Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Granddad blogging: huntin' and choppin'

Last week in granddad blogging my grandfather described bathing and the interior wall treatments of the converted school house he grew up in (it's better than it sounds), this week he talks about hunting and trapping.

I trapped and caught ‘possums and polecats and coons. Tried to catch foxes. Never did do much good at that. But there was a black family that lived down below us. They had good dogs and I went huntin’ with them a lot. They’d come up to the house about 4 o’clock in the morning, knock on the porch and I’d have to get my clothes on real fast and bounce out the door and we’d go huntin.

They had dogs that would tree animals, in holes or up in the trees, catch ‘em before they could get in the hole or the tree. We’d catch from none to four or five animals before daylight. Then we had to come home. And if we caught a pole cat, well, I’d change clothes and wash a little, but had to wear the same shoes and go to school and get in there where they had a pot belly stove. You could tell whether I’d caught a pole cat or not.

We would skin the animals and sell the hides. We usually carried ‘em to a country store or we carried ‘em to Lebanon. Down on the square there’s a statue standing of General Stratton, I believe it is. It had an iron fence around it and the fur buyers would come and stand around that fence and you would show ‘em your furs and they’d tell you what they’d give you for it. If they bought it, they’d pay you for it and hang it up on that fence. They’d buy fur from all over Wilson Co all day long. I reckon they carried it to Nashville and sold it to somebody and then it wound up being shipped to St. Louis or Chicago or New York or somewhere where they needed ‘em for coats and hats and what have you.

We also caught rabbits. We dressed them, that was simply takin the insides out and leaving the fur and everything on ‘em. We wouldn’t eat ‘em that way, but we’d take those rabbits down there, too. They’d give us a dime a piece for ‘em. And they shipped them to Nashville, I don’t know where. Somebody ate ‘em somewhere.

I ate rabbit, but I wouldn’t eat a rabbit that had been done like that, whole and all. But now in England at one time, they dressed rabbits and hung them in the well. They’d let ‘em hang there to where when the pulled the hair it would slip off and come off. They also hung chickens in the well and let them hang there til where when you pulled the feathers the feathers would come off. I never would go for that either.

We raised chickens, a lot of ‘em. The ones we were gonna eat, we took ‘em and put ‘em in a chicken coop and fed ‘em, confined ‘em pretty tight, and fed ‘em corn and gravy, I don’t know what all. Fattened ‘em up, and they would get fat in there. Sort of like the French do with geese. They nail their feet down to where they can’t move. But these chickens were stuck tight in the coop and they couldn’t move much.

After they’d been in there so long, we’d take ‘em out and we’d either cut the heads off or take ‘em and wring their heads off and then dip ‘em in hot water. You had to be careful and not dip ‘em too long. Then you could pull the feathers out pretty easily. Then you cut the chicken up and washed it real good and put a little salt on ‘em. We never would eat ‘em the day we killed ‘em. We’d keep ‘em overnight and eat ‘em the next day. But a lot of people would go out and kill ‘em and cook ‘em and eat ‘em right then. But we would never do that, I don’t know why. We thought they were better if you wait a day, I reckon. That’s the only reason I know.

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