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!