Autumn in the Deer Woods

    Well the time is here again. In Arkansas deer season begins in Oct and will continue until the end of February. Five months for archers,a bit over two months for most of the rest of us. I don’t normally participate in archery hunts,but now it is right in the middle of muzzle loader season and that is my favorite time of the whole year. True to form I am now down at deer camp enjoying a fine repast of Twinkies,hot dogs,beans,and pizza while pursuing the wily bucks.

    I love spending this time with the special kind of manly men that like to stuff their bullets down the barrel instead of from the other end. Why,anybody can hunt with a dozen backup bullets,but with our muzzleloaders you only have one shot,no backups. Kind of like the old westerns we watched as kids.

    Got a nice buck on Sunday and after safely storing it in the freezer I am now looking for others to fill out our liberal Arkansas quota of five deer. Apparently the state has decided this year that it is better to offer more deer tags for hunters shooting guns,arrows,and muzzleloaders than for those killing deer with the much higher caliber Fords,Chevys,and Toyotas.

    Of course I could remain at home instead of going to deer camp and chase the same deer that eat our flowers and shrubs and poop on our patio,but what kind of fun is that? After all who wants to shoot the same deer that you gave names to all summer? Bambi,Tootsie,and Franklin are safe this week while I share with the buddies down at the camp. Besides,missing all the camaraderie around the campfire where tall tales and lies abound unabated until late in the evening would eliminate at least half the fun! Not to mention the ability to release bodily gasses without having to account to anyone! The ultimate “no pressure”environment.

    Curious Deer

    What about the joy of just being in the out-of-doors and viewing the local fauna in their natural habitat. As I write this in the early evening I am sitting outside listening to a doe calling her fawn(s) in the woods outside the camp. A wise old owl is “who whooing”down the road while the coyotes in the distance are sounding the assembly call for their nightly hunt. The sky is clear with more stars than ever show up at home and the air is crisp and cool. Soon I will retire to visions of furry critters dancing through my head prior to my rising before dawn to go finish my nightly nap in the deer stand. Unless of course I just throw a shoe and the alarm clock and go back to sleep.

    My DSW (Dear Sweet Wife) thinks it is strange that I would want to sit at deer camp when I could be in the comfort of home attending to all the chores she has lined up,but that is totally beside the point. A wise man told me years ago “dust will keep”. It doesn’t spoil,it doesn’t rust,rot,or smell and will wait right there until you return from a much more profitable experience. Same thing with those other long overdue chores. The door with the hanging hinge,the vines that have overgrown the fence down the lane,and the pile of stuff in that overflowing closet that has been on my list to clean out for the last three years will patiently wait until I return from deer camp to find another excuse to not do them “right now.”

    Oh the good life. Going for days without having to shave,wearing those old well worn and torn jeans that DSW refuses to let you wear in public at home,using an outhouse,and scratching where it itches. It’s what every outdoors loving man dreams about all summer! That is the couple months of the fun ahead of us during this magic time in Autumn called “deer season”.

    Truly God is good!

    October 2017

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    Venison Stew

    This is a great way to use that venison that is sure to be a hit with most anyone.

    1 cup water
    1 cup of onions cut into pieces
    2 lbs of venison cut into cubes
    1/4 cup flour
    2 red potatoes cut into pieces
    2 cups of celery pieces
    3 or 4 nice sized carrots cut into 1″pieces
    Salt,pepper,or seasoning mix to taste

    Place venison,water,and onions in crock pot and allow to cook on low over night. In morning dip out liquid and put into a bowl with enough ice cubes to cool. Add the flour and mix well then pour back into pot with venison. (If you want thicker broth add a bit more flour.) Add add other components and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I like cajun seasoning,but pick what you like.) Cook in crock pot on low for about four hours until vegetables are done.

    Triple Chocolate Delight

    Took this to a couple pot lucks recently and everyone thought it was fantastic. Cooks up easy in a crock pot and is fabulous topped with a bit of whipped topping,dream whip,or ice cream.

    18 1/2 oz pkg of dark chocolate cake mix
    3.9 oz pkg of chocolate pudding mix
    16 oz container of sour cream
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup oil
    4 eggs,beaten
    6 oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips

    Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into a well greased slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours. Serve warm topped with whipped cream topping or ice cream. Serves 8 to 10.

    Camp Branson!

    Branson has got to be one of the funest places around.  Just spent two weeks there and looking forward to going back for a couple more after I take a week to get the yard mowed,bills paid,and chores done at home.

    Spent time at Treasure Lakes RV park.  It’s right next to the I-Max Theater and across the street from the Golden Corral.  Unfortunately that location was not the greatest influence on my “figure”.  I tended to blimp out a bit,but it sure was fun.  Treasure Lake has a couple jam sessions a week along with week-end breakfasts at the club house,and indoor swimming pool.  On Friday and Saturday evenings there was a free dance in the lodge.  If you don’t mind sharing the dance floor with a bunch of us “old dudes”it is a great scene.

    There is also fun things for the kids/grandkids if you have some to bring along.  Arcade games,pool tables,mini-golf,frisbee golf,and a number of other activities to keep the kids entertained in the park.  They told us that they will soon have two stocked ponds for the junior anglers as well. There are also ball fields and a large pavilion if you have an organized group event coming up.

    For RV’ers this is an almost ideal park.  There are lots of full hook-up RV sites divided into 4 areas on the park.  Most have 50 amp service available.  Propane is available in the park and they maintain a supply of commonly needed RV supplies if you have a need.  The park is surrounded by wooded areas and you will see deer and turkey crossings marked on the roads.  The signs are for real,in the evenings it is common to see deer and wild turkey wandering around the park.

    Just down the road a piece is Silver Dollar City.  There for one price you can have a day of fun with lots of shows,rides,and entertainment options for the family as well as an evening show that is really great.  Don’t miss the “Homestead Pickers”over at the McAffee homestead.  They have five shows daily and are a great music/comedy attraction.  The more adventurous will find the roller coasters and other rides exciting while we more sedentary folk enjoy the train ride and watch the shows.

    Near Treasure Lake is the Hamner/Barber theater.  We saw their act,and it was absolutely fabulous.  Hamner’s magic acts are nothing short of amazing and Barber’s ventriloquist skills are hard to believe.  Not every one can come out on the stage with the dummy carrying the ventriloquist!   How he does that without ending up collaposing on the floor is beyond me.  In addition to being a great illusionist,Dave Hamner is an ordained minister.  On Sundays the theater is transformed into a church with a regular 10:00 service.  Pastor Dave Hamner trades his illusionist’s costumes weekly for the less flashy garb of a preacher.   We found the service to be uplifting.

    Also had a great time at Buck Trent’s show down at the Branson Grand Country mall.  If you like great banjo picking and are looking for a fun show it is a good choice.  The buffet right in the mall there is a good bet as well.

    There are now more than 100 shows appearing regularly in Branson.  Some are included with various packages.  There are numerous booths around town that offer special show packages and tickets and you can likely find a free offer if you are willing to spend a hour or so in a sales presentation.

    Branson is a hard place to beat for clean family-oriented fun.  No wonder so many entertainers like to locate there.

    Mountain View,AR a fun destination

    Mountian View has been one of our favorite places to visit for years.  It is a sleepy little town near the White River in north central Arkansas.  Some of the things that set it apart as a fun destination are,the Ozark Folk Center state park just north of town and the musicians that gather around the town square on warm evenings.  Add this to the Jimmy Driftwood Barn and several local music shows,several annual festivals,and the quaint surroundings and you have the makings for a great getaway anytime from early Spring through late Fall.  There are a number of other music theaters and “pickin barns”scattered around to add more variety to your stay.

    This is a unique place where you can bring your chair and sit down around the square to good  musical entertainment most any summer evening.  If one group does not play your choice of venue,just move over a ways for another.  Or if you brought your favorite instrument with you,just find a group you feel comfortable with and join in.  Most welcome additional players in their circles and they are not too pickey wheather you bring a guitar,dobro,banjo,dulcimer,flute,fiddle,spoons,bouzouki or whatever.  As long as it is acoustic it is normally welcome.   Electric instruments are a no-no on the Mountain View square.

    There are a number of nice RV parks around and we have visited most of them over the years.   In recent years we have usually stayed at “Fiddler’s Valley”which is within easy walking distance from the square.  The welcoming atmosphere there along with their frequent breakfasts,and musical offerings have made them our favorite.

    The main festivals in Mountain View are the Folk Festival –April 17th –19th and the Bean Fest October 29th –31st.  If you plan to stay in the town for these events you had best have reservations long in advance.  The population of the town may swell from a few thousand friendly souls to 100,000 or more.  Many folks reserve their spots a year in advance.

    On week days there is likely an inexpensive meal available at the senior citizens center,or you can cho0se from a number of local restaurants that offer good Ozark country cookin’that will make you want to go back for more.   Free beans and corn bread are available on Saturday during the bean fest,but there’s so much more fun to be had.

    Fishing on the White River is just a few minutes away from town,or you can just drift down the river if you prefer.  A visit to Blanchard Springs  Caverns just north of town is a great way to spend a hot summer day.  Add that to fishing and hunting in the many streams and the Ozark national forest nearby,horseback riding and hiking trails are readily available.  The Ozark Folk Center has interesting exhibits depicting pioneer life in the Ozarks that makes for a great outing.

    If you decide to make a trip to Mountain View,look around.  You might find us sitting around the square licking one of those great ice cream cones from the shops in town or playing with one of the local groups.  See ya there!

    Potato Peeling Magic

    Saw an interesting video on how to peel a potato.  Starring “Mary Ann”from Gilligan’s Island (Dawn Wells) who shows us how to peel a potato almost as if by magic.  Just boil it for 15 minutes after scoring the peel with a knife.  Put the fresh boiled potato in ice water then rub the peel off with your fingers.  Pretty slick!  See link at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4W0qIPJmoo

    Snowbirding Locations –Harlingen,TX

    Well this year we have settled in Harlingen,Tx to wait out the coldest of the winter weather.  Just wondered where others have chosen and what advantages they find.  Please comment and share your findings.

    Harlingen is a pleasant area with a wide variety of activities for seniors.  There is the close proximity to Mexico for border shopping,lots of great places to eat and a variety of activities at the hundreds of RV parks here in the Rio Grande Valley.  They often have special entertainment programs so with so many parks nearby there is a constant array of things to do.  Music shows and jam sessions,dances,bingo,card tournaments,and similar activities abound.  We have found locals around here to be extremely friendly,except for the speed traps in places like Los Fresnos where you need to be extra careful.  Also many stop lights in Texas are equipped with cameras for automatic ticketing so it pays to be alert when driving here. Continue reading Snowbirding Locations –Harlingen,TX