The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Posts tagged ‘hunting’

Effluent challenge greater than ever

Cozy Dell

We came down to Oamaru to spend Easter Weekend with the Outlaws. Once we were here, it seemed pointless driving home only to return for the opening of duck shooting. Why not stay and kill two birds with one stone and maybe even an Easter bunny? Or better still, use a rifle.

Ok look, unless you’re vegetarian, I don’t want to hear how cruel hunting is, or how ducks probably don’t think it’s much of a sport (which is hardly surprising not having much in the way of higher intelligence). The living conditions of many domestic animals are appalling and the transfer and processing are crueller than a clean bullet through the head. We can duel if you disagree. (Except I don’t shoot stuff.)

While I’m on the subject, wasn’t the Royal Wedding simply lovely?

The Outlaw’s farm is like our second home. Agent of Death makes a terrific gin and tonic. The tangy aroma of fried fish first thing in the morning. A brown dog multiplied by a factor of three. And I’ve never come across a range of reading material in a bathroom more energising to the lower intestine:

  • New Zealand Fishing News – sample articles: ‘Squid tactics’, ‘Attack of the killer bream’
  • NZ Hunter (with a Deliverance-style picture of a stary dude holding up a set of antlers still attached to the deceased stag) – ‘Pimp your rifle: a new barrel in 7mm SRUM and a dial up scope’
  • Rod & Rifle – ‘Chukar NZ’s toughest gamebird’
  • Country Wide – ‘INSIDE: Special report: Irrigation’
  • Inside Dairy: Your Levy in Action – ‘Managing mastitis’
  • Dairy News – ‘Effluent challenge greater than ever’
  • Farm Trader – ‘Drills, slurry & fertiliser equipment reviewed’
  • Guns & Hunting – ‘Fitting a .223 true-flite barrel with an HCS suppressor’
  • NZ House & Garden – ‘Screenprinting made simple’
  • Country Living – ‘Organic tweeds for today’

My bowels have achieved an efficiency and precision that is, literally, moving.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of our dog. The change in his diet – goats milk, deer tongue, putrid rabbits – has resulted in some terrifying emissions from his butt. Sometimes opening the bedroom door in the morning sends a shock-wave sweeping through the house.

The other evening, Husband and I took Jed down to Cozy Dell, known locally as Nooky Cove, to wash off some of his insulating crust of cow shit. The temperature was perky. However, the light was gorgeous, with the late sun slanting low through the trees.

Husband's builder's bum was a bit camera-shy that day.

'Thank you' is Jed's command to give up whatever's in his mouth. For a dog, he has beautiful manners.

Husband builds cairn. Only because he knocked it over in the first place.

Jed waits for the off.

As a bonus, here’s a couple of vids of Jed diving for his water-logged tennis ball. He hasn’t QUITE figured out how to breathe underwater. Yet.

Jed lets Husband know just how cold the water is:

HI! We’re invading your privacy!

One feature of thing about living in a remote part of New Zealand is scruffy men prowling through your garden with knives and/or rifles, preceded by a pack of wolves.

I’ve spent most of my life in cities, where the automatic response to one or more strangers snuffling around your gnomes is to check the doors are double-locked before calling the police.

However, in a small community, placing a 911 is considered bad form. In any case, you just KNOW the dude with a lazy eye and a claw instead of a hand will turn out to be your neighbour’s son/mother/best friend/beloved family pet or – even worse – the only hairdresser within a 100km radius.

The first time we encountered pig hunters on our premises was a few months ago; Husband and I were in the garden when a dog appeared out of the surrounding bush. While Jed investigated whether he could insert his entire head up his new friend’s arse, two men strolled down our drive followed by three more hounds.

I secured my squirming dog by the scruff while the pack of hunting dogs sniffed my ankles suspiciously. I’m thinking, “this had better be good”.

I expected an opening salvo along the lines of, “Hello- terribly sorry to disturb. We weren’t aware there was anyone here, our mistake. We simply can’t apologise enough. We assure you it won’t happen again.”

Instead, the man I’ll call ‘Claw’ (even though he didn’t actually have a claw), said, “Have you seen a pig?”

My instinctive response would normally be some loud advice based on a solid framework of expletives. Unfortunately, you can’t afford to do that here (see above). They were also better armed than us – even though I’m pretty sure Andrew could have taken Claw’s mate with the trowel.

However, I was so miffed I didn’t even invite them in for a cup of tea. If you’re Irish, you will appreciate quite how VEXED I was.

It’s lucky the situation was contained, because of course Claw turned out to be The Sherriff‘s brother from another mother, and is – according to The Sherriff – a lovely bloke when he’s not skulking.

The other day, our landlord The Mustachioed Muchacho called to let us know he’d given ‘Pail’ permission to hunt their land. The Mustachioed Muchacho explicitly told Pail to avoid our house, but we decided to keep Jed inside just in case. Any pack of dogs has the potential to gang up on one; and I’ve yet to be thrown into an envious rage by the control hunters have over their animals.

We were in the living room when Jed sprang up with the meaty WOOF! he uses to make us spill our coffee. Next thing, two men, a boy and a swarm of dogs trotted past our house. They waved in the window at us. Kind of a, ‘Hi! We’re invading your privacy!’ wave. Which was . . . nice?

They carried on down our track to the promontory. One of their dogs took a crap and I know it’s what dogs do and when you’ve gotta go you’ve gotta go, but NOBODY EVEN WHACKED THE TURD OFF THE TRACK.

On their return, they waved in the window again.

(Even though I didn’t want to I waved back and even employed all fingers.)

All this time and for the next half an hour, Jed paced, groaned, whined, yodelled, barked and howled. He alternated pacing around the living room with trying to scratch a hole in the sliding door.

Some time after that we took Jed for a walk. With Andrew’s permission, Pail had parked at the top of our drive, by the gate. On our return – an hour after the hunters said they would be gone – I thought I heard our gate clink as we rounded the bend in the road.

I grabbed Jed and called, “Hello?”

The van was still there; and so were the hunters, Pail wearing a bloody pig as a scarf.

“Are your dogs friendly?” I asked, but before Pail had even finished saying, “Aw, yeh, friendly AS,” two of his dogs set into Jed with a flurry of fangs and snarling.

Jed tore back up the road yelping, a dog swinging out of his backside by the teeth.

Long after Jed had forgotten all about it – including, conveniently, what a great big cowardy custard he was – I still had my ears flattened against the side of my head.

Exploding eyeballs

There is a herd of wild goats that rampage around our promontory, raping and pillaging at will.

Since Andrew got his gun licence, he has talked at length about going and shooting one, but there’s always been an excuse a valid reason not to. Either he’s due to start work; or the goats are hiding; or his trigger finger’s stiff; or he needs to further research his prey by observing their grazing patterns from the living room.

Personally, I suspect he was intimidated by the Billy giving him the glad-eye.

Finally, last Friday the herd was sunbathing in the clearing above the cliff. If you squinted you could actually see the bull’s-eyes on their foreheads.

“The goats are in the open,” I said. Andrew barely looked up from his laptop screen. He said something that sounded like, “Um”.

“Well, are you going to go and shoot something?”

“Let me just check the weather forecast.”

The weather conditions were evidently favourable, because twenty minutes later we were edging down the track. I was present in my official capacity as Dog Handler and Controller – not that you’d have guessed it by the state of the squirming mutt at the end of the lead. Andrew stalked in front, gun at the ready, issuing Navy Seal hand signals over his shoulder.

He shot a young male goat in the head.

Its eyeball popped out.

 “I hope you identified the target beyond all doubt,” I said, quoting the New Zealand Police Arms Code. “How did you know it wasn’t our neighbour, Tim, snuffling for raspberries?”

“Well, if it was, he’d shrunk and was sporting a goat costume.”

After boning up on his Basic Butchering of Game and Livestock, Husband gutted and skinned the animal, then chopped it up. Most of it will keep Jed in dog food for maybe a week; Husband might roast some goat chops in the slow cooker.

Personally, I don’t really have the stomach for it

Heavy duck showers forecast

The first time Husband took Jed duck shooting, he ran away at the first volley of gun fire. (The dog not the husband.) He sprinted across paddocks, crashed through hedges, and splashed through creeks in his desperate bolt for the Outlaws’ farmhouse.

I had trained him to sit whenever he came to a gate, in order to open it without being impeded by a muddy puppy trying to batter it down with his tongue. Hence when he came to the farmhouse gate he sat in front of it over an hour, waiting for it to open.

Jed’s duck shooting experience was more successful this time round, despite his scooting under the car and refusing to come out. Eventually I went after him, crawling over several cowpats before I could get a good grip on his ear and pull him out.

I put on his lead before we set off after the hunters, who were stalking stealthily towards the creek. I had to coax Jed (it is possible that the uninformed observer might interpret ‘coaxing’ as coercion supported by some muted yet heartfelt verbal abuse).

Jed’s antipathy must have been the IDEA of gunfire, because he didn’t flinch when the guns went off; and when released, he charged across the creek and worked the ground like a pro.

He was extremely excited, and expended much energy swimming around in circles, but after the third duck shower he retrieved a real live semi-dead duck!

Husband pulled its head off.

He said it was an accident. Only intended to wring its neck, he said. Didn’t know his own strength, he suggested. Could have happened to anyone, he alleged.

Jed ran around the paddock with the duck’s head in his mouth.

As a child, I used to dream of the shape my future might take. Funny how NOT ONCE did Prince Charming rip the head off a duck.

I’m just saying

The Christmas wind up

In its usual style, Christmas sneaked up and ambushed us.

For the previous three weeks, we entertained noble notions of getting the Christmas shopping done early. Although we technically ‘shopped’ on three occasions – ie trudged sulkily around a mall – up to yesterday we had failed dismally to actually purchase anything. Thankfully, we now have presents for all our friends and Husband organized a production line last night for the gift wrapping thereof.

Husband wanted to get Danny a set of walkie-talkies but experienced difficulties in the supply thereof. Personally, I can’t understand what Daniel would want to do with a pair of walkie talkies. I asked Husband about it:-

“Doesn’t he have a mobile phone?”

“Yes, but a walkie talkie has different applications.”

“Who d’you think he’s going to be chatting to on his walkie talkie?”

“Hmm. Not sure. I don’t know. But! – he could go down to the beach and pick out a hot girl and slip the walkie talkie into her beach bag!”

“Right. But wouldn’t he have to stay within 500 metres of Hot Girl for the walkie talkie to work?”

“Ah, yes.”

“So why doesn’t he just STALK her?”

“Ok, maybe that’s not the most practical of applications.”

In the end he bought Danny a remote controlled helicopter. Just what every man needs.

Yesterday we threw a Chrismas Eve do and told our guests to arrive any time from 3pm. Four weeks ago, this seemed like a simply fantabulous idea – I mean what else would we be up to on Christmas Eve? I now realize I simply don’t have that enough guff in me for 8+ hours of random sociability and Husband certainly doesn’t.

However, I contrived a Grand Plan, the cornerstone of which was the mulled wine. I figured if I threw enough of it around, everyone would be semi- to totally comatose by 6pm and wouldn’t notice the soggy Brussels sprouts or the turkey which was more in the style of chicken. It worked a treat, given that our crappy gas oven turned itself off halfway through the evening – nobody seemed to notice the fact that dinner was served at 10pm.

After the Great Minced Pie Wars of 2004 which almost resulted in acrimonious divorce (I don’t know about Husband, but I actually consulted a lawyer), we reached an amicable agreement to procure whatever format of minced pie(s) were available in Spinneys. Yesterday morning I finished spackling the Christmas cake with almond paste, formally approved the mulled wine recipe and chose the optimal stuffing for the churckey’s nether regions.

[Just an aside – three weeks ago, I came across an Irish cookbook in the Second Hand Bookshop in Satwa. It’s the second edition of ‘The Ballymaloe Cookbook’, published in 1983. I looked forward to some old-fashioned cooking: serving Hsuband Mussels Stuffed With Pig Trotters, Roast Rabbit with Tripe and making my own vegetable bouillon.

Yesterday I consulted my cookbook for what would no doubt be a tastebud exploding recipe for stuffing which would result in a three day sensory high. I turned eagerly to the recipe for ‘Roast Chicken’.

I suspect I may have missed class 101 in my culinary education. Here is what the recipe states:

Prepare a fresh-herb buttery stuffing. Wash and dry the cavity of the bird, then season and half fill with stuffing. Roast in a good quality dripping. Serve with creamy bread sauce.

I reverted to Paxo’ Sage and Onion Stuffing – comes in a bag. Add water.]

Husband was designated Master of the Fowl. For a man into his huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’, he was surprisingly squeamish when it came to stuffing the chickens. He was heard to say: ‘It goes WHERE?’ and then he pulled faces and squealed like a girl.

This morning we all woke up with headaches, but the excitement of opening Christmas presents chased most of it away (that and Panadol/Brufen depending on the class of drug preferred). Husband got a pair of cufflinks in the form of spirit levels, so he can demonstrate to clients that he’s on the level ha ha ha. David got an 8Gb multi media player and is inexplicably very excited about it. I got a mountain bike – I’ve actually had it for a few days now and cycle around the neighbourhood. I felt like I was eight years old again just without the training wheels. I got some bicycle accessories this morning, including the most irritating bell in the world (the hangovers might have influenced that judgement).

I’m going to go and try it out on the neighbours.

Have a great Christmas!

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