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