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Monday, November 21, 2011

Down Home Stories: Reviews

Down Home Stories: Reviews: Hate to ask but I really need some reviews of the books. If anyone has read either Down Home or On My Own could you please take a few minut...

Reviews

 Hate to ask but I really need some reviews of the books. If anyone has read either Down Home or On My Own could you please take a few minutes to write a short review for Amazon or any of the other sites on here? I would be really grateful to hear what you folks think good or bad just give an honest opinion
Thanks
Bud

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Down Home Stories: First Attempts

Down Home Stories: First Attempts: Anyone into surfing? I tried it once, real surfing that is. Off the beach in Ca. I actually managed to stand up on the board one time. ...

First Attempts



   Anyone into surfing? I tried it once, real surfing that is. Off the beach in Ca. I actually managed to stand up on the board one time. I'm not going to say how long it took me to do that but I did make it up to where I at least looking like I was surfing, for a few minutes anyway. I caught a wave (a very small wave) and was heading for the beach. It surprised me to find out that even a small wave can move you right along at a pretty good clip and it surprised me more to find out how hard it is to steer a surf board. Heading toward the beach was the plan however heading toward the pier sticking out into the water didn't really seem like a good idea to me. But, since I didn't know how to turn I didn't have much choice. Yes I could have just fallen off the board and would have probably been Ok but I didn't think of that until later. Anyway I went right under that pier. I was thinking I might actually make it all the way to the shore and I would have if that last piling hadn't jumped out in front of me. I found out something interesting about Ca. sea life that day. Did you know that there are lots of sea life that like to grow on pilings? Did you also know that most of them are covered in sharp shells? After one of the life guard people pulled my limp butt up on the shore and put what felt like a hundred bandages one me and shined her light in my eyes, asked me if I was seeing double and made me count to ten she asked me if wanted to try surfing again. I'm pretty sure she was being sarcastic but I declined anyway. I spent the rest of that day sitting under some shade and watching the people surf that knew what they were doing, including a couple of kids that couldn't have been over ten!

   I had a lot more fun surfing in Arizona, yes they do have surfing in Arizona and yes there are rednecks there also. Our idea of surfing was what everyone called canal surfing. There are lots of canals out there and they were our main swimming holes. Kind of like the creeks back home, just lined with concrete. Most of them had a pretty fast water flow but not fast enough for surfing. However, since there are dirt roads that run alongside each of them and someone always had a car to haul us out there. Rope tied to the bumper of a car with a nut behind the wheel, held by a crazy kid on a board in the canal equals redneck surfing. It was really a lot of fun and I was always the first one to be willing to climb on that board and go for it. You really only had to worry about a couple of things. Number one was to be on the lookout for pipes that crossed the canal. There were quite a few of them and when you saw one you had to let go of the rope and dive into the water. You could be real crazy and try to jump them but I can tell you from personal experience that is not a real wise move! The other thing was the nut behind the wheel. As long as they took off slowly and held the car at a slow steady speed everything worked fine but if you got someone who was a speed demon it could get a little exciting be on that board. My brother-in-law was the driver on my first attempt. He started off nice and slow. I managed to stand up on the board and was doing pretty good when he decided to speed up. I was still able to stay on the board and was pretty proud of myself than he speeded up some more. Our stories differ from that point forward. He swears that I motioned him to go faster and I will admit I was enjoying showing off to everyone else but I swear the speed was his idea. I'm not sure how fast he got the car up to but I do remember not being able to see it anymore because of all the dust but I was sure it was a lot faster than I wanted to be going if I fell off and hit the water. I was still hanging on when we came up to a pipe. Mike also swears that he was trying to look back and check on me so he didn't see the pipe. As for me I was so busy watching the board and trying to keep my balance that I didn't see it either. I was a big pipe, only about four inches in diameter but it crossed that canal about six inches above the water. Whatever speed we were doing when I had an intimate relationship with that pipe it was fast enough for me to actually hear my left leg snap! The rope was jerked out of my hands, the board went under the pipe and I went over. I can remember hitting the water on the other side and not much else for awhile. My sister says that when I hit the water I looked kind of like a rock that someone had skipped across the water. That kind of put the brakes on my summer vacation that year but did it stop me from canal surfing? Yes, at least until the next summer.

On My Own by Bud Crawford | humanmade | Promote Your Talent for Free | Community and Classified Directories

On My Own by Bud Crawford humanmade Promote Your Talent for Free Community and Classified Directories

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Down Home Stories: OUCH!

Down Home Stories: OUCH!: My Grandma Lynch told me this one about my Grandpa; I think I remember it so well mainly because she laughed so much while telling it. ...

OUCH!

   My Grandma Lynch told me this one about my Grandpa; I think I remember it so well mainly because she laughed so much while telling it.
   Back when my mom and the rest of their kids were little my Grandpa apparently was quite a drinker. That part of the story surprised me because even though he could make moonshine when I was growing up the only time I ever saw him drink was when just the two of us would go fishing and he made me promise that it would be our secret. Anyway, him and a couple of his friends had a moonshine still hidden down in Colton bottoms. I had heard from the family that he had been a whiskey maker back then and his best customer was himself.
   He'd been down in the woods working on that still all of one hot summer day and decided to head home well after dark. He was running a little low at home so he decided to take a couple of gallons with him for later. It was a long walk home and the only light he had was a carbide miner's lamp but he knew those woods and figured it would be safer walking through the woods than on the road since you never knew when the sheriff might be out cruising down the road. He'd never been caught making shine and he didn't plan on taking any chances.
   He was moving right along making good time until he got to the river. He was going to have to get up on the road in order to cross over the river bridge. He figured that would be all right because as soon as he was on the other side he could duck back into the woods. Once he was on the other side of the river there was only one small patch of woods and an eighty acre field between him and the house.
   Wouldn't you know it! As soon as he stepped onto the road he saw a pair of head lights coming down the road. He had to slide back down the roadside to get back into the woods and wait for whoever it was to pass. As soon as they went by he'd be able to climb back up to the road and cross the bridge. He was standing just a little ways back in the trees as the car got closer. He couldn't figure out what was going on with the car because it seemed to be slowing down the closer it got to him. When it got close to the end of the bridge it stopped in the road and all of a sudden a spot light came on and started swiping the tress on his side of the road. When the light came on he had dropped to the ground and crawled behind some brush. He peeked out from his hiding spot trying to see what was going on and that's when he saw the sheriffs sign painted on the side of the car. He wasn't sure if they had seen him when he stepped out onto the road or if they were just checking out the woods and he wasn't going to hang around and wait to find out. He turned and started crawling back into the woods. He figured he'd get a little farther back in the darkness and wait for them to leave. About the time he felt he was far enough back he heard the car doors open. He looked back toward the road and through the trees he could see two people back lit by the spot light. At least one of them had a flashlight and it looked like he was starting to come down off the road into the woods.
   This was not looking good! He could hear them talking but couldn't understand what they were saying. One of them was sure enough down at the edge of the woods and shining his light at the ground. That one stopped, shined his light at the ground for a few minutes then yelled to the other one "got some fresh tracks here". Grandpa recognized the voice of a deputy that he knew. He also knew that this particular deputy spent a lot of time looking for moon shiners. He also knew there was no good excuse he could give for being out in the woods that late so his only choice was to try and get away for them.
   He got up and took off through the woods trying to keep as many trees between himself and the deputies as possible. The trail he had been following was going to be too easy for them to find and the rest of the woods close to the river had way too much brush to be able to move through them quietly so he angled toward the river.
   When he got to the river he looked up toward the bridge and could see that one of the deputies had walked out to the middle and was shining his flashlight down the river. There was no sign of the one that was surely in the woods behind him but he knew it was only a matter of time before he showed up. The one on the bridge only had a flashlight and it wasn't lighting up the river this far down so Grandpa figured the best thing for him to do would be to swim to the other side.
   It was a pretty warm summer night and he was a good swimmer so he did think he would have any problem but he had two gallon jugs of shine and he wasn't about to go off an leave them. He knew he wouldn't be able to swim with a jug in each hand and he didn't have any way of tying them together so he could slip them over his neck but he came up with a plan (maybe this is where I inherited my "such a good plan" trait from). He took his bib overalls off, tied the legs off and stuck a gallon in each leg. Now he could hang them around his neck and have both arms free for swimming. One thing I need to mention here. According to Grandma bib overalls where all he wore back in them days, and I do mean that's ALL he wore. Luckily it was a warm night!
   He eased into the water and struck out. Things were going fine right up until he was most of the way across. All of a sudden he heard some yelling coming from the bridge. When he looked that way he got an eye full of light! It seems the deputy on the bridge had gone back to his car and got a bigger light and was shining it on Grandpa. About that time he heard an answering yell from the river bank behind him. The other deputy was on the bank and was also shining his light toward Grandpa. He had made it across by then and being careful not to look back so they couldn't see his face he crawled out of the water, jumped up and took off through the woods, bare butt shining in their lights.
   Now all Grandpa had to do was make it through a small patch of woods and across the field and since there were several houses on that side and they wouldn't know which one he had gone too, he would be home safe. He made it through the woods with no problem and without even slowing down he headed out across the field, naked as a jay bird with his whiskey filled britches flapping around his neck. Here's where he ran into a little problem. He was also a framer back then and one thing he liked to grow was Okra and he must have been really proud of that field because Okra doesn't grow all that well in Oklahoma, at least not in big bunches but he had managed to get an entire eighty acre field going and going well. Now all of you that have anything to do with Okra in a field will now exactly what happened. For those of you who don't a little primer on Okra. It grows on bushes that can average about three feet tall, Okra pods are actually a fruit and just like a peach, they have fuzz on them but unlike a peach this fuzz is just right to really irritate human skin and since Grandpa was running across that field buck naked, guess which part of the human it was starting to irritate.
   He got away from the law that night which was the good news. He spent the next three days laying on the couch with his legs propped up, wearing nothing but a sheet and unable to walk was the not so good news.
   When I asked Grandpa about this story he admitted that it was true but according to him the worst part of it was the fact that Grandma spent those three days laughing at him every time she walked by and that after all those years she still loved to tell that story to everyone who would listen.

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Lucky Hunt

   A good place to deer and duck hunting down home was up by the Okmulgee airport. It was surprising how many deer lived in the woods around there. I think the major draw was all the grass that was planted around the run ways. The airplanes had to be real careful about taking off or landing in the morning or evening because I've seen deer standing in the middle of the runway several times. As for the ducks. There was a big pond off to the right side of the road going into the airport that was always covered with ducks from late October all the way till December.
   We never passed up a chance to do a little combined hunting and since Okmulgee County was a shotgun county (you could only hunt deer using a shotgun with slugs) we'd always through a few number 4 shot in our pockets so we could stop by the duck pond on the way out. You had to be careful duck hunting in Oklahoma because they went by the point system. Each kind of duck had a point value which was different for each one and you were only allowed one hundred points a day. They did give you a little lee way. If you already had eighty points worth of ducks you could still get one more that would put you over the hundred point limit, but only one!
   I took DeWitt along with me one day to see if we could spot out a deer and since he was also a duck hunter I reminded him to take a few extra shells along just in case we wanted to check on the duck pond. We didn't have any luck finding deer that day. We saw a lot of does but no bucks so we decided to check out the pond on the way home.
   There was a big pond dam on the side that faced the road so you couldn't see if there were any ducks on the pond until you climbed up on it and was able to see the water. We didn't want to take a chance on scaring any ducks off so we would crawl up the dam and just stick our heads up enough to peek over it. This day the pond was literally covered with ducks! In one short peek I saw Mallards, Pintails, Canvasbacks and Wood ducks. I had never seen so many ducks on that pond or so many different kinds. We slide back down the dam to figure out how we could take advantage of the situation. We decided to move about twenty feet apart and crawl back to the top of the dam, then we would both stand up together and take our shots, and since it was illegal to shoot duck while they were sitting we would shoot when the ducks flushed.
   I felt kind of silly doing it but I reminded DeWitt to be careful with his shooting because there were so many different kinds of duck we could go over our hundred points if we weren't careful. Both of our favorite eating ducks were the Wood ducks and you could only take two of them per day. We could take up to three Canvasbacks or Pintails at forty points or four Mallards at twenty-five points. See the problem here? Not only did you have to a good enough shot to hit a duck flying but you also had to be quick at math to keep track of how many points you had.
   Sneaking back up the dam went fine and when I peeked over the top I spotted two Wood ducks off to one side of the flock. I figured they were far enough off to the side that when they flushed they would head off to my left and be clear of the rest of the flock so I wouldn't have to worry about overshot. We each had three shells loaded which was the limit for duck hunting so I would need to be careful but quick if I wanted to take both of them before they got out of range. I looked over at DeWitt to make sure he was ready and getting a nod from him we both stood up.
   The instant we stood up the pond exploded with ducks going everywhere. Both of the Wood ducks I had seen took off just like I wanted them too and I got the first one when he was about three feet above the water and the other at about ten feet. I was concentrating on those two and wasn't paying any attention to what DeWitt was doing although in the back of mind I heard him shooting. His shots were Boom,Boom,Boom so close together that it sounded more like he was shooting an automatic instead of the pump I knew he had, After mine were down I glanced over to see how he had done just in time to see it raining ducks on the pond.
   It took a couple of minutes for what I was seeing to sink in. There had to be at least half a dozen duck floating in front of him plus a few more that looked to be wounded and trying to fly. I ran over to him and asked what in the world had he done. He was looking a little shocked as he told me that he had only meant to shoot a couple of Wood ducks and didn't have any idea where all the others had come from. What really happened was that he had been so wrapped up in trying to get those Wood ducks that he hadn't paid any attention to what was behind them, which was most of the flock!
   By the time we gathered all the dead and wounded ducks we had enough points to cover at least four people! I hate to say it but the part about him being so excited and not even thinking about what he was doing was kind of funny. On the other hand, we were way over our limit and would be looking at some really high fines if we got caught. Our old game warder Elmer would have hung us out to dry if he caught us and it wouldn't have mattered what kind of excuse we had. However, I wasn't really too worried about getting into trouble this time. After all, I had the correct number of ducks, DeWitt was going to have to take the blame for all the others and I figured we were going to be all right on that score. I did mention that the red faced, embarrassed DeWitt standing next to me was the local game warden, didn't I?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mutant Blogs !

 I"m not sure what's going on here.  I have this one blog (I think) I added a couple of links to this one so I could advertise the book (I'm pretty sure those were links and not separate blogs) but for some reason (can't be my fault) when I post here and tell it to share with facebook and twitter (like it really listens to me) I end up with four or five posts on each one. I think the blog and the links are feeding off each other!
   I don't really trust computers. There was a time when I would buy games but I could never get them to work. It didn't matter how much I told the computer what I wanted it to do. I even got to the point of getting a baseball bat (Nerf) and beat the hell out of the puter for not doing what it was supposed to. I know it had to be the puter because I always did everything correctly from my side. Always read the instructions (glanced at them after I couldn't get it to work at least three times) I did everything in the proper order (as I thought it should be) I would even explain in detail what the puter was supposed to do but it would always do something different!
   I finally figured out what the deal was. The puter liked the games I got and didn't want to share them with me. I would just give me garbage when I tried to play and wait until I gave up and left then it would sit there with it's evil little puter lights going and play them itself!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Down Home Stories: Stories

Down Home Stories: Stories: First off, I am not an Author. It sounds really good to call myself one and is a great bost to the ego, but the truth be known, I'm more ...

Stories

   First off, I am not an Author. It sounds really good to call myself one and is a great bost to the ego, but the truth be known, I'm more of a story teller that trying to write. Down Home at Amazon and On My Own at Lulu are just a collestion of stories that I would much rather have folks sitting around the campfire here at the house listening to, But I only know so many people and the yard is only so big so if you want to share them with a larger group, you have to write. I really hope that the way I have written them will some how give you the feeling of sitting around the fire, having a drink and listening to them.

Down Home Stories: The Plan

Down Home Stories: The Plan: I Have way too much time on my hands right now as you will be able to see from the following plan. This is a multi-part plan so you'll ha...

The Plan

   I Have way too much time on my hands right now as you will be able to see from the following plan. This is a multi-part plan so you'll have to bare with me. First, I collect donations form everyone online plus everybody else I can think of in order to gather enough money for a good poker game. I win the poker game thereby increasing the original nest egg. I use the nest egg to make a trip to Ark. next May and Stanley and I spend a few weeks Storm Chasing. We take lots of videos of tornadoes, survive the trip (and the storms) and when I get back home I get to post all the vids on here so everyone can see all the neat storms and how stupid we were by getting close enough to actually take them. Great plan, right??

On My Own

  A story about some time I spent in Alaska living the life of a Mountain Man which I found out meant starving to death half the time amd freezing the other half. I was an experience that I would hate to have to re-live but wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! I hope you will take a chance on reading it, I think you will enjoy it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Question

Hmmmm, maybe I should change that question to Does ANYONE have one of these??



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kisses

   Anyone else thing those Hersey Kiss commercials are a little cruel? After all, here the little kisses come down the line all excited about getting their shiny new wrappers, waving their little ribbons in the air and dancing around. They go by the checker who bows to hey at how nice they look then he pulls a lever and what happens? They go flying through a chute, into a bowl or basket and immediately somebody yanks them out, tears their little wrapper and ribbon off and eats them!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Signage

   It seems to me that California has a problem with its signage. Highway signs mostly. I’m not saying they flat out lie, but they do get confused sometimes.
   Coming across the mountains from Paso Robles out in the middle of nowhere is a huge bridge across this really deep valley. From the midpoint of the bridge t must be two to three hundred to the valley floor below. It’s a dry valley, no river, creek or anything, just dirt. At both ends of the bridge are signs that say “It is illegal to jump from bridge”. Those signs have been there long before the base jumping craze hit so if someone did jump, they’re dead. Question to me is, Why the sign? What are you going to do? Give them a ticket after they jump? That seem kind of like putting an open other end sign on the bottom of a beer bottle. Wait; there have been times when the open sign just might come in handy. Anyway, you see what I mean, it seems to me to be a waste of signs and the labor it takes to put them up.
  Highway 395 through the Owens valley is a small two lane road through mostly desert. There are a lot of places without shoulders or any other place to pull off the road yet when you get close to Bishop there is a ditch on one side of the road. I’ve been up and down that road many, many times over a twenty five year period and I have even seen water in that ditch at least three times. What does that have to do with signs? There’s a sign on both sides of the road that say “No fishing from roadway”. Now Okies are a little weird when it comes to fishing but even a dumb Okie know better than to plop his chair down in the middle of a road and try to fish in a ditch with less than three inches of water in it. But the state put the sign up so I guess they know their citizens better than I do.
   It seems to me that California likes to brag on itself with some of their signs. There’s another one on 395 that says “Elk for the next 15 miles”. When you’re driving a truck sometimes your mind wanders so I figured this one out (yes I had way too much time on my hands). The average Elk is less than two and a half feet wide but if you allowed for three feet, then with them standing side to side fifteen miles of Elk would be 26,400 or 1,760 per mile. Even if you put them end to end and figure the average would be about ten foot that’s still 7,920 or 528 per mile. Now Oregon has a lot bigger Elk population that California does and they only have about 63, 00 in the entire state. Seems like they might want to word that sign a little different.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Down Home Stories: The Companion

Down Home Stories: The Companion: Cold. I had a scarf over my face and every time I breathed out I just added more ice to it. I was to the point where I had to pull it awa...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Companion

   Cold. I had a scarf over my face and every time I breathed out I just added more ice to it. I was to the point where I had to pull it away from my face every ten to fifteen minutes and try to pull the ice off just so I could take a decent breath. The snow was falling so hard and the wind was blowing it so hard that it was impossible to see over twenty feet in any direction and I was just a little lost. I was on top of a low hill surrounded by trees and brush and although I knew my cabin was less than a mile away I had no idea of which way to go. It was getting close to sundown and I knew I was going to have to get off that hill and try to find a wind break somewhere. I would be able to survive the night even in these conditions but not on top of a hill in the wind. It really didn’t matter which way I went since I didn’t know where the cabin was so I turned to my left and started walking. For all I knew I might be heading the opposite direction from the cabin but I figured that if I made it through the night I could figure out where I was the next day. Or at least I hoped it would work that way. I have seen storms like this one blow up and last close to a week. If I could find some kind of shelter and get a fire going I still figured I’d stand a good chance of riding the storm out. The only thing I had to worry about was food. I only had enough with me to last three more days. I had only planned on being away from the cabin for three days to start with so I only brought enough extra for a couple of days.
   I was wearing a pair of goggles and even though they protected my eyes, they didn’t help in seeing too much. The wind was blowing hard enough by then to drive the snow into my face and I had to keep wiping the goggles off every few steps. The trees around me were just darker spots in the swirling snow and I was soon reduced to holding my hands in front of me and shuffling along trying to feel them before I got poked in the eye with a branch. The only semi god thing about where I was at was that I knew there were valleys all around this hill with creeks in the bottom of them. I was hoping I’d be able to feel when the ground started sloping down. There was one side of the hill that held a large meadow. I was praying that I wasn’t headed in that direction because that meadow was cover with blue berry bushes and I knew they were covered in snow that wouldn’t be deep enough to support my weight. The worse thing that can happen to you when you’re walking in snow shoes is to end up in a place where you break through the snow and get the shoes caught in brush. The only thing to do then is take the shoes off and try to plow your way. That meadow was probably forty acres and as tired as I was there would be no way I’d have enough energy to fight my way across two feet of snow brush for that distance.
   I wasn’t sure how far I’d gone or how much time had passed before it seemed like the ground was starting to slope down. I was still in the trees so I was pretty sure I wasn’t on the side of the hill with the meadow. The visibility seemed to be getting worse. I was in a total white out now and the only way I knew when I was walking into a tree was when I either felt it with my hands or my head. I already had a pretty good scratch on my forehead from catching my snow shoes on something and falling into a tree before I could catch myself. It might have been wishful thinking but it seemed like the wind was starting to die down just a little. At least I could begin to not only see shapes through the snow but I was beginning to be able to tell that they were trees. I even convinced myself that I was getting close to the bottom of the hill and that I would be able to find shelter soon. I was so tired by that time that I had to stop and lean against a tree every thirty or forty steps. It would have been so easy to just sit down at the bottom of a tree and go to sleep but I knew that if I ever sat down I would never get back up and move again.
   Finally the trees were starting to look a little bigger and a little thicker. I hoped that meant I was getting close to the bottom of the hill and would be able to find shelter quick. I had plenty of fire starters in my pack but I would have to find an area with enough wood to last at least through the night. Luckily where I was there would only be about four hours of total darkness. An even bigger piece of luck happened when the wind blew a clear path through the snow and I saw the creek before I walked off the bank. Now all I had to do was find a decent camping spot. Since the wind was blowing up the creek I headed that way also. At least that way I would have the wind to my back and might be able to see something before I stumbled over it. I was looking for any kind of fallen log, brush pile or even a thick stand of brush, anything I could hunker down behind to break the wind. Even with the wind at my back and the snow was still coming down to thick to be able to see very far ahead I caught a glimpse of what looked like a fallen log laying across the path I was following. It took another few minutes to make my way to it but it was worth it. It was a log from a huge cedar tree. The roots had been washed out from the creek overflowing in some forgotten flood. I had to work my way toward the top of the log to find a place I could crawl over it. I was trying to break any branches from it as I went but my hands were so cold I was having a real problem holding on to anything. I had a hatchet in on my belt but I would have to be able to warm my hands up before I’d be able to use it. When I reached a spot where the log was only about waist high I removed my pack and managed to push it over the log. Now I had a little extra motivation to get myself over the log because without that pack and the supplies in it I would surely die before the night was over.
   Now I’ve had to do some hard things out in the wilderness and working my way to the top of that log had to rate right up there in the top five. It was only about three feet tall at that spot to as tired and cold as I was it was more like trying to climb a ten foot wall. Once I was on top I had to just sit there for a bit trying to recover enough energy back to even be able to just fall off the other side. I had to pull the scarf down off my mouth in order to get a breath but it was so cold that it hurt trying to take a deep breath and I had to replace it after just a couple. I sat there trying to convince myself that I was feeling better and should get moving. I wasn’t looking at anything in particular just staring off into the distance when I caught a strange movement out of the corner of my eye. It was hard to see through the blowing snow but I could swear I had seen a section of snow moving against the wind. I looked to either side of where I had thought I’d seen the movement because you can see things better out of the corner of your eye than if you try staring straight at it but I couldn’t see anything so I figured it must be my eyes playing tricks on me.
   I knew I had to get moving whether I wanted to or not so I leaned far enough forward to more or less fall off the log. I managed to hang onto the log well enough to stay upright but now I had to bend down to pick up my pack without falling. By keeping one hand on the log I was able to inch my way down, grab the pack and pull myself back up. I started shuffling back toward the creek looking for any spot along the log that seemed to have the least amount of snow. If I could find a place where I could dig through most of the snow and get to bare ground and at least be able to cut some pine boughs to for a ground cover I would be able to get a fire going that would reflect off the log. I knew it wasn’t going to a comfortable night by any means but at least it would keep me alive. I was almost back to the creek before I found a spot I thought would work. The log was at least six foot thick at the bottom end and there was a spot free of snow right up against the trunk. It was only about six feet long but at least a couple of feet deep. It looked like if I put my sleeping bag right next to the log I would have a bit of an overhang to protect from the snow and would for sure be mostly out of the wind. I got down on my knees, dropped my pack and cleared away a little more of the snow. Now all I had to do was get a fire going. It took me twenty minutes just to undo the pack flap and get my fire starter out. I had a small tin box with a lighter and some tender inside. I had been able to hang onto the small branches I had broken off the log. I had to pile everything together against the log to protect it from the wind and shove my hand under my armpit just to get it warm enough to work the lighter. After a few false starts I was finally able to get a tiny flame started. Never have I seen such a welcome sight! I kept feeding small twigs to the fire and was finally able to warm my hands enough to hold the hatchet with burning myself to often. The only thing that tiny flame did was warm my hands; the rest of me was still so cold I was really beginning to worry about hypothermia. With the nearest help being four days of hard walking away I couldn’t afford to get to that point. Just seeing that flame seemed to revitalize me and after I added some larger sticks to it and made sure it was going good I was able to stagger up and start looking for more wood. Most evergreen trees will have dead branches close to the ground which was a good thing for me because I could reach them. They were out of the snow which made them quite a bit drier than anything I would find laying on the ground. I gathered two good size arm loads and placed them about four feet away from the log. I piled them in a row about four feet long and two feet wide so I would be able to warm as much of the log as possible. I was kneeling at the branches, working on moving the small fire to the larger pile when I again caught a movement off to one side. At least I thought I had seen another movement. It was still impossible to tell through the snow but I could swear it looked like a piece of the snow had risen up and moved to the side. It was just a glimpse and more like the feeling of movement than actually seeing anything. My main concern right then was getting the fire going so I couldn’t spend time looking for snow devils or letting my imagination run away with me.
   By the time I managed to get the bigger fire going it was full dark and the temperature had dropped even more. I had enough wood to last for at least a few hours so I spread my sleeping bag and crawled in. I had an older metal canteen with a cup so I drug my pack over to retrieve it. I scooped up a cup full of snow and set it at the edge of the fire to warm. I dug some instant coffee out of the pack and a couple of pieces of jerky to chew on. More that food I need something warm to drink. I didn’t wait to have hot coffee, I figured warm was good enough. Those first few drinks were wonderful. Finally I was beginning to feel warm both inside and out. I was almost done with that first cup and already thinking about making more when I saw something glint in the darkness on the other side of the fire. It was just a blink of light but it sure looked like eyes reflecting the fire light to me. All of a sudden I wasn’t feeling quite as warm anymore. I was using a cocoon style sleeping bag and had the hood over my head with only my face and the hand holding my cup uncovered. My rifle was leaning up against the log down at the bottom of the bag. If there was really something out there and not just my mind playing tricks on me there was no way I was going to be able to get to that rifle before whatever it was would be on me. I was beginning to think I had just seen a glint from an ice covered branch when I saw them again. This time they were in a different area and there was no doubt that they were eyes. I only saw them for a second before they blinked out again. I had no idea what they might be. I wasn’t too worried about bears because most of them were in hibernation at that time of year, but there were always wolverines, bobcats, mountain lions or even wolves where I was at. Of course it could be something as simple as a coon or pine marten.
   I lay there just as still as I could be trying to see what might be out there and trying even harder to hear any sound that might tell me that whatever it could be might be getting closer. There was all kinds of sounds coming from the tress thanks to the wind and there was no way I could tell which sounds might be harmless and which might be something sneaking up on me. I was concentrating so hard that I about had a heart attack when a piece of wood popped and settled into the fire. I didn’t see any sign of the eyes again finally built up enough nerve to unzip the sleeping bag enough to reach down and move the rifle close enough to reach. I added more wood to the fire, melted some more snow for another cup of coffee and spent the rest of the night staring into the woods.
   Daylight finally came. Or at least what counts for daylight in that country which meant the sky got a little greyer and you could start to identify individual trees. The wind had died down some but it was still blowing and the snow was still coming down. I had hoped that storm would have blown out during the night and I would be able to start heading back to the cabin but it looked like it was going to stick around for awhile. I put the last of my wood on the fire and started making a morning cup of coffee. I figured I was going to be drinking warm water the rest of the day. My supplies were getting kind of low and I figured I’d have to limit myself to one cup of coffee per day and pray I could get back home before I ran out. After my coffee I crawled out of the sleeping bag to see what I could do to try and make the camp a little more comfortable. I could have tried to make my way back to the cabin that day but even without the weather it would take me at least two full days to make the trip. I figured instead of being caught by darkness somewhere in between and having to go through the whole “finding shelter and making camp” routine I was just as well off staying where I was and waiting the storm out.
   The first thing I did was to start gathering more firewood. I had gathered a good size pile of branches the night before yet I had used it all in just a little over five hours. It was going to take bigger stuff and a lot more of it to make it through the next few days. All the time I was getting the wood I kept thinking about the eyes I had the night before, wondering what it could have been. Nothing had happened during the night so I wasn’t too overly worried about it, just wondered what it could have been. I tried to check for tracks but with the amount of snow that had fallen during the night I didn’t expect to find anything. I did find one area just beyond where my fire light would have fallen that looked like something had lain in the snow but with the wind and the snow it could have just as easily been a natural depression. I spent a few hours gathering the wood, even finding some really good size broken limbs down by the creek. The creek was totally frozen but I still spend some time looking to see if there might be someplace I could chop through the ice and get a fish hook in the water. I always carried hooks, line and sinkers with me when I went out in the woods. I found one place against the bank that looked pretty good and I figured I’d come back later and see if I could catch anything. As I was climbing out of the creek I found some scratch marks at the edge of the ice that for all the world looked like claw marks. I could tell what kind they were but it did look like something had crossed the creek and climbed the bank in the direction of my camp. Maybe this was the same critter whose eyes I had seen. I took a long look around but couldn’t see anything so I headed back to camp.
   Now that I had a good sized wood pile I decided to see if I could block a little more wind and snow from my sleeping area. I cut a couple of branches about five feet long with forks on the end and another that was around eight foot. I didn’t have a shovel with me but I did have a large flat bladed screw driver in the pack. I used that to dig a couple of holes about five feet out from the log and blocked the forked poles upright in them. I lay the longer pole across the top of them to form a cross bar. I spent the next few hours cutting branches and laying one end on my log and the other on the cross bar. Then I cut as many branches with the needles still on them to form a roof. By the time I was finished I had a pretty good looking lean to with both ends blocked off with more branches. It wasn’t water proof by any means by it kept the snow and the wind off. I had it high enough that I could keep the fire under cover and as the snow piled up on top it even made insulation. All during the time I was working on the lean to I had the eerie feeling that I wasn’t alone in the woods. There were a couple of time that I could have swore that I saw quick movements close to the ground and just far enough out that I could never get a good look at anything but it almost looked like a ball of snow rolling along the ground.
   I had the lean to fixed up as best I could. The wind had died down for a while and the snow was coming more or less straight down and putting a good coating on the roof and sides. I added a couple more uprights across the front and ran another cross bar at the midpoint of the roof to help handle the extra weight. I checked my pack and found I still had four back packers’ meals. They aren’t the greatest meals in the world but they were food. I figured I could get by with only having one a day if need be. I also had a plastic bag with close to a pound of moose jerky, some coffee, one packet of cool-aid and some salt and pepper. The storm looked to be a long one but I figured I’d be OK for at least the next five days and could stretch it out a little longer if I had to. Keeping enough wood would turn into a problem as I gathered all the closest stuff. Walking through deep snow while trying to carry fire wood can really tire you out quick. I took most everything out of the pack except for my fishing gear. I thought I would make another wood gathering trip and decided I’d stop by the creek and see if I could set a couple of lines. A fresh cooked trout would go a long way in getting my strength back and just make me feel a lot better in general.
   This time, as I stepped out of the lean to I definitely saw something moving through the trees. I still looked like a dirty ball of snow moving through the woods. I figured it had to be an animal but I couldn’t for the life of me think of what it might be. This time I knew I’d be able to find out though. I knew exactly where I had seen it and it was daylight, as long as I got to the spot quick I’d be able to at least find its tracks. Whatever it was it wasn’t real big. It’s hard to judge size when you trying to see something through moving snow but I could tell that it had been close to the ground so I felt pretty safe in assuming that it wasn’t a bear out of hibernation but I still checked my rifle to make sure it was loaded just in case. I found where it had plowed through the snow but I had trouble finding foot prints. It must have been moving pretty fast because it left a trough through the snow which had fell in behind it covering its prints. It was headed down toward the creek so I followed its trail trying to keep an eye ahead of me in case it was still around. The trail was making me start to think it might be a wolverine from the width and the depth but without seeing its tracks there was no way of really knowing. I was all the way down to the creek before I found the first track I could identify. I should have thought of the animal that had left the track but for some reason I hadn’t even considered it. I was standing in its rail looking down at the print of a wolf.
   As I thought about it I could see why I hadn’t thought about a wolf. I knew there were wolves around. There were at least two packs that I knew of, one on each side of the river but most of the ones I had never seen were either grey or black and I had never seen a lone wolf out and around, they were always in packs. I knew there were white wolves, which would explain why I kept thinking I was seeing snow blowing but I had never seen one in that country. It was the being alone that bothered me the most. Was it really alone or was it one of a pack, maybe the only one I was seeing. Wolves are pack hunters and their prey includes large warm blooded animals and no matter how cold I felt right then, I still fit the bill. I was snapping my head around like a merry go round as I was thinking this, expecting to see dark shapes moving through the trees toward me. I knew I had to calm down and try to think this through. I looked around to see if there were any other trails or prints but even the one I had followed disappeared at the creek. It looked like the wolf had gone out on the ice and either gone up or down the creek there was no way I could tell. I had been planning on setting out a couple of fishing lines but with this new development I decided the best think would be to head back to camp. I had stacked several piles of wood between the creek and camp and I figured I’d pick them up on the way back. I hated to have my arms full of wood with a wolf hanging around but I had a feeling I was going to need to keep the fire going all night.
   I made it safely back to camp, wood and all and immediately started building up the fire. I put on a cup of snow and added a few pieces of jerky for a hot cup of moose broth and tried to figure out what was going on. I was thinking that since I had followed the wolf’s trail this time I had probably chased it off, but I couldn’t be sure. Why would he be hanging around? Was he really the scout for the pack? Was he really on his own? How hungry was he? I needed some answers but I just didn’t have them. I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before and I had been up for over thirty hours now. I was going to have to get some sleep; I couldn’t be sitting up all night worrying about the wolf. Even if I wanted to I wasn’t sure I’d be able to. I re-checked my rifle, my knife and the wood pile while I was waiting for the broth to get hot. I really wished I could be sure that he had left.
   I extend my fire to where the only way to get to my sleeping bag was from just one end. I had to gather more wood but I thought that if I had a line of fire all the way across the front of the lean to I would be able to sleep safely. I even cut a few extra limbs that I planned on putting across the one open end as a kind of fence so that once I was in my shelter anything that tried to get inside with me would at least make some noise. Of course I was getting so tired I wasn’t sure any amount of noise would wake up. The snow was still coming down hard enough that I had to take a branch and clear some of it off the roof plus the wind was starting to pick back up. It was going to be dark within a couple of hours and I still had no idea of what to do. I drank the broth while scanning the woods for any movement. I was getting a little paranoid and the problem with that is once you get there you start seeing what you expect to see, whether it’s there or not. Every time the wind blew any snow around I was sure it was the wolf coming back. A limb cracked form the weight of the snow and I almost shot it before I could catch myself. I quit holding the rifle after that and just kept it leaning against the log within easy reach.
   By the time full darkness had fallen I was going back and forth between dozing off and snapping back awake only to be memorized by the snowflakes falling through the firelight. I felt that I should eat something but I just didn’t have the energy it would take to put together a meal so I heated another cup of snow water and had some more moose broth. I was sure the wolf had left the area. There had been no more strange movements since I had come back to the camp. I had convinced myself that it must have been a lone wolf that had just been checking things out looking for food. I chided myself for being a baby about. After all, I had been out hunting when this storm blew up. I did have a rifle and a pistol. I had hunted bear and moose which were two of the most dangerous animals around. I had not only seen wolves before but had even trailed them just so I could enjoy watching them for a little longer. There was no reason for me to get so paranoid over the thought of a single wolf slinking around. You needed to be respectful of a wolf pack but there was no reason to be afraid. At least that’s what by mind was telling me but for some reason my body kept having its doubts It was that “single wolf” part that kept bothering me. It was something totally out of the ordinary in my experience. Well, I was just too tired to worry about it anymore. I would finish off my broth and call it a night, heaven knows I needed the rest and maybe the storm would blow over enough to head home tomorrow. I took my last sip and leaned forward, meaning to sit my cup back by the fire so I could find it easily if I needed it, I found myself looking directly into the eyes of a white wolf.
   I froze. I was still leaning forward with my arm stretched out and the cup still in my hand. He wasn’t moving either, just sitting there in the snow on the other side of the fire. I had to do something; I just wasn’t sure what it should be. My rifle was leaning against the log behind and to my left. Being right handed I would have to be able to drop the cup, grab it with my left hand and shift it to my right shoulder to have a chance at a decent shot. I could always try to fire it with my left hand but the odds of a killing shot, even at this close range was not guaranteed and the last thing I wanted to take a chance on doing would be to just wound him. I had taken my belt off and the pistol was laying on top of the sleeping bag to my right. I might be able to drop the cup and grab it but I knew it was held in the holster with the hammer loop and there would be no way I would be able to get it out and bring it to bear before the wolf made his move, if he wanted to. All of those thoughts went through my mind in a matter of seconds although to me it seemed like I had been staring into his eyes for at least an hour. The other thoughts that passed were “My God, he’s huge!” He looked like he was at least five feet tall and his head looked to be about the same size as a full grown grizzly.
   I knew he was really nowhere that big but when you’re staring into his eyes from less than five feet away he sure looks like it! Mean while neither of us had moved, he might have been sitting there thinking about having me for supper, for myself, I was too scared to move. The more I looked at him the more he shrunk back down to wolf size in my eyes. Even at real wolf size he was still bit. He’d go at least over a hundred pounds and his head and especially those jaws where still huge. I could see why I had mistaken his for snow blowing across the ground. He wasn’t pure white, but he was close to it. I took a chance of looking around behind him to see if there were any other eyes shining in the fire light. I hated to take my eyes off him for even a second but at least I saw not others.
   My first surprise was seeing him sitting there, my next surprise was when he lay down and propped his head on his front paws. I had never seen a wolf do that except in a zoo. He looked for all the world like a big ole pet dog enjoying the fire. I tried not to move my body as I set the cup on the ground but as soon as I moved my hand his head pop up. I could tell even from where I was sitting how his body tensed up and his eyes never left my hand. As soon as I set the cup on the ground I leaned back and tried to scoot over just a little closer to my rifle. As soon as I started moving he jumped to his feet and I froze. He looked at me with his head held low and I thought I could hear a low rumbling growl. He turned away and I thought for a second that he was going to run off into the woods but he only turned in a full circle. I held as still as I could and after staring at each other for a couple of minutes he lay back down.
   I’m not sure how long we sat there like a couple of statues staring at each other but there comes a point where no matter how scared you are, you get bored. My back was killing me from the way I was sitting so I figured I’d take the chance and try to get in a more comfortable position. The minute I started moved he was back on his feet but since he didn’t do anything but watch me I figure I might as well continue. Once I got going I figure “what the hell” and scooted back to where I could lean against t the log that put me in a more comfortable spot and got me just a little closer to my rifle. As soon as I stopped moving, he lay back down. Another few minutes of watching him and it dawned on me that he seemed to be staring at the flames from the fire instead of looking directly at me. I was beginning to wonder if maybe he wasn’t pure wolf. I knew there were a lot of part wolf dogs in that country and he was acting like more like a pet dog enjoying the fire than a wild wolf.
   I don’t know what made me do it but I decided to see what would happen if I tried something. The moose jerky was still lying on top of my pack where I had left it when I made my broth. I eased my right hand down to the pouch and dug a piece out. I could see that he watching my every move but so far he was still lying in the same spot. I slowly raised my hand and showed him the jerky. His head came up when I held my hand out but he only watched me. I took a deep breath and tossed the jerky toward him. He was gone in an instant! He had jumped to his feet, spun and dashed into the trees so quick it was hard to even see. The only thing left was a swirl of snow where he had been laying. I thought for sure this time he was gone. I looked everywhere I could from inside the shelter but couldn’t see any sign of him. Well, that was interesting to say the least. Now that the excitement was over my exhaustion was making its self felt again. It’s hard to believe that the body from go from nervous excitement to just barely able to hold your eyes open that quickly.
   I moved the pack over and straightened out my sleeping bag. I also took my rifle from where it was leaning and lay in on the ground next to the bag. I was getting ready to slide in the bag and get some much needed sleep when I thought I caught a flicker of movement across the fire. It to a few minutes before my eyes adjusted enough to see the slightly different color blob moving in the trees. It wasn’t until I saw his eyes that I knew he was back. The wind was blowing a lot less than it had been but even with what little there was and with the snow still falling it was almost impossible to see his body. All you could really see were those two glowing yellow eyes moving seemly by themselves above the snow. Those eyes seemed to just float toward me until it looked like his body just appeared across the fire. The piece of jerky that I had tossed over was lying on the ground almost at his feet but he was ignoring it so far. He had his head up and I could see him sniffing, trying to pick up whatever scents he could. It surprised me when he finally sniffed at the jerky then took it in his mouth. He lay back down on the snow, propped his head on his paws and stared into the fire as he chewed on it. By this time I was beyond the point of being scared or even concerned any more, I had to get some sleep. I climbed into the sleeping bag and settled down without even looking at him again. I had my hand on the rifle and was asleep before my head was all the way down.
   Morning. I was slow coming awake. Something was different but what was it. Wait, no wind. I was staring at the underside of the roof, I could see the snow still falling from the corner of my eye but for the first time in three days there was no sound of the wind. Come to think about it there was no sound at all. The snow thick and it muffled almost all sound. When I held my breath the only sound was a little crackle from the fire. I loved being out on days like this. I could see that I would have to sweep some of the snow off the roof today it was starting to sag a little. I could probably head home today. Traveling in the snow wasn’t the easiest thing in the world but as long as the wind didn’t start up again it wasn’t all that hard. I would have to think about it more when I felt like getting up. It was so warm in my bag and so quite I just wanted to keep lying there and maybe even doze off again. I really wanted a cup of coffee but I was going to have to get up for that. I started thinking about the trip home, which way I would go, what all I needed to pack and there was something else that I needed to think about. I could feel it there kind of trying to push its way to the front of my mind but I just couldn’t bring it into focus. It came into focus with a flash and I sat straight up in the sleeping bag! The wolf! I couldn’t believe I had been able to sleep and really couldn’t believe that I had slept as long as I had. Where was he? I jerked my head around to look out over my mostly burnt out fire and there he was. Here was something else I couldn’t believe, he was laying in what looked like the same spot he’d been in when I laid down.
   What kind of wolf was this? I had never heard of any wolf sharing a campfire or even one that would hang around a people camp. At least I could get a good look at him this morning. Even with the snow coming down slow and steady it amassed me at how well he blended into the back ground. The easiest thing to see about him was his black eyes staring back at me. It took another minute for that fact to sink in. I had jerked upright and whipped my head around to look for him but there he lay, chin resting on his paws looking at me. The night before every time I had moved even a tiny bit he would jump up and act like he was ready to bolt. I decided to test his patience and reached over for a piece of fire wood. He never moved an inch. Next I tossed the wood into the fire. The only response that got was him raising his head up to watch the wood. As soon as it settled on the fire he dropped his head back to his paws. Next I dug out a piece of jerky and tossed it to him. He didn’t grab it out of the air like a dog would but he didn’t jump up either. He had to inch forward just a bit to smell of it then he took it, scooted back, dropped his head back on his paws and started chewing it. With as little as he was moving this morning I began to wonder if he might be sick. There was nothing to indicate it other that the lack of movement. I decided to do one more test, I stood up. Nope, he wasn’t sick or at least he didn’t have any trouble moving fast! As soon as I stood up he jumped up and ran a few steps into the trees. He didn’t go very far just what I guess he thought was enough distance between us.
   The snow looked like it might be slacking off just a little and since I was really short of food I decided to go ahead and make an attempt at heading for home. He didn’t come back up to the fire while I was packing up but he did run away either. When I had everything packed he was still sitting back in the trees watching me. I hadn’t put my fire out yet and I wondered what he was going to do when I did. I had let the fire burn down enough that I figured I could put out the rest with just one full cup of water. I started to pour the water on it when I had another thought. Things were so weird already I wondered if he would even let me leave my shelter. I checked and as far as I could tell he had made no effort to get either across the fire or to get into the shelter during the night but I had to wonder what he would do once the fire was out and I stepped out of the shelter. Would he just sit there and watch me leave, would he follow or would he attack? There was only one way to find out. I took the fence of branches away from the end and stepped out. He had stood up when I started removing the branches and when I stepped out he had backed up another few feet but he was still there. I would need to walk right in front of him in order to get down to the creek. I could have gone the other way but I would have needed to climb the hill again and anyway going down the creek was the shortest way home. I tried my best to walk and act normal as I stepped around the fire. So far, so good. He was just standing there in the trees, watching. I managed to walk by him without my knees shaking to bad. He was panting a little and I noticed that wolf teeth look a lot bigger when their in the mouth of a live one. A few more steps and he was behind me. I’ll tell ya, the hardest thing I’d ever done was to turn my back to him but as I looked back he was still in the same place. I was beginning to think he was going to hang out around the camp by the time I made it to the creek. Maybe he just wanted to feel the warmth of the fire but after I had gone a couple of hundred feet down the creek I looked back and there he was. He was about a hundred feet back sniffing at everything that caught his attention and just trotting along following me.
   I set myself a pretty hard pace that day. I could make good time by staying in the creek and I figured I had about thirty miles to go to get back to the cabin. He followed me all that day. Every once in a while I’d look back and he’d be gone. Every time he wasn’t there I wondered if he’d went his own way but each time he would come back. Most of the time he would be behind me but every so often I’d see him ahead of me sitting off to one side of the creek. He’d wait until I had passed then fall in behind me again.
   The snow had finally stopped late that afternoon which made traveling a lot easier. It was getting on toward dark and I was thinking about finding a place to spend the night when I saw him up ahead again. There was something a little different about him this time but it wasn’t until I got even with him that I realized what it was. His muzzle was bloody this time. I had wondered about that. The only thing I had seen him eat was a couple of pieces of jerky and I didn’t see how that was going to last him. Whatever he had caught it wasn’t anywhere that I could see from the creek but I was happy that “my” wolf had found something to eat. I spotted a couple of fallen trees up on the creek bank so I went up to see if they would work for shelter for the night. Not too bad. One of the tress had fallen over the other one and there was a nice size area back under them with no snow. There was plenty of wood around and as long as I kept the fire low I could even have under cover and out of the snow. It was starting to snow again but at least it wasn’t coming down as hard as it had been and thankfully there was still no wind. I didn’t see the wolf around anywhere as I was making camp and I was kind of wondering if he was going to stick around for another night. It’s hard to believe that I could go from scaring myself over the “something” that I thought was in the woods. To becoming totally paranoid when I found out it was a wolf to accepting having a wolf around all the way to making a camp and not even thinking about him all in the space of a couple of days.
   I figured I’d splurge that night so I dug my cook pot out of the pack and made myself meatloaf and a hot cup of coffee for supper. OK, so it was freeze dried meat loaf and you needed to be really hungry to think you were splurging by having it but after a few days of nothing but moose broth and jerky it tasted really good. I had finished my meal and was leaning back taking it easy and sipping on the coffee when I noticed him on the other side of the fire. I might have been able to mostly ignore him that day but it still made my heart jump a little and cause me to spill my coffee by the way he could just appear like that. It seemed like you could be looking directly at the woods and there would be nothing there and when you glanced away and back for just a second there would be his eyes looking at you. He was lying close to the fire but still out from under the cover of the trees and it looked like he was eating snow. It took a minute for me to realize that what he was doing was wiping his muzzle in the snow to clean the blood off. I figured that whatever he had killed during the day must not be too far away and it must be big enough for him to have seconds. Just one more strange thing about him. Most wolfs don’t go after large game when their by themselves. The only time I had ever seen or heard of wolfs going for big animals was as a pack, I have seen lone wolfs hunting small game, rabbits or lemmings, by themselves. Apparently “my” wolf could fend for himself.
   I knew that logically I was making a big mistake thinking of him as anything other than a large and dangerous predator but it was really hard not to. I even flirted with the idea of being able to tame him for a pet. Just as I was daydreaming about that he yawned and I got a good look at those teeth. That took care of that daydream! I didn’t do anything special to protect the camp that night. As dumb as it might have been I felt safe with him sharing the fire and I figured with him being there I would be safe from anything else, again I had let myself lapse into the fantasy of him being a guard dog. Well, maybe not totally, I did keep my rifle lying under my hand and didn’t zip up the sleeping bag. God most definitely looks after fools because I woke the following morning with all my parts still attached. I had a quick breakfast, packed up and headed out. He hadn’t been anywhere around the camp when woke up and I still hadn’t seen any sign of him as I started out. Every time he took off I kept thinking it would be the last time I saw him but like the proverbial penny after a couple of hours on the trail I happened to glance back and there he was following along.
   I pushed myself as hard as I could that day and just before dark I was on the last hill before the cabin. The snow had stopped again during the day and the clouds were gone. There would be a three quarter moon that night and with no cloud cover and everything covered with snow it would be easy to travel after dark. He had been mostly following me all day. Sometimes he’d take off through the woods checking on whatever wolfs check on but he always came back. I was seriously beginning to think that if he followed me all the way to the cabin there just might be a chance I could tame him. After living alone out there for several months having company would really be nice. When I came to the spot on the hill where I could look down and see the cabin I checked to see if he was still behind me. He had stopped when I did and was sitting in the snow fifty or sixty feet back. I thought it was a good sign that he seemed to be following closer than he had the day before. Maybe this was going to work. I headed on down the hill fully expecting him to follow right along. I had to watch my footing on the trail down the hill and didn’t bother looking back until I was a little over half way down. He wasn’t behind me. I searched both sides of the trail thinking he might be off looking at something but there was no sign of him. I finally took my binoculars out and looked back up the trail. It took a few minutes but I finally spotted him lying down at the edge of the hill looking down the trail. I waited on the trail until almost dark to see if he was going to come on down but he never moved and I had to get on down to the cabin. It surprised me at the feeling of loose I felt as I started on down the trail. By the time I got to the cabin I had convinced myself that he would find his way and be sitting on the porch the next morning.
   He never came down to the cabin. In fact I never saw him again that I could be sure of. Every time I left the cabin to hunt or to run my traps I’d always watch for any movement and there were a couple of time that I could almost convince myself that I had seen him moving through the woods. I don’t have any idea why a wild wolf would act the way he did but I know I felt very privileged that he did.

Monday, November 7, 2011

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Preview for Down Home
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rednecks

   As you can see I am not a "he said, she said" type of writer. My mind might be able to dream up some kind of fantasy but I didn't pay near enough attention in Mrs. Delso's english class to know how to put it on paper, I envy people who can do that kind of writing, I'm stuck with just telling stories, most of which are from a first person perspective. One thing about these stories, I don't think Stanley and I would count as "Rednecks", do you? Hicks, maybe, or even hillbillies. We did grow up in the country and it was hilly. But then, we worked in the fields most every summer and we did get red necks, think that counts? I have also noticed that when we listen to Jeff Foxworthy do his "you might be a redneck" show, we both sit there saying "Yep, done that, been there, remember that" He sure does seem to be talking about our family and the way we grew up. So, what do you think, Rednecks??

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Redneck Gourmet

Lip Smacking Possum

Baked Possum with Sweet Taters:

Serves 4

1 possum

2 large sweet taters

2 large stalks of celery

1 white onion

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper

¼ Cup of paprika

¼ Cup of oregano

¼ Cup of basil

Olive oil

Optional: 4 old fashion clothes pens.





Skin and clean the possum. Save the hide because you can sell it or make a nice possibles bag from it.

Peel the taters and cut them into thin slices. Cut the celery into thin slices and quarter the onion. Line a roasting pan with tin foil. Rub the possum all over with the oil. Add salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, basil and place in the pan. (Add lots of stuff, it helps hide the flavor of the possum). Add the taters, celery and onion then place in a pre heated oven set at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half.

When it’s done the meat should pull away from the bones. Serve it on a platter along with the veggies on a night when the family is really, really hungry. The clothes pens are for your nose if you need them.

Redneck Gourmet

Sizzling Snakes

   Now don’t let anyone fool ya, snakes are good eating! They even have fancy restaurants that will charge you an arm and a leg to get a taste of one. Of course us poor folks have known that they were good eating for years. I got my first taste of one down in Okeene, Oklahoma were I used to go rattle snake hunting with my uncle. Most of what you got down there was barbecued which is really good but you have to have a BBQ to make it. More of what I’ve eaten over the years has been out in the wilds and BBQ’s are kind of hard to come by when you’re back packing. I reckon you could carry along some BBQ sauce and do it over a camp fire but most people don’t really think about packing that kind of stuff.

Snakes can be all kinds of meals because they come in all different sizes. If you catch a small snake it will make a good appetizer but you can make a whole meal out of a big one. A few things to keep in mind. Number one: snakes bite, all snakes bite and even the non poisonous ones can make you sick if you get bite to many times. I found that out when I was catching snakes down home for the school. Number two: even after you’ve cut the head off a poison one the head can still bite. I found that out the hard way during the rattle snake round-up one summer. Number three: some of the snakes have really strong sent glands so if the stink when you catch them you need to wash the off quickly and often, don’t let the smell get on the meat.

The best way to clean a snake is to cut the head off and then hang it from a tree or bush by the tail. Cut around the tail and then split the skin from the tail down being careful not to cut into the guts. Pull all the guts out (save the heart it’s good as a raw snack while you’re working on the rest) and you can then get a hold of the skin at the top and peel it off.

The down and dirty way to prepare snake is to just find a long branch with several limbs on it. You can thread the snake on to the limbs and lean it over the camp fire to roast it. Be sure and turn it several times to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. If you’re in a place with trees and you have the time you can use branches and leaves to build a smoker over your fire and smoke it. This works best on big snakes and the meat will last several days. I’ve done this a few times and it turned out really well but mostly when I got to the snake eating phase I was a little too hungry to wait that long.

If you have a pot and there’s water close by and you can find some wild greens they make a really good stew. I used some mesquite leaves, limbs and fruit from a prickly pear cactus and made a really nice stew from a six pound western diamondback one time. Of course if you want to try this at home you can add the good stuff like taters, onions, celery, maters and what every spices you like. Be sure and cut the snake into chunks about two inches long.

Also if you’re home be sure and try the BBQ method. Just use a good dry rub or BBQ sauce and lay him on the grill

Redneck Gourmet

Baked Carp

   It’s hard to fish down home without hooking a carp every now and them. Most people just throw them back but if you’re really desperate for a fish diner there are ways of fixing them. I’m not saying anything bad about those folks that actually like carp but since I’ve heard them call Sewer Trout all my life you can see why I’m not real fond of them myself. The following is for one carp. How many it will feed depends on the size of the carp. The one I tried this with was about twenty five pounds which is a pretty normal size for Deepfork Bottoms.

1 Carp, cut off the head and remove the guts but leave the skin on.

A hand full of bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

2 lemons

1 lime

Cooking oil

Hold the carp open and douse him good with the salt, pepper and the juice from one lemon and half the lime then stuff the bay leaves inside him. Lay him out on a large piece of oiled tin foil and squirt the rest of the lemon and lime juice on him. Wrap him up good in the tin foil and shove him in a pre heated oven set for 250 degrees for about an hour.

Once he’s done you can pretty well peel the skin off him and dig most of the meat away from the bones. Hot sauce works pretty well on the meat and will help hide the muddy flavor. Add mashed taters and some corn to the meal and it will at least fill you up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Down Home Stories: What are you doing in the Pond?

Down Home Stories: What are you doing in the Pond?: Cat fishing at night has got to be one of the best ways there is of fishing. You set your lines and bait them up during the day then head...

What are you doing in the Pond?

   Cat fishing at night has got to be one of the best ways there is of fishing. You set your lines and bait them up during the day then head back to your camp spot, build up a nice fire and set around visiting with your friends. After it gets dark you head out and run your lines every couple of hours. You can even do some rod and reel fishing in between but if you have limb lines or a trot line out it’s more fun to just hang out and wait to check them. Limb lines can get your adrenalin pumping pretty good when you cruse to where you can shine a sight on them and watch the limb dipping down to the water. You can even make a good guess about the size of the fish depending on how far and how often it dips. What you really want to see is it hit the water with a hard slap and stay down for awhile, that’s a sign of a good one. Trot lines are even more fun when you reach down in the water and pick one end of it up and feel a fish trying to pull you out of the boat.
   Now as much as Stanley and I loved this kind of fishing not everyone was exactly cut out for it. You have to keep in mind that you were around a creek, river, pond or lake while you were doing it. Because you were around water and at night you had to keep an eye out for all different kinds of critters although most of them wouldn’t bother you. You might walk up on a coon or possum hiding in the brush and be scared when they took off or even a deer that would stand so still they were hard to see until they exploded out of the brush right next to you but the main thing you had to watch for was skeeters and snakes. Skeeters could just about drive someone away from the water like my cousin Kenneth. That boy loved to night fish but at the right time of the year tem skeeters loved him a lot more. I’ve seen him down on the river wearing a short sleeve shirt when the skeeters were bad and it looked like he had a long sleeve shirt on just from the number of them that would be on him. An hour or two down there and he looked like he had a really bad case of measles! Nether Stanley or I could really understand that because they seldom bothered us. Everyone else would have so many on them it looked like they were about to be carried away and me and Stanley would get maybe one or two bites. They just didn’t seem to like us for some reason.
   The other main worry folks had was the snakes. We knew lots of folks that were scared to death of snakes, including my own dad. Now I’m not saying Stanley and me have never been scared by a snake, if you happen to look down and see one right next to your feet it’s really hard not to jump. I can say that we have never been afraid of any snake that we could see and never understood people who were. Down home we got rattle snakes which most of the time, not always, but most of the time will buzz when you get close to them. Even when we were kids we had no problem whacking one on the head if we found it after which we’d skin it and take the rattles. We could sell the skin in Henryetta for bets and hat bands and the rattles were always good trading material. We had copperheads which we believed were the most dangerous because they blended in with the dead leaves so well they were really hard to see. The other thing about copperheads was that you never knew where they might be. We’ve seen just as many out in the yard, under the porch or around the barn as we did out in the woods. The one you had to worry about the most when you were fishing was a cottonmouth. Cottonmouths are a whole different animal when it comes to snakes. They are kind of like a copperhead because they can blend to their back ground but where a copperhead will try to get away if you get close to him the first warning you have that a cottonmouth is close is when he strikes at you. They are aggressive also. You can be out on the water in a boat and see a cottonmouth swimming by and more than likely he’ll head toward your boat and try to climb in. You also have to watch any overhanging branches while you’re running you lines because they like to lay up in the branches close to the water and if you stick the nose of your boat under them they tend to fall down in the boat. Being in a small boat with a pissed off cottonmouth can get really exciting real quick. There has been more than one person who has shot a hole in their boat because of a snake, mostly just plain ole water snakes that they thought were cottonmouths. Again, it wasn’t that Stanley and I were fearless in anyway, we were just used to snakes because we had learned to identify them and we had caught a bunch of them.
   When I was living up in Chelsea I had a couple of guys that wanted to go spend the night fishing and set a trot line. I was always more than ready to go but since neither of them had ever been night fishing I decided we would good to a good sized pond instead of out on the lake. There were some nice sized catfish in the pond and we wouldn’t have to worry about the wind or waves like we would on the lake. We had a little fourteen foot boat and enough line to stretch all the way across the pond. We got to the pond late in the afternoon got the boat in the water and stretched our line across the pond. We ended up with enough line for about thirty hooks and after we had them all baited we headed back to shore to set up a camp. We had a lot of fun just sitting around the fire and shooting the bull but I had to keep putting them off from checking the line because they wanted to run it fifteen minutes after we set it out. We finally ran it the first time about two hours after dark and took four fish the smallest being around five pounds. They were really fired up after that so it was hard to get them to wait at least two more hours before we checked it again
   After they drove me crazy for awhile we went ahead and ran the line again after just an hour and a half. I was sitting in the front of the boat pulling up the line and it looked like they had been right because we had a ten pounder on the first hook. One of them was sitting in the back of the boat helping me pull it across with the line and the other was sitting in the middle. As I took a fish off the hook I’d toss over my shoulder so the middle guy could stuff it in a sack. We were catching fish on about every other hook and things were going fine until we got a little past the middle of the pond. We only had one light that night and the middle guy was holding it so he could spot light the fish while I took them off. I could feel a fish pulling on the line but it felt like it was a couple more hooks down from where we were so I was watching up the line and not paying much attention to what was happing right in front of me. As I pulled the line up out of the water I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and when I looked down there was a snake caught on one of the hooks. That wasn’t uncommon; Stanley and I had caught a lot of snakes when we had lines set out, especially when you’re using small perch for bait. It only took one glance to realize that it was only a small diamond backed water snake not a cottonmouth so I just grabbed hold of it, pulled the hook out of its mouth and tossed it behind me.
   The next thing I knew, my nose was just about touching the water from the boat leaning over and all I could hear was a bunch of yelling and two huge splashes! The boat flopped back the opposite way, nearly throwing me out the other side and when I looked toward the rear I was the only one left in the boat. I managed to set up and look around wondering what in the world had happened. The light was laying in the bottom of the bat so I grabbed it and started shining it around the pond trying to figure out where the other two guys had gone. I spotted one of the half ways back to the bank swimming to beat the band. I spotted the other one ten feet or more away from the boat trying his best to keep afloat. I grabbed the paddle and headed over to him because it was easy to see that he didn’t know how to swim. I finally got over to him and tried to grab him to help him back in the boat but all he would do was yell “is it still in the boat”? I had no idea what he was talking about and had to get him calmed down enough to get it through to me that he thought the snake was in the boat. It seems that when I tossed it over my shoulder instead of it going back in the water like I meant it too, it had landed in the boat, right in the middle of John’s lap.
   I didn’t have a clue that both of those guys were scared of snakes. I had a hell of a time getting John back in the boat. In between all his cussing at me for throwing a snake in the boat he made me search the entire boat to make sure it wasn’t still there. He still wanted to just hang onto the boat while I paddled us back to the bank until I reminded him that even thought there were no snakes in the boat, they were in the pond. After that he couldn’t get in the boat fast enough. I got more cussing when we got back to the bank until everyone calmed down for me to explain that there was nothing to worry about because it wasn’t poisonous. I thought that would make everything all right but it didn’t seem to matter to them.
   That ended our fishing trip that night. Neither of them were willing to get back in the boat and I had to haul their soggy butts home then go back and gather up my stuff by myself. You can bet from then on I asked if anyone was afraid of snakes BEFORE I got in a boat with them.