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.