Weatherproof Matches

I’ve lucked out so far with keeping a box of small wooden ‘kitchen’ matches for fire starting in an empty, tightly closed peanut butter jar near the burn barrel. I think that this storage method would be awfully inconvenient for field use and need another method for access to useful matches. That’s probably why they sell waterproof matches. But once again, the Dutch comes out in me and says, “Make, don’t buy!”

I use paraffin coated sawdust in egg carton sections for fire starting quite often. One could coat each match with paraffin to weatherproof them, but paraffin tends to gunk up the striking surface and lacks some durability as paraffin tends to flake off.

If you’re a guy, get the nail polish bottle from your significant others Mary Kay makeup case when she’s not around and put it to good use. If you’re a gal, buy the cheapest bottle of nail polish available for this project.

Fill a 2 liter soda bottle cap with nail polish. Dip each match head into the polish and lay the matches over the work bench top with the heads extending off the top.

After the matches have dried, hold each match by its head and dip the remaining part of the match into the nail polish bottle. Lay these dipped matches on a piece of wax paper to dry.

WALLA – weatherproof matches!

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Safer Siphoning

I’m sure safety experts would tell us that there is NO safe way to siphon gasoline from one container to another. This ‘Safer Siphoning’ post will work for most liquids including gasoline, other fuels, oil, water, etc. I’m using siphoning gasoline as most of us, in our younger days, probably got a mouthful of gasoline at one time or another and wished we knew how to avoid said experience. Here is a safer way to siphon if we are still up to our old tricks.

After securing a long, clear hose or tube, place the donor container up off the ground and run one end into a donor container, making sure the end is below the surface. You can blow gently into the other end of the hose and listen for the gurgling sound to make sure it is submerged.

Leaving the submerged end of the hose in the donor container, form a downward loop with the hose (tube) making sure the bottom of the loop touches the ground with the end being higher than the gas in the donating container.

Sucking gently on the end of the hose, watch the gas move to the bottom of the loop and begin to rise. At this point stop sucking and let the gas in the hose come up to the level of the gas in the donating container.

Place the free end of the hose into the recipient container and slowly lower it to the ground. When you have the desired amount in the recipient container, raise it above the level of the gas in the donating container. Remove the hose and straighten it out to allow the remaining gas to drain back into the donating container.

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Bible Story

This story happened a few years back and Catfish has probably forgotten all about it by now. I heard it by ‘the grapevine’ and want to share it  with you.

Catfish’s son and family came to visit one Sunday afternoon. While sitting on the back stoop, Catfish asked his grandson how Sunday school went that morning.”Well, Pop-Pop,’ his grandson said, “the teacher asked us if we learned anything  from the bible stories we heard in the past few weeks taught us anything.”

“And what did you say?” asked Catfish.

“I said that one of the stories taught me that I wanted to be just like my Pop-Pop,” his grandson answered.

“Was it the one about David and Goliath?” Catfish asked.

“Nope,” the small boy answered.

“How about Noah and the arc?” countered Catfish.

“Not that one,” the boys said.

“Moses and the Red Sea?” guessed Catfish.

“Not that one either,” was his grandson’s answer.

“Well, I give up. Which story was it?” asked Catfish.

“The one about Jesus feeding  the multitude of 5,000.” he answered.

“How did that story inspire you?” Catfish asked.

“That’s what the teacher asked,” he answered. “I told her that I wanted to be just like my Pop-Pop because all he does is loafs and fishes!”

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Night Fishing

Growing up along a river in northwest Iowa gave many of us ‘lads’ an opportunity to fish for catfish at night. One of the necessary items for night fishing was and still is some kind of a light. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s being a farm boy left us looking for an inexpensive solution to that problem. Some of the more resourceful guys let the county highway department help them out. This period of time was pre-flashing warning lights around road construction/repair sights. If you are old enough to remember the 50’s and 60’s, you immediately thought of smudge pots. These were a small, black pot that looked a lot like a smudged in Crisco can that had a small burner coming out the top. Dietz was a common brand of these Toledo or road construction torches. They would light the pot at night and the small flickering flame would burn all night warning of the danger nearby. They also made great fishing lights.

If you would like to make your own smudge pot for night fishing or to just ‘sit around and shoot the breeze’, here’s a way to make one with items you probably have ready access to.

Thoroughly moisten sawdust with used crankcase oil from your auto/truck, lawnmower, garden tractor, etc. Pack this mixture into a tin can. It will light easily and will take a strong wind to blow it out. If the flame gets dim, simply stir the sawdust and it will flare up again. To put out the flame, smother it by putting the lid onto the can.

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Baked Catfish

The first fish I remember catching was a 4 pound catfish. Mom and I had walked down to the (Big) Rock River that was the north boundary of our farm in northwest Iowa. We didn’t have any fancy fishing equipment. We cut a couple of branches off a wild plum-tree, striped off the smaller side shoots, tied on a short length of fishing line along with a treble hook and an old washer for a sinker. Presto! We were ready to fish. Mom had made some catfish balls out of cornmeal and water which we used as bait. After I landed the fish, Mom took it to town (Doon) with us to show it off. When the man who owned the hardware store found out what I had caught the catfish on, he went into the back room and came out with a 10 foot length of a bamboo stalk that came in the center of a roll of floor covering in those days. He said that I deserved to have a proper fishing pole for catching a fish like that. I caught many more catfish and bullheads with that ‘fishing pole”.

Being an “Iowegian” we ate many ‘less desirable’ fish. Carp, catfish and bullheads were common fare on our table. No fancy preparations were necessary. We gutted, skinned and fried the fish in lard. I’m sure they tasted every bit as good as the fish that were served at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Sioux City.

Here’s a baked catfish recipe for those of you who enjoy eating catfish. It’s a wee bit healthier way to enjoy the fish.

2 lbs skinned, cleaned catfish fillets cut into serving-sized pieces
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 c scallions including the green tops, chopped
1 medium-sized lemon
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp white wine

In a 350 degree preheated oven, place the fish fillets in a single layer into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the fillets with the salt, pepper and scallions and top with lemon slices. Combine the ketchup, chili powder, butter and white wine and pour evenly over the fish. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

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Sunlight’s Health Benefits

I think we all realize that too much exposure to the sun can damage our skin which could lead to skin cancer although a moderate amount of sunlight has health benefits. Here are some of those benefits.

  • 30 minutes of sun while wearing a bathing suit causes our skin to produce a significant amount of vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones and a healthy immune system. If you’re not into sunbathing, 15 minutes of sun on your hands, arms and face two or three days per week provides some vitamin D benefits.
  • Sunlight also gives a boost to our levels of serotonin, a mood- and energy- enhancing hormone produced in our brain.
  • Exposure to sunlight supports your body’s production of nitric oxide, a substance that helps lower blood pressure as well as chronic inflammation, which may have a role in the development of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
  • Remember, ‘moderation’ is the word when it comes to sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are at their peak. If you are out in the sun for 15 minutes or longer, wear a sunscreen with a (SPF) sun protection factor, of at least 15.

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BBQ Grill Breakfast Scrambler

Since when is the grill to be used solely for dinner (lunch) or supper (dinner)? Need a recipe for breakfast on a hunting/fishing trip or family camping vacation? Here’s a breakfast scrambler that will please the boys or family members.

6 c Hashbrowns
2 c Diced ham
6 Whole eggs
1/4 c Milk
2 c Shredded cheddar cheese
1 c Diced green onions
1/2 c Diced tomato
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the grill to 375 degrees. Spray a grill safe pan with cooking spray. Add in the hashbrowns and ham. Add the eggs to the milk in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Stir in the cheese, green onions and tomatoes and pour over the hashbrowns and ham. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for an additional 15 to 35 minutes until the edges are crispy.

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