Monday, September 28, 2015

Backpacking the Sierra Nevadas

I got out with my brother and our buddies to the high Sierra Nevada range the other day.

The hike in was gorgeous and we were loving every step of the way!

We set up camp in a sweet spot overlooking a small alpine lake.


We fished quite a bit but had no luck.
It really didn't matter though. We were having a great time with tons of laughter.

We took some great hikes and saw some more awesome scenery!
In the morning I made a batch of flapjacks in my trusty packable little cast iron skillet.

I carved a little ponderosa pine spatula that worked like a charm.

After breakfast we packed back out and did a spot of fishing and shooting.
My brother had carved a nice linen-backed plum longbow that was impressively accurate!

We all got some nice hits and a few fish stayed on the lines for a short fight. When all was said and done, Eric landed a nice little trout...

...that he gave to me!
It was so tasty!

Well, I have a wild grape soda waiting for me so I gotta go!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Seasonal Sodas

“I should have brought my inhaler! But I usually forget when I go outside because I hardly every do!”- Passer by

“You need to get more sun! When was the last time you got out?” “I took the trash to the curb a few days ago…of course that was at night though.”- People behind me in line.

Blackberry Soda

I am constantly amazed when I ask people what they do for fun and they reply “Play X-Box” or “watch TV.” Don’t get me wrong, I spend my fare share of time in front of a computer (hence the blog), and I love watching It’s Always Sunny in Phillidelphia or a fight scene from Big Trouble in Little China as much as the next guy, but it worries me how normalized it has become for people to freely admit they don’t like being outdoors.

Well, “to each their own,” but for me, and I believe for many of you as well, there is no greater light than the sun, no greater AC then a cool breeze, and no better view then the vastness of the sea or mountains stretching to the horizon!

Today’s post is on a simple concoction you can make on a hot summer day with your friends or family from nothing more than the seasonal fruits you find while out and about in the beautiful serenity we call the wilds of California.

All you have to do is locate a ripe berry bush, wild plum, apricot, etc. Pick the fruit and cook it down with sugar and a little water as you might for a jam or jelly. Then strain the solids and retain the fruit infused simple syrup.
Apricot Soda

Mix this with seltzer or club soda and add some ice.

For a thirst quencher, you can squeeze a little citrus into it as well.

Wild Rose Hip and Elderberry Soda
That’s all it takes to make your own seasonal sodas!

Give it a try!

Let me know how it goes!                         

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And always strive to keep the old ways alive!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cooking Mussels in a Cave: A Story from a Few Winter's Back

I forgot to post this story when it happened and I just came across the images so here you are!
Remember, mussels are not safe to eat in the summer months...the following is a story from the winter time when mussels are safe to consume and therefor a delicacy we enjoy every rainy season!

Sometimes you just have to get out there, rain or shine, get out into the sea and harvest bivalves-a-plenty!

We look forward to the clam and mussel harvest every year. So when it was time and the tides were out, my dad and I headed into the intertidal zone with buckets, fishing licenses and big appetites!

After a bountiful and very easy harvest we headed for a favorite cave to cook our fresh seafood feast over hardwood coals.

Beams of sun filtered in through cracks in the walls and illuminated a heck of a good meal!

We ate our fill and enjoyed every bite of this fresh sea fare.

Well, my good buddy just got back from adventures in the high Arctic, so I'm off to go fishing or bow carving again!

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Keep the old ways alive!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hand-Forged Knives, Powder Horns, and Rabbit Pot Pie: My Brother Has Been Busy!

"Why do jackrabbits get such a bad rap? They are so good! It's like those guys who say you can't eat a wild boar over 200lbs because it tastes terrible. It's simply not true! I guess we let them keep thinking that though...more for us!"- My brother

I have always looked up to my older brother Justin. He's the type of guy that would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it! Unlike most big brothers he was always kind and patient with his younger brother, and I have always deeply valued his friendship.

He also happens to be a badass and, as a Smith, he is of course quite talented with any craft he takes up.

He came to visit me in the woods over summer and after a couple of outings he took a jackrabbit with his old trysty Sheridan .20cal pellet rifle. He's been hunting with the same pellet gun since he was 11 years old!

The rabbit went to another pot pie which Justin said was incredibly tasty!

Beyond bunnies, Justin has been working away with a hammer, anvil, and forge. He has produced some excellent blades over the past few months and even gave me one!

Mine is the Kephart with the incised bone handle on the left
He even made the leather sheath in the image above!
After a while, Justin mixed things up a bit and began crafting powder horns for our black powder muzzle-loading rifles! I can't wait to takeout our old .50cal's with these beauties on our hips!
Justin and his buddy Eric also got out for some very productive freedive-spearfishing recently...4 lingcod and a nice cabazone is not a bad catch at all! Fish and chips anyone?
Well, I can't stand being indoors on a nice cloudy Sunday so I am off to walk the wild side...wish me luck!
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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fresh Fish Civiche: A Tutorial

"Work is for people who don't know how to fish." - A Favorite Bumper Sticker

Step One- Catch Fish.
Step Two- Review my former post on boneless fillets and fillet your fish
Step Three- Cut fish into half inch or quarter inch cubes

Step Four- Blanch fish for two minutes in boiling water (traditionally this is not done, only the acid of the lime juice cooks the me paranoid but I always blanch my fish to be double sure).

Step Five - Drain and allow fish to cool. Then cover with fresh lime juice.

Step Six - Prepare ingredients. These include chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, and avocado. Spices include cumin powder, chili powder, salt and your favorite hot sauce (to taste).

Step Seven - Mix masa, a little salt, and water, press some fresh tortillas and fry until crispy and golden brown.

Step Eight - Drain excess lime juice from the fish, add all ingredients (except avocado) and mix thoroughly. After it is well mixed, add the avocado and lightly mix (otherwise the avocado will mash up and the ceviche will not look appetizing at all). Give it another squeeze of half a lime, add salt to taste.

Step Nine - Place equal portions of ceviche on each homemade tostada and garnish with a sprig of cilantro and dash of hot sauce.

I ate these for dinner along with a homemade foraged blackberry soda...but more on those tasty beverages later.

I promise you, this is one of the best lunches on a hot day by the beach that anyone could ask for. The ceviche is cold, tostadas are hot, and the combination is incredible!

Give it a try and leave a comment.

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