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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas with Elaine (Blog 274)

Today is Christmas Eve, and our kids and grandchildren are coming her for lunch.  Yesterday, Elaine spent much of the day cooking and preparing for the repast today.  As always, she wants to be the best possible mom and grandmother for them.

I met Elaine in June of 1974 at a summer camp, and I was definitely infatuated with her, if not in love with her, from the first time I saw her. For years I wanted to ask her out but did not do so until 1977 when we had all of five dates before I proposed. This is our 39th Christmas together.

She once told me that everyday she tries to make me laugh, something she excels at.  But what Elaine is spectacularly good at is making her so easy to love and adore. I knew when I met her that she was a superior woman, and my first impression was correct.

Merry Christmas, sweetheart.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Plans (Blog 273)

The first semester at school ended yesterday, and the fortnight-plus of days off lends itself to a realm of possibilities. Some of the things I would like to do are as follows.

Spend some time playing with my grandsons.

Do habitat improvement projects on the land behind our house.

Cut firewood

Go fishing with Britt Stoudenmire of the New River Outdoor Company on the New River. We often fish together on New Year's Day.

Not carry a gun, and take other people deer and turkey hunting.

Welcome Elaine's and my son Mark back from Alaska

Work on magazine article assignments and queries for the coming year

Spend time with my sweetheart Elaine, my favorite thing to do.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Down and Out on a West Virginia Muzzleloader Hunt (Blog 272)

A doe standing still and broadside at a distance of 25 yards would seem like an easy target on the last day of West Virginia's muzzleloader season.  But not when  the trigger is pulled and the only sound is a light "snick."

Over the years, I have committed many snafus during Virginia and West Virginia's muzzleloader seasons, and today was just my latest miscue.  There was the time when snow had somehow leaked into the barrel, the time the cap was slightly misshapen and caused the gun not to fire, and the time I had not seated the bullet properly.

Today, the problem, as I found out later, was that the powder had somehow become moist.  I cleaned out the gun, put in fresh powder, and test fired, and the results were satisfactory.  It's too late to do anything about my West Virginia misadventure, but I will be afield this evening in Virginia to try again.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December Bowhunting (Blog 271)

I haven't hunted for the past several weeks as I have been busy taking other people afield. My biggest thrill was sitting beside a novice adult hunter who killed his first deer the day after Thanksgiving.

So I went back to bowhunting today.  I have always struggled  to kill a deer during the December bow and muzzleloader seasons.  And today was no exception.  I arose early, decided to hunt from a ground blind, and proceeded to not see a whitetail all morning.

At 10:00 A.M., shivering and hungry, I decided to call it a day.  Outdoor writers often write about the second rut that occurs in December and what a great opportunity it is for individuals after trophy bucks.  Personally, any day in December when I can spot a deer of either sex of any age is a good one for me.

I have long held the view that the second rut is mostly a creature of outdoor writers in need of selling a story.