Showing posts with label Hunting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hunting. Show all posts

Monday, December 2, 2013


Sometimes we need reminders. We need subtle or not so subtle taps on the shoulder or better yet, slaps in the face. Those things that wake us up in our selfish world and highlight our blessings. This era in which I'm raising my kids encourages selfish pity parties. You're ENTITLED to whine. You're entitled to a rotten disposition. It is an EASY thing to be a negative person. It is an EASY thing to find something to complain about. It's easy to go to that place, but once you're there it drains so much life out of you and everyone around you!!! Don't let yourself go there. It's such a waste of precious time and energy.

A couple of weeks ago, I had my first "selfish pity party" up here in the woods. It was Evan's day off and he had been out all morning hunting. It had been a pretty stressful day with the boys. Jackson is a three year old yet still adjusting to his needy teething (all four two year molars at the same time) little brother. With no one to visit and no one to invite over and an absent husband in the middle of hunting season...there was no one to help alleviate some of the stress.

I've mentioned Evan's passion for everything outdoors before in other posts. He loves to be outside. Loves to trap, hunt, fish. Soooo when you enjoy something, you like to spend your time doing that on days off and in your free time. When animals are trapped...they need to be cleaned, skinned, and stretched. The process is very time consuming. Much more time consuming than I would like. This was not the first time in our 7 years of being together that I felt jealousy toward his time with animals. Dead or alive.

Every stay at home Mom knows...that after a full day spent with the kiddos, an hour of alone time at the end of the day can feel like a spa day and a shopping spree and a gourmet meal all at the same time. That is, if you don't fall asleep in the first five minutes of that alone time. Sometimes I miss reading. I love to read. Some days I miss being able to sit down for hours on end to just read and then read some more. For my 25th birthday Evan bought me some very Warden wife appropriate books. My Life in the Maine Woods by Annette Jackson, Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup, Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron, and Nine Mile Bridge by Helen Hamlin. I've started reading all of them but have only finished one.

After having my little diva moment, Evan packed up and took Jack to go check traps. Andrew went down for a long nap and I sat down on the couch and opened up Here If You Need Me for the first time. Let me tell you, I haven't cried so hard in a long, long time. What an emotional roller coaster it is!!! I'm not sure any book has ever made me bawl hysterically on one page and laugh hysterically on the next. Being a wife and a mom and a fairly new member to this law enforcement life....this book hit home. It captured some of my biggest fears and some of my loudest thoughts. This book was my slap in the face. It was the interruption of my little pity party.

I sat on that couch and bawled like a baby for a full 90 minutes or so. When Evan got home and opened the door, he stopped mid step with his eyes wide and said, "What happened??? What is wrong??"
I am well aware that at this point in time, I was a wreck!! I held up the book and said,
"It's this damn book you bought me!!!" I ran to him and gave him a huge hug and a sloppy sad faced kiss and told him he could hunt and trap and live in the woods...he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted!!!

After you read the book, you'll know why I said that to Evan. Any sense of entitlement I felt that day flew out the window. I felt guilty for some of the negative thoughts that had crept into my head that day. Guess what....I'm not entitled!!! I have two beautiful, healthy, growing little boys. I have an amazing, patient, loving, and supportive spouse whom I'm lucky enough to call my best friend. I am thankful.

Kate Braestrup is the chaplain for the Maine Warden Service. I look forward to meeting her one day. :)

Order it. It's amazing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

North Woods Buck

You know it's a pretty big deal when he takes a selfie. Wish I had been there with my camera!
Evan is tagged out for the season! I am very jealous, but happy for him. That's what I get for leaving Davy Crockett up in the woods all by himself. He shot him near the St. John River. This buck is his biggest yet, weighing in at 206 pounds all dressed out with an 8 point rack. He had no hunting season at all last year because he was at school so he's making up for lost time. :)
It's very weird to see at least 4 moose a day but never see any deer! I have yet to set my eyes on any, doe or buck in the North Woods. But here's proof that they are around! I'm hoping that I might get a shot at one the last couple of days of the season!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From Forest to Table

There were so many things that fell into place when we were getting ready to move to Clayton Lake. When Evan's name was drawn for the 2013 Maine Moose Lottery, we were ecstatic. When we checked the zone and saw that he would be hunting out of Clayton Lake, it was almost laughable. Call it luck? He has ridiculous luck. A little story about his luck....our first week here in Clayton Lake we went fishing at Bissonnette bridge. His line ended up breaking and he lost his good lure. A week later we went back...and he CAUGHT the line he had lost and saved the lure. Only Evan. 
Exciting moment for our little family! He was 712 lb 42 1/4 inch spread

I hope both of my boys will  get lucky enough to have the opportunity to shoot their own someday!

Evan and his brother Michael. He came in to help call in the moose.
 Now is the part where I come in. I have been cooking Evan's wild game for years. He is a natural born killer. Seriously, through and through. Before he became a game warden...his fall seasons were spent AWAY. So it was a pretty easy transition into warden life, he is still going to be gone all fall seasons. He'll just be getting paid now!
That basically says it all. I grew up in a hunting friendly family. But nothing could prepare me for this man's obsession. I always had a major crush on Davy Crockett so really, it all worked out perfectly!!!
This might sound so so silly...but there is nothing I love more than seeing the look on my husband's face when I have taken an animal that he has killed and turned it into an awesome meal. There's something so awesome about knowing that the meat you're about to eat came from a gorgeous animal who lived just down the road. The animal lived a natural life, living off the land with no human intervention. When it was killed, it was in it's own habitat. It felt no fear or panic while walking up a ramp at a slaughterhouse awaiting the stun gun. Evan met the butcher face to face. The meat was put in one freezer before it was put in ours. It wasn't transported to a store and put on a shelf. It is the purest way to consume an animal. The only thing shameful about the situation was how the bull looked on the back of the truck riding out to meet the butchers. He should've had a glorious ride fit for a king on his drive out the Reality road. But instead.....he got this.

We didn't have a trailer so things got a little crammed. Baha
We never ate a lot of wild game in my house growing up. I still have a lot of learning left to do, but I've been able to figure out what I can do with it to mask whatever game flavor is left. Some people may enjoy that wild flavor, but I do not. This is the first moose we have ever had and in my opinon, it certainly has the most mild game flavor when compared with bear and deer. Very exciting. :)
For our first meal with the moose meat, I decided to make a stir fry. I got the recipe for the marinade and the sauce here:
I asked Evan to take some meat out of the freezer for stir fry. He grabbed the tenderloin that the butcher cut off for him the day after he killed the moose....and he wrapped it up in saran wrap himself. Aaaaaand I came out to the kitchen to a bloody countertop. So lovely.

Snow peas, onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli, water chesnuts, fresno pepper, and grated ginger. Helpful tip that I learned last year....FREEZE YOUR GINGER!!! When you're ready to use it...you can just take it out, peel it, and grate it!!! It's SO much easier than having to deal with all the veiny stringy parts when it isn't frozen.

Finished product!!! It was delish.

Now, Evan is a complete and total leftover snob. He simply will not eat them. It's so annoying. I've had to learn how to be so careful here in the woods, to figure out how to not waste anything. We don't have the option to go to the store to buy an extra ingredient that has been forgotten...we really have to use everything. So the day after I made the stir fry...I made egg rolls out of the mixture.

I chopped everything up from the stir fry and added green cabbage, raw shredded carrot, rice noodles and a little extra ginger. Warmed it all up in a frying pan and filled the egg roll wrappers. Then it was on to the dutch oven to fry! They passed the Evan taste test, and I was able to freeze them so he can take them out and heat at 300 whenever he wants a snack. He might be spoiled rotten. 



Love this guy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Winnah Winnah Partridge Dinnah

 Evan and I started out on this beautiful fall day to search for some birds. We left Meemaw and the boys at home snug in their beds. It's not often that we get a date nowadays and a good chunk of time riding down dirt roads is always nice! This country is so gorgeous. We ended up seeing two cow moose with one calf each trailing behind.
We tried some new roads we hadn't been down yet. Spotted a bird and I took a shot with the 20 gauge but I was too far away and it hopped up in the woods. I was so discouraged that I lowered the gun and started back to the blazer. Evan used a bit of profanity, disgusted with my attitude of defeatedness, and told me to walk toward the alders where the bird disappeared. I walked closer and I was able to see only his head peaking out the other side of a tree. I took the shot and feathers flew. It was a VERY exciting moment. I will admit there were a few tears....I was ecstatic.
 We came back to the house and Evan walked me through the process of skinning and cleaning the bird.
I grabbed onto the partridge feet and lined up my feet on either side of the breast and directly on top of the wings.  
And he told me to pull.
And so I did.....
And there you have it....good ole partridge breast!

So after this excitement had ended....Mom, the boys, and I went for a walk to the airline and back around to the house. We saw four partridge off to the side of the road, and it gave me an itch to go back out. Came home, packed the boys up in the blazer and off we went. Spotted the first one pretty quickly. Fired and feathers flew.

But.....he wouldn't die.

He kept flippin and floppin.

And I got the giggles.

And Evan wasn't around and I had no freaking clue what to do!

Thank goodness I didn't have to do anything. He stopped breathing and I threw him in the bag. I got one more and we headed home.

The view on the way home.

So after the fun, I had to get to work....but really...cooking doesn't usually seem like work to me! I read a little bit on what pairs well with partridge from the Joy of Cooking cookbook and a common theme seemed to be citrus. I immediately thought of an orange chicken recipe I'd found on foodgawker months ago. Evan and I were both nervous about how we'd feel about the flavor/texture of the partridge compared to chicken. We've both tried it before but it had been way overcooked with little to no flavor added. I knew the marinade would be pretty important.
A problem when you're shooting your dinner.....if you don't get a clean shot...the pellets end up buried in the meat. For the record...this wasn't one of my birds...it was Evan's!!! aahaha!
After I cleaned up the breasts, I cut them up into bite size pieces. I had to use 5 partridge breasts. I get easily distracted and I didn't bother to read the recipe for the orange chicken after I got done reading about the citrus marinade in the Joy of Cooking....SO I ended up doubling up on a marinade. You will see that the marinade in the Orange Chicken recipe is heated first and then dumped on the chicken. This one is not....so yours won't look like this but I just liked the picture. :D

I love onions and red peppers paired with this recipe. You could do whatever vegetable you wanted. I think broccoli would be great or even green beans. I just sautéed them lightly and threw them into the sauce at the end.

Bringing the sauce to a boil right before adding the partridge.


It seems like every time I make this for dinner...I regret putting the chicken in the sauce. When the chicken gets deep fried it's nice and crispy on the outside...and when the sauce is added, it takes away some of that crispiness. It's not too bad if you don't let it sit for long.  


AND the finished product. From dirt road to dinner table. Delish.
Find the recipe here: http://www.homeindisarray.com/2012/01/happy-new-year-orange-chicken.html

He is excited about the day he will be able to join us! :)