Saturday, December 29, 2007

An Aha! Moment

If you're a reader of O magazine - that's a magazine published by Oprah Winfrey - you may have noticed that they have a column monthly called "My Aha Moment". It's usually written by some celebrity and in it he or she narrates a moment in their lives where something dawned on them and it led to greater understanding and usually was followed by a change in behavior or a new compassion toward others or even just a real pleasure at realizing a connection between cause and effect that had never occurred to them before. Well, this morning as I walked outside in the beauty of God's winter world, I had an aha moment. I was pondering why I so very much enjoyed this fluffy white cold stuff that so many people cuss and growl at and spend mega bucks to escape. When I tromp in it and sled on it and ski on it and even fall into it, I love it. I like it's cool feel on my warm flesh and the way it can be formed into balls and figures , the way it piles onto branches and rocks and weeds and presents undulating waves and depths across the landscape. The aha came when I likened the way I feel in it to the way I feel in water. In the summer, all these thirty five years that we've lived on this lake, my main delight has been to get in the lake as often as possible and just move around in the water and enjoy its liquid caress. And zap - then I realized - snow is water. Aha!!!! Who knew that this was just a continuation of my love affair with water - wow ! My wish for all of you who read this is that in this coming new year of 2008, may you have plenty of aha moments. They keep us alive and alert and ever grateful for life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Production

We went to town today. There was a treat today. Our grandchildren's school presented their annual Christmas show. It's a school of 250 students and they all participate. That alone boggles the mind - to get 250 people between the ages of 5 and 14 - to sit in the right places, watch the director, pop up and down at the right time and actually pull off a story with a plot and humor and song. It was great. The program mentioned that 120 of the students auditioned for the speaking and solo singing roles. Guess what - our Kayla, now 12 and in 6th grade, had a solo part. She performed as a scat singer and dressed in an outfit that looked like a singer in the thirties or forties. She was poised and wonderful. She's at the mike in the picture and the dude to her right is Caesar Augustus. Jamie, now 9 and in the third grade, sang with gusto and seemed to really know all the words to at least seven or eight different songs. He's in the red tee shirt in the other picture. They're both in the children's choir so that has probably given them a little edge in the performing department. We went to the 12;30 show and they have another at 6:30. It's always standing room only with hordes of proud parents and grandparents. I really admire the children's ability to perform in front of people. I remember that throughout my schooling, I was always trying to fade out of any spotlight and bring no attention at all to me. It usually worked. Probably because with about fifty kids in every class, the teachers were real happy to have a few well behaved invisible students. --- Kudos to Kayla and Jamie's parents for raising them to be confident and enthusiastic participants of life and all its wondrous offerings.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Butcher of Crescent Flats

You can probably guess from the photos that the hunt was successful. It wasn't easy for the orange-coats - All four of the shack hunters struck out the first weekend. It was cold with a little bit of snow and lots of wind. They tried a lot of county forests and walked their legs into good condition because of the extra pounds of clothing and boots and guns. The TV kept reporting a good harvest but it wasn't happening to our hunters. Thanksgiving came and went and then on Friday afternoon, Bing backed the truck into the driveway and we thanked God for the beautiful eight point buck he landed. It was down in a steep gully in the woods and he asked me to come along and help get the buck up the hill and to the truck. It was eye opening to me to see what the hunters are faced with. The forest is not neat and well pathed and to get down to the dead buck we had to carefully pick our way over the rocks and fallen trees and snow covered branches. Every time I heard an echoing gun shot, I cringed and wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. Luckily Bing could drive the 4Wd truck into the woods and to the top of the gully. He took a thick rope that he keeps in the truck for logging and pulling cars out of ditches, down the hill and tied it around the buck's neck. My job was to guide the cadaver up the hill as he pulled with the truck - the idea was that we didn't want it getting caught on branches or crags or logs sticking up - well, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I've always had a habit of asking my guardian angel for help - and sure enough - my angel came through. The deer slid along beautifully around any possible impediments and I struggled to keep up with it and look like a guide. We hoisted it onto the truck and took it back to hang in the garage. The next day Bing and Bernie and Doug helped skin it and quarter and debone it and then it's up to me to butcher it into the various cuts of meat. Well, this old city girl learned to butcher from no one so I don't know too much about what I'm doing but we've always been real happy with the end products and no one complains so I'm happy with the job. Actually, when I was thinking about writing a blog about this, it made me examine how I feel about butchering and I was pleased to find that I love it because having that beautiful gift of rich lean meat made by God to nourish us is great. The one thing I know is that it's important to get as much of the fat and sinew off the meat to take away any gamy taste and I think that's true because our family always loved venison as much as beef. In the butchering picture, that's the meat from the nubbin buck that Bernie shot in the last minute of the hunting season on Sunday. The biggest bowl has the scraps that I've already cut away and the two bowls on the left are stew meat and meat to be ground into hamburger. I also cut the pieces into steaks and roasts and then package it for the freezer. Bernie's buck is done now and I'll start ours after we get the Christmas presents for Oregon into the mail. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!