Friday, May 24, 2019

After 3 1/2 weeks of non-stop moving I'm back to blogging. You can check out the new post here:

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

As time drags along we can get caught up in our routines. When that happens our days all seem to run together and we cease differentiating between good and bad…they are just “days”. That being the case it behooves each and every one of us to take time once in a while to step out and enjoy ourselves for absolutely no other reason than to have fun. Yesterday was my time to step away and enjoy myself...CONTINUE

Friday, March 15, 2019

Being retired often means getting to do pretty much what you want to do. One of the drawbacks is that usually, in order to achieve that goal you have to get older. For some that means forever waking up long before the rooster crows and not being able to get back to sleep. Such was the case every day for the old decoy carverCONTINUE

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A Thousand Brush Strokes

I am not a patient man by nature. I want things done right, and I want them done NOW! It has always gone against my grain to have a "wait and see" attitude, and with all the life changes in the last couple of years I have often been one frustrated individual...CONTINUE

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Please visit my new site to continue reading today's blog.  :-)

The Woody Hole

Since the dawn of time man has hunted to put food on the table, but as time has passed, venturing into the wild has become more recreational in its’ purpose. For most there is no longer a “need” to hunt to put food on the table but for many, such as myself, the meat ......continue

Sunday, March 3, 2019

I am well into the process of going full time to my new site/blog. Please come over, check it out, and leave me a comment and how you think it's going. I would really appreciate the feedback.

the new blog/site: Turning The Pages Of Life

Saturday, March 2, 2019

So, here's the deal...I have purchased my own domain name, and a hosting plan, and I am going to move my blogging to my own site where I can control my own destiny.  Why? Well, because Facebook pissed me off for one.

I tried to share this blog with friends on Facebook to let them know I was changing locations for my postings. HOWEVER, Frickbook removed those posts as fast as I put them up and told me the posts violated their community standards. Seriously? What they meant was they don't want anybody reading actual content, and ESPECIALLY if it's not on the FB site. Fair enough, there's more than one way to skin a cat. 

I got to thinking, I wonder what happens if you provide a link to a specific PRIVATE website that is also used as a blog. I know Comedy Plus is hosted on it's own domain, so I used Sandee as a guinea pig, loosely speaking. I posted a link to her website on my FB page and low and behold it was just hunky dory! At that point I bought my own "stuff" and am actively building that site/blog. I'll keep poking away until I get it down over there. and will keep you updated here, but if you would please bookmark my new site here:

Turning The Pages Of Life 

Please check it out and let me know what you think. :-)

Friday, March 1, 2019

There are few bonds in this world that are stronger than those between a duck hunter and his dog. This bond is formed through time spent together in the pursuit of an activity that captivates both man and dog. It’s something that once formed can never be broken.

I the spring of 2014 I was in search of a duck dog. After posting my quest on a duck hunting forum I belong to I was directed to a kennel in Marysville, California: a kennel that specialized in Chesapeake Bay Retriever rescue dogs. I was told there was a trained male there who still had a few years left in him and that it might be worth my while to check it out. I contacted the kennel and they did indeed have said dog, so I made an appointment to visit.

Upon arriving the trainer got out the dog…a large, muscular male weighing in at roughly 100 lbs. She introduced me to Houli, then she put him through his paces. I liked what I saw, an agreement was reached, and a partnership was begun.

It didn’t take long to find out Houli had a one track mind…FETCH! He would fetch anything you threw, bring it back, spin around and sit by my left side. He did that for as long as you wanted to play. His drive was amazing. He was honestly the best trained dog I had ever owned.

Chessies are widely known to be a one person dog and it didn’t take long for him to decide that I was his human. When I spoke, he listened. When others spoke it was as if no sound came from their lips. He also ignored any and all other animals. Cats, dogs…it didn’t matter. As far as Houli was concerned they were all beneath his dignity and weren’t worth the effort of acknowledging.

When Houli came into our lives he was pushing 8 years old. We spent two years hunting together exploring the local marshes and rivers in search of waterfowl. He was a wonderful retriever and once he was on the bird you never had to worry about losing it. It was a joy to have him at my side in the field.

Before our third season together the vet discovered some lumps on Houli’s leg. Much to our horror it was cancer. Doc Spencer had a medication he’d developed that had cured a good number of dogs in Houli’s situation so we started treatment. For awhile he was improving and we thought that perhaps we would all reach the other side of the woods together. Then one day he started having seizures. He was placed on a seizure medication, but they got worse, and Doc said the cancer had most likely spread to Houli’s brain. In the span of a week Houli went from fetching like normal, to not being able to see, to not being able to move, all the while enduring those damned seizures. We all knew the end of the line had come.

Houli’s last trip to the Doc’s office was in silence. When we got there my wife went in to tell them we were there. While she was gone Houli had another seizure. I held him and told him it was Okay, knowing full well it wasn’t. When the seizure was done he sniffed my hand and wagged his tail even though he couldn’t move the rest of his body. My wife motioned me in. I scooped up my friend and carried him into the operating room and laid him on the table. Doc prepared a site for the injections and I cried as I held my friend one last time as he slipped away into the great marsh in the sky.

We have a new dog now who is a wonderful boy and we love him dearly, but I can not look at a picture of Houli without shedding a tear.

I miss you buddy. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Music has been around pretty much forever. Honestly, I don’t know of a person anywhere who has not had it in their lives at some point in time. Of course I don’t know everybody, so I suppose a life devoid of music would be possible, I simply have no knowledge of that particular individual.

When I was growing up my kind of music was country. Loved it then, love it now, although I don’t consider much of what’s on the radio today to be real country. In high school my tastes turned more toward rock and roll and my car was filled with the sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston and the Doobie Brothers. Somewhere in the early 90’s I was introduced to bluegrass music and suddenly I had a new favorite. The lead guitars in the old southern rock were amazing, but in my mind they paled in comparison to the ultrafast licks on the banjo, mandolin or fiddle. Yes indeed, that high lonesome sound reached out and grabbed me…and I was hooked for life.

I had for years been a guitar strummer, but when I heard bluegrass I longed to be the banjo picker, so that’s what I started to learn. At that time I was living in southern California in the high desert town of Hesperia and I began a search for a banjo instructor. That led me to Apple Valley and the doorstep of a wonderful musician named Julie Wingfield. Julie, it turned out, was a multitalented individual when it came to music. She could sing like an angel and she was very, very good on the banjo, mandolin, guitar, piano…pretty much anything. She was also a very patient teacher. Julie was kind and encouraging, but she also pushed her students to be the best they could possibly be. Not only did she get me started on the banjo, but she also helped me to learn to play the mandolin, and she introduced me to the Southwest Bluegrass Association.

SWABA, that organization, used to have monthly campouts all around Southern California and we began to attend those. Additionally, through contacts with them my wife began to play the stand up bass. At these campouts folks would gather in small circles and pick tunes. Each person in the jam would take a turn and decide what song they would like to play with the group. Somebody would kick it off, the one who had picked to song would sing the lead, and everybody would take turns playing lead breaks between the verses. There was no amplification, no electricity needed, and it didn’t matter what level player you were, you still got an equal shake and were always welcome to join in. These circles were, and still are, called jams, and were 100% pure fun. It was not unusual for a jam to start in the afternoon, and still be going when the sun came up the next day.

Later on, as happens often, my wife and I got together with a couple friends and formed a band. Our main function was to play for tourists who rode a train called The Blue Goose from Yreka (California) to Montague and back, a distance of about 17 miles round trip. We would meet the train and play as the folks departed, then go from shop to shop in town and play tunes while the folks browsed the wares, then play again as the passengers boarded the train for the return trip to Yreka. What we played were train songs for the most part, but we did also squeeze in some more traditional bluegrass tunes at times. Playing in that setting was one of the most fun times of my life. Our band even recorded a CD…another fun project. The tune I have inserted here below is a cut off that CD called Molly Rose. To this day when my daughter Sarah plays that song my grandson says, “That’s Grandpa’s song!” Ya gotta love that. 

I am playing the mandolin and singling the lead on this one and my wife if playing the bass. I hope you enjoy it. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In our family, my wife is known as Mrs. Goodwrench. Seriously. I can not count the times I have watched her take some broken thing apart, fix it, and put it all back together again. She loves the little tedious things. She loves tools. Heck, she loves plumbing! The plumbing thing in and of itself makes me wonder if perhaps I didn't marry an alien, but as long as I'm not the one working under the sink I'm good with it. 

Back in South Dakota there lived a man fairly close to us who was a farmer. Delmer was his name, and he was a good guy. Sadly he was taken from this earth sooner than we'd have liked, but his legend lives on for certain. Delmer got wind of the fact that Mrs. Goodwrench wanted to drive a tractor. So, one afternoon I got a call from him saying to meet him down the road by Kyle's house, so we did. When we arrived there was Delmer on his big old John Deere with the disc still hooked up. He'd been out work the fields, and was on his way home, He was tired from the day's activities, but he opened the door and invited my wife into the cab. Mrs. Goodwrench was ecstatic and climbed aboard. After a short lesson on operations away they went down the road with my wife at the helm.

As they traveled toward Delmer's house they came upon a field that he had already worked. There they went off the road and out into the black dirt where Delmer had her lower the disc and start plowing. As they worked west through the field he explained all about the GPS system in the tractor and how by setting it properly the tractor was able to plow lines as straight as an arrow. She loved every minute of it. At the end of the field she raised the disc and they finished the trip into the farm yard. To say my wife was happy would be an understatement. Fact is she's still happy about it to this day. 

A simple act of kindness with long lasting positive implications. I'm pretty sure there's a lesson in there for all of us. How many times have we been presented with the opportunity to brighten someone's day? How many times have we let them "drive the tractor", and how many times have we just driven by? I'm reasonably certain we'd all be a lot better off if when presented with these choices we'd stop that tractor and open the door to the cab. Might be something for us to work on. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I have three wonderful daughters. One is married to a highway patrol officer, one to a computer guru, and the other will soon be married to a train engineer. They are scattered all over the west coast and I greatly value any time I get to spend with them. We have also been blessed with 4 grandchildren whom we love very much. We'd love to have a family compound on a section of land in Montana, but unfortunately those families all have to endure this thing called work for a good number of years yet. That being the case my wife and I will simply have to create a much smaller family compound in Montana and enjoy their company when they can come and visit. Ah yes, the sacrifices we all make for our kids. 😉

For me my favorite "family" times were when the girls were young and we would all travel to bluegrass festivals and camp there for the week. In those environments there was always lots of music, lots of kids for them to play with, and lots of fun to be had by all. he festival in Grass Valley, CA even had a pond with trout, catfish and bluegills that the girls could fish in. I can still remember my middle daughter catching a big bull frog from that pond and then hoping it all over the campground. Eventually Mr. Frog was released back into his natural environment which I'm positive was more to his liking. Still that whole scene provided us all with long lasting memories.

My oldest daughter was never much into the whole fishing thing. She was however, and still is, an excellent writer. She has co-written a couple books, but unfortunately those have never been finalized and put into production. I do continually harass her about it, so perhaps someday I'll actually be able to open a cover and see her words on paper. Our middle daughter, Mrs. Frog Girl, caught her first fish while holding a rod in her playpen that was set up next to a mountain lake. She is also the one who has spent many hours with me in a duck blind chasing feathered creatures. Truly, there is nobody on the planet I would rather hunt ducks with than her. The youngest daughter loves to go fishing, but you have to watch her...she cheats. Yes, that is correct. We have contests fishing as to who catches the biggest or most fish and she always wins. Even if she doesn't win fair and square she'll say, "Today is opposite day dad, so I still win." Kinda sneaky if you ask me.

There is nothing I wouldn't do for those three wonderful girls or their families. In closing I would like to dedicate this song to them all. Girls, I love you very much. 😀

Monday, February 25, 2019

Ah, where to start?

Since last I was walking the halls of the blogging building a great many things have happened. Some of those have been good, and some not so much, but I suppose things are all working out the way they are supposed to regardless of what I'd like to happen. I guess when I become king I can orchestrate things according to my will, but until then I have to walk the path laid out before me. Quite honestly that flies in the face of my drill sergeant nature, but that's probably the point and I'd do well to listen and learn. According to my supreme commander, a.k.a. my wife, I have made great strides in the direction of "flowing freely" and she is quite pleased. Hey, happy wife, happy life, right?

A couple years ago we sold our house in California, after surviving the renters from hell chapter of our lives, and bought a place in north eastern South Dakota. For two summers we have split our time between there and Ennis, Montana. Last winter/spring we were at my mom's place in Oregon. I am very thankful we were able to be at her place last year. You see she passed away in February and never again will I have the opportunity to sit with her.  In general, but specifically attitude wise many things changed at that point. I am now much more aware of the importance of family and the reality of how quickly things can change. To say that entire situation was an eye opener would be an understatement. 

I mentioned before that we've spent a good deal of time the last two summers in Ennis, Montana. Last year we bought 5 1/2 acres of land just outside of town. It's a nice level piece of ground with a place to put a home that will give us a million dollar view of the Madison mountain range. We are hoping to start building on it this summer. Is that where we end up long term? I don't know, maybe, but at this point we have given up making long term plans due to the rapidity of life changing events. Right now we are back in Northern California while I work in the dispatch center filling in for a guy who retired. Every dime of that money goes in the bank with the idea of using it for building in Montana purposes. We'll see how that pans out. The trout fishing in that area is outstanding as is the deer and elk hunting, and we fit in well in general. The picture at the top of this entry is one I took last year after netting a nice trout on an early August morning.

For now we'll just continue to roll along and see where this new adventure takes us and try not to worry too much about the future. I'm reasonably certain our path has already been set in front of us, now it's up to us to recognize and  accept whatever that might be. Hopefully that curtain is drawn sooner than later...I still hate traveling blind. 😉

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Years ago, more than I like to think about, I was introduced to the world of blogging. For quite some time I posted nearly every day and gained a lot of friends along the way. Then along came Facebook, and like many others my boat drifted toward that shore, and once it arrived was immediately put into dry dock and there I sat. Now don't get me wrong, FB is a great place to meet up with new people and old friends, but for all it's benefits it just isn't a very personable place. One possible reason for that is it's so "easy". There's really no effort involved in posting there. You simply blurt out whatever you want with no regard to quality or style. People are mostly attracted to what you say simply because of like mindsets, not because of the effective content. Blogging never seemed to be that way. There folks "hung out" together because they enjoyed it. I shudder to say blogging was a "safe space", but in reality it was much more so than Facebook could ever hope to be. 

A few days ago I opened up Blogger and there was my old writing tablet sitting there waiting for me, and it felt like I was back home. That got me to thinking that maybe, just maybe I should come back for a more extended visit and see what happens. That being the case I intend to stick around and do some posting and maybe catch up a bit. I have already found that a great many of my old friends have not been in the blogosphere for a long time, so I'm going to need to find a whole new group of folks to spend time with. So, if you would, please leave a comment with your blog linked to it so I can visit with you. I would very much like to get another list of folks put together with which to "sit a spell".

I'll make a longer post later with the intent of bringing you more up to date with me, but I'll leave you with this: the pictures of the decoys you see here on this pages are all birds I have carved and painted. That is something somewhat new as I was not doing anything like that when I was last around these parts. I hope you like them. 

Have a great day. 😊

Hmmm, a blog hop. Let's see if I can get this inserted...

Saturday, February 23, 2019


So, it's been a lot of years since I've visited the world of blogging. Before I got around Facebook blogging was "the place to be". So, my question now is...are folks still around doing this? Like most everybody I've spent all my social media time on Facebook for a long time, but honestly I liked blogging a LOT better. This was a much more intimate and welcoming format. That being the case I thought I'd spend some time poking around here and see what I can find. If you still exist as a real person please leave a comment. Thanks.