Friday, November 5, 2010

~Hunting Camp~

This past weekend we traveled 2.5 hours southeast to Tim's brother's house for the Stagg Annual Deer Camp. We arrived at bedtime Friday evening full of anticipation for the hunting and time to be together with family. After visiting together for a bit, we all headed to bed. The hunters set their alarms for 5:15 a.m. and excitement from old to young was in the air. Our son Logan, who is 11, was so thrilled to be allowed to go and sit with one of the older hunters. At the last minute we had found out that Tim was not able to get a deer license since we don't have MI drivers licenses. They do sell out-of-state deer licenses, but they are outrageously expensive. So even though Tim couldn't hunt, we wanted to be a part as much as we could. The next morning, I barely heard the hunters go out through my sleep deadened ears. A couple of hours later, I got up and started fixing breakfast for the crew. When I heard the first hunter come in, I couldn't wait to find out if someone had shot a deer!! But, no, no one had even shot at a deer. Oh well, maybe this afternoon/evening. We all enjoyed a big brunch and just thoroughly enjoyed being together. My sweet sister-in-law, Tammy, and I went out grocery shopping in the afternoon and got to stop and visit an Amish family for a while. We each bought a bushel of apples and huge 50 lb. bags of potatoes. Tammy also got delicious, fresh apple cider for dinner and many jars to can. We had a great time together getting good deals on food and chatting together. That evening we all ate a warm hamburger soup but, alas, still no deer. The next morning was a replay of the previous, but our spirits were still so hopeful for the next hunting time. :-) Sunday, Tom and Heather's family arrived and that just added to the fun and excitement. Now, there were six bow hunters in the woods! While making dinner, I heard the hunters come in and Tim told me to come to the basement. Joe had shot a deer and they all wanted to know if I wanted to go track the deer with them!!!!!! How exciting!!!!! I had to work hard not to squeal and run around. :-)))) The men wanted to keep it a secret from all the children until we brought the deer to the barn. I ran upstairs, trying to be as discreet as I could, and grabbed my coat, hat, boots, and gloves. We all grabbed flashlights and started tromping through the woods. It was SOOOOO much fun looking for blood trails and then finding the deer laying dead in the woods. WHOOOHOOOO! Joe gave us the deer and so we headed back to the house. There, Tim gutted and rinsed the deer. Several of the young boys and a brother or two helped and watched as Tim did a great job! What excitement. As per tradition, Joe fried up the tenderloin close to midnight and we all ate pieces of it. It was deeee-licious!! I wish I could post the pictures on here for you. The next morning all of the hunters went out again. Our family started to prepare to process the deer. We had to wash the bone saw, sharpen knives, wash down tables, get freezer vacuum bags made and labeled, and Tim had to skin the deer. As we were working on this, the hunters came in and Tom whispered to me that he had just shot a deer!! Oh thank you Lord!!!! So, we got to replay the tracking scene of the previous night. Too fun! It was so neat to watch the men teach the younger men how to track and what to look for. It really touched me to see them taking the time to pass on something very valuable to the next generation. Once Tim got his deer skinned and brought in to the basement to cut the meat off the bones, Tom was able to start gutting his deer in the barn. We all worked all day and got our deer finished and Tom's partly finished. Late that evening, after supper, we loaded up our Suburban and drove home. The next day I canned part of the deer. In all, we froze 13.5 lbs. of ground venison and canned 14 quarts of stew meat. We are so thankful! This time we had with Tim's family was so very special to us. Each of us enjoyed it immensely and are so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of treasured family memories.
Look for ways to pass on skills and traditions to your children. Enjoy those times of making memories with family, knowing that this time will never be again. Seize the moments God gives you. Blessings dear ones.

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