This is probably the last year that I’ll have N with me for all of a Saturday when it’s shoot season. On the farm, during pheasant shooting season, we’ll tend to have 5 or 6 shoots.
To date, he’s been too young to go out beating on the shoot, but next year once he’s 5, he might be old enough and strong enough to go out with his dad and cousins for a bit of the morning. His dad and uncles run the shoot with another friend, and they usually have around 30 people involved – 10ish to shoot, and the rest beating, many taking their dogs out.
This year N’s generally watched the men turning up (and occasional woman), before we’ve headed off out shopping, or to do whatever chores we’ve got on. After swimming, he then waits in anticipation for them to arrive back at the farm. Sometimes they’ll head out to the pond and shoot some ducks, and N’s been taken by his Gran to watch. But mostly he just waits until they’ve finished and I’ll take him out to say hi to everyone arriving back with their dogs and before they head off to the pub for their shoot dinner.
While I’m not fussed about the shooting aspect, and don’t fancy the walk with a dog (who probably wouldn’t do what I asked) trying to put birds up, I do quite like to see them all arrive back at the farm. Makes for a bit of a laugh when you spot the wackiest pheasant tie, the breeches and boot tassles! N loves finding his dad in the crowd, and then the attention, because most of the men know him and are seeing him grow from one year to the next.
Some of his cousins go out each time and love being outdoors and part of the shoot. The youngest cousin (age 6) hasn’t yet been out with them, but I can see N and him going out together for the first time next year, even if it’s only a couple of pegs they walk. Mind you, they’ll probably just want to have the treat of being able to stand up in the back of the Land Rover or be in the back of the shoot trailer being pulled by the tractor!
It’ll be sad for me when N decides he’d rather be out and about with his dad doing beating, and not home or out with me. Although it might be that his swimming lessons are going to clash anyway, and he won’t be able to go out with the shoot anyway.
This weekend, he did have a quick chance for a bit of training. The OH was unpacking the shoot trailer of the birds from the weekend.
Most shoots, people take a brace of pheasants home with them to eat, but any left this time were transferred to the garage to hang up before plucking and taking the breasts off to store in the freezer. They’ll be used for casserole. N was all for helping his dad carry the pheasants…until he realised how heavy they were. I did have a chuckle watching him struggle before his dad rescued him.
He does love being outside, and so far he’s told me he’s going to be a farmer, look after sheep and cows, and feed pheasants, and then with the wintry weather he’s been adding gritter to his future career!
Do your children love being outdoors? Are they planning an outdoor job in future?