A Friday ritual . A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
Murphy’s Law that is.
Our bird hunting trip to Kansas didn’t go quite as planned…
The weather in Kansas before our trip was in the 50′s, the weather since we’ve been home is in the 30′s. While we were there – highs in the teens with below zero windchills.
The reservoir froze over the night before the boats got there and the duck/goose hunters laid on the ice and watched the birds fly just out of range.
Kids don’t last long outside in temperatures like that. And our plans to explore the park turned into plans to explore the local library.
We knew that the drought conditions this year meant that pheasant numbers were down. We figured we could make up for that with the ducks, geese (so much for that plan) quail, prairie chicken, and turkey.
Well, I saw two prairie chicken from the truck once and quite a few coveys of quail were unearthed but Murphy really got me in the turkey hunting.
The first day there John who went out hunting with Tyler and his girlfriend Sarah first was very, very nicely able to pick up my hunting license for me. But he didn’t buy me a turkey tag. Bemused but unconcerned I figured I’d buy one next time I was in town. First time I got out Tyler, Sarah and I ran into a giant flock of turkeys and I followed (admittedly somewhat grumpily) as they bailed out of the truck with the dogs. Turkeys flew everywhere, shots were fired, I watched Tyler’s dog (incidentally named Turkey) retrieve a turkey and my dog try to eat a turkey (sorry Sarah, he probably thought it was a really big chicken).
It was exciting!
Then there was the virus. I don’t think it was the nasty virus that took out an unbelievable number of my family members after Christmas, but something got Clara. Shethrew up in the truck on the ride down, came down with an all night screamer of an earache mid-trip and still (now with the help of antibiotics) is working on recovering.
Below zero temperatures, sick kid, camper – bad combo – dam that Murphy.
And then there were the other things, like when John lost the antenna of my shock collar and then a few days later I accidentally broke his in half. Sarah forgot her shotgun at home. I got sick on the way home and we had a much longer stay at a hotel in Nebraska than we bargained for.
But even though Murphy came out securely on top it wasn’t a bad trip.
Ivy and I were able to get out hunting together one afternoon and she quickly turned into an expert pheasant tracker in the snow.
And now that I’m home I must say, even a disaster of a hunting trip is better than unpacking the mounds and mounds of stuff that are coming out of our vehicles since we’ve been home!
Yup, disaster of a trip an all I’m already trying to figure out how we can do it again, if we can just figure out a way to beat Murphy…
Hello from Kansas!
We are camping (in a giant camper with a great heater) in Prairie Dog State park. We have seen all sorts of wildlife in the park and very few people to share it with (just how I like it!), herds of deer, prairie dogs, and lots of birds.
And by “lots” I mean that in the evening the flocks of ducks and geese create a ribbon of birds across the entire sky!
These are just the ones I was able to photograph with the kids before they froze, which didn’t take long. The high today was around 14 and the wind chills were below zero all day! The kids have been doing more exploring of the public library than the fields but the weatherman claims it’s going to get a bit warmer so hopefully we’ll be able to drag them along on a hunt or two before it’s time to go home.
In other news we have shot a few birds, but not lots. Cover for the birds is sparse this year making things tricky. Even so we’ve been eating turkey and have pheasant and quail just waiting to be cooked up for tomorrow!
Finally, just in case you were wondering, my dog is awesome…
… and very tired!
Jane and I tested out the baby wearing “coat” I made for our upcoming bird hunting trip to Kansas in the yard today. While we were out I took the opportunity to find a few reflections. It was trickier than I thought, where is a good puddle when you need one?!?
As for the “coat” I have to tell you that I followed these directions: http://walkingwithdancers.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-make-baby-wearing-coat.html and it was super easy.
We are talking one cut easy.
Did I mention I didn’t even have to sew anything?
It should also be mentioned that it’s worth checking out the “coat” from the tutorial just because it is so much cuter than mine.
Possibly it’s because she wasn’t going for the blaze orange look!
Sad to report the only snow we have so far is the stuff falling on my blog!
Yesterday my Mom and I had a chance to go pheasant hunting together and the culmination of a morning of mishaps was when I looked down and realized I had lost the transmitter to Trips shock collar.
Not good at all.
My much loved, daily used controller that not only “reminds” Trip to pay attention to me but also controls the locating beeps his collar makes was lost in a swamp full of cattails.
This afternoon after dejectedly looking one last time at just how much a new transmitter would be I made one last effort to find it. I headed back to the cattails and dove in.
A quarter of the way in I was certain I was on my trail from yesterday and Trip was hunting just ahead of me.
A third of the way in I was pretty sure things looked familiar and Trip was somewhere… perhaps off to the left…
Half way through I found a very dead, very old, very stinky, six point buck and was abruptly certain I was no longer on my path from yesterday and I thankfully had no idea where my dog was.
Disheartened I quickly pushed through the wall of cattails away from the carcass looking for my old trail, (and the dog) but it was the beginning of the end. I was never able to pick up my path from yesterday or the transmitter. Trip, however, was not as far away as I thought. He found the deer and took matters into his own paws. Yes, my intelligent dog solved our problem with stink.
After that I didn’t need any fancy transmitter to know where Trip was – I could smell him.
Even when I couldn’t see him or hear him – I could smell him.
Not only did I know where Trip was but he solved his own problem at the same time. After Trip applied his “solution” my whistle blowing was over and my cries of “Come!” turned to “GO!” and he was allowed to range out as far as he wanted.
… until I got him home and it was bath time!
If there is one thing I’ve learned growing up in a family of hunters it’s that if you don’t come home with something dead you’d better come home with a good story – if you can swing both so much the better.
So, yesterday afternoon when I found myself watching a pheasant and opossum having a stare down while I was out hunting with the dogs, I figured I was set. “This is going to get interesting!” I said to myself as the dogs came crashing through the cattails toward us.
And then it didn’t.
The pheasant, upon seeing me, dashed off into the cattails.
The opossum climbed a tree, a very small tree.
The dogs ignored the opossum (good dogs!) and sniffed their way after the pheasant.
Storm went on point in the cattails and I couldn’t find her.
The bird flushed – I missed.
The dogs passed by the opossum, stopped, looked up, and carried on (good dogs!).
Then we tracked down the pheasant and even though I was unaided by any sort of pointing from my dog (bad dog!) I got the bird.
Trip retrieved it, (good dog!).
Then he blasted off through the cattails and ran down another until it flushed -waaaay away from us (bad dog!).
So we looked for it, until the dogs stunk of swamp, I had cattail fuzz up my nose and we were all covered in burrs.
Then I got a phone call that I was needed at home.
We spent the rest of the night cleaning swamp muck and burrs off the dogs.
Today the dogs are tired and on drugs to combat the beasties in the swamp water that are disagreeing with their systems and I’m left reflecting that my unexciting opossum/pheasant stare down turned into an interesting evening anyway.
After all, I got my bird and I got a story.
Why do we call the process of preserving food in jars canning?
Why not jarring?
These are the questions Tyler and I asked each other in our canning delirum at one in the morning.
The weekend was planned as a venison canning weekend. And it was. The last of the 64 pints are in the canner as I type.
Of course had we not found so many other things to do we’d be done already and we’d have skipped the delirium last night.
But where’s the fun in that?
The first set back in the canning progress was that Sarah and I have never been brillant about rationing time spent together. That history is a whole post that involves two countries, too much Diet Coke and a lot of tears, so I won’t go into it here. I’ll just say we saw each other, it was fun, and I probably should have been canning.
Then after staying up canning until delirium set in last night Tyler took me grouse hunting this morning.
I recommend hunting with Tyler.
While I did see a grouse and lots of track this morning I didn’t get a shot off , but I’ll forgive my guide/Sherpa/driver/child sitter/dog handler, he had his hands full.