Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Adventures... and name that skull

It was a fantastic Maine spring weekend. A little chilly and windy Saturday morning, but the sun was out and we were outside. Fresh air and sunshine will cure what ails ya! We had a mini lawn sale in the morning, then in the afternoon, Hubby and I went on a adventure with Dad. We had important business in the woods... namely, how our hunting spots are looking and if there was any sign deer out and about.

We checked out the Sky Condo and then Dad took us to a new spot that he has added to our list of places to hunt. A friend of his owns the land and Dad has been wanting to hunt on it for a few years now, but I was the stick in the mud and liked where I was. But, now.. with my confidence still high from my buck, I am game. This new spot is fantastic. I should have listened to Dad before. Great vantage points, lots of sign and near a corn field. I know, I know... I should have been listening to Dad a long time ago. I also think its his plan to keep expanding where we hunt so that I will give in and let Hubby hunt with us. I am a big fan of Father-Daughter hunting, so we will see on that one.

Anyways, while we were on our walk, we found fiddle heads!!! If you have never had them, send me your address and I will ship you some. They are the quintessential Maine spring food. When I was little, they were a part of my Birthday meal (ok, they were this year, too). I was excited to find a few along our path and we picked a handful to bring home.

AND, Dad found this skull. What is is????

My brother in law thinks it might be a goat. But not a deer.

My mom thinks it could be a feral deer.

I think its a Red deer. And I found this cool blog when I was doing a little bit of research. What a cool 10 year old kid! He helped me reach my hypothesis.

Seriously, what do you all think this is? It is probably 6 to 6.5 inches long and maybe 5 inches high, not including the pedicles.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hunting and the NRA

A friend of mine in DC occasionally sends me (or Tweets at me) articles that he wants my opinion on. Yesterday, it was an op-ed piece from the New York Times titled, "I Hunt, but the N.R.A. Isn’t for Me" by Lily Raff McCaulou. My buddy wanted to know, as a "lady hunter" what I thought about this. And I am curious what YOUR opinion is... are you a card carrying member of the NRA?

As I read the op-ed, I agreed with many of her points, For hunters like me, hunting isn’t ultimately about the gun. It’s about wildlife and the land that sustains it and I’m a hunter and a sportswoman. I own guns, but not for self-defense but I also have to wonder if her stats are truly correct "the most comprehensive national survey of firearm ownership to date found that only 35 percent of gun-owning households say they hunt. Even then, the N.R.A. would represent only about one-third of all hunters in the United States"

I don't know a lot (or anything really) about the NRA. The only thing that comes to mind is Charlton Heston, with the gun above his head, yelling "From my cold, dead hands!" And I know that is not me. I love my gun... I snuggle with my gun while I am in my tree seat, but there is only one gun at my house, and it's not mine.

So - there are many of you out there that have a lot more knowledge and thoughts on this topic. What do you think? Does McCaulou have a solid argument? How separate are the NRA and hunting? and is that good or bad? I would love to know what you all think.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Step 3: Boil, Baby, Boil

After talking about it for a few weeks, I actually took my antlers back to my house and boiled them. It was a nice, sunny day. I had my grill going and everything was working well.
The wind put out the burner a couple of times, but I re-lit it. However, when I ran out of propane, I was forced to bring it inside.
With the windows and door open, I boiled this thing. I added water every 30-60 minutes to keep it boiling. Hour after hour. I thing the entire project took me about 8 hours. But when it was done, this is what I had. Its funny to look at the antlers now and see how uneven they are.
I think the lines are the coolest thing. They are suture lines from the soft infant skull fusing solid. And for some reason, I can not remember seeing these lines on the antlers Dad has. I will have to check out all of his more closely when I am at the house next time.

Next step: mounting this bad boy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why I do what I do

I recently posted that I joined the board of Hardy Girls Healthy Women. This morning, we received the following letter from a school teacher (I have taken out the teacher's name, what area of the State she is from and the school she teaches in). Please take 3 minutes and read it:

Dear Hardy Girls Healthy Women,

For the past twenty years I have been fortunate enough to be a teacher in the area, teaching middle school science and elementary children. For the last three years I have been honored to be a fourth grade teacher. I think it's fair to say that I know kids.
Something that has surprised me about my position at the School is the degree of poverty. I probably shouldn't be so surprised being that our country is experiencing one of the worst recessions in our life time. And of course that translates into strained families and hungry children. This year I have one student in particular who is hungry, a lot. She comes from a loving home and her parents try their best. But she struggles immensely at school. She's hungry and she's tired and she often does not do well in school, academically or socially.

During January all the teachers received the standardized test results of our students and to say I was shocked when I saw (let me refer to this girl as Cecilia; not her real name) Cecillia's scores is an understatement. She did very well. I have been watching and working with this girl with great concern since September. She has such talent and potential yet I didn't see it as it was masked behind hunger and apathy. She's a lovely girl yet she isn't thriving or performing near her potential. That's when I happened to see the Hardy Girls conference on their Facebook page. I spoke with my administrator and got the go ahead to talk with Cecilia and her parents. Everyone was very excited about this opportunity and I signed Cecilia and myself up for the conference. But I still worried. I worried that she wouldn't be able to enjoy herself with so many unfamiliar faces. I worried she would feel awkward with her teacher. I just worried the day would not be successful. The morning arrived and off we went. I could tell Cecilia was just as nervous as I was. But she showed up; I was thrilled.

When we got to the conference it was very busy and we just stood for quite a while and watched, allowing Cecilia time to take in all that was happening around her. She didn't say much but that is her way. After a perfect breakfast we participated in a scavenger hunt and that helped her relax and get a feel for what the day was going to be about. We then went in to a small auditorium to listen to some speeches/presentations by some older girls. Cecilia was mesmerized. They had her in the palm of their hands. When it was time for her to go off to her workshop and me to mine she was hesitant but she went. So far so good. At lunch she was more relaxed but still seemed unsure. Afternoon came and we went to our afternoon workshops. All went well.

But the purpose of this letter is what happened at the end of the day when Cecilia filled in a short survey on her thoughts about her day. Actually I wrote her words as she didn't want to fill it in. I watched her as she answered each question quickly and proceeded to write word for word what she said. I wanted her to share more but that's the way it is some time. Then we got to the sentence starter....Before today I didn't know that I...... and here's how Cecilia replied..... "could be proud of myself." I nearly fell off my chair. I still tear up when I think of her and that comment. Thank you Hardy Girls for helping Cecilia and all the Cecilia's realize that they "can be proud of themselves". The day was worth every effort and worry.

THIS! Is why I do what I do. I am a strong advocate of girls and women doing anything they set their minds to, because we are just as good, if not better than some of you boys out there. I was fortunate enough to have amazing parents who never said I could not do something, but instead, asked how I would accomplish my goal. I am proud of who I am, the fact that I write a blog about hunting and the fact that I have folks like all of you who read it and support me. Through my work with Hardy Girls, I hope more girls like Cecelia can be inspired to do anything they set their minds to. Including writing a blog about hunting.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Whatta mean I can't fish in heels???

Rabid Outdoorsman and I are now members of BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman) in Maine. Rabid has been to one meeting and I will be attending my first at the end of June. The plan was to meet at a local watering hole and discuss how we can bring our time and talent to this organization and make it rock. Originally there was going to be 3 of us in this "meeting" but it turned into just me and Rabid so he suggested I meet him and we go fishing. I was coming from work, in amazing heels and dress clothes. Rabid didn't think pumps would be a good choice for fishing in April but I tried to convince him otherwise. However, like a good Maine girl, I had gum rubbers in my car. Game on!

I need to figure out how to have many more meetings like this!

Rabid was telling me about his fishing adventures with Duckhunter over the past week and how they were catching great fish. About 5 minutes after we pushed off from shore, Rabid had a small fish on his line. Too small, so he let it go. All I really wanted, was to take a fish home after going home empty handed when I went ice fishing.
A few minutes later and some conversation about how we can organizing a fundraising effort, Rabid hooked this guy. Dinner! After a couple hours on the pond, some great conversation about common friends, the outdoors and how we can get more women involved, we brought the fish back to the house. Even better, Rabid fileted it for me. Amazing! But, now that I have seen it done, I know next time it is up to me.

At the end of the night, this is what my backseat looked like: deer antlers so I can finally clean them up, my amazing shoes that I did not wear fishing and some delish beer. Classy Maine girl!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Catching Up

Feels like its been a while since I posted anything on here... this is what I have been up to:

1. Conferences
2. Work (we had an amazing 1 day fundraiser then blew our $$ goals out of the water. True stat: per capita, Maine is one of the most generous States when it comes to charitable donations.)
3. Spring cleaning

This is my beautiful friend Lissa. She and I started school together when we were 3. She met my hubby when they were in college and she introduced us. She is also 1 of the 3 people that witnessed and signed the paperwork when I got married. She is amazing. And yesterday, in 90+ heat (some reports said 101 on the pavement), she completed her dream of running the Boston Marathon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bigger antlers this fall?

I came across this cool Q&A on Mike Hanback's website, that talks about bucks holding onto their antlers longer in the winter and what that means for the next season. Hopefully, with the mild, (MILD, no-snow, 80-degrees-in-March) winter we just ended, the deer herd had a nice, relaxing season and can get bigger and grow better antlers for this fall. But, who knows what this summer could be like...

Thoughts? Do you agree with Mike?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Step 2: Skin it!

If you have read my blog, you know I am trying to figure out how to mount my deer antlers by myself (and with Dad). Step 1 was the easy part. I had to figure out how to get the hair and fat off of the scalp. At the Sportsman's Show last weekend, I talked to a guy who runs a taxidermy company and asked him what the best way to do this was; just skin it.
So, Dad doesn't know this yet, but on Easter, we are skinning my deer head. What Mom doesn't know yet, is if it is frozen or too hard to just take a knife to, the thing is coming into the house and into some warm water to loosen stuff up. Then, I can mount the antlers, hopefully.

And, in a serendipitous turn of events, as I was looking for a picture of antlers, I found this video! I don't know how Mom is going to like this ;)

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Call me Lucy

In Charles Schultz's 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy asks for one thing for Christmas...

Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.
Charlie Brown: What is it you want?
Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate.

On Friday, Dad bought my tree. The tree that I shot my deer from this past season. It had been on private land at the start of the season, became public land when CMP acquired the land in order to extend their powerlines through Maine and became private land again when Dad signed the papers.

After the paperwork was signed, I made Mom hike down to my tree so she could take a picture of me and Dad and our tree. I'm such a geek! But, that's the big news - Dad bought the land to secure our hunting and keep my tree safe!

My tree also has 28 acres attached to it = )