Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lifer 279, in which Delia freezes half to death

Most people see Golden-crowned Kinglets up here fairly regularly; I had never seen one until today, however. I'd seen bunches of Ruby-crowned before, but I finally got the Golden:I was lucky enough to get this photograph in which you can see the golden spot on its head. Sweet!

We went camping last night at Greenwood Furnace State Park; I was anxious to try out some fire-making and cooking techniques I've picked up from watching my favorite show, Man vs. Wild. Does anyone else watch this show? I LOVE IT! I actually purchased a FireSteel a few weeks ago, eager to spark a fire in a tinder ball of dry grass, just like Bear Grylls does it. I've been driving AB crazy by sparking it in the house or taking it with us wherever we go "in case we're in a survival situation!" I also have been wanting to cook something over an open flame on a spit made from a tree branch or something. Primal!

So I talked AB into going camping last night; we collected sticks and things for our fire to supplement the firewood, and I gathered a little ball of dry grass. Turns out, the dry grass wasn't so dry and didn't really catch the spark. Toilet paper, however, goes up like a mofo, as do cotton balls laced with Vaseline (a trick I learned from my camping book)! So, yes, okay--Bear doesn't use those things on his show, but I'll bet he would if he had some handy! Anyway, I got the fire going pretty quickly, and then it was time to prep the vittles.

As a recovering vegetarian for the last year or so, I've added a little tuna and chicken to my diet, so I'd prepped some chicken breasts in a Greek dressing marinade (Gazebo Room brand--it's the best!). I cut them into strips with my tiny pocketknife (I'm still trying to convince AB that I need a big Bear Grylls knife, but I'm still working on that one) and--again, unlike Bear--skewered a couple of strips on my awesome roasting fork. As a backup plan, I also put some strips into heavy-duty foil and set them in the coals along with some foil-wrapped potatoes. It took a while to ensure we wouldn't eat undercooked chicken and get sick, but the results were fantastic! I couldn't decide what to pretend the meat was; I mean, it couldn't be rabbit, obviously:Someone would not approve! It couldn't be Wild Turkey; I love those birds! So I just pretended it was a feral farm chicken, captured in a clever snare I rigged after stalking it for hours.Or something like that. AB just rolls her eyes and smiles at me during these moments. She's a good sport.

Our fire kept us quite warm until about 10:30; we went to bed feeling warm and happy. AB was prepared with her fleece and sleep pants; in my survival mode, I insisted I was quite warm in my boxies and a t-shirt.

First, I felt the cold in my legs--it was like the ground was radiating cold. My feet were still kinda warm, but my legs felt a little cold. I got the sweatpants. Then I added the fleece pullover I got at the L.L. Bean mothership store. I huddled against AB for warmth. I insisted I didn't need socks, but OH MY GOD WHY DIDN'T I BRING MY WOOL SOCKS!?

In short, we froze half to death. Worse, I had to get up to pee about five times (I have a tiny bladder), and we were roughing it at the walk-up site so the bathroom was waaayyyy too far away. Needless to say, I needed a shower BADLY when we got home.

So this morning when we took a walk to warm up, seeing a lifer was a good way to start the day. We also saw several Hairy Woodpeckers (but no Downy), Least Flycatchers, Blue Jays, and American Crows. The little songbirds were flitting around so quickly that those were the only positive IDs I was able to make.

P.S.--my countdown to Cape May begins tomorrow!


LauraHinNJ said...

I think probably I'd roll my eyes at you, too.

You crack me up, D!

John said...

Congrats on the lifer kingbird!

Felicia said...

Congrats on the lifer! I'd love to see a Golden-crowned Kinglet again (I did see some outside my window when I lived in Vancouver, but that was before I got into birding.) Your camping adventures crack me up--glad you survived. Lifers are always worth the pain, aren't they??

Jen said...

Hilarious post... I would kill to see Bear Grylls whip out cottonballs and vaseline!

dguzman said...

Laura--I live to serve.


Felicia--I'm just thrilled I got a pic along with it. I'm trying to compile a lifelist of photographs now too, which is proving to be a real challenge. I'm hoping to get a bunch at Cape May this weekend.

Jen--he'd probably light his own poop on fire before he'd do that.

Earl Cootie said...

I now use toilet paper cores stuffed with drier lint as fire starters. Remember that if ever you're lost in the wilds of a laundromat.

Rabbits' Guy said...

You ninnies - this is the 21st century. "We'll Leave the Light on for Ya" and "Breakfast all Day" are the bywards of roughing it.

Carol said...

Keep on trying all that stuff...keep a bag of cotton balls in your back much can they weigh? It doesn't hurt to be have that "adventure" spirit...hang on to it. I am 66..still boating with no heat or AC (in FL it's hot and humid during the summer and in the 30's during the winter)..broke the mast on a sailboat..sank a to rough it..Don't let anyone stop're they one they will run to when the going gets tough.

Susan Gets Native said...

Man, you slay me. "Survival situation". Snort.
And I know about freezing to death in tents. I was out in 40 degrees and thought I was gonna DIE.
Just a few more days! Yeee!

Beth said...

Can't wait to see you, D. The only "survival situation" I think we will come across in Cape May is the inability to get a bartender to wait on us. Will your cotton balls and Vaseline help in that situation - bring them along!

dguzman said...

Earl--that's a good idea too!

Rabbits' Guy--but I love building fires! I just need to get more blankets and stuff, I think.

Carol--thanks! And you keep on truckin' too!

Susan--hee hee hee!

Beth--I could light them on fire and that would get the bartender's attention!