Mother Nature and Respect

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Walden Henry David Thoreau

The definition of nature is the material world, especially as surrounding humankind and existing independently of human activities. It is also defined as the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations. One could say that nature is everything.

There is a saying “Stop and smell the roses.” Relax and take time to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life. Stop stressing out, overthinking or complaining. My version is “Stop and drink of the beauty of nature.”

As spring draws near camping season comes into view. The weekend warriors who live in the cities and suburbs will begin their assault upon the campgrounds. They appear in the parks pulling their 30 foot campers loaded with all the amenities of home. I don’t think this is what Thoreau had in mind when he advocated that people leave their urban and industrialized areas to explore nature. He felt that “modern life” robbed people of their best selfs and that living in harmony with nature was essential. In today’s society the campgrounds are so overpopulated that they are nothing more than smaller communities of which they were trying to leave behind.

In Missouri the rivers and Ozark streams become heavily congested with weekend floaters occupying rafts, inner tubes, kayaks, and boats. Sadly the amount of litter left behind is mind boggling. Thoreau often wrote about the importance of preserving the wilderness and the importance of living in harmony with nature. His ideas are completely lost on the minds of the majority of weekend revelers. One can see the evidence if they float the rivers on Monday morning. Sandbars and gravel bars are littered with aluminum cans, trash, and an occasional tent. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you pack it in pack it out. It is that simple. My motto is is,”Leave it better than you found it.”

We as a whole need to learn to respect Mother Earth and what she has given us. Preserve the magnificent beauty of Mother Earth so that future generations can enjoy it. We don’t know what we have until it is gone.

“I love nature partly because she is not a man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. If this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.” – Henry David Thoreau’s Journal

MDC Once Again Under Attack!

The Missouri Conservation and Use Tax is once again under attack. ‘This money goes directly to support forest and wildlife conservation efforts. Out of every $8 of taxable goods one penny goes for conservation.

In the early 70s Missouri citizens petitioned to get the tax placed on the ballot. They succeeded, it passed and was implemented on July 1, 1977. Then in 1999 state officials attempted to divert the money collected to pay refunds to taxpayers to only have the Missouri Supreme Court rule that the money could only be used for conservation and not be considered part of the states total revenues.

When I was a child there were a lot of areas of Missouri where it was rare to see a deer or a turkey. I grew up fishing the Big River and bass fishing was mediocre.

In 1977 when the money was allocated to the MDC, things began to change. A little slow at first but soon things began to improve. Due to responsible conservation efforts game became more abundant. Hunters were allotted more tags to fill for deer and turkey. Bass fishing became more rewarding. Money started coming in from out of state hunters who wanted to take advantage of our good hunting. Out of state fisherman also traveled to Missouri to take advantage of our excellent fishing. New land was bought and more public hunting areas and river accesses were made available. New conservation areas were established. Other states began to take notice and implemented programs in their states that the MDC had created.

Now Republican Chris Dinkins of District 144 has introduced two constitutional amendments that could destroy the improvements that have been made. HJR 108 and HJR 112. She says it is in an effort to rein in the overgrown bureaucracy of the MDC and make the department more accountable to the people.

HJR 108 would give the voters the opportunity to change the Missouri Conservation Commission. Presently the commission has four members who are appointed by the governor. Her amendment would change that number to nine nonpartisan members. Voters would elect one member from the current MDC districts and the governor would appoint one member to the commission. I thought she wanted to rein in bureaucracy within the department but this would only add to it causing more bureaucratic red tape.

HJR 112, if passed by voters, would take two thirds of the money and pass it on to other areas in need. The Missouri Supreme Court has already ruled that the money could only be used for conservation and can not be considered part of the states total revenues. Lawsuits? I know the voters are voting on it but the voters passed it in the first place.

She points out that the MDC has a savings account balance of almost 100 million dollars. Sounds to me like they are being pretty responsible. Representative Dinkins that’s let me point out that a savings account is usually used for emergencies. How much of that money was contributed from the Conservation Sales and Use Tax and how much from the sale of licenses, tags, ammo, etc.? If the economy tanks the MDC could go through that money pretty quickly in an effort to keep its programs afloat. Did you ever think of that are better yet do you even care? She says the MDC continues to attack the civil liberties of this state but cites no references. If you are going to throw the sportsmen of this state under the bus at least tell us why? Since you represent Reynolds county I would be suspect it has something to do with the battle between feral hog hunters and the MDC. So your solution is to punish all sportsman of the state of Missouri?

I hope the sportsmen in this state takes a long hard look at what is going on here and the impact these two amendments will have on bird hunting, deer hunting, turkey hunting, fishing and all the other programs offered by the MDC. Are we going to stand by and let this destroy all the accomplishments the MDC has made since 1977. I for one hope not.

Life Can Be Bittersweet

As we grow older it is inevitable that we will face the fact that those tasks in life that we were able to do are no longer within our capabilities. Believe me it is a hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately we tend to refuse to recognize this. We are in denial and keep telling ourselves we can do it. By choosing this path we don’t always do what is best and prolong the inevitable. Just recently I found myself guilty of doing this very thing.

In 2003 I became a full time farrier. I built my business up to a point where I was doing around 1400 head of horses a year or roughly 30 head a week. During the summer you would find me under horses six days a week. During this time I saw so many horses that were never trained and wasting away in a pasture. Something I said I would never do, or so I thought.

I had purchased a cutting horse bred filly. She was quite the handful but managed to break her and had her going well under saddle. I lost her in a divorce and figured I would never see her again.

I began having breathing problems and my energy levels suffered immensely. This was a part of my life for three years, off and on. Finally I couldn’t go anymore. My “get along” had got up and left. It turned out I was bleeding to death internally. My body only had a third of the blood it needed circulating through my veins. The whole time I was struggling to stay under horses to make my living. The doctor told me he had no good explanation as to why I was still alive and that there was probably some damage done to my organs. To make a long story short I recovered but my pulmonologist informed me she thought I had some lung damage. It was evident in my shortness of breath and lack of energy.

Then one day I was given the opportunity to buy my filly, now a mare, back. She had a filly on her side. I brought them home thinking I would break the filly. My health issues changed everything. I kept telling myself I would get better and have the horse I had always dreamed about.

Unfortunately I was in full blown denial. I was becoming one of those people I had always despised just letting her talents go to waste.

Then in January I lost my beloved ride dog Kate. Reality slapped me square in the face. I wasn’t being fair to my filly. At the same time I was wrestling with the realization that I was no longer able to do what I could once do.

I finally admitted my training days were over and I made some phone calls. Some very good friends who I knew would give them both a good home, agreed to take them. They are going to use the mare for breeding and break the filly. I guess it is only fitting that the mare would be the last horse I would break.

Tough Choice For Pet Owners

I wrestled with writing about this particular subject but I felt it might be beneficial to other pet owners facing this tough decision. I was faced with it in November 2019 and again in January 2020.

To euthanize or let nature take its course. It’s a very tough decision and when you do decide you almost always second guess yourself. Did I make the right decision? Who knows what the right decision is? We really don’t have anyway of knowing for sure. We have to ask ourselves if we are keeping them alive for them or for us. They can’t talk so we really don’t know if they are suffering.

In my case the first decision came when my Great Pyrenees, Eros, was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. The veterinarian gave me my options. Treat with steroids, chemotherapy or euthanasia. I didn’t want to put him through chemo so I opted for steroids and pain pills.

Eros responded well the first 3 days. Then he had a couple bad days. He began to get worse. I knew I had to make a decision and it was gut wrenching. I weighed the pros and cons and looking at them I asked myself if I was keeping him alive for me or him. In my case I decided it was for me so I made an appointment for him to cross the bridge.

I almost waited too long. The night before he got down and the only way he could get up was if I lifted him up on his legs. I practically had to carry him to the truck and load him to go to the vet’s office.

They had a room for us to go to without going through the waiting room. It was nice but just seemed such a cold impersonal place for him to take his last breath. I got down on the floor and held him as the vet injected him with the death serum. It was over quickly.

My second decision came in January 2020. My beloved Australian Shepherd, my ride dog, had developed a strange cough. I made Kate an appointment at the vets. I was afraid it was heart worms but that test came back negative. They decided to take some X-Rays. Her lungs were riddled with tumors. This was a Wednesday and when I asked the vet how long he thought she had he said a week two weeks tops. With Eros fresh in my mind I made the first appointment they had available. It was for Monday of the following week.

The vet had prescribed her some pain pills to help make her comfortable. Friday morning I needed to go to town so I took Kate with me. She had a rough time getting in the truck. We headed to town. Little did I know this would be our last ride together.

Back at the house I had to literally pick her up and set her on the ground. That’s when I noticed the spark was gone from her eyes. She got worse as the night progressed. I am not going to go into detail but the last 15 minutes of her life was not pretty. She took her last breath at 12:21 a.m. at home with just me and her.

I had hoped Eros would pass in his sleep but the memory of his death isn’t marred by a death struggle. I will always have Kate’s terrible fight haunting me.

I don’t second guess myself on my decision for Eros anymore. I had made the right decision with Kate but the appointment was too late.

For anyone having to make this decision I hope my experience helps you with your decision. Most of all I hope you don’t ever second guess yourself.

If you choose euthanasia promise yourself you will be there with them when they take their last breath. You being there helps their anxiety. Please don’t let them take their last breath alone with strangers. You owe them that much.

In Memory Of

Eros

Kate

Equine Ownership

As a retired horseshoer and horse owner I have learned a lot about the equine. They, like people, all have their own personalities. They are also a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for.

A lot of responsibility comes with ownership. There is a lot of work involved and it isn’t cheap. If you don’t own property and have to board your horse it can be quite expensive. If you keep your horse in a stall the stall needs to be mucked out daily. They also have to be fed hay daily. Depending on the horse and what you are doing with the horse you may need to feed grain twice a day every day.

“I’ve often said there is nothing better for the inside of the man, than the outside of the horse.” – Ronald Reagan

Now if you show your horse, compete in rodeos or trail ride you are going to need a trailer to haul your horse in and a truck to pull it. Now this could be a rather large expense.

Let’s not forget veterinarian expenses and annual shots, worming, hoof care and unexpected events.

All in all equine ownership isn’t cheap. In my opinion though the reward is worth the expense.

A Little Farrier Humor

First let me make it clear the names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

A young man had bought a grade horse and was obsessed with finding out exactly how old the horse was to the point he became very annoying.

Now Bubba had been told by the sellers it was twenty one years old. Someone made the mistake of telling him that the sellers were known for not telling the truth. Now Bubba was convinced his horse was close to thirty. He asked the vet to age him by looking at his teeth. Vet said as near as he could tell the horse was in his twenties.

One morning while I was in the barn shoeing horses he began his rant of not knowing exactly how old his horse was. I wasn’t having a good morning. A horse had pulled its foot back at the same time the nail exited the hoof and sliced my finger. Billy Bob, who worked at the barn, was holding horses and fetching them for me.

Well Bubba just went on and on and I had had enough. I said there is one sure fire way you could get close. You know how a tree is aged by its rings? Well a horse grows an anal ring every five years so if it has four rings it is between twenty and twenty five. At this point Billy Bob almost choked on his tobacco. Billy Bob said that’s right. I had forgot about that method.

Well Bubba told us we were full of it and walked off. I never gave it another thought. I was sure he knew I was being sarcastic.

I was under a horse prepping the hoof for a shoe. Meanwhile Bubba had pulled his horse out of the stall and was grooming him. I was checking the shoe fit when Billy Bob said you have to see this and was laughing hysterically. I set the foot down and looked in the direction of Bubba.

I looked on in disbelief. Bubba was holding the tail with one hand and with the finger of the other hand he was opening the business end of the horse with his face just inches away. Bubba and I were laughing so hard we had tears running down our cheeks.

I guess Bubba heard us and dropped its tail and judging by what he was saying to us it was a safe bet we were no longer on his Christmas card list. He didn’t talk to us for months and to my knowledge never asked anyone how old they thought his horse was.

Let me tell you. It was quite a sight to see. I still laugh when I think about it. I never thought in my wildest dreams that he would do that. I guess I was wrong.

Update On My Eros

2013 – 2019

“Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us, and make our lives a little brighter, and they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow. – Dan Gemeinhart

He will be missed deeply. Lots of good memories. Cancer is an ugly disease. RIP my good friend.

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.

Social Media; the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

“The more social media we have, the more we think we are connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” – JR

Today as I was brush hogging pastures the topic of Social Media (SM) bounced around in my brain cells. How powerful is SM and how many people realize how powerful it is?

So many have the mentality that it must be true because I saw it on the internet. Personally I view the internet as a communication tool.

A bit in the horses mouth is a tool used by the rider to communicate to the horse. If used correctly it is a good thing but if used incorrectly it can hurt the horses mouth making it difficult to get the bit in the horses mouth the next time the rider wants to ride. This also applies to SM.

It is used to spread lies and some use it as a bullying tool. How do you stop it? That my friend is a $64 question.

I did a search on SM etiquette and at Moneycrashers.com I found an article written by Brian Martucci outlining what he thinks is proper etiquette.

1) Don’t mix business and pleasure.

2) Use caution posting and tagging photos.

3) Be self-centered in small doses.

4) Understand that your sense of humor

isn’t universal.

5) Don’t be reactive.

6) Avoid over-sharing.

7) Build a legacy for the future.

8). Don’t misrepresent yourself.

9). Don’t drink and tweet.

10). Understand each platform’s best

practices.

I was able to find some statistical data about Facebook.

1. 1.15 billion mobile daily active users.

2). 2.38 billion monthly active users.

3). 1.56 billion people log onto FB daily.

4). 1.74 billion mobile active users.

Ten million, on average, use the “Like” and share buttons.

307 million Europeans are on FB.

25 to 34 is the most common age demographic.

5 new profiles are created every second.

76% of women and 66% of males are FB users.

Highest traffic occurs midweek between 1pm to 3 pm.

83 million fake profiles.

300 million photo uploads per day.

20 minutes is the average time folks spend on FB.

Now let that all sink in.

SM brings old friends together and can destroy current friendships. Many people will say and post things that they would not have done face to face.

SM can be used for so many things and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what is real news and fake news. Be careful how you use SM because it can come back and bite you in the arse. Stop, think about the consequences and use care before you hit that button.

Another Family Reunion in the Books

“The memories we make with our family is everything.” – Candace Cameron Bure

It’s official another White family reunion is under our belts. All my dad’s brothers and sisters, that are still with is we’re there. Lots of great food and trips down memory lane.

I went to the cemetery to visit the graves of family members. As I stood there I thought back to when I was a child and the Decoration Day’s of the past. Now off to visit my grandparents old farm.

As I stood there in front of my grandparents house my mind began a journey back in time. An image of the house of yesterday began emerging and the house that used to be filled with love and life was once again before me. Much different than the house that was void of both in present time.

I saw my grandpa working the truck patch with his old mule Mike. Grandma was planting marigolds in the soil he had ready for planting. She was wearing her sun bonnet and her apron was covering the dress she wore. She always said the marigolds would keep bugs out of the rest of the garden.

Then the vision of us sitting in the porch swings waiting to take our turn at cranking the handle on the ice cream maker appeared so vividly before me. It was so real I could taste it.

I revisited the Christmas celebrations that happened within the walls of the old house. I remembered sleeping in the unheated bedroom snuggled in the warmth of the featherbed with a hundred pounds of quilts covering me. I would be awakened by the aroma of fresh made coffee and the unforgettable smell of bacon frying and homemade biscuits baking. I would jump out of bed and run into the living room and stand next to the wood stove to get warm.

Life was so simple then. The only technology in the house was the rabbit ear antenna wrapped in aluminum foil to help television reception.

The old outhouse was gone. Grandma had an old tom turkey who would always lay in waiting until I made my morning visit to the outhouse and he would chase me until I reached the safety of the outhouse. As I stood there I caught myself looking over my shoulder making sure the old tom wasn’t stalking me.

The old barn is gone but my grandpa’s pond was still there overgrown with brush. All the grandkids had fished in that pond at one time or another.

The trip down memory lane was so refreshing but the real world is starting to creep back into my mind. Time to go…………..

During your celebration of Memorial Day please take the time to remember those who gave all.

All pictures are the property of Double D Acres LLC and may not be used or reproduced without permission.