Find Something That Works: Part 1

I’ve embarked on a diet journey!  I finally got fed up and sick of not fitting into any of my jeans.  I’ve been trying to work on this off and on for a few months, but lately I’ve really started buckling down and getting my crap together.

The only problem with writing this blog….is that I don’t have any measurements or great comparison pics so we can track my progress!  Ughs I didn’t plan this out very well I guess.  Alright, so if we go back this summer to when I first started noticing my jeans didn’t fit, I posted these two pictures.  I couldn’t even take a picture in the jeans on the right when I started this a couple months ago because they wouldn’t even button!  I may or may not have also blown the butt out of them doing the “I can make these fit better if I do couple deep squats” maneuver that we all do when stuff starts to feel a little snug.  The blow out happened over the summer and I just sort of resigned myself to my one pair of “fat jeans” and leggings for the Fall.  Sometimes though, you just want to wear jeans.  Wanting to be able to wander into your closet and find clothes that fit you isn’t a big, out of the ordinary expectation.  So, I made a change.  I stitched up my blown out jeans at the beginning of the year and promised myself that they would fit….and be comfortable….again!

The biggest problem I have with dieting and researching dieting is that every website, instagram guru, and healthcare provider will tell you a different plan, method, or system that they claim is the absolute best for loosing weight or gaining muscle.  It all seems like a bit of a crap shoot, so I can’t say that I was necessarily 100% certain that my new plan was going to work.  But, it’s been a bit over a month or so that I’ve been really buckled down, and I can definitely tell a difference!  Fitting back into all my jeans is a big deal!  They all button, but some are still a bit snugger than I’d like.  I do feel like I’m really starting to figure out what works for my body so that’s a win I will take any day.

At it’s core…..weight gain or loss comes down to a simple calories in versus calories out equation.  It’s a teeter totter and it’s not hard to figure out that to loose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume.  In an effort to diet, but make it more of a permenant lifestyle change, I discovered intermittent fasting.

When you get right down to it, everyone fasts.  Unless you sleep walk yourself to the fridge and eat, most people fast for at least 6-8 hours a day depending on how much you sleep.  Intermittent fasting just extends that fasting time out a bit longer.  There are a whole host of benefits to extended fasting including:

  • Regulation of hormone and insulin levels
  • Reduction of inflammation in the body
  • Cellular regeneration
  • Weight Loss

Longer fasting periods help you body and metabolism reset and function better.  Weight loss can be attributed to a restriction of calories…..less time in the day to eat means you’ll probably eat less…..AND the changes in your bodies insulin and hormone levels can help boost metabolic rate and make the processing of stored fat for fuel more accessible.  Yes you read that right…..intermittent fasting can help you loose weight by two different methods.

The double whammy of diets!!!

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I will say…..the first week sorta sucked butt and working out was rough.  I can’t say that I was always starving…..I really wasn’t….it just felt like I had no energy at all.  Changes and adjustments of this kind take the body a bit to get used to, and everything felt a bit sluggish for a couple days.  It’s easier for your body to use carbohydrates as energy, but carbohydrates aren’t what was being stored in my muffin top that was causing my jeans to squeeze the life out of me when I buttoned them!  Gotta loose those fat cells if my jeans were gonna fit again!  Speaking of loosing things….it’s pretty much also impossible to keep your boobs during the weight loss process.  Fat cells are fat cells and the body doesn’t care where they come from.

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Moment of silence for all the boobs lost on the journey to less muffin top……

Now that I’m a few weeks in, I will say that fasting is the easiest way to diet!  It’s basically just a routine, but it’s one that works well with my schedule.  I prefer to eat at night, so I fast my “extra” in the mornings.  I do technically “cheat” though.  I’m not one of those girls who can survive without coffee in the mornings, so I do still have my coffee every morning.  The second cheat is that I add my collagen peptides to my coffee.  I know that sounds like a ton of cheating first thing in the morning, but there’s a method to the naughtiness!!  I generally workout over my lunch break, and working out on a totally fasted system is an easy way to consume some muscle tissue.  So, the peptides just put a little fuel into my system, help boost my overall protein consumption for the day, and should help convince my metabolism to leave my muscles alone!  Also, it’s still not an easy to burn carbohydrate, so my body is still being forced to use harder to convert fat cell for fuel.

The plus of fasting during the morning is that it allows me to still eat a good sized lunch and a bigger dinner when I get home.  But….if that isn’t your thing, just change it up!  If you are a die hard breakfast eater, intermittent fasting can still work for you, you’ll just stop eating earlier in the evening.  Intermittent fasting is designed to be super flexible and adaptable, which is what makes it more of a lifestyle than a diet.  It doesn’t require you to cut out any foods or food groups which is what makes it so easy!  I have combined my intermittent fasting with a more ketogenic style of eating, but it isn’t at all required so don’t feel like you need to be doing anything fancy!  Maybe we will cover that next week, I don’t want to bore you with too much diet info!?!  I will say that even on reduced calories, I don’t feel like I’m dieting.  It isn’t hard and I don’t feel restricted at all.  Partly it’s because I still get a big dinner at home with The Engineer after work every night, which is important to me.  It feels the most normal of any diet I’ve ever tried, and I can really see myself sticking to this style of eating for the long haul.

One thing that has helped make the fasting easier is an app called Zero.  Basically it’s a gloried timer, but it does come with some extra science and information about the benefits of fasting if that’s something you’re interesting in.  I do a 16 hour fast everyday.  I start my timer every night around 8…..again it’s flexible so if I’m done eating at 7:30 one night and end up having a late dinner at 9:20 the next night that’s totally ok!  Did I break my 8pm rule Friday night to drink at a concert with The Engineer?  Yup!  Did it totally derail my progress and ruin my fasting?  Nope, not even a little bit.  Just started my timer at 11:21 pm after I finished my PBR!

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Just start the app when you’re done and go from there.  The goal of 8pm just works well for me and my schedule because then I’m done fasting when I get back to work after my workout at lunch time.  Like I said, it’s basically a glorified timer, but it’s just one less thing to think about during your day, so I like it.  It also tracks your total fasting time and calculates an average daily fasting time.  I guess it’s a bit fun to know that since February 8th I’ve fasted for a total of 112 hours and 7 minutes!  It sounds impressive and hard, but I promise once you get through the first week hump it’s a super easy routine!!

 

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I Didn’t Forget About You, I’m Just Boring

I know I didn’t get a blog posted last weekend.  It’s not that I forgot, I just haven’t been up to anything very exciting so I honestly didn’t know what to write about!  We spent the last weekend of January being lazy at home.  I think every weekend of February has something going on for us, so The Engineer and I just vegged out and bummed around.  I did give the house a good scrubbing, and worked on a couple little projects, but by and large I didn’t do much.  See….I told you….not very exciting

I have a couple little craft and house projects that I’m working on, but I though that instead of giving you little mini blogs about a dozen things I would just wait and do one larger post.  Much like what my Grandma used to say about hair when my sister and I were babies…..”Ya gotta wait for the good stuff!”  Likewise, I have a couple new recipes I busted out this week, but wanted to try them out before I shared them.  More waiting for you I guess! 😛

 

We did have a doggy related incident last week, I guess I could tell you about that.  My poor puppachino sliced her paw open!  Turns out that the metal frame of my couch is broken, and my little’s paw found the hole and the nasty metal.  She ended up with a pretty deep slice between her large foot pad and her ankle.  Think like right where our wrist crease is on your hand….owwies!  We spent most of Tuesday night trying to get the bleeding to stop, but she was such a brave girl about it.  It’s just in a not great spot.  We’d get the bleeding to stop and she’d get up and take a step and poof….more blood.  Pro tip…if you need to get blood out of something you can’t wash…aka my area rug…..warm salt water will do the trick every time!  It’s super science-y, but the salt basically explodes the blood cells and therefore the stain comes right out!

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The pink “Stocking of Doom”…..she wasn’t at all a fan.

She spent most of Wednesday with a sock on just to keep her from licking at it all day long.  She’s been good about leaving it alone mostly, but it isn’t healing up very nicely.  It’s right where her foot bends and moves when she walks, so it’s broken open a couple times.  She doesn’t seem very bothered by it, and runs and bounces around like nothing is wrong.  She’s pretty hesitant to let us look at it, it’s hard to get a view at and we usually have to move some fur and sorta really get in there……but we’ve been checking it every night.  I’ve made the executive decision that if it doesn’t seem like it’s healing up by next week I’m going to take her into the vet.  I’m not sure there’s a ton that can be done, based on it’s placement, but for me it’s worth taking her in and just making sure that things will be alright with it.  I’ll keep you updated on that, but hopefully it just heals up on its own.

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Reward for leaving the Stocking of Doom alone all day….cuddles and a couple pieces of Boom Chicka Pop!!

My New Fluffy

She is glorious, thick, and warm….and I took her out and about with me twice this week!  She also sheds….a ton….but that comes with the fluffy territory I suppose.  If you think I’m talking about a new puppy, sadly your wrong.  I can understand your confusion on the issue, and honestly if you follow the #adoptdontshop mantra…….you can probably get a new puppy companion for less money than I spent on my glorious new fluff!!  I would love a puppy…..but that’s something for another time!

I promised last post that once I got my new scarf completed I’d write an update post.  Well…..she’s all done, and was surprisingly easy!  I say easy like I didn’t get two dozen rows in and decide to rip it all out and start over…..minor technicality.

I can’t take credit for the pattern, all of that goes to the wonderful Knit Collage and their glorious, chunky yarns!  If you love to knit, what to learn how to knit, or want someone you know to knit you something amazing……Knit Collage is the place to go.  Cheap and easy to follow patterns paired with interesting hand spun yarns you won’t find anywhere else.  If you can’t get inspired by clicking through their website there is not a ton of hope for you.  Their yarn skeins are more expensive than what you can get at a big box store, but they are all hand made by a handful of women in India.  This creates small batches of each yarn and also means that every skein will be slightly different.  They are random in the best way possible…..lumpy, shimmery, wooly…….perfection!

First things first….you’ll need to pick your pattern!  I went with the Wildcat Fringe Scarf because it was something unlike other scarves I have hanging in my closet.   Might as well go big and step outside your comfort zone right?!  The link and picture for the scarf are below if you’re wanting to whip up your very own fringed beauty!  If fringe isn’t your cup of tea, pick out your favorite sweater, scarf, or hat and get to knitting!

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Photo and pattern by Knit Collage : https://knitcollage.com/collections/cowls-scarves/products/wild-cat-fringe-scarf-pattern

The pattern calls for 2 skeins of their shimmery Pixie Dust yarn, and one skein of Spun Cloud yarn.  There are several different color options in both yarn types, so you’ll need to start the creative juices going before you even cast on your first stitch.  I wanted my Spun Cloud skein in a grey…..specifically a light grey.  I wanted to do this project and I wanted to do it now, however the light grey was out of stock…..so I improvised!  A quick swap of a skein of Sister yarn for the Spun Cloud and I was back in business.

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Pixie Dust in the color Midnight and Sister in Soft Grey Heather

Sister yarn isn’t quite as thick as Spun Cloud which probably accounts for the reason I needed to rip everything out and start over.  I wasn’t getting nearly the length recommended in the pattern.  I’ve always been and probably always will be a very tight knitter.  Apparently I take a lot of tension out on my knitting projects.  Anyway, the scarf has recommend lengths that should be achieved at various stages of the project.  I won’t give them here as it isn’t my pattern to share.  However I will tell you that a good mantra to recite as you knit is…….just let it be loose!  I don’t think you could possibly knit this too loose, but too tight is for sure a thing and you’ll just end up with a mess.  Too tight is a bummer because you’ve spent good money on this yarn for its hand spun textures and variation, but if the stitches are too tight and small you won’t be able to see and appreciate it.

My finished scarf ended up a bit shorter than the pattern lists.  It’s still plenty long, plus I had plenty of both skeins of yarn left to make the fringe.  You’ll have enough to fringe even if you knit the full length, but you’ll end up with only a handful of fringes in Pixie Dust.  I’m moderately obsessed with it’s texture and lumpiness though so I happily sacrificed some total inches for the chance to show it off on the fringe.  Plus since I know I knit tight, sometimes guesstimating length versus yarn remaining gets tricky….I always vote better safe than sorry!  I used both skeins of Pixie Dust completely up and I have some Sister yarn left over to maybe make a pom pom or something in the future.

Overall, it was a quick and fun project.  It only took maybe 8 hours?!  It’s hard to say what with the starting over, the drinking, and Netflixing that was also occurring while I worked.  It was New Year’s Eve weekend….it was really too cold to do anything other than drink spiked hot chocolate and lounge around with a pile of thick wool yarn in your lap!

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In case you’re worried I just boozed away my whole weekend, I did not.  The Engineer and I got fancy, bundled up against the cold, and went out for a nice dinner and some fancy drinks.  We then proceeded to come home to set alarms and nap before midnight.  I think that’s adulting right?!  Can’t pop corks at midnight if you aren’t awake….so just set alarms for 11:45 and power nap your way into the New Year!  I’m not sure what 2018 has in store for me, but I promise I will bring you all along for the ride!

The “Let’s Take a Nice Picture” process…..

 

 

Power Prepping Weekend

Just like I do every year….even though I start prepping for Christmas super early…..I’m almost always running around like a headless chicken in the weeks leading up to the big day.  It’s not even that it makes me stressed….I love everything about getting ready for the Christmas season, it’s just a ton of things to get done.

This weekend has been no different.  I’ve been power knitting and baking through the whole weekend.  It’s the time of year for poppy seed bread, and this weekend I will have cranked out a total of 8 loaves.  Yesterday’s loaves were not a smashing success sadly.  I had the dough sitting around all day to rise, except that it just never really motivated.  It did puff up some, but not nearly enough.  I finally had to bite the bullet around 9 pm and start the loaves.  After forming I gave them about another hour in the oven with the light on for warmth….but still to no avail.  I have 4 very dense, brick sized loaves.  They look nothing like what an actual loaf of bread is supposed to look like.  To further rain on my baking parade….all the loaves exploded in the oven, and the top of one cracked while I was trying to de-pan it last night.  Ughs can’t have carbohydrate success all the time I guess.

Today’s dough is looking much more puffed, and I think I only have one knitting project left to go!  It should be a fairly easy something to whip out….so long as I keep count of the rows.  Today is off to a great start and I even had time to prep bolognese sauce for homemade lasagna tonight!  After all, if I’m going to stock the freezer with poppy seed bread I need to get some of the elk and deer meat out.  Plus, cooking today means I shouldn’t have to cook during the week, which is a major plus!  I maybe should have taken photos so that I could write up that recipe….but maybe that’ll be next week.  I have a couple other baking recipes that I could share also just in time for holiday sharing with friends and family!  #sneakpeakmaybe?!

Hope you are all staying warm and feeling festive as the Christmas season moves into full swing.  The only thing missing from my present Christmas view is some snow.  Much to The Engineer’s annoyance….I’ve turned on the crappy Christmas movies on Netflix.  I don’t know what else to do while knitting and crafting.  It must work…..I’ve gotten two big projects finished up knitting-wise already this weekend!

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The Engineer and Scout’s idea of what to do while I’m slaving away with lasagna, crafts, and crappy Netflix Christmas movies!!!

All Good Things Must Come to an End

It’s my last day as a 20 something!!!!

When I started this blog, I was sure that it would make me famous by the time I was 30.  I wasn’t going to have to work anymore, I would be free to run around doing whatever I wanted with my friends, and life would be magnificent!  I haven’t become famous, but life is still pretty magnificent!!  I don’t know how you’re supposed to properly say goodbye to your 20’s and hello to being 30……but I thought I would do it in pictures.

There have been more memories than I can share, and some trials and tribulations, but I wouldn’t have traded the last decade for anything….and I’d probably be willing to trade quite a lot to do it all over again.  Not that I want to do it differently…….I just want to do it again!!  The chance to party like there’s no tomorrow every weekend and not have to suffer through hangovers that last a week is something that should not be taken lightly kids….heed my warnings!

Anyway….I give you a journey through my 20’s with some of my favorite photos and memories from a decade of shenanigans, friends, love, and loss.

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Halloween as a 20 year old!

 

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When you’re finally old enough to buy your first pitcher of cheap beer…21!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Could be 21 or 22……its impossible to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 and a college graduate!

 

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23….shortly before I left West River for the East side.

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Hockey with Dad shortly after his cancer diagnosis…..24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Family cruise to Europe….still 24!

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Last Father’s Day, June 2013 age 25

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Meeting rock stars with the BFB at 26

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Went underground in 2014…..

 

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Bought a house September of 2014…..26 was a big year apparently!

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New Year’s weekend 2015….starting 27 off right!

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28 and sassier….also apparently indecisive about my hair….see below!

29 and fantastic!

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Started from the bottom…..

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….now we here!

 

Thanksgiving Wishes and Holiday Dreams

Now that the chaos and hustle from Thanksgiving has calmed down I wanted to take a second and wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving!

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I know it’s late, but between hosting our family Thanksgiving and traveling between two families I’ve been a little wrapped up in holiday festivities.  Plus, after turkey day the shopping craz for Christmas starts. It seems like that’s when my family ends up doing most of our shopping because we are all in the same room and can finally get everyone’s lists pinned down.

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So again, here’s wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving and a warm, festive start to the Christmas season!!  Thank you for reading and following along with all the Mishappenings.  I enjoy sharing my adventures with all of you!

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#OperationThunderChicken — Part 1

I survived my first hunting trip!

Trip seems a little over adventurous of a term.  This wasn’t a big epic back packing trip into the mystical, mountain backcountry.  I spent a couple days hanging out in a field about 45 minutes from the house I grew up in.  I maybe was harboring delusions of grandeur about what my first hunt about be like.  It wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I had imagined, nor was it the smashing success that I had hoped for.

The Engineer used some connections and lined up permission to hunt some private farm land.  We arrived out at the farm around noon on Saturday and initially set up on the North edge of his hay field next to several fallen turkey feathers…..everything was seeming very promising.  After receiving a real time location tip off on the turkeys from the farmer, The Engineer and I decided to pack up and move to the southeast corner of the farm’s property.  We were using a small blind we borrowed from The Engineer’s Dad, and we had a couple turkey decoys from one of his hunting friends, so moving camp was a little bit of work, but overall not that bad.

It’s maybe about 1:30, perfectly nice, slightly warm fall day…..and disaster struck.  The Engineer wanted me to practice drawing my bow in the blind so I could make sure I had enough room to move without bumping the blind.  Everything was fine until I tried to release my bow.  Before you jump to conclusions….I didn’t dry fire my bow.  I didn’t have an arrow nocked, but it is possible to just slowing release a draw back.  That’s the effect I was striving to have.  What ended up happening was that my string popped off the bottom cam of my bow.  So now……we are sitting in a field, calling for turkeys, and I don’t have a bow that would be good for anything except maybe throwing at a turkey in the hopes of knocking one unconscious.

So for the second time in maybe….an hour…..The Engineer and I were forced to pack everything back up and schlep it back up out of the pasture to the truck.  Bows can’t be restrung without a press to release the tension, so we had to drive into town and head to the sporting goods store.  I haven’t always had the best experiences at the shop in town, mostly because I think they thought I was just a stupid girl buying a bow she wasn’t going to use.  I was surprised at their willingness to get my bow back in shape and help me get back out into the field.  They didn’t even charge me, and in the time it took me to walk back out to the truck to get my wallet they had it all put back together!  After a couple practice shots at the range to make sure everything was still tuned in the way it was supposed to be, The Engineer and I headed back out to the farm.

We once again hauled everything out, for the third time that day, and set up underneath the same tree.  We could hear turkeys, they would answer back almost every time we would call, however we never saw any.  So, there we sat.  The Engineer scrolled through his phone while I fidgeted around like a small child, until almost dark.  At this point I was a bit cold and wanted to actually do some moving around.  I convinced The Engineer that maybe we had missed the turkeys crossing back over in the North tree line……so we went on a bit of a hike back towards our initial set-up location.  Still no sign of the elusive flock we were told resided on the property, but it was nice to move around a little bit and warm up.  The 30 minute shooting window after sundown closed, and we packed up and headed back to Momma Jules house.

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That’s a direct quote from The Engineer about what’s standard practice while hunting!  He’s super serious in a blind….but at least he shared the snacks!

 

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If by share you of course mean giving me the tough pieces.  Couple of glamorous jerky models we are though!

The part of hunting I have always dreaded and used as a perpetual reason to not participate in hunting adventures….is that premium hunting always seems to occur at the absolute earliest possible butt crack of dawn.  I am really not at all a morning bunny, but apparently the prospect of shooting my first turkey is all it takes to get me out of bed and dressed at 5:30 in the morning when it’s 23 degrees outside!  On the dark drive back to the farm we decided that we would try the North tree line we had originally set up on the day before.  Of course you have to get there early, so there we sat, mostly frozen, almost half an hour before shooting time…..which is already half an hour before sunrise!

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Couples who freeze together stay together!

We sat in the blind and called turkeys and watched the cows and calves meander around the pasture till about 10 with still no sign of a turkey in sight.  Even though I didn’t end up with a turkey, I will say that listening to them all do their morning round up calls shortly after the sun came up was the high point of the weekend.  To hear the change from silence to everything around you getting up and start moving around is something you just don’t really get to hear and appreciate when you live in town.  From a purely hunting perspective, it was proof that the flock was indeed close, and hopefully they were hopping down out of roosting trees near us!

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I almost actually kinda look like I know what I’m doing……

I had already stolen a pack of hot hands from The Engineer’s hunting bag, and we were both getting hungrier than peanut butter crackers and jerky was going to fix.  Before we headed back to town for lunch and a thawing, we thought maybe we would walk the tree line and see if we could find out exactly where the turkeys were hanging out.  This was our last day to hunt, and a day only lasts so long after all…..crunch time was looming!!

We did eventually find the turkeys……across the county road from the field we had permission to hunt.  We found them because we……probably mostly me…..were making too much noise as we neared where the tree line we were walking met the road.  The line of trees extended across the road to a cut corn field.  I’m sure the flock was hanging out over there because the eating prospects were easier.  No need to contend with the cattle herd, and cut field means corn on the ground for easy snacking.  Not that this does me any good, I needed them to move North across the road onto the land we had permission to hunt.  We were operating under the assumption that if our farmer knew the owner of the field South of him and if it would have been okay for us to follow the flock over there……he would have told us the first day when he said he saw the flock.  Since he didn’t, we were forced to assume that was a no-go zone.  We packed up and headed back to town for some food and heat, and hoped that something would happen to drive the flock back north across the road.

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Headed back out to the farm for one last shot at a Thanksgiving turkey!

We set up for a final time on the edge of the tree line, as close to the road as you’d probably want to be.  To get to this spot, we parked the truck on a little access path between the farmer’s pasture land and the neighboring corn field.  We then hiked in, past were we had set up the night before and climbed up out of the creek bed and crossed into the farmer’s cut hay field.  It’s important to note that the path we took was clear….on the way in.

The decoys were set up in full view of the flock…..who still hadn’t motivated to cross the road.  We hoped that calling and being able to see the decoys would be enough to pull them across.  We had been researching and googling all weekend that fall turkeys are notoriously hard to move because they are set up in family flocks and not breeding, but all we could do was try.  It was about 2pm when we got back out, so we had about 3.5 hours to try and persuade them across…..even if we just got one stupid one…..that would have been enough!

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You can’t see them in the picture, but there’s the road….and the flock is just around the curve of the tree line on the left side of the picture!

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Our excellent bait turkeys…..or so we thought!  For reference the road is just skimming the left side of the picture.  They didn’t even have to motivate that far!

It became apparent around 4:45 or 5 that we were not going to get a turkey.  Especially if they were roosting in the trees on the South side of the road.  By this time they would slowly be waddling back towards the safety of their roosts before night fall.  Around this time we started to hear some crunching from the pasture behind us, but we obviously knew there were cows wandering around so we didn’t think too terribly much of it.

Feeling a bit sad and defeated, we packed up the gear for the last time.  Our inventory becomes important so I’ll give you a quick recap of what we are hauling back to the truck.

The Engineer-

  • The blind

Me-

  • My bow
  • Two camping chairs
  • Bag with the two decoys

Nothing that either of us was carrying was heavy……just a bit cumbersome and a tad hard to wrangle.  We both also had backpacks on, and I had the slight added struggle of trying to not bang my bow around too much on the various trees and brush we were trudging through.  We were slowly making our way back down to the creek bed when we ran into a sort of wall of evergreen trees.  They weren’t tall, but they were a bit dense and while we could have been pushed through, we decided to go around.  We headed left to skirt the heavier brush when we had to stop short because The Engineer saw cows.  I’m not sure if he saw exactly what they were, or if he just heard them….but in any case we turned around.  We headed back up the hill a bit and back South towards the road.  We weren’t on any beaten cattle trails, but I sorta just picked a path and went.  We ended up between two much taller evergreen trees that you could sorta duck underneath because the lowest branches were about shoulder height.

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Hindsight being 20/20…..we should have just skirted this tree line on the outside of the fence down to the road……..

This seemed like a good way down the hill, until I got the bottom near the creek, stood up and turned to come up almost face to face with a bull who was not at all happy to see me near his creek!!  Now I grew up with grandparents who raised cattle, so it’s not that I’m totally unfamiliar with their behavior, but we also weren’t allowed to be around and in the pastures and such when the bulls were out.  We turned south and sorta jogged off behind a fallen tree and looked back to see him loping and bucking in our direction.  He wasn’t really running…..he certainly would have been able to out run us, but he could have started at anytime.  I got a swift push to the shoulder and two words from The Engineer…..”Go, run!”  So we ran back up the hill….crashing through the thick trees and bushes…..hauling all our stuff!  We then had to jump back across the barbed wire fence which essentially put us 20 yards south of where we had been set up hunting!  It’s moments like that I’m glad I work out.  It’s nice to be able to count on your body when you need it, although again my hill sprints have nothing on charging bull pace had he actually been interested in following us.

So there we stand…….a bit out of breath…..basically on the highway.  I’m sure we were a sight trudging down the side of the road like hitchhikers.  The distance to the truck was probably shorter this way, and definitely easier to travel, but it’s probably not great form to be looking like total delinquents on the side of a country road as the sun is setting and it’s getting dark.  We had just sort of started to regroup and trudge when a badger comes scurrying across the road and stops at probably 15 yards from us and turns to face us.  Having not packed in his hand gun, our only “badger defense” was my bow, so The Engineer took the decoys from me and had me nock an arrow.  The badger didn’t end up causing us any trouble, but he would occasionally turn to look at us while we all walked in the same direction.  Trudging the country road with an arrow nocked on your bow probably doesn’t look great either, but ya know……..ya gotta do what you gotta do!

By the time we turned down the field access road and were headed back North to where we had left the truck, it was clear that we had ended up taking the only acceptable path out of the field.  I’m honestly not sure why we didn’t just walk the road back to begin with, but I’m sure The Engineer had his reasons…..I mostly just did what I was told.  The whole herd……mommas, calves, and a few more bulls…….had moved South into the corner of the field we had hunted the night before.  Even if we had managed to get across the creek without being chased out by the bull we would have climbed up out of the creek bed to face the whole herd.  Getting out of that situation would have been much harder, and it probably would have called for more evasive maneuvers than just running back up a hill.

So I guess all is well that ends well, and even though I didn’t get a turkey to cook for Thanksgiving next week, I’m glad we took the weekend and tried to fill the tag.  The Engineer was a bit sad I didn’t get to shoot any arrows all weekend except at the range and suggested I should have shot the badger.  Technically, they are nuisance animals and therefore can be shot on my license.  I don’t really have a use of a badger and would have only shot the animal if it had messed with us.  Badgers are known to be a bit feisty and are not afraid of taking on something much bigger than themselves.  The Engineer does have a coworker who really wants a taxidermy badger…..for whatever reason, but I’m fine having not shot anything.

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I think pretty much everything makes a badger angry…..beware the angry badger!

It’s called hunting not shooting after all, and to expect to go shooting your very first weekend out hunting is a stroke of luck that mother nature doesn’t allow everyone to have.  Probably, having my first hunting trip be an exercise in actually hunting and not shooting was helpful, after all…..if I wanted to just fling arrows all day I could have just headed to the archery range.