For awhile I felt like my feet were stuck in the mud (the Rona) and now I am trying to figure out where summer is going. With only a few months left before deer season its time to prepare the fall food plots. To say our crew is a bunch of amateurs is probably a gross understatement. I mean lets get real we have 120+ acres of ground that we need to maintain and we are crazy enough to think we can get this all done by a four wheeler will pull behind attachments. I mean we give it a heck of an effort every year but some years sure don’t work out as planned. For instance last year we worked our butt off to keep the place maintained but it seems like you get a couple of weeks where no one has been to the farm and when you do arrive you realize the jungle has once again taken over. Well for us this is about to change. When we were younger we could spend weeks of our time getting things ready and we also had a previous owner who had all of the necessary equipment. After several years of battling, its time to pony up and buy a tractor with a brush hog, disk and heck maybe even a tiller. Maybe now we can keep up with the mowing, spraying and food plots. This weekend seems to be the big day. The tractor will arrive and we will continue the process of getting ready for deer season. We will see how it goes considering at my house yesterday we had over 10” of rain. We were able to get the food plots sprayed with weed killer so now we just need to get the dead grass mowed down and begin disking the ground. If we can get it worked up and get some seed in the ground maybe our season will be even better in 2020. I was extremely lucky last year the only mature deer I saw I was able to harvest. Of course, we didn’t get any food planted last year because of all flooding and not having the correct equipment to get the job done. Hopefully this year we will get out of the amateur class and be able to make our food plots more abundant each year.
For the second time this year we tried to head to Lake Michigan to fill our freezer with some salmon and trout. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and decided to kick up the winds and make us stay home again. Not sure we will get in our trip this year so I better start thinking about next year. This year has been so unique for us personally. I usually spend the first week of August in beautiful Wisconsin with my family and good friends but my daughter is supposed to be trying out for school softball and I don’t want to miss out on that opportunity. Hopefully this still happens but with the current ‘Rona issues at hand… everything seems to be up in the air. Still planning on our trip to Tennessee but man I could really uses some crappie in the freezer for winter. This maybe the first year we go into the fall without crappie and salmon in the freezer and I can only eat so much catfish. Better find me a good bluegill hole to help us limp through the winter. One other trip I always look forward to is North Dakota duck hunting. We have been going on this trip for over ten years but right now The ‘Rona has everything all crazy and I am not sure how I will function without some good duck hunting. My passion is definitely ducks but I don’t have the same opportunities in Illinois I once had. I guess I may have to join a duck club for the 2020 season. I know one thing is for sure I can’t go a whole season without having at least a couple of good duck hunts. We will see how things play out. The Illinois River was dropping finally early last week but now with the rain that will change. I noticed a lot of vegetation on mud flats and back in the timber where normally we had too much flooding for the natural forage to take over. Hopefully this will bring a few more ducks to the Illinois River Valley and maybe they will stick around for a couple of week.
There is something about me that I haven’t shared with you all. I have a passion for coaching girls travel softball. I have been coaching girls’ softball for 7 years now and I find it to be one of the most satisfying things I have done. I have always had a love of baseball and loved to play slow pitch softball but as I was getting closer to 40 my body didn’t seem to like my sudden movements and began to pull muscles that I didn’t know I even had. So for a couple of years I was kind of bummed watching my buddies post about tournaments and realizing I just missed the game. Lucky for me my daughter was getting ready to turn six and it was time to get her started. I didn’t think I wanted to be a coach at that time but it sure didn’t take long to realize there was a need for coaches who understood the game and could help teach the kids the proper way. So after that first year I signed up to be a coach. We started with coach pitch and we won the league in our first year and over the next three years we continue to win at a high rate. It was then that I decided it was time for more of challenge. I searched for a travel organization that was in need of a coach and I found one that was in need of an assistant. We were not very successful but I learned so much about dealing with young ladies. They didn’t respond to people barking at them and they needed someone to teach them the game. If you were going to start barking orders they would shut down. After a very long season another opportunity presented itself for me to be a head coach a local travel team. I was very nervous at first but as with anything else you get comfortable. Our team practiced twice a week all winter long preparing for the 2020 spring season. After practicing and putting in all of that hard work all winter, due to The ‘Rona, we had to cease practice and cancel all games for May and June. I felt so bad for the girls after doing everything necessary to get better each and every practice so they could compete with some very good teams. It seemed a very long three months but finally we were allowed to get back together to practice and then games. We have been able to play 17 games over the last month and I have to say it has been great to get back on to the field and watching the girls grow. One thing I do know is I am out there to help each and every player get better at the game. I understand that not many if any will go onto play division one softball but what I am help create is very strong independent young women. I feel my job is to create leaders with critical thinking skills and people who can work as a team. I think this is something that has been lost over time. Too many people want to be individuals but in order to be the best you can be you have to be able to work well with others. Sometimes I wonder how much video games and cell phones have changed our younger generation. Yes they are smarter, more tech savvy, but can they work together as a team to reach a common goal? I have been paying attention to the park district leagues in the area and I know when I was a kid you would have 8 to 10 teams in a community with 15,000 residents. Now that same town can’t even field a team. I hope this is just a trend that will soon start going in the other direction but as history will tell us I don’t think that is going to happen. I do know that there is always a need for good coaches. It’s not always about winning the game it’s about molding our future generations into productive people in society. This year has been unique but I look forward to coaching for many years to come. My daughter is growing up but even when she is done playing for Dad, I may continue to help teach the younger groups the love of the game that I have.
May your sunrises and sunsets be magical!