Saturday, 1 February 2014

Henry Abbott - Camping at Cherry Pond

Like the other thing by Henry Abbott I have read, this is also full of quaint nature observations such as:

“The bear will gorge himself on these cherries, and he is no conservationist. He climbs a tree if it is a large one and breaks off all the branches. If it happens to be a small tree, he will tear it down and break it limb from limb, or he may pull it up by the roots, thus destroying the crop for another year. The bear is a typical American.”

As well as practical tips about the survival in the wilderness. This time I learnt a little about building different sort of shelters, from more sophisticated hunting cabins to simple lean-ins. Now I'm fully prepared for the apocalypse. Bring it on!

Even though I’m rather against modern day hunting which is just a pointless rich man sport, I’m always rather taken with those older books about hunting and fishing. In ‘Camping at Cherry Pond’ Henry and Bige go out to hunt deer but days go by and they are unsuccessful and reduced to diet of flapjacks and onions. Henry will have you know that he likes both flapjacks and onions but such a monodiet eventually dampened their spirits. It’s when they almost give up hope to ever eat meat again, they see a family of deer frolicking about. The sight is so beautiful they completely forget to shoot them.

“This was a show worth the price of admission, and we sat and watched it for fully ten minutes, when a shifting breeze apparently carried our scent to the mother, who instantly sounded a note of warning, and the family party quickly disappeared through the brush into the tall timber, and we paddled back across Cherry Pond to our breakfast of flapjacks, syrup, and onions.

As we approached the landing place it occurred to me that the hammer of my gun was still up, and that the gun had not been lifted from my knees during the entire performance. As I let the hammer down and removed the cartridge from the barrel, I was conscious of a sense of relief that nothing had occurred to disturb the pleasant relations of the happy family.

After breakfast I went over on the Wolf Mountain tote road and shot four fine fat partridges. That night we had roast partridge for dinner. Have you ever eaten partridge that had been roasted in a Dutch oven before a camp fire? Well, say! "Jes take and have 'em stuffed with onions, baste 'em well, and roast 'em brown with a lot of gravy."”

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