1881: Hunting and the Life on the Farm

The next Sunday, it was October 2nd, another bear was spotted close to the slaughter house as Kopp told us who visited the farm. On his invitation to go out hunting, the farmer’s wife gave me a good rifle, but the hunters luck was not on our side. We were at a clearing stopping for a severe look-out, when a rabbit suddenly came from behind and ran in between our legs up the hill. Unfortunately, it was chased by a dog we brought, therefore we could not shoot. That weird incident had us burst out laughing. The following night I was woken up by a deep humming, which seemed to have come from the copse right across from us. Quickly I got dressed, took my rifle, which always rested next to my bed, and quietly walked down the stairs. When I opened the front door I looked out into a bright moon-shine lit night. The forest, only twenty steps away, was pitch black. The always alerted dog was chained to one of the first trees, acting like a madman. Even though I circled the wood completely, I did not discover anything – no bear was to be seen. When I told the wife about it the next morning, she was rather surprised, since she had not heard anything.

The next days passed by rather monotonous. In the evenings I sometimes read, “Amtmanns Magd” by Marlitt amongst others. Finally, on October 10th, after being absent for 16 days, the two hunters return home with considerable kill: a giant-like bison and three moose provide enough meat supply for the whole winter. Only the best pieces have been brought back: flank and shoulder, as well as Sirloin and Tenderloin. All the left over pieces were left behind. Soon everything was hung into the smokehouse and smoked. The Farmer told stories about his hunting adventure. The bison was a precious exemplar; the hide which I used for tanning had a length of ten American feet, about three meters.

The next day, on October 11th, it suddenly started to snow heavily, but the snow only remained on the ground for a few days. October passed on without any special events. The same routine in the tannery, where I now started to take in a bigger number of various hides. The rifle- and hide merchant Cooper, who owns the most beautiful store in town, promised a big order if the bison hide for Gottschalk turns out just as good as the bear hide he had seen which I had tanned. He talked about 500 bison hides he would have me tanned in case he liked my work.

translated by Julia Strehlau-Jacobs

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