Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A weekend at the farm

Kev and I spent the weekend at the farm--just the two of us. It was a working weekend, we cut down a lot of cedar trees--big and little. I know we cut 18 big trees down, but we also took some hedge clippers around and cut down trees that were smaller than 2" in diameter. We didn't count those, but I'm guessing we cut down 100 or so little weeds...I mean trees. They are an invasive species here, so getting them out will help the other trees, grass, native wildlife and the water level in the creek.

While we worked, we commented repeatedly to each other about how much we both love the farm. It's been a part of my life forever, but to have Kev love and appreciate it as well means a great deal to me...more than I could ever express. My heart just swells when he'll talk about the farm, or when he mentions how we'll hopefully live there...someday, or that all our hard sweaty work is worth it because we're making it our home. Knowing it's our dream and not just mine is special.

I have so many childhood memories of the farm that I sometimes forget that many of my cousins feel the same way about it. I was enlightened this weekend, as one of my cousin's had a nut fry and we were invited. Upon learning that Kev and I were camping out at the farm, they all mentioned how much they loved going out there, taking their children and grandchildren out to just walk around, look around, sometimes camp, and remember.

Since Steve (my brother) and I were amongst the youngest grandchildren, our memories are probably insignificant compared to those of many of our cousins. After all, they were adults or almost adults when the Tornado took the farmhouse. Steve and I were 8 and 9. I shouldn't be surprised that the farm means so much to all of us...but I am...somewhat...

I'm sitting here, trying to decide why the farm is so important to us all. For we Woodruff kids, some is probably our memories of being there with Grandma and Grandad. But for our spouses to appreciate and love it just as much tells me that there's something special about the place that just tugs at the heartstrings and brings a sense of peace and belonging to the soul.

I think that sense of belonging is what hit home for Kev and I this weekend. We awoke each morning at the farm content, happy and at home. Nothing is better than that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring Turkey Season

On Saturday morning, I crawled out of bed bright and early...at 4:30 a.m. Kev and I quickly dressed, and were out the door before 5. We needed to be at the farm before 6 a.m. to try to get a turkey. We'd gone hunting 3 weeks ago, and took a couple of Kev's co-workers who were first time turkey hunters. R got a nice Jake (an immature Tom), but C didn't get one. They couldn't go with us this time, so it was just Kev, with his bow, and me with the shotgun.

We heard two Tom's gobble upon our arrival at the farm, so we quickly settled in to wait and call one in. But they only gobbled a few more times and were moving away from us. We never saw them or any hens. We gave up around 8:30 and decided to move on to our other activities for the day.

Our intent was to cut down some more cedar trees, to check on our blueberry seedlings and just spend the day screwing around at the farm, enjoying the day. We checked the neglected blueberries, and happily discovered them to be still alive and even growing!

After messing with the blueberries, we decided to drive further back in the pasture to cut down more trees. Kev took the pickup, and I followed on the 4 wheeler. We pulled past the shelter belt and he cut the engine and jumped out of the pickup. I turned off the 4 wheeler and he motioned me down, and waved me forward. He'd seen turkeys.

We stealthily scrambled up the hill to a cedar tree and from there, we saw several hens and 2 mature Toms. They were headed west, away from us. Using the cedars for cover, we attempted to see where they were going and tried to call them back to us. The Toms weren't interested in Kev's call. After all, they were sharing at least 10 hens...who needed one more?

We followed them and watched them as they were feeding in the adjacent pasture. After a few minutes, we noticed them coming back! So, we ducked into the shelter belt and ran back toward the creek. It was warming up and we decided that they would probably be heading for the shelter of the trees along the creek. After some strategizing, we decided to run across a clearing to a big elm tree that sat in the middle of the clearing.

And I mean run.

This fat 47 year old woman can still run...while carrying a shotgun, wearing her cowboy boots and not fall down. I wasn't even breathing hard upon arrival!

However, once at the elm tree, we decided to go ahead and cross the rest of the clearing to the creek and sit where we'd have a view of the hill and draw they were following back toward us. So we ran some more.

We got settled amongst the cedar trees and waited. We didn't have long to wait, less than five mintues later, 5 hens soon appeared over the hill. And right behind them were the two Toms. I had the gun up, fired, and Tom hit the ground--hard.

Kev ran over to him first. He was so excited. He looked the bird over, and did all that man stuff and decided to step off how far of a shot it was. We were guessing 40 yards, but the birds were up higher than we were, so they were actually 50 yards away--which really is just about the maximum range.

Tom weighed 20 lbs, had a 9 and 4/8's beard (yes, that's actually 1/2 inch, but when measuring turkey beards, you go by the 1/8 inch.) His spurs were 1 inch long.

Here's the funny aspect of our hunt. When we were in KC, at Cabela's, we bought a video camera that you can attach to your bow, or gun, or on the bill of your hat. Kev thought he turned it on to film the kill...but instead, he already had it on, so when we actually were shooting...the camera was off. If I was masochist, I could post the video of us walking and stalking those birds, and you could watch me run across the clearing and through the tree row...but I'm not going to do that to you.

So...I got my bird. Which changed our plans for the day. We never did cut down any trees, and we didn't end up staying all day. Instead, we drove to Mom's, got some ice, had a picnic lunch, and drove home where I helped Andy paint his new bedroom. (He moved back home on Sunday.)

We invited Mom and Dad up to feast on the bird on Sunday. He was a nice fat boy and the meat was moist and tender. We've learned that it just tastes better to eat the turkey immediately instead of putting him in the freezer until the holidays. So, we ate him.

Season doesn't end until May 31. We might go back out to see if Kev can get one with his bow. Then again, we might not. However, my Turkey season is over...until next spring.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Big City people

Kevin and I played "Country Mouse" this weekend, and went to the big city. Kansas City. Actually, we were never in KC proper, but spent most of our time in Overland Park.

Kev had a special continuing ed workshop to go to and he asked me to go along to navigate and to go to Cabela's with him. We left from work at noon on Friday. We drove up along Highway 50 which is a route we've never taken before. We were rolling along quite nicely until we were 3 miles southwest of Ottawa.

We had a flat.

On the Interstate.

We managed to put on the small spare and stopped at the Walmart store in Ottawa. (And God Bless Walmart for building near Interstate Highways, and for having tire shops.) We thought it was just a leak, but discovered that the tire had a split in it. No idea what we hit, but we must have run over something that destroyed our tire. Kevin was not happy with the tire situation. In fact, he muttered and grumbled about it for quite a while. Lord, did he ever gripe and complain!

We made it to our hotel without any further mishaps. We navigated our way without once getting turned around or lost, or on the wrong street. I was proud of us because we neither one had been anywhere in the KC area. We've driven through it, on I-70, but we've never spent any time there. We got directions to a fantastic seafood restaurant, Bristol, which is in the Town Center area. The food was great, and it cost more than we are used to spending on a meal, but it was a nice experience.

Saturday, Kev had his class. I took my time getting around that morning, went for a walk, and then drove to Town Center to do some shopping. I didn't buy anything because the stores there weren't really what I was looking for, but I enjoyed walking around and spending an hour in Barnes & Noble.

Kev's class was over around 5. We hopped into the car and headed north to Cabela's. But, I forgot my map. I remembered enough from the map, that we found it without any problem. Kev only had to do one U-turn, and he didn't gripe about my navigation skills very long.

We had a great time in Cabela's looking around at things, buying things that weren't on our list, not buying things that were on our list... We also enjoyed looking at the exhibits. They have an excellent Mule Deer exhibit of trophy deer. We spent quite a bit of time looking through the exhibits. They are almost as much fun as shopping!

We got back to the hotel around 9:30 p.m. Navigating back south was a little trickier than our trip north. We knew we had to get off at exit 6A, but which lane proved to be a little challenging to Kev. I navigated correctly, but he says that I didn't give him enough information...whatever. Thankfully, there wasn't much traffic, so we didn't cause any accidents or harm to anyone getting into the correct lane for the correct exit.

I think it was at this point that we both agreed that we are much better off living out in the boonies where there isn't any traffic...or people.

We made good time coming home. We made a quick stop in Wichita at Tractor Supply where I bought myself a pair of Fat Babies boots. Kev found a gun safe he wanted, but it wouldn't fit into the car...so we didn't get it. (I tried tho, I tried to get him to go back and get it. Stubborn man...)

We got home safely and were glad to be back in our own little world. WE enjoyed our short trip to the city, but like Dorothy, we know there's no place like home.