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I dry age my venison for three days. I keep the meat at a temperature between 32 and 40 degrees. When it’s hanging a wrap it in a cheese cloth. If the temperature climbed above 40 I bring it down with hanging ice in a bag. Aging is ideal for texture and taste.
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We harvested this doe today and we are processing the meat ourselves. We have hunted this land for 6 years now. We know these deer are drinking from the springs on the property. We watch them get fat on all the acorns that cover the forest floor. At this point we know where and how they move. Without seeing the deer drama that unfolds under the moon light, we can piece together the story and the hierarchy in their ranks by studying the tracks and scrapes the next morning. Now, we even can take a good guess on where they will be through out the day. Its grounding to have a relationship with nature in this way.
- The smoke is by far the best method we have discovered to keep the fly’s and wasps away from the meat as you work on it. We load hickory chips and oak leaves in the smoker. After the deer has had enough time to hang we do a quick wash in smoke then set the smoker underneath the work area. While the smoker rests, a small stream of smoke continually flows around the meat. This allows you to focus on the job and not worry about swatting at wasps with a knife in your hand. This method works great in the field. Just keep any heat from the meat… just a cool smoke.
- Nothing goes to waste. Our chickens will turn those little pieces of meat on the bones into big beautiful eggs.
- We marinate the venison backstrap in olive oil, sweet onion, salt, pepper, poppy seed, and a tablespoon of organic curry. It’s in the marinade for 3 days. Before it goes to the grill for dinner we take it out if the fridge in the morning. Ideally, the meat has acclimated to room temperature before cooking. We get the grill up to 500 degrees and cook it on one side for 5-6 min, then flip and cook for 4-5 min. We let it rest for at least 12 min before cutting into it.
- the meat can hang, skinless, above freezing and below 40 degrees. I have never had the conditions to do it ideally. Usually I let the meat hang for 24 hours. Tip: bring two ratchet straps. As soon as the dear passes, field dress, hang her upside down, and cut the jugular before the body gets cool. This is ideal to get the blood out while it is warm and can still flow. The look, texture, and taste of the meat depends on what you do in the first moments after you kill.
From the hunting perspective, there is the, what seems to be always unfolding, interconnection with the wind and moon phases that guides us to the moment we see the deer. When one arrives to that moment it sets the stage for a challenge which forge actions that are unique to that person, that time, and that place that can never be duplicated again… or reversed. Its artful, if you open yourself to it. It may be one of the few ways to connect to the 300,000 generations it took to get us where we are today. In that light, we feed ourselves and our children the way “they” did… Non-GMO, free range, no antibiotics, natural.
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This deer hunting season our hunting land has been mostly cleared. What was 120 acres of trees is mostly open fields of stumps, bush, and random turned up root canopies. It will all be cleared up over the winter but for this hunting season I look forward to hunting mostly from the ground and shooting from prone. Studying the science behind camouflage I discovered that the main objective is to break up the ‘outline’ of the ‘form’. The way a deer is seeing the environment is form first. The form of a wolf, a human, or a rifle. These are examples of form that are typically out of place to a deer’s environment or potentially alarming. My goal is to break up my outline in effort to not bring notice to me. Last year I experimented with this idea and had a dozen deer come out into my field from the tree line. They were three yards from me until they got a whiff of me… Started to scrutinize their surroundings, and busted me. This year my wife and I will try to fill our freezers and bag enough game to feed some friends and family. It all counts now.
I picked up these plastic plants from the hobby store. After testing, nothing impedes the rifles function or zero. The modification is light weight, as all weather as my rifle is, and my favorite part…. Cheep.
In addition, there are so many plastic plants to choose from that for $10 I could change the “region” or the “season” for economical all year camouflage.Kimber 8400 Montana
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Our backyard provides our lunch and we share it in the apiary.
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Our first honey harvest. We have a few more to go. The honey has floral aroma and smooth sweet taste.
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On humid evenings the bees gather at the entrance of the hive in a patch like shape. They vibrate their wings in a synchronized way to pull the humidity out of the hive like a vacuum. You can feel the stream of air flowing out from almost a foot away. If there is too much moisture in the hive it can lead to mold growth on their combs. This is how they deal with the problem. Amazing!
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My son did his first hive inspection today. He helped move a few frames around and got up close and personal with our bees.
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Nothing beats the sound of nature in the morning. Peaceful but never quiet.
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This morning we inspected our hive. We discovered that the bees are ahead of schedule and ready for the new super. The larger bottom portion, the brood box, is where the queen is. All propagation of the hive us find here… raising, feeding young, etc. The slender box above that is the super. The super is the honey storage for the bees. This is their honey storage that will get them through the winter. The top box that we installed this morning is another super. This will be our honeycomb. Just below it we installed a metal divider calked a queen bee excluder. This will prevent the queen from climbing up and laying eggs (brood) in our honey. It allows the worker bees to pass through but the openings are to small for the big queen to slip through. The more involved we get in our apiary the more we understand how simple the complexity is…. Layers of amazement.
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