Zippo Lighters

by Woodsbum

Well, here it is….  I did it again. I bought something with my logo on it.

Zippo

Zippo

I have carried Zippo lighters for years. Although I don’t smoke cigarettes, I do like cigars and tobacco pipes a lot. Cigars are a bit expensive so I do tend to just grab pipe tobacco and go at it that way. Carrying a lighter really isn’t about using it to light tobacco (or other stuff if you live in WA, OR or CO). These things are VERY handy in a variety of situations such as ridding your clothes of those pesky threads, melting the ends of paracord, starting campfires, lighting incense (or sage in my case), etc. Let’s face it, the savior of any birthday party is  the one that has a way to light the candles. Even Dr. Henry Jones carried his lucky charm that allowed him to escape the Nazis (movie reference for those that didn’t catch it).

The way that I discovered that Zippo did custom orders was through sending them my older lighters for repair and swapping out standard inserts for pipe ones. The pipe ones have a big hole in them that allows the lighter to be turned sideways without extinguishing the flame.

Pipe insert

Pipe insert

If you have a Zippo, you can actually contact them at this page, send in your lighter and they will replace your normal insert with one designed for a pipe. They have two other lighters of mine right now getting swapped out. Interestingly enough, it is quite difficult to find Zippos with the pipe insert that don’t have a stupid pipe emblem on the bottom. Good luck finding one that is camo or has a Harley emblem either. They just don’t send them out that way. Personally, I think you should be able to buy them from Zippo directly with the option for the type of insert.

Ignoring the fact that I just complained about Zippo in the previous paragraph I really love their lighters and carry one most of the time. They are windproof/resistant, light even when it gets REALLY cold, are tough as hell, and are a piece of gear that you can really depend on as long as you keep it filled with fluid (don’t overfill and put it in your pocket if you don’t want funny rashes on your leg). For those that don’t have a Zippo, I recommend getting and carrying one. It worked for those in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam so if they NEEDED them for survival I guess I should carry one, too, just in case. I know that I am not in a war or having to fight my way from hilltop to hilltop, but if the reality is that a lightweight piece of gear was so important that everyone carried one at one time I have no problems tossing one into my pocket. It just makes sense to learn from my elders when it comes to that sort of stuff.

Now for the important part of this whole post: My Zippo is AWESOME. They really did a great job on it. All I had to do was import my image on the website, center it and pay with a credit card. You can do any number of different types of images from family pictures, personal logos, kid art, whatever. Giving a Zippo with a family picture to your pops for Father’s Day is a great gift idea. The cost is only $15 over the cost of the lighter plus shipping.

Go get yourself a lighter with your personal touch, people!!!

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Fry Bread or Bannock

by Woodsbum

I love Indian Fry Bread. I really love it. What I have found is that there are several different options when making it. The more traditional way is to make it with bannock dough as opposed to a yeast based bread dough. This way makes it have a better flavor and less greasy.

For those of you who do not know what fry bread is, here is a picture of some I made a few days ago.

Fry Bread

Fry Bread

The real difference between making bannock dough or bread dough is in the use of yeast. Bread dough uses yeast where bannock uses baking powder. The bread dough also tends to “puff” up or leave really big air pockets when frying. Although this is really nice when slathering your fry bread with honey or jam, it makes it really hard to use in other applications. For instance, I like to either turn them into tacos or make them into little pizzas. If you have a big ball of fried bread dough instead of something flat, your toppings will end up more on your plate than on your fry bread.

Although I have published bannock recipes here before, I would like to put this one out here. Most of my bannock dough is made by the eyeball method for cooking over open flame so this will give you some very specific measurements for once.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mix everything until it becomes like a bread dough and not like biscuit dough where it is all sticky. Sometimes you have to kneed it/mix it for a while to get to that point. After you mix it all together just put a wet towel, plastic wrap, etc., over the bowl and refrigerate it for about an hour. When the hour is up just divide it into 8 equal portions, roll it out flat, and then fry it in oil (around 350 degrees until golden brown). This amount of dough will make about 8 round pieces of flat bread that end up around the size of a saucer or a little bigger.

Again, the nice thing about using this recipe is that you don’t end up with a big, fried bread ball that holds a lot of the oil.

If you do tacos or pizzas, the size above is about right. If you just want to do honey or jam, I usually divide this recipe into 16 portions just so you don’t have stuff dripping off one side while you gnaw on the other.

One variation to the recipe includes cinnamon and sugar in the dough to be eaten as a dessert. Basically, you can get as creative as you want with this.

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Kombucha

by Woodsbum

Ok….  Hang on a minute……  I gotta get my head wrapped around this:

People leave sweet tea out WAY too long, get some fuzzy crap in it, then clean it up and drink it? It is fermented and has a negligible amount of alcohol in it, but people still drink it?

Seriously?

Wow…..  For those of you who have never seen this stuff, the item I am talking about is called Kombucha. It is some fermented, for forgotten on the counter as I call it, and then cleaned up for something to drink. For those of you who didn’t know, this is similar to how vinegar is made.

There are a lot of people that brew this stuff at home. I guess the process is fairly easy and can be done without too much work. There are even constant Kombucha brewing kits that allow you to keep it going on your counter as you drink off the soured stuff, I guess. To be honest, I have never met anyone that is into this stuff and I have only tried it once because the bar I bounce at suddenly got a batch on tap. Yup, I drank it before I knew what it was.

The brew kits are about $54 to $80 from Amazon. From what I can tell, the kit has the jar, tea, some mesh bags for the jar, some sugar, and the mold that you use to ferment with. There are advanced kits with smarter mold from what I can tell that add to the cost.

So here is the reality of the juice: All evidence of this stuff being beneficial is anecdotal at best. Some people love it, while others get sick off it. There were some studies done that proved that the introduction of harmful bacterial is very possible while the tea grows mushrooms on your counter. This isn’t 100% guaranteed in home brew scenarios, but it is possible. Other than that, there is no real evidence that it truly is beneficial.

My take on it is simple. If you like sour and funny tasting tea that you don’t know whether it is truly doing anything good for your body, then go for it. I like tobacco pipes, so I chalk this up in the same category. It might be harmful, but it might also be helpful. It all depends on your perspective. The fact that it isn’t a booze does make me a bit more skeptical. At least my fermented molasses has been boiled and sits at 40% alcohol by volume….  Just saying.

So have some fun if Kombucha is your thing. For those of us who had no clue what the hell this $4 bottle of crap was, I have enlighten you a bit. Happy drinking or choking down vinegar, people!!!

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Dove Hunting

by Woodsbum

I just got back from a week long trip to Eastern Washington to go dove hunting. Although the weather turned and pushed the doves out we all had a great time. It truly was a very needed vacation.

My new dog, Angus, got a chance to do some retrieving and working the fields. This was his first real time out chasing birds and he did great. After a few years of experience, I think he will be one incredible bird dog.

Angus

Angus

Here are a few shots of the area where we hunted.

Wheat field

Wheat field

Dove area

Dove area

The doves, when they aren’t pushed out due to a turn in the weather, are usually pretty thick. When we went a few years ago I had my limit in about 3 hours. This time I couldn’t hardly hit a thing, but my wife got her first 2 critters ever. It was her first time hunting. She did great. I only got 5 and my father got 2. The wind was pretty harsh that first day when the doves were still in so getting the lead down was almost impossible.

All said, we had a great trip and my dog got some really good training. He started to learn how to walk a field, used his nose to find a few down birds, and retrieved them for us. We had to kind of walk him out a bit at first, but he really did great.

Angus watching birds

Angus watching birds

I really can hardly wait for duck season. Getting him to go for his first water retrieve should bring big grins!

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Homemade Applesauce

by Woodsbum

I searched for quite a while before I found a good applesauce recipe. Most call for all sorts of weird things. I really like this recipe because it is simple, basic and tastes great.

Here are the ingredients per my batch. Some math may be required:

  • 18 lbs of apples
  • 3 cups of water or apple juice/cider
  • Juice of 3 lemons (approx 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed of course)
  • 5 teaspoons of Cinnamon

First thing you will need is your apples. I used half Gala and half Granny Smith. They are much better if you use them before they get too soft.

Make sure you pick up one of these:

Apple slicer

Apple slicer

These slicer things make short work of peeling, slicing, and coring an apple. When you pull the apple meat off the device, just cut the whole apple coil in half, then throw it into the pot with the ingredients. There is no need to play games with adding things one at a time. Just toss it all in and put it on low heat to start cooking down.

Cut and ready for cooking

Cut and ready for cooking

Once it is all cooked down and the apples are soft, you need to pull the apple out and blend them. I use a Ninja like this one:

Ninja

Ninja

The hot applesauce will be a bit running, but it will be perfect to just jar up and can. I left about 1/2 inch of headspace on my jars and then water bath canned them. The 18 lbs made a little over 6 quarts of applesauce.

Ready for canning

Ready for canning

The whole process took about an hour and half from start to finish. The best part is how great the applesauce turned out. I don’t think that I have ever had any store bought or homemade applesauce that tasted better.

As a side note, I do things a bit different with my cinnamon. I purchase the sticks in bulk and then grind it myself as I need it. This gives a stronger taste without the bite that you get with the preground stuff in the stores. Even the smell is better.

Have some fun and good luck. I am getting ready to can some peaches that we picked up in Wenatchee sometime this week.

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