All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Antelope Season 2009

The score:
Me 2 Antelope 0
I shot one buck, pictured above and one doe. I didn't get any pictures of the doe. Yardage for the buck 279, doe 241. Bullet Hornady sst 154 grain. Gun: my 7-08. Scope Mark IV. I cropped myself out of the pic because the scope is customized and I'm wearing the makers hat. A series of pics has been sent to him for advertising. If he uses any, they can't be published anyplace else if I want to get paid. Which I do. I need to start having my hobbies be somewhat sponsored by somebody else. This would have been a fine buck if he hadn't tore up that horn in the rut. If he would have kept a symmetrical set of horns with those nice cutters and curlers I might have shelled out the cash for a head mount.

Elk season was a bust. It ended today. I still have a deer tag and might go and try for a doe.

What To Do?

When I was younger there were four places I wanted to live when I grew up. They were, Europe, Alaska, the Western US and the UP. Over the years other places have caught my attention as well. I could probably go for NZ. I could be happy in AR, or another southern state, under the right circumstances. As much as I enjoyed Central America, I don't think I could make it home. I ruled out Europe after a couple of visits.

Today I live in the last semifree state of the lower 48. I love it here. I love our church. I like the town. I have lots of friends. One of the best gun makers in the world is 15min south of me. He works on my stuff for cheap. I have 1,000 yard shooting ranges. I have a 3,000 yard range as well, but I don't have that kind of firepower, yet. Some great whitewater rafting is just a few hours south. If I feel the need to spank my kids in public, no one is going to call the cops. If they did, it wouldn't be a problem since the cops wouldn't interfere with legitimate punishment. You can home school if you choose. College is cheap. It has everything I need to be happy. Except my wife isn't as happy as she would be if she were closer to her folks. My job situation has been sucky as well.

The dilemma? I have a chance to reapply to a job 1,300 miles to the east of here. Its the kind of job that I would be good at and I would probably enjoy doing it, and my guess is that it pays close to if not over six figures. We would have to move. This would be a plus for the wife and misery for me. Should I give it a go or no?


For Susan

This is for little Mrs "I thought you knew how to cook".

My recipe for duck stock. (Ok its just one of them but it is a favorite). This stock will add flavor to any poultry dish and is an excellent base for soups. The most requested and largest selling soup I make from this stock is (believe it or not) my baked potato soup. It works very well with rice soups and coq au vin as well.

The bones/backs/skin of 6 to 8 ducks apx 4 lbs worth
4 gal of water
4 to 5 cups mirepoix (concasser) 2:1:1
4 to 5 cups mirepoix (brunoise) 2:1:1
1/4 cup smoked sea salt (apple or cherry wood is best)
1/4 cup black pepper (whole pepper corns)
1 lb unsalted butter
1 cup dry white wine (try a Gew├╝rztraminer for something different)
2 cups dry red wine (1/2 standard bottle)
1 cup garlic (whole cloves)
6 to 8 bay leafs

In a large roasting pan or on a sheet tray d├ęgorger duck bones with the salt, retain all juices. Sprinkle the concasser mirepoix, black pepper, garlic cloves, any remaining sea salt. Bake in a 225 degree oven for apx 1&1/2 hrs or until the duck bones, skin etc is nice and crispy and brown. Do not over bake.

Put the water, bayleaf and red wine in a large stock pot. Bring up to a simmer, DO NOT BOIL. Just get the water nice and slightly steamy. It should NEVER get any hotter than this, EVER.

In a large saute pan, melt butter (or use clarified if you have it on hand), saute the brunoise mirepoix until the onion is completely see through (it can even brown slightly), deglaze with the white wine. Add to stock pot.

Take the roasted duck bones/mirepoix/garlic/pepper corns and ALL the jus, fat etc and add it to the stock pot. Drink all of the leftover white wine, you deserve it, you're all most done. Let the stock pot simmer until the liquid reduces by 75%. This may take between 6 to 8 hrs.

Strain the liquid and remove all bones, meat, vegetable and spices.

The remaining product is a very nice duck stock. Use it for sauce, demiglaze (I make a morel demi that will blow you away), soup base, etc; or if you're Susan (aka The Culinary Cretin) you can soak bread crumbs in it and shove them up a turkey arse and bake at 325 for 3 hrs. Actually it would be some excellent stuffing. I just can't bring myself to invest a day making stock for something I slip to the dog when we're sick of eating it 3 days latter.

Key things to remember:
1. Duck fat and butter taste really really really good, get and keep all the fats in the stock that you can.
2. Meats cooked from room temperature have better flavor and taste better. The same with extracting flavor from bones
3. Boiling kills the flavor in au jus de canard and makes lots of little pastie crap that floats in the stock. Don't get in a hurry and turn up the heat.

Variations on the recipe:
1. Don't use any of the wines
2. Skip one but not both of the mirepoix steps. If you skip one, skip the sauted mirepoix, not the roasted,
3. I make my own smoked salts, you can use regular sea salt. I find a course ground salt is best. DO NOT bother with iodized salt.
4. You can (I don't know why you would though) skip the roasting stage and just boil the duck.
5. You can use 1 whole duck instead of the bones of several (seems like a waste of good duck meat).
6. Add tomato paste to the stock pot.
7. Add tamari (do this to the finished stock, not during cooking).
8. Drizzle olive oil over the duck and mirepoix prior to roasting. This works well.

I have made my baked potato soup using this stock and had a somewhat hefty 40ish year old woman from Wisconsin offer to make love to me if I would give her the recipe. Resist temptation (as I did) there are plenty of 25ish to 35ish women from Wisconsin who are slightly less hefty who will make the same deal if you are strong and hold out for a better offer. I realize that if you are female that deflowering prime (as in beef) examples of upper Midwestern womanhood may not have the same attraction for you as it would for a man; none the less, with great power (stock) comes great responsibility.


If this sounds involved, my veal stock takes a minimum of 80 hrs. The sauces I make from that take about 2 hrs after I make the stock. Imagine spending $150 just to buy the bones to roast to make less than 3 gallons of stock. From this I make a Bordeaux style bordelaise and a wild mushroom soup, that are slightly above average, at least that is the impression I get from the purred ahs and ohs I hear when people eat them. I don't cook like this too often, but when I do, I enjoy doing it.


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

I hope you are aware of how blessed you have been this last year and are truly grateful for it. Our family celebrated Wednesday. I have to put in a full day of work on Thursday. Although I wish I had the day off, I'm thankful I have a job. I'm also thankful that the 13 hrs I'm working is all double time. It almost makes up for working on a holiday.

I spent a little time reflecting today on the fact that many of the things that irritate me are in fact the result of being blessed.

Problem: Kids are sick. Blessing: I have kids that normally are healthy.
Problem: Might lose my current job. Blessing: I have a job.
Problem: Couldn't fit all the leftovers in the fridge. Blessing: Lots of food.
Problem: Truck is getting old and falling apart. Blessing: I have a truck.
Problem: Spent 2 hrs in line to buy chicken stock. Blessing: I live in a country where everyone has access to stores.

I hope you find time to think through some of your blessings. Sometimes they aren't apparent or we forget. While we are on the topic of holidays, let me be among the first to wish you a Merry Christmas.

So Don't Buy One

I'm not the most computer savvy guy. My list of techno accomplishments is short. I once could program a Commodore 64 to run the same word over and over again on the screen. I remember when the internet was free. All you did was have your modem dial into a university server. This was tougher than you think. You actually had to type the phone number into the computer each time. The computer didn't automatically remember it. There was no "connect icon". Continuously connected high speed did not exist. There was nothing high-speed. You asked for your file and you waited for it to download. If you were in a hurry, you called the person up and asked them to mail you the file. Sometimes the post office got it to you first. There was no Google then. AOL hadn't started yet either. You had to have some idea of the address of the files you wanted to get. Al Gore saved us from all that when he reivented the internet to become the ultra efficient porn portal that it is today.

Back in the day, the internet was the domain of the geeks. Fortunately for me I was friends with a couple of nerds. They got me interested in computers and I got my hands on a 80386. While I went the 386 route (like most of the world), everyone who "knew" anything about computers would tell you that apple was better. I don't even pretend to know the difference and I haven't cared to figure it out but the geeks said it, so it must be true. Apple is better. But now they won't fix your computer if you do things they disprove of, like smoking. I couldn't believe this story. If your computers sell a distance second to those running Microsoft you might not want to give people yet another reason to avoid buying them.


Oops Our Bad

Pfizer plans to close its research and development headquarters in New London, Connecticut and move the 14-hundred jobs across the river to Groton. Some say the loss of Pfizer makes the city's eminent domain seizure of private homes adjacent to the headquarters four years ago a gross failure. They say it was done to satisfy the drug maker and now that Pfizer is leaving, the losers in this are the city and the former homeowners who argued their case all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Too bad you lost your home because a big drug company wanted the lot. Now Pfizer doesn't want it either. So sad. They aren't even going to keep the jobs in town, they are moving across the river. Click the link. The city is still talking up what a great decision it was, even though no one is seeing a benefit and millions have been spent. Because, you know, the government is never wrong.


Thank You

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, was the exact time selected for the end of the "War to End All Wars". Of course it didn't.
"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share."

--Ned Dolan

For those of you who served us in the military, THANK YOU. I remember you and salute you. I am grateful that you gave up a period of time in your life to ensure that mine would be peaceful. Freedom isn't free and the price is paid by a few for the benefit of many.


Bluenecks: Northerners (Opposite of Rednecks)

You've probably seen this before but I got a kick out of it. The best use for this is to email it to one of your friends from Texas, and wait for their response. Be sure to put a PS at the bottom of the email and tell them that if they are guilty of 3 or more violations that they lose the right to be known as a Southerner. Ah good times.


- Instead of referring to two or more people as "Y'all," you call them "you guys," even if both of them are women.

- You think barbecue is a verb meaning "to cook outside."

- You think Heinz Ketchup is REALLY SPICY.

- You would never stop to buy something somebody was cooking on the side of the road.

- You don't have any problems pronouncing "Worcestershire sauce" correctly.

- You don't know what a moon pie is.

- You've never had an RC Cola.

- You've never, ever eaten okra -- fried, boiled, or pickled.

- You eat fried chicken with a knife and fork.

- You've never seen a live chicken, and the only cows you've seen are on road trips.

- You have no idea what a polecat is.

- You don't see anything wrong with putting a sweater on your dog.

- You don't have bangs.

- You would rather have your son become a lawyer than grow up to get his own TV fishing show.

- You've never eaten and don't know how to make a tomato sandwich.

- You think more money should go to important scientific research at your university than to pay the salary of the head football coach.

- You don't even have one can of WD-40 somewhere around the house.

- You don't have any hats in your closet that advertise feed stores.

- You don't know anyone with at least two first names (i.e., Joe Bob, Faye Ellen, Billy Ray, Mary Jo, Bubba Dean, Joe Dan, Mary Alice)

- You don't know any women with male names (i.e., Tommie, Bobbie, Johnnie, Jimmie)

- None of your fur coats are homemade.



We've had both kinds of virus at our house. One sick kid complete with a fever and one sick computer complete with a expensive trip to have a professional try to clean it up. So far the kido is getting better but the computer is still in the dumps and not 100% yet.

Right now I have 3 antelope hanging in the garage awaiting my attention. I took two of them with my new rifle and a buddy shot the 3rd with his hand gun. If/when he emails me the pictures he took of my buck, I'll post them. The shots were not great accomplishments in terms of distance. My doe was taken in the mid 240 yard range and the buck in the low 270's. Both were one shot kills and very clean, so my gun and ammo did their jobs. I'm still not satisfied with the performance from the bench so I'll work on a better load when I get more time. My buck would have had a better set of horns if he hadn't tore them up during the rut. Back to work on Monday with elk hunting planned for my days off.