Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Stephen received a magazine in the mail the other day, some Falconry magazine that one of his friends had an article in. Oddly enough I swiped the magazine before he got to read it, just because I noticed an article that was written by a Falconer's wife. Now just because I have been in school for to long and I have an need to half hardheartedly site some sources; the magazine is American Falconry Volume 56, page 44, a story title "A Falconer's Wife" by Ann Kienholz Jurcevich. Not that I am attempting MLA citing or anything but clarity and credit where it is due.
The story being written by a falconer's wife instantly caught my attention. Maybe because I am married to falconer.... The story is written well enough and has a bit of a funny twist, with that said I couldn't relate to the story. I felt sorry for the wife and her husband's lack of attention and I guess I have suffered from "falconry tunnel vision" a time or two over the last two years. But I think I vary from this wife because some how I got sucked in. I have said it before and I will say it again. I am not a falconer, I have never attempted to study for or take the test, I don't personally possess a hawk and I have no desire to deal with a hawk while it is killing and eating it's prey. Those things aside, you can't be married to or live in the same home as a falconer and not be affected by falconry. This is my view and my story about how I got sucked in.......
Not only has Stephen's three hawks given me a couple of great photographic opportunities, which I have from time to time posted in my blog, but there is the matter of trapping. Now any adrenaline junkie would be hard pressed to pass on trapping day. I openly admit that I went kicking and screaming into the role of "falconer's wife" I wasn't happy that the muse was built where my storage shed was suppose to be built.
As I said earlier I have suffered from some of the "falconry tunnel vision" myself. In fact the muse was not only built where my storage shed was suppose to go, he chose the worse time ever to build the muse. See I had just had a pretty major surgery with some serious complications, so I had to be off work without pay for a couple of months. Realistically loosing my income for two months should have been a serious reason to forgo the expense of building a muse. However Stephen figured if he built the muse while I was mostly unconscious maybe...just maybe I wouldn't notice that the muse had been built where my storage shed should be standing. Needless to say I seriously had no intention of even acknowledging that Stephen was doing falconry because I was so mad at him over the muse, he didn't even have a hawk yet and I was royally pissed.
However Stephen had a trick up his sleeve. We had taking the early stages of our relationship really slow, during that time we discussed a lot of stuff, including the fact that neither of our previous spouses seemed to be interested in even learning the basics about the things that we were interested in let alone supporting us in chasing our dreams. So in one of those sappy moments we promised that if either of us had an interest the other would at least attempt to be involved, then if we hate it we can opt out of participating but we have to give it a chance first. Some how I have not to date enforced this promise on Stephen, but he has done so to me a few times. The photography I went into willingly, the falconry and bee keeping he pulled the "but you promised" card and I got sucked in.
Stephen had been building up to "permit day" for what seemed like a lifetime. Basically he had passed his test for his falconry permit and was waiting for the permit. I heard the "you promised" speech a thousand times during that waiting period. Then his permit came in and he didn't say a word to me, I found out because I heard him telling his sponsor on the phone. He rushed around and was gone trapping before I could ask him where he was going or even grab my camera. Now mind you that I was not exactly recovered from this surgery, I wasn't exactly able to chase after him. I was even more determined at this point to really not support the falconry, how the heck is he going to guilt me into supporting his hobby and then run out the door and leave me sitting there, I mean come on I hobbled through OKC for two days when I could barely walk so that he could take his test but he didn't take me trapping with him. I was done with falconry before it ever really began.
Admittedly Stephen realized his mistake after I pointed out his errors.... ok this is a man thing that is grossly enhanced when your husband is a falconer, especially when it is their first trapping attempt.... no excuses though he ditched me.... Once Stephen calmed down he realized that he can't pull the "you promised" card and then totally ditch me because that voids the promise and he isn't dumb enough to think I wouldn't recover from surgery and get some payback.
Over the next few days Stephen took me trapping in the evenings, well he trapped and I drove. This really wasn't much fun and I wasn't in any way convinced that I should be supportive, but see we were not seeing many hawks and not trapping any. Then the weekend rolled around and Stephen's sponsor, Steve, decided that this hunting with out trapping pretty much sucked. The whole point in trapping is to trap a hawk that is young enough to be kept, so we had been driving around for days and days looking at old hawks, and not trapping anything. Steve basically decided that we were going to trap the first hawk that would get on the trap because Stephen needed to experience a trapping or two before he went out trapping on his own.
Now this is where they hooked me, this is where Stephen started pulling me into supporting him. Trapping is a lot like fishing. If the fish are biting its just flat out fun but when the fish aren't biting it is the most boring thing ever. Same goes for trapping if you are driving all day and not trapping or even trying to trap anything its so mind numbing it makes you want to drive into oncoming traffic just to be doing something besides driving and looking at empty telephone poles. Everything changes when your passenger throws out a trap though. Here is how it works.... you drive by slow enough to not kill the bait when they through it out but fast enough to not scare off the hawk. This is easier said than done because a wild hawk is scared of people but most of them are used to cars driving by fairly fast. If you are going to fast, they have to through the trap a little to hard and fast and well that is not always good for the bait. In our case this was a hamster. The bait not only needs to live because we have children who want to keep it as a pet, but hawks tend to go for live moving hamsters not dead ones.
Once the trap is thrown out you have to drive a good distance from the hawk and trap, turn the car around and wait. Just like fishing, your sitting on the bank waiting for a bite, only in this case everyone else is watching the hawk on top of the pole with binoculars. I don't watch with binoculars when I am driving because it is really hard to safely peel out and drive like a nut to the trap if your looking through binoculars. I don't need binoculars anyway, I can see this hawk swoop down onto the trap and I can see it jumping around in an attempt to get off the trap, but most importantly all the people with binoculars will be screaming at the top of their lungs "go! go! go!" I don't need binoculars I have a pretty good idea when it is time to go.
From that first day when we trapped the first hawk that we saw, I was hooked on trapping, as long as we are trapping something, anything really, I am up before Stephen and in the car with my foot on the gas before he ever gets in the car. Its just plain old fun. I have talked Stephen into trapping in the snow, I have driven for hours on end just to get to places where hawks might be at. He hooked me with trapping.
Then there is training, as I said before I am not interested in hunting with the hawk. In fact I have rarely went on hunts with Stephen, because I don't care to see the hawk catch it's prey. Training on the other hand is almost as fun as trapping. It's a matter of getting this hawk to fly from it's perch to your arm. The hawk won't want to do this at first but once he realized there is food on the glove he will fly at Stephen at a high rate of speed and land hard on the glove. Not only is this amazing to see but extremely challenging to photograph. Any person with an interest in photography would be hard pressed to pass up the chance to photograph a hawk flying by your face at 30 miles an hour (that is a guess I don't know the actual speed).
I suppose my entire point here is that Jurcevich wrote a story about how her husband had ignored her because of his falconry, however my view is that if you get involved in falconry, a non falconer, spouse of a falconer, could get just as much enjoyment out of falconry as the falconer does! In fact, Stephen has almost completed all of his "molting season to-do list" and I am ready for him to start working with Shilo, I got a new camera and need to try it out on Shilo...