Yep. It’s deer season.
Deer season to rural dwellers might mean something a little different than it means to the city folk who arm themselves, mount their 440 horse wagons and trek to the wilds. I must be honest – I haven’t seen any Hummers or armored personnel carriers yet, nor have I seen any attack helicopters. Lots of Fords and Chevys though.
We have the distinction of having a nice bit of woods/forest though, and the deer and wild turkeys seem to like it here.
So as deer season arrives we see the number of unfamiliar vehicles on the roads go up, and it becomes more colorful as the license plates from across the land drive up and down on the gravel road. This year, for the second year in a row, we had a couple of guys who drove all the way from upstate New York, and a guy from Indiana to hunt deer here.
I don’t mind it at all as long as they’re safe, and they don’t shoot anything but deer. One year we had a couple of guys from Kansas City ask if I’d let them build deer stands – and after seeing what and where they wanted to build them, I let them go ahead. Things were fine for several years, and they hauled quite a few deer out of my woods. Then one year they hauled one of the hunters out of the woods. He’d fallen out of his stand and broke a bone, I think it was a leg. Funny – they haven’t returned. Must be deer hunting is too dangerous for them. Or maybe they didn’t tell me the whole story? Maybe a deer got them!!!
Anyway… most of the people who shoot deer here take the whole thing away (except for the viscera which they leave as an offering for the coyotes). But one of the hunters cleans the deer right here, and I get what he doesn’t want. He takes the large easy meat pieces, and I get the harder to remove pieces and the hide. Works for me!
This year we’re going to grind the meat up and can it. We also thought about rendering the tallow and making soap out of it – but decided we don’t really have time for that this year.
And if time permits, I might even see if I can find a suicidal deer! (How do you know a deer is suicidal? You look in the low spots of the woods. If you find a deer in a deep depression, he’s probably suicidal.)
So… otherwise this week, we have lots of canning to do. We have 8 chickens on the stove as I write this… cooking down prior to be de-boned and canned, some of them made into chicken soup. Going to oven-can some beans, too. We’re going to can frozen veggies, and sweet potatoes. And while all that canning is going on, we’re going to slice and dehydrate potatoes. And if I get a deer of my own, we’ll probably make some jerky and some salted dried meat.
Someone asked us today if we are “preppers”. I must answer truthfully – if they meant like the folks you see on TV getting ready for Armageddon, no. The flat truth is we like to eat, and we’re only getting ready for winter. A book was written back in the 1800s (I think by a missionary?) who wanted to preserve what some have called “the Indian way.” So he interviewed an old Hidatsa Sioux woman named “Buffalo Bird Woman” who taught him how they planted, harvested, and stored their food. According to her, they tried to keep at least 3 years worth of food on hand/in storage at all times so that if the weather turned nasty for a year or two, they could still survive. We think that’s a pretty good idea, but have a loooong way to go towards that 3 year mark! (It’s a worthy book if you can find a copy of it! “Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden” is the title.)
And I also have to work on editing my short story collection so I can get it published on Amazon, where it can join “Hamster Dan”!!!
SO… it’s going to be busy week!!!