Still, I was proud of her. The rabbit easily weighed more than she did. While she ate I sat down on my hunting bag among the thorns and read some Harry Potter. When a bird takes her first rabbit (this is like you free base jumping out of a Redwood to kill a deer with your bare hands) you don’t rush things. You let her eat until she is full. That meant watching a hawk take apart a jaw and skull piece by piece while reading The Prisoner of Azkaban and thinking about farm chores. When she was nearly full it was almost dark. I picked up her, the rabbit, and carried both home on the overworked Pineo glove and slipped her hood on. There were serious deer hunters all up and down this mountain today and my “big kill” was the cottontail I planned on splitting with a hawk named after an Actress.
I put Aya back in her Mews and brought the rabbit inside to skin and separate. I only wanted to keep the back thighs. The rest was hers. Aya would feast tomorrow on the rest of this rabbit but I wanted to but out and vacuum seal the thighs for the freezer. It didn’t take long and before I knew it I had written with a sharpie on plastic “Rabbit Legs - 11/26/16” and set them among the lamb chops, hams, and chickens in the freezer. It was the first wild game added to the coffer and it came from a wild animal I had trapped, trained, mentored, released, and hunted beside. I felt a pride that could make a sponge drip.
In other new: I think Gibson has a broken toe. There is nothing for it other than rest and pain meds. But I am without the most important member of my livestock management team. The good news is that Friday is here and ready to step up. She doesn’t have his instinct but the sheep have been trained to see border collies as Authority Figures. If I tell her where to run, lay down, and stay she can work temp.
That is all the dispatch I have for tonight. If you read this, do comment. It makes this mountain seem smaller when strangers paying attention say hello. If you don’t want to comment publicly, just email.