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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Weekend Away in Northern Pennsylvania

"For what does a man come to have for all his hard work and for the striving of his heart with which he is working hard under the sun? ... With a man there is nothing better [than] that he should eat and indeed drink and cause his soul to see good because of his hard work. This too I have seen, even I, that this is from the hand of the [true] God" - Ecclesiastes 2:22, 24

(The photos in this entry were taken by a personal friend ... my buddy Tim's wife, Rana, who is incidentally my wife's best friend from childhood. All of the pictures below can be enlarged with a simple click.)

I've spoken for a few weeks about buying a video recorder, and producing some videos that allow my subscribers to see "a day in the life of a trader". I don't live for trading. I trade so I can live. While I am working at bringing such a project to this blog ... (I expect you may see the first video around the end of November, or the beginning of December) ... I thought I would get started a little sooner than that, by sharing some pictures of life ... beyond the desk at which I invest and trade and record the videos that you've all come to know.

As I have already mentioned, I spent last weekend at a family cottage in Pennsylvania. A beautiful place on about 7 acres of land, and one that borders the Allegheny River. We have seven jobs when we go to 'the cottage' each and every year.

Eat a lot of great meat. Drink some beer. Talk. Stay up late talking. Sleep in. Eat more meat.



One of the couples that is very dear to us, and have accompanied us each and every year since they were married were not able to go with us this year, as they had just recently arrived home from Hawaii. But somehow, someway, we were able to drink beer, eat meat, and stay up late without them (Sorry Mike and Misty, but the meat-fest-palooza this year was especially great, although we did not attempt last years record of a 'meat only, non-vegetable diet).

We arrived Thursday night at the cottage, and the first task, is basically ... to unwind ... relax, and talk. So that night, I think we stayed up that first night to about 3:30, just talking.

I'm of the firm and abiding belief that from time to time, you need to do things that have absolutely nothing to do with technology. Technology has it's place. But you need to get outside, and do activities from time to time. In fact, I appreciate that at our congregation, we've received counsel to shut off the laptop from time to time, leave the ipod at home, and just 'be'. Be someplace where you can't connect to the internet. Where you have no idea what's going on in the outside world and just play, as humans have done for eons. This is why I brought my small game bow.

Needless to say, we slept in, probably to about 10:30 the next morning. After eating more than enough bacon, I was ready to face the day. My buddy Aaron was with us, and knowing that he loves to bow hunt, I had mentioned to Aaron the night before that I had brought my small game, 62# bow with me for some target practice fun.

Now Aaron and I have both shot. Extensively. Aaron has bagged bear with in Northern Canada with his bow ... so ... yeah, as a hunter, Aaron is light-years ahead of me. I was still digesting my bacon, but I knew that it wouldn't be long before he had the same thought I had. Let's get out and shoot some arrows. For the archers among us, I prefer a traditional bow. No sights. No string clamps. No arm guards. Just a string, the bow, and the arrows. Shooting thus, hones skill. Which is exactly what we did out in the front yard for a few hours.

Now it didn't take long before others that accompanied us were intrigued by watching Aaron and I attempt to plug a small target 40 yards away. So one by one, they began to come out of the cottage, and watch.

Thus, shortly thereafter, we were both demonstrating proper form, and the basics of shooting, especially with my Aarons wife, my buddy Tim and Tim's wife; who is the my wife's best friend from childhood. Stance, arrow placement, draw, anchor points, aiming and release. I had actually forgotten just how much fun shooting a small traditional bow can be, as it's been a few years since I've pulled this particular bow out.

Unfortunately, as you can see, we were shooting at a small target placed on the grass on the front 'yard', from 35 to 40 yards away. Aaron and I were doing well enough at plugging the target. But if we missed at all, we quickly discovered that the arrows would bury themselves in thick grasses and moss in the front yard; making them all but impossible to find (you would figure that two hunters would have thought of the difficulty that can come about from trying to find arrows that have missed their target in thick ground cover ... but hey ... ).

So after we lost the first three arrows, we moved the entire setup to the backyard for another hour or two.

In moving to the backyard, we could place the target against the bank leading up to the cottage, and had our fun back there for some time. Any arrows overshot simply embedded themselves in the bank, which made them much easier to locate.

It wasn't long before we had backed up much farther from the target than what you see in these pictures, and we were attempting 60 to 65 yard shots. I was pleased with myself that I plugged the target both times with a "money shot", but Aaron got the "eating dinner" shot, with a plug right into the center of the target from about 65 yards.

But it wasn't just about target practice with a small bow. The small village that this cottage stands within (Actually, to be precise, the family has two cottages) is simply ... beautiful. Nestled in the Allegheny National forest, there is more than enough hiking to keep one busy for days, while remaining ... "unplugged".

This entire village has an overlook, which is where we began to trek through the woods.

Nothing overly strenuous. But looking out across creation brings it's own rewards. From this overlook, we drove on to a little place called "Hearts content".

Though there are many places to hike in northwestern Pennsylvania, Hearts content has to be one of my favorites (Actually, my wife and I almost inadvertedly spent the night in the woods at Hearts Content, but that's a story for another blog entry).

Hearts Content is one of those places I could (and have) walk around for just hours and hours. Last time I was there, we ran across some porcupine. There is black bear. And during this particular trek, we found what we believe was wild pig sign and tracks. The pine there is incredibly tall, and just leaves you speechless.

After we hiked through Hearts Content for a few hours, admiring the pine trees, it was back to the cottage.

For what you ask? More meat of course!!

And one of the most beautiful things about this family cottage, is that it's back yard rests on the bank of the Allegheny River. Add a swing to the mix, and it's the perfect place to sit, and relax ... and enjoy some quiet.

Before going back inside ... and eating more meat.

So yeah ... that was my weekend. Just a whole lot of the above, as well as some great, meaningful conversations with some people that truly matter to me in my life.

And I really think that it was well needed. Between blogging, video entries, being sick, investing, trading, my volunteer efforts in the community through my congregation, congregation responsibilities, writing "Airelon's Market Tactics", construction projects, and looking ahead to what is going to be an even more busy fall and winter ... I needed to 'recharge the batteries'.

Thanks to Rana again for the great pictures.

For the investors and traders among us? You need to learn to unplug. This is a very demanding business. The success that I've enjoyed and shared over the last few years came with the distinct understanding that from time to time: I had to 'rest up a bit', outside of the sphere of investing and trading.

And for my friends who accompany us to the Cottage each year ... remember this:

Simply because we'll soon be living in Mexico much of the year in 2011 ... does not mean that we won't be visiting, and returning each year to the Cottage, and that lazy river swing ...

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