My most recent blog mentioned a couple of folks in the piney woods who had excellent smokehouses. They were most interesting characters and I had the good fortune of exploring the woods with both of them and hunted squirrels with one. They were brothers and modern day Henry David Thoreau’s.
These guys knew the woods like the back of their hand. I would be hopelessly lost and they would look at a tree and comment about how many squirrels they had killed in that one. They hunted only for food and would usually kill a deer in off-season because they were afraid of the woods with city hunters prowling around and shooting at anything. They claim that the deer meat taste better in summer, so that’s when they hunted.
I have always been interested in birds and one of these guys knew them all. I almost had a wreck when driving down a country road and spotted a pileated woodpecker and thought I may have seen a rare Ivorybill. They set me straight. Geologist and archeologist frequently visited one of these guys to get his opinion on the lay of the land in the piney woods. In prehistoric times, much of the piney woods was under water and my friend could show them the water line from his location of fossils.
Neither of these guys ever worked for someone else except as short stints as a guard in the prison in Huntsville or for a brief period climbing a watchtower to spot forest fires. Their work was farming and hunting. One of them had never owned a car. They raised everything they needed. There was no such thing as TV and the only entertainment was a church meeting or to stand out in the field and watch an occasional airplane fly over at a very high altitude. One of them once told me that he thought that airplane was about 30,000 feet up which is the height of Mt. Everest. Can you imagine climbing that high?
Both of these guys were well read and memorized every page of Readers Digest when it used to be a good magazine. It was always an education just to be with them and I got some good ham and visited their smokehouses to boot.
Those guys are now long gone and nothing but a memory. Wish they were around to keep me company on the porch but I would be embarrassed to feed them any of my store bought food.