The daughter of an acquaintance of ours died of COVID two days ago. Her family were not allowed in the hospital so they sat in their car in the hospital parking lot waiting for her to die.

The native population, being the most vulnerable socioeconomically, have been hit by COVID the hardest. And no one cares because they are native.

The flagrant lack of concern for others highlighted by this pandemic disgusts me. But, COVID is merely a catalyst that revealed the cracks in a system that was already crumbling. I may be disgusted but I am hardly surprised.

At least Trump will be out in a couple of weeks. I’m not at all thrilled about Biden, and I could not bring myself to vote for him. Apparently the American people draw the line at overt fascism but 40 years of covert fascism is A-ok!

At least Biden sounds like a human and says all the right things. But, anyone who thinks the social problems were Trump’s fault has their head planted firmly up their ass. The issues the American people are facing have been systemically created over several presidencies, way before Trump was elected. It wasn’t caused just by Republicans, either. Greed and corruption is shared by both parties. Blood is on everyone’s hands. Trump simply exposed it.


Note to myself from 2015:

So many loud mouths with such empty minds spewing so many opinions. Where did all the thoughtful people go?

Thoughtful people are not so quick to shout opinions. Thoughtful people require:

  • evidence
  • longevity
  • observation
  • examination

It makes for some frustration.

Buck, no.

We have finally finished butchering and grinding and wrapping and freezing and jerkying and bone-stocking all the game for the season. Tried the Jedi’s mule deer/whitetail hybrid buck. He tastes pretty “bucky”. Not even bacon masked the flavor. While a big buck certainly provides more meat, does and juvenile bucks taste much better. This big boy is going to be entirely curry.

None of the deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). We definitely saw deer we didn’t shoot that had signs of it. Waiting for the test results interfered with our butchering process a bit. We froze meat before butchering and then had to pull it out and thaw it after we got the results back. Because of the upheaval of the move and lack of freezer space, the meat is distributed across four freezers, including the Jedi’s dad’s freezer.

Usually I carefully add up the weight from each carcass. We have been so busy and sidetracked this season it didn’t even occur to us to tally the meat we got off all four animals. Inconsequential, but it does give a sense of satisfaction to see the data!

White Neighborhood

Our friend Chuck (Gros Ventre tribe) stopped by with his family briefly today. His energetic little 4 year-old grandson made a beeline down the street. “Don’t run off,” Chuck admonished. “White people will steal you!”

We nearly died laughing. Our neighborhood is indeed probably the least diverse in Havre. It’s so sterile and squeaky-clean no one on our block even has a garden.

THAT will change once Spring arrives. Neighbors, watch out!

Polished Turds

I have been poring over real estate postings and home renovation websites, trying to figure out what to do with the Blue Bunker to make it comfortable and marketable once we get the major structural and environmental issues addressed.

The trend is evidently to paint surfaces some version of sterile white or institutional gray and disguise everything else with faux textures constructed of particle board or vinyl and gaudy fixtures with plastic components that will wear out quickly. Added bonus for BARN DOORS (particularly amusing in urban areas) mounted on rails with gigantic casters installed over closets.

What it is about American culture that prevents most folks from acknowledging that 99% of the residential housing stock is a pile of overpriced, poorly constructed shit? I’m fairly certain nobody would care if their house were falling into a mine shaft as long as it had granite countertops and matching appliances.

Technically the truth

Jedi (reading obituary): “What is Ischemic colitis?”

Me (reading from website): “Ischemic colitis occurs when blood flow to part of the large intestine is temporarily reduced, usually due to constriction of the blood vessels supplying the colon or lower flow of blood through the vessels due to low pressures.”

Jedi: “Jesus. He died from his ass being strangled…”

Fresh Produce

There are only two groceries in town and neither of them is enforcing the statewide mask mandate. I don’t relish the idea of eating anything pawed or coughed on by other customers who might be carrying COVID, so we have completely stopped buying any food from the grocery unless it is wrapped in plastic. Aside from what we get from a local hydroponic lettuce farm, what is canned or in our freezer and a once-a-month grocery delivery service, we are eating no fruits or vegetables.

The produce in the groceries in Havre is mediocre, COVID notwithstanding. Flaccid broccoli.

I really would enjoy a tomato or an avocado.

Last Day of the Season

Filled my tag yesterday, a little 2-3 year-old whitetail buck. Was not expecting to kill anything, especially on the last day of hunting season, and definitely not at the public land spot we chose, which is full of whitetail, not mule deer. Whitetail are harder to kill; unlike mule deer they rarely stand still. Tastier, though. Their meat is a little lighter and they aren’t quite as gamey.

We left the house well before daybreak, 5 am, and drove an hour to a state land spot south of Chinook, where we met our friend Chuck, who is Gros Ventre and would have granted us access to tribal land if we did not have success at the state spot. We visited that spot a lot this season and had seen plenty of deer but they were all out of range or just out of reach on bordering private land.

The full moon was setting in the west over the plains that morning and the light was reflecting off the snow. It was the first “moonset” I have witnessed. I wish my phone camera could have accurately captured it.

Signs of heavy hunting traffic were everywhere; I saw several blood spots on the ground from other kills and the pulloff where the trucks were parked smelled like a urinal from all the hunters relieving themselves. The two men of course, did not notice this, but I certainly did.

We perched up on a hill and waited as the sun came up and I got very cold. But, it paid off. There were a lot of deer running around and the little buck came trotting up along the creek bottom below the hill. He jumped and ran a good fifty yards after the gun fired and I was worried it wasn’t a clean shot, but it turned out to be a perfect lung shot. It took a while to find where he died in the willows.

When I pulled my tag out to attach it to the carcass, the Jedi discovered I had yet another tag I hadn’t realized I had purchased, for a whitetail doe. I didn’t feel like doing any more hunting, however, and we headed back. We have enough meat so I don’t begrudge a $10 donation to Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

I could not warm up for hours and finally had to take a hot shower to stop shivering.

Light red blood indicates lung shot.

After we had dragged the carcass back to the truck, the Jedi spotted a non-typical buck (lopsided antlers) that Chuck had been stalking all season. Using hand signals he alerted Chuck to the deer (the men have hunted together for so long they have developed their own sign language) and Chuck was able to find and shoot him. He had been holding out for “antlers” this season and was thrilled.

Chuck’s non-typical Whitetail

Our hunting experience this year was remarkably easy, all things considered. I’m glad the season is over and relieved we have plenty of meat. While I feel it is vital, I do not enjoy hunting that much, particularly the getting cold part. It’s really difficult when I’m in so much pain and have no energy. If I felt better I would probably enjoy it more. While the Jedi and Chuck love a good, complicated stalk (to the point where an easy kill like the last one makes them feel somewhat cheated) I just want to get it over with.

Full Larder

The Jedi filled his final tag yesterday, the biggest mule deer buck he has ever shot. We had planned a complicated sneak at our special hidden Old Man Tree spot on public land and had just started getting set up and the buck walked out in front of us. It was unexpected. Usually by that time (mid-morning) the deer have bedded down for the day and have to be driven out of their spots, which had been the plan.

It is strange the buck is a mule deer; we have only seen whitetail in that particular spot. His antlers and his ears are a little odd, so we suspect he could be a mule deer/whitetail hybrid. He was very healthy and in his prime. He was also in full rut, but hopefully the flavor of his meat is not too affected by it. Sometimes male deer in rut taste horrible.

Still have not filled my tag, and tomorrow is the last day of the season. The Jedi is taking his 12 year-old nephew out today, and perhaps I will try this evening or tomorrow. I am really struggling with motivation (and energy) this year. That particular day, despite being a short hunt under optimal circumstances (with the Jedi doing all the heavy lifting) completely wiped me out.

On Thanksgiving Day we went up north by the Canadian border and saw a ton of deer, all on private land. One buck in particular had a suspect wobble to his legs characteristic of Chronic Wasting Disease, so we probably would not have shot anything from those herds anyway.

We didn’t go home empty handed that day, either. The Jedi shot three Hungarian Partridge, which I am looking forward to cooking.