Friday, April 24, 2009

Old Man

Jake's been running in his sleep, bouts of heavy breathing, toenails scrabbling the floor. He's an old man now, probably 14 or 15; we're not sure. He came to us by a circuitous route (a yard sale was involved) so we don't know how old he was when he got here. We guessed him at 2 or 3 and that was 12 years ago. 12 years; lord. Where does the time go?

Jake sometimes hacks and coughs like an old pack-a-day smoker. His joints are stiff and it takes him a few seconds to get up off the floor. He has to position his hind legs right under his hips before pushing himself up with a groan. He is deaf as a post, has no interest in chasing prey, and can sleep for 10 hours at a stretch, but when he sees me getting my shoes on, he's ready to go. I never have to ask him twice; hell, I don't have to ask him at all; he sees me putting on my shoes and heads for the door. He's still game, old Jake.

There's a big heron fishing Cottonwood Creek. Jake scared it up off the creek while we were walking. Huge and prehistoric, it climbed into the air like a big man swimming, circled three times overhead and flew downstream. We've seen a couple of 5-6 inch steelhead this year, but they won't last long with that monster working the banks.

Cold air blew down off the mountain yesterday. Smaller fronts siphon down the creek bottoms and rise up of an evening, the cold air breathing out of the mouth of the creek. This front came blowing over the mountain top like a freight train, lifting the wind and twisting the trees. The temperature dropped 20 degrees from one day to the next. We made a fire. Old Jake slept in his bed by the hearth and dreamed of running.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Menu Recap and View from the Ground

Recap on menus
Friday Pizza. I'm trusting that the camp out is early enough in fire season that we can get away with firing the oven. Lowell has agreed to make the dough. I will make a big pot of red sauce. He's talking about buying more pizza pans because they are easier to deal with than cookie sheets. I bet that we can come up with more than enough pizza pans from among the locals. We need:
Pizza pans
Sauces (e.g. pesto)
Topping (meats, veggies, etc.)

Saturday Pork & Oysters. Lowell & Matt are threatening us with massive quantities of pulled pork and Jimmy will no doubt bring some insane number of oysters. How can we best support this decadence? I plan to make a pot of vegetarian baked beans. We need:
Vegetables (salad, side dishes, etc.)
Starches (taters, breads, rice, pasta, etc.)

It's a beautiful spring day in the Colestin, campers. Surprisingly warm, shockingly green, and the trillium is in bloom. Early this week there was snow on the daffodils and the temperature will approach 80 today. I'm always a little nervous when it gets this warm this early. I hope we haven't seen the last of the rain. Fire season will be upon us before we know it.

Sequoia and I took a stroll. No other word for it, we're too burnt out for anything more strenuous today. We're both a little fuzzy after playing an unscheduled, last minute Hamfist show last night. No rest for the wicked. Our beloved Pickles (Matt Seiler) sat in for the night. It was a pure pleasure to hear his rolling banjo in my ear again.

Lowell came out last Sunday and scraped all of the bubbling, flaking paint off the adobe oven. We're taking nominations for this year's color. I'm thinking blue tarp blue, the official color of the State of Oregon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Swildebeast Speaks

Sacred miracles! Divine providence! I WILL BE AT THE COLESTINE!

Through much haranging, shuffling of schedules and priorities, begging, pleading and cajoling, I have been able to carve out the weekend of June 19-21 to attend the 15th Anniversary festivities. DogBoy was instrumental in this development - he has been working on me for the last month. Last week, he hit below the belt - "Matthew, we need dueling Webers for 30-35lbs of pulled pork- only we can pull this off. YOU HAVE TO HELP MAKE THIS HAPPEN." After a week of wrestling with my conscience and sleepless nights haunted with nightmarish visions of emaciated campers, staring longingly at the icechest with empty, hallowed eyes and chanting "pig bloat, pig bloat...", I sprang from my stupor, and shouted: "I will go to the Colestine, armed with a caloric arsenal of biblical proportions, and defeat the forces of hunger!" Cathy rolled over and told me to go back to sleep....

I remain resolute and undaunted. I will answer the call, and newly reinforced with batalions of Hog Island oysters treats under the command of Dr. Lovill, together we will prepare the Webers and sling tasty libations upon the assembled masses such that the Colestine Valley has never seen before. I am also working on new desert offering that will keep my dutch oven working overtime. God, it's great to answer a higher calling!

I may also be bringing my son, Patrick, up for the festivities. Patrick is intrigued by the event, and would like to demonstrate his camping and hiking prowess that he has developed through scouting, and join in the acoustic musical madness. He's also encouraged that there will be other young people in attendance this year. We're working through some scheduling conflicts on his end, but I am hopeful that these too will work out. We may also be visited this year by my brother Drew, who is thinking seriously about coming along for shits and giggles. I have also been in contact with Ed Willy (aka Crotchedty Old Man), and he is hopeful that he will make another appearance this year. Oh, how the valley will echo with the ringing of music, laughter, and oyster knives, punctuated with the occasional rythm of a raminated Coors Light and resultant belch!

I look forward to seeing everyone at the festivities. My Buddy and I will continue to work on the epicurean excess, and will provide updates as the plan unfolds. Come hungry, come early, come late, but PLEASE COME!

Your cohort in food crimes,


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Food Crimes

Hide the children! Kennel the Dogs! Cover you eyes! Wild Hogs will be coming !!!... to the Colestin Q'ster Dogboy in June!

For those of you who need a translation, Jim Lovill is bringing some insane quantity of Hog Island Oysters to the Colestin Camp Out. Dog Boy will be slaving over a hot barbecue for hours...

I'm thinking of making a big pot of baked beans. Lowell is drooling over Pork Butt. We need vegetables, lots of 'em. Maybe Sequoia will bake a loaf of bread. I'm hoping the oven will be operational, but no guarantees. If the fire danger is extreme we will have to keep our fires small and not start them till dark, which could put a damper on baking.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dog Boy Speaks

Your fearless moderator shamelessly copied the following from an email from Lowell to Ruthe:

Hi Ruthe,
Steph forwarded me your email askin' questions about campout fixin's. To date, this is how I respond, Answers are not necessarily in the order you asked...

Yup. I'll be there.

Sequoia says the oven needs work. I've seen it. It needs new paint. There are some masonry issues to address also. To me they look minor but I am one ignorant fool when it comes to masonry. My guess is, though, that the oven will be functional come hoohaw time.

Until your inquiry, only I have been talking about food. I've been askin' around, puttin' out ideas. The first thing I ask anyone is, "What do you want to eat?" To date, I've asked the question three times and got the same answer: pulled pork, sweet-sour slaw and frybread. What do you all think? What all are you hungry for? What do your kids want to eating? Got any wild ideas? Got any tame ones? Let me know...

Some facts:

Joe Porto won't be there. I hesitate to do pizza without him 'cause he really is the master. I can suck this one up if I have to...

Don't know if the Swildo will make it yet or not. I think he will. If he does show up with his Webber I can do pulled pork (can only do 2 whole porkbutts, 17 to 18 pounds "wet", on one grill. 17 pounds cooked of that stuff is but an appetizer. I really need the second grill. A third would be sybaritic largess...

Finally, my ringer. Jimmy and Hope will be there. I've asked Jimmy if he can do a Hog Island run for me. Haven't heard whether he can do this or not. Stay tuned on this one. All I can say now is one night's repast won't be dependent on oysters being the main show. They are a wild card at this point and will be fit in as such.

I hope you all are doing well. Reply and I will too.