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first frost and hunter returns

2013 September 30
by Rachel Turiel

Despite the good intentions in the artwork, there will be no elk for us this bow season.


Col’s picture is an aerial view of hunting success complete with (holy moly) blood, while Rose’s must be the “before” view, when all the forest creatures are smiling and playing dress up in purple.

Dan worked so hard under crazy challenging circumstances, namely hunting with a primitive bow he made himself. To even take a shot, he’s got to be within 15 yards of the animal, and then the shot must line up perfectly with its tidy little package of vitals. It’s so different than rifle hunting (for which he has a deer tag), in which you can take a shot from (no fooling) 300 yards, miss the vitals but still wound the animal enough to track it down and put a final killing bullet in it.

Dan spent yesterday unpacking his hunting gear, issuing forth sports analogies to explain the sense of failure he feels.

A basketball team makes it to the playoffs after working toward that goal all year. They win three out of six games. It’s the 7th game, last quarter, last minute, they’re close close close. There’s the crucial shot. The shot everything rests on. They blow it. It’s over.

Dan got close close close so many times. Close enough to see the frosty steam of a bull elk’s early morning exhale, 5-yards away close another time until the bull turned lightning quick, charging away with his vitals tucked safely away. And despite all the deep spiritual lessons available in failure, like the opportunity to re-commit to your work despite not achieving success; or getting to re-evaluate the definition of “success” (is it winning, or simply showing up?); or letting the taste of failure mingle with every other truthy flavor in the soup pot of your life, sometimes you don’t want deep spiritual lessons, you just want a green chile elk burger.


Inspecting the peaches from the tree that came up in our compost. The compost! Tree is behind Dan in this photo. Nutso!

Also, we got a hard frost last week. The kind that had me scurrying around the garden with urgency, plucking all the green beans, tomatillos, tomatoes, winter squash, basil and jalapenos.


As much as I would have wished for just another week of sun to paint more red on those tomatoes, or deepen the yellow in the spaghetti squash, ultimately I appreciate the energy (Californially-speaking) in the turn of seasons. I like how my small preferences (long days! all the tomatoes ripening! Sundays at the river!) are like whispers lost on the winds of planetary truth. It’s reassuring to know there’s something bigger than me saying “I hear your preferences, now can we talk about planetary tilt and the earth’s orbit?” Because, though it sometimes seems like what we want out of life is elk burgers and ripe tomatoes, even more, I’d like to acquire the taste for acceptance.


Chickens have been granted supervised access in the garden. 

In other news, Rose’s very loose tooth became the focus of a fun game of dentist. Seneca donned plastic bag gloves while Col shined a flashlight in the patient’s mouth. I snapped a goofy picture, certain that Rose wouldn’t actually let anyone pull her tooth out. I was wrong. She’s a little worried that the tooth fairy (who is a bit of a slacker around here) keeps forgetting her tooth because it wasn’t scheduled to come out this early. Sounds plausible.


Also, two of my favorite fall recipes:
Roasted tomato sauce (forgive the weird pictures, not submitted by me and don’t actually look like the recipe. Also omit sugar and try coconut oil instead of olive oil for high heat).
Frozen greens AKA The chard cure
Proof that occasionally Rosie stops moving and talking at the same time:



p.s. I’m still looking for a few more locals to interview for an article I’m writing on organ meat. Cow, goat, fowl, wild game…kidneys, liver, tongue, heart, brains…old school, new school.



12 Responses leave one →
  1. dale_in_denver permalink
    September 30, 2013

    Our tooth fairy sucks – she hasn’t come for 2, sometimes even 3 nights. Fortunately I had the foresight to explain to my kids that she has to make it all the way around the world to every house of a kid who lost a tooth, so she doesn’t have time for backtracking. If she tries to come by and my kid is still awake, she will have to try another night. Sometimes I feel bad because they are so disappointed. Mostly I’m ok with it because it gets them into bed earlier on those nights. Hope your tooth fairy rallies.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      September 30, 2013

      Dale, my kids have been really late to lose, er, pull out their teeth, so I’m a little behind the curve on this one. I spent a very nerve-wracking five minutes trying to *find* and then *extract* Rose’s first lost tooth from under her pillow without waking her up. The things they don’t tell you about parenting in all the books!

      • Barb permalink
        October 1, 2013

        what? she didn’t write a special note to the tooth fairy to please let her keep the tooth for her collection of … teeth?

  2. September 30, 2013

    Darn, I’m so sorry about Dan not getting an elk. I don’t really know how much that would suck but I can imagine it and it doesn’t feel good.

    The tooth fairy is a slacker around here too. My husband is a really bad fairy and it always lands on me and I love sleep. When I’m asleep, I’m asleep! But, the good thing for me is that I only have one believer left in the house. He lost his tooth this morning and I’m hoping to get a hold of the tooth fairy sometime today to schedule his delivery tonight. We’ll see.

    Frost here too. Scrambling. Jonathan roasted and canned 20 lbs of tomatillos yesterday. Bless his heart! We’re all under the weather and I’m thankful for him.


  3. Ellie permalink
    September 30, 2013

    “Because, though it sometimes seems like what we want out of life is elk burgers and ripe tomatoes, even more, I’d like to acquire the taste for acceptance.”

  4. Emmanuelle permalink
    September 30, 2013

    I feel sorry for Dan and I hope he is not too sad about the whole thing… Of course bringing elk food to his family for the next year would have been deeply satisfying, but not being able to do so is definitely not “failure”. And there are many good things to be found in there.

    The elk won another year of life. Dan won a month in the wild, hunting in his own, noble, artful, intuitive way, on his favourite place on Earth. And instead of eating the dead elk, Dan will share its massive energy in the present – dreaming of the bull’s steaming breath, of its long, careful walks through the mountains, and of its relief at having escaped the danger.

    The spirit of the wild walks with Dan always it seems, so maybe this time it has to be in a more secret, powerful way.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      September 30, 2013

      Wow, Emmanuelle, this is so beautifully put. Dan will appreciate these words. xo

  5. October 1, 2013

    we heard a sparkle story where the kids in the story have tooth pouches, and luckily we heard it just a little before quinn lost his first tooth and he decided it was what he wanted to do, too. that way the tooth fairy only has to find the pouch under the pillow, and it’s his job to keep track of the wee tooth and put it into the pouch. then, the tooth fairy can put whatever treat she can fit into the pouch. (ours has a mini pocket for the tooth but a big pouch for the treat, as per quinn’s design, which makes it easy for the tooth fairy to find.)

    i love their drawings!!! (wow, col!!!!) and the thoughts on accepting seasons changing, which are very appropriate for me to try and absorb. but i don’t want to talk about tomatoes right now. (pout pout pout.)

  6. Amy Carney permalink
    October 2, 2013

    Too funny I thought I was the only mother on earth with a slacker tooth fairy…..I’m always shocked by her lateness…

  7. October 2, 2013

    Archery or rifle, no one should plan on missing the vitals, wounding, then tracking down for a killing shot. That’s just irresponsible and sad. But I get where you’re coming from: 300 yards versus 15. It’s *hard*; Dan shouldn’t beat himself up so much. My husband had his own anti-climatic mule-deer season and I felt bad for him. He spends 360 days a year thinking, dreaming, visualizing his mule-deer hunt. And then, it’s over.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 3, 2013

      Yes, irresponsible and sad, for sure, but it happens. Sorry the deer hunt didn’t go well.

  8. October 7, 2013

    Speaking of failures and tooth fairies, I feel like a failure when I forget to be the tooth fairy and trade something for the tooth under my child’s pillow. The solution I found is to set an alarm for around 10 pm when I know they’ll be asleep and I’ll still be awake so I don’t forget. (Don’t tell anyone, but once I took a dollar bill from my son’s wallet and gave it to him in exchange for his tooth, then a couple days later when I had another dollar bill, snuck it back into his wallet. Gah! That sounds bad, but what’s a tooth fairy to do?)

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