Michele and Sam deer hunting

Deer Hunting, Ducklings, and Pears

Deer Hunting, Ducklings, and Pears

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 2
Week 42: October 22, 2022

The weather caught up with the calendar, bringing good conditions for deer hunting at last. The ducklings are growing into gangly juveniles, and 🍐 pears are ripe and ready to preserve.

Sam watches the weather forecast with intensity and rain means the deer are moving around, improving our chances of bagging one for the freezer.

spectacular view while deer hunting
Spectacular views in the woods

The views were spectacular and the air was damp and delicious.

moss carpet

While plodding along behind Samuel, I had a thought. The finest carpets in the finest hotels can’t compare to walking on moss.

Fall webworm-infested manzanita bush. Wild turkey surprised me by posing for a portrait!

tree killer
Off-duty tree killer

We tramped through miles of forest over moss, twigs, and leaves silenced by rain, got our pant legs soaked, and picnicked on hot soup. We even ran into ❄️ snow flurries. In the end, we saw a lot of does, but just had a glimpse of a spike.

We ran into snow at 4,500 feet (1,372 meters) elevation.

Hot, homemade Chicken Noodle Soup on a cold day felt luxurious and we enjoyed it with a spectacular view.

Back home, Sam made me a perfect Enchanted Forest Chai using my homemade mix and I paged through a favorite cookbook to unwind and warm up.

The ducklings are doing fine. Each day they grow a little bigger and braver – within sight of their parents.

Preserving and cooking

drying herbs
Hang drying herbs

Italian oregano and strawberry mint hang in bunches from the kitchen beams to dry. Strawberry mint really does smell and taste like fresh strawberries and makes lovely tea. I like to use my Chantal stainless steel tea kettle for tea.

Meanwhile, I was fortunate as a Master Food Preserver (MFP) to be able to purchase 🍐pears for preserving from Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC).

Most of our fruit trees did not produce this year which highlights our gratitude at having pears. The Rogue Valley is pear country, or used to be before wine grapes, hemp, and cannabis became hot commodities, so I have many delicious pear recipes and I’m using them all!

MFP friends
Longtime Master Food Preserver friends

From left to right: Michele, Carole Evans, Vickie Belknap, Margaret Crow, Jeanne Prince.

Left to right: Vanilla-Laced Pear Jam, Pear Cider and Paragon Pear Vinegar.

On another hunting day we enjoyed Beef Stew with Vegetables cooked right on top of the wood stove. Cooking on a modern wood stove took some practice and experimenting to master, but once you figure out your stove it’s easy. Learn more by reading my 10 Tips to Cooking on a Modern Wood Stove.

Is there anything better and more comforting than Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup? Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Knoephla, fluffy German egg noodles.

Tea at Mom’s

Italian Almond Cookies
Italian Almond Cookies

Tea at Mom’s this week included a lovely lunch made by Mom’s best friend, Joy: buffalo sloppy joes on homade buns and Italian Almond Cookies.

Earlier in the week Sam completed the sale of the sheep. Our original dream was to raise Painted Desert sheep for a few reasons: to keep the pasture mowed, sell enough to pay the annual property tax bill, earn a modest income in our future retirement years, and harvest a few extra males for meat.

We never were able to rebuild the bloodline after the losses to the mountain lion in 2020, unfortunately, so when Sam’s truck required expensive repairs he wasn’t equipped to do, we knew we would have to sell the sheep.

I have to be honest, it was disappointing to see that dream die. We invested so much time, effort, care, and money to get started with the sheep and now have nothing show for it. Life goes on…

God has new dreams for us and for you.

Bookshelf

wildcrafted vinegars

A new book at my side: Wildcrafted Vinegars by Pascal Bauder. I have only skimmed it thus far, but can already tell it is a good one! Having played with making vinegars from scratch with a variety of fruits, berries, herbs, flowers, peels, cores, and pomace, this is an exciting addition to my bookshelf.

Blessings,
Michele and Samuel

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