Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's a New Year...

Blah, blah, blah... seems like everywhere all we are hearing is it's a new year.  Time to change your weight!  Time to organize!  Time to BUY A NEW CAR!  I think it gets so pervasive that it's actually tuned out.  Well I hope you don't tune me out.

I was thinking about what I have done in this past year. It was strange because I wasn't really thinking about what I have done, I was thinking of what I should have done.  How I should have spent more time with family, or friends.  How I should have went fishing more often.  How, dare I say, I should have been more organized so I could do more things!  Isn't that how it goes though?  People look back through life at the things they didn't do.

My best friend's dad died of cancer several years ago.  He said something that has always stuck with me as he was going through the process cancer puts you through.  This a paraphrase, but basically he said he wished he would have taken the time to do the things he was waiting to do when he retired.  He had worked hard.  A full-time job with his own business on the side.  His dream was to go to Australia and he never had the chance.  He said he should have just done it.  I believe I have learned from him, but maybe not enough.  This summer was the first time I had seen his daughter, my best friend, in at least 3 years.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I can look back at what I haven't done this last year, or just try to do better this year.  Maybe it's best to build on the good I did in this last year.  Go fishing with my family more.  Take some time off.  Spend more time with friends.  Get out and get some fresh air once in a while.  Come to think of it now, I did do more of that this year than last!  Improvement is always good.  Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas time is.... gone?

Could it be?  Is it true that Christmas has now passed?  Why does it still feel like we're in the "holiday season"?  I guess it's because we technically are.  We are in phase two.  This is when we decide how we will drastically change our lives for the next year, but end up being disappointed this time next year because we didn't keep our (wait for it...) R-E-S-O-L-U-T-I-O-N-S!  Cue the dramatic music, Dum DA Dum!

Why do we feel the need to put ourselves through this every year?  Who even started this tradition?  Probably some psychiatrist needing money this time of the year after overspending on his kids for Christmas!  I guess a little reflection is always good.  So what are your plans for this year?  What are you resolving to do? 

I have a few, but I will only share one with you.  I want to be a better business owner.  What I mean by this is not financially, well actually, yes financially! It's really more than that, though.  I want to think out of the box with my store.  Try new things.  Right now, we have already scheduled a Ladies Fishing Class/Tea for February.  Tell me that's not out of the box!  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  Also, I will be teaching an outdoor fishing class for ladies.  I have been asked to do this for a while.  I should have done this a while ago.  I have had numerous requests for ladies classes.  I have to admit that I have just been burnt out.  This was a busy year for us.  It started out with a huge endeavor.  Our store downsized BIG TIME!  We went down to about 1/3 of the size we had been.  I built a lot of displays with the help of my sisters.  The renovation could have actually been a reality show!  I believe in measure once, cut twice!  Yes, I know it's not the right way, but let's face it, I'm no carpenter!  I also painted, moved merchandise.  It was a monumental task.  When I finally got that whole situation organized, I had another surprise.  I had emergency surgery!  The surgery came after many tests which took me out of the store.  I came back to work quickly, but looking back now, I should have rested longer. 

I think the combo of both situations put me in a funk.  There were a lot of things I could not physically do after the surgery and I just gave up.  I am much better now and excited about the new year.  I'm excited to teach these classes.  My hope is that it will help ladies to not be intimidated by fishing.  Some may be single moms with kids who have been asking to go fishing.  Others may have enjoyed fishing as a young girl and just need a refresher.  Either way, I hope I can show them what there is to love about fishing.  I have always said, I love to fish because it's the one place no one can bother me.  You can't take your phone in the water with you.  It's so relaxing to hear the water flowing, feel the sun warming you...  If this sounds good to you and you're a lady, sign up for one of the classes.  The one in February will be indoors and warm.  What else do you have to do this winter?  After all, it's cold, and you know how I hate that!  Happy New Year to you all!  May God bless you throughout the year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Cheap Christmas???

I have a friend from high school who posted on Facebook that she purchased all of her gifts this year at a dollar store.  After laughing hysterically, I posted to her about it.  She just basically said that Christmas was going to be about gifts needed in this economy.  She had wrapped the gifts and put them in a "grab bag". 

I was updating our store page on Facebook a couple days after my friend's announcement.  I was posting about some of the products we had that were under $20.  As I was listing items, I started realizing, you could really shop well in our store if you wanted a gift that was less than $20.  The thing with any gift you buy here, as opposed to the dollar store, is the gifts you buy here can help you!  They will help you catch more fish, get into shape, hunt better, and even bring the family together!  We have fishing supplies like hooks, lures, bobbers... all under $20. 
How about a first knife for a son, or daughter? We've got those under $20.  Want to get your kids outside to play while finding out how truly out of shape you have become?  (No judging here!  Already told you in a previous post that I am there myself!)  How about a Wiffleball and bat combo?

See, the local dollar store isn't the only place to get a deal!  You may find just what you want here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

When I first started writing this blog, I told you it may be about all kinds of subjects.  I guess I never thought this would be one of them.  I write this blog post with a somewhat heavy heart.  I just read an update on a customer of mine who is currently fighting cancer.  Seems there has been another bump in the road.  I don't want to say too much about the person's medical problems, but I do want to say something about the man himself.

I have many regular customers and this particular one, we'll call him S for the sake of privacy, has been one of my favorites.  He has been a regular customer since I first opened.  He always comes in with a smile and an encouraging word.  He even took me fishing twice!  Let me tell you, my arm was actually sore when I came back from that trip!  It was a lot of fun though.  How could you not have fun flying down a river at about 50 mph on a boat?!

We have gotten to know one another from his visits to the store.  We have talked about everything from politics to good manners while fishing, but never the conversations we have had lately.  You see, S has a new way to view life.  He has told me that he is thankful that he has the time he has.  He is able to spend each day with his family, friends, and most importantly God.  He has a gratefulness that many people don't.  Each day is a gift to him.

I need that kind of attitude.  I am so wrapped up in everyday life that I don't have time to enjoy the really important things.  I know that possessions are not priorities, but neither are things like- my store, meetings I need to attend, etc...  The main priorities are God and family.  I don't think I see them the way S does right now and I should.  A couple years ago, Tim McGraw sang a song that became quite popular, you may have heard of it, Live Like You Were Dying.  In it he sings these lyrics:
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I've been denying
As I say a prayer for S tonight, I think I'll also ask God to help me to remember just what those words mean.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tebow- yeah I said it!

I have watched the entire Tim Tebow saga with delight.  From the time the young man came out of college, all we heard is how he could not be a NFL qb.  ESPN has basically went on a crusade against him.  Now the naysayers are actually starting to eat crow.  I guess it's hard when you are the expert on the NFL and you dropped the ball with Tebow.  Sometimes it's not about the throwing motion mechanics, or the time it takes to throw the ball.  It's about heart, drive, the intangibles...  There have been a lot of guys the NFL draft experts have loved.  They have been busts.  Here's a list of the top ten draft busts in the history of the NFL: http://www.nfl.com/news/story?confirm=true&id=09000d5d817ff891&template=with-video-with-comments  I know I'm no expert, but it seems a few things are needed to be a pro and clearly he has them.

Discipline  I don't think you are going to see Tebow skip practice or come back to camp the following year out of shape.  I can go on a full rant about some NFL players who have done both.  My favorite team, the Redskins (I know, I know) had a player named Albert Haynesworth.  Maybe you have heard of him?  He couldn't even pass a conditioning test to start camp last season.  The test basically consisted of running back and forth to some cones in an allotted time period.  Yeah, I would expect that I couldn't pass it!  This guy is supposed to be a pro.  Tebow is known for his training.  He worked the whole off-season between the last football game and the draft to change his throwing motion.  I also don't think you will hear about him out in the club at 3 in the morning involved in a shooting.  Just sayin...

Knowlege  The guy is a student of the game.  If he doesn't know something, he will work on it.  Time after time you hear about him watching film, asking questions...  Brett Farve was a great qb, but I've heard stories of him blowing off watching film.  Knowledge is great, but there is something else that propels him to the NFL level that many players are lacking.  It's my next point...

True Leadership  He is a leader in many ways.  The guy never gives up.  He encourages others to be better.  He makes promises he keeps.  Look at the change in the complexion of the Denver Broncos.  They went from straight up losers, to winners in the midst of a season.  People want to follow someone they can trust.  Someone they can believe in.  This is what I mean about promises.  This is why the Broncos are winning:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Work It Out!

This Christmas, my sister has gifted me with a gym membership for a couple of months.  Still trying to decide if that is an insult.  I mean, is it a nice way of saying, "You need to get into shape", or just a way to spend time together and get healthy at the same time?  Actually, only men would do the first one, so I'm going for the healthy/time spending theory.  We have only gone once this week and I'm paying for it.

Someone, who is clearly not me, enjoying the treadmill!
Let me explain, I'm not as young as I used to be, but I'm not one foot in the grave either!  We went to the gym the other day and while it was hard, I felt pretty good about myself as we walked out.  Ha!  My body was just in the process of a delayed reaction.  The next morning I woke up with a cramp in my calf.  "A Little Cramp!", you say.  Hey, this was no little cramp.  This was the kind that wakes you up out of a dead sleep.  Your leg feels like it has been taken over by some voodoo priestess!  I could barely sit up to stretch it.  It was like my calf had taken control of my whole body and it was going to make me pay for the day before!  Oh, I understood the "agony of defeat" at that moment.  As my eyes welled up with tears, I frantically reached for my foot to stretch.  It finally subsided, but that cramp was messing with me.  Telling me, "Oh, I can come back any moment"  My leg has been sore since.  So sore that I have had a therapy heat bag on it two nights in a row.  This morning it felt better, but as the day has progressed, I still feel a little twinge.


So, I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that my body is: 1)- not in shape, 2)- healing at a rate slower than the US economy's improvement.  The thing I am realizing about getting older is that my mind, for some reason, doesn't seem to understand it's happening.  I think I can do things I did years ago.  So,my body has to remind me where I am in life.  Some reminders are more painful than others.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

It's about time I finally told you why I don't hunt.  I've been promising to for a while and, well, there's no better time than the present.  At least, that's how the saying goes!

The main reason I choose to not hunt is simple: I do not like to be cold!  I could tell you there are other things that come first, but they don't.  I really don't like winter.  I don't like seeing my breath, or if it's early enough, not seeing my breath.  I once saw a hunting show on tv.  They were hunting in Texas.  They were in this "blind".  Yeah, right, it was a small house on stilts.  It had running water, windows, a/c and heat.  Yes, I said a/c and heat!  They were watching a big screen tv and sitting in these really comfy looking leather chairs.  They had to TURN OFF the a/c to shoot the deer.  The guy opened a window, shot the deer, closed the window, and went back to watching the game.  Ok, so I love the "house blind" idea, but somehow, that just doesn't seem to be in the right spirit of hunting!

Secondly, I will eat deer meat, but I don't crave it.  I have often told customers that when they open up cow hunting, I'm there!  Imagine hunting the elusive Black Angus!  So it wouldn't be much of a challenge, but man would it taste great!  I have customers who hunt all season just to fill their freezer for another year.  That is great.  I applaud their living off the land, but my idea of living off the land is my garden.

I know deer aren't the only thing to hunt.  Inevitably the word squirrel has come out of someone's mouth as they have read this.  Squirrel?  No thank you.  A squirrel and a rat seem to closely related to me.  One is the country cousin to the other.  Just get a squirrel in your attic and see how closely related it is to a rodent!  Hey, but if you like squirrel, rabbit, whatever... I say, "Go for it!"

I believe if you are going to kill something, you should be able to clean it yourself. I also have no desire to clean any animal, especially a deer!  I don't always, but I have cleaned fish when we have caught them.  Fish are bad enough, but man, the way folks smell after gutting a deer... NO THANK YOU! 

Lastly, I don't hunt because I don't have time to come home in the middle of the day and take a two hour nap!  Seriously, my husband goes hunting, comes home and sleeps on the couch with the tv on in the background like a lullaby playing for a baby!  No thanks.  I have too much to do.  Plus, who will be grilling the Black Angus steaks from my hunt for dinner?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TGIC- Thank God It's Christmas?

I was sitting here throwing around ideas for my next post.  I was listening to Christmas music while I was "thinking".  "How can I think and listen to Christmas music at the same time?", you ask.  It's simple friends.  I am a multi-tasker.  I can do many things at once and none of them well!  It's how we've all learned to live in the 21st century.  What was I talking about again?  Ha, Ha, Ha! I remember.  Just testing you. 

Really, I should say Ho, Ho, Ho because that is the time of year we now find ourselves in.  Can you believe it?  I was listening to a Christmas song by Relient K called "Merry Christmas, Here's To Many More".  The first 2 lines of the song really describe how I, as well as, many people I know and come into contact with feel.  They say:
I made it through the year and I did not even collapse
Gotta say "Thank God for that."
Wow, Isn't that true?  This year has sped by.  It has also been tough.  As a small business owner, the economy is really hurting my business.  Many of my customers have had hours cut back, or even been laid off.  The other day a customer said, "It sure takes a long time to make the money, but a few seconds to spend it."  I couldn't have said it better.

The thing is, yeah the economy is bad, but maybe it's made us think about the important things.  Instead of spending money on things we don't need, we save for items we do need.  That's one of the great things about our store.  If you come here, you can buy products that will help you eat- like a fishing rod and reel.  Of course, you'll need some tackle with that to catch a fish, but you get the idea!  How about if you know someone who is an avid hunter?  Why not get them some gun cleaning supplies?  Knife sharpeners are always good gifts whether or not you hunt or fish.  How about some hot hands for folks you know who work in the outdoors?  Or, better yet, a set of gloves!  If you want to get back to when kids played outside instead of vegged out on a screen, we have kickballs, footballs, basketballs.  If you have a friend that camps, we even have items like compasses or fire starters.  Many of these gifts are less than $10.

You see, we understand how it is to use coupons and save your pennies.  We aren't a big box store offering layaway.  I don't even think we have anything that you would need to put on layaway here!  We are a business in YOUR neighborhood.  We live here too.  We shop here.  Pay taxes here.  Some of you may even know me as your child's coach!  When you shop with us, you keep that money in your community.  So this Christmas, come by and shop local.  I'm not the only small business in Broadway.  There's a lot of us.  In my building alone, there are three.  If you come here, we'll greet you with a hello and help you the best we can.  Most of all, we'll always be grateful for your business.

By the way, if you'd like to hear the song by Relient K.  Here's a link to it on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE0s2cGVF10

Saturday, November 26, 2011

True Grit- in real life...

I'm going to warn you.  This one is about football, again.  Yes, again.  How can I not brag about the Broadway High School Fighting Gobblers?  This team has something special.  They never give up.  They have GRIT!

Dictionary.com defines grit as "firmness of character; indomitable spirit".  Perfect description of this year's football team.  I, and half of the Shenandoah Valley, saw it last night.  There was a beautiful catch by Jefferson Forest.  The Broadway defender even got a piece of the ball, but the JF receiver stayed with it and subsequently scored a TD.  Mind you, it was one of those touchdowns that takes the air out of the fans.  It was so quiet you could hear a mouse fart!  Ok, maybe not that quiet, but you get the picture.  Come on folks, I'm typing a dramatic sequence here!  Anyway, the Broadway boys went in at the half down 14-6 after that stinkin lucky catch.  Seriously, he couldn't have done it twice if he tried!  Just sayin...
 
The second half began.  What would these boys do?  Would they respond to the challenge or just give up?  Not this team.  This is what I'm trying to tell you- Grit.  They are marching down the field.  Closer and closer to the endzone they come, QB Quinn Arbogast, who is tough as nails, goes down on the 5 yd line.  Folks, there is no feeling like seeing a young man hurt and not able to get up.  You feel for these kids.  If you could take injury away from sports, it would be perfect.  I thought about his mom and how she was feeling.  You know it's different for us moms.  Your instinct is to go down and fix it, but you can't.  For one thing, your child would be utterly embarrassed by you doing such a thing.  Secondly, you would never hear the end of it.  These are teenagers after all.  So these "rules" make the wait to see if your child is ok agonizingly long.  They finally helped him off the field.  I'm not sure what happened, but he was on crutches later.  I hope he heals quickly and completely.  So, the boys compose themselves, attempt and make a field goal after what could potentially throw another team into a tailspin.  Now it's 14-9 JF.


G R I T... this is where you see it.  Do you give up?  I mean your starting QB is out of the game.  You have a back up who is not tested in this type of fire.  Broadway kicks off.  The JF receiver fumbles and the boys get the ball back on the 14.  One play later, the Gobblers score!  It was crazy at the field.  I bet they heard it miles away.  They tried a two pt conversion and failed, but they now had the lead 15-14.  They were pumped up.  They were raising their hands to get the crowd more pumped.  Pandemonium had broken out now.  Ok, maybe not that wild, but it was loud and uproarious.


Broadway starts the fourth qtr, the untested QB pulls it off with a touchdown pass.  Without the receiver's effort the TD would have never happened.  He gave his all and so did the entire team.  The Gobblers ended up winning the game 29-14.  They never gave up.  They played every minute on that field.  They believed in each other.  One guy goes down, another steps in for him and does the job.  It's expected, not a surprise.  This is why you want your kids to play sports.  Not to be a "jock", but to learn how to work together and to believe in one another.  To learn that you do not truly have to do everything yourself.  If you work together, you can accomplish great things.  They have.


Congrats on being the Regional Champs, Broadway!  Next weekend at 1pm, Christiansburg will play at Broadway High School.  It's a semifinal game.  I guess the whole town will be shut down and at the game.  If you come, don't expect some showy team.  What you will see is a never-say-die team with GRIT!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Hunt?

Well, hunting season is in full swing here.  We have been very busy at the store selling licenses and equipment to hunters.  You may ask, "Why do people hunt?"  Some people think it's barbaric.  To others, it's good stewardship.  It's my blog, so I guess I'll give my opinion.  Isn't that the whole point of a blog?

Let me start this out with, I do not hunt.  Again, I promise to give you a blog entry on that soon.  I have many friends and family members who do.  I also have many who don't.  My siblings do not hunt, but love deer meat.  We live in a time when everyone is talking about organic foods and health.  Deer meat is very healthy.  It's also low fat.  There are no hormones, antibiotics, or other additives.  It contains many key vitamins including Niacin and B12.  We all want to be healthy, right?

Also, let's face it, the economy is BAD!  Hunting is truly a way to feed your family.  Yes, you have to have a license, etc... but have you seen the price of meat lately?  Unless you live on a beef ranch, I would say hunting is great way to get your family meat.  I have customers who live basically off of venison, fish, other forms of game.  They truly live off the earth.  They would be recyclers in the truest sense of the word!  What about single mom's?  Oh yeah, women hunt as well!  What about the ones who don't?  The ones who are struggling to get by.  Wouldn't some fresh meat donated from a hunter be welcome.

Can it taste gamey?  Sometimes.  If it is cooked properly, I can't even tell.  There are so many ways to cook deer meat.  Many folks also make jerky, sausage, bologna... the list goes on.  I even know folks who can it.  Again, another way to be thrifty in tough times!
Come on!  You know that looks good!

There are many people who make hunting look bad.  As in any other part of life, you have bad apples.  Please don't let a few people skew your judgement of many good ones.  Has it become a major industry?  Yes.  Hey, this is America.  We are supposed to make money.  Capitalism is good.  In the end, many people benefit from harvesting a deer and my family is in that group.

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Friday again...

Well, as Rod Stewart said, Tonight's The Night!  The Broadway High School Fighting Gobblers have made it through the entire regular season without a loss.  They have already won the Valley District Championship and a place in the playoffs.  Tonight they play for something that has only happened two other times for the football team.  Tonight they play for an undefeated season.

If you have never played a sport, you may not understand the significance of this.  It's hard enough to make the playoffs, have a winning season, etc.  An undefeated season is perfection.  It's the standard you want to achieve, but often miss.  They have that chance tonight.

The amazing thing about these kids is I don't think they believe they can be beaten.  You never see them quit.  They are a hardworking group.  Maybe it's due partly to the fact that every game is dedicated to a fallen member of the military.  Or, maybe because many of them have played together since pee-wee football.  They just believe in one another.

So tonight, I will be at the game.  I'll be cheering on the kids and, of course the award winning band, along with about everyone else in town.  Go Gobblers!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Beauty of Fall Trout Season

Fall trout season is interesting.  It's like the stepchild of fishing seasons.  See, everyone and their brother (sometimes literally) are hunting.  All they can think about is deer hunting, hence, fall trout season ends up being the hard core fishermen/women. 

So what helps fall trout season to stand out as a good opportunity?  Lots of reasons.  It's not as crowded.  It's generally a bit colder than spring.  Who wants to go out in the cold?  As a customer told me once, "In the spring you are ready to go out.  In the fall, you don't really want to be in the cold."  Hey, amen to that!  I hate cold weather.  It's one of the reasons I don't hunt.  We will discuss the other reasons in an upcoming post to the blog.  I've been known to have the wood stove so high in the winter that folks wear shorts and t-shirts in our house like it's an August afternoon!  Trout like the cold water and will continue to feed in the cold water.  The water is generally higher in the fall because the trees have dropped their leaves and are not using as much of it.  Maybe it's just me, but the water always seems more crisp and clear in the fall!  You are generally not going to have to worry about a snake in the colder weather.  Even if you do walk up on one, it's gonna be a little slow moving from the cold.  

Perhaps the best part about fall trout fishing is the surroundings.   The leaves and fall foliage.  It's like a beautiful painting that can not be reproduced.  I will leave you with a couple of photos from West Virginia fall trout fishing a couple years ago with my family.  If you get a chance, get out there this fall and catch a stringer of trout!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The great Game and Fish Debacle

I have a friend who has a pet rabbit, well actually, it's her daughter's.  I mean, it's ok if it was her rabbit.  Adults are allowed to have pet rabbits, right?  Oh man am I going down a rabbit trail here! Back to the story...

Anyway, this is actually a really sad story for the rabbit, as well as the family.  The rabbit was killed by an animal while it was in it's outside cage.  My friend called the Department of Game, known Virginia as- VDGIF.  She thought it may be a weasel.  She was told by the VDGIF that Virginia did not have weasels.  It must be a ferret someone released that has went wild.  How do I know this information you ask?  Why Facebook, of course!  Anyway, she posted this on Facebook and, of course, everyone started weighing in on the matter.    One person wisely posted this link http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?s=050041  to the VDGIF website.  Um, couldn't the idiot, oops sorry, the kind employee of the Commonwealth on the other end of the telephone line possibly  have searched the internet for maybe 5 seconds???  I also piped in, or as we call it on Facebook, "posted" that on page 49 of the Hunting and Trapping book, weasel is listed as an animal to trap.  By the way, for those of you wondering because I know you are, the weasel's trapping season is December 1- February 29.  After further discussions via Facebook, the family discovered that the animal was most likely a mink.

Mink
Weasel


 









So, what is my point?  Number one- Facebook is indeed good for something!  Number two- the VDGIF needs to work on customer service and education of employees.  It's really sad when an employee of the game department says something so ignorant.  They should be the go-to place for information on wildlife.  In this instance, and unfortunately as well as many others, they are a laughing stock.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Important Things...

"If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."  Doug Larson

So maybe this is an oversimplification of life.  (Is that even a word?  It is today.)  Anyway, I think the overall idea is a good one.  What that quote means to me is this: If people concentrated on family, friends, etc... they would be out spending time with them.  They would be doing things that cultivated those relationships.  They would treasure every moment with those folks.

In the past couple of weeks since returning from vacation, friends of mine have had family members hospitalized.  A few have been very serious.  Some friends have lost family members.  Generally, many people are going through a tough time.  The economy is affecting lives and not in a good way.  I am truly thankful for the few days I had to spend with my family.  Even more so now, after these last few weeks.

This post is not to brag about my vacation, or the family time I had.  It's just a reminder to you friends.  Cherish every moment.  This life is so short, so fleeting.  It's fall trout fishing season.  It's also hunting season.  The leaves are changing and they are beautiful.  Make the time to get out and enjoy the world away from phones and computers.  Enjoy every moment you can with your friends and family.  Put the important things first.  Many of my friends who have sick family members also have no regrets when it comes to their family.  They took the time to do the "important things".

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday... Friday.... in the Town of Broadway!!!!!

Yes, folks there is excitement in the air here in Broadway today.  Why you ask?  Well, maybe you didn't ask, but I know you wanted to!  Tonight is the big game.  Broadway vs Harrisonburg!  Yes, it's the game of the week, month, year, decade.... who am I kidding, the CENTURY!!!!  Both teams are undefeated.  It's a rivalry!  You can't ask for much more excitement than that.  Well, maybe you can, but we don't have it!

Seriously, folks, I wrote about small town football before, but this is what it's about.  Everyone and their brother will be there.  It's pretty much a reunion for the entire region.  The great thing is this is small town life.  People back their team.  You go to the game, see everyone you know.  Catch up with folks you haven't seen in a while.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

By the way, check out the band if you go.  I happen to know some of the kids in it and they work hard.  They will be doing a full halftime show.  Cheer for them too!

GO GOBBLERS!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunrise...Sunset

Many of you know I am still basking in the glow (literally, from all the sun I got) of vacation.  I was looking at some pictures I took of the sunsets and sunrises at the beach.  Magnificent!  Here's a sunrise pic from the beach:
Sunrise over Emerald Isle, NC
 
So beautiful.  There is something about sunrises and sunsets that just resets my body.  Maybe it is the sheer beauty of them.  Here in the Shenandoah Valley, we have some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  An artist friend of mine once told me that they sometimes bring tears to her eyes.  As an artist she can't imagine putting all those colors together and making something that beautiful.  Maybe one of the things about vacation is that we take the time to look at sunrises and sunsets.  In a world where we believe we are the center of the universe, they show us there is something greater than us.  I am thankful that even though I am small, at the same time I'm cherished by the Creator of the universe who made those sunrises and sunsets!

I'll leave you with a couple more pics of sunsets.  One more from the beach and another from the Shenandoah Valley.  If you get a chance this weekend, take the time to look at a sunrise or sunset, and while you're enjoying it, thank the Lord for the beauty of His creation.

Sunset- Emerald Isle, NC

Sunset- Shenandoah Valley, VA

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'mmmmm Baaaaccckkkk

 Ok, so that's a lame title, but what do you expect?  I just came back from vacation!  It has rained everyday since I came back.  I want to be back at the beach.  Enough complaining.  Thanks to the Mik Chiks for the guest post while I was gone.  They had me cracking up as I read the post!  There was a point to this post today.  What was it? 

Oh yeah! I went to several tackle stores while I was down at the beach.  I love to visit other sporting goods stores.  I get a lot of ideas of what to do and what not to do.  One thing that amazed me was the differences in each one:

One was cramped.  Two dogs, and a bird inside the store!  They were constantly busy though.  Location was great, right off a river and marina.  They sold fishing, marine supplies, bait (live and frozen), as well as, rod and reel repairs.  They even lined reels!  Also, they had a gas station.  Not sure how I can add that to my current store.  This store was the messiest of the three I visited, but yet the most busy.

The second store was a smaller shop almost across the river from the first one.  They had general fishing supplies, bait, but also a restaurant!  The guy was closing when I arrived and still sold me the bait I was looking for since the first shop didn't have it.  I like when the owner of a business accommodates a customer that way.  Honestly, I didn't know he was closing, or I wouldn't have went in the store.  Sometimes, we business owners have to get somewhere quick.  Like maybe getting your kids soccer game that you are coaching...  Wow!  I told you I am a little out of it today.  I can't keep on track.  Anyway, I appreciated his help!

The third store was a newer store in a more established business closer to the beach.  It was actually the second store being opened by an established business.  I actually was able to speak to the owner of that store.  We commiserated over distributors and their lack of customer service.  I even gave him the name of a distributor I love.  This place was immaculate, but only one customer came in while I was there.  It also was a different time of day when I visited this store.  One thing I loved was that the owner admitted he didn't do much saltwater fishing and was always looking for recommendations from people.


So what did I learn?  People are not necessarily looking for the most immaculate place, or the one with the  most stuff.  They are looking for a place to get what they need.  They want to be able to get their license, supplies, and maybe some advice about what is biting while they are there.
I guess all of this gave me a lot of hope.  I do hope that I can compete with the big box stores and the countless online businesses.  Sometimes it's discouraging to be a small business owner, but I came away encouraged that my store was just as good as the ones I visited.  Plus we have the best logo!

I had to throw in this pic.  I really do fish!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Greetings To Staci's Readers!

As you know, Staci has "gone fishing".  What you may not know is that she asked us (Madeline and Lisa) to guest blog.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha.  So na├»ve, is she.  She told us to connect whatever we said to sporting goods.  We're going to have a ball.

First off when most of say we've "gone fishing," we mean we're playing hookie.  Not so with our Staci—she is a fisherwoman through and through.  But because we love her we want to make SURE she knows a few "don'ts" that we gleaned off the Internet after a three-and-a-half minute search.

Never forget your bait in your car overnight!

Never try to take a treble hook out of a flopping fish without pliers!


Never, ever put your hand in the mouth of a strange fish!

You're welcome, Staci—you can thank us later for saving your vehicle and extremities.
 
Being that we are also philosophical advice-givers by nature, we thought we'd share some wise words regarding Staci's favorite pastime from "The Experts".

My biggest worry is that my wife (or husband in this case), (when I'm dead),  will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it.

Koos Brandt

You might want to think about that, Stace.  Also:

If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business.

Alfred W. Miller

You heard it here—if she ever closes the doors of Wood's Sporting Goods, you'll know why—because Alfred. W. Miller said it.  Who is he anyway?  That's what we asked ourselves.  A five minute Internet search (we are all about providing you with critical information) told us that he was an avid fisherman and writer of all fish things.  His nickname was (he passed away in 1983 at 90), Sparse Grey Hackle.

This caused us to think:  does Staci have a "fishing" name????

We think you, The Readers, should come up with her fishing name.  We're sure there will be a unique prize awarded to the person who comes up with the best moniker.
And lastly, Staci wanted us to promote Her Safari while here—so of course, we'll comply with her wishes.  Here is the book trailer—note a beautiful mom (who just might be Staci), and daughter at the 30-32 second mark.

Safaris, by the way, demand a LOT of sporting goods.  Don't forget to stock up at your favorite store, Wood's Sporting Goods, the next time you embark on one.

All in Goodwill
Lisa and Madeline
Connecting Now
http://www.lisamikitarian.com/

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vacation, all I ever wanted...

Have I told you I haven't been on vacation for 4 years?  Of course not, I've only been doing this blog for about a month!  So, this week, my family, minus my spouse who is needed at work, is going on vacation.  I'm very excited, mainly because I think being constantly on the go for 4 years has caught up to me.  I'm tired and I know I need a mental and physical break.

We are going to the beach and I am hoping to come back with a whopper fishing story.  Seems like the only whopper stories I have are literally about Burger King though!  Fishing at the beach is so different than fishing in the Shenandoah Valley.  First of all, I'm pretty sure that all saltwater fish have some way to hurt you.  They have sharp teeth, or their gills or fins can cut you.  It's not like the cute fish in Finding Nemo.  These fish are going to make sure you remember them!  Then you have some who are just plain ugly, like the puffer fish.

There's the occasional catch of the stingray or, even better, my dad once caught an octopus.  I wanted to run off the beach!  Ultimately, it's fishing and I love fishing!  So, I'll be out there!  Hopefully, I'll come home with a story and pic about the one that didn't get away.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sunny September Days

Ok, so maybe I misspoke about the rain the other day.  We did have too much rain!  After days on end of rain, I'm pretty sure I saw an ark floating down the river, we finally have a beautiful sunny day!  It's one of those beautiful sunny September days with little humidity and crisp blue skies.  You know, a lot like a day we all remember 10 years ago this Sunday, September 11.

I still vividly remember that day.  So many emotions swirling around inside of me- fear, sadness, anger... just to name a few.  I was about 5 months pregnant at the time.  I was so worried.  What kind of world was I bringing this child into?  Mainly, I was concerned about our country.  What was going to happen?  Would we crumble like those buildings?

I remember the pride in America after we were attacked.  The pride that we would somehow come through that time.  I remember people had their flags flying at home.  There were flags on overpasses on the freeway.  I remember my eyes welling up with tears as I watched the people line up the streets in support of the emergency personnel who were going back to ground zero to search for fallen brothers. The support for our fire, police and emergency workers was amazing.  Our members of the military were so appreciated.  We were all proud to be Americans.

In the 10 years since, the shock has lessened from September 11.  We are used to the words dirty bomb, terrorism, and Al Qaeda.  They are now household terms.  Our country isn't as united as it was that day.  We are going through hard economic times and many of us are struggling to get by.  On this 10 year anniversary, let us not forget those feelings of that day and, as we remember, send a thank you card to the local police, fire, rescue squad.  Let us thank a member of the armed forces for all the sacrifices they and their families make to keep us safe.  Mostly, let us hug our family a little tighter, because maybe the biggest reality we faced that day was that all of our days are numbered.  We should cherish each and every one.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away!

While some people complain about rainy days, I love them.  Rain is great for the river.  Fall Trout Season is coming up.  Every year we hear that the Commonwealth can't stock the streams because they are too low.  I daresay, they better not come out with that excuse this year.  You see, license fees rose in July.  People are a little perturbed with Virginia DGIF for doing such a thing when most people are scraping by.  I can totally understand that.  Adding a total of $10 more to a license is a lot of money when you are strapped for cash.  I guess you could think about it in a more positive way, though.  See Virginia stocks trout from October through May.  Seven months of fishing for trout for $50.  Ok, ok, so sometimes the stockings in our area are few and far between.  It's still about $7 a month if you just fish for trout, plus you can fish for whatever else suits you in the fresh water for the rest of the year!



Oh yeah, one more thing.  If you want to get info about stream flow and flood stages.  You can even find out groundwater and well levels.  Check it out here: http://water.usgs.gov/ 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Youngsters

This week a young man's grandmother brought in a fishing rod.  It was in awful shape.  Line was wrapped around the pole, bird's nest in the reel... pitiful.  The grandmother wanted to see if I could fix it.  My friend, Gina laughed as she looked at it.  It was that bad.  Let me add that I will often do some small repairs to reels and rods.  I also do maintenance to reels.  I started working on the reel after getting it untangled.  It was clear that the reel was broken.  It wouldn't stop feeding line.  This is a frequent occurrence with the brand of reel I was working on.  Plastic gears are not a good idea on a fishing reel.  It was a cheap combo purchased at the big box store.

Many people buy rod and reel combos.  I sometimes sell them at the store, but I don't like to.  They generally do not have good reels on them.  The rod is fantastic, but the reel is the cheapest they can put on the combo.  Usually, it breaks within a few times of using it.  I can generally put an entry level rod and reel together for the same price and give the customer a better product.  Daiwa makes some great entry level rods and reels called Sweepfire.  They have a one year warranty and Daiwa is great about taking care of their customers if a problem arises.

Back to the customer and the grandson...
When they came back in and I explained that it could not be fixed, the young man started to cry because he couldn't go out fishing that afternoon.  Plus, he thought his dad was going to be angry.  I ended up calming him down by explaining to him there is no crying in fishing!  It's pretty much a rule.  Well, maybe if you lose a fish of a lifetime.  No, come to think of it, I don't think that is even an excuse.  We put an inexpensive reel on the rod, put on a hook on the line, and he was off.  I can guarantee you, you won't get that service at MegaMart!  Ultimately, the kid was happy and went fishing that afternoon.  Happy customers make me happy as well! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Friday night football

As many of you know, I live in a small town.  No, I wasn't born in a small town like Mellencamp sang.  I live in a small town.  So anyway, come fall, football rules life.  The sun rises and sets by football.  When I first went to a game, it was overwhelming.  People worship this team.  Some older men, and I do mean older, still wear their letter jackets.  People really get into the game, as if these high schoolers are pro players.  The atmosphere is electric, especially if it's a rivalry game.

So this last Friday, I went to the first home game.  I ended up sitting next to a player's mom.  I won't mention who the player was, but the kid played a great game.  He plays a pretty big roll on the team.  Two older gentlemen were sitting behind me.  They were ranting about everything- the refs, the team's level of enthusiasm, how the quarterback threw... you get the picture.  So much so, that you could see, it started bothering the mom about halfway through the game.  I leaned over to her and said, "You ever seen the Muppet Show?" She said, "Yeah."  I said, "Those are the two old guys that used to sit up in the box and complain all the time."





So next time you go to a high school game, or for that point any game with amateurs playing, remember that's someone's child your yelling about or at.  Watch what you say while your screaming fanatically at the field and the kids.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Limestone sinkers and good company...

Today I received a banner for my window in the mail from a company called RockyBrook Sinkers. Let me tell you about this company.  They make a sinker out of limestone!

 I saw a commercial for them on one of the fishing shows.  You know, the kind that they never miss a fish and catch lunkers all day?  Yeah, that's reality for everyone who fishes!  I wish.  Any way I scrambled around for paper and copied down their number.  A couple days later I was talking with Brook of RockyBrook Sinkers.  He is a fisherman and came up with this idea after getting traditional lead weights snagged all the time.  American ingenuity!

Brook is a down to earth guy.  I imagine he's like a lot of my customers.  He loves to fish and works hard so he can do so.  He's always been kind to me and even made sure my first order was sent express so I could have the product for a kids fishing day I was attending!  He threw in some stickers and freebies to hand out to the kids as well.  Brook didn't have to send me a banner.  I didn't ask for it, but he sent it to help me sell his product.  He has also given a shout out to our store on his Facebook Page!

The problem with the sporting goods industry is that small businesses don't seem to exist.  A lot of the larger companies buy out smaller companies if they are any kind of competition, or even worse, they copy their product.  You never talk to the same person when you deal with a distributor.  Many of them are going to computer ordering only.  It's impersonal.  They have no idea about my business, my life, etc...  Everyone is looking for the bigger stores and the large amounts they order.  A little store like mine just doesn't matter.  That's where a business like RockyBrook is so refreshing.  I am thankful for ma and pop businesses like Brook's.  When I can, I will give them my business before I give it to a huge corporation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquakes and other excuses we can use

Today's earthquake in our area and the whoppers (oops, I mean testimonies) surrounding it, got me thinking.  I could just hear the earthquake being used as an excuse if it happened in hunting season!

Imagine this conversation in my store?
Me: Hey, Mr Smith. How did your hunting season go? 
Mr Smith: I had the buck of a lifetime.  He was the biggest I've ever seen.
Me: Really?
Mr Smith: Oh easily.  Thick tines, nontypical, but I missed him!
Me: What happened? Your ammo failed? Something wrong with your scope? Did he pick up your scent? 
Mr Smith: No, no.  We had that darn earthquake and it threw my shot off.
Me (incredulous): Really?




Oh, I can think of all kinds of excuses the earthquake could bring about...
I had a monster fish on and lost it when the earthquake knocked me off my feet.
I was going to catch the winning touchdown, but the earthquake tripped me.
The earthquake struck me out in baseball.

It goes on and on.  Any you can think of?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sometimes your wrong. Sometimes your right.

I had a customer come in yesterday to pick up 2 lures he had ordered.  When I showed him the products, Rapala Original Floating Minnows in the Hot Steel color
 
(I know your saying, "Really?  Did we need that info?")  He swore I ordered the wrong product for him.  I knew that this guy has undergone a lot of surgery and some radiation and just chalked it up to illness.  The thing is, I knew that I had ordered the right product.  Believe me, I have ordered the wrong thing before.  Not a good feeling because you do not want to send it back to be restocked.  Fees, shipping, etc.  I usually just keep it in the store to sell later.  Anyway, I showed him where I wrote the request down.  I tried to remind him that he had already purchased the product he thought he wanted, but ultimately I left it with, "I'm so sure I ordered the right one, I bet you a free lure that I did.  Go home and check.  If I'm wrong, I'll give you a free lure."  We both laughed and he left amicably.  He called today.  He had went home and the very lure was on his fishing rod!  His friend even told him he had ordered it.  He apologized to me for giving me a hard time yesterday.  Which takes me back to the first post I made.  Yeah, I do have occasional customers who give me a hard time, but in general, my customers are like this guy.  I'm very thankful for each and every one of them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hunter Safety Classes: Elmer Fudd needed them


Last fall, my son and I took a Hunter Safety Course.  I mainly took it because he needed to take one, but I also wanted to see what they taught.  It was several nights long, a couple hours a night.  Really not a big chunk of time.  Shoot (haha, get it, shoot and a hunting class?), I spent more time at football practice with him.  So I dove in.

I had told several people about the class.  It ended up being a blast.  My sister, my son's friend, a customer of mine and his wife- by the way, I think that could be sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island!  Those were just the people at my table.  My neighbors were there, as well as, some other friends!  So I can say, I was quiet comfortable.  The teacher was knowledgeable and accessible.  He patiently answered questions.  We watched videos and at the end of the week I had my Hunter Safety Certificate.  Simple.

I did learn some things in the class:
#1- People are not as knowledgeable about hunting as they think they are.  They had a video titled "Shoot or Don't Shoot".  In the video, they went over various scenarios to shoot at game or not.  One scenario was a guy deer hunting sitting by a tree and looking into some brush.  He saw what looked like a deer in the brush, but it was hard to identify.  It came closer, he still couldn't identify.  The instructor stopped the class and said "Shoot or Don't Shoot?"  I would say at least half of the people said, "Shoot!"  That's a little scary considering there were about 50 people in the class, maybe more.  He turned the video back on and it showed a hunter coming out of the brush carrying a deer on his back.  Ok, obviously this was lame.  What kind of fool... Almost got into a rant there.  Anyways, even though it was seemed ridiculous, it happens every year.  This one happened last year in Virginia-  http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/Boy_Killed_in_VA_Hunting_Accident_110980484.html 
It's pretty simple, if you can't see it clearly, don't shoot!

#2 Blaze Orange Saves Lives- He told the story of how the Blaze Orange Law came into effect.  A tragic hunting story years ago, but it still continues even though it's the law to wear orange.  In 2009, a college student was killed while walking in the woods during hunting season http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/254936  This is a sad story for both sides.  Apparently the students didn't have on blaze orange and the hunter, did what we talked about in the first point. Now, a family has lost a daughter and a hunter has year in jail and a lot of guilt on his heart.  So, whether you hunt or not, please wear Blaze Orange out in the woods during hunting season, especially you hikers.  You can buy a vest at our store for under $3.  Isn't your life worth that?

#3 We are the best examples to our kids of how to enjoy the outdoors.  The kids in that class were there with their parents or adults who took the time to take them.  If you know a kid who likes the outdoors and the parents aren't interested in taking them to the class, ask if you can take that child.  Single moms, don't be intimidated.  It's not that hard, unless you're a little squeamish about cleaning game.  We'll talk about that another time!

I hope you take the class if you get a chance.  One day, I would like to teach it.  I just have to get the time to take the training course!  Here is a link to the classes: http://my.register-ed.com/event/studentchooseevent
If you put in your zip code, you can get the classes closest to you.  If you plan on hunting, please take the time to take this course.  When you're ready for your license, come by the store and I'll sell you one!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Uh oh, religion.

If you've ever come to our store you've seen this painting done by my friend, Kathy.  She is an awesome artist and has blessed me with this painting and our logo.  She has more talent in her pinky finger than I have in my entire body!

You might be wondering, why do we have this in the store anyway?  Well, it's simple.  For me, God comes first.  I would not be here on the earth without Him.  This store is a blessing from Him.  I want people to know that, but I also want them to know that while they are out enjoying all of creation, that even the earth and all that's in it knows "the Lord has done this".  Some people may call that religion.  Religion to me is a big formal church like Prince William and Kate married in.  I don't think anyone thinks of me like that, at least I hope not!

Here's a picture I took a couple of years ago in the fall while I was trout fishing in West Virginia:

When I am out fishing in a beautiful place like this, I can't help but think "God, you're awesome".  So I'll warn you, if you come in my store, you may hear about God.  I may pray for you or keep you in my prayers if you tell me about something you're going through.  I promise though, I will never be, dare I say... RELIGIOUS!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why in the world did I pick THAT name!

I own a small sporting goods store in what most would call rural small town America.  Every day I give advice in a male dominated world.  Often times I'm ignored.  You know, I'm just the little lady that runs the store...  I've actually heard, "She doesn't know what she's talking about.  She's a woman."  I've had people buy the wrong product, against my advice, because they assumed they knew more than I did about the product.  Hint: you may want to know the right ammo for your own rifle before you argue with me, just sayin'!

Over time, though, my customers have come to know me.  They know I fish and I don't hunt- unless cow hunting is opening up.  They know I try to be informed about the products I sell and if I'm not, I'll tell them.  Mostly of all, I hope they've come to know me as a person who is not just interested in their business, but in them.

With this blog, I hope to give you a little glimpse into my world.  Those of you who know me, know it will be intertwined with humor and sarcasm.  I also want to introduce you to different products that I have come across and hopefully help you be better informed when you buy.  Either way, I'm looking forward to the journey.