Last weekend I was lucky enough to get back home to where I grew up in Sherrill, NY. I had a great time visiting family. In fact, the purpose of the visit was to attend my sister's annual wine & cheese party. Her parties have become something that I Debbie and I look forward to each fall. Never have so many wonderful cheeses and wines come together under roof. I suppose, the same can be said for the people who attend.
Just like last year, I took my double barrel and was able to squeeze in a few hours, bird hunting with my father. Of all of my hobbies and interests, I must say that hunting with my father is, hands down, my all-time favorite thing to do. I suppose this is because my father is such a genuine woodsman. The woods are really his natural habitat. As a kid, he taught me so much, out in the woods; about the critters out there, their sounds, their habits, and how to find them. It was and still is, fascinating to me, how much he knows about the outdoors. So, I jump at the chance to get out hunting with him, we have some good talks and fun times.
And as luck would have it, I actually got a partridge this time. I don't think I've seen or shot at one of these since I was in high school. When I flushed him, he flew off to my left and I put a bead on him. I missed him with the first shot, and was glad that I had another barrel ready to fire. I thought he was too far away for the second shot, but took a chance anyway. Down he dropped! My father and I were both really happy about it. It had been so long since one of us actually got a bird. We don't hunt nearly as much as we used to and nailing that partridge was a real delight!
My father gave me a quick refresher course on how to clean the bird. I had forgotten how stinky they are. The longer you wait to clean the birds, the worse they smell. Nevertheless, he made quick work of it, and before long, we had the bird sitting in a pan of salt water in the fridge. This helps to draw the blood out of the meat and remove some of the gamey taste. The next day we bagged the bird and packed it in ice for my drive back home to Maryland.
When I got home to Westminster, Maryland, I rinsed the bird, quartered it, dipped it in flour and fried it in olive oil with some onions. It came out perfect. I paired it with a bit of homemade marmalade I had recently made and a glass of local strawberry wine. What a meal!