Hogs....down in the bog!

Hogs....down in the bog!

August 25, 2011

And then there were two

One of the things I love about summer, is that I have the freedom and flexibility to travel. This was especially beneficial this past week. Jarrid had a deer sale in Indiana, Josh was working, so Ali was flying solo at the cabin with the deer. I decided to pack up the Tahoe and head west to spend a few days helping her with the deer, and getting in some much needed girl time. I got there Wednesday night, Jarrid was still there so we hung out and helped him get ready to head to the sale the next day. He left around 3:00PM, and had left us instructions about feeding the deer, checking the cabin down below, not going into town late, and basically not getting into any trouble. By now he should know that we don't seek out trouble, it just seems to find us.

He was honestly gone for not even five minutes. We had jumped on the ranger to take a drive around the property; we didn't even make it past the second pen of deer, when we were faced with trouble. Lying across the road, the only road that leads to the trails around the property, was covered in fallen trees. Not just one, skinny little twig, but four massive trunks. Looking at each other, we decide to jump out of the ranger and just push them off to the side of the road. I mean, how heavy can they be? I do bootcamp; I lift weights...we can do this! Long story short, we cannot do this. There was a lot of pushing, kicking, leaning, wiggling, and frustration that lead to half of the logs being moved. The other two were still in their original positions, refusing to budge. If trees could laugh, they were laughing at us.

We devise a plan to drive around the logs, which means that we need to drive through the brush. Off the beaten path, if you will. Let me just tell you that there are paths for a reason. Ali decided to walk the path we were going to take first, so that she could check that there were no major drop offs. Smart girl. There weren't, but there were major thorny plants that attacked her flip flopped feet. Oh yes, did I fail to mention that we were in nice shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, and full jewelry for this adventure? Engagement ring included. We hop back in the ranger for our off road adventure. We made it about a foot when we decided to turn around. The last thing we wanted to do was destroy a very expensive piece of machinery.

Defeated and frustrated we headed back to the barn to figure out what to do. If you know us at all, you know that defeat was not a possibility. We would find a way to get around those darn trees. Chainsaw! I learned how to use one the week before in SC and I was confident in my chainsawing abilities. I called Josh and requested the location of the chainsaw.

"There is a tree down and I just want to slice it in to some easier to move pieces."
"No." (He has no faith in me)
"Yes. Trust me, I can do this."
"Josh seriously, I know how to do this."
"Even if I knew where it was I wouldn't tell you. Use the winch."
"The wench?"
"AHHHHH! Yes, the winch!"

For those of you who are unfamiliar with rangers, the winch is a mental rope that is in the front of the ranger that you can pull out and hook to things to pull/move them. Perfect for moving logs in your way, or I guess for moving the ranger if it gets stuck. Anyway, Josh gave me a reminder on how to operate it and we were ready. I will spare you the details, but let's just say that after about thirty minutes, I was bleeding, the log was in the same exact place, and I was stuck to the ranger. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, attached to the ranger without being able to detach myself from it. I don't know quite how it happened, but it did. Somehow, my shirt and the metal rope of the winch, got hooked on each other and we could not get them unhooked.

"Al I'm stuck."
"I'm stuck to the ranger."
"Oh, boy."

Now logic tells you to just rip the shirt, but it is my favorite shirt! Finally Ali was able to save me and I now have a new found respect for fish. Unhooked, still bleeding and defeated we decided to give up. Ali called Jarrid to tell him of our failure.

"Why don't you just drive around it?"
"We tried! We can't get through the bushes."
"No, the other side of the road. By the deer pens."

I'll paint you a picture. The right side of the road we were trapped on was filled with thorny bushes and trees. The ground was littered with branches and logs. Impassible. The left side had one large oak, and the fence of the deer pens about five feet away. Open as a field. I'll spare you the details, but we went to the left and were past the obstacle in 2.3 seconds.

The moral of this story is that two heads are not always better than one if they are both blonde.

August 23, 2011

Deer, and turkeys and snakes (again), Oh My!

Josh and I ventured down to South Carolina a week or so ago, so that we could check feeders, set up trail cams, and do some general maintenance on the property. Josh's cousin, Nicholas, and our friend, Kyle, headed down with us. We were fortunate enough to leave early Friday morning, so we made it to SC by dinner time. I'll give you one guess as to where I forced everyone to eat dinner.....Lester's!!!!!! After a delicious dinner, we headed on to the property to hop on the ranger and check everything out. It had just finished raining, so all the critters were out and about: deer, turkeys, armadillos and even a black coyote! Unfortunately for us, deer season opened on Monday and we had to leave Sunday. Major bummer!

I'll spare you the details of the event, but let's just say that Josh was feeling less than fabulous the next morning. It figures that a stomach bug (he blames Lester's but I disagree) would hit him when we are on vacation. The next morning we headed out to fill feeders and do a few other things on the property, with poor Josh still feeling sick. I was in charge of scraping the yucky clumps out of the gravity feeders, while Nicholas checked to see how full they were (I am too short for this job). We were on the last feeder and I was scooping away, talking to Nick while I used a stick to break up the crusty feed. Suddenly, I realize that the feed is moving.... Now there had been ants at some of the other feeders, so initially I just assumed there were more ants.

"Eww...look at all of these.....OH MY GOD the feed is....EWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!
(Not ants, ladies and gentleman, but mealworm-maggoty looking things)

I froze. I am not afraid of bugs, spiders, or any other insect-but I do not do worms and snakes. I can just imagine the little mealworms wiggling their way up my sleeve. Gross. Nicholas starts laughing as I am completely grossed out by this, and kindly offers to take the gloves and finish cleaning this one out for me. I practically threw the gloves at him. He is a saint.

Next up on our chore list was to cut down one of the trees that had fallen across the road, and to trim up any branches that were in the way of our views from the various tree stands. The boys brought out the chainsaw, and I carried my anti-snake device. The Judge. Josh taught me how to use the chainsaw (video will be posted later), and Nick was able to use The Judge to save me from yet another snake. Ironically it was in the exact same place I saw the last one, right underneath my favorite tree stand. This one however was not a copperhead, but some thin, striped, extremely venomous looking snake. Fairly certain it could kill you by just looking at you. Nick had The Judge out and the world had one less snake before I could even blink. The boys then proceeded to pick it up with a stick and play with it while I had a panic attack (screaming and banging on the windshield of the ranger included) until they put it in the woods away from me. Nick said that the ditch of water nearby is what keeps them there. Awesome. I am not one of those people who prefers one stand over another. I don't really care where Josh and I sit most times. In fact normally my only concern is height. But in SC I do have a favorite stand, the ditch stand. It is where I have harvested two of my hogs, and it was the first stand that I ever hunted out of solo. I know my markers for distance well, and I know how the animals move around that stand. The sun is always behind you, so it is never blistering hot and there is a lot of coverage so I can move as needed. It is perfect...until I found out it was snake infested. Needless to say, I will be finding a new favorite stand. We finished out our chores and headed back to shower and visit a family friend who lives in the area. He is building the most amazing wood home and we had to see it for ourselves.

All, in all, it was a great (although way too short) trip. I can't wait to get back down for hunting season!!

August 11, 2011

Archery season is almost upon us...

In celebration of the upcoming archery season, and because there was a request for another recipe :o), here is a great one for venison (or any other) steak. I don't have a picture yet, I'll be making this one next week!

Spicy Steak with Green Beans:

1 cup quick cooking brown rice
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. Asian chili-garlic sauce
1 1/2 lbs. steak
1 cucumber, halved and sliced thinly
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, sugar and black pepper
1/4 cup salted and roasted peanuts, chopped
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper

1. Heat your grill. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the hoisin and chili-garlic sauce. Brush the steak with the mixture and grill to your liking.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of boiling water, cook 1 lb. green beans until tender. Drain the saucepan and heat 3 tbsp. olive oil with 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves. Heat until tender, then add the green beans and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with crushed red pepper.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the cucumber and scallions with the vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper.

(adapted from Real Simple)