Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Blog Rodeo 01/22/2011

© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Welcome to the latest installment of the now famous Chronicles'Saturday Blog Rodeo! As you all are amply aware, I plumb the depth and breadth of the blogosphere searcing for and commenting upon the diverse outdoor activities, (And some indoor ones too!), bring you, my faithful and ecumenical readers more blogs to expand not only your minds, but horizons. So with that said let's get into this week's Saturday Blog Rodeo!

Well, I got off to another early start because Ian at The Wild Life was kind enough to forward a great link to a blog that I bumped into a long time ago, and lost in the shuffle. Trapping Supplies Review is a place for trappers to share their insights on all things related to trapping. CJ also has quite few fellow trappers that like to contribute trapping articles, equipment reviews, stories and pictures from their traplines. Well TSR and CJ have had a run of good luck with the AR loons lately. I say good luck 'cause otherwise there would be noone to poke fun at if they didn't stop by occasionally! In Hate Mail CJ shares the latest email he has received from some half-wit. Hey CJ! Do me a favor and send him my way... I'll be sure he feels welcome! Stop by TSR and learn a few new trricks, or just get an eyeful of a different outdoor activity! And don't forget to tell CJ I sent ya!

The Blacksmith's Shop at The Farmers Museum

I've always enjoyed blacksmithing, though what I do might not neccesarily pass for blacksmithing by definition. More like banging on red hot metal for no apparent reason. Now Steve Kellog is a blacksmith.

I bumped into his blog while searching for methods and techniques for forging mainsprings in flintlock locks. Steve's blog Rural Blacksmith is a veritable treasure trove of blacksmithing information! Steve has been blacksmithing for 15 years, and at The Farmers' Museum he teaches classes, present blacksmithing demonstrations on a daily basis, make historically accurate tools and hardware, and researches life and work in the 19th century.

An interesting project that Steve has been part of is a brace of Scottish steel and iron pistols in the Pitcairn style.

The project is inspired by the surviving pistols of British Marine Major John Pitcarn. He is the officer that ended up commanding the troops launching the raids on Lexington and Concord. Those are regarded as the first battles of our war for independence, and the first shot fired in anger is referred to as the “Shot heard around the world”. That shot was attributed by some as having been fired by Maj. Pitcarn from one of these pistols.

Check out his blog; it is a very good one!

Mr. Barn
Itinerant Woodworker/
Master Spooner

I'm a big fan of woodwroking. Like blacksmithing though, I'm really not that good at it. I have a substantial collection of woodworking tools, which I continue to collect and amass. The next blogger though, is a very accomplished woodworker, and does most, if not all of his work, with nothing more than a crook knife. Barn, as he is known throughout the British Isles, is an itinerant spoonmaker. He is one of the few licensed peddlers in the UK specializing in spoon carving. He created his blog Spooning to help him communicate with the world at large about his adventures. One thing to keep in mind, is that you will have to catch up to the traveling Mr Barn to purchase his wares. He carves spoons for the love of the craft and adventure! So in that sense it isn't a commercial endevour.

Outdoor Gear Testing is Rory's blog on equipment that he personally uses and comments about. He's an avid fisherman, hunter, and outdoor enthusiast, and as you can see from the delightful picture on the right there, his family goes with him where ever he does! Rory spent a night in sub-zero temperatures with his dog Remi to complete a review on the Northface Snowshoe Sleeping Bag. "I am over all happy with my sleeping bags. The big zippers make it easy to use and don't get caught up on the fabric as much as bags with small zippers. The ability to close your self in the bag with only a small opening where your nose would stick out really helps keep the heat it. The female version of the bags also have a fleece pocket to put your hands and where your feet go is all fleece." Good blog, and Rory covers details that others might miss.  Check out Outdoor Gear Testing, I think you'll find his commentaries and reviews worth your time.

I found  A Spinner Weaver through a recommendation by Josh.(Thanks Josh!) Annie McHale weaves narrow sashes and straps on an inkle loom. Before I make a mess of trying to explain an inkle loom, weaving, narrow wares and all that stuff, why don't y'all just head on over in her direction and see what it is that she creates. Annie is a great craftsman and her sashes are really nice. If you do any blackpowder, 17th/18th century reenactment stuff, her straps for bags and sashes to hold up your britches or hose are period correct. Check out her Etsy online shop for more of her hand crafted, one of a kind objects 'de art!

Well, Saturday pretty much snuck up on me and was here before I could add a few more blogs to the rodeo! Good thing about it is that I'll get an early start on next week's production! Here are a couple of blogs that I'll be highlighting:

The Sharpened Axe: He is having a big contest, so stop by now and sign up!
The Maine Outdoorsman: Maine guide and bushwacker
The Saw Blog: Woodworking and saws
Gorges' Grouse: A voice in the wilderness

That's a start! See you next week!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Top Nine Turkey Hunting Tips!

© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

The Best Tips for Hunting Turkeys!

With Wild Turkey season quickly approaching, I scoured the Internet for the best tips for turkey hunting. This is the top ten tips for turkey hunting. I have set them up in the order I think you should consider them. If you have a favorite tip that’s not included, please let me know, and we will put all the new tips in the Turkey Hunting Tips II post!

Eastern Photo Credit: WL McCoy
Tip #1: Know your Shotgun
For those of you using a shotgun, pattern it. Know the pattern, know where it is, know where to aim on a relatively static target so that the majority of the pellets strike the head and neck area, with few if any hitting the bird's body. It’s no fun biting into a lead, iron, or tungsten pellet.

Tip #2: Turkey Eyesight and Camouflage
Hawks have sharp eyes. So do turkeys! A small movement at the wrong time, a misplaced item, (like an uncamouflaged gun barrel), even the broken end of a branch are enough for any turkey to key in on you and your setup. You have to learn to camouflage yourself well. Turkeys are very good at spotting hunters, therefore full camouflage including a face net will even up the odds, and a good setup, preferably in the shade, will improve them.

Osceola Image Credit: CL Evans
Tip #3: Find the Toms
Finding a good location is the single most important factor for a great turkey hunting experience. If you are also a deer hunter, you know the importance of scouting and preparation. Hunting turkey requires the same commitment. Scout and find where your Toms are feeding and strutting. Whenever possible, find where Gobblers are roosting in the evening. Like all fowl, they will be very fussy as they roost. Toms will “cackle” before they fly up to roost at dusk, and then fuss for a few moments before settling in.

Tip #4: Setting up for Gobblers
Once you know where they are, it’s time to set-up. Remember that where you locate yourself should not only conceal you, but allow you to see what they are up to. Done early enough, a blind will allow you to position yourself in a convenient and effective position. Remember that turkeys will shun an area that has been recently disturbed! Give them time to acclimate to the new object. A large tree or stump will do just as well in breaking up your outline and helping you avoid the dreaded silhouette. Set up with your back to the tree, and position yourself in such a way that your off shoulder is towards the anticipated direction that you expect the birds to come in from.

Rio Grande Image Credit: TwoTom
Tip #5: Get In! Quietly...
The morning of the hunt, stealthily approach and get settled into your hide. Setup as close to the roost tree as you can, without alerting the gobblers. If you can setup within a hundred yards, you will be in an excellent position to ambush a turkey. As dawn breaks, use the hen yelp to entice a Tom. Remember, they are all waking up! Nice and easy is the key. Once he answers, keep up the conversation at his pace. That brings us to…

Tip #6: Learn to Use Different Calls
Turkeys can be instigated to gobble out of shock! A Tom Turkey will “shock gobble” at anything from a dog barking, to train whistle, a hawks screech, or even a door slam! Use a “locator call” to figure out where ol’ Tom Turkey is roosting, or in the mid morning to see where he might be off too. Once you’re all set up, switch to your other calls. Learn to use a box call (Albert Rasch Reviews Quaker Boy Typhoon Turkey Call), a slate, and if you can, a mouth call. Practice, practice, practice! Versatility is the key, and sounding like several different birds might just be the assurances that gobbler need!

Merriam's Image Credit: Alice Outwater
Tip #7: Use a Decoy
A decoy is a great distraction that will work for you and lure a wily ol’ turkey into range. You can use a single decoy or multiple ones, depending on your setup. Scott Croner of Nebraska Hunting Outfitters uses decoys in his quest for Merriam’s Turkey. He says, “Use decoys near the edge of cover close to a clearing. Try to find a raised spot that is close by cover, but not in it. If you make it seem as though a turkey is going into cover, the Tom may be more motivated to get closer and see what’s going on!” Croner adds,”Remember to set your decoys up at least 15 yards away, but no further than 30. Judge by the terrain you’re in and set up accordingly.”

Tip #8: Change Your Tactics as the Season Progresses
As hens get bred and start to lay, they will sit on their nests. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Toms will be about looking for unattached hens; set up and call them in.

Gould's Image Credit: Ornitholoco
Tip #9: Safety
Do not wear anything red, white, or blue! That’s the colors of a gobbler’s noggin! Two things may happen. You will be mistaken for a gobble, or another gobbler may decide to flog you. Never carry decoys on your back, unless covered with a blaze orange safety vest! Same goes for the Wild Turkey you harvested; slip a safety vest over it too! Nothing worse than a load of bird shot in your back!

Well fellow hunters, those are Albert's Top Nine Turkey Hunting Tips!  What should the Tenth one be?

Have fun and enjoy your time in the woods!

Related Posts:
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Hunting Merriam's Turkeys: Hints and How-to's
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Hunting Trophy Turkey: Merriam's in Nebraska
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: The Range Reviews: Quaker Boy Typhoon Turkey Call

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
In Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Drying and Preserving Fruit

© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Quick Facts on Drying Fruit...
  • Successful drying depends on heat, air dryness and good air circulation.
  • Select fresh, fully-ripened fruits.
  • Pretreat fruit pieces by dipping in an ascorbic acid, citric acid, or lemon juice solution.
  • When dry, allow fruit to condition for four to 10 days before packaging for storage.
  • Package dried fruits in tightly sealed containers and store in a cool, dry place.

Drying has to be the simplest, most cost efficient, and most natural method of preserving food. I was able to get the basics on drying fruit from Carol W. Costenbader, the author of The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest.  Drying is a creative way to preserve foods and use home-grown fruit, extra produce (e.g., ripe bananas) and roadside market specials. Like all methods of preservation, drying causes some nutrient loss.

Here are seven easy steps from selection of the fruit, to storage of your dried treasure!
1. Select the Fruit
Use only blemish-free fruits that are fully ripened. Immature produce lacks flavor and color. Overmature produce can be tough and fibrous or soft and mushy. Drying does not improve food quality.

2. Prepare the Fruit
Thoroughly wash and clean fruits to remove dirt or spray. Sort and discard any fruit that shows decay, bruises or mold. Such defects can affect all foods being dried. Now, pit and slice the fruit again discarding any pieces that do not meet quality expectations. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will dry, but keep all pieces uniform in size so they’ll dry at the same time.

3. Pretreating
Pretreating fruits prior to drying is highly recommended. Pretreating helps keep light-colored fruits from darkening during drying and storage and it speeds the drying of fruits with tough skins, such as grapes and cherries.

As indicated below, some methods work better for some fruits than others.

Blanching (apricots, apples)
Put slices in a steamer (or a colander suspended in a pot of boiling water) for five minutes then place fruit in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry on towels.

Ascorbic Acid Dip (all fruits)
Ascorbic Acid Pretreatment: Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is an antioxidant that keeps fruit from darkening and enhances destruction of bacteria during drying. Pure crystals usually are available at supermarkets and drug stores. Stir 2 1/2 tablespoons (34 grams) of pure ascorbic acid crystals into one quart (1000 milliliters) of cold water. For smaller batches prepare a solution using 3 3/4 teaspoons (17 grams) of pure ascorbic acid crystals per 2 cups of cold water. Vitamin C tablets can be crushed and used (six 500 milligram tablets equal 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid). One quart of solution treats about 10 quarts of cut fruit. Cut peeled fruit directly in ascorbic acid solution. Soak for 10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and dehydrate. Research studies have shown that pretreating with an acidic solution enhances the destruction of a host of potentially harmful bacteria during drying, including E. coli, Salmonella species and Listeria!

Pectin dip (peaches, berries, cherries)
Mix 1 box of powdered pectin with 1 cup water. Boil together for 1 minute, then add ½ cup sugar and enough cold water to make 2 cups.

Honey dip (bananas, peaches, pineapples)
Mix 3 cups waters and 1 cup sugar. Heat and then add 1 cup honey. Stir well.

 Juice dip (peaches, apples, bananas)
Combine 1 quart pineapple juice, 1 quart lukewarm water and ¼ cup bottled lemon juice.

4. Drying

Sun Drying
a) Spread your sliced or cubed fruit on a screen for two to four days, turning slices over half way through the drying process.
b) Don't forget to bring your screens inside at night to keep dew from collecting on the fruit. (Or coons stealing them!)
c) This method works best in climates with 100 degree heat and low humidity.

Oven Drying
a) You can place fruit directly on the racks or first spread cheesecloth over the oven racks.
b) Set the oven to 145 degrees and prop the door open with a wooden wedge (about a half inch) to allow the moisture to escape.
c) Give it anywhere between 4 to 12 hours, checking regularly to see how the fruit is drying.
d) Food should be dry but pliable when cool. Test a few pieces to see if the batch is ready.

5. Curing
When done, place your dry fruit in an open bowl in a warm and dry location where there is some air movement. Cover it with a piece of cheese cloth to minimize dust or insects landing on your dried fruit. Flip it around once or twice a day for a couple of weeks.

6. Pasteurize
You need to pasturize your dried fruit in order to store it for any great length of time; this will insure that you destroy any insect eggs. When drying is complete and you have cured your fruit slices, freeze the fruit for several days at zero degrees in a deep freeze. It must be a deep freeze as a regular refrigerator cannot get the temperature down far enough. Alternatively, heat in a 175 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

7. Storage
Store in airtight ziplock bags or glass containers kept inside paper bag to protect from light. Store in cool dry place. Since a refrigerator is cool and moist, keep the dried fruit there only in the heat of summer, but make sure the package is air tight.

There you have it my friends. Simple process that yields yummy and nutritious results. It is a great way to preserve fruit, take advantage of sales, and generally speaking is a great skill to have.

Other Posts of Interest:
Planting Fruit Trees
TROC II: Drying and Preserving Fruit

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
In Afghanistan

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Scott Croner Albert A Rasch Albert “Afghanus” Rasch Albert A Rasch Scott Croner Nebraska Hunting Scott Croner, Merriam's Turkey Hunting Albert A Rasch Scott Croner Albert A Rasch Albert “Afghanus” Rasch Albert A Rasch Scott Croner Nebraska Hunting Scott Croner Merriam's Turkey Hunting Albert A Rasch

Monday, January 17, 2011

Late Season Whitetails

© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Image Credit: gfoucault

Late Season Whitetail Tactics

Many hunters feel that late season hunting provides the potential for some of the most productive hunting of the entire season. By locating the remaining food sources and keeping a close eye on the weather, hunters can tip the odds in their favor and enjoy tremendous success.

The rut has tapered off in most areas, and the whitetail deer are shifting their patterns to take that into account. By this time, most crops have been brought in, and mast and easily accessible food sources have been depleted. Consumed by the rut, whitetail bucks' objectives will now shift from breeding to eating, trying to regain strength and fattening up in preparation for the winter to come after the trials of the rut. Their first instinct will be to return to their pre rut haunts and search for known areas of food concentration.

Image Credit:

Spend some time over the course of a few evenings carefully learning where the deer are spending their time. Remember that whitetail bucks have spent weeks prowling far and wide searching for receptive does. During this time, the rigors of the rut cause them to lose a large percentage of their body weight. Chasing girls will do that to you. Bucks need to put as much of that weight back on in order to survive the harsh and unforgiving winter that takes its toll on both the healthy and weak.

When you have determined which food sources the bucks are concentrating on, it’s time to setup for the hunt. Hopefully you have located their bedding area, which is also very likely near the feeding area. Deer will frequently bed near the food source, provided there is sufficient cover. Less distance covered means less energy expended. It makes sense that deer will use convenient locations for both feeding and bedding.

That can make setting up a real challenge. Eyes may be anywhere when you try to get to your stand! First determine where and how the deer are entering fields or areas that provide a food source. Look for available cover that you can use to either set up a blind, or an easily accessed tree to put up your stand. If you are shooting from a stand, place it facing away from the feeding area. This will allow you to use the tree itself as cover. Remember, the deer will be coming out of the cover on the same side that you are on. Wait until you are sure there are no deer close enough to bust you when you turn to the field.

Image Credit:

 The other critical factor is the weather. During mid-Winter, huge weather systems move through. Large systems frequently drop temperatures dramatically in all of an afternoon. Knowing the forecast can help you decide when to be on your stand. Deer will move and fill their bellies before and certainly after any major storms or cold fronts. When temperatures start to drop, it pays to get out earlier than usual; deer will start hours earlier while the relative temperature is higher in order to graze and forage.

The truth is that hunting during the latter part of the season can be difficult. Cold weather, ice and snow, or freezing, sleet filled rain can make for a miserable afternoon and evening. But with proper preparation, the correct gear, and some forethought, smart hunters can find success where other might otherwise give up!

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Albert Rasch In Afghanistan

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

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