Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trail Cam Tuesday

For a change of pace, i set my trail camera to video, and it was a good decision!  the rational was that instead of capturing one angle of blurry, out of focus animals i could choose from multiple frames, take screen captures, make gifs, or even post whole videos of interesting interactions.

this week, my camera was graced by a porcupine, and two young bucks; a proud, but modestly antlered 5-point and a nervous young spiker.  screencaps have been provided below, though i shall include full-video links to all the encounters at the bottom of the post.

the nervous spiker
if you are concerned about the well-being of these deer, do know that in the state i live, bucks must have at least 6 points to be legally taken, so these youngsters are for now safe from the glances of hunters.  but also i feel it must be mentioned that by and large, hunting is far more humane than raising animals for meat on farms, and these animals will have lived full lives, filled with warm summer days, nectar flavored flowers and rich autumn acorns.  Should the day come that these noble beasts end up on a hunter's table, they will have had a life brimming with experiences most of their domesticated brethren have never known.  this blog is 100% pro subsistence hunting, though definitely not anti-agriculture, and not all farmed animals live their life penned up either. 
the proud 5-point

 so withut further ado, i will supply links to the videos, although the porcupine strayed very close to the camera and he is an over-exposed mess of spines.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Adventures in Jarrahdale Butchery

he hath fought valiantly and well
As i mentioned in my earlier entry, Scavenging for Squash there are some huge  differences between carving pumpkins aka Jack-o-lantern varieties and eating pumpkins.   Carving pumpkins have been bred to be large in size, have hollow insides with thin, watery walls of flesh and soft skins, making them simple for the average person to hack away at into a variety of festive designs.  Eating pumpkins on the other hand, have hard rinds, and thick walls of flesh, a delicious aroma reminiscent of melon and lots of tightly packed seeds.  At the end of the fall season, both carving pumpkins and edible heirloom pumpkins, such Jarrahdales, are readily available fresh and ready to eat at suburban curbs with the rest of society's so-called trash. 

The noble jarrahdale is a difficult beast, so be sure to sharpen your knife well, and keep a steady hand while dispatching this fellow.  your patience will be rewarded and once you have at least cut him in half, the rest of it gets progressively easier.  I say  again, good knife skills are a must in this venture.  unless you don't mind the knife slipping and cutting yourself.  If you haven't skill with a blade, you will learn it while parrying with this foe
roasted jarrahdale w/ onions and cranberries

once you have cut and peeled this behemoth into bite-sized pieces, i recommend putting it in a roasting pan with oil, salt, black pepper, red pepper, turmeric, thyme and lots of garlic.  add some aromatic vegetables to the party, in this case i went with quartered onions and a few handfuls of raw cranberries to complement the natural sweetness of pumpkin.  roast this melange until the the vegetables have caramelized.  the leftovers of this dish (and there will be lots of leftovers) can be frozen used at a later day to make a fine bisque, especially with venison stock, but that, dear reader is for another entry. 

jarrahdale pie fresh from the oven
Of course only two thirds of the pumpkin was actually used to make a huge tray of a roasted vegetable dinner.  the other third was made into a dessert course.  take again, peeled chunks of jarrahdale, or any eating pumpkin and boil them until tender.  i added a few cinnamon sticks and a dash each of ginger, allspice, and nutmeg to the cooking water to infuse the pumpkin with more flavor.  Once it is fork-tender, remove the pumpkin from the water and mash it until smooth, add sugar and more spices until it tastes right.  A splash of cream and one egg added to the mixture will give you a pumpkin custard ready to be made into pie.  make a crust of your choosing, for simplicity's sake, i made a cracker crust, but pie puritans would probably make a traditional crust. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center and then let cool. 
jarrahdale slice, ready for eating

Vanilla would have been a good additive to this, but i couldn't find my bottle of it.  even without vanilla this was still a pumpkin pie to be reckoned with and took very little time to make.  in little more time than it took to open a can of pumpkin i had made pumpkin pie not only from scratch, but a perfectly edible gourd which i saved from a fate in a landfill.  I think what i liked most about this variety is the bright color it keeps, even after cooking, which i think makes it look just as appetizing as it tastes. 

So if there is any moral to be found in the lines of this entry it is that there is free, fresh and good food to be found even in the trash.  i hope people will become wise enough not to discard these noble gourds, and make meals of them instead.  and if they are still not convinced, then they can give their unwanted "ornamental" pumpkins to me so that i may never go hungry.

Thank you for reading :)