Kazoo Elk

I used to be really into hunting. I did it a lot. I hunted for lots of different animals. I often chuckled when people would say “did you catch anything?”. Hunting was not about catching things. It was about killing them. And eating them too. I hope that doesn’t offend you. It is just the truth. As time passed, I learned that my passion for hunting was about more than killing and eating, but that is for another story.

Today I want to tell you about elk hunting. The wapiti. A magnificent animal that once lived all across our continent. They eventually were pushed to more remote and mountainous areas by the presence of man. Today they have been re-introduced to some of their more eastern native lands, are are thriving there.

I spent a lot of time, and money, trying to kill one of these guys. I have killed a lot of deer, and pronghorn antelope ( not really an antelope),  and even a moose.  But I only was ever able to take one half grown spike horned elk.

This is all going back about 20 years. One year I was fortunate enough to be awarded an elk tag for a special early hunt in Utah, during their rutting season. It was called a bugle tag. Elk make a noise that is called bugling during this time. Exciting stuff. I spent months getting ready for this trip. I had lived in Utah prior to this time, and I invited a long time friend who still  lives there to join me.

I hired a “guide” of sorts, and they were to provide me with a cabin, and horses to help get my trophy off of the mountain once I had found and killed him. None of that really worked out. They seemed to have lost my reservation, and had no real plans to help me once we arrived. But we did get a little cabin.

Spirit Lake, in northeastern Utah, on the north slope of the High Uintas. Wonderful country, where I had been many times. The lodge is at about 10,000 feet above sea level, and then you go uphill from there to find elk in September. There are no people around. There is nothing but the mountain.We spent several days following elk around. We saw them up close, and far away. We heard them bugling. We crawled around in the timber and got close to them. But I couldn’t find a big one. I found some little ones. And a big one walked right up to us in the timber one morning. But I could’t be sure of my shot. So I didn’t shoot. On it went like that. I did shoot at one about a mile away one day. That didn’t work. But Utah is beautiful, and I was with a good friend, doing what I loved to do.

Late in the evening on the last day of my hunt, we were sitting on the edge of a big meadow, watching a storm go over the mountains. It was nearly time to start down to our camp. But wait. Here came an elk, walking out of the timber across the meadow. But alas, it was young and skinny, and had no antlers that I could discern. So we watched.

For hunting elk, you carry binoculars and bullets, a rifle, a knife, maps, calls, and things of that nature. You carry them in your pack, and in your pockets, and around your neck. But I didn’t need any of that to watch this youngster, and hope his grandpas was close behind.  So out of my friends pack comes a kazoo. And he hands it to me, and I start playing a song I for this elk. I don’t remember what song it was, or what key it was in. But he actually seemed to like it, and came closer. Then he went away, and we went home.

I thought of this trip today, and it made me wonder, why did Mark have a kazoo in his elk hunting pack?

 

 

July Wrap Up

 

Yes, I know. I am late again. It has been a busy summer. I don’t think I logged all of my mile for July, but my total is below as it shows on my phone.

Almost beyond logic, I recently learned that another of my friends, a dear and generous man, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s as well. So I will be doubling my contribution. Read below.

Thank you,

Total Miles for the July is 23.98.

First published September 5th, 2018:

My dear friend is battling Parkinson’s Disease. He has been for awhile. My Grandfather  ( not the one you already know, but my paternal Grandfather) also had this disease. Please take a few minutes to read and understand a little about Parkinson’s.

Ok, Brad, that’s a sad story, but what can I do about it? Well, I am glad you asked, because here is what we are going to do about it.

For every mile I log, through 2019, starting on September 1st 2018, I am going to make a donation to Parkinson’s research. And I am asking that you do the same thing too. I am pledging $1.00 for every mile that I log, but you could do whatever is comfortable for you.

I have logged about 120 miles this year so far, but I am going to be more diligent about logging all of my miles, so that number will go up. I will post my total miles here at the end of each month, and we can all go directly to http://www.michaeljfox.org to make our donation. Just click on the green tab in the upper corner. While you are there, read a little about their research.

I will also, for the same period of time, donate 30% of the proceeds from the sale of any of my paintings to this organization.

Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

June Wrap Up

 

I know, I have not done this since the end of February. Here are my stats for March, April, May, and June. I have been very busy with work, and I have decided to run for a local office. Plus it’s all been pretty mundane on the walking side anyway. I am rolling some bicycle miles in here too, and I won’t post the screen shots for every month. You will just have to trust me. Please read below why I do this, and help if you can.

Thank you,

Total Miles for the past four months is: 87.19

First published September 5th, 2018:

My dear friend is battling Parkinson’s Disease. He has been for awhile. My Grandfather  ( not the one you already know, but my paternal Grandfather) also had this disease. Please take a few minutes to read and understand a little about Parkinson’s.

Ok, Brad, that’s a sad story, but what can I do about it? Well, I am glad you asked, because here is what we are going to do about it.

For every mile I log, through 2019, starting on September 1st 2018, I am going to make a donation to Parkinson’s research. And I am asking that you do the same thing too. I am pledging $1.00 for every mile that I log, but you could do whatever is comfortable for you.

I have logged about 120 miles this year so far, but I am going to be more diligent about logging all of my miles, so that number will go up. I will post my total miles here at the end of each month, and we can all go directly to http://www.michaeljfox.org to make our donation. Just click on the green tab in the upper corner. While you are there, read a little about their research.

I will also, for the same period of time, donate 30% of the proceeds from the sale of any of my paintings to this organization.

Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

Thoughts from Williamsburg

I recently spent a week in Williamsburg, VA, and the surrounding area. I have already told you a little bit about that. I want to delve a little deeper into some of the thoughts I had while touring this historical area of our country.

At Jamestown you learn about the first permanent European settlement on what is now the  continental United States. At Monticello you learn about Thomas Jefferson, who was one of the founders of modern American thought regarding government, religion, and personal freedom. Yes, a slave owner was also one of the founders of the thinking that led to equal rights and freedom of belief for all people. Weird, I know.  At Williamsburg you can take a tour of the Governors Palace and the Capitol Building. The fine tour guides there will tell you all about the founders of our country, their amazing bravery of action, and courage of thought. It is truly an awe inspiring and humbling experience.

There is a lot of information about European and African peoples, and how they built our country. But I repeatedly was aware of a huge omission in all of this information. The Native American is scarcely mentioned, anywhere I went anyway. At Jamestown, there were some guides and information that touched on  the Powhatens, but that was about it.

When I was a little boy, in elementary school, I was told that Columbus discovered America. That is complete bullshit. The guy never set foot on the continental United States. If he had, he would have been proceeded by several million Native Americans, Vikings, and who knows who else. Columbus, like other European visitors, was sponsored by a Church or country, or both, in order to lay claim to new lands, riches, and peoples if they were convertible. If not, they just sent more guys to kill them. Columbus Day is a Catholic holiday to celebrate The Church of Rome claiming a whole continent that already belonged to someone else.

The settlement at Jamestown likely was in fact the first permanent English settlement. English. The Powhatens were already there.

At Colonial Williamsburg you can feel really close to the thinking behind our system of government, our way of life, and our personal freedoms. It is truly a humbling and mind boggling experience. You will also hear about how the language of the Declaration of Independence and other important documents of the time were altered so as not to include enslaved or indentured peoples. Although, by my interpretation of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, it includes everyone. At least everyone that these bold thinkers considered human. Apparently that did not include anyone who was not white European, and maybe even not male. Again, the mention of Native American peoples is glaringly absent from anything I heard, saw, or read.

My purpose here though is not to belittle the efforts of any of our Founders or the brave unmentioned people who did the work and fought the battles. But I do encourage you, should you have the chance, to visit this area, and consider the significance of what you see and hear. In the absence of the opportunity to go there, take the time to read The Declaration of Independence. Google up some information on the times and events that led to the writing of it. And above all else, have respect for all of the people who were a part of the times that initially shaped who we are today.

Williamsburg, VA Vacation

We spent the past week in Williamsburg, VA. We stayed at Marriott Fords Colony. This is a beautiful place, with a great location. Very easy to get to anywhere you want to go. We did Old Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Norfolk. We went to Monticello on the way as well.

The resort had very limited services, with only one place to get food and drink. They have two pools and bar/grills, but one was closed all week. That was annoying. They also decided to do some construction during my week, which was also annoying. There were also an amazing amount of really noisy small children considering it was mid-May.

We typically vacation at a hotel type of resort, with full services if possible. This place is really just a time share. If you are used to that, you will love it. For us it was a little bit different. Our room was very small, although I heard that other rooms were very spacious. The staff was really friendly and put forth a lot of effort to make our stay nice.

If you are familiar with the time share world, you know that people lie a lot there, and this trip was no exception. Oh well, no surprises that way. I would probably go here again, so there you are. Things are expensive around here, so be ready.

I recommend every single thing we did, so I will list just them, and you can go see for yourself.

Monticello, Old Jamestown, Historic Williamsburg including The Governors Palace and The Capitol, Yorktown Battlefield, Norfolk cruise on the Victory Rover, Williamsburg Freedom Park and Botanical Garden. All good choices. For food try Trellis, Aberdeen Barn, Giuseppes, Smoky Griddle Pancakes House, and Kings Arm Tavern. Do not go to Captain Georges, unless you really like rude and ill trained staff, high prices, and endless seafood buffet. We walked out of that place.

There are endless choices of historical sites here, hiking, golf courses, food venues, and even a Busch Gardens, if that is your thing. Virginia is beautiful, the people are nice.

I would go there again.

 

Philosophy

I like to read. I read a lot. I always have. When I was about 7 or 8 years old I spent the summer at my Grandparents farm. You can read more about that in other posts on this blog, Like Grandpa’s farm. My Grandma had a lot of the Reader’s Digest Condensed books. I read them all summer.

I now sometimes like to read books with a lot of words that I do not know, and have to look  up. I also am experimenting with reading more than one book at a time. My son suggested that to me. I am currently reading Destiny and Power, and Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments. The first is about George Herbert Walker Bush. The latter is about Philosophy. Did you know Nancy Reagan once referred to the Bush’s as the “Shrubs”, soon after George Bush became Reagan’s Vice President?

I suspect that people who are working for pay Philosophers are avoiding getting a real job. But the way they think can really make your brain smoke. A guy named Frank Cioffi once, when called the guy with all of the answers, replied “No, I am the guy that knows all of the questions”. He wore his pajamas all of the time. Philosophers like to explore the meaning of life and the existence of God. Or the lack of either, or both. They do it over and over. Argue it. That’s what they call it.

As I was reading   77 Arguments, I had some thoughts about the meaning of life of my own. Is it possible that the meaning of life is simply the effect we have on others? And that they then pass that on to the next person, and the next, and so on? I once had an experience that gave me that idea, so to speak. I theorized that one’s “soul” was the on going effect we had on those around us. My uncle passed away, and I went to his small hometown for the funeral. He lived most of his adult life in this small town, and he was a gregarious individual. So, he knew everyone. He was a clean living and righteous man. He was a man of faith, and a public servant. His funeral was held in the high school gymnasium, because that is the only place that was big enough to hold us all. As I observed my cousins and all of these people who came to honor this man, I pondered the possibility that his “soul” was living on in all of these people who’s lives he had touched. And the people’s lives  that they would then influence. And on and on. A soul eternal. Of course he being a religious man, I think my uncle’s ideas for eternal life were a little different than that. Or were they?

Now observe what I just did. This is what Philosophers do. I just shared an idea with you, without making a commitment to it’s truth. I made an argument, without taking a position. That is my definition of Philosophy.