soldiers of Jefferson Barracks were involved in happened in 1832 and it was known as the Black Hawk War.  During the Civil War it was used as a military hospital for both sides as well as a recruitment center for the north.  By the end of the war they had treated well over 18,000 soldiers.The Jefferson Barracks Military Post Cemetery was established in 1826.  The first known burial was Elizabeth Ann Lash, the infant child of an officer stationed there.  In 1866 it became a United States National Cemetery.DSC_0007July 31,2018, my daughter in law, grandson and myself visited the Missouri Civil War Museum located in Jefferson Barracks located in the old Jefferson Barracks 1905 Post Exchange Building.  Since its opening in June 2013, it has become one of the largest Civil War Museums in the U.S.  Its focus is entirely on Missouri’s role in the American Civil War.45.The 22,000 square foot museum is filled with over one thousand artifacts and several films are available for your viewing.  Each gallery and exhibit tells a story of Missouri in the American Civil War, from guerrillas and jayhawkers to life on the home front.  There are also galleries on Jefferson Barracks history and the post-war era.6312Pics above are of some of the displays located inside the museum.Personally I think the museum is well worth the visit.  Inside the gift shop is a fine collection of books written about the civil war along with souvenirs.My hat is off to the Missouri Civil War Museum group that was formed in 2002.  They managed to raise 1.7 million dollars for the restoration of the building.  When you see the before and after pics you will see what an enormous undertaking it was to restore the building.  A big thank you to everyone that made this museum possible.The museum is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  You can find out more at mcwm.org.

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My daughter in law who really enjoyed the museum.

Time on the River

 

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Big River near DeSoto, MO as darkness gives way to the dawn.

I have always been mesmerized by the beauty of the river.  Due to flooding it is constantly changing but Mother Nature seems to always protect its beauty.  If only man would cherish the river as much as Mother Nature.  The pollution and the trash left behind has grown, adding an ugliness that shouldn’t be there.

“The River… It’s my world, and I don’t want any other.  What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.  Lord! the times we’ve had together.” – Kenneth Grahame

On August 11, I decided to spend a very much needed night on the river.  Temps were in the 90s and humidity was high.  I loaded up and went to Mammoth Access on the Big River in Missouri.  A lot of people on the river and I got a lot of stares.  I have had a round with melanoma so I show up in a long sleeve shirt and jeans and really don’t look like I belong.  I board my yacht and head up river for a much anticipated night of relaxation.

As I paddle I look for spots to set limb lines and a place to make camp for the night.  I opted out of taking a tent and would opt to catnap on board my trusty yak.  After finding places for lines and camp I went to an area to do some bass fishing however the fish didn’t seem to like the smorgasbord I provided for them.  I finally started tight line fishing and waited for dusk to show up at which time I would set and bait lines in hopes of catching some catfish.

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Big River near DeSoto, MO as dawn takes over the night.

“A river seems a magic thing.  A magic, moving,, living part of the very earth itself.” – Laura Gilpin

I finally finished getting the lines set and baited around 8:30 p.m.  I then set up camp and  set up for tight line fishing while I waited until time to run my lines.  I like to run my lines every 2 and a half hours.  All I seemed to get was empty lines with no bait.  There was a bait stealer loose in the Big River.  My luck wasn’t much better with my tight line fishing but I did manage to get a good fire started.

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The night got cool enough that the fire actually felt good.

Finally I managed to catch a drum, or stone perch.  I put it on a stringer because I had plans for it.  I also managed to catch a sucker but since it wasn’t high on my culinary preferences I returned it to the river.  They are pretty bony.

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One of Missouri’s suckers.

Around 4:30 a.m. my beef stew MRE had began to wear of so I prepared the fish for breakfast.  I didn’t have anything to cook it in so I improvised and rigged up quite a contraption to cook it with.  I used some green tree limbs and fashioned sort of a spit and cooked it 10 minutes on each side and I am here to tell you it was delicious.

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Breakfast on the river.

The darkness began to give over its control to the rays of sunshine.  I headed out to run my lines and take them out.  As I was running the lines I heard something that sounded just like a lamb.  I use to raise sheep so I know the sound all too well.  I could hear it but couldn’t see it.  finally it broke out of the brush and to may surprise it was a fawn still sporting its spots.  I figured it got separated from its mom and hopefully it wasn’t an orphan.  Then I got my answer.  I hear the bleat of a doe and the fawn spun around and headed back into the brush giving what sounded like a very happy round of bleats.

“A river or stream is a cycle of energy from sun to plants to insects to fish.  It is a continuum only broken by humans.” – Aldo Leopold

All the lines were empty and void of bait but one.  I noticed that it was wrapped over a limb but is wasn’t moving so I figured I had caught one and it wrapped the line around the limb and got off.  I managed to pull the line and limb up but to my surprise the line wasn’t empty.  No sirree!  As it broke the service I found a 20 pound, at least, soft shell turtle hooked by its foot.  This means that its head was free.  Now I am here to tell you when it comes to the length of a neck the giraffe has nothing on a very pissed off soft shell turtle.  Now the pucker factor has kicked in and his neck extends way out, jaws snapping and barley misses my arm.  We wrestled for a while and I was finally able to unhook him and I gave a sigh of relieve that was probably heard in St. Louis.

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Phot of Big River by Double D Acres LLC.

After all the excitement and I calmed down a little I headed up river for about 2 hours and then turned around and fished my way back to the boat ramp.  I managed to catch one small Largemouth bass and that was all she wrote.

It wasn’t a very productive fishing trip but the relaxation and peacefulness I enjoyed was priceless.  Being alone on the river without any distractions is the perfect way I have found to cleanse the soul and recharge the spirit.  I have always said when I die I want to be cremated and my ashes spread in the river.  That is the only place that I can experience a true sense of peace and tranquility.

“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I apologize for being a little long winded.  If you get a chance to sit on the bank of a river, close your eyes.  Listen to the running water and feel its energy.  Like us it has a destination.  A beginning and an end.  It has its low times (summer) and high times (floods).  Outside the interference of man, dams and levees, it manages to take out any obstacle in its way to its destination.  We can learn a lot about life from a river.  Remember to spread the love.

 

A Big Thank You

I am just shy of 250 followers and I would like to thank all of you that have chosen to follow my blog.  It is deeply appreciated and you all are deeply appreciated.  I try my best to get by every ones site and read your blogs.  I need to do a better job.

I am a firm believer that a Thank You goes a long way and that we don’t tell people enough that they are appreciated.  I think we tend to assume that they know.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Remember to spread the love.