Nature Is Calling Me

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Why do I love nature so much? I am going to do my best to put into words why. I wish I was a better writer so you could maybe experience the passion I have for nature. Well here we go. The following is about a night on the river back in September.

I arrived at the river just as the sun peeked over the eastern ridge shedding its light on the colorful hues of autumn. The leaves glistened with the reflection of the sun’s light upon the orange, red and yellow hues scattered around the hillside. A beautiful sight to behold. It gave my heart joy to see Mother Nature’s paintings before my eyes.

I busy myself preparing my kayak for my river excursion. As I slid my yak into the water I caught a glimpse of movement to my right. I turned my full attention to what had captured my eye. It was a momma racoon with 4 of her offspring. One in particular had taken a deep interest in what I was doing. Slowly it began to inch its way in my direction to get a closer look. As it inched closer momma became agitated and positioned herself between me and her offspring. She began chattering loudly as if she were scolding the young one. After a couple of minutes she began steering her clan away from me. They moved down the bank of the river then disappeared over the rise.

I began my trek up river to the place I would make camp for the night. I had camped here many times before. It had a clear western view where I could watch the sun set. The area was well protected from any artificial light pollution giving me a clear view of the night sky.

Beaver pic from a another day on the river

As I rounded a bend in the river I noticed a beaver standing in the river near the bank watching me with great curiosity. Suddenly it disappeared under the water. It surfaced about 20 yards from me and slapped its tail on the surface of the water warning the others that there was an intruder in their territory.

It was a beautiful day to be on the river. It was a week day so I pretty much had the river to myself. Temps were in the 60s with a slight southerly wind. Movement ahead of me. About 50 yards up river 4 deer were making their way across a shallow part of the river. They were moving with purpose and soon disappeared into the woods on the other side.

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I was making good time so I decided to do a little fishing. For about an hour and a half the fish bit good and all of a sudden they seemed to get lockjaw. Fortunately I had enough action to be able to relive the battles sitting in front of the campfire.

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I made it to my campsite around 4:30 p.m. As I pulled my yak up on the gravel bar a hawk soared overhead. I went to work setting up camp and gathered some firewood for the night. With camp set I threw a couple of lines into the water in hopes that I would catch supper. Unfortunately it didn’t happen but I had brought along some Mountain House freeze dried beef stew. I filtered some water from the river then got the fire started. I brought the water to a rolling boil for about 4 minutes then poured it into the stew pouch. In ten minutes supper would be served. For a MRE it was quite tasty.

This is my favorite part of camping. Sitting in front of the fire watching the flames dancing within the fire is so relaxing. In the background I can hear the music of the insects and Mother Nature’s night creatures. It is so peaceful sitting there alone listening to the river critters going about their business searching for food. A star falls from the sky. Then another and another. Then it ends as abruptly as it began. Now I am ready for sleep.

It’s hard for me to put into words the peace I feel within me. My friend Gary Fultz I am sure knows the feeling I am talking about. He too has a great respect for Nature and Mother Earth. My spirit seems to float to the heavens. I feel no sadness or anxiety. My soul is cleansed by the tranquility surrounding me. I feel so alive and all my senses are intensified causing me to be more appreciable of my surroundings and what is in my heart. Reading back I am disappointed. I didn’t do a very good job of putting what I feel into words. The best way for you to understand is to just go camping.

Big River

Hello Spring!!!

“The spring wakens us, nature’s is, and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently. – Gary Zukav

Winter has handed the scepter off to Spring and nature begins the transformation of Mother Earth. The warmth of spring defeats the chill of winter and the growing season begins.

The hillside that was barren in the winter is now beginning to pop with the blooms of the redbud, wild plum and dogwood. Wild flower blooms begin to populate the prairie floor.

The offspring of the animals can be seen by their mother’s side. The spring rains begin watering the flowers and trees. The farmer begins the job of preparing machinery so he can plant his crops. Mother Earth has come full circle with the rebirth of nature.

You have to take the bad with the good. I don’t know how many times I have heard this in my lifetime. Sometimes I think that saying is very well represented by spring.

Spring storms can wreak so much havoc on nature. Tornadoes destroy everything in their paths. It has no mercy for anything in it’s path. Then it is over just like that, the sun pops out then a rainbow appears. The bad with the good.

I’m continually inspired by nature, and the rainbow is one of nature’s greatest phenomenons. The sighting of a rainbow never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces. They signify optimism and positivity: with them comes the sunshine after the rain.” – Matthew Williamson

So spring has officially started. Won’t be long and folks will begin opening their pools. Hoping you all have a safe and prosperous spring.

Spread the love and be kind to one another.

The Cycle of Mother Nature

“The promise of spring’s arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitter winter. ” – Jen Selinsky

No matter how much one dislikes winter it is an intricate part of the cycle of the seasons.

Winter is a time when Mother Earth becomes dormant and enters a state of hibernation. It is the season known for creating depression within humans.

The trees stand naked all except for a few leaves hanging on refusing to fall to the ground.

The winter snow and rains begin a state of decay. This will add much needed nutrients into the earth that will feed the vegetation and tree roots. The moisture from the winter snows and rain is stored in the earth waiting to quench the thirst of the seed planted by farmers in the spring.

“Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows. Lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.” From the song The Rose

The spring sun’s warmth coaxes the seed to sprout. The bare limbs of the trees start to bud out and the leaves begin to grow. The grass begins to green up and Mother Earth’s landscape becomes peppered with the color of new flowers.

The warmer temps of summer soon take over. These temps help escalate the growth of the plants. Fruit becomes bigger on the plants. The warm nights help the plants grow even faster.

Fall finally arrives and harvest time approaches. As the temps cool the landscape begins to show the breathtaking colors of fall. The growing season starts to come to a close.

Once again the onslaught of winter arrives. Once again Mother Nature has come full circle. The cycle of the four seasons is once again complete.

Spread the love and be kind to one another.

Until Next Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Muir – “Father of the National Parks

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“The practical importance of the preservation of our forests is augmented by their relations to climate, soil and streams.” – John Muir

My blog today is about a man who every outdoorsman, or one who loves frequenting the National Parks, should know.  He was a naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and activist for the preservation of wilderness.  His name was John Muir.

John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland, on April 21, 1838 and died December 24, 1914.  He was also known as “John of the mountains” and “Father of the National Parks”.  He also founded the Sierra Club.  He was well known for his writing.  He published two articles about Wilderness Preservation in The Century Magazine that influenced the US Congress to establish Yosemite National Park in 1890.

“Only by going alone into silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.  All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” – John Muir

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The Muir family left Scotland in 1849 headed for America.  They started a farm near Portage, Wisconsin.  The farm was known as Fountain Lake Farm and it has been designated a National Historic Landmark.  He enrolled in University of Wisconsin – Madison at the age of 22 and in 1864 moved to Canada until 1866.  Indianapolis was his new home and he went to work in a wagon wheel factory.

In September of 1867 Muir began a 1,000 mile walk that started in Kentucky and ended in Florida.  You can read about his journey in his book A Thousand – Mile Walk to the Gulf.

“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.” – John Muir

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John was very active his whole life trying to save the wilderness and was at home in nature.  Some controversy followed him concerning some of his activism, but his love for the outdoors prevailed.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Remember, spread the love.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

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Goodbye Winter; Hello Spring

 

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Soon winter will lose its grip and spring flowers and plants will brighten this area.

“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activities in our yards seems light years away.” – Thalassa Cruso

The seasons will soon come full circle once again.  In a few days winter the winter season will be over and spring will be the new sheriff in town.  Mother Nature will begin a rebirth and the countryside will be filled with flowers, tender young plants and newborn forest critters.

Baseball spring training camps will become a hive of activity.  Farmers will begin preparing their fields for planting.  The hillsides will come alive as Mother Nature paints them with the colors of the wild plum, redbud and dogwood trees.

Mother Earth will once again renew herself and the circle will begin anew and once again end with winter.  Here in the Midwest I can remember when spring lasted for awhile.  However in the last 5 or 6 years it seems like we go straight from winter to summer with just a smidgen of spring in between.

“Behold, my friends ,the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull

With the spring comes the spring rains and the flooding.  Man has done a real good job of causing historical floods by building their levees.  The floods use to clean out and remodel the riparian area of the river which was good for the river.  With the levees the water backs up and stays put for a longer period of time and I think this makes the flooding less effective at clearing out some of the debris.  Oh well that is my story and I am sticking to it.

We have had some big snows in March.  I remember when I was a youngster, one Easter we woke up to 6 inches of snow on the ground.  We have a couple of sayings here in Missouri though about the weather.

“Don’t like the weather you say.  Stick around for it is sure to change in a couple of hours.’

“Here in Missouri you can experience all 4 seasons in one day.”

 

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A Sign of Spring

Here they are calling for high of 50, low of 36 and Sunday high of 39 and low of 37 with a chance of rain or snow.  Winter is still holding on.

“The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives.  It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain.” – Gary Zukav

I don’t know if we will have a lengthy spring or the scaled down version but I hope it takes a while to give in to summer.  Time will tell and we will have to take whatever Mother Nature deals us.  That is part of what makes life interesting.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to share the love.

 

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A March sunset in the Midwest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature In Its Beauty

 

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Monsanto Lake, St Joe Park in Park Hills, Mo

“Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life.” – L. Wolfe Gilbert

This morning I am sharing the pics from my fishing trip yesterday.  Fish weren’t biting however Mother Nature showcased her beauty and splendor.  Glad I had the camera with me.  I also added some of my favorite quotes about nature.

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Monsanto Lake

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Monsanto Lake

“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” – Amit Ray

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“Water is the driving force of all nature.” – Leonardo da Vinci

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I call this “Diamonds on the Water”.

“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful and endless prospect of magic and wonder.” – Ansel Adams

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Monsanto Lake

” The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.” – Natalie Angier

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Monsanto Lake

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful expressive feature.  It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

I hope you enjoyed the pics and quotes.  Thanks for taking the time to look at it.  I dedicate this blog to Dr. David Tripp a very accomplished artist, writer, and fishing buddy, who has inspired me in my work.  Thank you for your undying support.  Remember to spread the love.

Winter, the Circle Is Complete

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“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.” – John Burroughs

Here in Missouri we had an extremely mild November with very little moisture and let me tell you we could use the moisture.  It is so dry around here that when I let the dogs out in the morning the trees chase them.

December is the month that autumn rides off into the sunset and gives the reins to “old man winter”.  On Thursday, December 21 winter will officially begin and visit with us until March 20, 2018 at which time spring will once again grace us with its presence.  At this time the seasons have come full circle once again.  The last two winters have left very little snow on the ground and some mild temps and all I can hope for is a real winter this year.  There, I am out of the closet!

Yep, you guessed it.  I am one of those twisted, sick individuals that actually loves the snow.  I absolutely treasure a walk in the woods during and after a fresh snowfall.  The world is so serene and Mother Earth looks so clean and pure.  The most fascinating thing, to me anyway, is how quiet it becomes.  One can actually hear the snow falling.

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 “The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event.  You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?” – J. B. Priestly

December ushers in the winter and at the same time marks the end of the year.  Winter is the only season that is part of the old year and the new year.   It is the time of year when Mother Nature can bring travel in the United States to a standstill with her massive snowstorms.  Plummeting temperatures can drive people indoors for extended lengths of time.  It’s a time of year that you either love or hate.   The days are shorter and the longer hours of darkness can cause depression.

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Winter can also be exciting.  I remember as a child when they predicted an accumulating snow I would break out the wax to wax the runners of my sled.  It was hard to sleep thinking about the winter wonderland that would be waiting at dawn.   A favorite winter treat was snow cream and hot chocolate gets an honorable mention.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell

So winter is once again upon us.  I haven’t checked the persimmon seeds or the wooly worms.  I haven’t checked the Farmers Almanac.  I think I will just let this winter surprise me with what is in store and not get my hopes up.

 

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Don’t forget to spread the love.

Note:  All pictures were taken by me and are the property of Double D Acres LLC.

 

 

PLEASE, Don’t Litter

“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 can’t live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” –  Evo Morales

Today I am going to address something that really gets my Scooby-Dos in a bind.  Littering and pollution.   Really?  This a subject that we shouldn’t even have to discuss.  Why do people insist on trashing Mother Earth?  Has she offended you?  Are you just down right lazy?  Do you just not care?

If you have read any of my blogs you are privy to my romance with Missouri rivers and streams.  In my journeys I have covered a lot of miles on the rivers.  I can’t think of any time on the river that I didn’t find a gravel bar trashed, tires in the river, appliances, etc. and it is heart breaking.

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Got this off one gravel bar on the Big River

The problem seems to be getting worse instead of better.  I know there are more people that float the rivers than there were 10 years ago.  However there seems to be a greater group of people who do their best trying to clean the rivers up.

In Missouri we have Operation Clean Stream.  There are various teams located throughout the state that police different areas and streams and have an organized clean up once a year.  Usually the fourth weekend in August.  It is unbelievable the amount of trash they collect each year.

In August of 2017, Operation Stream Team volunteers removed 539 cubic yards of trash and 2,029 tires from Missouri rivers.  There were 1,934 in attendance at the locations of the Arnold Area, Big River (lower and upper), Bourbeuse River, Meramec River (middle, lower and upper), Huzzah and Courtois.

You can find out more at openspacestl.org. and there is a Facebook page called Missouri Stream Teams.

“If you can’t be in awe of Mother Nature, there’s something wrong with you” – Alex Trebek

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Sadly a common sight on the river.

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.” – Margaret Mead

We really need to get a handle on this.  It isn’t that hard to haul your trash out with you.  It isn’t going to take up anymore room than it did when you took it in.   Maybe we need to start charging a deposit on cans.  I know folks will still leave them however there will be more people collecting those cans to turn them in instead of just leaving them.  I know when I was a tad pole I would pick up soda bottles to make extra money.  Just a thought.  Don’t kill the blogger.

What is it going to take to get people to respect Mother Earth and keep her clean.   The rivers are faced with trash and pollution problems that aren’t going to go away unless we the people do something about it.  I know, I know.  I hear you shaking your head thinking we have a lot of other problems that need to be addressed.  Well my friends this is a serious problem and it needs to be addressed.  Clean water is needed for survival on this orb and if we run out of it the outcome isn’t very pleasant.  It is our life and future.  Please stop destroying the waterways with pollution and trash.  PLEASE!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Clean water is essential for life and we just can’t keep ignoring the problem.  Spread the love!

The River; A Magical Treasure (For Some)

 

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

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

I was finally afforded an opportunity to spend some time on the Big River.  I decided to kayak and fish the St. Francois State Park area of the river.  I went on a Thursday so I had the park pretty much to myself.  I was even able to accommodate myself with some time to read some of Emerson’s work.  The only distraction I had was the chirping of the crickets and the crackling of the fire.

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Home for a couple of days.

The river was really low.  It was hard to fish and float.  I did manage to catch some fish though.  Not very big but when you are fishing with an ultralite with 4 pound test they don’t have to be very big to have fun catching them.  I did catch enough to consume for supper on the second day.

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My time spent on the river is always magical and mesmerizing.  It has been that way since I was a snotty nosed kid.  I cherish the world of the river and the way it can recharge my spirit and soul.  To see the fall painting that Mother Nature had brushed onto  the foliage was a site to behold.

The first day on the river I never crossed paths with another person.  I had the river all to myself and it is hard to explain what a great feeling it is.  My mind races trying to take in all the wonderful things that I am surrounded by everything grabbing my attention at once.  Even though I have been here before I feel like a child in a candy store.

I wish I could explain the “peaceful  easy feeling” that I experience upon every visit to the river.   It is quite refreshing and it gives one a great opportunity to find themselves.

The downside of the river is that everything cooked on an open fire tastes amazing so therefore one tends to eat too much.

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Coffee, bacon, biscuits and eggs

 

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Funny how many times I have read this book and when I get out on the river and clear my mind of all the garbage it has accumulated since the last visit, I find something I have missed.  Emerson did not believe that one could simply change society by changing the laws, or by imposing new regulations.  For one to effectively change the laws of a state, the minds of the citizens must be changed first through culture  or education.  Forgive me for getting off subject.  This is food for another blog on another day.

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I am a realist and I know the river doesn’t work as well for some as it does me.  Not everyone is comfortable on the river and not everyone likes to fish.  I urge you though to find your “river” in life, no matter what it is.  Then share it with the rest of the world.  Spread the love.

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I also realize not everyone likes reading Emerson.  In closing I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it.  I wish you luck in finding your “river” and “Emerson”.