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.

Dare to Dance the Tide

St Francois River bear Farmington,

“So don’t you sit upon the shoreline and say you’re satisfied, choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tide.” The River, Garth Brooks

This is one of my all time favorites of Brooks. Not just because of my love of the river but because of the way he compares our dreams with the river.

Every flood that happens on the river changes the appearance of the river sometimes even changing its course. How many times has this happened to you? Some major life event happens and forces a change in your dreams.

How many times have you settled for second best instead of best because you keep letting it slip through your fingers and in your mind you won’t achieve “”best” so you give up on your dream and settle for second best?

St Francois River bear Farmington, MO.

As the water of the river enters a shallow area and the gradient of the river becomes steeper rapids are formed. These rapids are representative of the hard times in your life. What you do here is very important as to whether your dream becomes a reality or not.

People who float the rivers have different skills. There are six classes of rapids with I) being the safest and VI being the hardest and most dangerous. When a kayaker or canoeist comes to this spot they have to decide how good they are and they will either pull around the rapids or go for it. No one can make the decision for them. You have to make this decision yourself.

So here you are looking at that very spot on your “river of life”, you are at a point where it is very important to stay focused on your dreams. Don’t lose site of them. Could you fail? Failure is always a possibility. There are no guarantees in life except for the fact that in order to succeed one must try.

So here you are. You have to decide what you are going to do. Are you going to sit upon that shoreline and be completely satisfied or are you going to choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tide?

St Francois River bear Farmington, MO.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

All photos were taken by Double D Acres LLC

Unfathomable Determination

The rain has pretty much settled in for the night. I sit here with my eyes closed listening to the raindrops dancing on the tin roof creating a soothing symphony.

My mind focuses on those brave men and women, the pioneers, who settled the west. They had no idea of the challenges they would face. The only idea they had of where they were going was the tales they had in there minds put there by the adventurers who went before them.

There were stories of feast and famine. Massacres. Whole wagon trains who died and didn’t fulfill their dreams. Disease and prairie fires. Yet these people had a dream that so obsessed them they were willing to sacrifice anything and everything to follow their dream. That profound dedication my friends died with them and no longer exists in this country anymore.

I don’t know if you have ever been camping in the rain but I can tell you from experience it can be very miserable.

I sit here in the coziness of my cabin listening to the rain and I have a vision of men, women, and children huddled together under the rain fly of a wagon trying to get their nourishment so they will have the stamina to do another 10 to 20 miles beginning at dawn. One can only imagine the sore muscles they must have been nursing. Wondering how much further they have to travel. How many more river crossings and broken wagon wheels they will have to endure. Will it be their wagon that breaks this time? How many more of their possessions will they have to leave behind so they can lighten the load on the wagons so they can get them over the mountain?

With these things dancing through their minds it had to be difficult to sleep. Knowing all to well they needed to sleep so they could get the much needed rest to complete another leg of their journey.

The fingers of dawn ascend on their camp. The rain has stopped and the day promises sunshine to dry things out. They begin packing the wagons, hitching the teams and checking the wagons so they can start out once again. They have to battle the annoying suction created by the mud delivering another hardship for them to deal with.

Guts and grit kept them pushing toward their destination and failure was not an option. True representation of determination and faith. They not only needed faith in God. They had to have faith in those leading them and most of all faith in themselves. There were those who celebrated and those who endured heartbreak. So many died along those trails who never lost sight of their dream and died trying to bring their dream to reality.

People could learn a lot from these pioneers and use it in their lives to achieve their dreams. Don’t ever stop believing. They didn’t.

Spread the love and be kind to one another. It doesn’t cost you anything.

A Day in the Arcadia Valley of Missouri

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Welcome Center Fort Davidson Pilot Knob, MO

My long time friend David Tripp journeyed from Texas to visit his parents and he got in touch with me and we decided to take a trip to the Arcadia Valley in Missouri.  The temperatures were bitter cold but we didn’t let that stop us.  We decided to start our day with lunch at the Fort Davidson Restaurant in Pilot Knob, MO.

After an excellent lunch we headed to the site of Fort Davidson. The only thing left of the fort is the earthworks of the fort, surrounding the huge hole that was caused by a powder explosion.  The site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners acquired and preserved 41 acres of the battlefield that are now a part of the state historic site.

The Battle of Fort Davidson, also known as the Battle of Pilot Knob, was fought on September 27, 1864.  It was the opening engagement of Price’s Missouri Raid during the American Civil War.  Price had the Union army  outnumbered by more than 10 to 1 but Thomas Ewing’s men held off Price’s Confederate army during the day and when night time fell they were able to slip away leaving the Confederates with possession of the fort.

On the site is a granite monument that marks where a mass grave is.  Maps are available at the Visitors’ Center that can be used to do a self-guided tour.  The visitor center offers a narrated version of the battle and its context within the Civil War.

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Dam of the Iron Mountain Lake  in Missouri

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Wooden bridge spanning the creek that handles the overflow.

After visiting Fort Davidson we headed over to see Iron Mountain Lake in St. Francois county of Missouri.  It is located in the city of Iron Mountain Lake whose population was estimated in 2016 to be around 736.

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View from the top of Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri

Our next stop would be Taum Sauk Mountain which is a part of the St. Francois Mountains.  It is the highest natural point in the state of Missouri coming in at 1,772 feet.  It is believed that Tom Sauk Mountain was named after Sauk-Ton-Qua a Piankeshaw chief.  The view on top is quite breathtaking in the least.

There is a state park on Taum Sauk that is made up of 7500 acres.  There are a series of trails in the park including a portion of the Ozark Trail.  There is a 12-site basic campground and a special use area for non-profit youth organizations.  For day use there is a picnic area.

The park has its own legend.  It is a Native American “Romeo and Juliet” story.  The daughter of Piankeshaw chieftain Sauk-Ton-Qua’s daughter Mina Sauk fell in love with an Osage Indian warrior.  They met secretly and one day she was caught in his arms.  There was a trial and he was found guilty and he was executed.  Mina Sauk was so heartbroken she plunged from a cliff and took her own life.  This tragedy unfolded at a place on the mountain now called Mina Sauk Falls.

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View on top of Tom Sauk Mountain

We loaded up and headed to Elephant Rocks State Park, a geologic marvel. The park encompasses an outcrop of Precambrian granite in the Saint Francois Mountains.  The name comes from a line of large granite boulders that resemble elephants.  Recreation is available in the form of picnicking, rock climbing and trail exploration. It is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  The land that makes up the park was donated by geologist John Stafford in 1967.

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Elephant Rocks

 

The last stop was the historic Caledonia, MO., a small town located in Washington county.  The town was laid out in 1819 and was named after the Roman Empire’s Latin name for Scotland.  The town has had the presence of a post office since 1819.  The 2010 census showed a population of 130.  The town is also known for its annual Pumpkin Festival.

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Two historical homes of  Caledonia

It was a good day and there is so much to see in the Arcadia Valley.  There is also Johnson Shut Ins, Royal Gorge, Marble Creek Recreation Area and Immanuel Lutheran Church 1861.  There are places to camp or one can choose to stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts, Inns or motels.  The towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob are located within the valley.  It is a great way to spend the day or weekend.  I highly recommend Fort Davidson Restaurant if you are looking for some great cooking.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

 

Simple Man?

Well you know what’s wrong with the world today, people done gone and put their Bibles away. They’re living by the law of the jungle not the law of the land. Well the good book says it so I know it’s truth an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. You better watch where you’re going, remember where you been. That’s the way I see it. I’m a simple man. Charlie Daniels/Simple Man

Simple : of simple origin or modest position. Just what is a “simple man”?

I think of myself as a “simple man”. I am easily entertained and have been told that I am a damn good cook.

I am not a religious man, I am a spiritual man. I am happier in a kayak on the river than sitting in the theater or in a sports stadium. I prefer to do my own cooking than eat out at a restaurant.

I love camping. At 64 I still prefer a tent over an RV.

Some people call me hillbilly, redneck or country boy. Don’t care what you call me just don’t call me late to dinner. Like Hank Williams Jr said in his song, I can skin a buck and run a trot line I will survive.

I stand for the National Anthem. I open the door for a lady and I still say yes sir and yes ma’am. I believe in the second amendment and I am a Patriot and a member of the NRA.

What the world needs now is love, respect and a little more common sense. Every time I hear the old Wizard of Oz song If I Only Had A Brain, I think of our Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I love my animals and I consider them family. If you come to my house I guarantee you will leave with dog hair on your clothes. If my dogs don’t like you then you can bet your sweet arse I won’t either.

Burn the American Flag and your walking on the fightin’ side of me. There’s nothing prettier than a new born filly ‘cepting maybe a new born speckled pup. If you talk bad about my mamma that would be a huge mistake.

I like being alone. Life is simpler that way. You don’t have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings, entertaining them and there is a whole lot less drama.

I don’t know if these things are indicative of a simple man but I think of myself as one.

Remember to spread the love and to be kind to one another

Winter, It’s Time For You To Go

“I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better. – Steve Southerland

Ok Old Man Winter, it is time for you to go. Spring is 12 days away. Lows in the single digits with wind chills -20 degrees F. Really? You are wearing out your welcome.

What’s that you say Old Man Winter? Yes, I am a snow bunny but when temps are so cold that you have to be worried about Penguins mugging you for your parka you aren’t fun anymore.

Do I want a little cheese with my whine? No. I want you to start winding down and let spring begin to replace your hold on Mother Earth.

Did Summer think we complained too much about last summer’s heat and hired you to put us in a “deep freeze” so we would appreciate the heat of summer?

Come on. You know how we humans are. When you are gone we complain that we wish you and your cold temps were here. News Flash!! We don’t need 13 inches of snow to make snow cream. Four inches will suffice.

Old Man Winter your time draws near. It has been quite a ride this year. I have always been one of your biggest fans but the old body just can’t take cold temps like I used to. Please give way to spring.

With this I bid you farewell Old Man Winter. You are an integral part of the cycle of the seasons. However, it is time you take your bloody arse out of here and let Spring in.

Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another!

Instant Gratification

Americans are obsessed with “instant , gratification”. According to ABC News credit card debt exceeded 1 trillion dollars. USA Today reported in May of 2018 that the average credit card interest rate was 16.71%.

There are very few that will wait and put money back to pay cash for something. Instead they break out the plastic and purchase what they want now, not later.

There are those financial experts that say it is good for the economy. There is no argument that it helps the bottom line of corporations, banks, retail companies etc. but what about the American consumer? They do great when the economy is running like Secretariat coming down the back stretch.

What happens when the economy starts to tank? People start losing their jobs. Interest rates start to creep up. Loan defaults make headlines. At this point a lot of folks have more money going out than coming in.

Is it worth the trade off of starting a flourishing economy with plastic? Right now the economy is doing good but what lies around the next bend? A recession? Depression? The past tells us the government will take care of the financial institutions that make bad loans but what about the American consumer?

With our elected officials so eager to pass so many useless laws or duplicating existing laws, why don’t they do something to pass a much needed law?

I believe it is time for the government to address these excessive interest rates and help protect the American consumer. Put a cap on interest rates that an institution can charge. Silly me. I forgot where they get the money for their campaigns.

Banks pay 1 to 3 percent for a regular savings account. They won’t give us a decent rate but slam us when they loan us money. So not fair to the consumer.

If you make a late payment on one card another card can raise your rates even though you weren’t late on their payment. When your debt to income ratio becomes excessive they can raise your rates. Twenty nine, thirty percent even!

It is time to take control of this excessive credit card debt and demand something be done about these atrocious interest rates. “Instant gratification” has to be put on hold and Americans need to start living within their means. We need to take control of our debt.

I am by no means a financial expert or perfect and this is merely my opinion. I am speaking from experience. If you don’t agree with it we will just have to agree to disagree. Common sense tells us if we are spending more than we make that sooner or later we are going to tank. The only way we can outspend our earnings is through the use of credit.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

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.

Walk Your Own Way

“I don’t know where all the rivers run. I don’t know how far. I don’t know how come. But I am gonna die believin’ each step that I take ain’t worth the ground that I walk on if we don’t walk it our own way.” From the song Bang A Drum

I once was a follower. I was afraid to do things my own way. I was afraid of being wrong or offending someone. Then one day I heard Chris LeDoux sing these words and it caused an awakening in me that changed my life.

I did a lot of soul searching and looked back at my life in a new way. A way that I had never really imagined.

I will admit that I am hardheaded and by far I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I realized I had the right to do things and believe the way I wanted too. Right, wrong or indifferent I should believe in me.

There are those who will try to make me believe I wasn’t able to make the right decisions on my own. That I would fail if I didn’t listen to the majority that instituted what they believed to be right for me. News flash, the majority isn’t always right.

I thought to myself how could these people tell me what was right for me when they had never experienced my heartaches, my celebrations and other life experiences. We can’t let people live our lives for us. We need to walk this world in our own way.

It was one of the most important changes I made in my life. It raised my self esteem to new heights. I finally felt like somebody. Don’t get me wrong. Yes I made bad decisions and choices and still do but I made them. No one else did and most importantly I learned from those mistakes and couldn’t blame anyone but myself.

No matter what you do in life or what decision you make there is always going to be someone who disagrees with you. It is inevitable. What is important is how you handle the situation. Do you cower and relinquish your opinion to please those people or do you stand up for what YOU believe in and stand your ground?

As for me I am going to fight for what I believe in even if I stand alone. Maybe it is because I have grown older but I really don’t care what people think of me any longer. I have walked the earth long enough to know that I am never going to please everyone and not everyone is going to agree with me. Not everyone will like my writing or political views. Not everyone will like my photography or my horseshoe art. What is important is how I handle it and that I always “walk it my own way”. If we don’t learn to believe in ourselves we do our spirit, soul and our being a great injustice.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It is so deeply appreciated. You may agree or not agree with my opinion but if you don’t I respect that because we all are entitled to our opinion. We don’t however have the right to demean, harass, or stoop to name calling if we disagree which seems to be the norm for so many people.

Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another. Kindness doesn’t cost anyone anything.

A Day on the St. Francois River

The St Francois River is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is 426 miles long and meanders through northeastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri.

In the springtime they have kayak races on the part that goes through Silver Mines Park. Fishing is fair with a large variety of fish.

They were calling for a high near 70 degrees for today. That was all I needed to hear. I was river bound. I decided to try a new place that I had found. It was on the St Francois River in an area I had never fished.

I really didn’t think the fish would be hitting anything that I had in my tackle box. Just 3 days ago the high for the day was 9 degrees and a front was moving into the area today bringing rain with it. Well that wasn’t enough to stop me. I loaded the yak in the truck and headed out for a day of peace and relaxation.

The air temp was 55 degrees when I got to the river and the water temp was damn cold! It would not be a good day to flip the yak.

The water clarity was clear and water level was normal for this time of year. I didn’t go upstream 20 yards before I had to get out and pull the yak through the riffles. Once through there was a good 300 yard stretch with numerous deep holes and lots of structure and cover for the bass to suspend in. I knew to get them to hit I was going to have to drop my lure right under their nose.

I knew as cold as the water was I was going to have to fish a slow moving lure. This time of the year bass are lethargic and slow to attack the food source. So my choice was a pig and jig and a Charley Brewer slider worm.

The morning really started off slow. Not one single hit in 4 hours. Then a little after one p.m. I got a hit and set the hook. Didn’t appear it was going to be much of a fight then I guess it decided, not today bucko and the fight was on. After about 5 minutes I got it close enough to the boat so I could see it. OMG!!!!! He was big. My heart started beating 200 beats a minute then crap: I forgot the dip net.

Well he dove under the yak and popped up on the other side. With the help of the cold water it tired quickly. I got it up to the yak and I lipped it and put it in the boat.

OMG! What a beauty. I put it on the board and it was a hair over 20 inches. I admired its beauty and returned it to the river. It was a spotted/Kentucky black bass.

I caught two more spotted/Kentucky black bass.

Eleven and a half inches

Thirteen inches

All in all it was a great day. When I pulled out of the river it was 68 degrees. I felt good. I really needed that.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It is very much appreciated. Remember to spread the love and be kind to each other.

All photos are property of Double D Acres LLC and May not be reproduced without written consent from me.