The day is getting close. I’ve sharpened my bird knife so many times that I’m worrying about how much metal I’ve taken away. Last night I counted dog bells, put one on a new collar, and cleaned my gun again. The night before, I printed out the list of things to bring that lives inside my computer, checked it against the one that lives in my smart phone, and cleaned my gun. The day before that I worked the dogs out in the fields behind the house, downloaded another map into the GPS, and cleaned the gun. Pretty soon there won’t be any bluing left on those barrels.
The dogs know what is coming. They don’t let me get far from their sight and right now two are sleeping under my desk. About every hour I check to see if something or other is on the list, so it won’t get forgotten. Most often it is there already, sometimes in two or more places. I resist the urge to start packing.
I’ll leave early from work, a week from Friday, and get to Grouse Camp late, probably after ten, maybe closer to eleven. The heat will be on, thanks to a neighbor. In the dark I’ll haul everything in while the dogs dance about. They will know we are there for a while and what it’s all about, and I can just imagine their exuberance. Probably I’ll poor a scotch and talk to my girls (all my dogs are girls) after things are in, and hopefully unwind enough to sleep.
Morning will come soon enough and the dogs won’t let me sleep late. While the coffee is on I’ll make the grocery list and then suck down the caffeine. Then it will be off to the grocery store to provision the place before the gang arrives. Maybe I’ll find time for a quick hunt above the house after the groceries are put away, or maybe not. It won’t matter; there will be plenty of time.
And then the two friends will arrive, most likely around noontime, with a young Brittany spaniel in tow. Probably it will be lunch and then out into the woods. I already know where we’ll head, to an old favorite. We might hunt all four dogs, just to let them blow off steam, or maybe not if mine have hunted hard earlier. We’ll find some grouse and maybe a woodcock or two. If we’re lucky we’ll bring a few home with us.
There’s a favorite alder patch nearby that will be a great place to take that young Brittany, and maybe we’ll make it later that day, or if not the next. There will be a few missed shots and, hopefully, a couple of birds in the bag. I can count on many laughs, lots of excitement, and very happy dogs.Grouse Camp will have started another year.