The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in our Georgia schools being closed. We live in an area that has an ample supply of kids. The surrounding kids continue to increase in number as many of the adults near us are breeders. There are quite a few farms and ranches in our rural mix and I suppose the adults are planning ahead regarding labor.
Our neighbors aren’t on top of us, but close enough to hear school-free children playing. Those nearby neighbors and the pile of kids that are grandchildren provide all sorts of insight into parenting. These whirling dirvishes, the children not the parents (although the applicability is situation dependent in association with the parents), range in age from 4 to 9. Here are a few of the vocalizations from adults trying to ride herd:
Stop it you’re going to get hurt
Stop running in the house
Put that down, it might bite you
Go get that dog
Stop hitting your brother
Leave your sister alone
Get down out of that tree before you fall
Yes, you look like a princess
Stop that or you can go outside and play
That cat is going to scratch the fire out of you
Stop that or get back inside this house
Where’s your brother
Give that back to your sister
Quit poking her in the eye
Get your fingers out of his face
Stop playing in that fire
Yes, that’s a tick – go get me the tweezers
Get that thing out of this house (your guess is as good as mine)
Don’t pick your nose
Don’t wipe boogers on your brother
Did you cut your hair?
Where are your clothes?
Don’t stand in that chair
Take that out of your mouth
Give him back his ball
Put that stick down
Don’t throw that at him anymore
Why are you crying?
No shooting in the face (Nerf gun)
Leave those chickens alone
Don’t pick at your food –eat it
Stop bothering the dog
Granddaddy, Mom is making me do school work
Who said you could do that?
That’s not a toy
What happened to your shirt?
Where are your shoes?
Well, clean that up
Move back from the swing before it hits you (disregarding the warning, a baby tooth lost during the following mishap)
I wear boots. They help protect my feet when I’m working on my property. I wear them year round in pretty much all situations that require footwear.
When I was an executive I wore boots. Those boots were exclusively Lucchese boots made in El Paso, Texas. These were my ‘fancy’ boots and I didn’t wear them for working on property. There are Lucchese boots I do wear for outdoor working but I reserved two pair for use with fancy clothes. (One brown and one black)
I also wear caps and hats. A good cover on my head helps keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Caps and hats keep the sun out of my eyes. A baseball style hat will last about a year before it begins to disintegrate. At Christmas I can count on my daughters to resupply me.
Decades ago a friend of mine visited and his hat was showing bare and torn sections on the bill of the cap. I pointed out, “Looks like you need a new hat.” He then replied, “I just bought this.” Wait a minute, what? I asked, “You bought a used hat?” He said, “No, it came new like this.” All I could do was wonder.
My friend had bought a hat that had been roughed up to give the appearance of having been worn during supposedly rugged conditions. Now, I’d seen people wearing jeans that had been roughed-up or broken-in prior to purchase because somehow that had become fashionable. But, a roughed-up hat?
I don’t buy jeans that come worn out. I’ll ruin them on my on – I don’t need help. I’ll also ruin caps, hats, boots, socks, shirts and all other types of apparel aside from suits and dress up jackets. The suits and dress up jackets are reserved for weddings, funerals, and church. As such, those last long time. My wife has suggested those suits and jackets are “Out of style” and I should get new dress-up apparel.
I don’t mind being out of style. No one is going to look at me during a wedding. If people are looking at me during a funeral it will mostly likely be because I’m the one that is dead. At that point I won’t care about my suit. If folks are judging my suits or jackets at church then I’d rather they spent their judging moments with their noses reading over what Jesus said concerning judgment of others.
Now, you may think I am judging when it comes to others spending their money to buy worn out clothing. You may be right – pray for me. I admit right away I see no value in purchasing clothes that are half way to the recycle bin.
On Facebook, I was hit with an advertisement for “fashion boots.” These are boots that look like they’re soon for the trash bin. Let me add here I do not like Facebook. There was a time when it allowed me to stay loosely in touch with friends. Today, it is too hard to find what my friends are up to because of all the ads, political half-truths or down right lies filling up the FaceBook space. But, when I saw an ad promoting the purchase of worn out boots I thought –how stupid is this?
(Oh, I periodically polish my boots so they will last longer)
As with nearly every morning Sunday started with a run. Before I retired I traveled a lot. Travel outside of the US was common. Everywhere I traveled I ran. I’ve run in 49 of the 50 US States and 20 of the 195 countries in the world. I ‘ve ‘Officially’ raced in US, Italy, France, Germany, England and Japan. Most of those competitions were on the road. In England, a 10K, it was mixed trail and road.
Running allowed me to see parts of the world I might not have had I not gotten out for a run. What I’ve found is that running in cities is a great way to sightsee but running trails has really become a favorite. I have found memories of trail runs in Australia, Japan and Malaysia. I never got lost on those trails. I did get lost running in Toronto. Canadians are really helpful and the locals guided me back to my hotel. My morning runs here in Georgia are nearly 100% trail running.
Running has become an element of archery training. I may not sign up for another race anytime soon. That is unless I find a nearby trail run that happens on a weekend that isn’t filled with an archery event.
This weekend I missed the first local 3D tournament of 2020. It was this past Sunday and I’d made plans without having the 2020 3D schedule at my fingertips. Naturally, all my friends who competed posted photos and bragged about how much fun they had shooting.
I still practiced on Sunday and was thankful that my father-in-law has a nice practice range at his house in Tignall, Georgia. It was cold over the weekend but the weather wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t get a nice long practice.
Despite missing the 3D tournament in Shady Dale, Georgia it was a good day to run and do some solo practice.
Judd Cooney wrote an interesting article published in the current issue of “Predator Xtreme”. (1) The matter at hand is the reintroduction of the Gray Wolf into Colorado. The last Gray Wolf in Colorado was killed around 1940. (2) The Gray Wolf is on the Endangered Species Act but has been removed from that list is some states in the Northern Rockies. (3-6) It has further been suggested that the Gray Wolf has reached a population where the numbers indicate the animal should be removed from the Endangered Species Act. (7,8)
Cooney’s article caught my eye because don’t like wolves. To be clear I don’t like the thought of being eaten by wolves. On the other hand I know it is unlikely any wolf will ever seek me out, driven by intent, malice, curiosity, hunger, or accidental intersection and try to eat me. I have seen wolves in the wild on two separate occasions. Each time we were at a comfortably safe distance from each other. Admittedly, of all predators wolves rank high among those I prefer to avoid.
The Predator Xtreme article, whatever my opinion of wolves in general, did fail a sniff with one particle word – liberal. The word was written paired with ignoramuses. While I would certainly not be considered a liberal neither am I a conservative. No, if you’d feel a need to “label” me you’d have to choose “moderate”. In other words, I won’t jump on an issue without reading enough to allow me an informed decision. In some circumstances I lean toward conservative and other a more liberal position. So, when I read “liberal ignoramuses” describing some group I read more of the article. Cooney’s article left me searching for more answers. So, I read the full text from the Colorado Secretary of State for the citizens of Colorado to vote in regard to the Gray Wolf. (9)
What I read, despite my lack of wolf love, seemed, well, reasonable. Then, I looked at who supported both positions on the proposal. Again, both side looked reasonable and each lacked an apparent ignoramus. Actually, both sides seemed void of any liberalsim or conservatisms as a whole.
The folks wanting the wolves seemed environmentally conservative and the anti-wolf folks leaned toward protecting against wolves’ appetites. The proposed bill is actually a suggestion to study how Colorado might reintroduce the wolves and protect against hungry wolves. It all seemed fairly reasonable. So, why did Mr. Cooney make an attack on any poor ignoramus I don’t understand?
Predator Xtreme has a print circulation of around 82,000 and is published six times a year. (10) I don’t know how many people the digital copy reaches. The print annual recipients of the magazine create less exposure than this website [over 1.2 million visitor reading 2 pages per visit annually] (11) Cleary, the printed word isn’t intended for the ignoramus. (12) No, I think the article was intended for the voters of Colorado.
I know a lot of people in Colorado, not one is an ignoramus and most are not liberals although some are liberal. (13) In fact, most of the folks I know in Colorado are moderate to conservative by nature. The State seems to be conservative as a group; not as liberal minded as is sometimes thought. (14) None of them fit into a class of ignoramuses.
The wolf reintroduction proposal seems well thought out. Folks for and against the proposal appear, from their writings, pretty smart to me. I expect the voters of Colorado will decide how this one ends. I further expect a columnist for Predator Xtreme who lives in Iowa has about as much influence in the Centennial State as an archer from Georgia.
Note: I’ve placed this is my category for Outdoor Adventure. Should you be chased by wolves and you survive it would have been an adventure.
This past summer we got very little rain here in Athens, Georgia. We seem to be catching up now that the weather has cooled down. It has been raining non-stop for the past few days. It has also been cold. I can take the rain or I can take the cold but rain with cold is a whole other agony.
Yesterday was a wash – literally. Running wasn’t missed. Archery and cycling were scheduled rest days so it worked out. This morning we awoke to more rain. Running on trails does provide some slight cover, less so now that the leaves are mostly on the ground. There are plenty of large evergreen pine trees and the trails are dense but running still leaves one human and one dog wet. On top of the rain and cold the wind pitched in to support sub-optimal conditions.
River, my lab and running partner doesn’t mind the rain. In fact, puddles provide opportunities to crash through water at full speed. She comes home a happy mess. I come home wet and cold. Still, it is more fun to run than not to run.
The weather forecast suggested there would be a short break in the rain. The forecast was accurate. The break meant at least an hour of archery practice could be attempted.
As soon as the rain paused I headed out to the range. Today’s practiced was a focus on form; an effort to reclaim the accuracy I had a year ago. Since November of 2018 my scores have been slowly sliding into an abyss. Recent training has all been about regrouping.
The rain on pause, the temperature into the 40s, it was go or miss the day. Rain was predicted to return after a short breather. The wind on the other hand was in full form. In fact, in our woods we’ve had four pine trees blown down during the past few days.
The wind was harsh enough to prevent my outdoor propane heater from staying ignited. It would fire up and fade out. But, it was just going to be an hour or so of shooting so all that could be done was grin and bare it.
Conditions remained windy without rain for the hour and a half I got to practice. It wasn’t so bad temperature-wise. The wind did get me a couple of times but I kept everything in the yellow. Certainly practicing outdoors was more fun that staying indoors, maybe less pleasant that practicing at an indoor range. (The indoor ranges were all closed)
I’m a pretty good archer. I’m a better cyclist and better runner. Since beginning archery cycling and running have been adjuncts to archery training. Since beginning archery I’ve better at archery and less good running and cycling.
Certainly, I do not log the miles running and cycling I did before shooting arrows. Nevertheless, I run almost every day and ride up to 6 times a week. But, I do both to stay fit for archery.
Now, you may be 25 years old and don’t yet see the reason to do either in order to shoot a bow well. Hear me now and believe me later, your youthful fitness will not last unless you work to keep it. If you don’t use it you lose it.
If I am going to miss one of the two, running or cycling, during a day it will be cycling. Running is a demand by River, my lab. She will herd me out the door.
River is 9 years old and runs as well as she did at 2. We run trails, which avoid traffic. We both enjoy it.
Running can pay back in archery tournaments. Those long hours standing on a range are rough. There are times I’d rather have been running rather than standing and slowly walking for three and a half to four hours.
Archery over long periods of time takes a mental toll. As you fatigue from a lack of fitness mental mistakes are more prone to appear. Running can improve your fitness and may reduce the possibly of an error that is associated with being physically drained.
Recently, a couple purchased one of the lots in our development. The lots are all nice sized ranging from around 10 acres to as small as 3 acres. All back up to undeveloped land or farmland. It is the country.
If you move to the country you are choosing a life style. Unlike city life where activities of daily living such as buying groceries or getting gas are just a short distance away being in the country means a trip into town to fulfill such chores.
Town might not mean a large metropolitan conglomerate. In fact, our closest town has only two stores. One is a Dollar General and the other is the “Good Hope General Store” which has stood in its location since the early 1900s. The “Good Hope General Store” offers a limited supply of groceries, has a deli, and sells gas on the side. Major grocery shopping for us means a trip to Watkinsville, Madison, or Athens.
Good Hope is the closest town to where we live and the where the recent couple built their new home. Good Hope has a population of 288. The Atlanta metro area (a little more than an hour away), by comparison, has a population of 5.6 million.
The lady, who amounted to 50% of the pair of our new neighbors, was accustomed to a more metropolitan area. When she settled into her new home she noticed her Internet reliability and speed were mediocre. Admittedly the Internet here in the country is substandard. But, those of us that prefer the country are willing to deal with inferior Internet.
If you’ve never lived in the city then you don’t have a frame of reference. City life offers high speed Internet, easy access to food of all sorts, and plenty of entertainment if you’re willing to pay for it.
We’ve lived in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Savannah and Augusta don’t really come up to big city standards but are indeed cities that seem massive compared to Good Hope. We’ve also lived in Easton, Maryland a great small town.
We moved to Good Hope, Georgia from New Hope, North Carolina that has a population of 3104. We sold that New Hope house to a couple from South Carolina preserving the population balance. The Internet was better in New Hope, but we were further from gas or groceries. We lived on the fringes.
In New Hope it wasn’t unusual for horses to roam into our yard, escapees from down the road, and chickens that weren’t ours were common visitors. We also knew most of the local dogs by name. It is a truly country area.
There are chickens here in Good Hope as well. Once again, not ours that roam our property. There’s a rooster that crows a lot which I don’t mind. In fact, I enjoy his declarations and his cocky attitude. Many days while I’m practicing archery he or some of his harem of hens drop by to watch and peck.
Our new lady neighbor didn’t like the rooster. She made a point to visit the owners of the chickens to issue a complaint. Honestly, you can’t hear the rooster if you’re indoors. If you go outside you might be hear his melodies floating over your background. Roosters aren’t for everyone. This one wasn’t for the new neighbor.
Then, there are the dogs. In the country people have dogs. Dogs bark. Here in our development we’re far enough apart that occasional barking isn’t a bother. There are no psychotic hounds yelling all night. There are occasional night barks because there are occasional visits by critters out of the woods who are less tame. Barking dogs warn those visitors away.
The new lady wanted to learn, by asking, who is everyone in the area that owns a dog. She didn’t explain why she needed that information. There are 16 houses out here and 9 of them come with a dog or dogs. A few folks have two or three dogs. One family has three dogs and a few of pigs. Pigs don’t bark and don’t bother people with loud vocals.
There are also lots of cows around us. They can be heard at night and during quiet days. Cows don’t bother most people. Somehow the cows got on the former city dwellers nerves.
Not only were the cows audibly offensive to her they contributed to an olfactory insult. I believe that sense’s infringement was imaginative.
What she most seemed to abhor was gunfire. One night a chicken house raid a by a skulk of foxes led to four blasts from a shotgun. The urban transplant was out in her nightclothes demanding whether or not the chicken protection crew knew the time. It was dinnertime for foxes and they had not be invited to enjoy a chicken dinner. (The human time was 9:45 PM)
Later, she was heard to complain about some boys being taught to shoot by their father. The boys had been armed with BB guns, a pellet gun, and dad held a 22, the calibrations ascending with age. They weren’t learning near her house but the reports could be heard. That event led to police being called.
The officer responding explained that in rural Georgia gun owners could shoot their guns. He explained the father of the boys was supervising them and their targets were safe. She left in frustration; the officer took a few shots with dad’s 22 before continuing on his rounds.
Our lady friend may have reached her limit after giving grievance to innocent dog owners regarding howling that went on during the night. No dog had been left outdoors the unfairly accused pleaded. Her country neighbors explained what she’d heard wasn’t a pack of dogs. She’d stood out in her backyard during the night fuming over coyotes.
Our new neighbor, the one that remains, is a bachelor. His ex-wife offered a non-contested divorce and has fled to Jacksonville, Florida. Perhaps, she’ll have a simpler life dealing with traffic, hurricanes, flooding, and power outages.
We’re at another campground, an old favorite, Hester’s Ferry near Lincolnton, Georgia. Here we have all the toys: bikes, running shoes, archery equipment, kayaks and a pontoon boat. Plus, we’ve been spending time with the grandkids. Well, three out of four of them.
Nice thing is there are all sorts of ways to play. No time to write.
Traveling to archery competitions can be rough when staying in a hotel. Making the trip using a camper and staying at a State Park is significantly better. At the moment, I’m camped at the George L. Smith State Park in Twin City, Georgia.
The park is about 45 minutes from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. That’s where this weekend’s shoot is taking place. There was a tournament at GSU two weeks ago and I stayed at a hotel for that event. The hotel was nice, one of the Hilton properties, but it was still a box.
The tournament tomorrow and Sunday is an indoor 5-spot State Championship and NFAA Sectional. I know the folks I’ll be shooting against. I expect any score outside of 300 per day will fail to make it to the top. This tournament will likely come down to X count and maybe even inner Xs versus outer Xs.
Whether I finish on the podium or not, what I can say is this Georgia State Park makes the trip worthwhile.
This was a time-trial I had in the bag. A time-trial on a bicycle is where each cyclist races individually against the clock over a set distance. The distance for this race was 40 kilometers.
I’d started 3rdfrom the last, a good position. Typically, cyclists are placed in the race line-up based on prior times. The faster cyclists start near the bottom of the order.
There was a light rain when the race started. The rain increased and was coming down pretty good by the time I was off. Many of the riders ahead of me were being cautious to protect against crashing on the wet roads. Because I’d trained and raced often in rain I was more comfortable and it wasn’t long before I was passing other riders.
During a race on the roads there are often arrows spray painted on the pavement to alert riders that a turn is ahead. This race was no different.
Continuing to work my way past the line of other cyclists that had started before me I’d spot one, overtake him, and move to the next. Then, I ran out of other riders to catch. It was, by now, pouring rain.
Approaching an intersection, which I felt was near the finish; I looked for the arrows on the pavement to know where to turn. The rain had either washed them away or they were covered by water. I made the wrong turn.
I got lost for a while. I lost the race finishing so far behind that the officials were preparing to come search for me when I came to the finish line from the opposite direction.
At the IBO World Championship several years ago it poured rain. Being in the first group out we had no idea that the tournament has been postponed until the storm passed. There was no horn that sounded. Apparently, the officials had forgotten our group was on the range. We got turned around because the storm had blown away trail markers. You never want to find yourself walking out of the woods between a stake and a target.
I’ve been lost on training rides, runs, once in a race, and briefly during an archery tournament. Think it’s hard to get lost on a bicycle? Go ride 100 miles and see how winding roads over unfamiliar ground seems then think again. Or do a 20 mile run in an unfamiliar city. That can be especially nerve racking where English isn’t the local language. Believe me, completing a 120 kilometer bicycle race in Italy and afterwards being unable to find the way to your hotel is extremely frustrating. Heck, I had to ask for directions here in Georgia just a few weeks ago when a road construction site put me off my planned route.
Getting outside and doing things can sometimes present a directional challenge. You can find yourself having a little unplanned adventure. But, in the end, you’ll probably find your way home.