|October sunrise over the barn|
It has been a beautifully warm fall in our region, but highs at 80+ this time of year bring drawbacks. Lows have been in the 40s and 50s – no frost. The lack of precipitation means the fire danger remains high and some hunting areas are closed for that reason. Pesky insects abound. And for hunters, the preservation of meat in the field is difficult.
“This is the last day I’m getting up early for a while,” a weary Mike announced as he dressed in the dark at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday (Oct. 17), the third day in a row he had gotten up before dawn in order to hunt deer.
Mike doesn’t really enjoy deer hunting. He’d rather take his shotgun, a dog (or two), and hike several miles in quest of game birds than sneak up on a deer. Be that as it may, every year he buys a deer tag.
Saturday he got a good-sized doe. He was back at the house to get the 4-wheeler and an assistant (me) about 7:30. As we rode out, Bess ran along with us. Nellie appeared interested, but I thought she would stay in the yard. Beyond the pond we went, down into Stove Creek where the plum trees grow, through the CRP, and up into the field. Bess stayed right with us, but before long elderly Nellie ambled up. I suspect she knew what was up and wanted to participate.
We loaded the 4-wheeler, and the cargo usurped my place, so I walked back to the house – probably half a mile. Preparing the meat is a distasteful task, but it has to be done, and I had to be the assistant. As we worked at the maple tree with eastern exposure, I was amazed at how quickly it became warm in the sun. The yellow-jackets were upon us immediately.
“It’s going to be hot out here today,” I observed, meaning that we couldn't leave the meat hanging in the sun. The closest meat-packing plant is actually in Clarkston where we also reside. I thought we should leave soon.
But—we weren’t quite ready. Mike says that if that beautiful fallen pine tree has to go for firewood, he’ll take ours first, and with this stay at the farm he began to saw it up. It’s hard work, so he paces himself, and he had some cutting he wanted to do before we left. But, as the morning progressed, we knew we had to get that meat to the plant -- and soon.
After lunch we packed quickly. We didn’t have room for everything we usually take, but I made sure my electronics satchel got into the pick-up. We hardly left behind anything we needed – just Mike’s billfold. KW