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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best Christmas Present Ever (Blog Sixty-six)

Last Sunday, Elaine gave me the best Christmas present I have ever received - a fly that she tied herself and that came from a feather from a turkey I called in and killed.  I am not ashamed to admit that my eyes became misty when I found her creation in my Christmas stocking.

A little over  three years ago, Elaine was diagnosed with breast cancer.  As part of her recovery, she attended a Casting for Recovery ( retreat in 2010.  CFR is a national organization that offers retreats for women with or recovering from breast cancer. Those retreats combine fly fishing, counseling, medical expertise, and breast cancer recovery.  It was at a CFR retreat that my wife learned how to fly fish and tie patterns.

The joy of having Elaine healthy again and with me during Christmas is something that is hard to express.  The joy of her taking the time to hand tie something for me, especially combining two activities that I enjoy - river smallmouth bass fishing and turkey hunting - is equally inexpressible.

What a wonderful person and wife.


  1. fantastic Bruce! As you have probably seen by now, I included your words in an email blast to our chapter. I don't mind telling you, your words brought me to tears.

    Thank you so very much for sharing it with me.

    Happy New Year to you and Elaine.


  2. How wonderful for your wife to be such a strong woman and kick cancer's behind!! May will be my mom's 8th year of being a breast cancer survivor! I found your blog through Grit magazine and I have to say I am so jealous of your chickens. I grew up on a farm and we butchered chicken every summer and one of my daily chores was to feed, water and gather the eggs from our layers. Now that I live on a farm again I am bugging my husband (non-stop) to help build a chicken house!!! I think he's starting to cave!!! Congrats to your wife and how wonderful that she made such a wonderful gift for you!

  3. Carrielt,

    Thanks so much for your comments. go ahead and get those chickens.
    Bruce and Elaine

  4. Read an article in the latest Grit about your experiences raising chickens. Wanted to give you my thoughts about fencing.

    I utilized some reclaimed chain link fencing for around the run, as well as cover over the run. We had a hawk that would sit atop the coop roof, then swoop in and grab a hen. I buried the fencing about six inches into the ground to deter the diggers. The project has gone well with only a few losses in the beginning (pre run cover). My only losses now are to the occasional black snake having an egg lunch. I just grab him by the tail and off we go.

    By installing a few light bulbs, we have kept the water from freezing, and kept up egg production throughout the winter months the last three years.

    Good luck with your spring order of RI Reds.


  5. Jerry,
    Thanks so much for your comments. Our 5 hens have been producing non-stop all winter, giving us 4 or 5 eggs every day. Little Jerry bit off the head of the only snake that entered our chicken run - one of the advantages of having a rooster.
    Bruce and Elaine