I enjoy watching some of the upper-North made for TV reality shows. The scenery is usually pretty good and you can actually see bits and pieces of life in remote regions. The statement is invariably made that they have seven months of winter and a short four month growing season. I always think; that’s about what we have here. I always think to myself that yes, they do have some brutal weather conditions but as far as I’m concerned once it is froze up; it doesn't make much difference how much colder it gets. They don’t have to get up and drive to a job miles away six days per week, either. They all have put away stores of smoked salmon and a moose and a couple of caribou sure can be stretched a lot farther than a couple of whitetails. I always believe that they don’t quite have it as hard as they would like for us to believe.
I was watching an episode recently; they were loading ammo for a moose hunt. The statement was made that they couldn't just go to the store and buy their ammo like everyone in the lower 48 can. Yeah, right. During the past decade it has been a challenge to find the ammo you actually want. I always have started in September to try and purchase my needed ammo supply. Some years I have been able to get what I wanted and other times I have had to settle for something that will just do. I found what I needed this year actually in-stock. But, I needed to buy tires. Alas a week later none was to be had. That was my final straw.
I broke out my reloading press which had been idle since 1987. I started gathering supplies and was lucky enough to find everything that I needed; locally! I already had a few hundred used cases for my two rifles; so I was set to go. One week later, I had more ammo loaded up than I will ever have a need for. Yep, a lifetime supply and more accurate than store bought. I’ll never have to go through the annual trying to find it hassle again. That feels real good.
I defrosted my freezer today and it really made me think. Down in the frozen depths were mushrooms, trout, asparagus, blackberries, strawberries, corn, beans and ramps. None of these were purchased from a store. There was a turkey and a little bit of venison in there, too. The venison is definitely running a bit low; but I’m sure that will change over the next couple of months. I have to admit that there are a few bags of store bought frozen peas in there. There are plenty of sugar snap peas, but I’m not shelling out a winter supply of the others. Been there and done that. That is also the reason I don’t grow black-eyed peas anymore, too.
I believe that if you sit back and think about it; we are in the same league as the homesteaders in the upper-North, Maybe they will put us on TV and we will become rich and famous. Not in one of those silly monster shows, either. Happy Thanksgiving and be thankful for what you have and what you can produce.
This is my November 2014 Article for the printed edition of Two-Lane Livin