Yesterday I ate bear for the first time. It was good - dense and chewy and flavorful, marinated and grilled medium rare. I was served back strap from a 300# sow who had been eating mostly grass – all of these things being integral to the flavor and texture. I’d been warned that bear was greasy and nasty and tough, that it would expand in my mouth the more I chewed it; that I’d hate it. Nope – it was delicious!
So here’s the funny thing -> I’ve been thinking a bunch about “Bucket Lists” lately – the list of things we want to do in this lifetime. This cross-country horse Journey, in one form or another, has always been at the top of my own personal bucket list – sort of in the category of “the impossible dream”. And here I am doing it. Cool. When I was 18 I made a bucket list with over 100 items listed. When I was 34 and going through a pretty dark time, living at home and going through boxes of saved junk, I found that list – and made myself pick something to drag me out of my funk. I wound up hiking 750 miles of the Appalachian Trail the next summer – not a bad first attempt at an extended hike!
That long ago list has disappeared – but a few days ago I started thinking it might be fun to dream up a new bucket list – maybe even post it on the blog – no reason I can’t double up on my dreams! The two things that (randomly!) popped into my head were: ride in a hot air balloon and eat bear meat. Two days later H and I went down to town to try and meet B, who reputedly knew where we might be able to find some fire agates. Turns out that not only did he know about the fire agates, he’d shot a bear on Sunday, cooked some up for dinner that night, and would I like a taste? Ask and ye shall receive!
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the ponies are enjoying their “vacation” and healing slowly but surely, I am in the process of learning to make tempeh (another bucket list item) today and the free range rodeo blog just celebrated 10,000 hits! And going through my photos, I found pictures of another one of my bucket list items – I’ve always wanted to see the Ocotillo cactus in bloom. I’ve also heard them called century plants (which is an exaggerated reference to how seldom they flower) and I’ve missed them by a week or a rainstorm several times – and we rode through them for weeks this trip!