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The best season in the Upper Peninsula

Karen Wils photo The deer season crew at Rose’s Roost — plus a lot of winter socks!

ESCANBA — Take a deep breath.

Grab hold of your favorite winter hat. We are about to go for a ride through the best “seasons” that Upper Michigan has to offer.

Deer season (Nov. 15-Nov. 31) is the ultimate Yooper holiday. Hunters look forward to the opening day of deer season like children look forward to Christmas morning.

Work schedules and family functions are often planned around the rifle deer season. Vacation time is saved for November.

After growing up in a house that held deer season reverent, I’ve come to understand that it’s NOT about the venison.

Although venison stew made with plenty of onions, rutabaga and a dash of dill, is one of my favorite meals, a freezer full of meat isn’t the important thing.

It’s true my husband’s pan fried venison steaks are awesome and way better than mine. But the meat is NOT the main thing.

Deer season is about traditions and the way the woodlands smell after the last autumn leaf has fallen. It’s about first snows and comfy, old, woolen socks.

Some of the things that make deer season special are the camaraderie between fellow hunters, homemade food on the camp stove and a wonderful forest of whitetails handed down from generation to generation.

Stories about the “good old days” and memories of new “first time hunters” are told and retold around the warm woodstove.

While the deer hunting is going on in the wilds, the home front is getting fired up for Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, out-of-town guests, pie baking and the church season of Advent.

Advent wreathes with their gentle candle light put peacefulness and prayer into an otherwise busy season. Holiday craft shows are a great way to view some of the local talent and buy a few gifts for the family.

The cooking and baking seasons are about to begin. There is nothing like the homemade aroma that is soon to drift out of U.P. kitchens. Turkey roasting, cinnamon and cloves and the sweet smell of pumpkin pie, garlic and homemade sausage and Christmas cookies of every size and shape perfume the air!

It is also the season of winter coats, warm hats and fuzzy mittens. The Christmas parade, outdoor nativity, Christmas tree hunting and caroling in the snow means its boot season, too.

November and December in the U.P. have so much traditional fun to offer. This year I will be traveling back out to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for a new treatment. It will be so hard to be away from home at such a special time of the year. But I know with all the modern technology, I will be in touch with all of the wonderful seasonal things from the U.P.

Happy deer season to all. Be safe, good luck and have fun!

——

Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.

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