A few warm spring days snuck up on us like a snake in the grass, in fact the odd snake and shingle back lizards have been seen basking on the hot roads. Had spring finally arrived? All of a sudden it appeared as though the chilly winter blues were finally moving on. It got me thinking about sorting out one last hunt for the year. Tramping through the dry bush on foot in summer is not my idea of fun. Not only is it hot and sticky, but the hunters mind is focused on the prize of deer, not the venomous brown snake lurking at their feet. Summer for this hunter is reserved for nurturing vegetables, berries and fruit tree’s, and of course the odd wad up a river with the fly rod. I leave the deer alone to grow fat on summers goodness, then I'll return when they go mad in autumn.
A few calls were made and the last hunt arranged. A quick overnight trip with the opportunity to hunt one dusk, one dawn.
Jack and I talked most of the drive up. The country was flat, with the rare slight undulating hill an exciting feature on the landscape. We passed mostly barren looking land, marginal farming at it’s worse. The low rainfall of the past winter showed plenty of stunted and failed crops. Many dusty roads and blistering highway we drove until we came to the farm we’d been invited to.
By the time we arrived, the sun still sat too high to hunt, so we said our hellos to the boss and set off down the bush to explore. The block seemed to go on forever, we crossed flat pasture, tilled soil and thick scrubby bush. It was perfect habitat for Fallow deer. We spent the warm afternoon walking and driving the various tracks and trails. We found deer tracks, worn down by repeated journeys of exiting the scrub to feed on nearby green pasture, which they do with the safety of darkness. We found scats, skulls and prints. This was definitely deer country.
We set up a position, hidden in long grass we waited. Mosquitoes buzzed and bit any exposed flesh. Sugar ants snuck up from the grass for a quick nibble, and the warm sun blessed us with warm rays. It fell like a lifetime for the sun to dip low. It was at low sun that we hoped for something to appear from the bottleneck of deer tracks in the bush, out to feed on the pasture. Patiently we lay. Nothing but kangaroo! The sun dipped far too low to hunt, we packed it in and hunted hare in the evening, of which we also failed to see.
Late that evening, almost at midnight, we set a fire and cooked a meal. In between bursts of conversation we rested silently in our chairs, contemplating the days hunt. We agreed we’d done everything right to make the hunt work. We lacked one vital element, Luck. We just weren’t at the right place at the right time. It’s one thing about hunting that can challenge your resolve. The thought of coming home without meat for the freezer. Even worse is the jibes from your partner. "Gee that seemed like a long way to go not to get a deer". So supportive.
Thankfully we have enough food to get us through. This hunt was more about getting food for Jack’s freezer, not mine! I guess he’ll just have to take more care with his veg garden this summer! We also hunted the dawn, but got stuck without luck once again. The drive home had my head full of thoughts about the reality of being a hunter. It’s a reminder from nature that we don’t get to choose when we get meat. That’s the way it works in the real world. But in the ‘man’ipulated world things are very different.
(warning- this article contains some honest colourful language)
I started hunting for meat years ago. I don’t know exactly when, in any case that’s irrelevant. What is important is why I started hunting. I knew I was eating poorly. I was eating meat that hadn't been raised real well. I knew that most of the farmed animals I happily consumed, had lived a shitty existence. I knew that corners where cut so that we the consumer, could purchase the meat at a low price. So I made a personal decision that I’d rather eat meat that’s come from a wild free animal than eat meat from one that’s been treated poorly by human hands. But let’s put that issue aside for the moment.
I want to address the big driver behind Whole Larder Love. The philosophy behind how and why I live the way I do is based around the fundamental idea/reality that no major food corporation or government will have my nutritional diet and health in their best interests. They also don’t have your health in their best interest either. They do however take making money very seriously. Last night on the ABC iView was a phenomenal example of this very depressing reality. The industry body, the one which has the best interest of the food companies in mind, is the puppeteer of bad health. They believe that it’s ok that fast food and processed shit can be sold to us. They believe it’s up to the individual to self regulate what they eat. HELLO! IT’S NOT BLOODY WORKING!!!! We are getting fatter, sicker and dying younger. And it happened to me.
I myself only exist online because of this very dilemma. I got sick, I got 'all of the above' sick and I then started to change my life, hence the catalyst behind the blog. I didn’t self regulate, I just ate what I wanted. I’d eat a take away home delivered pizza late at night after a few bottles of wine and a packet of cigarettes. Not a pretty picture. With my hangover the following day, I’d head to another fast food outlet to eat me take away McHangover cure. An even uglier reality.
It’s estimated that 70% of Australian adults will be overweight or obese in ten years. We need to do something. The government isn’t being proactive. The big companies don’t give a shit about anything else but money. We have to take the initiative and do something.
This blog has been evolving for years. It now has mega clarity in it’s aim. To communicate the story of an Aussie bloke that changed the way he lived from Macca’s to mountains of kale. From Burger King to Rabbit Stew. From KFC to home grown vegetables. From supermarket junk to dirty but sweet home grown carrots. I am proud of the changes I have made. Why? Because I’m a living, breathing example that lifestyle change and nutrition can improve an individuals health. I’m proof that a person can make positive changes in regards to food and lifestyle. Ok my story may be a bit extreme and I’m not suggesting everyone do what I’ve done, the whole grow your own thing, but at least may I suggest we eat real food. That is achievable for everyone.
Oh and one last thing. That hunting mate of mine Jack. He often tells me his sulphite stories. So you know what sulphites are right? You know they’re added to most processed foods and drinks right? You know that they cause asthma, allergic reactions, and disrupt our gut bacterias right? Australia is the most under-regulated country in regards to sulphites being added in foods. The sulphite story goes largely untold. But the good news is that once it’s cut out of your diet your body repairs itself. Jacks personal story is encouraging but even better is the tale of one of his relatives, who had been relying on ventolin for years. After changing the diet to whole foods, and no sulphites the puffer sat in the draw for a year. Now I’m not suggesting it’s a cure for asthma, but what an amazing tale of overcoming something by simply eating what our bodies have evolved to eat.
Now isn’t that an amazing way to approach living well. Eating what our bodies have evolved to eat. No way! What an outlandish idea.