On Saturday, I went to a 6-hour intensive wild game class at the Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham. The intent of the class was to teach the clueless how to humanely kill, skin, gut and prepare wild game for gourmet consumption. The result was tasty, but I still have images of split-open bunnies in my brain.
The class was taught by a a Native American woman and her strong-as-balls 6'2" red-bearded husband. The students were initially put into 6 teams - duck, rabbit, raccoon, wild boar, wild greens foragers and cooks, with the five hour goal of turning several live animals into an extremely ambitious dinner.
It was the chilliest day so far this season. After going around the room and introducing ourselves, we went outside in the cold, and observed the slaughter of a 75-pound wild boar. That is where I got the most squeamish. The male teacher demonstrated the gun that would be used to kill the pig. I hid my face in my boyfriend's jacket when the gun went off. I thought I would feel worse for the pig -- I was practically shaking beforehand -- but once the pig was dead I just saw it as meat.
What happened next was a little bit of a blur, but it involved the slaughter and splitting open of 3 bunnies and 3 duckies. My toes were frozen and numb about 2 hours into the workshop. I was cold, and pretty uninterested in participating, so I just observed the demolition as it took place.
I felt bad for sitting inside the house, trying to warm up by the fire as everything went down outside. But I was afraid I'd screw something up, cut or skin an animal wrong, and have something go terribly wrong, for instance accidentally piercing the gallbladder and ruining the meat, or scaring the animal, which could make the meat tougher and not as tasty. My boyfriend also played the role of "observer," but he didn't seem to feel as guilty about it as I did.
At the end of class, we sampled a fancy procession of foods, including rabbit prepared 3 ways, duck prepared 3 ways, sausage, ribs, and a wild foraged salad.
I came out of the class not quite feeling comfortable about slaughtering and preparing wild game myself, but with the confidence that, if I were truly put in a survival situation, I could probably do it.
On the drive home, my boyfriend and I were a little nauseous, and we couldn't fathom the idea of eating meat for a few days, so we stopped at Trader Joes and spent $20 on fruit and yogurt for Sunday brunch. Then we came home and took very long showers. On Sunday, neither of us were able to eat meat all day long, and we were comparing our horror movie mental images of split-open bunnies and duckies. I probably won't be able to eat meat again for a couple of days. But I'm sure that, within a few days, I'll be able to eat some sterile antibiotic-enriched chicken pumped with hormones. I'll be sufficiently separated from my food again. My boyfriend said that if they added enough chemicals and hormones to mass-produced chicken, it probably had no soul to begin with. I rather like that theory.
This morning, I'm doing a load of laundry to wash the wild game smell out of the remainder of my clothing. Then, back to work, and back to my normal life. Whew!
Here are some of the things I've heard on the television in the last few minutes -- "Rare Christmas tornadoes in the deep South. No fatalities but plenty of cleanup in Oklahoma City. In Reno, slush is making a mess of streets. Outside of Denver, snow plows are trying to clear things up." However, here in Va Beach at my parent's house, it's 45 degrees and the weather report is dull.
I've been here only 6 hours, and already I'm stir crazy. I'm thinking of the piles of laundry at my house, all the stuff I'd like to be doing at my house, all my unfinished business, but I feel disturbingly divorced from it. Mom made dinner, a senior special that we ate at like 5:00 p.m., so basically we'll just chill and watch the tube until we crash. Right now, I'm hyper. So is my brother, and he is starting to make strange things out of food, just cuz' he's bored and below 160 pounds, and he's convinced he needs to gain 3 pounds. (And he's determined to do it tonight!) I'm living vicariously through his gluttony. So far, since dinner, he's eaten a small plate of nachos with sour cream, a big handful of cheese and crackers, and a pineapple and spumoni parfait (which he's currently choking to death on.) I'm laughing hysterically at his gluttony.
While he stuffs his face, I am writing, just trying to accomplish something...
I'm currently on the 3-month plan for figuring out what to do next with my life. I can't stay in my current track forever, but I'm not quite sure what my next track is, yet. I'm trying to be somewhat green, still recycling, still composting... I'm just not 100% perfect. Far from it, in fact!
In the time since I've started this blog, my little world has gotten less green -- for instance, at work, they've stopped recycling cardboard. Every afternoon, we stack the boxes from all our incoming packages on top of the garbage cans, and the cleaning people take the boxes and dump them into the landfill! It's highway robbery of our planet.
Oh no, my family is punch drunk and starting to devolve... Mom is trying to talk Southern. Brother is sharing life details that NOBODY wants to hear while he strums his guitar. And dad is doing an old man dance. Just a normal Xmas evening at the folks.
Happy Holidaze everyone!
I have come to realize my biggest failure in my life: I sell myself short. I have widely more potential than I give myself credit for, and yet I have not allowed myself to be widely successful. I need to stop doing this, or else I’ll never “feel” entirely successful.
Someone said to me once that he wished I were “on” all of the time, and not just some of the time. However, there was no way I could maintain being “on,” because “on” was a role I played sometimes, and I couldn’t 24/7 live up to that role, or else I’d be exhausted.
Life has forced me to grow up a lot this year, and it’s also made me really appreciate the blessings that I have. I have learned to be more comfortable in my own skin, rather than constantly shifting from “on” to “off” and wearing myself out. I’m not the shy little girl I used to be, and I’m not scared to say what I mean, because life is just too short.
I'm lucky to be where I am, work where I work, and live where I live. I'm extremely lucky for the people in my life. As long I’m in this current sphere of existence, I need to stop this self-sabotage, because I’m not only hurting myself and my success, but I’m also not bringing 100% of my energy to my friends, to my job, and to my life. I cannot promise perfection or a 100% change, but I can promise I’ll be aware of it and try much harder...
As Tim McGraw sings, "I'm not as good as I'm gonna get, but I'm better than I used to be..."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO0keYA21oI
I haven't posted much "green" information lately, but stay tuned: 2013 will bring fresh topics and a renewed outlook on life!
If you have any questions or comments, or if there's a "green" topic you'd like me to discuss in a future blog, please send me a message!
Love you all!
I have been referring to myself as the "faerie princess" because this last week has been so stressful that I have had to separate from myself and refer to myself in third person.
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been sick with Lyme Disease this summer. With the suspicion of "coinfections," I've had quite a bit of labwork done. They actually know me by face and name at Labcorp, and they even know which vein in my left arm gives quickest blood draw...
Anyway, my latest set of labwork indicated some protein that shouldn't have been in my blood, indicating a VERY serious illness, much worse than Lyme.
But the doctor said it's also possible that the Lyme threw off my numbers, and that I was fine...
So there was another set of labwork. And then, there was the waiting... A whole week of waiting to find out if I would have the opportunity to live a happy, healthy life.
Meanwhile, I scared the sh*t out of all my loved ones. And I found out that I have a TON of loved ones, and many people who care about me. And I realized how blessed I was. I have AMAZING people in my life. My brother was the bestest of the best -- he listened to me worry constantly... But so did many other friends...
"What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger..." I used to hate that expression. But this week, I became very aware that if I survived this week of utter hell, I would come out the other side a much better person...
I cannot go back to the girl that I was.
And that's not just a temporary thing.
I feel different, and I see the world differenly. Oddly, I'm grateful for having had this week of hell, but only because I'm going to survive.
I have had a week to reflect from a place of pure hell, and I've come out ok!
I have reflected on my entire life, and now I see it from a different perspective, something more holistic than that "annoyed" girl sitting in traffic on Six Forks Road, pissed off because she can't drive her Mitsubishi Lancer at 50 mph.
Last night, I went to a weekly "workout" at a friend's house. It was December 3rd, and yet it was 70 degrees outside, and beautiful. I could see every star in the sky from his backyard.
I skipped some of the workout, laid down in the grass, and looked up at the stars. And for the first time all week, I felt at peace. I sensed that everything would be ok.
It must have seemed strange, to my workout buddies. As they were punching bags, and doing painful things with weights, I was lying on in the grass, looking at the stars, and finding peace. I can only find that sort of peace outdoors. I love NATURE! After all, I AM the GREEN GIRL!
Last Saturday, I went to the mall and went to the Clinique counter and got a makeover. That's something I do when I feel bad -- I go to a makeup counter, get fixed up, and then spend a bunch of money on makeup. Half the time I return it later...
But I've realized that's silly. I am using "getting pretty" as a way to feel better, feeding on that mall consumption energy, when what I really should be doing to feel better is... Volunteering! Using my energy in a positive way!
I have SO MUCH to give the universe! I have SO MUCH good to share! And I have narrowly escaped death (or at least it feels that way...) I need to volunteer, give back, do something to make the world a better place for SOMEBODY, ANYBODY!
It's been 3 hours since I've learned that I'm healthy. I am currently sitting on my couch, drinking sparkling wine, and celebrating, quietly.
I will never go back to the person I was before this week, I am sure of it. I have so many blessings in my life, so many opportunities, so many amazing things, and so many amazing people. I couldn't be a luckier faerie princess. I could not have made it through without this week without my amazing friends and amazing family.
I live on a beautiful earth, and I have a beautiful life. I am the luckiest faerie princess on the planet.
Till next time,
I'm tired of my normal thoughts and my normal activity. I'm on my couch, in my normal position, covered in my usual blankets and wearing my normal slippers, and my cat is sitting on the arm of my couch, leaning on my shoulder, like he normally does.
Life changes but it changes slow, and habits change, but they change slow too. I'm in my usual post-workout Monday night flop-on-couch and sit on computer or watch TV until I crash.
Yesterday afternoon, I went to a walk-and-talk called "Reading the Forest - Autumn and Winter Ecology." It was out at Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham.
It is a goal of mine to learn more wilderness survival skills. This walk-and-talk was a baby step in that direction. Mostly I'd like to learn about making fires, foraging for food in the woods, and making temporary shelters. I want to learn how to survive in the wilderness in the event that the Zombie Apocalypse came.
But realistically, if the Zombie Apocalypse happened,and if I survived, then I wouldn't be stranded in the woods. I'd be stranded in suburbia, foraging grocery stores for moldy Twinkies. Why does every thought process about Zombies lead to Twinkies?
I don't believe in the Zombie Apocalypse, but it is fun to talk about.
Yesterday, at the walk-and-talk, I hugged a tree. And, I learned a few things, but not much, because I was in my gooey "I love nature" mode and I didn't feel like absorbing much information.
But I did learn that the forest will "tell" you by the pattern of the trees if there has been human disturbance.
I also learned that the forest has 4 layers: 1. The forest floor 2. Understory3. The Canopy4. The emergent layer
All of the layers of the forest are interconnected. You can tell whether a forest is healthy by whether or not there's animal scat on the ground... You can tell how healthy the trees are, and who the oldest and most "grandfathered in" trees are, by how spread out they are. There's so many cool things you can see, if only you LOOK! It's a big beautiful world out there!
There's a whole big world out there, there's tons of things to learn, and the world is fascinating! I love this world, I love this earth, and I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else!
I feel much more peaceful now!
Hugging a tree,
I was napping on my super-comfy pillow top mattress this morning, petting Fang, with that lazy feeling like it's all warm and cozy and I didn't want to get out of bed, when the words, "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas" popped into my head.
I had to wake up and blog about it!
What IS the Greenest way to do Christmas?
Christmas is a time of year with MUCH trash and MUCH waste. It's also a time of much love, and we don't want to break traditions of a tree, warm candlelight, and piles and piles of presents everywhere! Not to mention the delicious food! Nom nom!
Here's some Christmas gift-giving ideas:http://life.gaiam.com/article/top-10-green-gift-wrap-ideas
Here's some more: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/green-gift-wrap-alternatives.htm
Here's some ideas for a "green" Christmas tree. I especially like the one made with toilet paper rolls:http://www.oureverydayearth.com/top-five-eco-christmas-tree-ideas/
Here's some more ideas:http://eartheasy.com/give_sustainchristmas.htm
I would give you more ideas, or even use my brain a little bit, but I'm feeling lazy, and my bed is still warm and cozy, and Fang wants more attention.