The weekend kicked off with an orientation. There were about 100 women who were there to participate and probably another 30 people who were instructors. It turned out that the majority of women were attending for their first time just like me, which made me feel a bit better. After our welcome we all headed to the location of the first class. I apparently has been daydreaming when an announcement was made that my first class, Wild Game Cooking, had changed locations. I went to the old spot and waited at the picnic tables with another lady, Gerri. We started talking and exchanging stories about how we had come to be there. She was great company and before long we realized that we must have missed something. Without any trouble we were able to find the rest of our class and a weekend of fun began.
Wild Game Cooking
There were about 8 other woman enrolled in this class with me. Most of them either had a bit of experience cooking wild game or none at all. I'd had a bit, mostly deer and moose, but when I read on the brochure that snow goose would be involved I knew that this was a class where I would be learning something.
|Wild Game Cooking, Retrieved from BOW Facebook, 9.11|
At the end they provided us with all of the recipes that we had made and additionally BOW had purchased a full Wild Game Cooking cookbook for each of us. This was a very delicious and education class! I've brought the ideas home and can't wait for some new game to experiment on!
Dutch Oven Cooking
I attended Dutch Oven Cooking on Saturday morning. The class was taught by The Patrick Sister who are two of the funniest, sweetest ladies I have ever met. They told us about their start at cooking in dutch ovens which coincidentally enough was about 10 years before at a BOW workshop. They walked us through the history of dutch oven cooking and showed us the variety of dutch ovens out there. Then we got to cooking.
|Scotch Eggs Dutch Oven Style, 9.11|
We each walked away with the confidence and ability to cook up a great meal in a dutch oven. The Patrick Sisters also gave us each a copy of their recently published Full Circle Dutch Oven Cookbook. I can't wait to take this class again next year!
Bird ID and Birding
Saturday after lunch I went to Birding and Bird ID taught by Lynn Purdy and Maggie Engler, two very knowledgeable women. I decided to take this class because I'm not a South Dakota native and so I'm not very familiar with the birds in the Hills. I had and still do have a lot to learn but I'm more inspired than ever.
There were maybe 10 people in this class and after a brief orientation we grabbed a pair of binoculars we headed outside. Even though the class was mid-afternoon we were still able to see a few birds. I learned to name some birds I had been seeing around Outlaw Ranch and a bird that's only found in the Hills. It was really fun to watch the birds playing in the pasture or to try to pick them out of the thickets or just to find them eating on the ground. It's amazing what you don't see!
|Birding and Bird ID, Retrieved from BOW Facebook, 9.11|
Later that evening there was a feast prepared by the SD Conservation Officers Association. This is something that they do each year at BOW to raise awareness about events they do throughout the year and to raise money. Over the past few years whenever a bighorn or mountain goat was hit the Conservation Officers tried to save the meat for occasions like this. A few years ago a moose (which are incredibly rare in the Hills) was poached and the SDCOA salvaged it and had some meat saved for the BOW dinner. When someone had taken well over their limit on walleye and perch the fish were confiscated and saved for the dinner. That night I saw the most diverse and delicious array of wild game. They served walleye, perch, wild turkey, mule deer, moose, mountain goat, and bighorn sheep. There may have been other meats but I was so excited to try mountain goat and bighorn sheep that everything else was eclipsed. I'm pretty sure that I had elk, too, but I can't be sure. To support their cause and to show my appreciation I purchased a t-shirt for myself and my husband. There was no way that he was going to believe my night without some hard evidence.
Map and Compass
On Sunday morning I attended my last class, Map and Compass. I was pretty confidant going in that I could work with a compass because for my jobs I had always been required to keep a bearing and to draw maps but what I wasn't used to was working my way around a map and taking bearings straight from it.
We started out learning to identify map symbols and how to read the contour lines. I really learned a lot. For example, I learned how to read which was a stream flows by the contour lines that run through it. After that we learned how to take a bearing from maps and how to adjust for true north. There's a lot to think about when you are trying to get somewhere with just a map and compass!
|Map and Compass 9.11|
After we had completed the course we were all gifted the compass that we had worked with. This was great because the compasses were small, simple and could be used to read any 1:24,000 scaled map. I can't wait to pass on some of my new skills to my friends!
After the weekend had come to a wrap I was truly sad to be heading home. The women that I had met over the course of the weekend were all so spirited and fun that it actually brought a tear to my eye to know that I would have to wait a whole year to have another experience like this. Becoming an Outdoor Woman had been a successful weekend. I had learned several new skills and my confidence in being outside and learning new things was high. Now, I am counting down until next year and I hope that some of my friends will come with me. It's something that every woman should experience!
Thank you to all the people who made this weekend possible. Thank you to every women who brought their great attitudes and made this a great experience. I hope to see you all again!