Isn’t it funny how a tree can produce a lifetime memories. Every year I order seedlings from the Missouri Department of Conservation to plant on the farm and the day we get to plant them is one of my favorite days of the year. Last year I was able to have the whole family involved but this year the ground was still frozen when they arrived so I had to wait a few days to plant them. This meant I would not be able to take the boys with me. It would just be dad, grandpa and myself left to get the work done!
I have a thing for pine trees and evergreens so the majority of the seedlings were loblolly pines and Norway spruce; fast-growing but seedlings nonetheless. It is going to take a lot of years before the pine grove I am working to create will be tall enough to block out the sun as we walk through it. The same can be said for the white oak seedlings. Deer and turkey LOVE white oak acorns but I reckon my boys will be my age or older before these trees are big enough to hang a proper tree stand in them.
As grandpa helped me create a future windbreak with some spruce seedlings on the east side of the cattle pen the realization crept in that he will never get to see the work he is doing come to fruition. At 79 the old man still moves like a cat through the woods but I can tell that time is catching him as it does for all. I don’t think it helped that a few weeks ago, my aunt gave me a large stack of pictures of me when I was a baby up to about age 9; the same age range my boys are now. My boys are the spitting image of me when I was younger and to see all of those people, most now gone, holding and playing with me got me a little choked up. Mainly because I have pictures of relatives and loved ones playing with my kids who are now gone. I call it the changing of the guard but honestly, I have a hard time seeing myself as a leader in the family; a person the younger ones follow and look up to.
“Jeremy, I got old this winter. I don’t know how but I just woke up and felt old” Grandpa said as he dumped a fresh pile of dirt around a seedling I was cradling. My reply was “You planning on checking out anytime soon?” With a chuckle he said “No….I don’t want to go anywhere but you never know when your time is up.” I went back to planting then looked back up and said “You know I still haven’t gotten this all figured out; I need you to stick around a little longer” which garnered another chuckle.
Then still working on that seedling I told him about the stack of pictures and how it left me a little emotional looking at them. “You mean pictures of mom (grandma?)” “It was grandma and others that aren’t here anymore” I replied. “ I saw those pictures of me and can see my boys and I know that soon, many of those who are holding them in these photos will be gone as well.” It was at this point something happened that I still have trouble with around other people. Planting seedlings on the east side of the farm, I teared up.
I kept planting spruce trees and all of a sudden, he started to speak. “It’s gonna happen to all of us son. I suggest you look at those pictures again and look at how happy those folks were in them. Remember the good times, enjoy the time you have now and know that it’s part of life.” I’m not really sure what happened next or what was said, but this conversation was one of those that will produce a life moment. The kind of moment that will be forever burned in my memory and will be pivotal in how I speak to my children and grandchildren about life in the years to come when I am the old man at the end of the shovel.
I still don’t know the species of every oak tree like Grandpa does just by looking at the bark. I can’t fillet a fish as good or skin a deer as fast as he can and there are a whole lot of things I learn from him each and every time we are together. Whether there is still time for me to get the lion’s share of his knowledge or not remains to be seen. My goal right now is to take care of my new seedlings on the farm and give them the best chance to mature into tall, stately trees. It will be on that day, years from now when I can look at the trees I planted on that day and think of him.
By Jeremy Koerber
When there isn’t anything to hunt, my typical Saturday morning involves some gym time because as busy as I am these days, I don’t get all of my workouts in during the work week. It has become a necessity but isn’t a burden. I truly enjoy the folks in the gym and relish the social atmosphere. However, there are times when I am not on my “A” game. Today was one of those days when the energy and performance was non-existent. For many, this is a bummer but it shouldn’t be. In fact, it is something I want you to fully embrace because it will not only make you more Fit To Hunt, it will make you a more successful hunter.
Let me set the context with a few quotes:
“If I only worked out when I felt like it, I would never work out.”
“You can’t kill ‘em if you aren’t with ‘em!”
The great myth about fitness is that everyone who possesses a lean, toned and muscular body rolls out of bed and into the gym for high energy, rock star workouts on a daily basis. The truth is, if I can get 1-2 sessions like this a week I am ecstatic. In college almost every workout was high energy with the main differences being I only had to go to class 15 hours a week, took 2 hour naps every day and was 20 years younger. Today, I have work, family life, responsibilities and 20+ years under my belt. This means my
performance in the gym will vary from session to session.
Sometimes I plan to kick butt and take names and end up with a performance that would disappoint even Richard Simmons. Other times when I don’t feel like I have the juice to get through ten minutes, I end up performing quite well. That’s the nature of the human body.
It’s the “so so” workouts, either because of motivation or energy levels, that tend to get folks down because they still think that every session is supposed to produce workouts of legend. Let me ask you a question: Do you kill a monster deer or boss gobbler every time you hunt? Of course you don’t, but hopefully you understand your chances of harvesting either are slim to none with your backside fixed firmly to your couch. You have to be in the woods in order to give yourself the best chances of being successful. You also know there will be hunts where you have prepared and are 100% zoned in only to see a few squirrels and there are times where you have deer under your stand within five minutes of sitting down. The point is you have to show up on either account to be successful. The same goes for your workouts.
Does the frequency, intensity and duration of your workouts matter? Of course they do. You aren’t going to get in shape to go on a back country elk hunt by walking your poodle 30 minutes in the morning but 30 minutes of light to moderate activity is better than no minutes of exercise. Today, my workout was pretty lame. 30 minutes of moderate intensity cycling and some stretching but yesterday’s workout was a fast and ferocious full-body strength session that I am still feeling today. I knew when I woke up
this morning I was going to the gym and it was going to be a workout where I simply went through the motions. My goal was 5 workouts this week and that was #5. On Monday, I’ll have the energy (hopefully) to hit it hard again and maybe have that rock star experience of yesteryear.
Still not convinced? Do you remember when your teachers told you that if you just show up you’ll get a “C?” Well, if you can show up a few times each week and combine those workouts with a session or two that show off your “A” game skills, then that averages out to a B. That’s pretty solid and if you are consistent with this over time we promise you will get and stay Fit To Hunt!
Contributions made by Fit2Hunt Staff!