Thursday, October 7, 2010

going on a moose hunt

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Last weekend, our little family packed up an unbelievable amount of gear and piled in the big black truck; in search of a relaxing weekend away, spectacular night skies, and (hopefully) a moose to fill Mike's once-in-a-lifetime moose tag and our brand new, empty freezer.

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We rented a cabin on the ranch that Mike had permission to hunt. It is an old hand-hewn log cabin; very remote, completely off the grid, no running water (unless you count the spring), and no power unless you crank the generator, which we did each evening...so perhaps not quite as rugged as I made it sound at first, but it definitely gave me a new-found respect for pioneer mamas, or any mamas who go through their day without water or power.

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It was so quiet. Quiet in a way we don't often experience.
No phone, cars passing by, not even the hum of a refrigerator.
We heard cows calling to their calves, coyotes each morning
before the sun rose, wind.

The sound of the world, without us making all our noise.

You feel a little closer to the elemental out there.
To the basics of your life. Cold mornings and woodsmoke,
that give way to brilliant, eye-throbbing blue skies.

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You begin your day with the arrival of light pouring down the hills
and through your windows, pooling around the kitchen table
where you gather over coffee, oranges, and crayons.

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You fill your day with simple, good things.

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Amelia taught Aven how to watercolor without eating too much paint...non-toxic, right?

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And how to build a log cabin...

Lots of sipping from the spring just beyond the front door...
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Self-portrait with sleeping baby in backpack

Then there was the hunt.

The scouting, planning,
the straining your eyes for a black form among the willows.

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The needle-in-a-haystack search. Mike leaving before it is light on the horse. In this kind of vast wildness, there is a new appreciation for the days spent doing nothing but searching, looking, waiting.

And sometimes you get lucky.

I will say that this was a new experience for me. Mike has brought home elk, deer and antelope, but it has always been brought home. I have such a new appreciation for the entire process, from the hunt to the packing out...in near 90 degree weather...with two small children in tow. Amelia was fascinated. I will admit that I was a little aprehensive about how she would react. But we had good talks about where our food comes from, that the moose lived a good life, that we will think about him, and appreciate him for many many meals to come. She wanted to know if I could put the entire moose in the oven.

We said thank you, moose,
thank you, moose
and we packed our mountain of stuff,
and our moose,
and headed home.
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7 comments:

Sarah { bee house hives } said...

Ellie!!! I am clapping from my desk here in the Flathead this morning. This is great news!! What a blessing.
I am going to have to make a long drive and meet you in person some day. I think we would be great friends.

Sarah { bee house hives } said...

p.s.
please submit this to a magazine. this is a beautiful hunt. i think my most favorite photo is of your husband glassing and your daughter (in her purple dress) running around behind. what a neat moment you captured.

aftml said...

how powerful, this post - that experience - is. food. it is the foundation of the upcoming revolution, i tell you...

aftml said...

p.s. thank you muchly for those hot toddy vibes. you are a total love.
sloppy kisses,
shadykatimama

6512 and growing said...

Wow. Just wow.

Congratulations and happy eating!

dig this chick said...

So so cool. And I love that I "know" two of the three commenters above! What a small internet world we have.

What a beautiful post, so sincerely captured and simply noticed. I love eye-throbbing skies. We do indeed have those. What a lovely gift for your family this winter.

jenny said...

What a beautiful and incredibly poignant post. The photos are stunning! I am glad you found my blog because I'm totally in love with yours! I can't wait for more of your adventures. Happy trails :)

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