Monday, October 31, 2016

Ode to Strawberry

For Bruce, these hunting trips are one of the highlights of his year.  He plans for months ahead of time.  This year Bruce, Joseph and Peter went elk hunting.  They did find a 5x5 bull, and we are grateful to this elk for giving us meat for the coming year.  The cost of this meat is huge, but we are grateful for it nonetheless.  :)  What it cost in time, money, supplies, energy, the hearts of loved ones at home, and the life of one of our horses - well, when it all adds up, the 113 lbs of meat we got came at a very steep price.  Now, it is totally, 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range, low-fat meat.  There is THAT.  And it tastes really good - we had it last night in the tacos we had for dinner.  But man, why these boys think this is fun to go up, slog through 2 feet of snow and deadfall, up and down crazy, steep terrain, and just about DIE every year is beyond me.  I am grateful for the meat, and grateful they know how to hunt.  Maybe they could just remember how to hunt every five years or so. Hahaha.  But no, I make this argument every year, and it is kindly refused with gentle smiles and knowing eyes - the knowing being that they will be going again next year.

Now, the life of one of our horses...  this is hard to talk and write about.  This is Strawberry.
My niece Kaylee took a bunch of pictures of Bruce riding Strawberry at our Family Reunion at Daley Creek in 2013.

We bought her in 2008.  She was a registered Blazer horse - Strawberry Dacqeuri.  In April of 2009, she had a colt, whom we named Stormy, because he was born in the middle of big thunderstorm.

For the past 8 years that we've had her, she was the horse that Bruce chose to ride most of the time. She was a strong horse, but temperamental sometimes.  One of her weaknesses was that she did not lead well,  On the night of the accident, she was being ponied by Cookie, and she crept up on the side of the trail, not wanting to just sit behind.  This was often what she was wont to do.  But this time, it was snowy and slick, there was shale, and a steep mountainside, and she slipped and the two of them, Cookie and Strawberry went down, head over heels down the mountain at least 200 yards.  Peter and Bruce scrambled down the mountain to find them, sure that they would not survive the fall.  When they got to the bottom, they heard Cookie neigh, and walked over in that direction (it was pitch dark).  They expected to find her down, with broken bones.  Instead, in what can be described as nothing short of a miracle, they found her standing on all four legs, with only a few scratches.  They could not find Strawberry.  When they returned the next day in the light, they found her, already dead.  She had a bad blow to the head, so our hope was that she died on impact without having to suffer through the night.  She was so lacerated and beat up, that it became even more apparent what an impossibility it was that Cookie came out of it unharmed.  In fact, Cookie packed out a load less than 36 hours later.

So, sometimes hard things happen, and as much as you'd like to have changed things, hindsight is always 20/20.  Lessons were learned from this.  And thankfully, we know Strawberry has gone on to a better place!  To be with Lady.  Now Joseph and Peter have both lost their horse.

Stormy, the little colt picture above, proved himself one tough horse, packing out the elk meat all by himself in two trips.  He is a studly horse!

I would add pictures of the hunting trip, but I don't have them available yet to upload.  Next week...

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