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

Abounding Excitement

“Camping: The art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet.” Anonymous

I awoke at 5:00 a.m.excited that I was finally afforded the opportunity to go camping for the first time this year. Finally a weekend without rain.

I was headed to my property in Frank Clay, MO. I arrived a little after 10 a.m. I began the task of setting up camp. I soon found out that the seed ticks survived the winter. It was far worse than in years past.

I decided to take a break and parked myself in a chair. The woods were quiet except for the sweet sound of song birds. A donkey began braying in the distance and some Bluejays began fussing at one another.

When camping, time seems to move at breakneck speed. I dug out the lantern and readied it to bring light to the darkness of the coming nightfall. I gathered wood and started a fire.

“The fire is the main comfort of camp, whether in summer or winter.” – Henry David Thoreau

I settled into my chair and turned my attention into enjoying the glow of the fire. I pulled out my journal and began recording the day’s events. A donkey began to bray just east of camp. It was such a sad sounding bray. A whip-poor-will began sharing its song. To the north of camp a pack of coyotes began yipping playfully and the woodland insects began their nightly symphony. As I sat watching the flames of the fire dancing around, my eyes signaled it was time to turn in for the night.

Morning came early for me. I awoke at 4:00 a.m. and even though still half asleep managed to find my way out of the tent. I was met by temperatures in the low 50s. I added some kindling to the fire to rekindle it’s flames. I grabbed the coffee pot, added water and Cameron’s Highland Grog coffee grounds. I placed the pot on the fire and sat back and waited for the finished product. Caffeine! I need caffeine.

I don’t know if you have ever experienced the taste of camp coffee and if you haven’t I am here to tell you the flavor is in a league of its own. My childhood friend David Tripp has always been fascinated with the flavor of my camp coffee to the point he has mastered the technique and become a master at brewing camp coffee.

Finally the coffee was done and I poured myself a cup and sat back in my chair watching the fingers of light from the rising sun overtake the night sky bringing dawn to the woodlands. I was awoken from my trance by the barking of a squirrel. I finally located him. It was a gray squirrel moving erratically on the limb of a white oak. He seemed upset to find this human invading its territory. After about 10 minutes he lost interest and moved on. Two geese flew just above the treetops honking noisily as they went. The songbirds began filling the air with their music. My stomach began to growl and I heated up the Dutch Oven so I could begin the preparation of breakfast.

I loaded the oven with bacon and the morning air was filled with the aroma of cooking bacon. I then fried some eggs over easy but because some dummy forgot the biscuits breakfast would only consist of bacon and eggs. Food always seems to taste better when cooked over a campfire.

After breakfast I sat back and reflected on the weekends events and finished my last cup of coffee. It was time to break camp, clean up and head back home.

As a side note I had a phone conversation with my childhood friend and fellow blogger David Tripp telling him about my camping trip. David is doing a story about Hank (me) and Randy (David) on his blog and is doing his own illustrations. I urge you to check his blog out and follow the adventures of Hank an Randy. https://davidtripp.wordpress.com/. and check out his website Recollections 54 The Art Of David Tripp http://www.davidtrippart.com.

Hank Called Today

A blog from my childhood friend David Tripp. We have known each other since the second grade.

Recollections 54 The Art of David Tripp

8 x 10″ signed, but now I see some more details to address . . .

A morning to turn on the spiggot with the push of a button on my ballpoint pen and watch my thoughts flow out onto the pages of the journal . . .

Opening lines from my morning journal, trying to get something going . . .

Staring at the line of books across the top of my desk . . .

Saturday morning, early, found me stuck as I sat at my desk trying to figure out what to pursue next. The latest Hank & Randy painting was signed last night, and as I looked at it first thing this morning, I found several features of it unsatisfaying that I believe I can improve. But I don’t really feel like wrestling with it just yet.

Several of my “go to” books didn’t do it…

View original post 480 more words

What Next?

I would imagine all farriers have some war stories to tell. The following is one of mine. No names are mentioned to protect the innocent.

Some years back I had just finished supper and the phone rang. It was a lady who wanted me to shoe her horse. She said a friend had recommended me. She told me that she had bought her first horse and was new to horses. Now I am not knocking first time horse owners but through my experience with them it was like the doctor telling me I only had a week to live.

She said that a friend had told her that “hot shoeing” a horse was the only way to do it and asked if I “hot shod”? I said yes ma’am and I set an appointment for her.

The day finally arrived and I showed up on time only to find that the horse was in the pasture. She apologized and grabbed the halter to go catch it. What followed looked like a scene from the Keystone Cops! I watched with amusement as this horse played her like a fine fiddle until I could “takes no more” and took the halter and caught the wild beast.

I began trimming the horse and got the shoe I needed. I placed it on the hoof to see what adjustments were needed for a correct fit. I placed the shoe in the forge and started to trim the other front foot as the shoe heated up.

I took the hot shoe and shaped it on the anvil and once shoe was shaped correctly I placed it back in the forge. This is where it gets good. I took the shoe to the foot and began to burn it on. Well if you have never seen a hot shoe on a hoof let me tell you, the smoke rolls and the aroma of burnt hoof is not the most pleasant smell that will ever reach your nostrils.

The lady begins screaming at me using words that would make a sailor blush. The horse becomes spooked and I am trying to get out from underneath it without ending up on the ground. This whole time I am holding a hot shoe that would leave a permanent horseshoe brand on any flesh, man or horse, that it touched. I was successful at staying on my feet and not branding anything. Then the owner proceeds to tell me to gather my things and get off her property. I gladly obliged.

That night I received a phone call. Yep you guessed it. The new horse owner. She immediately began apologizing and admitted she didn’t really know what “hot shoeing” was and got scared when she saw the smoke and smelt the burning hoof, even though I had already explained it to her. Drum roll; she then asked if we could reschedule. Let’s see now, I told her to have the horse caught up, which she hadn’t done and I explained to her how “hot shoeing” works but obviously wasn’t listening or didn’t believe me. Now I believe in giving second chances unless there is a great chance that I could get hurt. Maybe I am crude and rude but without saying a word I hung up on her. Maybe not good business practice but this client I don’t think I was going to be able to “charge her til I liked her”.

My beloved Kate. RIP

Hope For My Chronic Pain

On February 27 I posted a blog about my chronic pain. About 3 months ago I made the decision to find a new doctor and I was lucky enough to find Dr Paul Moniz in Farmington, MO. He didn’t waste anytime addressing my health issues. He has my piercing edema under control and referred me to a cardiologist to address my heart problem and that has been addressed.

I had asked him to order X-rays of my ankle because I wanted to make sure no stress fractures were present. He took one look at my ankle and immediately ordered a work up of my ankle and X-Rays. When he saw them he referred me to Dr Christopher Sloan, podiatrist, of Farmington.

My appointment was today and I am ecstatic with the news I received. Seems I have bone build up on the right side of my right ankle the size of a ping ball, and smaller bone build up on the left, and my heel has some abnormalities. He said the X-rays of my foot were quite evident of how painful it was for me to walk and that he would like to do an ankle replacement. He informed me that ankle replacements had been available for almost 25 years.

He continued to say I would be pain free and could walk normal. He went over everything with me very thoroughly and I agreed to let him do the procedure on October 27.

Needless to say I walked out of his office on cloud 9. Once I got into the truck and put the key in the ignition I teared up. For 40 years I have not known what it was like to walk without pain and I was looking at the possibility of finally getting that opportunity. I was saddened to think that because I wasn’t proactive and basically given up, that I could be living that dream years ago. I could only imagine how much it would improve my quality of life. Time will tell.

In closing I would like to encourage anyone in the same position as me to not be afraid to change doctors or at least get a second or even third opinion. Don’t give up hope even if you have exhausted every possible avenue. Try again in a couple of years. They are making new medical advancements every day and you never know when they might develop a way to address your problem. Don’t give up like I did. To think it might have cost me 10, 15 or 20 years of enjoying being pain free is a hard pill to swallow but it’s better late than never. Good luck!

Life Is Like A River

“Surrender to the flow of the River of Life, yet do not float down the river like a leaf or log. While neither attempting to resist life nor to hurry it, become the rudder and use your energy to correct your course to avoid the whirlpools and undertow.” – Johnathan Lockwood Huie

I spend as much time as I can exploring the rivers of Missouri. I am mesmerized by their beauty and amazed by how much they are like life itself.

Like life a river is long and winding filled with adventure and obstacles. It ebbs and flows, builds and falls. Like life it can be rough and at other times be calm and peaceful. One minute you can be making your way through a calm pool of water and at the end of it you find yourself thrust into the rapids dodging rocks and trees trying to keep your boat upright.

The river can be calm and pristine flowing within its banks then the spring rains can transform it into a raging torrent of water causing it to surge out of its banks destroying everything in its path.

Life is full of mystery and the unknown and the river is full of the same. As you approach a bend in the river you know not of what lies ahead of you. Like in life you can only hope that you are prepared for anything that the river places before you. Will you fail or will you be victorious?

Little Red Wagon

“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles.” Doug Larson

For those of you who don’t know me, I live to fish. There is nothing as relaxing as sitting on the bank kicked back waiting to catch the new state record.

I do most of my fishing from my kayak. I can go a lot more places and I can fish water that I can’t get to on foot. However, there is a lake in Bonne Terre City Park they call Lakeview. It has a paved walking track all the way around it. At dusk lights come on to illuminate the track.

Well my dilemma was I had to park a long way from where I fished. I had to come up with some way to make it easy to pack my gear out there. Then it hit me. A little red wagon. I always wanted a wagon when I was a child and never got one. One day at a resale shop in Farmington I spotted one. At the age of 64 I finally got my little red wagon.

I took it home and started thinking what modifications needed to be done on it. Luckily all it needed was 2 rod holders. Once installed I was in business. It had seat belts installed to use on children and they work great to strap my gear down. It worked out great and it makes it a lot easier to pack my gear into my fishing spot.

“Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau

Mother Nature and Respect

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Walden Henry David Thoreau

The definition of nature is the material world, especially as surrounding humankind and existing independently of human activities. It is also defined as the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations. One could say that nature is everything.

There is a saying “Stop and smell the roses.” Relax and take time to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life. Stop stressing out, overthinking or complaining. My version is “Stop and drink of the beauty of nature.”

As spring draws near camping season comes into view. The weekend warriors who live in the cities and suburbs will begin their assault upon the campgrounds. They appear in the parks pulling their 30 foot campers loaded with all the amenities of home. I don’t think this is what Thoreau had in mind when he advocated that people leave their urban and industrialized areas to explore nature. He felt that “modern life” robbed people of their best selfs and that living in harmony with nature was essential. In today’s society the campgrounds are so overpopulated that they are nothing more than smaller communities of which they were trying to leave behind.

In Missouri the rivers and Ozark streams become heavily congested with weekend floaters occupying rafts, inner tubes, kayaks, and boats. Sadly the amount of litter left behind is mind boggling. Thoreau often wrote about the importance of preserving the wilderness and the importance of living in harmony with nature. His ideas are completely lost on the minds of the majority of weekend revelers. One can see the evidence if they float the rivers on Monday morning. Sandbars and gravel bars are littered with aluminum cans, trash, and an occasional tent. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you pack it in pack it out. It is that simple. My motto is is,”Leave it better than you found it.”

We as a whole need to learn to respect Mother Earth and what she has given us. Preserve the magnificent beauty of Mother Earth so that future generations can enjoy it. We don’t know what we have until it is gone.

“I love nature partly because she is not a man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. If this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.” – Henry David Thoreau’s Journal

MDC Once Again Under Attack!

The Missouri Conservation and Use Tax is once again under attack. ‘This money goes directly to support forest and wildlife conservation efforts. Out of every $8 of taxable goods one penny goes for conservation.

In the early 70s Missouri citizens petitioned to get the tax placed on the ballot. They succeeded, it passed and was implemented on July 1, 1977. Then in 1999 state officials attempted to divert the money collected to pay refunds to taxpayers to only have the Missouri Supreme Court rule that the money could only be used for conservation and not be considered part of the states total revenues.

When I was a child there were a lot of areas of Missouri where it was rare to see a deer or a turkey. I grew up fishing the Big River and bass fishing was mediocre.

In 1977 when the money was allocated to the MDC, things began to change. A little slow at first but soon things began to improve. Due to responsible conservation efforts game became more abundant. Hunters were allotted more tags to fill for deer and turkey. Bass fishing became more rewarding. Money started coming in from out of state hunters who wanted to take advantage of our good hunting. Out of state fisherman also traveled to Missouri to take advantage of our excellent fishing. New land was bought and more public hunting areas and river accesses were made available. New conservation areas were established. Other states began to take notice and implemented programs in their states that the MDC had created.

Now Republican Chris Dinkins of District 144 has introduced two constitutional amendments that could destroy the improvements that have been made. HJR 108 and HJR 112. She says it is in an effort to rein in the overgrown bureaucracy of the MDC and make the department more accountable to the people.

HJR 108 would give the voters the opportunity to change the Missouri Conservation Commission. Presently the commission has four members who are appointed by the governor. Her amendment would change that number to nine nonpartisan members. Voters would elect one member from the current MDC districts and the governor would appoint one member to the commission. I thought she wanted to rein in bureaucracy within the department but this would only add to it causing more bureaucratic red tape.

HJR 112, if passed by voters, would take two thirds of the money and pass it on to other areas in need. The Missouri Supreme Court has already ruled that the money could only be used for conservation and can not be considered part of the states total revenues. Lawsuits? I know the voters are voting on it but the voters passed it in the first place.

She points out that the MDC has a savings account balance of almost 100 million dollars. Sounds to me like they are being pretty responsible. Representative Dinkins that’s let me point out that a savings account is usually used for emergencies. How much of that money was contributed from the Conservation Sales and Use Tax and how much from the sale of licenses, tags, ammo, etc.? If the economy tanks the MDC could go through that money pretty quickly in an effort to keep its programs afloat. Did you ever think of that are better yet do you even care? She says the MDC continues to attack the civil liberties of this state but cites no references. If you are going to throw the sportsmen of this state under the bus at least tell us why? Since you represent Reynolds county I would be suspect it has something to do with the battle between feral hog hunters and the MDC. So your solution is to punish all sportsman of the state of Missouri?

I hope the sportsmen in this state takes a long hard look at what is going on here and the impact these two amendments will have on bird hunting, deer hunting, turkey hunting, fishing and all the other programs offered by the MDC. Are we going to stand by and let this destroy all the accomplishments the MDC has made since 1977. I for one hope not.

Chronic Pain

Pain is the body’s way of telling the brain we are still alive. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

I have wrestled with the idea of addressing this subject for sometime. I think I can speak for the majority of us who suffer from chronic pain syndrome when I say we aren’t looking for sympathy or pity. We just want you to understand what we are dealing with. Too many think we are overreacting and are just cry babies. I am here to tell you the pain is real and can be relentless at times.

Mine began when I crushed my heel, broke my ankle and instep in 1979. My toes were about the only thing that were spared. The doctor who treated me said he didn’t think I would walk again and if I managed to do so it would be with the assistance of a cane. He was wrong on both counts.

The bones healed but the pain never really stopped. It just got worse. It has wreaked havoc on my quality of life. I have reached a point where all I want to do is sit on my arse and keep my foot elevated to combat the pain.

On those days I force myself to get up, put on my big boy panties and deal with it. Some days are harder than others. The pain is not only physical but emotional as well. I have to fight off depression daily but I can say I have remained victorious in that battle. I get tired of hurting. I try to remember what life was like without pain. It keeps me awake at night and causes fatigue. It becomes a chore just to go to town 3 miles away. Negative thoughts try to creep in but I have learned to keep them at bay with positive thoughts. It can be quite the emotional battle that some days drain me mentally and physically.

Recently I have had to start the day using a cane but once I am up and moving for about an hour and the foot loosens up I can lose the cane. There are mornings that I have to work diligently to get my foot in a boot. The majority of my pain is caused by inflammation and arthritis.

I have enrolled in pain management with little success. I was on hydrocodone for ten years until one morning I got up and took myself off it. It basically just dulled my pain and I was afraid of what it was doing to my body. I wasn’t getting any real benefit from it. I have tried ointments and even used horse liniment that gives short lived temporary relief never completely eradicating the pain.

I contribute my ability to cope with CPS to my love of nature, fishing and kayaking. They keep me motivated to deal with it and to keep on trucking.

I am by no means the only one who suffers from CPS and we all have different ways of combating it. Just please be aware that for the majority of us the pain is real. Our quality of life sucks and we become cranky and hard to be around. We don’t mean to be but the fatigue and pain sometimes become so unbearable we lash out even though it against our better judgement.

No doubt you all know someone who suffers from CPS. Please don’t offer us pity or sympathy. Instead try to understand us and be a positive force in our life. Help us through the rough spots. There are days that an “atta boy” or hug can ease the pain, give us hope and brighten our days. Please don’t judge us just try to understand us.

Lazy Man’s Stew

Decided to do something different this time. For those who know me they know I love to cook and Dutch Oven cooking is my method of madness.

I would normally do this in a bean pot on a wood stove but I like to let it cook all day and this particular day I didn’t have that luxury. I make a fire pit out of rims and a 10 inch dutch fits snugly in the center of the rim. Works perfect.

The reason I call it Lazy Man’s Stew is because for the most part you are just opening cans.

1 pound top sirloin steak

3 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps minced garlic

1 medium onion (diced)

12 oz Heinz mushroom gravy

24 oz beef broth

4 tbsps Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp pepper

1/2 tsp curry

2 medium potatoes (cut in 1/4 inch cubes)

15 oz canned carrots

15 oz canned green beans

15 oz canned corn

2 glasses Elderberry wine

Add olive oil to Dutch oven and when it gets hot add onions and minced garlic. Cook,stir frequently, until onion is clear.

Then add meat.

Now pour your first glass of wine. (optional)

When meat is cooked add the gravy and beef broth. Then add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to a rolling boil and cook for twenty minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Pour your second glass of wine. (optional)

Lower heat (I raise the pot higher off the fire) and let simmer for an hour. Remove from fire and let sit for 10 minutes then serve.

As you can see I always use my finest China.

How many does it serve? Depends on how hungry you are.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Feel free to give me some feedback in the comments.