Since my retirement from the NCDOC aka NCDPS on March 1, 2012, this has probably been the fastest 3 1/2 years of my life and was hoping that things would slow down a little of which the pace I am sure has, but "Time waits for no one." When asked how retirement is going, I usually relate to the person that I have found only one thing wrong with it and a puzzled look usually will be observed on that persons face. I quickly respond by saying, "You never get a day off" and they will crack a grin. Most retirees will tell you they don't see how they worked a regular full time job and get all the things done that wasn't job related called Life of which is very true. Either, we were able to manage time more efficiently, however I suspect that we went at a faster pace not fully aware of it and then again, there is no substitution for youth either. Changing gears a little in the next paragraph, since I am prone to get side tracked seemingly without much effort on my part but eventually make the circle to get back on track, here goes.
We maintain a fairly well stocked pantry of non-perishable food items along with a chest type freezer and two refrigerator/freezers but there is usually something needed for a new recipe or a re-run of existing recipes. One of my grocery shopping places for standard name brand can goods and other things is our local Walmart Superstore which in my humble opinion is a Reader's Digest version of a real Walmart Superstore and I have nick named it Wally World as others have done too. Most of the time, I will run into several retired State Employees and a good conversation usually happens, however I try and make it a point not to hash out anything to do with our former jobs. Thirty-three (33) years in that environment is definitely enough for a lifetime or it is for me personally. There are many people that have no interest outside of their employment and they live for that moment only and each to his or her own; their work is their Life. I tell folks jokingly, I would drive five miles out of the way just to avoid the place, which is a good bit of embellishment for sure; it sounds good anyway. I definitely have not been back at my former NCDOC aka NCDPS place of employment to visit anyone and that is a fact! I still have personal contact with a few of my friends from the NCDPS and I don't want to give the impression that I was unsatisfied with that career. Over the course of 33 years of State Government Employment, I had some great duty assignments of which many carried a sizeable amount of responsibility and trust, especially the past 15 years of which it wasn't really work because it was "like putting a rabbit in a briar patch." My bride and I are enjoying this retirement phase of our Lives and give daily thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior for his many blessings and our Salvation.
My bride and myself have made a couple good trips each year and we do get out and about much more since our retirement visiting family and friends more and frequent our favorite restaurants on a weekly basis of which none are located here in our "one horse town" and sometimes more often which helps keep our waist line from getting any smaller. My bride has her own daily and weekly routine which keeps her busy as well and we both maintain a laid back type of lifestyle without having to be on the go every single minute of the day to keep ourselves entertained and we both do enjoy the company of each another looking forward to our 48th wedding anniversary. However, I have many hobbies; e.g., woodworking, photography both nature and food, hunting of various types; e.g., archery, turkey, deer, small game, rifle hunting, black powder aka muzzleloading and sometimes revolver hunting deer, fishing, fly fishing, musical instruments although I play less than ever, cooking and the list keeps going. I try and have a fresh project going to keep the mind and body active.
The past few months, I have been busy working on updating some of our Coley and Trexler genealogy and that project has kept me pretty well occupied with my "spare" time if there is such a thing as spare time. With that project winding down with a few loose ends to complete, I started getting ready for our annual Archery 2015 hunting season but delayed my hunting until next month when it cools down. I already created a Hunting 2015 page and hopefully there will be some fresh venison in the freezer sometime by the middle of next month of which I usually document and share my hunting stories, pixs and venison (The Fruits Of The Harvest)!
To give a little sampling of my simple Retirement routine the past few days of September 22 and 23, 2015 of which it doesn't take too much to entertain myself, I will give a short narrative account. My early morning habit is to shave and shower first thing or elect to get a cup of fresh brewed Java aka coffee full high test strength, not the unleaded decaffeinated kind, black with no sugar and sit in my custom made swing to listen and watch all the early morning activities of Nature unfolding before the sun is visible on the eastern horizon and watching that big golden ball of fire with its Crepuscular Rays slowly coming forth through the distant tree line displaying a serene and tranquil picture bringing about both beauty and warmth permeating the inner soul. This is part of my morning meditation of which I have written a couple short stories detailing what I have heard, seen and smelled when I was off from work and took pixs of the local flora and other things and that was on August 2004, years before my retirement.......grin if you must again!
Yesterday, while enjoying my morning cup of coffee in the front yard swing, there was a wonderful breeze blowing with the temperature a little on the cool side and sometime after 8 O'clock, a Duke Energy contract tree trimming crew from South Carolina arrived and were setting up to trim our property adjacent the power line which has some tall pine trees and other species that have limbs grown very near and into the high voltage power distribution main lines. Below is a pix of what it looked like this Spring 2015.
The below pix is what the area looked like on June 20, 2012 when I removed a couple diseased maple trees adjacent our driveway and you can see how much the undergrowth has grown since then. The red clay certainly is sparse of green grass.
I have really enjoyed the five (5) year old undergrowth since it offered good concealment of the adjacent property at the crest of the hill on the far side of our woods which shielded and obscured their vehicles in the driveway but with the overhanging limbs from the pine trees and sweet gum trees, the power would flicker off and on during heavy wind and rain storms the past year or two and sometimes would remain off for an hour or two. When Carolina Power and Light owned the Electric Power distribution system, they would have the tree limb growth cut back about every other year and there wasn't a problem with power outages due to high winds locally but good ole Duke Energy seems to be more frugal with their services on spending money to maintain the power line grid right of ways and stretching the distance to the limit so to speak! I took a pix using my 80 - 200 MM zoom lens and the foreground is really compressed and the tree trimming crew are actually farther away than they appear as evidenced by the upper pix:
It took a crew of two, one in the bucket lift doing the trimming with a hydraulic saw and one ground man aka "grunt" to complete the job and they had a truck that later came by in the afternoon and early the next morning using a large power chipper to dispose of all the limbs, small trees and debris, etc. they removed. The crew leader asked if he could pull their truck onto our property to complete the trimming and I gave him permission since he was close to the high voltage upper hot power line. Below is what it looked like today after the trimming and debris removal:
I lost some "privacy" from my swing view but the power line is much safer now and should be fine during a heavy wind storm at least on our road. My bride rides me every now and then about the way I like to remain hidden from view....guess that old prehistoric hunter DNA faulty chromosome is still active in my bloodstream to this date......another grin is in order!
While doing some daily chores yesterday and today like cutting grass, watering plants and bushes, planting some Bermuda grass seeds, rounding up and storing yard tools not in usage, etc., and in amongst all that fun watching others working, I still managed to climb onto my 20 feet high shooting platform and release eleven practice broadhead arrows into a couple 3D deer targets. Later, I observed a very large praying mantis on one of our Azalea bushes and he was goliath in size. That insect killing machines body was about five (5) inches in length not accounting for the length of his legs and the largest one I believe I have ever seen. I had been watching a Argiope Aurantia (writing spider) which had a web a few Azalea bushes from where the praying mantis was hanging out but the writing spider disappeared and no doubt ended up as a meal for the praying mantis. Here is a 2003 archived pix of a writing spider near our carport with one of our grandsons, Travis Lee Huneycutt who suddenly appeared into the picture. Picture was taken with a little point and shoot digital camera. Below is a pix of the praying mantis on the Azalea bush taken with a Canon 30D DSLR camera:
The praying mantis shifted his eyes in this close-up pixs probably hoping that big one eyed glass looking thing wasn't going to make a meal out of him.
I took a few close-up pixs of the praying mantis without my tripod and knew it would be difficult to get a good totally in focus macro close-up pix but managed to get a few that were passable to say the least. While getting the close-up pixs, I watched the praying mantis shift his eyes from his left to right and also upward commonly called the "teenager eye roll" and got the biggest grin going in a while since I could only imagine what was going through the "thought process" of the praying mantis as I got as close as I could to him with the 60MM Macro lens. Below is another close-up pix:
Above pix of the praying mantis looking straight into the camera lens probably thinking "what the heck is this", clean version semantics....remember where the pupils (black dots) of its eyes are located in this pix. After taking a few more close-up pixs, I watched the praying mantis rotate his eyes while looking through the camera view finder and that was a real treat. Check the pix out below:
The pupils (black dots) of its eyes were shifted upward as if to say "What Ever" as I continued to get a few more close-up pixs. I had a barrel of fun taking those pixs and now you know what I mean when I say "it doesn't take too much to entertain myself." To quote the ole cliché, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
After getting the pixs, it was time to get some oven baked chicken going served with boiled red and white potatoes, cream style corn, left over broccoli and cheese, garlic bread and ice cold filtered water of which my bride and myself did enjoy. Afterwards, I started to work creating this webpage.
I have added seventy-four (74) short stories to my website at this hyperlinked location since I began my retirement, added a few hunting stories and doing a remake of many of my original photographs for the recipe section. I enjoy writing and try and inject a little humor into the stories and as evidenced above, my camera is not too far away either.
I give God the praise, glory and honor through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior for his many blessings we enjoy. It certainly is wonderful to live in a country where we have many freedoms that other countries only wish they had but our freedom has come at a heavy cost in human lives and personal sacrifices over the centuries of which we must never forget! America is experiencing a state of serious moral decay of which a return to God is the only antidote.
In closing, "Two Of The Greatest Ships That Ever Sailed; Friendship and Fellowship."
Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 09-23-15.