I Wore The Wrong Clothes…

Back in late September, FD started getting his hunting gear together in preparation for the upcoming deer hunting season which would open October 1st. Other years, he managed to get his things organized in late August or early September but, somehow, things did not come together in as timely a manner as usual. Constant business travel kept him out of town much of the summer, and missed communication with the landowner left him scrambling around at the last minute to get set up. On the day he loaded everything to head to the cabin, I opted to go along and help him out. Of course, we both knew I would really not be much help, and would wind up just going along as a photographer. Still, it was rare I was able to go to the cabin with him, and any time I did tag along I was elated. The mostly-undeveloped region where he hunts is a wild tangle of wilderness, and I had never been in that particular area with my camera.

FD opens the cabin up after we arrive. It has been closed up for several months.
FD opens the cabin up after we arrive. It has been closed up for several months.
View of lake from cabin.
View of lake from cabin.

The weather man called for it to be hotter than Hades that day, so I wore what I would normally wear on a warmer day’s trek to the river – the only difference being that I generally wore my work boots in the woods. But those boots were hot and heavy so, for this trip, I opted for my Keen hiking shoes, thinking they would be much cooler and easier on my feet. For the same reason, I also wore lighter-weight pants. These were actually scrub pants that I had long ago discovered were great for photographers in the summer months. What with all the little snap pockets of various sizes, I had room for extra SD cards, a battery, my cell phone, a pocket-sized pack of Kleenex, and whatever else I wanted to tote along. Aside from all the handy pockets, the scrubs provided ease of movement and the fabric was light and comfortable – perfect for summer wear! FD wore jeans, which was more appropriate for him, as he would be doing the work necessary to install his tree stand.  FD and I both wore camouflage T-shirts.

After whacking weeds around the cabin, FD stops to pick burs off of his clothing.
After whacking weeds around the cabin, FD stops to pick burs off of his clothing.
This shows both a green bur and the dried bur. Burs disperse by catching on animal hair or bird feathers, spreading to other areas. Of course shoes and vehicle tires are another effective way of spreading seed. :(
This shows both a green bur and the dried bur. Burs disperse by catching on animal hair or bird feathers, spreading to other areas. Of course shoes, pants, and vehicle tires are another effective way of spreading seed. 😦

When we arrived at the cabin, it was apparent FD had some weed whacking to do before tackling the tree stand installation. Grass burs, along with other prairie grasses and weeds, grew quite tall, right up to the cabin. Not only was this a fire hazard, should there be a wildfire in the area, but it also made sheltered access for rodents to make homes at the cabin. FD noticed areas along the window screens where rats and mice had already managed to get under the shutters and eat away at the fiber glass screens and wood of the windows, and making nests in between. So FD cranked up the weed eater and I took off to the lake, away from the noise.

Right off the bat, the grass burs became an annoyance for me. I had not walked far before I found them stuck to my pants, socks, and shoes. I had no idea they were this bad, and had never had this experience out here before. Thinking back, I had rarely visited the cabin in the summer and autumn months. It was usually springtime when I came out with FD to do some bird watching and photograph wildflowers and butterflies. The burs dug into my ankles and, as I walked along, they worked their way down my socks and into my shoes. In an effort to escape them, I got off the main path and ventured into the woods. At least the grass burs weren’t so bad in there. I found a fallen tree trunk to sit on and began pulling burs off my clothes. Soon, I heard the motor of the weed eater stop.

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I managed a few photos before heading back to meet FD.

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By the time I returned to the cabin, FD, who was already sweating profusely, had his tree stand strapped to his game cart and had loaded a pack with the tools he would need to get his stand attached to his tree. The afternoon heat was sweltering and heavy. As we headed out from the cabin, I was sure not to say a word about my grass bur problem. Men do not want a whiny woman trailing along and complaining about stickers in her shoes! Besides, I had noticed FD had lots of burs sticking to the back of his jeans and shirt from the weed eater throwing them up on him.  If he could tough it out, then surely I could too! So, I loosened the drawstring on my scrub pants and lowered them where they would hang low on my hips. This way, with my pant legs lower to the ground, it would keep the burs from getting onto my socks and into my shoes.

As we walked to the lake dam, I realized the weeds and prairie grasses were nearly as tall as we were! FD was walking in front of me, and I could see the plant debris (pollen and dust) going airborne as he trudged through the tall growth at a brisk pace. I trailed behind, trying to get a photograph here and there, and stopping now and then to get the burs out of my shoes. I soon found this to be impossible to do and keep a decent pace, as I was falling further and further behind FD. I finally just set my mind to deal with the jabbing in my shoes and move along, doing my best to keep up with FD’s pace.

FD is well ahead of me... I'm always behind trying to get photos!
FD is well ahead of me… I’m always behind trying to get photos!
I realize by now, this trek across the dam is going to be an allergy sufferer's nightmare!
I realize by now, this trek across the dam is going to be an allergy sufferer’s nightmare!
FD told me some years back Walnut poachers came in and cut out some of the old walnut trees. Stumps like this, sawed off at the ground, were observed all along the path we hiked.
FD told me some years back Walnut poachers came in and cut out many of the old walnut trees. Stumps like this, sawed off at the ground, were observed all along the path we hiked.
FD taking the last steps up the hilltop where he will set up his tree stand.
FD taking the last steps up the hilltop where he will set up his tree stand.

Over the dam, then up a steep incline of sand rock we climbed, with the sun beating relentlessly down upon us. “Would those clouds to the west never block the sun?”, I wondered. “And why hadn’t I worn jeans?” My flimsy scrub pants were just no match for these horrible stickers and burs. And, if I had only worn my work boots, I would have had a higher top to protect my ankles against the burs. Finally, my negative thoughts were interrupted as we made it to the end of the dam and headed into the deeper woods, where I was happy to find the bur population had dwindled. However, I still had a collection of those stabbing bastards in my shoes!

As we moved on into the woods, I wondered how much further it was to this tree where FD put his stand? We climbed steadily, at times stopping to whack a path through blackberry thickets that had crept into the easier routes around trees and shrubs. Sweat was pouring off of FD, while I was focused on each painful step I took, wondering how long my agony would continue. Finally, we stepped into a beautiful, shaded hardwood bottom, where a swamp lay just beyond. The trees became tall and the woodland floor was carpeted with leaves, walnuts, and acorns. I felt like we had reached heaven! As I marveled at the beauty that surrounded us, FD stopped just ahead. There was his tree.

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Twenty-five feet up in a cedar tree, FD secures his stand.
Twenty-five feet up in a cedar tree, FD secures his stand.
After pulling burs from my pants, socks and shoes, I delight myself in photographing a beautiful swamp area of the lake.
After pulling burs from my pants, socks and shoes, I delight myself in photographing a beautiful swamp area of the lake.

FD wasted no time untying his chair stand from the cart. He strapped a tool bag around his waist, tied one end of a rope to his tree stand, and carried the rest up with him as he climbed the branches of the old cedar tree. After reaching a familiar height, he tossed the rope up and over a limb and began pulling the stand up while I guided it from the ground. It was heavy. I knew I could never climb as high as he was, and I surely couldn’t pull a heavy metal tree stand like that up with brute strength. I asked if I could do anything to help, but the answer was no, and I knew it would be. FD had done this many times by himself. So, at this point, I sat down and took another opportunity to pick burs from my socks and shoes, placing them in a sandwich bag I carried in my pocket for small trash. I wasn’t about to disperse seeds in this area that had remained untouched by the grass burs. With my socks and shoes cleaned of burs, I grabbed my camera and headed out to photograph the swamp, where bullfrogs of all sizes made plopping noises, jumping off sunken logs as I approached.

FD cuts his way through new growth of blackberry thickets.
FD cuts his way through new growth of blackberry thickets.
Heading back now, our goal is to reach the other side of the lake!
Heading back now, our goal is to reach the other side of the lake!
That is one sweaty shirt!
That is one sweaty shirt!
These tiny wildflowers were almost lost in the red sand rock as we headed up towards the dam.
These tiny wildflowers were almost lost in the red sand rock as we headed up towards the dam.
The trek back across the dam was not so difficult - we'd knocked down some of the weeds the first time across.
The trek back across the dam was not so difficult – we’d knocked down some of the weeds the first time across.
The cabin from across the lake.
The cabin from across the lake.

 

FD finished up his task just as a bank of clouds moved in. We made the long trek back, around the lake, up and down the hills, stopping again to cut back a few blackberry plants so that he would have a clear path when he returned to hunt the next week. As we neared the dam once again, I bolstered myself for the agonizing trip through the allergen-laden weeds while my lower extremities were attacked by those damned burs!

Finally back at the cabin, I pulled off my shoes to clear stickers yet one more time. That is when FD noticed my bur problem. He felt bad, as he had not thought to suggest I wear jeans and boots before we left the house. Still, the day was not a loss. I ended up with some nice photographs, and I saw an area of FD’s hunting grounds I had never seen before. I also gained a better understanding and appreciation of what it takes for FD to prepare for hunting season. And I learned a painful lesson about wearing appropriate clothing when hiking in wilderness areas!

Having that "cold one" at the end of the day helped me forget about my painful experience!
Having that “cold one” at the end of the day helped me forget about my painful experience!

© 2015 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


40 thoughts on “I Wore The Wrong Clothes…

  1. I think I would like to go and Live in your cabin.. it looks like a perfect hide-away.. Great shots of an ordinary journey, i love that kind of day.. c

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  2. Love that last picture of you with a huge smile. I’m not sure I’d be smiling after what you’d just experienced! I have two questions though: (1) Walnut poachers? For the wood or the nuts, or both? (2) Isn’t it possible to just leave that tree stand up year round so he doesn’t have to do that every year? (Maybe a stupid question, but I’ll never learn if I don’t ask, lol.)

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    1. You always ask great questions, Kim. I think I was smiling in that photo because the trek was OVER! And that beer was so refreshing! Ha ha! 1) Walnut poachers want the wood. 2) Yes, he could leave the tree stand/chair up there but on that particular chair the cushion is attached to the metal frame. So the cushion and fabric would be ruined in the elements after a couple of years. Also, metal eventually rusts. Good tree stand setups are not cheap. And, there is always the possibility that if a poacher of any kind (we have deer poachers mostly, as well and trespassers for fishing) comes along, it’ll get stolen.

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  3. I like the details like sitting on the fallen tree trunk and picking stickers out of your socks. I’ve tried many solutions to the stickers problem with more or less success. Boots with no laces sounded good but were too lose for strong walking. Keens are the best for almost everythingI Gaiters, the ones we wear for Nordic skiing, would probably help, but so hot in late summer. Your picture of the un-perfect dragon fly is a nice touch of real nature. What a wonderful wild-like place.

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    1. Oh thank you! I do fine if I wear my work boots, though the laces are still a problem with the burs. And jeans are very functional. I had no idea they had gotten that bad at the cabin. I read somewhere that each bur (the bur is the seed pod) carries hundreds of seeds, and seeds may germinate up to 50 years. The problem seems endless in that case!

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        1. I will ask FD. It’s possible he could mow. We have a tractor now, and brush hog. I’m so glad you suggested that. We might see a decrease in the coming years if we can nip it in the bud now! Here on our place, I get off the zero turn mower and hand pull the few I find in one area of our yard. That has worked fairly well to keep them from multiplying here. But not too many people want to hand pull any weeds these days. It’s really great exercise for the glutes!!

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  4. Lori, I must say that you were a determined and tough woman that day. Those grass burs hurt- no two ways about it. The photos are great and I can imagine what the heat was like. The bastards that cut the walnut trees, It’s disgusting. There is one tree in my neighborhood and it’s in my next door neighbor’s yard. It’s old and very tall. I have not forgotten the plant list. Had it ready and I hit the return key really hard and the entire email was gone in a spilt second. I was too put out but will simplify my writing the next time around.

    ~yvonne

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    1. Oh, don’t worry about it Yvonne! Just when you feel like it again… I hate when things like that happen. It’s just overwhelming after to think about putting it together again. Sadly, the walnut poachers cut other trees in order to make a path/road to get to the walnut trees. Terrible raping of the woodlands. I just do not understand thieves and poachers – mean spirited people with no conscience.

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  5. Hi Sundog, do you know what picture # 6 is? Just in case you do not – it’s poke salad! My grandmother used to eat them as greens but they are poisonous and have to be boiled – poured off – re-boiled many times. I stick with spinach, lol!

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    1. Yes Louis, I did know that was poke plant. You have an eagle eye!! Ha ha! I think it’s crazy ridiculous to boil a plant that many times just to eat it safely. I’m with you! spinach is just fine with me! 🙂

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  6. What a fascinating read! I could feel those burrs/prickles piercing my own skin! I love your narrations! I’ve lived in outback places where we have a plant that had prickles called bogan fleas. They form a ball and burst apart and stick to you as you walk through them. They were a nightmare when I had little kids running around. It was impossible to unpick them from socks so they had to be discarded. Somehow the jeans or ankle protectors would always ride up and I’d be forever tearing my hair out over prickles. And kids would often find the only bogan flea plant near the house while wearing good soft tracksuit pants in winter. I’m not sure how I’d go with my allergies on that walk. I can imagine the relief when it was over! Fantastic pic of you at the end. You look so fit and healthy and relaxed. Thanks for sharing the good and the bad. Very entertaining! 🙂

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    1. Ha ha! Thank you, Jane! That’s a real compliment coming from you since you are such an outdoors adventurist! Those bogan fleas sound worse than our burs. We have many types of burs in this part of the country and also various types of “sticky and sticker-type” plants that attach seeds to clothing. I feel for wildlife when they get into these burs. Daisy deer is lucky that I pick burs off of her when I find them. Often I see the neighbor’s small herd of cattle running around with burs knotted up on their forehead hair – they look like little hair curlers, but I bet they don’t feel very good!

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  7. It’s not often we “see” you LSD so I was rather taken aback at the end of the post. I was reminded about the movie, Trading Places, and wondered whether such things happen in real life 😉

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    1. Ha ha! I almost didn’t put that photograph of myself in the post. I look a little bedraggled after a day in the heat, but mostly, I wanted people to see the “wrong clothes” that I wore that day. I really had no idea the burs would be so bad out there. Still, it was a day to appreciate all that FD goes through, and I got some great time out in the wilderness with the camera! That always makes for a great day! 🙂

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  8. Love that final shot there Lori, you are one ‘HOT’ mama! ;). Seriously, I would have been complaining all the way there and all the way back. To be completely honest, I would have gotten my first bur in my shoe and said ‘I am staying at the cabin to clear out rodents OK?’ ;).

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    1. Fran, you’re too funny. I was hot alright… but that is how I look most days that I work outdoors. Who fixes up for nature? That’s one thing I learned right away from Daisy deer… she did not like colognes, makeup, nail polish, or anything scented. She like natural. She doesn’t like sunglasses or RX glasses either! So, I was in my element that day with nature! I really wanted to see where FD put his stand, and I had not ventured on the other side of the lake much so it was an adventure. My camera and I love adventure. Thankfully, we did not run into any snakes, but I did almost walk through a giant garden orb spider web!! We saw a few deer that day, and lots of vultures and bull frogs. Also, there were still a few pretty wildflowers blooming in the heat. The day was a success!! 🙂

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      1. Whenever you can immerse yourself and capture on film the wonder and beauty of nature you are ahead and you definitely deserved that cold one at the end of that day! 😉

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    1. Thank you Sandy. For me, hard work has been a way of life… and quite rewarding, I might add!! Nowadays, I’m enjoying the camera more… sometimes getting photographs entails “sweat of the brow” work! 🙂

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  9. Looks such a magical place Lori 🙂 All in a days’ adventure – life always throws lessons our way. I’ve made that mistake a few time whilst out surveying, of wearing low walking boots in long grassland and I end up with a seed shop in them! Now I wear lightweight wellingtons when doing reptile surveys.

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    1. The practical lessons of life are always learned though experience! I agree, finding the appropriate clothing for our work/excursions is of utmost importance. I bet you run into all sorts of “clothing” issues while out surveying. I think I’d be carrying a little of everything for backup if I were you! 🙂

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  10. You saved the best photograph for last!! What a fabulous smile you have, Lori.
    You all sure worked hard that day … hopefully that cold one did indeed help to heal your wounds.

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  11. Oh, I had such a laugh. Scrubs just not enough protection. I hate sticker burrs – and your hands get all those little burning puncture wounds trying to get rig of them. We used to be really determined to keep brush down around the farmhouse – burrs, rodents, and snakes!
    Lovely cedar tree (how sad about the walnut trees…now I’m worried about our old one out by the road – it was odd at the top from lightning strikes, but it had a big girth.
    Enjoyed the hike ( and I think we have the same shoes.)

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    1. Oh thanks!! Keens are my favorite athletic/hiking shoes. Love the wide toe box. I know a lot of farmers don’t like the cedars because they tend to take over and they are a fire hazard, but I love the ones we have in our woods. They make for great shelter for birds and are a nice wind break. The cabin eighty has a large variety of trees. It’s too bad there is such a poacher problem regarding hunting and trees in the undeveloped areas. We have snakes here… just got used to them after a while. And I have to be thankful to hawks, owls, and foxes for keeping the rodent population down. I guess mowing helps too!

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      1. Most of my Keens have that big rubber toe bumper on the front – important as I’m always stumbling around into things. My mom who grew up in central TX hated cedars which were considered nuisance/trash trees that ruined pasture land there. Cedars do make a wonderful wind block for winters. We had a giant one with a long long branch that hang down very low – we would get on it and bounce up and down like a rodeo bronco after dad cleared out around it – he used to make us the most wonderful organic/nature items to play with and on. Poaching goes on everywhere. Sad. Nothing better than sitting on a porch in early morning or evening and listening to the woods’ conversations.

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        1. Oh, you’ve got that right! There is nothing like the woodlands waking up (chattery bunch!) and the night owls (up all night). This evening at dark a giant flock of geese were headed south. For three weeks now the geese fly south in the morning and north in the evening. I think they’re feasting on some poor farmers land to the south, and then making night refuge at nearby waters to the north. I love the honking! A talkative bunch, aren’t they?

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  12. Hi Lori, My ignorance about hunting practices is immense. I had no idea hunters tied chairs high in trees. I am assuming the purpose of the practice is to sit quietly to spot where the game is – like a hide. If you could climb that high and use the chair, I think you could possibly obtain some unique photos.

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    1. Yes, Margaret you are correct about the purpose of a deer stand. It’s helpful to get a clearer view from above, and to be out of sight. FD even wears, “Scent Blocker” clothing to keep his human scent to a minimum. We have a tree stand that I will use this spring down in our woods. I hope to study the deer and photograph them, perhaps following Daisy and Spirit more than usual. My biggest hope is to photograph the birthing process if Daisy will allow me. I’m not sure she will. She’s very secretive the week prior to delivery. I’m never quite sure where she might be those last days.

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