We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, February 23. 2014
Sunday, February 9. 2014
We're having 30 friends over here at Maggie's Farm HQ for a casual wild game dinner tomorrow night. Perfect for a 10 degree (F) winter night. I'll have all three fireplaces burning.
Three of us guys now do the cooking for these events, and lucky are the invitees.
Hor's doevres: Slices of rare charcoal-grilled wild venison filet mignon and slices of rare Canada goose breast, en croute, with a dab of horseradish.
Entrees: One hunting pal is making his favorite venison curry with rice. My Louisiana-born and bred hunting buddy is making wild duck gumbo. I am making wild duck breast with dried cherry sauce, with cheese grits. Or maybe a warm duck breast salad. Can't decide.
Somebody offered to bring a big salad, and somebody else graciously offered to bring home-made desserts. I supply the beer, and everybody will bring a bottle or three of red wine.
I'll provide pretty good cigars too, for them what wants 'em. In my experience, women never complain about guys and cigars when men do the cooking and party planning. We'll have to set up a few extra tables in the living room to do this, because this ain't no palace (but not a trailer either). The persnickety Mrs. BD just hates it when a plate of gumbo or a tankard of Pinot Noir gets spilled on her furniture.
Sunday, January 26. 2014
When sitting in a duck blind or deer stand, standing on a ski slope watching your grandkids, and winter hiking, it's much more pleasant to have warm toes and fingers. I have had times in duck blinds when my fingers were too cold and numb to pull a trigger, but I have a touch of Raynaud's Syndrome.
Assuming that you wear things to keep toes and hands dry, hand and foot warmers can add plenty of comfort.
This site has aluminum-coated insoles and insoles ("footbeds") with inserts for 6-hour warmers.
They also sell Grabber Hand Warmers for your gloves - or for your pocket.
Saturday, December 7. 2013
Thanks for a good, fatiguing day in the field and plenty of good talk about serious matters. Glad I had the chance to test out my Grandpa's 16 ga. A-5. It seems to shoot straight. Heavy, though, after a few hours. This is how we roll in Yankeeland:
By the way, I know our readers always wondered what Woodcock "chalk" looks like. It's like a white splash on the fallen leaves. You have seen it in the woods, if observant. I took a photo:
Wednesday, November 20. 2013
Here's what they emailed me:
We have plenty of space if you would like to go on a duck goose combo hunt. We get ducks and geese in the same blinds on the marshes we hunt. It is $190 (plus $10 tax) per full day per hunter. We hunt all day and meet you at 5:15 am and hunt till sunset. We can come in for a lunch break or a break at anytime during the day or we can bring you lunch from a local restaurant if you want. We have many nice duck blinds, most all have roofs, we have all the decoys, you will be in your own blind & dogs are welcome. Hotels are listed on our website and off season rates are about $55 a night. Just bring your gun, ammo, boots and lic. You can get your license by calling 866-721-6911, it is easy and immediate over the phone, you get your lic, hip number and state stamp, just get the federal stamp at the post office, you can also get a 3 day out of state lic. for about $40, be sure to sign your state and federal duck stamps. You will love this place, we get a large variety of waterfowl: black ducks, mallards, teal, shovelers, brant, pintails, wigeon, gadwall, a bunch of other ducks plus Canada and snow geese.
Thursday, November 7. 2013
Hunting Woodcock, which we usually do in conjunction with hunting Ruffed Grouse, is an interesting and challenging sport. They tend to fly in a spiral, and many of us have a moment of remorse when we take one of these lovely little tasty birds from the dog.
The dog is needed not so much to flush them or point them as to find them when shot. Their camo is perfect.
Always make a sauce for them by sauteeing all of their innards and guts in butter and shallots, and shmooshing them up with a fork with a little brandy and pepper. There's no mess in there, because they conveniently flush out their GI track when they flush.
Readers know that the best Woodcock recipe is Woodcock Ravioli in a splash of gibier sauce and shaved black truffle on top.
Currier and Ives' Woodcock Shooting:
Saturday, November 2. 2013
Repost - I guess this is Part 2 or 3 of our Outerwear mini-series, and part of our world-famous Winter Warmth series which we will begin to post in view of the coming Global Cooling Crisis -
The invention of Gore-tex rendered plenty of waterproof and windproof fabrics obsolete - or quaint. For example, rubberized raingear, or waxed cotton or waxed canvas. Gore-tex is much lighter, it breathes, it requires no maintenance, and Gore-tex outerwear is cheaper to produce and can be made with the blaze orange patches which American field hunting (unlike European) requires by law.
Trouble is that waxed cotton jackets, wellies, a dog, and a nice gun look so natural together. It's about fashion to some extent: how many Americans wear their Barbour when brush-busting for grouse or mucking the stall vs. the number that wear theirs to the hardware store, the mall, and their kids' soccer games?
I own a Lewis Creek and an old Browning waxed jacket, but I have plenty of Gore-tex parkas and field gear for various purposes: camo, blaze, parkas, outer-jackets, etc. Gore-tex hunting brush pants, too - insulated and uninsulated (insulated hunting trousers was a waste of $ - all you need is winter underwear of whatever weight you select for the weather of the day).
Despite all the above, I'll just address waxed cotton here despite its impractibility. Gore-tex is great stuff, but it's boring. Waxed cotton has character and Gore Tex is industrial.
Orvis has plenty of men's and women's Barbour stuff.
Lewis Creek. Good stuff, distributed from VT but made in Scotland.
LL Bean is doing waxed cotton too.
For true heavy-duty waterproof outerwear, Filson's tin cloth is the ultimate. That waxed canvas is so tough that it stands up by itself after you take it off. In fact, if you died standing in a goose blind or in the woods the tincloth jacket and tincloth trousers would probably still hold you up straight like a scarecrow until a strong winter storm blew you over. Their "shelter cloth" is lighter weight. I have some of the stuff. Its durability:comfort ratio is high. Feels like medieval armor before it warms up and softens a bit.
Remember: Always check Sierra Trading Post first for good deals.
Sunday, October 13. 2013
If you're set up in the right barley or hay field before 5 am, the Snows will come noisily fluttering into your decoys like this. Hot barrels. Great fun.
You get up at O dark 30, grab a coffee, a Marlboro, an apple and a banana and a handful of granola bars, then drive a while down gravel roads and through vast farm fields and set up early in the chilly field in the dark with the aid of headlights and headlamps. Then you drive the trucks out of the field and hide them behind a distant tree row.
Unlike Canadas with their tough plumage and rugged build, Snows are easily killed. As it is said, "They go down like a prom dress."
Friday, October 11. 2013
The view at sunset with the “second half” held firmly in one hand, a Montecristo #4 in the other. Lord Dundee, who drank his whiskey by the tumblerful, once said, ''A single Scotch is nothing more than a dirty glass.'' We love single malts and single cask single malts, but, for regular drinking, Famous Grouse is the favorite.
Sunday, September 15. 2013
Sunday, September 1. 2013
Feral pig, Wild Boar, Wild Hog, Russian Boar, farm pig. They are all pigs, all very slight variants of the one species Sus scrofa. (The tusks are removed from farm pigs at birth.) In the US, they are all called "pigs."
No sus scrofa is native to North America.
We have posted in the past about the pig/boar hybrids which have been expanding their range across the US, wreaking havoc in the process to woodlands and to agriculture. They are so prolific, and so destructive, that most areas of the US now have open season on the pigs. Hog wild: Feral pig population explodes in U.S
Distinguishing European (aka Russian) Boar from farm pig/boar hybrids is almost impossible, but it is thought that, in many or most areas, most animals are hybrid. Since they're all the same species, it doesn't really matter. Pigs.
Texas and California have seen enormous population growth of Sus, but they have spread around the country - even around Albany NY where the biggest pigs have traditionally been the NYS politicians.
Since every area in the US in which they have appeared is eager to be rid of them, year-round hunting opportunities are abundant. Hunting over bait stations is entirely legal. Some use AR-15s, some use bow, some use revolver, and some macho dudes use baying dogs and kill the pigs with a hunting knife.
There are simply not enough pig hunters to control these creatures, so I propose releasing Wolves into areas where the wild pigs are a problem. The Wolves would have a field day.
Some people do not enjoy the taste of wild pig, which is a bit gamier than the corn-fed farm pig. I have had the wild boar, the same Sus scrofa, which lives in the Appenines of Umbria, and it is a special treat when cooked the ways the Umbrians do it. "Cinghiale." I've had it there cooked several ways, and the sausage too. Even snuck some cinghiale salumi home in my bags.
Here's Pigging out in Umbria
Here's a number of Italian recipes for wild boar/pig/whatever, to perhaps inspire our American pig hunters.
Here's a pic of my pal (on the right) with a Texas pig he
Saturday, August 31. 2013
Saturday, August 24. 2013
Tuesday, August 6. 2013
Saturday, August 3. 2013
While in process of cleaning out my parents' house, we discovered where Dad had stashed the shotguns. This nice surprise, among other well-used field guns, had been one of my Grandpa's.
It's not as if I needed more shotguns, but this is a 16 ga., which is a good thing.
You know what this is. Remington built this one. It's a fairly heavy SOB. I don't think I have used it since I was 15.
The bore is clean as a whistle. I will clean 'er up and use it again for both sentimental and practical reasons.
Sunday, June 9. 2013
This is re-posted from a couple of Aprils ago -
Here come the stripers. Not the strippers.
It's the end of April, the Bluefish are beginning to show up and the Spring Spawn stripers cannot be far behind.
East Coast stripers (called Rockfish on the Left Coast) are an anadromous fish meaning that they spawn in fresh water, but live their adult lives in salt. There are four breeding stocks on the East Coast - Chesapeake Bay, Delaware River, Hudson River and Cape Cod. These four main schools provide most of the striper population along the East coast.
Recently, there has been some investigation about the Thames River (New London and Norwich, CT) over winter school being an addition feeder school to the Cape Cod stock. It is not unknown for the Thames River school to reach tremendous populations over winter and spawning up the Thames into the Yantic and Shetucket Rivers in the Spring.
Striper fishing is one of my passions - fresh water impounds down south or inshore in New England, stripers provide me with the best and the most honest type of fishing. I say honest because striper fishing isn't a case of chasing down a fierce predator like any of the bill fish or tuna. Stripers are basically lazy and thus require patience and knowledge of the bottom structure to obtain the best size.
A few of my favorite spots and techniques are below the fold -
Continue reading "Long Island Sound (and Long Island) Stripers"
Saturday, May 18. 2013
One of the things the Intelligent Design people like to pull out is that evolution wasn't smart enough to invent the eye. It was, however, apparently smart enough to design a three-dimensional gyroscope. Like all birds, watch how still their heads are, no matter what gyrations their bodies are going through.
Their tail feathers also perform an interesting role. Notice how it's almost like the birds are hinged on a rod running through their wings and the tail feathers act as a 'tilting' mechanism. One quick flap and they tilt up or down on the axis running through their wings. Truly a marvelous animal.
Take it away, slo-mo!
Wednesday, May 8. 2013
Monday, April 15. 2013
I have always figured that we are free to transport firearms from state to state. In the Northeast, it may be getting more complicated. My friends and I shoot and hunt in upstate New York often, and have NYS hunt licenses. I assume we're allowed to own our firearms and to transport them.
But are we? Nobody wants to become a felon just because the laws are too complicated to understand, but maybe that's the point.
In Massachusetts, a permit to possess firearms is required. I have one. But with the new CT laws, I am confused. Can I transport a firearm through CT from MA to New York? I know that I can take a firearm to the airports in NYC because we have done that many times and it's no big deal (provided they are in locked cases).
Among other firearm topics, Kopel considers firearms transport laws at Volokh.
Sunday, April 7. 2013
No surprise here. Poodles originated in Germany as duck retrievers for marshes, with the haircut designed to reduce ice build-up. In recent years, some breeders have been selecting them again for hunt instinct instead of show-dog features.
I always say about training poodles (as someone who has trained Labs and Standard Poodles) that the difficulty with Poodles is that they are smarter than people. Labs just want to please you, but Poodles are always looking to negotiate a compromise.
To stay healthy, breeders and vets say Standards need a one-hour off-leash run daily. So does the owner. Another interesting thing about Poodles: they are not into food. They just eat what they need and leave the rest. Nobody has ever seen a fat Poodle. Many humans could take a tip from that, too.
Thursday, March 28. 2013
Saturday, March 23. 2013
Saturday, February 16. 2013
This is an annual re-post. We'll post more game recipes over the next few weeks to help our hunters with their bursting freezers -
With hunting season winding, it's time to get cooking what we have in the freezer. It all begins with the sauce:
Uncle Bill's Jus de Gibier (mixed game) sauce, aka Brown Game Stock, aka Clean out the Freezer Sauce
Technically, it's a jus, not a sauce. Add a little roux and it will become a sauce.
This will be the tastiest sauce base you have ever had in your life, for chicken, game birds, turkey, venison, pork, veal, pasta, ravioli, etc. It's an ideal base for pheasant, chicken, venison or goose bourguignon. It has an earthy richness to it which is remarkable. We like to make a woodcock ravioli with black truffle, and this sauce is essential for that.
Gibier refers to mixed game, but we do it with mixed meat too, but not beef, which would overpower the subtler flavors. It is the best use of freezer-burned game and other stuff in the freezer. It's fun to make (but it takes a while), and you can clean out the freezer and the fridge at the same time. I freeze the used carcasses of Thanksgiving turkey, ducks, goose, random deer bones, etc. to use when I make this, once or twice a year, along with freezer-burned chicken, pheasant, etc. You could do this with entirely store-bought stuff if you lack a hunter in the family. The more stuff, the better.
You need a 10-12 (or larger) quart pot to make this, if you have a lot of stuff to use, but it freezes fine when made. It's good for a few months, at least.
Bake in oven until browned (not necessarily cooked-though) your saved carcasses and freezer-burned game meat and meat, especially pork and pork bones are good, and veal bones, (even if they have already been cooked). Yes, you bake the bones too. Do not burn them in the oven. I tend to use freezer-burned venison, pork chops, all my game bird carcasses, venison bones (cracked with a mallet), a bunch of veal bones and veal scraps if I can get them nowadays (it doesn't hurt to hit up the butcher for some stuff for this), turkey carcass, woodcock carcasses, and a pile of chicken wings. Chop this stuff roughly with a cleaver into 3-6" chunks and toss in the pot. Try to crack the bones.
Continue reading "Got Game? The best game sauce recipe in the world"
Wednesday, February 6. 2013
From our archives:
As you may know, cassoulet is basically French baked beans with meat. The real original of hot dogs and baked beans. It is country home cookin, but it can be great stuff. Dutch oven cooking. Crock pot? Why not, as long as the meats are browned first, but it will not brown the top.
It's a good way to cook some wild game meat, especially the less-tender parts.
Any meat, but not beef - strong red meat is too strong for cassoulet. We have, over time, used various mixes of duck, snow goose, chukar, venison, chicken, pork, wild boar, and pheasant which we have killed. Mix the meats - it adds to the flavor. There should be some source of pig fat or duck fat in it. Some venison sausage, or any sausage, because it is a necessary traditional ingredient. The meat-to-bean ratio is supposed to be fairly high - 30% - but I like beans and prefer a lower ratio. I think every village in southern France has its own recipe and method. I figure roughly one hunk of sausage and one or two hunks of meat per person.
A few tips about Cassoulet:
1. Make it the day before. Like beef stew, it improves overnight.
Friday, January 18. 2013
We went after the eating fish (Spanish Mackeral), not the big game fish. More practical.
It's like a zoo. With the Humpback Whales all around peering at your boat, the Frigatebirds stealing your bait, and the Sea Lions stealing either your bait or your catch, it was a bit of an obstacle course. But how bad is that?
When you go, make sure to sup at our friend Roberto's shrimp joint, and at Mi Casa for traditional Mexican food and jollity. Good fun. To cook the fish you catch, bring them to Solomon's Landing and ask them to make some wonderful dishes with it for suppertime. They will amaze you.
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