This morning both Andy and I woke up ready to go. This is a pretty rare occurrence. While Andy I frequently evoke comparisons to the waking dead until about 2 in the afternoon. This harkens back to the whole early bird, night owl dilemma. Frankly, when I’m chipper at 6:30 in the morning, Andy knows it’s no normal day.
As Andy headed out the door, I wished him luck and yelled after him, “You better get a deer. We can’t afford to buy any meat from the grocery store.” While I don’t get a lot of things about hunting (and have issues with bear and moose seasons), I do get the whole “stocking the larder” concept that ties in with deer season. And our larder could use some stocking. One cannot live through a winter on blueberries alone.
When Andy came home two hours earlier than I’d expected, I figured something had happened.
“Did you get a deer?” I asked.
In response Andy waggled his fingers at me. There was a little bit of blood on his fingertips. It seemed one of two things could have happened: either he’d gotten a deer or he needed a drive down to the emergency room.
“You got a deer?” I said, hopefully. I hoped this was the option we were going with mainly because it was 8:30 in the morning and I hadn’t managed to get dressed yet. (I might add that I had gotten an hour of work done.) And I really needed to shower.
Indeed he had.
I felt glad for him. And I felt worried.
I did not grow up in a hunting family. My grampa hunts. My uncle hunts. My family eats Sloppy Toes (sloppy joes made with crumbled tofu). I really like tofu. I have no clue if I like venison.
Until this very day, I’ve been removed from the deep-rooted deer hunting traditions that so many of my peers share. One of my all-time favorite examples of deer hunting tradition comes from my friend Betsy. Betsy’s extended family always goes hunting up at their cabin in northern Wisconsin. The women stay at the cabin in the day while the men are out hunting and the first night of deer season they always served ham and cheese casserole. That is, until the year Betsy’s mom made dinner the first night of deer season and served . . . . . tator tot casserole!!! An uproar broke out. “But we always have ham and cheese casserole,” they said. You just don’t mess with the traditions that surround deer hunting. Except, I've never had any traditions to mess with.
Last year we gathered everything we needed in the advent of a deer. A meat grinder to attach to the stand mixer. A sausage stuffer. A jerky gun and a dehydrator. But there wasn’t a deer last year and I got to prolong becoming a true woodland housewife for another season.
Now, well, here’s hoping I like venison. I better. Andy’s out hunting again right now. There’ll be no going hungry this winter.
Watch this space for tasty venison recipes . . . coming soon!