Tuesday, August 31, 2010

fall bird hunting

Luna and I have been hunting up a storm lately. We hunted pheasants on Sunday and grouse on Monday. The pheasant hunt was successful. Luna flushed five pheasants and we, Colleen and I, shot four. The grouse hunt was a little different. Luna has never been grouse hunting and wasn't completely clear on the concept. She did flush two grouse, but neither one offered an opportunity for a clean shot.

She loves hunting but seems to burn out after a few hours. Me, I'd hunt all day.

I love the fall. The hunting seasons are opening. The hot weather is subsiding. It's harvest time in the garden. The school year is starting fresh and exciting. Steelhead season is just around the corner.

I've arranged an animal-sitter for deer/elk hunting camp this October. I am so excited. I found a local family through 4-H that should work out well. I will go up into the foothills where I hunt and set up a camp for about four days. Various friends come up to camp each year to hunt or just hang out around the fire. It is one of the highlights of my year.

Colleen and I had pheasant piccata for dinner last night. It was great. I imagine you could also make it with chicken. I've also used venison for the same recipe.

1. Cut your pheasant breast into 1/4 thick fillets and soak in milk for three hours.
2. Coat the breast in flour and brown in three tablespoons of butter.
3. Pour in a cup of white wine and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
4. Remove the fillets to a warm plate and add a handful of fresh, snipped parsley, three tablespoons of capers, and three tablespoons of lemon juice.
5. Simmer the sauce down until it is thick and serve over the warm pheasant breasts.

It is such a pleasure to enjoy a wild game meal with friends. I am so truly blessed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vision Quest

I went backpacking alone in the Seven Devils Wilderness Area in central Idaho last weekend. It was amazing. What a spiritual adventure.

In the words of the Psalmist, "I look up into the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the Lord, creator of all heaven and earth." My spiritual help comes from the mountains. It comes in God's own cathedral.

After hiking each day, I had plenty of time to pray and meditate with no distractions. No phone or internet, work or meetings. Just the wind playing in the tree-tops.

I caught a few trout on the fly-rod. Saw some beautiful mule deer. A few different kinds of birds. Just a relaxing time.

I was able to hike with a 50 pound pack for almost 20 miles in 2.5 days. It felt great to get out and push my body a little bit. Yes, age and old injuries slowed me down, but I did better than I had expected. If I keep up with the diet and exercise I should be in great shape for this year's hunting season.

I am so grateful to the friend who watched the farm for me. All the animals did just fine. It was good to see all the critters again but a little overwhelming to get back into it. I am working to set up a couple of possible farm-sitters so that I am able to do some of the trips I traditionally do each year. I usually take a few days off for the opening of deer and elk season, so I'll try to do that again this year.

I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful place, with such wonderful friends. God has been so good to me, I just want to share it with everyone I meet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What's a 100 year old barn without...barn cats

The latest addition to the barnyard is two kittens. I hope they earn their keep by catching some of the thousands of mice that live in the barn. They seem to get along with the goats well enough.

Taking care of the animals and the garden as well as teaching a few hours of summer school is keeping me pretty busy. I still have time to spend a couple of hours with friends each day though. My days have gotten into a peaceful rhythm of caring for the animals, gardening, seeing friends in the heat of the day, and then putting the animals up for the night.

Is anybody else having a banner year for flies? I've got them everywhere. Not just in the barn but in the house too. I'm sure it will taper off as the nights cool off a bit which should happen soon. Right now though it's about 90 degrees. It hasn't rained here in 6 weeks.

I'm going to get the opportunity to go backpacking in a mountain range called the Seven Devils. I'm going to hike 20 miles in two and a half days. I should have time to get some nice fly-fishing in as well. I'll be stopping the first night along a large creek and the second night will be at one of three possible lakes. There are rumored to be plenty of trout. It'll be nice to get up into the mountains for a few days before the regular school year starts. A friend will be farm-sitting for me.

Each day, at the end of the day, I take some time to pray and meditate and gratefully reflect on all my blessings. I am truly blessed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Caspian drives the tractor.

I was cleaning out the goat pen, that reminds me I have to lay new straw, and all of the goats decided that the moving tractor was like a carnival ride. Whisper got in the bucket and wouldn't get out. I eventually just started driving really slowly with her in there. Later Caspian decided he wanted to drive.

The pigs are coming along nicely. Contrary to popular belief, pigs will not eat anything and everything. My pigs at least do not like uncooked beets. They love the beet greens but won't eat the beets themselves. They also do not like funky old carrots from the root cellar. There is plenty they do like though. On today's menu was leftover spaghetti, bread scraps, and salad scraps. They are getting more used to me, but they still won't let me touch them.

I've been keeping busy with friends still spending some time with Colleen and Luna. Colleen is going to farm-sit for me in August and maybe September. I may also be able to get another farm-sitter to watch the critters while Colleen and I take Luna grouse hunting/camping.

I am going backpacking with a friend of mine at the end of August. It will be my only extended backcountry trip this summer. I'll be hiking up to a river and lake in the Seven Devils wilderness to camp and fly-fish for a couple of days. I can't wait. I'm getting in better physical shape and should be able to make the trip, although I'm sure it will be challenging. My friend is a little (a lot) younger than I am, so I hope I don't slow him down too much.

Hunting season is coming up, so I think I have to apply for my elk unit and my extra doe tag. I'm not really an expert elk hunter, but I haven't given up yet. I certainly hope I get at least one deer this year. Idaho is such beautiful country. It has so much to offer a homesteader and hunter. The soil is great for growing, at least in my region, and wilderness opportunities abound. I feel truly blessed to live here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July on the homestead

End of July on the homestead. I canned my first batch of spicy pickled beets. It was 90 degrees so I canned outside. This nifty outdoor stove is a life saver when it's hot out.

The rabbits at a lot of the beets. Of course, they just nibble on one a little bit then move on to the next. I'm about ready to start sitting in the garden in a lawn chair with an iced tea and a 20 gauge. Rabbit stew.

The goats like the ruined beets. The pigs, interestingly enough, love the beet greens but don't eat the beets.
I've been coaxing the pigs into being more social with me by feeding them the beet greens and a little goat's milk. Hate to spare the goat's milk, but they love it. They are getting a little more tolerant of me.
In this hot weather, the pigs have been using their wallow more. Enlarging it slowly. I suppose eventually the whole pen will be one big wallow.

I've been helping a young man from a nearby town get back on his feet. It's a good feeling. He had a little trouble with the law enforcement folks. I've been giving him rides to AA meetings and helping him look for a place to live. He really seems to be turning around. It's a good feeling for me. I am blessed to be able to use the gifts I have received to be of service to others. Life is good.