Living simply in the wild

Adventure

Just Keep Pulling: On Shooting Firearms and Empaths

I did not grow up around guns. In fact Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles were outlawed in our home. Perhaps that plays into the fact that i’m sensitive. Most the time, extremely sensitive.

The first time shooting firearms it scared me. No, it terrified me and shook me at my core. It wasn’t a little BB gun or a 22, it was a 40 caliber hand gun.

We were out in no mans land back in Chelan Washington. Up in the evergreen covered hills with a giant dirt mound as our backstop. Not a soul around for days. I was both equally excited and nervous as this was my first time shooting a handgun. I’d seen photos of friends at shooting ranges smiling next to their paper cutout sprayed with holes they’d just shot. It looked like they had a blast. I was with my husband who I trust completely and who has been firing guns since he was probably younger then our kids are now.

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Ranger sat there carefully explaining the gun to me. He explained the parts of the gun, how it worked, how to hold it, how to stand, i’m pretty sure he covered it all. He was very thorough and precise with his instructions.

I only had 2 questions when he finally was done with his firearms lecture.

“How loud is it going to be?”

and

“Is it going to kick back at me?”

He answered with, “uh, It’ll be a loud pop, and it will only kick back a little”. I confirmed his answers as I wanted to know exactly what to expect. Looking back I shouldn’t have accepted such vague answers.

I took my stance. Legs apart, knees bent, elbows locked. I took a moment to feel my breath as I took aim at the piece of plastic that was about to meet its end. I held steady feeling my breath between my lips. 1….2….keep pulling….keep pulling….3….the gun fired.

Everything went silent. The world around me seemed to start a slow spin. I looked over at Ranger who had a huge smile on his face…until he saw mine. The world was muffled and ringing and for a moment I was completely lost. My heart was beating so hard I could feel each beat pounding in my ears. I stood there for a split second not knowing a thing. Not a voice, not a thought. The sound of the gun going off was enough to paralyze my hearing (and me) for those few moments. The power of the bullet flying out of the barrel was enough to make my palms sweat and go completely numb.

Ranger came rushing towards me and grabbed the gun out of my hands, I’m not even sure how I was still holding onto it. I wanted to drop it and bury it in the dirt right then and there. But my brain had not caught up to tell my hand to drop the gun just yet.

“No.” Is all I could get out of my mouth and I walked away quickly. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had no way to stop them, they just came. I was shaken to my core and needed time to breath. Breath….somehow my body remembered to breath, I think.

Truth is i had no idea I’d have that reaction. That wasn’t something you could predict. I can’t explain why it happened or why I reacted the way I did. I’m not the tough girl. I’m strong, but i’m not tough. There are things i’m incredibly sensitive to and sometimes those things surprise me.

With three boys in the house, one being in Law enforcement, I believe its incredibly important to know how to use a gun and to know the proper way to handle a gun. I did learn that. I also learned that shooting a gun is not something I enjoy. At all. Ranger took me out just the other week to go shooting again. I was prepared this time. I knew what to expect.

I gathered myself, I grounded myself, and breathed. I kept breathing and kept squeezing that trigger. I’d stop before it fired and breathed again. I relaxed my stance and said I couldn’t do it. I held my ground, aimed, and pulled the trigger some more. Yet each time i’d stop shy of it firing.

Keep pulling. Keep pulling. I had a great battle within myself that day. My brain was begging me, hounding me, to do something and I tried so hard to do it. But something within me stopped me every time. That day my brain was doing everything it could to keep me pulling that trigger tighter and tighter and something else inside was fighting right back just as fiercely.

It’s funny how that can be translated into life. There are things you know you should do. But no matter how hard you try to do them there is a force battling against you. Think of how hard it is sometimes to apologize, to say I love you, to say that the other person is right. It’s a downright battle at times!

I finally braced myself a little harder. Let out another breath slowly and kept pulling until it shot. It fired once and I just stood there breathing again. Tears welled up in my eyes, but not from terror this time. Well, maybe a little from terror. I’d done it, I had made myself do it. I had met resistance and I pushed through and I survived. It was scary. My hands were tingling and I handed the gun off as soon as I could. But i had done it.

I know this is a small feat for most. Crying and being emotional over shooting a gun may seem ridiculous. Trust me, Ranger completely agrees with that! I can’t predict when floods of emotion will find their way into my daily life and spill over. For some reason when that gun fired it shook me. It rattled something loose and it took over a year to even think about shooting firearms again.

Just know that in life this happens and it’s ok. Especially for those of us who are extra tender. Those of us who feel with everything that they are. The empaths out there. It’s ok to feel, it’s ok to be scared. Just keep standing there grounded, breathing. Just keep pulling that trigger. Eventually things will fire and the dust will settle and you’ll see that you are still standing. Your feet may even be planted further in the ground then before.

Just keep pulling.

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Pacific Northwest adventures: All You Need


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Pacific Northwest adventures here revolve around the tide. The ocean glides in and out twice a day bringing and taking away it’s own adventures.

A pair of rain boots, a rain jacket, and a hat is all you’ll need. Don’t skimp on the cheap rain boots, we’ve quickly learned that rain boots around here are worth their weight in gold. After throwing away the cheap ones we learned our lesson.

The wind whips around most days and will, most times, knock you on your tush. So a jacket helps keep the chill off your bones and the rain from soaking through.

If your hair is anything like mine you’ll need a hat to tame the frizz. If not, it just looks cute and doubles at keeping the rain out of your eyes. Unless it’s the time of day where it’s raining sideways. At that point your boots, jacket, and hat will do you no good. Just surrender to the fact that you will be soaked. I know that your soul will get a nice rinse today.
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A Childs Joy- let them play

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Let the Children Play.

Kids are not bread to be be in a box.

Let them play.

Children are made to run and hide. Sing and dance. Yell and fight.

Keeping them in the lock box of your sight doesn’t keep them safe.

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Children are meant to get dirty.

Rolling in the dirt, stomping in the mud, dashing through the brush.

Leaves in their hair, snow in their eyelashes, dirt between their toes.

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Children are meant to run.

Backsides planted in chairs for hours a day dims the spirit.

Feeling the wind rush past them as they dart here and there.

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Children are meant to imagine.

To live in make-believe worlds.

Ones adorned with magic portals and abilities to fly.

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Where trees turn to towers and puddles turn to oceans inside their wonderful minds.

Places where they forgo their given names and take on pseudo names such as Superman, Huckelberry, Wild, and Brian.

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Children are meant to learn.

Playing does not stunt learning, it supports it.

For it is in play that they learn the most.

They learn negotiating, problem solving, empathy, and creativity.

They learn that life is fun and that they have the ability to be who they want to be.

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Children are meant to be bored.

Out of boredom comes ideas and plans.

Mischief is sure to follow.

Finding their way to and from from predicaments they wind up in is just another way to learn.

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Children are meant to Play.

Their souls long for it. Their bodies where made for it. Their hearts seek it.

Let the children play.

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Mr. Crabby Pants

As many of you know, we have failed at fishing. Ranger may or may not be slightly crabby about the whole ordeal. After all, we are living in a place surrounded by some of the best seafood you may ever get your hands on, and we can barely even catch a fish.

But I am proud to announce we finally caught thee Mr. Elusive Crab. Kind of.

Ranger spent all of monday designing and crafting a complete homemade crab trap that he could cast out into the surf (in ocean lingo; Surf is where…well people surf at. No brainer, but thought i’d clarify).

The man even knit is own fishing net for the trap. WITH a netting needle he crafted himself out of a paint stick. Seriously, could he be anymore crafty?

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So the next morning we got out to the ocean at low tide. The weather was dreary and misty but we could smell it. Literally the whole beach smelled like crab.  We were going to be catching crabs that day!

Ranger proudly struts off towards the waves in is onsie. Ok, their actually called waders…but seriously, it’s a onsie.

He flings his pole back and shoots it forward. Boy did that crab trap fly far…way further then his line was able to go. SNAP. The line had broke and the trap flew off into the waves, never to be seen by us again. Poor Ranger and all his hard work. No catching crabs with that sweet contraption.

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I’m not counting, but this is the 4th crab trap contraption that has been lost at sea. We could of had a nice crab dinner with the money thats been lost to the waves by now. Anyhow. Ranger always seems to have a backup plan and was able to cast out another contraption and reel in 3 crabs. It was no surprise they were all female crabs. I had to step in and shoe those babes away. He’s a married man.

Meanwhile, the ever so attentive Jr Ranger was watching and yelled to his dad telling him he saw something in the sand where the waves where crashing. Ranger went to check it out inbetween the waves and sure enough…he pulled out a big fat MALE crab!

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So technically Ranger has still yet to catch anything. But we did get to enjoy a nice crab for lunch that day.

I will also mention that we are now the proud owners of an official crab pot and Ranger has plans to put his boat in the River and do some real crabbing here soon. We’re just waiting for the perfect day. We now live our lives at the mercy of the tides. Stay tuned, unless our tiny boat capsizes and we too get lost at sea. Not a funny joke I know, but I’m terrified of the thought and laughing about it makes me look like i’m that really calm cool chick who is up for anything.

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Cama Beach State Park Review

Cama Beach State Park is set in a spectacular, 433-acre waterfront location against a forested backdrop. Visit the state parks website for more info here.

Heading to Cama Beach State Park is like stepping back in time. The drive through the country side seems foreign yet like home. It is what I imagine a place like Ireland would be like. Rolling green hills after rolling green hills.

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Photo credit Joe Mabel

We decided to stay in a cabin during our stay as it looked to be a pretty wet weekend, and boy did we make the right decision!

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Photo Credit Joe Mabel

There are two types of beachfront cabins you can stay in. The Standard and the Delux. The only difference being the Delux has a private bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink. In the Standard you have to high tail it to the nearest bathhouse, which is nearby, don’t you worry your little face. All cabins have 2-3 beds that will house 4-5 people. They have a kitchen sink, fridge, and microwave. Bed linens and cooking items are not included.

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Photo Credit Joe Mabel

The thing we really enjoyed about the cabins is that on the shelves you will find games and books that have been left behind for you to use, take, or exchange. There was also a very nice laminated hand out describing the flora and fauna of the area. I think we obsessed over this for quite some time as we are very interested in all the new things to see and were so happy we would actually be able to know what we were looking at.

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The one thing we were a bit shocked to find out was that we were unable to drive down to the cabins. You actually have to catch a ride on the shuttle that takes you down to the cabin rows. It was pretty painless. The shuttles are large vans and buses with plenty of room to pile your things into and there are carts at the bottom for you to load up and take to your cabin. The shuttles do not run 24 hours so it is best to time your arrival and departure for when the shuttles are running.

Be sure to check the schedule when you arrive to see the activities going on while you were there. The Juniors were able to build wooden boats during our stay. Most activites are free but do have a suggested donation box to help keep the programs running.

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Things To Do:

  • Beach combing

  • Visit the old boat house and build wooden boats

  • Swing on the Swing Set

  • play in a Sand box

  • walk the Trails

  • eat at the Cafe

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There is an information desk/park store to buy suveniors at and the have stacks of toys and games to rent out during your stay. The park store does not sell food items, so come prepared in that aspect. But they are well equipped to handle entertainment ideas for your stay.

While in the area be sure to make a stop at Freedom Park. It has to be one of the best playgrounds we’ve seen.

Even though it was rainy the boys…all 3 of them had a blast!

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We love visiting other state parks and this one we thoroughly enjoyed!

 


A week in: Lessons learned thus far

Lessons Learned

1. Close your bedroom window by dusk. Or you will spend the rest of the night corralling and trapping bats.

2. The little tapping and footsteps at night my or may not be mice. Or ghosts. I am not brave enough to check.

3. Carry a jacket. Even if the sun is shining. The weather changes quick here.

4. Go explore during low tide. You seem some neat things.

5. Make sure you have a house key to the house you are moving into.

6. We’ve made many new friends.

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7. 5 kids CAN get a lot of stuff moved into the house.

8. The view will never be served justice through photos

9. We can see the lighthouse at night from our bedroom window

10. Claw foot bathtubs are romanticized. They are not the most practical for showers.

11. You always take a risk buying someone else’s washer and dryer. At least i get exercise running down the stairs ten minutes into the cycle to turn the power off to the washer, then turn it on, and then start the cycle again.

12. Sound proofing was not a priority back in the early 1900s

13. It is green here. And lush. And colorful! But of course we already knew that.

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14. People will stop and help you, especially if you have your head buried under the hood of your car.

15. We are relishing the fact we have such a variety of stores again within 15 minutes. A dollar store, home depot, Costco. Goodwill…and so much more.

16. Clamming is some of the easiest and fastest ‘fishing’ we have ever done.

17. I forgot how much time it takes out of the day washing dishes by hand, but I better get used to it.

18. If you don’t feel like pumping your own gas, take the 10 minute drive to Oregon. It’s cheaper, they pump it for you, and there is no sales tax.

19. It is windy here!

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20. It is rainy here! Locals tend to measure how much it is raining by the times a week they mow the grass.

21. Number 19 is not a lie, but there are honestly Gorgeous days here. A Lot of them. I just have to say it is really rainy here, because we want you to think that. And it is true.

22. The humidity doesn’t do much for any good hair days.

It is always fun to learn the little kinks of a new house, a new area, a new town. I know the coming weeks will present many learning opportunities for us, but we have already learned quite a bit being here in the first week.


We have arrived

Day 1: We threw the last of the odds and ends into the truck, said a few tearful goodbyes and left Chelan. Such a bittersweet moment and I would have relished in it a bit longer but i was towing a boat for the first time and I had no time for tears.

Ranger was bouncing along in the Uhaul towing our 2nd car. We would like to say that the trip went on without a hitch. But there were a few minor bumps, luckily non of them overly serious.
#1: It is pretty tricky to drive a car onto an auto transporter when it won’t start. Thanks to youtube we solved our problem.
#2: We had just made it out of the mountain pass, filled up with fuel and were back on the road.

-side note- we finally have the mountain passes down! There is literally zero areas to stop and pee when your driving some of the passes. A good 3-4 hours sometimes! We made it all the way through, barely, without having to pull over and soak a tire. It’s the little victories.

My phone rings, it’s Ranger, “Pull over!”. Of course I ask why and was simply told to “just pull over”. The strap we had the boat secured to the trailer had come off and was doing a nice little dance in the wind. Luckily Ranger didn’t trust me enough pulling the tin can that he stayed behind me the whole trip for just this reason. Catastrophe avoided.

About 7 hours from take off we finally pulled up to the park we will be living in. We all pile out excited to go explore the house, and a few of us doing a pretty urgent potty dance. All the doors were locked. We were locked out of our own house. After a dash to a restroom, a few fun rolls down the hills, and 45 minutes later…someone came with a key.

Another Ranger wife and her three kids came over to help unload. We were so very appreciative for not having to do it all alone. And surprisingly 2 women, 1 Ranger, and 5 kids under 12 can tear through a Uhaul like the best of them. Ok, so it did take over 2 hours. But come on, we had 5 kids “helping” and no real muscles to lift the heavy stuff.

It was also Juniors birthday. So I managed to whip up a home cooked meal and strawberry muffins while digging through boxes for the right utensils. We all fell into bed exhausted.

Just as I closed my eyes i heard a flutter come barreling into our bedroom through the open window. Ranger stood at the doorway, lips frozen in the shape of an UHOH. A bat was now fluttering like a mad man around our bedroom. Then the boys bedroom, then the downstairs. I pulled the covers over my head telling Ranger to tell me when it was ok to come out. Finally working up the courage to come out from under the covers we started blocking off rooms. We finally trapped the creature and made ridiculous motions and gestures with poster boards guiding him right out the front door.

Lights out. Good night. 

Day 2: Is this really only the 2nd day?
Woke up at 7. Fought with mr crabby pants about putting on socks for 20min. Rushed out the door in search of a clam gun. Found one the first place we stopped. Then off to go drive onto the beach.
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Within 1 minute of being out on Long Beach we stuck the gun in the sand and pulled out a clam! We left there with 30 clams in our buckets and our backsides soaked.

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Back at home I figured I should probably start unpacking since I hadn’t unpacked a single box yet. Literally all rooms were completely unusable. All day i was sorting, and running boxes upstairs and downstairs. Shoving dining room tables and couches to the right rooms. Hanging clothes into closets. Hunting down dishes and food boxes. Filling cupboards. Emptying box after box after box. etc etc etc.

Many hours later i’m sitting down for the first time today. To lazy to make any tea, but enjoying a sunset over the water tucked into my over sized chair I finally dug out underneath the ruble today.
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This old house has many quirks and non-functioning kinks to be worked out. I’ll be washing dishes by hand from now on. Taking baths instead of showers for awhile. Chasing away mice instead of spiders. Finding screens for the windows so bats don’t mistake our home for their cave. And the list goes on.

But this old house is turning into a home. It’s quite charming and beautiful and if a 100+ year old house could talk…oh I can only imagine the things it saw and the stories it could tell.
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So good night again. Tomorrow we go to town.