“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

Some people (who I am sure grew up with a last name of Rockefeller, Carnegie, or Vanderbilt) absolutely love Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Bah humbug-poo-pooing Christmas or thinking of converting to Judaism ( 8 days of it?), I’m just stating the facts that “the season of giving” has become something very different  in the minds of most Americans. But still, all truth be told, I actually really enjoy this time of year! Having a six-year-old everything related to Christmas becomes magical, from Santa’s key placed on the door (it still trip’s me out that I tell my son not to talk to strangers, and definitely not to let them into our home… But then tell him that some dude from out-of-town (Santa), that no one has ever seen (STRANGER DANGER!), is given an open invite to enter one night a year and that I am totally ok with it?..Kind of feels like the frame-work for “The Purge” movie’s (plus or minus a few things) if you ask me). Then you have all of the crazy Shenanigans that his Elf on the shelf gets into. (Once again, seems a little counterproductive that Santa sends an elf to make sure that children are behaving… Then the elf just runs amok, doing things that would get real children beat. Don’t believe me, click that link above and see what some have been filmed doing, Just make sure the kiddo’s aren’t looking.) Even Snow is magical to a child, what we see as a trip to the chiropractor and slippery driving conditions, they see a winter wonderland where every white flake is not only edible, but also the beginning of the perfect snowman. Every decorated house they see is a magical dancing light castle with neon icicles, we see it as a strong chance of falling off of a ladder and elevated electrical bills. The sad part to me is that we (as adults) have a very strong tendency to push our thoughts upon our children, even if subconsciously. We gets stressed about the cost of the holidays, and in so our children do the same. We feel the need to keep up with social standards of high cost gift giving, and that becomes the baseline for what our children expect. A set of statistics collected from American households shows that in 2017 people are planning on spending $54 more than they did in 2016 on christmas gifts. $983 dollars as compared to $929 last year.  Who the hell can afford that? Even if you can, why would you want to “Push” that sentiment about the season into your children’s idea of what the season is all about? We all had those moments when we were in elementary school where you would head back after Christmas break and the first question from every kids mouth wass “What did Santa bring you?” You would be excited, and reply “Santa brought me a bike”, to which the other child would reply “Oh! (long pause) Well Santa brought me a snowmobile and a Nintendo 64, and a unicorn…” What the Hell! You knew damn well that kid deserved coal, like bags and bags of the stuff. It was probably a big conspiracy anyway, where the kids rich parents bought every coal mine in existence, just so that Santa couldn’t give any of it to their children… Then they were probably paying the elves to work in the family owned sweat shop in the off-season to squeeze the coal into diamonds! Nothing has changed, and kids are experiencing the same exact things today. It matters more what they got and what they have, then what the gave and who they are. So what’s the answer? Man, If i knew that I would write a book and become a millionaire…

…But here is what I think… All people are blessed in one way or another, Some can cook, some can paint, some can write. (if you know one of those people, send me their number, I could sure use the help) No matter what you have led yourself to believe, you are good at something, and no matter what it is… Your children look up to it, and wish that they could do the same. (Given if you can drink more than anyone in town I don’t recommend that you buy your 9-year-old a moonshine still, but I think you get the point.) Since I hunt and fish, my son wants to hunt and fish. I love to camp, now he does too. By catering to these interests, you are actually guaranteeing the opportunities to enjoy your relationship together while participating in them.  Want to blow your kids minds? Most companies ask their employees to put in their vacation requests right after the first of the year, (which just so happens to be right after Christmas). Instead of giving your child (or any loved one for that matter) some gift under the tree that they won’t remember next year, try taking a piece of paper and writing 4 simple things on it, place it in a box with a picture frame, wrap it up in a big old box and put it under the tree…

Where:                                                                                                                                                      

What:                                                                                                                                                        

Your name:                                                             Approved by:                                                        

They will surely be confused as to what it means, (and you probably are too at this point) but it’s pretty simple. It’s a family get away request, you are allowing your child to pick what the vacation will be that year. Kids are a lot more perceptive then you think, and more likely than not, they already know your financial situation. You may think they will write “Disneyland” every year but you may be surprised at what they would really like to do instead, and how understanding they are of family limitations. If given the opportunity my son would much rather go fishing and camping, then drive 16 hours to stand in line for 12 hours to ride 3 rides. Let them pick what you will do, and where they would like to go. Let them pick what to eat and what to drink, Yes, you may end up eating hotdogs, maccaroni and cheese and drinking yoo-hoo for 3 meals a day, but in all reality is that really all that bad? Most importantly, take lots of pictures on your adventure. Pick the best one and put it into the picture frame you gave with the gift. Mount it on the wall, and  I bet they won’t forget all the excitement or what they got last year. Especially with a glossy 8″ x 10″ to remind them.  Plus it creates a tradition that can be repeated no matter what is going on for the other 51 weeks out of the year.

Personally, I will have a very different Christmas this year, My second son is only 10 days away from being born, and when all goes well, we will be home 3 days before Christmas. As I type, our elf is currently zip-lining down a set of christmas lights, Santa’s key is on the back of the door, the tree is lit and the boy is trying his hardest to only do bad stuff where Griswald (the elf) can’t see. As for me, I’m just gonna let him see all of it, maybe I’ll try to cap the year off with a few extra demerits on Santa’s naughty list… I have a couple idea’s for projects I’d like to bang out on the forge, and a little extra coal never hurts.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

-Grant Willoughby and the Willoughby family, 12/10/2017-

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Perpetuate the sanctity of the harvest.

It’s been a long morning, and it isn’t even close to over yet. The light dusting of snow has made the world brighter, yet you know that it is far to early to get out of the truck and venture forth into this frigid November day in pursuit of your intended target. Venison! You look over at your partner in crime, this time it is your oldest boy. You know it was the right decision, being 13 and all, he has already reaped the delicious rewards of hard work and dedication, and he deserves it again. Taking a short swig of scalding coffee from the thermos you steal a glance at him. He’s a good-looking kid, smart, caring, every parents dream. You know that soon enough he will be away at college, and you will be all alone on these early morning voyages. But even that doesn’t pardon him from a little ribbing from Dad. “Get your eyes off that damn phone, and pay attention to what’s going on around you. I know it’s early but that doesn’t mean theres nothing to see, If I wanted to babysit I would have brought your little sister along!” He flashes back a smile, and turns the screen off on his phone. Conversation’s carry on like they always do, school, grades, sports and girls, spoken softly to pass the time. “You know”, you pause as you start one of those “Dad stories” you promised yourself you would never tell… “I wasn’t that much older than you the first time I met your mother…” “Dad wait, did you see that?” he questions you intently. You shake your head, signaling that you had not. You try to focus your attention without getting tunnel vision in the early morning gloom. You remind yourself to look for movement more than anything else… Out of the corner of your eye you finally see it. “That’s our boy right there” you whisper to your son as you nod out the left side of your snow covered windshield. In an instant he is trying desperately to open the passenger side door, power door lock have a hell of a way of  reminding people they have to stay patient. You take a look at your watch 9:25 A.M. “5 minutes kiddo then it’s game time.” As clockwork always does, the last moments crept by the slowest, then in a second everything changes, the lights come on, and neither of you can control your excitement. Both doors fly open in an instant, looking like mouse traps wired in reverse. The cold wind tears at your previously warm checks and the snow obscures your vision. You try to keep your footing on the icy ground, and make your way quickly and quietly toward your intended prey. As you silently slide into position, you ask your son if he is ready? “I been waiting for a whole year Dad, I’m definitely ready for this”. You smile, knowing exactly how he feels, and in one quick motion you open the door and you are greeted by warm air and the smell of curly fries. Arby’s has the Meats, and for a limited time… The Venison too!

Before you instantly hit that back button on your web browser, thinking that this a shameless plug for a fast food chain and wondering why you waste 15 minutes of your Sunday pilfering though my nutball half-baked theories about how rifles are more accurate than shooters, my love for 10 round ar-15 mags, and my infatuation with snow, hear me out. The Montana Wildlife Federation (WMF) has written a letter to the corporate offices of Arby’s expressing their displeasure with Arby’s decision to sell “Wild game” sandwiches. In case you didn’t see it last year, Arby’s broke ground in the overpriced not good for you food market by selling venison sandwiches in a few select (read 5 states, 17 restaurants) locations, that they believed were “prime” for such a sandwich. Problem was the demand was much larger than the supply, and they sold out quick! So being a caring company, (sorry I just gagged on sarcasm) Arby’s decided to re-release the sandwiches this year on October 21st in 3,300 locations nationwide, and if you are lucky enough to live in the states of  Montana, Wyoming or Colorado there is also an elk option. So why does Montana give two rips if Arby’s sells a wild game sandwich you might ask? Well first of all it’s not “wild game”, “wild game” cannot be sold in the United States, only “farm raised games animals” can. But they doesn’t have the ring of “wild game” does it? “This runs counter to Montana’s fair-chase hunting values by encouraging the commercialization of a public wildlife resource.” thats a direct quote from the letter, seems pretty solid to me. So where does this “venison” come from you may ask? Well it would be almost IMPOSSIBLE to procure enough deer meat from domestic markets, in so Arby’s has this “farm rased game meat” sent in from New Zealand. (outsource anyone?) Another fear of the department (which is why the community voted in the year 2000 to make new commercial farming of wild game animals illegal in their state) is “concerns about unethical captive shooting activities and the spread of disease”. (Which makes sense, wild birds don’t have salmonella, only domesticated birds do.) And as to “unethical shooting activities” I think we can all find a commen ground in undestanding that “some people” are so intoxicated with the idea of  their name in a record book, that they may be “persuaded” into pen raising an animal, filling it with whatever they can in order to promote giant horn growth, and harvesting it, only to later claim it as a potential State or World record. Some peoples kids right?

What do I think? Well if someone lives in an area where they may potentially never get to try deer meat (I don’t know where this place is, and if I ever hear of this place I will avoid it like the plague) or if a person lives in a family where hunting is considered  “savage” and “not needed in this modern civilization” (they probably live in that place where they can’t try deer meat) then I think it is nice that they will be able to try a “tamed” down version of the real thing. If someone has never tried game meat, and after trying these sandwiches they become an active part of wildlife conservation ( Remember the Pittman-Robertson act? The one that guarantees that a 11 percent of firearm and ammo sales goes directly back to that states wildlife management. Fishing and hunting liscences go directly back into the state too.) then thats also great. But it isn’t “wild game”, and it will never have the same appeal as an animal that lived free and was harvested in its own enviroment, with fair chase ethically. If you have never ate a rear inner tenderloin from a deer so fresh it hasen’t hit room temperature yet, you haven’t lived. Chicken is great, but it can’t hold a candle to the flavor of a freshly harvested grouse breast pan fried in a cast iron skillet over an open fire. Last night I made grilled stuffed burritos with cilantro rice, black beans, jalapeno, bacon, and pan seared widgeon and gadwall that I harvested, cleaned and cooked myself. (Don’t tell Chipotle grill, or it may be on the menu next week!) Wild game gains flavor with time, both in the aging process, and in the persuit of the animal. No commercialized politically correct version of “wild game” can ever compete with the real thing, and the memories of hunting with friends and family will far outweigh the memories of eating a damn sandwich. Sorry, its just the facts.

-Grant Willoughby 11/05/2017-

We really need to stop…

It happens every year… Thanksgiving day, around 2 o’clock the old man backs into his drive way in that old Ford pickup. He gets out gingerly, retrieving his ancient .32 Winchester special from the gun rack in the back window, and continues his stroll towards the front door. Several minutes later with youngin’s in tow , the garage door raises and he gently lowers the tail gate. “That old man did it again” you mutter to yourself in a tone you hope will be quiet enough to disguise the jealousy in your voice. You look over to your wife, “I don’t know how he does it? He hunts one day a year, leaves at 6 A.M., returns home in time to carve the bird, and always gets a buck. What’s he doing that I’m not? I think he borrowed that rifle from Jesus for Petes sake.”  Your wife just smiles and goes back to tending the gravy, and mashing potatoes.

With a World that has become entirely structured by political correctness, it amazes me that we still do it, but we really need to stop, and we need to stop it now!.. Stop Caliber shaming! It’s not just black rifle calibers that matter, ALL calibers matter! In being a red-blooded ‘Merican, and collecting a paycheck working for a beer distributer, its pretty easy to guess that I work with a lot of dudes who love to hunt… And every person that slings up a rifle and heads out looking for backstraps and glory, has their own personal preference as to what the best critter getter caliber is. I do too, but one thing that I learned selling firearms is that people like to tell you why their opinion is right for them, and why every other option is wrong, and boy do those conversations ever get heated. Just yesterday I had a guy tell me that this year he is actually hunting with a “REAL” gun, he finally got rid of that .270 Win, and got himself a “THREE-HUNDRED”. After asking him which of the “three-hundreds” he got, (remember, there is a .300 H&H, .300 Winchester, .300 Winchester short mag, .300 Weatherby, .300 Remington ultra mag, and even the .300 Savage for that matter.) After determining that he had acquired a .300 Win mag, I asked him why he felt so compelled to get rid of the .270? “.270’s a girl gun, and ain’t good for killing nothin’ except for maybe a doe or something. Two years ago I took a shot at a buck at like 300 yards with it, and it just don’t have enough power to put something down at that range. Last year I shot a buck four times and didn’t even kill it.” Well I’ll be damned, I own a .270, I had better just run right down and trade it in. The .270 Winchester is just garbage right?.. I mean who wants a damn girl gun, that can’t shoot 300 yards, and is incapable of both killing bullet proof deer or automatically adjusting for both windage and elevation in order to make up for your poor shooting ability? Who cares that Jack O’Connor (who was a man) traveled all around the World killing the hell out of everything (the list does not only include “does”) with one? Who cares that the caliber was in fact created to be used on big game animals at long ranges (some sources even claiming up to 1000 yards) All that means nothing, because “I know a guy”… We have all heard mis-information fairytale’s start the exact same way. You know what they say about opinions and excrement holes… Hell, I knew an old-timer who lived in Whitefish Montana, he bought a Winchester Model 70 chambered in the .243 Winchester in 1955 (the first year of the calibers inception) He proceeded to shoot everything (and I do mean everything) that lives in Montana, from marmots, to mountain goats and moose, a 100 grain .243 bullet displaced everything just fine. Does that mean that it is the perfect do all caliber? For him it was.

Lets be honest here, There are a TON of calibers, and if given the opportunity I would own one firearm in every one of them. Why? Because I appreciate all of them for what they are, and don’t condemn them for what they are not. I think that the .17 Remington is one pretty stinking sweet varmint round, would I want to use it to kill an elephant? Nope. I understand its limitations in the same way that I don’t want to hunt coyotes with a .460 Weatherby (ok maybe I wouldn’t “mind” blasting a yote with a 500 grain bullet at 2600 fps for around 7,504 foot pounds of energy just one time 😉 ) There is a right tool for every job, but a skilled craftsmen can make up slightly for inferior tools with exceptional skill. (Noah built the ark… He didn’t own a laser guided sliding compound miter saw or anything.) No amount of “ballistic chart” hype can make up for lousy shooting. As for calibers, any round developed with the idea of taking “said” size animal will do a pretty amazing job at it if you do your part. Be it the now long forgotten .250 Savage (otherwise known as the .250-3000, because it was the first American made cartridge that achieved 3000 fps) or the 8mm Remington magnum (most people would only know this round as the parent cartridge of the 7mm Shooting Times Westerner, which according to Kris, when you shoot the STW, you don’t “call your shots”, you “file a flight plan with the FAA”) each round has a place in the particular set of hands, and in the hearts of those that choose it as their preferred weapon. Just because you don’t select it as yours, doesn’t mean that it has no use.

-Grant Willoughby 10/22/2017-

Unplug!

As the rain pitter-patter’s on the steel roof of my humble abode, I sit here quietly wishing that it was 12 degrees colder outside… I know what you are thinking, and no I’m not going to do chapter 2 of “Can you feel the nip in the air?” even though it would be a great idea. More so this blog is to be one centered around something that is quite contradictory. Y’all need to unplug.

We all know that I am the master of contradiction, I wrote about how great AR-15’s were when I didn’t even own one (even though I had shot PLENTY, and sold literally hundred’s of them), then when I finally pull the trigger and purchase one, I haven’t written anything about them since… I write about the benefits of carrying a sidearm as the centralized part of your EDC kit, then someone see’s me out in public armed with only a knife for personal protection. What sacrilege… Am I a hypocrite? I sure don’t think so, I prefer to take Kris’s stand point of accepting the challenge of bringing a knife to a gunfight every once in a while. I don’t feel that you come to our Post World Patriot page to hear us chatter nothing but tacticool jargon all the time. If that is what you’re looking for, there are plenty of web pages that do just that. Hopefully none of the other members of PWP will take an exception to the fact that I am speaking for them, but I feel the need to. We are not the stereotypical firearm/ survival/ tactical website. We don’t take the position of being elitists when it comes to everything that we do, You can call it whatever you want, but I call it a breath of fresh air in an industry that has become stale in topic. ” I only use a thumb forward modified C-grip while shooting my Gen III Noveske N6 Switchblock, I refuse to place my cheek upon anything that wasn’t made in Grants Pass, Oregon by John Noveske” Blah, Blah, Blah, nobody cares! Ok, I take that back, obviously someone does or else those pages wouldn’t exist (or be so popular). That just isn’t us. Sure we could just regurgitate info that we read in the coolest gun magazines, but if you wanted that info you would probably just buy that magazine. At least if you read the article you’re getting the information from the person that actually did the testing. There are lots of “Google degree” graduates out there, I’m just not one of them. Sure I will read up on a thing or two in pursuit of knowledge and understanding, but until I have busted my knuckle on “that” difficult bolt, or until I have personally shot that “particular” rifle, with that “particular” optic, I don’t feel I should be the one who stands at the altar and passes judgement on it. If you don’t experience these things yourself, than you really don’t know, your just taking someone elses word for it. There is only one way to truly gain that knowledge (Let the contradictions begin)… Turn the computer and phone off, and step out into the world and experience them! Yes I know that you read this on some sort of internet enabled device, and by all means keep visiting our page and reading our blogs, but on the flip side of that coin start doing some intimate research on your own. It amazes me that 6-year-old children know every function on an Iphone, but don’t know how to tie a fisherman’s knot. The ability to have patience and actually wait for something is nonexistent, and doing things the “old” or “traditional” way is being forgotten before we ever have a chance to teach it. It’s not just the wee-lads in elementary schools either, I work with guys in there 20’s who have never written a check for God’s sake! Everything has always been electronic for them, electronic payments and electric deposits… Instant oatmeal and instant messenger… Do you remember the last time that you hand wrote a letter and mailed it old school,  like with a stamp and the whole nine yards? People still do it I promise you. Remember when you listened to the radio and sometimes waited all day to hear that new song that you like? Not now, you can instantly listen to that song all 3 times that it takes for you to grow tired of it, all from your phone. Some of these guys have never bought a CD… I use to buy cassette tapes man, you put it in and had to listen to the whole thing or become a fast finger clairvoyant in order to guess just how much fast forward or rewind you needed in order to hear your favorite Skidrow song twice in a row.  The struggle was real!

What we write about are the things that we have experienced in our lives, and with experience comes knowledge. I have learned a lot while having a 6-year-old Son around the house. On any given day I need to be proficient in all forms of toy repair, I may be called upon to proform most basic medical procedures, all while being a caring father and still being able to identify the telltale signs that he is spending way to much time in front of the television or on his tablet. You cannot be scared to tell those you care about to get off their damn phone. “But they get bored”, do something about it, get them up and out of the boredom. Try this experiment: Take one day out of the weekend, unplug your TV, turn the data off on all the phones, cook an honest homemade breakfast (lately we have been doing some great fruit and oatmeal variations that have become favorites. No instant oats allowed!) After breakfast, pick a project that can be proformed around the house in a timely manner (if tools are involved most kids will instantly want to help) and when the work is done… Go have some fun! Kick it old school, load up the fam and take a ride into the woods lookin for critters, or grab a dozen night crawlers and head out to the lake. Build a snowhill, or jump in that pile of leaves that you worked so hard to rake up. Drink hot cocoa (with marshmellows). Take time and enjoy all of the moments.  you will be amazed at how quickly your day has passed and how much fulfilment you got from it. Days like this have amazing rejuvinating abilities, Its funny how sometimes the only way to recharge your batteries is to completely unplug from the system.

-Grant Willoughby 10/14/2017-

Trust Issues…

Maybe I’m a bit cynical, but each day I become more leery of the people around me. Maybe it is just something that comes with age. We all know that you can’t trust a skinny cook, (seriously if you were to walk into a restaurant and have the choice between eating a signature dish prepared by Guy Fieri (who from the looks of things, would eat gravy on cupcakes) or by Giada de Laurentiis (who would double her weight by eating half a tic-tac) which meal would you pick? I know who’s got my ticket.) I know you can’t trust used car salesmen (unless you are a used car salesmen, and if so… Where the hell were you when I was looking for the wifes van huh? You could have changed my view of your whole sub-species!) You don’t trust unfamiliar dogs, thin ice, people s turn signals, carny’s, or deals that seem to good to be true. Hell, I don’t even trust a dude who claims to be a hunter, yet does not recall what weight bullets they sling outta their pea-shooter. But that isn’t really what I’m trying to talk about with this blog. My trust issues are rooted in something way deeper then getting swindled by a carny (rat bastards spraying Pam into the ashtrays so my dime slips out). What worries me is that people have decided that being an individual, is more important than saying and doing what is right. When you flip on the TV that is all that you see. Don’t even get me started on sports…

My youth was spent trying to convince myself that I was an athlete, I played every sport that I could sign up for, 12 months out of the year. When I finally made it to a level where they actually played the National Anthem before our sporting events, I could not have been more proud to remove my helmet and place my hand over my heart. It made me feel like I was a professional , it made me proud to be an American, it is the right thing to do and it was a little way of saying thank you to our Country for the ability to participate in such activities. Obviously that is not how a lot of athletes feel now… All this crap started way back in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick decided the best way to show that he felt black individuals were being oppressed would be to sit during the National Anthem. How the two correlate is completely beyond me, peacefully protest all you like, but why would you feel the need to do it during the National Anthem for God’s sake?  If you feel that you are being treated poorly, by all means express your displeasure with the situation, but do so in a way that will help create solutions to the problem, at the same time not create other problems as a byproduct. Now I feels as though people are deciding to kneel or stay in the locker room during the Anthem because it is the “cool” and “politically correct” thing to do… I think it’s all a bunch of crap, and to expect 100% participation ( either by participating in the protest, or by rising for the National Anthem) by the coaching staff, and owners is just absurd. Just do whats right! People, as being very privileged American citizens (if you really don’t think that we are all privileged, try pulling any of the stunts that you get away with under the protection of our Constitution, in any other Country… Just saying.) should feel some sort of pride in their Country, and in their ability to have a voice. Not everyone around the world has that same ability, and we should be thankful. I guess I just don’t trust anyone who is so quick to stand behind the protection of the First Amendment, but refuses to actually stand for the physical symbol that represents this Countries freedoms, and it’s Constitution that guarantees them that right.

Each day , we all have the ability to play the cards that we are dealt. We have the choice to make the most of our resources. We have the choice in how we carry ourselves and how we do business. We have the choice to teach our children right from wrong. We have the choice to pay homage to our Forefathers, and to all of the soldiers that have sacrificed so much for our freedom. Ultimately “We The People” have been tasked with writing the history books of tomorrow with the choices that we make today. No one can decide what is right for you, or tell you which direction is your “True North”. It is up to you to decide how you would like to be remembered, and what your pages in that history book will say that you represented. But as for me and mine, I will teach my Son (soon to be Son’s) the difference between right and wrong, I will teach them to be honest and hard-working. I will teach them to love with all of their heart and be compassionate. I will teach them to stand for whats right, even if they are standing alone… And speaking of standing; We will continue to stand whenever the flag is raised. Not because we have to, but because it is the RIGHT thing to do. You can put your trust in that.

-Grant Willoughby 10/8/2017-

Way cheaper then therapy…

Remember back to a time when you didn’t have to stress about paying bills, a time where your only worry was a good time… Those times are not gone forever, we have just been taught to overlook them, disguised as youthful ignorance. Our perception of life has  been skewed by what we think we have to be in order to be considered “grown ups”… Well guess what, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Your “grown up” life gets in the way of your real life, monday thru friday is our punishment for what we like to do on the weekends. Tell me I’m wrong? Its impossible. If you had the choice to put in extra time at work, or take your family for an extra day of vacation which would you pick? if you could make an extra $25 on your paycheck, or have a barbecue with those you care about, crack a few cold beers, and eat like it was the last supper… Which would you choose?

Yesterday was one of the few occasions where the stars lined up and Kris, Nick and I were able to synchronize our watches and take a trip up into the woods and do a little shooting. Were talking full-blown redneck extravaganza, clay pigeons, shotguns, ar-15’s and dueling 45’s? My hands still smell like burnt powder… You know what? I may never wash them again! But more important than the rounds that we sent down range, was the time spent. Sure we burnt up a couple hundred dollars in ammo (seriously we weren’t messing around) Laughs were shared from the minute we started our voyage. From breakfast burritos from a women with sharpie applied eyebrows to possibly pre pm hour beers (no, I don’t drink and shoot. because Badger ordinance decided not to commercially build their tactical beverage retention system) a great time was had by all. Yeah I probably could have shot a little better, but by the same token that wasnt the point, it was all about enjoying a little trigger time and good friends always make good company, My sides are still aching… Then we had to load everything back up and return to civilization, and guess what happened? In the course of 7 hours, my whole mood had changed. Where I had been a little short in the morning with the boy, the wife and even the dogs,  when I returned home I had done a complete 180. How does that happen, and why do I always forget the remedy? When our stress levels start to climb there is almost always a correlation with the lack of time doing what we truly enjoy.

This year has been a different one for me, I never even pulled the tarp off of my camper, I fished twice, didn’t hunt all spring, went shooting once. You know what I did do? Get stressed, had a short temper, and to be completely honest, I became an asshole. Putting money in the bank account to sustain an existence, became more important than living the life that I have and being thankful for all the blessings. We all fall victim to adult-itis, and it is important to take care of business, but remember why you are doing it. You can’t take money to your grave, if it’s a decision of one more dollar in your bank account, or one more bedtime story that you get to read to your children and one more sit down dinner and goodnight kiss for the wife, I can just about guarantee what they will pick. Some say “you have to remember to stop and smell the flowers”, well flowers really aren’t my thing but I still understand the sentiment. Maybe we need to “stop and smell the powder” and take time to enjoy the life that we have worked so hard to create. Give yourself a “spiritual recharge” and remember what makes you happy. A Saturday morning and a couple of boxes of ammo can change your whole perspective, maybe even your life, hell its way cheaper than therapy…

-Grant Willoughby 9/24/2017-

Like a Boss!

Ownership does not constitute competency. We have all heard it, it doesn’t matter if it is playing a guitar or proficiency with firearms. It doesn’t matter how many you own, if you are not well-practiced and disciplined in your drive for success, you are nothing more than a collector. We talk guns all the time, if im not shooting for sport or hunting, chances are pretty good that I’m flapping my gums, or pounding away at the keyboard about boom sticks and smoke poles. Whether those surrounding me want to hear about them or not. But not this week, no Sir, were going to talk about the really important stuff. Cookin’ and Eatin’!

It still amazes me that for all the people who hunt and fish, (somewhere around 250,000 hunting licences, and nearly half a million fishing licences are sold annually in Idaho alone.) how few of those people know how to cook a meal with the animals they harvest. Anybody can open up a pack of deer burger, smash it between their grubby mits and burn the snot out of it on a barbecue, that’s not what im talking about. I am speaking about crafting home cooked delicious meals with delectable protein that you have harvested, cared for, and prepared correctly. Some hear the word “venison” and instantly turn their nose up, stating that “deer meat is gross”. Well I’ll be damned, I must have always been cooking it wrong, because mine has always been super tasty. Lets break a few things down, and burst some bubbles before we even get into cooking with game and fish. First of all “venison” isn’t deer meat, “venison” is technically speaking any meat that is harvested by a hunter ( Its originates from the latin word venari, which means to hunt or pursue) typically though the term refers to any animal from the Cervidae (deer), Leporidae (hares), Suidae (wild pigs) family’s as well as some of the goats that are traditionally hunted. So pretty much all the things that we hunt with the exception of bears and cats are venison. Secondly, deer meat isn’t gross. Sure, some has more of a distinct flavor than others, but that really has more to do with the care and the handling of the meat than anything else in my opinion. In previous blogs I have given a few recipes for tasty dishes, and a few pointers for insuring that your hard-earned protein is treated with the greatest respect (if you don’t remember, you can go back and read them all again and click the like button, we can always use the positive feedback) But for now I would like to focus more on the cooking aspect wild game.

Red meat: You knew I was going to go here first huh? Why? Because it is the most sought after protein that hunters pursue. That being said, it is also the protein that is most obviously “abused” by hunters who believe that venison is “gamey”. Often times after a successful harvest, a hunter will take the cleaned carcass and drop it directly off at a butcher to have it processed. Just because you have a professional do your knife work for you does not guarantee that you will have better meat, the flavor and tenderness of your animal has as much to do with your post shot practice, than it does with someone’s ability to cut muscle groups apart. I know of more than a few hunters who will have their whole deer turned into jerky and burger, and I guess if that’s all you like to eat that’s fine, but at the same time there is limitless potential with the animal that you have laid before you. Venison is more moist, higher in protein, lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than grass-fed beef or pork. But it can be used in all the same dishes as either. Use your imagination, and learn to make meals that you look forward to preparing and presenting to your loved ones. I personally make quite a few brats out of my deer meat, because I love a good sausage (yes I can hear you giggling) and I own a combination grinder and sausage stuffer. Even at that, I don’t just season them the same and throw them into a bun (I do that also, but im not limited to it). My last batch of sausage consisted of standard brats, jalapeno cheese smokies, and sweet onion teriyaki sausages. Tasty as they were on their own, they also lended themselves well to being added to pasta dishes, stuffings and gumbos, just the same way that I would with any other store-bought sausages, but mine were better, and I never heard once that they were gamey. If you are not big on venison sloppy joes, tacos, meatloaf, stuffed bell peppers and burgers (and you consider yourself a hunter and an American?) then don’t get your animals ground up. Use those same low-fat cuts of meat that you would usually grind, and turn them into something that you like. I personally love a good Reuben sandwich, That sweet and salty corned beef or pastrami, the deli rye, the kraut, and a swiss cheese and coarse ground mustard… I’m drooling on my keyboard just thinking about it, and you can make your own pastrami with venison, and its pretty simple.

Venison pastrami:

Prep process:

  • 3 pounds of venison meat (leg meat works very well, it tends to have less connective tissue and is pretty lean)
  • To make your brine use 2 tablespoons of pink salt #1, a cup of kosher salt, 3/4 cups of brown sugar (or 3/4 cups regular sugar and a table-spoon and a half of molasses), and about 3 tablespoons of pickling spice (if you want to make your own, just add together 2 tablespoons mustard seed, 1 tablespoon whole allspice, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 2 whole cloves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 bay leaf, crumbled and 1 cinnamon stick (2 inches). Just mix it all together and put it into an airtight container. It will yield about 1/3 cup, so you will have plenty to use on future pickling projects.
  • In a stock pot add all brine ingredients to a gallon of water and stir frequently over medium heat until all sugar and salt is completely dissolved. Place brine into a non-reactive pot or crock (let’s be honest though, if you own a crock you probably have no reason to be reading my pastrami recipe) let the brine cool to room temperature (this is an important step because you don’t want the meat to try to boil when it enters the hot liquid, it will give a weird consistency to the outer crust of the meat)
  • Add the meat to the container, making sure that it is completely submerged in the liquid. Cover it tightly (or seal it with as little air as possible in a ziplock bag) and place it into your refrigerator to cure for 5 days.
  • Once the cure process is over, remove meat from the fridge and rinse it thoroughly. Move it to a pan and let it sit for an hour to completely dry. At this point you should cut a small piece off the roast and fry it quickly to check for salt content. If it is too salty just soak it in water for an hour or two. then move onto the cooking process.

Cooking process:

  • Seasoning a pastrami roast varies a lot depending on your personal tastes. A good base rub consists of 2 tablespoons black pepper, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon paprika and 1 tablespoon mustard seed. I personally like a lot more pepper, and I also like to use the 3 pepper medley with white, red and black pepper.
  • cover your roast with your rub, making sure to cover all surfaces.
  • At this point you need to fire up the smoker and get it up to 225 degrees. The internal temperature of your roast will need to register 145-150 degrees before the smoke process can be considered done, so plan accordingly with enough soaked wood chips, and briquettes.
  • Once you have reached desired temperature, remove the roast from the smoker, and place it into a roasting pan with a wire rack that suspends the meat off of the bottom. Add an inch or two of water (or stock) to the bottom of the pan making sure that the meat does not make contact with the liquid. Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and place into an oven that has been preheated to 275 degree. Steam your pastrami for an hour to an hour and a half, or until it reaches your level of tenderness.
  • Let cool for at least 15 minutes and slice for sandwiches. if you have a meat slicer this task is much, much easier. You can also reserve half of your roast to make hash for breakfast… but that’s a whole different recipe all together.

If you are like me, you probably already have a barbecue, a smoker, a crock pot, an oven and who knows what else that you can use to cook with.  But, how many of you are truly proficient in the use of all of them? I know I sure as hell am not, but I’m trying to get there. I know that it is sometimes hard to work up the gumption to attempt new cooking styles (or even new recipes for that matter), but with hunting season upon us, we have the opportunity to do a little experimenting with our menus. Step out of the norm and you may be surprised at what you have crafted with the amazing protein that you have procured. Turn the cries of “Not deer burger again” to cheers of “can you please make that dinner every night?” With a little practice and some patience you can be feeding your family amazing healthy meals, that they will rave for years about, and commanding the kitchen… Like a Boss!

-Grant Willoughby 9/15/2017-

Opposites Attract…

I haven’t had a chance to write a blog in a bit, because there simply wasn’t enough hours in the weekend to do everything that I had to do, and write a blog too. For those that don’t know, my wife and I are expecting our second child (just found out it will be another BOY). With all the excitement, also comes a lot of preparation. It just so happens that the next challenge we had to check off our list was to get a different vehicle for the wife. Pretty cut and dry huh? This is where the adventure (and revelation) started for me…

First of all I hate debt, so the idea of spending ten’s of thousands of dollars on something that gets you from point “A” to point “B”, is pretty tough for me. Even more so the fact that you are making payments on something that will be worn out by the time you pay it off seems absurd. Secondly, I’m a very no frills kind of guy, so newer vehicles are super foreign to me. It looks as though almost nothing can be simple any more. My wife previously had a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was a pretty nice rig, (for her) leather seats, power everything, aftermarket everything… To me it seemed pretty loaded, until I  stepped into the first van (yes I said van) that was on the wifes radar… HOLY CRAP MAN, vans are not just for tree planters, people who live in Utah and have lots of children, or that dude that use to give me free candy as a child anymore. The things are more technically advanced then the friggen Bat-mobile! Backup cameras, power sliding doors, electric start, not one, but two DVD players, power inverters, AV inputs all over the place, mood lighting in the roof panels, the middle seats even spin around and there is a table that mounts into the floor so a family of five can sit in the back and have a meal together. Way to fancy for me, but it got me thinking about people in general, and how every person has their own idea system of what should be considered normal… Case and Point: My wife and I. You all have read where I have made reference to how different we are, but this damn van hunt (see how I had to tie it back to hunting to make myself feel better about the whole thing.) really made me think about how dis-similar that we truly are.

FOOD: My wife is a vegetarian, (ancient Indian word for shitty hunter) doesn’t like “real” meat, has fish on occasion. She married a man who will make three meat nachos, using jerky instead of chips. Her Idea of a perfect meal is some sort of black bean and cheese enchilada thing with a strain of rice that the Dalai llama himself discovered. Mine would be a hamburger made of ground prime rib, that uses moose back straps instead of buns (cooked rare of course) with a peppered blue cheese, for a side dish I would like bacon wrapped jo-jo’s, and boneless buffalo grouse wings. I literally spend hundreds of dollars each year in the pursuit of all things finned, furred and feathered, and I’m married to a women who upon seeing a deer first says “AWWWWWWW”, then quickly transitions to “Run Bambi Run”.  (I guess I can’t complain, it gives me an opportunity to practice my Doe bleat and see if I can stop a critter at full gallop right?) But whats important is that she doesn’t try to keep me out of the woods, and I don’t try (too hard) to get her to eat meat, that is the working balance that we have come up with, and it has worked pretty well.

LIFESTYLE: If you have spent time around me and my clan, you know that my wife does not leave the house without looking like she is ready to go to the biggest party of her life. Her make-up is always done, her hair is always perfect, she smells nice, she is beautiful. Which is crazy to me because she married the exact opposite of her. I can be out of bed and into the truck in less than 10 minutes,  I buzz my hair because I don’t like to waste time fixing it when I can just put a hat on. I grow a beard  because I hate to shave (as a plus, it makes me ruggedly handsome, like if a lumberjack and a viking had a baby), and as for fashion I don’t really care much, I try to dress in a way as to not embarrass her, and that serves my purpose, If a pair of shorts will carry my pistol, my multi-tool, a can, my keys, a knife and my wallet, while at the same time covering my unsavory parts I deem them to be perfectly fine to wear just about any place. While were talking about lifestyle let’s  just go down the list of differences: My wife has a smart phone (probably just like you ) that can do just about anything in the world email, text, watch videos of kids falling on bikes,  read Post World Patriot blogs, buy a custom ar-15 in .223 Wylde from Shogun munitions systems, or even order a copy of “hunt with the Sun at your back” from Amazon and leave us an awesome review for it… I have a ruggedized flip phone that has a compass that will work even when I don’t have cell phone service… And its camo. My Idea of lining up for a good shot is finding a good solid rest, insulating the forearm of the rifle from any hard surfaces, making sure that I focus on a clean trigger squeeze and my shooting breath. Her Idea has something to do with getting the whole family into the view finder in selfie mode. We bought the van mentioned above, so you already know its bells and whistles, but I drive a 1993 Ford F-350 crew cab, no power windows or locks, currently it has a power motor, a power stereo, and a power heater, that’s it! It is exactly what I wanted. But it wouldn’t be right for me to expect my wife to have those same requirements to justify her happiness, or vise versa.

People are different. When you think about it, even your closest friends don’t share the exact same thought processes that you do, And how can you expect them to? Yes I may wish that everyone else was the same kind of weird as me, but I know in all reality I would end up trying to get weirder to overcome the monotony of similarity. Acceptance of individual want and needs is very important, if you click on the news tickers, or flip on the boob-tube you are constantly seeing people rioting and fighting about their beliefs, which to me is the most hypocritical thing that a person can do. If you don’t like the way that someone else thinks, don’t listen to them. Why would you surround yourself with people who have made a choice to stand on the other side of the fence from where you hold to be truth? If someone wants to rally on one side of town about how meat is murder (delicious, delicious murder) and you are a butcher why would you go to that gathering? The only reason I can think of is to start a confrontation, and by doing so, you are  saying that your beliefs are more important than theirs. To me that is wrong. If you really don’t like the anti-meat rally being held, why not start your own rally (on the other side of town) and gather with others who believe as you do, your voice can be heard, and so can the other sides, just in different locations where the chances of altercations are lessened. We as fellow Americans have the right to gather and express our feelings and beliefs (no matter how strange and wrong they may be) in that we have to respect each other and work together in order to keep that liberty, be respectful and kind even when faced with situations that lend themselves well to confrontation. Be bigger then the problem, life your life in a way that perpetuates happiness and growth, not hate and fear. We can all get through this together, and person by person we can restore our faith in humanity. If the beautiful vegetarian women in the minivan, listening to Adele on her Iphone, sipping on a $4 bottled water can find it in her heart to love the redneck Grizzly Adams sitting on his tailgate, drinking a Budweiser, eating deer jerky, listening to Merle Haggard, then why can’t the rest of the world find a way to do the same?

-Grant Willoughby Suptember 3rd 2017-

 

 

Home Cookin’ not the Breaking Bad kind

Often tossed around is the idea, concept, fear, anticipation? of “What if SHTF!?!?!”  Many people spend a great deal of time and effort stock piling, building, prepping if you will, for this exact scenario.  Again I’m going to drop the “Skill sets over Assets” concept, because honestly I believe its a worthwhile pursuit over filling up one of my closets with baby corn so I can make my beloved Chinese food if I’m on lockdown at the ol’ homestead.  If your really “prepared” for this scenario, then let me ask, what do you know about fermentation?

The chemistry that makes much of our modern world what it is can be overlooked as a viable source of knowledge.  The process of fermentation is one of the oldest methods of food and water preservation.  It is also a step in the direction of making homemade alcohol, which has many more uses than just knocking back a cold beer on a hot summer day.  I implore you to forego your next trip to the supermarket to buy their entire stock of powdered milk to instead stop by your local library, you know that place that still carries real books, or yeah I suppose you could just use google, but take a serious look at the process of fermentation and how you can add that knowledge to your skill set.  You could even stop by your local homebrew store and talk to them about beer, wine, and cheese making(all of which require fermentation).  You might just pick up a new hobby to offset the ridiculous cost of craft beer, or learn to make some wine for that someone special.  Whichever the case, it will be worth your time.  With that I’ll leave you with an old world recipe from my homeland for pickles which are reason enough to look into fermentation, because if you don’t like pickles, well we just cant be friends.

3 day sun pickles:

2lbs – pickling cucumbers (yes you have to use the ones for pickling)

2.5 tablespoons of salt

2-4 cloves of garlic

Large bunch of dill

boiling water

1 slice of sourdough or light rye bread

Sterilize a storage container like a large mason jar, you can do this by boiling it or putting it in the oven.  Place half the dill and garlic cloves into the bottom of the jar and pack the cucumbers on top.  Dissolve the salt in a little boiling water (skip this if your using pickling salt)   Pour the salt water in and add the rest of the dill.  Fill the jar to just below the lip with boiling water and place the slice of bread on top.  Place your jar in direct sunlight for 3 days.  If your water evaporates during this process just top it up, the cucumbers need to stay submerged.  After they are pickled store them in the refrigerator, or eat them all in one go!

You asked for it…

All This heat… I blame it on you! If you remember way back on October 29, 2016 I wrote a little piece called “Can you feel the nip in the air” explaining my love of all things in the changing seasons of fall and winter… Shortly there after Kris posted a blog by the title of “I’m dreaming… But it’s not of a white Christmas”, explaining how he was not “built” for the cold, and how the dark days with nothing to forage, mentally challenge him. In all truth I think that a lot of people follow that same sentiment. But take a look outside right now (it was 68 degrees on my porch at 6:13 this morning) and I think it may be time to reevaluate your thought process. According to the local news, which I watch with the sound turned all the way down… in the early hours of the morning… in my underwear… (Yes, I guess my actions are finally matching the grey hairs I have recently been cultivating in my beard) it has been around 30 DAYS since we have had a measurable amount of precipitation, and the temperatures are going to fluctuate between 96  and 103 degree’s for the next 14 days. What the hell is this, Death Valley? If I have to live in a place that you can’t enjoy being outside, I at least want a better selection of Mexican food to choose from! This summer sucks, this late summer and early fall is going to be filled with fire restrictions that deem camping senseless (if you can’t have a camp fire and cook outside, I just don’t want to go). Say what you want about the short cold days of winter, but it is a scientifically proven fact… When its cold you can always throw on an extra coat, but when its hot you can only get so naked. Speaking of outdoor activities, and being limited by the cold… How many of you have been outside soaking up sunshine, and participating in the same activities that you do every other summer? I am guessing that this weather has forced you to adjust your vacation plans, at least to some extent. My friends have been picking huckleberries for the last couple of weeks, but now they have to leave at 3 a.m. in order to get to the woods, get some picking in, and be back into town before the real heat sets in. No more hauling the quads up, packing a lunch and making a day of it. It’s just too damn hot.

So whats a fella or lady to do? Just sit inside and gripe about the heat? Well that’s one option, but you and I both know that s not going to get us anywhere. Some people use this time of year to take that boat out that they have to make payments on all year and only get to use 6 times a summer. (Personally, I think it’s too hot to even be out on the boat, let’s be real honest here. Its 100 degrees, you’re sitting in the middle of the lake with no shade, probably having some wobbly pops, your super prone to heat stroke, a sun burn is inevitable. The fishing is horrible. Even when you jump out of the boat to cool off, you have to worry about every other yahoo on the lake running you over. How safe of a recreational activity does this really sound?) Personally if I can’t be fishing or hunting, I want to be getting ready to go fishing or hunting. Enter living room scouting: Of all the years I have spent in the field, and reading books about refining my craft, I (up until a few  weeks ago) had never heard of a stereoscope. Basically a stereoscope is a device that is to be used in conjunction with two identical images (in a 10″ x 10″ format) that have been shot from slightly different angles (or elevations in the case of some aerial photos) and when used correctly they give a true three-dimensional view. For the avid outdoorsmen, this is a fantastic tool for scouting. The USDA offices usually carries quite a few of your local areas maps shot in 2 formats to be used in a stereo scope. If they do not, they will gladly help you fill out the paperwork that needs to be submitted to have the Aerial Photography Field Office in Salt Lake City Utah, send you the pair of images that can be viewed with the stereoscope for your hunting area, all for $6 a picture. What this does for the hunter is give them the ability to see exactly how the land looks, as opposed to the generalities that are typically shown on topographical maps. Whats even cooler than that, is that when you order your smaller maps, you can also order maps in sizes up to 38″ square. If you have these maps laminated you can use a use both sets of maps in conjunction, and use a grease crayon to mark the larger format map with probably hunting locations to be scouted when the temperatures finally drop. All this without leaving the comfort of your own bunker, I mean home.

Just because Summer has been miserable so far, does not mean that you can’t try to make the most of the remainder of it. Knives have to be sharpened, packs need to be cleaned and reorganized. This is a great time of year to get your hunting buddies together and make plans for this years adventures, dust off the maps, break out those last few packages of venison and toss them on the grill. Now is the time to get excited for the seasons to come, it’s also a great time to start putting away a few extra bucks to soften the financial blow that hunting season almost always causes (by the way its much easier to find ammunition and reloading components during the summer months too, when everyone else is focused on their tans and polishing their boats). Most importantly try to use this not so exciting time to be around your family and love ones, before we know it hunting season will be upon us, and whether you believe it or not, those are the people who are the most supportive of your primal drive to fill the freezer. Speaking of freezers, it’s all the way up to 91 on my deck right now, I think I will throw a little camo on my face, grab a duck call and crawl into mine. Come on winter, I’m waiting…

America, Second Amendment, Everyday Carry, Survival, Preperation, First aid

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