Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cowgirl Cash's Best Rack

I heard about this buck and saw a picture before it actually came into Cowgirl Cash.  If you consider antlers beautiful, this set qualifies as amazing. Eva Hulett was in the same hunting party as 12 year old Olivia who also shot a buck this year.  Olivia's  mom brought in photos of Olivia and her deer and went home with a Cowgirl Cash tee shirt for her.  It was Olivia's mom that showed me the photo of Eva's buck.

Eva Hulett shot her buck at 9 am opening morning in the Silvies unit outside of Burns. It's complicated to get a tag there.  She was talking about preference points, and trading and sharing and accumulating from other states.  To be a hunter of this caliber takes effort, knowledge, research, and planning.

Eva knew the butte she wanted to be on when the sun rose September 29. Her husband wasn't in full agreement, but she had full confidence this was her spot. She started hiking in the dark and made her way to "her" stand. An hour or two later she heard a shot.  Soon after two bucks ran past and dropped of the hill out of sight.  Six more deer followed and dropped over the edge.  She took a breath, drank some water, and hoped that maybe they would circle back. Then she heard him.  A heavy footed deer was approaching, and when she saw him, she could tell he had to weave in and out of the trees to avoid snagging his huge rack.  She watched him walk.  When he finally stopped, all she could see was his rear on one side of a ponderosa tree and his antlers on the other.  There was no clear shot, and more than anything, she wanted a clean kill.

Slowly, he walked towards a clearing.  She willed him to stop but he kept moving.  There was a reason this big deer was still around.  He was smart. She was able to steady herself and take the shot.  He went down.

When she radioed her husband, she said "Come and get me, and bring a meat bag". Her husband replied "I've got a four point in my truck right now."  "I'm sure mines bigger." Eva radioed back.

They easily found the buck and when they lifted his head they all gasped.  The rest of their hunting party made their way to the deer and Eva said to her husband. "You know what this means right? Your mount has to come off the fireplace..."

When I took the T measure, (42 1/2 btw) I had to ask if the buck was a mule deer.  The antlers are a dark, gray/ rich brown.  I was told that there have been a few fires in the area since 2003, and that the bucks rub against burnt ponderosas to remove the velvet from their antlers and that causes the dark stain.

You can't talk to Eva about her deer (especially when you see it) without using the word "rack".  It's a beautiful rack!  I mentioned that a guy friend of mine had suggested that Best Rack might be a better tag line on the "trophy buckle" for my Women Only Buck Hunt than Best Buck.  I wondered if it was sexist or cheap.  Eva said "are you kidding me? These women are hunters!  They'll love it!  So there we have it.
Next year, the trophy buckle will read "Best Rack 2013"

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gutsy Woman

Laurie Piper from Redmond brought a deer in for a Tee measure on Friday, October 4. ( 39 inches) Laurie shot her deer on Sunday opening weekend of hunting season.  She had a tag in the Upper Deschutes unit.  She and her husband generally hunt in the Sisters area, but due to closures from the Pole Creek Fire they were forced to explore new country.  At 3:00 pm on Sunday, Laurie and her husband headed out Century Drive and turned off onto a Forest Service Road at about the 11 mile marker. She and her husband were not feeling very optimistic about their chances and weren't seeing any sign of deer.  They decided to head home.  As they were getting back into their Subaru a big buck crossed the road in front of them about 100 yards out.  Laurie pulled her 30-06 up to her shoulder and took a shot. It was a clean kill and the end to a successful hunt.  Thanks for sharing Laurie.  Enjoy your Cowgirl Cash tee shirt.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Buck in

Cowgirl Cash got their first Buck entered into our Women only Big Buck contest. Shelly Ann Turner came in before the season started after reading about the contest in Lily Raffs column. She told me she would bring one in and she did!

She shot her deer on the 6 Ranch outside of Enterprise in the Minam unit.  It was a three point white tail buck that she shot with a 243 Winchester.  She was hunting with her husband.  It was the second morning, Sunday just after dawn.  They had been sitting in their blind near a fence at the top of a ridge when the deer came by.  One shot through the shoulder about 75 yards brought him down. White tail are supposed to be very tasty due to the fact they hang out and eat in alfalfa fields.  Shelly Ann left with a Cowgirl cash tee shirt.  Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cowgirl Cash Hunting Story

It was Mothers Day weekend when we all decided we'd go hunting in the Fall together.  My friend Tom who is becoming quite the urban farmer was interested in harvesting a deer. My friend Carrie has hunted before and is always up for a physical challenge with a little adventure thrown in. My parents were in.  They were the ones most likely to get tags due to "preference" points accumulated over 40 years of hunting in Oregon.  Scott, and our 13 year old son were on board. And of course, as the owner of Cowgirl Cash, the sponsor of the Women only Big Buck hunt, I was in. The rest of the friends and  spouses at the Mothers Day tailgater at Mt. Bachelor, were also up for an authentic Eastern Oregon experience.

The obscure white postcard printed with successful or unsuccessful didn't arrive until mid June. Our party quickly dwindled to six. Scott and my parents were the only ones to draw a tag.  Teddy could hunt under the "mentor" program which meant he could fill one of the 3 tags.

We have hunted in the Paulina unit east of town a few times before.  It's nice because it's close, beautiful, and familiar.  However, it had been a long time since we'd filled tags there. There was a glimmer of hope early in the year of hunting on private land in Mitchell.  But it's complicated and rare to get permission. Multiple generations and past promises dashed our hopes.  We would be fine on public land. I learned a new term from my dad on this trip.  DIY hunter.  That's what we are. No lodges, no guides, no private property.

The season opened Saturday, September 29. We had hauled a trailer out the weekend before to secure a shady, central spot in the middle of the high desert. Remote, but surprisingly close.  We worked all day Friday and were at our camp sight having dinner, making a plan, packing lunches, loading guns and reminiscing over past hunts.  Lights were out by nine pm.

Day 1.
The moon opening morning was immense.  It was 5:30 am and there was no need for a headlamp.  Scott and Teddy headed out early on foot.  Luci drove my mom, dad, and I to two different spots.  It was cold and early and dark despite the moon, and damn we forgot both sets of binoculars.  Luci and my dad turned around and headed back for them.  The plan was to hit three different peaks above an open valley and glass the hillside at daybreak and wait for a big buck to walk in front of one of our groups.  We got the binoculars headed to our "stands" and waited. We watched the wind, we watched the sun and our shadows, we watched each other and waited some more.  About 2 hours later my mom and I got cold and we were starting to get bored.  No deer.  Just two red spots on one hill (Scott and Teddy) and one neon orange speck on the other (my dad).  We decided to take a walk to a ridge in the sun and scare something up. We ended up walking through a valley, up a hill, and catching up on everyone we knew and the complete Branin health history.  Scott said he couldn't always see us, but he could hear us.  Oops.  We were scaring deer to them.

After a nap and a close game of scrabble we headed to a different spot. This time it was Scott, Teddy, my dad and myself. The plan was for Scott and I to head up the butte.  Teddy and my dad would circle around on the road and pick us up afterwards.  As we headed up the hill we crossed a deer trail we referred to as the deer super highway.  Never have I seen as many tracks on one trail as this.  There were deer here!  We executed the plan and sure enough, we spooked a doe from her napping area and sent it over the hill to Teddy and my dad.  After walking and scouting and traversing we headed down and headed home.

Day 2.
I did not have a tag, so I felt perfectly justified to stay in bed when the hunting party headed out at 5:30.  I was dreaming of snuggling under my comforter with a fresh pot of pressed coffee and my book (Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  You'll understand if you've read it.)

At 10, Luci and I went driving and looking for the hunters.  We found them an hour later.  No bagged bucks, but they'd jumped some does, and found some beautiful shed antlers. Scott was ready to head in, but Teddy wanted to keep hunting. We agreed that my mom would drive and drop my dad and I and Teddy.  We drove for a few miles.  Spotted antelope, found another hunters gut pile, jumped a doe and her fawns and finally I said "wait"! Far in the distance was something that looked like the body of a big desert buck.  It was far.  It was fuzzy, but I was sure it moved like a deer.  We crept closer by car.  Finally I realized we were at the same butte from yesterday evenings hunt and that the deer I was imaging I saw was on the deer super highway!

We formulated a plan (a new plan apparently, that had my mom climbing a mountain instead of driving the car) and silently got out of the truck.  The wind was blowing our scent towards the deer.  My mom and I spread out in order to send the buck over the hill to where Teddy and my dad would be waiting on the other side.

Soon after we saw a doe staring down at us from the top.  We crept closer, scared up another doe mid-butte and then six deer ran across the top.  In the herd was a nice beautiful buck.  We had given up walkie talkies for cell phones and I texted Teddy.... Buck!!!!. Minutes later we heard a shot, then another.  Was it them?  My mom and I continued over the hill.  We took our time in case the deer circled back to the cool trees where they had emerged from.  When we got to the top of the hill we could see Teddy and my dad head down in the desert below.

Again the plan had worked.  Teddy and my dad had parked the truck and were waiting for deer to come their way.  Teddy had a nice stand, and my dad decided to rest his eyes a bit.  (We let him off the hook since he'd been hunting since dawn). Teddy heard the deer crashing down the hillside, but he was facing the wrong way.  He turned, shouted "buck"!  "Big Buck" to wake my dad. He found the deer in his scope and took a shot.  When he brought his gun down, the deer was still running.  He put another bullet in the chamber, found the deer again and took another shot.  When he took the gun down the deer was gone.  Dead and gone or just gone?  We searched for a body and blood for a good hour. This nice buck got away this time.  It was a thrill, and my dad said "Teddy, I'm proud of you for getting the lead out."

Deer hunting.  It's not for everyone, but I've decided that while I have the opportunity to spend one weekend a year with my family working together for a common goal in amazingly beautiful country, that I will continue to hunt.  I've added killing (and gutting) a buck to my "list".  I'm inspired by Lily Raff,  Cheryl Strayed, my mom, and all of the other women out there who go against the norm, stand out from the crowd, and take life head on. Besides, hunting fits my criteria for the "four basics" necessary for a good life. Whole food, fresh air, sound sleep, and love. I experienced all that this past weekend.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sisters Folk Festival Cowgirl Cash Style

First off, I apologize to all artwalk  customers who were rushed out of the store at 8:15 pm during the First Friday of September.  Scott and I were already wearing our "gold" wristbands and we had plans to see the 9:15 show of James McMurtry at the 17th annual Sisters Folk Festival.

We started this big festival weekend by securing a spot in Sisters for our little Cowgirl Cash trailer on Monday.  We had already made arrangements for our kids, so we were free to roam around Sisters and hear non-stop music for the weekend.

James McMurtry performed at the Village Green.  This was the heart of the festival.  The Village Green is located on the corner of Elm St. just south of the downtown "drag" across from the beautiful fire station.  They had a huge white tent set up and hundreds of chairs.  This venue was reserved for head liners and designated as a "listening" venue.  If you wanted to dance there were other venues waiting.  That however, did not stop festival goers from heading to the front of the stage and shaking their booty to a few McMurtry songs.  I learned that people come and go from venues in order to see all of the artists they want to see.  I was glad we stayed for the last of James McMurty because his final song, "We can't make it here" was memorable.

Scott and I were hungry after working at the store and rushing to Sisters so we headed to the Melvin's Market location.  The store (Melvin's) was open and adjacent to another beautiful white tent.  We bought some snacks and a Deschutes IPA on draft, and stood at a tall table and enjoyed our second act, Hobbs. Hobbs had the venue dancing.  The people watching was fabulous and the music was even better. After we ate, and got a feel for how this festival worked we were ready for another venue.

We headed to Angeline's Bakery.  Angeline's is a must stop for us anyway.  We love this bakery.  The line was long, and there were other choices so we headed around the corner to the Depot Cafe.  The Depot is the sandwich stop on the west end of town. I was unprepared for the stage they had set up in back.  Deck, dropped down to grass, set-up with chairs for the perfect amphitheater feel. The stage was a finely crafted work of art.  Twinkly lights, and an intimate setting made this a magical venue.  We saw Taarka here.  Scott referred to them as the "string" portion of the festival.  They had a unique and beautiful sound.  We made it back to our trailer a little after midnight.  End of Day 1.

We had hauled our bikes to Sisters for a ride on the Peterson Ridge Trail.  The music didn't really get started until noon so we had our coffee and got a nice mountain bike ride in.  First stop when we got back: Slick's Que Co. We had been told to see Jeffrey Martin.  He played his guitar along with a beautiful singer, Anna? We ate, listened, people watched.  One of my favorite features of a folk festival is the quick format.  45 minutes an artist.  We stayed at the barbecue joint to see Hobbs again.  We had heard him plugged in and rocking and we wanted to hear him unplugged.  This kid is young, and charming, really good, and a Sisters resident.

The next stop was a "must see" for me.  Slaid Cleaves on the Village Green. Customers sometimes pass on good music to me.  James McMurtry and Slaid Cleaves are two of these artists.  Slaid was not a disappointment.  Great sound, an adoring audience, and one captivating song after another.

At 3:30 we took a break and at 4:30 we had "cocktails" in the grassy square where we were camped with some other friends.  Everyone pulled out their guacamole, nuts, crackers, cheese, and booze, and we enjoyed great conversation and perfect weather. 6:00 was showtime.  Scott and I raced to Angeline's again knowing we may have to wait in line.  I wanted to see Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. They had been featured as a "band to watch" in the Source.  Our wait was about 15-20 minutes.  We were able to see them, hear them, and see Angeline's beautiful little venue.

We were on bikes and our next stop was minutes...maybe seconds away, at Sisters Art Works. We went there to hear Mary Gauthier (pronounced Go Shay) but came in for the last two song of Keith Greeninger. He brought down the house.  When Mary took the stage she said "I didn't know I coming on after Bruce Springsteen".  That pretty much sums up Keith's style, and Mary's wit.

After Mary we moved up as close to the stage as we could to see David Jacobs-Strain and the Crunk Mountain Boys.  I'd seen David before, but this band was a treat.  I'm officially a BIG fan.

"Late Night" for Scott and I was Melvin's Market to see Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three.  Our timing allowed us to see a few songs of John Fullbright.  This guy was amazing.  He had this "dance" venue mesmerized.  His piano playing, his voice, and the lyrics captivated.  Like most of these artists he will be a "must see" anytime he comes through Oregon. Pokey has a sound like no other.  Ragtime, cartoon, rockabilly, dance.  I'm no music expert of course, but this band was really unique and a treat to watch and dance to.

Again we were in bed shortly after midnight.  I had big plans for Sunday at 9...

I had read on facebook that Shine Global was part of a yoga challenge that was taking place in Sisters. I love yoga, but this was my music weekend.  What grabbed me, was that Shirin Amini was playing for the practice.  Lovely!  At 9 am I placed my mat on the grass in front of Live.Love.Yoga and had a blissful experience.

I biked from that transforming event to the best church service I've ever been to.  Artist after artist came out singing one beautiful; song after another.  Catie Curtis, Seth Glier (Let it be), Abigail Washburn singing and "buck dancing" on stage, Jude Johnstone, Moe Dixon, and finally 1 1/2 hours later, Keith Greening had the whole Village Green tent on their feet singing...Every Little things, Gonna be alright.  Whew.

There was more music to be enjoyed, but there was also a trailer to take home, kids to pick up, and work and school to prepare for.  Sisters Folk Festival; we will be back.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Even Cowgirl Cash can make jam.

The Pilot House, Ocean Park, WA.

Prettiest hydrangea ever and blue sky and ocean beyond!

Our last hurrah before school started this year was a trip to the family beach house. It's the perfect place to cool down from Bend's heat, celebrate Teddy's late August birthday, and enjoy the last of summer at a slow pace.  This trip has been on the books for months and in the back of my mind I've been planning to make blackberry jam.  I've made jam twice before this trip and both times have been with my girlfriend Suzanne.  She brings her expertise, her "equipment" and her enthusiasm and we get busy.  This time however, I was on my own. The beach offers time for the activity, a cooler kitchen, and seasonal berries.  Blackberries abound here. However, I only picked a few of these precious and prickly berries.  The rest I bought at a roadside stand and I had to ask for them.  The young girl was out back picking them at the time, and I bought all they had.

Here is Cowgirl Cash's "wanna be" jam makers how to guide...Trust me it's EASY.

1. Start with a 1/2 flat of berries. I used blackberries and the flat cost me $16.
2. Assemble your tools and ingredients.

3. You need "pectin", sugar, jars, and lids. You can buy everything you need at Bi-Mart in Bend, and at Jack's Country store in Ocean Park, WA. (also Safeway) The lids consist of rings and the flat lids you can see in the above picture.  My jars were "regular" sized lids as opposed to "wide mouth". Don't assume you have enough sugar at home.  Jam takes a lot of sugar. The paper, (next to my readers) are the instructions that come in the pectin box.  That's what I used.  It has instructions for almost every imaginable fruit jam.

 4. All of the tools above come in handy and I now keep them all together in my jam pot, (along with the jars as we finish our jam). A funnel for getting the jam into jars, a long handled wooden spoon, a flat slotted spoon for "skimming" foam from the hot cooked jam and a measuring cup for measuring sugar and crushed berries.

5. This is my big jam pot.  It's not for the berries, it's for sealing the jars. The metal ring at the right cradles the jam jars in the pot.

6. The secret to successful jam making is following the instructions to the letter.  That is not my strong point, but I can do it if a have someone working with me to keep me straight.  I read the instructions over and over. Measure crushed berries, not whole, pre-measure the sugar into another bowl, start the huge pot of water boiling early, sterilize the jars and lids, use a timer, adjust the time if you are at higher elevation.  It's all important.  But trust me, it's all EASY.

7. Luci dropping jam into the hot pot with tongs.

 8. Timing the process is very important!

Ahh, the satisfaction of  your own winters supply of jam.  We've already given away 2 jars, and eaten 1/2 of another. I hope this little tutorial motivates you to try jam making.  It's EASY, really

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cowgirl Cash visits the Wild Horse Corrals

I'm still nursing a calf injury so instead of a family hike or bike ride, we took a road trip.  Destination: BLM Wild Horse Facility outside of Burns, OR.  Find Hwy 20 East and drive 2 hours. This weekend was a Mustang Adoption event.  We really didn't know what we would find at the end of the drive. We spotted the mustang statue off the road and turned at the BLM sign.  I was hoping there would still be mustangs left to see...

We got our first sight of corrals and horses.  Yes there were still some left.  We later learned that there are over 450 mustangs to adopt. They come from:
Paisley Desert
Beaty's Butte
South Steens
Palomino Buttes
Sand Springs
Big Summit
Murderers Creek
Warm Springs
and the area made famous by the movie Spirit. Kiger.

We did what most people do, (especially city slickers in a volvo) and took the driving tour.  I suggest stopping at the office before the tour.  We drove the loop twice because we were better informed with the maps provided that clearly outlined each pen and what horses were in each one.  One year old fillies, 3 year old mares, 2 year old geldings etc...

The horses were amazingly healthy looking.  I guess I expected half starved and mangy wild horses struggling to find food.  But many of these horses have been at the facility for 3-4 years and look healthy and  happy.  Tara at the office said that's a sign that they are doing their job.

 Of course the moms and babies got me out of the car.  I snapped this shot and soon discovered there were two!

If you are in the market for a beautiful horse that is a true product of the Wild West, there are plenty to choose from.  They cost $125  and during the adoption weekend they will deliver. There is a screening form to fill out.  Wild mustangs have special needs like higher fencing.  You forget that these gorgeous horses are wild until you approach the fence.  They run.