Spring seems to be here finally. I’ve been out and about enjoying the season. Mushrooms are popping up and I have found two batches, enough for dinner each night. Turkeys are gobbling but that season opens up mid next week and I thankfully have a week of vacation to enjoy it. I’ve also been transplanting a bunch of trees at the woods to create a screen and increase some habitat. its a lot of work but very satisfying. I was able to get some fishing in these last two days. First showing a friend how to fly cast and in the process caught a couple of small Blue Gills. Today I tromped through a river with a friend and caught nothing but still enjoyed the time out. While in the river we heard a tremendous crash of a rotten tree. When finished and drove back to the spot where I had left my truck we came across the tree. It was completely blocking the road. Lucky for us it was rotten so pretty light. Our only trouble was a couple of dazed squirrels who refused to leave their now destroyed house. My Bees are out and moving. I had two hives going into the winter and one survived and it is going pretty strong so hopefully I’ll be able to get a little bit of honey off of them. But it depends on the weather and spring honey flow.
This is this year’s Paschal Candle. The Paschal Candle is used to represent the light of Christ in Catholic rituals. We use it during baptisms and funerals and it plays a big role during the Easter Vigil. So much so that it has an entire hymn dedicated to singing its praises as the light of Christ. It is one of the most beautiful things to see each year as we gather around the Easter fire to bless the candle and bring light back into the Church after recalling Christ’s death the day before. This year I wanted to place the cross, Alpha and Omega, and year background or a field. I had what I thought was a nice stencil to use but it turned out to be impossible to really use the metal stencil on the candle. I just couldn’t get it wrapped around tight enough to the candle. So I had to go to plan B. I used a water motif and made the Cross and painted the writing in a complementary color. I’m pleased with the outcome, although it does look a little 70s or 80s in style. I wish the stencil could have worked but sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan. But again I think the design works and it’s more unique than buying one from a catalog.
This last weekend ushered in Passiontide. The last two weeks of Lent. The most visible sign of the season is that the statues are veiled with purple cloth. It’s a striking sight, somber but beautiful. We had our adoration period which lasted from Friday morning into Saturday evening. Over the last couple of years we have a youth lock-in. It’s become something that I and our youth minister look forward to each year. The lock-in begins with Evening Prayer and Stations of the Cross with other parishioners. We then typically play some games, one of which is a miniature game that I put on. This year it was a zombie game in which the kids or their characters had to make their way through an infested industrial dock to hop on a ship to take them out to safety. There were about 8 kids who played and I always find it interesting how they play; will they work as a team or will they split up? This year it turned out to be both. They started to split at the beginning but then came back together to work to defeat the zombie horde. I think this is the first game in which every character survived which helped all of them to have fun. Some of the kids who had played before were surprised that everyone survived. It did help that none of the players tried to do something silly. After the zombie game was finished we headed back to church […]
I’m terrible at Christmas. It’s the busiest season of the year for most of the priests I know with everything we do during Lent crammed into 4 weeks instead of 6. So normally gifts consists of gifts cards or leaving it to my sister to pick stuff up for me. This year I had the idea to actually make my nieces and nephew their gifts. It started with the toy soldiers for my nephew. I have seen some sets out there were the soldiers were made from a cloths pin and then customized with look the part. I decided to make the American Revolution; British Grenadiers and American Continentals, not that a three year old would know the difference. The cannons were made from PVC pipe and wood and they fire a 1 ½” cannon ball. They turned out pretty good and of course it took him all of three seconds to find the weak spot and break the firing mechanism on the cannon but that was an easy fix. He needs a little more coordination before he will be killing his foe. I also made him a tent because I’m a bad uncle and did not have it ready for his birthday the month before. His sisters got a tent as well so he will need someplace to call his own. It’s a simple A frame tent made with small trees cut down and lashed together to form a frame. It came out well but its pretty dark in […]
As the Lunar eclipse was taking place this morning I was climbing a tree and trying to get in some hunting between life and the rainy weather. Before the eclipse was over I had a doe down on the ground. It was the quickest hunt I have ever had. Between waking up and taking the shot it was 40 minutes tops. I had only been sitting in the tree for a couple of minutes before two doe and two fawn worked their way to me. My guess is they were heading to their beds and the tree I was in was on the way. The first doe was little more alert and actually spotted me in my stand 30ft up. She made her way behind some trees. Doe two was not looking around and she stood broadside to me at 20 yards. Clean shot, easy track, quick recovery and fresh meat for the winter. I’ll be sharing her with some friends this Sunday who will be playing a game and watching the new season of a great show. I’ll be fixing the tender lions of doe two and I’ve been inspired by MeatEater to fix the heart so I’ll be trying that for the first time. Beautiful morning watching a beautiful lunar eclipse and getting some beautiful fresh venison. St. Hubert, pray for our safety and success.
My annual trip to Gen Con was a great one this year. The geek fest for RPGs, board games, miniatures, and fans of fantasy and SciFi stuff attracted about 50K people from around the world and certainly the most of the United States. The club I belong to puts on games during the event and I put on about 11 games in 4 days so while fun it is exhausting. My games went very well and I only had a couple folks who tested everyone’s nerves during play. The 3D Game of Thrones board went over great. Lots of folks gawking and taking pictures. I also put on a couple of 10mm American Civil war games as well as a couple of made up game of 2nd American Civil War with the scenario concerning a communist attack on docks in Chicago. Lots of fun and lots of hours at the game table (about 45 hours playing games in a 96 hour period) The gaming hall was huge this year and I strained my voice while running games with 10K people around me playing games as well. The dealer hall was packed every day at all hours and they had some stuff there that is hard to find at any other time. I am always amused at the coverage that Gen Con gets in the news. They always seem to focus on the Cosplay folks (people wearing costumes) but this year felt like to me there were fewer of these but […]
This spring I’ve done a lot of habitat improvement at the woods. With the help of a friend I cleared some scrub area to plant some small food plots in clover and did some hinge cutting to create thicker areas for deer bedding. By doing so I’ve already seen an increase in the number of deer and turkey on my trail camera. While checking my camera pictures last week one caught my eye and when I went back to it I laughed because in the shot it looks like a cross in the middle of a deer’s newly growing antlers. Of course I immediately thought of St. Hubert who as the story goes was chasing a deer when suddenly he saw the deer appear with a cross in its antlers. It was a life changing moment for Hubert. While this is not a life changing moment for me it is a nice reminder as to why I go to the woods and why I hunt and ultimately a reminder as to what I’m really chasing in life. Psalm 42:1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
Before I put the boat in the water and really start fishing I go turkey hunting. It’s been a bust since I left seminary and the happy and plentiful hunting grounds of southern Indiana. To be fair I really didn’t have a place to hunt my first three years but the last three I have had a place and while I don’t have the free time I had I still am able to get out a few days a season. I’ve always tried to take the week of the opener off because it always falls after Easter and I’m usually ready for a few days off to recuperate from the slam that comes during Holy week and the last weeks of Lent. This year opening day happened to fall the Wednesday after Easter so I went to my woods and friends woods to look for turkey and some quite time away. It turns out that normally there is another season that coincides with turkey season and that is mushroom season and this year it turned out to be my best season. Our woods holds what are locally called the “Black” mushrooms. This subspecies (I guess they are subspecies but I really don’t know) are the earliest to come up and I have heard that if you have these you don’t normally have the other types which are “Yellow” and “Grey”. Well I found a lot this year. My first day out found about 50 and then the rest of the […]
During the Easter Vigil one of the first things we do is bless and candle that represents the light of Christ. Normally parishes buy them already made but a few years ago I learned how to paint them. It’s very easy. Get blank candle, sand it with very fine sandpaper so that it has a matte finish. Then paint it to your liking. There are a few elements required for its use. A Cross in the center, an Alpha and Omega at the top and bottom of the cross, the year placed in the quadrants of the cross, and the night of the vigil 5 nails are placed in the candle to represent the 5 wounds of Christ. Everything else is fluff but it does go a long way to make it more beautiful. During the Easter season the candle remains at the ambo where the reading are proclaimed and during the rest of the year it is placed by the baptismal font and it used during the baptism and funerals. This year’s candle is pretty simple but more colorful than my past candles.
This past Sunday was the 5th Sunday of lent. It has become the weekend that my parish has a 40 hour devotion which has us doing adoration before the Blessed Sacrament for 40 (or so) hours straight. To cover the overnight hours we invite your youth group, confirmation class, and this year our young adults to have a lock-in with these folks taking turns adoring our Lord. Along with being a great thing for our parish it gives me an opportunity to spend some extended time with this group. Over the last three years I have always put on a miniature game. This year was no different. The past two weeks have been very busy and so I really didn’t have an opportunity to set up a big game. This year I amazingly pulled of a Napoleonic naval game. To my great surprise the kids loved it. So much so that we played two games. The rules were very, very bare bones. I had built and painted the ships so that the sails could be removed as damage was taken. The number of sails was used for shooting and movement. And the movement was modified based on the wind direction. It was I-go-you-go initiative system. The game was fast pace and bloody with lots of dice. In fact the second game I up the damage and they rolled lots of dice. And the other receiving player rolled a save to try and alleviate the damage. We played a game of […]