Seems like a lot of repetitive information regarding the price of propane these last months. March was the same, moved up and down some but just lately the price has started to creep down ever so slightly. April 1st the Federal Carbon Tax is reinstated on your propane heating fuel at 3.1 cents per litre. It will be shown as a separate line item like HST is, we have to collect if from you and remit it to the Federal Government.
Bob and Brenda Miller who have a farm just West of us on Clyde Rd raise some animals and this time of year they have lambs. One mother has two lambs but wouldn’t feed one so Bob had put it in his workshop and was bottle feeding it. My sweetheart had dropped into the Millers and saw the lamb who was trying to suck the sleeve off her coat so of course she grabbed the bottle and had a go. Couple days later my sweetheart took our two grandchildren down to see the lamb, feed the lamb, love up the lamb and want to bring the lamb home. Lamb was a big hit with the Grandchildren and yes it stayed at Bob and Brenda’s.
Please accept my apology if the past month our “ Great Service” wasn’t quite up to par. We had a lot of unusual problems with several of our bulk delivery trucks which put us behind in some of our deliveries. Poor Tracy, our dispatcher was pulling her hair out trying to juggle not enough trucks with continued cold weather demands. We will make an effort to do better and thank you for your patience.
“Did I ever tell you about the time I shot myself?” Now when I tell you this story I don’t want some of you to be upset with the fact I used to hunt a fair bit. It was quite a few years ago and I have changed my ways. Never the less story goes like this. When I was a teenager about 17 or 18 I had met and befriend a farmer in Platsville named Elton Hallman. Elton and his wife Veda lived just the other side of Plattsville, had a sixty five acre farm that they raised some pigs on for resale and had about ten cows to breed for calfs and to supply them with milk for their own use. Elton and Veda had no children and in the winter months Elton used to hunt and trap fur bearing animals for their hide (fur). This helped to supplement the farm income in the off season. On Saturdays I would drive from Cambridge to their farm in Plattsville early in the morning and arrive by 6:00am. I then would help Elton in the barn to do chores. Things like feed the cows then milk them (by hand), mix up chop (pig feed) and feed the pigs. We would shovel up the animal poop, make sure everything had water then into the farm kitchen about seven thirty for breakfast. This was not your bowl of cereal. Veda had eggs, ham, bacon, potatoes, some fruit, of course coffee or tea and when you cleaned your plate there was a piece of homemade pie.
Now they had a box woodstove (that’s a stove that is low and long as opposed to one that is round and vertical) that sat in the middle of the kitchen and was just pumping out the heat. You didn’t want to linger too long after breakfast because that heat on a full belly after and early morning could put you to sleep pretty quick.
So we loaded up the car with the appropriate hunting equipment and off we went. Usually it was just Elton and I but this day we picked up his neighbour and friend Russ Bullock. Now Elton was about thirty years older than I was and he had lived on that farm quite a while all this time hunting and trapping so he knew the surrounding geography intimately. He also knew the animal habits of the various animals he hunted which meant he knew where they frequented at different times of the year.
Most days I hunted with Elton we hunted raccoons. Now don’t be thinking “Ah those cute little bandit creatures”. Most farmers have no love for raccoons. They chew holes in their barns, poop in large quantities everywhere in the barn, destroy crops especially corn, carry rabies, you get the picture. Just so happens in the winter months they tend to slow down and go kind of dormant while holeing up in barns, sheds, other structures and what we call “Den Trees”. Elton knew every den tree for a 50 mile radius and probably further so off to some den trees we went. One particularly large tree we arrived at in the middle of a forest over by Shakespeare had a large hole in it about thirty feet up. My role in these experiences was to climb the trees and extract any raccoons from these den trees. To accomplish the climbing in a lot of cases meant putting on safety belt with a long lanyard that had a piece of wire running through it and also putting on what we called climbing irons.
Climbing irons or tree spurs get belted to your boots and have a large metal spike facing inward one on each foot. As you climb the tree you dig the spikes into the tree bark one foot then the other foot. As you move upward you lean into the tree and raise the lanyard with both hands (one each side of the tree) up as high as you can (usually chest height) then lean back away from the tree which tightens the lanyard to the tree so you can repeat the process over and over and up you go. This particular tree however had a lot of bigger branches so I didn’t’ wear the safety belt or lanyard just climbed the tree using the climbing irons and holding onto some of the branches. So now I’m about thirty feet in the air holding onto the rim of the hole in the tree with my left hand and I shine my flashlight down into the hollow tree. Sure enough there where two eyes shinning back at me which of course was a raccoon. At this point the idea is to dispatch the creature with a small calibre hand gun (which licensed trappers at that time where allowed to carry). This method was humane and instantaneous. The raccoon would then be removed from the tree for further processing.
Here’s where it went BAD! I used to have an old single action 32 calibre hand gun. Single action means you had to pull the hammer back into position before you could fire the weapon by pulling the trigger. On this day Elton had given me his 22 caliper double action revolver. Double action means when you pull the trigger the cylinder holding the bullets revolves into position and the hammer automatically cocks back and fires. As I’m watching the raccoon climb up the inside of this hollow towards me at the entrance hole I must have got a little excited and with the hand gun in my right hand I squeezed on the trigger which as I said moved the cylinder, cocked the hammer and fired. Oh what a pain I had in my left hand. Elton and Russ where standing at the base of this tree, Russ calls up “I think you got him because there is blood coming down”.
I purposely didn’t look at the wound because I thought if I look and should faint it’s a long way to the forest floor considering I left the safety belt on the ground. I still had a secure grip on the lip of the hole in the tree with the now injured left hand so I stayed in place to finish the task at hand and when I was done I climbed back down the tree. On the ground we all had a look at the damage, Elton was adamant about taking me back to his place but I talked him out of it.
The bullet grazed the knuckle on my left hand at the base of my ring finger, took a little bone chip off the knuckle and left some ragged looking skin kind of hanging loose. Russ had a little flask of some alcoholic drink so we washed the wound out with that then wrapped a clean rag around it. Hunted and climbed the rest of the day and apart from some pain and a little blood soaking through the make shift bandage I was good to go. Until I got back home to Cambridge (called Galt then).
It was later in the evening when I arrived home and my parents asked how the day hunting went. I brought them up to speed on the days activities except for the shooting accident. Noticing the cloth on my hand my mother asked what happened and I said something like caught it on a sharp object in Elton’s barn or some fairy tale like that. She said well be sure to clean it up and put on some ointment etc..
Into the bathroom I go, busy washing out the blood and dirt so I could bandage it up to hide the mess and avoid questions. My dad walked into the bathroom, took one look a the wound and said rather loudly “ What the hell, that’s a gun shot wound”. He should know he was a war veteran and has had multiple gunshot wounds in his torso. Now my mother is in the bathroom (oh boy) all upset, freaking out, lots of questions and I had to wait for a few days to see if my hunting privileges would be suspended.
That was a long time ago. The wound healed up, no problems with my knuckle and only a faint white line to indicated anything had ever happened. So that’s how I shot myself. I was lucky it could have been a lot worse.
Look for those moments in life when you can reach out to help others in anyway you can. It’s good for the giver and the receiver.
Your continued support is a blessing.