Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Grand Day!

Yesterday was a day to celebrate if there ever was one! I was able to make a mortgage payment, which I know is a mundane and everyday task for millions of people, but on this farm it is a holiday every time the call to the bank is made. And if that wasn't enough, I was able to pay two smaller bills and mail out a student loan payment. Again, not anything spectacular on its own, but when I am able to do these things living the life I love it deserves a bit of celebrating, by Crow. Alas, no whiskey was poured and no horse was ridden up into the mountains. No, yesterday's celebration involved talons and cottontails. I was going hawking!

I took Italics over to Livingston Brook Farm. The picture above was taken by Patty, who is getting over a touch of the flu. I don't write about Italics much but know that yesterday was spent with a good bird, good people, on soft ground in pursuit of cottontails. Mark and I hiked into their hillsides with long staves to whack brush with and Italics watched from his perch as his "hunting dogs" tried to flush some game for him. That hunt didn't end with a rabbit in his talons but it did end with me calling him back on the lure, a large chunk of Cold Antler Lamb attached for the bird's dinner. Not a bad payment, at all.

After hawking I had to pick up some hay and feed, which I did in the town of Salem. My truck is repaired thanks to my good friends and their valuable time and kindness. I drove home smiling, absolutely drunk on the day. It started with chores, seeing after the animals I adore, then paying those bills, then writing more of Birchthorn (which, by the way, hit a true breakthrough in plot yesterday and will be updated this week with several thousand new words, Kickstarter Backers!).... and after all that goodness I got to hunt with friends and my bird on a calm winter day. So I was just happy, just damn happy.

When I got home it was around 3pm and so I started evening chores early. I checked everyone's feed, water, bedding and other small chores and when that was done could feel my stomach rumble. I had not had the chance to eat anything yet and was so looking forward to a good meal, but with daylight left I wanted to head outside and get a little more rabbit chasing in. So I grabbed my trusty H&R shotgun and small small game rounds and walked into the woods.

I had been tracking game for weeks now, and knew that rabbits were back in the woods. Their tracks are everywhere when it snows, and I had already scouted some warrens and holes. I knew how to look through, not at, the low brush and take just a few steps and then watch for a scamper or hop. It took moments in some thick undergrowth to see a large cottontail. I aimed and shot. The buck made it ten yards before lying still. I whooped! A rabbit was a meal for me, a meal for the hawk, and a long-awaited first taxidermy project. I had been researching that skill for a while now and decided the first small mammal I took in good condition would be my first project. All the references I looked into said it was better to start with squirrels but oh well, I find it is best to just start. And start I shall.

I walked home last evening in the late-afternoon light. I had a gun over one shoulder, a rabbit by the hind feet in my hand, and a smile I could not shake. I could see the smoke rising from my little house, a promise of a warm retreat for the huntress come home. There would be a good meal in that home, and kind dogs, and all the joys that come with it. And the smile was because this little patch of land never stops surprising me, it never stops taking care of me. The farm animals, the wildlife, the water in my well. The dogs, the horse, the hawk, the gun. All of this is here and I am here with it and for that I am grateful. I mean, what a day! And to end it all with a successful hunt was better than I dare ask for.

Some days are just good, and too good not to share. And that's all for now.


Blogger Casa Colibri said...

I love this! I can feel your joy.

December 30, 2014 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

Hooray! Gratitude like this is infectious. I think you're reaping the reward of happiness with all the love you've put into your land/home! (And look at Italics!! All grown up and gorgeous!)

December 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Robin Follette said...

It's a great way to usher the year out. Good for you!

December 30, 2014 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Sylvan said...

A well-deserved respite from the constant stress of hanging on...so happy for you, Jenna! Thanks for sharing.

December 30, 2014 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Sam I Am...... said...

It's a treat for me to find your blog as you are living the life I always wanted to live. So glad you are doing it. I used to have a little acreage and horses and I was getting to that point but got ill. But I had it for awhile which is more than some. I'm glad to see you doing it on your own too. I've lived alone for 20 years and they've been the happiest! It's not for everyone but it works for me. Congratulations on your successful hunt.

December 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I am cheering for you regarding paying on debt! That is no small thing. Any time I am able to kick some money at any debt is a time to cheer. Over the holiday, I took on a dog walking/feeding job just to have a bit of extra money to throw into my very lean savings account:) And 4X's a day job is alot thru Christmas when you have kids! But the money is appreciated. Major Kudos to you for paying on several bills at once. Hoping 2015 is financially more comfortable for you.
Sam I Am-Good to hear someone else who has lived alone and felt those were good times:) Us single homesteaders gotta share the positive times!

December 31, 2014 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Zola Crofoot said...

Hi Jenna, I just picked up my new Fiddle. A gift from my husband. Brand new for me, a new chapter. I have a little piano back ground. I look forward to a Noisy new year!!!!! All your inspiration, I keep following and love all of it. Happy New Year.

December 31, 2014 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger the Breeze said...

I always wanted to hunt and pretend when I hike overland with my dog. She likes to pretend too, although will secure her own cottontail here and there. All sounds refreshing as self sufficiency is one of the best feelings.

December 31, 2014 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Paulette said...

Happy New Year, Jenna. Thank you for another year of sharing your life with us. Your posts continue to be an inspiration.

December 31, 2014 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger English sheep gal said...

Happy New Year, sounds like you had a great few days. Interested to know your favorite rabbit recipe?

We have been rewatching our River Cottage DVD's, always get a giggle from the rabbit episode where Hugh meets the ladies from the Women's Institute, as they prepare a range of rabbit dishes, & then he models the items they have all created from the fur - ranging from the expected rabbit fur mittens, to his unusual fur trimmed glasses, & his very small rabbit fur underwear!

Really enjoyed the vlogs in 2014, hope you have time for more in 2015

January 1, 2015 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Anytime a bill is paid a celebration is in order. : )

January 1, 2015 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

That's a nice sized rabbit.

January 1, 2015 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Blessings for such a bountiful day!

January 12, 2015 at 2:22 PM  

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