Tuesday, May 8, 2012

turkey hunting then & now

Oh, the contradictions of this American life: Yes, we hang Buddhist prayer flags at hunting camp.  

Last year at this time I was puking sick and exhausted with a baby the size of a walnut in my belly.  We went turkey hunting, returned home, slept, awoke to Osa unable to stand up, suffered a deep loss, and then life just kept on spinning.  I never did get that turkey post done.  This year, we were back at it--our annual wild turkey hunt--meeting up once again with our Montana family.  First, a peek back...
^Juniper 18 months; Owen a bit over 2 years.^ 

Now that I have kids, I date their growth according to events and likewise, date events according to my kids' growth.  6 critical things happened that mark Turkey Camp 2011:
1) Juniper and her cousin Owen played together really, really well--like, really, had fun--for the first time.
2) Juniper became an ornery toddler which left us scratching our heads and mumbling something about "discipline".
^Oh, I miss that top-knot!^

3) My man and I got to spend time together sans kid...for the first time ever (I KNOW).  So grandparents, if you want to move closer, that's okay with us.
4) Osa couldn't get up to pee one morning, but then did, and for the first time we thought the end could really be coming soon.
5) It was the last time Juniper would nurse almost constantly (a few months later, she didn't nurse at all).
  ^Tiny, kid-sized stream behind camp.  And yes, Owen's naked.^

6) This chica went hunting.  Thanks to some 4:00 am nursings and my step-mom who stayed in camp to watch Juniper.  Is it too late to say thank you?
^Nothing like a face-mask, full camo and your grandfather's 16 gauge shot-gun to make you look like a bad ass.^  
One really awesome late-morning hunt landed me a sharp-spurred gobbler.  Turkey hunting--when done well--takes skill, patience and a knack for steadying your arm while your heart is about to leap right out of your chest.  It is so much like bow-hunting elk--stepping in on that mating dance, getting close--except they are smaller, can't smell worth a damn but could spot a tick on the tip of your nose.  And, they are extravagant birds.  They take a simple, pragmatic life and overflow it into the realm of art.  Always, we are grateful for these lives that feed our own.    

   ^My dad's photo.  Wing feathers.^
 ^My dad's photo.  Body feathers.^
And, their meat is a delicacy in our home; a diversion from our usual game.

Did I mention the grandparents?  They were the ticket last year.  They even tent-camped, remembering why they tent-camped for most of their lives.

Now, 2012.

1) Juniper and Owen still play really well together, but when "MINE!" games got serious, adult mitigation was necessary.  I'll be happy when the MINE stage is over.
2) Weather was HOT.  It felt wonderful.  Deer ticks were out in droves.  Everyone got a tick check at least twice a day.  (Hazel was easiest.)  
3) My little walnut grew and doesn't take a bottle.  So this year, the hubby got to hunt sans wife.  I have the rest of my life to hunt wild turkeys, but only this year will I have this:
4) And she found her feet.
5) Juniper, suddenly, is into riding toys.  And now she's infatuated with her two-wheeled "big girl bike."
6) I didn't hunt, but all other adults did.
^Aunt D returning to camp with a fine gobbler on her back.^
7) First-ever turkey camp without a tent of any kind.  I officially love our camper trailer; it's perfect for us at this time.  However, in my head, I endearingly refer to it as, The Effing Trailer.  It's a love-hate relationship, you see.  But I sang its praises nearly every day out there.  My man joked, "You may have been some hot-shot wilderness ranger when we met, but deep down, I knew you were a closet RV-er."  Ha.  

In 2011 Juniper was on the tail-end of her baby stage.  She was uncomplicated, happy.  She loved blueberries and spaghetti and tugging on my pant leg asking for "juice."

In 2012, Juniper is 2 1/2 years old, holds conversations with her aunt and uncle, feeds Baby Sam (who is now walking and nearly talking), and rides bikes with cousin Owen.  She dances unabashedly, is nearly always singing a rhyme, frequently asks, "What's this about?" in reference to a book, or, "Whatchya talkin about?" in reference to a conversation.  She is fascinated with "owies"--what they look like, what did it, and all the attached emotion.  In 2012 Juniper is complicated.  She is human.    


  1. "whatcha talking about?"
    Good question, Juniper.
    Oh, turkey meat! I tried to encourage Dan to hunt turkeys this spring and surprisingly he had all sorts of reasons why he didn't want to.

    Send me your address so I can send you some hollyhock seeds!

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