Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A reader asked me to repost this story. Here you go!


I'm going out on a limb here. When you go hunting, what happens in camp or while hunting should stay in camp or while hunting. I have already told the parties involved that I was going to post this story. I'm posting because, for one, I think that it is funny. And two, it is true. My wife has heard it several times and has had her drink come out her nose from laughing. So, I am going to tell it the way it happened.

Several years ago (well, more than several) my dad, brother-in-law, nephews, and I went deer and elk hunting. We drove to Crestone in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. We had all the gear and stuff we needed to camp out. Cots to sleep on. (Some of us are too old to sleep on the ground now.) Enough food to feed us, and maybe 10 other people, for about two weeks. And lots of warm clothes and stuff. My dad had more than the rest of us. He would wear long john underwear, blue jeans, two shirts, a vest , and a jacket, then he topped it all off with the one piece Carhartt overalls. You would think that if he fell down he would not be able to get back up on his own.

The day started off with a BIG breakfast: eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes, and coffee. After cleaning up from breakfast we got our gear ready to go hunting. We decided to hunt this big mountain behind our camp. It was pretty steep in a few places, and the snow on the ground made walking a little hard sometimes. As we all spread out and made our way through the trees, we let the boys kind of go off on their own. My dad, brother-in-law, and I went further up the mountain. There were tracks of deer and elk all over the place, as well as the tracks of a couple of mountain lions.

The snow got deeper, the walking got harder, and the tracks were everywhere. Yet we never saw a single deer or elk.

After walking for several hours, my dad said that we should head back down towards camp, that we might scare something up. We did -- a mountain lion. We could hear him and see fresh tracks, but never got a eyeball on him.

So we kept heading back down the mountain and kept watching out for the mountain lion. My dad decided that we needed to take a little rest, so we all picked a spot to set. Unknowingly, the spot Dad picked was on a cactus. He let out this big yell and said a few choice words. Those spines had gone through ALL of those clothes that he was wearing. He jumped up, cussing, and did some kind of a little jig, then fell on his butt.

Well, I was starting to giggle a little, as was my brother-in-law. If we would have had some music, Dad's little jig would have made Dancing With the Stars, if that show would have been on then. My dad was giving us the stink eye and his face was about as red as an apple. He started to take off his overalls, thinking that the spines were only stuck to them. After removing the overalls, he found out that they had gone through. . . ALL the way through.

Now he was really mad, and informed us that one of us would have to remove the offending cactus spines from his butt.

I love my dad very much and would do anything for him. But I decided that my brother-in-law should get to know my dad better. Let's call it kind of a bonding moment for the both of them. My brother-in-law was not too happy about this and protested. By now, Dad had his pants, long johns, and boxers down past his knees, and had whipped out his trusty Swiss Army knife. This knife had everything on it but the kitchen sink. It also had the cutest little pair of tweezers. As this scene unfolded in front of me, I decided that I would move off a bit, and give them a little privacy.

After I moved away and looked back, I started to laugh. I couldn't help it. There was my Dad with his bare snow white butt sticking out, and my brother-in-law, kneeling behind him, with his reading glasses on, with his nose pretty close to Dad's butt. He was trying to see and pull the little cactus spines out of my dad's fanny, and they both were trying not to laugh.

There we were, the three of us on the side of this mountain. I was off to one side. My dad had his butt sticking out. My brother-in-law behind him on his knees with these itty bitty tweezers.

I decided to turn my back on them and see about doing some hunting. I was checking out the downhill side of the mountain and just getting ready to check out the other side of the valley when my dad made the comment that he was glad that there was no one else around to see.

As I lookied at the other side of the valley, on the next hill over sat three hunters. If we all had not had to wear bright orange vests and hats we may have never seen each other.

But, no such luck. The three hunters were all looking through binoculars, scoping out our side of the mountain. I made a comment about spotting them to the guys. They did not believe me.

I saw that one of them had spotted us! I tried to move further into the trees to distance myself, but no such luck -- one of them elbowed his partner and pointed us out. The second one elbowed the third guy. He spotted us. I moved further into the trees. And my brother-in-law kept kneeling and plucking at those cactus spines, making comments to my dad.

They were laughing. The hunters on the other side of the valley were laughing and pointing. I was waiting for one of them to end up rolling down the hill or something. And of course, I was laughing, too.

I bet my nephews could hear us laughing. Heck, I bet they could hear us all the way down in Crestone!

My dad finally decided that maybe we should finish this up back in camp. Why he didn't think of this in the first place, we will never know. My brother-in-law was more than happy to quit. He chewed me out, saying that he is MY dad and I should have had the honor of this little operation. I told him I was a better shot than he, and that I was worried about the mountain lion sneaking up on us. I was protecting them! 'Course, if that mountain lion had shown up I think that he would have had a hard time trying to figure out what in the heck kind of animal the two of them were. Or, maybe he would have been laughing so hard that he couldn't have attacked anyway.

Dad didn't get anymore of them cactus spines out of his fanny. He stayed close to camp the rest of the trip. And the boys were upset that they didn't get to see how my dad and their dad got to bond.

And the guys on the other side of the valley? Well, they drove by on their way out one day and gave my dad and the rest of us a funny look when they figured it out. I'm surprised that they didn't run off the road after they passed our camp. I swear that I could hear those guys laughing all the way to town.

So, you ladies out there -- now you know what happened on one of our hunting trips. What happens on hunting trips and in camp should stay in the hunting camp. I may have to start looking over my shoulder from now on for spilling the beans. (Seems that it always comes to beans with me. . . oh, well.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Another neat thing I like about Fall and all it's bounty is that it is a time to maybe do a little bartering with the fellow down the road. Or the lady who owns the peach orchard on the other side of town. Bartering has been around a long time -- longer than Obama's speeches.

Kidding aside, bartering has been with us since before we came to this country. For those of you who don't know how it works, it is really pretty neat. You trade something of yours with something of someone else's. Like, I might have a huge crop of tomatoes and my neighbor might have a overabundance of corn. We get together, and I trade some of my tomatoes for some of his corn.

You can barter just about anything you can think of. My grandfather once, as a kid, worked for this rancher, putting up hay in the rancher's barn. He worked putting up this hay for three days. My grandfather said he worked his butt off for this guy! He had NO money to pay him with, but he had a .22 rifle. He traded those three days worth of work, putting up his hay, in trade for that .22.

At the end of those three days, he walked away with that .22 and over 300 rounds of ammo. Was it a fair trade? You bet it was. Grandfather used that .22 to put meat on the table for his mom and pop and six siblings, even though it was squirrels and rabbits and sage hens. It helped keep his family fed. And it helped his dad supplement what food and whatnot the family needed.

They ate a hell of a lot of beans, he said. Sometimes three times a day. He still loved his beans right up to the day he passed.

So, you could barter for some beans or maybe fix something for somebody, and take some produce, or chickens, or whatever in trade for your time.

With the way the economy is right now, a little bartering could be a good thing. Think about it. Have you extra of something, and maybe your neighbor has something you might like or need? Go have a little chat. Maybe you can work a little magic and you both get what you want or need.

And, we all would be helping each other. When it comes right down to it, isn't that what we should be all about?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Quote of the Week: 9/26/2011

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Friday, September 23, 2011


Sorry. I've been pretty busy here at our house.

We had a yard sale and did pretty good. We picked grapes last Sunday and ended up with about 100 pounds of them little purple berries. They all needed to be stemmed, washed, and then cooked up to get the juice, which we are still doing. We will put the juice in quart jars and can them to save until we start to make jelly.

Also, I am working on getting things made for our online store. Hope to have it up by the end of September. (Cross your fingers.)

Plus, Kathi has had a lot of those mystery shop thingies to do. And of course, the Isle of Belly likes them also.

There has been yard work, parents to check on, aunts to haul around, and a cousins to check on. (From a auto accident. He is okay. Has a hard head.)

There have been about a million other things that needed my attention.

On another note: Fall is upon us! You can smell it on the crisp morning air and feel it on your body. It is a time to harvest things from your garden. To pick grapes, wild plums, apples, and other goodies that nature has bestowed on us. It's about time to drain the garden hose, and have the sprinklers blown out.

It's also about time to get the wintertime clothes out and try them on. I'm not even going to bother, I will just get new clothes for this winter, since the Isle of Belly has not given up and gotten smaller. I may need a new union suit. The old one is kind of bare in the backside.

It's also about time to think about snow tires for your ride. You don't want to be sliding on the streets. And what about a new snow shovel and a snow scraper. And wiper blades.

Time to also check out your snow blower to make sure it is ready. And have you got enough firewood set aside? It also makes me think about some yummy stuff to plan on cooking this fall.

How about smoked turkey, venison, elk, beef, pork, duck and other game birds that some of the guys like to hunt? And don't forget seafood, clams, lobster, fish, crab... okay, enough. The Isle of Belly is up and on the prowl.

Take some time to go look at the fall colors. Take your camera. Take a friend. Maybe take in a high school football game in your hometown. Or take a nice fall night and take your sweetie out for some sweets. (Mine likes to go to Sonic.) Enjoy the fall weather!

For those of you who like to go out with your smoke poles or do the bow thing: be safe, have a great time, and I hope that you get your game or bag your limit.

Yep, Fall is here. It can be a very pretty, colorful, chilly, family time of the year.

Enjoy and just try to not over-indulge. Too much of the fall colors can make you want that white stuff to start falling from the sky . And I, for one, want to enjoy Fall for awhile.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quote of the Week: 09/20/11

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent, it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

George Washington
First U.S. president

Monday, September 12, 2011


Yesterday was 9/11. And just about all of the TV stations had something on what happened that day and the days following.

I could not watch any of them. Eventhough it has been 10 years. I tried to watch, but it was too painful. I have looked at other blogs to see what they had to say. And it hurt. We all remember where we were, and what we were doing that morning. I was on my way to work and I could not believe what was happening. I was working for Gateway Computers in Lakewood, CO.

When I got to work, no one was working. They had TVs going, and people were glued to them. Then I found out that we had people in New York at the towers. And some of our people had loved ones in the towers.

To see someone you work with, and to see the look on that face, when they know that they just lost a loved one. Cell phones calls were many. And some listened to their loved ones perish or told their loved ones that they loved them as the phone went dead.

I was MAD! I wanted revenge! I wanted to join the military. I wanted to do SOMETHING, anything. I was 45 back then, and knew that I could not get into the military. And that made me mad, too.

And, still, they kept showing it over and over on TV. We, as a nation, got mad and went kind of mad. But our madness came out in the form of us joining together.

THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA. Our flag was everywhere. We had firefighters, rescue workers, police -- you name it. They came from all over this country to lend a hand in New York. If I could have found a way, I would have gone to volunteer to help in New York, and I'm sure there are lots of others who wanted to do the same.

We had who knows how many of our young people joining the military. And, oh, how I wanted to! All of our lives changed forever in some way. The spirit of the American people has changed also. It is not as loud as it was after 9/11. We will not ever forget 9/11, or any of the other tragedies that have befallen our country.

We, as a people, need to be ever vigilant and to hold our leaders accountable to us. To make every effort, no matter your political party, to help keep this country safe and prosperous and the land of the free.

Don't let the lives of all the people we have lost from 9/11 and soldiers who have lost their lives be not in vain. We are a GREAT nation. A PROUD nation. But we have a long way to go yet. We're not perfect, and we may not always be right. We will still make mistakes as a people. And our rights and beliefs are what makes us who we are.

One Nation, Under God, With Liberty and Justice for All.

I still shed tears today. As the song goes, I'm Proud To Be An American.

Friday, September 9, 2011

FEED YOUR FACE: Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Kathi here. You may have read Jim's post from a couple weeks ago about sourdough starter. It was a good one!

I'm using some of his sourdough starter to make cinnamon rolls. Yum.

The dough is tender and flavorful, with butter and cinnamon throughout.

For the dough, you will need:
1 cup of sourdough starter
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of dry buttermilk powder
1/3 cup lard, shortening, or butter, melted and cooled a bit
2 eggs (at room temperatur)
about 3 cups of flour

You'll also want to set out a stick of butter to soften while you work so that it's ready to spread when it comes time to do the filling.

Put the sourdough starter in the big bowl that came with your KitchenAid mixer. And get your dough hook ready so you don't have to do all the work by hand. Then, don't forget to feed the sourdough and let it sit out to re-activate a bit before you put it back in the refrigerator. (Jim would be most unhappy if he had to start over his sourdough, I'll bet, if I forgot that part.)

Add the salt, sugar, melted fat, buttermilk, and eggs. Use the dough hook attachment and combine these ingredients just a bit.

Take the 1/4 warm water and sprinkle the yeast onto the surface, then let it stand about 5 minutes. It will get a little bubbly. Then, add that to the mixture in the mixer. (Say that three times really fast!)

Turn on the mixer, and gradually add the flour until the dough forms a soft ball of dough and starts to climb the dough hook. Be sure the dough is not sticky. Once you make this a few times you'll know what the dough should feel like. It will be soft and poofy, kinda like a chubby baby butt. It will be soft and tender in feel.

Take it out of the bowl, place some softened butter or some vegetable oil on one hand, and rub it lightly all over the surface of the dough. Put it in a bowl or on a cutting board or something, cover it with a tea towel (oh, how old fashioned do I sound!), and let it rise until it is about doubled in size. This could take as a little as an hour if you have happy sourdough and yeast, but don't give up on it if it takes longer. Sometimes when it's cold in my house, I have to heat the inside of the oven to about 150 degrees, turn it off, then put the covered dough in there to make it happy.

This part is nerdy fun: once the dough has risen to double, give it a big punch with your fist. It's a very satisfying feeling. Maybe I have deep-seated anger issues! I feel no ill will toward the dough, but it is just so FUN!

Okay, with that out of the way, it's time to roll out the dough. I use a big ass ol' vinyl cutting board, but you could use your table surface if you want to. Or countertop. Or something like that. Rub a little flour across that surface, plop the dough there, and roll it out to a rectangle about 18"x20".

Take the softened butter (you did remember to do that, didn't you?) and rub it evenly across the surface of the dough. Oh, yum. And yes -- just use your bare hands. Don't be a sissy!

Then use about 1/2 cup of sugar (white, brown, mixed -- whatever you want to use is fine) and a big tablespoon's worth (or maybe even two) of cinnamon. Spread/sprinkle that on top of the butter.

Then roll the whole thing up like a log, and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Or if you want smaller rolls, cut it into more pieces. I usually cut it in half, then each half in half, then each half of a half into thirds. That'll give you 12.

Place them into a 9"x12" pan. Now cover that pan with the same tea towel, and let them rise to about double again. They will be all squished together. But that's okay. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once they've risen, you can slide the pan into the oven. Bake them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until they are nice and light golden brown and they will smell really good. Set the pan on a cooling rack, and you can make the icing.

For the frosting, I just combine more softened butter, a splash of vanilla (did you see Jim's post about homemade vanilla? This will be a good time to try it out.), and some cream. Well, you could use milk or even water, but cream? That's gonna taste really good. Don't get all stressy about amounts. It'll work out and is hard to ruin. But if you really want numbers, try 3 tablespoons of the softened butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, and a teaspoon or vanilla extract. Some people I know like to put a pinch of salt in their frosting, so do it if you want to. You'll want this thin, but still spreadable. Well, *I* want mine thin, but still spreadable.

Once the rolls have cooled at least 20 minutes, put the frosting on the rolls and spread or drizzle it around.

Jim likes when I put another little pat of softened butter on a small plate or saucer, then the cinnamon roll, then another little pat of butter on the top. He usually gets his way in this. I used to make these where I melted a stick of butter in the baking pan before I added the rolls, so I can give in to his request for a tiny bit more butter. (Still, if you want something REALLY good, try melting the stick of butter into the baking pan before you put the rolls in, and don't tell your doctor you did it.)

Get your plate and fork, get the butter, put it all together, and FEED YOUR FACE!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

FEED YOUR FACE: Breakfast Hash

How about, for a cold and lazy morning, making some breakfast hash to feed your family!

There are lots of ways to make hash. Some people just throw in some leftovers from the fridge or make corn beef hash (or get it from a can).

Well, let's try what I call Italian Hash.

You'll need:
1 pound of Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons veggie oil
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 package of hash browns, or grate your own from a real potato
Salt and pepper to taste

In your skillet, cook the sausage and onion. (I slice up the sausage or remove the casing -- or sometimes I do both.)

Cook that over medium heat until the sausage is browned. Remove the sausage and onion with a slotted spoon. Drain the grease. Get rid of the excess grease in the skillet.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in your skillet. Add the hash browns, spreading them in a even layer. Press down lightly with spatula. Cook 6 to 7 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil, turn hash browns over with spatula, and cook 6 to 8 more minutes until the potatos are golden brown and tender. Turn them again if need be.

In a medium bowl, stir the cooked sausage and onion, sour cream, and mustard until well blended. Stir that mixture into your potatos. Cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Then throw on a poached or fried egg and dig in.

I had this on the ranch years ago. My aunt and uncle had hired a crew for haying season. One of the guys was Italian. My aunt cooked for the haying crew, three meals a day. Well, one morning, my aunt had cut her hand and some of the crew were at the house. My aunt had kitchen help, but they could not do all the cooking themselves. So this crew member jumped up and offered to help. My aunt was a little surprised by his offer, but he jumped right in and she let 'im.

Old Joe was setting at the table when I came into the kitchen. He was sipping on his coffee and watching this Italian fellow, now with an apron on, take over my aunt's kitchen. This guy was all over the place. My aunt was seated at the table, giving directions. This fellow followed what she wanted done until he was cooking the hash browns. He looked at my aunt, then at the hash browns, and asked if that was all she did with her hash browns. She said for today, they would be fine just the way they were.

Well, he said something under his breath and went back to cooking. While cooking breakfast, my aunt always had dinner being cooked and prepared also. And we knew that night we were having spaghetti. Well, there was some Italian sausage left over, so before my aunt knew what was happening, this guy whipped up the sausage and onions and stuff and put it in the hash browns.

Old Joe just kind of made a face, looked at me, and winked. Breakfast was served, and everybody had more than enough to fill their bellys, including my aunt, who would wait until everyone else had eaten first. Then she would eat after the crew headed out the door. I think that my aunt was a little surprised by this guy's good cooking.

With her hand in a bandage, she really could not do much in the kitchen. The guys left to cut hay, and the Italian guy helped to clean up the kitchen. Then he came in and told my aunt that he would come back to help with lunch. He did, and it was good eating. My aunt ended up keeping him at the ranch through the haying season and my uncle had to hire one more for the haying crew.

Man, did we eat good that season! Old Joe taught him how to ride a horse and even shared his little bunk house with him. They were quite the pair. Old Joe had this fellow all decked out like a real cowboy. And old Joe got to eat lots of Italian food in trade.

On several nights, we would set out side of Joe's place, him with his mouth harp, and the Italian guy with a violin. The music was great. Joe never could pronounce this fellow's name, so he ended up being called Hash. Hash stayed on for awhile. He got real good at riding a horse and being a cowboy, working on the ranch.

Those were some great times in my life.

So, have some breakfast hash and FEED YOUR FACE!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TRAILMASTER: A neat little trailer

I think this is really cool. I found this little trailer some years ago at a Sportsman's show here in Denver. This little trailer does all kinds of stuff for the outdoorsman. Or even just for home.

It can be pulled by your ATV, or if you attach a handle it is like a 2 wheel wagon.

You can use it as a table and kitchen area for hunting and camping.

Pop off the wheels, extend the legs, and put it in the back of your truck for an above-bed rack with sides to keep stuff from falling out. And you still have storage under it in the truck bed!

Also, you can put the tires on the ends and attach this hummer to your hitch for extra storage.

Need a duck blind? This thing can also be set up as a duck blind that you lay in.

Check out some of the pictures.

At the time I found this little jewel, I was short on funds. And I vowed that I would buy one as soon as I could. Well, it has been several years, and I lost track of the card that was given to me. NOW I found it just the other day and called up the maker of this little trailer.

His name is John Wright, and he is starting up on some new trailers. I mean this is a serious working little trailer. So, give John a call and ask him about it. His cell number is 435-632-9463.

I'm working on getting one for myself right now, and I can't wait to get it! I have a few places I can't wait to get into with this trailer and my ATV.

Ask John for pricing. It's going to be reasonable and the trailer is well worth the money.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Quote of the Week: 9/5/2011

"We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it."

Lyndon B. Johnson
36th U.S. president

Friday, September 2, 2011


First off, I want to thank everyone for following my blog. And to the new people that are now with us? Thank you!

Now, I have had a 24 hour bug that has been sticking around for the past several days. And it kicked my butt pretty good. But I am still alive and being a pest to certain people. OK, maybe a lot of people. Plus, if you have stock in toilet paper and Kleenex, your stock just went up!

I'm thinking that some good BBQ will make me feel a lot better. And lots of iced tea. 'Course, Fall is on the way, so I may need to change from ice tea to something fallish. Maybe, room temperature tea. And with fall coming, that means the holidays are not far behind. And that means..... EXPANDO PANTS time!

Yep, it will be time to get them pants out and see if they still fit. Everyone should have at least several pairs. The Isle of Belly loves his expando pants. They work great, none of this undoing your belt or unsnapping your pants. And they are stain resistant to boot. So get a few pairs before the holidays catch you popping buttons or busting zippers. You could put some ones eye out!

So with that in mind. Look below for a FEED YOUR FACE POST.

FEED YOUR FACE: Buttermilk Cornbread

Here you go. You need:
1 cup corn meal
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk

Combine the dry ingredients, then add thebeaten egg and the buttermilk. Mix it up, and pour it into a greased, heated 8 inch or 9 inch cast iron skillet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Get out the butter and homemade jelly! Leave some for the rest of the family. Well, IF you can.

My sister and I would wake up to the smell of this cornbread on fall mornings. Brings back lots of memories. So FEED YOUR FACE!! And enjoy.