Hunting

ARB Fridge Freezer

Check out our new cooler! (Technically we’ve had it for a few months but we finally used it for the first time in December so it’s still “new” in my book.)

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It’s more than a cooler though – it’s a portable fridge. No more fussing with ice. Yay! That means no soggy food. No worrying about whether the ice has melted or about where you are going to find more. No more frustrations over not having enough room when it’s full of ice to having everything falling over and rolling around when it melts.

You do need power. Which I suppose in some situations isn’t always available but when it is this rugged monster is a gem.

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It operates on 12/24 volts DC or 120 volts AC and comes with two power cords, one for AC (inside your home) and one for DC (cigarette lighter.) It also has built-in battery protection so you won’t run your vehicle battery too low. Awesome.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I think this is a pretty cool product and I like to share. A sort of  ‘pay it forward’ by telling others when we come across great products.

Why do we have one? We knew at the end of hunting season last year that we needed to replace the cooler we had been using. So Don spent a lot of time researching coolers and after many youtube videos and other reviews he was set on the ARB. It comes in 4 sizes; we bought the 60L (or 63 quart size.) For $945. I KNOW. Crazy! Well, it turned out to be worth every penny.

Don’s recent hunt was our first full test run of the freezer. It worked beautifully. So beautifully that the meat froze solid and we had to defrost everything before we could get it out. LOL

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If you aren’t squeamish and look close, you can see the ice crystals on the sides.

Shortly after the hunting trip, we were locked out of our garage, due to a faulty opener, and subsequently locked out of our upright freezer as well. It took the apartment complex three weeks to replace the garage door switchboard and for us to gain access again. I don’t know how we would have gotten by without the ARB. Our household freezer was already 3/4 full before Don went hunting. So, after we processed and packaged the venison it went back into the ARB freezer until we could access our garage again. Money. Well. Spent. 

Other handy features that we love:

  • Removable lid – easily slides in or out (picture above shows it fully removed.)
  • Quiet operation – you don’t even hear it!
  • A drain plug on the bottom for easy cleaning.
  • A light inside!
  • Easy to use digital display for setting and monitoring the temperature.
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We were a little overzealous with the temp not knowing how low we needed to go.
Not that low apparently.

It really can’t get better than that!

In the interest of full disclosure, it is a little heavy and bulky for one person – in this size. I’ve been able to move it around the house by myself, empty, but at 54 lbs with handles far down on the sides, it is a little awkward. When full, it’s pretty much out of the question for one person to move it. But what huge icebox can be moved by one person when filled with ice and/or food?

If you are not convinced or would like to see more about this product, check out some other opinions below. (**Please note, I have not been compensated in any way for my opinion; I simply like to share my experience of new and/or helpful products with others.)

Everyone that you meet knows something you don’t. Learn from them. Share your experiences.
~ Justin Cotillard


A Successful Hunt

Three cheers for a freezer full of venison! We have about 50 lbs of wild meat to keep us for many months thanks to Don’s excellent hunting skills.

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He did a pretty good job of mounting his first set of horns using the Iron Buck Antler Mount too! He found the mount at a local Academy but is also available on Amazon and at Bass Pro, among many other stores. It is a quick, easy to use, do-it-yourself mount.

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Hunting has opened the earth to me and let me sense the rhythms and hierarchies of nature.
~ Charles Fergus

Hunting and Self-Reliance

Our freezer is jammed packed again, and I am grateful.

Don’s hunting trip last weekend was a resounding success. He used a new rifle and was pleased to find it as accurate as “old trusty.” He landed two hogs and one doe. One hog was 100+ pounds and the other was small enough that it has been frozen whole for smoking one weekend with the neighbors who graciously invited Don to hunt on their property. Our thanks to their generosity as well.

The larger hog and the doe yielded 76 lbs of meat, 50 lbs of pork, and 27 lbs of venison (2 of which we’ve already cooked and/or eaten.) 🙂

Our processing station…

This was the first time we’ve ever been able to weigh our meat and know how much we really have, and to be able to portion the bags more accurately. We’ve been wanting a scale for ages but it was one of those things that because it was an added expense, it kept being pushed off in favor of essentials. We finally broke down and bought one at Walmart recently knowing hunting season was coming. It’s all of about $20 and we are laughing at ourselves a bit for waiting for so long. It has been so incredibly helpful in the kitchen, from weighing things for baking to weighing the meat as we went along.

In previous years the meat processing has been tedious and difficult, but after a few years of trial and error, studying techniques online via YouTube, and obtaining tools to make the process easier, we have developed a system together that works well. Many hunters choose to have their meat processed for them; we save on that expense and do it ourselves. It’s messy work but we believe it’s an important part of the process of hunting and being self-reliant. We processed all 76 lbs over the course of two nights and about maybe four hours total. Our freezer is chock full of steaks, hams, roasts, and tons of packages marked for ground meat, sausage, and jerky! Yum.

I know some people don’t value hunting, even view hunting negatively, but we do not hunt for sport or trophy. Don is a careful, responsible hunter who takes care to kill quickly and humanely. When possible, we prefer to eat wild animal that lived a life freely, free of confines, free of hormones, free of human manipulation. So we hunt for sustainability. (I say “we” even though it’s really Don. But I do value the skill of hunting, when done responsibility.) We believe that hunting is a skill that should not be forgotten or lost. None of us knows how our world might change in our lifetime and whether those skills might need to be called upon for survival someday.

In my search for a quote relevant to hunting, or the skill of hunting, to include at the bottom of this post (which are nearly non-existent BTW, at least anything positive), I found a website dedicated to hunting with a page on the Virtues of Responsible Hunting, which we wholeheartedly agree with.

Nature is indifferent to the survival of the human species, including Americans.
~ Adlai E. Stevenson

Movie Monday – The Eagle

Well my oven has been on the fritz this past week, so I haven’t been able to make a new recipe I’ve been eager to try. Hopefully that will get ironed out in the coming week.

For now, I’ve got a Movie Monday update for you. Last week we watched The Eagle. In short, a Roman era movie in which a young soldier seeks to restore his family’s name by reclaiming something lost by his father in years past. I didn’t really know anything about the movie when we picked it up but I generally enjoy stories with a historical angle (historical fiction is one of my favorite choices for reading) so we gave it a chance. I really liked it. I’d like to say Don did too but he fell asleep and missed more than half the movie. In the movie’s defense, Don had been up since 5 am and been on duty for the three days before so really, odds were against his being able to stay awake regardless of the movie. He did like what he did see. Unfortunately we rented from a Blockbuster Express Kiosk (like RedBox – I just happen to have some free movie coupons for Blockbuster right now.) So, in keeping with the rules of renting from these types of vendors, we had to return the movie by 9 pm the next day and he didn’t have time to watch the other half before we returned it. But getting back to the movie, I liked the costumes and the cultures presented throughout the film. I could see many things in visual form with this film that are also being described in the book I’m currently reading (Voice of the Eagle) and that was especially fascinating for me. All of my rambling aside, if you like adventure and drama you might like this movie.

I also want to take a moment to brag that Don had a very successful hunting weekend – two hog and one doe. I’m so excited my eyes might burst out of my head. We really needed to replenish our meat supply and I am so thankful.

I do not hunt for the joy of killing but for the joy of living, and the inexpressible pleasure of mingling my life however briefly, with that of a wild creature that I respect, admire and value.
– John Madson

Hoping for a fruitful hunting season

2010 Hunting Season

We are completely out of deer meat from last year. (With the exception of a few packages gifted from family. [Thank you!] We are all out of what Don brought home for us personally.) Here’s hoping we can fill the freezer this full again this year! I can’t wait!

Although, I hope the mustache doesn’t come back this year again. I could do without that. 🙂

If some animals are good at hunting and others are suitable for hunting, then the Gods must clearly smile on hunting.
~ Aristotle