Monday, May 16, 2011

Five Versatile Bloggers

Back in March, TexWisGirl at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report bestowed the Versatile Blogger Award upon me. Part of the requirements for accepting said award are to give it to five other bloggers and tell seven things about yourself. I promised TexWisGirl I would complete the requirements as soon as I could since at that time I was in the middle of house hunting. Well, here it is and I now have one of many monkeys off my back! *smile*

To be blunt, I really hate having to pick bloggers for these awards. There are so many great blogs and most are better than the drivel I have here. Personally, I think whoever created the award should be the one to give it out and let it stop there. However, I accepted the award and believe in abiding by the terms. Without further delay, here are five folks I consider to be versatile in their blogging. 

Each of those bloggers is very good at what they do. If you already follow one or more of them, you know what I mean. If there are some blogs in that list you haven't visited before, I'm going to let you find out for yourself what makes those folks not only good, but versatile. While I might not like having to pick a certain number of people out of so many great ones, it doesn't mean I take it lightly. Each of the bloggers in that list is very deserving. 

Now for the part I truly hate - the seven "things about me". I used up all the good ones for the last award I got. Oh, well.

  1. My best friend and I have been best friends for over 25 years.
  2. I nearly sat on a rattlesnake in the middle of the night in the Texas scrub brush (don't ask).
  3. My worst subject in high school and college was math - despised it.
  4. There are very few foods I don't like - sauerkraut is one of them. Brussels sprout is another.
  5. I visited the DMZ and had the opportunity to stand face-to-face with North Korean soldiers.
  6. Two of my biggest pet peeves are rudeness and just plain stupidity.
  7. I have never had a broken bone or a sprain of any kind, although I did split my forehead wide open as a kid (explains some things).

Now on to a couple of other quick items. My friend, Mel, has closed his Blogger blog "Blog Cabin Angler" and moved everything to his new blog called Ass Backwards Angler which is on WordPress. If you were following him and missed his announcements, you can find him there at the new place. 

I am slowly getting back to normal and hope to be posting "semi-regularly" again. Time is my biggest enemy as it is for many people. In order to maximize my time when writing and when visiting other blogs, I have decided the best way is to visit those folks who have been kind enough to visit and comment here regularly. Before I got tied up with the move, I was visiting quite a few blogs. A very small number of those have owners who have never reciprocated. When my time is limited, those are the blogs I will be skipping. It's the best way I know to make sure I have the opportunity to visit the blogs of the people I interact with the most.

Several of the comments on my last post about being happy with less were lost during Blogger's outage or maintenance. I don't know if they'll be restored, but I wanted to let those folks know I did read them before they disappeared and I appreciate the feedback.

I want to thank TexWisGirl again for the award! She's been very kind to me. Be sure to visit the blogs I listed. They are all high caliber and more deserving than mine. At least they post something more than once or twice a month. *laughing*

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Being Happy With Less

Have you ever looked at your collection of gear or equipment or belongings and thought, wow, I have a lot of stuff? For a while now, I've been employing a philosophy of doing more with less on my hunting and fishing outings. The days of lugging two tackle bags bursting at the seams or loading down my daypack until it's too heavy are over. I know many of us are familiar with the scenario - well, I'll take this in case I need it and I'll take that, too, because you never know. And I might need this, maybe. Let's be honest, only a small percentage of the "stuff" we take along on hunting or fishing trips actually gets used. And I'm not including items that we take for emergency or survival situations. Being prepared is important. I'm talking about the excess stuff that gets packed and carried around even though we know it won't be utilized.

Downsizing or doing more with less is certainly not a new approach and many people adhere to that philosophy. I no longer take tons of tackle out on the boat. Realistically, only a small portion of the tackle in one bag gets used. There's no reason to have two or three bags full of stuff sitting around. My hunting pack used to have things in it that I thought I might use someday, but never did. I'm more diligent about packing for specific outings. If I'm bowhunting, I don't leave things in my pack that are only used for firearms season and vice versa. I grew tired of hauling stuff around that never got used. The idea is to pack smarter, not work harder.

I have also applied this on a slightly larger scale to include my general packing, say, for a weekend hunting trip to the cabin. In the past, I may have taken three or four pairs of boots and 95% of the time I only wore one pair. Now, I'll take two pairs of boots in case one gets really wet or there's a big temperature change. I don't pack as many clothes as I used to, either. Most of the stuff I took in the past didn't get worn. I've stopped taking multiple pieces of outwear. I pack so I can layer and adjust to changing weather accordingly without taking everything I own.

Not only have I been implementing "less is more" in my hunting and fishing, but I'm doing it in my life as a whole. My parents have a very nice home and it is one of the most uncluttered homes you will ever see. They have a simple rule - if it's not used or not needed, it goes. It goes to the church, Goodwill, or the trash depending on what it is. It's a rule I am using, particularly in light of my recent move. This is my fourth house and each time I've moved I've thrown stuff out, as I'm sure many folks have. I'm being even more strict this time, though. If I have no legitimate use for something, it goes. I am definitely not a hoarder, but you don't have to be to accumulate things. Stuff just has a way of collecting without us really realizing what is happening.

I want my house and my life to be uncluttered. I have learned that I am actually happier with less. Each time I come across something I know I can get rid of, I have a sense of satisfaction. It's almost like a challenge to see just what I can really do without. I'm not trying to put myself back to the Stone Age, but I have a feeling many of us have more stuff than we actually need or use. My goal is to simplify and remove any clutter. I'm enjoying the results of this philosophy. It's almost a sense of freedom. And I like it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boxes, Bags, And Bass

In my last couple of blog posts, I mentioned that I was going to be busy for most of April and wouldn't be here much. That held true. The big project that has kept me so busy is a new house which I bought in early April. I was tied up with the closing process, packing, moving, and unpacking (which isn't done yet). I actually started looking at houses in February, found this one in March, and closed in April. I despise the moving process, as I'm sure many folks do, but it's nice to be in a brand new home. 

I just recently got Internet service and hope to be back to visiting blogs in the near future. There is still unpacking that needs to be done so I'll be working on that until it's finished - or I say it's good enough. Anyway, that's what I've been busy with the past few weeks and I'm glad the ordeal is over. 

On another topic, some people have asked about the bass tournaments I talked about in previous posts. Let's just say it has been a rough start. There were three tournaments scheduled in the month of April. I had to miss the first one due to unexpected circumstances, but the weather was really nasty that day and the fishing was terrible. Ma Nature has wreaked havoc this spring which caused the second tournament to be cancelled due to dangerous lake conditions. The third tournament was yesterday, but the lake where these particular tournaments are held just broke its record for high water level. A few days ago when I checked, the water level was 24 feet above summer pool and it's even higher now. The lake is a mess. 

My tournament partner, Jim, and I decided to change gears yesterday and fish a different lake. This lake doesn't have the feeder streams that many of our lakes have so it doesn't get all of the rain run-off which allows it to maintain a more consistent water level. This lake is smaller than the tournament lake (800 acres vs. 8,000 acres), but we wanted to catch some fish rather than battle high water. Apparently, so did everybody else because the lake was packed! The parking lots at all of the boat ramps were completely full. 

This lake is man-made and was specifically designed for fishing. Before damming up the river, the Corps of Engineers put in a lot of artificial structure which now sits at the bottom of the lake. They also left the trees which created tons of standing submerged timber. There is no swimming, skiing, or jet skis allowed on the lake. 

The morning started off slow and we didn't have any bites. Actually, the whole day was rather slow and several other anglers we spoke to said they weren't catching anything. I finally caught our first fish of the day shortly before lunch. When it was all said and done, I caught four bass and Jim caught one. I had a fifth one on, but it made a jump and threw the lure. My second fish was also the big fish of the day. I caught it in shallow water on a small, square-billed crankbait. It weighed 4.8 pounds and was 20.5" long. 

It was the first really nice day we've had in a long time and I'm sure that was part of what brought so many people out. That and the fact it was Saturday and this lake is the only one in the area that hasn't been adversely affected by all of the rain. There was also a co-ed tournament taking place on the lake (no, not college co-ed's). We saw several boats where the wife/girlfriend was reading a book or getting some sun while the guys were fishing. Since the tournament rules required a female on the team, no doubt a few husbands/boyfriends asked their significant others to come along just so they could get in the tournament. Actual fishing was a different story. We did see some women who were actively fishing, though. 

Well, I should be getting back into the full swing of things very soon. I've missed reading your blogs. I feel very out of the loop right now. It was necessary time away, though, and there really wasn't any way around it. Now if I could just snap my fingers and make these boxes and bags go away....