I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Deer Jerky in Bradley Countertop Smoker

Having some extra time over the holidays due to our wonderful weather (not), we decided to make some deer jerky in our Bradley Countertop Smoker. We didn't have a specific recipe, but years ago we made jerky in our home-made aesthetically-challenged marriage-testing fridge smoker, which after careful examination or records, produces about 25% good product and 75% wastage. The Bradley seems to consistently produce great smoked foods, and in small quantities which is perfect for us. A Google search brought up many recipes, so we took the popular base (soy sauce), and added what was handy.

- 2.5 pounds of deer (or so, never measured), sliced (it was random thicknesses, 1/4 in average, even thicker chunks turned out great!)
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water (enough to cover meat)
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. course pepper
- splash of teriyaki sauce
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire

Mix all ingredients in a container (we used a Tupperware container) and leave overnight, we refrigerated.

Preheat smoker. It was 10f outside so we started smoking on pl03 for a couple of hours and reduced it to pl01, the temp stayed between 165 - 185.

Cooking time 6hrs.
Smoking time 4hrs.

Our thoughts - We could've sprinkled the meat with course pepper just before smoking. 5 hours would leave it moister, but it was still great after 6hrs. You could add any spices you like, we were just winging it based on what we saw upon opening the cupboard!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas all! I hope everybody has a great holiday season! It is relatively quiet here great time to reflect on what's important!

As I age (gracefully I might ad), the list of important things in life is shortening up quite nicely. We seem to take on more and more problems, material things etc, until our time is all taken up (shitter's full). Right now my list seems to boil down to:

- Family and friends
- Health
- Basic necessities
- Have Fun! Life should be fun!

Well that's it, simple hey? (bear in mind I'm a little simple-minded) So pump out yer shitter and let's have a fantastic 2014! 


Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Chalkboard: Reflections On Becoming A Quadriplegic

A little story I wrote years ago, illustrating what it felt like in those times shortly after becoming a quadriplegic.

The Chalkboard

Imagine that every new skill that we acquire is recorded on our own personal chalkboard.

My chalkboard is nearly covered in writing as I study the top line.

“Rode a bike!”

As I glance at the words the image of a warm summer’s day floods my mind. A gentle breeze is blowing; the smell of freshly cut lawn permeates the air. I’m sitting precariously on a shiny new bicycle, pointed down the paved driveway that slopes gently towards the road in front of our house. There are already a few fresh scrapes on my knees, torn jeans, and a sense of excitement as I anticipate the next run down the lane. A quick push from my mother and away I go, wobbling and swerving as I concentrate on learning the correct moves to tame the beast. Success! A complete run down the driveway is made.

Fishing with my brother, loved it since an early age.
The "New" Holiday Rambler and Travelall,
 many adventures took place in here!
I scan the board farther down and noticed in an adolescent’s writing: “ Fishing”.  As my gaze stops on the words, I feel the world around me fade away and suddenly I’m standing in the front yard of our family’s house in a large city. It’s early June, I’m ten years old, and the weather is warm and sunny. Behind me sits our summer home on wheels, a 1969 Holiday Rambler proudly affixed to the rear of an old but eager army-green 1962 International Travelall. The unit patiently awaits our next escape from the city, complete with bikes on the front, and canoe on the roof. Gripped tightly in my right hand is a fly rod, released from its winter prison inside the camper trailer. Under my right elbow is a book held tightly against my body to teach me to cast using forearm movement only. “10 o’clock … 2 o’clock”, I repeat as I practice false casts over and over, until no more cracking of the whip is heard. I learn to drop the fly (a split shot weight) into any one of the number of ice-cream-pails placed around the yard. All the while I daydream of pristine mountain lakes teeming with trout to be conquered in two weeks time.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Smoked Trout and the Bradley 2-Rack Smoker

Smoked Trout - First Try!

One thing that I did not inherit from my father was a sense of moderation. I suppose in that respect, and maybe a couple of others (if you ask my wife), I am a work in progress. I remember raising a few trout in our ponds years ago, and within a couple of years we figured that if a few were good, that 10,000 would be better! It did get to be a wee bit too much, so we are back to just a few to play with and a lesson learned. It was the same way with smoking trout. Someone gave me a taste of smoked trout once and I decided that it would be a good thing to recruit my friends to do (remember I'm a quadriplegic, the power of persuasion is a survival skill). Soon there was more than one of us that thought it was a good idea, and instead of using the small $40 smoker that we already had we decided to employ the old "go big or go home" strategy that seemed prevalent around us. Pretty soon we had a large, stylish (not), old-fashioned-fridge-converted-to-smoker on mom's lawn. Mom being patient, not much was said for the first 10 years or so, then it was suddenly brought to our attention that the curb appeal of our smoker had waned a little.

Back to the smoking. Remember this all started with somebody giving us a taste of smoked fish. Now we figured that our new smoker was large enough to hold 100 fish or so, and there is no use wasting all that extra space by smoking only a few. We proceeded to catch fish, and soon enough we had enough to fill that smoker. We mixed up the brine, left the fish overnight in it and in the morning fired up our lovely new toy. I remember we were up all day, until long after dark, shuffling the racks, moving the fish, and tweaking and adjusting as is necessary when a man is involved in any project. In the end we ended up with 20 fish that could be categorized as "burnt to rat-shit", 15 that were "a little overdone", 30 that looked real good, and 35 that were "a wee bit rare but that's okay".

Friday, 27 September 2013

Barnett Ghost 400 Crossbow Fun!

Video of the fun!!

"Do you want to sight in the bow?" says my buddy David Loshny.

"You bet!"

"I'll be there by 3:30!" comes the reply.

You gotta love an offer like that, in this day of everybody being so busy a break like this is greatly appreciated, and we get to play with cool toys!

Getting Ready To Shoot

The Barnett Ghost 400 is a crossbow capable of firing an arrow at over 400 feet per second, quite fast for a bow. My old PSE bow was pretty good in its day at 250fps, and allowed accurate shots up to 40yds or more on calm days.

David arrived, we grabbed the bow bag and headed out in the field with a target.

"Where should we start?" Dave asks.

"How about 30yds? I watched our last video (filmed on a windy day) and we were about 6" high at 30yds with the top crosshair." I reply.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Flying Week

Glider for wheelchair - good trade!
Well, last week was the Edmonton Soaring Club's soaring week, what a pile of fun!

Monday we arrived in the field and put my name on the list to fly, and Trevor stepped forth and volunteered to man the back seat for me. My arm strength is on the weak side so I need help with the tow, as it sometimes requires some strength and full movement of the controls to stay behind the tow plane .
Trevor supervising my landing.

At first it did not look like there was going to be very much lift, but as we got in the air the clouds were forming.   The lift turned out to be pretty good, and all that Condor practicing seemed pay off , we stayed up for 94 minutes !

"I'll fly with you anytime! " said Trevor after the flight , I took it as a huge compliment to hear that from such a good pilot !

 Tuesday I headed back up to the field, and when I arrived I noticed that nobody was flying .

" How come nobody's in the air? " I ask .

 "The air is flat, there appears to be no lift ." comes comes the reply.

  "Okay, we'll go do our sausage run and then come back , hopefully there will be lift by then . "

 We load back into the van and take off for a nearby town that has a fantastic sausage shop,  within an hour we are back of the flying field.

 " Well  there still doesn't seem to be any lift, did you want to go for a flight anyhow? " I'm told .

" Sure do! I'm here so I might as well fly! "

 It takes About 10 minutes to load me into the glider, there is no hurry because nobody else wants to fly yet anyhow . John volunteers to ride in the back with me, brave soul!  We put my cuff on so that I can grab the stick, get me all positioned and strapped in and away we go! John in the back does the tow, and at 3000 feet above ground we release from the tow plane.

"Okay, get yourself organized," John says from the back.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A Great Day Soaring!

The End Of A Great Flight

Well, global warming in Alberta (-40 with 4ft of snow for about 7 months) has now begrudgingly given way to the monsoon season. Those of us waiting all winter for the spring soaring season have had little to cheer about, even the Soaring Week at the Edmonton Soaring Club had more hours logged shopping than flying. It  seems our friend Murphy was well rested after the winter and eager to try for the 'Employee Of The Year' award.

Last Wednesday I was thoroughly enjoying (not) watching the Weather Channel for a few hours, from the comfort ('not' again) of a dentist's chair. I thought that maybe I was either confused or drugged. The Idiot Box showed steady rain for our area, but a glance out the window revealed blue skys dotted by cute little puffy clouds. To a glider pilot, this means 'drop whatever the heck you're doing and get to the field, it's go-time!'.

Terryll shows up to pick me up after my joyous (you guessed it - not) morning, "Looks like flying weather to me."

"Yep," I reply, "Wanna go?"

"You waited all winter to go, let's try!"

A dash home for a call to the club and gimp-flying-supplies (us quads don't do anything without tons of supplies/adaptations/misc crap, only we know what it's all for and we're not telling) and we're off!

I was rewarded with a 1:32 flight with Bob in the Puchacz, and got to practice the thermal-finding skills that we honed all winter! What a great day it turned out to be!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Icloud Saves Marriage

Iphone lost for 24hrs. House turned upside-down, vehicles overturned in search, inappropriate accusations flying, marriage survival unlikely ... then ... www.icloud.com pinpoints the delinquent communications device (green dot on photo, lost while weedeating) ... disbelief ensues (we haven't been out THERE) ... but a click of the "Play Sound" button produces it's mournful cry for help from said location ... rescue imminent, household bliss ensues, apologies accepted, marriage repaired ... all's well. Try icloud.com if you lose your iphone, free but priceless!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A Day Spent Fishin' Is A Day Added On To The End Of Your Life

My buddy Dave came by the other day for a visit. We hashed out the usual problems that life throws at us. You know the ones, the noise that causes us to lose sleep when we know intellectually that there is no immediate solution, no immediate danger, and losing sleep is just dumb.

"Do you want to b.s. while fishing?" I ask, not trying to railroad my buddy into doing something he doesn't want to by using guilt (who am I kidding? I'll guilt, beg, whine, anything to go fishing! My friends know me too well and factor it into visits).

"I should probably go soon," Dave replies.

"No problem, maybe next time." I reply, knowing that the pond will get to work at its job of luring another fly-rod out of the trunk.

We continue to solve the world's problems with our immense intellect for a few minutes, noting that Dave's eyes are starting to wander towards the trout pond.

"Let's fish," he suddenly announces, "We can talk while casting!"

Within minutes, we're gently dropping our deadly barbless Doc Spratley flies into the clear blue water, still solving previously ignored world crises, but now there are long therapeutic pauses in the conversation to detect the subtle bite of a rainbow trout, and to land and safely release them.

Kw and Dave 1 - Life's Stress 0

Friday, 26 April 2013

Springtime Fly-Fishing

Yesterday's Catch

The calendar said spring arrived 5 weeks ago, Global Warming said spring arrived 7 weeks ago, I say spring is coming soon maybe. Summer is short here (I hear it falls on a Tuesday this year), so we don't want to waste any of it!

Fly-fishing/Ice-fishing is a uniquely Canadian sport. Where else would you cast a bug into an opening in an ice-covered lake, trying to convince a normally-intelligent Rainbow Trout that this is a plausible natural occurrence. Yesterday was a great day to give it a whirl, what a blast!

Spring is officially here!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Springtime ... yay.

Ah summertime! The time us Canucks enjoy the things in life that the rest of the world brags about all winter on Facebook! There's camping in the mountains, fly-fishing, hiking, flying gliders, beautiful sunsets on the deck with the aroma of the bar-b-que. Here it is, April, the time that the grass starts growing, the flowers pop and the world comes to life.

I emerge from the bedroom this morning, nicely coiffed with fresh coffee steaming in cup. I arrive at my computer desk with smile on face, gaze out the window at the gorgeous springtime ... wtf? ... the window's fogged ... no ... wait ... it's friggin snow! The wind is howling, snow is a foot deep, the grass is all buried again! A quick check of the calendar reveals that yes, it is April, but snow? Blizzard? A glance around the room and there it is, my fly-rod in the corner, waiting patiently, not in any hurry to get to work.

I find a video in the far corner of my computer and dust it off. It was taken last summer for just such an occasion! While camping in the mountains, we mounted a camera on my hat (imagine that, it's hard enough for us gimps to look cool let alone letting somebody strap a camera on our head), and I travelled a 17min loop down nature trails. I now sit and watch the video with steaming coffee and smug grin, daydreaming about summer weather that may make a guest appearance some day. Isn't global warming great?

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Winter Gliding In Canada ... Eh

Getting Towed To 2000ft
"There's lift over here, " I transmit.

"Sounds good, I'll be right there."

A quick glance to the right reveals the glider turning towards you. You're at 8,000 feet near the Livingston Range just North of Cowley Alberta. You can see the mountains, lakes, rivers, towns and roads far below. The two gliders circle inside the thermal. The pilots have their heads on 'swivel', being careful to keep each other in sight to prevent a midair collision.

"Ok, this thermal is dyin', let's carry on," says Dwayne from Grande Prairie.

"Sounds good," I reply as we both roll our gliders level, retract the flaps,  and head out to the Southeast.

"When was this?" you might ask.

 "Last evening." sez I.

"Where?" you reply, thinking that there's no gliding in The Great White North in February ... eh.

 "At home,"

"You been smokin' or drinkin'?"

 "Nope, been flyin" I reply.

"Bull Sh--," you say, not watching your language very well I might add.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Fishin' The Keys

Our Campsite, Backed Up To The Gulf of Mexico!

My bobber disappears below the clear blue waves, and stays under. "I wonder what bit this time?" I say.

I reel up the slack in my line as quick as I can (us quads take forever to do this, especially in a hurry) and when it is almost tight I give the rod a sharp tug upward. I feel the thud (uh-oh) as the line tightens on something REAL solid, and the hook is sunk deep into whatever bit it. Then I see a large splash in the water, and a cloud of silt as the fish takes off from left to right in about 3 feet of water. The line starts peeling off my reel at an incredible rate.