Recipes, death wishes, and hippie hunting ethics

A year—in this case, a year of blogging—goes by in a flash. I can hardly believe it’s been that long already.

Back at the six-month mark, I realized it was high time to acknowledge the many folks who helped get my blog rolling, and to offer a few reflections on the weirdness of Google searches. The twelve-month mark seems like a good time to do the same.

As always, my greatest debt is to my readers.

Thanks, too, to the folks who have posted mentions of my blog in recent months, including Tamar at Starving Off the Land, Phillip at The Hog Blog, Albert at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Daniel at Casual Kitchen, Kate at Living the Frugal Life, and the UMass Library’s Local Food research guide. (I’m sure some folks are missing from this list. If you think of someone who is, please remind me.)

And another shout-out to Holly at NorCal Cazadora, who gave my blog a big boost in its very first weeks. I make special mention of her here, both to say thanks and to tell anyone who hasn’t heard: her partner Hank Shaw’s book Hunt, Gather, Cook will soon be out, featuring Holly’s fine photographs.

A few words about Hank’s recipes: Two months ago, I got lucky in rifle season and thought back to one of Hank’s posts about braising venison shanks. Instead of trimming and grinding all those small, tough muscles, I decided to freeze the deer’s lower legs whole. This past weekend, I thawed a shank and tried a variation of one of Hank’s recipes. The result?

Unbelievable. You could cut the meat with a fork. If Cath wasn’t already committed (and married) to me, that dish might have won her heart.

"Beginnings" by Tommy Ellis

Thanks are also due to the many fine folks who have welcomed me to the world of Twitter. Like any good semi-Luddite, I’m wary of newfangled social media, so it has helped to receive such a warm reception. As one benefit of joining, I’ve come across some wonderful images, including Steve Creek’s wildlife photography and Tommy Ellis’s watercolor landscapes. The one at right reminds me of the brook that tumbles through the woods behind our house.

Finally, I cannot resist—okay, I relish—the opportunity brought my way by Google bots, ubiquitous scavengers of the web that they are. Here, with commentary by yours truly, are a few favorite search strings that led folks to my blog over the past six months:

  • “I want to be snake food” – There’s probably a cure for that. Other than the obvious one.
  • “Approx how long would it take a large snake to swallow and digest a small human?” – A while. If you want a more precise answer, you could arrange an experiment. You may have a volunteer above.
  • “What would be the term for extreme fear of porcupines?” – No clue. Porcuphobia? Quillophobia?
  • “Why am I not seeing deer in Vermont 2010?” – That depends. What were you doing when not sitting at your computer, Googling? If, like one of my friends, you were sitting by your living room window instead of sitting in the woods, then I have a theory.
  • “Are woodchucks invertebrates or carnivores?” – Um, neither. Wait, do you mean the kind that raids gardens, or the kind that hunts deer?
  • “Vegan falconry” – What does the falcon chase, a tofu pup on a string? Does the bird get a say in this?
  • “Vegetarian hunters organization” – If you’re starting one, please let me know. I want to be a founding member.
  • “Words of wisdom for vegans from hunters” – Hmmm. Unlike most of the other Googlers above, you might actually have come to the right place.
  • “Hippy ethics for hunting” – You definitely came to the right place. Technically speaking, I was never a hippie: I was a generation too late, didn’t pop psychedelic mushrooms, and never owned a pair of bellbottoms. I was, however, a peace-loving vegetarian who wore his hair long. In light of recent demand for evidence of that last fact, please see photo at right.

© 2011 Tovar Cerulli


  1. Al Cambronne says:

    A great post! Since I’m only beginning to blog, I found it very inspiring–and even educational. If there’s a “hippie ethic of hunting,” then maybe there’s also a “hippie ethic of blogging.” I’m already observing that the best bloggers seem to be the ones who are giving and mutually supportive; karma returns their gifts.

    Or, to use another analogy, it appears there’s a whole interconnected blogging “ecosystem” out there. At the risk of sounding like I’ve been sampling those mushrooms myself, it’s like the interweb of blogging life, man.

    In less time than it would probably take to grow that kind of hair, you’ve grown quite a blog.

  2. Art says:

    Congrats on your first year, Tovar.

    It is always interesting to see what kind of Google searches bring people to our blogs……or maybe it’s frightening 🙂

  3. Thanks for the thanks, Tovar! You’ve had a bang-up first year with some really fabulous discussions, which, to me, is the mark of a great blog.

    Now, excuse me, but I’ve got to get back to hunting ducks.

  4. HankShaw says:

    Hey Tovar, thanks a million for the plug on the book — and congrats on your blogiversary! May there be many more. Keep up the good work out there in New England, and I hope to meet up in person this year…

  5. And a mighty fine year it was! Your controversy:post ratio is about as good as it gets. There have been so many good discussions here in that year, and I feel like being here, participating, has helped me start to know the hunting community.

    Here’s to year two, Tovar! And maybe even to a real, live, in-person fishing trip next time you’re on Cape Cod.

    • Tovar says:

      Thanks, Tamar!

      I’d love to meet you and Kevin in person, and do some fishing together. I’d also like to introduce you to my uncle, who has been fishing and hunting on Cape Cod for decades. I hope both things happen in May or June! I’ll be pushing up against my manuscript deadline by early summer, and may need that trip more than ever…

  6. Phillip says:

    Your blog has been a welcome addition to the blogosphere, Tovar, and glad you’re still at it after a year! Looking forward to your first decade retrospective!

  7. Tovar,

    I wish I could spend more time here, but the call to duty keeps me from visiting more often! Your’s has been one of the best blogs that I have had the pleasure of reading of the last year, and I am glad that you’re still at it! I look forward to another year of your great thougts and posts.

    Hey you just gave me a great idea!

    It will be announced in a week or so barring any disturbances on the FOB!

    Best regards,
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
    Scouting for Hog, Chronicles Style!

  8. Eleanor says:

    Love the google searches. Every time I see such crazy strings on my blog’s recent searches list, I flinch, realizing that someone out there is seeing my own crazy search strings.

  9. Fionnula says:

    Belated congratulations on making it a year! Your blog certainly parallels the lifestyle we’re trying to attain for ourselves, slowly but surely.

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