Tuesday, November 29, 2016



 I have five roosters. Their names are Tristan, Samm, Teddy, Tessa, and Pete. I had six, but Carlo disappeared. Now that the weather's turned bad I got them a heated water bowl and try to get them in the lion cage every night. That worked when it was 20 degrees and snowing. But with the mild thaw, they've taken back to the trees. They've got me so trained to hear their morning crows, that if I don't hear them in my ear at 5 am I get worried. That's what happened this morning.
   It was pouring rain and I had to register my new car "Beth", so I tried to sleep in. Cheeky, used to my deer hunting sched., wasn't having it. He got me up at 7:00. By 8:00 the birds were still on the roost. That seemed a bit unusual. As I poured another cup of coffee I finally saw them fly down. Then I heard manic squawking. WTF? I looked out the window and saw a big pitbull chasing them across the lawn. I ran out in my ratty bathrobe, broom in hand, and chased the dog down the road, as the birds scattered in terror. This started my day and my dealings with local government.

   Town of Fallsburg has no listed dog catcher so I called Nancy the Town of Thompson dog catcher. She got right back to me and told me that Joanne was the Town of Fallsburg dog catcher and gave me her number. I called it and a machine told me her box was full. What kind of dog catcher doesn't empty her message box? I was getting pissed. I called the town clerk. She told me to call Joanne. I explained the full box issue and she referred me to the police. Here's an excerpt:

"Is dog catcher a paid position?"
"Yes. You know you have the police?"
"It's a helluva note that a dog catcher doesn't answer a call. What the fuck are you guys running here?"
"Sir. Just keep trying. This is the police. We have no jurisdiction over dogs."
"I know it's the fucking police. The clerk said to call you guys."
"Try your town supervisor- Steve Vigilante."

   And this is where government works...or maybe it's just who you know. Steve is a member of the church. So when the pastor is up in arms, goddamn if he doesn't respond in minutes. He tells me he's on it and Joanne will call me. She does and tells me if I catch the dog she'll come get it. So she's actually the dog come getter, not the catcher.  I'm freaking out! I'm worried about my roosters and Cheeky and tell her "I hope I don't have to shoot the dog." I'm really just bluffing. I'll never shoot the dog. It's a beautiful dog. But Joanne tells me "You'd be within in your rights. Shoot it if you want." This is small town government at work. Dogs don't vote.
   I now have two roosters in the lion cage and no sign of the rest. I'm hoping they are just scattered and will return. I told Steve, I would like to put my name in the running for dog catcher. I don't know if it's an elected position or not, but if it is I'm running. My promise is I'll at least try to catch 'em. So please don't shoot them. Vote Democrat!

Friday, November 25, 2016



I am not worthy. When I compare myself to the people around me I am always reminded of my shortcomings. I have a quick temper. I'm prone to stew and bitch, moan, groan and complain. Then when all else fails i just shut down and get depressed. In other words I'm a mess, and always have been. My one saving grace is my ability to surround myself with people much more enlightened and level-headed than I, while constantly trying not to alienate them to the degree that they run in the other direction. Over the years i've been pretty good at this. Let me tell you, it helps when you live in my head to have others you can depend on . Then, of course, I have the good fortune to have been born into a wonderful family. My ancestors may have been slave-owning, murdering, Indian scalpers, but the Osterhouts I know are pretty nice people. And one of the best is my little brother Bird (Mupp.) Let me give you an example.
   Bird scored a couple of days ago with a nice wide 8 pointer. He'd been in the stand all afternoon, seeing nothing and climbed down about 4:20. There was still shooting light, so he pussy-footed home, scanning the woods for movement. When he hit the wood road he caught sight of a body coming towards him. The buck saw him at the same time, bolted, snorted, wheeled around and stopped about 100 yards away. Bird had one shot and he took it standing up, no rest and dropped the buck in his tracks. The best shot he'd ever made. But this isn't the deer story i want to tell.
   Yesterday, Thanksgiving morning, Bird went back in the stand to take a doe. At 6:30 am he caught movement way down in the paddock. He pulled the scope up and saw a couple of does moving through the thick stuff. He saw a large deer and thought maybe it was a buck. All of the sudden he caught sight of another doe coming from a different direction towards his stand. As that deer moved in, the large deer bolted and all he saw was horns coming through the woods. It was a giant 10 point buck with split brow tines, the largest deer he'd ever seen his life. The doe ran behind his stand and the buck stopped 50 yards broadside in the open. Bird tried to steady his nerves, settled the cross-hairs on the buck's vitals, fingered the safety and......never took the shot! You heard me.
    He had been explaining to his grandson the rules and regulations of deer hunting all week. "You see Mathew, you are allowed one buck during gun season and as many does as you have permits for. Then in muzzleloader season you can take another buck." These words streaked through his head as he looked at this majestic creature, that a lesser man would already have on the ground. We all try to be legal in the woods. As I get older, I try harder. It's really easy when you don't see any deer. But, I have to admit, if I had shot a decent buck early in the season and was hunting does and a monster stepped in front of me, I don't know if I would have the great fabric of character it would take not to pull that trigger. All of us, Savage, Milawyer, and every supermodel that ever met my brother recognizes his dignified countenance, and respectability. He sets the bar very high for us mere mortals. I'll say it again- I'm not worthy. It will take all the restraint I can muster not to "hunt does" where that giant is roaming. And if my nephew reads this, you better steer clear if you knows what's good for you. Blood only runs so deep.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016



     I have a great life. One of the best things about it is I feel I have the right and complete freedom to bitch about how bad things are going. As you already know, I missed one good buck and wounded another. Since then, the weather turned brutal cold, we had six inches of snow and everywhere I turn there are other hunters in front of me. The wind blew for four days straight and basically ruined the final days of the rut, as even the horny bucks weren't about to venture out in the gale. I haven't seen a buck with the gun in my hands and hardly any does. And how 'bout those Republicans?
    When I'm not in the woods, freezing my ass off, seeing nothing, I'm either sleeping, drinking, watching TV or on Facebook. The writing I was doing on my family has ceased for the moment, as I tried to digest just what it was I wanted to say. Following kin through the French and Indian War, murders, hangings and such, takes its toll. I need to masticate this historical mess. So in the meantime I hunt in empty woods and ponder just where we are politically speaking in America. At first look it seems pretty bad. I hear the Republicans when they exclaim; "WE WON! GET OVER IT." They sound like a cross between the Nazis in Vichey France and some old lady in her housecoat who just won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes. I know you won. But we still live here.
    It's depressing and exhilarating all at the same time. I've seen shitty Presidents before. I was in Nixon's draft and avoided Johnson's war, by staying in school. I'm a opportunistic pacifist. If I have the opportunity I won't fight. But if I have to I will. I'm flexible. With Trump it looks like we have to avail ourselves to all avenues to combat his "Fascist Autarky." Like sitting in the woods, absorbing the nothingness, you still must be alert, vigilant, ready for things to change in an instant. This is what it's about. Was that the snap of a twig?
     Schooling myself in the hunt, as well as history, it's tough to enjoy the turkey this year, as First Inhabitants are being hosed down in freezing temps., with the same water they are protecting. And this is under Obama. Imagine the response of Team Trump. I use the term "First Inhabitants" on purpose. In my research I came across a big problem in what to call an Indigenous person- Indian? Native American? I thought "Inhabitant" sounded good until I saw the term constantly used to refer to the European settlers in Indian territory. We not only appropriated the land, we used language that essentially negated the humans that actually did inhabit the land for thousands of years prior to our inhabitation. Fraudulent ownership on paper codified our existence and right to be Americans. Sucks huh?
    So to all a Happy Thanksgiving. It's been a fucking lousy hunting season. Half of the people in our country elected a racist buffoon as President and it looks like the rut is over. I'm thankful for the opportunity to tell you about it. That's worth fighting for. xx      

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

HOLLIE WITCHEY- Witchey Handmade