No, They Are Not Just Dogs!

Kate

Eros

My dogs are family and treated like family. Yeah, I’m one of those!! If they don’t like you I probably won’t either. If you visit my house I guarantee when you leave you will have dog hair hitching a ride. I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Kate is a 2011 model and Eros a 2012. Kate had a few problems when she was a pup. She had crystals in her urine and had hip surgery at a year old.

She slept on the couch and I slept on the floor beside her. When she was healed up she became my ride dog.

I am a retired farrier and she loved going to the barns with me. She took her riding shotgun seriously.

Then there is Eros. He was so little when he was a pup. He now ways 124 pounds.

He can be pretty intimidating. He is a big teddy bear. He is definitely a “protector”.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you loves yourself.” – Josh Billings

They both have their own personalities. They are good listeners, loyal, and give unconditional love. They are always glad to see you and add joy to your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. They can get sick and leave a big mess to clean up and they can just simply be a pain in the butt. They are a huge responsibility. All in all I still say they are worth it.

Nope they aren’t just dogs. They’re family.

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

My Take on Aging

Growing old doesn’t bother me. I know it is a given and I accept it. It’s the changes that concerns me.

Every year my hair grows grayer and my beard turns whiter. When I get out of bed in the mornings it sounds like someone poured milk on Rice Krispies.

The biggest disappointment is not being able to do the things I used to be able to do.

My strength wanes every year. Fifty pound feed sacks now feel like a hundred pounds. I easily run out of breath and my “Git” along seems to have done got up and got along all by itself. I can no longer play “pull my finger” because it is like playing Russian Roulette. The word “depends” takes on a whole new meaning. It now is known as a protective under garment. You now plan your outings around bathrooms. When I go fishing the number of steps decides where I will be fishing instead of where the fish may be hanging out. The song Gimme Three Steps is no longer about a jealous boyfriend and a man with hair colored yellow.

Growing up all I heard about was the “Golden Years” and I can tell you now the only thing Golden is my doctor’s wallet.

Finally I’ve started thinking a lot about the here after. I walk into a room thinking now what did I come in here after.

Now you have my thoughts on aging. Good thing is I am still on the right side of the dirt and hope to be for sometime yet. I just have to take it one day at a time and put on my big boy panties and say I can do this!

A Good Morning Fly Fishing

I awoke around 4:30 am. I was rrestless. I could hear the local lake calling my name but I had so much to do. I went about preparing my breakfast thinking I would get over it.

NOT! I couldn’t shake the urge to go fishing. So I loaded up and head for Lakeview Lake.

I decided to take 2 spin casts and do some tight line fishing. After catching two turtles I decided to break out the fly rod. The fly fishing bug has bit me so hard I never leave home without my fly fishing gear.

Catching a 4 inch bluegill on a fly rod can be exciting. it can feel like you have Moby Dick on the end of your line. There are a lot of skills involved that you will spend a lot of time trying to master but well worth the time.

I have found that patience is a necessity. You can’t rush your casts. You have to be very aware of your surroundings or you catch more “tree bass” than you do fish and flies aren’t cheap.

I am by no means an expert fly fisherman. I only know from experience what has worked for me. One thing I recommend is spend a lot of time fishing for pan fish in order to hone your skills. You can learn a lot from them. They are a little more forgiving than other species when it comes to fly presentation. I am sure there are those who will disagree with me but it has worked for me.

In closing if you have never tried fly fishing I encourage you to give it a try. It may not be your “cup of tea” but you won’t know until you give it a try. Good luck and good fishing.

Note: Pictures are just a few of the fish I caught that morning. I quit counting at 20.

Morning Spent With a Friend

My childhood friend Mark had contacted me about doing some fishing. His sister-in-law had given us permission to fish her private lake.

We agreed on meeting at 8 a.m.. Unfortunately the weather man was forecasting a very hot day. Believe it or not he actually got it right. The heat forced us to give it up by 11 a.m..

Fortunately in that 3 hours the bass and panfish did a great job of keeping us busy. We opted on our fly fishing gear and it was a good choice I thought. We managed to catch several nice size pan fish and a few small bass.

I chose a yellow popper and Mark chose a popper like fly I believe he called “perch assassin”. The fish liked them both. Now if you have never fly fished before I am here to tell you that even a small fish feels like you hung Moby Dick.

All in all it was a good morning even with the heat. Good company, peace and quiet and a lot of action. We are already planning another fishing adventure. Maybe some all night catfishing.

Tent or RV

My one man tent.

“Without the intense touch of nature, you can never fully freshen yourself! Go for a camping and there both your weary mind and your exhausted body will rise like a morning sun! – Mehmet Murat ildan

Two popular methods of camping are Glamping Camping and Tent camping. Glamping camping, also known as glamorous camping, involves camping with the luxuries of a home or hotel ie RV. Tent camping is a primitive form enjoyed by those who want to get closer to nature.

RVs are loaded with the amenities of home. AC, satellite tv, electricity, running water, bathroom and shower. One can get almost anything they want in a RV to meet their desires.

Tents on the other hand just provide one a place to sleep and shelter from inclement weather. There are many types of tents to choose from and come in several sizes. Some are for warm weather camping and there are four season tents that can be used all year. Mats and air mattresses can make sleeping on the ground more comfortable. They can be pitched almost anywhere.

The camper has to choose whatever method fits their desires. Personally I like to keep it as simple and primitive as possible. At the ripe old age of 66 I prefer tent camping. I feel closer to nature and when camping I don’t want any distractions from outside luxuries. I cook on a campfire using cast iron Dutch Oven and skillets like the pioneers carried on their wagons for cooking. I also make Cowboy coffee.

I have a one man tent that I use on float trips, back packing and short camp outs. I have a three man tent I like to use for week long campouts and a hammock with a net and rain fly. I haven’t got a chance to try it out so the verdict is still out as to whether it will work for camping.

Camping is one of those activities you either love or hate. If you love it there are a multitude of places you can camp. State Parks, National Parks, private campgrounds and gravel bars on the river. Both methods of camping have their pros and cons you just have to decide which one is right for you. Happy Camping!!

Palestine, Texas

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and onl\\ne how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg

Palestine is the county seat of Anderson county in Texas with a population just under 19,000. It is also the western terminus of the Texas State Railroad. It was established as a trading post in 1843 and in 1846 became the county seat.

The Gallery at Redlands

Next week I will travel to Palestine, Texas to be a part of the grand opening of The Gallery at Redlands. My friend David Tripp, who I have known since the second grade, and Sandra Jones are the new owners of the gallery.

In 2017 Wade and Gail Thomas opened the gallery and asked David Tripp to be the featured artist. This year they gave David and Sandra the opportunity to become the new owners of The Gallery at Redlands and they jumped on it. David has the vision of a gallery rooted in diversity. The Twelve was born. A group of featured artists representing water color, oil, acrylic on canvas work, pastel art, photography, pottery and sculpture. The featured artists are:

  • Cecillia Branham
  • Paula Cadle
  • Stacy Campbell
  • Deanna Pickett Frye
  • Grace Hessman
  • Mark Hyde
  • Elaine Cash Jary
  • Candice Lord
  • Lorraine McFarland
  • Tommy Thompson
  • Ian Watson
  • Doyle White (me)

The reception will be March 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Redlands Hotel, Suite 109, 400 N Queen St., Palestine, Texas. There will be door prizes and refreshments will be served. Come out and meet Wade and Gail Thomas, David Tripp and Sandra Jones and The Twelve.

I am excited to be included within this group of elite artists. David has assembled a very diverse group of artists who make up The Twelve and I tip my hat to him and Sandi for all the hours and hard work they have put into preparing the gallery for the grand opening. I am grateful to Wade and Gail Thomas. David Tripp and Sandra S Jones for this fantastic opportunity. I thank you.

David Tripp Art Collections 54 -www.davidtrippart.com

Recollections 54 The Art of David Tripp – http://www.davidtripp.wordpress.com

The Lure of Fly-Fishing

My friend since second grade and fishing buddy David Tripp

“More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done.” – Charles F. Orvis

Imagine if you will standing beside a clear, fast moving stream listening to the music of the water dancing over and around the rocks and through shallows as it flows downstream. You scan the water looking for feeding fish and the perfect place to cast your fly in hopes to catch that elusive lunker. You step into the water your eyes drinking in the beauty that surrounds you. The rays of the morning sun feel warm upon your face and a heron floats past you on its journey downstream. The fast moving water rushes past your legs and you deliver your first cast of the morning. Your eyes focus intently upon the brightly colored fly line as it floats downstream, watching for a signal that a fish has taken your fly.

Nature’s presence can be felt all around you and it fills your heart with joy and excitement. The feeling seeps into your inner being and you are overwhelmed with the joy of being alive. It’s at that moment you realize you aren’t there for the fish. You are there for you to become one with Mother Nature and to embrace the healing powers She has to offer. It is always available to us but our minds and heart have to be in the right place to take full advantage of these benefits. Our minds have to be free of societal pollution and we have to believe in our hearts and know in our minds that it is real and attainable. That my friend is why I pursue fly-fishing.

Return to Fly Fishing

First Catch on New Orvis


“Even a blind hog will find an acorn once in awhile.” Unknown

I destroyed my right foot over 40 years ago and the doctor put it back together the best he could. When I walked, there was a considerable amount of pain and it steadily got worse. I was forced to abandon fly fishing around 1990 because of the pain.

I bought my first fly fishing set up in 1976. I was hooked, no pun intended. I was devastated when I walked away from it.

In 2020 I met doctor Sloan who said he could fix it and I eagerly agreed on the surgery. I had a chance to pursue fly fishing again.

I bought a new Orvis Encounter combo. As soon as the doctor gave me the green light, because it was winter, I headed to a near by lake. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t land that first fish.

Yesterday I tried another area lake but the fish Gods weren’t in my favor. Since I’m not a quitter I returned today bound and determined to get that first fish.

The day started out a little better. I got some strikes and hung two but didn’t get them in. I guess I wasn’t holding my mouth right.

Then it happened. I had one on. I got it in and got a picture. It was official! I began doing “Snoopy Dog” dances all around the lake, yes even though it was no Moby Dick. I can tell you one thing. A 66 year old fat man doing “Snoopy Dog” dances is not a pretty sight. The word “repulsive” comes to mind.

All in all it was a good day. The “no fish” curse had been broken! I gained confidence and everything was grand in Wayne’s World.

Sacred Space

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” – Joseph Campbell

I really never understood my overpowering compassion for the river until one day I came across this quote. I read it and the lightbulb in my head went off.

The river is my sacred space, or safe place, where I am free of societal pollution. Once I am in the presence of the river I am free to think with my mind, heart, body and soul. I have the ability to examine my own own beliefs and thoughts in great depth and to understand why I believe the way I do. I reach an understanding of who I really am and who I want to be. The revelation of what I want to accomplish in life and most importantly why becomes apparent. In this place I find a me that I can respect and love. If we can’t love ourselves what’s the point of loving at all?

With all the animosity in the world it is easy to plunge ourselves into the pit of depression which robs us of peace and happiness.

Seek your sacred space, find it and visit it frequently. The real you will soon become visible.

Gone But Not Forgotte

My best friend and me.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

On January 1, 2011 a wonderful Australian Shepherd was born. Little did I know how much she would change my life and bring so much joy to me. She unfortunately had a rough start in life. She was plagued with crystals in her urine that caused immense pain and at a year old she would have hip dysplasia surgery.

After surgery.

She was comfortable on the couch so this would be her hospital bed. I slept on the floor beside her until she was able to get on and off the couch by herself. She would try to chew her stitches and I refused to force her to wear the cursed collar so I improvised.

She adapted well to the shorts.

I was a farrier and Kate became my ride dog. We were together everyday and became quite inseparable. She loved going with me and took her job at riding shotgun very seriously.

Kate riding shotgun.
Kate with me on the job.

Kate was very well behaved and loved to take walks.

I think she is trying to tell me something.

I have never owned a dog as loving as Kate. She had to constantly be by my side and if she wasn’t she kept an eye on me to make sure I didn’t slip off without her.

My constant companion.
In the Christmas spirit.

I have had several dogs over the course of 60 plus years but none of them touched me like Kate did. I was her human. She was a great listener and after a rough day she always managed to make me smile and lift my spirits.

Then the fateful day of a vet visit, x-rays showed her lungs were filled with tumors and there was no cure. I was devastated and my whole world came falling down around me. I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. She was my everything and more. I know there are those of you rolling your eyes and saying she is just a dog and to you I say you have never recognized nor appreciated the unconditional love of a dog. She was family. She filled me with joy and happiness.

Kate the puppy.
Her last day riding shotgun.

On Friday morning (Jan 24, 2020) I had to go into town. That morning she clung to me more than usual. When I opened the door she almost knocked me down to get to the truck. She was going with me come hell or high water. I had to help her into the truck and when we returned I had to help her out.

I had an appointment on Tuesday to have her euthanized to end her suffering. Little did I know but I think Kate did, that that would be her last ride and our last day together. We spent that day together and I cooked her a porterhouse steak for dinner. It was a good day.

She awoke me in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Jan 25 gasping for air. What happened then was down right ugly and heartbreaking. She fought hard and I felt so helpless. At 1:26 a.m. her fight was over. I had lost my best friend. At least her suffering was over.

Kate on her last day with me. RIP

Many won’t understand the devastation of losing a dog because they have not really understood the unconditional love they possess. The loss of Kate left a huge hole in my heart. I still come home looking for her to greet me. I am pretty much a loner by choice and I very rarely get lonely and when I do it is because of the void she left in my life. I will never forget her and the joy she brought me.

Meddlin’ Kate Jan 1, 2011 – Jan 25, 2020