Sunday, December 2, 2018

Clancy's

It'll be right there on the corner on the right hand side as you pull into town.  You can't miss it. 
It says, "Clancy's" in big red letters across the top of a white garage.  There are two pumps right out front.  Used to stick out like a sore thumb when it was new, but that's the place to fuel up or fix a tire.  Clancy's always been pretty handy that way.  He can fix just about anything with wheels, even wagons.  Most folks knew better than to ask him though, and he'd help folks if need be, but he'd mostly send 'em down the road to the livery.  See, his dad Virgil owned the livery so Clancy grew up fixin' things with wheels.  
It was rough on both of 'em when Clancy decided to open the garage.  Like any father/son operation, Virgil had hoped to one day hand the reigns over to his son.  Thing is, Virgil was still goin' strong, and Clancy was beyond the age when most fellas spring the nest.  The other thing both noticed but neither spoke of was the increasing number of auto-carriages about.  It took its toll on the value of the livery though Virgil kept the business side to himself.  
After workin' together from the time Clancy was old enough to recognize the tools asked for, going to work a couple blocks apart seemed like miles for both of 'em.  Neither wished the other any ill will; it 'as the opposite actually.  Each wanted the other to do well and 'as cautions not to take work from him you see.  The remarkable part 'as regardless uh how difficult it 'as for Virgil and Clancy to adjust, it worked out purty good for the town folks.  The wagons 'ud make their way to one end of the town and the auto-cars 'ud keep to the other so that horses weren't spooked near as much as in towns where the wagons and auto-cars were tryin' to get to the same place.  Oh there 'as the occasional foreigner who'd race through and stir up some havoc, but I s'poze that gave folks somethin' to talk about.
Why one time after Clancy had been open for a few years, it was Halloween.  Back then oft' times the young folks 'ud pull pranks on Halloween.  I don't hear uh that 'nymore.  Well those kids, they took a car that was parked at Clancy's and sat it right across the entry to the livery, and took a wagon and parked it right in front of the pumps so Clancy couldn't sell no gas, huh.  It was the darndest thing watchin' the folks who had to wait at both places.  Virgil and Clancy just kinda shook their heads and went to work to set it to right.  See the car, it didn't run, and the wagon was broken so it all took some doin'.  They ended up gettin' Hank Morton's big feed sled and team and was able to push the car up on it.  They got it back down to the garage, but gettin' that broken wagon up on the sled was a bit more of a challenge.  After a lot of work and pullin' uh ropes though, they managed.  How those kids did it in one night, I'll never know.  That seems like just yesterday.  I can still see 'em all plain as day just like they were.  Only most of 'ems gone now.  
The livery burnt down years ago.  Clancy's still there though, but doesn't work on many cars no more.  I should go see him.  I used to stop in when he got that machine.  You could put your coins in it and get a Coca-Cola straight from the machine cold as could be.  There were a few of us who'd stop by and visit while he was workin' on a car - or help if he needed.  Then in the winter, he always kept a pot uh coffee goin'.  He had him this empty coffee can and cut a slit in the top like so, and we'd all add to the can so he could keep makin' us coffee, huh huh.  
He's alright that Clancy.  If you stop in, you tell him I say Hi. 


(You should be able to click on the picture and be directed to the source.)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

How to Cook Elk (and Other Game)

Yay!
I got my first elk ever. 
Image result for elk
(This is just a Pinterest pix from our area.)
He was a spike so should be good eatin’.
Honestly, it was weird. 
I never like seeing a critter die. 
Something I just realized I do is apologize to the animal then
follow it with a prayer of thanks. 
This fella was about 3 miles (mostly vertical!) from the rig. 
It took us two days to pack out all the meat. 
We lucked out in that we made it back to the rig with the last load
just before the rain started. 
We were just below the snow line so it wasn’t one of those nice warm rains either. 
We were pretty sore by that third morning. 
We looked like acrobats just trying to get out of bed that morning. 
I told MrLB “I wonder if this is what it will be like when we’re 80.”
Since we boned it out on the mountain,
we didn’t get to wait for hang time in order to process it
so went straight to work at cleaning and cutting and wrapping. 
We got the bulk of it done in one day but did have a couple hours the following morning in order to finish up. 
We are keeping it in the refrigerator for a couple days to cure
before transferring it to the freezer. 
MrLB is picking up beef fat today so we can get the burger and sausage ground. 
We ended up with right about 200 lbs. of meat. 
I can’t tell you how many people have asked if I’m making jerky.  
To me, that’s like going out and spending $1000 on dress shoes to wear through the mud or making creme brûlée and feeding it to the hogs!
Then it dawned on me,
most people don’t know how to cook game. 
Me being the curious person I am have researched various tidbits 
about not just wild game, but grass fed livestock in general. 
There is a ton of scientific information behind it,
but I will paraphrase ~
Grain (plus mystery substance) fed animals grow abnormally fast. 
Yes abnormally- as in not natural. 
Of course that’s the whole reason they are fed what they are fed. 
Grass fed (or leaves and other wild vegetation) animals
grow at a natural rate which is much slower than industry acceptance. 
The tissues/fibers of a grain fed animal grow so rapidly that they aren’t very strong. 
Those that eat a natural diet grow strong healthy tissues and fibers. 
That grain fed tissue is so weak, it can be cooked up in no time. 
Throw those steaks on the barbie and you’re eating 15 minutes later. 
That’s not the case with game meat or meat from a naturally raised animal. 
These fibers take longer to break down so
if you try to cook it like store bought meat,
it will be tough and you’ll be disappointed. 
The other thing to be aware of is salting the meat. Game should be salted in the final stages of cooking rather than right when it’s subjected to heat. 
Go ahead and add any other herbs or spices at the beginning of cooking,
but save the salt until last.
If you do those two things, you should enjoy your seeing that game meat
on the table and not just in the snack bin as jerky.




Sunday, November 4, 2018

Elk Season 2018

Yesterday was opening day.
Isn't it peculiar how we can be surrounded by people
and feel all alone?
Or be here and feel complete.

(No elk yet.)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Awe-tumn!

Well Howdy folks~

I do hope you’ve had a fantastic summer.
We have recently built our first fire and received our first real rain since June.
They should be opening the forests, if they haven’t already, 
so we can go get firewood.
That’s something we usually like to do in spring, and we do have some 
but not enough to make it through the winter.
You are probably wondering what we’ve been up to these past few months
- or even if you aren’t wondering, I’m still gonna tell 'cause I'm ornery that way.
The garden did reasonably well this year in the way of green beans and tomatoes so canning those to help carry us through winter was a priority.
In addition to canning, the dehydrators have been busily humming along
with apricots, plums, strawberries, blackberries, and apples.
We’ve processed one bear so far (wouldn’t mind another.)
In addition to the meat, we rendered 1 gallon of incredibly delicious lard 
and for the first time bone broth.

Mr LB surprised me with this amazing cauldron.
I had been wanting one for some time. He’s such a sweetie!
We were able to process all of the bones in one go 
and ended up with several gallons (in quart and pint jars) of broth.
Aside from our jobs, that’s what has consumed most of our time.
About the plans and projects I alluded to in my last post,
well they are still in progress.
Believe it or not, I have been trying to work on them, 
but as often happens life gets in the way.
I’ve been blogging for ten years now and over that span, 
there have been many changes -
Both in myself and in the land of blogs.
Is it just me or did they used to be more personable?
Once I was about a month into the break,
(probably while chopping tomatoes- great thinks get thunk while chopping)
I realized I was no longer thinking of my life in the form of blog posts.
It was a refreshing realization.
We went out of town for a wedding and a visit to friends this past weekend, and
I think it was the first time I took pictures in two months.
Somewhere between boiling bear bones and slicing apples,
I decided to just take it easy in the way of blogging.
I will post occasionally but not on a regular basis.
As I do finalize some of the things I’m working on
(though turtle pace it may be)
I will be sharing them with you
It always makes me wonder when a blog just stops 
or doesn’t post for several months, if everything is okay at the other end.  
(Am I the only one who wonders such things?)
So I just wanted to let you know
that even if I don’t post regularly, I’m here.
Here working, here living, and here moving through the seasons.
I'm here.

As always, I love to hear from you 
so feel free to drop me a line and harass me a bit.