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Showing posts from 2013

A Christmas Stroll

Today, Christmas day,  dawned quite cold.  We wanted to get out, the dogs did too.  We waited for it to warm and got going by mid-morning. 
I've done little since last summer, and wondered how the old bod would hold up on the trail. When we got to the Bear Canyon trailhead, it was still a little chilly.  I strapped on the snowshoes, Jo elected to take her chances and went without. Fortunately, most of the trail had been packed by folks on skis. 
Here's how it went……..

It turned into one beautiful bright day, eventually warming to the upper twenties.  We covered about four miles.  It felt good to get out and walk.  What a nice Christmas day.

Going Local

Ah, Christmas day.  What did Santa bring?.  Frankly, we've outgrown the gift giving stage.  But this morning, we surprised each other.

Mountain Arts Pottery  I'd been in the market for a new coffee mug for quite a while.  Something that held a goodly amount of coffee.  It had to have a wide flat bottom so it wouldn't get knocked over easily.  It helped if it looked good too.  This is what I got.  I'm happy with it.

Alpacas of Montana  Cold feet?  I get out an fish in the winter fairly often.  It doesn't matter what the air temperature, the water is still cold.  Walking on snow conducts the cold through the boots to the old bones pretty quick too.  Jo got me a couple of pairs of Alpaca socks.  They're nice and cushy. They don't have that "itchy" wool feet either.  Their website reports that alpaca fleece is warmer than wool and softer than cashmere.  It's definitely soft.  As for warmth, I'll have to report back after I've worn a pair fi…

Seafood Gumbo

They should call this "yum bo".  As in really good.  I usually put together a pot of seafood gumbo each Christmas Eve.  It's not hard to make, but it does take a little time as several steps are involved.  The only part that requires care is the making of the roux.
Basically, there are four steps in making this stuff.  They are:
Making the stock Making the roux Cooking the gumbo Adding the seafood


Shrimp (one pound) Scallops (half pound) Crabmeat (half pound) Lobster Tail (optional - it was Christmas so I threw one in) Onion - 1 & 1/2 cup chopped plus…one whole for the stock Celery - 1 cup chopped plus….a couple stalks for the stock Green Pepper - 1 & 1/2 cup chopped Garlic - a couple of cloves Polish Sausage (one pound) Thyme - half teaspoon Bay Leaf (one-half) Cajun Seasoning Mix (see below) Tabasco Green onions (for garnish)

How it's done……
Making the Stock.
Get a nice big pot.  Add around six cups of cold water.  Add shells of shrimp, lobste…

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I was going to call this piece the "Annual Report", but somehow I didn't think it right.  The title would have been borrowed from a piece that Gene Hill often wrote about his yearly endeavors.

"The annual report is a misnomer.  I don't know what it should be called, since it's a mishmash of glossed-over misadventures, distorted emphasis, selective memory, and a very human inability to face any facts that seem harsh, or unpleasant, or postponable." From "A Listening Walk, and other stories" by Gene Hill" 
So here it is, a few random thoughts about the year past and a few wishes for the next. With all due respect to Gene Hill and his fine writing.

I find ways to visit the spring creek more, yet find myself fishing less.  It's a treasure.  In the short time that I've been preoccupied with this blog, the creek has served as the subject for many posts. Few of the posts dealt with the great fish that I've caught (there have been few…

Passage Falls

I took this walk, a few years back.  It was an overcast July day, one that we rarely experience in this part of the country.  Intending to fish the Yellowstone, I got side-tracked and ended up driving to Mill Creek.  There was a trailhead.  A sign indicated that a falls lay somewhere ahead.  A couple of miles, not too far.  I thought "what the hell, might as well go take a look." It turned out to be a nice walk, the clouds kept the usual daytime heat at bay.   The trail wound through burned over country, fireweed bloomed profusely along the way.
The view of the falls was a worthwhile reward, the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow.
Today I'd wager that the falls are silent, frozen by winters icy grip.  An ambitious soul might get to take a look.  Snowshoes or cross country skis would be handy though.

Up, Up, and Away…..

I rarely get more than one shot of a bird on the wing from any particular flush.  If there's any cover at all, it's hard enough to get a single shot, period.  Here's a set from a recent trip to the field.  This bird flushed straight up.  No burst mode on my camera, if there is, I haven't figured out how to use it.  So, each image is a separate press of the shutter.  Sometimes I get lucky.
I like the look of old time photos, sepia seemed to do them justice.  Stripped of color, one can search for the most interesting elements of an image.  Just for grins, I've also shown the color versions.  It's interesting to note how one's eye is drawn to color.  In this case fluorescent orange, which, in my opinion, is one of the most obnoxious colors created.  But, from a hunter safety standpoint, it's a necessity. 
It's also interesting to note the changes in direction by the bird during the flush. It gets up, straight as can be facing away, turns, then turns a…

Thanks…..For One More (Nice) Day

One more trip to the creek yesterday.  It was blowing hard in Livingston.  To my delight, it was still when I arrived at the "Big House" to sign in for the day.  The "DePuy door greeter" was on hand to welcome me as I rang the bell.  This sheep, the last of several, was the sole survivor of a mountain lions mutton quest.  Betty informed me that the sheep didn't venture far, and spent a good deal of time looking in the window.  

I set up shop at the lower cabin.  My previous visits had been to the two upper ones.  It's good to move around and keep tabs on the different sections of the creek.  The conditions are changing constantly, much like the seasons. 
Fire building skills came into play.  I know, it's tough wadding up newspaper, adding kindling, and tossing in a match.  It's a simple pleasure, and one that I look forward to.  An event that will be repeated many times over the next several months.   

Cabin time would be minimal today however. The…


Got leftover turkey?  Ok, who doesn't?  Or rather, who won't?  What to do?  There's a limit to the number of turkey sandwiches that one can eat.
I usually make a pot of gumbo.  For a change of pace I decided on some jambalaya (we celebrated Thanksgiving early due to work considerations).
The range of recipes and variations is endless.  Here's how I did it.  A little more, or a little less of any ingredient is ok.  This isn't rocket science, but it sure tastes good.  Main thing to remember, once the rice is added, don't screw with it!  Just simmer (slowly) until the liquid is absorbed.  You'll end up with a nice non-sticky rice dish where all of the grains are recognizable.  As opposed to an amorphous blob of yuck.

Cooked turkey (meat from two legs) - works good with leftover game birds too
Polish sausage (Hillshire Farm or similar) 1/2 cup chopped
Smoked ham (optional - but I used meat from a couple of ham hocks)
Green pepper -  1 & 1/2 cu…


I never was much of a horse person.  I liked the idea of horses.  Riding them?  Screw it, I'd rather walk.  I know girls like 'em.  Me and my bony butt, not so much.  My knees never appreciated it either. Family jewels?  There was a time or two that I uttered a higher octave.
I once spent a summer employed by the Forest Service.  It was the best summer of my life. As a range wannabe, horses were part of the deal.  Uncle even tried to teach me how to throw a diamond hitch.  Thinking this to be my eventual calling, I bought a book.  Horse Packing in Pictures.  Great idea.  Kind of like painting by numbers.  My packing career never got past the looking at the pictures stage.  I gave it away to a friend who has horses and mules, and, who actually does some packing.
I once met a guy who resented being called a "cowboy."  He was a "horseman."  He had a cushy office job.  Really?  Poking around, I discovered that horses are said to respond to horseman, they react…

The Last Best Day

Yesterday, Tuesday, with the temperature forecast for a toasty sixty plus, I had to make a run over to the Paradise Valley. I tried on Sunday, but gave up after a couple of hours.  Truth is, I spent most of the morning sitting and watching.  Lots of mallards.  Muskrats too.  Quite a few anglers. Not much surface activity by trout though.

This day, I'd try to hang in there for the full day.  Maybe take a break mid-day. Take off the waders. Stretch.  Today would have to last.  We likely wouldn't see sixty in southwest Montana again anytime soon.
It was twenty-six at the house, forty-three and blowing like hell in Livingston, and twenty-six at the Big House on the pond at DePuy's when I arrived a little after eight a.m.  The pond was still, fish were rising.
I drove towards Eva's, a warming hut on the lower part of the creek, but stopped on the edge of the field.  A small whitetail buck was out walking the fenceline, likely looking for a girlfriend.  The binoculars were h…