Dragonfly ID, please?

These gorgeous dragonflies (or maybe they’re not dragonflies?) and others buzzed around the pond yesterday afternoon, eating black flies and mosquitoes. I’m very fond of dragonflies and appreciate them flying inches from my head to catch the biting bugs while I work in the garden.

I don’t know the identification of any of these dragonflies and will appreciate any help you can give me. Do you know their names? My email address is here, or you may leave a comment below.

black yellow dragonfly

dull blackfly black yellow dragonfly

red dragonflygold dragonflyblack white dragonfly

How does a bear trap work?

How does a bear trap work?

Just like this. Thanks to Norman Poitras for filming this quick and simple, factual demonstration. If you trap a bear you don’t want to shoot you stay at a safe distance and release the snare. A trap isn’t a guaranteed death sentence.

{this moment} Kristin & Matt

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Kristin and Matt Coulombe

Kristin and Matt Coulombe

Book Review: The Perfect Number by Jim Baumer

The Perfect Number
by Jim Baumer

Essays & Stories Vol 1
River Vision, 2014
177 pages
$14.95
ISBN 978-0-9772052-0-2

Read the entire review and you’ll find a giveaway! You can enter to win a copy of Jim’s book.

Jim Baumer is a Maine writer who grew up in Lisbon Falls. His small town background shines in his fourth book, The Perfect Number. Baumer wrote seven essays about a variety of experiences from childhood through adulthood.

The Perfect Number, Jim Baumer, book review

The Perfect Number by Jim Baumer

In The Alter Boy he writes, “The Catholic church was a major part of my parent’s [sic] life growing up, and by extension, my sister and I got pulled into that life and culture.” This one sentence gives you a good indication of where Baumer’s going with this, and he doesn’t let you down. He’s open and honest in his assessment and story on being raised Catholic. In another essay he discusses moving away to find more in religion. It’s not an overwhelming theme in the book and is interesting reading.

Baumer shares his son Mark’s story of walking from Georgia to California in A Northerner’s Journey Crossing The South, and what it was like being a Mainer experiencing the southern part of the country. State by State, you learn about the good and bad they encountered.

I especially enjoyed A Dog’s Life, the story about Bernie. Bernie had definitely personality traits that made him almost human. There’s an element all dog owners understand. “Occasionally, he’d get something really rotten, and he’d puke it back up, more than once on our bedroom carpet, or one of our downstairs throw rugs.” As human as he seemed, Bernie was all dog, and he was well loved.

This book is an easy read. You can read the essays in the order they appear or choose one that is right for the moment. You’ll feel you know Jim and his wife Mary by the end of the book. The essays will remind you of aspects of your life. I found myself making comparisons. Mark started his walk in Savannah, and I lived there as a child. I traveled through the south during the race wars in the 1960’s. I’ve struggled with religion. And the puking dog – I’ve had more than a few.  I’m sure you’ll find commonality in this book.

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Young & Curious – Life as a Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy woodpecker

There are bugs in here!

Downy woodpecker

Ha! More bugs!

Downy woodpecker

This makes awesome noise! Must keep coming back. A hundred times a day. Awesome noise!

Downy woodpecker, firewood

Why are there no bugs? What happened?

Downy woodpecker

I think I can make another hole before she sees me and lobs that tennis ball at me again.

This curious Downy woodpecker is a curious youngster that checks out everything. What’s in the firewood? A bug or two. What’s in the soft boards on the ancient shed? Nothing good. How about that hoe? hmmm…nothing edible but hey does that ever make some great noise. Woodpecker note to self: “Bang on this when I’m old enough to establish territory. Hope the woman doesn’t put it away.”

This is the first Downy woodpecker we’ve been able to watch grow up. He bangs on everything. I’m pretty sure I can hand feed him if I tried. He doesn’t fly away when I pass the suet or seed feeders three feet away. He’s been here since he left the nest, and it was probably the nest I can see from the back porch. He might have been watching his surroundings for a while before becoming a fledgling. He’s comfortable here and with me. He’s fun…until he starts banging on the house’s siding or the hoe. I had to put the hoe in the garden shed and close the door. No matter how many times I bounced the tennis ball off the wood a foot away, he came back. He pecked at the board for a week. He’s a brat – and that’s part of his charm. I hope he stays around after he’s outgrown his curiosity.

Downeast Lakes Land Trust Honored with Prestigious State Award

Downeast Lakes Land Trust

I’m partial to Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT). It’s close to home in Grand Lake Stream. They do a lot of fantastic work. I finally met Tanya Rucosky face to face last week when I went to DLLT to hear Kyle Ravana, the state’s deer biologist, speak. I’ll be working with DLLT in the future and participating in a program I’m not yet talking about (ohhhhhhhh the mystery!). I was excited to see this press release in my inbox. Congratulations to them!

AUGUSTA, MAINE: The Downeast Lakes Land Trust was presented with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Conservation Land Owner Land of the Year Award in a ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center on October 21 hosted by the Department’s Landowner and Sportsmen Relations Advisory Board.

Nominated by the Maine Professional Guides Association (MPGA), Executive Director Don Kleiner said, “We were delighted to nominate the Downeast Lakes Land Trust because of their interest and willingness to see Maine Guides and other recreational users of the land base as a critical part of the future. Their vision includes guides as an important part of … the future of the land they manage. The DLLT sustainably manages…for wildlife habitat, forest products, and public recreation. DLLT provides guides and sporting camps an environment that supports their continued success, contributing to the preservation of the heritage and culture of Grand Lake Stream.”

The IF&W’s Landowner/Land User Awards highlight the positive relationship between landowners and users across the state. “Over 90% of Maine’s land is privately owned. Outdoor enthusiasts rely on the generosity of private landowners to allow public access to their land. Additionally, the responsible and appropriate use of private land by various user groups has helped to build relationships between landowners and land user groups, which allow many outdoor recreational opportunities to flourish. The IF&W Landowner Relations Program seeks to maintain Maine’s unique heritage and ensure that the outdoor recreational opportunities available today, will continue to be available to future generations.” said Shon Theriault, Game Warden Captain for the Maine Warden Service.

On accepting the award, Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s Executive Director David Montague said, “This is a great honor and a testament to the hard work of the Trust and its supporters. It challenges all of us to maintain high standards of land stewardship while living up to our motto of ‘Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever.’”

About Downeast Lakes Land Trust
Downeast Lakes Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by local residents in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. The trust contributes to the long-term economic and environmental well-being of the Downeast Lakes region through the conservation and exemplary management of its forests and waters. The trust sustainably manages the 33,708-acre Farm Cove Community Forest for wildlife habitat, forest products, and public recreation, and is working toward the purchase of the adjacent 22,000-acre West Grand Lake Community Forest Project. More information is available on its web site, www.downeastlakes.org.

 

Tips for cooking bear meat.

Tips for Cooking Bear Meat – Bear Chops

It took five years but I finally did it. I finally shot a bear. We are enjoying the meat. Last night we had chops for supper and this time, I remembered to take pictures so I can write about our meal.

Tips for Cooking Bear Meat

Bears can carry the parasites that cause trichinosis and toxoplasmosis. You must cook the meat properly just as you do pork.

  • The internal temperature of the cooked meat must reach 160 degrees and stay there for a minimum of three minutes.
  • You shouldn’t have pink meat or pink juice dripping from the meat.
  • Be cautious around bones to be sure the meat is cooked. Bones absorb heat and slow the cooking process.
  • Over cooking bear meat isn’t better than cooking it correctly. Well done doesn’t mean burnt or dry.

A good rule of thumb as told to me by Erin Merrill (who also shot a bear this year) makes it easy to remember – season like beef, cook like pork. My bear was a lot smaller than her 457 pounder and she graciously shared a roast with me. We’ll cook that this winter.

All that said, let’s cook. This is a how-to, not really a recipe. We had chops for supper last night.

Bear meat is very dark. Most beef isn’t this dark. I removed the fat around the edges to help keep the flavor good. Bear fat can be quite strong.

Tips for cooking bear meat.

Bear meat is very dark.

Season the meat, if you’d like. I used Grill Mates Steak Rub on one side of the chops.

Tips for cooking bear meat.

I seasoned one side only because I was a little heavy handed when I sprinkled the seasoning.

Tips for cooking bear meat.

Tips for cooking bear meat.

Tips for cooking bear meat.

I chopped a small onion and added minced garlic and butter to the cast iron fry pan while I let the chops sit for a few minutes.

 

Turn the heat on medium. Add the chops on top of the onions and garlic when the butter has melted and covered the pan. Cook for five minutes, then turn. Continue to cook until pink juice shows on the top of the meat, and turn the chops again.

Tips for cooking bear meat.

When juice appears, turn the chop again.

Test the meat for pinkness at the bone. If necessary, turn the heat off. Cast iron holds heat well. There’s probably enough heat now to finish the cooking.

Tips for cooking bear meat.

Supper was fantastic. There are four chops per package so we’ll be eating them again later in the week. I think I’m going to brown them in butter then simmer them in mushroom soup. I dehydrated a lot of chanterelle and lobster mushrooms this year.

I’ve been collecting bear recipes from friends and will be sharing them. As I’ve mentioned, fitness and diet have taken on a much bigger role for me this year. Bear meat has six grams of protein and two grams of fat per ounce. I seldom ever cook or even eat butter these days but for bear I make an exception.

Kristin & Matt are Married!

Kristin and Matt were married at Northern Outdoors over the weekend. It was perfect, even when it rained.

the first dance

Their first dance

cutting the cake

kristin matt cake 2

 

Bride's family

Steve, me, Kristin and Matt, Taylor, Donna, Dad

Preparing for the wedding

Taylor’s turn to have her makeup done

robin kristin

The Limb Grip – On Sale

The Limb Grip – On Sale

Not a hunter? Keep reading anyway!

With archery season in full swing and rifle season starting soon it’s time to check out The Limb Grip by Rhino Force Industries. Online SALE now thru November 1st! 20% off Limb Grips! 10% off t-shirts! FREE SHIPPING on all orders!

On Sale - The Limb Grip hunting accessory

The Limb Grip

The Limb Grip isn’t just for hunters. You can use it to lift your pack, camera and other gear into a tree stand or observation platform. It’s not just for bows and rifles. I’ll be writing a review soon but for now, know that I LOVE this piece of outdoors gear enough to be pro-staff for The Limb Grip. I wanted to let you know about the sale now!

{this moment} Kristin & Matt

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Five years. A move to another state. Career change. Grad school.
Kristin & Matt
to be married tomorrow
Our hearts could not be fuller

Kristin Follette & Matt Coulombe

October 18, 2014

Young Bull Moose

It’s wedding week. Kristin and Matt are being married on Saturday. Steve and I went out to gather red pine cones, Old Man’s Beard (lichen, similar to Spanish moss) and Reindeer moss. We rounded a corner and spotted this young moose in the road about 150 yards ahead of us. I jumped out of the truck with the camera (of course) and took a couple of photos.

And then his friend showed up. He’s walking out of a 50′ x 100′ clearing. I kind of hoped they were going to fight but they’re young. When they started to leave I made a few cow calls but ehh…girl…whatever.

Friends this October, rivals in future years.

Young bull moose

Four points. He’s probably 16 months old.

Young bull moose

Not interested in us

4

5

Supper with Veterans

About six years ago George and Terry Gallagher drove to Lee and knocked on a door. That knock helped improve many lives.

The Gallaghers were looking for someone to share their beautiful camp on Upper Sysladobsis (Dobsis) lake in Lakeville Plantation. They were specifically hoping to open their camp and hearts to veterans. At House In The Woods in Lee, Paul and Dee House needed a location to host veterans and their families. You can read more about the Houses and House in the Woods on their website. George Gallagher read an article in the paper about House in the Woods and before long he and Terry, along with friends Mimi and Joe Baker, were at the door step. “God had his hand in it all,” Paul house told me.

partridge, ruffed grouse

(file photo)

Steve, my husband, called me late Friday morning to tell me he’d been talking to Peter Shay, owner of Molunkus Stream Camps in Molunkus. “Peter told me he has veterans on a bird hunt up to camp.”

I have a soft spot for veterans. There are a lot of them in my family. My Dad, brother, uncle, grandfather, great grandfather, great uncles, great great grandfather…a lot of vets in my family.  Crashing parties isn’t my thing. Really, it’s not. But they’re veterans. They deserve recognition. “Do you think I could drive over and write a story?”

Peter didn’t think they’d mind. “They’d probably like that,” he said. They were with Paul House. I knew of Paul only by name but I’d heard a lot of great things about him so I stopped splitting firewood, grabbed pen, paper and camera, and headed toward Molunkus. With a little more than an hour to think about it, I started wondering what I’d been thinking. Strangers. All of them. What was I thinking going in unannounced and uninvited to say “Hey, my name is Robin and can I write a story about you?”

George Gallagher had appetizers and supper waiting. I heard many times what a good cook George is and how well he takes care of everyone. George is a modest man. He doesn’t say much when the compliments on his accommodations and cooking roll in. He says he has a couple more years of hosting and cooking in him still, “God willing.”

“It’s a lot of working standing on their feet all day,” Paul said of George and Terry. I sat down to supper with George, Paul, Ted Clark, a Maine Guide who helped with the hunt, TJ Emerson and his father Jim Emerson, and Andrew Quinn. Dan was headed home with his yellow lab, Brittany spaniel and vizsla dogs. Gracious people to have invited a stranger to their last supper together before heading home. Ted’s German shorthaired pointer pup curled up on the ottoman for a nap after a long day of bird hunting.

Paul told me about losing his son, Sgt Joel House, and what being with other families going through the same experience meant to him. He now offers a similar experience to veterans and their families and Gold Star families, giving them the opportunity to spend time outdoors with people who have similar situations, at no cost. “There are a lot of good people who help and volunteer. They make donations and hold fundraisers. It all comes together. God provides money when it’s needed.”

Paul is grateful to a number of people who help make House in the Woods possible. Jerry James sets up a bird hunt in Oxbow. Everyone gets together on Sunday and they hunt from Monday through Thursday. People donate money, time, guiding, accommodations, lobster, and more to these hunts. When there are back to back weeks of hunting the veterans and family members have a meal together on Sunday as some prepare to leave and others are arriving. There are sometimes 15 to 20 veterans together.

Peter SeeHusen organizes hunts. He knows farmers who can use some help keeping the populations under control to protect their crops.

TJ and Jim Emerson hosted a spring turkey hunt in Corinna. One veteran shot both of his turkeys in one shot! This was the fourth year for this hunt. There have been hunts in Corinna, Harmony, Unity and Newport. After the hunt in Newport there was a supper at the Legion Hall so well attended they ate six turkeys, and they weren’t small, wild turkeys. Doug McDonald organized a cookout after the Harmony hunt.

It takes a lot of of work to put this all together. We talked about just a handful of the people who make this possible. There are bear hunts with 18 to 20 people participating between two weeks. And there are bobcat hunts (more about this at the end). Two veterans tagged two bobcats in a three day hunt. There are hunts for women as well as men.

This bird hunt is now an annual event. They were looking for partridge, woodcock, and if one happened to show up, turkey. They hunted on public land on Wednesday and Thursday and at Molunkus Stream Camps on Friday.

Andrew Quinn started with a turkey hunt. He shot more partridge on Friday than anyone else. “Shooting a bird was a bonus. Everyone involved is wonderful. They’re knowledgeable so they improve the quality of the hunt,” Andrew told me. He’s there mostly for the camaraderie. He’s not a talker until he’s spent time with other veterans. They understand at least some of what he experienced at war. When he started talking I put my pen down and listened. It’s hard to imagine. I can picture it as though it were a movie on television but that’s not comparable to being there. Andrew is so kind, honest and well spoken that I wanted to say “tell me your story.” I think I want to know but one, that’s a lot to ask, and two, I’m not sure I really do want to know. What he shared with me gave me a greater appreciation for veterans and made me think back to when my brother was in Kabul. I’m grateful that people like Andrew, Tj and Jim have places to come together to share camaraderie.

As you’ve read and probably already knew, these opportunities happen because of the generosity of people. House in the Woods can use a few things. Money. Donations are always accepted and hugely appreciated. They are truly a non-profit, not just a legal non-profit. Time. Is there some way you can pitch in to help in the area of Lee? A bit of driving is just fine. (Penobscot County, outside of Lincoln.) And, an affordable bobcat hunt. If you have a camp or run dogs or do anything related to bobcat hunting and are inclined, please let us know. You can get in touch with Paul and Dee House here.

{this moment} Campfire Chicken

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

(See below for a giveaway)

Roasting a chicken, potatoes and carrots on the campfire.

Roasting a chicken, potatoes and carrots on the campfire.

Giveaway

 

IFW Biologists Discuss Impact Of Bear Referendum With Biologists From States Where Similar Referendum Passed

IFW Biologists Discuss Impact Of Bear Referendum With Biologists From States Where Similar Referendum Pass

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine – With Maine’s bear management program the subject of a statewide referendum, Mainers are hearing a lot about Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts, four states that have passed similar measures.

Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

After similar referendums passed in these states, generally these states have has seen an increase in the bear population, an increase in the number of nuisance complaints, an increase in the number of nuisance bears killed and an increased cost to the public as a result of expanding bear populations. Voters in Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington and Oregon banned bear hunting with bait and hounds from 1992 to 1996.

In Massachusetts, the bear population has increased seven-fold and bear conflicts have increased by 500 percent. Wayne MacCallum, director of the state’s Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, described the situation in an August 24 article in the Portland Press Herald: “(The bear population) is expanding eastward,” he said. “Every year now there are an increasing number of juvenile bears in metropolitan Boston. I suspect if we can’t harvest significantly more, the population will continue to increase.”

He went on to state that “there are constant complaints about bear encounters. We are constantly moving bears. It’s kind of like shoveling sand against the tide. This is the largest bear population in the state for at least 200 years. The fact of the matter is, at some point you will just have so many bears that people won’t tolerate them.”

In Colorado, more than 350 bears are killed each year in response to conflicts. Many towns have passed ordinances that regulate how residents can store their garbage and when it can be placed for curbside pickup, with fines ranging up to $1,000. One Colorado county even banned levered door handles on new houses because home entries by bears are so common.

In some Colorado towns, bear complaints are the number-one call received by police departments. When asked what impact a similar ban would have on Maine’s bear management program, Colorado bear biologist Jerry Apker recently said, “I think it would tremendously complicate how the State has to approach managing bears in Maine.”

In Oregon and Washington, biologists have struggled to prevent property damage by bears since the referendum passed, and those states now allow private landowners and deputized agents to kill bears using bait, hounds and traps in unlimited numbers.

Despite this, bears cause an estimated $16 million in damage to the timber industry each year by stripping the bark from young trees. Donny Martorello, the Carnivore Section Manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently told 92.9 Radio Host Bob Duchesne that before the referendum, “we were able to use recreational hunters at a very low cost and through time (that) was working well.” While he respects the rights of voters to pass a citizen initiative, he went on to say that “having that full toolbox of ways to manage the resource is something we’d like to see.”

In Maine, bait, hounds, and traps account for 93 percent of our annual bear harvest. Maine is the most forested state in the country, and our woods have a thick understory, which makes still-hunting extremely difficult. The loss of bait, hounds and traps for bear hunting will have a much larger impact on Maine’s bear management program than it has in other states.

In addition, Maine has very few options to increase participation by bear hunters if the referendum passes. The state already has a 14-week hunting season that starts in late August and ends after bears have entered their dens. Bear hunting licenses are already available in unlimited numbers, and a spring hunting season is prohibited by legislation.

During the firearms season on deer, all Maine residents are already allowed to hunt bears without having to purchase a separate bear license. Since Maine won’t be able to offset a reduction in the bear harvest by increasing hunter numbers or season length, if the referendum passes we expect the bear harvest to decline dramatically. This will result in a rapidly increasing bear population that expands into the more populated areas of Maine, causing more conflicts with people.

Even though each of these states is very different from Maine in several ways, it is informative to understand how their bear management programs have evolved over time. Maine’s bear biologists discussed each state’s bear management programs and hunting methods with the biologists in these states. As a result, Maine’s biologists are more convinced than ever that a ban on bear hunting with bait, hounds and traps will be bad for Maine.

In all of these states that passed similar referendums, bait and hounds were responsible for a relatively small portion of the annual bear harvest because the open habitats make other hunting methods, like spot and stalk, more effective. Therefore, it was possible for the fish and wildlife agencies to partially offset the decline in the bear harvest that occurred after the referendums passed.

This was accomplished by lengthening fall hunting seasons, reducing the cost of bear hunting licenses, expanding spring hunting seasons, increasing annual bag limits or issuing more bear hunting permits.

In some states, bear tags were included in a package with other big game licenses, so that virtually all hunters could shoot a bear if they saw it. The rise in bear hunter numbers was due to changes in how hunting licenses were administered, rather than an actual increase in interest in bear hunting (e.g. all big game hunters receive a bear tag and then are counted as bear hunters whether they actually pursue bears or not). Even with these changes, each of the harvests in these states is less than half the number of bears that need to be taken in Maine each year to control the population.

Maine is fortunate to have one of the largest bear populations in the country. We have very few conflicts between people and bears, and those that do occur are generally not severe. Fewer than a dozen bears are killed each year to protect property or public safety. Our bear management program is based on 40 years of research and is highly regarded by biologists across the country.

Leaving bear management in the capable hands of Maine’s biologists and game wardens will ensure that bears retain their stature as one of our state’s most treasured resources.

Gear Review: Luci Portable Solar Lantern

Luci Portable Solar Lantern

Wow! Let’s get that out there from the start. The Luci Portable Solar Lantern is fantastic. You need one. You might not have heard of Luci until now and you still need one…or more.

Luci Portable Solar Lantern

Luci Portable Solar Lantern

I’m blown away (have you ever heard me say that about a product?) by the simplicity and functionality of Luci. In its package it’s 1″ by 5″. You blow Luci up like a beach ball to be 5″ tall. Luci is so small it easily fits into your purse, backpack, day bag and other places. It’s size doesn’t reflect its light, and it weighs only four ounces. There are three settings. Super bright, bright and flashing allow you to choose your setting. There are 10 LED lights for a total of 65 Lumens. It lights up ten square feet easily.

Luci sits in my bay window on the southwest side of the house. That’s all that’s needed to keep the battery charged. Luci needs eight hours to take in a full charge. Unlike other solar lights, this one has an on/off switch. This preserves the battery at night when you don’t need the light on. With a full charge Luci lasts up to 12 hours on the Bright setting. It holds four hours of light for up to a year without being recharged, and Luci is guaranteed for one year.

Luci Portable Solar Lantern

Luci Portable Solar Lantern

I love this lantern so much that I gave my original one away to someone I felt needed it more than me, and when I ordered a replacement I ordered two. Camping, hiking, boating, sitting by the campfire, and during a power outage (common here now with the amount of ice we get in winter), the Luci lantern has been a great asset.

Luci has a handle on top (covers the on-off switch) to make carrying it easy. It’s water and bounce proof so it’s great for kids.

Luci is an MPOWERD product. Please take a moment to read about MPOWERD and the important work they do.

I like Luci so much I’m giving one away. I know – the image is awful. I can’t figure out how to fix it. It’s the same lantern shown above.
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Bull Moose – Hanging Out Behind My House

I was hoping for “something with antlers” when I sighed at the empty game camera two days agi. The does and fawns haven’t been near the cameras in about two weeks. The one deer that’s been around, I believe a doe, never walks by the cameras. It’s like she knows where and what they are. If I move one from A to B she walks through A. If I move it back to A she’s in C. If I move it to B she’s in A and C. It would be nice to see something with antlers – something I can shoot now that bow season is open. This isn’t what I meant but I’m happy to see him here. He was about 500 feet from the house.

big bull moose, maine moose hunt

About 500 feet from the house. I love living in the woods! Big bull moose.

Butchering Day for the Meat Chickens

Cornish cross meat chickens

Cornish cross chickens

Today is one of the few days each year that I dread. The first Sunday in October is the day we kill and butcher the meat chickens. They’re big. The roosters are learning to crow and some are starting to fight. There are a few smaller hens that will be parted out but most will be kept whole as roasters. We have plenty of pieces left in the freezer from last year. I don’t think we’ll raise them next year since we have a lot of meat left from last year, so I’ll see what I can do to find just six turkeys in July next year.

The chickens have been raised on grass and in the garden. As the garden faded out or was killed by frost the chickens were allowed in to have dust baths, scratch up weed seedlings, and eat weed seeds and grubs. They’ve been eating two to three gallons of apples a day, and a few more since they discovered the apple trees earlier this week. I haven’t seen a grasshopper in over a month. Forty chickens and 12 ducks have cleaned up the grasshoppers. If there’s a tick around they haven’t found the dogs.

Adding to the mess of killing and plucking and gutting – it rained yesterday. The chickens were loose all day and had mud baths. You’ll see some dirt on some of them in the picture below, and that’s nothing compared to how dirty they were yesterday afternoon. They scratch and dig and flap with gusto when they have a dirt bath. We will kill them, spray the dirt off them with the garden hose, then dip them in hot water to pluck. We don’t want all that dirt in the hot water.

Nothing goes to waste. The feathers will be placed in the woods to slowly decompose and feed the soil. The rest of the offal will be fed to the pigs.

So today’s the day. Time for breakfast, old clothes (of which I have none so I’ll wear baggy un-grown jeans), ice from the chest freezers in the basement, sharp knives, three coolers, cold water and 36 dead chickens.

Cornish cross chicken eating apples

Cornish cross chicken eating apples

Wild Ornamental Crab Apples

Last year I discovered a wild ornamental crab apple tree beside our best wild tree that produces nice, big apples. This year a second tree started producing. They taste horrible but they sure are pretty. If I’d recognized them as ornamental crab apples a few years ago I’d have moved them to better locations.

Ornamental crab apple

Ornamental crab apple

Ornamental crab apple

Ornamental crab apple