Monday, November 28, 2011

Quote of the Week: 11/28/2011

Laughter is the valve on the pressure cooker of life. Either you laugh and suffer, or you got your beans or brains on the ceiling.
Wavy Gravy, American entertainer and peace activist

This photo is of our dog, Nugget, a couple Thanksgivings ago. We hope this makes you laugh (so your beans or brains don't end up on the ceiling).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


As I got up from my log, I tossed a few chunks of wood on my fire and started towards the road. As I made my way along I could for sure hear voices, and the creak of leather on the cold wind.

Around the bend in the road came two men on horseback. One was leading a pack horse with empty packs, the other was looking behind to see how things were going. Both men seemed in good spirits. As they came around the bend fully they saw me standing by the road. I raised a hand and said hi. They both pulled up to a stop in front of me. The horses were breathing a little hard and you could see the steam rise from their damp fur. The men said hello and then they saw my camp.

One of them laughed. He said that they thought that they were the only ones up here. I told them that I had hiked in just this morning. I asked them where they were headed. The one leading the pack horse smiled and said that they had a few out of town hunters down the road, and that they were with an outfitter from Granby. He introduced himself and his friend.

The one leading the pack horse was named Bob, and the other one was named John. I invited them to my camp and told them that I could put on a pot of coffee. They thanked me, but said that they had to be at the top of the county road to pick up some supplies for their camp, which they said was about 3 miles further down the road. They told me that they had several hunters from Texas and had several tents set up. Said that they were the "Chief cook and bottle washers for the outfit." They would leave camp every 3 days to get more supplies. They would ride out to the main road, and would wait until their boss showed up with more supplies. Bob said that they had been up there for about three weeks now, and only one of their Texas hunters had filled his tag, and that had been filled yesterday.

John added that they should get a move on so that they were up by the main road by 4 p.m. They had just a few miles to get there and wanted to be there before the "boss" showed up. They thanked me for the offer of coffee, and said that they would stop for a few minutes on the way back to their camp. Well the little break they had taken, by stopping and talking to me, had let the animals catch their breath and cool down some. They took off up the road and I walked all of maybe 50 feet when I looked up and saw I had three deer in my camp. The deer saw me at the same time and, in about 3 leaps each, they were in the trees and gone.

As it was getting to be later in the day, I thought that I would start to get things together for my dinner. I thought that maybe I would fix up the chicken that I had brought with me, along with some canned corn and maybe do up some more biscuits. So I stoked up my fire, got my chicken out of the plastic bag I had him in, made a spit out of a choke cherry limb, and put him over the fire. Opened up a can of corn and dumped it in a pan, and took two more biscuits from my pringles can, greased up my old skillet, and set them by the fire. I decided to have some coffee, so got that to making also.

Things were shaping up real nice and I could start to smell the bird cooking. As I set out my plate and silverware I heard a gun shot, then another followed about 20 seconds after the first. I figured that one of the Texans must have filled his tag. So as I was setting there feeding my face, I heard voices again and a horse blow. It surprising how far sound carries in the mountains.

Down the road came Bob and John, leading the pack horse, and this time all the packs were full. As they got near my camp I got out two more cups, poured some coffee in each, and walked down to the road. They pulled up and I handed them each a cup. They didn't say a word, but went right to sipping that coffee. You could tell that they were a bit on the cold side. Both had red checks and their noses looked like they would fall off if you touched them. Man! they were redder than fire trucks.

Bob said that they had to wait a little longer than normal: the boss had a flat on the way up and had to change it. They also told me that my car had been buried in snow when the snow plow came by.

I told John that I heard a shot a while ago and figured that one of their Texans got something. Bob chugged the rest of his coffee, and said thanks, and that he was going to head on down the road back to camp. John said he would be right behind him. As Bob went on down the road, John thanked me for the coffee and behind this great big smile asked me if I would like to join them all for Thanksgiving dinner in their camp tomorrow afternoon, as it would be Thanksgiving day. I wasn't really quite sure what to say. Here I was up in the mountains the day before Thanksgiving and just planning to spend time by myself, camp out from Wednesday to Sunday, head home, and start the work week, never expecting anything like this.

But I said, yes, that would be great. John thanked me again for the coffee, and I asked as he was riding off if I needed to bring anything with me tomorrow. He said, over his shoulder, not to worry, that they had it covered.

As John rode out of sight, I caught a whiff of my cooked chicken and my biscuits. I poured myself another cup of coffee, stirred the corn, and checked the biscuits. Everything was done and I couldn't wait to eat. The meal was great! I ate just about the whole chicken, but managed to save one drumstick for breakfast in the morning.

As evening was approaching, it started to snow lightly. I cleaned up my campsite, carried water up from the stream to heat for washing dishes and for washing myself up. Nothing like standing out in the wilds with no shirt on and trying to wash up.

As the night progressed and it got darker, I threw more wood on the fire, settled back on my log with my feet towards the fire and just lounged. It was a beautiful night, snow was still coming down lightly, and the stars were shinning brightly. Later the moon would be out. All seemed right with the world. It must of been close to midnight or so before I banked my fire, crawled into to my tent, and snuggled down in my sleeping bag.

I awoke to a gorgeous morning. The sun was out and everything was so bright. It was one of those mornings, you know, the kind when you were a kid, and it is Christmas and the morning just flies by before you know it? Well, it felt like one of those mornings. I could hear the stream behind my camp and there was a squirrel chattering in the pines. And I could swear that I could smell coffee and what almost smelled like pumpkin pie. But it couldn't be. It had to be my mind playing tricks on me.

I checked my campfire and found a few hot coals, and got my fire going again. Put on some water for coffee and made up some eggs, fried up the rest of my trout, and had a fine breakfast. After breakfast, I went and picked up more firewood, stacked it under a big tree, and covered the wood with the tarp I had brought with. I cleaned up camp and finished up the coffee.

I had some time before I had to head down the road for my Thanksgiving meal and I didn't want to go empty handed. So I grabbed my fishing pole and off to the stream I went. The fishing was not as good as it was the day before, but I managed to catch four nice brook trout. I like to catch these brookies, they all are about 8 to 11 inches or so, and they fit just right in my old skillet. There are smaller brookies, but I try to let them go. But every now and then one of them little buggers swallows the hook, and well, you just end up with a small one now and then. But they all taste great. So now I had something to bring to the Thanksgiving meal.

I grabbed my snowshoes and my back pack, stuffed the fish in a bag, and put them in the pack. I grabbed my .22 -- you never know, I might get a rabbit or two along the way. So off down the road I went. The going was not too bad after having some fresh snow from the night before. I was making good time, and I could hear some voices in the distance. Sounded like they are having a good time.

As I was snowshoeing along the road, I was coming across a lot of tracks -- deer, elk, porcupine, squirrel, martin, and rabbit. As I came over a little rise, standing in the road were two grouse. Well, grouse is better than rabbit any day, so I took aim and got one of the grouse. The other flew into a tree not 20 feet from me. I took aim and got the second grouse. I took the time to dress them out, put them in a bag, and placed them in my pack.

I could see the camp of Bob, John, and their Texans. They had a real good spot for the camp: plenty of wood all around, a small corral for the horses, the same stream behind the tents as I had, and they had two huge tents set up across from one another.

Then the wind shifted and I got a whiff of something cooking. I could swear that I smelled turkey. Bob saw me first and hollered at me to come on in. As I made my way into the camp, I thought I could smell apple pie! John came from around the corner with a arm full of firewood. He dropped the wood and pointed out the rest of the guys that were setting around the fire. There was a guy named Mark, real skinny and tall. And then there was Josh and Ray, two of the biggest guys I had ever seen. I thought for sure that they played pro football. I felt kind of sorry for the horses that had to carry these two.

I took off my pack and unloaded the birds and fish. Bob took them and went into one of the tents. As the flap opened I thought I smelled sweet 'taters, or could it have been pumpkin pie. When Bob came out of the tent, he had donned a apron. He said it would be about another hour before we ate. I was handed a beer and given a fold-up chair to set in. We set around the fire talking about this and that. The guy named Mark was in real estate sales in Houston. Josh and Ray were from Dallas, and they were partners in a log cabin business. Tey would get together every deer and elk season and come hunt Colorado.

They all seemed really nice. It was a little difficult to understand them every now an then. But I liked them well enough. Before I knew it Bob was hollering and banging on a pan to "COME AND GET IT !!" I thought that I was going to get trampled getting into the tent. I could not believe my eyes when I got inside.

This tent was their mess tent; they took all their meals in it. They had a folding table off to one side. On it was drinks -- pop, beer, water, coffee, wine, and who knows what else. The other table was set just like a fancy restaurant -- napkins, silverware, cups, glasses, a centerpiece decoration, and the food. It looked like there was enough to feed us and the whole town of Golden. There was turkey, which they had brought with them from Texas. There was my grouse and brook trout. And we had stuffing, potatos -- sweet and mashed, gravy, cranberry sauce, biscuits, corn, green beans, and at least three different kinds of pie. It was just like being at home with family and friends. I have never seen that much food for one meal on a hunting trip of any kind in my life.

We ate and ate, laughed, talked, and ate some more. I have never eaten that much in my life! And the pies! They were so good. I seem to remember eating at least 4 slices with whipped cream. By the time we were done, we had pretty well eaten all there was. I don't think I could have looked at a pie or another piece of turkey for at least another year. I mean, we ALL, had our pants undone and could hardly move. I do not know what it is about eating while in the mountains, but it always seems to taste better, and you can eat so much more.

We sat around and talked until it was dark. The food was fantastic and the company was great. They loaded me up with leftovers, and I managed to be able to bend over just long enough to get my snowshoes on. And I headed back up the road to my camp, the walk was slow. . . really slow. I thought I was going to burst.

I made it back to camp, got my fire going, dragged out my sleeping bag to wrap up in, and just sat in front of the fire. The next thing I knew, it was morning.

The next few days were spent fishing, drawing, collecting firewood, and seeing the guys down the road every now and then.

Sunday came too fast, and I was packing up to head back to my car when they all came out and up the road, scruffy, dirty, and smiling to beat the band. They stopped long enough to let the horses blow and check the load on the pack horses. The guys from Texas had bagged two elk. I don't know who got what. They all seemed ready to head for home. I shook hands with all of them, and they left, leaving me feel that I was a part of the group.

I finished packing and hiked out to my car. To my surprise, those guys had dug my car out for me!

That was one of the best Thanksgivings that I have had in my life. I still think about it every year at Thanks giving.

I saw Bob and John several times over the years on some of my hunting trips, and I ran into Josh and Ray one year while hunting right where they had hunting camp set up so many years ago.

After all these years, and so many hunting trips have passed, I still think of these guys every year, and thank them from my heart that they shared a Thanksgiving so many years ago with me. It has brought me closer to my family and friends.

I wish that all of you could share in something like I did. I wish that all of your Thanksgivings, no matter where you are, are the best and that they bring memories that you will all cherish forever.

That was my Thanksgiving in the Rockies.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


At Thanksgiving time we think of family and friends. We think about all the food that will be served. You have your turkey and dressing, mashed 'taters with gravy, cranberries, green beans, and rolls, and all kinds of other fixins. It is great to see family and friends that maybe you do not get to see on a regular basis. We set, give thanks, and then we eat.

We all set around, talk, laugh, maybe show a few photos. Watch the game on TV. Then as the day gets to be just about over maybe we pack up a few containers of leftovers, say our goodbyes, and head for home.

One year, I got to have my Thanksgiving in the Colorado rockies. I had packed my camping gear and my fishing pole. It was deer and elk season and I thought that since my family was not going to have Thanksgiving together that I would just hit the high country for a few days. I wasn't worried, as I had done this lots of times by myself. So I hit the road.

The trip up was very nice, snow covered everything, and the roads had been plowed. I had left word with family about where I was going to be so that if I did not make it back by Sunday they would know where to look. So I made my way up to the top of Gore pass. It was breathtaking. The snow hung on the pine trees and the snow on either side of the road showed no footprints of man or animal. The sun was catching the snow and gave it a glitter of rainbow colors. Just like you would see in a Christmas card.

I made it to my turn off, and managed to go about 40 feet or so before I had to stop. The gate was closed on the county road I was to take. No problem. I parked and unloaded my gear, put on my snow shoes and away I went. Walking down the road was really easy in the snow shoes. No downed trees to step over. And the way was clear as far as I could see. As I walked, all I could hear was the crunching of the snow shoes in the snow and my own breathing. It was so quiet and just a bit of a breeze. I thought that I caught a wiff of a camp fire, but it was gone on the breeze so quickly, that I wasn't sure if I had smelled it at all. I could smell the pines.

As I walked, I planned out what all I needed to do. Set up my tent, collect firewood, get my camp all in order, and make it as snug as I could. I would also check the beaver ponds and the stream that feeds them, 'cause I had a hankering for some fresh brook trout for lunch.

I hiked in about 3 miles from the main road and I was only about 25 or 30 feet off of the county road. It seemed that I had the whole place to myself.

I got camp set up and every thing had it's place. I had a huge supply of fire wood and had a real good fire going. The tent was up, my sleeping bag all was stretched out inside the tent. My extra gear was stored out of the way. I had my old coffee pot near the fire, melting the snow that I had put in it for some hot water for a cup of tea later on.

I took a little strowl behind my camp and could hear the water running in the stream. It had not iced over yet, so I could at least try to get a fish or two for my lunch. As I turned to head back to camp, I spooked up two elk -- a cow and her calf. I never heard them. They were about 60 feet or so from me. They must have known that I was not hunting them. We looked at each other for almost a full minute, when the Mama gave a little snort and they both moved off through the trees at an easy pace.

I headed back to camp, had a cup of tea, put more snow in the old pot, threw some more wood on the fire and grabbed my fishing pole. I followed my tracks back to the stream and started to fish. The fish were eager to get out of the cold water, as I caught five nice brookies.

As I made my way back to camp, I grabbed a few chunks of wood along the way. You can never have too much fire wood when camping in the winter time. When I got back to camp, I dragged out my skillet and the fixings for fried trout. I had pre-cut biscuit dough in a Pringles chip can. There was enough to last me for at least three days, as long as I rationed them and didn't decide to pig out on the food I had brought along.

Course, that's one nice thing about backpacking: your stuff weighs a ton when you hike in, but it is so much lighter when you pack back out.

So I had three of the fish, did up two biscuits and a can of pork and beans. Man, was I stuffed. I cleaned up everything, and put things away. Added some wood to the fire and just kicked back, leaned up against a log, and had another cup of tea. I would save my coffee for mornings.

I must have dozed off, and I woke with a start. What was it that had made me wake up? I strained to hear. I heard horses, then people talking.

(Part II tomorrow)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This was posted last year, but it's timely and someone new to the blog requested some dehydrating recipes. This is one of Kathi's favorites, and last year's batch (about 25 pounds of apples) lasted her only until July -- and she just used them for snacking, not cooking. Make more!

Our forefathers and mothers used to be self sufficient. They did just about everything, from fixing the windmill to delivering babies. And they could cook just about anything that was brought to them. If they had too much food they knew how to preserve it, from smoking to drying.

So, we are doing apple chips, but we are going to cheat and use newer technology for old ideas.

First off: at our house we have a food dehydrator. I got tried of using a small one so we got us a BIG one. Now, if you like dried fruit, meat, or veggies then you might want to ask Santa or one of his many helpers for a dehydrator. They are not all that costly, unless you get a BIG one.

OK, so we bought a bunch of honey crisp apples, about 25 pounds or so. The hard part was keeping Kathi (my wife) out of them, 'cause they are her favorite -- which is why we bought honeycrisps in the first place.

You need to mix up some cinnamon sugar and put it in a shaker. Next you will need a big bowl or container to let the apple slices lay in. Also you need lemon juice, or you can use a lemon-lime cola, like Sierra Mist. Also you will need a bunch of paper towels and a large working area. So let's get started.

Wash your apples, and take off them little labels. Next, pour about 1/4 cup of lemon juice into your bow, then add about 5 cups of water. Or use the pop and just pour in several cans. The lemon juice will keep the apple slices from turning brown. Same, if you use the pop.

Now, we have a little machine that you crank by hand. It cores, peels, and slices the apples all at the same time and the slices are uniform, which is good for dehydrating. It also looks good. As the apple is sliced, in one long curl, you break the slice in half. Of course, you can do this by hand if you don't have the fancy little machine.

Place the slices in the bowl for several minutes, then remove them, and lay them out on several sheets of paper towel. Then, pat the apple slices dry. Now, shake some of your sugar cinnamon on all the slices.

Then take those slices off the paper towels and put them on the drying racks. Leave some space between the slices for air to circulate around them. Continue until you have filled up all the racks on your dehydrator or run out of apples or both.

Once you have the racks in place put the lid on or close the door on your dehydrator. Turn it on. You want to set a low temp so that you don't cook them, but suck the moisture out of them. Let them dry for 12 hours or so. If you want them dryer, run them longer. We like our dried, but still pliable.

When they are dry enough, let them set for awhile and cool off some. Then place them in Ziplock bags. Put them in a nice cool place for storage. (I had some dried apples that were about 3 years old and were just as good as the day I made them.)
Now, these are great for a snack or to use in cooking. Make an apple pie with dried apples. Or use them in your dressing or stuffing this Thanksgiving.

You will find all kinds of things to run through your dehydrator. Make up some dry veggies for homemade soups, or dry flowers for potpourri.

It's fun and you can get the whole family involved. You will also save money on meals for your family. So have at it, dry some fruit, and veggies, save a few bucks, and FEED YOUR FACE !

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quote of the Week: 11/21/11

"Just living is not enough. ...One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."

Hans Christian Anderson
Danish author and poet

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dehydrating and Preserving Food

I was going to do a post on dehydrating/preserving food, but fellow blogger SciFiChick has done a great job, so today I'm going to refer you to her.

Take a look:

Poke around her site and see all the other great posts she has as well. There's a lot of great information.

(Overachiever. . . )

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The story I'm about to relate is true. I hope that I don't offend anyone who follows my blog. So, put down anything that you are drinking, and any sharp objects that are near you.

Now, growing up in my family, we did a lot of outdoor stuff: hunting, fishing, camping. We did a lot of this before we kids were old enough to hunt. And, of course, there are a few traditions that go along with it.

This tradition has to do with food. This food is Dinty Moore Stew, with pork and beans. Now, anytime we were in the hills, we had this for at least one meal. It is quite tasty! I still like it to this day.

My brother in law, Robert, on the other hand has had to eat this on lots of our trips to the hills. He has had it so much that on one deer hunting trip as we were doing the shopping for supplies, my friend Ed and I were told, "NO DINTY MOORE STEW AND PORK AND BEANS!!"

We said OK.

Well, we got a big can of Dinty Moore Stew, and instead of pork and beans we got a can of ranch -style beans and a can of chili. So, now he couldn't say no to the stew, right?

We all know that when you eat beans, you can get gas. But, we had had this for years! All the guys know what it is like in hunt camp. And maybe some of you ladies know also. We cuss, spit, tell dirty jokes, fart, scratch, some may do some drinkin', and we just get silly and have a good time.

Well, we had been hunting for three days and the weather was great -- nice and warm during the day and cool at night.

The next morning we had snow. . .about four or five inches of the white stuff. And it was COLD!

So, we ate a quiet breakfast and headed out to hunt. We all packed up, and took some MRE's for lunch. We figured that we would hunt all day, and come back to camp a little past sundown. The hunting was great. We could walk through the forest and not make a sound, because of the snow. Well, Robert dropped a fat three-point buck, and I got a nice doe. Ed, on the other hand, didn't even get a shot.

When we all got back to camp, it had started to snow and it was getting colder. We got our animals hung and dressed out, then decided that a warm dinner was in order. Ed and I said that we would fix dinner. So, we set up the Coleman stove, got out a large pot, and opened up the stew, ranch style beans, and the chili, and we put it all in one pot.

Now, some of you might be going YUCK. (But it's good!) As it warmed up on the stove, it started to smell pretty good. As it got hotter, it started to smell great! 'Course, Robert had to come over to check out what we had cooking. When he saw the stew can, we thought he was going to pack his gear and go home. But as he took a closer look in the pot and sniffed at it a couple of times, he smiled and said that it smelled better than it looked.

While we were cooking, Robert made us a nice campfire and we had three logs to set on. When the stew was ready, we dished it out in big bowls. We cut up a loaf of sheep herders bread.
Boy howdy, we were like total pigs. We ate, and ate, and we didn't even talk while eating. I mean, this stuff was GOOD! We all had seconds, then thirds.

Well Ed and I quit after the third bowl. Robert, on the other hand, went over to the pot and proceeded to finish up what was left, even taking what was left of the bread to sop up what he couldn't get with a spoon.

So, after a great dinner, Ed and I figured we had come up with a new traditional meal for hunting. Robert cleaned up the mess from dinner, and Ed and I just sat, had a beer, and a smoke. When Robert had finished, he joined us at the fire. We sat, talked, laughed, told stories, drank more beer, and smoked, and just had a good time. After about two hours of this, Robert or Ed let one loose. And of course, we laughed.

Pretty soon, more farts, more laughing. And we moved a little further apart around the campfire. I swear, I saw the flames get bigger and higher a few times. And still, we sat and talked, and laughed. And of course, more farts.

Well it got to the point, that we couldn't finish a sentence without passing gas at least six times. Now that I look back on this, I think it was one of the most quiet outside of camp that I had ever heard. I mean, we were on some open range, and there had been some cows around the outside of our camp, and there had been some birds around also. And the pesky chipmonk and squirrels that are always in camp were nowhere to be seen or found.

After several hours of passing gas and talking we decided it was time to hit the sack. We have always slept in a tent when hunting. Even in the dead of winter. And this time, we had one of them little dome tents. You know the kind -- you get down on your knees and crawl in. The tent was plenty big enough for the three of us. Ed on one side, me on the other, and Robert in the middle.

We found out why they call sleeping bags "fart sacks" that night. It's a good thing that the tent was staked down. With all that gas, we could have floated off, never to be heard from again!

Well, poor ol' Robert, being in the middle, caught the biggest part of the gas that was going around. Ed and I had set our bags up so that the zippered part of our bags were towards Robert. And when one of us would let one loose, we would fan our bags toward him.

None of us got up that night to make a call to Mother Nature. We went to sleep, fartin' and laughing. Robert, on the other hand, was not laughing. He gagged, coughed, spit, and sputtered, and made all kinds of comments about not being able to breathe. Me? I have this sinus thing 24/7. I've had it since I was a little kid. So, I only got a whiff every once in a while. Ed, I think, had put a bandana over his nose and mouth.

When I awoke the next morning, I could smell! My sinuses had cleared right up. And, boy! did it ever stink in that tent. I looked over and Ed was snoring, Robert, at some point in the night, had unzipped the tent flap and stuck his head out of the tent. I woke Ed up, and he looked over at Robert, sleeping with his head outside the tent. Robert hadn't moved.

At some point it had quit snowing during the night. As we moved the tent flap just a bit, to take a peek at Robert, he let out a scream. As we had moved the tent flap, some snow fell and hit Robert right in the face. Have you ever seen some one try to jump up in a little tent?

Well, we got up, made some coffee, and dragged our bags out of the tent. We hung the bags up every morning for the next three days, and they still smelled of chili, ranch style beans, and Dinty Moore Stew. Hell, we even threw some pine branches on the camp fire, and tried to smoke our sleeping bags so they would smell of pine.

Didn't work. They then smelled of pine and ranch style beans, and chili, and -- yep -- Dinty Moore Stew.

The rest of our hunting trip was pretty dull. Every night we tried to stay up, so we wouldn't have to get in them sleeping bags. The last night, we all slept in Robert's van.

When we got back home, I washed my bag like three times and ended up having to have it cleaned at the laundromat. Ed had to do the same thing. I never used that bag again. I bought a new one for the next hunting trip.

Somehow, my sister managed to get Robert's bag to smell pretty good. It was a bit shorter, but it smelled nice.

The tent: Robert set it up in his yard to "air out." The sad part is, the tent belonged to his sons. It sat in the yard for something like a week. They never had to waterproof that sucker ever again. I'm sorry to say that my nephews had to use that tent for a winter boy scout outing. They had the whole tent to themselves. No one offered to sleep in the tent with them. And it seems that the color of the tent was not as bright as it was when we used it for hunting. Go figure. The boys said it wasn't too bad, as long as you had something to cover your nose with!

The following summer, the tent was used maybe twice. It was just too unbearable. It was completely permeated. The good thing? They didn't have any bugs or flies in the tent, as they pretty much keeled over at the doorway.

All hunting and outdoor excursions from then on required that uncles and friends had to sleep in a tent of their own.

Robert and I haven't had our traditional meal on any mountain trips for years. And if the subject comes up, Robert's eyes just seem to start leaking and he turns a funny color.

So, if you want to pull a good one on some of your huntin' and fishin' buddies, just buy a big can of Dinty Moore Stew, a can of ranch style beans, and a can of chili. Dump it all in a big pot, and heat it up. Serve it in a big bowl with some bread. They may think that it is gross until they get a whiff of it after it is heated. It really does smell -- and taste-- good.

For yourself, I would suggest that maybe you eat a sandwich or something, and don't set near a open flame. Also, you might want to sleep by your self that night also. And maybe at some distance from the rest of them. Also, after all the fun that night, it might be a nice gesture to hand out some extra T.P. the next morning.

And maybe you should not serve this if you're in bear country. You know how they like the smell of dead things. If you serve it while duck hunting, maybe serve it for lunch. You can then hunt without that pesky duck call hanging around your neck that always gets in the way. But, please. . . do NOT do this if you are hunting from a heated duck blind. Big explosions scare off the game. If you use a tree stand -- well, you'er on your own. Maybe this should be under FEED YOUR FACE! Oh, another thought, maybe serve this to your pesky in laws. They won't come back for years.

Kathi and I have Dinty Moore stew with a little can of pork and beans every now and then. When we do, we try to do it on a weekend. But I wouldn't do it on a Sunday. Come Monday, people you work with would not be pleased. 'Course, you could maybe blame it on someone else. If you're female, I wouldn't wear pantyhose. You might blow a shoe off and hurt someone.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quote of the Week: 11/14/11

"Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit."

E.E. Cummings
American poet


This year, Veteran's day was harder than it has been for the last couple of years. I'm not sure why. I stayed pretty much at home. And Kathi was at work. I managed to get a little work done in the garage. But it was hard to not cry.

My nephew has been gone for a couple years now. My sister and brother in-law are still having a hard time of it. I know that it takes time, lots of time, to get over the loss of a loved one. And some never get over the loss.

And then there is their grandchild (he's a cute little bugger) and the widow of 21-years-old that he left behind. He joined the Army, and he was very proud. One of the reasons he joined was that he had lost a couple of friends in Afghanistan and he wanted to do his part. His Dad, a Vietnam- era vet, did his time in the Army. He was, and still is, proud of his lost son.

Me? I never served. I wish that I had. But back then I was a little too wild -- or as some said, " radical." When Vietnam was going on I wasn't against the war, I just did not understand it. My Dad told me that if I was "called to serve" he would have rather sent me to Canada. He had served in the Air Force during Korea.

Now, please don't jump in and say that my Dad is unpatriotic. His view was that the politicians were running the war, instead of the military, but that the military should have been running it instead of Johnson and the other politicians of that time.

I grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in grade school. We hid under our desks for air raid drills. There were the civil defense guys in your neighborhood. All these years later, do they even say the Pledge of Allegiance in the schools anymore?

But, I digress.

I watched my nephew grow from a child to a man. We shared hunting trips, fishing, and camping. I enjoyed just being his uncle, joking, poking fun, pulling pranks. I enjoyed the holidays spent with that side of the family. We had some real good times.

We laughed at Grandpa with the cactus spines in his behind. At calling my nephew "bear bait" 'cause of all the candy wrappers he had in his tent, and we had a bear come into camp. (That scared the you know what out of him!)

When he turned 17, I took him out to get his ear pierced, 'cause that is what he wanted, though his dad didn't really want him to. His dad gave in, as long as that was ALL he had pierced. So, being the dutiful uncle, I took him for the piercing.

After he had his ear done, we saw some of those fake pierce rings, like for your belly button or your nose. Well, I popped for some extra ones. I got him two for his nipples, one for his belly button, and one for his nose.

Well, when I got him home, he couldn't keep a straight face. I gave him a hard time, and told him he had to keep it real for his parents. We walked in the door, and my sister about had a fit. The first thing she saw was the nose ring. His dad heard her holler and he about fainted. Then my nephew said, "Well, you might as well see the rest of them," and he lifted his shirt. I thought that we both kept it together pretty well. I told his parents that they had a special going on and it seemed like a good deal at the time.

His dad turned a darker shade of red. My nephew and I started to laugh. He than pulled the ring off his belly, plucked the two nipple rings off, and tossed them all to his dad. I thought that I was going to be asked to leave and never come back.

That's how Grant, my nephew, was: a fun-loving kid. And I can't get over how I miss him. And his little boy, my great nephew, is a lot like his Dad. You can see it in his eyes. And I really feel for my sister and brother in-law, and for the rest of my family.

It still hurts.

My son (Grant's cousin) goes to see his cousin at the cemetary. He always makes his mom bring flowers, and he still asks about his cousin Grant.

I don't know why this Veterans Day was so rough. But I'm proud, and glad that I have had the chance to meet the young men from his outfit. I have heard some of the stories about my nephew from those guys, and of the things he said and did. How he always had time to help "his" guys. How they loved him. And to hear the stories he told them of me (his uncle), and the fun and crazy things that we had done, as well as some of the times he spent with his parents and the rest of our family.

So, yes, this Veterans Day was tough, and I'm sure that there will be more. It makes me think of all the others who have gone before and after him. Of the ones who have served, and the ones who are serving now.

Bless every one of you. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Kathi here. Jim really likes to eat at The Buckhorn Exchange. It is one of Denver's historic restaurants, and they have tasty food.

The restaurant publishes its bean soup recipe on its Web site. We always have to eat the bean soup when we go, even though we know it's going to make us feel too full. And it always does.

Now that Fall weather is here, I've been hungry for soup, and we had never made The Buckhorn Exchange Famous Bean Soup before, so thought we'd make that.

We followed the recipe, but added some things we like and made it just a little different. So I guess we made the famous soup, just not so famous.

Their recipe (linke above) says:
1-lb. Great Northern beans
½ cup diced onion
3-oz diced ham
1-oz chicken base
½ tsp Seasoned Salt
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp white pepper
½ gallon water
1-oz cornstarch
½ cup water
Place first 9 ingredients in a large pot, cover and place in a 200 degree oven for 8 hours. When
beans are tender, remove from oven, place on stovetop and bring to boil. Mix cornstarch and ½ cup water, add to soup to thicken, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

And we did all that. But we also added:

3/4 cup diced onion (instead of 1/2 cup called for)

3/4 cup diced carrot

3/4 cup diced celery

We also added more ham. I wanted to add a half pound of diced ham, and Jim did put in a little more, but not much. Hmmmmpf!

We placed it all in a cast iron Dutch oven. You could also, I'm sure, make this in a slow cooker.

The house smelled really good while this was cooking, and our tongues were happy when it was done. The beans were tender, the soup had little chunky vegetables and pieces of ham throughout, and the broth was flavorful. It made a good-sized batch, but not so much that we'll have to eat it every day for a week.

And if you ever get to Denver, try to make time in your schedule to eat a meal at The Buckhorn Exchange!

Monday, November 7, 2011


"Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It's good to be silly at the right moment."

Roman poet

Friday, November 4, 2011


I would like to thank all of the new people and friends who now visit my blog. And thanks to my longer-time faithful readers! Come, set a while, read a few entries.

I try to put a smile on your face, do some recipes to make you drool a little, and do a bit of history every now and again. Also, you will find some stories that might bring a smile or a tear. Sometimes serious or just to pull a leg or two. Sometimes I come up with a few things that might come in handy one of these days.

I'm kinda a jack of all trades and a master of none, as the saying goes. So, check some of the older blog entries and let me know what you think.

Everyone is welcome here, and I again thank you for reading my blog.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


This is just great. It's snowing, and now I will have to shovel snow. I would use my snow blower, but it blew a tire. It was horrible. There I was, blowing snow on our long driveway, everything just going fine, when all of a sudden there was a bang! and the snow blower lurched to the left. I just missed hitting the house. Then it spun around and almost took out some of our fence. We just missed hitting a squirrel that was setting on the fence. He dove for cover.

The snow blower than lurched to the right and spun around. We were going back up the driveway. We just missed our trailer and the cat that was on it, that was watching the squirrel on the fence. While all of this was going on, I was trying to kick the blower out of gear. But no such luck. We ran into a pine tree, just missing the snowman on the side of the driveway.

You would think that Sears would put air bags on their snow blowers.

I also found out that snow blowers do not make good mulchers. Again, you would think that Sears would come up with a combo machine that does both. But it does a great job with lawn hoses! Cuts them up 'til they look like links of sausage. So then I have to keep the dog away from what's left of the hose.

The driveway is not finished. I have a half mulched pine tree. And I think that I hurt myself when I went over the handle bars of the snow blower. The wife gave me hell when she saw me laying in the backyard, and made some comment about my playing around and making snow angels or something.

Yep, I really like my snow blower. It makes things so much easier.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I see that some of the followers of this blog had some good times at Halloween parties last night. Others just hung out at home. We had only 11 treaters at our house. So someone is going to have to take care of the leftover candy we have.

How many Jolly Rancher candies can you put in your mouth at one time? How many apples can you bob for? How many of those little Snicker candy bars will fit in your mouth? Did you get to walk with any of those little ones in your family? How many times did you go back to the same house, that gave out the best candy? Did you pile all of the candy on the table? Pick out what you like? And then put the stuff you don't like back in the bowl to be handed back out to someone else?

Man, if I could count how many times I did that as a kid. Seemed like I had enough candy from Halloween that it would last till almost New-Year's Eve. 'Course some of the chocolate bars had kind of turned white by then. But hey, candy is candy. We used to do the same at Easter. Stash that candy. Every now and then we may have overlooked an Easter egg that ended up in the bottom of our basket.

I did that one year. I stashed my Easter candy in its basket, in my closet, in a cubby hole, not knowing that one of them sneaky Easter eggs had worked it's way to the bottom of the basket. Needless to say, after about a month after Easter there was this bad smell coming from my room. And for the life of my parents, they could not figure what it was. They knew it was coming from my room, but could not pin point it.

Me, on the other hand? I didn't smell a thing. My Dad thought for sure that it was some old rotten underwear. They made me clean my room several times. But, the smell was still there and getting worse. My Dad thought maybe by this time that it was several pairs of rotten shorts. Mom, on the other hand, made the mistake of opening my closet door. Poor woman. Dropped right to her knees and turned a nice shade of this weird green, and lost her lunch, right there in my closet.

When I was a child, when told to clean my room, I took EVERY HING that was on the floor, chairs, desk, bed, door knob, hanging on the door, and shoved it all into my closet on the floor. I had so much stuff on the floor of my closet that I could have hidden all the gold from Fort Knox there and nobody would have known.

So, Mom has ralphed in my closet. She was still green, and her eyes had kinda rolled up in her head. And then, she kinda stood up on wobbly legs. She did not ask me, but TOLD me to drag out EVERYTHING in that closet, NOW! She would not even let me put on gloves or one of them paper mask things. So, I went to work, dragging stuff out. Man, I found stuff that I hadn't played with in like 5 years.

The ralph clothes went to the laundry room. (She made me do the laundry.) All of the other stuff was thrown out or put in boxes for storage. After all that work, we still could not figure what the smell was. By then, I had forgotten about the Easter basket in the cubby hole.

That year, at Christmas, I got more packages of underwear and after shave. I think that some lady from Avon got rich that Christmas. It wasn't until about the age of 15 or so that we had a major water leak from the bathroom and had to rip out the wall of my closet.

Guess what? We found an old Easter basket. And it still had some CANDY in it! And this fuzzy looking stuff that was fossilized. My Dad made me take it out to the field behind our house and bury it. He didn't want to bury it in our yard. He was afraid that the cops would show up and think that we had a body buried out back or that our cat would dig it up.

That was one of my past Halloweens as a kid.

Oh yeah. . . 20 Jolly Ranchers fit in my mouth back then or 9 little Snickers bars. Now, I didn't do this all at one time. One, was on a dare. The other was a bet. Boy, I had great friends back then, right?