Walking in a winter wonderland…

Lately local weather folk have been perfecting the art of losing friends and making enemies, what with all this wintery stuff, running late for the season, it’s March for goodness sake!!!

I awoke at three am to see if their latest predictions had come to fruition, when I see with mine eyes that there was just a measly little bit of snow that had fallen over the bit of ice left from the sleet we witnessed just prior to bedtime.

I smiled to myself, thinking “they got it wrong this time” and went back to bed. I was not prepared for the sight when I awoke again.

No dragon hunting today, the dragon is stuck in a good four inches of snow.

No dragon hunting today, the dragon is stuck in a good four inches of snow.

I have a garden out front, lined with large stones, that was enveloped in the white stuff, sometime after I went back to bed.

The stone lined walkway and garden have been rendered invisible.

The stone lined walkway and garden have been rendered invisible.

I asked Big Sexy if there was a fire going and he said yes, be careful if you go out there. I told him I was going to put another log on, which is code for “I gotta go step in it!”. Donning yoga pants, a t-shirt, socks, and a pair of shoes, I stepped outside.

I tried to stay in his tracks. This is right off the side stoop.

I tried to stay in his tracks. This is right off the side stoop.

My third step into the deep powdery snow, I realized not only was I a tad bit under-dressed, but I longed for my hiking/hunty boots as “shoes” just don’t stand up to this depth.

Rounding the corner of the house, I spied the deck.

Rounding the corner of the house, I spied the deck.

By the time I got to the basement steps, I was a wee bit apprehensive of going down to the basement to check the fire.

The steps to the basement

The steps to the basement

I mentally thought of my gray yoga pants as big girl pants and went down to the basement. Biscuit and stripy cat were in the basement, warm and dry. I added another log and decided to test my luck against the treacherous journey back to the warmth of our home.

a view from the bottom of the basement steps

a view from the bottom of the basement steps

You can probably guess that I made it back safe, or I wouldn’t be typing. I also made it back with my shoes filled with snow, confirming my realization that yes indeed I was under-dressed.

I’m thinking now about putting on my coveralls and boots and going on a recovery mission to find the sled. The only thing holding me back is the smell of hot coffee brewing and these daggum wet socks!

 

 

The most important thing I learned during hunting season…

Sunday, January 4, 2015 was the last day for whitetail hunting here in Tennessee. Saturday had been a rainy day, I learned that deer don’t move much because they can’t see well in the rain. No sense in hunting, so we waited til afternoon to go get Michael’s hunty spot set up for one last hunt. (and by we, I mean Big Sexy went and did it himself while I goofed off)

5:00 am Sunday morning came early, the ground still wet from the 3 days of downpour that had just recently subsided, and the bed was all warm and cozy. I almost hit the pillow, but he had already turned the light on, I started some coffee instead.

It was quite warm (mid 50s) when he started the Tahoe, the weather lady said that was going to change by a couple degrees each hour on out. We went ahead and donned the cover-alls, gloved up, and hit the road.

It was still dark when he parked the buck box at the usual spot.

I started calling our blind the buck box after I got my first buck. It held true to it's name on closing day.

I started calling our blind the buck box after I got my first buck. It held true to it’s name on closing day.

Sunday was not the first time I’d been on my own. There have been a few times that he hung out in his tree stand a hundred yards away while I had the awesomeness that is this blind all to myself. Sunday was different though, after unhitching the blind and firing up the heat (part of the awesomeness) He drove off. Normally I can see where the guys park when they go further back, but watching him through the window, I lost track of him before he even parked. He was far enough away that I couldn’t see his flashlight and he probably couldn’t hear me knocking the coffee thermos over.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous, and glad to feel the phone buzz when he texted to see if I was ok. Since I had a good hour til sunup and the radio didn’t bless me with some Nick Jonas on the trip to, I hit up youtube to get my Jealous on. Our teen says I’m too old for teenybopper music, but seriously, that song wakes me up and makes me want to dance, so take that brat!

After the video, I still had pert near 56  minutes of dark left. I did what any other girly girl huntress would do in that situation and opened a window to have a look-see. With the moon closer to full than not, I was able to see across the way, something glowing, eyes? I pulled out the binoculars, but it was too dark to see what it was. What ever it was, it wasn’t moving, the eyes would glow, and then they wouldn’t.

Deer aren’t the only things that hang out at the hunty hole. There are also coyote and bobcats. I only hunt what I eat, so I wouldn’t hunt either, but I wouldn’t want to be vittles myself. I took Thor out of his case and loaded him up. (Thor is my muzzle loader) I re-filled my coffee and continued my stare down with the glowing eyes.

Finally, the sun came up. I couldn’t find the thing with the glowing eyes, so I opened the back window to check out the scenery.

The view from behind, nice, huh?

The view from behind, nice, huh?

Every now and then a birdy will come, lighting on the window ledge and I never have my phone ready. Sunday, my phone was ready, but none came calling. I did see a murder of crows hanging out in the distance. With sunup and quiet time in full force, I sat watching and waiting for the sound of Big Sexy’s rifle, sure that the need for Thor passed away with the sun coming up and the disappearance of the glowing eyes.

Giggling to myself about how the weather lady had made a mistake, I started to turn off the heat when the cool wind started rising. Instead, I closed up some of the windows to keep the heat in. There was movement out front on the mountain of earth, but it was some cut down brush and the wind. I pulled my deer call can out of my backpack, but just set it beside the coffee thermos and put my gloves back on.

Not long after the cold winds, it started getting hot in the blind, time to open up the windows when I heard a slight thud. I figured it was the crows again, so no need for ninja like stealth when opening the back windows. Thud said the wood on wood as I let the window plop. To my amazement, there was a buck almost upon me. Because they can’t see me if I close my eyes (the things we tell ourselves when practicing being invisible), I closed my eyes and shut the window.

I picked up Thor and for a moment I thought maybe the guy had run off while my eyes were closed and the back window was shutting, when all of a sudden he was beside me.

When I got the big guy, I was nervous. The scope jumped with the beat of my heart. This time, the only thing on my mind was needing one more for the freezer. Most likely, there was time to put on the ear muffs, but I didn’t think about them. All I thought about was breath, aim, cock the hammer, pull the trigger.

There had to be a boom, I saw the muzzleloader smoke, my phone vibrated. “Are you Ok?” he asked, I couldn’t reply because by the time I got the text was too long of a wait for him and he was calling. “Hey Big Sexy, I got him” I answered. “Ok, just stay put.” he replied, “I’m on my way.” I was pretty sure he was the same guy that was stalking me during fall turkey season, so I said “I think it was my lil boyfriend from turkey season”

Fall turkey season, had to shoo this guy away and away, and away.

Fall turkey season, had to shoo this guy away and away, and away.

It took a couple days and Big Sexy looking at the pictures to see that it wasn’t my lil stalker, but maybe his cousin, brother, or nephew. While they both had deformed racks (one “horn like antler” and one stumpy) the stalkers was on the left, and this guys was on the right.

Hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed, free range, as primal as it gets.

Hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed, free range, as primal as it gets.

During hunting season, I learned that being in Unit L, the deer population is at epic proportions. So much so that during archery and muzzleloader season the bag limit is three antler-less per day, three antlered total season, even so many as to offering a Type 094 for an extra three antlerless per day during big gun season. Harvesting deer in such a densely populated area like middle Tennessee helps to cut down on the disease and starvation that comes with the ever expanding population. It also makes for a nice protein source in this day and age of feed lot, hormone and antibiotic injected, buy it at the grocery store fare.

While I learned that I could hang with the guys and not “girly girl out”, it wasn’t the most important thing. The most important thing was something I’ve known all along, just kept it at the back of my mind, thinking surely all this walking and hiking, toting wood in the summer, thanks to the awesome neighbor who had a few large trees taken down, lots of movement, and any movement is exercise…

You just can’t “out-exercise” a bad diet. During hunting season, I consumed some things I hadn’t consumed in years, all my rules went out the window because my blood glucose was still pretty good. My weight though, was creeping up on me. How much? I didn’t know, my camo pants were getting snug, no one could see my yoga pants under my coveralls, I hid the scales. I’d weigh in after hunting season. My size eights evolved into size tens, then to twelves, so I’d wager that I packed on some poundage in my plot to out exercise my really bad diet.

If I could change anything at all about hunting season, I’d change the food choices I made. I tried really hard to get myself back on track back when I posted “What are you waiting for?“, but it’s really not so easy to get back on track when you’ve got your old friends “Denial and Justification” rearing their ugly heads again. While I really really want some {chocolate, fried pickles, whopper with cheese, a bun, and fries by George} I really would rather just slip into my size eights and get into some general goofiness.

So here I am, six days into the new year, two days into getting my head back where it needs to be. The freezer is stocked with this year’s harvest and not a bite of chocolate to be found in the house.

And about those glowing eyes… Turned out to be a bit of trash someone had tossed, picked up the moonlight each time the wind blew.

 

Muzzleloader day one…

I almost didn’t go hunting this morning. Bad sleep, bad mood, bad hair day. Wasn’t really feeling it, but then again, didn’t want to miss it. Put on my big girl coveralls and got in the truck. We headed down to the hunty hole, blind in tow, around 4:45 this morning. Maybe it was a few miles from the house when I realized I’d forgotten my phone. No biggie. Forgot a knife too, potential biggie, but I wasn’t really expecting the need of one.

This is the blind my hot husband built us.

This is the blind my hot husband built us.

Sweet blind, right? I type “built us”, but he’s not skerd of no tree stand, he built it so I wouldn’t have to get too far out of my comfort zone and up a tree. Another way to tell he built it with my comfort in mind is that it has a freaking heater (YEAH BABY!!!).

Normally it’s between 8:30 am and whenevs before we see deer. Today, a flock of geese flew over really early, the butt crack of dawn to be precise. Not long afterwards Big Sexy said “deer”. I didn’t see nothin’. A bad night of not sleeping, my hunty eyes were only working at about 2%, when she moved and I saw her.

He asked if I wanted her and passed me the muzzleloader. Yeah, I wanted her. There was a smaller deer with her and he said it was probably her baby. (insert second thoughts) “Will it live without it’s mom?” I asked. “Yeah, it’s a yearling at least” he said. I took aim. She turned and went behind some scrub. “You can’t shoot through all that brush” he said. “Ok”. I said. “Take your time, wait til you’re ready” he said.

About that time, she turned again, I was ready, pulled back the hammer and he said “buck”.  I don’t know if I said anything. I remember seeing another deer approach them, it happened so fast, the lovely lady and her youngster took off up the hill with the little young buck in hot pursuit.

Big Sexy did what any other Hot Husband would do in that situation, he pulled out the call. Grunted. BAM~! Big daddy buck pops out of freaking no where. “Buck” he said. “Take your time, are you nervous?” he said. “no, {panting, think labor breathing}” I said as the scope jumped each time my heart beat. “When ever you’re ready” he said. He had a clear shot at that point, but I had the muzzleloader. I couldn’t get a good aim because I was too far to the right.

He’s been telling me how during the rut the big guys act like they ain’t got no sense. He wasn’t just whistling dixie. This beautiful buck just stood there, posing, looking right in our direction. He didn’t see us because he didn’t snort. Matter of fact, he started coming a bit closer like that love stuck little buckaroo that didn’t want to leave me alone in the turkey blind last month.

Like I typed a few paragraphs up, I had already pulled the hammer for that doe. I don’t think 5 minutes had passed since pulling that hammer, but it felt a lot longer than that. Deep breath, deep breath, finally I don’t think I’m shaking anymore, and BOOM. Ok, I had on ear muffs, so I didn’t really hear a boom.

“Did you hit him?” he asked. “I don’t know, it happened too fast, it wasn’t loud, my shoulder doesn’t even hurt” I said, “let’s go see” I added. He told me about how it’s a lot easier to just wait a little while before running out there, turns out, if you spook them, they run further. After a few minutes that felt like more, Big Sexy got out just to go see where the big guy had been standing.

“You hit him” he told me.

Until today, I always thought the waiting to see one, getting one in range, was the hard part. Today I learned that part is easy. There was a little blood where I had shot him, so we looked around and picked up his trail. With tall grasses and woods, one must keep a keen eye out for the blood trail. A spot here, a smear there, 100 yards later, we came upon him.

I will not tell a lie. I cried. Not tears of sadness, I wasn’t like all boo hoo cry baby like if my feelings were hurt, it was different than that. If I had to explain it, it was seriously like giving birth. The anxiety, the nervousness, the adrenaline, the joy, the wonder… I sat on the ground beside him, tears in my eyes, rubbing his soft fur, as I thanked him for providing meat for our family.

My 12 point buck

My 12 point buck

(Yeah, I rock those Isotoners even in the woods lol)

He  counted up 12 points. Big Sexy was telling me how awesome that was, that 12 was great. He took a couple pics for me since I had forgotten my phone.

Looking less like a goober, but the bad hair day is evident lol

Looking less like a goober, but the bad hair day is evident lol

We took the big guy to Shackle Island Processors in Goodlettsville, where we picked up last weekend’s doe.

Perdy lady from last weekend, yeah, there were tears when I thanked her too.

Perdy lady from last weekend, yeah, there were tears when I thanked her too.

Shackle Island Processors is pretty fabulous. They had the doe all ready for us and when we asked about when the cape would be ready on the big guy, they told us 10-15 minutes. I won’t go into details, TMI and all, but the butcher is an artist. At most, we were down the road at Mr. Dallas’s taxidermy 15 minutes later. Mr. Dallas said he’d never seen a rack like the big guy’s rack. It was so cool to see his shop, bobcat, fox, fish, turkey, deer, ducks, etc. Even got to pet a coyote!

Anyways, I’m on hour number 15 since the alarm went off and think I hear a glass of wine calling my name. Fingers crossed for sleeping well and LATE!!!

 

 

Wild wild weekend…

Maybe it’s bat-poo crazy to think that every weekend is the best ever, but seriously, sometimes it happens that way. Last weekend was cool because the girls loved their bows, and I actually got to be the princess!!

Normally the princess, she said "Memaw, I'm the knight, you're the princess. I'm going to save you from the dragon. Yep, they are cool like that!!

Normally the princess, she said “Memaw, I’m the knight, you’re the princess. I’m going to save you from the dragon.” Yep, they are cool like that!!

It turned out to be a wild weekend. We had lots of outside time, and I even finally ended up crossing “make homemade mayo” off the ole bucket list. *it was Diamond approved. It’s a bit tangy for me, probably the cider vinegar. Never fear though, I’m pert near ready to try some with lemon and bacon juice when I get time.

Time… Yes, I probably had time, but I’m reading a book that ended up being pretty good, despite the difficulty getting into it early on. “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” (yes, I know they made a movie and no, I don’t want to see it. * excerpt from an early conversation with Sir Hotsalot)

Speaking of Sir Hotsalot, he had the day off due to weather. We went to Adairville to get chicken feed and then he took me to Bacon Mountain… ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂

(cue harps and other beautiful music) Bacon Mountain. Multiply that mountain of goodness times 2 and yeah, I probably consumed a gazillion grams of protein. Never fear, I'm not skerd of the proteins...

(cue harps and other beautiful music) Bacon Mountain. Multiply that mountain of goodness times 2 and yeah, I probably consumed a gazillion grams of protein. Never fear, I’m not skerd of the proteins…

Here I am a week late on the whole knight and princess only to get ahead of myself and skipping this whole doubly wild weekend.

How's that for off the grid?

How’s that for off the grid?

No, I didn’t get a turkey. This is Sunday afternoon. After Saturday morning in a different area.

Which day did we see the deer? Super wild, seriously. We got to the field and there was this lady deer just watching as we pulled up. Turns out deer drop their antlers (hey, don’t laugh if you knew already, some folk think the things on their heads are horns… at least I typed antlers) and pretty lady deer could be mean old Bambi Daddy deer, “Haven’t you seen ‘Animals gone wild'” He asked as I was talking to the pretty lady.

Pretty lady, mean ole Bambi daddy, who knows, that beautiful creature leapt not once, not twice, but three of the most graceful silent leaps ever and was gone. “He’s probably behind that tree, watching us” said Mr. Smarty Pants, I mean Big Sexy. And yeah, she was right behind that tree when he said “Now we’re getting snorted” as she sniffed us loudly from afar.

We were walking to the blind and swish swoosh, turkey, flying through the sky. “It was a hen” he said. A few minutes later, I was in the pop up blind, he was in the forest parts blind when I heard “Bam… Bam…” and I felt the earth move from thirty yards away. Here I am, packing up, when he comes over to say “I missed it.” Shortly after, I break out in coughs (I didn’t tell you? laryngitis  all week, yuck) and spook off those big guys gobblin’ all around us. We figured we’d come back Sunday morning.

On the way home there was another pretty lady deer off the side of the highway, eating near a creek. It’s not quite city limits, but it’s been bulldozed pretty bad and some fire hydrants are growing up where trees used to be. Pretty obvious some people are going to be taking over that whole habitat and she’ll have to find a new home.

We stopped for brunch in the form of gyro salad for me, gyro and onion rings for him. Grabbed a nap when we got home and skipped the afternoon hunt in favor of a very nice dinner on the deck with the teen.

Lucky for us, Sunday morning, there was no rain pouring. We traded “stealing covers and sharing skin” for falling off the grid again. On the way to the wild, we saw a freaking pterodactyl flying gracefully overhead. Most likely it was a blue heron, the second one I’ve seen this year. We’re just about to the field when he says “see that?” and it was a beautiful falcon perched atop a pole. (I wish I’d had the camera!!!!!) Anyways that was the extent of what we saw, as Sunday morning we saw neither hens nor toms.

As Sunday afternoon approached, we had to make a decision, to hunt or not to hunt. We chose to hunt and loaded the car back up. We popped up the pop blind in the woods on the other side of the forest parts blind this time for a little change in my scenery.

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I had three sugar free cough drops this time, but that didn’t really prevent me coughing.

Sir Hotsalot was in the forest blind when he decided it was his turn to scare the turkeys away. He heard a noise behind him and saw a snake. It slithered off and once again we started calling out to the turkey as once again I broke out into coughs and skerd the turkeys away. (Until of course, I got to the car and a giant turkey flew off from not even 5 yards away)

Anyways, I’ve got a few days shy of a month and determination to get my turkey(s).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of my comfort zone and into the pizza oven…

Somewhere along my journey, whilst waging war on my diabetes, I ended up facing things, fears maybe, branching into the unknown to me things, totally out of my comfort zone. See, I was comfortable in my invisibility cloak, sitting on the couch, watching the tube, going places safe, like the store, going around cracks, steering clear of things like camel crickets and spiders.

One day in 2011, Hot Stuff and I faced one of our super duper fears to end all fears, the fear of airplanes as we went to Cancun with his parents and our almost teenaged daughter. Maybe that’s when it started. My invisibility cloak had started to ravel, I’d lost a little weight, and the fear of flying just seemed awfully silly when we were in the air, flying through the clouds.

Since then, I’ve done silly things like not scream in the middle of the night when I crossed paths with a camel cricket or a spider, instead I, myself took care of business. Facing my fears for me has made me stronger, maybe a little wiser, and really truly, up for a challenge.

It was a challenge in December when SirHotsalot was sick. It was scary, and I was afraid. It was also a time of complete stress, brought on by folks who were not even there to help, yet they had all the time in the world to make matters worse. I was angry for a long time, but thinking about it now, on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning, I feel sorry that they did not learn from the experience, as we did, that life is precious and way too freaking short for drama. Life should be filled with learning, growing, loving, and yeah, well, stepping out of our comfort zones.

Last week I told you about how I didn’t get a turkey, but then again I did, thanks to my hot husband. I also told you about how Leon sent us home with lots of goodies. My week was filled with jerky making, lots and lots of jerky making, ten pounds to be exact, three different recipes that I will try to get time to share with you soon.

Today though, I want to tell you about how I finally used my beautiful brick pizza oven.

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The pizza oven is to the right of me in this picture from last year.

A little background: My husband is an artist. His medium is brick and stone, he is a mason, but he specializes in beautiful things like patios, barbecues, walkways, walls, ponds, and waterfalls. I used to make grilled pizzas, so when he built a permanent home for our smoker, he built me the most beautiful pizza oven. The only problem was that upon completion, I was no longer consuming things like grains, so the pizza oven has been left un-used until last week.

Our middle granddaughter, Diamond, loves feathers. Often times she will walk through the back yard with one of us and pick up various feathers lying about. Since I am of the mind that I didn’t really want any of our turkey to go to waste, I hit up google to find out how to save the wings and tail so that she and her sisters may be able to enjoy them. In my googling, I came across this website, “How To Preserve A Turkey Fan“. There were no pics on that page, so I hope I did it correctly, there is no smell six days later, so there is still hope, here goes:

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1 heavy duty stapler. Combine 1 cup of borax with 1 cup of pickling salt in a large bowl, and well, I thought a ladle would help, so I brought it outside also.

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I didn’t have any 2x4s, so I rummaged through his workshop/garage and found some nice pieces of leftover wood. I had stopped at the store earlier for aluminum foil. Easy peasy, right? We’ll see…

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After all “ingredients” were gathered, I stapled the foil to one of my boards. So far, so good!

Sunday night, after Hishotness dressed our turkey, I had locked the wings and the tail in the smoker. Doing this kept Biscuit (our dog) and all the other night animals from taking them. I wasn’t sure how they would hold up come Monday morning, but they held up well. It had been cold overnight, so there was no rot, or stinky smell, game on.

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One of the beautiful wings, my thoughts were how excited Diamond would be so see all the pretty feathers.

Once I had my foil attached to the board, it was time to ladle a nice portion of salt/borax mix onto the foil.

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I flattened the salt/borax a bit, placing it the length of the board, the length of the wing span.

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I opened the wing and placed it on the borax/salt lined foil, stapled it down as flat as I could, then ladled the borax/salt over the bony wing part.

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I folded up the foil over the wing and salt/borax, added some more heavy duty foil for good measure.

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A view of the wing from the wood side.

Like all my “best laid plans”, I mostly fly by the seat of my pants. I hadn’t thought of a “cool dry place” to keep my hard work, and then it hit me, the pizza oven…

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It fit perfectly in the pizza oven. Safe from the dog, the vultures, the opossum, or what ever animal or bug might want to eat my work.

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After mixing some more salt and borax, I did the exact same thing, sans the pictures, with the second wing. Into the pizza oven it went.

It was time to do the tail. I’ve got to tell you that the tail was freaking amazing. I had read my entire journey about “fat cells this and fat cells that”, never ever having seen a fat cell in real life. I was hoping that one would show in my pictures, but with time being of the essence, I couldn’t just stop what I was doing to go inside to check my pics for “fat cells”, it was closing in on time for me to fill an obligation for my sister, so I kept working.

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I wish you could see what I saw. The fat is not like a lump of “fat”, it is lots of lots of little sesame seed sized pods, all stuck together. It was amazing. The goal was to remove the fat and the meat, leaving the ends of the quills. The dog was happily cleaning my mess as I did the best I could at cleaning it up.

While the tail was more exciting due to the fat cells, it was basically done the same as the wings, only there are no “tail bones”. I attached my foil to my board, covered it in borax/salt, fanned out the tail, and stapled it over the borax salt, then added more borax/salt. To be on the safe side, I mixed another half cup of each and poured it on top.

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When I wasn’t thinking of the super awesome fat cells, I was thinking of how fabulous Diamond would think this is.

The same as the wings, I folded it up like a packet, added some more foil for good measure and popped it in the pizza oven.

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At this point, I was pretty proud of myself. I also had about 10 minutes to spare to wash up and get ready for my sister to pull up, so I washed up and fixed a cup of coffee to go!

My sister had a few rounds of outpatient surgery for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It was in Nashville, and well, I really was planning to step out of my comfort zone. It’s hard enough driving there every other weekend, so three days in a row looked like a far cry from what I “deemed” comfortable. To get just a wee bit further from my comfort, I wasn’t going to be driving the Tahoe, I was going to be driving her “mini firebird” (lmao). (well, it’s a pontiac anyways)

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It’s been 14 years since I had my Honda Prelude. Since that time, I’ve been higher off the ground in a minivan, Jeep, or the Tahoe. I was a little nervous, but like most times, stepping out or driving out of my comfort zone turns out to be lots of fun…

I don’t remember the last time I intentionally parked between two parked vehicles. Yep, my next car will be a car, low to the ground, maybe making growly noises, hopefully a Camaro. Yep, that’s it. See it and be it, right?

So, I didn’t, but I did, and some fun along the way…

I told you last week about the fabulousness going on so far in 2014, and about how Saturday was going to be the big day. In case you’re new, Saturday was opening day for the spring turkey season.

You may be wondering “how does that tie in with diabetes?” Well, it’s like this… my diabetes totally took a back seat a couple years ago when I decided to be the boss, the alpha, the controller. This time 4 years ago I didn’t even think about walking around the yard, much less hiking through the woods and trying my hand at turkey hunting. 80-some odd pounds later, and stellar blood sugar control (for the most part), I’m a different person. I’m pretty active now and have decided to step out of my “comfort zone” more often. If you are a Type 2 Diabetic like me and are getting tired of being sick and tired, maybe you too could try giving up the things that spike you and taking hold of the reins also, but I digress, this post is about how I didn’t get a turkey, but then again I was gifted one…

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Bright and early Saturday morning. Ready to get my nature on.

We woke up at the butt crack of dawn, ok, it was 5:30 am, the sun had not yet risen, so I fixed bacon and eggs for me and a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit for my honey. Yeah, he said “we can get something on the way” and I was like, “yeah, but”….

While he checked the weather and called his buddy, I ate my breakfast of champions. After that, we got dressed, me in his old camouflage overalls, an old beat up pair of sneaks and one of his hats. Since it was cold, I got a pair of camo coveralls too.

Since Hot Stuff is a gun man, he brought his big gun, and me being a girly girl who thinks guns are wayyy too loud, loaded up my crossbow into the back of the car. By the time we pulled out of the drive, the sun was up and we were on our way to the adventure awaiting us.

Silly, silly girl, me, thought it was a good sign when we saw a couple of handsome turkeys foraging on the side of the highway “I love you turkeys!! It’s a sign, I just know it.”. Now, if you’re a seasoned hunter like His Hotness, you may be thinking “yeah, a sign that you’re not going to see a gosh darned thing in the woods…” (but, he loves me and didn’t want to burst my bubble. He kept that thought to himself.)

We arrived at Leon and Tina’s house and started our hunt for “gear”. Leon and Michael have been friends forever and Leon is a super avid hunter, fisher, electrician even. When Michael told him that “Shannon got her hunting license” he told Michael that he had all kinds of goodies to help in my endeavor.

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Look Mom, my first turkey of the season!

Now, I’ve got to tell you that there had been a swift change of plans. We were originally scheduled to hunt at his friend Jeremy’s house, but with the weather change and conversation with Leon, we went to Leon’s instead for opening day. In addition to the perdy girl I’m holding in the picture, he also let us use his Tom decoy, a pop up blind, chair, back pack cushion, and a big ole turkey gun. (I stuck with my crossbow though)

After getting all the gear together, Leon took us back to “turkey heaven” and yea, if I was a turkey, I would live there. We popped up the blind, set out the decoys, and the rain came down. It was freezing. Our feet were wet, because it had rained all night previously. Not wanting to burst my opening day bubble, he also didn’t tell me that turkeys are a lot like our chickens, they don’t like to get their feet wet. Still though, he sat out with me for hours while I played turkey tunes on my Tom Coffin. Lookie there, what’s that over in the field?

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Taken through the mesh window of the blind, the only turkeys out and about were our decoys, only the wind kept messing with them lol

We didn’t get a turkey on Saturday, but we enjoyed the sounds and smells of nature at it’s finest. Yeah, it would have been finer warm and dry, but I was just thankful that my health is good enough these days to even sit in the woods for hours. win-win. On the way home, he told me about how “my sign” had been a bad sign, and that we could go again Sunday.

It was not a complete loss though, Leon sent us home with the gear, a few pounds of venison (they love my jerky), and some smoked sausage a friend of their’s had made (and yes, it’s so good, it’s pert near gone).

Sunday Morning we awoke not so early, around 6:00 am. We ate some vittles, loaded up the car and headed to Jeremy’s house. We quietly followed the trail to and through the woods when we happened upon a posse of turkeys who flew up into the trees when they saw us. Not another bad sign I hoped, when Sir Hotsalot got the home-made blind made of forest parts (I couldn’t take a picture, had to be quiet) and I got the pop up blind. He sat out the decoys and told me I had to call those turkeys back. I got busy talking turkey with my Tom Coffin.

It was so cool just sitting out in the woods. I saw some hawks and crows. There was a lady bird talking to me, so I talked back to her. I heard a strange noise, past the blind he was in, but couldn’t see what it was. Then there was a clanking noise like someone was banging sticks around and a whoooooosh! “did you see that?” he asked. “See what?” I said. “It was two Toms, a big one came out of nowhere, then a little one came over to him and they were fighting”. (They were fighting over me of course, thinking I was a perdy girly bird…)

We waited a while longer, those two were out of range (about 75 yards, Leon had told him the furthermost distant for that gun was 60 yards, so he didn’t take a shot and they flew off anyways). On the way back to the car he told me about how pretty they were and he wished I could have seen them. I told him it was ok, yeah, I was heartbroken, but at least I saw the decoys lol.

Since I was down in the dumps, he decided to take me back to the woods that afternoon. We didn’t take the pop up blind, both of us used the diy one. Talking turkey, I managed to get some gobbles. “Do you see that?” he asked “Is it a stick?” I said as it turned it’s head, it was watching us at 65 yards away. “Cover your ears” he said, but I didn’t, BOOM!

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So, I didn’t get a turkey, but I did get a turkey. I got my picture made with his turkey, and that was good enough for then. I’ve got until May 11 to get one of my own.

I got to tote the turkey part way out of the woods. I petted his soft feathers and thanked him for the nourishment he would be providing our family.

It was a lot different than heading to the market to buy a frozen turkey. Some folks tend to think hunting is a bad thing, and well, I don’t think hunting is bad, but there are bad hunters. Folks who look for a “trophy” rather than “food”. Thinking back years ago when the deer population was so dense that they were dying of starvation, not a humane way to go btw, hunters are needed so that things like that don’t happen often. Plus with hunting food, you know that they had a “normal” life, free of cages, antibiotics and other unsavory things you can read about mass produced livestock.

I learned in my first time being a huntress that this is something I want to one day teach my grandchildren. I don’t want them growing up on genetically engineered foods, I want them to know where food comes from and not be afraid to step out of their own comfort zones. I want them to see the world with their own eyes rather than surf the net or play video games. I want them to enjoy nature at its finest. Because of that, we picked them up a couple of bows (plastic, no points) to start practicing with. I’m picking them up this afternoon for an extended weekend of general goofiness.

 

More fabulousness going on in 2014

We interrupt our regularly scheduled diabetic/weight loss/general goofiness post in order to mark a few things off my bucket list…

Wednesday was absolutely fabulous. We had to go off the grid {I crack myself up}, seriously, my phone was so out of area. Hot Stuff and his friend took me to see the hidey hole thingy, otherwise known as a “blind“. (The blind his friend and his friend’s uncle built is not like those little pics in the link. It is made with real forest parts.)

On the way to the blind we saw a couple of turkeys. We had to scrunch down and go around a long way. Now I know where we are going to be on Saturday. On the way back from the blind we saw a whole posse of turkeys.

After we got home, Hot Stuff put a couple of broadheads on a couple of bolts and we practiced. I practiced with the mouth calls for a little bit. I’m pretty darned awesome with the mouth calls, well, if we were hunting hyena! (it looks like I’ll be using the push/pull box caller thinger)

The week could have ended on Wednesday and it would have still been fabulous, but today ended up even better. Since we already had our hunting/fishing licenses, and he had the day off, he fixed up a couple of fishing poles and a tackle box. Then we went fishing. It was cool.

He said the “no talking/noise rule” is a myth. Then when I started talking to the birds at the pond he said I’d scare the fish off. (So I dance-casted.) It was fun, I practiced setting the line (how was I supposed to know you gotta wait for a nibbler to set it?) . I don’t think I’ve been fishing since I was 12. Today I got a nibbler, but he got away.

This afternoon we had to get the other part of the licenses. It’s crazy, but even though a turkey is tiny compared to a bear or a deer, they are big game. I got my archery, and he got his big gun permit.

Tomorrow is the big day, so I made some peanut butter brownies. I’d give you the recipe but they are really really dense, not quite sweet enough, about good enough to take out in the woods in case you get lost, you know, survival food.

 

 

 

 

T-minus four days and counting…

Maybe I’ve told you that it started as a joke. We were at Academy Sports + Outdoors looking for Sir Hots A Lot’s dad a birthday present when I saw crossbow cases. Silly me asked if I could get one for my crossbow, but I didn’t have a crossbow, just being silly, for giggles. As a “TWD” fan, the closest I’d ever come to one was seeing Daryl Dixon put walkers down on the tube.

I guess my hot husband had a “what’s the worst that could happen” moment of his own when he got me one as an early Christmas present. The worst being I’d play with it a couple of times and voila! he’d have himself a crossbow. (Just my guess, I never asked him)

The worst didn’t happen, well, unless you count the couple of times I pert near pegged a stag (young boy chicken) when he was behind the hay bales, don’t worry, he was safe by an inch.

I actually ended up enjoying it, so much so that I’ve decided to step out of my “comfort zone” and try my hand (or bolts) at hunting. In four days it is going to be turkey season here in Tennessee.

For the past week, most of my spare time has been spent watching youtube videos on calling and dressing turkeys. I’ve got a box call that works pretty good and four mouth calls that I’ve yet to master, not gonna stop trying though (gotta stay positive, right?).

He asked me the other day if I was ready and I told him that I am, they make it look so easy on the hunting channels, but we won’t be on a “guided hunt”, we’ll be out in the woods at a friend’s house and I’m a total newbie. In a perfect world it will be like my first game of 5-card stud and I’ll have “beginner’s luck”, but this world is no where near perfect.

On a good note, my desire to become a “huntress” has turned out to be contagious. I talked to my eldest daughter last night and she informed me that the girls also want to be huntresses. The two eldest have requested their own bows and Adrianne was about their age when she tried her hand at archery in the girl scouts.

I’ve come to a decision that even if I don’t get a turkey of my own Saturday, I will be satisfied knowing that my granddaughters have gotten interested in something other than video games and that’s a good thing. The great outdoors is a much better place for spending time than in front of a video game. Who knows, it might even teach them about patience, which is fabulous in this world of “now if not sooner”.

 

He gave me homework, seriously…

At some point, preferably prior to March 29, I must needs learn how to call a turkey. “Go to YouTube” he said.

Anyways, after Lovely’s awesome sixth birthday party, we went to this really cool place I’d never been to before, Bass Pro Shops. It’s where Opryland used to be, so we stopped on the way home.

I needed some jerky cure without the seasoning and they were the only place to get it locally (well, local as long as I’m already in Nashville…). Before anyone freaks out about me using sodium nitrate in my jerky, remember it’s my jerky, not your jerky, and well, you can make your own jerky how ever you want to, thank you very much 🙂

That place has such a huge selection that we could not find the Lem cure that we were looking for. We did find a young man in a green shirt and told him what we were looking for and he said “Did you call me last night?” (score points for awesome employees who remember things!!) and I said “Why yes I did” and probably something silly. He grabbed the Lem cure for us and even explained how to use it, pretty darned sweet we thought.

After we got a pack of Lem cure, we saw TURKEYS!!!!!, which led to turkey calls, which led to serious goofiness. It’s probably safe to say I’m going to end up getting a box call, no not the one with the slide to the side top thingy, but the one with the stick button, because I was a complete failure with the slate and with the fancy box one. (There were other kinds too, so much to choose from, so little time!!!)

After going through the turkey aisle, we turned around and spotted the archery department and it was HUGE! They even have an archery range. I don’t remember if I’ve told you or not, but I’ve shot the vanes off our bolts and arrows.

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The ones with green vanes are bolts, arrows are orange. Duct tape was working for a while, until it no longer was.

Hot Stuff got me two new bolts the other day. I didn’t really have a dire need for new vanes, but I really want to be able to fletch my old bolts and arrows rather than buying new ones all the time. The new bolts were $4.00 each, a package of 50 vanes was $10.99. Repairing 2 bolts at $0.22 cents each was better than new ones at $4.00 each.

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I thought the arrows had 4″ vanes, they did not, they had 5″ vanes, it’s all good though, they will all be 4″ sooner or later~! (and mostly orange)

Saturday night I did a little homework. No, I didn’t practice turkey calls, I fixed my bolts 🙂

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tri-colored? girly fletched and OMG she didn’t even use a fletching jig… the horrors.

It was too cold on Sunday to try them out. I didn’t take pics of the arrows I fixed because I just glued the vanes back on that had fallen off. (*they had been in the attic for years, it didn’t take too many shots before I employed the duct tape, but glue is better)

I’m thinking that even though I didn’t practice calling turkeys, I still did pretty good on the fletching. His Hotness shot my crossbow today just to see how it did at 30 and 40 yards (we’ve been shooting from 20 yards). I shot the long bow. All the bolts and all the arrows shot wonderfully straight and hit the target, or in the case of some of the arrows, the dirt in front of the target, but I’m getting better…

 

General Goofiness

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Winter was on hold yesterday while the temperature rose to perfect for goofing off.

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It was also Teen Wolf Monday, so these are May’s “Lydia nails”, she also has Lydia hair, but she shoots like Allison.

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She got interested in the long bow and the crossbow when she got grounded from technology last week.

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9 1/2 weeks until turkey season.

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TW and TWD make the crossbow look easy. It’s not. I use a pull cord to cock it. May uses me and the pull cord.

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“Why are you taking a pic of your foot?” she asked. “I’m not, I’m taking a pic of Biscuit’s confusion about how I’m gonna take pictures and cock that crossbow for you at the same time.”

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May said “You’ve got to keep this pic, it makes you look almost human!” Muwahahahahahahahaaaaa

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I offered her the gloves, she declined. Nails after practice next time!

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Gonna need a lot more practice with this one. May is a better shot with it than I am, but her head is getting bigger and my aim is getting truer… 🙂

We had a blast goofing off all afternoon and can’t wait for another nice day! Today it’s snowing and twenty-something, too cold for target practice, but just the right temperature for a pot of chili and chicken bone broth on the stove.

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May said this would be a cool pic. Good thing she’s fast with the camera because I fell on my duff (squatting uphill lol)