Monday, November 13, 2006

Wooshing in the Night

Difficult to believe but here it is 9:30 in the evening and it's still 48 degrees out. At some point tonight the rain will start and by tomorrow it should be quite heavy. The weather lady says it will wear itself out in time for a beautiful day on Wednesday with highs in the sixties. No matter how much it rains here, it won't come close to what my son Adam is reporting from Seattle. The evening news showed a shot of I-5 in Seattle and if you know that road, it's bad enough on a clear day let alone with 6 inches of rain on it and rivers running into it.

I was sitting here finishing a letter of support for a grant application some friends are involved in. I had started it once before and was interrupted so tonight's goal was to get it in the mail. With one paragraph left, Gail came in and did one of those "There's something out there????" statements. I don't know how I got to be the chief mystery solver around here but maybe in this case it was more of a chief protector role I was expected to play. There was a little uncertainty in Gail's voice and I could see my letter was doomed again so I better figure out this mystery.

I was drawn into the front room where the wind was blowing a cool breeze sufficient to fluff the curtains away from the window's edge. Gail repeated the noise, some kind of wooshing sound she said. I mimicked a few bear sounds as Mrs Bear and the boys are visitors every night as they head to the neighbors place. A tipped my head to the window, listened for a minute and then my one good ear kicked in. "Kim got a deer", I said. Gail seemed confused but somehow relieved with the verdict. "How ya' know that?"

This is Vermont and Kim likes to hunt. He took today off from his job at one of the Barre granite sheds to hunt and as I looked out the window I saw his truck lights pointing to his outside shed. He has a block and tackle in one side and the lights headed in that direction. But the real proof that he got a deer was what Gail called a "wooshing" sound. What Gail heard was a Sawz-All--an electric reciprocating saw which in Vermont has replaced the old hand meat cutters saw. Once you hang up the deer on a whipple tree, rear legs spread, head hanging down, and remove the skin, you're ready to halve it with the Sawz-All. You start where the tail left off and cut down til you get to the neck. I've seen lots of deer skinned out, some in the middle of the night in the middle of no where, but only in recent years have I seen the Sawz-All "wooshing" through vertebraes. Mystery solved.

I got back to my writing, finished the support letter and searched for a blog writer who had recently sent me a comment about The Vermont Gardener. Her blog is entitled A Study in Contrasts and I have added it to my list of favorites. The author uses colors very well and does an excellent job explaining them. I scanned through a number of her posts and could visualize the silvers , reds, oranges, yellows, plums and purples she uses so well. The colors made me think of a simple patch of grass by the Winooski River that caught my attention the other day. Yellow colored grass with brown fungus spots surrounded by a sea of dried milkweeds and seedy gray goldenrod.

As gardeners we should all study the contrast our gardens present via their colors, textures, heights and fragrances...........even on a warm Fall day the week before Thanksgiving.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where"wooshing" has been replaced by the sound of freezer paper torn across the metal box cutter and rolls of tape pulled to lengths sufficient to seal fresh venison for future meals. It won't be over for a while but the memory of the hunt and the harvest will last forever.

George Africa

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