Blood was streaming down from the top of my head from where I had crashed against a metal arm of my disappearing stairway while getting my wine-making stuff out of storage.
This event resulted in 2:00 AM trip to the Emergency Room of my small-town hospital and was not a good start for my first attempt to make a 5-gallon batch of persimmon wine. I wanted to start the wine before I left for Missouri to attend an outdoor writers’ conference and shoot some squirrels with a cap-and-ball revolver.
Like many of us living on Social Security, I am trying different things to save money and augment my income. I have a lot of things going on. I write books and have a new one coming out later this year (X-Treme Muzzleloading). I also do an outdoor radio show, “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures,” which is different in that I cover a range of topics in what I hope is an entertaining fashion. I am also an inventor and most recently have taken to making my own wine. If I push enough things, sooner or later, one of them is going to bump into some serious money; but this has not happened yet. In fact, rather the opposite is occuring. Still, I keep trying. It would be a rather dull life otherwise.
While writers do not take “Holy Vows” of poverty, it certainly seems that way at times. I have learned a few things, many of which I share on my blogs, videos, radio shows and books. This trip to Missouri was to share with my fellow writers and hunt for squirrels and hogs with my Cabela’s Buffalo .44-caliber percussion revolver, which is a modern stainless steel gun with adjustable sights and outrageously long barrel. I had done previous work with this pistol that has been recorded on seven You-Tube videos and in previous blog posts.
Near Branson, I found two public areas to hunt. Each morning of the conference, I would take off attempting to take some “useful critters.” Conditions were very dry. I found squirrels, but no hogs. I had three shots at squirrels, but could not hit anything. That is not unusual for pistol hunting for squirrels, as I average two squirrels for seven shots. Nor may I shoot at any squirrel, because I have to make sure that I have a backstop to catch that .44-caliber ball after it passes through the animal. I was not successful at the Caney Mountain or Drury-Mincy Conservation areas.
Missouri does an excellent job with their conservation areas, and many allow public hunting for small and/or big game. The state small-game license is also inexpensive with a day license costing only $11. Their deer tags are a bit more at over $100, but still fairly reasonable as non-resident big-game licenses go. My only complaint is that they have a terrible, bad case of “mile streatch” in that part of Missouri. It is not that Missouri miles are any longer than any other, it is just that it takes so much longer to get over them with all the corkscrew roads and right-angle turns.
The conference ended and no squirrels. Back home my persimmon wine was doing nicely. I decanted it and allowed it to de-gas for another week or so until it had almost stopped fermenting. I had only added five pounds of sugar to my ripe persimmons and had left the skin and seeds in the mash. Before fermenting, I boiled the mash to kill any wild yeast. The result was a thin tasting, low alcohol product with a citrus taste – not really good wine, but drinkable.
I decanted the clear liquid. When I got to the bottom of the container where the sediment was, I poured this off into a jar, and after that settled, poured up the still cloudy dregs. This batch is not my best wine. It did not return as much alcohol as might be desired, but still has life, interesting flavors with a little kick.
That’s how life is right now. It is not how I, and a great many others would want it, but for most of us it is still worth doing. If you keep rolling the dice, sooner or later something besides snake-eyes is bound to come up. The only thing that is sure is if you do not keep trying, you won’t have any chance at all.
Continuing my “quaint arts” of muzzloading pistol hunting, the Cabella’s Buffalo revolver has now harvested five squirrels which have been converted into a batch of squirrel and whole-wheat dumplings. We finally had rain last night, hunting conditions will be good this morning. Maybe I will get a deer.
Drink you wine if you’ve got it. Make it if you don’t. Get along, get by, get through this mess. God bless.