June 28, 2010

Bear is good…..

really, really good!

Billie invited us to eat supper Saturday night….to eat bear!  An unbelievably gracious invitation.   Billie, Joey and Joe recently went to Newfoundland to hunt black bear with their bows.  They had quite a successful hunt and invited Mike, me and few other friends to share a meal and to regale us with tales of the hunt.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Firstly, how exactly does one cook bear? I’m a little weird about the texture of food…I was a bit worried.  But, I will try anything at least once so I was a little excited too.

I needn’t have worried.  It was absolutely amazing.  We spent the evening enjoying fried bear steaks and bear loin smothered in gravy.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been that full in my life.  It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

I am flattered and feel so honored that Billie, Joey and Joe would share such a rare and special thing with us. 

I am beyond blessed to have such great folks in my circle of friends!  I’ve discovered that is one of the surprise benefits of hunting…I am now closer than ever to some of my old friends and have expanded my circle to encompass some great newer friends as well.   

I send up a thanksgiving for the many blessings in my life daily…these days it’s taking a whole lot longer!





Thanks again guys for sharing your bounty with us!

June 14, 2010

Operation Blackberry 2010-a different kind of hunting!


Four years ago, Mike and I were driving around on the back roads with the windows down enjoying the afternoon.  I spotted a bush on the side of the road and realized it was a blackberry bush.  I began looking and realized there were blackberry bushes everywhere!  And they were covered in blooms. 

I hadn’t picked blackberries since I was a very small child so I told Mike that we needed to come back when they were ripe and pick.  He looked at me like I was speaking Greek.  In his defense, I am not particularly fond of traipsing about in 95 degree heat so he thought I was kidding.  I finally made him realize I was serious.  I reminded him that blackberry cobbler is my favorite dessert!  So we made a plan to come back in a few weeks and pick blackberries.

Life happened and we forgot.  By the time we remembered, the blackberries were gone.  We made a promise that NEXT summer we would remember.

Fast forward a year, thoughts of blackberries were not dancing through my head.  I’d completely forgotten our promise.  One afternoon Mike came home and told me that he’d been scouting blackberry bush locations and had found the mother lode.  He informed me that they weren’t quite ready, but next week I needed to clear up an afternoon for berry pickin’.  A week later we were in the woods, colanders in hand braving the berry thicket.  That first afternoon we picked a large colander filled to the rim with the largest blackberries I’d ever seen.

We bragged about our haul to Mike’s mom and offered to take her the next week to our honey hole!  She jumped at the chance.  And so began what we hope will continue to be a family tradition.  We’ve headed to the woods with our family the last three years on a mission.  We load up in the truck with our 5 gallon ice cream buckets in pursuit of the prize. Operation Blackberry 2009 and 2008 were resounding successes. and this year was no exception.


A friendly competition always ensues…who really is the supreme berry picker?  Truthfully, not Claire or me!  Firstly we eat too many and always end up with way fewer berries than anyone else and we tend to stay on the edges of the berry thicket.   Mike and his Mom are probably the winners with his Dad a close second.  They will bail off into the thicket in pursuit of the big guys! 


Mike’s brother joined us this year.  I think he may give them a run for their money for the title!

Mike and I brought home two large colanders of berries this year.  I put up 25 cups of blackberries.  I didn’t count how many cups I put away into my stomach!

It’s become one my favorite things we do together.  A slightly dorky, very country thing to do but one I treasure. 

It occurred to me that life is kind of like a blackberry. 

Not everyone enjoys them.  Not everyone enjoys their life.

Blackberries have small hard pits in them that you have to be aware of when consuming them.  Life has some small hard times that you have to be aware of.

Blackberries are sometimes sweet and sour at the same time.  Life is often sweet and sour at the same time.

Blackberries must be inspected and cleansed of insects and debris.  My life regularly needs inspections and culling of debris.

Blackberries can only be acquired when we push through the thorns in the thicket.  We are truly alive when we’ve pushed through the thorns the thicket of life puts in our path.

Blackberries sweetness is complimented when they are added to a cobbler and placed in a hot oven.  Life often becomes sweeter when we find ourselves surviving the fire.

So, maybe your life is like a bowl of cherries…..but mine, it’s a colander of blackberries.

Maybe two.


June 13, 2010

Living vicariously….

Some of my good friends are in Newfoundland hunting black bear.  With their bows.  

While I am not quite sure that I will ever be brave enough to hunt something that would like to snack on me, I find myself a smidge jealous.

I’m just going to have to be happy with stories at this point!  I can’t wait!

June 6, 2010

Shop ‘til you drop…

I got the ok from my doctor to drive Thursday.  SWEET FREEDOM!!!!  I’ve been cooped up since my surgery and I was ready to hit the road.

Billie is leaving next Friday headed to Newfoundland to hunt bear.  With a bow.  Yeah….I ain’t ready for all that yet.  Not sure I will EVER be!  So we’d decided that if I got the ok to drive, we’d head to Baton Rouge to the Bass Pro Shop and Cabela’s so she could pick up a few things she’d need for her trip.

We made good on our threat!  We spent the morning at Bass Pro and the afternoon at Cabela’s.  This was my first trip to either since I’ve started hunting.  TOTALLY different experience from my previous trips.  I pretty much wanted one of everything this time.  I managed to control myself and not spend TOO much money.  

I wanted to look for alternatives to climbing sticks and to try on safety harnesses. 

I hated the climbing sticks I used last year.  Firstly, I’m short.  It was difficult to climb because my stride is shorter than a man’s would be.  Secondly, I’m chunky, slightly out of shape (if I’m going to be honest)and scared of heights!  About midway up, I need a breather to regather myself and talk myself into continuing.  That’s a difficult prospect with one leg hiked up above the other, hanging out from a tree at a funky angle.  I was searching for an alternative that would make lock on stands a viable option for me in the future.

Success!  Big Game Stands makes a ladder!  007 I may be in a lock on this year!  At least it’s an option!

I tried on a number of safety harnesses.  I still haven’t found one that I really like. The vest ones just fit funky.  And so the search continues.  006I never did find the leg things on this one. 

I would like to point out that we bought two of the pretty little pop ups I’m standing by.  I’m looking forward to putting them in the woods!

I’m starting to really look forward to this year’s season.  I decided to join the lease.  By doing so, I’ve doubled my chances of bringing home venison.  I also like the potential for socializing that a lease brings.  I love being around people.  Especially people that I can learn from! 

It’s going to be a great year!

June 5, 2010