Some Thoughts on Life

“Life is a question and how we live it is our answer.” – Gary Keller

One definition of life according to Merriam Webster: The physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual.

I don’t think it makes any difference if you are born rich or poor, your life will be a product of your decisions. It is a fact that in your early years your decisions will be greatly influenced by your parents. The final decision rests squarely on your shoulders.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius

There are so many that try to achieve happiness through materialistic things. They think that a new 3500 square foot home or $80,000 new vehicle will be their answer to their quest for happiness and in the end happiness is nowhere to be found. We need to change our way of thinking in our pursuit of happiness.

In my humble opinion I believe we should take the time to explore ourselves and get to know what really makes us happy. What you like and don’t like in life. Feed the “likes” and change the “don’t likes”. Happiness starts within our hearts. The seed is there we just have to give it what it needs to grow.

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James

I know I have heard many people say set your goals high and you will achieve more. I have come to believe that is the wrong decision to make. I think they should be realistic and when we reach them we can set higher goals but within reach.

As we struggle to meet unrealistic goals we start to become depressed. We lose our “belief” and begin to think “is life really worth it.” At this point it is essential to get that “belief ” back in our way of thinking.

Everyone makes bad decisions in their life. We have to learn from these. If we don’t we learn nothing from the experience. We and only we are responsible for our decisions. We also need to take responsibility even for our bad decisions. Quit putting the blame on others.

In closing I would like to say we need to resurrect “common sense” and “respect”. Most importantly we have to learn to love one another.

Note: this is just an opinion of a retired farrier concerning life. It is meant to provoke the minds of those who read it to form their own opinions.

Lazy Day on the Big River

I finally got to float the Big River. First time this year. My school buddy Mark Nelson and I met st the Huddle House in DeSoto for breakfast at 7 a.m.. after a hearty breakfast we headed for the river.

We left Mark’s truck at Merrill Horse conservation area and drove to Mammoth CA. We got the yaks in the water about 8:30 and headed down river to the Merrill Horse Access.

There hadn’t been enough rain to cause the river to rise but the water was stained and not as clear as usual. The water was cooler than I thought it would be with all the hot weather we have had.

Mark chillin’ on the Big River

The fish weren’t cooperating and had apparently ate before we got there. We didn’t really care because it was a beautiful day to be on the river.

Finally the fish got their appetite back. The first four escaped the hook and swam for freedom. I was 0 for 4. Patience finally paid off. I caught a small largemouth.

Then I finally caught a small smallmouth.

I caught a spotted bass then we had to head for the boat ramp.

I fished this stretch a lot last year. It is approximately 5.4 miles. Last year I saw a Bald Eagle 4 times. I was disappointed I didn’t see it this time.

Mark caught about a 10 inch bass and a perch.

“The River is constantly turning and bending and you never know where it’s going to go and where you’ll wind up. Following the bend in the river and staying on your own path means that you are on the right track. Don’t let anyone deter you from that. – Eartha Kitt

Easter Sunday at Bismarck Lake

It was a beautiful morning to hit the lake. The temp was perfect and Mother Nature had began painting the countryside with the colors of red bud, dogwood, honey locust and various wild flower blossoms.

The wind however was gusting to 30 mph making it hard to fish. There were a few folks catching crappie but I was after the largemouth bass.

I guess Wayne’s Diner didn’t serve up what they wanted. I did finally manage to catch a bass and a crappie.

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Later that day I rigged my poles for catfish but they must have not liked what I was serving because I didn’t even get a bite.

All in all it was a great day. I am hopelessly addicted to the water and fishing. I guess there could be worse things to be addicted to.

Safety First!

I live in southeast Missouri and kayaking has become very popular. On the weekends the area rivers become very crowded with kayakers. I see so many that aren’t wearing life jackets. I myself used to be one of them. One day I just happened to put it on and ended up dumped in class II water and if it wasn’t for my life jacket I would have drowned.

For those of you who don’t know the water classes:

A – Lake water; still

Class I – Easy smooth water, light ruffles, clear passages, occasional sand banks and gentle curves

Class II – Moderate

Class Iii – moderate difficult

Class IV – Difficult

Class V – extremely difficult

Class VI – extraordinarily difficult

Safety devices have a purpose in life and are there to keep you safe.

I know they are cumbersome and can get in the way but they can save your life. There are those in your life that would appreciate you using one.

I have been boating and kayaking for 50 years. Never came close to drowning until that one dreadful day. It wasn’t the first time I had been dumped. Unfortunately when learning something new unplanned things happen due to the lack of experience.

Just keep in mind when you get in that kayak or boat that the decision as to jacket or not could be a life saving decision.

In closing I would like to remind everyone that if you pack it to the river take it home with you. Please don’t leave your trash on the river or lake. Keep our water ways clean.

Spread the love and be kind to one another. “

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.

The River is Calling

I know I write a lot about the river. It is a big part of my life. I know it is hard for some to understand my passion for the river. For those that don’t have a chance to enjoy the river I hope you can get to experience it through my writing.

I love to be on the river at early dawn. Just as the fog starts to lift off the river. You can hear the fish hitting the top of the water partaking of their morning breakfast.

Songbirds fill the morning air with their beautiful music and the squawk of a Heron can be heard.

The river is my utopia and my kayak is my yacht. The world seems so perfect there. I have watched deer cross the river 10 yards in front of me. Watched beaver hard at work and have had Bald Eagles fly above me. One early morning I had an otter swim up and put his paws on the side of the kayak.

I can sit for hours and listen to the sound of the water working it’s way through the riffles. I can feel the tension start to melt as I begin to relax. There is so much that goes on at the river.

It’s a place one can go to take the time to know themselves better.

It’s a place to shed your troubles and worries.

It’s a drug you can’t overdose on.

It’s a place that can cause you to be overwhelmed with joy.

It’s a place where your soul, spirit, and mind can be healed.

In time it is a place of memories.

I am truly addicted to the peacefulness of the river. My love for the river has been around for a long time.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate it. Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another.

Bonne Terre, Mo Vacation

 

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St. Francois River in Silver Mines Recreation Area

 

Vacation time is upon us.  Do you like small towns?  If you do, don’t look any further than Bonne Terre, MO located in St. Francois County about 60 miles south of St. Louis, MO..  Population is a little over seven thousand and it is located in the lead belt of Missouri.  The French settled here in 1720 after the discovery of iron ore.  It was platted as a town in 1880.

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Bonne Terre Dragstrip

National Geographic calls Bonne Terre Mine “One of America’s Top 10 Greatest adventures. Take a walking tour of the old mine and take a boat ride on the Billion Gallon underground lake.  They also have scuba diving classes.  You can find out more at http://www.bonneterremine.com.

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A turtle sunning at Bismark Lake

There are many near by attractions one can also enjoy.  If you are a fisherman you are in luck.  Big river is near by and Bismark Lake.  Bonne Terre has its own city lake.  Then there  is Monsanto Lake located in beautiful St. Joe Park.  You can also ride your four wheeler or dirt bike in the off road park inside St. Joe Park.

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Monsanto Lake

Bonne Terre is only 32 miles from the Arcadia Valley.  In the valley you will find the towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob.  A significant battle of the Civil War happened in the valley at Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob.  Just up the road from there you can find Johnson’s Shut-Ins, Elephant Rocks and Taum Sauk State Parks.

 

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A building inside St. Joe Park

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  It is much appreciated.  You get a chance check out Bonne Terre.  Be safe out there.  Spread the love!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monsanto Lake

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Lake Monsanto – St. Joe Park -Park Hills, MO

St. Joe Park is located in the old “lead Belt” area and is made up of 8,238 acres that was donated to Missouri in 1976 by the St. Joe Minerals Corp after ceasing operations in 1972.  It has an off-road vehicle area, two campgrounds, equestrian camping and trails, hiking and bicycling trail, picnic sites and lakes for swimming and fishing.

The historic mill buildings still stand on the site and it has been designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.  They also have a museum that houses some of the old mining equipment along with an impressive collection of geological specimens.

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Lake Monsanto

There are four stocked lakes in St. Joe.  Monsanto is the largest that is 30 feet at the deepest point and around 25 acres.  Then there is Apollo Lake, JoLee Lake and Pim Lake which is the smallest.  Boats can be used in all four but only electric motors are allowed.  They do rent kayaks and canoes.  One drawback to me, that definitely keeps me from getting too attached to this place, is the hours of operation.  From April – September the lake opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 8 a.m.; October – March 7 a.m. to 5 p.m..  I really wish they would reconsider their hours.

If you want to fish Apollo or JoLee lakes, you must obtain a fishing pass from the park office.  There are no launch fees.  One can catch bass, crappie, catfish and an assortment of pan fish or perch.  The park uses a “slot limit” of 12 inches to 15 inches for bass.  You can keep anything under 12 and over 15 but you can’t keep fish that fall in the slot.  One practice they do that I do like is that they pass a card so you can record your catch of the day so that they can have an idea of what is being caught.  It is done anonymously.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

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Lake Monsanto

I have fished Lake Monsanto three times.  It is a peaceful place through the week however on the weekend it can draw a crowd.  The lake has a lot of mill foil in it and a lot of standing timber and a multitude of objects to get your line hung up on.

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Largemouth bass caught

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Channel Cat I caught a couple of weeks ago.

I prefer to use a Rapala floating minnow.   If you watch what you are doing you don’t get hung up as bad.  I also use the live bait mode also: night crawlers.  If I am out there just to relax I just use an empty hook.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give Lake Monsanto a 5.  If the state would change the fishing hours to allow early and late evening hours I could learn to like it a little more.  (Hint, hint)  Maybe even issue a special permit if a person wanted to do some late night catfishing.

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Lake Monsanto

Someone asked me the other day if I ever get tired of fishing.   For the record, “no”.  I can never get enough fishing.   When I am fishing I can feel my spirit feeding off the positive energy of Mother Nature.  I sleep better when I have had a full day of fishing.

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Monsanto Lake

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to spread the love.

Early Morning on the Bourbeuse River

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Bourbeuse River near Union, MO

“In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of which comes; so with present time.”  Leonardo da Vinnci

It was an early fall morning.  The temperature was in the forties and the fog seemed to be dancing as it rose from off the water.  As I shoved the yak off the boat ramp and out into the moving water my heart began to race with excitement.  The fog was so thick that it was blocking sunlight and it was somewhat of an eerie sight.  Fish had all ready began feeding and you could hear and see them hitting the top of the water.  I quickly paddled upstream to a point in the river where I would turn the yak downstream and fish my way back to the boat ramp.

I reached my destination and pulled up on a gravel bar and prepped my rod and reels and chose the baits I would tie on.  I slowly began my way back down the river and began casting.  Around the fifth cast I felt something pick up the Charlie Slider worm and take off with it.  I set the hook and the fight was on.  It wasn’t very big but I was using an ultra light with 4 pound test line which made it feel like a 5 pounder.

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Small largemouth bass.

As I floated and fished my mind began to work overtime.  I wondered; did Native Americans ever float this area, who was the first settlers that found this area, what is the biggest bass that was ever caught here etc..  I thought to myself how grateful I am to be able to see the beauty of the river first hand and experience the peacefulness that abounds in the early morning hours on the river.

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Bourbeuse River

As I floated around a bend in the river and eyed two deer drinking water at the end of a sand bar.  I was almost close enough to touch them when they noticed me and bolted into the woods.  Further down the river i came upon a beaver who wasn’t very happy with me trespassing on his part of the river. Wildlife is abundant on the river this morning.

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Bourbeuse River

As I approach the boat ramp I am overcome with some sadness as the morning float comes to an end.  It was a great morning.  The batteries were recharged and the mind was cleansed and the soul rejuvenated.  Caught some fish and filled my mind with the beauty of the river.  Life is good.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed and if you did be sure to let me know.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

 

 

A Day on the Lake

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

What a beautiful day in southeast Missouri!  I never did hear what the high was today but it had to be in the seventies.  My significant other told me I needed to go fishing this morning and I thought about it.  Longest two seconds of  my life.  Now to decide where to go.  I was torn between the river and the lake and finally decided to load the yak and head to Bismark Lake in Bismark, MO.

As I approached the boat ramp and laid an eyeball on the parking lot, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day for fishing.  I counted seventeen boat trailers.  Bismark isn’t a huge lake, it only consists of 210 acres.  That is when Thoreau’s quote went off in my head.  It was a beautiful day, I had my camera with me and it was a great day to relax.  After all, that is why I came.  If the fish were biting that would just be an added bonus.

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Bismark Lake

 

I unloaded the yak and loaded my gear into it.  I headed across the lake where I had caught fish before.  As I paddled across the lake I couldn’t believe all the boats on the water.  I thought to myself, I wonder how many of these guys knew they really weren’t after fish.  I chuckled out loud and continued my trek across the lake.

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Soft shell turtle sun bathing

Well I am hear to tell you, those fish had lock jaw I tells ya!  I threw everything I had at them (forgot the dynamite).  I didn’t get to the lake til eleven.  When I saw all of those boat trailers I knew any place I fished would have all ready been fished hard.  Talk about PPing on my parade.  Oh well it adds new meaning to “The early bird gets the worm.”  Like my mom used to tell me,”That’ll learn you dern you.”

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Bismark Lake

Even though  I didn’t catch any fish it was a great day to be outside, on the lake, in the yak and spent a good half hour trying to get a pic of a beaver.  He was really camera shy.  Maybe he was afraid the camera would steal his soul.

 

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Bismark Lake

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Soft shell turtles

Well the time came to head back to the truck.  My spirit had been recharged and my soul cleansed.  I had been fishing in the back of a cove that was sheltered from the wind.  As I made my way out into the main body of the lake I noticed there was some choppy water ahead.  The waves would be hitting the side of the yak.  Not an idea situation and the first attempt almost sent me swimming.  I finally decided on another approach that would change the way the waves would hit the yak and after great effort I made it back to the ramp.

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Bismark Lake

Thanks  for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it and if you ever want to fish Bismark Lake I would be glad to give you a tour of the lake.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.