Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Taking Aim

I'm home!
Hopefully to stay for a while . . .
Lunch.

For over twenty years, my Husby served as Scout supervisor.

This included acting as a leader on numerous scout camps.
A true test of one's manhood.
Or at least one's patience and endurance.
These camps were held, invariably, in the great outdoors. Woods. Mountains. Streams.
Wild animals.
The scouters glimpsed many, many of these latter. But the animals they saw most were the cute, little furry ones who ran in and out of their campsites. Made messes.
And stole food.
Squirrels.
The original camp robbers.
On one camp, there was a particular little scamp who was a little bolder and craftier than others like her.
She got into one too many bags of treats.
One of the scouts - who had aspirations to play major league - threw a rock at her.
Hit her square.
And knocked her dead.
I don't know which of them was the most surprised.
Husby looked at the chagrined boy and decided this was a perfect teaching moment. One did not waste what was given in the woods, he told the scouter.
He made the boy skin the squirrel out.
Clean it.
And cook it.
Unfortunately, the lesson was rather lost. It was a young squirrel, tender and succulent.
Rather tasty.
The boys talked about the incident throughout the rest of the camp and into the next season.
And winter camp.
Attended by the younger brother of the first scout.
Who now had some big shoes to fill.
Or so he thought.
Again, there was an abundance of squirrels.
He chose one.
Took aim with his rock.
And hit it with one shot.
So far so good.
After enduring the getting-to-be-standard lecture from his scouter, he skinned the squirrel out.
Cleaned it.
And cooked it.
And suddenly discovered that not all squirrels are the same.
This one, a rather elderly male had been surviving on winter fare and was . . . nothing like the first.
Tough, stringy and decidedly . . . un-tasty.
Unhappily, he chewed his way through it.
Then hung up his stones and throwing arm for good.
Some records just aren't made to be broken.

17 comments:

  1. Many thoughts about this, but they're all jumbled up. So I'll just say that the number of lessons to be learned on ranch appear limitless.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Squirrel...right up there with mountain oysters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay. Mountain oysters, I've eaten. Squirrel . . .

      Delete
  3. I'm impressed they could hit a squirrel with a rock! I think I'll stick with chicken :)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too. The kind I buy in a package from the grocery . . .

      Delete
  4. I grew up in a hunting family, but have slowly reverted to "city girl" status--so to me, squirrels are those cute little devils in our back yard that we refer to as our "outdoor pets." Eating one? Mmm, not so much. (Though I would never turn my nose up at venison...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. It's probably a good thing I wasn't on either of those camps. I'm the camper who thinks it's cute when a squirrel gnaws through the bag and gets into the bread . . . while I'm watching. Little monkey!

      Delete
  5. Arghhhhh cannot imagine eating a squirrel---I see them more as cute pets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm in your camp, Marcia! On holidays last week, we kept a squirrel feeder supplied the whole week and had the greatest fun watching the little guys. Sometime I'll tell you about the face-off between a squirrel and a magpie three times his size . . .

      Delete
  6. I would like to be sad about the squirrels but it's pretty hard not to laugh at your ending, and that's not even counting the label, where you have outdone yourself, Diane!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think squirrels are the cutest! Even when they're getting into mischief! The labels are for you, Jenny. You keep me thinking . . .

      Delete
  7. If you are hungry enough anything tastes good....even squirrel.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Where I grew up squirrels were a normally hunted and eaten animal but never with a rock and never by me! I can still remember the smell of it frying in the kitchen. Yuck!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I loved this one; thanks for sharing it. I am sure my husband and sons will love reading it too.
    Blessings for this one!

    ReplyDelete
  10. A couple of lessons well learned I'd say.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Quite the moral in this story! Some records truly are best left unbroken!!
    I can't help but wonder how the first boy turned out though - is he still throwing rocks at rodents?

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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