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An Outdoorsmans Column – 2-25-2015

by Mark Walters

Pups! Hogs! A busted hand! And bear tags!

Hello friends,

My life is not like anyone else’s that I know. I earn a living by traveling in the outdoors and selling the stories about my adventures. I grow or raise much of my own food and about twice every eight years, I have a litter of golden retriever pups.

This week’s column has to do with what I have done in the last month while at home, watching Fire raise her ten pups. As of this writing I have two males left to sell and the litter is five weeks old.

Monday, January 26th
High, 27, low 8

It is dark, early in the evening, Fire is laying with her 11-day-old pups ad I have decided that I would split some firewood with my log splitter. I have yard lights and was in a big time, working mood.

I had only been running the splitter about ten minutes when I made a pretty good sized mistake and let my left hand get in between the piece of firewood that I was splitting and the back plate of the splitter. I was wearing gloves, the pain was powerful and I knew I had messed up big time. The pressure caused the skin on my left pointer finger to literally explode and I was so scared and mad at myself that I waited a half hour to take my glove off and look at it.

Long story made short. My left hand and, I am left-handed, is messed up!

Friday, January 30th
High 30, low 17

My 23-year-old stepson, Travis Dushek, is becoming notorious with our entire gang for having very good skills at making, brats, jerky, sausage and burger. Last summer I proposed an idea to Travis. The two of us could split all the expenses of raising two hogs and when they were ready to butcher, we would dedicate a weekend to process them at my house.

I do not care who you are, the killing part of slaughtering farm raised animals is not fun. Tonight, in the dark, Trav let pig number one out and it bolted which made a shot to where the head meets the neck a bit challenging. I got lucky! Pig number two came out slow, which made the job easy and neither animal ever knew what happened to it.

Travis and I each skinned a pig in my yard in the dark and then hung the two hogs, which had an estimated live weight of 320 and 260 pounds.

So that I could do this work with a bum hand, that had an open wound, I wore dishwashing gloves the entire weekend and took lots of aspirin.

Saturday, January 31st
High 28, low 14

Today I was the chief de-boner and Travis made brats and pork sausage. Travis had bought a quality meat grinder to my house a brat stuffer and has a keen awareness of the different spices that are required to make quality brats and sausage.

My kitchen truly resembled a slaughter house by midday. I was cutting and wrapping roasts, chops and steaks and Travis went through the process of mixing up 65-pounds of brats and 50-pounds of breakfast sausage.

We worked until 10:30 p.m. and finished the next day with everything wrapped, which included the brats, sausage, 26 roasts which were boneless and could be into steaks, 20 packs of boneless chops and 40-pounds of ribs.

Wednesday, February 18th
High 7, low minus 14

The pups are five weeks old today. They still live in a nest box in my living room and are entertainment for many people in the Necedah area, who come and to play with the pups and some actually take them home for short visits.

The money from this litter goes one share to the breeder, one share to Selina who puts it directly into her savings account and 8 shares towards the purchase of a decent boat. I am in no rush but am looking for a 16.5-foot or larger Deep V and wide hulled boat that has at least a 90-horse-motor. My new rig has to be clean/quality and no older than a 2000.

Today I walked out to my mailbox and the endless crazy life that I live added a new twist. Both Selina and I recieved bear tags for this falls hunt. No money! No time and a bum left hand, I am fine with all of the above.

If you want a pup or have a lead on a boat, give me a call! Sunset