Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bring In the Buck, Boys

Fair warning: Dead deer photos ahead.

This is the second weekend of rifle season for deer, and A. was on the hunt for a buck. He got a doe last weekend, which has already been made into one roasted haunch for Thanksgiving dinner, plus two gallons of chili and two gallons of stock for the freezer.

His other tag was for a buck, which of course are less common than does and therefore that much more exciting to hunt. He's been out every day for the past four without even spotting a buck. But this morning, he went out, hiked to the neighbor's gully, and shot a buck within ten minutes.

And then he had to get it home.

He dragged it down the gully until he got just across from our house, then he dragged it up the gully bank and we brought him the utility sled to get it the rest of the way home. Cubby and Charlie had just returned from their church outing with the MiL. Good thing they were there to help.

I'm sure A. never would have gotten it home without them pushing at the rear.

Once it was on our lawn, A. drove the Subaru to the sled and hooked the sled to the trailer hitch to tow it the rest of the way.

Dashing through the mud, in a one-buck open sleigh . . .

Jack was there, though his contribution was negligible.

Deeply skeptical of this whole proceeding.

He did get a close-up look at the antlers, though.

Blackrock baby and a buck.

The buck has been hung in a tree, thoroughly cleaned, and washed out with the hose. It is even now dripping onto the lawn, awaiting butchering next weekend.

You just never do know what a Sunday afternoon will bring at Blackrock.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Yes, I Am Hiding

Charlie has been sick for a few days, and shrieking at all hours of the night for a few nights now. I am tired.

No, I am exhausted.

At 6:30 this morning, both Charlie and Cubby were up. I managed to get Charlie to actually eat something--his total food intake for over 24 hours stood at two bites of grilled cheese and four spoonfuls of rice, plus milk--and instructed Cubby to get himself a banana.

When we retired to the living room to play and they both grabbed two animals each to start fighting each other, I decided my presence was really unnecessary.

So I came into the dining room, shut the door behind me, and got another cup of coffee.

That was fifteen minutes ago. Cubby just came into the dining room to inquire about the whereabouts of Daddy and sing irritating nonsense songs.

It's raining and 37 degrees. It's going to be a long day.

Happy Saturday after Thanksgiving! Bah.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Times three.

Happy Thanksgiving, my lovelies. Keep calm and eat pie.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Powered Down

This morning when I returned from dropping Cubby and Charlie at their respective schools, I found the power was out. Jack was ready for his nap, so I put him down to sleep and then . . . nothing.

Couldn't vacuum. Couldn't start laundry. So many chores are impossible without electricity.

But the woodstove was blazing away perkily and I had a new book I hadn't yet started*. So I sat down by the fire and read until the power came on 45 minutes later.

Then I spent some time flipping breakers and switching around fuses in our ridiculously confusing electrical system, trying to figure out why some of the appliances in the kitchen were working and some weren't.

It was a very nice 45 minutes, though. (And everything is working now.)

* Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson. I'm only about fifty pages in, but so far, I approve. The writing's good, anyway.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Welcome to Camp Blackrock for Boys

Cubby had a friend over to play this morning. The friend hopped out of his car and asked, "Where are the spears?"

He's been here before. He knows what to expect.

Over the next three hours, those two boys plus Charlie did the following things:

-Set a (questionably effective) deadfall trap under the copper beech tree on the front lawn.

-Dug potatoes and leeks in the garden.

Mia supervised.

-Hauled a sled-load of wood from the shed to the big woodbox by the dining room door.

That utility sled is a three-boy job.

-Ate the potatoes and leeks they dug from the garden. After I cooked them with bacon and cheese, that is.

-Made and hunted with spears in the pasture, which involved commando-crawling through the grass. It was a very serious endeavor, although not ultimately successful.

-Climbed the persimmon tree in the pasture to harvest and eat a few persimmons*.

-Climbed around the old barn foundations and dragged out a fairly large sapling.

-Sawed the sapling into smaller lengths to make bows.

The bow-making was interrupted by Cubby's friend's mom arriving to pick him up. But he'll be back to finish the job, I have no doubt. Boys always want to come back to Blackrock. Maybe girls would, too, but I wouldn't know about that.

* Cubby's friend, who had never had a persimmon before, thoughtfully remarked that they taste like sunscreen. Upon reflection, I can kind of see what he means. But then, I'm not a fan of persimmons.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Flip Side of the Coin

Sometimes my children are real jerks--as are all children on occassion--and they say really jerky things. Please see Exhibit A.

But then there are moments like this morning when I dropped Cubby off at school. I picked him up for a hug, as I always do (though this is getting increasingly difficult as he grows ever larger). He wrapped himself around me and said, "I want to stay near your heart forever."

You will, my love. Forever.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rooster Battle Gear

A. dispatched the rooster yesterday morning, and I currently have approximately three gallons of chicken stock in my refrigerator awaiting pressure canning.


This was the great excitement for me, of course, but for Cubby and Charlie, who were naturally present for all activity regarding the rooster killing, the great excitement was the wings. A. decided to just whack off the head, wings, and feet and then skin the bird, forgoing all the wretched plucking and saving him about half an hour. This meant there were various parts of the rooster on the table outside while he was doing the skinning.

I'm not sure which child discovered the wings first, but they certainly weren't going to let those wings go to waste.

Cubby currently has a spear with a stone point (that he also made himself in the style of a caveman, i.e., by smashing shale with other rocks), and he decided it needed decoration.

I suspect it will be mostly ceremonial rather than actually useful for hunting, but the feathers are a nice touch.

Charlie elected to keep his wing intact and spread it out to make a shield.

Kind of reminds me of those feather fans I associate with Marie Antoinette for some reason. Not, I think, the idea he was going for.

Jack didn't get a wing, seeing as there are only two on a rooster and he's not even a year old. 

He wisely decided to crawl away from this scene.

Chicken stock for me, feathered battle gear for them. Everyone's happy.