Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We hosted our "Orphans Thanksgiving" Sunday. We invite friends and acquaintances who do not have family in the area over for a Thanksgiving feast. I enjoy being able to cook for and serve others a big meal.

We are having family over on Thursday for another Thanksgiving feast. We butchered the turkey this morning. It was a job for the whole family. Tim held the legs, Jenny held the head, and I was in charge of the hatchet. We eventually got the job done and ended up with a very, very large bird. I hope he is not too large. We'll see how he tastes on Thursday.

I use a 1st edition "Joy of Cooking" for many of my holiday dishes. One wonderful trick I've learned is to drape the turkey in cheesecloth soaked in melted lard while you roast it. It works great and gives the bird an amazing golden skin.

We have so much to be grateful for this season. Being able to host friends and family. Being able to raise our own food on the farm. Having everyone in the family safe and healthy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Craig Mountain

The Craig Mountain area is a roadless, non-motorized area in which I elk hunt. I prefer to hunt using my own two legs. Or the four legs of a horse if necessary. It is wonderful to hunt in an area which prohibits motorized access.

This canyon stretches down about 4000 feet to the Snake River.

In the wilderness, I find Nature's Cathedral. In the mountains I feel closest to God.

"In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness." John Muir

It was a blessing to have the time to get out into the mountains. It is even more of a blessing to come home to my wife, my children, and my farm.

Monday, November 14, 2011

elk hunting

I just got back into town after 3 days in the mountains elk hunting alone. I stayed in my little pup tent and managed to stay reasonably warm. The last night there was a little bit of a blizzard. I was more afraid that a tree would fall on me than I was of freezing. I saw one elk, 6 mule deer, 4 grouse, and some wolf tracks. I had a great time. I didn't manage to shoot an elk, but it was amazing to just hike around in the mountains with my senses in hunting mode. Hyper-aware of all the sights and sounds around me.

I spent plenty of time sitting in front of the camp fire writing in my journal, meditating, and praying.

It was great to push my body a little bit. See what I could do in the mountains. I've had a knee injury bothering me all fall, so I was a little unsure of how I'd do. I hiked about 8 miles on the first day and 3 or 4 miles the next couple of days.

To me, my time spent hunting is incredibly spiritual. Time spent in the mountains is incredibly spiritual. Especially when I am alone. But I am never really alone.

In the words of the psalmist,
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."

In the mountains, in the stillness, I hear whispers. Underneath the rocks there are words. When I am still I can hear them. And I know that God is there.

I am so blessed. Blessings to you too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Too much fun...

Duck hunting the other day was wild. It was about 32 degrees with rain, sleet, and snow. I got to the lake before dawn and launched my little boat in the dark. There used to be beacon lights marking the boating channel in the shallow lake, but turned out they were mostly gone. I should have waited for first light, but decided to try to get to my hunting spot anyway. What a long, dark, scary ride that was. I pretty much felt my way across the lake, but finally made it to my spot an hour later. I got the decoys out and set up a little blind.

At first light, nothing was flying. Usually if there are going to be birds you can tell in the first 15 minutes after shooting light but not this time. The birds showed up a half an hour later and they showed up by the thousands. There were almost no mallards and only a few geese but thousands of teal. Teal are small and fast, but great eating and fun shooting. What a morning. I only got a few and should have gotten a few more, but it was a great morning.

Tomorrow I am going back to the lake hunting with Tim. I’m either going to buy a high powered spotlight, or I am going to have to wait until after it gets light to get on the lake. Either way, it promises to be a great morning.

On Tuesday, I am going to a conference to see Temple Grandin speak on Autism. I’ve had my registration for almost a year. She is an amazing woman with severe autism who not only succeeded in coping with her disability but got a Ph.D. to boot. She designed the modern cattle slaughtering techniques used all over the United States. It should be an amazing talk.

Then on Wednesday I’m packing and heading out to elk camp. Phew. A lot of fun stuff this week. I still don’t know how my knee is going to do, but I sure plan on trying to hunt. If not, I guess I’ll have a nice little camping trip in the snow in the mountains.

It’s sometimes tiring to be crazy busy, but at least it’s all really fun stuff. I am so blessed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I finally got my outboard motor back from the shop. I'm hoping to go duck hunting on Friday. The forecast is for a little bit of snow which can be a problem at the boat launch. I had to junk my four wheel drive truck. My small truck, with tire chains as a backup, should do the trick in a light snow though.

I have an elk hunt coming up in mid-November. I've been looking forward to it all year, but I have an injury in my knee and I'll just have to see how it goes. I plan on going up to the mountains and setting up camp. Then just seeing how it goes. If I get an elk and can't pack the quarters out on my back, I can call Jenny's father and he can bring up some horses to pack it out. I'm hunting in a roadless/non-motorized area which I prefer, but you kind of need to be healthy to do a good hunt there. I've never shot an elk, but I sure am looking forward to the opportunity. If nothing else, it'll be a good opportunity to camp in the snow for a couple of days.

So many wonderful things to do, so little time. I feel like I'm booked solid through November.

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

gratitude month

It just doesn't get any more grateful than this. I have so much to be grateful for. I'd like to meditate on something I have to be grateful for each day this month. Starting with my child, my wife, and my family. Here's hoping we can all maintain an attitude of gratitude this month.