Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stags & Tankards

I'm inside the farmhouse while the rain settles down over the mountain in heavy drapes of fog and mist. I'm just in from a few hours out in the forest behind the pastures, tucked in a blind and hoping for the sight of stag or doe. No luck. I spent yesterday afternoon in a tree stand, did not see a flick of a white tail in the distance. Again, no luck. I'm consoling myself with, not a mug, but an entire tankard of strong French roast. It isn't a hundred and fifty pounds of dead animal, but it does in a pinch. My dear friends, I am down to the last week of hunting season. Hope grows weary.

After a long, humid, dawn-into-morning sit I came inside with my gun slung over my shoulder, past the sheep grazing the last of the grass these Days of Grace will offer them. The weather went from cold and snowy Saturday to oddly warm. It was 48 degrees or so as I trampled through the woods home to my fireside. As I past the dairy goat pen, the scuttling chickens, the pigs in their slumber nest and watched the sheep eat I wondered if the reason I had not taken a deer was simple natural law? Hunting is the act of acquiring food. I am surrounded by such a wealth of food it is staggering. Why should I, of all people, be given the gift of venison when I am surrounded by chicken, lamb, pork, milk and eggs? I shrugged. I thought of the pickups and men in camp waiting in line at the McDonald's Drive-Thrus for their McEggwiches with a ten-pointer in the bed. Few of us modern hunters have that primal need to just eat what we stalk. Perhaps it's just a matter of luck and chance. As the author S.M. Stirling says*, The dice have no memory.

So I will keep trying for a deer until Sunset on Sunday. That's the end of rifle season here and I do not have any weapons or permissions to hunt beyond that time. Honestly, part of me welcomes it. When the clock runs out I can finally hang up my hunting kilt, put the bullets away, and tuck into a hot cup (or wassail) of coffee on mornings like this. I've lived 30 years so far without shooting a deer. I can make it another.

In other news, I am finally getting some sides put up on the horse's barn this week. Brett is coming to help out so it'll be done right. I can milk a goat and turn her harvest into soap, cheese, and milkshakes but hand me a hammer and nails and you have yourself an emergency room visit. I am not gifted in the realm of making wooden things out of larger/other wooden things. I envy folks with any sort of building/carpentry skills. Very much so. It's good to finally get them into some 4-season shelter. We've been lucky that so far only rain and sprinkles of snow under a 1/4 inch has hit the farm. As a thanks for his hard work I plan on cooking Brett and any helpers who show up to aid in the barn work a dinner to remember!

Somewhat related news: I should be heading over to Tink's to get my repaired cart. Someone asked me how I broke it and I'm not sure I wrote about this, but back in the early fall I took my friend Ajay and I for a ride through the mountain trails here and the old 1940's bike spokes couldn't take our combined weight over their rust. So think is repairing the rust with some welding and I am no longer taking passengers older than 12 on my cart! I hope to get a larger, more practical cart in the future like a meadow brook or a fore cart but right now it isn't in the budget. Someday!

You folks enjoy this rainy Tuesday. If it's not raining where you live, just click here. (That site is simple but might be the best thing on the internet.) And if you see any deer, point northeast and send them that way. I'll take a drifter!

*Then again, he would also say aphorisms are worth their weight in gold.

11 Comments:

Blogger Alicia-Marie said...

I love the "tankard" in the picture, especially the color and knotwork.

Have a great day!!!

December 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Jenna,
Have you seen the movie Escanaba in da Moonlight? If not, you must give it a chance. It's about a bunch of guys at deer camp. The first time I watched I thought, "That's two hours of my life I'll never get back." But in a few months I wanted to watch it again! It's hilarious! It has become tradition at our house to watch it the weekend before opening day.

December 4, 2012 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Absolutely love the "tankard". Can you tell us where you got it. Especially love the celtic knot, matches some jewelry my sister bought in Ireland.

We're having 69 degrees today, not at all December weather. Hopefully we'll have some snow for the Winter Solstice. Fingers crossed!

Carol Bailey

December 4, 2012 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Love the "tankard", love the beautiful green. Really love the celtic knot. It matches some jewelry my sister bought in Ireland.

We have 68 degrees here today. Not very December like. Hoping for snow for the Winter Solstice. Keeping fingers crossed!

Carol Bailey

December 4, 2012 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger Eileen Hileman said...

Jenna, I looked up the celtic word for huntress - my celtic dictionary says bonsealgair - thats you. Regardless of whether you get a deer this year - the description fits. I think of you dressed in a shepards cloak of deep green, bow in hand, quiver of arrows on your back. I wish I could paint because I never read your blog that picture of you doesn't come to mind - if only I could capture on canvas what I see in my mind.

December 4, 2012 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Eileen Hileman said...

I don't think my comment went through - Jenna, I will always think of you as a celtic huntress. I looked up the word huntress in my trusty celtic dictionary - Bonsealgair - thats you. When I read your blog I always think of you cloaked in a deep green shepherd's cloak, bow in hand, quiver of arrows on your back. I wish I could paint the picture of you I have in my head on canvass. Its like you are a time traveler bringing skills once lost back to world that needs them. Offering a simpler way of life for those wise enough to want it.

December 4, 2012 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

So I like this post a lot, but what I love the most is that until you get nearly to the end of the second paragraph, there are no historical cultural markers. Until you mentioned McDonald's eggwiches, this could easily have been written in the century before this one, or the one before that, and so on. :) Nice to be living a primal life, eh?

December 4, 2012 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Mintje said...

There is no other reason for hunting than "getting the food"! Beside this, it is always a pleasure to be outside and enjoying every minute. No matter, what kind of weather is or how the day in the office was...
The lesson you are learning right now, is called: "Not every hunting-day is a day for prey!" :-) ("Beutetag" in german, don't know if I found the right expression.)
Horrido and Waidmannsheil! :-) Go hunting!

December 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Alicia-Marie said...

I am also curious about where you got it.

December 4, 2012 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger high st farm said...

wow, short season. the county i live in has an antlerless-only firearms deer season January 7, 2013 through March 30, 2013. all legal deer hunting weapons can be used during that time.

good luck through sunday!

December 4, 2012 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I put a post linking to the Escanaba movie on my facebook page and tagged you in the post. ;-)

December 5, 2012 at 10:01 AM  

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