Why I Blog About The Outdoor Sporting Life

This morning I started thinking about the reasons why I blog…and to be honest, I couldn’t come up with one single, logical answer.

In the beginning I did it largely because it was the “thing to do.”   Certainly during the past few years blogging has experienced such popularity and has been “in vogue” in our on-line society that today you can find bloggers recording their thoughts on just about any subject imaginable.   During the past election cycle, for instance, bloggers wielded so much political power and influence that even the major candidates for office could not overlook blogging as an important part of their campaign strategy.   Some might even say it was bloggers that changed the political winds and ultimately the outcome of the presidential election.

Yet, I’m not running for public office…so why do I sometimes spend more than an hour each day devoted to creating a web log?

In the beginning I did it because it was fun to put thoughts out there for the world to see.   This quickly evolved as my cousin, Gary, suffered through the late stages of Lou Gehrig’s Disease (or ALS).   For the final months of 2004, my blogging was a way for him to continue thinking about an outdoors life as he neared the twilight of his life.   Gary lost his ability to talk as well as most of his motor skills, but he could still move a computer mouse and was a daily visitor to my blog.   I even paid tribute to Gary before he succumbed to the disease in December of 2004.   My blogging was a way to say thanks to a man who made it possible for me to experience the outdoors as a youth and to eventually earn the title of being a sportsman.   I was “connecting” with a person who was once very important in my life…and blogging was the way it happened.

After Gary’s death I’ll be honest in saying that my purpose for blogging had to take a major refocus.   Oh sure, I knew that occasionally a few dozen people would drop in on my site daily to read my entries…but I suddenly had to find a new motivation for writing.   When Gary was alive…I always knew there was at least one person who would read my efforts.   During the past 13 months since his death, however, I have largely been writing to an anonymous audience who knows as little about me as I know about most of the readers.

Still, I realize that when people land on my blog site these days it is likely because of some Google search and the search words that were used somehow pointed to one of my daily entries.   Today, I connect with folks through my blog ONLY when they leave me comments…and fortunately more folks are doing that all the time.

Take for instance some comments that were made on my recent entry discussing Diamond Dog Food.   Check it out…someone who was actually personally affected with the death of his dog took the time to read my blog and to comment.   Even though I would have hoped to connect with this person under much happier circumstances, it was through this blog site that maybe he took a bit of comfort and some guidance on where to turn next with his legal situation.   I hope he stays in touch.

Not too long ago I wrote an entry sort of ribbing two Minnesota Conservation Officers (game wardens) for performing CPR on their dog.   Another CO took issue with those comments and decided to “straighten me out.”   That was great.   I still disagree with his statements…but I accept the fact that not everybody is going to see things the way I do.   I suspect I have many others who shake their heads in disagreement with what I say from time to time, but they are not moved enough to leave a comment.   I applaud everyone who takes the time and effort to jot a few words whether in agreement or in disagreement with what I say.

The summer of 2005 was not a good one for this blogger.   In fact, the better portion of last year was not good as I had many things going on in my life that left little time for blogging or for sportsman activities, for that matter.   I pledge that 2006 will be much different…and so far that is turning out to be true.

So, almost 16 months into this online journal experiment…why do I still find myself blogging today?   It’s quite simple.   When you look at the outdoors as a journalist or outdoors writer you force yourself to see things and to think about the world in ways you ordinarily wouldn’t consider.   Hey, let’s face it…there are some days it’s hard to know what to blog about in this space.

But when you keep your eyes and ears open looking for blog material…it makes you more of an aware sportsman.   It’s not that I profess to have any vast knowledge of the outdoors or writing abilities uniquely qualified describe it.   Nope, I’m just an average sportsman who cares about his heritage and wants to see hunting, fishing and other similar activities shown in a positive light.   We have lots to lose…and so much to gain by taking pride in being who we are in the outdoors world.

So that’s why I enjoy blogging.   In most cases it’s a labor of love to write about topics and describe the very activities that define most of our lives as sportsmen.   Besides, if I blogged about politics, pop culture or competitive sports…nobody important would really care to read it! 

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Yep, I’m Still Alive

Several weeks back I announced I was taking a “Summer Hiatus” from my near-daily blogging attempts. Many have wondered if I was just being lazy and spending my summer having fun on some northern Minnesota lake…or something similar. Well, nothing can be further from the truth. This summer has been spent getting my life in order with literally NO time for much rest or relaxation.

Back in March I got married and this event has changed my life in many ways. First, we are doing a MAJOR renovation to my old farmhouse that has gutted the entire interior and includes a new addition. There is not a room within the house that has retained its original size, shape or function. It’s been an undertaking that I hope will be fully completed in the next two months.

I could not believe what a pain in the butt the whole building (or remodeling process) is in terms of paperwork. The fun part is designing your new project. The sucky part is filling out all the paperwork and complying with all the B.S. the county government has required from me in terms of permitting. It took over three months before the building permit was finally approved. In the process, it cost me several thousand dollars in legal, land surveying, etc. just to get to that point. Finally, however, the project is rolling along and mostly on schedule.

Okay, as if I am some glutton for punishment…this was not the only housing project I had ongoing this summer. We also had to sell my wife’s house and with the help of a consultant…we were told that we needed to make some major improvements to her abode if we were to get the equity we needed out of it to apply toward our main project.

Thanks to the gracious help of Terri and Steve Bernhardt, a good friend who occasionally comments on this site…we have done some major improvements to her house over the past 45 days or so. It is now ready for the market and will be listed as of this weekend.

I guess working on two housing projects…moving contents and commuting daily 80 miles between locations…carrying on my marketing business activities…has left me with precious little down time for much fun. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not complaining (well, maybe just a little). Hopefully I am explaining my absence from the daily blogging routine I yearn to be doing.

As the fall hunting seasons quickly approach I hope to be much better positioned with my time to resume my daily writing activities. Today, I just wanted to check in to let you know I have not forgotten about blogging…and to let you know I hope to be resuming a somewhat normal writing schedule in the very near future.

Take care…and I hope you are enjoying your summer!!

© 2005 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.

Summer Hiatus

Greetings Sportsman’s Blog readers!   In case you haven’t figured it out…during the last week or so I have been on a somewhat erratic writing schedule.   It’s a bummer…but the fact is I have so much going on in my life right now I just don’t have time to stay up on the current news of the outdoor world…let alone taking the time to write about it.

This summer I am doing a major remodel on my house (some say I could have just as well built a new house) and I am trying to sell and move belongings from my wife’s house (we were recently married) and it’s keeping me more active than I really care to be.   Actually, we are both looking at this as being the summer from hell with the hopes that once we get through it we will have many years of happiness together enjoying the life we have built.

In the meantime, I am regretfully choosing to suspend blogging on a regular basis.   Oh, I might have an entry every so often from now until Labor Day…but once the summer winds down hopefully I will be in a much better position to resume the daily blogs.   I hope you understand.   When you weigh the priorities of blogging vs. the priorities of getting our housing situation in order during the summer months…the choice is a no-brainer.

Until then…my offer still stands for guest bloggers to submit their rants or raves pertaining to outdoor subjects and I will consider printing them on this blog site with proper credit.

HAVE A GREAT SUMMER…and we hope to be back with you very soon on a much more regular basis.