Tag Archives: hunting

Denver Christmas Trip 2015

28 Dec

The second week of December, Travis, Annabelle and I flew out to Denver for Travis’ work Christmas party — a major perk of working for a small company! The trip was a whirlwind — we flew out Thursday morning and back Friday night. Emma stayed with Travis’ parents at our house. We would’ve preferred to not have Annabelle tag along either but she won’t take a bottle so she goes where mommy goes for now.

We left early Thursday morning, arriving in Denver by around 10:30. It was my first time flying out of the airport in Brainerd and it was so much easier than going to the Cities! We had a little snafu checking in because the plane flying us from Brainerd to Minneapolis was so small that Annabelle could only be on the one side with child oxygen masks. It took a while to reassign our seats but we were thankful that the small airport meant they knew we were there and wouldn’t leave without us.

The flights and car rental went well (got upgraded to a fully loaded Town & Country, heck yeah!). We had lunch at Chipotle with our good friend Randy and drove past our old house before checking into our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Downtown and it was the first time I had ever used valet parking. I felt so fancy! We got a corner room and one whole wall was a floor to ceiling window. It was cool but kind of trippy.
Travis had a work meeting that afternoon so Annabelle and I just hung out in our room watching TV while I did my hair and makeup and set Annabelle’s rock n play up in the coat closet. It fit perfectly! (We left the door open most of the night, just shutting it when we used the bathroom or turned on the light.)
We made a quick trip to 7-Eleven and then it was time for the Christmas party. Travis’ boss’ 15- year-old daughter watched Annabelle in our hotel room during the party. We expected to get called back early but we didn’t!
The party was just a couple blocks away at Maggiano’s on the 16th Street Mall. The food was delicious, and it was great seeing Travis’ co-workers and spouses again. Since the whole company works from home in various states, this is one of just a few times each year the whole company is together at one time. I enjoyed my baby-free night with a couple glasses of chardonnay (though they gave me a headache the next day).
The next day, Travis had work meetings pretty much all day so Annabelle and I were on our own. I met up with my good friend Cathy for breakfast at Panera and then while Annabelle napped in the car, I drove up to Boulder to see the Flatirons. They’re so amazing.

After Annabelle’s nap, I nursed her and we stopped by my favorite consignment store for kids, called Kid to Kid in Arvada. I found matching black bows for Emma and Annabelle to wear in my brother-in-law’s wedding this weekend and a sleep sack for Annabelle.

I grabbed a quick bite to eat at Good Times (similar to Culver’s but Culver’s is far superior) and ate in the car on the way to my friend D’s father’s funeral down in Lakewood. It was a very nice service, and good to see my friend. I was glad that I just happened to be out there that day.

After the funeral, Annabelle and I went back to the hotel and packed up. Once Travis was done, we loaded up our stuff and headed back to the airport.

Our flights back went well. We got a row to ourselves both times and it was nice to spread out.

By the time we landed in Brainerd, it was 10:30 pm. We stopped at our house quick to pick up the dogs and Travis’ hunting stuff (he decided that he wanted to try muzzleloading this year) and drove the hour up to his parents’ house in Nevis. By the time we carried all our stuff in and got situated, it was almost 1 am!

Undaunted, Travis got up around 6:30 to go hunting. I was up around that time with Annabelle too — a doozy! It was a nice, relaxing day overall though. During Annabelle’s morning nap, I worked on a blog post. Travis got back from hunting around 10:30 and watched Annabelle while I designed and ordered our Christmas cards (which took a few hours so Annabelle went down for her afternoon nap before I finished). We also watched the first Lord of the Rings movie.

Travis went out for the afternoon hunt around 3 and Annabelle and I just chilled at the house, playing with toys and tidying up. Once Travis was back and showered, we went out to eat at the Iron Horse in Nevis. The BBQ there is amazing. The rest of the night was spent just hanging out at the house. We were exhausted from our trip!

Sunday morning, Travis hunted a few hours (with no luck) while I got us packed up. We left around 9 to drive down to St. Cloud to pick Emma up. She had gone down to the Cities for a Christmas party with extended family with Nana and Papa Saturday night.

We ate lunch at Chipotle and then headed over to spend the afternoon with our good friends, the Lonergans, who live in St. Cloud.

After a great time catching up, it was way past naptime and Annabelle had fallen asleep in Travis’ arms, so we hit the road back up to Brainerd. Emma fell asleep in less than 5 minutes.

Fun weekend but exhausting!

A Recipe for Hunting Season

30 Sep

Hunting season is in full swing here in Minnesota, and Travis’ family’s annual elk hunting trip to Colorado is coming up in just a week. This recipe for elk chili has been a staple at elk camp for the past 5 years or so, AND it won our church’s chili cookoff twice. The first time it won was the first time I had ever made it! So it started off as a great recipe, and after making it three dozen times or so, I’ve made a few tweaks that have only made it better. I almost always use elk meat, but this chili can be made with any ground venison or even ground beef. It’s a great thing to serve hungry hunters after they’ve been out searching for their prey, or a tasty way to cook the fruits of their labor. Best part, it can be made in a crockpot or on the stove. Enjoy!

Elk Chili
Adapted from this recipe
Serves 4-5 hungry hunters


1 lb ground elk meat
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp butter (only if cooking on stove)
30 oz tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar


1. Brown elk meat in a large skillet and drain excess fat.
2. (Skip this step if using a crockpot.) In separate pan, melt butter over low-medium heat and saute onion until tender.
3. Combine drained meat, onion, and remaining ingredients in a crockpot or in a large pot on the stove. Stir well.
4. If using a crockpot, set temperature on low and cook 6-8 hours. If cooking on the stove, bring to a simmer and cook 1-2 hours.
5. Serve hot and enjoy! We like to eat ours adorned with sour cream and cheese, with a side of yummy cornbread, but it’s delicious on its own too!

Happy Hunting!

Elk Camp 2013

3 Nov

Every year, Travis’ parents come out in October for elk hunting. We go up to the same area, stay in the same wall tent and hunt the same mountains (well, the hunters do. I don’t hunt!). Last year, we got nothing. This year, we got 2 elk on the first day!


Shooting an elk on the first day, let alone 2 elk on the first day, has benefits and drawbacks. It takes the pressure off for the rest of the week, but it also enables the hunters to be a bit more lazy. You get to pack the animal out when you’re fresh, but you’re sore and tired the rest of the week. But nevertheless, it’s always nice to get one so there’s no complaining!

This year, Travis’ parents, nephew and his brother all came out. Along with one of Travis’ friends from Denver, it was quite a group. Emma and I stayed behind after everyone went up Friday morning. We picked up Travis’ brother from the airport Saturday afternoon and headed up then. We arrived at elk camp just as everyone else was getting back from packing out the 2 elk they had shot.


Packing an elk out is hard work. We estimate that 1 hind quarter alone weighs 75-80 pounds. Times that by 4, add 4 front quarters, 2 backstraps and a bull head/rack and you have a LOT of meat.

Anyway, we ate dinner and then Beth (my mother-in-law), Emma and I headed back to Frisco, where we were staying in a hotel. We were planning to go straight to bed but Emma had another idea. She had fallen asleep in the car on the way to the hotel but by the time we reached our room, she was wide awake. It took her over an hour to settle down and then she had a horrible night. She woke up every 1-1.5 hours. She’d fall back asleep right after I picked her up and I could put her down after 10 minutes or so, but she’d be up again in 60 minutes. I thought maybe she was teething but once we got back home, she was back on track so it must’ve just been the new surroundings that were throwing her off.

The next morning, I was definitely tired but didn’t feel horrible.


We went out to breakfast at Butterhorn Bakery, which has become my tradition whenever I’m in/near Frisco. (Seriously, they have THE BEST FOOD!) I had a waffle with strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and syrup. Mmmm… Emma had sweet potatoes for breakfast – it was easier than bringing her oatmeal cereal along to mix up. Beth had an egg scramble that also looked delicious.

Stuffed to the gills, we went back to the hotel for Emma’s nap. I held her while watching How I Met Your Mother via Netflix on my phone. After her nap, I fed her and we went shopping at the outlet mall. I bought a few plain long-sleeved shirts from Ann Taylor Loft, Beth bought a cardigan from and a sweatshirt from Nike, and then we shopped for a couple dresses for Emma. We got a couple of cute ones from Oshgosh B’gosh but their sizes run really small, so we bought one 9-month and one 12-month sized dress (but I ended up exchanging the 9-month size for another 12-month one).


Shopping complete, we headed back up to elk camp. We hung out in the tent for a while, playing. I had brought Emma’s playmat and bouncy seat, but she didn’t really want anything to do with either one.

1375674_641425979221061_1029597573_nThat’s her ‘Are you serious Mom?!?!’ face.

So we just played on Daddy’s cot.


Around dusk, the guys came back from hunting and we ate dinner. Since the previous night had been so rough with Emma, and Travis had already tagged an elk so he was ‘done’ hunting (he couldn’t carry a gun anymore), I convinced him to come with me to the hotel so that we could trade off with Emma. That was a huge help!

We left for the hotel around 7 pm. Emma fell asleep again and got back to sleep fairly easily after I took her out of her carseat and nursed her in our room. She was up about every 1.5 hours again, but it was really nice to not have to get up every time!

The next morning (Monday), we packed our room up and checked out. We grabbed breakfast (and a pumpkin spice latte for me!) at Starbucks and then headed back up to elk camp. Emma took a nap in the car. We got up there around 9:30/10 and hung around camp. I fed Emma, we played a little more, walked around outside, I held her for a nap (while I struggled to stay awake myself!).


After lunch, Emma started getting fussy because it was time for her next nap. So we packed the car up and took off for Denver, since I was going to work on Tuesday.

I was worried about staying awake on the drive home all by myself, but I put on some good singalong tunes and sang the whole 2 hours home. No problem!

The rest of the clan stayed up in the mountains until Wednesday, when they packed up and headed home. Our tradition is to go to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday night after elk hunting and this year was no different. But unfortunately, this year it also coincided with an elementary school fundraiser so the place was really busy and packed with lots of kids. It took forever to get our food! (But they nicely comped 50% of our bill.) One good thing was that Emma sat in a highchair for the first time!


I took work off on Thursday to hang out with everyone while they worked on butchering the elk. I helped vacuum seal for about 30 minutes before Emma woke up from her nap, and went to the store for some supplies. But otherwise, I just took care of Emma. Which is fine, because I could not cut up elk meat anyway! Eeeww.

And that was Elk Hunting 2013!

Life lately.

12 Oct

It’s that time of year: elk hunting. Travis and his parents headed up this morning and I’ll head up right after work. Since I spent pretty much all of my PTO going to Alaska for two weeks and I can’t take unpaid time off without VP approval (stupid corporate policy), I will only be going up for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, heading down Monday night. Everyone else will come back down Wednesday. If you’re wondering, I don’t hunt. I hang out with my mother-in-law and we do fun stuff. 🙂

Read about our trip last year here.

Even though I’m going to freeze my butt off and I am really not looking forward to heading out to the lug-able loo at 2 am (thanks to pregnancy), I am looking forward to doing some hiking and lots of reading. The forecast calls for snow near us so we may or may not see any snow. Luckily, I have my warm boots this year. No more cold toes for me!

One more thing I’m excited about – driving my new car!

After 3 trips to the dealer and much hemming and hawing, we finally signed the paperwork for a 2008 Mazda Tribute. The Tribute is just the Mazda (and slightly less expensive) version of a Ford Escape.

I absolutely love it! It handles like a car and accelerates really fast (thanks to the V6 engine). And best part, I won’t have to spend 20 minutes on a Friday afternoon sitting in the parking lot at work because my car won’t start. (Yes, that happened last week.)

This past Monday night, while Travis was heckling with the dealer, I went to Starbucks (car shopping stresses me out because Travis and I have opposite buying personalities) to read my book Unbroken and have a good hour-long phone chat with my dear friend Holly who lives in Minnesota. It was so enjoyable. (Oh and Unbroken is a good book too!)

I tried the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. It was ok, but I wouldn’t order it again. Too rich.

Last week, we awoke one morning to a light dusting of snow. Now I know that the weather (especially that of a week ago) is not breaking news but I bring it up because I am LOVING Denver’s weather this fall. It’s been cold, dreary and rainy – reminds me so much of Minnesota.


This next picture is kind of dark but you can just barely make out a pile of grass sitting on the carpet in our living room. What is it doing there? Charlie puked it up. We’re convinced that she’s part cow. Who eats that much grass? No wonder it didn’t agree with her. (I promise she gets plenty of dog food to eat and is not starving to death.)


And lastly, a quick thought I had this past Sunday at church – I was standing in the sanctuary during worship and thinking about how amazing everything is in my life right now. It’s not perfect by any means but I can honestly say that 90% of the time I am completely content and grateful for all of the things God has blessed us with. At the same time, I recognize that my joy is partly because God has worked everything out with Travis’ school and PE, getting pregnant, finances, house stuff, a new car, etc. exactly how I wanted Him to. But He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to make everything happen this way. And yet, He did. He chose these circumstances for us, as much as we so do not deserve them. So I am praising and thanking Him for this season of excitement and joy, knowing that it won’t last for the rest of my life, but embracing the wonderful reality of NOW for the gift that it is.

I also recognize that this attitude of contentment in my heart is God’s doing – on my own, I am naturally bent toward discontentment and ingratitude. Like Ann Voskamp says, “Ingratitude was the fall – humanity’s discontent with all that God freely gives.” Without God, I would find something to be discontent about even in this season of abundance. So I am doubly thankful, not only for God’s blessings, but also for His allowing me to recognize them as such.

We sang this song in care group the other night and I think it sums up these ideas well:

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name


Have a great weekend!



Training Recap: 1/2 – 1/8

9 Jan

My weekend was very relaxing – Friday night, Travis played broomball with some friends and I just stayed home. I made a frozen pizza for dinner, went to Target and bought some binders/scrapbooks to create a new picture album, a memory book for races, as well as a memory book for holidays, vacations, etc. Then I organized my scrapbooking tote and watched The Wedding Planner.

Saturday, I got up at 6:15 to eat breakfast and feed the pooches before heading out on a run at 6:50, right when it started getting light outside. I ended up doing 8.27 miles at a 11:12 pace, which I’m pretty excited about (that pace would give me a 4 minute PR in the half). After my run, I did 2 things I hadn’t done in a year: used Photoshop (tried to teach my friend how to use it for basic things) and got my hair cut. No, I hadn’t gotten my hair cut in over a year. Whoops.

But really, it’s because my hair only grew this much:

Maybe 6 inches?

Anyway, after my haircut, I took a nap while Travis hung this up in our guest bedroom:

This makes you want to come visit, doesn’t it?

Now you can understand my hesitation to let him put it up anywhere in our house – it’s HUGE. But supposedly this is just “temporary” until we can take it back to Minnesota to his parents’ house. I actually don’t hate it. I just think it looks awkward because of how big it is, and how small our house is.

Here’s a victory pic:

After I was done lamenting about what he had done to our lovely guest room, I worked on my race memory book, and then we went out to dinner at Namiko’s, a sushi bar near our house. We tried a couple of new kinds and found one that we loved – it was called Gemini and was a tempura roll with tuna, crab, and salmon inside. Delicious.

After that, we read and went to bed around 9:30. We lead such exciting lives, don’t we?

The next morning, we both slept in until 8:30! I can’t believe we got 11 hours of sleep. I got up at 6 to let the dogs out and feed them. But then I put Charlie back in her kennel and Katy crawled in between us on the bed for another 2 1/2 hours.

When we finally did get up, we went to church, grocery shopping, and then over to some friends’ house to watch the Broncos game. What a great game! We were all totally pumped that they won, and in the way that they did. Amazing. Go Tebow!

After the game, we went home, worked out, finished doing laundry and dishes, read for a while, and went to bed.

And now it’s Monday again! That means it’s time for a training recap.

Monday: 3.5 mile run (40:04, 11:29/mile)

Tuesday: Half mile repeats (total of 3.3 miles, all 4 around 4:30); 20 minutes strength training

For my strength training, I did the exercises I learned in physical therapy. The hardest one to do is backward lunges off a high step or box (this time I used a step with 4 risers, but I’ve also used a box jump before). Stand on your right foot with your left foot off the step. Slowly bend your right leg until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then step down on to your left foot, concentrating on keeping your right knee straight forward. Start with 1 set of 12-15 times and switch sides. Work up to 3 sets. Major butt soreness.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3.04 mile tempo run (31:15, 10:17/mile); 35 minutes of easy yoga

I did my usual tempo formula: 0.5 mile warmup, 2 miles tempo, 0.5 mile cool down. The tempo miles were 9:55 and 10:20. I think the second one was slower mostly because I had to pick up and throw away two poop bags and I didn’t stop my watch. My total time was still 7 seconds faster than the same run last week. Improvement!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 8.27 mile run (1:32:40, 11:12/mile)

I’ll give details about this run in another post, since I wore my new Under Armour tights. But for now, I’ll say that it was a tough run, but I’m very pleased with my pace.

Sunday: 45 minutes of Denise Austin’s Ultimate Fat Burner

An oldie but goodie. I’m not sure how smart it was to do this video – it involves a lot of lateral movements and plyometrics and now my right knee hurts a bit. But I sweated a lot and got my heart rate up to 173 so it was at least partly a success. I think I’m going to forego the run today though and do some cross training.

When was your last haircut?

What do you think about head mounts of animals? {I won’t be offended if you say you hate them… although Travis might be.}

400th Blog Post Giveaway

7 Nov

Here I am at Blog Post #400.

My first blog post ever was on January 15, 2008. I started this blog as a way of being intentional about my writing passion – because as many will say, to become a better writer, you have to write. You have to develop the habit of writing, just like with anything else – very similar to running. Any advancement in running, whether distance or speed, requires that you actually get out there and run. You can’t just think about running. Or think about how great a runner you would be if you had time to run. Or watch runners outside, longing to be able to do what they do. Runners run. Writers write.

My blog has come a long way from what it once was. In the beginning, I never posted pictures. I never expected reader participation. I wrote for myself and didn’t care if anyone else read my blog. Now, I view my blog – and other people’s blogs – as places to connect, to share thoughts, opinions and laughter. The popularity of the blogging community is growing and I really enjoy being a part of it. My husband still thinks it’s weird that I know so much about people I may never met in real life but I think it’s weird that he enjoys hunting so much. I mean, killing an elk for the meat is understandable (I have to admit it’s delicious). Killing an elk and two antelope is a little overkill. Killing an elk, two antelope and two deer in the same year is just plain ludicrous. (Oh yes, he did.) Not even a straight-up carnivore needs that much meat. 

Anyone want to come over for dinner? And take a cooler of meat home with them?

Anyway, in honor of my 400th post, I am doing my first-ever giveaway! (I’m a little late coming to the game but hey, better late than never, eh?)

A lululemon tote bag, 2 Luna bars, 3 Hammer gels (raspberry), 2 Hammer electrolyte tablets, a Brooks bandanna, and a pair of RedStar WorldWear polarized sunglasses.


To show you how rad they are, here’s me modeling the sunglasses:

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see more of (or less of!) here on my blog.

I will randomly select a winner on Friday, 11/11/11.

Thanks readers for making being a blogger so enjoyable and rewarding!

Elk Slayers

25 Oct

Here are the elk hunting pictures you’ve been waiting for I told you about. Even if you don’t want to see them.

But I promise there is nothing gross or bloody awaiting you. These are just the nice pictures.

Travis’ parents and brother arrived Thursday afternoon and did all the grocery shopping. When I got home, they were loading up the trucks, so while they did that, I packed my bag. I did fairly good this time and only forgot a flashlight. That’s not important when you’re camping, right? (It turned out okay because I didn’t go to the bathroom during the night once – haha!, and I borrowed a lantern anytime it was dark.)

Friday morning, I got up early to make monkey bread (a breakfast tradition with Travis’ family) and shower. We got on the road about 7:15, got up to Silverthorne around 8, and drove another hour and a half into the middle of nowhere to find our mud pit camp spot.


Mission accomplished.

You can’t really tell from this picture but 60 degrees, intense sun at 9750 feet, melting snow, and dirt ground = MAJOR MUD. Ew. It was only bad for the first day and the last day we were there though.

We decided on the spot for our tent (easier said than done since the whole campsite sloped one way or another) and started setting ‘er up.


Katy didn’t even pretend to help.

Next orders of business were getting the kitchen set up, getting the tent and rainfly staked down, assembling the wood stove, chopping firewood and setting up our cots and sleeping bags. I tell you what, elk hunting is a lot of work. And I don’t even do any of the hunting!

Free tent courtesy of Your Cause Sports.

The Leaning Tent of Pisa. The black camp stove was propped up by wood to be level and it seriously played with your head. Trippy.

My adorable hubby “trenching” – the snow was melting so fast we practically had a river running through our camp!

The inside of our tent – close quarters! The stove isn’t in the pic but it’s to the left, right as you walk in the tent. (I unfortunately didn’t take a pic of it.) My cot is usually the middle one on the left (as this picture shows) but Beth and I ended up switching so I could be near the stove. Nice on cold nights but one night, I melted into a puddle because the stove was cranked so high! Holy cow. I actually got up and asked Travis to turn it down. (Now I know how, so I could just do it myself.)

You can also see the dogs’ kennel in the back left. Charlie slept in there and Katy (who sleeps like a rock) slept on Beth’s sleeping bag most nights. Last year, Katy got so cold sleeping in the tent that I let her sleep inside my sleeping bag. She crawled all the way down to the bottom (talk about not being claustrophobic!) of my mummy bag! This year, I switched sleeping bags with Travis to let her do the same thing, except in a square bag. Well, instead of being rated for 0 degrees, his is rated for -25 and Katy ended up overheating. She crawled back up to the top, panting, and ended up just sleeping the outside of the bag. Then I switched my sleeping bag back and she decided to sleep on Beth’s instead. Fine by me!

After we got everything set up, we just hung out.

Charlie doesn’t mind laying in the dirt one little bit.

I was pretty impressed at Travis’ and Matthew’s wood-splitting abilities (they chopped it after using the chainsaw). I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to ever use a hatchet or a splitting maul. Pretty much anything that involves hand-eye coordination, you want to keep far, far away from me.

Evening, morning, the First Day.

Saturday morning was Opener. Weehee! Beth seemingly bounded out of bed to cook pancakes and bacon (as she did every morning) and by 6:15, the men were off to slay themselves some elk. They were going to come back for lunch at noon, so we had some time to kill. Every day, we read our books while waiting for it to get light outside. Then we’d wash dishes and do various things – read, go on a walk, play a game, scrapbook. Saturday was the nicest day we had so I actually took a nap in the sun.

So did Charlie:

Noon rolled around, then 12:15, 12:30. The guys still hadn’t come back. Beth and I got into a conversation about Occupy Denver and pretty soon, it was 1:15. We decided to go ahead and eat, hoping that the men’s tardiness meant they had actually shot something. Since we were a lot closer to the hunting zone that year, we heard a lot of shots but obviously didn’t know if one of those had been our guys.

Finally, around 4, the guys came back, a nice big rack in the back of the pickup. They had shot it at 9:30 that morning after they heard the elk bugle over a ridge. Once they saw it, Done.

As you might know, elk are huge. Not as big as moose, perhaps, but still huge. They estimated this male elk weighed 750 lbs – once you butcher it, you end up with about 200 lbs of meat. That’s a lot of meat. Each hindquarter weighed 65 lbs just by itself. Travis and Matthew both made 2 trips, Al made one (really heavy) one, to get the elk to the truck. Some people use horses to bring their meat out – these guys just use backpacks. Big, external frame packs. Needless to say, after their haul (literally), they were wiped.

Since I promised no gross pictures, here’s just one of the rack. Aren’t I so lucky that Travis wants to hang that on our wall with the skull still attached?

We ate dinner – I can’t remember what it was that night exactly but over the course of the 5 days, we had chili, potroast with veggies, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and stuffing. For breakfast, Beth cooked bacon or sausage with pancakes or french toast. And lunch was always sandwiches with a side of baby carrots, chips, trail mix, string cheese, mini candy bars, or granola bars. I tell you, we ate good out there. I also drank more Mountain Dews and ate more mini candy bars than I had since July’s Weeklong Eating Extravaganza.

The next day (Sunday), Beth and I drove into town for ice and a few other things. Because of the nasty, not-well-kept roads and the fact that we were camping in the middle of nowhere, it took us an hour and 15 minutes just one way. We were in town for about 40 minutes, then turned around and drove back. I was not asking to do that drive again anytime soon.

Monday, it snowed and we all stayed inside for the better part of the day.

Everything was freezing (literally) and the wind was blowing snow everywhere. Made it very challenging to do dishes. After the guys left, Beth and I played Bananagrams, scrapbooked, and read. We got checked out by the Division of Wildlife twice. We went on a walk in the snow.

A lot of the trees in that area are dead because of the pine beetle. So sad.

Blaze orange is the new black. Even the dogs thought so, with their blaze orange bows. We didn’t want them to be mistaken for any baby elk, although I mentioned to Beth that the dogs wouldn’t ever stay still long enough to get shot.

Tuesday, it didn’t snow but it was decently cold so we stayed inside or by the fire. We went on a hike called South Fork Loop. Very muddy and destroyed by horse hooves. Grrr…

Wednesday, it warmed up just in time to pack everything up.

But the fun didn’t stop there! Once we got home, everyone immediately got to work unloading the truck, hauling stuff into the house, setting up the wall tent to dry, scrubbing the tent floor clean, etc. I unpacked all the food and went grocery shopping. Travis bought a new vacuum sealer (ours bit the dust – don’t get the Seal a Meal brand!). Finally, it was time for Buffalo Wild Wings – the guys split 50 wings between the 3 of them (they were a little full afterward). Beth and I split 12 boneless wings. I also got a Black Cherry Mojito and it was delicious! And only $5!

The next day, it was back to work and I’ve already told you my saga of what happened after work. I’m glad elk hunting is over – it’s fun and I like Travis’ family but it’s a crapton of work. And I’m ready for some relaxing weekends. (Even so, I’ve already been fighting off the temptation to schedule things “now that I have free weekends”!)

Any questions about elk camp?

Look like something you’d like to do?

Survival of the Busiest

21 Oct

Well, I survived. Not only elk hunting, but also the season of busyness that I thought would never end. But it has ended. Well, sort of. I just realized this morning that I have coffee with Cathy tomorrow morning and then a girls’ night tomorrow morning (let the eating commence!), and then Sunday morning, I’m doing lights, plus we have a church meeting at night. Then there’s the giant pile of dirty, stinky clothes that Katy burrowed into last night instead of sleeping on her dog bed. And the rest of the house is a mess.

Ah, open weekend – you still elude me.

Seriously, every time over the past couple of months when I thought I had an open weekend and was poised to bask in its gloriousness under a blanket on the couch, something happened to make it not-so-restful. The weekend I was swore I was going to do nothing was eaten up by antelope butchering. Then my darn obsession with productivity robbed me of another weekend. And here I am, after 5 months of frazzled activity and constant plans, completely burnt out.

Last night was the tipping point. I came home from work, already in a bad mood and completely exhausted. Last week had been a frenetic blur of cooking, baking, church meetings, and packing. Then elk hunting was surprisingly exhausting. I was ready to collapse onto the couch in a coma and not move for the next 4 hours.

Instead, I came home to cook dinner and vacuum seal elk meat all night. {Side note: I realize this is a part of hunting and because I enjoy elk meat so much, I try to remind myself that this is worth it. And my in-laws were very considerate of my anal-retentiveness. But alas, tired people [moi] are not rational people.} The combination of Chardonnay, raw meat everywhere, piles of laundry, unpacked bags, more piles of laundry, blood on the kitchen floor and carpet, every dish I own being used for butchering, and knowing I had to go back to work in the morning culminated with me pretty much having a meltdown. No more Mr. Nice Guy. When I ran out of vacuum seal bags 15 minutes before Target closed, I did a little happy dance inside, snippily refused to go buy more and instead, cleaned up my sealing mess and went to bed. If they needed my help, too damn bad.

I was hoping that I’d wake up this morning in a better mood. Nope, still bitchy. I am just done. Don’t ask me for anything because all you’ll get is a black eye. You want coffee? Get it yourself. You need clean clothes? Wash them yourself. You need a lunch? Go buy one yourself. I don’t care anymore. Leave me alone or I will rage on you.

I think it’s safe to say that I need a break.

But I’m torn. Part of the reason for my mental breakdown is that my house is in complete disarray. I do not function well when things are messy. But do I compromise the time I could have on the couch for cleaning? Or do I blow off the cleaning for the sake of relaxation, only to be bothered by the mess all weekend?

My thought is to relax tonight, do laundry tomorrow, and clean on Sunday. I would say that I should do everything tonight so that I’ll have the weekend open but I’ve discovered that my Work Now, Play Later philosophy is the reason why I usually end up with no time to relax. What’s better than sitting down with some hot tea and a good book in a clean room?, I reason.  The problem is, I usually end up finding just one more thing to do here, one more thing there, and before I know it, the day is over and all I’ve done is work.

Up next: Elk Hunting Extravaganza

Do you like to Work Now, Play Later or Play Now, Work Later?

How do you keep from being a bitch when you’re stressed out?

It’s the most wonderful time of year…

13 Oct

…Elk hunting. Christmas is a close second.

Tomorrow morning, Travis and I, along with Travis’ mom, dad, and bro, will head up into the mountains to slay us some elk. Beth and I will be conveniently spectating from the warmth of our wall tent that looks very similar to this:


But with mornings that look more like this:


Gah, the mornings are brutal.

Here’s the weather forecast:

At least it looks like it won’t snow. Mid-50s is actually very nice weather for the hunters, since they’ll be traipsed through the woods all day with guns and backpacks. If it’s too hot, they can’t wear their blaze orange wool shirts and stocking caps! Last year, it was so warm that they wore t-shirts. But it worked out pretty well for me and Beth, since we got to lay outside reading our books without being cold.

Anyway, don’t feel too jealous about me being up in the mountains without you.

Unless we come back with more than one elk.

Then, be very  jealous.

Until next Thursday…