Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why Does Camo have Green in it?

Have you ever wondered why the majority of the camouflage patterns hunters wear while deer hunting have green in them? 

After all, aren't the woods just dead brown and gray this time of year?

Well. . .

No, they aren't.  Especially this year, when temperatures have been warmer than usual, and we've have rain, but no snow that stuck.

See for yourself.

Moss on stumps and rocks are green:

Lichens on trees are various shades of green:

Grass and other cold-tolerant plants are still green in the leaf litter:

So, that is why camo for deer hunters includes shades of green.

(P.S. this public service announcement brought to you by the fact that I am still hunting and there are still no deer here! and I am so tired of looking at trees and birds and squirrels.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Deer Disappear Again

The second week of deer season.  More hunting, only now I can only go out in the evenings because I have to work in the mornings.  DH is on his third week of vacation, so still hunts twice a day.  But the deer have again disappeared.  We're both so glad he was able to get one on day seven.  It's not a lot of meat in the freezer, only about 50 pounds or so, but it's better than nothing.

I'm armed with the camera again, taking pictures of everything except deer.


There are apple trees scattered all through our woods, and near the SE stand, is very tall thin one.  Way at the top, 25+ feet up, were some apples still on the tree.  The squirrels were running up nearby trees that were taller, then leaning down to pluck apples off the apple tree.  They couldn't seem to go up the apple tree itself that far; the branches would move and bend too much for the squirrels to be able to get to the apples on the ends.  Then the squirrels would run down to ground level with an apple in their mouth before eating it, or the apple would fall to the ground and they'd run down to retrieve it.


Apparently woodpeckers like apples too.  I was able to watch one eat an apple that was still on the tree.  Bet the squirrels are jealous.

Water that I have to wade through (about 45 feet worth) since it rained a whole bunch the other day.  I could go the long way around, through the field, but that would add lots of mud to the bottoms of my boots, which would then fall off as it dried.  Chunks of mud falling from a tree stand to the leaves below isn't exactly quiet; and quiet is what you want to be while hunting.  So, I wade.  Waterproof boots: a must for hunting.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yet More Deer Hunting

A summary of the next several days of hunting.

Day four, DS2 arrived home from college around 9 p.m. for the Thanksgiving break.  He didn't really want to get up early to make the morning hunt (understandable after being on the road nearly 10 hours driving just about the whole length of Michigan).  He did, however, go out and hunt later in the day.  I was able to snap a picture of him and DH walking out together, DS2 to his stand in the NW corner, DH back out to the maple stand in the NE 1/3.

What a great statement of father-son bonding this picture is.  And how similar they are: same blaze orange hat worn the same dorky way on their head (dorky my opinion, I prefer to never let my hat stick up like that), same cammies, same boots, same height.  What you can't see is they have the same blue eyes, same dark brown hair, same ability to grow facial hair (DH chooses not to shave, DS2 shaves daily but could have a full beard after only about 3 weeks if he didn't).  DH is an engineer, DS2 is attending the same college (his choice) as DH did, going for the same major (again, his choice).

Neither one saw any deer that day.  But I did!  Not until after it was too dark to even see the sights on my gun, but I saw deer!  The aliens didn't take them all away after all!  Hope returns to the hunters!

The next day, I heard deer, but didn't see them.  DH saw one, but didn't take it because it was small.  DS2 was too busy catching up with old friend to go out hunting.

The seventh day of deer season, DH saw deer!  Boy, did he see deer.  I saw nothing back in my original stand (not very windy, LOL), but in the far north, DH saw about 60 does moving through.  So he shot one.  Now, finally, we had some meat for the freezer!

Friday, November 25, 2011

And More Hunting, With a Twist

Day four of firearm deer season, I climbed into a different tree.  It was still fairly windy, and I didn't care to sit on the ground if I really didn't have to (if I thought I could make 3 hours in the wind without dying) because I do prefer an aerial view of the woods while hunting.  Plus, the two days previous DH had sat in a tree stand near the SE corner of the woods--my tree stand is in the south 1/3, but west end, near the field--and he had seen an owl every time he was in the SE stand.  I wanted to see that owl if I wasn't going to see any deer, darn it!

So I took the camera, bundled up, and went to the SE stand (which, by the way, is pretty much blocked from the west wind by all the trees between it and the field) to owl--er, deer--hunt.  DH graciously moved to the platform in a maple tree (the "maple stand") in the NE 1/3 of the woods.

That morning, I didn't get to see any deer and heard maybe 1-2 shots in the neighborhood; we're all wondering where the heck the deer have gone.  Wild speculations abound: the deer were abducted by aliens.  Animal rights activists sprayed our property with Deer-B-Gone.  The deer all ate too many GMO soybeans (this year was lots of soybeans in the neighborhood since the spring was too wet to get much corn in) and died.  The coon hunters we heard in the woods late in bow season were actually out rounding up deer with dogs and hauling them away in livestock trailers. . .

This lack of deer is really getting frustrating.  I divert my frustration with watching for other interesting things in the woods, like this owl DH has been seeing.

Sure enough, about an hour an a half into my hunt, I look over my shoulder and nearly jump right out of the tree in surprise.  About 10 yards away, staring at me, is a barred owl.  I didn't even hear it fly in and land in the tree that is so close.  Those things really do fly with no sound!

Unfortunately, I was too noisy getting the camera up to my face and the owl flew away before I could get a picture.  But it was so cool!  Totally worth not seeing any deer that morning.

I returned to the same spot that evening, determined to be much more suave with my photography skills.  Waiting, waiting, and the owl spotting scene--where I'm startled to make eye contact and nearly fall out of the tree--replays itself.

You have to admit, if you were sitting in woods that were getting dark with the setting sun and you saw this over your shoulder you'd instinctively freak out a little too.  Kind of like something out of a horror movie, this face in the gloom.

 As you can see, I was able to get a cool picture without scaring the owl this time.  I took a couple while it was in that spot, then it flew to the same tree it had been in that morning and I took some more. 

Still no deer this night, but I did get to see the owl try to catch a gray squirrel.  Unfortunately for the owl the squirrel saw it coming just in time to dodge and get knocked off it's tree by the owl.  That gave the squirrel the chance to run into a hollow tree nearby, where it cussed that owl out good, and let all the other squirrels know there was danger.  Lucky squirrel, unlucky owl, and me thinking it was so cool to see the owl in action.

About an hour later that evening, when it was nearly dark enough for me to come down from my tree, I saw the owl zip by below, only a foot or two off the ground.  It was a lighter black streak in the dark, flying silently and quickly as it took advantage of the clear path our 'road' through the woods offered.

The Hunting Continues. . .

Day three, bitter cold.  Ground is frozen.  Wind is howling. The dog's water dish, out on the front porch, has an inch of ice in it.  Let's not even talk about the dismal state of the chicken waterers with their shallow pans.  Time to clear a spot in the basement for them to thaw.

But enough about farm chores.  It's deer season!  Back to the main focus here.

I don my trusty Carhartt Arctic insulated bibs, as well as a fleece jacket that zips to my chin, my orange fleece gator and an extra hat.  These are all additions to my hunting ensemble of the previous two days.  So now I'm wearing: two layers of socks, long johns, a turtleneck, the zip-up fleece, a sweatshirt, jeans, Carhartt bibs, hunting coat, fleece gator on my neck going up the back of my head, a black knit hat, my reversible hat that is fleece camo on one side and orange knit on the other, and thick camo gloves that I will have to take off to work the safety and trigger on the gun should a deer actually come by.  Whew!  I have so many layers on I walk kind of like the tin man--not very gracefully. 

The walk out to the woods, through the open field, is a chilly one.  No, scratch that, chilly doesn't begin to describe it.  It's a frigid one.  This feels like muzzle loading season, or the late doe hunt around Christmas time.  What a change from the temps near sixty we had on opening day.  Have I mentioned before the wind we get here?  Seems like the only non-windy days at this little place here are in July and August when it's so blisteringly hot and humid you actually want the wind back.

Despite the wind, I dutifully climb up into my tree stand and settle in for the morning hunt.  I have remembered to bring the camera.  Which is good, because again, there are no deer.

Leaves that are now dry and very crunchy.  Nice for alerting us when deer are approaching.  But also nice for alerting deer when hunters are walking through the woods.  A mixed blessing.

I almost turned into a human Popsicle that morning.  Barely made it three hours, even with all my gear on the wind had me chilled to the bone. 

Throughout the day, temperatures dropped as the wind picked up speed.  So, for the evening hunt I opted to abandon my post in the tree, and instead man the 'apple blind', which is made out of plywood and luan and is nestled into some wild apple trees about 50 yards north of where my tree stand is.  The apple blind has views of the woods and the field, and, more importantly this day, walls and a roof to help shield me from the wind.

I have traded in my aerial view of the woods for one that looks more like a movie viewed on a wide screen television:

A light snow is in the air, small white flakes hang suspended in the wind like dust motes in a summer sunbeam.  Hard to see, but still there (the camera didn't pick them up).

The field, viewed through the top of the door (it's a 1/2 door):

And, the distinguishing feature of the apple blind, the "mouse chair":

The mouse chair came to this little place here after completing a life of service as the driver's seat in my brother-in-law's old van.  When the van was scrapped, the seat was salvaged because of it's promise to be a comfortable spot to sit while hunting. 

At the time the apple blind became the apple blind (it spent two seasons in the far NE corner of our woods before DH decided it didn't have enough elbow room for him, and graciously gave it to me, who at that point had been sitting on an upturned pickle bucket in the weeds near the apple trees), the mouse chair was added to it, perched on a couple of cinder blocks to bring it to the right height.

But it wasn't yet the mouse chair.  The first season I sat in the apple blind, I often had children in tow.  Even before they were old enough to hunt on their own, they often sat with DH or I to experience what it is like to deer hunt.  And their first season when they are old enough to man the gun themselves, we still sit with them until they (and we) are comfortable with them sitting alone.

Well, one of the first days of using the apple blind, DS2 came hunting with me.  He was just 14, and this was when the minimum age for hunting with a gun during deer season in Michigan was still 14.  So, I graciously let him have the chair while I sat much lower (barely able to see out the windows) on a folding camp chair next to him.

The next day, DH went out and used the apple blind. I believe the kids were in school that day and I was at work in the morning.  DH saves his vacation time for deer season, and usually hunts 2-3 weeks straight (he also bow hunts).  Anyway, on this day DH went to pick up the chair to adjust it slightly (if you don't pick it up before trying to turn it, it makes horrible loud noises on the cinder blocks), and when he picked it up he found a squashed, dead mouse.  Apparently the poor mouse had been under the rigid bottom of the chair when DS2 sat on it the previous day, and DS2's weight was enough to crush the mouse to death.

But that's not when it became the mouse chair.  It wasn't until the following year during deer season when I sat in it and could hear squeaking near my ear (the chair has a high back on it) and then felt movement down my back--inside the back of the chair--that it became the mouse chair.

Since then, the hole in the seat has appeared, where mice have chewed into it to make an access from the top of the cushion to their nest inside.

Hunting.  Not for those afraid of mice.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving at This Little Place Here

We are having a quiet Thanksgiving, just DH, DS2, the two DDs and I.  DS1 is deployed currently and unable to take leave for the holiday, so we have left him messages via the computer. 

The morning began with feeding critters, then getting the (homegrown) turkey into the oven before heading out to the woods for the morning hunt.  Back in the house about 10:30 a.m., the TV gets turned on to the football game, and the girls and I go into the kitchen to get busy preparing the big meal for today.

Pumpkin pie, from a pumpkin we grew, was baked yesterday.  Today is apple pie, and DD2 pares and slices the apples while I make up the crust.  Meanwhile, DD1 gets some (homegrown) sweet potatoes washed up and on to cook.  Then she peels and cuts up potatoes, and puts those on to cook also.  Once the pie is in the oven, I punch down the dough that has been rising for rolls, divide it into 20 pieces, and put them into pans to rise before baking.  DD1 has moved on to mixing up a green bean casserole, DD2 is taking the peels outside--apple peels to the chickens and potato peels to the compost bin.

Right before the rest of the food is done cooking, I slice up staled bread for stuffing, then saute celery and onions in lots of butter.  Add sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and some turkey drippings, then mix well with the bread cubes for a stuffing so good even stuffing haters will take seconds of. Before I tired making stuffing from scratch, I never cared for stuffing.  And once I convinced my daughters that mine didn't taste like any they'd tried before--which was always made from a box or bag--they found out that they like it too.  Stuffing is incredibly easy to make.

9 cups of stale bread cubes (put about 10 slices of bread on a wire cooling rack overnight to get stale, then cut into cubes)
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups diced celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
turkey drippings (1/2 to 1 cup, depending on how moist you like your stuffing).

Saute celery and onion in melted butter until soft.  Stir in seasonings.  Add turkey drippings and pour over bread cubes.  Stir to blend, then serve immediately.

The rest of the turkey drippings get made quickly into gravy, and the meal is served.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, stuffing, and rolls.  Nothing extravagant, but all of it from scratch and most of it raised right on the property.  

That is something to be thankful for: this little place here that provides us the means to access high quality and naturally grown food.  The ground to grow the garden.  The zoning that allows us to raise poultry.  The acres of woods that mean we can go deer hunting not by driving long distances to remote areas, but simply by walking 300-400 yards from our beds.  Our children, three quarters of whom are able to be home today, and all of whom are growing to be such responsible adults.  And our marriage, still strong after all these years, despite many trials and tribulations along the way.

Simple blessings.  The best ones of all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hunting. . . Waiting on the Deer.

So, day one was a bust.  Hardly any deer seen, none taken, or even aimed at.  Day two began with high hopes and slightly cooler temperatures.  In my bundling up against the brisk west wind, I forgot to bring the camera with me in the morning.  But, ended up I didn't have anything to take pictures of anyway, except for trees.  No deer, and strangely, not even any birds that morning.  Usually I see at least a half-dozen different kinds of birds, and always chickadees.

The morning hunt of day two was dismal.  No shots in the neighborhood (did everyone go back to work after opening day?), and no deer sighted or even heard on our property.  Sat just as long as the day before, then went into the house to warm up. 

Brief interlude from 'hunting camp' to do some grocery shopping, then back into the woods about 3:00 p.m.  The air temp has dropped and the wind has gotten even stronger.  In my stand, I realize that I'm way too close to the open field--not enough of a windbreak and I'm going to be pretty frozen by the time full dark arrives.

I did, however, remember to bring the camera. So, for your viewing enjoyment and a taste of what happens to your mind when you sit in a tree stand for hours in cold weather without seeing any deer, I present:

Pockets I sewed into the inside of the tree stand skirt when I made it.  Very handy.  Looks like I should have sewed on a few more ties, though, to counteract those pockets.  It's kind of saggy.

My knees, showing off my new camo pants (bought on clearance last Feb. for $7 if I remember right).  I've never had camo pants before.  Really like my new britches!  Now my legs look like trees :0)

Strange but sort of pretty fungus growing on a tree, way up in the air.  The next day this same stuff was totally black and deflated, probably from the cold overnight temperature.

Woodpecker holes in tree behind me.

Fox grapes (wild grapes) still on the vine, about 20 feet in the air.  Those wild grapes just grow and grow and grow, eventually smothering their host tree.  I'm really surprised no birds had eaten them yet.

End second day, still no deer.  Even less shots heard in neighborhood.  DH & I getting frustrated; we're using up valuable time off work sitting in the woods looking at trees, squirrels, fungus, and grapes two stories off the ground, but no deer.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Come Hunt With Me

Up before dawn.  The alarm clock goes off at o'dark-thirty.  Grumble slightly as I roll out of bed; I hate alarm clocks.  The fact that it's going off so very early annoys me; especially as we won't be leaving the house for an hour yet!  All I need is about 10 minutes to get ready.  I'd prefer 50 more minutes of sleep.

Bind unruly hair into a braid, to defy any wind that might arise, and make sure no perfect shots are ruined by hair flying in the eyes at the most inopportune moment.  Potty, put on first layer of clothes, and head downstairs.  Eat light breakfast (today, cottage cheese and a toasted slice of cinnamon bread).  Wait for DH to finish his coffee and wake up.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting. 

This part is hard on my patience, as I am awake as soon as my feet hit the floor.  Years of being off and running as a mom, and no coffee addiction slowing me down.  DH, on the other hand, needs about a good 30 minutes and a couple mugs of coffee before he's awake.  Waiting.

DH's buddy who hunts our property too arrives.  If I hadn't known him for years, I'd feel a bit funny about him seeing me in only my first layer of clothes: cotton socks, long john bottoms, and a turtle neck.  Still waiting on DH.  Waiting.  Waiting.

Okay, he's ready!

Put on second layer of clothes, and head to 'hunting camp', which is located in the basement.  Wait five to ten minutes for DH to get himself suited up, then put on my third layer of clothes, including boots and coat (if I didn't wait, I'd be roasted two minutes after arriving in the basement.  More of the I'm on warp speed and DH is slowly accelerating into his day thing. . .)

Load three shells in gun, put a spare into my coat pocket.  Step outside, rack one in the chamber for the walk to the woods, just to be prepared (going through 300 yards of open field in the predawn, occasionally you find you aren't alone out there!  I've run into coyotes more than once.). 

Walk silently through the field and into the woods.  At the stake placed about 10 yards inside the woods, turn left and pick my way north 27 paces through the trees, then turn east and go 9 more paces.  Find the ladder to the tree stand in the dark.  Climb up, up, up into the tree, ducking under the skirt of the tree stand.  Sit down, then empty pockets of coat into pockets I conveniently sewed into the tree stand skirt.  Chapstick, tissues, snacks, pad of paper and pen.  Settle gun across my lap, and I'm ready for hunting.  Now it's just a matter of waiting for the sun to come up and the deer to mosey by.

All I can see in the dark is the moon.

The view after I've been sitting for half an hour.  Heard a deer snort somewhere over my left shoulder, but it's still too dark to see anything.

The same moon, from the same angle.  Now I can see the trees between us.

An hour passes.  No deer.  Not sight, not a sound.  I have only heard about six gun shots, at varying distances and directions, but none closer than about a mile away.  Very quiet for opening morning.

The view after I have been sitting an hour.  As the sun rises, a ground fog develops in the field and slowly invades the woods.

The view after I have been sitting for two hours.  There have been a few more shots, some as close as about half-mile, but nothing on our property. I have seen no deer, DH texts that he has seen no deer, and neither has his buddy.  The fog has advanced deeper into the woods.

The view behind me.  Any deer out there are silent, on the leaves still wet from yesterday's rain, and invisible in the brush and the fog.

The view after three hours.  The fog is dissipating.  I can, through the trees, see my house and barn in the distance.  Still have not seen any deer.  I am B-O-R-E-D. Did get a kinda blurry picture of a blue jay, though.

Three and a half hours.  Now I'm really bored.  Very few shots to be heard around the neighborhood--neighborhood being about 2 miles in any direction.  To be so quiet on opening morning is very unusual.  Where are all the deer?

I gave up, went into the house, and had breakfast/brunch.  A three and a half hour respite indoors, then back out to the tree stand for more hunting.  The view when I arrived:

And the view an hour later:

Not much has changed.  Same trees, slightly different lighting, shadows getting longer, still no deer!

Now the sun is setting.  It's prime time: the deer should be showing themselves now.  That last hour of the hunt is usually the most active.

Noises off over my left shoulder.  Slowly, I turn and peer behind me.

A deer!  A deer!  So I slowly, not to spook it, pick up my. . . camera.  Camera?  Yes.  It's opening day, and it's a young deer.  Definitely not full grown, perhaps just a button buck.  I'm looking for adult deer.  Better use of a life; more meat.  Hate killing the little ones and try not to have to.  So, I let it go.

Five minutes later, off over my right shoulder, but in some moderately thick brush, I see a large deer approaching.  I watch, telepathically willing it to come out of the brush and into one of my shooting lanes.

But it doesn't.  It disappears into thicker stuff, and the deepening dusk.

I sat about another forty-five minutes after taking this picture, until full dark.  Consensus at the house: three hunters in woods for a total of 8.5 hours (DH and his friend sat an hour longer than I did in the morning) and only 5 deer spotted between us.  A dismal opening day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Twas the Night Before Deer Season

(My apologies in advance for the bad poetry.)    :0)  

Twas the night before deer season and all through the house,
Every creature was stirring, except the field mouse
(that the cat killed and ate earlier that day.)

The guns were sighted in,
and lined up with care,
in hopes that in the morning,
an enormous buck would fill the crosshairs.

The tree stands were hung,
and shooting lanes cut,
cammies, hats, gloves,
and warm socks tallied up.

Licenses purchased,
snacks loaded in pockets,
alarm clocks set,
fingers itching to pick up a gun and cock it.

DH in his sleep shorts,
and I in my nightie,
tried to go to bed early
so we could be in our stands well before first lightie.

We closed our eyes,
and said our prayers,
for safe hunting
and lots of big deers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meal Ideas

As a follow up to Frugal Food #8, where I suggest making a list of everything your family likes to eat as an aid for creating a weekly menu, I thought I'd post our list from this little place here. 

So, without further ado, here's a brainstormed list of dinners (mostly main dish, add your own veggies for sides) that are favorites at this little place here.

round steak/brown gravyspaghettipork chops
pot roastgoulashpork steak
stroganofflasagnastir fry
grilled steakstroganoffham
stir frymeatloafscalloped potatoes
beef stewmeatballsenchiladas
fajitasburritospork pie
tacosbbq pork
husband's delight

stewoven fried chickentuna casserole
venison steakchicken broccoli ricetuna salad
venison gravygrilled chicken ceasarpizza
steak w/brown gravychicken fettucinecalzones
stroganoffroast chickenpasties
chicken noodle soupbean soup
chicken pot pieturkey noodle soup
chicken enchiladamostaccoli
chicken fajitasmanicotti
roast turkey
turkey pot pie

There's almost two months of dinners listed above, should I want to make them all once before having any repeats.  By using a large variety of veggies, the meal possibilities are almost endless with just that short list.

(You do eat more than just three or four different veggies, don't you?  You should!  There are dozens of them, and most can be cooked/served in several ways.  There's no reason to eat corn-green beans-peas-potatoes as your only veggies, as I did when I was growing up.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Garden: A Cycle

This is what my garden looks like right now.

There are still some things I need to put away, like the rolled up fencing that the peas grew on this year, and the buckets of stakes.  But all in all, the garden is finished for 2011. This year's cycle is complete.

The vegetables are in the freezer, the cellar, the basement, canning jars, or long ago memories of delicious meals.  The heirloom field corn I grew as an experiment--an experiment that turned out very abundant results--is dried and in barrels in the barn for feeding to the chickens this winter.

Now is a time of rest from weeding and watering and harvesting. 

Now the cycle begins again:  now is the time for planning next year's garden!  Now is the time for research.

Like any gardener, I'm always looking for ways to get better soil, healthier plants, and bigger yields.  Just because I've grown cukes, tomatoes, corn, etc for fourteen years doesn't mean there's not room for improvement.

Soon, the seed catalogs will start arriving in abundance. They are all ready trickling in this month, but the ones I really want, the organic, open-pollinated and heirloom ones, won't arrive until around Christmas time. 

I have a short list all ready of what I want to grow for next year:

Federle, Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes
Red Zeppelin  and Candy onions
Black Beauty Zucchini
Bodacious sweet corn
Bloody Butcher field corn
Cayenne, Jalapeno and California Wonder peppers
Red Pontiac and Kennebec potatoes

That is just a sampling off the top of my head.

Gardening never truly ends; it is a cycle that goes round and round.  Plan, Plant, Tend, Harvest, Plan, Plant, Tend, Harvest. . . It is a lifestyle.

Friday, November 11, 2011

First Snow of the Year

Yesterday afternoon, the air turned cold enough to finally get us some white stuff. 

The deck, 23 hours ago.

Unfortunately, today the sun came out and melted it.  Wah.  I want a good couple of inches on the ground right about now.

Why, when so many people dread the coming of winter, am I wanting to see snow?  Because Tuesday I will be in the woods looking for these:

and they are much easier to track in the snow.  Rain makes them about impossible to find unless they drop in the spot you shoot them, and that doesn't happen very often. (Although I've done it once, and so has DS1 and DH.  Very convenient.)

We have seen at least a dozen different bucks on the property in the last month, more than half of which are sporting 6 points or more.  If DH or I take a buck, it will be 8 points minimum, letting the smaller ones go another year to grow bigger.  The kids can take the 6's, but the 4's and the spikes are off limits.  And until the first deer gets in the freezer, I'm not above taking a nice large doe.  The doe population in our area is huge.

So stay tuned, I'm hoping to remember to take the camera to the woods with me next week and share some nice photos of what it's like to be in the deer blind and the tree stand.  Even if no deer meander my way, it's always a peaceful and enjoyable time out communing with nature.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Waiting can be so difficult.  We want things our way, and we want our way NOW! 

Currently, I am waiting for a head cold to go away.  It came on suddenly yesterday afternoon. I don't want to have it, I'd prefer it to have been gone when I woke up this morning, and I'm not thrilled to be waiting for my body's immune system to kick germ butts and get rid of it.  Which is really kind of petty of me, since I rarely get sick.  I should be thankful for my normally very strong immune system.

But this post is not really about having a cold.  It's about all the things getting fixed around this little place here this week and next.  Things that have been put off for months, and, in a few cases, years.   Things we didn't have the money to fix because we were so strapped by the rotten economy since about 2007.  Things DH wasn't about to hire someone else to fix because he's perfectly capable of doing them himself, had he the time (which his job hadn't afforded him because of increased travel demands).  Things we kind of got used to being broken, and just worked around.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about what the UPS man is bringing me in the next few days:

--a new handle/latch for the dishwasher (that broke this summer),

--a new motherboard for my wall ovens (the display on which died in 2006 or so, but the ovens still heat and cook fine without it, you just can't tell what the temperature in the oven is, if it's on bake, broil, convection or clean, or what time it is. . .),

--a new igniter for the gas cooktop that we've been manually lighting with kitchen matches for about two years now (and boy, has the quality of kitchen matches declined in that short amount of time.)

Not to mention that at this very moment, DH is at the home improvement store purchasing parts to fix my drippy kitchen faucet and boards to replace the deck of our utility trailer with.  Woo hoo!  No more annoying drips, and I can load hay on the trailer without falling through the multitude of rotten spots. 

I am a happy camper.  :0)  Would I have been so geeked about a silly little dishwasher latch if we'd been able to run out and replace it the day it broke?  No.  Or the oven motherboard?  The parts to stop the drip from the faucet?  No, and no.  They are just dumb things.  But because we had to wait, we now appreciate them more.

I can even look at this head cold a little more positively: I'm being given a free pass to sit around and rest rather than work at the warp speed most people expect of me because that's the pace they know me to be capable of.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Things I've Learned. . .

Today is DS1's 22nd birthday.  I cannot believe it was that long ago that I became a mother.  Then again, I can barely remember life before motherhood.

In honor of his birthday, I thought I would share some of the wisdom I have gained through the journey of raising him.

1. The methods I learned for training horses work on children too (despite what horrified people will tell you when you share this info with them!):  Patience, repetition, and be quick to discipline obvious willful disobedience.

2. Charming smiles mask devilish deeds.

3. Mommies who nap longer than toddlers better be prepared to clean up huge messes!

4. Six year old boys are beyond comprehension. They are not mentally or emotionally stunted, they are not abnormally hyperactive, they are not deaf combined with extreme vocal volume, they are just six year old boys.

5.   Before the age of about eight, a long period of quiet from your child is something to be feared--they are up to something most likely not good.

6. Any twelve year old boy acting up in public will immediately stop if you insist on holding his hand for the remainder of the shopping trip.  This is his penance for being disrespectful to you.  Most likely you will only have to do this with him once. He will remember.

7. Teenage boys, while trying to make a show of being manly and wanting to protect their mothers, still like hugs and kisses from said mothers.  Just not in front of other people. Except at their high school graduation.  Then it's okay. But only one hug and skip the kiss.  A handshake from Dad is appropriate, save the hug.

8. Grown up sons carry their mothers in their hearts, just like mothers carry their grown up sons.  No matter how far away their lives take them (and especially on military deployment), Mom is always with them.

Happy Birthday, my son.  It has been an amazing journey being your Mom for the past twenty-two years.  I am who I am, partly because of you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fired Up!

DH fired up the wood boiler.  It needed some parts replaced before we could start using it this fall, and, with his schedule being a bit heavy on work-related travel, I had to turn on the heat with the propane boiler a few weeks ago.

But now he's home, the wood boiler is in working condition, and the first fire of the season has been lit.  Actually it should be the fire for the next six months--it should only get stoked from here on out, never allowed to die out completely until spring and warm weather are once again well established.

We are officially heating for "free" now.  Or, for whatever pennies or fraction of pennies per day it costs to recoup the price of the new grates in the wood boiler, plus the gas & oil for the chainsaw and the splitter to prepare all this free wood we are burning.  And the slight increase in our monthly electric bill that the fan/damper motor on the wood boiler creates. 

Definitely hundreds of dollars less over the winter than heating with the propane boiler would cost.  And it smells so good.  Like bacon!  Mmmmm       ;0)