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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hunting Season

Well, fall has arrived. Officially. I planted my garlic today and that ends the garden season until I plant peas and fava beans and start my early broccoli and cauliflower next January. Right now, it's the revered Hunting Season. I was passed by two young guys in a big pickup towing a muddy jeep on a trailer. Two deer in bags were seatbelted into the front seats, heads and racks protruding, wearing sunglasses. The back of the Jeep was piled with kids' bikes and trikes. I guess the moms were pulling the trailer with the kids.

My sheep herding and wood cutting buddy, David, 76, I think, this year, (maybe older, I've never been quite certain) was finally persuaded by his son to head out Nyssa (east Oregon, almost Idaho) for a few days. I assured David that Annie and I would look after his sheep and keep all Dangerous People from breaking into his house (it is NOT a house that looks as if treasure lies within). After much coercing from son Bobby and I, he finally went. Two days later I had to assure him over the phone that Everything Was Fine.

That was three weeks ago. :-) A very nice big buck who had been happily fattening himself on farmer's corn and some good bass fishing sort of muted the homing instinct. And he worked on putting a new roof on his son's place. Annie was happy. She got to go hold his sheep off the feeder every day while I put out the feed. And David's sheep are a bunch of sneaky old Suffolk ewes so Annie had her work cut out for her. I think they all enjoyed the dance, since everybody thought they won. (Annie held the sneaky ewes off until I called her to quit and the sheep got the feed in the end).

David finally got home today and of course I got paid well. He arrived with two very nice hindquarters of that big buck, aged two weeks in a walk in cooler, (just starting to grow that green hair that means 'prime' in a restaurant) a big bag full of doves, a slab of the halibut son Bobby brought back from Alaska, and, of course, a lot of fresh bass, caught yesterday evening. (That was dinner and a lot of eating for the rest of the week. I do not freeze fish if I can avoid it!) The Bad Guys did not break into the house, I had all his mail, and the resident coyotes who had been disrespectful in his absense will have to behave themselves. To add to the day, we noticed that the oyster mushrooms were budding on some of his alders (this is a GREAT mushroom year) so strolled into the woods to check and found a downed alder fat with oyster mushrooms and a flush of shaggy parasols. So I added a bulging sack of fresh mushrooms to the plunder. Alas, my favorite mushrooming woods got sold to a developer and bulldozed. Progress marches on.

We still have to cut and wrap the venison quarters (the dogs can't wait!) but my freezer is looking nicely full of protein, and I have this big pan of sauteed mushrooms and all that bass, baked with lime-pepper.

So the wood is all in, I've got the last planting in the ground, and the fall meat harvest has been accomplished with style. Only the coyotes will be disappointed. They'll have to stop taking their dumps in David's front yard now. Life is tough.

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