Always be Prepared to Punch a Raccoon in the Nose

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Before we get started, a brief update on Wife Watch 2018: It still hasn’t happened. We received a large snow last night. She has skidded a few times, but as not went down. Thus has been a brief Wife Watch update.

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a city slicker through and through. I was raised with technology and all the amenities that comes with not having to rough it out in the rural life. My dream job is office work, and I barely know how to change a tire on my own car. And yes, my hands are very soft and velvety thank you very much.
My wife on the other hand was raised in backwoods Arkansas. Her grandpa (who was also her guardian) was a farmer. She road in the back of pick-up trucks that traveled 80 MPH down a gravel road. Her hands…. not so velvety.

She brought to our marriage one of her traditions.


I’m the type of person that, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right. So, even though I dreaded the prospect of the great out doors, I demanded that we only use a tent with little to no electricity. We even invited my brother along for the ride.

The scene has been set.

[Further info: This took place years ago when my oldest was about 2, and my wife was full term pregnant with my second. No, it wasn’t a smart choice.]

The most important thing when camping other than food and shelter is to keep a fire going. We thought we were so prepared. We had purchased a couple of those EverBlocks that are supposed to make sure your fire stays lit by burning slow, and the best lighter torch money could buy. [Tip #1: Be sure to purchase firewood as well.]

The camp site had previously experienced sever flood conditions within the last year, and some of the smaller trees had not survived the experience. My brother and I noticed all the dead wood sticking up out of the ground. I had watched on Wild Discovery (Now Animal Planet for those of you who are still young) how adult elephants will place their front legs on small trees to knock them over.

Idea! I’m fat like an elephant!

The two of us proceeded to knock over all the dead trees in the vicinity.

Many of the trees were dry enough that we were able to break them apart to fit into the fire pit. [Tip #2: If you run out of wood, or forget to buy some, bring a saw or hatchet.] After building our pile nearly to where we wanted it, we discovered a tree that may have been too much for us to handle. My brother held the log at an angle, while I jumped on it with all my weight only to be catapulted feet away. We developed a brilliant idea. I grabbed one end of the log, he the other. With our full speed, we charged a large tree hoping to snap our dead one. Ashlee came close to delivering a baby with how hard she laughed at us while we were laying on our backs. Our tree, still solid. Now, you may think the tree bested us, but we showed it who was boss! Our camp fire became the proud owner of a full size tree.

We set out to explore the campgrounds. This was way before we had a vehicle of our own, so all the exploring was on foot. About 2 miles from our specific site, there was a boat harbor that we just had to see because it allowed us to feed fish with little pellets. Then we had to head back. Quick reminder, I’m fat, she’s pregnant, and it’s camping season. This means that the sun was scorching, and our legs hurt. Thank God for the kindness in people’s hearts. We used her beach ball sized bump to our advantage. A nice family gave us a ride back to camp in the back of their pick-up. [Tip #3: Bring a vehicle, or be pregnant so that you can get from point A to point B.]

To top it all off, it rained that night. Not a drizzle. Not a small shower. It was the kind with thunder and lightning. Us without a vehicle, we brought our cooler of food in the tent.

My wife and I were awoken to scratching at our tent. Being the absolute mountain man that I was, I summoned all of my masculinity, flexed my muscles, and punched it in the nose through the tent. I heard a growl, and we were bothered no more. Husband:1 Nature:0. [Tip #4: When bringing food into your tent, expect to be visited by raccoons.]

We learned this day that we may not be the best campers in the world; however, that did not prevent us from trying again every year to follow.

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