Monday, September 23, 2013

Making a List

Making a list,
Checking it twice.

No, I’m not singing Christmas carols. It’s that time of the year when I’m dreaming of my BIG trip up to Camp Grouse, and I want everything perfect for the whole two weeks. That means not leaving anything behind.
Our visiting star, Georgia.
I’ll bring extras of the important things, like guns and boots, even dogs, not that any of my buddies can ever be replaced by a substitute. There’s been a non-hunting friend’s shorthair tagging along the last couple of years, to “experience the things that she was bred for”. By the way, her performance has been spectacular, all from good breeding, not any serious hunt-training on anyone’s part.
Plenty of shotgun shells are already at camp, probably enough for the next six or eight years. Extra boots too, but I’ll bring more. Ditto for jackets and warm shirts.
Working on trashing that truck.
The truck will get a good cleaning before I head north, even though I know it will get totally trashed. In my notes from the end of last season last there’s a comment about coming home a day early to clean the truck because it was such a mess. I’m not certain I will give up a day of bird hunting for a clean truck, but maybe.
Dog food, dog first aid kit, kennel, maps and books, lots of books in case there’s a rainy day or two…it’s a pretty extensive list.
Inside my smartphone there’s a list of things to add to the list on my desk, which I printed out from the list inside my computer. At some point I’ll start piling things up in my office, and in no time I’ll forget what’s already in the pile and have to pull the stack apart.
Colby bringing me a grouse.
Groceries I’ll buy up there. The dufflebag of hunting paraphernalia will get dumped out ansorted. You can almost bet there’ll be an old sandwich in there along with fir needles, partridge wings, empty shotgun shells, and assorted twigs. I’m not prone to neatly sorting and putting things away at the end of the season. The season’s end is just too sad to do that.
Brush pants will receive a new coat of wax and hopefully all my shooting gloves will have mates. My old orange hat won’t look as bright as I’d like, but maybe there will be one for sale up in grouse country somewhere. The dogs will get excited when they hear the bells, as I’m sorting out their collars. They already know what time of the year it is and follow me about the house.

I'm ready.
Now, where is the list that’s supposed to be on my desk?

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Juno, sorting out
 the meaning of life
at eight weeks old.
We have a new puppy in the house. Could life be any better?
Yes, it can and it will. I took her out in the dark this morning about five, only to be startled by a duck quack by the driveway, then it quacked near the barn, and then over near the woods…it was flying unseen in the dark, probably trading between nearby ponds.
Fall is in the air. Last week we traveled up to Camp Grouse, where the former vibrant green hillsides had started to show signs of rust. Out walking, wild apples hung red from their trees and we found grouse, even busting an enormous covey just before we had to head south again. Twice we searched the sky for geese we could hear but barely see. I read in the news this morning they had a frost up there last night, which I’m sure softened the fruit hanging from trees. I can’t wait to return.
A hidden pond behind a clear cut in grouse country
Back here at home, the air is drier and the leaves sound different when ruffled by the wind. In the woods the low-growing huckleberry and blueberry have shed their leaves, and the ferns have shriveled to brown. The deep green of the oaks is tarnished and the clouds move faster across the sky. Ducks have appeared on the ponds, swimming in orderly flotillas, where a few weeks ago they all remained hidden.

My two German wirehairs
are enjoying the cool weather,
Both of the older dogs are a bit more intense in the woods, they sense what is coming. This morning, on a walk right after breakfast, they flushed a wild peahen in a field out back, and boy did that get them excited. Back in the yard, the pup watches the clusters of birds and dashes about after them, often tumbling over her own fat feet. 
Soon I'll be able to count the days until bird season opens on my fingers and toes. Life just keeps getting better,