Tag Archives: nature

i want to go hunting but i don’t want to kill animals or shoot a gun.

ever since i wrote about “hunting gear” a couple years ago, i’ve been on this kick that i really want to hunt except for: a) i don’t want to actually kill an animal or b) shoot a gun.

shooting a big furry animal? one that’s cute? (and let’s face it: they’re all cute. even the ones that want to eat your face.)  i just couldn’t do it. i’ve also learned that when hunting, you need to drag the dead animal back to your car, then at some point, gut it. which, no. please, i can barely make a meatloaf!

i also don’t like shooting guns, because they’re a) loud b) dangerous and c) have kickback. and i try to avoid all loud, dangerous things, especially those that might wind up tossing my body like a beanbag. (hah, that was a funny visual.)

so i guess what i actually want to do is wear cool hunting clothes while hiding out in the woods looking at animals.

is there a name for this activity? because it’s definitely not hunting.

i think what might be a good solution is to take a moderately short hike in camo and hunting-appropriate boots, stop in the prettiest spot, and watch animals in their natural habitat while i picnic on a variety of forest-appropriate snacks, including but not limited to fresh fruit, sheep or goat’s milk cheese, and/or a selection of meats that don’t need to be heated. and pumpkin seeds. oh, and tea, from, like, a stainless steel thermos that keeps it really really hot for hours, because, really, who knows how long i’ll be out there? OH AND CHOCOLATE. DARK CHOCOLATE. mmmm.

other items to pack:
-a blanket
-matches (in case i need to make a fire, which, how do you make a fire? whatever, i’ll figure it out.)
-a tent (in case it rains)
-one of those wind-up lights that’s also a radio and a cell phone charger
-S.O.S. flares (in case of emergency)
-bear spray
-a knife (don’t ask; this just feels like something i should have)
-first aid kit

ok, i guess what actually want to do is to go camping, in which case i’m going to need one of those portable camping stoves. and some kind of stove top coffee pot. breakfast foods. canned beans. things like that. OH WAIT: BUG SPRAY. but without chemicals. natural bug spray.

this is turning into kind of an ordeal. maybe i should just go fishing. except i don’t want to bait the hook or touch any fish. so i guess what i actually want to do is sit in a boat or stand on a pier all day, catch and reel in a fish, and basically make someone else do all the gross stuff. (note: i have actually found someone to do this for me!)

so yeah. that’s actually all i wanted to tell you. how’s your summer been? mine’s been a little on the crappy side (hence not posting much). HOWEVER (however!) i’m thrilled to tell you that I HAVE COMPLETED MY E-BOOK, “THAT’S NOT A KITTEN, IT’S A RAT,” AND IT WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FOR THE LOW LOW PRICE OF $2.99.

the gist of this e-book is that it’s actually a mini e-book (hence the reasonable price), designed to be read in one hour or less. it contains lots of what i call dvd extras for regular readers (like how i unknowingly peed my pants in kindergarten while listening to phonics records in my elementary school library) but also tries to reel people in that haven’t made it to this blog yet with tales of eddie the rat and the bottomless abyss that is my bag.

BONUS: if you’re somewhat local i am willing to come to your book club (yes! your book club!) to answer questions, or, you know, just to eat your food and talk trash with you and your friends. i will also bring HOLLY, whom, as you all know, is the real hero of this blog in that she is endlessly patient with me as i talk/complain about her and spill our business on the internet. (LOVE YOU, HONEY!)

trust me, i will let you all know the moment it’s available for download. in the meantime, does anyone want to sit and watch animals in the woods with me? make sure you wear camo. i’ll bring the forest snacks and the bear spray.

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city girl goes country

yeah. not me. in case you didn't already guess.

i am a city girl. this is not news to anyone that knows me or has spent two to five minutes with me. even if i try to pretend to be a country girl, my bangs, aversion to all bugs and need to have a purse and hair straightener with me at all times will give me away. however, the city can even get to a person like me–esp. baltimore and esp. when it’s suddenly nice out–and make you pine for fresh air. 

by “pining” i guess i actually mean “get stupid.” case in point: monday morning. we were in pee-ay for a long weekend, and i was demented enough in my imminent need for “fresh country air” to decide that yes, i would ask holly’s 6’5″ brother-in-law if i could ride his quad, you know, by myself around a wooded path thru his huge-o property. 

“are you sure you don’t want to ride with me first so i can show you the path?” holly asked. 

“no,” i told her, suddenly feeling very independent even tho i didn’t know, oh, how to start the thing or where the gas or break was. “i want to go by myself. we’ve gone on the path before together.” 

once. like five years ago. like i said: demented. 

“o-kaaay,” she said slowly, sounding concerned but ultimately–surprisingly–resigned to my sudden bout of strong country will.   

then shawn, the aforementioned huge country brother-in-law, started the thing for me (the “thing” is a quad, also known as a “four-wheeler” or an “atv,” i.e. all terrain vehicle) and showed me where the gas and break were. that is, after i managed to climb up on the damn seat b/c it’s made for a 6’5″ man. but these are details. 

“be careful,” he said. “the gas is…” 

then i zoomed off into the country distance. his last word must’ve been “sensitive” b/c hot damn, i was really flying. 

wooohooo! i thought in my mind, as holly’s four and two-year-old nephews peered wide-eyed at me from the bottom of the yard. if this episode was a movie or cartoon, one of them would have dropped his sippy cup.  while they couldn’t put words to it, i see now that i think they sensed danger. they must’ve known that a girl like me shouldn’t be riding a quad by herself in western pee-ay. or anywhere for that matter. they knew this and yet, they couldn’t tell me. 

i went around and around this big horseshoe-shaped clearing. i knew it wasn’t the trail but it was fun. then i saw shawn running up the hill. 

“that’s my neighbor’s yard!” he shouted over the booming, smelly exhaust. “trail’s over there!” he pointed. 

oh the crazy old lady neighbor. the one you were talking about inside about 10 minutes ago. that’s watching me drag an atv thru her perfectly manicured horseshoe-shaped yard. oops

“k! sorry! thanks!” i yelled as i entered the path. 

i zoomed past tall grass and trees and flowers. the air smelled great. this was really what i needed. then i passed a big powerline shawn had mentioned. i was on the right track. until, that is, i got to a spot where it looked like there were two paths. and both of them went straight into the woods. ummmm…. 

i entered one and immediately panicked b/c it suddenly didn’t feel like a path anymore. it felt like…the woods. i stopped and decided maybe i would turn around and go back. except for i was stuck in between trees and couldn’t turn around. i twisted the handlebars around in a sad attempt to do a 180 and stopped midway b/c i was about to get my eyeballs poked out by branches and, you know, hit a tree. 

this was bad and i was starting to panic. 

i sat there with the motor running (b/c if i turned it off i was sure i wouldn’t get it started again) and looked down for a gearshift. this thing has got to have a reverse or something, i thought. yeah, this from the girl who learned how to drive on a highway, like, two years ago. that’s just learning how to parallel park. that mixes up her windshield wipers with her blinker. yeah. me. 

so i find shift-type thing and move it back to the letter R and try backing up but it seems like i’m in neutral b/c i’m not moving. i play around with it some more and finally go backwards a little. then i can’t go forward. i’m stuck between trees and there are branches that are obviously going to scratch my retinas and i’m going to asphyxiate from the diesel or gas fumes coming out of this machine and i’m going to collapse. right here in the woods. 

i sat there for what felt like a really long time deciding what to do. i felt holly worrying about me. why did i think i could drive around an atv in the woods w/out holly? i wondered, panic-stricken, mad at myself for my unusually rash behavior. what was i thinking? i am usually so level-headed. oh my gosh i think i just heard a bear. i’m going to die out here. a quarter mile from her twin sister’s house. 

“i told her not to go by herself,” i could hear holly saying, crying, when they found me hours later, half-conscious and dehydrated, mauled by a pennsylvania black bear (do those even exist? they probably do) lured by the fruity smell of my garnier fructis-flavored hair and the shiny studs on my flip-flops. 

i could get off of this thing right now and walk back, i thought.  just leave the motor running and go back. but who the hell knows how long it’d take me to walk back and holly’s probably already wondering where i am.  

what i really wanted to do was cry. but i resisted and instead decided to do a k-turn right there in the woods between the trees. i backed up, i went forward. i got stuck in neutral. i backed up and turned and went forward and backwards and forward again until, omg, i actually did a 180 and made it out of the goshdarned woods. 

i zoomed out and started back the way i came, cursing myself the whole time. fresh country air my a**. jersey girl in the woods. what a joke. i’d had had enough of the damn country. drop me off in the friggin city. i was ready for an overly complicated coffee drink and some wifi.

i came down the big hill that is shawn and heidi’s yard. the boys peered out at me. holly and shawn looked up. i would pretend nothing happened. that’s what i’d do.

 i slowed down and shut the motor off next to the house.

“well?” holly said.

“i…i got stuck in the woods,” i whispered. “there was a fork in the road and i couldn’t figure out where the path was! i…got scared. i panicked. i had to do a k-turn in the woods except for i was stuck and almost scratched my retinas and,” i held my breath, trying not to cry. “i think i heard a bear.”

 “you see? i told you we should have gone together. you could have gone yourself after that.”

“i know.”

 i was very grateful to see her smiling instead of crying over my mauled, famished and dehydrated body. this relieved me and i was able to contain my emotions. she convinced me to go on a ride with her on the actual path even tho i didn’t want to anymore b/c i was sick of the country. i hopped on and put my arms around her and suddenly felt kind of excited again. until i told her not to go too fast at which point i felt like a wuss.

moral of the story: jersey girls don’t belong in the woods and they certainly don’t belong alone in the woods on quads. from here on out, it’s my rav-4 only and i’m going to pay more attention b/c i’m tired of the damn windshield wipers scaring the hell out of me every time i make a turn.

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is it weird that i find the sound of all the noisy daytime summer bugs incredibly relaxing?

cicadas

how can something so scary-looking sound so awesome??

anyone else with me? or am i just crazy? (ok don’t answer that one)

it’s cicadas, i think. and heaven help me if i ever come face to face with one (oh and i have. if you were in the maryland-dc area a few years ago, you, too, experienced the 18-year cicada phenomenon. yeah, they bury eggs or something and then they hatch 18 years later and basically take over your life once you step outside. *freaky*!) i’m not such a fan of bugs (who is? if you are i’d like to hear from you and hear your rationale tho i bet it something w/the friggin ecosystem or something and you’re probably right) but hot damn! there is nothing on earth like walking outside of an air-conditioning building or stepping outside of your house or car and just hearing that whoosh of sound combined with summer heat and sun…it’s like slipping into a warm bath. 

it wasn’t until a couple years ago that i finally figured out why i love it so much: it’s august. that giant cicada sound to me means august. and august for me growing up in northern new jersey was returning from summer sleepaway camp (i only went for the first session, only three and a half weeks but it could have been a year, it felt so long) feeling like a champion that i had braved it on my own for “so long” and with the names, phone numbers and addresses of a gazillion new friends not to mention a golden tan and a new appreciation for everything i had left at home. before that it was day camp (also only the first session), always kind of tedious tho fun. and always a great sense of relief that it was over so i could be at home.

august was the pool with my mom (a teacher; i was lucky enough to have her home every summer), homemade cut-off jean shorts and errands together on our little mainstreet and visits with my dear grandma, the three of us going to friendly’s and then just grandma and i, sitting on her third-floor cement balcony surrounded by little pots of red geraniums, her smoking her unfiltered pall malls (and putting them out about a minute later, telling me never to smoke the whole time) and me, listening to the cacophony of bugs, watching the planes fly by high above, thinking about the new school year about to start (promising myself that i’d start my homework earlier after school, which i probably only did for the first month, if that) and dreaming about what it’d be like to be grown up one day.

i guess, stepping back a little bit, the sound of the cicadas just takes me back to a simpler time. one where i was surrounded by all love, all the time (i was a lucky kid), shielded by my parents and grandma from the crueler, less comfortable parts of life (namely, adulthood)…a world where my biggest worries were homework and friends and then, eventually, studying for my bat mitzvah. when sweat was something that meant i was outside playing, something that dried off in due time, not something that ruined my dress shirt after a quick lunchbreak outside in the heat.

i think, also, it’s just…summer. and even if many of us are stuck in sterile, air-conditioned offices the majority of the day, those moments when we can slip out for a few minutes during the day, or just walking in or walking out for the day, the rush of cicadas–with their soft-to-loud and then loud-to-soft clamour–reminds us that outside four walls is nature and summer and heat and, yes, bugs. they were there when we were kids, and they’ll be there always, waiting for us, sounding exactly the same year after year. i have also determined that, b/c i am one of those freakazoids who doesn’t actually go ga-ga over summer (i go ga-ga over fall), their sound also means that fall is not far. oh fall. fall fall fall, how i absolutely love and live for fall.

so really, that’s just about it. and if you’re new to my blog, no, i don’t always blog about wildlife (kittens yesterday, bugs today). i’ve just been meaning to tell you all how much i love the sound of cicadas. very un-rocknroll of me, i know. but i love puppies, too. and deer. and pretty much anything cute and furry. so don’t even get me started…

ahhhh, fall!

when summer finally comes to an end, it’s like i can’t believe i made it thru. the heat. the humidity (oy, the humidity). the bright sun. constantly. beating down. on my. bangs. (bangs? brow. brow, i mean, brow. haha.) at least in the baltimore/dc area, it’s like i’m in a state of perpetual sweating from may thru september. this is THE main reason i chose november for our wedding. golden sun! crunchy leaves! and most importantly, coolness. cold, even. bring it, baby! this is MY season. this is it right here. fall.

oh fall, magical fall. so many feelings bubble up in me around this time of year. i think no matter how old you are, fall always seems to get one nostalgic for the start of the school year. pink erasers (mmm! they always smelled sooo good to me). fresh notebooks. new pencils (that you couldn’t get sharp enough for the first day of class). the creak of brand new folders as you opened them for the very first time and the gentle whoosh they made as you flipped thru them in your new binder. (and the crrrrrrrruuuuunch of that trapper keeper velcro back in the day!)  seeing friends you hadn’t seen all summer (as if the summer was so long!) and how much everyone had changed over the summer, omG! crispy new jeans you couldn’t wait to break in, and clean, white sneakers you stared at under your desk as the clock inched near recess (when you could finally try them out and magically run faster).

ah, fall. for us jews, the start of a new year. a fresh start. suddenly i’m counting down the days til my birthday in early october (yes, even as i inch towards 30; that would be 11 days, not counting today, yikes!). so much excitement, so much to look forward to. i still feel as excited for fall as i did when i was a kid. some ppl dread this time of year b/c, as the sun wanes, the days shorten and the leaves fall, they see it as the end–the end of the warmth, the end of green. but to me, it’s a brand new beginning. it’s like i come alive again. i can’t wait to pull on a hoodie and step on crunchy leaves! welcome, fall! i am your biggest fan.