Saturday, November 11, 2017


Wow, it’s November already. Where did the year go? We have all been busy preparing for winter since April when the ramps popped up haven’t we? It seems to me that all we get done during the year is prepare for winter and try to make it through winter. Yes, the year flies by when you are busy. The freezers and cellars should all be brimming by now. I know the only room I have left is for meat and I need meat. That is what November is for. It’s time to head to the big grocery store on the mountain; before winter sets in.
I have always felt that the greatest time to be in the outdoors is November and May. The other months are just fillers with not much to offer. I am thankful that there are still a few places left that we can find solitude in. These places dwindle every year; but I’m glad a few still exist. I sure am thankful that we got that week of turkey season back that leads into deer firearms season. I was kind of lost without that one. It just didn’t feel right doing serious deer scouting without carrying my shotgun. It just felt weird. I put my requests in for time off this month. I sure am thankful that I can do that after all of the years of hunting and pecking for time in the woods. I got the usual “Oh, you really like to deer hunt “while I am thinking I hate to deer hunt because it is boring. I like to eat venison and that’s how you get it.
I am thankful that I am still physically able to venture off into some pretty rough country and get the meat back to my truck. I’m very thankful for that and a big plus this year is that I’m going into the season a lot lighter than over the last twenty years or so; about forty pounds is missing. That alone should make everything a bit easier and more enjoyable. I know that if I ever get to the point where I would have to sit in a box and stare at a corn pile; I would never go again. I’m also thankful that I own wool and not that fancy hi-tech stuff that you can hear a branch slap from a hundred yards away. I’m also thankful that I remembered to load some ammo two months before season and not at the last minute. I was down to 3 bullets.
Yes, I am thankful for many things but one of the biggest things is my ability to hunt, gather, catch and grow things to meet my needs. I think that is something to be proud of. The Thanksgiving season is a time to think and be thankful for what we have and what we have the ability to do. We need to be thankful for all of the veterans who have served and are serving this nation. We need to be thankful for all we have and all we have the freedom to do. If nothing else; just be thankful that it isn’t January yet. But be thankful for something. I know I am thankful that I will not be eating a butterball.

 (c) 2017 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c)2016 High Virginia Images All Rights reserved


Do you remember back when people actually sat down and read books? How about way back in the days when there was something fit to watch on TV? If you can remember those days of the past; you will remember that a common cause of death for the pioneers of our country was listed as consumption. Yeah, that dreadful disease is now known by another name now. We all know what that is.
It has been a bountiful year and a pleasant summer; other than a couple of hot weeks early on. I look at the cellar and smile. Plenty is stored away for the upcoming months. The freezer soon will be filled with venison and we will not have to think about procuring any food until the ramps pop up in the spring. Yep, it will be good eating all winter long and we all know that winter is long. Too long.
I really enjoy the month of October. It is wind-down time and the crowds are gone. One can actually enjoy the streams and woods without tripping over others. It is just a nice period of time to be in the mountains as the colors dwindle and the leaves fall. The chores are done and it is time to relax and recharge. Yes, when the rye is sown and the garlic is in the ground it’s time to head to the woods and see what you can find. I tend to spend a lot more time looking at potential new deer hunting spots than I do actually hunting. It seems as if every time I find a productive spot; they either cut down all of the trees or decide to build a road in that spot. Therefore; I normally spend a good amount of October walking and thinking. Searching may be a better definition. I like to search. It is a good activity for a wandering mind.
Wandering, wondering and thinking just seem like the right things to do. I wonder why I see fewer gardens every year. I think back and try to remember the last time I actually saw anyone squirrel hunting. I guess it easier to drive through and get some chicken nuggets from something that once resembled a chicken. Just yesterday, I saw someone with tomatoes bought from Biggy Mart. I wonder why when I’m positive that person drove by a half dozen real produce stands. It’s just easier, I guess. Never better but less trouble.
Producers dwindle and consumers grow. We have become a nation of consumers obsessed with the easiest way to get something while expending the least amount of effort. Quality no longer seems to take priority. I do not understand the reasoning but that is the way it seems to be. I would take a quart of canned whole tomatoes over a bushel of rock hard flavorless ones any day. I just like to know where my food came from and know what it looked like. The same thing goes with meat. I like to cut up my own meat. I hear so many that say it is too much to trouble butcher their own deer. I would rather cut up deer than sit on a deer stand and wait on one to show up.
I’m afraid that consumption will eventually consume a nation.

(c)2017 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved