By John Matonich
My wife is a pretty private person. She typically doesn’t share anything personal with anyone even her family at times. Because of that, if you see her, please don’t mention this article to her as I could be in trouble. I can’t resist writing this one because, while I love her dearly, she never ceases to make me smile.
We were up at our cottage a few years ago over Christmas and New Year. Even though we were both still working at the time, we were busy planning for the day we were going to “pull the pin” and retire. It has since happened and that cottage is now our permanent home. Anyway, one of the days we were there, Steph was busy in the kitchen as she usually is and I was sitting on the couch where I usually land and I was watching the snow blow across the lake and the snowmobiles run up and down the fresh ice.
All of a sudden my bride looks up from the supper she was preparing and says, “By the way, when we retire and move up here, we are living off the land!” I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly so I asked her what she meant. She went on to tell me that we both like to hunt and fish, which is true, and she likes to cook wild game and fish, which is true, so there is no reason we can’t just fill the freezer with wild game and fish and live happily ever after. My mind shifted to a scene where we had a chicken pen and a garden and maybe a cow for milk and I just shuddered. I like fast food every now and again and spent my youth picking rock in my Dad’s garden and swore I would NEVER have one once I left home.
After a longer discussion, we agreed I would get her a small green house so she could grow the veggies she liked and neither of us had to pick rock. We also agreed we would still get to go to fish fry at one of the lake’s restaurants every now and again and most importantly, if a Burger King wrapper fell out of my truck when I opened the door, she wouldn’t shoot me. That was a major victory for me as Steph can be pretty determined when she wants to be. Someone else may call her bullheaded, but I wouldn’t (wink).
So far we are heading in the direction we talked about. We have the greenhouse and plan to have it up next spring after a few more trees get removed for more sunlight. We have a few partridge in the freezer and had a few walleye fillets as well. Deer season is around the corner and while our deer population is pretty low, I am heading to Montana to see if I can fill our freezer from one of their fine mule deer.
Because we lose power quite often at the lake and being pretty remote, we had a standby generator installed that runs on propane. It kicks in automatically and I have never seen anyone happier when the power goes out than my bride. Just a few days after it was installed we did lose power for about eight hours. I was at camp for the weekend and normally when that happens, I get worrisome texts about the contents of the freezer and what are we going to do. This time all I got were happy faces and thumbs up signs. Best money we ever spent.
Between having standby power and not having to pick rock, life is pretty darn good. I think I will treat myself to a Whopper for lunch.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
Image credit: Mike Mozart