a TigerRAWk Film

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Shared Life: The Holidays 2020 - Apocalypse Edition (November - December)

As it was with the rest of the year 2020, it was an apocalyptic holiday season due to COVID-19 which meant there were some adjustments to our plans and travels. We still traveled to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving but we ended up canceling the plans to go to North Carolina which meant a Christmas in Chicago. I believe we planned for a few days to be available during this trip for hunting even before the apocalypse began but with the Russia trip being canceled, more time was available. As I wrote before, during the Thanksgiving visit to Pennsylvania, it was decided to cancel our usual Christmas trip to North Carolina as well, increasing the time available to hunt through the entire season.

https://youtu.be/X04W_OqHCm4 or try https://odysee.com/@TigerRAWk:2/a-shared-life-the-holidays-2020:a

On Wednesday November 25th - Apocalypse day 256, I left work around lunch time to make a rainy drive to Warren, Pennsylvania so we could spend Thanksgiving with my family...well my immediate family as the usual Thanksgiving gathering was canceled due to COVID-19 related pandemic restrictions on gatherings. This was probably for the best as a few family members who would have been there ended up contracting COVID-19. We arrived in Pennsylvania without much issue other than the weather and dodging a few deer. It gave me some optimism regarding the hunting season seeing so many deer. I just hoped that there would be some in the area where I would be hunting for the season. On Thursday November 26th - Apocalypse day 257, we had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and brother. We also hoped to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers football game against the Baltimore Ravens but COVID-19 among Ravens players caused the game to be postponed almost an entire week. I spent a little time in the woods where I planned to hunt, scouting for signs of possible deer and figuring out where I would post up for the season. On Friday November 27th - Apocalypse day 258, I went to the woods to do a little more scouting and made some plans for some alternate hunting spots in case where I hoped to go didn't pan out or there were more hunters in those areas. I brought my crossbow with me but the crank to cock it had somehow wrapped itself around in a way I couldn't get it lose. I'm not sure I would have tried to shoot at anything since I hadn't taken the time to calibrate the sights yet. I also had to take the car for an inspection which was a bit of a hassle and annoyance due to continued conflict with my father on that issue. I was able to get it into a place that evening. This day was not captured in any video. We learned that it was not possible to visit with my Grandpa because the Rouse Nursing Home had suspended visitation due to the COVID-19 surge. In Warren, the numbers had been very low most of the duration until this point.

Hunting season began on Saturday November 28th - Apocalypse day 259. I was hunting in an area in which only legal antlered deer were permitted to be shot during the first week. My father and I rode together (my car needed more attention at a shop) and got settled in our respective posts before daylight...though technically shooting time may have already started before we were in place. It wasn't too long before I saw the first deer of the day. I felt pretty good about my post as I saw a few more deer, all of which were in range to shoot had they been legal antlered deer. Unfortunately there were no antlers that I could see on any of these deer. In the first couple hours, I saw 5 different deer I think, maybe more. There was one shot near me...I assume a legal antlered deer. I also assumed the deer that had been shot was the one who had left markings of its territory not too far away. There was also another hunter's tree stand in the same area where it seemed the shot may have came from. The hunters eventually dragged the deer by me but not real close. I could not see the antlers well enough to get a point count but I was certain it was definitely a legal buck and likely the one I had hoped to get. In the later afternoon, a couple deer crossed by me but again, they had no visible antlers. As it began to get darker and later, I began moving downhill toward where we had parked. As I walked, I was looking to see if another spot I had prepared might be worth trying the next day but instead I happened upon a spot someone had once used in years past. My father likes to set up in what I would describe as a makeshift fort he built around a couple of trees using dead trees and logs laying around. It gives him something to rest on when he takes a shot or while waiting for something he can shoot to come along. It can also be something of a blind to hide behind when deer come through. When I saw the old remains of a similar fort set up as I walked, I decided to investigate to see if the sight lines could make it a good hunting spot. Sure enough, it seemed pretty good to me. I could see quite a bit all around. I took some logs and dead trees laying around and began to build it up. While doing so, my father came along. He helped me a little bit and we got it built up enough to be usable. Because a lot of the pieces were either rotting or smaller in size, I tested it by leaning on it. It held up and I figured it would be good enough to use. By this time, it was pretty dark. The moon had risen, it was a full moon and gave a bit of light to walk out. A deer walked by as we got ready to leave giving me a little more hope for the spot.

On Sunday November 29th - Apocalypse day 260, my father and I went out hunting again on a Sunday for the first time. Pennsylvania had opened the first Sunday of the season for hunting. The ground had developed frost overnight and walking in the area was quite loud. I decided to drag some more logs as I came to my spot. I figured the extra noise wasn't going to be a problem since walking in was already quite loud on the frost and leaf covered ground. I had a little trouble finding it at first, ha! I added the new logs and soon had the feeling I was going to need to poop while out hunting. I wasn't in my spot more than probably 5-10 minutes before a small deer walked toward me. I could hear it before seeing it, again due to the frost. It walked toward me, eventually it saw me and got a bit more cautious yet it seemed curious as well. This deer remained near me for quite a while...seemingly trying to figure out what I was and why I was there. When it eventually moved along out of sight, and as I continued to look around to see if there were any other deer, I began to search for my roll of toilet paper. I couldn't find it. I definitely had to poop so I left my spot and found a place to do my business a little ways away. I buried it and used some leaves to clean up. I dragged a few more logs over to help build up my spot a little more. It was a short time after this that I saw a group of deer run downhill from me just about out of my sightline and moving too fast to really get a good look to see if they might be legal antlered deer. The did eventually cross where I could see them better and perhaps could have taken a shot but I couldn't see any antlers. This seemed to open a floodgate for deer. I saw few more groups moving downhill from me headed the other direction but still nothing with antlers. As I watched one group, it seems one either caught wind of me, or saw me and got a bit spooked and ran. Others sort of ran too but didn't seem as spooked or concerned. A short time later, more deer came along and one definitely was a buck but did not appear to me to be considered a legal antlered deer. I gave it quite a long look and hoped to find what seemed to be missing but I never saw enough to be confident enough to shoot it and feel ok with taking the shot. A couple other hunters moved down a road near where I stood. It spooked at least one deer that was moving along downhill from me. I saw another deer move near where that spooked deer appeared to go and it stood facing me but at a fairly long distance. I looked at it and could tell it was a buck. I looked more and felt pretty confident I could see enough points on its antlers to be a legal antlered deer. It was going to be a long shot and I tried to adjust for that but it seems I did not adjust enough. I believe my shot went low. It scared the deer away, there were at least two there. I walked in the direction to try to see if there was any blood to indicate if I hit it. I hoped that I didn't wound it. I heard a shot not long after from where my father should be. Sure enough, he took a shot and killed a buck! He sent a picture to me and I feel pretty confident it was the same one I shot at as it had ran off in the direction that it should have come to him. I returned to my spot and didn't really see much for the rest of the day. I did a little more work on the fort set up as I returned to the spot to try to make it more sturdy and to give it more height to rest upon to take a shot as well. Just as it got dark, a few deer ran across uphill from me then a few more. I could not see any antlers on any of them and I'm not entirely sure I could have taken a clean shot but I felt good, in general about this spot for hunting. I returned to the car but my father was not there. I waited around then began to head up back into the woods and found him coming down the path. He was dragging his deer and had just finished cleaning it out. It seemed it took a lot longer than I anticipated it should given what time it was when he had shot and killed the deer. I helped him bring his deer to the car and load it. At the house, it was decided he wanted to take his deer to a butcher so we headed out to take his deer for processing. This deer seemed quite infested with ticks. After cleaning up, we had our Northern Family Christmas as has become the tradition. We gave my family their gifts and opened ours.

On Monday November 30th - Apocalypse day 261, I headed back out to hunt. My father decided to come as well to try to help move deer toward me. It was raining. It was a constant moderate rain. After about an hour and a half I felt it wasn't really worth it to be out there and we came back in. I went back to bed and we decided that we were going to drive back to Chicago the next day. There continued to be a steering issue and wanted to take it back where I had it worked on before in case there might be a warranty if what they had done was the problem. We got up and informed the family that we were leaving the next day and made some preparations. We watched some Monday Night Football (still having to wait on the Steelers game) and relaxed. Of course, with our luck, a winter storm was coming in so we were going to be dealing with that.

On Tuesday December 1st - Apocalypse day 262, we left for Chicago. Coming out of Warren, it wasn't too bad yet. Rain turning to light snow. As we crossed into New York the snow began to get heavier and as we crossed back into Pennsylvania on the Interstate, it was bad enough that the roads were somewhat covered and we needed to drive slow and carefully. We encountered a wreck, the first of many. As we went, the GPS warned of an 8 hour delay ahead on the highway in Ohio. I asked for an alternate route and we made it through on some country roads with some pretty significant snow. We continued to encounters vehicles off the road as we drove. Lake Erie was churning as we approached Cleveland. As we got close to the exit for Sheffield Village in Ohio where we usually get gas, traffic had stopped. Though I did not save the video from the car camera, we encountered several trucks that has slid off the Interstate. We got off the highway to get gas and some food then returned to the Interstate and navigated to the Turnpike portion slowly. Many more vehicles had slid off the highway in all directions! We were on the Turnpike only a few miles when the weather and the roads cleared for us. We made the rest of the trip with pleasant weather. We stopped for dinner and groceries in Highland, IN then safely made our way home to Chicago. On Wednesday December 2nd - Apocalypse day 263, I took the car back to the shop to have the steering looked at. Unfortunately, the issue was another part in the steering than they had worked on previously. I spent a bit more money and they fixed this issue. We finally got to watch the Steelers beat the Ravens. I got the car back the next day on Thursday December 3rd - Apocalypse day 264. Elphie made us a nice dinner that evening. I got up and drove back to Warren on Friday December 4th - Apocalypse day 265. It was a decent drive. The weather was fairly nice. East of Cleveland, as the sun set, I caught a rainbow. Most of the areas that were snow covered on the previous drive had mostly melted. The worst weather was a little rain as I entered into Pennsylvania.

Saturday December 5th - Apocalypse day 266, I returned to the woods to hunt. I was now permitted to shoot antlerless deer if I so chose. Less than an hour after getting settled into my spot, two deer came out of the thicker woods across a dirt road just north of me. It was also across a posted private property line. I watched as the deer approached slightly up hill from me and continued to approach. I set up to try to get a shot but could not get a real good angle as they walked by near me. I did however get what I thought was a good look at both deer to see if they had any antlers or not. I determined both did not have antlers. The trailing deer of the two seemed to get a little spooked and rushed forward once it got fairly close to me, it caused the other deer to move a bit more quickly as well. I crouched down and leaned on the wood pile I had built up, felt steady, and took aim. I took the shot and hit the deer but hit it lower than I felt I aimed but I definitely hit it. I got up and chased after the deer as it tried to run on broken front legs. I felt bad about the shot and wanted to end its misery as quick as I could. The other deer seemed confused and not exactly afraid of me rushing toward them. The deer I had shot laid down but got up again and tried to run a bit further as I approached. It laid down again and I was able to make a kill shot. I found at that point that this deer had a pair of small spikes on its head. They were not as long as its ears which I believe hid them from my sight. This was a deer I was technically suppose to turn in to a Game Warden. I instead field dressed it, gutted it and prepared it to take home. My father came from his post, made some critical statements regarding my shooting a deer that is considered "protected" and indicated I should have looked more closely at it. We dragged it to the car, and then went to the old house to find tools to hang the deer with which were homemade rigged up boards with nails. It worked well enough. We hung the deer in the shed in the back of the property and skinned it. I began to cut it apart. I removed the front legs at the shoulder. I cut off meat from the chest and rib areas then worked along the back taking meat from there as well. My father helped with sawing through the pelvic bone to cut lose the hind quarters. Once the deer was quartered, I began to work on the butchering process of the meat. This was a painstakingly long process. I spent the rest of that evening, all day on Sunday December 6th - Apocalypse day 267 and Monday December 7th - Apocalypse day 268 butchering the meat from the body and front quarters, working around that which had been bloodshot from my unfortunate wounding first shot through both legs. I watched football on my phone as I butchered including the Steelers game which this week had been delayed to Monday afternoon. On Tuesday December 8th - Apocalypse day 269, we went back out to hunt. I sought a buck and my father was eligible to get something antlerless. We did not see much on this day. I saw one toward the end of the day I believe. I began to butcher some more that evening, working on one of the hindquarters. I worked late into the night. I felt I was too tired to hunt again on Wednesday December 9th - Apocalypse day 270 so I slept in a bit then worked on butchering the remaining meat and finished it up on the 271st day of the Apocalypse, Thursday December 10th. That morning, I got up early as well to go to a COVID-19 testing site so that I could return to work when I headed back to Chicago the next week. I also worked on butchering the head of the deer. Even though it wasn't a "trophy" deer by any stretch, I wanted to keep the skull. I also wanted to try to butcher whatever meat might be salvageable from the head. My friend/co-worker Franck had asked for this meat. I was able to harvest some meat from the neck, cheeks, and the tongue for Franck. I tried to remove the eyes as well but punctured one of them. I got it pretty cleaned off overall but eventually I wore out on working on it and decided to quit for the time being and froze it to work on at a later time. I also wanted to research more on what I needed to do to remove the brain and perhaps other material I was having difficulty with. We hunted some more on Friday December 11th - Apocalypse day 272 and Saturday December 12th - Apocalypse 273 which were the final days of the season. I saw a couple deer on Friday and a few more on Saturday. Nothing that appeared to have legal antlers so I was unable to harvest another deer. On Saturday, I built up the fort I had been using to make it sturdier and add more angles to shoot easier in more directions next year or whenever I get to hunt again. I did this as it rained, figuring I wasn't seeing much anyway and the rain was noisy enough I figured I could make more noise too in moving pieces of wood or knocking down small trees. I hope to go back out in the summer possibly when I purchase my next hunting license and work on it a bit more.

I added some narration to the hunting portions of the video to try to explain a bit of what I was sharing for those interested.

On Sunday December 13th - Apocalypse day 274 I made my return journey to Chicago. It was a long time away from Elphie. I was glad to be getting back to her. I loaded the car with coolers full of meat and gathered the other gifts that had arrived in the mail as well as other things that needed to come back to Chicago. There was a little snow crossing into New York again but most of the rest of the trip the weather was nice. I passed a truck full of live fish a couple times. I arrived home, greeted Elphie, unloaded  the car and then loaded the freezer with all the meat, and then we relaxed watching the Steelers game. It was very good to be home. I returned to work but had not been told the result of my COVID-19 test.


On Friday December 18th - Apocalypse day 279, there was a Christmas tree donation at Cornerstone Community Outreach. Maintenance was charged with assembling the trees and distributing them to the different programs. It was quite the sight to see so I captured some video of it. On Saturday December 19th - Apocalypse day 280, I covered an early shift at work. On my way in, I captured using the car camera, the city, some of the lights on buildings including a heart on a hotel, "Peace And Joy," on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield building, and a wreck that had occurred. After working the morning, Elphie and I went to the suburbs to visit a couple Japanese stores in the Mitsuwa Marketplace to purchase gifts for some of her family. We visited the Kinokuniya Bookstore then drove down the road to Hello Toyko then got dinner from Kickin' Burgers And Wings. We ended up getting some dinner to take home and captured some Christmas lights along the way as well. On Monday December 21st - Apocalypse day 282 I stuck a glowing star on the side of Cornerstone Community Outreach. It had come in a Christmas letter from my cousin Justin and his wife Laura. It was some sort of art related thing for Justin. I don't think it lasted the day. On Wednesday December 23rd - Apocalypse day 284, we had a Christmas party for the Naomi Men's Program at Cornerstone Community Outreach. In year's past, we had allowed outside folks to come and partake of the party but with COVID-19, we were not able to do so this year. This upset a few of those folks. On Thursday December 24th - Apocalypse day 285, I captured a bit of the Wilson Abbey Windows display and the Lincoln Park Zoo lights as I drove home from work. At home, Elphie made Egg Nog French Toast for our Christmas Eve meal and she was able to FaceTime with her family a little bit. We watched some Christmas movies and Scary Lady Sarah DJing a bit as well.

Starting on Christmas Day, Friday December 25th - Apocalypse day 286, I used the rest of my vacation time to stay home from work. We ordered Chinese food. We hoped to get it from Chop Suey City in the neighborhood but it seems that they were closed. We found a restaurant open in Chinatown and ordered from there. The food wasn't quite as good, the portions were smaller, and the cost was higher than we had anticipated. We watched some more Christmas movies and football. We drove into Downtown and to Uptown to see the Christmas lights. I added a couple clips in here to show gifts we got ourselves such as the Ms. PacMan arcade game and the Excalibur Bulldog 440 Crossbow. We watched the Christmas movies and some football using the Google Chromecast which I bought for Elphie with the idea of subscribing to Hulu for her to watch some shows she likes.

On Sunday December 27th - Apocalypse day 288, we decided to grill deer heart for dinner. It turned out pretty good though I could probably have let it cook a little bit longer.

On Wednesday December 30th - Apocalypse day 291, we drove around the neighborhood checking out the Christmas lights then to a few housing and spots that were highlighted in various publications as being worth seeing. We also got another Atlas Obscura site knocked off by visiting the Home Alone house. We checked out lights around the town of Winnetka after that. We drove around the area for quite a while then headed a bit further north to see a house that had been highlighted online for its decorations...I can't quite remember where it was now. As we returned to Chicago, I decided to take Sheridan Road and we passed the Baha'i' Temple then stopped at the Sonic in Uptown for a Blast.

https://youtu.be/naKGAkC4dUI or https://odysee.com/@TigerRAWk:2/a-shared-life-the-holidays-2020-2:b
On Thursday December 31st - Apocalypse day 292, we started New Years Eve by watching the video for "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones we reached the point in 2020 with 24 hours to go. We had the television coverage of New Year's celebrating on while also watching various things online including The Pirate Twins and others DJing. After celebrating both eastern and central time zones moving into 2021 and the kiss, I went outside to shoot fireworks that our friend and landlord Moses had given me when I paid rent. I shot a few bottle rockets as well. I felt that "Thank God The Year Is Finally Over" by Paper Route was quite fitting to end 2020...I didn't realize I used it to end 2019 as well until after I had already finished the project.. Perhaps I need to look back to my blog to see why, ha! I also used "Fire And Ice" by Pat Benatar since I was shooting off fireworks in the ice and snow. On Friday January 1st - Apocalypse day 293, we mostly relaxed. We received a box in the mail which gifts from some of Elphie's family so we opened it and thanked them for the gifts on FaceTime.

The additional soundtrack includes "Giving Tree" by The Uh Ohs, "The Little Christmas Tree" by Bon Voyage, "Christmas Time Is Here" by Starflyer 59, "It Snowed" by Meaghan Smith, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Nate Ford, "Asia Minor" by Fold Zandura, "Hosanna" by Josh Garrels, "The Light" by Von Strantz, "I Won't Be Home" by John The Silent, "In My Bleak Midwinter" by David Chapdelaine, "Holiday Seasonal Affective Disorder" by hushpad, "Do You Hear What I Hear" by House of Wires, "White Christmas" by Travelogue, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by I, Satellite, "Happy Holidays" by Norway, "Wonderful Christmas Time" by Earthsuit, "O Come O Come Emanuel" by Chasing Furies, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Viva Voce, "The Holly And The Ivy" by Sound Of Ceres, "Visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by Danielson, "What Child Is This" by Poor Old Lu, "Christmas Is Here" by 6'10, "We'll Give Our Hearts" by The Uh Ohs, "Home Alone Theme" by August Burns Red, "Wet Bandits" by Counterfeit Money Machine, "Make It Home Alone" by The Bell And The Hammer, "I Won't Cancel Christmas" by Hello, Wonder, "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" by Branches, "Snow" by Sleeping At Last, "Silent Night" by Leper, "What Child Is This" by Wretched Graverobber, "Christmas Edition 2020" by Parousia, "I Wonder As I Wander" by Epic Church, "That Shining Night" by Atlantica Vox, "This Is War" by Dustin Kensrue, "This Is Christ" by Sandra McCracken and Derek Webb, "The Lights Went Out" by Sarah Story, "Noel" by Serengeti, "O Come Let Us Adore Him" by Insomniac Folklore, "O Come O Come Emmanuel" by Citizen Shade, "Greensleeves/What Child Is This" by Kevin Max, "Silent Night" by Timbre, "Thank God The Year Is Finally Over" by Paper Route, and "Fire And Ice" by Pat Benatar.

Footage filmed using a Canon Rebel T6CrossTour CR900, and iPhones 6 and 8 by Elphie and Joel A. Swanson. Titles and animations were created using Motion 4 on a Macbook by Joel A. Swanson. All other editing was done using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini by Joel A. Swanson.

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