Appreciating Nature While Outdoors

Appreciating Nature – God’s Creation 

snow on trees

Each time you’re afield, take time to appreciate nature; things that you can only observe from being outdoors. Sounds simple, though, do we always do this?

While out hunting during this past year, this thought came to mind, “enjoy the simple and come back for more.”

Slow… down… and enjoy the world around you; observe what’s around you. What’s the weather doing? How do the trees look? What’s above you? What are you walking on, dirt, sand, gravel, is there a marsh coming up?

Feel the sense of freedom of the great outdoors. Exploration makes up hunting as well as the shot itself. It’s just another reason why “smacking some birds” or “smoking a deer” are not the only things that make up hunting.

appreciating nature

Reached out to catch the snowflakes as they fell during Wisconsin’s late bowhunting season.

 

Take snowflakes for example. We have learned that snowflakes are geometric patterns either from articles, science class or pictures of them.  However, to actually hold a snowflake in your hand and make out their geometric design is awesome and in real time. It’s one of the mysteries of God’s creation. God created this world for us, you and I to enjoy.

A random thought here, It’s always amazing to me how the trees can grow upright, against gravity.

 

 

appreciate nature

Saw a fallen tree from a distance and pictured myself making a fort of it if I were stranded.

This post been in my head for a while so decided to take a break from the venison recipes to share. Next post will continue the venison recipe series.

Blessings: A First Deer

God blessed me with my first deer on September 21, 2013.

This day, and the preparation for this day, was filled with teamwork. Each venison meal brings back memories of the hunt I shot my first deer. It’s a great taste. There’s only one “first deer” for a hunter.

first deer

A trail camera about 30 yards from the tree I was sitting in captured me and my first deer. We found the deer the morning of September, 22. I dragged it from the brush to the clearing.

It was a calm September evening. I was sitting 20 feet up a tree listening to a Tom turkey calling, while anticipating any kind a movement from a deer. All of a sudden tall grass was moving in the distance. Then, lower branches of a tree on the edge of a cornfield began to shake. (If I was sleeping, I would have missed the subtle movement, and possibly, my first deer.)

Deer were walking through the woods towards the cornfield.

My heart began pumping quicker as the deer kept walking. I couldn’t make out if the two deer were bucks or does at this point because they were in the brush.

At first it seemed they were heading into the cornfield. Next minute, it seemed as if they were heading towards me. A few seconds passed and, sure enough, the deer were heading my way!

Instantly, my heart started to pound and my breathing increased. They were closer and out of the heavy brush, one was a buck, the other a doe.

Both deer stopped at a clearing about 40 yards away. Suddenly, the buck started walking towards me. He then stopped abruptly, shook his head violently and jogged back towards the clearing’s edge where the doe was standing still. I asked myself, “Did he get wind of me or hear me breathing hard?” (I jokingly wondered if they could hear my heart because it was still pounding.)

To my surprise, the doe he was with began walking in, hugging the treeline beside the clearing. Closer and closer she game. She then stopped and began feeding. She was 20 yards from me.

whitetail doe

The buck followed this doe. The trail camera captured the doe that was with the buck I took.

The buck, still at the clearing’s opening, started towards the doe following her path. As the buck walked closer, I could tell it was a young buck. As he continued to walk into a comfortable shooting range, about 20 yards, his walking slowed. Aiming for the rib cage I released my arrow. Thunk! I heard and saw the arrow hit.

Upon impact, the buck dashed towards the West through the treeline and into tall grass. Turning away from the cornfield ahead of him, he stayed in the tall grass and made a half circle back towards the woods. I took mental pictures of that path and continued to look where I heard him last.

Man, was I shaken-up and full of adrenaline. I took several deep breaths while thinking, “I just arrowed my first deer! I get to eat venison! Now I must wait 30 minutes before I start after him.” It was 6:30 when I shot him. (Rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes before looking for a deer, especially in bowhunting.)

 Patience In A Tree
That was a long 30 minutes. I spent it thanking God for this hunt, praying my hit was as solid as it looked and observing nature. My heart rate gradually fell as I looked towards the sky. Also figured this was a good time to pull out my phone to remember how high I was. It was clear and the sun was shining on the cornfield enhancing its golden color. Most leaves were still green with a few turning color this second weekend of bow season.

When my pocket watch f i n a l l y reached 7 o’clock, I slowly climbed down the the ladder-stand. Walking towards where I shot the buck, I heard movement behind my treestand. I paused and questioned myself, “Am I starting too soon?” Silence shortly followed, so I continued to where I remembered the deer take-off after the shot. I found tracks, blood and a few feet further, my arrow. The arrow provided proof it was a good hit. There was red blood and it didn’t have a foul smell.

I found blood and started tracking until I came across a small creek and lost the blood trail. It was now 7:20 and getting dark. I took out my flashlight but could not pick up a blood trail again. Because of the movement I heard early on, I turned back and headed to camp to get advice of more experienced hunters.

Sunset while deer hunting

Walking back to camp that evening, I turned to admire the sunset.

 Around 8PM
Back at camp, I told my hunting party I had hit a deer, felt confident of my shot, lost the blood trail and asked for advice. After seeing my arrow, they also said it was a good hit. We headed back out after the deer.

Arriving at my stand, I picked up the initial blood trail and we all continued to follow it. Finding more of the trail than I did, we found an area of heavy blood and it seemed as if this was the end of the blood trail. We decided to head back and return in the morning.

 Is It Morning Yet?
The night was long. Prayer and anxiety made it tough to fall asleep. I was still replaying the shot in my mind.  Although I was confident of my shot, I was questioning the hit since we were going back out in the morning to look for the deer.

Morning came. We headed out to begin the search. Not long after searching, we found my first deer! The deer was about 50 yards behind the tree I was sitting in. It was found beside a tree in thick brush.

Holding my first deer.

Fulfillment is the best word to describe how I felt walking up to the deer and laying hands on it. Though hunting is a solo sport, it took teamwork for my first deer and I appreciate everyone that helped.

I have been gun deer hunting since 13 and started bowhunting in 2012. Although I didn’t get a deer in 2012, I learned hunting skills and bowhunting preparation that was crucial in getting my first deer on September 21, 2013. The friends and family who helped out are as much a part of this as myself.

Memorial Day Reflections

Memorial Day Reflections

American Flag. Battle. Freedom. All are Memorial Day reflections; feel them in your soul. Allow yourself to feel the depth of how our country was founded and what it took to defend our freedom. Soldiers have fallen in battle to protect our freedom. Ponder this, men and women were willing to die for future generations. Generations they may not get the chance to see.

memorial day reflections

The flag, eagle, and words USA are symbols with deep meaning.

Freedom. It’s the ultimate form of expression. It’s also America’s heart and soul. It’s what my fellow Americans enjoy everyday. Let us not forget why we can enjoy our freedom.

God blesses us with freedom and blesses our military with men and women who were willing to die defending freedom. Listen to the line in Lee Greenwood’s song:

God Bless The USA, “I’ll never forget those who died who gave that right to me.”

The hobbies you have, the free will to do them, and the freedom to spend time enjoying them are the result of the soldiers who died in combat. Let us continue to think about this.

The soldiers who died in combat were fighting for the freedom we’re using to celebrate today. Whether you want to celebrate by: fishing, going to a parade, grill burgers, drink, have a campfire, go camping, or stay inside, the freedom of these choices was fought for.

We are blessed for what those soldiers have done for you and I. We are further blessed for what servicemen continue to do.

Be proud of the fallen soldiers who fought for America.

Be proud of the fallen soldiers who fought for America.

Let every fellow man come together regardless of party and realize what has gone into the making of this country.

Zac Brown Band’s song:

Chickenfried provides a line for Memorial Day Reflections, “Salute the ones who died, the one’s who give their lives.

The reason we are celebrating this holiday is for all the fallen soldiers who gave their lives that we may continue to celebrate in freedom. May we all take time to think about the meaning while we celebrate each Memorial Day.

By Josh Schwartz 2013.

Thoughts On A Bus

I took a trip to Minneapolis, MN by bus February 15 and jotted down thoughts as they came to me on the five-hour bus ride. *Note I wrote this in the present tense.

“Thoughts On A Bus” are thoughts organized into a list of topics. You see, what happens is your mind starts thinking about songs; phrases in songs. You start thinking how you relate to those songs; you start drifting off into perspectives on life. Let’s ride through them.

Some background about this trip: I get carsick while trying to read in automobiles, limited service prevents me from being glued to my smartphone, and, I must conserve battery life. So, pen and paper are my entertainment. And since I always carry a notepad along, I’ll jot what comes to mind. 

 

Observation and Thinking for Yourself

Thoughts On A Bus

Technology will never overtake the natural world.

You must observe the natural world to get a sense of reality. Don’t let technology stop you from observing what’s around you. If you do, you’ll lose sense of your reality and what it means to think practically with your own mind. You still need to think for yourself no matter how technologically advanced our world becomes.

Web technology allows you to look at how the world thinks, and how the friends in your social networks think. But, where do you stand?

To learn about the natural world means observing the natural world. We still need to be out in the natural world to learn the most from it.

Here’s an example: you can post, tweet, or pin about “dirt”. But, to grab a handful of dirt and feel it get under your nails; this is reality.

 

The simple things in life 
Part of Zac Brown Band’s song

Chickenfried  is stuck in my head during this trip:

“Simple things in life mean the most,
not where you live, what you drive, or the price tag on your clothes,
no dollar sign on a peace of mind”

For me, the simple things are having a job to pay the bills. It’s an accomplishment to be able to send in that check for rent/mortgage, and to pay your bills on time.

More importantly, “No dollar sign on a peace of mind.” Think back to this phrase often. Also remember, our troops have fought and are fighting to maintain a peace of mind. Freedom brings peace.

What you learn in work and school
School teaches how to learn, work teaches how to adapt to others’ style of communication

Pioneer Days 
Think of how it was traveling with horse and wagon.

  • You had another living creature with you. Horses need to eat, show emotion like you.
  • It was you exposed to the elements
  • Maybe you had something to read
  • No electronics
  • No gas stations
  • Sometimes no clear path, you made your own as you went.
  • However, you did have God

God
God gives us something to grasp in a world uncertain, faith in Him.
It’s like a handlebar you can grab and hold on to, God gives us faith to do so.
He’s the solid foundation.

Adventure For Unity

Well the presidential election came to a close, and the political adventures continue on.

One of the adventures I hope will fade away are petitions to secede  Politicians must unite.

I’ll admit, my candidate did not win. Yet, my voting decision was a well informed one and that allowed me to sleep the night of the election.

I call myself neither a republican; nor a democrat. I am more conservative than liberal. These days I try to vote for the politician with the best plan, and also see if I agree with their morals and ethics(it was a real challenge to this election). The rest I leave to prayer otherwise I’ll drive myself crazy. God has more power than me anyway, and with this mindset, I find relief.

Ultimately, both candidates made some good points, and other points I disagreed with. I wasn’t impressed with either candidates plans that were laid out during the debates/conventions. I expected to hear more of a vision from Obama for the next four years.

Now where do we go? What is my attitude? It’s realizing that reality is Obama’s the president. I, (we) should do our best to respect him, yet know why we disagree with him, if we do.

Obama won. Whining about Obama is no good, and neither is debating his birth certificate. Forget about doing this. Bad attitudes are not good for work, for solving problems. Just know what the reality is and move on. This is still America. We live in a country of freedom.

We are able to voice our opinion, enjoy our hobbies, and worship freely. You are able to visit this blog and either finish reading this, or not. Heck, you can even write your own blog.

I can still fish where I please, (with proper permits), have either chicken for dinner or fish, and wake up to go work out before work if I chose or during my lunch break. And if I don’t feel like brushing my teeth before bed, I won’t. Remember, we still have choices! We have to work through challenges, even if we don’t get our way. Being immature leads to crybabies, that’s unproductive.

 

A strong solution is to work together. Both parties must come together. Political gridlock cannot go on.

And you see, that’s one thing both Romney and Obama agree on. Working together. To the extent Obama and fellow republicans are willing too needs to be great.

What about these petitions to secede? Nonsense. What we need now is unity. Secession is the opposite of working together and unity, in my opinion, and ridiculous. Even more so if the motive to sign these petitions is because Obama is re-elected.

Your Hobbies Lead To Adventure

I believe my hobbies allow me to look at everything as an adventure. To me adventure is fun, curious, refreshing, freedom, and a way to get outside. Hobbies are a way to break up the normal routine(make the everyday life fun and exciting), gain experience, and can help you enjoy the different seasons throughout the year.

Adventure

Biking and fishing go together. You can save gas and go where a car cannot.

Overlap Hobbies:

You see, you can bike to a fishing spot, may find a new fishing spot while scouting for a hunt, or biking/long-boarding around, and find a new hunting spot by fishing, and vice-versa. Doing multiple hobbies opens up the door for exploration exponentially.

Snowboarding, ice-fishing and hunting require ways to keep warm. Therefore, you may find yourself using your clothing layers and technology from snowboarding to stay warm ice-fishing. This also allows you to kill two birds with one stone since you can wear the same clothes for ice-fishing as you do snowboarding.

Each hobby also has there own tools to adjust gear specific to that hobby. Because of this, you can learn about how to use tools and may find that tools from one hobby will work for a different one. Again, this is a way to overlap your hobbies, and learn things from different hobbies.

Your homework:
Write down your hobbies (the things you like to do, and the things you spend money on for enjoyment). After you’ve written them down, keep that list handy and check back here for a new post on finding adventure through your hobbies.

Political Adventures & Wisdom Of Election 2012

Well, after reading and listening to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. I have come to this conclusion: both parties had great speeches in which I agreed and disagreed with certain content spoken.

Furthermore,

No matter who get’s in they’re going to be faced with the same issues that Obama started out to fix. Keep this point in mind. It’ll take teamwork to fix them. Democrats willing to work with Republicans, and Republicans willing to work with Democrats.

American Flag

America must come together.

It’s the extreme views on both sides that hinder teamwork. Both parties need to put the radical ideas aside; the extremists of both sides of the parties will only hinder the process of restoring America.

To recap, it’s going to take both parties working together to fix and help this country. One party will not do it alone. It takes teamwork. Just like in a company or team sport. One department/person does not know it all or do it all.

Being An American Sportsman

Being An American Sportsman

The smell of the lake as I’m getting into the boat is one of the things that causes me to come back for more. The scent of the air after a fresh rain/snow fall is another.

I’m feeling the early morning dew penetrating my shoes as I walk to a shore fishing spot beside a river or beside a lake. What a gift to chose where my next fishing trip will be. And I can fish by boat; backing your trailer into the lake of your choice is a great freedom as an American Sportsman.

American Sportsman Hooking Up

The freedom of hooking your boat up to the vehicle of your choice and heading to the lake you chose is a great freedom as an American sportsman. And so is the freedom to ride or walk to your fishing spot.

It’s a blessing to get away from the normal daily routine to feel free and adventurous. Discovering something new. The ability to make, and even mark your own path as you leave your driveway. Yes, God has blessed our country; you and I experience those blessings of His hand each time we venture to the outdoors.

These are some of the feelings that come to my mind, being an American sportsman. (If I were to go on I suppose there wouldn’t be enough words to describe the richness of how it feels to be in the great outdoors, to be an American sportsman.)

Let us always remember why can enjoy the freedoms we do as American sportsmen. God has blessed and soldiers have served our country.

One More Cast

You’re at the lake and walk, row, or crank up the motor to your favorite fishing spot. Sometimes it’s peaceful, the water looks like glass. You may even see the sunrise or sunset. Other times it’s windy, wavy, rainy and/or freezing and you feel nature’s elements at every cast. One thing’s the same each time you go out: it’s you and the outdoors.

One More Cast

“Behind a rod and reel is where I feel home”

I love fishing for the suspense and anticipation. It’s the suspense created as my bobber goes under, the anticipation of feeling a strike at any second while casting and retrieving, and thinking of mounting a trophy catch or preparing homemade fish frys.

Think of what fishing can teach; values can be picked up. Patience and persistence are needed to catch fish, especially as they can be stubborn from time to time.

It’s the memories you’ll make, and the moments on the lake where you clear your mind, kick back and relax. Even if the weather turns, a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.

Whether you catch and release, or catch to eat, the passion is there. It’s a lifestyle to eat, sleep and breathe. There’s always room for one more cast.

Why do you fish? What makes up your life style? How do you get to your favorite fishing spot?