My dad was an outdoors man, I think that is common when you like animals like he did. He loved to hunt, but he always did I different kind of hunting with me. He would take me for walks in the woods and teach me to walk quietly so we could see more animals that way. He would point out deer to me and taught me to be quiet so we could watch them for awhile. He never took a gun with him when I was along. He wanted me to grow up appreciating nature without the violent side of it. He would show me rabbits and squirrels and different kinds of birds. I loved going for walks in the woods with him. It seemed as if we always saw something special when we went.
He also was a tree and plant lover. He taught me the names of the different kind of trees, plants and shrubs. We lived in town and had Elm trees up and down the street. Dutch Elm Disease attacked most of them one year and my dad was really upset to see so many trees died. He bought some young seedlings (I think from Arbor Society) and planted Mable trees up and down our street. I remember him planting a field or so of various trees on some of his friends farms. He gave me an appreciation for trees that I carry with me today. We live on five acres and I try to plant as many different kind of trees as I can.
I really enjoyed it when we found wild berries to pick. My dad’s mother raised raspberries and so we were familiar with them. Dad knew where to find wild blueberries. Just the two of us would take our Volkswagen bus and head to Northern Wisconsin. We would camp out and pick blueberries for days. Dad always brought some Chuck Steak with us and we would grill it over a camp fire. He also taught me that wild mushrooms could be poisonous and not to pick them unless you knew what they were. I try growing blueberries and raspberries on our land today.
He took me fishing but he was even gentle and kind to the fish. He taught me how to take them off the hook without hurting them if possible. We threw the small ones back and he didn’t want them hurt. We kept the big ones for our supper.
My dad did a lot of the cooking in our family and he loved trying new dishes. He had been the oldest in a large family and they had to live through the Depression. I remember one dish he made was Dandelion Soup. It was made with Dandelion greens, bacon and potatoes. It was really good. Another night we went frog catching and he fried them for our supper. He did something wrong, he should have pulled a nerve or something out of them. They were jumping all over the frying pan and we all had fun laughing at him as he tried to fry them up. Dad was good at coming up with some wonderful dishes. He made rabbit stew, cooked squirrel, and many other dishes some of you have never heard of. But even today I love cooking and trying new dishes.