Countdowns, Deadlines, and Milestones

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Upland bird hunters everywhere are anxiously anticipating opening upland game seasons. For many that could be in as little as 3 days, for some 2 weeks, and others a month or more.  Along with the excitement of the opening day, comes the realization that you may either need more gear and supplies, you still haven’t lost the 10lbs you put on since last season, you still didn’t get enough training time in with your dog, you still need new tires on the truck, that new dog box or trailer, or a new gun.

For me, there are  a number of countdowns, milestones, and deadlines coming up. In one day my “baby” (the last of five) will start his last year of high school. Wow. I never thought of that as a huge thing before. I remember his first day of preschool, kindergarten, middle school.  This is the last time I will have a senior in high school. One more high school graduation. Wow. It just seems huge to me all of a sudden!

Next, there are two weeks until I leave for the Northwoods Wild Bird Camp, a little more than 2 weeks until the grouse opener there, about a week left for dogs that are here to get trained to get trained… I have a million things to do all of a sudden!

The truck is still in the garage with some sort of mysterious brake problem that only seems to happen to me (doesn’t that figure?).  The brakes completely lock-up (stick) and won’t unstick… which means I can’t go anywhere. Seriously, the thing won’t budge–unless I want smoking and horrible sounds going on. It happened a few weeks ago. I told Scott. He jumps in and takes a ride and says it is just fine. So, I go to take some dogs for a run and nope–it won’t budge.  It’s stuck again.  I finally had to have it towed to the shop because letting it sit in the driveway hoping the problem would fix itself for another week or so wasn’t working. So, it’s at the repair shop, where mysteriously the problem disappeared. From the moment it arrived there over a week ago, the problem has never existed. Yea, sure, until I get on the road to make an 18-hour road trip, right? The truck also needs inspected.

I have all of the packing to do for the trip and looking through my supplies over the past few nights, I realize just about every bell, whistle, tie-out stake, and flashlight I once owned has taken legs and walked off to greener pastures.  I also, now have to make adjustments to the dog trailer in light of the fact that I will now be taking 4 more dogs than I had anticipated! So, no ATV this year, just 4-more dogs in my rig.

Today is also our wedding anniversary! I remember a year ago today, Scott and I were on a road trip. We met up with the Barveld’s at Cabela’s in Michigan to drop off their new pup, Chase, picked up our new pup, Citori, at the Detroit airport, then went on to the “thumb” to pick up our new (old) 10-hole topper. I remember it was a perfect day with cool temperatures and the sting of Autumn in the air. I remember stopping at a few wonderful fruit markets and getting all sorts of goodies like honey, syrup, tomatoes, etc. We had a wonderfully fantastic day! Nothing beats a trip to deliver a pup, pick up a pup, meet great people… I remember texting Salley Barveld a lot of the day as both of us reported the status of the pups, the trip, etc. It was a wonderful day!

We don’t have anything exciting like that planned for this year, in fact I think we both practically forgot it was today! Isn’t that terrible? We are both so busy that we just plain forgot. We will both be working. Maybe we’ll get to do something in the next few (two) weeks or something. Yeah. No. Probably not.

Another countdown is to when some very excited folks get their new puppies! It won’t be long, now and these little darlings will be leaving for their new homes. They are really having a ball outside now and are becoming more and more adventurous every day. They love people and love to play and get attention. It becomes very difficult for me not to get attached. I do anyway. It is always a heartbreaker for me when the puppies leave. I can’t get over it. I hope I never do.

Scott woke up sick this morning and by this afternoon, I was not feeling so good myself! We have completely different symptoms, so hopefully whatever is ailing us gets out of the way very quickly–like the next 6 hours!–because we have way too much to take care of to be ill. It was quite a struggle getting through today without his help (which I really, really look forward to on the weekends so I can work) and not feeling well on top of all of it. It wasn’t just not feeling well, either, it is feeling really, really awful. Oh no. Can’t have this. I did get some work done tonight, but will have to work double time tomorrow to meet the Monday 8:00 am deadlines. We’ll make it through, though. We always do.

I hope all of you are much more organized and are ready for your favorite opening day. I received my e-mail copy of  The Traveling Wingshooter with the 2010 Gamebird Forecast. In summary, the Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock outlook for the Upper Midwest and New England states is positive! If you haven’t made any plans to take a trip to get your bird dog into good populations of the game they live to pursue, you should! There really is nothing better than a week (or more) spent with your best friend in the Autumn woods, fields, mountains, or prairies in pursuit of of any upland game bird. Your bird dog lives for this and you really should try to do all you can to make sure you provide the opportunities–it’s part of the responsibility of ownership of a bird dog, don’t you think? There is still time to plan to get out there somewhere!

So, onward we go as the clock keeps ticking toward the next milestone–rather it is Monday morning deadlines, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, opening days, getting your new pup, or leaving for a trip. It gives us something to look forward to and keeps us getting out of bed everyday. Make it special, make it memorable, make it happen!

Good night, all.