Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hunter Safety- Final Night or "What is 6 ft 4, 270 lbs, size 15 foot and says," Dana Nagle, 100%?)

Yesterday my car broke. It didn't "break down," so to speak. It broke, so to speak-the whole wheel came off of the ball joint. Jesus in the sky must have been looking favorably upon me because this accident decided to happen in the safest of locations in the safest of ways- downtown Hot Springs when I was going about 10 miles an hour. After handfuls of the most helpful men in town and my entire family showed up on the scene within moments (how did they all happen to be there?) and the very friendly Gary Wills left his fields and gave me a tow and Jenna's caregiver MH loaned me her car for the week... I was off to class on time with SG. We even had time to eat tacos and study in Marshall for a while first. Basically class was fairly uneventful other than me getting gas from the garlic in the fish tacos and having to leave the room many times to fart. Also, there was a guest teacher to talk about hunting "preparedness" (aka first aid and such), and he said Heat Stroke is really serious- and proceeded to tell us about the stroke his grandmother had. I realized he thought heat strokes were a type of stroke...
We took the 50 question test and then waited in the hall for the teacher to grade the papers. Then he said we all passed and read everyone's grade out loud (except for one person who didn't want his grade read out loud.) Everyone passed, and we all got our Hunter Education card, which we were advised to make a copy of and get both laminated.
On the way home I celebrated by stopping at Ingles and buying a lightbulb. SG told me that mercury was in retrograde. Jesus.

Hunter Safety- 2nd Installment

Night 2 of Hunter Safety Training left me with a treasure of memories to be enjoyed for as long as my memory serves me. First off, the day was a little wacky to start off. The gas crisis had me coasting on empty down to the state line gas station (that's the NC TN state line for those who don't know) to buy a tank for $4.60 a gallon. SG, my hunter safety course partner, got gas there at the same time and also did some thrift store shopping inside. These small country gas stations tend to diversify their sales items by necessity... She scored a girly cut tee shirt that says "Butch's world of meats: Believe us size makes a difference" and has a cartoon of a cow licking her lips. After that she went home to fix lunch and cut her hand opening a can of peas. She ended up getting 4 stitches by the nurse at the Hot Springs clinic. (She was about to only get 3 stitches, but she happened to mention to the nurse that there was still a huge section of cut that wasn't stitched and perhaps another stitch would be good, a comment to which the nurse replied, "Oh yeah- you're right."
So SG and I drove over to Mars Hill later that day, she donning her MEAT shirt and a club hand and me donning my girly outfit- pink ruffly blouse, jeans, big hoop earrings and purple eye shadow. Class consisted of a series of videos ranging in topic from bullets to bow hunting safety to(my personal favorite) tree stand safety to hunting ethics. I fell asleep during the bow hunting safety video but was wide eyed and bushy tailed for the tree stand safety video, which was a series of very bad actors setting up different kinds of tree stands and then getting up in them and falling out, very fakely. It was all I could do to contain the surges of laughter that came swelling in waves from my very gut, like bile rising before a barf.
The ethics video was even better: A series of scenarios of 2 hunters on 4 wheelers getting into situations where there was a moral decision to make. Inevitably one hunter would try to peer pressure the other guy into doing the wrong thing and there would be a cliff hanger. There is this guy in the class who sat behind SG and me who looked flushed and excited all the time and was really into guns and I decided maybe he was writing a manifesto in his free time... Anyways, after every hunter ethics skit, the screen would flash over to a list of ATV safety rules in such small print you couldn't even read it if you were right up on the TV. The excited guy would run up to the TV after each skit and mumble about how he couldn't read it. It was so funny to me and I would crack up and then be baffled that no one else seemed to thing anything of any of it. It was too much. After we watched all the videos and talked about bow hunting some more, the teacher (Game Warden) opened up the floor for any questions about hunting laws (of which there are probably volumes). He seemed really excited, like this was the fun part of teaching the course for him. No one jumped to ask anything, and he said with disappointment "Y'all are the quietest class I've ever had." (SG later told me she thought he had said we were the brightest class he ever had). People slowly started asking questions, a lot about trapping laws and other things. I got my courage up and asked him if anyone had ever called him to say they had found Sasquatch. He said yes. My night was complete.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hunter Safety Training- 1st Session Report

Last night began my three night course in Hunter Safety. One must complete this course and pass the test in order to obtain a NC hunting license. I am taking the class with dear friend SG, who also was somewhat recently given a 20 gauge shotgun. We both decided that by the end of the 3 hours last night, our brains were supersaturated with information about guns and shooting. The teacher is a very nice and helpful Game Warden. The class consists of about 25 people, male and female, ranging in age from about 10 years to about 65 years. All participates are of the white race. It seems that everyone in there already knows a lot about guns. The teacher said that if any persons can't read, he can assist them with the test taking process on Wednesday night.

I wore a special outfit for my first night- my most favorite tee shirt (with the sleeves cut off) that reads "I never met a sheep I didn't like... until I met BRENDA!!" with illustrations. I also sported Guess jeans and a side braid and some sparkly eye shadow. I won't get into describing the content matter of the class too much- if you are interested you should just get out there and take the course- it's free. But I will share a few highlights: A man sitting near me had on a shirt that read "Practice safe lunch, use a condiment," and had cartoon pictures of catsup, mustard and mayonaisse. I asked him after class if I could take a picture of his shirt because it was so funny, and he said no.
Next a couple good quotes from the wonderful instructor:
"I just love guns. I always have. I don't hate the government or anything- I just like guns."
"You wanna dispatch that animal as quickly as possible" (in reference to shooting deer and gettting a good shot that will make a quick clean kill.

I will have 2 more installments of Hunter Safety training updates. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hippie Camp

This weekend found me living in what appeared to be a hippie camp. LC and ET came out on Friday evening because they so very generously agreed to help me install gutters on the old house that sets up above the Airstream for a rainwater catchment system. As the weekend rolled along I realized that to passers-by (yeah, like there was a ton of traffic) we looked like a backwoods hippie camp, complete with the following:
outdoor dishwashing station
handmade benchery at the fire pit
dogs running around
jugs of hauled in drinking water
bundles of herbs hanging everywhere to dry
people cooking stew over a fire in a dutch oven (thank god it was beef stew so we
weren't really hippies...)
tussie mussie bundles of flowers being made by a lovely lady who was dancing around
admiring the beauty of the wild flora
strange Belgium men dosing off on the ground in the afternoon sun
fresh warm milk being drunk straight from the gallon jug from strange Belgium men
and of course the rainwater catchment project.

ET was awesome in initiating an early starting time for putting up the gutters, and he rocked it in the hot-ass muggy September sun. When the water flowed the wrong way, he patiently adjusted the whole entire thing. When the water jumped over the front lip of the gutter, he came up with a tin flap that caught the jumping water and sent it back into the flow. LC rocked the tussie mussie scene while grooving to Michael Jackson on my ipod. She also rocked the dutch oven with some killer beef stew. It was a really productive session. As soon as I get paid again I am going to buy a 250 gallon water storage tank to set under the gutter, and a hose or pipe to gravity run the water down to a shower that I will somehow rig up with a water heater. Winter will find my hippie camp flowing with steamy hot rainwater showers.

Thanks ET and LC!

Note- the pictures show the old house with gutter, the old house in relation to the Airstream (with the awesome temporary power pole in the foreground, one of the lovely benches ET made me (with tussie mussie by LC) and the human hippie water station.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear Simon

Dear Simon,

Meg and I were talking yesterday on the phone, and just before she had to hang up she informed me that you have been wondering if I consider myself to be a "hippie" or perhaps a "mountain woman." She didn't have time for us to have a conversation about it, so I told her I would write the answer in a Dear Simon blog post.

I can't just say "Yes, I consider myself to be a hippie," or "Well, I consider myself to be 55% hippie and 45% mountain woman" because that wouldn't be much of a letter or a blog. So my response will be multi-faceted.

First I want to tell you 3 of the main goals I have for myself for the winter: 1) To learn to safely operate and maintain my new 20 gauge shotgun and hunt turkeys with it 2) to learn how to safely operate and maintain my new Stihl m230 chainsaw 3) to learn how to make crocheted lace.

Next I want to tell you about my current outfit. I am wearing a camo wife beater with olive green "capri pants." I have on ankle socks and some fancy gear head trail shoes. Around my neck is a chunky turquise necklace, and I am sporting matching turquoise earrings. My hair is in 2 long braids. There is no make up on my face.

Now I want to tell you what I did today. I spent several hours dealing with "banking" issues. Then I went and did gardening work for someone in Weaverville. When it started raining lightly I kept working. When it started raining harder I considered myself rained out and left. Then I made some homemade face cream out of calendula oil that I made of flowers I grew. This is sounding kind of hippie.

My friend Sally told me "in your heart you are a hippie, but on the exterior you are a redneck." Then she cracked up.

Before I give you my own final answer I want to tell you that among my top values are: family, friends, community, the earth and all life on it, and humor. I prefer organic food, but I am not above dogging some hot wings at some stupid restaurant. I intend to hunt for food not sport, and I appreciate the beauty of turkeys as much if not more than their nutritional value.

All in all I consider myself a hippie with a "twist." I would love to be a mountain woman, but I don't think I qualify yet. I aspire to qualify some day.

I hope I have succeeded in satsifying your curiosity on this matter.

Your friend and your wife's BFF,

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Quilting in the Airstream, black widows and thoughts

The other night I fired up the ole orange lights on the Airstream and had SM over for some quilting. We are involved in a community baby quilt for a friend in Hot Springs. It was quite exciting to quilt in there while drinking tea/beer (depending on the person) and eating toast. We laughed a lot.

On a more serious note, I was doing some gardening work for a friend on Ox Creek yesterday, and she found a large, beautiful black widow under a piece of wood in one of the flower gardens. We admired her for a good while, and then I killed her. We accidentally lost her egg sack somehow, but I was going to destroy it too. I do not like killing spiders, but I am willing to kill poisonous types when they are around the home or garden. I am thinking that a more appropriate action would have been to trap her and her egg sack and take them far far away. What do the readers think?

That experience led me to ponder the whole activity of gardening and what a strange thing it is- to bust your ass creating an environment that is, in a sense, artificial, even though it contains natural, living organisms. I guess I can understand the evolutionary purpose of gardening for food and why humans began to switch to agriculture some 10,000 years ago, but what is up with our desire to landscape or replace the native flora with pockets of foreign plant matter that are arranged in a way that we find appealing? And why do we go to such lengths with labor, resources and poisons to keep out the life forms that we don't want in those pockets of bizarreness? We are a strange people, and I kind of hope to god there are no such things as aliens to come down and school us on how weird we are on our planet. For the record, I would, however, welcome lessons of wisdom any day from elusive terristrial creatures such as bigfoot... Do you think sasquatch grow flower gardens? Do they kill black widows? What would a lady-squatch do if she found a copperhead under the front porch of her hut?

Monday, September 1, 2008

More pictures from the Airstream front

Actually, pictures of the outhouse area...

Dear Meg (for all to read, especially Meg)

Dear Meg,
It's funny that you mentioned the box car kids and them keeping the food cold in a nearby stream. The reason it is funny is that I am keeping some of my food cold in a nearby stream. In fact, I was just daydreaming today about how I could construct a cooler to fit into my little water hole that I dug out in the creek. That way I can keep more "perishables" on hand than can fit into my tiny little camper refrigerator. I am also scheming about putting gutters on the barn to collect rainwater, and pondering how to store the rainwater without it getting funky or freezing in the winter. And I would like to figure out how to heat it and channel it into an outdoor shower or bathtub so I can comfortably clean myself. So, there you have it. Not so much different than the boxcar kids after all.

So the Airstream got moved (by my dad and TM) last Monday. Last Thursday, CH finished the electrical wiring from the temporary pole to the camper, and Friday evening CM (almost) finished building my bed. I moved in late Friday night, and proceeded to not really sleep much because I forgot my blankets and I was cold as hell. Saturday I scrambled to get ready for the "Hoo-HA in the holler" party, which occurred Saturday evening. It was fun. People came out and checked out the Airstream on the way down to S and T's, which was looking ever so lovely after the rain. S's flowers are in full blooming exquisite regalia mode. There are bright colors and shapes exploding from every nook and corner of their little flower farm. I set up a hospitality station at the Airstream and served cucumber cream cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off (on white bread), ants on a log (made with almond butter), biscotti, mint julips and gin and tonics. In the morning I discovered that someone had decorated the path to the outhouse with a plethora of varied colored fake flowers. It was real nice. I wish you could come over. I especially wish that we could do a dance routine together with SM. Please say hello to the family.
Love, Dana