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Turkey Shoot November 22, 2015

20 Nov

Traditions run deep in small towns.  For our small community of St. Paul, Oregon the 4th of July Rodeo is an obvious example.  But another one, maybe not so well known is the St. Paul Fire Department’s annual Turkey Shoot that is held every year the weekend before Thanksgiving.  It’s a fun event that has always been a tradition not only in this town, but also in my family.

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My brother, myself, and my dad enjoying a nice sunny day of Turkey Shooting.

Now before you go and get all excited (or horrified) at the idea of running around shooting turkeys, it is a bit more civilized than that.  It’s an afternoon of trap shooting competitions, with the winner receiving either a turkey or a bag of sausage to take home.

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So if you’re in the area and have time check it out this year, bring your shotgun and shells and join us!  It is held at the St. Paul Rodeo Grounds on Sunday November 22, 2015.  Starts at 11am and goes until dark.  Hope to see you there!

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Goodbye to Diesel

16 Nov

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Our family said goodbye to our dog Diesel on Saturday.  The 15 year old pup just didn’t have it in him for one more winter.  Although I can about guarantee the sucker would have lived for another year or maybe forever.  Only he wouldn’t have done it because he wasn’t in pain, he wouldn’t have done it because his quality of life was great, he would have done it for us because he knew he had become a part of us and a big piece of our growing family and saying goodbye was about too tough to imagine.  

 Diesel playing with Matt and Hoot on Saturday, never wanting to be away from the action. 

Matt got the Chesapeake puppy Diesel, or officially “Dirty Rotten Diesel” for a hunting dog in 2000.  My father in law will tell the story of “D” howling the entire 6 hour trip from southern Oregon to his new home.  Then preceding as a 9 week old puppy to try and attack Matt by going straight for his jugular.  This would not be the last time his killer instincts came out.  He was a tough dog, one that would protect his family with all he had, and one that did what he wanted…sometimes I think he was the biggest pain in the ass dog that will be missed so greatly it doesn’t make sense…then it does.  Because in the end he was a just a lovable dog. He calmed down in his older years, and became that dog that wouldn’t let you go by him without a pet on the head.  He was the dog that would walk right under your hand so you had no choice but to pet him and give him love.  He would bury his head in your lap and just show how much he cared.

He also loved wine…so he was a dog after my own heart.  And you couldn’t keep him away from tomatoes from the garden.  He was a dog that actually smiled (see photo below) when he saw you and lately slept most of his days away. 

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Before all this softy stuff though he was a heck of a hunting dog.  A fierce swimmer who would sit in freezing cold water with Matt just waiting for his gun to fire so he could perform.  He was the dog that would see his dad in camo and gun in his hand and start to go nuts because he knew he was going to have the best day out hunting.

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When he started to slow down we started a yearly tradition of hunting Christmas Day with the old boy. It was when hunting for him had become too big a job, but something he loved so much we had to do at least once a year.   

In his later years when he was too old to hunt Matt would have to sneak out of the house, put his camo on outside and make sure Diesel didn’t see his gun.  Because even when he was deaf, his eyesight was failing and couldn’t walk very well, he never stopped wanting to go jump in that water and chase those birds.

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15 years is a long time and it will take awhile before walking out and looking into the kennel won’t feel like a part of our family is missing.  Hoot walked out today and looked at me asking, “Doggie?” It breaks my heart all over again and even as I write this I can’t help but cry and wish he was still here.  But then I remember that he’s not too far away, laying to rest overlooking our duck pond where he’ll be watching over as the birds come to land every year, peacefully sleeping away.  Plus all the stories that a dog like Diesel will forever bring up, he will be remembered for a  long time.  I cleaned up his dog dish today and put it away, until the next hunting dog comes to join our family.  He will have big paws to fill though, big, curly haired, mean, kind, gentle, fierce and loyal paws. We will miss you D, thank you for being such a great dog for so many great years. 

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 Rest in peace Dirty Rotten Diesel. 

The Goose Debacle

23 Dec

Matt loves to hunt geese, and we have plenty around the farm this time of year.  They keg up in gaggles of over 1000, settle onto one of our newly planted fields and feast away.  So hunting and hazing has become more than just a hobby around here, it’s now an official farm job.  Which Matt, my hunting loving husband, hates (yeah right!).  So the other day he came home with his limit, and threw them in the shed to be cleaned up later that day.

Now I have to switch to another part of this story that is equally as important as my husbands love for hunting, it’s Yukon (my dogs hatred of guns and therefore hunting, but love for dead things, especially geese.)  It was a nice day so I had the dogs running around outside, just doing what old dogs do.  Until I looked out the window and realized I didn’t see that darn gun shy dead goose loving dog anywhere!  I just had a feeling, and when I looked in the shed I was right.  The goose count was down one, and Yukon was no where to be seen.

I went and got Matt, “Yukon took a bird and he’s gone!”  We split up looking for the darn dog, old dog #2 Diesel came with me one direction and Matt set out another.  It was about 10 minutes later, I see Yukon heading as fast as he can across country towards the house.  I’m pretty sure he got a good “talking to” from his dad because he barely even looked at me just headed straight to the laundry room to hide…he knew he was in trouble.

So Diesel and I went to where Matt had headed, he was pacing around through briars and tree stumps looking for this darn buried goose.  We thought maybe the old dog #2 would sniff it out, but he seemed to be saying, “You know that I’m a retired goose retrieving dog right?!” So he just trotted along next to us not seeming too concerned with our search.

Then it occurred to me, what if we let Yukon take another bird, then maybe he would go and bury in the same place!  I headed back home, coerced Yukon our of his hiding place, gave him a few pats on the head and set a goose right in front of him. “Take it away buddy!”  He gave me a look of confusion, trying to figure out why dad was so mad, mom was so nice…what could it all mean?

I went into the house like I had before, going about my business hoping he would see that all he had to do was go bury another goose, in the same burial ground preferably, while Matt waited in the brush to find the secret spot.  I waited about 10 minutes then went to head outside to see what had trasnpired.  Yukon had taken the bird, but he hadn’t headed out across country, he brought it into the house and laid it right by the front door, where I literally almost stepped on it.

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I looked over and there he was, looking for forgiveness with those big eyes.

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Eventually Matt found the buried goose, and we all had a good laugh about that dang gun hating, dead goose loving dog, Yukon.

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