Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So how is that reloading going?

I'm learning a lot. The way I usually do. The hard way. Since I'm off to another state to speak at a conference tomorrow I will leave you with some reading material until my return.

Monday, July 27, 2009

All Fired Up

For cooking anyway. Some tidings from Turk who came into Indiana for the blog meet and stopped by the Range to visit on the way, bringing with him gifts of hot sauce for his friends.

You'll have to click on the picture to enlarge it to see the names. You can probably guess which one he picked out for me.:-) I can't wait to try it on something!

How about some Three cheese and smoked chicken enchiladas. This is a quick meal I've thrown together for my shooty friends more than once. There IS a lot of hot sauce here.

Add some cheddar cheese drop biscuits and some salad with a tangy vinaigrette to cool the fire and you're all set.

Click to enlarge. I dare you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Let the Games Begin.

It had been many weeks since I'd been to the range, the first grouping with the Kahr made it that much sweeter.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grab and Go Breakfast

I hit the day running and other than weekends, there isn't time for breakfast. So, sometimes "breakfast" is an oatmeal cookie or a honey and oat granola bar. If I'm desperate there are some snacks in the break room at work, but Pop Tarts in my opinion, are not food.

Or this time, a little treat to take into the office and share. Scandahoovian Almond Bars. A rich, not too sweet, buttery dough flecked with sliced toasted almonds and just barely drizzled with almond infused frosting. They're tender crisp yet soft in the middle on day one. Day two, they're crispier and great to dunk in coffee. Day three, I hear they get pretty hard but I've never had any last that long.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A week off.

I'm taking a week or so off from blogging. I'm getting a bit burned out between this and work lately. I post daily and see pictures of a piece of ham get 30 comments and an essay that's like opening a vein get four. I understand why, but still I wonder some nights it's worth the time away from other things that during this time of year I really need to do.

Life has piled it on lately,and I've grown disillusioned about human nature in general. When this happens, I need to just hole up and be by myself with my thoughts for a while and then I'll be fine. Some open sky, a knife, a gun, some beans and cornbread. I hope you will all be here when I come back, but I understand that sometimes when one is away, the cattle wander off.

I'll be back soon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Air and Water. Water and Air.

Air and water. Water and Air. The two elements of this world that I love the most. Part of my childhood was spent on the waters of a lake in Montana where we stayed at a little cabin some summers, years before Californians discovered it and developers took over the place, building vast condos that blocked out the sun.

My brothers and I would get up while it was still dark, and march down to the waters edge, hoping to get there to see the dawn explode over the water. During the day we'd float upon it in inner tubes, flotillas of youth, between fishing and swimming. I could spend hours there, just watching the way the water shaped itself around the rocks and me, the gentle waves moving against the shore, like breathing. In the bright cold water, there would be bass and crappie and all wonders of strange life.

We'd wade along the edges, gingerly looking, while not harming anything that was there, hoping to find a prehistoric shell to take home, knowing that at some time, this whole land had been ocean. We occasionally found bits and pieces of things, but nothing ever matched the one perfect shell we got on that trip to the Oregon coast to meet out cousins one summer. Many of you have seen a sand dollar. They're commonly sold in souvenir stores. But what you see is only the remaining skeleton of a living sea creature. When living, the sand dollar is covered with fine hair like cilia that cover tiny spines, soft, and almost purple in color. But the remaining shell is beautiful, fragile, white. The essential essence of what this creature was.

Until I was about 10 I wanted to be a Biologist, preferably a marine biologist (that or a spy, biologists didn't get to have cool guns and shoe phones). Then one morning, when I was in my early teens, as I ran and launched myself off of a dock, airborne for only a moment before splashing into the ice cold water, I heard a sound. It was a small plane flying up over the high altitude lake, causing me to look up in wonder, not ever having seen one in this remote area. Wondering who the pilot was and what that must be like. My world in that moment, was more than one with the water, but was the world of air and sky, and though I felt as if I was living in a alien world in either, among creatures that were so different from me, somehow I knew I would belong there.

After that, on summer nights when we'd build a fire and sit and listen to the lapping of the waves, dreams of my airborne future filled my head. The sound of the water, growing and swelling in rhythm to my heart beat, an accompaniment to the laughing and roasted marshmallows, the joys of a night on the water, under open stars. My heart had shifted, I would likely major in the sciences I loved, yet the affirmation and promise of the rushing waters that carried those aerial dreams needed to be a part of me.

It wasn't too many years before I was taking lessons after school and soon was practicing "turns about a point", ground reference maneuvers, low over collections of small lakes. It was a perfect time, for those hours I was free. I've always been that way, devoted to family, but chafing at a leash, electronic or otherwise that follows me when I am earthbound, making me long for the sky.

Tonight I needed to get back up there watching the clouds go past, thinking back to my first flight over 20 years ago, to the first person I ever kissed, to the smell of Lycoming exhaust mixed with the scent of fresh cornfield, to the distant memory of what it feels to be free. Patiently sitting, watching, remembering everything past, hoping for everything good of the future, in a bone deep calm that only a pilot or people who make long road trips probably understand, until it's finally time to descend. To descend through layer on layer of cloud, thinking back, layer and layer of memory. Memories in an airplane, the first, the last, in the heart of the nation or over still mountain lakes, winter to summer, hours to minutes. From that first flight to this one, the distance seems endless.

Water and Air. Air and Water. I make that final descent for the airport, the heat of legions of cornstalk pressing in around me, the sun so bright I glint into the glare, trying to catch a glimpse to the runway, rousing myself from the almost stupor that descends from an hour aloft. It's like being a child, being coaxed from the back of a car after a long drive to make a quick stop at a gas station when all you want to do is crawl back in the cool seat, book in lap, moving 70 miles an hour towards the place you most want to be. In my mind I was already on the way there, passing all the small towns in which I would never live and people I'd never get a chance to talk to, rushing headlong towards the place where the rest of my life was awaiting me. Somewhere just up ahead in the blue.

The blue of the sky glances off the blue of the reservoir, I soar past small islands of clouds as the sky and the water and the whole universe appear as an infinite expanse of deep blue calm.
The being and cadence of rushing water is part of who I am, as is the rush of wind past the cockpit, directing the currents of my future, setting the pace of my desire, powering the shape of my dreams. The undercurrents of air and sky over time has shaped who I am, eroding away all that is non essential, til all that is left is pure white thought, a pristine light shell that is my soul.

Air and Water.
Water and Air. I descend into the deepening blue, dreading the anchor of earth again.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Free Range Chicken


The appliance repair people finally called. It was either going to be
(1) you get a new range under warranty or
(2) we have the part that was shipped via Djibouti.

The part is in, to be installed on my next day off, this Friday. So another work week of non- kitchen cooked meals. I've got pretty good at alternative methods, but tonight I was craving homestyle chicken and noodles after no breakfast and a wimpy salad lunch. How to do it without a stove?


Grill some chicken tenders on the barbecue with just a little seasoning salt.
Slice and toss them with some caramelized onion and garlic that you've cooked in a cast iron skillet over the coals in a tiny bit of butter. Remove the chicken and veggies to a covered small bowl and keep the cast iron pan handy. Do not wipe it out and keep it warm.
Get some water simmering as best you can and cook some WIDE fresh noodles in a separate pot. Pick a good quality Italian or Amish style noodle, no wimpy generic noodles for this dish.

Make the sauce in the cast iron pan. Traditional chicken and noodles has a cream sauce but this Home on the Range version has an alfredo style sauce with the addition of an extra kind of cheese and some special seasoning. It's fool proof and can be made in minutes.

You will just need three kinds of cheese, some milk and seasoning.

Lightly steam or grill some fresh broccoli or other veggie while the sauce simmers. Toss it all together and serve with some more fresh grated cheese.

Dinner in a little more than a half hour without a stove.