The turkey is cooking as I write. Friends will come over to taste wild turkey for their first time. It is nothing like a domestic bird. I have marinated the turkey for two days in garlic, oil, white wine. It smells great.

before cooking

before cooking

The day of the hunt, Wednesday, I went to the gym. Nothing special. I was pretty tired. But at least I made it there–workout number 7 for the month.

On Thursday the 28th, I did 50 push ups again, 10 breaths, 10 more, 10 breaths, and 6 more. I wrote and rested.

Then Mother Nature got even with a smile. In the afternoon, I felt a sharp pin prick near my butt. I touched, my wife looked, and there was a tick, locked in a potentially harmful 36-hour kiss. It was hidden between my cheeks! And that was why I had missed it when I’d done my “tick check” with a mirror. Clever guy. He also knew how to conceal himself from the prey…which was me. And I was worried about the coyote jumping me from behind. A tiny tick did it.

Every time I come out of the woods, I unfailingly examine myself for ticks within three hours. I have been told that if you remove them within 24 hours, there is probably going to be no problem—not enough time for the insect’s saliva to make much of a difference. After a day, there is more danger of getting Lyme disease or another very serious bacterial infection called ehrlichiosis.

So if I got a bird, a tick got me. I have many friends who have been sickened by these bites, and in addition to dizziness, fatigue, fever, aches, some have had facial distortions, lost memory for years…it can be bad. So it goes.

I knew I had really adapted to country life when I could walk in the woods and tall grass and be OK about spending a few minutes taking 20 or more ticks off my clothes and skin. I felt I had arrived.

I have city friends who drove to our farm, got out of the car, stood on the driveway and unabashedly placed their pants inside their socks, sprayed insect repellent containing DEET on their clothes, and then walked on the driveway pebbles into the house. Fortunately I have learned to love the woods and live with its risks. And I have never even seen a bear or a mountain lion…just coyotes and bobcats, like this one a friend photographed at the same farm where I shot this week’s turkey.


bobcat (photo by Rudy Kellerman)

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