K.I.S.S.

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Old building in Berger, MO

“Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.” – Thor Heyerdahl

Keep It Simple Stupid.  Simple always worked better for me.  For instance the old math (I am a 1954 model, learned how to count on an abacus) was quite simple in my opinion and it was easy to understand.  I remember the first time I saw a “common core” math problem.  Wow!  Gee!  “I’m so dizzy my head is spinning, like a whirlpool…….”.  Oh yeah I felt dumber than a bus full of politicians.

“Grandpa tell me about the good old days, sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy and grandpa, take me back to yesterday when the line between right and wrong didn’t seem so hazy….”  – Grandpa/The Judds

I heard this song today while I was headed fishing.  My mind began to drift back to those simpler times.  In those days people kept their promises, hand shakes were as good as a signed contract and families bowed their heads to pray.  If you had a phone you probably had a party line.  These could be fun.  One of my favorite things to do was call my cousin and when i was sure someone was listening I would say, “Do you think we buried the bodies deep enough?  I sure wouldn’t want to come out of church and see Penny (my dog’s name) chewing on an arm.”   At that point you usually heard a click.  If you had a television it was probably a black and white set.

I do have to tells ya though my mom didn’t wear a dress and pearls like June Cleaver did.  My dad worked for Carnation Milk and delivered milk on Galveston Island.  For fun when we were around a crowd I would holler out that my daddy was the milkman.  The look on my mom’s face……Priceless!

A person could actually work on their own vehicle.  You could actually see (and get to) the spark plugs.  Common sense wasn’t dead.  It actually existed.  Folks respected one another.  The only time you locked the doors was if you were going to be gone for more than a couple of days.

I will admit that technology has made our lives easier.  It has given us the capability to do things we would have never been able to do 40 years ago.  HOWEVER!  Ya all are probably going to moan and groan and say bad things about me but I would love to go back those times.  The days of K.I.S.S..

Well folks thanks a bunch for taking the time to read my blog.  Be kind to one another. call mom and dad, share the love and God Bless you one and all!

Glow in the Park

“Love of beauty is taste.  The creation of beauty is art.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was a beautiful night at Engler Park in Farmington, MO.  Hot air balloons were plentiful and the air was charged with electricity.  Everyone was waiting for darkness to fall so the balloonists would light up the night with the glow of their balloons.

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Engler Park, Farmington, MO

As the balloonists turned up the heat the crowd came alive.  Finally their wait was being rewarded.  This was the moment they had been waiting for.

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The glow begins.
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What everyone had waited patiently to see.

The show was absolutely amazing.  The darkness came to life as the balloons began to glow.

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Lone Balloon
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All pictures by me.  WW Photography   

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

Believe in Yourself

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“Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” -Norman Cousins

I remember the first time I read this quote.  I was completely blown away.  Can you say profound?  I mean wow.  Just wow!

How many of you have had that “something” die inside you?  Were you devastated?  Did you feel your life was in a downward spiral out of control?  Maybe you didn’t feel any of these.  People handle things quite differently.  I still remember that day “something” died inside of me.

It was my freshman year of high school.  I had always loved art.  I had been told that I was talented and should consider taking some classes to hone and fine tune my artistic skills.  I decided to enroll in an art class.  I was going to pursue a career in art..

Classes began and I couldn’t wait to immerse myself  into the class and learn everything I could to make myself a better artist.  Things were going pretty good and I was excited that I could see improvement in my work.  Then it happened.  One thing I could never draw was people.  I struggled at it.  I was sure that my art teacher could take me under his wing and explain to me what I was doing wrong and teach me how to draw people.  Wrong!  Not that teacher any way.

I was asked to stay after class one day.  That is when I got the wind knocked out of me.  My teacher asked me if I was serious about an art career and I said absolutely and I told him I realized drawing people was my weakness and that I was going to work hard to overcome that.  Then he looked me in the eyes and asked me, “Why are you wasting mine and your time?  You are obviously never going to get anywhere with it and you should find something else to spend your time on.”

I was dumbfounded.  I had all these people telling me I should consider an art career and the art teacher is basically telling me that I suck at it.  I was devastated to say the least.  I finished the art class and pretty much gave up.  I had friends that tried to encourage me to start drawing again but “something” died inside me that day and would never surface again.

“Follow your passion. be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”  – Donovan Bailey

I don’t blame the teacher.  I blame myself.  He might have gave up on me but I should have never gave up on me.  I should have worked harder and kept my dream alive.  I let my dream fade and did nothing to stop it.  Lesson learned.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

 

 

 

 

 

A Day on the Bourbeuse River

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Bourbeuse River

A year ago I launched the yak on the Bourbeuse River near Union, MO.  It was a nice sunny day and by 12:30 pm the temp had climbed to 44 degrees.  This was a few weeks after the big flood that hit the area and as  you can tell by the pics the river was dropping.  I couldn’t believe the destruction on the river caused by the record flood.  Some places I didn’t even recognize and this was a stretch of the river I  knew well.

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Bourbeuse River

One of my dreams has always been to document the river with my camera after a snowfall.  I had been hoping for a little more snow but beggars can’t be choosy.  Needless to say, I pretty much had the river to myself all day.  The water temp was COLD I tells ya.  I sure would have hated to turn the yak over that day.

I did manage to have a beaver stop by and visit and a hawk seemed to be following me down the river. (beaver is in pic on left and hawk in pic on right)

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Bourbeuse River
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Bourbeuse River

It was a great day.  Weather was great and the river was very photogenic.

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Bourbeuse River 

“Have you also learned that secret from the river;  that there is no such thing as time?  That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Fear Not

“Don’t be afraid of your fears.  They’re not there to scare you.  The’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”  – C. Joy Bell C.

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Somewhere on the Bourbeuse River

As a child I was afraid of the dark.  I didn’t have a night lite in my room.  Nope.  No night light.  No siree.  You kidding?  I had a freaking flood light.  I WAS going to see that monster under my bed before it got me and carried me off to where ever monsters take little kids.  Thank the good Lord I finally out grew it.

I came across this quote some years ago and I could relate to it so easily.  If they aren’t there to scare me you couldn’t prove it by me because it scared the hell out of me.  I realize now that my fear of the dark was just trying to tell me that there was really something worth it and that I needed to kick this bad boy’s arse and start enjoying the dark.  Finally that day arrived and I put on my big boy panties and never looked back.

When I go to the river I like to get there about 3 pm or 4 pm.  Then I stay all night til about noon the next day.  The rewards of being on the river at night are abundant.  Normally you don’t have too many people to deal with.  You don’t have to worry about getting sun burned.  You are serenaded by frogs and crickets.  Some nights you get to experience light shows like you have never seen.  It is so alluring to experience the magical properties of the river at night.  I highly recommend that everyone experience one night on the river by themselves.  You won’t be sorry.

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Fire on the banks of the Big River

In closing someone has asked me what I mean by “share the love”?  Simply share your “passion” or “love” of something that you do with the rest of us.  Cooking, hiking. photography, kayaking etc,  Whatever it may be.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless each and every one of you.

“Don’t squat with your spurs on.”

Man’s Best Friend

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Watching the traffic.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” – Josh Billings

Tonight I decided not to write about fishing, kayaking,or dutch oven cooking.  I want to share with you my little red headed girlfriend, Kate.  Kate is 5 years old and is an Australian Shepherd.  She is quite the character.

I am a farrier by trade and Kate is my ride dog.  She takes her job very seriously. just like if you were to drop some food on the floor.  She takes that very seriously too.  Kate loves everyone and she thinks everyone loves her.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that everyone does not love her and there are people who just don’t like dogs.

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Yep  I’m purty!  Uh huh.

Did I mention that she likes to get her pic taken?  She can be quite the ham.  When she was a pup she had a terrible time with crystals in her urine.  It was quite painful.  Then after she turned a year old she had to have hip surgery.  It was during this time that we came to enjoy each others company so immensely.

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After her hip surgery.

 

Kate is also known for her counter surfing abilities.  Like the night she managed to score a pan of self rising rolls that hadn’t fully risen yet.  Hydrogen peroxide did the job of convincing her stomach to relinquish the rolls to the kitchen floor.  What a mess.

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End of the trail.

Kate loves to take walks, eat, aggravate, eat, ride in the truck and eat.  Did I mention that Kate really like to eat?  She loves kids and hoof trimmings, which she always seems to manage to deposit the undigested trimmings in my lap on the way home.  She can be a real PITA but I wouldn’t take a million dollars for her.  She is a great listener and a bundle of joy.  She has to be right beside me and know what I am doing.  She ain’t perfect, but she is my (registered name) Meddling Kate or just Kate.

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Chilling by the fire.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed hearing about Kate.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

Cast Iron Cooking

When I am not cooking in a Dutch oven I am usually using a cast iron skillet to get the job done. Just like the DOs I will use the skillets outside on the open fire. A couple of years ago I decided to make something to make the skillets a little more user friendly and still be able to cook on wood. I took two golf cart rims, modified them some and welded them together and made me a miniature stove.


Not much writing this morning.  I am going to post some pics of food being prepared in cast iron.

Leg of lamb
Pork sausage and taters
Chili fixings.

Cornish Hens

Sorry but I had some issues with posting the pics and captions. Hope you enjoyed the pics and thanks for reading.

Be safe, be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless !

                               

Intro to Dutch Oven Cooking

“Cast iron is so superior for cooking utensils to our modern aluminum that I not only cannot grieve for the pioneer hardship of cooking in iron over the hearth, but shall retire if necessary to the back yard with my two Dutch ovens, turning over all my aluminum cookers for airplanes with a secret delight.”  – Majorie Kinnan Rawlings, “Cross Creek”

I am an avid Dutch oven cook and have been doing it for many years. So many, I have seemed to lost count. Anything you can cook in your oven, I can cook in a Dutch oven ( DO ). There are DO cooking contests and the International Dutch Oven Society dedicated to DO cooking enthusiasts. Recipes are abundant. There are tons of information out there for beginners.

The picture of the three DOs at the beginning of this article, are mine. You don’t need a setup like this. Some people will pull the grill off their BBQ grill and set their DO inside of it or you can place it directly on the ground. I built my cook station like this to help keep the wind from blowing across my ovens and cooling them.


This Thanksgiving I cooked a 13 pound turkey in my largest DO.  It was my first and it was the best turkey I ever ate.  For the most part I use charcoal briquettes to heat my ovens. One method is the 3 rule. If I want my oven at 325 degrees and it is a 12 inch oven, I would subtract 3 from 12 and get 9. So I would put 9 coals under the bottom.  For the top I would add 3 and get 15 so I would put 15 on top.  Another method would be to double the 12 and get 24.  I would take a third of that, which would be 8 (bottom) and leave me with 16 on top.


I hope you have found this article interesting and helpful.  I have ruined many a dish trying to master the art of DO cooking and so will you probably.  Don’t give up.  I will try to do some more in depth articles in the future.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

The Allure of the River

“The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are always inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson : Excerpts From Nature


(Bourbeuse River at Union, MO)

The river awakens a reverence within me.  I am mesmerized by its beauty and intrigued by the mystery the water carries with it.  As the water makes its way by me I realize that same water will never pass by there again.  It came from somewhere upstream.  Maybe a feeder creek or even from the very beginning of the river.  What has it seen?  If it could talk what stories would it tell?  Where has it been and where did it come from?


(Big River near DeSoto, MO)

My dream is to float the Big River and the Bourbeuse River from their beginning to their end.  Just so happens both rivers empty into the Meramec River.  Two of my friends, Mark Nelson and David Tripp, are planning on joining me for a week long float on the Big River.  Really looking forward to it.  If you have never consumed a meal cooked along the river, you have no idea what you are missing.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another and share the love.  God Bless you one and all.

REJUVENATION!

Emerson wrote in his journal, ” I have heard a clergyman of Maine say that in his Parish are the Penobscot Indian, and that when any one of them In summer has been absent for some weeks a-hunting, he comes back among them a different person and altogether unlike any of the rest, with an eagle’s eye, a wild look, and commanding carriage and gesture, but after a few weeks it wears off again into the indolent drone like apathy which all exhibit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I lie here in bed reading these words I can hear the wind howling outside my window.  It is not long before my mind is filled of memories of past summers fishing and kayaking on the river.  The very source that awakens my spirit and cleanses my soul.  My significant other, her daughter and grandson also have a love for the river and I cherish our time together on the river.  I was lucky enough to share some river time with good friends David Tripp, Mark Nelson and his grandson.  We had a rather “large time”.

I always come back from my river expeditions with renewed energy, a new love for the simple things, dreams that were rekindled, a strut in my walk and a “giddy up” in my “get a long”.  The fires of desire were once again burning.

When I think of these times of healing the mind, body and soul, I think of a candle.  It can only burn so long before it burns out.  Then we have to relight.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless each and every one of you.