Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


I'm so wasting my time.

While I am out in the hills and wheat fields trying to find a mule deer, the off-duty police officers in Indiana are knocking down bucks inside the local Wal-Marts. 

Someone on facebook even posted a picture from the scene.

That's a nice looking buck...and I believe the reports that it was causing a holy ruckus before an off-duty officer stepped up and tazed the buck, and then later had to taze it again after the crowd wouldn't give it space. 

The deer did not survive.  One can only hope that the meat went to a good cause. 


Okay...where is the hidden camera?

Went out yesterday to do a spot of hunting for the late muzzleloader season.  Conditions could hardly be more different than they were during the early seasons in September.  Then I was complaining about it being 80+ degrees in the afternoon...Saturday it started out frosty and foggy, and stayed overcast and cold all day.

I was unprepared for how difficult the fog made range estimation.  Two separate times early on, I clearly saw a deer silhouetted out in the fog, but...they were backlit against the horizon, and with this being the first time I had hunted this property, the fog prevented me from having any idea what kind of backstop there was behind those deer, so I passed on the shots.

In the current season, I can shoot either a doe, or a 3-point minimum buck, so of course it should be no surprise that at around 10:00 as the fog was burning off, I had a nice big-bodied spike buck walk right up on me, and proceed to prance around within 50 yards of me for over half-an-hour.  I saw him approaching, and until he got to within 100 yards, I would have sworn he was a doe...his antlers looked like someone had taken a #2 pencil, broke it in half, and glued both halves between his ears.  It felt like such a set-up that I kept looking over my shoulder for the hidden camera. 

The afternoon was less exciting.  Even though the fog lifted, it stayed overcast and never got much over 34.  I believe in layers when I am hunting, and when needed, I have a nice waterproof outer layer, and it kept me dry through the occasional round of drizzle/freezing rain.  All I really saw in the afternoon though were a few coyotes, and while I was tempted to take a shot at the 2nd one(his CPA was within 40-yards of me), I passed.  Nothing against shooting coyotes(in fact, it's the price some land-owners ask of you)...I just hate to make noise shooting a coyote if there is any chance that a deer might be getting ready to round a corner into my draw, or crest that next ridge over.

Hey...it couldn't have been that bad of a day...I'm looking forward to going out again Sunday!


It's also just plain fun to say.

We had our big Thanksgiving lunch at work this week, and since(no need for false modesty here) I am the best cook at work, I jumped on the grenade of preparing the turkey.  With access to two Traeger's at work, I planned on smoking the turkey instead of hogging the ovens that people were going to need to warm up other food in.  Since I was not motivated enough to spend the night before at work, I initially discarded the idea of doing whole turkey's and started looking at just throwing some faster cooking breasts on the grill.

But, even though it wasn't just my money I was spending, the cheapskate in me took over.  Restaurant style REAL boneless turkey breasts(not the boneless 2.5 pound breast roasts you can find at all the stores) was over $3.20 a pound...and even bone-in breasts were almost $2.00 a pound.  At Win-co, I could get whole turkeys for .88 cents a pound...but there was the time issue, which had me all tied up in knot's, until the internet machine taught me about Spatchcocking.

Spatchcocking is basically a fun to say, attention grabbing word for 'butterflying'.  You take your turkey, and with a nice pair of kitchen shears, you snip along each side of the back-bone, removing it.
From there you can either use a knife to remove the wish bone, or just give the bird CPR, breaking the breastbone and cartilage until you get the bird to lay adequately flat.

The first one was tough, but by numbers 4 and 5...it was going to pretty okay.  After opening the birds up, I lightly brined them(only 1/3rd cup of salt per gallon of water) because they were Jennie-O pre-basted turkeys, and then brought them into work and then split 5 birds between two Traegers. 

I was a popular guy...and the turkey was AMAZING.  No fewer than 8 other guys were saying that they were now going to try this technique for their turkeys next week.  Because it was cold, I ran the Traegers at about 300 degrees for almost three hours.  I could have probably done 275...but I didn't want them to take too long, plus...you don't want them in the 'Danger Zone' too long...better to get them heating faster.

Too bad you there is no scratch and sniff around here. 


So...it's a fancy donut?

Earlier this week, my wife and I were watching America's Test Kitchen(as we are wont to do), and they were making up a batch of beignets.  They looked pretty good, and I committed to my wife that I would make a batch for breakfast this weekend. 

Now, I couldn't follow the Test Kitchen's recipe exactly, because I didn't write it down, and they are a pay site....but with a bit of searching, I settled on a common looking recipe. 

For ease, I whipped up the dough last night, and after letting it rise on the counter for an hour, I stuck it in the fridge overnight.  This made the dough much easier to work with this morning, and the end results were scrumdiddlyumptious, and picture worthy.

With a disclaimer that I have not been to New Orleans for the famous CafĂ© du Monde beignets...mine tasted pretty good...but I am not sure I got them Authentic.  Most of the ones I have seen pictures of have a 'puffy' air pocket in the middle.  Mine were very uniform inside, and tasted almost like an apple-less apple fritter.  It's possible I overmixed them...

But heck, even if they weren't beignets, they were fresh, warm fired dough pillows...which are never a bad thing.


Cold, dark, and early.

Next Thursday, late muzzleloader season opens up...and of course, it's NOT in the same unit where I previously hunted this year.  Nope...instead, it's an area about 45 minutes away from here, out in the wheat fields that make up the start of the Palouse.

There is very little, as in NO,  publicly owned land in this area...it's all privately owned farms...and roughly half of that is posted no hunting.  In actuality most of that land is leased by a couple of local hunting clubs.  Of the rest, there is a decent amount posted 'feel free to hunt', as well as a few 'hunting by written permission' properties.  Because I had hoped to shoot something earlier in the year, I had not put much effort into pre-planning for this late season.  It's really kind of a 'target of opportunity'...only a 45 minute drive from the house, and an opportunity to putz around a few places to shoot a doe. 

The goal of heading out this morning was to learn how accurate my maps are, and to learn how many of the 'feel free to hunt' websites listed on the Fish and Wildlife Departments website actually exist.  Any deer I saw would be gravy.

Turns out there was a fair amount of gravy. 

The only real hiccup is that these deer were on a piece of land posted 'hunting by written permission only'...and with the season only a few days away, what kind of dirt-bag is still trying to get permission to hunt on private property.

This kind of dirt-bag.  I mean...the worst they can do is say no. 

They didn't say no...but they haven't said yes yet.  In this case, the landowner would rather just not say 'yes' to someone he doesn't know...there are liability issues, and...'earning' it issues, neither of which I begrudge them.  He pointed out that the hunting leases on the properties around him charge upwards of $1500 for access.  He would like to see people put in $200 worth of value around the farm....either helping with labor stuff, or donating supplies, or whatever else you can think of...which all makes perfect sense.  That's kind of the reason I started trying to find a place for my daughter to hunt back in August...so I had time to earn that opportunity if it was expected.  In this case, I saw so many deer on this property today that I couldn't NOT ask. 

So, I'll send the guy an e-mail with details of my skills(strong back, weak mind), and see if he has an opportunity to schedule me in over the next few weeks.  If not, I'll take my chance on a few of the 'feel free to hunt' properties.


Double Damn.

In the past, I have written a few times about a young man named Quincy

For those of you who don't feel like clicking on the links, the nephew/son of some friends I have had since 5th grade,  Quincy suffered from the Duchenne type of Muscular Dystrophy, which is considered one of the more deadly forms of M.D.  Earlier this week, shy of his 14th birthday, Quincy passed away from heart failure.

It...it hit me pretty hard.  Even knowing that this was going to happen to this young man sooner rather than later...seeing him going from walking, to walking with braces, and then a full on walker, and then a wheel chair, and finally ending up bed ridden, as medicine after medicine failed to help. 

Maybe it's because he is so close in age to my older daughter...and, we have been so lucky.  There are so many things that can go wrong in this world...and we have been lucky to dodge them all...so far.  Past returns are no guarantee of future success. 

It makes me want to appreciate my kids so much...look them in the eye and say 'I love you' each time I give them a hug.   Instead,  I still come home and grumble at them because they didn't think to go out any time since lunch and look for chicken eggs.

During the last few years, what has really impressed me has been his parents...knowing that some point this was going to happen, they have done what they can to enjoy every minute of it.  I'm not sure I am that strong.  Just thinking about having to deal with watching your child fade away makes me quiver...I mean, crap...I get pouty on Sunday afternoon's when I think about having to go to work on Monday.  How do you deal with people on an everyday basis when you know your child is not going to make it another 9 months? 

Anyway...as you can tell, I've been dwelling on it a lot, and I finally had to write about it because I couldn't stand the idea of trying to write about stupid politics, or filthy fracking animals that hang a 3-year old kid upside down and beat him to death, without honoring Quincy first.



When I got home from work today, I had to get about 5 things down before I could start on dinner...none of them really tough, but all of them needing to get done before the sun set, and all of them related to the chickens, and draining my sprinklers as we are supposed to get below 27 degrees tonight.  I didn't mean to wait until the last minute, but this last weekend was spoken for with a few concerts, and this cold front moved in in a hurry.

One of the things I had to do was clean the chicken coop out, and while doing so I found two eggs, which I was smart enough to stick in two different pockets so they didn't grind against each other when I bent over. Hooray foresight. 

Unfortunately, 15 minutes later when I headed into the house, I had an 'ewwww' moment, when I discovered that I had forgotten to take my keys out of my right-hand coat pocket...and it appears that egg shells are no match for truck keys. 

Hey...at least I had my cell phone in my pants pocket...that would have been really nasty.