Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Huntography: The Aftermath

   Even as I begin to press my fingers upon the black keys before me, my eyes refuse to stay dry.  Reminders surround me every moment that I plod around in this house. Reminders that where there was three, there are now two. Where three ate, now only two bowls stand, filled with food.  I am reminded of my Oscar, the puppy that I held the title of mom for over a year. The tears flow freely now so if this post begins to not make any sense, its their fault, not mine.

   Oscar was thirteen years old when we left to go hunting on Sunday with Rudy from Huntography.  By the time we got back, his age had stopped gaining in moments.  The story has been rehatched in my brain more times than I care to count since we got home and found the note on our door.  The note that told a story too terrible to recall in detail here.  The short of it is that Oscar somehow got out of our locked porch and proceeded to get into an altercation with one of our neighbor's dogs.  When the fight proved fatal, Oscar paid the price for his actions.  We arrived home, elated from the harvest of my first ever buck, on film no less, with a bow to boot, only to fall into the deepest pitfalls of despair.

   He was not a bad dog, he wasn't a monster nor was he an angel. He was a dog nearing the end of his days and while he had a good, long life, it doesn't ease the acceptance of what transpired.  I mourn for the loss of the dog who greeted me with smiles every morning, the heater in my bed when the outside freeze proved too much for the both of us, and for the canine who essentially brought DU and I together. I mourn that another family lost their best friend too, in the most terrible of circumstances.  I mourn for DU, who lost his best friend.  I mourn for Avery, who searched for her big brother for hours until I brought her to where he rests.  She cried softly next to his dirt-filled bed then retreated for home.  I mourn for Titus who has started to bark for the first time, picking up where his guard dog brother left off.

   I've spent days blaming myself for what happened, I shouldn't have gone hunting or made someone sit with them until we got back.  But the truth of the matter is that thoughts such as these go nowhere and only make my tear ducts deplete once more.  Dogs, like people, are smart.  They enjoy the company of some dogs, whereas they detest others, just like their human counterparts.  Terrifying occurrences alter one's perspective on life, changing their personalities forever; this can happen whether the subject is human or canine. People get in fights, no matter who they are. Likewise, any dog can get into a fight with any other dog, their breed and temperament aside.  Oscar was severely beaten when a robber broke into DU's home in Indiana.  After this, DU says, his dog wasn't the same.  Gone was the happy pooch who adored other dogs and every person, in its place became a wary, scared dog whose mistrust of the world overcame everything. Did this have a hand in what Oscar did on Sunday? Did he think that he was protecting his family? Did he break out only to make sure his home was safe? I'll never know and as of now, I'm done speculating.

    The only thought that is getting me through is that Oscar, after choosing his own way out of this world, went home.  God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that it was Oscar's time, that it was a part of his master plan that I dare not to question.  And Oscar, upon arriving to his Twinkie-filled paradise, requested that God do something to make us rejoice, to make us see beauty through tragedy, and to force Huntography to continue.  I believed myself praying to my granddad for a deer to poke its antler-laden dome through the brush but it seems now that our protector, our guard dog, our heater refused to allow his exit from this world to completely crush us.

    I'll save the details of my hunt because Rudy's camera can tell the tale far better than I.  All I will say now is that it was one of the most amazing moments in my life, from the harvest, to the way the event unfolded to the audience at hand.  The best part of the entire shebang is my reaction to the shot, the immediate aftermath of allowing my arrow to be released from my bow; that moment made my entire Huntography experience worth it.  Again, I would say more but we'll all just patiently wait for the DVD's release.

    Without even meaning to, I have once again fallen into Oscar's divine plan.  My tears have dried, a smile plays upon my face and I shake my head at the wisdom of Oscar's departing wish.  Over and over I have tripped into this cycle of crying about the terrible night that passed only to smile about the harvest of my first buck only to cry once more at the selflessness exhibited by our dear departed pooch.

    Tomorrow is my interview for the game warden job I have been drooling over since the first letter was laid in the mailbox.  Tomorrow, I will pull myself up by my bootstraps, dry my eyes and do my best.  I know Oscar, the ever-present protector will trot along in my wake, refusing to allow me to walk alone. But today, I will mourn a little, cry a little less, hug my dynamic duo a little longer, and remember Oscar, my smiling baby boy.

Please note: Huntography, for a moment, almost ceased its 2011 tour.  The whole story, post, and crying video can be viewed here.  We never wanted Rudy to stop his efforts just because of what happened and we expressed this in the best way possible, that Oscar would not have wanted his actions to stop such a momentous adventure.  Rudy has dedicated the entirety of the tour to Oscar, a proclamation that means the world to us.  We hope that Rudy can visit again, as he has become part of the HLYH clan forever.

Rest in Peace, my baby.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gratitude and Glorification: HLYH's 100th Post

   It is a special day here at HLYH headquarters.  
No, it isn't because I have bagged another Jackalope, learned to love Fatback, or made another awesome, crazy movie trailer (okay, the last part is true and you can view it now!).  
And I hate to disappoint but I have not been crowned Queen of the Wold or been contacted by any outdoor channels to appear on a Writing Huntress appropriate (read: off the wall, fun, funny) hunting show. 
  Today, friends, is more of a sentimental day.  
This post, the one whose words are slowly forming as my fingers find their proper place, is HLYH 100th creation! Also, I have reached 110 followers on Blogger, and almost 900 on Twitter, a feat that I had never believed would be achieved in less than a year after beginning HLYH.

I thought about the ways I wanted to celebrate, how I thought about inviting one and all to my house for a cook-out, some beverages and possibly some football, as long as everyone agrees on watching the Colts, not the Bills. 
I then figured that fitting over a thousand people in my modest log cabin wouldn't be the best idea so my brainstorming continued. 
I could send y'all something, what that something would be, I would have no idea, but given my love for all things sent the old fashioned way, the possibilities could be limitless. 
I could expedite some joy to your chosen corner of this beautiful world by whisking one of three of our pooches to each and every one of you, in turn.  I would assume that Titus would be the best canine candidate for this operation, as he adores people almost as much as I love mail and cowboy boots. 
I could write a post about all of my followers, enumerating their positive qualities, jest at those negative ones and simply glorify all that is inherently you, you supurb human being, you!
Indeed, friends, I wanted to send y'all just a small piece of the happiness that has been shown to me but I then I figured in cost, shipping, and the emotional toil that would be forced upon Titus would be too much on all accounts. 

Therefore, I simply wanted to thank you and glorify myself! 
HA! Bet you didn't see that one coming (or maybe you did, if you read this blog with any amount of religiousness then you're well aware that tooting my own horn (( I adore this expression, as I always imagine people toting their own little miniature horns around with them that produces a TOOT each time its owner pats his or herself on the back)) is one of my most favorite activities, much to your enjoyment, I am sure). 

Thank you..

  to each and every single one of you who have ever glanced, Tweeted, Facebooked or even told someone, "Hey, this chick is crazy, check out her stuff!"  I, obviously, would be absolutely nowhere, swimming in a sea of obscurity without a life jacket or broken door upon which to prop myself, without you.  So with a big heart, humble fingers and a teary eye to I tip my hat to you, dearest reader, for coming around every so often to show me just the smallest bit of love that keeps this blog going. 

To you! Cheers!

Myself, Glorified.

I am never one to point out my aptitude in writing.  In fact, I generally think that my portrayal of everything and anything that I commit to word is pretty horrific, like a car crash that you want to pull your eyes from but your neck will not allow.  It takes months fully appreciate something that I had written years prior, or sometimes not at all.  I've heard that this is a writer's curse, but since I don't feel myself a writer just yet, then I have not the darnedest what to call it. 
Either way, I am always interested to hear what people say about my odd points of view, overly-wordy diction, and the way that my hunting stories have to do with baby pictures, DMVs, lost jobs, waist-deep snow, man caves or not about killing animals at all
I cringe when I hear that someone I know personally is reading whatever it is that I have created that day but I gleefully hoard silent compliments that are transmitted through the internet machine by people whose voices I have never heard. 
I have had great reviews that have been cherished like a child's treasured doll or Transformer but no review has ever struck me as much as this one. 
I could go on but I'll just let my guest speak her words, letters combined which made me feel a little bit more like this writer that everyone seems to enjoy so much. 

It all started around 1 o’ clock in the morning when I interjected on the Huntress' Twitter that I should write an intro to her latest blog.

After a handful of tweets back and forth, I agreed to write a review of her hunting blog instead (this was probably the safest bet, as to not embarrass her. I, on the other hand, am a completely different story- let the embarrassment live on!) Now, it should first be known that i am not a huntress. I am quit far from it, actually. I'm a tiny Italian girl from Niagara Falls, New York that plays bass in the band Billy Draws Two. I draw comics of myself in awkward situations, and my idea of an exhilarating night is successfully completing a quest in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with fellow nerds. Hunting was certainly nothing I had ever given a thought to if it didn't involve a gray and "traffic cone orange" plastic gun pointed at a television screen.
However, once the key was turned; the gears haven't stopped turning. Instantly, I went to her blog with a plan. I would read her latest entry, from first letter to last punctuation mark... and nothing else.

This is where everyone is turning their heads to the side like a confused puppy, so let me explain. By diving right in without any background information I can guarantee a raw, good quality review. I know absolutely nothing on the subject matter, so I will have no critique other than the quality of the writing and the blog it's self as a whole.

The page opened in a new tab and there was the beautiful paint covered face of the girl whom I've known for several years now. Clad in camo and laced with shrubbery, those pale, yet piercing blue eyes stole all focus there might have been on anything else in the picture. Personally, I would have gone with a picture of yours truly to open the page, but to each their own (I jest, of course. In all honesty, a great shot for the top of the site!)

With my coffee in hand, I began reading her latest post “A Chain Reaction (In Three Parts).”

After finishing reading, tossing my now empty Tim Horton’s cup in the trash, and pushing my glasses up the bridge of my nose; I began to reflect.
For the first time, in a very LONG time, I had no critiques on structure what-so-ever! I had almost forgotten that this lovely lady has a BA in English and loves writing as much as I do with the natural ease that comes to us. She has such a unique tone while writing that you don’t feel like you’re reading a blog. You displace yourself, to wherever you heart see fit, and it’s personal. Maybe it’s over coffee, at a bar, in the locker room, polishing your guns (you DO polish those, right?) Your mind wanders to where you find comfort and instead of reading, you’re having a conversation. To benefit your imagination of where I was, we were sitting in the kitchen of a mutual friend’s house, drinking vats of wine in over sized glasses, with junk food scattered across the table while the Golden Girls thanked us for being their friends on TV (Fun Fact: this was usually how we conversed and shared about our days- over wine, in someone else’s kitchen, while someone else cooked for us. We are not lazy- we are royalty. Suspend disbelief!)

While reading I found myself completely enveloped, with tiny bursts of chuckles at her witty tolerance of minor malfunctions. With such good writing, and such a strong narrative voice, I had a strange feeling of disconnection when I reached the end of the post. Like saying goodbye to your gaggle of friends after an unexplainably good time and all you’re left with if yourself and a quiet room after you close the door behind them.

Now, I do realize that maybe I got lucky with my scientific method of review: this particular entry had very little to do with ACTUAL hunting, but more the journey for a state license so she can do so without the pains of an empty wallet. By chance I was saved from trying to understand the elements and art of the hunt.

In conclusion (because every 8th grade English teach INSISTS you write your concluding paragraph this way) you should read this blog. Plain and simple. Even if you do not hunt, even if you don’t understand the first thing about a bow or a gun or a…. slingshot? (See, I’m making an example of myself in my example… Case in point!) The content is understandable and educating, the author hilarious and compassionate, and overall it’s simply nice to read.

So here’s to you, hunters and huntresses! I intend to keep reading, and learning, and perhaps someday you’ll see me out there!

Bassist, writer, and nerd extraordinaire.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Train for Hunting Season

HOW TO....
With The Writing Huntress

For those of you confused as to what I'm referring to above, please focus the entirety of your attention to the link within these words.  You will be directed to last week's post that will divulge all pertinent information about my new, little adventure as well as a nifty trailer that will not answer any questions whatsoever.

The audience shall wait until you come up to speed.

 You have five minutes until this message self-destructs, destroying your computer and everything within it so I suggest you move along, captain.

No, that wasn't a joke.  Do I look like I'm joking?

Good now? Get it all?  Splendid!

Now onto this week's thrilling installment of How To... With The Writing Huntress!

Just for the record, I do know the difference between the cab of a truck and the bed.  I wanted to go back and do a voice-over for this but I didn't want my videos to turn into bad kung-fu movies with voices that fail to match the lip speed of the samurai master in question.  Therefore, I am explaining it now and while you may still feel the need to point out my shortcomings (besides my height), there is NO way you can dispute that I was indeed pulling DU's Sierra Denali sans help of any kind.

Thank you all for watching!

Again, if you have any quandaries that need the HLYH touch or challenges for The Writing Huntress, do not hesitate to comment below or e-mail me at!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to... With The Writing Huntress

   Going to the movies, now that I am once again unemployed, is something of a luxury.  The prices of movies are astronomical; one generally has to give up half of his or her college fund in order to pay for said movie night.  When I see a movie that I would really enjoy seeing, I wish I were back in Lockport, NY the home of a drive-in movie theater that costs about as much as half a coke at a regular theater to enjoy an evening full of visual delights.  The whole thing is an experience of the highest cinematic order, from seeing the night sky as you gaze up to the mammoth screen, to eating home-bought treats and even maybe a little wine in paper dixi cups.  Besides being allowed to sit wherever we wanted, from the hood to the roof to the tailgate of DU's truck, the best part was the previews. Without fail, after each preview rolled past the screen, I was quick to rate the movie, good, bad, or horrible. A movie about the pop sensation who strikingly resembles a young girl with a bowl cut, Justin Beiber? No thanks.  A movie about football teams who have to deal with the drama of which cheerleader belongs to whom? Yeah, no thanks.  A movie about getting lost, deep inside the Alaskan wilderness, searching for one's true self amongst the moose and bear? Sign me up!   I returned to this memory quite a few times in the last week as I have fallen into a little bit of a rut.

   I again, have stumbled into the arms of another unsettling predicament with my previous employer.  So, once again, a company has closed and I am unemployed.   I had a couple of really neat pieces half-finished when the ax fell and for some odd reason, I just could not finish them.  Like lost little lambs, I have let them stray, worst yet I can't even seem to find the energy to retrieve them.  I was talking about this with DU, who is always the best for brainstorming.  I had told him a little while ago that I wanted to start doing videos on HLYH.  I assumed that this came from my brief stint in the limelight with my Cooper Tire debut or that my writing was drying up like grass in the late August scorching sun in the face of mounting stress.

   DU and I threw around a couple of ideas but it was only when I received yet another e-mail from someone who had found my blog and was looking for answers that the stars aligned.  I have been steadily receiving mail from those who have serious hunting questions.  Girls looking to start hunting, guys looking for advice about what to do about their girlfriends, and everything in-between.  I had figured that since my writing was taking a little bit of a Summer vacation, maybe it was time to start toying with other avenues.  Hence, I downloaded IMovie and started my work.

   I figured that no movie is really a movie without a super-dramatic trailer, filled with every random accolade the movie may or may not have accrued by every critic you have never heard of.  Also, I really did not want to revoke your right to critique a movie simply from the trailer so I went ahead and created this little gem for you all :


  And for those who are still interested with what I have to say about this new project, please direct your attention to the box below!

(For the record, I have no idea why YouTube decided to have that section as the beginning- I look like I'm either suffering from jaundice, scurvy, or other pirate-y diseases.)

   As I said in the video, if you have any information or questions that you would like to be answered, do not hesitate to let me know!   Tune in next week as I sweat and grunt through my pre-season workout!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Miniscule Feet Coverings: A Very Scientific Review

   The adage, "act your age not your shoe size" has always struck particularly hard in the heart of this huntress. Just as my hands are small, my feet are equal in their tiny nature.  Hence, when I am told to act my age, and not the measurement of my bases, my mind wanders.  I see myself, a mere two and one half years young, throwing a tantrum, refusing to act as a twenty-five year old should.  Which is obviously exactly the opposite of how I was acting in the first place.  There was no screaming in an incoherent babble of non-English or carrying about in such a manner while wearing a purple polka-dotted onesie.  Hence, such a request would be null and void as it is extremely difficult to act my shoe size when my bone-infused foundation points are as pocked-sized as God made them to be.

   Having hoofs the size of a first graders has never been fun.  Throughout high school, I would ritualistically purchase shoes that were too large in order to keep up with the ultra-cool fashion trends of my peers.  This made it so that my normally healthy-looking skin would soon be covered in red blisters roughly the diameter of dinner plates.   From the scholarly walls to the ice rink, my quest to find implements of ambulation has never been without embarrassment or tears.

   Embarrassment:  Christmas is always a happy time, especially because my mother and I have a ball when together anytime, let alone on a holiday.  Ever since my parents took their final split, we made Christmas our own, taking time to open gifts, enjoying good wine, great movies and delicious sustenance that only she and I enjoy.  If there is anything that the matriarch knows of her offspring is that her little huntress has never grown up, in mentality or stature.  Hence, she obtained a pair of multi-colored polka-dotted rain galoshes that were my size in perfection.  When Christmas morning came, I unearthed the box that contained the children's sized foot coverings: red with a gigantic, smiling school bus on the front which was urging its new owner to STAY IN SCHOOL!  The school bus caricature mocked me as the galoshes were unearthed, a small THESE BOOTS BELONG TO _______ tag on the inside just waiting to be claimed with a sharpie and a keen mother's hand.   I was 23 years old.

   Tears:  Cowboy boots are the quintessential country adornment.  Hence, when I adopted all things country-esque into my wardrobe, I needed to find a pair.  One of my best friends in NY, B. Eye, had connections at a western wear store about an hour away from where I was living.  When we got there,  I stood, amazed that the selection of hand-crafted cowboy boots.  The women's section was huge and contained anything a cowgirl could ever hope or dream for.  I fell hard for a pair of square, mahogany toed, green camo boots.  The smallest size they had in the store was a 6 but they, the entirety I'm sure, would be just tickled pink to order another size.  Weeks progressed, DU came to visit and we went to pick up my order.  My perfect boots slipped on my bases easily then proceeded to fall off as if they were covered in caro syrup and crisco.  Tears advanced as DU tried to put the pieces back together by steering me to the children's section, the only collective group of footwear which had any chance of fitting.

   Least to say, my experience with properly outfitting the dual nadir of my person has been an arduous one, especially in terms of finding hunting boots.  As we have already seen in my quests to find gloves and camo that fit this improperly proportioned huntress, companies are slower than an army of iron-clad slugs to change their ways.   However, there are some companies (read: Haley Vines and Magnum Boots) that are working to make it easier not only to hunt but enjoy all the time spent in the great wilderness.

   My current hunting boots are Lacrosse behemoth things that look like they belong guarding tree trunks against hurricane-force winds rather than my sad, stumpy legs.  I am forced to wear 3-inch thick socks whenever I spot these, even during the heat of early season in North Carolina  (Read: August with 13,000% humidity).  I figured this was the only way until Magnum Boots came into my sad, dreary footwear existence.   I was approached via Twitter to review some of their boots after I expressed an interest in their tactical gear, especially a pair of Elite Spiders.  The great folks at Magnum* were quick to help and get a pair of boots out to our humble abode as quickly as humanly possible.

    My love of mail has increased ten-fold ever since we moved into the log cabin.  I'm not entirely sure why this is, it may have something to do with our remoteness and that I imagine the UPS man swathed in a brown wrap or USPS clad in his statuesque blue canvas uniform battling against overly-aggressive crocodiles, trekking up mountains of sand then getting lost, confused on a winding dirt road, each tree looking exactly as the one before it had, only to come crawling up to our house, package still in his death grip; a valiant package deliverer who, against all odds, brought happiness to our little corner of the world. Hence, when my Magnum boots made their way to my doorstep by an invisible hand whose slight knock on the door forced me out of my chair, I yearned to thank the package's protector.  But when I looked to the outside, only a hazy cloud of dust hung in the air, a silent but present reminder of the brave, brave man who delivered my boots safely home.

   After such a grand entrance, I figured the boots must be something special.  I tore off their encasement, pulled out the toe paper and delicately undid the ties.  I grasped both sides firmly and let my foot dive into the size 5 boot.  With a little bit of wiggle room which could be corrected with a slightly thick sock my feet fit perfectly.  The exterior of the tactical boots looked very geometric and slightly threatening.  Best of all, the tan perfectly matched  the camo that I would be wearing for warmer, dry-weather hunting.   I began formulating a plan for the perfect review right then and there, standing in my basement sporting 5-year old shorts and one of DU's gargantuan sweatshirts.

   I need boots to help me out with the following things.  So, I did the following things (see below) while wearing said boots.  A very scientific process, I thought to myself smugly while smartly stroking my chin, very scientific indeed.  I then went through the ultra-secret bookcase passage in my basement which leads to my underground science room.  With the swiftness of a menacing tiger, I began pulling out the bunsen burners and schematics from their spider-web covered shelves like a shorter version of Bill Nye the Science Guy.  But, I remembered that I did not need any chemicals in order to go about this very scientific review so I put everything back into my underground labyrinth laboratory and tuned to my ancient chalkboard.  I wrote:

Very Scientific Test #1- Cutting Grass

     I love cutting grass but I don't love snakes. 
Hence Σ[cutting grass] > [love for snakes] = √[boots must be able to make cutting grass even more fun {if that is scientifically possible} all the while being able to battle snakes if need be.]

Very Scientific Test #2- Walking with Canines

I enjoy ambulating with my canines but I don't enjoy snakes, their poisonous venom nor twisting my ankle in a hole or up a hill. 
Hence [walking dogs without injury or posion]² > [love for snakes or being injured]³ = [boots must make ambulating for long distances comfortable, sans injury {µ }, all the while being able to battle snakes or other monsters if need be.] 

Very Scientific Test #3- Tackling Mountains, Rivers, and Large Boulders

When hunting, one must be able to attack terrain that is not normally flat or free of inconveniencing territorial landmarks such as rivers, spiky boulders, sheer cliffs, mountain lions, or bridge trolls. So, his or her boots must be able to do the same. 

Hence π[hunting free from{} mountain lions and bridge trolls] > ⁿ[having uncomfortable feet when battling mountain lions, bridge trolls, and the like]¹ = {¾} boots must perform well when taking part in such activities. 

Each test went along swimmingly. 

Test One (1)
When mowing grass, the boots kept me agile enough to wrangle my walking mower up and down hills.  I was also able to operate the weed eater with a heightened level of balance, which helped especially in the dog's yard which is conveniently covered in puppy poop.  
Best of all, the boots did not become overly stained by the wetter grass. 
However, my legs were battered and bruised from the weed eating.  I would have enjoyed the boots being a tad taller but maybe next time, I'll just wear pants. 

Test Two (2)
When walking with my dogs,  the boots were lightweight and made waking longer distances easier. 
My knees did not flare up with the lightning pain I generally feel when walking or running. 
Best of all, I could have walked all day, even in the stifling heat.  The lightweight, breathable material will be perfect for early seasons in the spring, summer, and early fall. 
However.... I have nothing negative to say.

Test Three (3)
Battling with mountain lions and bridge trolls can be difficult but not when you're sporting the Magnum Elite Spiders!
DU and I went to Morrow Mountain in Albemarle, NC in order to try out the boots in an all-terrain setting.  With the dogs by our sides, we took the hiking trails deep into the forrest, up hills, down into ravines, through Bridge Troll Alley and out through where the mountain lions dwell. 
Throughout the entire walk, my feet felt like air, my ankles were stabilized and my knees, again, shockingly enough did not hurt. 
Best of all, I found that they not only are practical for regular outdoor wear but also for hunting-esque terrain as well. 

The Magnum Boots were surprising in many ways. 
The most surprising and the best for my purposes is the fit.  I still cannot believe that the boots actually fit my child-sized feet. Generally, I must sacrifice size for function.  The footwear I receive is generally for children and thus ephemeral, their usefulness is not intended to be long-lasting. However, with my Elite Spiders, their quality and overall performance leads to me to believe that I will be wearing them for years, not months. 

I am looking forward to early resident goose season even more so now, as I have finally found boots that fit and will perfectly function as my lightweight hunting footwear.  Even better, I have the scientific evidence to prove it. 

* Thank you, thank you, thank you to Magnum Boots USA for their amazing product!  This review, as you can hopefully tell was an absolute blast to conduct.  You indeed make Essential Equipment, especially for this huntress!
** A special thank you to Alexis for all her help and prompt e-mails!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Writing Huntress Goes Hollywood

   You heard it correctly, my outdoor brethren!  The Writing Huntress is taking off for greener pastures.  Just days ago I was contacted by a California-based production company to host an outdoor reality TV show!

    I can't really give any details away, as my extraneously long exclusivity contact stipulates, but I can tell you the basis of the show.  Essentially 13 strangers will be picked to live in a log cabin, somewhere remote, like Utah or Argentina, and made to do strange hunting-inspired activities to stay on the island, in the log cabin.  They will be forced to skin a deer using only a length of rope and a golf ball, befriend bears in their natural habitat and survive months sans cell phone reception and TV. To add another little twist, they won't be given food or water and must survive wholly on what the land provides for them. Given that half of them resemble sickly models who never eat anyway, this shouldn't be a problem nor a challenge for the I mean "contestants".  Finally, a single lumberjack amongst them must find a fiance that he will ask to marry and subsequently cheat on three months after the show airs, much to the joy of the producers.

    I, being the delightful camera presence needed on such a shoot as this, was the first (or sixty-eighth, but who's keeping track?) person they thought of! So, lucky me, I get to surround myself with vapid, reality-TV loving "outdoors" (read: models wearing flannel) folk as I stand Colby Donaldson-esque with my fists strictly adhered to my waist for eight months straight.

   Without mustering too much fake enthusiasm about another reality TV show that will surely fail just as its predecessors rightly have,  I can't stay much more about the show.  However, as I'm hanging out at the airport, waiting for my private jet to whisk me away to the land of the plastic and vain, I have a little more new (read: not fantasized or faux) news to share.

The Writing Huntress appears, for the first time, on camera, in front of loads of people! 

If anyone caught my Cooper Tire review, then you know that I had to take footage of the tires and send the film back from whence it came.  I was told that the footage would appear on their website but weeks passed with nothing.  All hope had been lost until I was told, via their Twitter account that the video would be up this week.  Low and behold, there I was! 

I am extremely shocked that they used so much of my footage, as I figured a lot of bloggers were contacted to take part in the opportunity and I would be just a small lug nut in relation to the car of a project. However, as you can see, I was wrong, which never, ever happens..

Click on the image above to access the Discoverer AT/3 site. 
Once you're in, click on the performance tab within the interior box.
A video will appear, either watch it or click out of it using the upper, right hand corner box. 
Then, search the pulsating silver buttons until you come to one that says "Everyday Drivers" when you hover over it. 
Click on the button and enjoy watching myself and a few other fellow bloggers try out the AT/3.

To add a little bit of camo icing to the redneck cake, my Jeep was also featured in the Cooper Tire AT/3 You Tube Video. 

For a small second at 0.16, you can see my glorious Jeep rising from the watery mud. 

The Writing Huntress will appear, for the second time, on camera, in front of loads of people!

As we're all well aware, social media as been my best friend in terms of hunting and my blog.  Not only have I met a lot of great people but I've also had blessing after blessing to review new products and take part in new opportunities.  This is one that I figured would never happen; being filmed while hunting. 

It's been my lofty dream I've had since I began hunting.  Just as hockey players wish to lift Lord Stanley's cup over their heads, hunters the world around wish to be filmed while hunting. Not only just to be filmed but have people see it,  take notice of their passion for the antiquated pastime. And fortunately for me, Huntography is making it happen. 

Some time ago, I was contacted by Rudy from Huntography via Twitter.  He asked if I would like to be filmed while hunting.  It is in my nature to believe that anything that sounds too good to be true is a joke  (Like when DU said he'd fly up to see me in NY a mere five days after our meeting in NC). So, I said yes and waited for the ball to drop.  Amazingly, it hasn't and today I'm proud to announce that I will be taking part in Huntography's 2011 lineup!

Along with some great other social media connected folks, I will be filmed during Rudy's trek across the mid-west through majority of the eastern seaboard.  Spanning from Colorado eastward, Rudy's month-long celebration of real hunters hunting real land in real situations will be a visual representation of the passion we all feel for the sport we love.  I will be hunting in my current home state of North Carolina, the exact location is still up for speculation, from October 30th to the 31st.  Least to say, from now until then I'll be subsisting completely on salads, water, and a ton of venison all the while working out like a mad woman so I don't resemble the marshmallow puff man on camera. 

I'll be writing about my training and of course the filming process so stay tuned!


   My plastic, thumb-sized plane is waiting so I must jet! Happy hunting and outdoor loving, all! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

HLYH Log Cabin Headquarters

   My childhood summers and winters in Fourth Lake, NY transformed my life in ways that I never thought possible. There, I found solitude in water.  Hence, whenever I am upset, confused or just need to get away, I drive to nearest body of water, preferably with a dock upon which I can sit and simmer over my problems.  The mornings I woke to a grumbling boat engine instilled in my olfactory glans a love for 2-stroke engine fumes.  The forest, with its endless trees that sheltered the area from the outside, made it so that my walk home was guided not by the aide of a flashlight, but by the celestial glow of the planetarian-esque stars.  Cruising Fourth Lake and its sibling bodies of water, I always noticed statuesque log edifices.  The logs shone like a beacon in my mind, and ever since my first sighting, I always, without fail, dreamed of living in such a structure.

   Figuring it would never happen until I reached the big time, I meandered from place to place, still wishing that I was living confined by the woods, even in my living room.  Therefore, I was the most surprised when DU said, after our strenuous house hunt had reached its zenith, that he had found it.  During a thrice-daily Craigslist perusal, DU immediately noticed the words LOG CABIN FOR RENT.  Disregarding his lunch plans, he raced to his truck and forced "Loretta" as fast her tires could carry her to the address in the listing.  Without even consulting me, he called the owner and told her that he wanted the cabin.  She, obviously surprised, inquired whether or not he wanted to see the inside first, to which, of course, he replied, no.

    I, with the same swiftness as my domestic partner, sped to the cabin and stood dumbfounded at its base, looking up at the house that only lived in my dreams.  Settled on 27.5 acres with a 5 acre pond, the 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home was constructed by our landlord, her sister, and father.  The trio had cut down the logs themselves, and erected the structure.   It is clear to see that while the cabin needed some work, it was not anything that DU and I could not handle.  Hence, we dove in.

    Our mothers being our forbearers needed to see the interior cabin so with a shaky hand, I documented our first jaunt into the cabin..

 The cabin interior as we first saw it. 

The cabin exterior, badly, badly filmed.  It is clear that I belong on the other side of the camera, playing huntress instead of camerawoman. 

   A week later found us in a whirlwind of moving.  Each day we were forced to transport our belongings from the old house to the new, we retreated from the cabin reluctantly, as it felt like we were daily tearing ourselves away from our dream home.  When we began the process of turning on the electricity, we became a little over-zealous and decided to move in before the power came on.  Two days of bumping into tables and reading by candlelight followed, causing us to feel more attached to the home than we ever thought possible.  

    The electric is on and we have been working all weekend, with DU's dynamite parents, to make the cabin perfect.  I woke this morning still stunned that this home is ours and that the Almighty deemed us worthy of calling our cabin home.  We still have a way to go but since I've had such an overwhelming outcry for images of hour new abode, I had to deliver. 

New Interior, as cleaned and quasi- decorated by Team DU and I. 


Stay tuned for additional updates, as this summer will be the summer of the log cabin!

* If anyone knows of any neat antique or log-cabin inspired stores from which we can decorate, please let me know! We can't do anything crazy in so far as having an antler chandelier or red stag mount, if we could I would in a second, but any information would help!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cooper Tire: An Off-Road Review

   When I was growing up, all I wanted was a teal Geo Tracker.  I had seen their awkward frames veer down my street daily and for some extremely odd reason, all I wanted in life was a chance to drive one when I turned sixteen. Sixteen came and went, with it, no Geo Tracker.  My crushed little adolescent spirits would not be deterred, however.  Given that any soft-top vehicle is completely impractical for a location that is annually assaulted with over 8 feet of snow, I opted for a far-more Rochester-worthy vehicle. While a tank or a truck outfitted with tracks is the best way to go, I went for a new-to-me Oldsmobile 96' Ciera SL.  From its rust to its I LOVE WINE sticker that refused to relinquish its grasp of the bumper, the whole tin can further ostracized me from my BMW-driving peers.  But, I paid for the shimmering excuse for an American-made car myself so I was proud, in my own way of it.

   As I handed over my hard-earned banquet hall tips to the nice man with the dilapidated car, I distinctly felt the presence of my younger self, throwing a tantrum.  My 8-year-old self punched, kicked and clawed in my wake, obviously upset that I chose such a sub-par mode of transportation.  GEO TRACKER she screamed, over and over until I drove away, leaving her to freeze in the Arctic temperatures.  Of course, after a couple of miles I started to feel badly that I was so quick to abandon my lofty car dreams and in the process, kick my younger self to the salt-encrusted curb.  Hence, I made myself a promise.  I vowed that I would someday, somehow get a Geo Tracker.  This would involve moving somewhere that would be warm enough to support such a venture, and of course getting rid of the white, I LOVE WINE- bumper stickered Olds.

   Years passed.  High school turned into college and the white veneer of my chariot turned rust colored. I knew full well that the car who had braved so many of those horrible, snow, ice and sleet covered roads would not be able to make the two-hour drive to my University.  Hence, with equal parts of sadness and forlornness, I parted ways with it, only to reunite with it in the summer.  Unfortunately, the summer before my sophomore year spelled trouble for the sad piece of machinery.  The heat only worked perfectly in the heat of summer, the air conditioning in the chill of winter.  The check-engine light had a piece of hockey tape over it, as ignoring it was easier than getting it fixed.  Then came the day that she failed her last inspection, I knew I had to move on.

   Enter my lovely, delightful Jeep Liberty.  My younger self and I had a conference once the LPOS began its slow decent into car death.  While gleefully digging its grave, we decided that the Geo Tracker, in retrospect, resembled the car my Barbie and her platonic best friend Ken drove around my basement in.  Eight-year old me acquiesced, and we decided that a Jeep was a cooler, non-Barbie way to go.  So, with my mom in tow, we ventured off.

    I had my heart set on an older Wrangler.  Older Wranglers were bare-bones and just cool looking.  Unfortunately, older models did not harness technologies like seat or pedal adjusters.  I swore that I'd never buy another car that required phonebooks to see over the steering wheel.  Likewise, if I could not reach the pedals without hugging said wheel, the vehicle was a no-go. With a sad manner, I stalked away from the Wranglers only to be overtaken by the beauty of the Libertys.

   We haggled and bartered, and even threw in the LPOS' dead form for good measure.  Mom and I drove away with my lovely Jeep-green Liberty.  She has been with me ever since and I love her unconditionally.  That is until I started hunting.

    When I began my first year of my hunting adventures, I was toted around in my ex's larger than life Wrangler.  The behemoth could clear gigantic boulders in a single bound so it was the perfect vehicle to transport us safely to our hunting ground. While I enjoyed bopping around in it, I hated that my smaller, less-off-roading Jeep was unable to make the trip.  That has been the case for years now but then Cooper Tire walked into my life.

    I never have claimed to have a "popular" or "noticeable" blog.  When my blog is mentioned somewhere or is talked about,  its like Christmas, my birthday, and opening day rolled up in one.  So, when an affiliate of Cooper Tire contacted me, I was more than shocked.  They said they had seen my blog, especially a recent review that impressed them to no end.  They needed some bloggers to review their new Discoverer AT/3s and would I be interested? I would receive a flip-camera, the tires and a free installation.  Obviously, given the title of this posting, I said yes.

   Waltzing into Black's Tire and Auto, I informed the nice gentleman behind the desk that I was here for my free tires. I had rehearsed this statement in my head the entire way there, as I figured this was the last time I'd ever have the opportunity to string those words together and actually receive free tires. The manager knew the situation, took care of the paperwork and set his men to work.  The guys were genuinely impressed, as they had never seen these tires, nor ever met someone who scored a pair for free.  We went a size bigger than my previous tires and the AT/3s fit perfectly.

   Sporting new tires, DU, E4 and I were ready for action.  Acting like this was our big break, we quickly fell into our roles.  DU was the script director and videographer.  E4 took pictures and coached where I should drive, how I should stand.  The whole production turned into a mud-filled fiasco.

   Without any more introduction, I give you the first video appearance of the Writing Huntress.  This elusive figure is seen for the first time, makeup-free and mud- splattered for your enjoyment.

Welcome to HLYH, Cooper Tire!

Watch as the AT/3s look good, spinning in mud!

The Writing Huntress reports from the mud-filled Jeep!

Thanks, Cooper Tire! Watch as The Writing Huntress forgets the name of the tire she's reviewing then proceeds to say "tires"and "absolutely" a lot! She sounds like a weird Canadian Yankee but she sure does look cute doing it!

* Thanks to the boys at Black's Tire and Auto in Monroe, NC for their sense of humor and willingness to let me intrude on their job.  I know it may have been annoying for me to be running around like rabid hyena, taking pictures of everything as asking "what's that?" 58 times but y'all were welcoming and patient so thank you so very much. 
** Thanks so much to Philip from the Zimmerman agency for his help and amazing e-mail answering abilities!
*** Thanks again to Cooper Tire! The AT/3s are great tires.  Not kidding- I can feel the difference when I drive.  It feels like there's glue under my tires and with the new terrain of my abode, I'm going to need it! 
**** Thanks to E4 and DU, the production team extraordinaire, for the production of the above videos.  Dealing with my hunting diva attitude, having to set up my makeup and hair appointments and stroking my over-abundant ego is a tough job but someone's gotta do it! Get ready to go into retirement, boys, because I'm entirely sure we'll never go big time after people have seen this... 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reflections of Harvey Mallard

   There are times that the world seems to come together succinctly, with no help from anyone except the all mighty himself.  I've felt it before,  from when my parent's divorce turned into the greatest blessing in the world to when I met DU.  Those celestial bonding impacted my life in ways that I never would have fathomed previously. It was a horrible event and a chance meeting that turned into something that shaped the person I am today. Without these occurrences, this blog would never have existed.  In the same token did this story come to be, a chance reading, a comment, and a story that would've been missed, then forgotten forever.  Fortunately, the big guy upstairs knows better.

   The story I posted earlier this week was just like any other story, to me at least.  Another story that implanted itself in my brain, stewing for the perfect moment to make its grand entrance. And just like every other thing I have ever published, save a few, I was not the biggest fan of the piece.  Yes, the diction was lovely and sure, the story was kind of neat, but beyond that, it could've been better.  As you may know, I am the biggest critic of my own work.  While I sat, stewing about the post, a woman worlds away was doing the same thing.  But instead of looking at the story through my eyes, she saw it through her's.  Those eyes took my story in and it transformed into her own.

Rita and her husband pheasant hunting 
   Rita R. Schimpff is the sole owner of Heritage Game Mounts, a Texan company that supplies everything hunting aficionados need, from mount plaques to the mounts themselves. Just by glancing at her website, it is clear that she and her husband love the company almost as much as hunting itself.  Rita connected with me via Twitter after she read over Mounted in North Carolina.  She was quick to remind herself that the harvest of her first duck occurred more than 25 years ago.  Once she mentioned this, I asked if she'd like to write it up for me to post.

   So, without too much pop and circumstance, here it is.  Rita's account of her beloved Harvey Mallard, the first duck she ever had the blessing of harvesting..

Reflections of Harvey Mallard

Reading the Writing Huntress' tweet describing her excitement about her first duck made me think back to my first duck.  I told her it was 25 years ago but that did not seem right.  I went to look it up and I could barely believe when the years added up to a stately 31. 

When I met my husband, I immediately felt lucky that not only did he love to fish and hunt, but so did his family and friends.  While many men would exclude a woman from their party, my husbands group did not, they took me in, accepting that I would be along for the ride.  They are all gentleman hunters, whether or not I am among them or not.  While they may have cleaned up their language a little more around me, they still kept things racy enough to be fun.  Gentlemen they were, overly-nice they were not.  The guys were quick to pick on anyone who fell behind or could not keep up.  After 36 years, we still hunt and fish together, for this I am extremely lucky. 

 Howard, one of the brood, had a gorgeous family ranch near Bandera, Texas, which was not far from San Antonio.  We had all kinds of fun out there, but the one hunt I remember most was my first duck hunt. 

Up in the dark for the drive to Bandera.
Lots of coffee and homemade cookies
(A peace offering that helped with the acceptance thing but didn't save me from being picked on).

The guys set out the decoys in the dark.  Then, we waited, laying on the cold tank dam, still and quiet.  I shall never forget the sound; all of a sudden in the dark coming over my back, low and fast helicopters.   With no warning the sound came,  muffled then so quickly it was loud; they were right on top of me!  The splash, plop followed, one or two at a time.  Then the quacking.  I could almost touch them, if I could see them.  More came in, shots rang out.  I was a little startled and curious at the light coming out of the end of the barrels, the others could see by the dawn's light.  Slowly, the sun came up.  Someone shouted if I was going to shoot.  YOU HAD BETTER GET WITH IT he yelled, ARE YOU WAITING FOR AN ENGRAVED INVITATION? 
31 years makes the memory of those words a little softer than they probably were. 

I remember my nose and fingers being so cold.  I have a glove on my left hand.  Those days, my hunting clothes lacked any sense of fashion.  A ski jacked because it was warm and brown, but the yoke was cream. My knit cap was a pretty jaunty thing, left over from trendy days as a college art student.  So were the expensive, once to die for Frye boots, a throwback from my pseudo-hippie days.  The gun was the best part of my outfit, my husband's Winchester 20 gauge.  I had started using it so much he just gave it to me.  My dowry had not included any guns or fishing equipment.  Although I had enjoyed the outdoors with my grandfather, I would not inherit those treasures until later. 

I was a wonderful hunt, lots of ducks and one, beautiful specimen Mallard, my first duck harvest.  I always have and always will scrutinize the take.  A couple of those long-lost hunt's Mallard curly tail feathers still adorn my hat band. 

Howard teased me that I might as well go ahead and give my kill a name if I was going to play with it that much.  We named him Harvey, and I am sure there was a story there that has been forgotten.  We shared Harvey, like a child of divorced parents.  Howard had him mounted but I was allowed to keep him in my home.  I kept his beak and legs painted, touched up after years of wear.  One day, after he had been remarried, Howard wanted custody of Harvey.  I get to visit my little duck often.  The next time I do so, I'll have to ask Howard how Harvey's name came to be. 

Harvey is still, just as he was 31 years ago, absolutely gorgeous. 

I am so lucky. 

Rita Schimpff**

* A big HLYH thank you goes to Mrs. Schmipff for her story.  It was a blessing to read and even more so to publish for the enjoyment of all who follow this modest blog.  Your story was lovely and I can't thank you enough.

** Rita Schmipff is the founder and owner of Heritage Game Mounts, LLC, a company that provides elegant European mounts, deer mounts to showcase your price trophy antlers.  Rita is an enthusiast of hunting, fishing, cooking, interior decorating and Boykin Spaniels. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nascar Enlightenment

    My decision to move southward was a swift, abrupt choice.  My best friend, Heals, had moved to Charlotte, NC a few years ago.  As we do practically everything together, I assumed that one day, I would follow her like I have followed so many of her random whims.  One such whim prepared me for southern life better than any other, her instance that I be present for a Nascar race in Watkins Glen, NY.  Understand, dear reader, that this was my pre-hunting days.  I had dabbled here and there in the outdoors but this was pre-Writing Huntress, hence I loved all things camo, cowboyhatted and country but had not dedicated myself to the life of a deer-killing, duck-eating, goose-hating huntress that I would eventually embody.  And as quick as I am to bring up hunting when meeting a new southerner, if I drag my solitary Nascar experience in with it, I’m immediately accepted for the southern-spirited girl I just happen to be.

   The whole saga began months prior to the race.  I was attending college over an hour away from home so Heals and I communicated mainly through quarter-hourly texts.  This was the greatest deviation we had ever faced as we acted like sisters for years.  Heals and I met young while playing hockey for the same team.  After years of sharing tears over lost games, bear hugs after reigning victorious and living less than 5 miles from one another, we were not ready to be so far apart (this conditioned us when Heals moved to NC, abandoning me by leaving me alone, surrounded by Yankees who looked at me weird each time I stepped from my abode clad in cammo.).  That’s why our Summers were key for our young lives.  We ritualistically took 6-hour long road trips to a lake 45-minutes away, went to the only beach in Rochester (a beach where no one actually swims), and frequented skate and shoots (essentially open hockey that not only kept our bodies in shape but our hockey-playing attitudes as well) practically every weekend.  It was after one of these hockey sessions that I stopped by Heals’ house.  Her dad, Poppa Heals, had over-imbibed and was under the curious impression that I was the pizza girl.  Wearing my old crimson life-guarding hoodie, I understood his initial lack of understanding but the fact that he, after fully becoming aware of my identity which had been essentially living at his house for years, continued to call me Pizza Hut was a little concerning.  The hour become late and I went to retreat to my homestead, my narcoleptic mother at home, surely sleeping away my curfew.  As I left, Poppa Heals asked if I wanted to come to Watkins Glen with them for the race, I nodded in the affirmative then left.

   I had figured that Poppa Heals has forgotten about the invitation until the day Heals informed me that the tickets were here and we had to prepare for the race.  At the time, I did not understand fully why people loved Nascar so much.  There are a bunch of cars that go in circles for 5 hours, some crash and some go fast; but they all find themselves on the receiving ends of extremely quick oil and tire changes. Intrigued I was; prepared I was not.

   Heals and I have had a lot of signs in life that we should cease whatever activity we find ourselves engaged in and swiftly run away. (The most startling one occurred with a stolen Camden Military Sign and the silly boy who stole said sign.  He left us alone with the sign after telling us not to take pictures with it.  Of course we did and one of many, many memorable nights ensued) However, not once in our relationship have we ever taken this divine advice.  Our heavenly sign came in the form of an 18-wheeler that was overturned in the highway, blocking any way into the Glen.  We looked at one another then at Heals’ teal Saturn, the epitome of an anti-off-roading vehicle, and decided that we should go down winding gravel roads until we eventually find our way. An hour later, we emerged from the dusty road, the old Saturn visibly angry with having to brave the rocky conditions.  We entered the Glen and then it happened, the moment where the course of the movie changes, the mood goes from somber to electrified; we had arrived. 

    Being as late as it was, Heals and I were ready to join in on the fun going on at the camp ground.  Surely as we set up shop within Poppa Heal’s camper, the party came to us.  The details from the night are fuzzy but I remember thinking that Nascar was awesome when I caught sight of a man wearing a confederate flag as a cape, running laps around the campsite like a crack-addled greyhound.  The night turned more interesting when we grew bored of our immediate surroundings and ventured out.  As we met rednecks and country folk of all kinds, I grew more smitten.  Sometime during the night we met a man who we called (and still call) “Canadian Husband”.  Canadian Husband was just that, a man from the way north who, for reasons unknown, kept telling people that we were engaged.  I’m assuming I egged this on at some point because I vaguely remember meeting his family, a lovely group of Canadians who seemed happy with their son’s quick decision to marry outside of their nationality.  I found this entire situation puzzling but who was I to challenge wedding proposals from men who I’d met only an hour previously, surrounded by Nascar-loving, beer-drinking partying individuals?

  The night passed by in a haze.  Morning happily greeted us with a glorious sunrise that tore through the camper like laser beams, searing the inside of my dehydrated head like a perfectly caramelized pork loin.  We staggered to the bathroom, begging passerby for aspirin or the equivalent.  We cleaned ourselves up and spent the hours till the Saturday race guzzling down as much water as we possibly could. When I figured that I could not possibly have more fun than the night previous, reality smacked me across the face as we entered the race.  The vendors shouted from the outskirts of their respective hollers, pushing wares on the masses, hoping that an Earnhardt Jr. fan would miraculously transform into a Kahne groupie just through the purchase of a hat.  We watched the cars fly by, their engines filling my ears with the sounds of more horsepower I had ever heard, connecting me to the race in a way unanticipated.

     By the time that night rolled around, I was a fully-fledged redneck, Nascar lover.  It seemed that all those interesting, back-woods individuals who never frequent any watering whole in which we’d ever happen to meet all come out en masse during a race.   We met the “Mayor of Watkins Glen”, a drunk, aging man who bequeathed orders upon his loyal subjects, directing his peons to drink more beer or start a BORIS-SAID chant.  A very nice, also inebriated man wielding a cowbell made our acquaintance and performed his chosen instrument whenever demanded.  We had the pleasure of befriending a Boris impersonator and the “Brooklyn Cowboy”, a poor boy whose passion for Nascar and all other things country (ie- cowboy hats and torn-in-half beer cans) made him an outcast in the first order back in New York City.   Interesting person after interesting person passed, a conga-line of people who I would never meet had I not turned away from my previous preconceived notions of Nascar-lovers and embraced my inner, backwoods, country self. 

    As we left the race that Sunday, I didn’t want to leave.  I felt as if I had left a big part of myself back there, a place where I could be myself without criticism.  As I grew into my huntress self, I wore more camo and became an advocate for hunting but in New York, the platitudes fell on deaf, dumb ears.  It was only when I moved to North Carolina that I found my Watkins Glen self, full of life and vigor, surrounded by people who were themselves, unencumbered by societal conventions.  Here, I wear my camo, shoot my guns without a backward glance and write freely of the wonders of the outdoors. 

I found my voice here. But that never would have happened had I not been open to experience life outside of all I knew; back in Watkins Glen, my own brand of Nascar Enlightenment.

To check out more pictures of our time in Watkin’s Glen, Like HLYH on Facebook!