Speed Goats

I had such a great time antelope hunting this past weekend!!! We have a family friend that my dad has been doing business with for almost 20 years who loves to hunt. Him and my dad have actually been hunting once a year together for close to 15 years. My first memory of shooting a gun is at Jimmy’s ranch in east Texas when I was about 13.

My dad has always taken my younger brother hunting (makes sense, he loves guns and is a boy) with Jimmy. We’ve owned acreage so I’ve gone and sat in a deer blind before but never seen anything within shooting range or of high enough quality to merit a bullet. Back at thanksgiving, we were talking about the next hunting trip my dad was thinking about planning. I asked why I never get to go. My dad was floored that I wanted to – he had never considered that I would want to. So for Christmas, I got invited to go antelope hunting in New Mexico with him and Jimmy.

At first I was terrified, actually, I was terrified right up until I got on the plane on Friday morning to fly to Albuquerque. It had been a couple years since I had shot a gun, the last one I shot was a pistol, and I was going to have to stalk and shoot one of the fastest moving land animals in North America. Hunting trips are also an expensive habit and I didn’t want to waste someone’s money. I actually almost didn’t accept the invitation to come because I was so concerned with being able to hit one. I am so thankful to God that I prayed and came. 🙂

Looking back, I should have been preparing and packing longer than I did but it worked out. I’ve got my packing list suggestions with some links at the bottom of this post for anyone who wants to self teach.

I ended up wearing a khaki fishing shirt, khaki zip off pants, and my steel tied boots. The original plan was to wear my trail running shoes that we had bought while in Florida but when the guid started talking about rattle snakes, I was thankful I had been at the job site on Thursday so I had my steel toes in my luggage. They are pretty comfortable, just heavy. I’d suggest boots above the ankle for anyone who wants to stalk animals. I also had packed a wide brimmed hat. I’m just not a hat-wearer in general so I wore a bandanna and some sunscreen on my ears. Dad wore camo head-to-toe with a camo baseball hat and lace up mountain boots.

When Dad gave me the trip, he told me to find someone in Kansas City that owns a rifle to take me to a gun range for practice. I tried and tried but despite Kansas and Missouri having excellent whitetail deer hunting, I couldn’t find anyone who actually owns a rifle.

He also had me watch Eastman’s hunting guide to antelope hunting while we were in Florida in July. It was good to watch to get an idea of what we would be doing and what an antelope looks like. Stalking antelope is a lot harder than hunting whitetail deer and even harder than it looks like on the film!

Back in May, I ended up in Phoenix after my grandmothers funeral so for Mother’s Day we went to the Ben Avery gun range. After shooting the 30.06 about twenty times, my shoulder was sore but I was pretty comfortable. I tend to spray laterally (as opposed to vertically like most) so I was within 6″ of the target at both 100 and 200 yards. The plan was to use the 30.06 for our hunt.

We flew to Albuquerque first thing Friday morning, rented a car, and drove three hours to Logan New Mexico. We stayed at the budget inn express (the newest hotel in the county, according to their sign). The room was nice enough and breakfast tasted good. I wouldn’t recommend their coffee however.

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Friday afternoon we went to the gun range where I was able to shoot the gun I’d be using for the fist time (a 243 with 100 grain bullets). Dad bought a new gun for this hunt. I’m sure we could have used one we already owned but this was an excellent excuse for a new toy. 🙂 I hit within 3″ of my target at 116 yards three times so I felt pretty comfortable. Then we went out to the head guides house for dinner and cold drinks before calling it a night.

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Saturday morning we were eating breakfast by 5am and in the truck heading down country roads by 5:30am. Dad had let me pick if I wanted to go first or second and I definitely wanted to go first – no time to get nervous – so I was riding shotgun.

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Our guide’s name is Danny. He is very friendly and was a great guide. He had scouted on my ranch the weekend before and had picked out a buck he referred to as “the toad.”  I was going after a big buck. 🙂

The toad liked to hangout about half a mile north of the skinning shack so we stopped at the skinning shack to pick up Mike, the taxidermist, and Ian, the father of the head guide and videographer which meant I had an entourage to watch me hunt for the first time.

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Danny spotted the toad within 3 minutes of driving away from the skinning shack. He and I jumped out of the truck and started walking towards him. He turned, looked to the right at a group of does, and started trotting. We started hiking the 50 yards back to the truck and he turned to the left and started running. By the time we got to the truck, he was running across the road in front of us about 250 yards away. He ducked a fence and stopped. Thankfully the land on the other side of the fence was also on my tag property so Danny pulled the truck closer. I jumped out, got set up about 10 yards in front of the truck. I paused and toad started to run. Danny started making some noise, antelope are extremely curious creatures, and he stopped again. This time the fence post was between me and him so I moved about 6 inches to my right and reset. He thought about running again but was snorting trying to smell me to be able to figure out what I was. I pulled the trigger. He faultered, ran in a small circle, and fell down dead.

Ian was filming and I remember hearing him say that it was now or never to shoot because he was getting ready to bolt, thankfully my finger had the trigger halfway pulled back by that point. Mike was saying that he was a gorgeous buck and to get him. Dad was quiet but I’m sure he was holding his breath and praying I’d hit him.

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I shot him thru the heart, like mutilated the heart, and death was pretty instant. My family likes to hunt but we don’t like to cause suffering. My heart was beating close to 800 miles an hour (Danny swears he could hear it beating over his hollering) but I wasn’t really shaky like I thought I would be. Actually, shooting at toad felt more natural than shooting at a gun range.

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Everybody was so excited when I hit him. Mike was actually drooling over him when we got out to the field to retrieve him. After tons of pictures, a video plug about what happened, and lots of hugs, we field dressed him and took him back to the skinning shack. I shot at 6:43am and by 8am he was totally deconstructed and in the freezer. Mike is a master having been a butcher for 30 years and now being a taxidermist. He’ll be mounting toad for me. 🙂

Our family tradition is to have Dad spread the blood of your first kill on your face. My brother was highly concerned with this tradition holding for me so here’s the proof:

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Then the hunt was on for dad. We rode around, stalked, walked about 7 miles, but after 2 possible shots and one miss, the sun went down without a second antelope in the freezer. 13 hours of hunting will wear you out so a quick dinner and bedtime it was. I slept so well but dad struggled worrying about being able to get one on Sunday.

Sunday morning we were out the door at 5:30am again. Dad spotted the same antelope he had shot at and missed the day before out in a cattle pasture with about 20 does. Danny stopped the truck in the middle of the road and dad climbed up the bank to get set up. He laid down in some burrs and propped on his backpack.

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His shot from 258 yards hit low and as he was turning which meant it was gut shot and would require another hit. Thankfully the deer didn’t take off running – if you wound one, you have to hunt and find it.  I didn’t want to be doing that all day. When he turned and paused, he had his butt towards us. Dad took two more shots, one missed high and the other missed right before Danny suggested they walk down the road and try to get closer to him. He laid down in a bunch of yucca plants with only his head and neck showing which was going to make for a hard shot.

I stayed with the truck spotting with a walkie talkie. They walked about 250 yards down the road and then started cutting thru the pasture. When they were about a 100 yards away, dad set up again and about that time the cows started grazing close to the antelope. After a couple minutes, they moved on. I think that actually helped distract the antelope from running. Dad shot and hit his ear but he didn’t get up. I think he knew this was the end and his lungs were filling up at this point. Dad shot and hit his neck the second time.

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The fun part came next when we had to drag him 285 yards out of the field and thru the barbed wire fence to get him in the truck. Danny even ended up removing the fence stabilizers at the bottom level for all of us to get out.

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Then we went to try to help Jimmy and David (Jimmy’s friend) get ones. After driving and walking for a few hours, Danny field dressed Dad’s antelope and stuffed in some ice to keep him from spoiling.

The original plan was to have a local processor process the meat and ship it to me. Apparently there are no processors within 150 miles of Logan New Mexico (business opportunity anyone?) which meant we bought a cooler and stuffed two antelopes in it. 79.5 pounds of antelope meat were checked on Southwest Airlines back to Kansas City. Dry ice froze them solid so they should make it for me to take them to a place in KC. Anyone have suggestions for someone?

Overall the trip was amazing! It was wonderful to get to spend time with my Dad and do something totally new and different. It was also great to be in enough shape to do it (reason 800 why I Crossfit 🙂 ). It is incredible to see one of God’s unique creations. He made the antelope perfect for being able to run from predators and He made them tasty for humans to eat. Thanks to God for blessing me with such an incredible experience!

Ps. Jimmy and David both got good antelopes pretty late on Sunday afternoon and I’ve got buck fever! 🙂 I’m ready to go hunting again.

Zoo Times

Visiting the Kansas City Zoo is on my KC Bucket List so a group of us went a couple weeks ago and had a blast! Original plan was to take picnic lunches (because you can bring your own food inside) and go exploring for a couple of hours but what actually happened was hungry, sunburnt  adults who spent 7 hours at the zoo. 🙂

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The Kansas City Zoo is cheaper for people that live in Jackson and Clay counties which means my house saved me some money. It was a random group that ended up going but from left to right above – Brad Knipp, Andy Lochner, Lee Hewitt, Me, Ben Thowe, and Alli

 

 

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Lions are one of my favorite parts and this one was completely asleep.

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Most beautiful animal in the zoo 🙂

 

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There was this bridge in the zoo that swayed incredibly. Being an engineer, I knew that it was structurally find to do that but my equilibrium didn’t agree. 🙂

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I love elephants too 🙂

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This animal was pretty cool but I was making a face about the couple that was making out directly above it – I mean, come on, don’t drip your saliva on the poor creature, he’s trying to sleep.

 

I ended up getting sunburned but we saw every. single. animal in the zoo! I figured I wouldn’t be back to the KC Zoo for a long time so I was going to get my $5 worth 🙂

Pirates

Several friends and I went to see the Pirates exhibit at Union Station yesterday – it was good. It’s a National Geographic presentation on what piracy was like from a historic perspective found from the remains of the Whydoh ship that was wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod. You can see more information here.

The most amazing part of the exhibit was how present God was. There were no mentions of God in the actual exhibit materials but the people that I went with pushed me in my relationship with Him so incredibly that I have to write about it. Once again, I find myself amazed by my heavenly Father actually talking to me (maybe one day I will get it thru my head that He loves me enough to want to talk to me all the time if I would just listen).

Some back story: I’ve been struggling with being single. Most of the time I am totally content with where God has put me but recently I’ve had more and more mounting moments of dissatisfaction. God hasn’t given me whom He would have me marry. It’s HIS timing but I want it to MINE.

These moments are fueled by my attraction to a particular boy at church. This boy has not responded or reacted to any situation or conversation we’ve had the way that I thought he would. In fact, every time we talk I end up seeking God to be able to process or understand our conversations. I think this is one of the biggest reasons he’s so attractive. I’ve never been around someone like that before. These conversations have also revealed how broken he and I really are – we need the love and grace of Jesus Christ to make it and we’re both reaching for that with arms and hands wide open. I know that God is calling me to be his friend. NOT his girlfriend. his friend. I pray that my action would reflect God’s desires and not my heart’s.

So yesterday him, I, one of my best friends, another good friend, and one of his good friends went to see the real pirates exhibit. It was on my Kansas City Bucket List. The day was so normal and that was amazing. It’s funny – Christians are not “normal” when it comes to spending time with the opposite sex, especially if there is some attraction there. Women are trying to be patient and wait for whom God would put as the head of their household. Men are trying to be respectful of physical boundaries and learn how to treat women like the bride of Christ. Both are noble desires. Both lead to moments of awkwardness and distance. We over analyze and place too much faith in what we are saying or doing and how the other person will respond. Yesterday was blissful because I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing or worried about the response I would get. I was enjoying spending time with people.

And God was there. The reason I like spending time with this man is because he manages to interject God into the heart of every conversation we have. We were walking around reading about slavery and I made a statement that I was struggling to wrap my mind all the way around a society that trades in humans, that placed a monetary amount on a human being. And how did God let this activity continue to His people, to people made in His image. His comment was wanting to read and study the term “slavery” and how it is used in the Bible, what the derivative of it was, and if God intended for it to be used with so many social connotations that we’ve given it today. Wow – turn me right back around to God’s word when I was struggling.

After the museum we were going to get sushi for lunch but both sushi places ended up being closed (weird, it was 1:30pm on a Saturday but anyway) so we ended up eating at Chipotle. Chipotle is one of my favorite restaurants so I wasn’t complaining but I’m still craving sushi. 🙂

The excellent conversation continued. In normal flow of conversation, he asked me if I would be content with God if I knew He was never going to give me a husband? My response was “yes, I try to live my life each day as if that was my hope but that there were some days that I was going to be bitter or upset about it.” Thinking over this the last few hours, I think I was being truthful in my response but I do have some hope that God will answer my desire to be married and be submissive to my husband. I pray that God would guide my heart to be hopeful only in Him and His Son. I haven’t made an decisions about career or location or anything that revolved around marital status and I want to continue that trend. I am also incredibly thankful to God that He didn’t allow me to marry my ex-fiance. I would either be divorced or trapped in a un-godly marriage. To be so thankful to not be married helps me understand how thankful I should be with whatever God has in store for me.

Now, I’ve over analyzed every comment, look, text, and question that was brought up yesterday and come to several conclusions:

1. God has shown me an example of one quality that I want in my future marriage – the ability to have wonderful conversations with whomever I’m with that push me to grow in faith with God. This is my new deal breaker. This is also what God wants me to understand about seeking Him so that whomever I’m with will also seek Him.

2. When I give up control of a situation and just enjoy it, God is there and is working and is perfect. I need to remember this one more often. His faithfulness is flawless.

3. I need God’s help to be able to be friends with this man. I need God’s help to squash my heart’s desires so that I can let the Holy Spirit shine through me. That is truly what I want – for this man to get to experience the love of God through a positive friend relationship with a woman.

4. God is always guiding me, even when I’m not listening. I’ve been praying for weeks now about not understanding how to go from meeting someone to being married to them. God has answered my prayer by showing me how to spend time with people that fosters deep relationships and conversations and seeds of pursuit that are still focused on God. I’ve sinned in the past by loosing sight of God when I’m in relationships with men and they are not seeking God.

5. I am blessed. I am so incredibly blessed by the Grace of God and the death of His Son Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. The war is remembering Jesus.

NOLA

I marked New Orleans, LA off my bucket list this weekend. I’ve been working in Baton Rouge off and on for the last three months and finally decided to stay “in town” for a weekend. I typically fly in and out of New Orleans since I prefer Southwest Airlines but I’m always in a hurry to get to the jobsite when I arrive so I had never stopped and ate in New Orleans.

This morning we are shipping the first modules for my first project at work. It’s a momentous day for me (and my career)! I wanted to be in the area this weekend in case they needed me onsite. I’m glad I stayed because I swung by the yard on my way out of town Saturday morning. A good friend of mine is working as a pipe fitter in Pasagoula, MS which is less than 2 hours from NOLA so he decided he would meet me there for Saturday night.

I hadn’t seen Mike since New Years (which is far too long of a time ago) so it was very nice to get to spend some time with him.

Bucket List

If you’ve known me for any long length of time then you know that I have a bucket list. I saw a family friend of mine had posted hers and was using her blog to post about her completions. I’m going to copy her. So here’s my list:

  1. Get married
  2. Ride in a hot air balloon
  3. Ride a gondola in Venice Italy
  4. Climb Mt. Vesuvius off Italian Coast
  5. Visit Hawaii – completed June 30-July 5
  6. Run Half Marathon – completed Feb 28, 2012, Livestrong Austin Half Marathon
  7. Go windsurfing
  8. Make a hole in one
  9. Go deep sea fishing
  10. Become scuba certified
  11. Learn to fly fish
  12. Kill a deer while deer hunting
  13. Go horseback riding on a beach
  14. Learn to snowboard – completed Jan 27-30, 2012 in Jackson Hole Wyoming
  15. Go sledding
  16. Go snowmobiling
  17. Sing karaoke
  18. Learn to dance the tango
  19. Take a belly dancing class
  20. Swim with sharks
  21. Go on a cruise
  22. Learn (attempt) to surf
  23. Go on a helicopter ride
  24. Go ziplining
  25. Hike in a rainforest
  26. Swim with dolphins
  27. Go whale watching (& see a whale)
  28. Pet a koala  bear
  29. Adopt a pet from the animal shelter
  30. Travel to South Africa
  31. Visit Australia
  32. Go to Tanzania
  33. Lay on the beach in Tahiti
  34. Ride a camel
  35. Ride an elephant
  36. Watch turtles hatch and swim to the ocean
  37. Mush a dog sled
  38. See the northern lights
  39. See Niagara Falls
  40. Camp in Yosemite National Park
  41. Visit all 50 states
  42. Drink tequila in Mexico
  43. Camp in Yellowstone National Park
  44. Tour the Statue of Liberty
  45. See a broadway play
  46. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
  47. Catch fish at Pikes Place Market in Seattle
  48. Visit the pyramids
  49. Visit stonehenge
  50. Climb an Aztec monument
  51. See the panama canal
  52. Live for 6 months straight outside the USA
  53. Visit 4 corners
  54. Go to Los Vegas
  55. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  56. Be a Professional Engineer
  57. Own a house
  58. Donate 5 galloons of blood (over time, not all at once)
  59. Own a bar
  60. Be published
  61. Go to the Kentucky Derby
  62. See the super bowl in person
  63. Attend an Olympic sporting event
  64. Sit on a jury
  65. Get a henna tattoo
  66. Run a marathon
  67. Fly a plane
  68. Take a pole dancing class – completed August 1, 2012 at Pole Chix’s in Kansas City with friends Rachel Thompson, Rachel Schulte, Andrea Heitman, and Brittney Rittenbaucher
  69. Go paint balling – completed June 16, 2012 at Jaegar’s Paintball in Kansas City
  70. Run with the bulls in Spain
  71. Have people follow my blog