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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Remember to spread the love.

 

Kindness

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hey you with the sour face and pissy attitude.  If you smile I promise it won’t break your face.

Have you ever felt like saying that to somebody?  I just don’t get it.  I know that some people could be having a bad day.  I get it.  However, even though I try to avoid them, I have bad days and if someone says something or smiles at me I still manage to respond back.  After all they aren’t the reason I am having a bad day.  It is totally my fault because I let it happen.

Just recently we were having one of those days that the heat index was 105.  I was coming out of Rural King and this guy was going in.  He looked like he had a pretty rough day sooooo I say, “If this temperature drops any more we will have snow by morning.”  He stops and stares at me and I thought oops.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said that but then he busts out laughing and says thanks man, I really needed that.

One day while checking out at a quick shop the cashier just seemed like she was having a bad day.  She rings my stuff up and says do you want a bag?  I said am I that ugly that you think I need to put a bag over my head?  She thought for a minute and just busted out laughing and thanked me for making her laugh.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Being kind to someone is a good thing.  The real neat thing about it is that it doesn’t cost you anything.  Nada. Think about this. The person sitting next to you on the bus could be contemplating suicide and an act of kindness could possibly save their life.

There is no such thing as too much kindness.  At the present time the world could use a whole lot of love and kindness.  Especially social media.  I don’t think I have ever saw so much hate and discontent.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” –Scott Adams

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Mother Nature Trying to Tell Us Something?

“Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution.  What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” –Evo Morales

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The calm before the storm hit Monsanto Lake.

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” – Willa Cather

It seems lately that Mother Nature has lost her mind.  Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and other destruction has been in the news lately.

Ice and Snow in Florida- Early January brought snowflakes to the Florida panhandle for the first time since 1989 ( since 1885 if you are talking about January)

Snow in the Sahara- Algeria received 15 inches of snow.

Coldest April followed by hottest May

Four nor’easters in a row- Northeast US was hit with four winter storms in one month

Fires are destroying thousands of acres in California while parts of Hawaii battles with the destructive forces of a volcano.  What does it mean?  Is Mother Nature trying to tell us something?  Is Mother Earth crying out for help?

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“It also called upon traditional people in the Four Directions to strengthen the healing ceremonies and asked people to heed the warnings of Mother Earth.” – Dennis Banks

Most folks are going to say I am crazy but I am a firm believer that Mother Nature is trying to warn us that unless we quit destroying Mother Earth things are only going to get worse.

We can’t keep pumping chemicals into our rivers and streams and air.  Mother Nature’s filtration system is getting plugged up.  Think of it as the air filter in your furnace.  It traps all the bad stuff that would hurt the furnace and when it gets full you take it out, throw it away and put in a new one.  Mother Nature can’t do that.

The only way we can help is to get our heads out of our asses and get serious about a plan to heal this planet.  Hell folks, according to Steven Solomon, author of “Water: The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power and Civilization” , “Water is overtaking oil as our scarcest natural resource in the world.”  We need to desperately change our way of thinking.  We need to realize that we can’t keep depleting our resources without a plan to replenish them.  Trees have a big job in the ecosystem. Some countries are completely destroying the jungles and not replanting.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases and emit oxygen.  Don’t know if it is true or not but I once heard that one large tree can supply a day’s worth of oxygen for four people.  What happens if we keep cutting the trees without replanting and suddenly there aren’t enough plants to produce the amount of oxygen needed to sustain life on Mother Earth?

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I want everyone to think about something for a minute.  Yeah maybe I am crazy however, what if Mars once looked like Mother Earth.  Oceans, rivers, mountain streams, vast forest land, occupied by some greedy, uncaring inhabitants.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  It is deeply appreciated.  Remember to spread the love.

 

Happy Fourth of July

 

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Liberty: the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence.  For the next two days congress focused on the writing of the Declaration of Independence.  On July 4, 1776 it was approved and there have been celebrations ever since.

On this day I would like to share with you some of my favorite quotes that pertain to this day.  It is a day that should never be taken too lightly.  Just like life it can be gone in a blink of an eye.  Protect your rights.

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.  There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” – Ronald Reagan

I really feel in today’s society people have a tough time wrapping their minds around the meaning of what our former POTUS was saying.

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin

This my friends is why it is so important to protect the “freedom of speech”.  Benjamin Franklin had enough insight to understand this.

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“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

A perfect example of this, in my opinion anyway, is the TSA.  Our government has made it a nightmare to travel by air.

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” John Basil Barnhill

Pretty much self explanatory.

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“Those who nourish the hope that it will be possible to keep central +government free of the corrupting tendencies of power and to staff it with a freedom loving elite, overestimate the virtues of both the  electorate and the elected, and underestimate the normative power of structural processes even over well-intended functionaries.” – Robert Neff

All too obvious in our political system.

Happy Fourth of July to everyone out there.  I didn’t mean to put such a downer on today’s holiday.  As you celebrate today remind yourself it is about much more than fireworks.  We lose more of our freedoms every year.  It is time to stop the bleeding.  I leave you with some lyrics from Janis Joplin, Me and Bobby McGee.  “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.  Nothin’ don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free…..”

I hope you enjoyed my post today.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  Spread the love!