Sunday, August 11, 2013

Our Pacific Coast Vacation

We just arrived back from our family vacation to the Pacific Coast.  We survived the airplane ride to Portland and back (which was my biggest concern).  We then covered most of the coast of Washington, Oregon, and even down into a section of California. 

A few things we did:  Skyler got to feed baby salmon at a fish hatchery.  We visited, hiked and explored through Cape Disappointment and Fort Stevens.  We explored tons of tidal pools (covered in sea anemones, starfish, rock boring clam, and other unknowns).  We spotted several falcons.  We got to see and hike through the redwoods (got to check that one off my bucket list) which are awesome!  We all ate octopus and Paul and I ate fresh halibut -- both of which were great!  Skyler tried salmon for her first time.  We had some close encounters with sea lions and harbor seals.  It was so much fun to see the fishermen coming in after days of fishing on the ocean and listen to their stories and watch them clean and sell their fresh fish to anyone willing to pay the price.  We got to explore two WWII military installations, one of which was the only military installation in the continental United States to receive hostile fire during WWII.  We also went inland to explore Olympic National Park, Multnomah Falls and Crater Lake.  We camped on the beach 3 nights in a row (all at different areas on the coast) and camped inland for 1 night just outside of Crater Lake National Park.  We stayed at Paul's cousins' house to round off the last 2 nights of our trip -- and they were GREAT to us!!  Because of them we learned how to beachcomb for agates and sea glass (Sky and I are absolutely addicted)!  We did tons of hiking through the woods as well as exploring awesome beaches!  Even though it was freezing we all made our way into the ocean -- even if only to the tops of our feet due to the cold. always we fit about 2 weeks' worth of vacation into 1 week!

We had an absolutely blast but are all glad to be home -- we love our life!!  I thought that posting here might be the best way to share some photos (if it looks like we are always wearing the same clothes -- we kinda are.  It was freakin' freezing most of the time and we only brought a couple of warm sweatshirts along.  Oops - live and learn!) 




Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lots O' Fishin'

I haven't been posting much lately -- however, I thought I would post pictures from some of our recent fishing expeditions.  We have been taking some of the girls/families from Skyler's softball team fishing -- still have some more girls to take.  Many had either never fished before or had only fished a time or two before we took them out.  It is so fun to see how much they enjoyed catching fish -- plus we had so much fun hanging out with all of them!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chick Days at the Grissoms

We had a chicken go broody again and I couldn't resist letting her set on a clutch of eggs.  I let her set on 11 eggs so I expected that 6-8 might hatch, allowing for the "mistakes" that mom can make during the 3-week process...

Well, it would appear at this point as though all 11 chicks have made it...still have one making its way out as I type this.  Skyler took the above pic and I thought it was so cute that I had to post.  The step "mom" in the pic is one of my Icelandic chickens.  However, the chicks are 1/2 Icelandic and 1/2 Ameraucauna.  They should lay blue/green eggs just like their "moms."  We don't exactly have room for 11 will definitely be looking to find homes for the roosters once they are old enough.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Grissoms lately

 We have been incredibly busy of late...a good kind of busy for sure.  Skyler's ASA softball league is in full swing so we have had tournaments and practices -- one tournament lasted all day Saturday and half of Sunday.  Skyler is on a brand new team...the South County Ladies Storm... and they are a great bunch of girls with great parents to boot.  Paul is helping coach again this year.  All of the coaches are great!!  So while Skyler is having fun out in the field we get to hang out with some great people.
In addition to softball, Skyler is on the Rockridge Jr. High track team.  She generally runs the 4x100 or 4x400 relays as well as running the 200 and/or 400 individually.  It is so much fun to watch!!  So combine Skyler's practice and meets for track with her practice and games for softball and we see ourselves coming and going.
Here is a picture of Skyler on an INCREDIBLY cold meet day
waiting for her teammate to come around and hand off the baton in the 4x100.
 Finally -- to throw in some Grissom hunting in the mix...Skyler recently got her second bird of the year!  A bearded hen (definitely don't see these too often) with a 6 1/2 " beard.  She was pretty excited as she has never seen or shot a bearded hen before.

I got my first bird of the year...a color phase tom weighing in at 24# with 1 1/2" spurs and an 11" beard.  I would have kicked around the idea of full mounting this rare bird but I think Paul saw the wheels turning and was quick to help me start butchering so I couldn't think about it for long.  (Oh well, we don't have room for it anyway:) 

Both Sky and I owe our turkeys to Paul's superior turkey calling skills!!  My tom was only about 10 yards out when I took my shot and we had hens pretty much looking into our blind trying to find the hen  -- little did they know, this hen's name was "Paul."  :) 

No matter how busy we get with "life" we always find time to get back to our roots and spend time in the timber....get out there and enjoy yourselves -- time to hunt for morel mushrooms now!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Illinois' Youth Turkey Season Success

We took Skyler out turkey hunting this morning for opening morning of the Illinois Youth Turkey Season.  It was a beautiful morning -- starting out at 41 degrees when we left the house at 4:45 a.m.  We set up our blind last weekend but since Paul has been keeping an eye on these turkeys throughout the week, we moved the blind in the dark this morning to a spot the turkeys had started to use more regularly in these past few days.  Paul did all the mad turkey love calling and it worked again like a charm.  We had several toms in the field gobbling at us - but it was this particular tom who decided he needed to come in for a closer look.  Skyler made a great shot with her 12 gauge shotgun.  We are so proud of Skyler -- as always it was such a fun hunt as a family!  Skyler's turkey weighed in at 24.2 pounds, has a 10.25 inch beard and 1-1/2 inch spurs.  We already dressed this turkey out -- and I have the meat soaking in a saltwater brine.  Tomorrow I will package up the meat for the freezer and since I already soaked it in the brine -- it will be tender and ready to use in the future!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Running/Exercise Song List

Looking for some inspiration to add to your mp3 player (Ipod, Zune or similar device)? 

I have done some searches on the internet, but a lot of the lists just didn't appeal to me.  Some songs on my playlist seem to suggest I am an angry exerciser...this may be true.  However, I need a great beat so MOST of these songs have a great beat through the entire song -- some have been on my playlist for years now (I just can't give some of 'em up) -- although some are new.  Don't judge my because of the songs on my list  :)  Below are some of my favorite songs just in case this helps someone else out:

Bleed it Out - Linkin Park
Fake It - Seether
Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
Ladies & Gentlemen - Saliva
You're Going Down - Sick Puppies
Gunpowder & Lead - Miranda Lambert
Hate My Life - Theory of a Deadman
Livin' On Borrowed Time - Puddle of Mudd
Paralyzer - Finger 11
Poker Face - Lady Gaga
Given Up - Linkin Park
Let You Down - Three Days Grace
S&M - Rihanna
Six Gun Quota - Seether
Bad Company - Five Finger Death Punch
If Today Was Your Last Day - Nickelback
Battlefield - Jordan Sparks
Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold
Going Down in Flames - 3 Doors Down
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Titanium - David Guetta
Almost Easy - Avenged Sevenfold
I Get Off - Halestorm
Fighter - Christina Aguilera
Dead and Gone - Justin Timberlake
I'm Shipping Up to Boston - Dropkick Murphys
My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson
Burn It To the Ground - Nickelback

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Does in the Cold

Paul and I braved the cold yesterday (Saturday) and harvested these does within minutes of each other -- both perfect heart shots.  We had a great afternoon hanging out together and this was just the topping to that great day!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Skyler's Second Buck of the Year!

Skyler had another fantastic hunt out in the woods Saturday!  She made a perfect shot on this buck...another fighter buck!  This buck would most likely have been a great 8 point, but since she made this the year of shooting the "fighters," he is a 6 point buck having broken off most of one side of his rack.  However, his brow tines and the G2 he has are both very impressive!  He is a mature buck -- 3 1/2 years old.  When we skinned him out we found out how he most likely broke his rack...he had a fairly fresh wound (and his antler break appears as fresh) where a tine from another buck jammed into the side of his neck, causing quite a hole!  I can't believe the kinds of wounds we find on these deer...they are tough!  We are so proud of Skyler for the poise she shows while out on hunts...she passed on many deer before deciding this was the deer for her. Skyler did have one other buck she would have liked to have shot but he didn't come in range and I never heard her complain about not getting a chance at him.  Congratulations Skyler on a great buck to finish up a great deer season!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Skyler's 12-Point Buck!!

Here are pictures of Skyler's deer she got with her muzzleloader at 1:30 on Friday.  He is a 12 pointer who weighed 205#.  This buck was one tough dude -- breaking off 4 of his tines, probably during some pretty intense fighting.  He has super-long main beams -- 26 inches on one side.  Skyler let quite a few deer walk before deciding to shoot this one.  So here is the story from start to finish (this is where most people will close the page cuz they know how wordy I can get)  :)

Since Paul has gotten his two bucks for the year (he cannot shoot another buck in Illinois) and since I have not yet "pulled the trigger" with my bow on a deer yet this year, Paul sat with Skyler and I sat in a separate stand on the same property.  I of course let her have her choice of stands and I picked my stand after that.  Both stands proved to be great Friday (opening morning), however a lot of the deer were hanging out in the brush -- not offering shooting opportunities.  Skyler got to see and hear a lot: a buck roar, bucks grunting, a buck fight which was pretty long and drawn out and bucks chasing does.  While all that was going on, I had my deer (an 8 pointer) come through at about 9:00 and I initially decided to let him walk but then he completely circled my stand at about 25 yards the entire time, offering awesome wide-open broadside shots and I finally couldn't take it any longer and decided to shoot him at about 25-30 yards.  It was nice to get my .54 caliber flintlock dirty. 

As soon as I shot my buck I texted Paul and Skyler and told them they had to come up to my stand because the deer were using the area heavily.  Since the wind had switched at their stand to a not-so-positive direction, they decided to take me up on my offer.  So after the tradeoff, and only about 3 hours later, Skyler got an opportunity at this mature awesome buck and her shot was true.  Her deer dropped only about 75 yards from where she shot him.  Paul and I are both super excited for and proud of Skyler and she is pretty excited herself!!  She set out this year to get a bigger buck than she had gotten in the past and she definitely did that!  Congratulations Skyler on a GREAT hunt and an awesome buck!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In my last post (that I was typing with my very tired 5:00 a.m. brain, very quickly before going hunting again) I failed to post about Paul's doe he harvested this year as here she is.  Skyler's 133# doe didn't get to be the family's largest doe for too long...this doe tipped the scales at 143 so now we all have another goal to shoot for :-)