2017-11-09 / Life in Leelanau

Deer widows don’t mind ‘time off’

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff


ENJOYING SOME time off while the men hit the woods are (from left) Pam Zientek, Arlene Novak, Debbie Flees, Johanna Novak, Amy Robinson and Grace Novak. ENJOYING SOME time off while the men hit the woods are (from left) Pam Zientek, Arlene Novak, Debbie Flees, Johanna Novak, Amy Robinson and Grace Novak. While the cat’s away the mouse will play.

The same goes for the partners of hunters heading out to the woods for the first day of firearm hunting season next Wednesday.

Johanna Novak of Cedar, her in-laws and friends will be ready for some “time off” when the men in their lives don hunter orange and venture out into the woods.

“I make something for him to take to camp,” said Novak, whose husband Bob, hunts at the Zientek camp on Co. Rd. 651 in Centerville Township. “Everybody brings something so no one has to go out to eat.”

Bob Novak’s sister, Pam, is married to Mark Zientek.

Depending on the timing of the hunt — mid-week v. weekend — the ladies go out of town for their annual get-away or stay closer to home base.


NOEL FLOHE shot an antlerless piebald deer this week in Elmwood Township. NOEL FLOHE shot an antlerless piebald deer this week in Elmwood Township. “One year, we went to Birch Run. Another year we did a cookie exchange,” she said. “Some years we go to craft shows. I’ll make a list and we’ll do the circuit.”

Longtime friend Barb Drow-Harfst of Maple City takes the opportunity to go south when her husband Curt heads out to the woods with his dad in the Thumb.

“I go to Grand Rapids to see my grandchildren and have some ‘nana’ time,” she said.

Drow-Harfst’s daughter and son-in-law Grace and Derek Miller, have 7-year-old triplets: Claire, Ava and Landon. Their paternal grandparents are Ed and Dorothy Miller of Cedar.

“We do stuff like camp out in the living room and make root beer floats — stuff that their mom and dad don’t let them do,” she said. “It also gives Grace and Derek some time to themselves.”

Grace Novak, Johanna’s sister-in-law, takes the opportunity to relax.

“I enjoy not cooking. Geno (her husband) goes elk hunting out West so he doesn’t do much deer hunting,” she said. “But he goes down to the Zientek camp to see what the other guys bring in.”

Johanna Novak isn’t a hunter herself, but has spent some time in the deer blind with her husband.

“My knitting needles clicked and when I’d swing my arms to pull yarn from the ball, so it was too much noise,” she said.

This year, she plans to check out some craft shows. She’s looking forward to “time off.”

“I’ll sit and relax… watch my favorite TV show because I’ll have the controller and I won’t have to think about what to make for supper,” Johanna Novak said.

The following is a list of coming events sure to be popular with hunting widows throughout the county:

 Next Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. “Deer Camp Widow Craft Night” at the Leland Township Library. Artists Sarah Mead Wall and Michelle White will be at the Munnecke Room facilitating simple, funny, and fun arts and crafts projects.

 Friday, Nov. 17, from 6 to 10 p.m. “Ladies Night Out” at the Leelanau Sands Casino. This “ladies only” event will include instruction in how to play blackjack; handbag giveaways; tarot card readings; cash drawings and more. Some $7,500 in prizes will be given away.

 Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Vendor Marketplace at the Cedar/ Maple City Lions Club community building in Maple City. More than 20 vendors offering everything from jewelry to books, essential oils to women’s clothing. The Lions will also have a bake sale. Profits from booth fees and bake sale items will go toward future Lions Club projects.

 Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., second annual Holy Rosary Church Holiday Bazaar. Local vendors include Linda Good, basketry; Scott Jackson, photography; Kathy Darga, American Girl hand-sewn clothing. There will also be a make-take art project, a bake sale and raffle.

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