Archive | October, 2014
October 30, 2014
Yesterday morning, I decided to spend a couple hours in a deer stand with my bow. It was my sixth time out, and I was hoping for my first close encounter with a deer. I had seen what I think was a deer far off on the opener, and nothing since.
As I walked through the woods to my stand, I was hopeful. It was almost the end of October, and the weather had finally turned cold. Those two things usually spell the start of the rut, when deer get much more active overall, and finally start moving regularly during daylight hours.
As I climbed into the stand and settled in, I didn’t have to wait long for action. About 60 yards or so back in the woods, I heard the unmistakable sound of leaves shuffling as what I know was a group of deer moved through. They never showed themselves, but I was happy to know there were whitetails in the woods nearby.
Unfortunately, things got quiet after that. I did some buck grunts on a call about every 20 minutes or so, with my final series of the morning taking place about 9:10.
Just minutes later, I heard footsteps behind me to my left. I slowly turned and caught sight of a small buck walking right at me. He got within about 15 yards, then looked up at me. I froze, then he kept on walking. He veered directly behind me, finally turning somewhat broadside, although still quartering slightly to me. Would have been a reasonable shot to take, but I was not in position to draw and would have had to reach around the tree.
Instead, I chose to wait and see if he would come around the tree to my right and give me a shot. He didn’t. He walked out into some tall grass, and I never got the shot I was looking for. Oh well. It was nice to at least see something. And, his rack was very small, a forkhorn I think.
There will be more opportunities to come, especially as the rut kicks in. The weather is finally going to be seasonably cool, and that should get the deer moving within the next few days. When that happens, sightings increase and, hopefully, that will translate to shot opportunities.
Today, I got out into the woods with a fellow employee in the archdiocese, Bill Dill, who has taken up bow hunting with his oldest son, Christopher. Bill and I went to a piece of land he has permission to hunt, and found a nice-looking spot for him. It is the head of a small ravine with one spot at the top where the deer are crossing. That’s a great funnel, and something I always look for when setting up for the rut. Bill is excited, and I sure hope he gets some action there.
Tomorrow morning, I am going to be on Relevant Radio (1330 AM) for a full hour with Jeff Cavins. The topic will be the upcoming firearms deer opener, and we’re going to have three guests — Father Michael Becker, rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary and an avid deer hunter, plus Jon and Kalley Yanta. Jon is a highly skilled bow hunter, and Kalley has said she would like to try it. It will be a fun show. Be sure to tune in at 9 tomorrow morning!
October 27, 2014
As Respect Life Month wanes, I wanted to retell a beautiful quote which has been dancing in my thoughts like leaves twirling from the trees in October.
Last week, Fr. Lenny Andrie, parochial vicar at the Church of St. Joseph in West St. Paul and the high school chaplain at the Convent of the Visitation, reminded his congregation about something very paramount:
“A child is never a threat, but a cause for celebration.” And then he added, “Often unplanned surprises are the best gifts!”
Being parents to twins who were born to us in the autumn of our years (I was nearly 43 and my husband was 44), I can vouch for the truthfulness of Father’s lovely reminder. Little Michael and Peter–our eighth and ninth children– are now five, and we are so thankful they were born. Our “unplanned surprises” bring so much happiness, even to strangers, that we call their natural gift “Spreading the Joy.”
Here are some ways they have spread the joy:
- They get people smiling in the grocery store and on neighborhood walks.
- Wherever we go, passersby marvel at their matching faces.
- A friend who was dying from prostrate cancer used to come over for enthusiastic hugs, which soothed his aching heart.
- Once, at a swim meet, a college student asked if she could just sit by us and observe our boys as they spoke to each other in “Twin Talk”–their unique language that sounds like alien gibber-jabber.
- When their siblings have a bad day, they reach out to the twins for a cuddle session.
- By watching them play, ailing grandparents are comforted.
- Recently, one twin received a kindergarten award for making a classmate happy. (His buddy was crying in Library because he missed his mommy.)
And some people thought we were crazy having these bonus blessings! Don’t we all need more joy in our lives?
October 27, 2014
We were elated when the plane touched down in Minneapolis/St. Paul after traveling for over 23 hours from Nairobi. My body couldn’t wait for a nice hot shower, my very own bed without a mosquito net and a comfortable pillow! The trees greeted us with their kaleidoscope of colored leaves, and our driveway was carpeted with a welcoming golden hue. I was glad to be home, yet … my heart was still in Kitui. I wasn’t ready to, nor did I want to get back to our Minnesota lifestyle.
As one of 21 delegates from our archdiocese who traveled to Kitui for the Partnership, I was delighted to be back in Kenya again. Out of love and generosity, the Kenyans reached out to make our stay enjoyable and comfortable. Everyone, from the wide-eyed smiling children to those who declared themselves to be our “Kenyan grandmothers”, with joy in their hearts, shook our hands saying “Karibu”, “Karibu” … Welcome! We were family. After Mass it is their custom to invite visitors to the front to say a few words. The gentleman who introduced us at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the outstation of Inyuu deep in the Bush, explained the partnership, but also commented what an honor it was that we would come “all the way out there” to visit them.
Honor?? The honor was all mine! But then few of them had ever seen a white person before. When we introduced ourselves as: “Bob and Marcie Peach, married 48 years, with 4 children and 12 grandchildren”, the congregation erupted in delightful applause. Their stereotype of America is everyone is divorced and no one is having children!
After Mass we were ushered outside first so people could greet us as they left church. For a full 15 minutes, children, men and women shook our hands. They huddled around us, and we were generally shaking 4-5-6 hands at a time, there were so many and they were so eager. Finally I turned to Bob and said “I feel like royalty, but I’m just a nobody!” That welcoming sense of belonging stays with me still. With that heightened sense, I pray that I, in turn, will exude that same sense to everyone else I meet.
The Kenyans love their tea – taking tea in the morning, in the afternoon, with every meal, and often in the evening as well. They drink it, however, by pouring hot milk mixed with water into the cup, then adding the tea bag and sugar. While I found it quite good, I still prefer hot water with my tea bag! However, I’m thinking the tea breaks themselves would be good to add to my own schedule.
Bottled water was provided for drinking because even when water was available, water from the faucet was not potable. Because there’s no apparent recycling in Kenya and landfills were sorely lacking, it was disheartening to see all the water bottle trash lying around. Now that we’re back, even though water is abundant here in Minnesota, I find myself deliberately thinking about it, quickly shutting off the faucets. The image related to us by two other delegates of having to shower using only a bucket of water remains with me. We take so much for granted that others have to struggle to obtain just to survive.
It took almost a week before I tackled the mountain of e-mails, paperwork, bills, etc. Somehow they just didn’t seem important. The television has been on only once — that too seems unimportant. I’m still searching for what God wants me to do with all these newfound experiences. We are all His people; we share common hopes, dreams and values; we share the same faith and the same Eucharist. The purpose of the partnership is to experience these things and to make them understood. In my experience, this has been accomplished.
October 24, 2014
We are fast approaching what is the best time for deer activity in the fall — the last few days of October and the first two weeks of November. As each day goes by, I’m getting more excited about climbing into a stand to try for a deer with my bow.
I have gone out a total of five times this season and have yet to see a deer. As discouraging as that is, I know things will change for the better starting in about a week. The deer, which move mostly at night throughout the year, will start moving during daylight hours as the rut kicks in.
Interestingly, although most deer hunters know that the rut takes place, many don’t know what exactly happens and how you can use that information to help you get a deer. I have studied it extensively through material in magazines and online. The good news is, there is no shortage of things to read on this topic!
Based on what I have read, this is what happens: Throughout the month of October, the testosterone level in bucks continues to increase, which gets them moving more and more. They begin to travel more and do things like make tree rubs and ground scrapes. Meanwhile, the estrogen level in does also increases. That is the key to rutting activity.
As that level increases in does, a few begin to go into estrous in October, triggering bucks to start pursuing them. But, the vast majority of does don’t go into estrous until sometime in November. And, it’s that event that really gets things going as far as the rut is concerned.
As that time approaches, triggered both by decreasing length of days and the full moon phase, bucks get more and more antsy. Think ADHD. Just like a child with ADHD can’t sit still, a buck can’t bed down for very long come late October and early November. He can go three or four hours and that’s about it. Then, he gets up and starts cruising for does.
This is what hunters are waiting for. By Halloween, testosterone levels are at or near peak and bucks are on the move. They cruise through the woods and check doe bedding areas both day and night. They can easily go one or two miles on their cruising routes. They follow their noses to try and sniff out the does. As they hit a doe bedding area, they root around in it and sometimes bump the does and get them moving, too.
About two days before a doe goes into estrous, she will emit a certain smell in her urine that tells bucks she is getting ready to ovulate. And, when a bunch of does start emitting this smell, the woods come alive, with bucks running all over the place trying to track down the does. They call this the chase phase. That phase picks up even more when the does actually go into estrous and start emitting an even more distinctive smell in their urine.
It’s a great time to be on stand, but it can be tricky because the deer often are moving too fast for a bow hunter to take a shot. Thus, deer sightings go up, but shot opportunities can still be limited.
That’s why the experts recommend being in the woods just before the chase phase starts. This is called the seeking phase, and the last few days of the seeking phase are now understood to be a prime time for hunting.
Troubel is, it’s tricky to know when this starts because the does will not be emitting their pre-estrous smell yet. And, it marks a dramatic transition from what is known as the October lull. For some reason, deer often decrease their activity in October for several weeks before the end of the seeking phase starts and deer get moving again.
All I can say is, pick several days in late October and go sit in a stand. You will know in just a couple hours or so if the bucks are actively seeking does. What I recommend is sitting in your stand at dawn until about 9 a.m. If you don’t see anything, climb down and come back again in a few days. Every day that passes in late October brings us closer to prime time.
Another thing to pay attention to is weather. That is a HUGE part of the equation and I can’t stress this enough. Research has shown that, while deer activity is always strong at night, it varies during the daytime in direct relation to the temperature. When the daytime temperature is 45 degrees or less, deer will be active. When it gets above 45, daytime deer activity decreases significantly.
So, when you’re planning your hunts, look at the forecast. If it is below 45 for at least a little while in the morning, get out there and hunt. If not, wait for a colder day.
Keep in mind, if the high for the day is 50 0r 55, the hunting can still be good if the temperature stays below 45 for a while in the morning. That’s why I prefer to hunt mornings at this time of year. If you look at daily temperature readings, it is always coldest in the mornings, usually right before dawn and for a bit after the sun rises.
Deer know this, too, which is why they often are active in the mornings. As each year goes by in my young bow hunting career, I gravitate more toward morning hunts.
Surprisingly, many hunters do just the opposite. Research has shown deer hunting activity is much higher in the afternoons and evenings. The weather’s warmer, hunters can simply leave work a little early, and they can walk to their stands in broad daylight.
In contrast, mornings require getting up early — often earlier than on a typical workday — and walking to the stand in the pitch dark. And, as mentioned above, it’s colder in the morning.
These factors have proved unpleasant for deer hunters, which I think explains why more people hunt afternoons than mornings.
But, I have made the adjustment to mornings. It hasn’t been easy, but doing it repeatedly has made me much more comfortable with it. One of my tricks is marking the path to my stand with trail tacks. These reflective pins cost just a few dollars per package, and they work very effectively in the dark. I have a flashlight with a red beam, which is dimmer than the regular white light but is plenty bright enough to see the tacks.
Make no mistake, it’s challenging to walk to your stand in the dark even with a flashlight and trail tacks — not to mention being a tad bit spooky. But, I have repeated the task enough times to feel very comfortable and confident in doing it. Plus, the action I’ve had on morning hunts does wonders for my motivation to turn off the alarm clock at 5 a.m. and head out into the cold. The other thing I like is that I know I will be able to track deer during the day, which I prefer over night-time tracking.
So far, things have been unseasonably warm this month, but a change is in the forecast for next week. Looks like things will start to cool off on Tuesday, and last throughout the rest of the week. I’m circling Wednesday and Thursday as possible days to hunt. On Friday, I will be on Relevant Radio in the morning doing a special show on the upcoming firearms deer opener. I will have as my guests Father Michael Becker, rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary and an avid deer hunter, along with Jon and Kalley Yanta. Jon is a passionate bow hunter, and Kalley has decided to try it. Will be fun to hear how that’s going for them.
It might be awkward for Jon and I, as we may be sitting there wishing we were in a deer stand instead of a radio studio. But, there will be lots of good hunting days ahead after that, so I’m not worried. I don’t think he is, either.
I’ve got stands set up in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, and have archery tags for both states. All I can say now is: Bring on the rut!
In St. Paul, the name “O’Shaughnessy” graces a handful of buildings at the University of St. Thomas, including the library, education center and football stadium, and at St. Catherine University there is the architectural masterpiece of the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium.
Who this O’Shaughnessy was and how he came about the financial means to support Catholic higher education — plus an amazing variety and staggering volume of charities and individuals — is told in an enlightening new book, “That Great Heart: The Story of I.A. O’Shaughnessy.”
It’s a rags-to-riches tale: Ignatius Aloysius O’Shaughnessy, born in 1885, the youngest of 13 children of a Stillwater bootmaker, graduates from the then College of St. Thomas, becomes the largest independent oil refiner in the United States, makes millions and gives millions away.
Where he started, how he grew his businesses, how and to whom he donates — and especially what motivates him — gives readers an insight into the man behind the buildings.
It makes for good-paced reading, thanks to the journalist’s writing style of author Doug Hennes.
Hennes, vice president for university and government relations at St. Thomas and a former reporter and editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, never met O’Shaughnessy.
He was a freshman at St. Thomas in the fall of 1973; O’Shaughnessy died at 88 in November that year. The oilman’s funeral was held at the Cathedral of St. Paul, and a memorial Mass was held on campus.
“I remember looking out a window from one of the buildings at St. Thomas at what seemed to be an endless procession of black limousines,” Hennes said. “I’ve always been fascinated by the guy.”
Decades later Hennes wrote about O’Shaughnessy for the
St. Thomas magazine and helped with a video about him. That sparked an interest in Hennes to learn more about I.A.
Boxloads of letters
At the Minnesota History Center he discovered 14 boxes of O’Shaughnessy’s correspondence and newspaper clippings, all in files organized alphabetically.
The material painted a picture of the man who is likely known to few who enter the buildings that bear his name.
“Some material even surprised family members,” Hennes said.
— O’Shaughnessy played on the first St. John’s football team that beat rival St. Thomas, was dismissed for drinking beer (at age 16), went to St. Thomas and became a star for the Tommies.
— As part of a marketing effort, his Globe Oil Company sponsored a basketball team, and players on the Globe Refiners made the bulk of the U.S. squad that won the gold medal in the Berlin Olympics in 1936.
— For a short time he was a part-owner of the Cleveland Indians.
— He was offered the post of U.S. ambassador to Australia but turned it down.
How O’Shaughnessy made his millions is interesting: He borrowed money to finance drilling and refining projects and either paid back investors or bought them out when the projects succeeded.
He played a major role in the development of the oil industry in the Oklahoma and Kansas area, risking building a refinery at the height of the Great Depression.
He eventually used a vertical marketing strategy to not only drill for oil but to refine it for multiple uses — gasoline, kerosene, burning oils, turpentine and lubricating oils and greases — and to distribute it under the Globe trademark to 600 independent dealers in 12 states in the middle of the country and into Canada.
“He was pretty sharp,” Hennes said. “He had a shrewd business sense — he had an instinct about what would work and what wouldn’t. And he hired really good people to run the operations.”
O’Shaughnessy was an early adopter of new technologies and methods, and also understood the need to keep employees happy. After starting to give Christmas bonuses, he felt compelled to continue the practice even in years when the company lost money.
Generous beyond measure
Still, it is O’Shaughnessy’s charitable contributions that are the real story behind the man.
“He gave to everything,” Hennes told The Catholic Spirit. The files contain letter after letter of requests for loans and donations, he said. If he decided he would give, he’d write yes and an amount right on the bottom of the letter and write the check right away. Many are for $100 here, $200 there.
“If he was saying no,” Hennes said, “there would be a letter, because he’d always say why.”
While O’Shaughnessy donated millions for buildings at the University of Notre Dame as well as St. Kate and St. Thomas, he often donated only if organizations raised a matching sum.
“He really saw himself as trying to leverage other gifts,” Hennes said. “He was willing to give, but he wanted to get other people involved, too.”
His faith and his understanding of stewardship both come into play in giving.
Hennes quoted him, “The Lord has been good to me, so I figure I might as well spread some of my money around where it will do some good.”
There’s much more, including O’Shaughnessy’s part in the war effort during World War II, his commitment to his parish —
St. Mark in St. Paul — and the meeting with Pope Paul VI and Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh that led to O’Shaughnessy financing one of the pope’s dreams, the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in the Holy Land.
About the book
“That Great Heart” by Doug Hennes, Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, Minn., 2014; 259 pages.
A book launch will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on St. Thomas’ campus in St. Paul. The event will include a reading, reception and book signing by author Doug Hennes.
Other “That Great Heart” signings include:
— Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, bookstore, Terrence Murphy Hall, St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus, 1000 LaSalle Ave.
— 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, Anderson Student Center, St. Thomas’
St. Paul campus.
— Sunday, Nov. 9, after 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses, St. Mark’s Church, 1976 Dayton Ave., St. Paul.
— Saturday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m., St. Patrick’s Guild, 1554 Randolph Ave.,
His father was the pioneer of the village, establishing the African Independent Church. John Maithya Ilandi, now 71 years old, came back to Miambani, Kitui, Kenya, after teaching history in Mombasa until he was 55. Married with 11 children, 24 grandchildren and one great grandchild, he is now very active in St. Mary’s Catholic Parish, heading up their local Catholic Men’s Association. In talking history and politics with him, one notices that the Kenyans realize they are a third world country, but are very proud of the way things are progressing, albeit very slowly! He could tell us more about George Washington than we could tell him about Jomo Kenyatta, the Father of Kenya.
In 1972, when he returned from Mombasa, he built the finest, most modern house in the village, even with a solar electric generator. He has a very small television, but it cannot be watched until he is able to add a battery to his solar collector. John and his wife, Joyce Maithya, proudly showed us the family compound where two of his brothers and some of the children also have small houses. The living room was surrounded with the typical basic sofas draped with white covers that are beautifully embroidered. As we visited, many of the family stopped by to welcome us. While they may not have much, Kenyans are very generous; and it was very important for them to send us off with something. So as we visited, the daughter-in-law walked into the village to buy coke for us to take back to the Parish house.
It was comical that often when we introduced ourselves as “Marcie Peach” and “Bob Peach” that people thought we were brother and sister because we both have the same last name. In Kenya, the surname of the wife and children is the first name of the husband/father. John is his Christian name, as his name at birth was Maithya Ilandi. So the husband and wife never have the same last name.
Our getting to know John and his family … as well as renewing and deepening friendships of the other Kenyans we had met before … certainly reflected the purpose of the partnership. We may live radically different lifestyles, these Kenyans and us Americans; yet the hopes and dreams, faith and family, politics and patriotism are the very same.
October 15, 2014
“God should hang up a mailbox for people to send questions and complaints.”
When your world turns upside down, it may pay to look at it that way.
Young Anna does just that — and takes her grieving father along — in the subtly worded and creatively illustrated “Anna’s Heaven.”
Translated by Don Bartlett from the Norwegian, this picture-heavy and text-terse Eerdman’s Book for Young Readers would make for an interesting parent-child reading time, especially in households dealing with the death of a loved one.
The dialogue between father and daughter mixes the realistic and magical, often terrific role modeling for parents trying to cope with the curveballs life throws.
Stain Hole, both author and illustrator, includes interesting questioning of the role God plays in life’s mysteries.
“Why can’t he who knows everything, who can pull and push and turn over clouds and waves and planets — why can’t he invent something to turn bad into good?” Anna says.
“God should hang up a mailbox for people to send questions and complaints,” Dad answers.
Take this journey to the upside-down world. Oh, and look for Elvis and Pablo Picasso in Anna’s version of the hereafter.
October 13, 2014
The partnership between the Catholic Diocese of Kitui and The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was officially unveiled on October 30, 2005, at the Kitui Cathedral in the presence of hundreds of faithful in the diocese of Kitui and the visiting delegation of 16 members from the St. Paul Minneapolis, Minnesota.
However, the history of this partnership goes back to August 2004, when the late archbishop Bonface Lele led a delegation to St. Paul and Minneapolis.
For some time back, the diocese of Kitui had been working towards establishing international partnerships with external parishes/ Dioceses.
With support from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS); the diocese found a partner; the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who coincidentally, had been on the same road of Global Solidarity Partnership programmes since 2001.
This saw the formalizing of the partnership on October 14th, 2004, at Cannon falls, which was witnessed by His Grace Most Rt. Rev. Archbishop Harry Flynn of the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the late Archbishop Boniface Lele (by then the bishop of kitui), among others
Diocese of Kitui