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VOLUMES 197 & 198 -------- NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

November/December 2018

While we were awaiting the opening of the late buck season, Elk season was in full swing.  (October 27th through November 4th)  Our friend Jim V. was encamped with his hunting buddies in the mountains west of Ellensburg, WA.  Upon his return, he reported that they did not see a live elk during their entire stay!  But, he also reported that the trip was a complete success via electrical generators, satellite TV, lots of good food, and an abundance of adult beverages!

Jim did look a bit chagrined though when Ann showed him pictures of our area elk herd within two or three miles of the ranch while he was gone.  Of course those elk may have known they were in a 'no shooting' zone at the time and none saw fit to venture onto our ranch property!

Elk herd in the distance as captured by cell phone from Ann's car.

Also during the lull between seasons, I decided that I had enough scrap lumber around here to put together a project that I've envisioned for some time.  I had kept a pallet that originally held the cabinetry for my home office, and figured with a few additions I could turn it in to a 'man lift' that would fit the pallet forks on my tractor loader.

Man Lift that attaches to the pallet forks on the tractor.  At maximum height the floor of the lift is just over 8 feet from the ground.

It has already found duty by lifting Ann to direct the air hose toward the removal of pine needles from the roof of the travel trailer before putting it in the shop for the winter.  Also, it has lifted Rick to the peak of the gable end of the house to replace a light bulb.  Should have photos of those activities, but don't!

I don't recall having written about our apple orchard.  In the fall of 2016 we purchased two apple trees, a Honey Crisp and a Jonathan.  This was Ann's request for her birthday.  The trees were planted and fenced to protect them from the
browsing deer and we awaited the spring of 2017 when the two species were supposed to cross-pollinate and provide our first harvest.

The Honey Crisp bloomed profusely but the Jonathan had nary a flower.  No apples.

Spring of 2018 again brought plenty of blooms to the Honey Crisp but nothing on the Jonathan tree.  We were doomed to another year without apples. . .

But low and behold, we noticed one lonely apple developing on the Honey Crisp.  In late fall we harvested that one undersized Honey Crisp after it ripened.  We are puzzled as to how the one bloom became pollinated.  Perhaps we should just call this one the 'virgin birth'.

Miniature Honey Crisp apple.  The apple was later peeled and cored and became a tasty treat with our popcorn one evening.

A few weeks ago I had a good laugh as Little Heifer made her feelings known about our different tastes in how ripe a banana should be when eaten.  She likes them 'green as a gourd' as my mother used to say, while I like mine fully ripened but short of turning brown and mushy.  Ann says thay smell bad when that ripe.  So, to illustrate her point, she inserted some smell protection while slicing my banana for my cereal.

Paper towels found unique duty as they prevented inhaling the smell of an 'overripe' banana.

Our late deer season opened on November 10th.  I shot my buck on November 12th, and Ann scored with one on November 17th.

A nighttime trail cam picture of my buck a few days before he was tagged.

Read the whitetail hunting techniques by the pundits in major outdoor magazines and they'll tell you that deer are very leery of trail cams.  Especially those who use old fashioned flash instead of infrared.  I suppose that could be true for the deer the pundits hunt, but these semi-suburban deer don't seem to mind.  This guy occasionally milled around in front of this camera for two or three series of flash pictures.

We are also regaled about human scent by both writers and advertisers.  "You gotta buy this stuff to make you stink free and your clothes stink free," they say!  "You also must take a 'pee' container into your tree stand so as not to pee on the ground," we are told.

While the bucks are a bit more spooky than the does, none seem to mind human smell or typical ranch odors and noises around here.  I've mentioned before that I tend to go pee wherever I happen to be when out working around the place.  We've seen 'our deer' walk right up and sniff a spot where that recently occurred.

Nice mature buck for this area.

Happy Hunter.  This was the first kill with the Sako M85 in .30-06 caliber.

Right antler completely typical while the left one is a bit strange.  Also note the torn right ear.  Be fun to know the history of that?

Ann's eight point.  This with her Savage Lady Hunter in .308 Winchester.

To the shop via tractor bucket, ready to dress.

Ann thought her buck a little small so she added the antlers from Rick's deer and called it a non-typical.

Shooting does is not a problem around here, so Rick, Ann and I all waited until November 17th, next to last day of the season, to fill all our second deer tags.

Here's a doe napping in front of one of the shop buildings.

Time to get up and stretch before I wander off.

Rick's Doe

Two headed deer, as we haul in mine and Rick's Does together.

Ann's Doe was the only one of our six that we had to pull out of the brush with a cable.  Couldn't quite get the tractor to the site.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I would pay for going out to dinner, leaving Rick alone to gut his buck the evening of the kill.  For some reason I ended up the only one with my hands in the guts of the other five!

We ended up donating two deer to the 'Sportsmen Against Hunger' program, two to friends of Ricks, and the other two are now summer sausage, pepperoni, and jerky.

December 16, 2018

It's now time to look at some larger bucks that are routinely harvested on my Brother's property in Northern Missouri.  I've written before about Ed's 'Hunting Cabin' built several years ago in the northwest corner of his 500 acre property.  The cabin has been nearly doubled in size since the original, and to the best of my knowledge still has the only glass doored outhouse in captivity!  To read more about the cabin and see the privy, click HERE.

Ed's eldest son, Jason, sent me pictures of this year's November hunt, along with narrative about who's who and what's what.  There was something in an email from Ed the other day that made reference to a 'head slap' that may have encouraged the sending along of the photos.

This hunting 'camp' has been in operation for several years, and has been frequented by various participants over the years.  Ed and his two sons have been the core of the operation along with friends, fraternity brothers, neighbors, and others favored by one member of the clan or another.

I personally have never attended.  Hearing first hand accounts of the atmospheric conditions inside the cabin after two or three days of chili, bean soup, and fried eggs, it seems prudent to just visit the cabin during the off season.

We have friends who regularly visit one of our nearby Canadian Provinces for their big whitetails with impressive headgear.  I've never hunted in Canada, but I would venture that some of the Northern Missouri  deer may be a close rival.

Three impressive bucks on the meat pole.  L to R: Matt Schmitt, Jason Parman, and Chip Burns

Jason's buck.  Looks like a perfectly placed shot.

Coby Richeson from Indianapolis, Indiana.  Fraternity Brother of Jason's.  Note the forks on both G2's.  A bit unusual for the area.

Chip Burns from Rogers, Arkansas.  Friend and former neghbor.

Matt Schmitt from Springfield, Illinois.  Another Fraternity Brother.

Scott Parman.  I think I have this right:  Scott was approaching his deer stand when he saw this fellow lying down for a nap.  Deer stand unnecessary today.

Looks like a successful hunt was had by all.  As usual, I'm guessing Brother Ed will shoot a Doe or two for the table during the late winter season.

I would be remiss not to mention, to the chagrin of my Washington hunter friends, of these Missouri deer pictured, 3 appear to be typical 8 points, one a 10 point, and the other a non-typical 14 point!  This is so for nearly every outdoor writer, hunting magazine, and keepers of big game record books, except for my Northwest friends!  My continued teaching and preaching that counting deer antler points on only one side is reserved for mule deer and blacktails, continues to fall on deaf ears!  Come on guys!  The whitetail does NOT have bifurcated antlers like the other two species!

Now we come to the Highlight of this Newsletter:  On December 8th Jennifer Graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree!  Jennifer is only the second college graduate in the direct paternal line back to my great-grandfather.  From Robert to Jacob to Lee to Jimmie, Rick was the first to get a college degree, and now Jennifer.  The difference is, Rick graduated at age 45 and Jennifer made it at 22.

In anticipation of the event, We had made reservations at one of the only hotels within walking distance of the graduation venue months in advance.  Walking distance was no problem, but the freezing fog settling on some of the walkways that morning made for some interesting stepping.

Face in the crowd looking for parents and grandparents.

In the Que for getting that diploma.

On the big stage and on the big screen, about to receive the prize.

Confetti falling, band playing, and Butch the Cougar Mascot dancing on the big screen.  It's finally over!

Walking out with diploma in hand.

Back at the hotel for a picture with Dad and Mom.

And a photo with Grandma and Grandpa.

And here it is!  Worked hard for four and a half years for this!

Grad in front of the WSU Logo.

Now comes the more difficult part:  Finding a job and paying off those student loans!

For the next couple of months, her current employer, Nuevo Vallarta restaurant, has agreed to put her on full time, so she will remain in Pullman for a while and move back to Spokane when that stint ends.

Per family tradition, we held our Christmas celebration and gift exchange here at the ranch on Christmas Eve.

The dinner table is set with care.  Don't look too closely as I don't have a good grasp of where the multiple pieces of hardware are appropriately placed.

The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

Jennifer's stocking used to contain a small stuffed animal peeking out the top.  I guess Grandma thinks she's grown up, as we've graduated to a stuffed 'poop emoji'.

The evening began with appetizers of morel mushrooms that Little Heifer finds, fries, and freezes each spring.  Those frozen ones, when heated in the oven, taste just like fresh fried.  YUM!

Morel Mushrooms!  I believe these were part of the Spring 2017 crop.  Just as tasty as the day they were fried!

Next, we are treated to Ann's famous Chicken Bisque soup.  For many years, when in Missoula, Montana, we would save one evening for dinner at Curley's Broiler.  Curley's was famous for its prime rib, served by white gloved waiters, but even more renowned for the Chicken Bisque that was served before the main course.

You will note that I'm discussing Curley's in past tense.  That's because Curley's is no more!  The restaurant, along with several other businesses fronting Brooks Street was razed to make room for a multi-plex movie theater and other businesses that were a 'better fit' to accompany the adjacent Southgate Mall.

After searching newspaper archives and other sources, it appears that there are no plans to resurrect the restaurant.

Anyway, I told a Curley's story back in 2007 that I want to repeat here.  Since Jennifer recently turned 22 and graduated from WSU, I thought it appropriate to again relate these happenings from 20 years ago.  Here we go:

I'm gonna' tell you the story of the "Chicken Bisque" this month.  If you've heard the story before, don't interrupt me, 'cause I wanta' hear it again myself!

Many years ago, we discovered a restaurant in Missoula, Montana called "Curley's Broiler."  Their specialty is Prime Rib, with meals served by white gloved waiters, on white damask tablecloths, covered with many more sizes and shapes of eating utensils and drinking glasses than I know how to use!  As a side note, the Prime Rib has been exceptional over the years, until our last couple of visits, which found the quality of the meat somewhat deteriorated.

One thing that has been first class on every occasion though, is their Chicken Bisque.  This delicious soup, along with fresh bread and real butter, is the first course for each meal, followed by salad and the entrée.  The bisque is brought to the table in a crockery tureen, with the first bowl for each diner being served by the waiter.  I say, "First Bowl," because you WILL have more!

We found that the restaurant, specifically its famous bisque, has been featured in local, regional, and national publications on a number of occasions.  Each article describes the utmost secrecy of the Chicken Bisque recipe, and how it has never been shared, released, or published outside the restaurant family.  To test the assertions, we did ask for the recipe.  Those claims were right on the mark, they won't discuss the bisque recipe!

Rick, Christi, and Jennifer first accompanied us to Curley's when Jennifer was two years old.  Jennifer has always been a "good eater," but when she got a taste of the Chicken Bisque, she dived in like there was no tomorrow!  When one has not yet perfected the art of feeding oneself, especially soup, Jennifer had plenty of the Chicken Bisque on her face, as well as in her tummy.  Rick observed that she looked as though her face was covered with donut glaze!

Even though she could eat no more, the glare Jennifer gave the waiter when he picked up the soup tureen, was about as hateful as I've ever seen on the face of a two year old, especially one covered with "donut glaze!"

For some reason, when Little Heifer found that her Granddaughter loved Curley's Chicken Bisque, and Curley's refused to share the recipe, she considered that a challenge!  (There are those who will tell you she can be that way!)

Subsequent years found Ann collecting all the chicken bisque recipes she could find.  She also received some strange looks while carefully examining her bowls of Bisque each time we ate at Curley's, attempting to identify every little piece of "stuff" visible in the concoction.

Picking and choosing ingredients from the collected recipes, mentally cataloging the visible ingredients, and much experimenting has resulted in a Chicken Bisque that will rival Curley's any day of the week!  Ann's bisque has more body, more chicken, and more flavor.  I'm not thinkin' of tradin' in the Little Heifer any time soon.  (I've asked if she's gonna share HER bisque recipe on Ann's Corner on the web site, and all I get is a blank stare!)

There you have it!  A look back at the history behind the Chicken Bisque soup on Christmas Eve!

After supper we had the gift opening.  Jennifer and I were again on the losing side of the annual argument that we open presents before we eat.  This year we even conceded to having appetizers first.  Still no deal!

Here's the Christmas Tree before the mayhem struck.

Jennifer studying a gift.

Amid the mayhem.

Matriarch of the clan.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a quote from John Adams:

"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a Congress!"

Well, it's time to shut down here, so. . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!

Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

As I've indicated, I'm trying a new way of operation for the newsletters.  Since I sometimes get so far behind, I'm going to add things as I get them done and post additions as I develop the material and organize the photos.  It's now time to move on to 2019.  See ya in the January/February edition along with coverage of SHOTSHOW 2019 from Las Vegas, Nevada!