Saturday morning cartoons were interrupted by the phone ringing. "How many points does it have?" I asked into the phone.
"Eleven," Tom replied, "But there's a little problem. Think your horse would drag it out of the woods for me?"
"We can try," I said, my mind already moving into building a harness. "Let me get Trey around, and we'll be over."
Two hours later, Rory and I stepped out of the woods into the field, the huge buck coming along behind us. Neither of us had worked that hard in quite a while!
As Tom told the story, he had taken the shot with his bow and at the last minute the buck turned - and a clean shoulder shot became a messy 'gut' shot. Two hours of tracking later, they found the buck. Up and down the foothills of our mountains - steep climbs, leaf-covered slippery descents, ravines, creek-beds and washed out footpaths - this was the trail we took in, and out.
Rory and I worked together to drag the deer out - me at Rory's head encouraging him, and Rory contending with a lariat looped to the roping saddle. The makeshift harness had plenty of padding, but a 210lb dead-weight buck is still heavy. Tom followed along, keeping the buck from sliding off the edge of the ravines, breaking it free from trees and brush.
We're a team, my husband and I, and we used our best skills to together bring home over 140 pounds of meat for our freezer.
To me, the true definition of self-sufficiency is when a family works together to meet their needs. Whether we accomplish that by working the land, raising our own meat or hunting; or for urban dwellers, creating a family budget and working together to put family first, when we are working together - we are self-sufficient.
Next post: A family that butchers together, eats together!