Thursday, December 22, 2011


 I had just talked to Shewho an hour before. "Be careful driving and call me when you get home." I said and went back to skinning out the buck head I had sitting on the coffee table. I can't afford the taxidermist this year and these two bucks deserve better than just sawing off the antlers. So I'm skinning, cooking and stripping the skulls. After that who knows. Diamonds? Naw. Too Damien Hirst. Then the phone rang. "Hiiiiiiiii....." It was Shewho. By the sound of her voice I knew something was wrong. "I just got in a bad accident......I'm OK......Oh man........" My mind kicked into overdrive. "Where are you?" She had driven off the mountain, back towards NYC and made it almost to the Palisades when traffic came to a screeching halt. She slammed on the brakes on the wet road and lost control. Spinning across two lanes of traffic she crashed into the concrete median on the driver's side. "Here comes the cops. I'll call you right back. I don't think the car can be driven." And she hung up.
    I went back to scrapping meat from the buck's skull. Pea soup fog shrouded the mountain. I waited in shock. When the phone rang again another voice was on the end of the line. "Hi. This is the paramedic. We are taking Shewho to Nyack Hospital." "What? I thought she was fine?" The paramedic took a deep breath. "Well......when someone is in a car that experiences such damage.....we have to take her in." OK. I got in the truck and headed for Nyack. My mind was racing. Was she really OK? My night vision isn't too good these days and the 1984 Ford pick up I drive is not exactly lit up. I had all I could do to read the instructions to the hospital. I have no cell phone, nor obviously map quest. Pencil, paper and a good sense of direction got me to the emergency room.
   Shewho has many names. When I asked the girl at the desk if Shewhocannotbenamed was admitted? She looked at me blankly. Then I went through the list of her other names. She had a hit on her second ex-husband's last name. Bingo. I followed her instructions through the hallways. There sat Shewho talking to a young Dr., looking no worse for the wear. Oh yeah, I kinda looked like a hillbilly. I hadn't even changed out of my hunting clothes- rubber boots, camo and orange hat. "Looks like we got you out of the woods." a nice nurse commented. "If she acts goofy bring her back in." The Dr. said as he shook my hand. I cracked that that would probably be before we left the parking lot. I have never gotten in and out of a hospital so fast and had such nice people take care of a loved one and wish us both Merry Christmas with such genuine good will. If you are gonna get in an accident I highly recommend you tell the paramedics to take you to Nyack Hospital.
   Now it's the day after and it all has had a chance to sink in, just how wrong this could've gone. I haven't seen the car, but by all accounts (aside from Shewho's) it was totaled. She is sooooooooo lucky and in turn so am I. Deer season is over. I shot two bucks and a doe. I am surrounded by good people- both family and friends. Xmas is coming and Shewho, Smokey and I are going to share it with Chuck, Tessa and Cardinal Tristan out at WSS. After last night the true meaning of being blessed is seared into my brain. HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL.

Monday, December 19, 2011




  It's been a long season, and it's just about over. Muzzle loader ends on Tuesday. I've been in the woods for so many days, some things have fallen between the cracks. My TV service has been terminated and a pink slip in my front door (that I didn't notice for week) informed me that my electricity is to be shut off. I've spent the morning trying to get through to NYSEG on numbers that don't work. Want to piss me off? Tell me you are going to turn off my lights and make it as hard as possible to speak to someone about it. Finally I got through to someone and he took offense with my use of "damn" as in "Your damn phone #s don't work." "Sir, please do not use profanity." he officiously stated. "Damn is not really profanity....YOU FUCKING CUNT!" I informed him as the phone went dead. My phone service had been shut off.
   This morning's frustrating episodes aside, it's been an incredible season. We had a nice venison feast on Sat. night. In attendance- Savage Lynch and wife June Bug, Mupp and Ginger, Slick and Beeks, Diamond Dave and Asher, Buddy, Sarah Birka and Feetus Budde, Annie C., Drekes, Andrew and Junie Caprice, Marianna Louise and Horst, Tricky Traviss, Hollie Witchey, Sombrero Paul  and Justin the Dog Whisperer, George Holz, who did I forget? Oh, of course Shewho on the eggnog and by my side at the stove. Could never survive without her. The backstrap was served, consumed and all approved. The booze flowed. As the the evening progressed I sat there with a big shit eating grin on my puss. Hollie pointed out how happy (3 deers down) I seemed. They were all hard earned. It takes a lot to make this hunter happy. But she was right. I was down right giddy surrounded by this bunch.
   Talk switched to deer- legal and illegal. Mupp and I scored opening day and much to Savage's dismay we didn't tag our bucks, allowing us to keep an open tag, and hunt the rest of the season. On the whole, all of us are pretty legal, but sometimes it's the spirit, if not the letter of the law, that prevails. Savage was no one to talk. For years he's carried multiple tags in his pocket. "I bet you still have Ray Gilkey's tag, don't you?" (Ray had died years ago.) He had a sheepish smile on his face. "I have to admit I did get one deer posthumously." Ray always let Savage hunt his farm and provided him with extra tags. Savage  continued. "Ray gave me his tag and died before the season over. I wasn't gonna tell the DEC that the buck was killed by a dead man. Don't write that in your blog." Too late.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


   I like farmers. I grew up in Montgomery, NY, along side the Wallkill River, surrounded by farms. Vanderlee's dairy farm bordered our lot. Down the road was Brach's and The Hawkins farm. Across the fields was my friend Tommy Moroney's place. In between were corn, hay, bean and potato fields The smell of cow shit is very familiar to me. But I'm no farmer. When I was a kid I would help Tommy with his chores and enjoy it. But I could go home and watch TV. It's a little like being an uncle. I dig the kids, but I can always leave 'em to their parents. Farming, like having kids, was way too much work.
  As I got older I met and made friends with other generational farmers. The Rowe farm in Maybrook and the Key farm in Cooperstown are two examples. Then there was Ray Gilkey- now dead, my neighbor, friend, and royal pain in my ass. I miss the hell out of him. He started as a shop teacher, then retired, inherited his uncle's farm and died at 85, raising beefalo.
   These days I'm friends with loads of "farmers". The "" are because their farms are by no means traditional, and may not last a generation. Time will tell if the quotes come off. There's Asher and Diamond Dave's TRUSSBRIDGE FARM- a nice medium sized (and expanding) organic veggie operation down by the river. Drekey and Andrew's sustainable, experimental, crazy smart set up above Ellenville. RNButch's MADISON HILL FARM- complete with camels, ostriches, and Dennis the Big Dick Donkey. Slick and Beeka's Rabbit Bikini farm over in Woodridge. Supermodel's pay big bucks for the bikinis made from just the whiskers and eye lashes. And last, but by no means least, Buddy Budde and Sarah Birka Budde's MAJESTIC FARM- goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, etc. All carved out of the rocky woods- like they used to. And this brings me to the reason I got off on this farmer tangent.

   I set my pop up blind above the bridge on GNJohn's mountain. I was in the blind before first light. It was supposed to rain, but so far it was holding off. I heard something coming. It was way before shooting light. But even in the dark I could see it was a big sheep. Lambchop had escaped the Thanksgiving sheep round up and had been running loose in these hills ever since. She's obviously survived deer season in good shape. I bleated on my call and she stopped. The Buddes had given me instructions to shoot on sight. A dead sheep was worth more than no sheep. Maybe I could keep her around until it was light enough to shoot.
   As the dark maw that had belched her into sight lightened and took shape, I slowly raised the muzzle loader. She kept feeding and looked in great shape. Then I realized there was no way I could shoot her. That's another big reason I'm not a farmer. Hunting's one thing. Putting the hammer down on Lambchop was another. About noon I came home and called Buddy. He was glad I didn't kill her and wanted a chance to catch her.
In the afternoon I moved the blind down the ridge and god dammit there was the sheep again. I spooked two deer going in and didn't see another thing but that bounding sheep all afternoon. I was thinking twice about shooting her. At dark I went back to the truck. There, behind the writer's cabin, on a big rock, stood Lambchop, a perfect broadside shot. I raised the gun and put the crosshairs right behind her shoulder. My thumb caressed the hammer........."Bang." I whispered. Then Lambchop bounced across the rocks, like a goat into the night. I just ain't no farmer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011





   I didn't hunt this morning. It's sixty degrees and raining off and on. I decided to get up at 7:00 am, check in with my facebook fags and see what's been happening while I slept. I've tried to load up my friends list with as many artfags as I can. I don't need to see baby pictures or sunsets from planes. I want to know what's going on in the so-called artworld. Of course if you shoot a big away.
   My first encounter was with Jane Harris, an art history prof. at SVA. She had posted an opinion. She was dismayed concerning artists who seemed down with OWS jetting off to Miami Basel to suck up to the 1%. Now, I wouldn't be caught dead at Miami Basel, but I don't begrudge any artist exchanging finger food and bon mots with the rich if they can get themselves to that shindig on somebody's tip. That said, I agree how distastefully the whole thing is. My comment was "Blame the game not the playa." Well, then followed a flurry of comments, pro and con for sucking cock under the table of the privileged. I couldn't resist. I weighed in on the benefits of a day job and the failings of academia to properly warn the glut of MFA's coming into the market that there's no room for them. Of course I ended with a holier- than- thou proclamation of "strapping on the hammer and going to work."
   In reality I took off work today to wash my hunting clothes, find all my muzzle loader crap, sight in the gun, move my pop up stand, and of course, write this blog and argue with artfags on facebook. It's fucking 60 DEGREES! Nothing's gonna move until the temps drop. Good news is- it's coming. So, before I drive to Monticello to dry my warm clothes, let me just say....... I have worked my entire career at something other than what I wanted to be doing, only to find out I had developed my own unique type of artist. Artist....not art. It's the artist as working man. I failed in quitting my day job, only to make my day job my art. WSSP, WSSP II, and the HOLLIE WITCHEY PROJECT are testament to my success in this effort. I don't sell my art perse, rather a more useful skill like carpentry. All my personalities are complete failures. MO David, Richard Mauwra, Kiristan Kohl, Tobias Yves Zintel are big disappointments. We fucking burn MONEY in the Church of the Little Green Man.  But Mike Osterhout (the carpenter/artist) still pays the bills. My street cred. is intact. You think you're street? You better check under the table. You ain't street.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


 I've got a buck and a doe on the ground. So, with meat in the freezer it's time to check in with Savage his own words.

   "During the rut I hunted behind the house in the morning and in the afternoon drove up the mountain to hunt the high stand. On 11/11 I had a nice heavy, dark eight come down the hill. I could see it was a shooter. I drew back and waited. Two more steps and I had him. Then, out of the blue he spun and headed back up the hill. I had the wind. I didn't know what spooked him. Then I looked down. A wind breaker I had draped over the shooting bar had slipped off and fell to the ground. Just bad luck."

   Opening night dinner at Mupp's found Mupp, Beaver and I with bucks and Savage with nothing. This was Topsy-Turvey World. I think it was the first time in deer hunting history that the three of us had scored and Savage came up empty. What was going on?

"I hardly saw anything the first week, no shooters."

Milawyer (Savage's bro) came up from West Virginia and Mupp and I joined them to put on drives around here. We saw deer, but no horns. It's always a blast to hunt with these guys. At the end of the day we sat in my cold kitchen drinking and bullshitting, until the wives started calling. Two days later the phone rang.

"Savage here. They've been putting on drives over at the farm. No shooters but they've been taking does and even put out a bear on one drive- a little one. No one shot it. Bobby and I went over to hunt that property near the trestle. I saw some does on the edge, near the property line. So I belly crawled up to get a better look. Turned out there was a six and a small eight with them. I decided to pass on the eight and get on one of the does. But they kept moving away and I couldn't get a shot. Then I was kicking myself for passing on the eight. I got on the radio and told Bobby I was going to try to get a little closer. Then before I could move, the eight reappeared. I had a good steady rest on my belly pack. He gave me a broadside shot and I dropped him. Finally! Meat in the freezer. Savage out."