Holly Jolly

We had a difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, we had to put our dog to sleep on December 23. Last year, we started moving on December 23.

I really want to make up for it this year. And given our environment, I really wanted to make use of the pine and pine cones I could forage from our yard. I finished the decorations today. We don’t go Clark Griswold on the lights, but simple is best in my opinion.

By the way, if you ever collect pine cones for use indoors, be sure to rinse them, shake off the excess water, and then bake them on a foil-lined baking sheet at 200 degrees F for 45 minutes. This dries up the sap, kills any lingering insects, and opens up the pine cones if they are still closed. I am continuing to collect pine cones to hang on the Christmas trees.

I sort of wish we could get a real tree. Our yard is full of them — and some are the perfect Christmas tree size. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to chop one down and bring it in the house to decorate.

On to a different topic.

On Tuesday, two hunters knocked on our door. They were hunting in the wooded area across the street from our house, shot a buck, and it took off into our yard. They think it may have died on our property and wanted to bring a tracking dog later that afternoon to find it. I was in no position at the time to take them through the backyard in search of it, or I would have. (I just finished working out and was dressed accordingly.) They wouldn’t need a tracking dog if it did die in our yard. It would be easy enough to find.

Regardless, I gave them permission to come back. Because I needed them to take it away if it did die in our yard. I did a search of the yard a little later but found nothing. Not a single drop of blood and especially not a deer carcass.

They came back at 4 pm with a bloodhound, and the dog tracked the buck’s scent through our yard. I accompanied them through the yard, partly out of interest and partly because I don’t want complete strangers traipsing through our yard without supervision – we have some tripping hazards and it’s a liability issue.

We found a spot where some foliage had been damaged, and there were some fresh deer tracks there. The hound followed the scent all the way to the back of our property and indicated that the deer had crossed the fence to the property behind ours. So they continued their search there, and that’s where my story with them ends.

I have no idea if they ever found the buck. But I hope they did because I would hate to think it was shot in vain. Though if they didn’t find it, I’m pretty sure the coyotes did.

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