Archive for the ‘meat’ Category

Murphy’s Law of the apoclaypse  

  • An animal that is too easy to catch ain’t worth eating.
  • You will get sick of beans.
  • Mice will get to your beans.
  • The mice in your beans will be easy to catch.
  • The mice in your beans will have Hantavirus.
  • People will betray you because of the temptation for meat.
  • You will be the meat.
  • There will always be someone meaner.

Reader’s Beware:  Some of you vegetarians and snuggly animal lovers will not like the following post.  It involves dead bunnies.

We made sticks.  Heavier on one end and lighter on the other end.  You carried two.  The idea was to throw it at a rabbit, preferrably a cotton tail and not a jack rabbit, hit the rabbit with the stick and hopefully kill, but if not at least stun it.  If only stunned, then the second stick came into effect.  The idea was then to bludgeon the rabbit with the remaining stick.

This is not as easy as it sounds.

First, it is very difficult to be accurate with a stick you just carved out of juniper.  In fact, “First” should be the mere fact you have to carve a stick out of juniper.  This is a huge pain in the ass when one is hungry for meat.

Second, Bunnies are a fickle bunch.  Not only are the very easily distracted, their first instinct is to scatter.  So after the long slog of walking  in circles to finally find spot a rabbit and (if the chance of meat does not overwhelm you) plus being patient enough to get within 20 feet, the cute little hunk of protein scatters.  Out of desperation you throw the stick, but flat-lining adrenalin on an empty stomach makes you throw the stick horizontally and the rabbit jacked-up-on-pure-rabbit-speed scatters.  Tiny little fluffy clouds of dust in the dusk wind.

Below: Practing with the stick.

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It has been said that men have run down a rabbit.  No way in God’s Green Earth I could.  Those things move fast and wild.  They go through bushes of desert plants while you have to run around them.   I was lucky enough to find two that I even had the chance to try to run down while wildly waving inefficient sticks in the air.

At one point, I had a clean perfect shot at one, a tiny little bunny cottontail.  “This is my chance to redeem myself in front of these men,”  I quietly told my self,” If I can bring back meat after all my failings with the dead traps, the ability to track, the spoon carving, the mis-diagnosed poop identification, then I will be a hero.”  I breathed in, I breathed out.  I threw the stick with all my attention, and it missed by a wide 7 feet.  The rabbit sprang.  With my second stick I gave good hunt.  But the rabbit’s fast ability to change directions dramatically got the better of me and left me panting over a stick. I retuned sans rabbitt. Alas,we did not have meat that night for our stew.

Below: The Hunt.

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This last weekend I took the Complete Survivor Class from Ancient Pathways.  I picked up a whole series of skills to practice. Notice I said “practice” because, good lord, just cause I did these things once doesn’t mean I am actually competent at any of them.   We set traps, snares, tracked, snacked on plants, made jerky and stared at a whole lot of poop.

The class had many manly men and two lovely ladies.  I think it is fair to say that I was generally the least competent at just about everything.  Except for smoking bowls, this I was good at, and by smoking bowls, I mean making a bowl out of fire.

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One of the first things we learned that weekend was to whittle out a spoon. Which was handy as I had forgotten to bring a spoon, and only had a fork and knife. My spoon was incompetent. I routinely watched, for the rest of the weekend, as people whittled out far superior spoons and then pitch them in the fire.

I was a bit nervous at the start of the weekend.  First, I wasn’t sure if I was in the sort of shape to survive such a thing.  Second it snowed the night before in Flagstaff.  I was not expecting snow in mid-May in Arizona.

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This had me concerned.  In assessing my clothes the first cold morning of the class I realized if the cold held I would not be able to stay warm without looking perfectly ridiculous.  First rule of survival is PMA (Postive Mental Attitude) which is hard to do when one doesn’t look good while doing it.  O.K., maybe the first rule is only the PMA part and I just added the looking good part.

The warmest thing I had was a thick wool poncho that I had bought years before in Mexico.  I was planning on using it for a blanket.  I have only worn it on stage for comedic relief,  and I am sure the ex-military men would have met it with scoff.    Luckily for me, things warmed up.

The first thing after setting up our tests was a walking tour of the property.   Tony Nester, our instructor, pointed out the various rat and mice nests around.  Of course, I had set my tent up right beside a big pack-rat’s nest.   Once he pointed it out, it was bluntly obvious.  I never moved my tent.  I figured if I had gophers in Phoenix, I could share space with a pack-rat.

Below:  My tent and pack-rat nest.

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The weekend was simply packed with new knowledge and things worth mulling over.   Here are all the shots from the weekend. As I reflect on lessons learned and go over my half-filled notebook, I will be making a series of posts about this weekend.

A while back I declared a truce with the gophers.  They, however, did not see my white flag.  Last week, they went at one of the two agave plants I have in the backyard. 

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Upon my return (I was gone for a week) I found one of the agaves dug out from underneath.  The agave is now in 6 parts.  The roots have been thoroughly gnawed.  I assume the plant is going to die, but the nice thing about agaves is they are like Abe Vigoda and take a while to die.  I have replanted the different parts to see if I can salvage any of the plant.  The stems that aren’t going to make it I am using by rubbing on my skin, giving me a nice glow.  (Sidenote: The agave nectar is a thousand times better for my dry skin that the expensive lotion I have been buying from the store.)   

I think the gophers attacked the plant’s roots because the agave was weak from overwatering.  I had recently pruned the mesquite tree behind it and also planted a brittlebush beside it.  Both activities involve a couple of deep watering.  I think the water caused root rot on the agave and the gophers saw a weakness.  This is the first time the gophers have committed a frontal attack on one of the plants in the yard.

I have decided to surrender in my war against the gophers for four reasons.

  • I am a highly ineffective opponent.  They are clearly winning.  Assuming regular new holes means they are doing just fine.
  • I am not confident that they are doing any harm to the garden or the trees, I think they eat the grubs, which I think can do harm to the garden. So I have already been feeling guilty about being mean to them when I did not really have a good reason.
  • I don’t think they would be healthy to eat unless one was desperate.
  • I am tired of getting hate replies for being mean to animals.   Man, I really am not good with conflict.  This could be an issue when society descends into barbarians at the gate.

God bless Bill Murray.

As Alan Weisman demonstrates in The World Without Us, no one really knows what animals will thrive after we pesky humans are gone. I figure if one knows how to deal with a bear then you would hopefully be OK with any other wild animals. The presentation is the result of watching multiple videos on you tube.


 

Gopher update

Posted: February 17, 2011 in animals, animals, backyard, cooking, gopher, gophers, pets, protein
Tags: ,

I have yet to kill much less catch a gopher. I will spare you the details because otherwise you would think I am cruel.