Monday, December 30, 2013

Post Yuletide Hunt

 Long morning...bright sunshine
One duck down. Nice retrieve by Genna.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas at Sportsman's Hall

 In the living room the tree is trimmed and lit.
 The table is set in the dining room.
 A fire roars in the hearth in the family room. The stocking are ready.
 Ornaments are twinkling.
 The Nutcracker collection is on display
 My alma mater is represented on the tree.
 The roast beef is about to go in the oven,
Potato and mushroom gratin' and roasted brussel sprouts with truffle oil.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


 Seems those Madison avenue boys would pimp Santa for anything....
Hey Kids...forget the cookies and milk...leave Santa a pack of Lucky Strike!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all. I have asked Santa to bring me copious flocks of ducks and geese finishing into my spread of decoys. Later this week I will see if St. Nick has deemed me naughty or nice.

Monday, December 23, 2013

An Old Joke.

This photo was sent to me by a fellow sportsman. It is a 1891 Dickson 16 gauge with 3 triggers.
This rare old shotgun brings to mind the old joke about martinis and boobs:

"Why are martinis like boobs?.....One is not enough and three is too many!"

Friday, December 20, 2013


Ok, Phi's comments were not exactly the stuff of tolerance and "political correctness." However, is this bearded Bayou blaster not entitled to his opinions on various issues of faith and sin and the like. I stopped watching 'Duck Dynasty" ages ago when they got away from the emphasis on hunting and turned it into Kardashians in Camo. But this hoopla over his statements in an interview just seems wrong. The guys espoused what he believes. If you do not agree....tune him out.Further, his P.R. machine should have been more vigilant and not let this happen. Do not silence him or ban him...that kind of action reeks of different regimes.....ones that we do not want to be.

I do own several of their excellent duck calls. I also have a fleece lined water and windproof Anorak from Duck Commander that is a staple piece of my hunting kit and has performed wonderfully in the field. So Phil thinks homosexual behavior  is a sin...I could not care less what he thinks on such issues...but I like his gear when it is 25 degrees out and the wind is driving the sleet sideways out in the marsh.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Eastern Shore Christmas

My wife and I traveled down to Easton,Maryland last Friday to enjoy the town Christmas parade.
Before the scheduled kick-off we enjoyed a few pints and some oysters and a walk among the shops.
This old-school gun shop is  a rare breed these days. You walk in and smell canvas and waxed cotton and gun oil and tobacco. You can actually find 10 ga. shells for your goose guns. Filson is a featured brand.It is getting harder and harder to find a local gunsmith who knows the way around an old Browning or Beretta. I do suspect a small item or two from this store will find its way to my stocking on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Despite the Weather

 The dawn rose snowy and ugly this morning. However, I had a settlement conference in Wilkes Barre...a 2 plus hour drive on a good day. With the cold and snow...not so much.
 The drive to get on the highway was unpleasant. Mini-vans were skidding into guard rails and supposed "all wheel drive" vehicles were off the road and kissing trees. There was a flat bed 18 wheeler stuck on the on-ramp to 476 and the rookies and snow-incompetent drivers were stacked behind him.
 As a veteran of many a snowy drive to hunting camps and ski destinations and beer runs, I was prepared. I had my 2010 F-!50 in real 4 wheel drive and some 100 lbs bags of sand in the bed for added weight on the back wheels.
I had to make it to this Mediation is how I earn the money to keep me in shotgun shells and camo Goretex and steeplechase wagers and whiskey. I made it in just under 3 hours. I settled the farewell to a very happy client ...and pointed the truck South. Heading South from Wilkes Barre takes one  by PA 22 at Allentown and a quick right takes you toward the Sportsman's Mecca. We needed some new blood in our heard of goose decoys at the club. The gear above ended up in the back of my truck for the ride home and will be deployed Thursday and Friday as the Delaware waterfowl season re-opens.  It is going to be in the single digits Thursday when we take to the duck blinds before dawn and only a little warmer when we set up for geese at about 8:30 A.M. when the ducks usually stop flying. So no posts until after the gun stops smoking!~

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Original American Spirit

 From Washington Post, a quote from Jim Murray, an English writer and one of the world's top whiskey critics.
“The best whiskey is coming not from Scotland any more, but from Kentucky,” he said, adding that Buffalo Trace, a bourbon distillery in Frankfort, Ky., is “arguably the best distillery in the world.”

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shot and a Beer

 After all the pre-Thanksgiving cooking was complete on Wednesday, I headed out to the best local tap-room on the Main Line: The Roache & O'Brien.
 This joint has been around forever...since the 30's. I had 9 oz drafts in here when I was 16.
The guys behind the bar know what you drink and know their job, always have a hearty hello and put the proper games on TV. Darts and a good Juke comprise the entertainment. Smoking is allowed and there are always a few guys you know from the neighborhood or from high school sipping a pint.

You have to appreciate a joint that is open from 7:00 A.M. on Thanksgiving day...and then closes at 2 P.M. so the staff can get their turkey on...and then re-opens at 7:30 until 2 A.M. so revelers can have a few drinks amongst friends after the bird is digested.These days, joints like these are few and far between in suburban America....this sportsman is damn glad one is in his jurisdiction.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Eat What You Kill

 Saturday 7:15 A.M. The Boardwalk blind at H&H Waterfowl Club,Smyrna,DE.
 It was around 20 degrees at legal shooting time. Thank God for modern waterfowl gear...waders with 800 grams of Thinsulate, warm camo coat, camo fleece hat...all the rig to ward of the  frigid damp air of the marsh. As my Grandfather would say: "Colder than a grave digger's ass."
 A lone mallard hen sweeps by to take a peek at our decoy spread. She is whistlling by right to left. I shoulder the gun and shoot. Splash one mallard. Genna sees the bird drop, marks, and off she goes. The bird is in hand.
 I hung the bird overnight and cleaned it on Sunday. On Monday I prepared wild duck cassoulet.
 Sauteed onions and garlic. Add the cubes of duck breast and thigh meat( not much meat to garner from the legs of a wild bird.)Add carrots and stock from the Thanksgiving turkey. Fresh Thyme and lots of pepper come next. A dash of salt and chiffonade of Sage
 I always add the carcass to braise for a while and extract all that wild flavor of freshly harvested game.
 Next add some garlic sausage from DiBruno Brothers in South Philly. Then some white beans and chopped tomatoes join the melange in the Le Cruesette.
Simmer for a while. To serve, toast some Italian bread with a little Gruyere on top. Place the cheese crowned crouton in a bowl and ladle the cassoulete over top. A Pinot Noir or a Barolo pairs well. I am just a knock around kinda guy, not much on wine, so I like a icy cold Stella Artois or even a Yuengling Chesterfield Ale with my cassoulete. A meal like this is the gustatory ancillary benefit to all the fun and  work of waterfowling. You cannot get this in ANY restaurant....anywhere.

Monday, December 2, 2013


I don't always drink Bourbon. But when I is often Wild Turkey.
Especially when it is 40 degrees and windy at the Lehigh v. Lafayette game tailgate.


I took my son hunting on Friday after Thanksgiving. We set up for geese in the afternoon , ducks Saturday in the morning and geese for the balance of the day.
The kid in the photo above could just as easily be holding a 20 ga. hunting with his dad.
The time in the blinds this weekend gave me lots of opportunity to talk to my boy at length. Time  has been hard to come by recently as he was preparing for the SAT's and has a busy schedule for school and sports.
There were 7  other guys at the duck hunting club on Friday night....and my 16 year old. He held his own in the company of men. As I have said before, I feel it crucial to immerse my son in the rituals of men. Then he cleaned me out at the poker table Friday night. Maybe the little jerk should stick to his school-work.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

 The turkey has been consumed and the carcass is simmering for stock.The only "black" relevant to my Friday is the color of the 3 inch 12 Ga.  BB shells I will be loading in my shotgun hoping to down some geese for the table.
 Today I am heading to the duck hunting club to set up for geese this afternoon and ducks tomorrow at zero dark thirty. I saw and heard lots of geese moving all day yesterday. Hopefully the snotty weather North of us has driven down the migratory stragglers who will find our decoy spread inviting.
 This will be my view from the blind this afternoon.
 The Lehigh v. Lafayette tailgating was splendid. Sadly the school from Easton gave our boys a rather severe spanking :50-28.
Nevertheless, it was great hoisting beers on a cold crisp day in the Lehigh Valley. There is continuity and comfort in seeing guys you have known for 30 years and sharing beer, nips of bourbon, and laughs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Meat Hunters

 In the early 17th century, one did not go to Whole Foods and select a turkey from a refrigerated bin fill of cryo-sealed fowl. All the birds in the 1600's were "free-range." The religious zealots who came to these shores had to set off into the woods and fields to seek meat for the table. They had unreliable and hard to aim flintlock weapons. Their gunpowder supply was precious and fickle. A missed shot was a lamentable event.
 Deer and turkey were abundant in the fields and forests of New England. But first they had to be located and harvested. It was work. It was also work to drag the game home and clean it. Cooking over wood fires is no game either.
So when we belly up to the table tomorrow, after hauling the store-bought bird from the Viking range, remember what our ancestors had to do in order to plate the Thanksgiving meal. The local Native Americans were not caterers. To the PETA types out is that Tofurkey tasting....yuch.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Number 149

In the mid 80's it was still in Taylor stadium. The administration allowed the Fraternities to populate the parking lot in the far end-zone and swill keg beer from the back of pick up trucks during the entire game. It was tailgating inside the stadium. My first view of Lehigh football  was an end zone perspective thru a chain link fence with a 12 ounce plastic cup of cold keg beer...usually Hamm's. The PA system would crackle "Shigo on the tackle" and "touchdown...Renny Benn."
We had one eye on the game and one eye on the Sorority girls from Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma. Room temperature hot dogs and stale chips were the beer sponge of choice. This was not tailgating in the Grove at Ol' Miss with coat and tie and Southern Belles; this was 1AA football in the Northeast in a steel town. Banker's Club whiskey and A-Treat ginger ale and Popov Vodka  fit the house social budget so this was as far as the cocktail menu extended. We cheered as the Engineers triumphed over Colgate or Bucknell. We screamed "Lafayette Sucks" on the day of "The Rivalry."
This Saturday I will do it again...with the same guys from that end zone.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mid-Week Amusement

An old high school friend posted this on Facebook. The set and sentiment just hit me and literally made me laugh out loud.