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


10 Years!?!?!?

Turns out I was so not ready to go hunting that I didn't even have spare time to type up an 'I'm outie!' post. 

My first 48 hours up on the hill were no good.  I hunt in wide-open sage brush country, and Friday afternoon, we had a front pass through...temperature didn't change much, but we did get some scattered rain, and wind....25 sustained with 40 gusts.  Truthfully, I'm impressed that my little tent didn't blow away. 

Even though it didn't blow away, it was not a pleasant place to spend the night.  The shaking and wildly whipping sides of the tent made it a loud home.  Add in the fact that my air mattress had a leak in it, so, after two hours I was sleeping on a rock...well, I think I got about three hours of sleep Friday night.

Saturday, opening day of the season, was anti-climatic. I hunted the same are where I saw two bucks and a few does consistently last year...but this year, nothing.  One doe for 13 hours in the field.  And it was still a breezy, drying out kind of day.  Sucked the moisture out of you with a steady breeze and highs around 80.

Sunday was better.  Had a full nights sleep with a new mattress I ran into town to buy. And I saw 4 does in the morning.  In the afternoon, I went and kind of checked out a new area.  It's a place I had been to before, I just went 'one more ridge' over...and it was worth it.  I found a draw that is actually a creek for a few weeks each year, and might even have a little natural 'seepage'.  Enough that there were actually green trees growing. Which, as you can tell from the picture above, is not common. 

One of the frustrations with muzzle loader hunting is that unless you sit down on a specific game trail, you can usually see more area than you can hunt.  In this case, I picked a position that let me see several draws and ridges, so I could get a good idea of animal traffic around the hole. 

I was pleased.  Within half an hour, I had seen 4 does leave the area.  Then 2 spike bulls(all I am allowed to shoot), came in together, loitering about 250 yards down the creek bed from where I was. After about 40 minutes they headed off.  Then about a half-hour before the sun stated setting, another group of elk, 5 cows and a nice 6x6 bull showed up. 

So...I'm excited to try to get back in there, picking a better spot I where I can hopefully get a shot.  200 yards is just too far for me and my muzzle loader.

I haven't gone back in yet because I came home Monday for a break.  Needed to refill the cooler, and shower...and wish my daughter a happy birthday.  It is my younger daughters bad luck that her birthday ends up being early in elk season. I have missed 5 of them in a row...so this time, I decided I would come home for it. 

It was a good decision(even if Sterling's is her favorite restaurant.)

Worst case, I get back into that hole and find a boned out elk carcass...but, I didn't see any other hunters on the ground within a mile or two of where I was hunting, so, it was a chance worth taking. My little girl isn't going to turn 10 again.


So not ready.

ARGGHHHHH!  The opening morning of muzzle loader deer and elk season is 48 hours away, and I am so not ready.  I've only made one real scouting trip this fall, hiding behind the rationalization that I am heading right back into same area I hunted last year, where I actually saw more animals than I thought I would...I just couldn't get close enough for a shot.

Anyway, where I feel not ready is my organization.  Usually I have all of my rubber made totes of gear all sorted out and packed by now, ready to throw them in the bed of the truck.  This year, I'm still cycling stuff through the laundry and counting out pairs of socks and underwear. 

My expectations are tempered this year.  I didn't draw any special tags this year, and this is the first year that deer and elk overlap in this area.  I am limited to shooting either a spike elk, or a 3 point or better buck.  The first day or two, I'm planning on focusing on deer.  Based on what I saw last year, AND historical reported success rates, the chances of getting a legal buck are 25%, vs. 6% for a spike bull.

Then there is the weather, which is going to be 'unseasonably warm'.  Day time highs 75-78, overnight lows in the mid 40's.  From the 'camping' side...that's nice.  From the go out and spend all afternoon walking...well, I see a lot of still hunting on the shady side of the draw.  Also means you can't dilly dally on getting an animal broken down and out of the woods.

Still, either way, it's always nice to get out in the woods. 


Crash and burn.

Several times over the last few weeks while cruising around on foodgawker, I have seen pictures of a delicious looking Magic Custard Cake.  Tonight I finally tried making, following this recipe. 

I think I did something wrong. 

It's supposed to look like this:

What I got was this:

I'm not sure what I did wrong.  It was supposed to bake for 40-50 minutes. I left it on the oven for 100+ minutes, and it never set up.  I'm curious if maybe the eggs are to blame.  I used the eggs from my chickens...and it's possible that maybe our 4 eggs are equal to 6 'normal' eggs. 

Who knows.  I guess I'll try again in a few weeks. 

Sooooo disappointing.  I belong on a pinterest fail board...


First one of the year.

Some people mark the start of fall by drinking a pumpkin spice latte, but for me, it's the first pumpkin beer.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.  Very good dark ale, with very little pumpkin flavor(which is usually for the best), although there is some brown sugar and nutmeg to contribute to the 'fall' flavor.


20 years, and it is still great.

Twenty years ago today, the movie Se7en premiered.  If you haven't seen it...where have you been for the last 20 years?  Do yourself a favor, and track it down. It's available through Amazon Prime for $4, and I think you can get it from Netflix through the mail. 

It's a great movie.  One of the best movies of the past 20 years.  Would make my top 20, and maybe even my top 10 list over that time period.  The acting is superb...Brad Pitt before he was ACTOR Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow in a roll where she seems like a real human being, and R. Lee Emery as the Police Captain.

It shouldn't work.  I mean...it's an out there idea, and then, it has plenty of clich├ęs...Old Tired Wise Cop paired with new Firebrand Cop...Criminal out Thinking The Cops all along, Newly Married Couple Move to the City...just...yeah...nothing unusual there...but, the story and the script work so well.

I don't want to say too much, on the very off chance that someone has actually somehow not seen this movie.  If you stayed away because you 'don't like police procedurals'...fear not.  This is not a police procedural.  This is not a Buddy Cop movie. 

This is a masterpiece. 


Another Wine Club.

Went and visited my mom this weekend.  As they approach retirement age, my mom and step-dad are starting to bat around the crazy idea of potentially packing up and moving to Florida for all the reasons everyone retires to Florida.

I think it's a bad idea.  I spent 18 months in Orlando for the Navy, and there is no amount of money you could throw at me to convince me to live in Florida.  Neither my mom or step-dad have ever spent longer than 6 days in Florida, but gosh-darnit, the internet says it's a good place to live. 

Puts me in a tough spot.  I don't think it's a good idea, but...my mom and step-dad have made it to their mid-60's without running their decisions by me or my step-sister.  You can only push fellow grown-ups so hard before you start alienating.  My wife has convinced me that my usually snarky response to something I don't approve of is the wrong approach to this situation.  Instead, we are showing them what they will miss.  Mostly, their grand daughters. And wine.

So, we took my mom out Wednesday to check out the Warehouse Wine District in Woodinville.  Since Chateau St. Michelle went into Woodinville in 1976, the area has turned into the main winery area in Western Washington, with two main 'districts' the Hollywood School District and the newer Warehouse district.  Not much wine is actually grown in this area...almost all of the grapes are imported from the Columbia Valley...but you are probably looking at 120 wineries with tasting rooms in Woodinville.  You could give me two weekends a month and I'm not sure I could get through all of them...especially when you figure in 3 breweries and two distilleries. 

Heck, I'd go broke even trying.  We only went to 5 wineries and one brewery this weekend, and I still almost went broke.

We didn't buy something at every stop, which is an improvement in my will power...and I bought the 32oz growler from Dirty Bucket Brewing Co. empty because I knew after a day of wine tasting I wasn't going to feel like more beer, and I didn't think it would survive the drive home in drinkable condition. I really liked their Naughty Autie ESB.

Of the wineries we went too, one made a real impression on my wife and I...Page Cellars.  We liked them so much we actually decided to join their wine club.  One of the nicer things about a smaller winery though is that their wine club obligation is not too over the top either...two bottles, three times a year.  My mom belongs to a larger winery that obligates you to 16 bottles a year(and they are closer to $50 a bottle than $30 a bottle). 

It was a good time.  I'm no sure it was enough to convince my mom not to move...but in case it wasn't, it doesn't hurt to build some more memories. 


That was pain free.

Yesterday, instead of going to work, I headed down to the Kennewick Justice Center to take my turn at Jury duty.  It was about the easiest time meeting that obligation that you could possibly have. 

I showed up at 8, and by about 8:15 they had all of the potential Jury Members seated in a big room, waiting.  At 8:30, one of the clerks came in and called out 15 names to head down to the district court rooms, where we were put in another waiting room, and told that at about 9 we would be brought into the court to start Jury Selection, so...take this chance to use the rest room and get something to drink.

At about 8:55, the judge came into the room and said that the lawyers worked out a deal, no trial was going to be needed, and thanks for coming in and fulfilling our obligation.

Sweet.  I wouldn't have minded sitting on a trial, if it was only a day or two.  Let's face it...no one wants to end up on multi-week/month trial, but...it's nice to have a little refresher of how the legal system actually works.

Still, I'm happier with my deal than the folks who had to sit there until 10, before being told they could go home, but please call back Wednesday for an update on when they had to physically come back in.