Monday, May 12, 2014

My Bug, The Huntress

Sunshine Girl was the star of the last post.  This time it is The Bug.  But there is some backstory before it is her time to shine here.

(WARNING: This photo on the left, showing The Bug how she looks on a daily basis, is the only non-graphic photo on today's post.  If you don't want to see the rest, leave now.  I won't mind.  The upcoming photos are from cell phones, so the quality isn't the best.)

When I was living the frolicking life of a single girl in the Rockies, I was a vegetarian.  It wasn't political, necessarily.  It was more because I didn't cook and I wasn't fond of the taste of meat.  It was just easier for me to be a vegetarian.  Back in the day, none of my friends were hunters.  The thought of it never crossed my mind, except the one time my companion and I were backpacking and we ran into hunters.  And then, my only thought was that my clothes were brown and tan and that was probably not good. My pack was colorful, so I hoped that was enough.  We survived the hunters, but the cattle that tore through our campsite caused quite a bit of damage.  Fast-forward to when I met the Bird Man on a trip back East.  The first thing he told me was that he is a hunter.  I realized then that I did have an opinion about hunting, and it was not a positive one.  He took a lot of time and patience to talk with me about why it is necessary for the environment, that he eats the animals he hunts, that his dad was a retired game warden and he and his friends are always safe and legal in their approach to hunting.  I returned to the Rockies with lots to ponder.  I was hot for this guy, but he hunted.  And he lived back East.  Two huge strikes against him.  Well, here I am...been with him for nearly 21 years now.  And the first meat I ate after several years without it was a quail/woodcock/duck/goose/turkey medley.  And holy crap was it good!  One of the last things I gave up when I stopped eating meat was elk.  So I could not wait for him to cook venison for me.  And when he did,  that was probably when I decided to stick with him for the duration.  But all these years later, I still tuck that part of him aside and don't acknowledge it much to people I don't know very well.  Not fair to him, I know.

So when The Bug decided in Fall of 2011 that she wanted to go hunting, I was not happy, scared, and in denial.  But I figured it can take years for people to become good hunters and she would probably get bored and give up before she ever shot anything.  I did try and encourage her to use a bow like her Dad, but she wasn't interested in it.  More worry.  But with her Dad as her teacher and some classes and tests under her belt, I knew she was as safe as she could be.  Her first big hunt was in bear season.  The Bird Man has been hunting his entire life and only got one bear, so I wasn't too worried.  She is always Golden so I should have known better.  We got a pressure cooker not long before she got the bear.  Holy Crap.  People in the family were begging for more when we cooked it for them. Tender, dark, delicious.
She always makes sure her nails are painted and she has earrings in before she goes hunting.  Always a lady.  She skinned the bear, cut off the fat, cut up the meat and wrapped it.  She is not squeamish in the least.

Then she got a deer in 2012.  She processed the whole thing with the Bird Man again.  He does the cooking but she is hands on in everything else.  She is the only female who hunts with The Bird Man's friends.  They all have a tremendous amount of respect for her.  A lot of them are older than we are and they tell the Bird Man how she breathes new life into the group.  Her personality and her sweetness are comforting and infectious to all who know her.  She is truly golden.

 Turkey time.  2013.  This girl is too much!

I thought maybe the bear was given to her by the divine intervention of her late game warden grandfather.
I thought maybe the deer was a lucky shot too.  But then when this happened, I had to admit that The Bug is probably a good hunter.  But I still had my doubts.

Deer 2013.  Impossible to deny the strength of her skills now.  This deer provided a lot of meals, most recently last night for Mother's Day dinner.
Sitting down to meals that came from the garden and from the healthy woods around is hard to think of a better way to eat.  Not all meals are that quality, but we sure savor the ones that come along.  At some point in the meal, one of the hunters asks "Who eats better than us?!"  In unison the rest of us say, "No One!"
(our other motto, coined by Sunshine Girl : We clink before we drink)

And the photo that prompted me to write about this...Turkey 2014...harvested 2 days ago.  That was the first time in this house something other than fish went from field to fork in 12 hours.  It was incredible.
The Bug is so much more than a hunter and I think I take the easy way out and focus on those other sides of her and tuck away the hunting, which isn't right.   She is a runner, a violin player, the most gracious sister/daughter/granddaughter/niece/friend, a helper, a near perfect student, a care giver, a good listener, a loyal person, and a very accurate hunter.  Should she ever abandon the finer things she likes and live off the land, no doubt she and her family will never starve.

Like a lot of people, due to conflicting thoughts,  I enjoy the benefit of the meat without fully acknowledging how it got on my plate.  I need to stop being hypocritical and embrace what my family does.  I never thought I would give birth to a hunter, but...ya just never know what life hands you!

I love my Bug and Huntress she has become.


Unknown said...

That is the best post yet!!! I love it. its amazing the people our babies grow to be.

Honey from the Bee said...

Great post from a great Mom. You've accepted her for who she is and that's the greatest gift. Especially wonderful since you come from a different place.

It took me awhile to think about what I wanted to say. Your daughter's joy can be seen in the photos which is so contradictory to what I'd be feeling so that's the thought-provoking part. I eat meat both wild and pasture raised. I get squeamish when I see the eyes of a fish on my plate. I want to see it packaged nicely with no evidence of what it looked like before. That's not fair nor honorable is it? To eat meat one should honor the life that was given and I think your family does that.

It's hardest to be understanding when one doesn't "get" the idea, thought, way of living. To be honest with myself I should probably be a vegetarian.

Thanks Christine for making me think...

Unknown said...

Christine, how wonderful this is what we are supposed to be doing to raise strong, resourceful, beautiful amazing young ladies. Your bug is awesome and so lucky to have parent s like you and the bird man.

Therese's Treasures said...

Hi Christine,
Thank you for sharing your daughter's wonderful talent. Bravo to the Bug, for tapping both sides of her personality, that you and the Bird Man gave to her. Your pride is over flowing in this post. My Mom was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska, so I learned at a young age the value in growing your own food to eat and that included animals, such as pigs, cows, and chickens. It was not until I was a teen in Alabama that I learned about hunting food.
Her skills are a good thing to have, because you never know about the future.

Shai Williams said...

I grew up in a family of hunters and have a lot of respect for your daughter carrying on her father's tradition. I much rather know just where my food is coming from rather then having it processes remotely.

Bobbie said...

Good for you, and good for your sweet Bug Girl! She has the self-confidence to pursue the things she loves, and the commitment to do her best at it. And you nurtured that in her, and now you get to watch her blossom, knowing that you gave her all she needs to be amazing.

Karin Slaton said...

Love the stories about your family, Christine. And I am SO impressed with your Bug! My first husband's family were hunters and after training with he and his Dad, I shot my first deer at 20. It was also my last! Spent the rest of that season learning the art of baking bread from his mom. Turns out I far preferred grinding my own wheat to processing my own deer! Kudos to The Bug!!

Maryanne said...

What a wonderful post! You've done just what a parent is supposed to do. Raise a child to be herself and to love what she does and be good at it. My husband grew up hunting and my father hunted. It really is more than sport because it does help the environment. Deer are being killed all the time because they are hit by cars. We see carcases by the side of the road all the time here. I'm sure that's more painful to the animal than a good shot like your daughter. But the environmentalists raise a fuss even if the local governments organize sharp shooters to do the hunt. I think it's amazing that Bug also enjoys dressing what's she caught! She's a sounds like a fabulous girl and it sounds like you're a fabulous mom!

AntiquityTravelers said...

I wondered when you'd post about the bug (or fish-kisser as I think of her). I think so few of us really think about the full journey our food in front of us takes. But it is something to truly live off the land and to know just where it came from. And quite a skill to be able to hunt for yourself, and to harvest every part of the animal that gave its life.

This is a bold post, for you my friend. One you've clearly thought through. But we all see how proud you are of her, and that is a beautiful thing.

What amazing daughters both your girls are, but not surprising knowing who their mom is. I don't know the bird man, but thinking he's a pretty big part of this too.

Shirley said...

Can we get together? I want her to meet my son...:)
I think the thing I love most about this post is how she is not afraid to be herself. It is so very hard for young people to stand up to the world and be different from the crowd. I love all of her interests, and her mom is pretty awesome too!

Liz said...

Hunting is not for me, even though I'm not squeamish in the least. However, I have great respect for the hunters I do know. What an amazing story your Bug! She follows her path, and is true to herself. How many of us can say that? Yes, we have a lot to teach our kids, but it's just as important that we learn from them. The world definitely needs more strong, self confident women. This is an inspiring post of a beautiful young woman and her wonderful family.

Miss Val's Creations said...

Wow! Your Bug has some serious talent! While I don't eat meat myself I have no problem with hunters as long as they are eating their kill which is clearly what your family it doing. You don't have to worry about the scary things that our government allows to be done with meats before they make it to market! This post is beautiful and I bet your daughter loves it. :)

Unknown said...

As someone who rarely eats meat, I understand your dilemma. But the look on your daughter's face = so much joy and happiness. She's a girl who's found her strength, not from killing but from providing for her family. Very cool.

Her name wouldn't happen to be "Diana" would it, for the Goddess of the Hunt? :)

Becky Pancake said...

Christine this is a wonderful post. Thanx for sharing this part of you and her with us. She sound like an awesome young lady and your pride in her shows.