Is It Old Age?

The country is more of a wilderness, more of a wild solitude, in the winter than in the summer. The wild comes out. The urban, the cultivated, is hidden or negatived.” – John Burroughs

I am a lover of the winter. The beauty of Mother Earth covered in fresh snow causes the spirit within me to move and feel alive.

I turn 66 in a couple of months. My body is occupied by arthritis caused by years of abuse. The cold wind cuts through me like it never has before. It magnifies the pain within my joints and makes everyday life more difficult. I guess it was just a matter of time.

For the first time in my life I am actually looking forward to the spring temperatures that will usher my old friend winter out and let the warming air of spring begin to blow across Mother Earth.

It is partially fueled by my love of the river and searching for that elusive record bass. Camping on a gravel bar partaking of the delicious scents of the river. Engrossed in the tranquility and peace that soothes my soul and enriches my spirit. Gazing into the beauty of the night sky hoping to see a falling star. Listening to the nocturnal creatures that are found along the banks of the river as they go about foraging for food and warning others of the intruder among them.

Floating down the river in my yak experiencing the transformation to spring. Marveling at the beauty of the river influenced by the changing season. The redbud and the dogwood begin to paint the countryside with their blooms manifesting on the branches that were bare in the winter months. The warmth of the sun soothes my arthritic joints as I wonder who had been here before me.

Yes it is hard for me to imagine but I am actually looking forward to the coming of spring and saying goodbye to my old friend winter.

One Year Later

This was me a year ago. I camped out the weekend before Christmas. (12/22 – 12/23). The temps were high 40s low 20s. I am camped on my property.

This year on December 23 I had cataracts removed from my right eye. I went in at 8:30 and was out by 11. The marvels of modern medicine. Everything went fine. High that day in the 50s and low 30s. Christmas Day high is supposed to be near 70. We have a saying here in Missouri, “If you don’t like the weather just wait a few minutes.”

I wanted to camp out on the property the weekend before Christmas but the surgery put a damper on that. The worse news I got was that I couldn’t fish for a week or kayak for two weeks. Now enter temps of near 70 for Christmas Day.

I always carry with me a number 10 Lodge Dutch Oven. I think that is the most versatile size for camping for one. I can prepare a complete breakfast in it all at once. Sorry I digress.

Back to cataract surgery. I was amazed it only took a little over 15 minutes for the procedure. The people involved in my surgery at the Farmington Surgical Center were wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about them.

There was a little girl, I would say around 4 or 5 across from me. I watched as she entertained herself opening and closing the blinds surrounding the areas we were in. She suddenly stopped and was staring at me. I was probably quite a site lying there in the bed hooked up to an IV and all the other gadgets. She then says in this concerned little voice, “Mister are you all right.” I assured her I was fine and she smiled and went about her business.

Beside me there was a young boy around 11 that was having his tonsils removed and as they were wheeling me into the OR he said, “Mister, it will be okay. ” God love ’em.

What a difference a year can make. Hopefully I will be able to camp on the property the weekend before Christmas. One can only wonder what the weather will be like. We will just have to see.

A Cold Blustery Night

Even though winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, old man winter showed up here in southwest Missouri with a vengeance.

As I sit here writing in my journal I can here the wind gusting outside my tiny cabin. It is blowing relentlessly across Mother Earth. It hasn’t let up all day. I pray that the homeless have secured a warm place to sleep for the night.

My mind wanders back to my grandparents who lived in a drafty old farmhouse with nothing but an old potbelly wood stove to provide them warmth. At one time the cracks in the floor were so bad that you could see the chickens gathered underneath the house to absorb the warmth of the stove as the heat escaped through the cracks. My grandparents survived many winters in that old farm house.

Feather beds were present on all the beds to help keep the occupants warm since the only stove was located in the living room. On top of the bed were many quilts to hold ones body heat for warmth. There was no inside plumbing so chamber pots were in fashion.

They didn’t get running water until I was 16 (1970). When I was twenty one (1975) my uncle and I installed an inside bathroom. I can’t ever remember them complaining about not having modern conveniences.

As I lie in bed tonight listening to the roar of the wind I am sure I will think about the winter nights I spent in the old farm house surrounded by the love of my grandparents.

My grandparents old farm house in 2017.

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!

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.

Aw the Memories

As I sat at the window today watching the snow flakes dance to the ground my mind revisited the memories of my childhood.

I remember sitting in front of the window watching as the snow blanketed Mother Earth.

I loved walking in the woods while it is snowing. Not everyone realizes you can hear snow falling to the ground. It has its own distinct sound. You have to stand really still and be quiet and you will here it. I have to admit I only heard snow fall in the woods where it was really quiet.

I remember the year we got our hands on an old car hood. They make great sleds. It held all six of us but it took all of us to pull it back up the hill.

The last ride of the day was a wild ride. The slope now had an ice sheet on it. Now all we have is the hood and we needed steering and brakes to go with it. Off we go down the hill and we blew by the old stopping place and on the cuff of a new distance record. Then “BAM”! We hit the side of a car parked in the driveway. Now let me set the record straight. That car wasn’t there when we put the hood in motion. No brakes, no steering. We were hollering at the driver and he just waved at us.

I am happy to report that no one was seriously hurt and we walked away. Now for the car there were two perfect head imprints in the side. The car hood slid right under that car and came to a stop.

My mind became flooded with memories of snowball fights, snow forts, building snowmen, and sledding. I could taste my mom’s snow cream. That was always a treat we looked forward to.

A cat jumps up in the tree in front of the house and wakes me from my trip down memory lane. Guess I better put some hay out for the horses.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe took you on a trip down memory lane. Spread the love and remember it doesn’t cost to be kind.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Goodbye October- Hello November

 

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A pic I took a couple of years ago.

“What good is the warmth summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck  Travels With Charley: In Search of America

October must have been in a hurry to get out of Dodge as it gets out of the way to let November in.  It flew by.  I don’t know if it is because I am getting older, but time seems to have accelerated the last couple of years.  The new year 2018 will be upon us before we know it.

I have mixed feelings as October moves on.  It always brings back childhood memories of jumping in a pile of fresh leaves, bonfires, apple cider, trick or treating, and the quest to have the perfect “hoodie”.  Chili cook-offs, picking apples, searching for the right pumpkin so I can make the Great Pumpkin proud.

On the other hand I am definitely a “snow bunny”.  I love to walk in the woods as the snow falls around me.  If you stop and listen real hard you can actually hear it snowing.  Making snow angels, drinking hot chocolate watching the snow fall, watching the fire dance in the wood stove, these are some of my favorite things about winter.

 

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Another pic I took.

Growing up in the 50s and 60s found us being quite resourceful when it came to sledding.  I remember one year we used the hood of an old Buick for a sled.  I don’t remember what year car it was but it was one of those hoods that came to a point in the front.  It seemed enormous to us back then.  Heavy it was and took two of us to pull it back up the hill.  We could get 7 of us on it then we would go zipping down the hill at speeds that seemed like 60 mph back then.  Only problem was steering.  It had none and one day it went farther than usual and it ended up under a parked car.  We all got knocked off and thanks to all the winter clothes we walked away with just bruises.

Another favorite of winter was “snow cream”.  My mom made the best “snow cream” you ever ate I tells ya.  She would make chocolate or vanilla.  Someone said one time you weren’t supposed to eat the first snow but it didn’t stop us and we survived.  Snow ball fights, snow forts and making a snowman another few of my favorite things about winter.

“My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”  – George R.R. Martin  A Feast For Crows

So as October make its exit and November comes to the forefront I think of all my winter friends and think how lucky I am to have them.  I can smell the hot chocolate.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Spread the love.