What I did in the weekend

First up, the latest batch of bookmarks:

I’m having fun experimenting with all sorts of different techniques (as you can probably tell ;-)).

I ended up going camping last night with brother and his family, and a friend of brother’s (FoB) and his wife (WoFoB). We were camped in total back of beyond up towards Upper Manorburn (think of the bit in the Lord of the Rings films where they first meet the Riders of Rohan – Manorburn is actually in the next range over from there, but it’s the same sort of landscape – dry and tussocky, with the occasional scrubby matagouri to break the monotony. It may sound bleak, but I love it – it always feels like coming home to me to be up in the Central Otago high country.)

Vegetarians and others of a sensitive nature (Mum, this means you!) should look away now. After getting the camp organised (which didn’t take long, because the others had been up there the night before as well – brother had to drive back into town to pick up a few things they’d forgotten so stopped by to see if I wanted to join them) brother, FoB and I went goat hunting. We were supposed to be going out with the farmer whose land we were camping on (goats are a noxious pest around here, so he was more than happy for us to shoot a few!) but he had friends staying with him who insisted on tagging along, and as they didn’t look greatly experienced (and at least one had been drinking), brother suggested that as the party was so big we split up and shoot different valleys (much to my relief – I prefer to shoot with people I trust not to be idiots). So farmer and his friends went one way, and brother, FoB and I went another.

The idiots in the other group turned out to be an advantage to us, because when they found a mob of goats and started shooting they just managed to drive them all out of that valley and into ours, without hitting any themselves. So we did very well, getting 10-15 between us. I even managed to kill two or three (I know I definitely got two, and brother reckons I hit a third (I’m not so sure – I had a feeling I missed, but he said it was limping), but it disappeared over a ridge before I could finish it off) – not bad for my first goat hunt.

We did take some meat off a couple of the younger goats that fell in reasonably accessible locations (the valley we were in was incredibly steep, and it took us about an hour just to walk (or hobble, in my case, after I slipped on some scree and scraped all up the back of my leg on a rock) down into it and back up the other side to get to a good shooting spot, so we weren’t too keen on chasing after the ones that ran a long way before they fell), so we had a prize to take back to camp. We didn’t have the goat meat for dinner though – instead we had a feast of a hare that FoB had shot the previous night, a pile of yabbies (the local nickname for koura, or freshwater crayfish) that the kids and WoFoB had caught in a nearby water-race, and bread that nephew#1 and I cooked in the campfire. And of course it was all finished off with marshmallows toasted over the fire.

(Oh yeah, the sensitive types can probably look again now if you like – the messy stuff is over with…)

Brother had threatened campfire singing, but (thankfully) he had a cold and had lost his voice, so instead we played cards until the wind got too strong, then headed to our tents to sleep. Unfortunately, the wind didn’t die down again until morning, so it was a pretty sleepless night, with the wind rattling and rustling the tents (a couple of times I thought my tent would take off with me in it!) – every time you’d just start to drift off another big gust would wake you up again. It was worth the sleepless night, though, for such a fun time 🙂

This morning SIL, nephew#1, FoB and WoFoB went back out to see if they could get some more goats, while brother struck the camp and I kept the other two kids entertained and out the way. When nephew#2 and I continued our card game from the night before, he turned out to have a natural talent for cards (or maybe it was just incredible luck – I lost count of how many times he was dealt the joker!) and ended up beating me in almost every hand. I’d started out letting him win, but once he’d got the hang of it I ended up playing as if I’d been playing an adult, and he still beat me!

So, I’m now sunburnt, have a sore leg where I scraped it, sore muscles from climbing up and down mountains, and feel like I haven’t slept for a week, but it was a wonderful weekend 🙂

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