The Chair

Kathy’s at it again…making us smile and think, all at the same time. 🙂

Slightly Off the Grid

When  parents down-size and elderly relatives pass away, stuff gets scattered and settles into the homes of different family members.  Pretty much every room in my house contains something that originally came from someone else’s house, from the lamp and mirror in my office to the china cabinet in the dining room.  Once in awhile someone in the family, someone who has been over a bazillion times, will say, “Hey, didn’t that (fill-in-the-blank) used to be in (fill-in-another-blank)’s house?”

Last week we were gathered at my sister’s for Easter dinner.  We’ve all been there a bazillion times.  This time, a group of siblings were dining in the music room.  It’s not like we’ve never been in the music room; we just never ate there before.  Someone looked toward the corner of the room and noticed the chair.

“Hey, look, it’s The Chair.”

Lo and behold, there was The Chair that used to be in the…

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Farewell to a friend

Farewell DonJust about two years ago, I had the great pleasure of being introduced to Mr. Don Langrehr. He was one of the kindest, happiest, chattiest men I had ever met. He sat and spoke with my husband about everything from his life on the farm, military career, and years as a volunteer firefighter to the wonderful woman, Joan, whom he was so happy to have called his wife for many years, until her passing not long before we were introduced.

By the time we met Don, he was 81 years old and had been struggling for a while with Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM). He spent a great deal of time moving about by use of his scooter and had lost a great deal of the use of his hands.  None of this got him down though…at least not on the outside.  He loved his life on Rumsey Island and even signed off often as “The Bard of the Rumsey Canal”.  He loved to scooter around the neighborhood to his favorite restaurant and really enjoyed having visitors who would stop to visit on a regular basis.  His favorite past time of recent years was sitting on his patio and taking in all that nature had to offer.  He was a lover of birds and history and life itself.

He learned of my work with The Zone Magazine and, through my sister, I learned of his interest in writing for The Zone.  He had so many stories to share and such a wonderful way of painting a picture with words. And so, in August of 2011, Don became the regular blogger for “Thoughts for Thursday” at The Zone, as well as a contributing writer for our monthly e-magazine. Almost every Thursday, he shared everything with us from his life as a child to the history behind most everything.  I learned so much through Don’s postings and stories and enjoyed reading them tremendously, as did many of our readers.

Don2Late last year, Don learned that he was fighting a new battle…one with cancer.  Even then, he didn’t seem to let it get him down. He continued to have a positive attitude and a smile. He looked at it as a new challenge and made the best of the hand he was dealt.

It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you that we received word that Don has lost his battle with cancer and has passed on.  He will be greatly missed and we can only hope, where ever he may be, that he is scooter free and soaring with the eagles. I know for certain that Joan will be at his side and that he is now smiling down at all of us, happy to know the secret of what’s to come and cheering every one of us on in our own journeys.

Rest in Peace Don Langrehr, you were a son, brother, husband, father and friend but you will always be “The Bard of the Rumsey Canal” to this girl.

Jennifer Kline

Don’s last article for The Zone Magazine can be found in the upcoming April issue and, if you missed his blogs from the past, we encourage you to scroll back through “Thoughts for Thursday” and enjoy his many entertaining posts, he’d love to know that his stories continue to be read and shared.

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Plodding and stomping towards spring

spring-forwardThe clocks are set forward and my sleep schedule is skewed. The delight of coming home to hours of sunlight will not have me springing forward into my day. I will be staying up too late for the next week and then feeling morose when the sunbeam that had finally started coming in my window to wake me delays its entrance until I’ve left the house. Sigh.

But springtime is a time of optimism. After the week of the no-show snow-quester, the balmy weather this weekend was exhilarating. It was a good weekend for getting outside. If I hadn’t been conserving energy for an overnighter with our toddler granddaughter, I would have attacked the yard. Still, even with little Emily en route to our house, I couldn’t resist pulling out the rake and at least poking around the gardens.

The daffodils are popping up so I was sure I’d unrake some Spring. I was on a search for chives. Even though I need to replenish them this year, I’m still on the lookout for the first sprigs for my eggs. Nothing yet. They really don’t peek until St. Patrick’s Day, another week from now. I raked their bed anyway.

Crocus. If the daffodils are popping, shouldn’t the crocus be hiding under the leaves? I raked the crocus/black-eyed susan bed and found nothing but dirt and some mole trails. ACK! Moles!!! I thought that bed was safe because it is surrounded by sidewalk. Errrrgg. Now I don’t know if they have totally destroyed the bed or if I’m just peeking earlier than usual because of the early daylight savings time and a balmy weekend. It’s not officially spring yet. The susans should not be up yet anyway, but have the moles destroyed the crocus?

Sure this was supposed to be a gopher, not a mole...but it's still funny.

Sure this was supposed to be a gopher, not a mole…but it’s still funny.

In the fall, a colleague of mine gave me a mole “device.” If I call it a mole killer, someone will get weepy over the poor little critters. So I won’t call it a mole killer. It’s a “device” for dealing with moles. I will say, though, that the “device” looks like it was invented by Edward Scissorhands. When I brought it home from school (It never entered the school, by the way. We transferred the “device” to my car in the parking lot, although it could have been a very effective class management tool.)…anyway, I gave it very carefully to my husband who was ready to nonchalantly toss it into the outer mudroom.

Some people don’t know we have an “outer mudroom.” They’ve seen the mudroom and thought that was bad enough. The “outer mudroom” is the room beyond the mudroom door. It is supposed to be the place to put the stuff that people who have garages store where the car is supposed to go. Are you with me? Because I’m getting lost–which is what happens to anything that goes into the “outer mudroom.”

John was about to toss the mole “device” into the outer mudroom when I started “talking” to him:

“You can’t throw that thing in there!!! It will cut someone’s hand off!”

So he put it in a box. And tossed the box into the outer mudroom. I would not be able to find it today if my life depended on it. He will claim that he knows exactly where it is. But in case he doesn’t and something should happen to my husband and me, I’m hereby alerting dear grown children who would have to go through our possessions that there is a mole “device” in a box in the mudroom. Somewhere.

We have another ten days until the official start of Spring. Ten days for the crocus and chives to present themselves. While I wait, I’ll stomp on mole trails and try to get Someone to activate a critter management plan.

Kathy Harp – visit her personal blog Maywood Living.

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Here we go again…

St. Francis ChurchI was born, baptized and raised a Catholic, educated in a Catholic School for 12 years. After 83 years of life as a follower of Rome, I still consider myself a good “hickory” Catholic, as defined by my beloved mother-in-law, Agnes Becker Hartman, who has gone on to her reward. I don’t know where the tag “hickory” came from but it means someone who would fight and die for the church, but doesn’t necessarily believe all the “truths”.

There have been two hundred and sixty-six Popes running the ship since it was built and when I first walked up the plank, Pius XI was the captain and there have been seven  different Popes since then. There was another Pius, the XII, then four with variations of the name John and Paul and our beloved Gregory.

Now after a gap of six hundred years, the Captain, instead of going to his eternal reward while Master of the ship, has decided, due to ill-health, to pass the helm to a younger successor. I think this is very admirable and applaud the Pope for this, not that he is awaiting my OK. But this does give rise to the reason I am here writing today.

It was probably around 1935, my first year under the tutelage of the Sisters of St. Francis, that I learned my first truths of the Catholic church. Pope Pius XI was in charge of the ship at the time and remained at the wheel until 1939. So then the church was faced with the first opportunity that I can remember to choose their next Captain, and we all had been taught that Peter I was our first Pope and when the next person picked Peter II, or Peter the Roman, that would mean the end of the world was imminent (this prophesy was first revealed in 1595).

I was just nine years old, lived on a farm with a radio as my only link to the outside world and being educated by Catholic Nuns that had been taught the same things about being a Catholic as they were teaching me. I truly believed that if the next Pope picked was Peter, that would mean the end of time. We were also told what the suffering and pain that accompanied the end would be like…it was not good.

Pope white smokeFrom what I remember of my early days of religious instruction in my 12 years of Catholic School, the emphasis was on fear. It was fear of the wrath of God and fear of the eternal fires of Hell and finally the fear of all of the terrible things that will accompany the end of our time. You can well understand why I was frightened out of my mind when the election of a new Pope was happening and all I could do on that day was to hug the radio and when the white smoke came from the small chimney, I turned off the radio, not wanting to hear the name of the new Captain of the ship. My father, who was not a frightened 9-year-old, and my mother who was deaf and sitting there awaiting someone to tell the results, turned the Philco back on.

I ran outside and took refuge in the barn, my place to escape the world. Mom knew where I would be and she quickly found me and took me in her arms and assured me that all was OK and Pius XII would be the next Pope. We all know that Pius XII took us through WWII with all of its pain, death and controversy, and remained at the helm until 1958. I was 28 when Blessed John XXIII assumed the control of the ship and I suppose had already started my leanings toward becoming that ”hickory” Catholic that I spoke of earlier.

Pope John instituted a lot of change in the church but was still our Blessed John when he died in 1963 and Paul VI was elected. My fear of Peter II may have popped into my head at the time but I gave little thought to it. Then we come to short-timer John Paul I and then quickly to John Paul II, we hardly had time to think Peter II and Armageddon.

When Gregory became our Pontiff, I don’t think I ever gave a thought to Peter II but who knows.? Why has no Pope, with 266 opportunities, ever picked Peter II as his Papal title? Is that old belief still buried deep in the church and no one wants to take the dare?


Like that TV ad says…so many questions, Soon we can all watch those curls of smoke and when the wisps of white arise in Rome, sitting on the edge of my seat, this “hickory” Catholic will be anxious to see if Peter gets the call.

Have you ever heard of the Peter prophesy before? If so, what do you think of it all?


Don Langrehr

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March Mudness

ShamrockUnless you’re into basketball, is there anything to like about March? St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps. You have to wonder, though, if St. Patrick’s day was really originally in March or if the Irish just wanted to bless us all with an official drinking holiday in this most dreary of months.

Many people hate the month of January. It represents diets and Christmas bills. But January isn’t so bad–by the time we wake up to fact that we’re in it, we’re through it. February gives us Valentine’s Day and a 3-day Presidents Day weekend. But March. Ugh. Overcome with sunlight deprivation, we’re desperate for spring to come. We can almost feel the sunbeams of spring vacation. The garden is thinking about waking up. And then what happens? A snow forecast.

I’m not in the mood for snow anymore. I’m in the mood for green. I want to peek into the herb garden and see little shoots of chives volunteering themselves to flavor my scrambled egg. I want to rake away some leaves and discover happy little crocus. Actually, this year I’d be happy just to see some sunshine.

It will snow this week. I’m sure of it. I took my car through the car wash. It is shiny and clean; therefore, it’s all ready for road salt. (It has already been baptized with bird-poop, but the windshield wipers took care of that.)

My aversion to March snows goes back to our early days at Maywood. We had a couple of brutal winters in the 90′s. Snow and ice in February was difficult, but snow in March was maddening. Snow in March melts faster than snow in February. This is not a problem unless you live on a dirt road. Dirt roads turn to mud in March.

When we first moved out here to the Hereford Zone, to a property that had been used only as a summer retreat, all signs of asphalt stopped almost half a mile from the house. At a certain point along the road, the county stopped paving or maintaining it. The road continued as a dirt road past our nearest neighbor’s house, and gravel began at the Maywood property line.

3770587-dirt-muddy-roadOne soggy March, an 8-inch snow storm melted in one day. Fifty years of hand-shoveled gravel sank in mud beneath the tires of our minivan. The dirt road section was even worse. The sled run of ice ruts where we had aimed the car wheels in February turned into a sloppy mud pit. The mud was so deep it threw the tires off balance.

I took the car to a Mr. Tire for a balancing and alignment. They put the minivan up on the lift with mud dripping from it.

“Where on earth have you been?” they asked.

“Home,” I replied.

So it’s been twenty years and I really should get over it. The county has paved all the way to the Maywood property line. We added asphalt milling on top of the fifty years of gravel, and we paved our driveway. It’s really ok to drive here in March. But March, with the gray-brown woods and green-ish brown grass, is still the color of mud. I’d be in favor of using next week’s time change to leap right into April.

That said, I’m a teacher and will never say no to a snow day. So if we’re to have snow, bring it on. If it’s to be a sloppy, gloppy wintry-mix of snowy rain, students beware. The Ides of March can make teachers crazy.


Kathy Harp – visit her personal blog Maywood Living.

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Embracing change

Change buttonThe Merriam Webster says, Change is the act of or instance of becoming different. It says nothing about change being bad or change being good. That, most of the time, is up to us.

Last year at this time, I was complaining about change and the necessity of accepting it as a part of life and being alone after the death of my wife, was one of the changes in my life that was the hardest I ever had to accept. Up until now, ,the most difficult change in my 83 years of occupying my space on this rock called Earth, hurtling through space, was giving up the security of that 10 acre farm on Old Landing Road and facing the “outsiders” who I was sure were staring at me like the yokel that I was. I was just a skinny kid from the farm and I was scared.

After a 10 year “vacation” during my retirement, living in an apartment in Joppatowne on the “waterfront’ , just a stone’s throw from the Rumsey Island Canal, I was forced to relinquish my occupation of what I thought of as a spot in The Garden of Eden. My new “digs” are now in a beautiful, new house with my son Lance and his wife Robin, in a nice quiet spot in Baltimore County near Middle River. Due to my health problems, I am no longer able to star in the role of the old, self-reliant loner that I once enjoyed. I must admit that I did relish arising when I pleased, eating when and what I wished, be it good or bad for me. I cannot physically care for myself now due to my problems and Lance and Robin make sure I am always comfortable and well fed with nutritional food. Only an incredibly stubborn person could resist this kind of change.

Changes, like giving in and relinquishing control of our lives, they seem to get larger and bother us more as we get older. Change for all of us is inevitable and the degree of change does vary but, sure as life itself, we all must accept change in that life to assure our mental well-being.

Embrace changeBut change is not always bad, our ability to accept a new life-style and new friendships can open up new worlds that we had no idea existed in the narrow space that perhaps our life had entered. In my case, I have successfully pursued old friendships and opened my life up to a special new friend who just happened to need a friend in return. I feel I can call her about anything and we have ”talks” on the phone and internet every day. She, along with someone from my working past and a couple of old school chums have to this point, saved my life.

I know it is more difficult as we grow older and get a new ache here and an old pain comes back there and medicare rejects a claim or Medi-Gap Insurance costs more, but if we open ourselves just a little to our friends and “auld acquaintances”, who for perhaps some trivial reason we haven’t spoken to for years…meet them half way…who knows how good that change, like mine, could be for you.

Don Langrehr

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Up to our ears in wax

Kathy’s back with more about the bees. We’re waiting for her to start taking orders…we want some Maywood Lip Balm!


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Slightly Off the Grid

Beeswax.  We’re up to our ears in beeswax.

(I’m so tempted to recount an earwax story my sister told me about a certain niece’s boyfriend, but I’ll behave myself.  Family members have here enough data to figure out the source and ask her–if they dare.)

Actually, it’s not the beeswax but old honeycomb that we have in great supply.  Mr. Beekeeper is using the demise of all the bees as an opportunity to clean all the frames. This, ideally, should be done regularly on a rotating basis so that we aren’t dealing with processing 80 frames of comb. (The real reason is to provide healthy conditions for the bees, but this is not about the bees today, this is about me.)   However, we never claimed to be ideal beekeepers and we do have 80 frames of comb in the mancave to deal with.

Four hives full of old honeycomb is a much bigger ordeal than melting the cappings from…

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They’re not just for Pilgrims

pilgrim huntingHey, all you hunters, there may now be some big game hunting out there that you have overlooked or just not aware that they have quietly slipped into the area in great numbers during the past few years.

They qualify as big game in the bird category, they are wily creatures and require a little more skill on your part to have a successful hunt than the other “big game” in our region. There are about 30,000 of them across the State of Maryland, thanks to trapping and relocation programs conducted by the DNR.

I am talking about the Eastern Wild Turkey. The Spring Hunting season for turkeys is coming up and I thought I’d pass along to you some of the things I know about our wild gobbler how to go about adding one to your big game resume. The Eastern Wild Turkey is not the same as the domestic bird that is pen raised or free-ranged and harvested by the millions for our Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas dinners.

The turkey we have for Thanksgiving traces its heritage to about 1500 when Spanish Explorers took a shipload of Mexican turkeys that had been domesticated by the Aztecs for hundreds of years, back to Spain. They were larger than most of the 6 or 7 species of turkeys living today.

Wild_turkey_eastern_usIn the beginning, the elite were the only ones who ate turkey. Soon it spread throughout Europe and Asia and when the Pilgrims landed on our shores, they knew of the gobbler and how good he tasted. One big difference, they found the Eastern Wild Turkey smaller that the bigger European birds and they could fly high & fast and ran like a deer.

Over the past few years small groups of the Eastern Wild Turkey have been spotted in the fields and forest and now I have talked with my friends and relatives who live and hunt in Maryland and they report seeing flocks of a dozen birds or more around Kingsville, Bradshaw and Joppatowne. In northern Harford County there are tracts of farmland that are dedicated to the propagation of Wild Turkeys so start scouting…but, as with all hunting, remember you must have written permission to hunt on private land and hunting is forbidden on State Park land.

Your regular hunting license is all you need to hunt turkey and the Spring hunting season for the Eastern Wild Turkey is approaching so you need to prepare. The regular Spring Season begins one half hour before sunrise on April 18 and ends on May 9 at noon. You may hunt every day during that period but only from one half hour before sunrise until noon.

The Junior season opens on April 13 and ends on May 23 and shooting is allowed from one half hour before sunup and lasts until sundown. Junior hunters are 16 or under and must be accompanied by an unarmed adult, 21 years of age or older. You can shoot only turkeys that sport a beard (males) hanging from their chest and your daily bag limit is one. You have to check in the turkeys you kill and there is a seasonal bag limit of 2.

You may only use a shotgun with shot size #4 or smaller in the Spring shoot. A regular bow is legal as well as a cross-bow. I keep mentioning “Spring Season” or “Spring Shoot”, because there is a Fall Season in a more limited area and the rules are slightly different.

Turkey hunting is a sport where caution and common sense come into play more than other shooting sports. They are hunted when they are in “cover” and also sometimes you hunt them from “cover”. If you hear an old “Tom” calling incessantly from the bushes, it is probably another hunter working his caller, so go elsewhere, lest you are mistaken for another old “Tom’ on the prowl and get a load of #4 or an arrow. Besides, you can’t sneak up on a turkey anyhow, he’s much smarter in the area of sneaky than you are.

Wild TurkeyNever wear brightly colored clothing or white socks that show….you may be mistaken for a displaying “Tom”. Camouflage from head to fingertip and down to toe is the uniform of the day.

If you are lucky enough to bag an old bearded Gobbler, don’t just throw him over your shoulder and walk out through the bushes with your trophy. There may be a pumped up hunter around the bend who hears the rustling and sees those bright feathers spread out and once more there could that fatal mistake. There are other rules you should familiarize yourself with, like the regulations on baiting, no electronically recorded calling devices or mechanical decoys and know your tagging procedures.

They are out there, guys and girls, and it may take a little skill and expertise on your part but you can be the first in the neighborhood to say you bagged an Eastern Wild Turkey.


Don Langrehr

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Hey, Murphy – pass the hydraulic fluid

Q: What does one do the Sunday between football play-offs and the Super Bowl?

A: The things that didn’t get done while lolling on the sofa quaffing beers every Sunday since August.

One could watch TV–there’s a Barry Manilow themed ice-skating show on. That’ll get a man outside doing manly things quicker than you can say, well, Barry Manilow. It’s bad enough getting sucked into Downton Abbey, but ice-skating? One has to draw the line somewhere. And this is why Maywood Man is outside with his vintage Maywood equipment doing Maywood tasks.

Best alternate source of heat is the woodstove.

Best alternate source of heat is the woodstove.

It’s good timing for a by-week from football. Last week, just as the arctic chill sent Maryland temperatures into the teens, the furnace conked out. The new furnace is being installed tomorrow, as the temperatures begin to climb this week toward the 50′s. It hasn’t been too painful, though. Like NASA, we have engineered redundancy around here. We have two furnaces. Bedroom doors stayed open while the downstairs furnace worked to heat the whole house. The wood stove supplemented the downstairs furnace. At night, we shut bedroom doors and kept quite comfortably warm with space heaters.

Murphy’s Law #658–If you buy an extra heater for the classroom so that your assistant principal doesn’t have to give up hers, your classroom will be too hot to need a heater.

Murphy’s Law #658–If you buy an extra heater for the classroom so that your assistant principal doesn’t have to give up hers, your classroom will be too hot to need a heater.

But we are now out of firewood. Well, not out of wood. We’re just out of pre-cut pieces ready to toss in the wood-stove. This afternoon, I type to the soothing buzz of the chain-saw in the “lumber yard.” Tonight, I look forward to watching Downton Abbey in real-time by a roaring fire. Maywood Man will probably fall asleep from this afternoon’s exertions. Maybe–just to get a rise out of him– I’ll jump up periodically and scream, “Come on, Flacco!” like our toddler grandson John.

Big John would have cut firewood yesterday, but he was wrapped up with tractor repairs. Well, of course. Or as the French say, Mais oui. Murphy’s Law #342: The furnace will conk out when the temperature nose dives into the teens. Murphy’s Law #572: The tractor will break down if it snows.

It snowed.

Not a lot. I got a two-hour school delay for snow on Thursday. Friday I got a two-hour early dismissal. Mere dustings…just enough to cause massive traffic delays around the Baltimore-D.C area. Just enough to tell the tractor to break down.

What this time? Points and capacitor. Don’t ask me what that is; I thought it was related to spark plugs. According to John, they work together to provide spark to the spark plugs. (I knew the spark plugs were connected somehow. I’m learning bee-lingo; I have not mastered tractor mechanics.) I suggested that he call before heading up to Shrewsbury–to avoid Murphy’s Law #690: If you drive to Shrewsbury, they won’t have the part you need. Ah, sure enough, he ended up driving to Hanover to get the part he needed. While in Hanover, he looked at hydraulic fluid and thought, “Nah, I’ve got enough.”

It’s a fuzzy picture because I took it through a screen. You think I’m going out in the cold to take a picture of a tractor?

It’s a fuzzy picture because I took it through a screen. You think I’m going out in the cold to take a picture of a tractor?

Murphy’s Law # 691: If you think you have enough hydraulic fluid at home, you will discover that you do not.

This is where I find myself not believing that I’m actually saying what I’m saying:

“Dear, maybe we should just always keep a supply of hydraulic fluid on hand.”

Today, before bonding with his chain saw, Maywood Man took a ride to Shrewsbury for hydraulic fluid. The tractor is now ready to go. Tomorrow the furnace will be purring and the firewood will be stacked high on the porch.

Dare I predict balmy weather in Baltimore for the Super Bowl? I’m not going to get cocky. A quick check at weather tells me that the furnace could be delayed by ice tomorrow.

Murphy’s Law #343: Ice storms will hit the day you schedule a furnace installation.

Now I have a real dilemma. Do I wish for a day off school due to weather? Or do I wish for clear weather and a furnace?

What I wish for is to watch the Raven’s win the Super Bowl in a nice warm house. And Murphy is not invited.

caw caw


Kathy Harp – visit her personal blog Maywood Living.

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Didja Ever…?

Did you everHave you ever played that little game,”Didja ever’? I play it all the time around here, ‘specially since a penance has come a-callin’ and I am getting visitors on a regular basis. I love the lady who comes to take care of this ailin’ old body. She is in the age range of my kids, so that would make her Daddy somewhere around my age, but despite her young age, she was privileged to eat some of the more “exotic” foods that I was raised on.

For instance, one source of meat and protein in more than one “supper” at our house after we moved to Bradshaw Road was the wiley Raccoon. She mentioned Raccoon hunting one day and she asked, “Didja ever eat Raccoon?”. I think she was little surprised when I answered, “Yeah, I thought they were very good”. I haven’t tasted one for a long time and I am sure my family would decline to partake of my choice of protein that day. You could roast it like chicken or, if it was young enough, you could fry it and say, “It tasted just like fried Chicken”.

RacoonThe Raccoon was probably one of the toughest to come up with of all that “wild protein” running around. We went out with the “coon” dogs about 8 PM, in the middle of winter, waded through frozen creeks and rivers, got water in our boots and frozen feet. If we were lucky, the dogs would put one up a tree where we could shoot it. Most times it went to its den which meant no coon that night. We tried opossum once instead but it was too fat and greasy.

Then she asked, “Betcha never ate a muskrat?”…..”Betcha we did’, was my answer.

When we lived on the farm on Old Landing Road, there were still a lot of Muskrats living along the Big Gunpowder Falls and when ever Dad felt well enough to run a trap line, we caught quite a few, selling the pelts and eating the meat. They were very tasty and in the 1930’s you could still buy them in meat markets and even some grocery stores. After all, they are just vegetarians and everything they eat is constantly being washed by the water. They may even be available for sale on the Eastern Shore today, where they still trap a lot of “rats” every winter.

“Now I know you ate Cottontail Rabbits” she quipped, How about Gray Squirrels?”, she quickly asked.

Of course, they were the easiest to come-by, I told her… When the snows of winter came, like we used to have, we had a dozen or so box traps and “voila”we had rabbits. I did challenge her on groundhogs and won.  I don’t think they had many of them in the city. They were fat little critters but vegetarian just the same and roasted, with the fat ladled off a few times during the process, they were on the side of being tasty.

Whitetail DeerOne winter we had a Whitetail Deer come in behind the barn and that was like getting a special ration of Beef for a couple of months, The air was freezing and after Dad shot and gutted and skinned her, she just hung in the freezing cold barn and we consumed as needed.

One year there was a small colony of wild pigs that roamed the farms in the hills along the Big Gunpowder and played havoc amidst the crops, they called them Feral Hogs…just wild pigs to us. We managed to shoot two of them which meant another winter with protein on the menu.

Sometimes all the chickens didn’t make to the Spring thaw, especially the old Hens who decided to stop producing…not paying your “board” with an occasional egg laying put you in jeopardy, since chicken feed didn’t just cost “chicken feed” back in those days either. The chopping block would come out and a sumptuous roast chicken dinner was assured for next Sunday.

Summer time on the farm was not as big of a problem, and apparently it was not as big of a problem in the city either, where my lady was born and raised. There were a lot more fish back then and the waters were less polluted. Fishing was free for the most part, just dig up some worms or net some minnows, find your favorite fishin’ hole and go at it. We would have a “feast fit for a King” occasionally, when the big Bullfrogs were plentiful and Mom would fry up a batch, “better than fried chicken”, we would say.
My in-home-care lady and I had a great time that day, talking about that “living off the land” thing that existed back in the “old” days. Many a mundane winter meal became a great meal because someone asked, “Didja ever Eat a Raccoon?”  So, didja?…

Don Langrehr

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