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Our biggest news is that Jason got his first bow-and-arrowed deer this week! It was a saga, a battle between man and beast that spanned the course of three days. Each night, as the sun went down, the man returned home, head hung low. He took off his leafy, scentless, silhouette-breaking clothes, not sure he would be able to track and finish off his chosen deer. And the deer bedded down in the tall grasses, thankful he'd escaped death for one more day but alert for when that weird bush would show up again and shoot sharp things toward him. When it was all over and Jason drug his 4x4 buck down the valley toward home, a squirrel ran along through the trees, watching him. There's a teepee ring on the hill right near the house here, so Jason wondered how many times this scene had played out in this same place over time - the squirrels watching as braves brought meat home for their families.
The meat is hanging in the barn now, waiting for us to get to it - hopefully tomorrow. I grew up on deer meat, and we always got together as an extended family to process whatever game we had. But this will be our first time to process a deer just the two of us. It feels a really grown up thing to do, maybe too grown up (!); I honestly don't know if I'll recognize which chunks should be cut into steaks or roasts or ground into hamburger. I'm thinking we may end up with some roasts the shape of Texas or West Virginia rather than, say, Colorado. Wish us luck.
Deer-hunting season is a reminder to me of many good things: trips into the woods with my dad, grandpas, aunts and uncles, thermoses of hot chocolate, lumpy fanny packs of matches, flashlights, hand warmers, and other emergency supplies, roads and hills named after family hunting events, "you go this way, I'll go that way, and we'll meet at the bottom of this draw...," and back home, counter tops and tables cluttered with maps and binoculars, and piles on the floor of warm long johns and blindingly bright orange hats and jackets. And stories, always stories. In my family, when you turned 12, you represented the potential for two more deer tags, so off you went to a hunter's safety class to get certified. It felt pretty hard-core to contribute to the family's meat supply, and I am really grateful for that experience.
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This is a small trap Jason has been experimenting with "to work out the kinks in the comfort and safety of our home," because you never know when you might need to give a major headache to a sweet, curious little squirrel out in the wild. Actually, of course, the idea would be to eat what you catch. I'm glad Jason is thinking along these lines, should all hell break loose and we're forced to eat weasels, because I sure as spit ain't.
|The onlookers' eyes close as the sticks come loose and log crashes down.|
|Jason got his deadfall trap inspiration from this book.|
Here's a website that has instructions with photos.
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Finally, a couple shots of bow-drill fire-making. In this particular experiment, all we got was smoke and no fire, but Jason subsequently figured out that your wood types have to be the same (at least for some of the components). Maybe another day we'll have pictures of fire to show. Also, it's getting pretty late, and I don't feel like explaining how this works, so maybe you should google it if you're interested. Or else just use a match and paper.
Unless we're a deer or a rodent in the crosshairs of Jason!