We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, January 13. 2015
From our archives:
As you may know, cassoulet is basically French baked beans with meat. The real original of hot dogs and baked beans. It is country home cookin, but it can be great stuff. Dutch oven cooking. Crock pot? Why not, as long as the meats are browned first, but it will not brown the top.
It's a good way to cook some wild game meat, especially the less-tender parts.
Any meat, but not beef - strong red meat is too strong for cassoulet. We have, over time, used various mixes of duck, snow goose, chukar, venison, chicken, pork, wild boar, and pheasant which we have killed. Mix the meats - it adds to the flavor. There should be some source of pig fat or duck fat in it. Some venison sausage, or any sausage, because it is a necessary traditional ingredient. The meat-to-bean ratio is supposed to be fairly high - 30% - but I like beans and prefer a lower ratio. I think every village in southern France has its own recipe and method. I figure roughly one hunk of sausage and one or two hunks of meat per person.
A few tips about Cassoulet:
1. Make it at least the day before. Like beef stew, it improves overnight.
Monday, January 12. 2015
Good manners are one thing, but law is another. A free speech crisis
Related: Defending Satire to the Death - Moderate Muslims are most in need of a robust defense of free speech, especially if it offends.
Saturday, November 15. 2014
Friday, November 14. 2014
No, this is not about the national WTF? health care bill. While our Editor tends to focus on supporting Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy, both highly worthy volunteer organizations, I have been a supporter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for many years.
The recovery of the American Wild Turkey populations, like that of Egrets after the turn of the last century, has been a giant success of intelligent conservation.
Whether you want to shoot 'em and eat 'em, or just look at these huge birds (I like to do both), their resurgence is a great gift to America - thanks to conservation organizations.
The WTF has basically accomplished their goal. Turkeys are everywhere now, and huntable in most places. However, like government programs, non-profits rarely close up shop when their work is done. They tend to find something else to do, if only to keep their jobs. It's a sad fact that Ducks Unlimited still has much of their original mission to accomplish - wild duck populations, and the other wetlands critters that inhabit the habitats that DU protects and rehabilitates - remain far below where they were in years past.
There are a number of species of Wild Turkey in the New World. None native to the Old World.
Photo above: You all know that the males only display like that when they are overcome with love and/or horniness.
Saturday, October 4. 2014
Friday, October 3. 2014
Friday, August 22. 2014
How much of it is vanity, and how much functionality?
It seems clear that if you are fly-fishing for big fish, you might need a decent drag, etc. I have a cheap Cabela's 4-weight reel for small trout on small streams, and for drag, if ever needed, I can just palm it. It's just a line-holder really.
Over time, I have turned against fancy, expensive sporting equipment. What makes a fly reel worth the money?
If you google the question, you get many opinions.
I have often fished for big fish, but never fly-fishing.
Sunday, August 17. 2014
We've been posting about fly fishing. Is it an effete hobby for the elite?
God knows, it's a harmless and pleasant hobby, requiring art, skills, knowledge, and only minimal intelligence. As we say, it's no way to make sure you have supper because bait on a hook is the best way to do that whether in pond, stream, lake, or ocean. You can catch a trout with a worm in ten seconds.
Bamboo fly rods can cost anywhere from near a thousand to a few thousand, and fancy fly reels can be expensive too even though they are hardly needed. Purists scoff at fiberglass or graphite fly rods, partly because they are non-traditional and partly because they are a little easier to use. Many trout streams are limited to fly fishing.
For me, fishing, hunting, and hiking a trail are just excuses to spend time outdoors enjoying God's creation and taking not of every critter, tree and plant, and the geology. It's good fun to shoot a bird, catch a trout or a Striped Bass on a fly, etc., but that is a different sort of day than going to the store to get them.
Sport is sport and shopping is shopping.
The skills and lore of fly fishing are endless and great time-wasters for fellows and for a few special gals. Lots of guys spend hours tying their own flies, inventing their own flies, practicing the various sorts of casts, trying for salmon, salt-water game fish, etc.
Who could object or take offense?
Saturday, August 9. 2014
My first "firearms" were BB guns and pellet guns, not counting bows and arrows. I was shooting BBs at targets when I was 7. My first real firearm was this old 20 ga. Iver Johnson single shot which my Grandpa gave me. It was an oldie then.
Thursday, August 7. 2014
Monday, July 28. 2014
It took me a little while to realize why.
I was doing some cleaning up to clear some space for my computer expert who needed to do a few essential jobs for me. Had to move some things out of the way, eg vacuum cleaner, book piles, chairs, piles of papers, baby stroller, etc.
Also two gun cases. That's what did it. Gun cases mean, to him, the best fun in the world. Find the bird! Reacts the same way when I pull boots out of a closet. I hate to disappoint a good dog, but he is going to Cape Cod in a few weeks and he'll get plenty of salty-dog swimming with the family out there. No hunting, alas.
Saturday, June 7. 2014
Over the transom:
A one-of-a-kind triple barreled revolver. Unfortunately not much is known about the Spanish gunsmith who created this firearm. The only information passed on by the previous owner is that the piece is unique.
The gun utilizes a tip-down or break-open system similar to Smith & Wesson models. It's originally crafted from an adapted 6.35 pistol and sports a 3" barrel with-fixed front sight.
The single trigger fires 3 rounds at one time.
Friday, May 9. 2014
Saturday, May 3. 2014
Friday, April 25. 2014
This guy is a good, articulate teacher of this delightful sport which is far more challenging - more sporting and more aesthetic - than trolling, lure-casting, or Southern-style bass fishing with a big outboard engine.
As we always say here about fishing and hunting, if you really need the food to feed the kids, go to the supermarket....or put a worm on a line with a lead sinker and a barbed hook.
Fly-fishing is a good sport for gals, too, although most of my pals' clubs do not allow females on the grounds. Guys need their own places to act like kids, free of female judgement.
Wednesday, April 23. 2014
Dr. Bliss queried about challenging and difficult things which can be intrinsically rewarding despite their effort, complexity, difficulty.
Making music has to be the highest of all hobbies, and understanding music perhaps comes second, but fly-fishing is one of the more humble but still somewhat complex things as are most absorbing hobbies, like woodworking to photography to baseball. Anybody is blessed to have one or two hobbies.
For those to whom fly-fishing is a mystery, here's one example of complexity: Fly Fishing Knot Tying Basics.
Sunday, April 20. 2014
A view from ye olde fishing club yesterday morning.
Bird list, while trying to focus on the fishing: GB Heron, Mallards, Bluebirds, Robin, RW Blackbird, Carolina Wren, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Downy WP, Red Bellied WP, WB Nuthatch, Tree Swallows, Turkey Vulture, Sharp Shinned Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Phoebe.
There was a good hatch yesterday including Mayflies.
A few more stream/fishing pics, and related pics, below the fold -
Continue reading "Yesterday, outdoors all day in the woods with bamboo fly rods"
Saturday, April 19. 2014
Using this recipe, more or less - whole critter, head on of course, caught today: BAKED TROUT WITH SOUR CREAM
Update: Delicious, and that big trout was enough for three of us.
Our fishing friend Harry Briscoe of Hexagraph Fly Rod Company sends us this email:
The Song of Wandering Aengus
I went out to the hazel wood,
Pic is a sea-run Brown Trout we caught from a stream in Long Island a couple of years ago. Sea-run trout is a story in itself.
Sunday, April 13. 2014
Spent yesterday trout fishing with Gwynnie down in CT. We took a few photos to give our out-of-Yankeeland readers a little taste of CT in April:
Trout Lily, in bloom:
Continue reading "A Connecticut April Show-and-Tell, re-posted"
Thursday, March 13. 2014
Sunday, February 23. 2014
Sunday, February 9. 2014
We're having 30 friends over here at Maggie's Farm HQ for a casual wild game dinner tomorrow night. Perfect for a 10 degree (F) winter night. I'll have all three fireplaces burning.
Three of us guys now do the cooking for these events, and lucky are the invitees.
Hor's doevres: Slices of rare charcoal-grilled wild venison filet mignon and slices of rare Canada goose breast, en croute, with a dab of horseradish.
Entrees: One hunting pal is making his favorite venison curry with rice. My Louisiana-born and bred hunting buddy is making wild duck gumbo. I am making wild duck breast with dried cherry sauce, with cheese grits. Or maybe a warm duck breast salad. Can't decide.
Somebody offered to bring a big salad, and somebody else graciously offered to bring home-made desserts. I supply the beer, and everybody will bring a bottle or three of red wine.
I'll provide pretty good cigars too, for them what wants 'em. In my experience, women never complain about guys and cigars when men do the cooking and party planning. We'll have to set up a few extra tables in the living room to do this, because this ain't no palace (but not a trailer either). The persnickety Mrs. BD just hates it when a plate of gumbo or a tankard of Pinot Noir gets spilled on her furniture.
Sunday, January 26. 2014
When sitting in a duck blind or deer stand, standing on a ski slope watching your grandkids, and winter hiking, it's much more pleasant to have warm toes and fingers. I have had times in duck blinds when my fingers were too cold and numb to pull a trigger, but I have a touch of Raynaud's Syndrome.
Assuming that you wear things to keep toes and hands dry, hand and foot warmers can add plenty of comfort.
This site has aluminum-coated insoles and insoles ("footbeds") with inserts for 6-hour warmers.
They also sell Grabber Hand Warmers for your gloves - or for your pocket.
Saturday, December 7. 2013
Thanks for a good, fatiguing day in the field and plenty of good talk about serious matters. Glad I had the chance to test out my Grandpa's 16 ga. A-5. It seems to shoot straight. Heavy, though, after a few hours. This is how we roll in Yankeeland:
By the way, I know our readers always wondered what Woodcock "chalk" looks like. It's like a white splash on the fallen leaves. You have seen it in the woods, if observant. I took a photo:
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