Man Crush Monday

Shocker, my man crush Monday is my husband! This is not news necessarily, but I’m giving him a shout out today because of this picture. It just belongs on this blog.

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Brandon went hunting for the first time in his life last year, (story here) and received an award for it. We had the deer mounted and it hangs on the wall above our tv. The rest of it went into our bellies.

Something you ought to know is that Brandon is not prone to ridiculous photographs. But every now and then he does something to make his wife laugh.

A person’s first hunt may not seem significant on the surface, but as nearly every hunter will tell you, it’s a day they will never forget.  You become closer to the land in a very unique way. Congrats, Brandon!

 

Life with an Engineer, Volume 2

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A few months ago I wrote the post Life with an Engineer, describing life as the wife of a critical thinking, logical, and analytical engineer. I heard “I know what you mean!” and  “My husband is just like that!” from a lot of you.  A month or so later, on a trip to Colorado, my husband did something that has inspired another post.

We were staying in a mountain cabin with Brandon’s family this past June. On a sunny afternoon, we drove to a nearby lake to hike a short trail.

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When we got to the lake, we fstarted on what we thought would be a nice afternoon full of hiking and experiencing the great outdoors.

It started off well enough.

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It was all downhill!

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The trail wrapped around side of the lake down towards the dam.

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We hadn’t gone but half a mile when the trail came to an abrupt end at a gushing mountain stream coming from the base of the dam. We hadn’t planned on having a stream keep us from continuing on our hike. Could we ford it?

After some discussion, we concluded that we had to turn around and go back home. Well, heck, we said. This was a worthless hike! But No. Did you forget there was an engineer in the group? They find joy in the mundane.

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Brandon had been studying the source of the problematic stream while we all debated what to do, and said Wait! Look here. 

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He proceeded to describe how weather in the upper part of the watershed, where water collects and forms the river, had collected here and caused this lake to overtop.

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Excess water was rushing around the side of the dam into this spillway, causing the pool at the base of the dam to rise and a stream to form over our intended trail.

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He then pointed out a whirlpool in the stream, and explained that it was created by the speed of the water and x over mc squared times 4 to the tenth power or something. Whatever–it was a whirlpool and we were impressed.


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Brandon told us an entire story about what was going on in the natural world miles away from where we stood and how it affected the patch of land where we were.

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As the famous outdoorsman John Muir wisely said, When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. 

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Go Brandon.

We all went home contented.

 

Lazy Day on the River

My house needs to be cleaned, I need to exercise, and I should probably read and expand my vocabulary, but I spent last Saturday in a chair in the Guadalupe river. Because what is summer without a lazy day on the river?

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Brandon and I headed out to the Canyon Lake area, and we were joined by several of our Austin friends. Left to right: Lane, Eric (in Baylor gold and green), Blake, Erin, Becky, Mike, Shana (in the fabulous hat), Aaricka, and finally Brandon.

If you look closely, you can see Becky is holding a chocolate pie.

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Most manners are thrown out the window when you spend all day on the river with someone. That day was no different. Everyone grabbed a plastic fork and passed the pie around, eating straight out of the pan.

My friends Shana and Mike had never met the rest of the group, but this is how I knew they would fit in: they actually were the ones who brought the pie down to the river. Hi, I’m Shana. Want some pie?

They can stay.

We have a history of doing this. Last time we passed around a tray of oreos. What will it be next time? Please feel free to make suggestions.

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We also discussed important world issues. We analyzed climate change, zero waste, whether Adnan killed Hae (from Serial), and whether the Chris Farley documentary would be good. (We decided that yes, it would.)

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Shana and I also discussed the important issue of hats, agreeing that they are completely underrated and need to make a comeback. Who’s with us?

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Brandon got some fishing in too.

Over the past couple of years, my husband’s interest in fishing has really taken root. Whenever we go to a body of water, he packs the fishing poles and waders. (I pack food and a chair.)(We have our priorities.) When he caught a trout last summer during his first attempt at fly fishing, his face lit up. He was hooked. (Pun!)

I completely support him in his fishing endeavors. Most of the time, it means we get to enjoy pretty water, and one day, when we have time, fish for dinner.

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This weekend, Brandon had some luck on the river. He was dragging his line in the water as he walked upstream to find a new fishing hole, when he heard his line take off behind him.

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I heard him holler, “Whit, I got something!” and turned around to see a striped bass splashing its way towards him.

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Way to go Brandon!

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I must admit I was shocked, having fished this stretch of river since I was a little girl and having never caught a thing. But, I was glad to know that there actually were fish in the river…I had started to doubt it.

Catching this fish was a cherry on top of a great weekend, the icing on the cake. Or should I say, pie!

P.S. All of this excitement wore Trooper out. 

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This right here is the sign of a good weekend.

Life with an Engineer

Recently an Elite Daily article popped up on my Newsfeed, and it caught my attention as it featured “19 Reasons to Date an Engineer.” As the wife of one myself, I feel I must share the following conversation before any of you jump in head first. Having an engineer in your life is a joy, for sure, and the article was very right. But you need to know what you’re getting in to.

The following is an actual conversation that happened this morning between my engineer husband and me. I’ll preface this with a few facts about our life:

  1. My husband loves calculus. Actually enjoys it. In the same way I enjoy social occasions.
  2. Thus, he is both literal and analytical.
  3. He owns a 30 pound cat who is always begging for food.

(Have I mentioned I never thought I’d marry a man that owns a cat?)

Here’s the conversation…

Brandon: Moe wants food.

Me, sarcastically: Tell me something I don’t know.

Brandon: The derivative of the log of x is 1 over x.

Sigh.

Brandon is like my little vessel of math knowledge and if I ever need it, I will turn to him, but there’s no point in me attempting to store such complex information in my own brain.

Welcome to life with an engineer. Prepare for all your sublime questions to be taken very literally. Prepare to hear the phrases logarithm and partial differential equation.

Prepare to rarely have to do math! Today I called Brandon because my excel spreadsheet wasn’t working. Despite having much more pressing issues with which to deal, he helped me step by step with my little challenge.

He’s probably thinking right now he should write an article on What to Expect When you Marry a Writer/Conservationist With a 30-Second Attention Span.

Being married to an engineer is great. I would totally recommend it, quirks and all.

(And, in case you were wondering, Moe got fed. Can’t you tell?)

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Our Little Family

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It’s only March, but I think I’ve landed on our Christmas card for this year.

I also considered this one…

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But that would leave out Trooper, which wouldn’t accurately reflect the significant role he plays in our family.

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He’s my buddy. When I run errands, he rides shotgun. (Weather permitting.) When I eat, he gets a scrap or two. When I water the plants or refill the bird feeder, he stands guard in the yard. The yard is his domain. No creature enters the yard without first seeking his approval. No squirrel can dare consider setting a toe in our yard. No pecan can lie in peace, they all must be chewed. Every plant must be sniffed and tinkled on.

Of the three subjects in the photo below,

  • Two are very hairy.
  • Two are very loud.
  • Only one is obedient.
  • One has a best friend named Mabel.
  • Two have short legs.
  • One likes cats.
  • One is a neighborhood celebrity.
  • One has been on the nightly news.

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Do you know which is which?

I’ll give you a hint: neither Brandon nor I have been on the nightly news.

A very early Merry Christmas everybody, from our little family.

My Husband’s First Hunt

I must admit, I never thought I would marry a man who hadn’t ever been hunting. Not that I was opposed to dating someone who had never hunted, it’s just that during my dating days, my social circles tended to involve boys who grew up hunting, fishing, and getting trucks stuck in the mud.

But I also never thought I would marry a man with a cat, and yet here I am.

My sweet husband doesn’t have one square inch of camouflage in his entire closet.  He only started fishing when he met me, and prior to our relationship, he had barely ever handled a gun.  The man doesn’t own a pair of boots. God bless him.

He obviously has other things going for him that make him worth spending the rest of my life with. Being extremely cute and sweet for starters.

Yet last weekend my husband finally got to cross hunting off the list of things he’d never done.

We were in the little town of Goldthwaite, Texas (population 2,000) for the grand opening of the Texas Botanical Gardens and were invited to hunt at our friend Warren’s ranch just outside of town.

Warren took us around the ranch on the four wheeler before hunting and we got up close and personal with the wind turbines he leases part of his ranch for.  I’d never stood at the base one before and all I can say is it made me feel very short.

Brandon had been burning the midnight oil the previous night finishing his hunter education course  (required of all hunters in the state of Texas) so he was studied up on regulations, gun safety, terminology, types of ammunition, and wildlife conservation, but I  didn’t know how he was going to feel about hunting once he got out there. I completely understand the first-time hunting nerves.  I had them and think they are very normal.

But per usual, Brandon remained cool, calm, and collected. (Which may have something to do with why I married him.)

By the time we got to the blind, we had scared off any living creature on the ranch. The gator Warren dropped us off in roared through the silence, and then we sounded like a herd of elephants as we tore through tall grass on our way to the blind. I am just not a quiet person, and that right there is my biggest challenge with deer hunting.

I always tend to make a bunch of racket getting into the blind, so while I’m at it I go ahead and get completely settled.  I take my earplugs out of my bag and put them in a place I can get to quickly, get out my camera, load my gun (but keep it on safety), and test out my shooting position by putting my gun through the blind opening as if I were about to take shot and adjusting my chair as needed.

Then, all i have to do is rest my gun inside the blind, watch the sun begin to sink below the trees, and wait for the deer to come out.

I had told Brandon that there was absolutely no pressure to shoot a deer.  If he decided it wasn’t his cup of tea, that is fine!

But he aimed his gun, took a deep breath, and BAM! got himself his first deer.

Of course, in all the excitement, I had forgotten to put in my earplugs, so my ears were ringing off and on all evening.

After Brandon got his buck, I got a doe. I love to cook with venison, especially in winter stews and such, so am happy to have a full freezer again.

To me, and to many hunters I know, hunting is about experiencing nature, about taking care of the landscapes and habitat that are home to our deer herd,  and about gratitude for what you take from the land.

Brandon had a fabulous time and jumped right in when it was time to clean and quarter the deer. We’re picking up our venison from the smokehouse this week and can’t wait.

But the story’s not over yet…

Guess what the headline was in the Goldthwaite Eagle on Monday morning?

A guy’s first hunt and he gets written up in the paper.  I wonder if he realizes this doesn’t happen to everyone.

A first hunt is such a special moment to share with someone, and I am so happy I got to share it with with my sneaker-wearing, calculus-loving, cat-owning husband.

Venison queso, here we come!