No fair! When it comes to the great outdoors and hunting, we girls have far too many handicaps wrought by our gender. I don’t mean lack of expertise, ingenuity or gumption, either. We have all those. I mean things like toileting, our hair and our strength. A nature call in the woods is a nuisance on a good day, not to mention in a snowbank. My hair, of which I have long and plenty, is always in the way, getting caught in Velcro popping into my line of vision at full draw. And physical strength, although I work out, is a challenge with heavy equipment for one woman alone.
Okay, so I am finally here, ‘here’ being my hunting shack. Life and work at home has been chaotic and I desperately needed a ‘shack fix’. This place is my counterpoint. My respite. When I miss a few weekends here, I start getting twitchy. I need the down time to write, unwind, smoke a cigar, play my guitar, and to just be a slob and a loner. What I had not counted on today was 14 inches of snow.
So far in the five years of owning this place, December has been fairly devoid of heavy snowfalls, which has made late season bow hunting great because the chore of plowing was not an issue and focusing on the hunt was the prime directive. This year I barely made it into camp with my ATV trailer in tow however. My neighbor had plowed the one lane dirt road in, creating a two-foot snow bank at my drive entrance. Once I wrangled the chained gate open, the fun was just beginning. Getting up the drive necessitated my backing up with the trailer, shoving my F-150 into four wheel drive, and taking a 90 degree running dash up my driveway in order to not get boogered down in the drifts. I fish tailed wildly up the 300 feet to my cabin, executing a speedy but graceful donut in the turnaround before stalling out in the white stuff as I slid up to the front door. Whew.
I high stepped through the snow to the crooked shed where my ATV awaited. The snow was still coming down and if I didn’t start plowing soon I would never get out later. Oddly, the thought of being marooned seem comforting in a way.
The snowplow near the galvanized bear bait cabinet was a white cloaked ghost. Dusting it off, I inch wormed the 150-pound plow 30 feet over to the waiting quad and gathered the equipment needed to affix it to the ATV. Of course, this meant going back and forth through the drifts to get tools from my truck, and my hip flexor muscles were starting to protest for lack of conditioning. The plow was lined up, but getting the bracket holes lined up with the coupling was another story. Crawling around on the dirt floor and tripping over the plow blade a few times had my knees and shins stinging. As I lay on the dirt floor wrestling with the beastly plow, the red squirrels that winter in the shed scolded me loudly while racing around on the shed rafters like distance runners. There was fully a bushel of their nest makings in my rope storage bin and after I had dumped it in the snow outside, they went ballistic. I jury rigged the plow fitting with split wood, dangled the plow from the winch, beat the parts together with a crowbar and thought very un-Christian thoughts.
My long curly hair was now full of squirrel nest debris, dirt, and fluffy white snow. I looked like an alien. I was by then imaging giving myself a buzz cut just to rid myself of my nuisance mane. Too late smart, I ponytailed myself and shinnied back under the motor horse. The holes finally line up. I slipped the pins in, shouted for joy, and did The Happy Dance. By this time, my jean knees looked like I’d crawled to China. I smelled like gasoline and mouse pee, but by yimminy I got than dang plow attached!
Tackling the generator next, it only took a few dozen pulls to get the bugger started. My arms felt like noodles, but it was now time to plow the turnaround. As darkness fell and my fingers went completely numb, I gave up on the project for the night. Now I had to go to the bathroom. Oh joy.
No fair. God made men so they can just go out, do their duty in the snow and be done with it. Me? Well, my first option was the outhouse. The thought of parking my keester on a subzero toilet seat immediately sent me to option two. Option two can only be done when I’m here alone, as it involves trying to do my thing into a disposable cup in the shack and then throwing the contents out into a snowbank. Not exactly a project for an audience. Option three was using the small chemical toilet in the shack bathroom, but that meant I would later have to forge through the tundra to some remote spot to dump its odious contents before I went home, and that thought was not appealing either. The cup duty can be problematic when one has a severe urgency that could result in a messy sidewinder. Men aren’t cursed with sidewinder issues, so why are we women cursed with this little nuance of elimination? No fair.
As for strength, I make up for my lack of it with ingenuity. However, a plow is an unwieldy behemoth with a blade that loves my shins. I have more than once found myself pinned by the metal monster, but thankfully I have always been alone, which has spared me the embarrassment of admitting it had conquered me, albeit temporarily.
No, I won’t cut my hair. And yes, I will continue to utilize clever ways to deal with nature calls. My workout regimen pretty much keeps me on an equal playing field with my male counterparts… to a point. Being a hunter and outdoors person takes a lot more effort and resourcefulness for us girls. It may be No Fair, but we have a lot more to be proud of in the end because it takes us a lot more effort to get there.
© January 2006