Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Archery Adventure 2015

We are back from another NFAA Grand Field archery shoot. This is for the State Championship and it is a long 2-day shoot in which one shoots the Field, Animal, and Hunter round in 2-days for a total of at least 252 scored shots. The round is outdoors and there's a lot of hiking up and down hills in the July sun.  It's a tiring round to shoot!  There are 6 lead-in shoots at which the winner is given 10 points, 2nd place 9, and so forth.  You can bring 40 points to the Grand Field and then score a potential of 30 points (10 for each round) at the Grand Field. It's important to shoot the lead-in shoot as you can win the Grand Field, but lose the championship if you only shoot 3 of the lead-in rounds and your competitor shoots 4 or more. More on this later!

Scoring the rounds

Derek and I spent both nights at long-time falconer Tom Smylie's house in Edgewood NM and had a great visit there. Tom goes WAY back in falconry- longer than I've been alive, actually- and knows everyone and everything about it. Derek had a good discussion with him and maybe learned a few things about campers, hawks, falcons, pigeons, dogs, book, kayaks, climbing, search/rescue,...

At the shoot, the first day went well and normally.  I matched my highest score on the Animal round and Derek broke his own records in the Field and Animal rounds.  We left Tom's at 6:15 am and got back at 6:30 pm.  Long day. I was happy because I've been having rotator cuff issues all summer and in fact had skipped some of the earlier shoots in Jan-Mar due to this. At some point, I discovered kinesiology tape and started using it on my shoulder.  Mark me down as a believer; after shooting about 150 arrows on Saturday with the tape in place, my shoulder was great.

Day Two: I started the day 100 points up on my next competitor.  Should be an easy win, right?  Especially when the next 2 guys below me didn't show for Sunday's shoot... Derek was about 50 points up on 2nd place. Off we went.  About Target 4, my bow was shooting high and it just got higher and higher so that by Target 7, I was using my 20 yard pin at 35 yards. Something was going on and I couldn't figure it out.  On round 8, my first two arrows went high off the bullseye. Arrow 3 went about 18" low, completely off the target face!  I was positive I'd used the right pin, so I shot again... pow... same low spot.  When I looked at my bow, I saw the problem... my arrow rest launcher was broken.  At every other shoot I'd shot for the past 3 years, I'd taken an extra bow.  This time?  No.  And of course, I have an equipment failure.  Well, I was dead in the water now!

Broken rest!!

What it's supposed to look like

Or so I thought.  After trying to shoot Derek's bow and taking a "0" on the next several long shots (50-70 yards), we were back to a 30 yard target and I decided to at least try to score some points. By holding my 60 yard pin up and to the right about "this far", I managed to sink an arrow in the 4 ring. After that, I just kept working on it and by the time we got done, I was able to score 16's (4- 4 rings) on the 40 yard target and score a whopping 320 points (compared to my regular 500-ish).  Derek, in the meantime, was shooting great and scored another new State record of 528.  A perfect score is 560.

Derek's day was not w/out excitement, though, as Bob lost Derek's scorecard just before the start of the 2nd round. We have 2 cards for this very reason and I quickly took a picture of my copy for safekeeping. We started a new card, someone found the original card, Bob transferred scores, and all was well.

Derek shooting

Talking to Bob, District chairman

Back at the pavilion, scores started coming in. Derek won easily.  In my class, Competitors #2, 3 had gone home, but #4's score beat me by a mere 40 points. I wrestled with this a bit because he had 7 sight pins on his bow and you're only allowed 5 in my class. I wondered whether to protest him and make an enemy or just let it go. Then I remember the lead-in shoots....and he hadn't shot any of them. In the end, it turned out that he was shooting as a "guest" and got no points anyway. So, I took my 2nd State Championship.  Had I started shooting w/out my rest and not taken the 0's, I might've beat him straight up!

Derek, on the other hand and to his immediate disappointment, lost the championship due to the fact that he'd only shot 2 lead-in shoots and the other boy had shot 3. Maybe math will become useful to him now!  On the upside, if he'd won, then he would have 3 State C's to my 2.  Now, we're even!  Yeah!  But, me, I have no records, and Derek broke 3 of his own records today, probably setting them away for awhile.

State Championship #2!

After shooting, it was time to go fishing.  We both had new fly-fishing gear to try and so it was off to Coyote Creek SP to fish and camp. Coyote creek was busy and we ended up catching nothing. To make the best of our time in Northern New Mexico, we decided to move on to another area and headed for Red River.

Fishing Coyote Creek

At Red River, I spotted "Starr Fly Fishing" and we pulled in. The sales help gal was very helpful (and more than slightly cute...) and we left with directions and some new gear (a Fishpond San Juan pack for me) and headed to Fawn Lakes. That was a nice location and even though we didn't catch anything in the heat of the day, we had fun and we'll be back when it's cooler and the tourist season slacks off a little bit.

Our next stop was the trusty Cimarron Canyon and this time we were going to try the "Special Trout Waters".  That ended up being too tough for us, due to the brush along the road, and so we moved down to the easy Gravel Pit lake.  There, we found some other fly fishermen working the little "dam" and while I spin-fished (I really wanted Derek to catch the first fly trout), Derek talked to the guys fishing there and got some good pointers.  Before long, he had his first fly-fish trout and was happy as a clam, even though he looks sleepy in the photo. He was bound and determined to catch a fish with his fly-rod and it was great seeing him finally succeed, even though it was slow going to that point. He also got some good casting and fly pointers from an older guy there and was casting pretty well by the end of the day. I asked Derek about catching the fish on a fly-rod and he said it hit a lot harder and it was more fun fighting it in. He continued to fly-fish after this and moved away from the easy waterfall to the little pond behind it where the "big boys" were casting. He had one there, too, but lost it bringing it in. The "big boys" literally applauded him when he was fighting it and he got a kick out of that.

Derek's first fly fish trout

We finally headed home about 8 pm, driving thru a big thunderstorm/rain to arrive home, very tired and stinky at 10:30 pm.  Shower and bed were quickly in order.  We're already talking about going back to Red River.  I've still got my trout to catch, after all.

Lessons learned:
1) Shoot the shoots.
2) Carry spare rest launchers.
3) Don't give up. Throw arrows at the target if you have to.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 2015

I don't have a funny creative title for this post so I'll just call it like it is.  Last time I checked in, I'd just broken my foot. It took a full 6 weeks for that heal, but it finally did. I wore my walking cast for 5 of those 6 weeks; every time I tried to do without it, my foot would hurt w/in a few steps.  So I wore the boot.

It's been raining.  A lot.  May was the rainiest month on record since the early 1900's. The grass grew unbelievably well, ponds/creeks filled up and it was just about perfect really.  For the first time in 5 years, we were able to stock decent numbers of cattle.

Here's a little video of us taking some of the first cattle to water.  This is before the rains really kicked in, so it's still pretty brown.


Flooded yard from the 1st big rain


More clouds!

Down at the creek

June 9

In between rains- it felt good to say that!- we got some hay to get ready for winter.  We have fewer over-wintering horses, far more grass in the pasture, and should be able to get by with less hay.

A mere 40 bales

All this sounds happy and cheerful.  Me, though, I've been really struggling to get moving sometimes. I think the release of the stress of the past 4 years has just wiped me out and some days I can't do anything but sit at the computer and surf around. I had to cut way back on guitar work this spring and summer as I just had to have a break. The thought of getting up and doing something just flattens me. Eventually, I get over it and get up and going, but it's hard some days. Fortunately, I have jobs where if I need to sit and drink coffee until noon, I can. That's a tremendous blessing. I play my guitar a lot, but it's hard to find much joy in it and it gets frustrating. My hearing sucks and it's not going to get better... it's just a real struggle playing these days. Nevertheless, I just keep at it and plow on and eventually the black cloud goes away. It helps a lot to look outside at the green grass, big fluffy clouds, and rain on the horizon. It also helps a lot to think about the temporality of this life and focus ahead on the things to come. 

I've been doing a lot of reading on physics, vibrations, energy, music, and God and those are stimulating things that get my brain going. Lots of food for thought there. This perks me up considerably.

Music books

Energy books

I suppose I'll end this with another little video.  I went to check the mail and found 17 steers lounging in front of the pens where the cows were being temporarily held. Turns out that a gate 1.5 miles away had come loose and the steers went walk-about outback. Derek and I easily herded them back with the help of Spots and Risky.

Thank God for the rain!