Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh cripes, what do I do now?

I just got back from a walk with Yukon. We went up and down the back road, and were about to head back inside when some gunshots started in the distance. She flinched a bit, and I didn't want to take her in right then to reinforce her fear, so we circled the yard for a bit.

As we got down to one of the front corners of the property, in an area where I had cleared some brush over the summer, something odd caught my eye:

It's right in the middle, just a little below center - a white form on the ground. Funny, I thought, I don't remember a big rock being there.

The dog was interested, so I walked up and....

What must have been a beautiful buck - maybe even the one that scraped up a bunch of trees in my yard - crumpled in a heap, dead for at least a few days from either car or bullet. On my land. As noted in the title of this post, my thought: "Oh cripes, what do I do now?"

This happened on my family's land while growing up, but there were big, open spaces around us where the deer carcass could be dropped - and my dad was there to do it. I don't think he'll be willing to drive 400 miles to take care of this one - and there really isn't anywhere to go with it without loading it in the back of my car. I wonder what my garbage man would think if I dragged it down for next week's pickup.

For now, the thin layer of snow actually makes the situation a bit more bearable - it's almost serene. Everything is frozen, so I don't have to worry about decomposition right away. I think it's a 10-point buck - I didn't lift the head to check the antlers on the other side - and I may just leave it, and let nature take its course (no brush cutting in that area next spring). I'd like to harvest the antlers - they're really nice. I'll just have to keep the dog away from the scene.

A side note - my dad's dog, Daisy, stumbled upon one of those deer carcasses in the woods back home a few years ago. It was desiccated corpse, but she still found it irresistible - to the point that she'd wander up into the woods every chance she got to gnaw on it. Finally, one Christmas morning after presents, the whole family helped load the thing up on a sled and skid it to a distant, inaccessible location. To this day, years later, the dog still goes back to the original spot where the deer was, looking for her long-lost snack bar.

Just shoot the buffalo already!

Cape buffalo (image from Wikipedia)

When I got my dog earlier this week, I felt I needed to make a financial tradeoff. So, I canceled my cable TV.

Yukon has been taking up much of my time these first few days, but late at night, between work and bed, I still find myself with a half-hour or so when I need to just wind down. I can't watch late-night cable offerings, so I've been getting reacquainted with late-night local TV. Tonight I was introduced to a show that started out benignly, then became progressively more horrifying. The show? "The American Huntress."

The show started, and seemed mildly better than infomercials, so I decided to stick it out. It is sponsored by the likes of bullet manufacturers and a clothing line called "She Safari." The premise is something along the lines of two women from Texas who like to hunt, and they bring along cameras to film their exploits in hopes of encouraging more women to hunt. Tonight's episode involved one of the women - her name was Linda, but I'll call her "Shotgun" - and her husband ("Second Fiddle") going on an African safari.

They arrived in Africa, and filmed the interior of their luxury tents to show their female viewers how posh things can be, so they won't be so darn hesitant to join their husbands on their next weeklong trip to hunt game in Africa.

Then they headed out into the game reserve to find a big male cape buffalo, the shooting of which seemed to be Shotgun's all-encompassing desire. But then the group spotted a herd of elephants, and Second Fiddle just had to shoot one, so they stalked and took out a big elephant bull.

I was starting to feel weird at this point. I have nothing against hunting deer, or any other kind of game that is put to use as food, or clothing, or some other practical application. But it was quite clear that they weren't going to be frying up elephant steaks outside their four-star tent that night.

So then they went out the next day, in search of Shotgun's cape buffalo, when they instead spotted some kind of wildebeest that Shotgun just had to shoot. So she did.

I started thinking, for God's sake, for the sake of all these animals, let some dumb cape buffalo stumble out in front of their LandCruiser so they can shoot it and be done with all this. But no.

Then, if memory serves me correctly, they went out again and found not a cape buffalo, but leopard tracks - and Second Fiddle had to shoot a leopard. So they hung the wildebeest carcass up and waited for the leopard to come along. He did, and yet another majestic African animal fell. And we were only like two-thirds of the way through the show.

Another day, and Shotgun finally, FINALLY got her cape buffalo. But then she decided she HAD to shoot a lion. Which, using the logic of the safari, meant she first had to shoot a hippo to get bait for the lion. Which she did. Ultra-condensed version, the lions never showed, so, oops, that hippo was shot for... nothing. Oh, well. End of hunt for them. Sigh of relief for me.

Other than the wildebeest and hippo used as bait, the show never mentioned what happened to all these animals that were shot. I assume they probably were mounted as trophies to sit in Shotgun and Second Fiddle's living room. What a waste.

But all is not lost. Thanks to the ads, I've got a hot tip on the most destructive bullet on the market, and I got a good look at the She Safari line. Tailored camo never looked so good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Karmic payback

Things are going well with the new dog - "Yukon" is her name now - but we had one minor "incident" today.

She is a very sweet, mild-mannered dog. She had been so timid, so hesitant to try new things, that I thought nothing of leaving her alone in the back seat of my car for 10 minutes while a few bags of groceries were in the cargo area. To get back there, she'd have to get up and over the back seat - something it seemed she'd never be willing to do at this point.

Well, she did. And she ate most of a bag of 12 dinner rolls. Fortunately, she left most of the bag; if she swallowed any plastic, I'm sure the doughy rolls will help it pass right through. The photo above shows the offender and the evidence.

I wonder if this is karmic payback for the incident described in an earlier post.

In any case, she is very attached to her crate; that is her default place to be. She comes out every now and then to see where I am, and to explore... though she tends to make a beeline to the crate if I so much at glance at her.

But a few times she has come to sit by me in another room, and today I got down on the floor with her, and she laid down and put her head on my chest. One of the nice things about having a dog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas music jackpot

I am not a big fan of radio stations that play all Christmas music starting in early November. But every so often, I'll be in a mood for some, so I'll turn to one of those stations while I'm driving.

I hit the jackpot today.

First up: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, "Sleigh Ride." (Argh... it's not on YouTube. Well, "Spanish Flea" is as good, just not Christmas-y)

This fast-paced brass version of "Sleigh Ride" was always played at the K-Mart in my hometown during the Christmas season. It brings me way back to when that store had a full-service cafeteria / dining room in the back - as a kid it was such a big deal to get to eat there. I remember hearing the song over the store intercom when my sister and I went to K-Mart on our own to buy presents... if we're ever together, and those trumpets start playing over the radio or wherever, we both crack up.


Then, John Denver and the Muppets, "12 Days of Christmas."

A classic, in my book. The YouTube version linked to above is a bit different than the version I have on CD (yes, that's right, I have it on CD); the CD version includes Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew singing a verse, which is the best part.

When I was in college, there was a period of time when my sister, one of my older brothers and I all were in Madison at the same time. One December night we all piled in someone's car to go see the big drive-through holiday lighting display in a city park. We had a Christmas-music station playing on the radio, and this song got stuck in the rotation. I think it played three times in a row, in its entirety. Awesome.

New dog

Two-year-old yellow Lab. Left with rescue group by family that moved and could not take her with. As of Tuesday morning, she'll be mine, after I've waited almost a decade to have a dog of my own.

Given name: Gadget. I didn't like that name initially, then thought I'd try sticking with it, but now have decided I can't. So, I will be renaming her ... we'll see how that goes.

Now, I have to find a name I like. Pressure's on.