Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Warning!! This is NOT for the squeamish!!

This post and pictures are about Roger's deer hunt and skinning. Now, before the post begins, I must get a little firm here and say that if you have any kind of agenda against hunting an animal and the process that is involved with the hunt and afterward, then simply don't read and look at this post. The way my family looks at this is that it is a part of life. Roger enjoys hunting and we don't see anything wrong with that. Let's face it, if you eat any kind of meat someone had to kill and butcher that animal in order for you to get the meat to eat. We enjoy the meat we get from the deer, and since we are a homeschooling family we also enjoy the life lessons that come from all of this.

Since I was not on the hunting trip and since I didn't do any of the skinning, I have asked Roger to be my guest blogger. Take it away honey...

Hmmm, where to start. I guess we can start with thanking my good friend Matt for introducing me to his land and letting me hunt there on my first trip out in Kansas. I was fortunate enough to go a couple of times with my dad, but was never able to get my first deer. Always seemed he got one after I had to go back to school, but that's okay, just wish he could have been there with me on this one...but thanks for the help in talking me through it on the phone Dad! Love ya!

So I went out on the first Friday that I could with my friend Matt and went into my first tree stand. Wasn't too bad until the wind picked up, but we stayed out until about 10am in the morning. Unfortunately I didn't see anything and all Matt was able to see was a fawn. So I decided that I would try again on Monday morning by myself...thank goodness for private land, you never want to go out alone on public land, just in case someone doesn't recognize that bright blazing orange and mistakes you for a deer. :) Again on Monday, nothing except for a couple of does that I tried to track down after I went walking in the fields. I think they saw me before I saw them and they gave me the slip. And by the way, it was friggen cold with the wind and the 20 degree temperature.

So I am still looking for that prize buck, but because I hunt for meat also, I was okay getting what I could before the end of the rifle season. So I decided to go out after work on Thursday of that week and got back up in the tree stand. (It was warmer...about 34 degrees F!) This time it was about 5pm and I was considering getting down as sunset was just about here. Good thing I had some company below me. An opossum was munching on some corn below me when he froze and looked up. I couldn't see quite why he was frozen, until I peaked around the large branch that blocked my rear view in the tree stand. There he was, a 2 year old deer, being cautious about his surroundings, but hungry. Because you see, there was a feeder underneath the tree stand so he was headed to get some corn. So I waited patiently wondering if this is the one I should take. I new I wouldn't be able to go out before the short season ended so I decided this would be my first. And as nervous as I was, I took aim and took my shot. It was a spinal shot since it was difficult to hit the vitals from the side. He went down immediately. I was so excited, but now came the fun part...I had to gut him and drag him out. No details to share here other than it takes a lot to drag 130+ pounds through fields, up and over logs to get him to the truck.

(Yes, this is not a very flattering picture of the deer's rear end--sorry)

So here he is my first. You can see that his antlers are only about 2 inches in length. That is because both of them are broken off. By the looks of how smooth they were, it must have happened earlier. Not sure if they were shot off or if he broke them in a fight.

The yellow rope around his neck was used to help me hoist him into the truck. I never knew how hard that would be on my own since I am not used to bench pressing that much weight...guess I need to get to the gym.

(This picture shows the little bit of antlers)

For the following two pics of hanging up the deer, I don't remember exactly what the kids commented about, but it lead us into a conversation about when Jesus had nails put into his hands and feet and was hung on the cross. It kind of made you feel a little dreadful to think of that, but sure made that fact a little more clear. Can you imagine what it was like to be a spectator watching that happen to Jesus. Doesn't it just tear at your gut? And, I have to add that my kids know that story really well, because after we simply mentioned Jesus being nailed on the cross the two of them talked up a storm about where exactly the nails were placed, how the soldiers gambled for his clothes, about the bitter wine offered to Jesus, about the spear put into Jesus' side and everything else that was involved with the crucifixion.

Hanging of the deer so the meat can cool. If you don't cool off the meat, it will spoil quickly. You also have to be careful of the scent glands while skinning, it will taint the meat if you happen to puncture them.

This is the skinning process. The processor would have skinned it, but I wanted to try it on my own and was considering saving the skin. Unfortunately I couldn't find anyone that would do it for a descent price so that had to go to waste. Next time I will learn more about tanning the hide and try it myself.

Skinning took a little bit of time as I couldn't get it to peel off like the pros. You have to cut away the membrane that attaches the skin to the meat. Interesting texture to say the least, but amazing how God has structured the muscles in the body.

So I finally get the skin off and there is still some small pieces of meat that need to be cut off so that it doesn't spoil on the skin. The last thing is to sprinkle salt to help remove the moisture. But that was as far as I went because I have not figured out how to tan the hides yet. That's for next time.

Then I wrapped the deer in a cloth bag and cheesecloth to protect it from bugs. Then you either take it off to be processed or you start cutting it up yourself...I decided it was worth the extra money to process it and get some of that great summer sausage.

So there you have it in a nutshell, my first deer. And because I had an excellent mentor (Dad), I was able to get through my first process on my own. Even if I hadn't got anything, it was great to be out in nature, having conversations with God and enjoying his creation(s).

So far we have successfully made some deer jerky, ate the first 1.5 pounds of summer sausage (kids loved it) and made some chili with deer hamburger. Now I am looking forward to some smoked backstraps that a friend from work is going to help me with. Yummy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is Jesus

What am I feeling this year about Christmas? Not sure...

It's been a calm season. We did not go overboard on decorations, presents, shopping, whatever else is involved. All of that is fun, but not important. The kids of course have been wanting to open presents, but that's being a kid, and that is okay. As long as they keep in mind other people.

I guess that is what has been on my mind this year: other people. We drove around the other night to look at decorated houses and drove through downtown to get towards the eastern side of town. I pointed out to the kids the homeless people walking around and reminded the kids to pray for them.

Yesterday we made some treats to package up and give to all of the people who work with Evan and Lauren every Sunday at church. We don't make the kids spend money on buying each other or other people presents, but I did make them be a part of helping with the treats in order to remember that money doesn't have to be the thing to bring people a little bit of happiness and tell them thanks for all that you do.

Roger asked me the other day what I want for Christmas--why I don't know because we don't exchange gifts. We always buy one big thing for the house usually. Today I'm wishing my present to be my family focusing on nothing but Jesus, but without me having to remind them to do this. At the same time, this should be a constant everyday thing, not just at Christmas. It's such a hard job to do this though, but my mission as a mother this coming year will be to try to do this even more so than I have already tried.

In the meantime, I'm trying to just revel in the joy and peace I find in Jesus my Savior, and trying to enjoy all that goes along with that (the secular things) even though to me personally all of that is not important.

All I want for Christmas is Jesus.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dance #3

This is the longest dance/song: The One. This routine had a few fast movements that Lauren did her best to keep up with. Also, when she pulls her mask off it pulls her headband and ponytail holder out of her hair. It throws her off for a little bit and I know she wasn't sure what to do (I honestly didn't know what she was going to do either), but she pulled it together and got her groove back and kept going. I was so proud of her! I just can't believe how much she is improving year after year!

Dance #2

This was dance #2: Our God is an Awesome God. I just love how Lauren is mouthing the words of the song throughout the dance. When the girls were lined up they were doing a pompom pass so that's why you see Lauren stepping for such a long time (you don't see the rest of the pom pass). I think she did a GREAT job on this song--even when she dropped the pompom; just picked it up and kept going.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dance #1 Jazz for Jesus Winter 09 Recital

Lauren's Jazz for Jesus recital was tonight. It was so fun with their colorful outfits and witnessing how much better she is doing as the years pass--this is her 3rd year in Jazz! They did 3 dances tonight and the first one was Jingle Bells. We taped all three but Roger only downloaded this one tonight. Hopefully I can post the other two tomorrow. Just look at that cutie pie in the pink shirt!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Investiture Ceremony

Lauren's daisy girl scout troop had their investiture ceremony tonight. This basically welcomes a new girl into scouting.
Parading in
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Luckily where she was in line she ended up sitting right in front of us for good photo ops.

Adding a petal to the daisy flower representing the girls scout law and promise.

Reciting the girl scout promise.

Getting her pin on her vest by the troop leader

The handshake

Each petal gets sewn onto her vest as they learn a part of the girl scout law