DOUGH BALLS CATCH MORE THAN CARP

August can be a hot, somewhat dull month for a youngster growing up in the country. Most crops are laid by, fishing is slow and soon school will be back in session. It is a time when adventure is scarce.

“Punky” Kelly, Walter “Chipmunk” Green and I were sitting in the shade, under a country road bridge, trying to catch bluegills from a pool of water that resembled lukewarm coffee, Punky, a freckled-faced, red headed, short, round boy, was reading aloud from a tattered outdoor magazine about the excitement of using dough balls and a rod and reel to catch large carp. 

“I saw some big carp over in Mr. Sharp’s gravel pits the last time I was fishing there with my dad,” Chipmunk told us through his toothy grin, the source of his nickname.

“That’s a long bicycle ride from here,” I responded. “But pulling in some of those monsters would sure beat sitting here drowning worms.”

Punky devised a plan. “The recipe for making dough balls is in the article, so let’s go to my mom’s kitchen and make some,” he said.

“She’s helping Dad work on the hay baler at the Perkins’ place, so we’ll have the kitchen to ourselves.” The kitchen was Punky’s favorite room in the house.

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE WOODSMEN GONE?

He is as rare and endangered as any critter in North America, perhaps more so. No, I’m not talking about a Black-footed ferret or the Florida panther. I am speaking of the “woodsman”.

I grew up in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, when outdoor magazines were a colorful mix of adventure stories with really useful “how-to” information thrown in to help the reader learn a collection of outdoor skills that was called “woodsmanship”.

Writers such as Charlie Elliott, Fred Bear, John Jobson, Ted Trueblood, Russell Annabel, and Townsend Whelen took us to the most remote corners of North America. These men could use a canoe like an Indian, navigate by the stars, and cook scrumptious meals in a reflector oven. They could sharpen an ax, track game across a bed of rock, butcher a deer, and make a comfortable shelter using only a tarp.

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MULTI-DAY EMERGENCY FOOD KIT

Recently I was planning a 7-day camping trip into a remote area to fish for native trout. I wanted my meals to be quick, easy and fast to prepare. Also I wanted the food to be lightweight and easy for me to pack. What I discovered has as much an application for planning meals and keeping them on hand for emergency use as it does outdoor meals on the bank of a remote stream.

I knew from a lifetime being spent in the backcountry that I would be shopping for freeze-dried food for my fishing trip. This led me to Mountain House and the wide selection of meals they have that are lightweight, good tasting and nourishing. I have used them hundreds of times during my career. The one thing I dislike is having to plan and select breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, then select and order the menu. This time when I went to the Mountain House web site, www.mountainhouse.com, much to my surprise I learned that they now have new pre-packaged “Multi-Day Emergency Food Supply Kits” that do all the menu planning for 5-Day or a combo of 2-Day, 3-Day, and/or 4-Day food supply. This makes meal planning short and easy.

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