Friday, November 25, 2011

What's a Thanksgiving Without Dead Deer?

Not a Thanksgiving at Blackrock, obviously.

Three years ago on Thanksgiving, A. and I butchered our very first deer ever. As the MiL ran around like a maniac trying to prepare for 25 people coming to our house to eat Thanksgiving dinner, A. and I stood ankle deep in freezing cold mud in the shed and cut up a deer. It took us forever and was an incredible pain in the ass.

The next year, I had a Thanksgiving blessedly free of deer remains. Last year, I had to clear up the decomposing innards the dogs thoughtfully dragged home for Thanksgiving. And this year? Well, this year A. went hunting (again) yesterday morning. With functioning shotgun shells this time.

He drove off at five in the morning in my old Nissan, because his truck was out of gas and the turn signals no longer work. So when he shot a four-point buck (that's a young one, for those of you not familiar with hunting terms), he had to stuff it into the trunk of the Nissan, like some kind of mob hitman or something. It was pretty amusing.

He got home just as the rest of the family was leaving for the family dinner at the MiL's sister's house. So while the rest of the family sat around at Aunt Barb's eating stuffed mushrooms and drinking wine, Cubby and I watched A. wash the deer out and hoist it into a tree with a Come-a-long. We also got to watch Mia chow down on the deer's windpipe.

It's a wonderful way to whet your appetite for a big meal, let me tell you.

So now we have a deer hanging right next to the driveway in front of the house, to be butchered in a few days. Since we did two of our own lambs this year, this deer will be the third animal we've butchered in the last month or so. And it will be the last, that I will insist on.

Maybe next year I'll get lucky and get to have a Thanksgiving that does not involve a dead deer. That'd be nice. But I'm not counting on it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011



Happy Thanksgiving, poppets.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mighty Mighty Pleasin', Pappy's Apple Squeezin'*

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so today is a kind of Friday, right? Right! So let's talk about alcohol.

Specifically, let's talk about A.'s hard cider, which did indeed, uh, harden in the bucket and morph from innocent, innocuous sweet cider to nasty, alcoholic, disgusting hard cider.

Okay, so I'm not a fan of real hard cider**. But A. and the MiL, both of whom have some experience with real hard cider, have pronounced it good. Which means that A. now has six gallons of alcohol (SIX! GALLONS!) that he made for free (FREE!).

Now he just has to keep himself from drinking like a gallon a day because, you know, it's there and it was free. It's a challenge.

He's started drawing it off into screw-top bottles to further ferment and get all bubbly. So stay tuned for how that works. Maybe all the bottles will blow up from over-carbonation! You just never do know.

* For the many of you who probably have no idea about the song I'm referencing in the title, please go here for a video. For those of you who did get the reference? You're my kind of people. And you should also view the video. It's pretty awesome.

** I use the word "real" to distinguish it from commercial hard cider, like Woodchuck*** or something, which bears about as much resemblance to real hard cider as grape juice does to red wine.

*** HA! I just now registered the humor in that name. This stuff that A. made is authentic woodchuck cider. Woodchuck in the Blackrock sense, that is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This morning when Cubby and I went outside to let the chickens out, it was a frosty 27 degrees. Literally frosty--every surface had a half-inch layer of frost on it. Including Cubby's beloved tractor.

The tractor had been left out by the dog pen, so it too was covered in a thick layer of frost. Cubby grabbed the steering wheel in preparation for climbing aboard for his usual play session, and then snatched his hand back. He tried this a few times, and then turned to me with the most bewildered expression on his face. "Co?" he said, holding out his cold little hand. "Wah?"

Yes, my sweet, cold and wet. This is only the beginning. Brace yourself, son. The Blackrock winter has arrived.

Monday, November 21, 2011

So I Broke the Bed This Morning

How I wish that were a joke, but no. I was pulling Cubby into bed with me so we could read his schlocky "Mommy Loves" book for the millionth time ("Mommy kangaroo loves her joey. Mommy polar bear loves her bear cubs . . .) and CRASH. Cubby and I dropped down about a foot.

A. was still in bed. We were all quiet for a second, and then I heard from under the covers, "That really just happened, didn't it?"


Were I a more self-conscious person, I might be upset about the implications of my body weight (well, mine and Cubby's) breaking a bed, but as it was, I found it sort of funny. Except for the fact that our bedframe is broken and we'll probably be sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a few nights until A. can fix it.

But still. Yeah, it was funny.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tales from the Huntin' Logs

Yes, it is indeed huntin' season again. Opening day was yesterday, so A. got up at 4:30 a.m. and drove to the state forest where he likes to hunt. Cubby and I had many discussions about Daddy going hunting. That he was hunting ("Hut? Hut?") for deer ("Deah? Deah?"), that he would shoot ("Shoo? Shoo?") them with his gun ( "Guh-NUH? Guh-NUH?") and then we would eat ("Ee? Ee?") them.

Unfortunately, A. came home without a deer. But with a really ridiculous story.

He was all set up in his spot and had been sitting there for about an hour when a buck wandered into view. The buck didn't know he was there, and was in no particular hurry, so A. figured it would be a pretty easy shot. So he lined up the shot and pulled the trigger. Click.

The gun didn't fire.

He quickly loaded another round in the gun and . . . click. This happened with eight shells, one after the other. Click click click click . . . By the time he finally got one that would actually fire, the buck was too far away.

He couldn't believe it. The shells were a couple of years old, sure, but still. One shell, okay. So that one was defective or got some moisture in it or something. But eight? And it was definitely the shells, because he test-fired some other shells when he got home and had no trouble with them.

So, lesson learned: Make sure your ammunition is new before you sight a buck. Also, don't buy Remington shotgun shells to begin with. Let's hope the Winchester shells are better.

And while we're on the subject of shooting deer, let me tell you what happened when Cubby and I accompanied A. to the local Huge Outdoor Store to pick up some functional shotgun shells. We walked in and A. pointed out to Cubby the stuffed deer on the wall. Cubby grinned, pointed, and said, "Pshew pshew."

At least someone got a shot off at some deer yesterday.