Monday, December 2, 2013

Hunting & Mammoths

I called for the plumber this morning. The nice lady on the other end of the phone told me, "He's out until he gets a deer." Today is the first day of deer season. Mind you the deer here are plentiful and fleshed out with tulip bulbs and flowers provided by urban gardeners trying to add spots of color. People eat what they hunt in the hills of Ohio. Don't expect any deer recipes, but my uncle's BBQ venison is delightful.

Though it is the Monday after Thanksgiving, there is no school today, a concession to the necessity of the hunt or at least recognition of the cultural priority of hunting over school. I drove with kiddos in tow to a tree farm to pick greens for advent wreaths. We were greeted with a friendly welcome and the question, "Can you guess what this is?"

Guess what this is?
The owners had found it in a nearby stream a few summers back. The kiddos hemmed and hawed, but the Mule came up with the answer, a mammoth tooth fossil (split into two pieces). 

We had seen one last summer at The Athens County Historical Society & Museum on Court Street. My mom had asked about the unlabeled fossils and tapped into a wealth of information as the docent had an interest in natural history and had done research on the specimens there.

The tree farmer commented, "It's neat to think that mammoths once roamed around this place." Apparently these types of fossil finds are more common in Kentucky, but they are occasionally found here too. The kiddos in tow were ready to shuck the greenery and go mammoth fossil hunting in the river. I suggested we wait until spring and bring rubber boots.

On our return trip home, a group of hunters were congregating on the road just as an oncoming car approached. I waited for the car to pass and then drove slowly around the dayglo orange vested hunters bearing arms and wearing camis. A few of the hunters gave me a courtesy nod. No deer carcusses were noted. I wondered, how many days until I hear from the plumber? 


The plumber repaired my faucet and reported that no deer were even spotted. However, he did mention getting a couple of squirrels. "You eat squirrels?" I asked.  He replied, "I haven't eaten squirrel since I was a young'in. I got them for an old timer who misses the taste and can't get them anymore." I could only say, "That's really nice of you."

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