And they do, or so I’ve heard.
It was the day the windy storm blew in. I had moved the pick-up to the end of the lane where it would be safe from any falling trees or branches that may blow down onto it or across the driveway and block me in. The truck was blocking anyone from coming in the drive, but I wasn’t expecting any company. I was working in the back room of the farmhouse where I set up “office” while I am there. The knock at the door startled me. I really about jumped out of my seat. It was a creepy day–all dark and raining with the wind howling, tree branches breaking and falling. There were high-wind warnings saying the loss of power was eminent. I was just trying to get as much work done as I could before losing power, Internet access, etc.
Thump, thump, thump. Who was knocking? Maybe it was the farmer-fellow that keeps an eye on the place just checking to make sure all was okay? Maybe? Maybe a delivery? No… Maybe some creep with an axe coming to murder me and then my dogs would die because they were in their boxes in the garage and no one would know it. No one would come looking. The dogs would go insane because they couldn’t get out. No food, no water. They would die… someone would finally come by and notice the terrible smell. The headline would read…
“Snap out of it! What on earth is wrong with you?” snap back to reality, Weirdo.
I wasn’t expecting anyone and certainly wasn’t prepared for company. I had worked straight through the night, took care of the dogs as soon as it was light, and went directly back to work without taking a minute to freshen up. Too much work to do and, after all, I wouldn’t be going anywhere or seeing anyone. Who cares if I don’t have makeup on or look like crap? I am in the Northwoods, after all. Perhaps my exhausted state and lack of sleep was making me… crazy… making me think outrageous thoughts. Stop it.
I tried to look out the lane to see if I could see a vehicle from my view out the front window. I could not. I couldn’t see who was out there. Who on earth would be knocking at the door? I hesitated, but opened the door and with a huge sigh of relief saw not an axe murderer, but my friend ABT. He is a resident of this area of the Northwoods I met while hunting our very first year here. We’ve kept in-touch. He was obviously passing through on business as he was not wearing hunting attire, but instead, a suit and tie. I invited ABT in for a cup of coffee.
He reported that he stopped by to tell me about some people he knows that want to see and hunt over my dogs before I leave. He asked if I had a map, but all of mine mysteriously disappeared a week or so ago, so he drew one of the locations of where the interested parties live so I can go visit these folks. We talked about the recent Ruffed Grouse contest that was held locally and he told me he, his Ryman-type English Setter, and his hunting partner took 3rd place. We talked about the grouse population and such and he mentioned knowing the areas I have been hunting. I said, “Oh, you’ve seen me?” ABT said, “No, but everyone else has. At the local watering holes it seems the fellows talk about their sightings while they were out “hunting for partridge.” Which they do by driving around until they see a partridge out on the road. ABT added, “They call you the crazy lady with all the dogs.”
“The crazy lady?” I ask. “Why would they say that? Crazy lady?” He replies that anyone that comes here bringing “all those dogs” and hunts as much as I do must be crazy! They say they see your rig everywhere and all day long. The “crazy lady” thing hit a nerve with me and I thought about it while I poured us both another cup of coffee. I decided I may as well have a little more fun with this. If people call me crazy because I bring our entire kennel of dogs to grouse camp for two months a year, then I may as well just have fun with it. May as well up the ante. Do something really crazy, right? And, hey, what else do people with a kennel full of bird dogs do? Not hunt them? Only bring a few? I don’t know. We bring and hunt all of ours. They need hunted, don’t they? I suppose it really is just they are not used to seeing this–a lady with a hokey trailer full of grouse dogs.
I sat the fresh cups of coffee on the table and said (while trying to tone-down my excitement just a bit after being called crazy lady), “OH! Check these out!” as I removed a pair of boots from a box on a chair beside the wood cook stove. I continued, “I am so excited. They just came yesterday!” I was holding out my new pair of Le Chameau fur-trimmed rubber boots. Yep, rubber boots with fur trim. I think they are the cat’s meow. Well, okay, not completely but I’ve dreamed of a pair of leather-lined Le Chameau rubber boots for what seems like a thousand years. They cost around $400.00 but as I hear it told, you get what you pay for. I hear they are simply the best rubber boots money can buy and you’ll never wear another rubber boot once you try them. On occasion, I will get to day dreaming and search the Internet for some kind of “sweet deal” on a pair. I’ve never found the deal and the price has never wavered. But, while searching one night last week, I came across this pair… “Slightly used. Like New. Women’s Size 8.5 Fur-trimmed Le Chameau rubber boots. $30.” What was that? Le Chameau’s? Women’s size 8.5? $30??? I had to have them! I really couldn’t even afford to spend a lousy $30, but I bought them and they promptly arrived just a few days later–in a new box with the tags still on them—they are brand new–not used at all! Okay, so they are not leather-lined and they are a tiny-bit over the top for tromping about the Northwoods in search of grouse, but you can bet I will be wearing them–everywhere. They are sooo comfortable and a nice change from my clompy Mucks (because mine are a bit too big, but the only size the store had at the time)–so much lighter, so much easier to walk about in, very practical, and so much more fashionable, right? Hey, they call me crazy anyway, right?
So, ABT looks them over, commenting that “Wow” they are Le Chameaus, etc., etc., Le Chameaus are the best boots made, etc., etc., every pair is hand-stitched, etc., etc., must have cost a bundle, etc., etc., and hands them back to me and says, “I’m sure the fur will attract more grouse. Or scare them away.” He notices my mad-bomber rabbit fur hat on the table and mentions that the hat does not match the boots. “I know,” I say. “I will order one with matching rabbit fur as soon as I can. I have it all picked-out and bookmarked on the computer.” He says, “I can’t wait to hear what the locals have to say after they see you out hunting in those–I can just hear it now!”
I think my friend is embarrassed of me. My respected friend has gone from referring to me as the “birdy blonde” to “crazy lady.” He tells me, “Oh, and I was over on road such and such and was talking to some guys that asked me if I knew you and said they have a dog of yours. And then another day I was way down around such and such (100 miles away) and saw some guys with a Llewellin and got to talking and asked about the dog and they said it was from you and did I know you?” So, I said, “Well did you? Know me?” ABT says, “I said, you mean the crazy lady with all the dogs? Yeah, I know her. Great dogs. But I won’t know you when they talk about your boots and hat at the bar. Your dog trailer is crazy enough.” I just smile and think I can’t wait to go into town later this week–in my hat and boots and toting my hokey dog trailer.
I ask him if he will be hunting this week and he says that his dog is pretty worn out–“wore her pads off her feet.” So, no, he won’t be hunting.
With that, ABT says he needs to go because he has a few other stops to make but wanted to let me know about those folks that really want to see a Llewellin run. I say I will walk him out and put on my new boots, my rabbit-fur bomber hat, and my “vintage” wool-lined duster coat and walk him out to his vehicle. It is blowing 35 mph winds, it is raining mixed with snow. The ground is soaked and muddy as we walk down the lane. He is dodging the mud and puddles and walks all huddled-over trying to keep himself at least a little dry. I walk right through it. He is shivering and soaked by the time we get to the end of the lane. I am warm, dry, and toasty. I may look crazy, but I am warm, dry, and toasty.
Okay, so, I really am a low-key, keep-to-myself kind of person. I am not an attention-seeking woman that wears “crazy” clothes or anything. I would much rather just blend in and go unnoticed. I am quite practical and very much a bargain shopper. I love quality and comfort, but can’t afford my tastes! I shop second-hand first and save and save for something I really want. The rabbit fur bomber hat is without a doubt the warmest I’ve ever had (without making my head itch). I am not a hat person at all until the cold sets in. Then, I absolutely must have a hat on or I get instant, unbearable headaches. I can’t stand most hats I’ve tried, though. They just make me itch, give me “hat head,” make me sweat, etc. but I absolutely love the rabbit-fur bomber or wool Stormy Kromer. I hope to be able to give another of each in colors other than hunter orange, but need the orange for hunting. I also must have rubber boots and I wear them most every day of the year (kennel cleaning, picking up the yard, running dogs, etc.). Most of those I can’t stand either. They are just huge clubs on my feet that crack within a year and after an hour or so, I can’t stand them on my feet. I’ve been able to tolerate the Mucks, but just after a year, I already have a hole in them. I am thrilled about my “entry-level” pair of Le Chameau’s. I love the fur (because I love fur and I don’t care what any one thinks or has to say about that… God says we are allowed fur. His is the only view I need to hear about the subject. Period. I love real fur everything and anything and will wear it proudly and very comfortably.), but the fur trim won’t be practical for all seasons and probably not for mucking out and scrubbing the kennels with bleach. But, they will be a blast for the next few months for hunting in and will be just fine until I am able to someday get my leather-lined Chasseurs.
I’ll be warm, dry, and comfortable and able to hunt all day long over all my beautiful Llewellin Setters for the next three or four months and not miss a thing due to weather (okay, wind maybe). Go ahead, call me crazy, but I will be having a ball in the woods or on the prairies with all my fantastic Llewellins in my hokey, crazy-lady, dog rig while draped in a luxurious rabbit fur hat or my “Elmer Fudd” Stormy Kromer and fur-trimmed Le Chameaus!