Saturday, December 29, 2012

Preppers and the real world

I'm sure many of you have heard of the show "Doomsday Preppers".  Some of you may think, "Those people are crazy!"  Some of you may thing they're geniuses, others may be somewhere in between.  Doomsday is indeed something to be prepared for, but I would say we should always be prepared for an emergency.

Just think of the events of this last year.  We had the Super Derecho come through from Ohio to the East Coast leaving destruction in it's path.  Downed trees and electric lines were the norm.  We also had Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast.  There was a severe drought in the Midwest that will be affecting food prices this winter.  I could add to this, but frankly, I shouldn't have to say anything more to get the point across.  We need to be better prepared for emergencies.

Today, I went to the grocery store to get some food.  What I found is the best reason to prepare for emergencies by purchasing food products from Shelf Reliance.  We will begin selling Shelf Reliance this year.  It is a quality, freeze dried product with a very long shelf life.  It's not just something to save for an emergency.  You can use it everyday.  I just used some the other day, actually.  I was out of sour cream and it was time for dinner.  I pulled out my can of sour cream, added water, and...  Voila!  Problem solved.  Here are some pics I took at the local grocery store today.  This is just from a few possible inches of snow!  I didn't even check the toilet paper.


Milk Cooler


Saturday, December 22, 2012

What is Christmas?

I know as a retail sales person, I should be saying Christmas is about the gifts, but honestly, I know it isn't.  I know it isn't about Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  It's not about who gets the most toys.  I know it is about family and friends.  I know it is about cherishing the things that are the most important to us.  I know it is, above all things, about salvation.

This year could have been a very tough one for me.  Multiple people in my family have been in major car accidents.  One was yesterday, in fact.  By God's grace, they all came out of the accidents safe and sound for the most part.  Yesterday's accident was actually a miracle in that no scratches- none at all, were had in an accident on a major highway!  I had a very good customer pass away this year.  I've seen many families struggle, some so much that they have broken apart.  I've had friends and family in and out of the hospital.  I could easily be discouraged if it wasn't for one thing, I know there is more to life than this moment.

I know we are living for eternity.  I know my customer is with God in heaven and one day I will see him.  I know God has a purpose for each of us.  Mainly, I know he has given me the gift of salvation through His son, Jesus who was born as a baby and ultimately gave his life for me.  I know that as tough as life can be, he's walking with me each step of the way.

So this Christmas, I choose to rejoice.  Not in the economy, the political atmosphere, the gifts I am receiving...  I choose to rejoice that God knew me before I was born.  That I can pray for people who come in my store and share their joys and sorrows with me.  Mainly, I can know that no matter what happens to me on this earth, I will one day be in heaven with the Creator of the universe because of the "Christmas story".  Because, God sent his son to reconcile man to him.  I leave you with a link about the song "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day".  Longfellow knew there was more to this life than the pain he was going through.  He knew that one day, there would be Peace On Earth!  May God bless you with that knowledge this Christmas.  May you know him more that you ever have this year.  Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Here's a link to the song as well...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Manny O'Berry's Wonderful Idea!

Manny O'Berry is a friend of a friend on Facebook.  You may think I'm promoting this because I own a business that sells these products.  Simply not true.  A couple years ago our church's youth group went on a trip to Baltimore, MD.  We would have lunch out on a plaza.  Lunch was simply made up of lunchmeat, bread, chips, etc.  Two young ladies who were leaders in our group decided that they would make sandwiches from what we had left and a group set out to pass out these sandwiches to homeless all around the area we were visiting.  We could have given 100 messages about showing God's love to others, but those two young leaders showed the reality of it in about 30 minutes.  Please read Manny's plea below.  If you believe it's a good idea, please follow through.

I want to start a movement. I want to do something big that reaches over the entire United States. I figure the quickest way to do that is through the internet. I am not doing it to get famous or be recognized. I am simply doing it b/c I think that I have a nice idea and want to share it with everyone that I possibly can.

All of you know that in today's time it's been getting harder and harder to get by. Many have lost not only their jobs but their homes as well. Heck, some of us are just a couple dollars away from being homeless ourselves. Now there are the few that want to be homeless to evade wages, taxes, etc.... Whatever the reason may be, they live a life of simplicity and often a life of reliance on a good Samaritan.

So, I'll get back to my point and the reason for the title of this note in just one more second. Matthew 25:35-36 reads, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Then Jesus goes on to say in verse 40 that whenever we did this for one of His brothers that we, in fact, did it for Him.

This got me thinkin' some more now that it's getting colder outside. You see, during the summer I usually have extra bottles of water in my car so that if I see a stranger in need I can help him by giving him a bottle or two and make the day more bearable. So, here's my proposition: that we offer the warmth of our hearts to the hands of the homeless. Literally. If you go to your local retail store, check out the hunting/fishing section. You'll find these hand warmers that hunters, skiers, campers, and even football fans often use. You can stick them in your pocket or boot or wherever you want to keep from freezing while out in the chilly weather. I want everyone who can spare 5 bucks to buy a ten pack and keep them in your car. Next time you see that person sitting by the road with a sign, you can offer warmth.

So what do you think? I would love for this to catch on by word of mouth and spread like wildfire! Oh for those of you that don't get the snow and such, go ahead and stick with the water plan. Thanks all and God Bless!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Maybe we don't walk around saying angrily "What do I have to be thankful for?"  Maybe some of you do. I know I don't, but I know I can also be ungrateful for the many blessings I have.

I just recently read a devotional that challenged me to be thankful for everything, including the things I think are small.  It said, that I shouldn't think of anything as being small.  I have been blessed to have everything I have small and large.  Wow.  I had to re-assess my point of view.

So, here's what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving:
  1. I'm thankful that I have been blessed to live in America.  No offense to any readers from other countries, but I believe America is the greatest country in the world to live in.  We have so many freedoms and the ability to succeed above our wildest imagination if we just work hard.
  2. I'm thankful that my grandparents had a great influence on my life as a child and still today I find myself learning from them.  I am thankful that they have lived long enough to also impart some of their wisdom to my children.
  3. I'm thankful for my husband and kids.  I can't imagine life without them.  They make me smile and help me grow.
  4. I'm thankful for my parents and my siblings.  I have been blessed to come from a large family.  My parents were more than patient with us growing up!  My siblings make life so much better.  They are all so unique and we all love to laugh together.
  5. Finally, I am thankful for all my friends.  They are such a blessing to me and my family.  They are encouraging, thoughtful, talented... the list could go forever.
When I look at this list, I realize, I can't imagine life without any of these things existing.  There is a lot more I could list, but this is a start.  What are you thankful for this year?

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do You Know Who Your Kids Are?

Yes, you read that correctly!  Do you know WHO your kids are?  I started thinking about this Saturday.  A young lady came to check in a deer.  It was her first one ever!

As, I began to think about her accomplishment, I kept thinking about how wonderful it was that her family was with her as she checked the deer in.  I also thought, "What a special time that was for her and her father."  My thoughts quickly changed, though.  What about all the kids who do not have that chance?  What about all the parents who don't spend the time with their kids teaching them about hunting, or more importantly, life?  It was a long process to get where this young lady was.  There was scouting.  There was days sitting and waiting.  She had even missed one the week before.  In all that time, she was hanging with her dad and her family.  Learning.

I could throw statistics at you about kids, but let me tell you what I see as a business owner and a youth group leader.  There are a lot of kids who love the outdoors.  I have kids who come in all the time just to shop around.  They are frequent customers.  Kids want to know they are loved.  If they don't find that love from us as parents, they will find it from somewhere else.  This generation is exposed to more garbage and overall distractions from media, than any other generation in history.  They need a break from those distractions.  Put the cell phone or mp3 player down.  Listen to nature.  Watch the sunrise or set.  I find they generally want to spend time with their families, although, some I have do not.  I also know many of their parents have no idea of the pressures at school they're dealing with.

Then I see kids who go hunting/fishing with their parents often.  I have been at my store long enough to thankfully see some of these kids grow to be responsible adults.  They are polite, not just to me but to their parents.  Many of their parents could tell you what these kids are planning to do with their futures.  They know their kids.  Their kids can tell you about the parents when they come on their own.  They know them, because they spend time with them.  I once had a parent tell me that the best thing he ever did was to buy some land with a cabin.  He felt the time he spent with his family up there was priceless.  The memories they had and the relationships built were well worth the money spent on the purchase.  His son now comes in as an adult.  From what I know of his son, he's right.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Muzzleloader Season Begins

Today is the first day of muzzleloader season.  Today, I could post about the merits of hunting.  Or, I could talk about the modern muzzleloader, but I'm not. I'm going to post about one of my favorite things about hunting- Camaraderie.

Today I have checked in 3 deer.  With two of the deer, I had more than one person come with the person checking in the deer.  One group was father/son, the other were friends.  The other person who checked in was out with his son earlier, but didn't bring him to check in.  This is not to mention the people who wanted to check out the deer when they were here as the deer was checked in.

This is what hunting is about, spending time with the people you love and care about.  When people come in here, they are excited.  They want to talk about how they shot the deer.  Generally, there is a little trash talking between friends/family.  There is a lot of laughter.  They talk about the time they had while they were out together.  Shoot, I've even been invited on trips!  Thing is, it's all about time together.  It's an investment.  Look, if you heard about some of the food people made when they hunted, you'd probably start hunting yourself!

I think a lot of people don't understand this.  They think hunting is a bunch of rednecks out shooting.  They don't understand that this tradition is taught and passed down.  They don't understand how special it is for a dad to take his son or daughter out hunting for the first time.  Yes, I said daughter.  Girls hunt too!  This is about time and we really don't have a lot of it together do we?

Our customer, Archie, this morning.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Is This Just Me?

Good night!  It's October already.  Where in the world did this year go?  I know I have talked about this before, but does anyone else feel like time is literally flying by?  I think the weather jolted me.  I mean, it was nice and fall like last week.  Monday, I literally thought it was going to snow.  I am serious.  Even the weather is moving faster than normal!  I remember a few years ago when my son was playing pee-wee football and I was able to wear shorts until almost the end of October.  Shoot, I'm not even sure we had winter last year.  I remember snow, but it lasted about 5 seconds.  It's a weather fact people.

So, if winter is finally coming, I have a proposal for it.  First, winter, we need cold weather.  I mean a month of what my grandfather would call "bitter cold".  We need the ground to get cold enough to kill off some of these nasty bugs.  I have never seen mosquitos like this year.  They are bigger than your average hummingbird!  No joke.  So winter, bring some cold, as much as it pains me to say this.  Secondly, I think it's time for a good snow.  One of those snows that shuts down the area for a couple days.  I figure that will slow us all down.  We'll spend some time with our families.  Get to know our neighbors better as we dig our driveways out.  Of course, first we'll all make the obligatory mad dash to the neighborhood grocery where we will buy copious amounts of toilet paper, milk, bread, and any type of snack we will need if we get snowed in.  Just as an aside, why do we all do this when it snows?  I mean, this type of "snowed in" we're preparing for would be something out of Little House On the Prairie, where you literally can't even walk out the door because the snow is so deep.  I think we have more tools to clean up snow than they did when the Ingalls were alive.  This is the 21st century after all.

Remember this kind of snow?  2009 storm

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Your Job, America

We live in an amazing country.  We are blessed with so much freedom, but, sadly, I think we take it for granted.  Why do I say this you ask?  Well, since about 58% of the population voted in the last presidential election, I'd say we take it for granted.  I mean, in 2005 in Iraq they had 75% of the population vote and that was under the threat of death for many of them.

Throughout the history of our country, many people have given their lives for the right to vote.  How hard is it for you to take a few minutes to make a choice?  Not sure about the candidates?  Get informed.  This is the 21st century.  There is more information available right now than ever before in history.  Don't just go to the candidates websites.  Go to reputable sites to find info.  There are plenty of sites that give you information on things that matter most to you.  For instance, if you believe in 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms, NSSF has a great website with candidate's views in their own words:
If you're interested in the candidates views on fishing, again in their own words, check out the Q & A from Keep America Fishing:

I leave you with a quote from Thomas Sowell as you think about your vote:

If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Elections- Not Your Typical Post

So here in the US, it's presidential election time and while I could do a post about how important it is to vote, I'm not.  This post is about the importance of getting out and away from those ANNOYING POLITICAL ADS!

Yeah, I said it.  You can't get away from them.  Both sides, giving their points of view.  Are there really people who at this point are undecided?  Or, are these just the attention getters in life.  People who will do anything to be the center of attention and we all suffer for it!  You can't watch a stinking thing on tv without seeing at least 100 political ads and I'm not exaggerating!  Monday night football was like a debate of commercials.  Then the people on the shows and sporting events you are watching to get away from reality, start talking about the election.  Sportscasters and movie stars, we watch you for entertainment (well, sportscasters, we really don't watch you for anything).  Shut up, please!  Let us enjoy the getaway time between the 100 commercials we have to watch.

So, maybe the best thing to do is just get out.  Today the weather in Virginia is cooling off.  How about a hike?  Trout season is back in.  Go fishing, and while you're at it, take a kid with you.  Go see a live sporting event.  It doesn't have to be professional, how about pee-wee football, or a local high school game?  Fall soccer is going on now.  Nothing like seeing a bunch of elementary school youngsters chasing a soccer ball back and forth like a pack of wolves on a rabbit!  Go camping, build a fire in the backyard and roast marshmallows, spend some time together as a family or with friends.  Whatever you do, I'm sure it's going to be better than the political commercials.  Don't even get me started on the phone calls!

I'm Staci Woods and I approved this message.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekends Are Made For??

We have an ongoing argument in this household, well maybe argument is too strong a word.  Let's call it a disagreement.  Anyway, we have a weekly disagreement here about what to do on the weekend.  Chores around the house, play, or both?

Some want to catch up on the things that need to be done around the house, then rest.  There's a certain peace of mind during the week if those chores are done.  I mean who would want to come home and see that laundry needs to be done or the grass needs to be cut.

Some think that work should be done on Saturday so that absolutely nothing is done on Sundays!  Now, let's be for real- we do have to eat on Sundays!  Someone is cooking that!  Also, it's just not gonna happen.  Come on, there's always something to do on the weekends.  Sometimes Saturday is filled and Sunday is the only day to do work.

Some think the entire weekend is for the couch.  You nap on the couch.  You watch tv, movies, veg on the computer... all while sitting on the couch for two days.  Personally, this is my least favorite viewpoint.  This one leads to the most arguments, oops, I mean disagreements.

So, how does it work at your house?  Do you have a schedule for weekends or just wing it?  Have you found a way to make this work in your house?

Picture courtesy of

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Hey, Miss Stace!  That was the greeting I heard each time Danny came into my store.  I will miss it.  Danny went on to be with the Lord this last week after a battle with cancer.  I just returned home a little while ago from his memorial service.  I just wanted to take some time to tell you about him.

He was a kind man.  He was always concerned about how I was.  How my family was doing?  Was everything ok with the business?  We would talk about his family, whom he dearly loved.  He was so proud of them.

We would talk about fishing.  What were the fish biting on?  Had I been out fishing lately.  He would tell me about the tournaments that were upcoming for him.  He would tell me about the guys he was fishing with that week.  He always talked about them as if they were pros and he was just there for the ride.  Humble.  Yeah, those guys were great, but so was he!

He invited me to fish with him once (actually twice- I fished a tournament with him also).  I had never been on a bass boat.  My brother's birthday was coming up.  I asked if he could come along.  "Of course", Danny said.  We got over to the river and it was an amazing day.  If you have never rode in a bass boat, DO IT!  It's spectacular!  When the driver of the boat says hold on to your hat, you better listen!  As we went through the day, I learned so much from Danny.  My son recently said, "Mom, I think I could learn so much just from sitting and talking with Mr Danny."  He was right.  I fished so much that day, my arm hurt.  It was awesome though.

In the last few months I have cherished each visit from Danny.  We have sat in the store and talked about his journey.  We have talked about God's plan for us.  He suggested a book to me that he had recently read.  It's called "Heaven is for Real".  Read it if you get a chance.  Danny spoke about how blessed he was.  He never complained once.  I knew each moment was a gift from God and I am thankful for those talks.

Finally, but this is the most important.  Today, my pastor gave a quote about a painted portrait not being so much a reflection of the person in the portrait, as much as it is a reflection of the painter.  Well, Danny was indeed a reflection of his Creator.  He believed in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  He had no fear of death.  I know that Danny is in heaven right now.  All through today's service, people spoke of how Danny wanted people to know that God sent Jesus to save us from our sins.  How he didn't want people to wait until the last minute to give their hearts and lives to the Lord.  So, I will finish with this verse in honor of his wishes:
Ephesians 2:4-9
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fall is Here... Already?

So the end of August is here.  School has started in many areas.  The nights are a bit cooler.  The days a little shorter.  Football is starting.  Fall is just around the corner.  It's closer for some than it is for others.

So, as some of you read this you are thinking "hunting season!".  Some wives are saying, "Oh man, hunting season".  Either way it's coming soon.  It's time to prepare for it.  We have the new hunting regulation books at the store.  We have plenty and if we run out I can get more.  Thing is, it's your responsibility to know those laws, so come by and pick one up.

It's a good idea to come for your license now instead of waiting the day before hunting season.  It will be easier on you.  You do not have to come here to get a license.  You can get one online on the DGIF website.  We'd love to see you, though!  We are also a check station.  We will be opening at 8am on Saturday mornings in the fall for those who need to check in early.  Free coffee will be at the store for those who want it.  Let's face it, at 8am, you want me to have a lot of coffee in me to function!

This is the time to get your bow, rifle, muzzleloader, and crossbow sighted in.  Any repairs needed can be done with plenty of time for hunting season.  Do you need arrows or fletching?  How about something as simple as new nocks for your arrows?  We can order arrows, but we don't keep them in stock.  We do keep glue, fletching, nocks, and even field tips in stock.  We also have broadheads.  Maybe you need to go out and cut back some brush where you hunt.  This is the time to get it done.  Get your hunting clothes out and clean.  Get some scent on them.

Trout season will start in October.  Do you need to re-line your reels?  How about maintence on your reels?  We can clean them up for you and get new line on them for you.  Stock up on Powerbait and tackle.  We will be getting mealworms and nightcrawlers in as well.

Finally, September 29th is youth hunting day.  You can find the information about it here:
Hunting education classes have started as well.  You can find the information for those classes here:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer Olympics...

I have a confession to make.  I LOVE the Olympics.  I love to sit with my family and watch them.  I know that these people compete all the time, but there is something about the pageantry of the Olympics that makes it special.  I mean the host country and city puts it's best foot forward.  People are hyped up to break records.  Mainly, there is such a source of national pride during the Olympics!

Who couldn't be moved while watching Gabby Douglas win the gold last night?  Or, watching Phelps enjoy his last moments in the Olympics by winning a gold and getting teary eyed as the National Anthem played?  Or, the many athletes who have won swimming events when no one gave them a chance?  Just watching the joy and exuberance on their face is... well... heartwarming. 

Yes, heartwarming!  I know it's cheesy, but really, isn't it what we want?  There is so much in the news and world to make your heart, not just cold, but shiver.  Here in the US before the Olympics began, we had a man who was purely evil decide to kill people in a movie theater.  One of the swimmers in the Olympics goes to school in the very town it occurred in.  We need to cheer.  We want to cheer.  We want good news.

So for two weeks this August, my family and I will be screaming for the home team.  We will watch with awe as people from all over the world do things that takes years of training.  I mean, have you seen those table tennis players?  You could put an eye out!  I couldn't even qualify for that in the Olympics!  Once it is over, I will go into sports depression, but not for long!  Football is coming soon!

I leave you with Gabby's smile- HEARTWARMING!
Photo courtesy of:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Remember when you were younger?  I know for some of us it takes longer to remember this!  Summer seemed to last forever.  What happened to those days?

I was talking to a friend about the summer today.  We were talking about canning, gardening, getting things done... Then we started discussing how fast summer is going and how we will be back to homeschooling before we know it!  I almost cried.  We have been trying really hard to enjoy our summer this year, yet it's flying by.  We went to Skyline and enjoyed the beautiful view.  We have fished, swam, cooked out... Still, we haven't even come close to doing everything we planned.  What is going on with time?

Are we all just overbooking ourselves?  I mean technology is supposed to make life easier.  Maybe it's just making us burn out faster.  I feel like I have been battling bugs in my garden for months when in reality it's just been about 2 weeks steady.  Has technology changed our view of time?  I really don't know the answer.  Somehow, though, we have got to slow down!

How about you?  How is your summer going?  Is your schedule crazy busy as well?  Would love to hear your thoughts.  I'll leave you with a picture from Skyline Drive.  I love the mountains.

Skyline Drive  July 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Heat Is ON!

Wow, so after we all begged and pleaded this winter for it to come to an end, Summer is here!  Boy, is Summer here!  As I write this blog, it is almost 100 degrees outside.  It's been in the 90's for the last week.  On top of that, people have been out of power over the last week due to a tremendous storm that came through the area!  So of course we hear all these warnings about excessive heat and so forth, but really, what did we used to do when we had heat like this?

I don't ever remember looking up the weather when I was a kid.  In the summer we just played!  If it was really hot, we went to the pool.  I do remember in the heat of the day being in the house sometimes, but not all the time!  What has happened?  I guess I've gotten used to a/c.  I know I'm a lot bigger than I was then.  The thing is now we have "breathable" fabrics, sports drinks, central air everywhere, etc.  Are we all maybe just pampered?

People are talking about the work ethic in our country and the lack of it.  Well, maybe it starts with the play ethic.  If we came in and out of the house when I was a kid, we were yelled out.  Something about air conditioning the world, blah, blah, blah... stay in or out blah, blah, blah...  Anyway, you did not want the latter to happen.  Stay in?!  Never!  That meant soap operas with grandma or possibly A NAP!  No way were you going to stay in!  So we were out and playing.  Yeah, maybe sometimes in the shade.  Yeah, sometimes just cards while we all sat on a blanket and talked, but we were out.  We played softball, kick the can, hide and seek... you name it.  You know what?  We survived.  We had fun.  We also learned to tune our ears to the distinct sound of the ice cream truck bell and then chased after it, in the heat! 

I just took a ride around our town to drop off something.  I saw 2 kids riding bikes.  Play ethic needs to be back in effect!

Just a reminder of what comes in winter

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is It Worth It?

I'm really not sure how to approach this subject, but I'm going to try my best.  I'm not trying to put folks down, but I'm trying to understand the mindset people have.  In the past couple weeks I have had customers rave about my store, but in the same sentence tell me they are going to Walmart to purchase something we carry because it's "cheaper".  One told me they had been looking all over for a lure and I had it.  In almost the same breath said they would go to Walmart to buy something else.  Another wanted a product, but I wasn't open.  They purchased at Walmart only to be unhappy with it.

Let me clarify that I am not against big corporations.  I love capitalism.  I also love the mom and pop shop.  I love that you can go to a fishing store in any community, ask what is biting, and you'll get a great answer.  I will admit I am not the most punctual person.  I have been known to open late.  Let me apologize now to anyone who has had to wait for me.  Despite my time faults, I also have stayed open late for customers.  I have delivered items to customer's homes for them.  I'm not saying this to brag about myself.  I'm saying this to show you the difference between the big box store and a local small business.

You see, we are here because we love what we do.  We put money into the local economy because we live in the neighborhood.  Most of the time you will find small business owners are quite informed on the products they sell.  If I don't know about something a customer asks, I will try to find out.  If you need something we don't have in stock, we have the flexibility to order it for you.  Most big box stores order once, months in advance.  Once they are out of a product, it's gone.  We are not working by the hour.  Unlike most associates at the box stores, we have a vested interest in our business doing well.

Pic courtesy of K. McDonald.  Property of Woods Sporting Goods

I try to carry products I know my customers use.  Some stores may have multiple isles of fishing products, but how many of them are effective?  Are you looking for an older black powder product?  Many times I have them because I know I have customers that use the product.  There are some products I order in bulk to keep the prices down for my customers.  Try counting out a bulk package of hooks and repacking it into 5 hooks per bag by hand.  You get stuck a few times!  You see, I know many of my customers and I know some have been laid off from work or had their hours cut back.  I want them to have a good product for a great price.  So I will get my fingers pricked a few times, to help keep the prices down.

My final appeal to local shopping today is this- gas is currently over $3 a gallon.  How much money are you really saving to go 30 miles out of your way to buy an item that is maybe 15 cents more at the local store?  For years, my husband has been telling me to put a sign at the store that has the price of gas each week and the mileage to the nearest box store for all the folks that say "I think it's cheaper at ________."  I might just start doing it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This Father's Day, Be A Dad!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.  I say dads, because there is a distinct difference in being a father and being a dad.  I am not saying this because it's my opinion.  I know for a fact.

My "father" never was a part of my life.  He decided to not be a part of my life right after I was born.  I remember talking to him one time in my entire life.  I also have no idea of what he looks like.  I never went fishing with him, played catch, learned a life lesson from him - other than be responsible for your children.

My "dad", on the other hand, came into my life when I was about 3.  He and my mom were married when I was almost 8.  He's everything my dad wasn't and I am so thankful that God gave me him.  He did play catch in the backyard with me.  He did teach me life lessons.  To this day, one of my favorite things to do with my dad is surf fish.

So men, be a dad this Father's Day.  If you haven't up to this point, please get involved in your child's life.  I can give you quotes and studies about how dads are important, but let's be honest, you know.  This Father's Day, give your kids a gift.  The gift of time spent.  The gift of saying "I love you" or "I'm proud of you".  Your kids will not forget it.

By the way, Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I love you!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Early Summer Hodgepodge

Hmm, usually I have a specific subject to post on but today I just have a hodgepodge of ideas.  So much going on right now.  We just ended soccer season.  Broadway girls softball is playing for the state championship today.  Gardening is going full swing.  School's out.... It's summer.

If your life is like mine, you are trying to figure out where the first 6 months of the year went.  I mean seriously, life is flying by.  My kids are already planning the complete summer schedule.Just thinking about it makes me tired.  I've been so busy, I haven't even had time to fish!  I know...  It's awful!  The thing is, keeping with my goals for the year, I am going to take some time to go fishing, to spend with the kids at the pool, to have cookouts with friends.

Another big thing going on here is the Broadway High School Girls Varsity Softball team.  They are in the state championship game today.  Funny, they have actually gone further than the boys football team, but you wouldn't know it.  No banners, no parades...  Well, I say Go Lady Gobblers!  You've already made us proud, now bring back a state championship!  If you want to see some great pics of the team, check out 

Oh, just an aside from the softball championship.  Broadway's graduation is also today.  The principal at Broadway, Dr Lehman, said he would make sure diplomas were at the field for the graduates on the team and any graduates going to the game to support the team.  Dr Lehman is a class act and this is his last year at Broadway.  He is being transferred to Spotswood High School by the county.  Many are upset about this.  I just want to say, I have never heard anyone say an unkind word about Dr Lehman.  I have been told he is a good man of solid character.  Broadway's loss is truly Spotswood's gain.  God bless you, Dr Lehman!  May you have much success, but know you will be missed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Valley League Baseball

Greetings, one and all! I am very honored to be making a guest appearance here today at Staci's invitation. She has asked me to concoct a post on a subject that is very near and dear to my heart: the Valley Baseball League (or VBL, for short.)

If what follows sounds like a cross between a sales pitch and baseball evangelism, it's only because I am thoroughly convinced the VBL is the greatest thing on the planet. And if you're a baseball fan who hasn't discovered this yet, I consider it my sacred duty to make you see the light.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the league, it is made up of 12 teams which are located throughout the Shenandoah Valley. You'll find them in Haymarket, Front Royal, Luray, Strasburg, Winchester, Woodstock, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Rockbridge, Covington and my hometown of New Market. Each team is comprised of elite college players who come here from all over the country.

I can't think of any good reasons NOT to patronize your local VBL ballpark this summer... but I can think of plenty why you should. I've made a list of ten of them. If you still aren't convinced, well, then I give up.

Top 10 Reasons You Should Support Valley League Baseball:

1. Closeness.  Everyone loves a big-league ball game. The roar of the crowd, the verdure of that pristinely manicured grass, the superstar players. I enjoy these things as much as anyone. They are fun! They are exciting! And yet, attending a major league baseball game is kind of like visiting a well-to-do person's house, or staying at a fancy hotel. It's charming, sure, but after a while you've had your fill of it and are ready to go home. The Valley League is the baseball equivalent of "home". It may not have the grand appeal of "The Show", but it's comfortable, and it's intimate. It's quaint, in the best sort of way. There's a closeness here that you won't find many other places.

2. Affordability
. Tickets to any given VBL contest will only set you back $5. You can't see a movie, or eat out, or do pretty much anything for less than that these days. Plus, the entertainment is significantly greater.

3. Future-Star Gazing
. We may not be the Cape Cod League, but the VBL has produced its fair share of Major League talent. And let me tell you, there aren't a whole lot of things more thrilling than seeing a guy you cheered on as a college sophomore making it to the big time.

4. Antics
. College ballplayers are infamous for their shenanigans. At VBL games, you can see things you wouldn't be privy to anywhere else. In 2006, my New Market Rebels bullpen would  put on choreographed routines from their post beyond the left field wall whenever our best home run hitter came to the plate. Last season, a visiting squad built a fire in their bullpen and were roasting marshmallows. It didn't go on long as someone was expeditiously dispatched to discourage this pyromaniacal behavior, but it was amusing while it lasted. These creative antics can often be entertaining as the games themselves.

5. Wooden bats
. The main advantage Valley League Baseball has over ordinary college match-ups is the bats. If you are any kind of baseball purist, then the ping of aluminum bats is about as pleasant a sound as fingernails on a chalkboard. There is nothing, nothing lovelier than the sound of a wood bat meeting a baseball. On summer nights in the Shenandoah Valley those sweet sounds echo from Haymarket to Covington and everywhere in between.

6. Warm fuzzies, sportsmanship, etc.
, In a world of crazed Little League parents, professional athletes behaving like brats and punks, etc., it's nice to see groups of young men who still shake hands when the game is over. That element of sportsmanship is alive and well in the Valley. It does my heart good, and it always will.

7. Rivalries.
I don't want to boast or anything, but when it comes to good old fashioned baseball rivalries, I know my stuff. I support a certain Major League franchise based on the North Side of Chicago. There's more than a little history there. I can tell you with the utmost conviction that the rivalries you'll see in the VBL are as fierce as any that the bigs have to offer. Yankees-Red Sox, Cubs-Cardinals? They've got nothing on the New Market Rebels and Luray Wranglers. So if you're into intense, hard-fought baseball, you can find it (and then some) here in the Shenandoah Valley.

8. Togetherness
. What better way to spend a lovely summer evening than at a ballgame with your family or friends?

9. Good baseball
. Don't think for a second that you won't see great games played in the VBL. Sure, there might be some infield throws that sail into the dugout and the occasional Little League quality umpire, but for the most part, the level of play here is excellent. Patronize the VBL and you will witness intense pitching duels, nail-biting 9th innings, and web gems galore. Most of the most thrilling and wonderful games I have ever experienced were right in my own backyard.

10. Involvement
. If you are inclined to take your fandom to the next level (and, take my word for it, if you hang around long enough, you almost certainly will be), there are any number of ways to involve yourself and volunteer for your favorite team. You could take tickets or man the souvenir stand. You could house a player for the summer. You could moonlight in the internet radio broadcast booth. My family is responsible for making sure our Rebels are well-fed after every home game. The work isn't always easy, but it is rewarding 101% of the time and it's a fantastic way to contribute to your team and your community.

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Market Rebels

Well, summer is here.  Although, I don't know how.  I mean, weren't we just celebrating Christmas?!  Alas, it's here, whether we time traveled here or not.  I'm just floating the time travel idea to explain how time is flying.  There is no scientific proof it's true, just a hunch!

Anyway, summer brings much fun.  Summer also brings baseball.  Which brings me to a big announcement.  We will be selling tickets for the New Market Rebels this summer.  The New Market Rebels play in an all wooden bat summer league called the VBL.  On a personal level, I have known two young men who have played in the VBL.  The games I saw when they played were some of the best baseball I have ever seen!

I have asked a friend of mine to guest blog on the Valley League.  She graciously agreed and her post will be here tomorrow.  She has a blog called The Fair Base Ballist and I highly suggest you read it, especially if you like baseball.  Elizabeth is an outstanding writer and I believe she could get anyone to, at the very least, appreciate baseball.  Most likely, she will make you a fan.  She can explain the Valley Baseball League far better than I can even attempt and so I will leave it to her.

In the mean time, tickets are here.  They are $5 for adults $2 for children 12-under.  We have schedules posted.  Also, kids in little league wearing jersey and hat, get in free.  I said kids for those of you adults who just thought about trying to wear your old little league jersey to get in free!

Not the Rebels stadium, but you get the idea!  credit:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

To See Or Not To See

First, I want to apologize for not posting lately.  Things have been crazy around here.  Soccer, school, the store, and weddings!  Yes, weddings!  Two in consecutive weekends.  Young love.  Alas, that's another post altogether.

This is about eyesight.  I am getting to the age that in a recent eye exam I was told that I needed bi-focals.  Bi-focals!  There is something about that word that just sounds old.  I immediately think about Ben Franklin.  I didn't want to try them.  I am pretty active and I do not like wearing glasses now.  People have told me horror stories about bi-focals, especially no line ones.  They have fallen down stairs, or just fallen- period.  Look, I'm clumsy enough.  I don't need another reason to have me tripping all over the place.  So, I went the route of contacts with reading glasses for close up.

I have been trying out my contacts for the last couple of days.  Still not sure if this is going to work. 
#1- It is against everything you learn in life to put the contact on.  "Don't stick anything in your eyes!  It's dangerous!"  We are told this early on in life.  Some of us more than others. 
#2- They seem like they are huge.  My aunt did tell me they make smaller ones.  You should have a fitting for trying out sizes of contacts.  It doesn't matter how much I pull on my eyes, they don't want to go in!

So, we'll see how it goes.  I know what your saying, "Just deal with it.  Bi-focals aren't that bad."  I'm sorry.  Maybe I will end up with them, but I am just not ready to go there yet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Trash Than the Law Allows-literally!

I don't really need to say much here folks.  Unfortunately, people are slobs.  These people are in San Francisco, CA.  We've gone all across the nation this week, huh?  I thought my post on trash had changed people for the good.  Sigh... if only people would pick up after themselves...
Photo: Andrew Dalton/SFist

Sunday, April 22, 2012

That's Just Trashy... Georgia Edition

When I wrote my blog entry about trash, I said I would update from time to time.  Well, here you go.  A friend of mine from Georgia posted this on Facebook.  There is a festival in Savannah called Orange Crush.  This is the trash that was left behind.  To me, this is even more disgusting because it was left on the beach.   Tide comes in, trash goes out. 

Let me warn you, there are A LOT of stupid comments left by people on Youtube.  It's sad that people are making this a racial issue. 

I welcome your comments...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring is Here!

Wow, things are really popping in life right now!  Spring is a wonderful time of the year, but it seems like we hold in everything through winter to get it done in spring!  This year spring has come early and so has the normal business of spring. 

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately.  I have been continuing to work on getting uniforms for the Thailand school.  Also, I have people ordering uniforms for softball.  Soccer has started here and folks are looking for socks and shin guards.  People are just ready to get out in the fresh air and that is great.  For the most part, it's free and it's healthy- unless you have allergies!

Fishing is going crazy.  Usually, the fish are not as active as they are this time of year, but the warm weather has actually made them react like it's almost summer.  Many have spawned, which means little minnows will be out and about in the rivers.  People are telling me they are catching crappies, perch, and bluegill in the lakes.  Virginia has stocked many trout in our area.  They recently stocked a bunch of brown trout in a local river.  Now browns are a little more finicky and people are complaining they are not so easy to catch.  Well, it is fishing we're talking about!  They shouldn't just jump in your lap!

By the way, speaking of minnows, I am in the process of getting my license to sell them at the store.  There is a lot more to it than I thought.  Don't even get me started in the government being involved in every little detail of life.  Anyway, hopefully this summer we will start selling minnows as live bait for all those fishermen/women who have asked.  I'm excited to try this, so we'll see how it works!

Oh, one last thing!  Baseball is here.  In our area we have many opportunities to watch baseball.  JMU has a fine team.  We also have the local high schools.  In June we have a couple opportunities as well.  We have the RCBL, in which Broadway fields a team.  Check out their website here: Rockingham County Baseball League   Each year, we advertise with the Bruins.  We have even co-sponsored a game. We also have what is called The Valley League.  This is all wooden bats and college age kids playing.  Just an aside, I can't believe I am old enough where I call college age men and women, kids!  Anyway, we will be selling tickets for one of their teams this year- The New Market Rebels.  I am excited about this opportunity and I hope it gets folks out with their families to see a game or two.  If you want to know more about the Valley League and the Rebels check this out: Valley League Baseball

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's For the Kids, but Not in America...

Hello friends!  Spring is upon us and so is my most busy time of the year.  I have already had several shirt orders, including some snazzy looking Woods Sporting Goods softball shirts!  We are working on a couple of shirt orders right now for teams.  I would like to tell you about one of them.

A friend, Tim, called me a couple weeks ago to ask if I would help him gather football uniforms for a school in Thailand.  Yes, I said Thailand.  No, I'm not talking about soccer.  Yes, I know soccer is called football in the rest of the world.  OK, OK, American football!  Ok, are we all on the same page now?  Good.  You see, Tim, has a friend that was a successful businessman, etc...  He gave it all up.  Sold it all, and started a school in Thailand for kids who would otherwise be involved in things kids should not even have to think of.  From what Tim tells me the school is doing amazing things in the lives of these kids.  Tim's, friend decided they have learned a lot of things, but he would like to teach them American football.

This is where I need your help.  Although these kids are high school age, they are not high school size by any means.  They will fit in youth size.  If you, or anyone you know, has old football uniforms from youth league we are looking for donations to send over to the school.  We need everything: jerseys, pants and pads, helmets, old cleats, shoulder pads.  I'm not just asking you to do this and keeping out of it myself.  Our family has gathered up some old uniforms, shoes and our store has gathered up pants, pads, mouth guards.  We have even had a customer donate several pairs of pants and pads.  The local rec dept is going to donate some pants and pads.  If you can help.  Email us at: Woods Sporting Goods  We need these by the end of April to send out the first of May.  I thank you in advance.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grubs are Your Friend?

Let me start out by saying I HATE GRUBS!  I am on an all out war against them in my yard and garden!  I want to eradicate grubs from the face of the earth.  But... when it comes to fishing, I love them!  Of course, they are artificial with a cute little curly tail! 

Mr Twister Teenie Grub
Ok, before I go any further.  I want to make it clear that I am by no means a fishing expert.  There are people with a whole lot more fishing knowledge than me.  Actually, most people probably have more fishing knowledge than me.  I do love to fish and I promised I would highlight products on the blog.  I'm not sure if I have ever actually done it, though!

Now that we have established my lack of fishing expertness (I'm pretty sure that is not a word, but it's my blog and today it shall be a word) I will let you know what I like about the grub.  The grub is quite versatile.  It ranges from 1" and up.  You can use the 5" grub in larger rivers and lakes.  In our local area we have many smaller streams where you can't beat the 2" or 3" grub.  White and black are very popular colors.  The grub pictured above is the Mr Twister Teenie.  It is a 2" grub that smallmouth bass, sunfish, perch, crappie... just about anything worth catching, with go for.  With the warm temps this year, we have almost passed our peak season for using them, but the fish will bite on them year round in my experience.  Many companies make them in different forms.  Yum makes one called the Wooly Curltail.  Slider makes a 1 1/2" one called the Crappie Grub.  By the way, it works on more than just crappie.

To fish with these grubs in the local streams here, you don't want to use anything heavier than a 1/16 jig.  Anything heavier and you will be stuck on the bottom all afternoon.  You can use 1/32 if the water is low, but a 1/16 usually works.  Jigs come in many colors, I prefer unpainted.  I also like black, but I don't like taking the time to get the paint out of the jig eye, so I usually use unpainted. 
Mister Twister unpainted jighead

You fish this jig with your rod tip up.  If the water is a bit deeper, put your rod tip closer to the water for the lure to go deeper.  Be aware of the rocks.  You can also use a spinner with these, but that is a topic for another day.

We sell all these products in the store and use them ourselves.  By the way, if you are a lady or know a lady who would like to have some hands on fishing lessons, come to our upcoming class on June 2nd.  The info is here:  While your checking out the event, why not become a fan of our store on facebook as well:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Champions Part 2

Photo credit:
I love sports.  Always have.  I think at this point high school sports are my favorite.  It's the purest form of sports, maybe other than rec league.  There's a difference with high school though.  They are good enough to know their sport by then.  Many even excel at it.  They still have the love of the game and they play with all their hearts.  They play for each other and pride.

On Saturday, I traveled to UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) to see the Gaithersburg High School girls win their second 4A Championship.  52-0!  Two straight years of wins.  Amazing.  I'm sorry that this is the first time I have seen them play.  I let work get in the way too many times, well actually last year it was surgery,  but not Saturday.  It was well worth it.  They played with heart, teamwork and determination.  It was clear they were the better team, not just by play, but conditioning.  Teams  To know they could count on one another.  I never saw them give up, even though they were down. 

I have to say, I'm maybe a little biased because one of the girls on the team will forever be called one of the "little girls"  by me.  So, she's taller than me.  Yeah, she's going to college.  Yeah, she's a two time champ in high school and a skilled player.   Look, when you know someone from birth and they are the youngest of a family of 7 that's how it is!  Sorry, Colleen.  Well, actually, not really.

So congratulations Colleen Marshall and Gaithersburg High School Girls basketball team!  You are truly champs, but even more important, you are a team of excellence.  If you'd like to read more about them check out the Post article:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Good News is Good News

Soooo, I recently posted about litter.  I also asked for some pics of litter in your area.  No pressure, but I still haven't received any!  Just sayin!

Anyway, I went fishing on Weds.  Oh, I love fishing, but trout fishing?  Not so much.  They stock them.  You go fish.  It's like a lab experiment.  Ok, Ok, I know rabbit trail!  Anyway, I think someone read my blog.  At least, I would love to think I changed the world that way! Honestly, I think people just are as fed up as me with litter!  Check out what I found hanging on a tree:
If you look close, you can see some beer bottles right past the bag.
View of the creek on the other side.


Yes!  I was so happy I had to pull out my phone and take some pics.  Which reminds me.  I need to start carrying my camera if I'm gonna take good pics.  The phone is ok, but not as good as my camera.

I'll leave you with this pic.  This is the reason I don't want to see litter.  Isn't this beautiful?  The sun is just starting to touch the water.  Again, sorry about the picture quality, it was my phone...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pictures Anyone?

So, some of you may be wondering why I have had so many comments on my last topic.  Is litter that important to people?  Well, yeah, it is.  I have had some great responses with a lot of passion behind them!  Seriously though, the reason is I have been participating in 100 comments on my blog.  It has been wonderful.  I have learned so much about blogging from reading other people's blogs.

Anyway, you don't want to hear about any of that!  What you want to know is, "What does that title mean?"  Well, out of the posts, one of the people commented that you could start a blog with pictures of areas with litter.  So guess what?  No, I'm not starting another blog.  Hey, you don't need to be that happy about it!  I'm going to start a weekly feature.  Maybe we will post it each Saturday, or just a random day of the week.  We will have a picture along with the description of the area that has litter.  Maybe bringing light to this will stop folks from doing it.  Also, I'm hoping it will bring attention to the area so we can help get it cleaned.

This is where I need your help.  I can't do this all myself, although I already have an idea of some places.  Will you help by emailing Woods Sporting Goods pictures of places that you have seen?  I will credit you for finding it, unless you don't want me to, of course!  Just make sure you give me a description of the area and if there is something specific about it let me know.  By the way, you may not put your neighbor's yard in this.  Just because he has 2-3 abandoned cars and a dog kennel full of hound dogs doesn't mean I'm posting the pic.  Take that up with him!

So, I'll be out and about taking pics this week and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Now That's Just Trashy!

I live in a beautiful area of the US.  I mean, it's so beautiful that people come here for vacation.  Let me be clear, that this is not just a problem here.  I think it stands out more though here.  I mean, sunrises and sunsets are picturesque.  The sounds of the river flowing is therapeutic.  But the trash... it's downright disgusting.

I have been out fishing and filled a grocery bag with the trash that was left out there.  Old bottles of Powerbait, packages of live bait discarded, drink bottles, etc... you name it, it's there.  Why on earth would anyone feel they have the right to litter?  I can't figure this out.  These places that are trashed are beautiful.  Lakes surrounded by mountains, small streams so clear you can see to the bottom...  even if they weren't beautiful, the world isn't our personal trash can!

Why would you want to leave litter here?

People are always complaining that they can't fish for trout in many areas because landowners have said, "Enough is enough!"  I don't blame the landowners.  My parents live along the river.  Yesterday, my sister and my kids walked along the road that is adjacent to the river and their property to pick up trash.  They picked up 4- five gallon buckets of trash.  They couldn't even get to the end of the property because the buckets were full.  In this trash, there were: beer bottles, fast food bags, water bottles, and candy wrappers to name a few.  I have even found a fishing license along the road before.  Since their property is marked no trespassing, I find that interesting.

Listen, I'm no tree hugger, but this is ridiculous.  Let's be a little more vigilant by doing the following things:

#1- Do not, by any means, leave fishing line on the shore of any body of water.  It's dangerous to animals who get entangled in it.  Put it in your tackle box or the pocket of whatever you are wearing.  Throw it out when you get home.
#2- If you brought it with you, take it back.  There should be no packaging left.  If it had product in it, you surely wouldn't leave it!
#3- If you see some litter, pick it up.  It will take you all of a couple minutes and it will not end up in the water later.  Clean water is what we all want, right?
#4- Teach your kids to do the same.  Leaders lead by example.  I know my kids hate to see litter when we are out enjoying nature, because they see the various forms of garbage that have been dumped on my parents property, which have included- toilets, refrigerators, numerous deer carcasses (yes, that's littering you didn't choose to leave the carcass on your property did you), electrical wiring, and tires of various sizes just to name a few.

Hey, if we just live like a Cub Scout, I think it will solve the problem!  My son learned these rules when he was a scout:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet George Jetson!

So how many have the theme to the Jetsons going through their brain right now?  I LOVED the Jetsons growing up!  Ok, the Flintstones, too... 

I just knew when I got to this age, I would be using a rocket pack to get around!  I'd have a little Jetson's rocket car to "drive" around in.  We'd be living the life.  I actually started getting disappointed once, because we weren't even close to that lifestyle.  Actually, we are pretty close!  Unfortunately, we don't have the car.  We have instant contact to people, the internet, you name it-  in our pocket, purse, etc...  If you have some brands of cell phones, they can actually show your live picture to whoever you are speaking with.  You can use a computer to do just about anything.  Some of those things are getting us into trouble.  Some are a great help. 

There is a problem though, we all say, we don't have enough time.  Why?  Could it be that technology is taking up our time?  Could technology for all the help it is, also be a distraction from the really important things?  Do we have too much communication?  Do we get in to more things than we can handle because technology can help us out?  I mean, it's not like we have to go to the river to wash our clothes!  These are all questions I am asking myself lately.  I'm not sure if I know they answers.  Some of the answers I am coming to, make me uncomfortable.

So what do you think?  What is technology doing to your life?  Is it improving it or making it complicated?  Is there a better way to use it?  How is it impacting our kids?  Please, let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's Just Business and Other Promotions...

This week I was talking, well not really talking... I was having a conversation on Facebook with a friend who was lamenting about the small town we live in.  There is a new business that is a coffee house and also has live entertainment.  This week they had a blues band come to town for two nights.  You could see this band perform and there was no cover charge, no charge at all.  They were working for tips.  TIPS!!!!  There were 12 people there the first night!  Oh my goodness!  TWELVE PEOPLE!  You see, folks around here have been asking for a business like this to come around for a while.  My friend was disappointed that now, after having the business here, people weren't supporting it.  I hear this often.  There are a lot of businesses in this town that have closed recently.  I have to be honest, I have thought about it.  There is not a day that goes by that at least one customer does not come in and tell me something is cheaper at Walmart, Bass Pro, Cabelas... you name the big box store, it's mentioned.  It has become a source of frustration for me.  I was talking about it with a customer this week and the customer said something very profound, "People don't have a sense of community anymore."  Is that where we are folks?  Will the 21st century be the end of small business as we know it?  I hope not.  What are your thoughts?

So, now, here is my promotion.  It's not for me, it's for friends of mine.  They have bought a building and are starting a farmers market in their town.  They had the market outdoors for the summer, but their plans are so much bigger than that.  This is the kind of thing that a community can support.  Will they?  Will we?  Well, the question still hasn't been answered as of today.  Here's a link to their project:
No amount is too little or too large.  Either way, thanks for taking a look at it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Virginia "Tebow" Law- My Perspective

My apologies to my friends on Facebook who also read my blog.  This is a post I put on my page this week, but I felt I should put it on my blog for others to read.  For those who don't know I am not only a business owner, but I am also a homeschool mom.  A couple of years ago, when my kids school got more complicated, I even changed my store hours to better work around our schedule.  I love my kids very much and I love sports, hence one of my reasons for owning a sporting goods store!  Whether you are for or against the homeschool sports access law currently going through the VA legislature, I hope this helps you to understand at least one homeschool family's view.  Remember, I was writing the post on Facebook as a sort of response to some posts I had read where folks were making generalizations about homeschoolers and the law without knowing facts.  So, if some of the responses seem specific, that's why.

1. I would like to know, how many homeschoolers are you around? How many are you friends with? You seem to think homeschooling is just for conservative Christian families with 12 kids. Many people homeschool now. Some because it helps their family to be better unit. They may have a strange work schedule and homeschooling allows them to be together as a family. Some because they live in inner cities or areas where the schools are not educating their children up to a higher level. Maybe some would put their kids in private school if they could afford it. I wonder, if you lived in an area where the schools rank in the lower in the country and are literally unsafe, would you have your child in public school?  I personally don't, but I would definitely not send my kids to public schools there.  The greatest gift I have in this world are my children.

2. The statement/question has been made about homeschoolers not being held to the same requirements as the public school students when it comes to academics. This is flat out wrong.  We are actually being held to a higher requirement. We have to show academic progress for two years of our assessments, which are sent to the county superintendent to be reviewed in July. The public school athlete has only to pass 5 classes the semester before playing the particular sport they are in. In an aside to this, I have been told by numerous public school parents, that the academic standards are often skirted for certain star players. You can believe that my kids will not play sports if I perceive it is affecting them academically.

3. I guess that last line in #2 has to do with discipline. I keep hearing, "How do we discipline these kids?" Why is that being asked? How are the public school kids disciplined? They run laps, or get benched, etc... The same would apply to my kids.

4. I keep being accused of "keeping my kids away from the public schoolers" by people who are against the law. This isn't the case. My kids are friends with kids from all types of schools- public, private and homeschool. I have chosen to educate my children. It's my right as an American. I am actually taking a load off the overcrowded schools. Yes, I am protecting them, from the following things I have read in the paper this past year that have happened in our local schools: gang fights, bullying, drugs, bomb threats, racism. Do they know about these things? Yes. Do they have to deal with them as they do their schoolwork? No. I pay for my curriculum. I pay taxes that go to the county schools. I also pay taxes when I eat out in this county which also go towards the schools.

5. Rec League is not an option in certain sports once the child gets to high school age. Football, soccer, tennis would be several sports that can't be played in rec league at high school age. Soccer is offered, but the kids play it in high school, so there are not enough kids to fill a high school age rec team. Oh, and my kids have played in rec league sports. I have also coached.

6. We have to play in the district we live in. My kids can't go play in Harrisonburg, or at TA. We play where we cheer.  Oh, yes, we do cheer.  We go to games and support the team just like you do.

7. Finally, we are not guaranteed any spot on a team. Homeschoolers would have to try out. I remember watching as Broadway in football this past year. We were heartbroken. The thing is, these other schools have many students that play just one position. They have a dedicated kicker, punter, etc... Their teams are loaded. To me, it would make Broadway more competitive and maybe we could win that State Title in football in the next few years.

I guess the thing we are just asking for is a chance.  It has worked in other states.  I know you have heard of Tim Tebow, but what about Colin Klein?  He's the starting QB for Kansas State.  Here's an article about him:  You may have heard of a guy named Jason Taylor.  He just retired from the NFL.  He was also homeschooled.  So, before you write off homeschoolers as antisocial misfits, think again.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Many complaints, but...

I hear a lot of complaints about the Commonwealth of Virginia's management of resources.  I plan to write a more in-depth post about this soon.  There are definitely good points from folks on this issue!  I am a huge fan of old fashioned common sense and many of my customers seem to have it!

Anyway, just a quick funny story from this week.  After hearing an earful about the states ineptitude in trout stocking, the local stream was finally stocked.  All I can say, is people must have been calling to complain about the lack of stocking.  For the first time in memory, I had several people tell me they caught state citation size brook trout!  Even had a customer tell me he saw them putting those fish in and thought they had put the equivalent of two truck loads.  Sometimes, you can chalk up talk to fishing stories, but in this case, it looks to be true.  Hopefully, the fish will spread out further from where they were stocked and the weather will keep folks from being on the river to assist in this.  Not so the fish will not be caught, but so they can be caught longer than a couple days!

Either way, for one day, there were no complaints.

Brook Trout

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ladies Fishing?

Women are the largest growing segment in fishing.  Studies have been done that show many women are interested in going fishing, but are leery because they don't know how, or they don't want to touch the fish.  I'm gonna let you in on a secret here.  I used to be one of those women!  I know, I know... you say that's impossible!  Sadly, it's true, but not anymore!

Those of you who know me, probably think I'm tough.  I hear that a lot and I don't know why.  I cry at Little House on the Prairie for goodness sakes!  Anyway, I am fiercely competitive.  I didn't fish for the longest time because I did not want to touch the fish.  When I would ask my husband to take the fish off, he would give me a hard time.  I know that's hard to believe- a man giving a woman a hard time about something they hate.  Alas, it's true...  So, I just would go until I had to hear the complaining about taking the fish off then I would be done.

The thing is I liked fishing.  I started taking the fish off the hook without touching the fish.  That worked ok for most fish, but I started catching larger fish and it just sort of happened.  You really can't brag about your catch when someone is taking it off the hook for you.  So you have to take that fish off.  The only fish I have an issue taking off the hook is saltwater.  That is mainly because those fish can actually hurt you!  I don't know all the spots to touch them, yet.  I will learn as time goes by, but for now, my dad is a wealth of knowledge for me.

Me holding a nice smallmouth just to prove I'm telling the truth, not for bragging purposes!
I take pride that women and young kids can come to my store and learn about fishing without feeling belittled.  I have had people tell me before that they appreciated that about my store.  I mean, isn't the whole idea that we all go fishing?  It is great fun to go as a family.  I love fishing with my kids!  So, I'm teaching a class for ladies who want to learn to fish this weekend.  It's amazing how many mom's want to take their kids, but won't because they just don't know how.  Or, how many girls want to fish with their guy friends, but are intimidated.  If you would like to come, there is still time to sign up.  Hey, you will know what a Palomar knot is by the end and you will be able to tie one!  How about that!