DID LEWIS AND CLARK REALLY USE A CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN

In 1804 one of the greatest expeditions in history departed St. Louis to explore the United States newly acquired Louisiana territory. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was one of the most famous camping trips of all time. The cast iron Dutch oven would certainly be one of the choice cooking vessels of the expedition, or would it?

When I wrote the first edition of my book, The Complete Book Of Dutch Oven Cooking, the two year bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was about to begin. There was much written, and promoted, about this grand adventure, not the least of which was the cast iron Dutch ovens they used to cook for the men on the expedition. Like many writers, in the past I have written that the Dutch oven was carried by Lewis and Clark on their trip. Did I know it for sure or did I trust another writer? I trusted another modern writer. But as I was researching my book I wanted to write about their Dutch ovens based on solid historical facts.

I began my research by reading the published journals of the expedition written by Lewis. There was no mention of cast iron Dutch ovens, only brass kettles. Disappointed, I next read the published journal kept by expedition member Patrick Gass, and again no mention of Dutch ovens. Could it be that the Dutch oven didn’t make the trip and over the years all of us who have written the use of the Dutch oven on the expedition were wrong?

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TICK KILLER – OPOSSUM

Having three friends that are suffering the long term effect of Lyme disease, and being in a profession that puts me in the woods all summer long, I am always interested in any information concerning ticks. Tick expert Richard Ostfeld, from the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, explained that opossums are actually the "unsung heroes in the Lyme Disease epidemic, "Because many ticks try to feed on opossums and few of them survive the experience. Opossums are extraordinarily good groomers, it turns out – we never would have thought that ahead of time – but they kill the vast majority – more than 95% percent of the ticks that try to feed on them.”

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SURVIVING AN UNPLANNED NIGHT IN THE WOODS

Survival was the furthermost thing from Ray's mind when he decided to take an afternoon rabbit hunt. Taking along his three beagles, he began venturing into the woods. He didn't give any thought to the possibility of getting lost. So he had no survival gear with him-not even a pack of matches.

For the next few hours, Ray became completely involved in the hunt and forgot, as hunters often do, about time and keeping his bearings. Then suddenly, the sun set and Ray realized he was lost. On an ordinary night in Kentucky, he would have spent a few uncomfortable hours alone in the woods. Then at first light he would find his way back home.

But an unusually severe cold front set in with a sudden downpour that turned to sleet, plunging temperatures into the single digits. Ray suddenly found himself in a serious survival situation, but he stayed calm and took the necessary steps to stay alive.

Because Ray had no matches with him, his most immediate problem was sustaining body heat throughout the night. He knew if he could do that, he would probably be around to tell his friends this adventure. Seeking shelter, he discovered a small cave where he and his dogs took refuge. Ray then gathered leaves and positioned the dogs around him to absorb their warmth. This simple idea probably saved his life.

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HOMESTEAD DEFENSE WITH A HANDGUN – ARE YOU REALLY READY?

At last you have realized your dream; you are living a rural lifestyle far from the problems of the big city. You are aware that in the remote part of the county where you live the nearest deputy sheriff may be 20 to 30 minutes away in case of a threatening situation, but you own a couple of pistols and you and your spouse have shot them several times so if someone tries to break into your house or attack your family you are prepared. But are you really?

Threats are Real

Up front, let me state that the purpose of this article is not to make it sound like living in rural America is dangerous and should only be done only by those who want to live in a fort. Far from it, I consider rural America to be far safer than living in cities and in a lifetime of living the rural lifestyle I have never had a threatening encounter. However many of us do live more isolated from immediate law enforcement assistance so if there is a imminent threat we may be called upon to defend our family. And this would increase if we should ever encounter civil disobedience on a large scale in nearby towns and cities. Predators would spill out into the countryside to pillage.

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