What a crazy summer. Weather-wise. Rhythm -wise. Garden-wise. As much as I wanted summer this year, I’m not so sad to see it go. There seems to be a calming rhythm in winter. No running here and there – just kicking back and enjoying the bounty. Looking out the window at the cold, quiet, calm of winter.
So much went down this summer that it’s hard to focus on what it all was. I’ll tell ya what it was… it was overwhelming. So much for the simple life.
Instead of trying to rehash it all, I think I’ll simply pick up where I’m at right now.
LLM and I spent the weekend down in the Big Hole for the antelope (pronghorn) opener. Camped out at Bannack State Park. Soooo much warmer than last year! The 2009 season opened at eight-below-zero. We hunted, but froze our butts off. This year: 58 degrees and sunny. Perfect! Absolutely perfect. Saturday we spent the day following the same little herd all over one giant area. With all the people down in that region for the season opener, I’m shocked that no one came upon our little honey hole. LLM drew a doe tag for this year… he’s not real big on shooting does of any species since they’re the carriers of the next generation. But the call to fill the freezer with meat was stronger than the resistance to shooting a doe. After hiking through sage brush for a few hours, and four-wheeling up and down these dirt roads that ribbon through the area, he finally found a shot he wanted. He had several opportunities, but never a shot he “liked.” But about 3:45 in the afternoon, the perfect opportunity presented itself and he nailed a perfect head shot at about 300 yards. Not an ounce of meat wasted to blood shot or bone shrapnel. And the poor beast went down without knowing what hit her.
We saw some real awful examples of so-called sportsmanship. These people should hang up the rifles and take up some other pursuit. Taking off-hand shots at running animals, not caring if there’s anyone else in the area… Not even checking to see if their careless shots hit the pronghorn. Unethical hunting all the way around. It’s really hard to watch that kind of behavior. LLM is good at everything he does – including hunting. He doesn’t take a shot until he’s 100% sure it will be successful. And a wounded animal? Hell, I think he’d rather shoot himself than risk injuring a creature and letting it run off to suffer. But some of these hunters… Lord in heaven, the poor beasts were hamburger by the time they got them loaded into their rigs. 😦 Heartbreaking. I was not raised a hunter, and to see a kill like that really turns me off. I’m just glad I have a good, ethical and caring man who takes me hunting and demonstrates the way it *ought to* be done.
We began the summer with 35 chickens – 10 hens and 25 roosters. 22 of the roosters met the axe about a month or so ago. Today’s task is to take a few of them out of the freezer, make up a giant pot of stew/soup and can it up. I roasted one of the birds when my Dad was in town a couple weeks back. Boy, that’s a tasty critter. So much better than those poor factory farm raised beasts. I have three of the birds semi-defrosting on the counter. After a while I may just chuck ’em in the pot and boil them for a couple of hours. That’ll definitely defrost the rest! I have some carrots and green beans that I canned up out of the garden this year – I think I’ll toss those in with some of the potatoes, onions and garlic. It’ll be nice to have some room in the freezer. I haven’t been able to bake bread in a while because there was no room in the freezer to stow the loaves. My recipe makes four loaves – but I can only eat one at a time. So canning up a few of the chickens will help make room for the bread.
With the crazy weather this year, my apple and pear trees didn’t produce much of anything. And I only had enough huckleberries for two small batches of jam. I may have to resort to buying pears this year. 😦 But I only have one or two jars of pear honey left, and no canned whole pears for snacks throughout the winter. I’m going to have to get on it. There’s not much time left. OH! And Plums! I don’t know anyone who had plums on their trees this year! That’s a tragedy. No dried plums or plum jam this winter. *sigh*
They’re calling for a super wintery, snowy and cold winter this year. I hope that means a normal summer next year. Our garden did really great, but the fruit trees and bushes didn’t do much of anything. So we’re not canning up some of the traditional things we both like so much.
Oh well. With that I’ll leave you with a good rainbow of love hoisting its beauty over the barn, the hope of a winter soon to blanket the valley, and the prospect of a giant stock pot of soup to be on the stove shortly…’