Monday, February 15, 2010

Ducks, and then a Tease

And so the hunting saga continues....

Once we had arrived in southern California, we celebrated my brother's birthday on Christmas Eve. We had a delicious home-cooked meal and the great company of family and a few close friends. Then, Christmas Day, we DIDN'T celebrate Christmas. I know, what's wrong with us? Well we didn't do Christmas in the sense of opening presents and all that. Why, you ask? As I am sure I've mentioned before, my family (immediate and extended) is rather large and we all celebrate Christmas together. At least in the good old days before everyone grew up and moved away. We also have the Secret Santa thingamagig which I mentioned when Ryan got his hunting gear. With this year being quite lean compared to most, we knew there weren't going to be a whole lot of presents, so the Secret Santa and white elephant exchanges were going to be a highlight. Oom Tiki and his girls were going to be with Kelly's family on Christmas day. AND, Tante San, who now lives in the great wet state of Washington, was in Vegas with Mem, who had to work until the 27th, but then they were going to come to see us. So we decided to hold off on all the present opening until everyone could be here with us and participate in the special events like old times. So, our "Christmas" was on the 28th. It was a good time, though not quite like old times since we were missing some people (mainly Alyss and Willem) but nearly everyone was there. Also, Tante San was flying out the next morning, so there was not enough time to make the big Dutch-Indo spread that she used to do. Anyhow, we were going to have another family classic, sate with spicy peanut sauce and cucumber salad, for dinner followed by opening presents on the evening of the 28th. Jopie took Ryan out to Salton Sea for duck hunting earlier that day.

With a morning that started at 3am, it was a trekker. I didn't get to go so I couldn't get any pictures while they were out there. But here's what I got when they came back.

seven birds total: 1 coot, 2 greenheads and 4 ruddies

Did you know Daffy Duck is a coot? Aw, sad. These aren't just from Ryan and Oom Jopie, the Robs also went with them (Jopie's friend Rob, and his son "little" Rob). Ryan got three of the birds. Actually, funny story. It seems that with duck hunting, you can't really just go out to the lake/pond and go hunting. There are clubs and special days, yadda, yadda, and certain times you should go to increase your chances of getting some birds. Ducks can be elusive creatures. Basically, you want to go on days when other hunters are out there, so that the birds they scare come flying over to you, and vice versa. OR, you want to go on a day that is cold, windy, rainy and basically, miserable. This is because the ducks will constantly be moving around to find a better place to sit on the water, and they might come towards you. However, the day that the boys went, it was sunny and was the hunting club's off-day. No one was out there (this is why Oom Tiki didn't go). Well Oom Tiki called one of his friends who lives/works? out there to ask him if he has seen anybody(my uncle and the boys) and the guy says, "No, it's been really quiet. There's no one out here. Well except for these two fat guys in a canoe rowing around the lake." Oom Tiki says that this cannot be my uncle because he knows that you don't want to be rowing around in a canoe! You need to be in a duck blind waiting for the birds to come your way. Oom Tiki relayed this conversation to all of us back at home since we were waiting for Oom Jopie and Ryan to return from the trip. They didn't have their cell phones on them while they were out hunting, and the drive back is through the desert and the boonies with no signal, so we had no idea what is was like until they returned and we got to ask them how it went. This was their response..." Oh, it sucked until we got the canoe out." At that point, we all just started busting up laughing while they looked at us cluelessly, because what could possibly be funny about rowing around in a canoe? Apparently Jopie took command of the canoe, rowing around to make the birds fly while the others got to shoot. Each of the other guys took turns sitting at the front of the canoe shooting and moving to different locations around the lake. Since there was no rain, wind or other hunters around to do that job, Jopie was a good sport and rowed around all day. Hilarious story though.

The ruddies aren't edible. While they don't taste very good, I think because they are mud-sifters, they have high levels of toxins in them. The coot is not edible either, but the greenheads are.

Can see that gleam of green on their heads?

You have to look hard, but it's more obvious in the photo of Ryan holding them. Their feathers, particularly the down on the their bellies, are sooo soft. Actually feeling what goes inside those down pillows and comforters lends a great understanding as to why they are so luxe.

daytime. aren't they pretty?

Don't worry. . . we didn't let that meat go to waste!

mmmm....Asian duck pizza.

Not the prettiest, but it sure was yummy. Ryan says this was the best pizza he'd ever had. While it was good, I don't know if I would go that far. I am sure his manly pride was having a severe effect on his taste buds. =) Duck meat is pretty strong and has a distinct taste, I don't think I'd ever really had it prior to this. I'm glad that we did something where the flavor was more diffuse, rather eating a whole stuffed duck or something. The greenheads are also fairly small, like a cornish game hen, once they are dressed, so there was not a whole lot of meat to begin with. We got the crust from Trader Joe's. So good. I'd make more homemade pizzas, except we don't have a Trader Joe's here. Guess I have to go exploring for a good equivalent.

Oom Tiki took Ryan out on another trip, with more "ideal" conditions, but they didn't get anything. Bummer. But that goes to show you never know what you're going to get. Ryan had so much fun though, and I know he's aching to go out with my uncles again in the fall. Thanks Oom Jopie and Oom Tiki for showing him such a good time!

This man is SO proud of these birds.

Want to see a bit of something I am really proud of? It's not quite done yet, but I worked really (like really) hard on it this weekend. My fingers are sore. I hope this makes you smile as much it did me!

sneak peek of Myla's quilt top outside

on the floor getting ready for a sandwich!

I'm about to burst with excitement to show you more . . . but it will have to wait. Don't worry, I have other things to share in the mean time. Happy Monday!

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