Where Are We Headed?

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Balloon Glow at Engler Park in Farmington, MO

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer

The other night while I was responding to a post on the attack in the UK, I used the word “they” and I had some fanatic climb all over me and accuse me of being a bigot.  I asked for an explanation and his response was come on, you were referring to Muslims.  I told him I was referring to ISIS but didn’t name them because no one had taken credit  yet.  He says yeah right, cut the BS and just admit that you were referring to Muslims.  This man did not even know me and was putting words in my mouth.  He had to have issues to be that adamant that I meant Muslims when I told him I didn’t.  It shall remain a mystery to me.

A friend and I had been talking about the shortage of compassion in our world today.   We had a discussion about how did we get here and where are we headed.  After the conversation with the rude gentleman, I got to thinking about the conversation between my friend and I and it occurred to me that people like this are helping make compassion a thing of the past.  This man was so rude, a person would find it very hard to show him any compassion.

In 2013 there were 664,435 legal induced abortions in the US.  We are talking human lives.  That is over 1800 fetuses ripped daily from the wombs of their mothers.  I am in no way judging the people having the abortion because I feel it is their right, however 1800 a day?  Where is the compassion?  People in this country get more fired up over horse slaughter than they do abortions.  Our society has more compassion for animal lives than human.  How has this happened?

Compassion – sympathetic consciousness  of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. –  Merriam Webster

Our own congress has no compassion for our war veterans.  They gut their benefits then give money to refugees entering this country who have it better than our own veterans. That is just wrong on so many levels.  Even John McCain, former POW, doesn’t seem to have any compassion for our veterans.  Ten years ago Americans were very compassionate about our flag and our National Anthem.  I went to a rodeo tonight and I was saddened by the number of people who didn’t remove their hats and those that didn’t stand when a rider brought “Old Glory” into the arena.  I know they have that right but ten years ago it would have been 100% participation.  Why so much change all of a sudden?  Where are we headed?

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Balloon glow at Engler Park in Farmington, MO

Is the US destined to become a passionless country?  Our government wants to bring refugees into the country as our homeless veterans live in the streets along with other homeless people.  We have citizens at this moment that are so passionate about who they thought should be president that it is coming between friends and family.  Sad thing is that neither side has enough compassion to initiate a bill forcing them to put money back in social security that they stole and keep the government from using it for anything else. Murder statistics show us that every year our citizenry loses a little more compassion for human life every year.  When it comes to our elderly it seems compassion has left the building.  Financial crimes against the elderly seems to escalate every year.

I could go on but I think you know what I am saying.  Every year compassion becomes more and more an emotion of the past.  A relic.  Lost and forgotten.  I don’t know what your thoughts are I am afraid of what lies ahead for this great nation.  It seems that we have all kinds of compassion for the people of other countries but none for the people of the United States like the veterans and elderly.  Things have to change in this country and soon but it is going to take ‘us the people” to do it.

Thank you for reading.  Remember, don’t squat with your spurs on, share the love and be kind to one another,  God Bless you one and all.

Prep Or Not To Prep

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Sunrise in Bonne Terre, MO

“To be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel de Cervantes

Prepper : noun/North American     A person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

I know that there are those of you who think we are crazy.  Personally I think it is the difference between eating and starving.  It is no different than having a savings account set aside for an emergency that might arise.  The mainstream media has given the term “prepping” a bad name.  They tend to make us out to be lunatics wearing tin foil hats, Doomsday idiots and other things.  There are different types of prepping dependent on what one is trying to accomplish and an estimated three million participants in the US.

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I was pretty much raised a country boy.  Learned to hunt, plant garden, fish and how to cook and can.  In the spring we would head into the woods looking for polk.   We would pick blackberries, dewberries, mulberries, muscadines and gooseberries and my mom would make jelly from them.  My grandparents and parents were preppers.  They didn’t know that they were and neither did I.  Every year they put out a big garden and canned what could be canned.  I remember us getting together and canning sausage one year. That was quite a learning experience.  My Grandma White canned a lot of meat including fish.  She had a root cellar where she kept what she canned, onions to dry, potatoes and herbs.

My mom canned a lot also.  Some years she would can up to 100 pints of green beans. She canned beets, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, etc..  My mom had shelves in the basement where she stored the stuff she canned.  I can’t remember a year she didn’t do any canning.

I don’t know how you feel about preppers.  There are those that like them and others that think their elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top.  We aren’t hurting anyone.  I have seen some people who seem to be afraid of us.  Why?, I don’t know.

I prep because I live close to the New Madrid fault in Missouri.  In 63 years I have also been in 3 tornadoes.  In one of them I was without power for 10 days and during the day the high temps were in the upper 90s.  I have seen many different scenarios of what life would be like here in this area if an earthquake occurred along the New Madrid fault and none of them were very promising.  It would be devastating and would tax the local food suppliers.  Think about it.  They call for a snowstorm and bread and milk are cleaned out of the local stores in a matter of minutes.

I realize prepping isn’t for everyone but I will be a prepper until the day I die.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Means a lot.  Be kind to one another.  Share the love and remember, don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.

 

 

 

 

Nighttime on the River

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Leadwood Access on Big River

” I  often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Rain was out of the forecast for a few days so I thought I better take advantage of it so I headed for the river.  I got on the river around 5 am looking for a relaxing night.  I planned to set out 10 limb lines and do a little tight line fishing and naturally some bass fishing.

As I paddled up river to my turn around point, looking as I went for a place to set up camp.  I don’t require much, just a place to build a fire and a place to beach the yak.  I had two places in mind.  As I worked my way up river I set my limb lines and would come back at dusk and bait them.

Bad news was that the river was dropping and that was going to hurt the fishing.  I had a whole arsenal to throw at them and was hoping I could figure out the right combination. Didn’t take too long for them to let me know they apparently didn’t like my menu.  All night fishing and all I caught that night was a channel catfish around 4:30 am.

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Camp was a sand/gravel bar.   I was tight line fishing off the bar.  This is where I caught the channel cat.  I only had one other bite.  The temps had dropped into the upper 40s and it was a little brisk so I got a fire going.  Now I am here to tell ya, it is hard to get a fire going with wet wood and a magnesium fire starter.  McGyver would have been proud of me.  I sat there in front of the fire listening to the crickets and the bull frogs.  Then the yotes joined in.  They gave quite the concert.  I even had six of the yotes appear on the ground above where I had built the fire.  I named them the showmen.  They put on quite a show, yipping, barking and growling.  They finally disappeared into the woods and I was alone once again on the river bank.

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Up river from Leadwood Access

It had been some time since the yotes had visited me when I looked down the river toward a bend below where I was and I noticed the moon beams creeping into the darkness.  As the moon rose higher and lit more of the river up the “ghost dance” began.  As the moon light reaches out into the darkness and lights the river, one can see the fog lifting off to the sky.  I call it the “ghost dance” because when I see it happening I think it looks like ghosts dancing as they are lifted into the heavens.

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My fire felt good.

The sun began its ascent in the eastern sky and signaled that a new day had begun.  I cleaned up camp and secured all trash in the yak and I shoved off.  I started running the limb lines down river from camp and would work my way back up river.  Nothing on any of the lines and a lot of them still had bait left.  Oh well better luck next time.

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Largemouth Bass

On the way back down the river I managed to catch an eleven and a half inch smallmouth and Saturday evening I caught a 13 inch largemouth.  My time on the river was coming to a close.  I felt sadness in my heart but I also felt excitement caused by wondering what adventure would the river bring me next time.

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Smallmouth Bass

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my adventure.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all

 

Rain on the River

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Storm clouds building.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” – Roger Miller

Wow, what a night on the river.  I knew that rain was in the forecast.  I knew they said some storms could be severe.  Did I let that stop me?  Noooooooooooo.  Instead I load the kayak and my fishing gear and off to the river I go.  My grandpa’s response to my decision would have been,”Boy, all I have to say is you don’t have the sense God gave a turnip.”  I recall the first time I heard that.  I remember thinking, I never knew a turnip had any sense.

I finally get to the river and the sky doesn’t look to awful bad so I back down to unload. Well one of those people who think they are someone special and their poo poo don’t stink, you know the type, has parked where we put the yaks in.  I can still get my yak in the water but it is 10 times as hard.  All of this just because this snowflake doesn’t think rules apply to him,  He is someone special (said as sarcastic as I can) don’t you know.  Then, then, as I am about to shove off he walks up to his truck and sees me and says,”Your face is awfully red.”  At which time I promptly responded by telling him it was probably due to the fact that some one special had parked where we launch yaks, and is a no parking zone, so I had to work 10 times as hard as I should have.  Yep!  You guessed it.  Went right over his head and I don’t even think he realized it was him.

Heading up river I could see the cloud build up wasn’t looking too good so I checked the radar and no rain was showing up.  I paddled to a spot on the river where I have had great luck with small mouth.  I started floating back down river and started fishing.  I started with a Rebel Wee Craw,  Charlie Slider worm and an eighth ounce jig with a pig attached.  No luck.  Nothing. Nada.  Nil.  You know, same thing that is left after a divorce.

I came to a place in the river where there is some under water cover and is usually a producer of some nice pan fish.  So I retied this time using a hook and a sinker and baited with night crawler.  In no time i had caught two.  Then it started to rain.  Just a steady slow rain but camera time was over for the night.

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Just before the rain started.

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By now it had been raining for about 10 minutes and BAM!  The spotted bass had  started hitting.  Looks like things are looking up.  Oh yeah.  I mean what is a little rain when the fish are biting,  Right?  Then, like it wasn’t raining on my parade all ready, there is a bright flash of light followed by a clap of thunder that made my fillings rattle.  It hit a tree up on the bluff from me.  Not a lot bothers me but lightning gets my undivided attention.  Sooooooo i reel in my line and headed back to where the truck was parked.

I finally arrive and beach the yak and head to get the truck.  Still not raining real hard yet.  I start backing down to where the yak is and I am here to tell ya I can’t remember the last time I saw it rain that hard.  I thought someone was hitting me with a water canon.  I sit there in the truck for a few minutes and then I thought what the hell, after all it is only rain and I sure as hell ain’t gonna melt.  So I got out and loaded stuff in the truck.  When I got in the truck soak and I thought to myself if it wouldn’t have lightninged I WOULD have got really wet.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to be kind to each other, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.

 

Bee Facts

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Swarm of bees

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’ they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” – Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

It is that time of year.  Bees will start swarming.  What is a swarm you ask?  Swarming happens when a new queen is born in the hive for whatever reason.  The new queen stays and the old queen leaves with 40 to 60 percent of the bees in the hive.  A scout goes out ahead of time searching for a suitable home for the colony.  When a home is found then the old queen and the bees that are with her move in.

If you see a swarm notify a local beekeeper or local beekeepers club right away.  PLEASE don’t spray and kill them.

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A Few Bee Facts 

1)  Scientists at St. Louis University believe that a toxin in bee stings called Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus’s  protective envelope.

2)  Bees are not native to the US.

3)  Bees have two stomachs.  One for eating and one for storing nectar or water so they can take it back to the hive.

4)  Bees communicate through pheromones and dance.

5)  A Queen lays around 1,500 eggs in one day.

6)  Drones are the male bees.

7)  Drones are all run off or killed in the fall.

 8)  Drones don’t have stingers.

9 )  Bees can only sting once and once they do they die.

10)  The average worker bee makes around 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

11)   Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria can’t grow in it.

12)   Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat.

13)  Propolis is a sticky substance  collected from the buds of trees, and used to weatherproof and plug holes in the hive, has also been found to have anti-bacterial properties.

14)  People use the bees to sting an area riddled with arthritis in order to combat the effects of the disease.

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I have a lot of people ask me about becoming a beekeeper.  I always tell them to read as much as they can about the subject and to join their local bee club.  Also look for a local beekeeper that would be willing to let you go along with them and teach you.  I also recommend starting with two hives.  One can buy package bees. nucs or whole hives sometimes and if you are lucky maybe catch a swarm.  I usually buy a 3 pound package.

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Three pound package of bees.

I plan to do more in depth stories on beekeeping in the near future.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.  If you have any beekeeping questions ask away.

What Is Different?

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Bourbeuse River

“I cannot for an instant recognize the political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.” – Henry David Thoreau “Civil Disobedience”

This blog created a lot of soul searching before I decided to sit down and write it.  I wanted to stay away from politics on my blog.   I guess one could consider this blog an editorial kind of piece and my goal is to do it without offending anyone.  The words that will follow will be what I feel in my heart and my opinion only and please remember that I too am allowed to express my opinion just like you.  The above picture I chose because I thought it was representative of what is going on in the US today.  The river depicts the divide that is rearing its ugly head in the US at this very moment.  The storm clouds are indicative of the approaching storms.  The trees represent the two groups standing tall on each side of the divide, digging in and getting ready to weather the approaching storms.

The thing that bothers me is that this is not the first election that this country has ever had.  We have had some heated races but I can not remember an election dividing the country AND families so much.  I don’t believe I have seen so much hate or so much name calling. What is so different about this election?  I think the misinformation that shows up on social media is at a new time high.  Democrats are screaming foul and the Republicans are doing the same things as the Democrats did but then it was ok because THEY did it so it was allowed.  It doesn’t appear that the Republicans listened very well either or else they just don’t give a rat’s patootie.  For the record I am a NOT a democrat or a republican and I am amazed that there are folks that think they really care about us. Why do I feel this way?  Money that goes into social security is put there by the employee and employer.  Government puts nothing, nada, zip, nil.  However they use it like it is theirs.  Now IF they care about us, why have they not come together and passed legislation preventing the government from taking anything from it.  Stating that the only people that could draw from it are the folks that put the money in there.  I can’t understand why folks get more upset over the cost of presidential vacations than they do about our money being stolen from us and given to people who didn’t put a dime into it.  For instance what would you do if you got a letter from the government telling you they took a thousand dollars out of your bank account to help someone else out?  Same thing.

“There is more power in unity than division” – Emanuel Cleaver

“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger.  The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity – or it will move apart.” Franklin D Roosevelt

It is time we put differences behind us and focus on the future of this country.  Your pick didn’t win.   So that gives you the right to go on social media and bash the winner and those who voted for him.  You forgot something.  Some of your friends voted for him so you are bashing them too.  Sorry.  Silly me.  You could be one of those that just unfriends anyone that doesn’t agree with you.  My advice Sunshine, Get Over It!  My picks haven’t always won either but guess what Sunshine, I put on my big boy panties and said, We’ll get him next time.”

For Pete’s sake, they are politicians so there is our first clue that they are going to tell us what we want to hear and do the opposite, if their lips are moving they are lieing and they care more about their campaign donors than they do you.  (Please note, just like everything in life there are exceptions.)  Is it worth breaking your family up over them?

In closing I plead with all of those that let these elections tear apart their families or friendships, PLEASE, if you all ready haven’t patched things up then PLEASE patch things up and move on with your lives and put the past behind you.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

The Beautiful Big River

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Big River near the Leadwood Access

“The river flows at its own sweet will, but the flood is bound in the two banks.  If it were not thus bound, its freedom would be wasted. “-Vinoba Bhave

One of Missouri’s scenic river ways is located in east-central Missouri.  The French called it Grande Riviere, we call it Big River.  The river is around 145 miles in length.  It begins in Iron County near the summit of Johnson Mountain.  It flows through Washington State Park’ St. Francois State Park and the Lead Belt mining district before flowing into the Meramec River.

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Big River above Washington State Park

Big River has some good fishing and some magnificent scenery.   The river holds largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and rock bass.  Anglers can also find longear sunfish, bluegill,  channel and flathead catfish, redhorse, suckers and drum.

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Largemouth Bass
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Smallmouth Bass
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Channel Catfish

Where the Big River flows through the old Leadbelt mining area there are pipes still visible up and down the river where they were used in the mines.  I am not sure what the pipe was used for but I was told they were put in to take oxygen into the mines but I don’t know for sure.  The DNR claims that there is some lead contamination and to avoid eating certain fish but I have been eating them for years and I am still alive and I don’t glow in the dark.

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Big ‘River above Leadwood access.

I have fished and photographed the Big River on several occasions.  I have had some great success casting, tight line and limb lines.  The water levels get low in the summer months and it has flooded way out of its banks twice in the last 15 months.  It is relatively shallow in most places with some deep holes scattered throughout the river.  I generally fish out of my kayak and pull a lot of all nighters during the summer and the peacefulness on the river at 2 am is to die for.  The nights are filled with the sounds of frogs, crickets and the occasional slap of a beaver’s tail on the water.  The coyotes yip and howl and once in awhile come out onto the gravel bar close enough for you to get a good look at them.  This summer two of my high school buddies and myself plan to put in on the Big River and float for 7 days and see how far we get.

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Big River near Mammoth access.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” –  Heraclitus

 

I hope you found the blog interesting.  Thanks for reading.  Remember to be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

 

 

Humanity RIP?

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Sunset in Bonne Terre, MO

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals.  To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” – Marie Curie

Have we built a better world?  Does the present generation value human life as much as we did 50 years ago?   Have we become a society of instant gratification?  Last but not least, are we improving as individuals and what is considered improvement?

A better world?  If we look at it from a technological point I would say that we have somewhat built a better world.  When I was a kid growing up I had the pleasure to be a part of the party line.  You just haven’t lived unless you have partook of the party line.  When the phone rang you had to  count the rings so you knew if it was a call for you or not.  Ours at the time was three ringy dingies.  We have come a long way for sure technically speaking.  There have been a lot of advancements in technology.  Advance in humanity not so much.

“If you truly believe in the value of life, you care about all of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.” – Joni Eareckson Tada

Value of Human Life?  First of all how do you put a value on a life?  I have to admit that I am quite perplexed by the way young people seem to not value life as much as my friends and I did when we were their age.  Now before you call me all those juicy names I am not saying that everyone in that generation is like that.  There are exceptions to every rule.  I can not figure out what happened.  Bad parenting?  Should they have been taught that there are winners and losers and life isn’t always so good to you and…………..and…………….and just maybe they should have been taught what respect is.  Bullying seems to be a bigger problem than ever.  We had our share of bullying however social media has given these folks a heartless. vengeful vehicle of mass bullying and there are those who have even died from the abuse of it.

“Why are young adults so self-centered and always seeking instant gratification?  Because older adults, often positions of power, paint them that way.” – Raymond Arroyo

Instant gratification?  During my years of childhood folks would actually save up and pay cash.  What a novel idea.  My oh my!  Wonder what would  happen to credit card companies today if John Q Public started doing that?   Sad thing is that we stand back and let credit card companies set them up for failure when they are young adults just starting college.  Then our government does nothing to reign these companies in and keep them from preying on them.  They borrow money at 2 to 3 percent then when they get behind they charge late fees and jack the interest rate up to 26 percent.  Where is the humanity in taking advantage of these folks to increase their profits?

I don’t know that we have improved as individuals.  It seems every year that compassion and humanity is pushed to the back burner replaced by greed and personal gratification.  Our own government seems to lack in humanity.  They are fueled by greed which leads to corruption.  At this very moment they are playing with individual’s lives through health care.  Every time they pass one they exempt themselves from it.  They play favorites to their campaign supporters at the expense of the people they are supposed to represent.  They always manage to place the bulk of financial burden for their programs on the backs of the middle class.  They have robbed social security and they didn’t put a dime into it.  At this very moment their are families in my area who are trying to recover from floods 15 months apart.  After they gave the go ahead to build levees that has made the flooding worse their only answer to the problem is a buy out of property.  How do you buyout places like Valley Mount Ranch and Krause Farms that have been in the family since the 30s?  They don’t deserve this.  How about some real humanitarian efforts to help these families out?

Sorry for the rant but it seems that humanity is the thing of the past and has been replaced by greed.  Thanks for reading my blog.  I know it was a little long and I apologize.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.