Friday, July 26, 2013

Bullmastiff Rescue.....Closure...

I cannot describe the joy I'm feeling right now. In December of 2011 Dawn Hamilton and a massive group of dedicated volunteers undertook the daunting task of rescuing 27 Bullmastiffs from a horrible situation in Las Vegas, Nevada. The dogs were owned by a person who fancied himself a breeder but in reality was a bit of a hoarder and seriously neglected the feeding, veterinary care and socialization of the dogs. Many of the dogs had significant health issues due to the filth they were forced to live in. In some cases the dogs were 2nd or 3rd generation that hadn't received proper vaccinations. There were behavioral issues with many of the dogs due to isolation or improper socialization. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised by the American Bullmastiff Association to fund their care and transportation.

As of this week, the last of the 27 dogs has found a new "forever home". Rescue is so often stressful for those who put in the work, the time and money, but these are the joyous moments that make it all worthwhile. Jewlz adopted out the last of the Nevada surrender dogs a couple months ago. Boy, since renamed Bo, was with Jewlz over a year, but he is now in his forever home with Bob & Mary in Washington.

Jewlz has been a lifesaver for rescue many times over and when Ithe organization was slammed with the NV dogs, she and others in OR and WA stepped up and took several of the first 15 dogs into foster, so we could make room for the remaining dogs who still needed to be picked up.   Seeing these dogs get a second chance at a loving home and good life, is what its all about and without volunteers and fosters opening their homes and hearts to these dogs, it wouldn’t be successful.  Many of the dogs were rehomed in a matter of a few short weeks, others took longer.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gear Reviews – In search of EDC perfection……

EDC or “Everyday Carry” knives take a number of different forms. For some it’s a tiny folder like your Grandpa’s old CASE, for others a more utilitarian instrument such as a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Tool, and for others still, more personal-defense oriented blades.

I was taught from a very young age that “if your pants are on, there should be a knife in the pocket”. Advice that served me well as a young man when I had occasion to rescue a Gentleman who was fishing upstream of me, lost his footing and fell into the river. His waders filled in an instant, the current quickly pulled him under and he was not strong enough to overcome the combined weight and pressure of the current. I was able to jump into the river, grab hold of him with one hand and with the other cut the shoulder straps on his waders and pull him out and to safety. Had I not had a knife on my person the man may have died that day.

When flying in the Coast Guard I carried two. The first and primary being a Leatherman tool and later a Gerber Multi-tool and also a “Rescue Blade” strapped to my survival vest that included a seat harness cutter a glass breaker point and a heavy chisel-point blade that could double as a pry-bar. Sadly, the latter device was used two times too many.

The most common uses for EDC blades are by no means as dramatic. Essentially it comes down to having a handy tool, on your person for innumerable tasks one encounters in daily life.

When one decides to begin to carry an EDC blade one quickly realizes that a single knife is not appropriate for every situation. What you carry on your person while working in the yard or fishing is not what you want when wearing a suit. Hence, most people have a number of different knives that they rotate through depending on what they are doing on any given day.

My current rotation is amongst the four knives shown below. From Left-to-Right, Spyderco Walker Zytel, Kershaw Whirlwind, CRKT Endorser and Kershaw Leek.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Great Moments in Gun Control Analogies.......

Interesting how going 140mph in an M6 and shooting AR-15's are equally legal on a closed course yet M6's deal more death annually than do AR-15's each year in America, but M6's don't receive the same negative feedback that AR's do. "Support background checks on M6 drivers!" Wouldn't it be worth it if we could save just one child? to Colion Noir. Check out his blog and YouTube channel both are great.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Man Can Cook #22 - Cuban Porknography

If you know me personally or are simply a reader of this blog you should have come to the conclusion that I love pork in pretty much all forms. Over half of the cooking related posts here either have a pork product as an ingredient or are the primary focus of the dish. The pig is natures miracle beast and I dig it - Pulled Pork, Cured Hams, Charcuterie, Pork Sausage, Pork Ribs, Roast Pork, Pork Chops, Pork Loin, Bacon, oh my! - I love it all.

My absolute favorite is Kalua Pig. The Hawaiian method of cooking a whole pig in an Imu (pit in the ground) and over the years I’ve cooked a dozen or so by this method and if I can dredge up any decent photos I may do a post on that someday. But for this post, we’re talking about a different method.

Last weekend we cooked one of the dinners for an annual club event. We considered an Imu for Kalua Pig, but the location didn’t suit it so I decided to try something new and chose to cook the pig in a La Caja China. If you are unfamiliar with the device it is a metal lined plywood box with a tray on top that holds charcoal. The pigs (or other meats) are roasted inside the box by means of radiated heat from the coals above. 

Man Can Cook #21 - Red Beans & Rice.....for 70

Cooking a meal for 2-4 folks is one thing, doing it for a large crowd is quite another. Most recipes can be fairly easily multiplied up to the appropriate quantity. The problem, if you are feeding a large group often centers though on prep-time and cost.

Large parties are large work and you'd rather spend a bit of time at least enjoying the party as opposed to being exiled to the kitchen like Steve McQueen in imagine yourself as Steve McQueen too don't you? Of course you do.

The other factor is cost. When preparing a normal recipe for guests it's not a really big deal to spend a bit extra on top-shelf ingredients. Besides, you like to make things extra nice for guests. But when that recipe gets blown up 16x from original the costs can go up quickly.

Last weekend I cooked dinner for 70 at a party for a club that both Kathy and I are members of. The entree was a roast whole hog, but as a side dish I prepared a "New Orleans Style" Red Beans & Rice. I found a recipe to use as a framework then tweaked it here and there to keep the cost reasonable and still deliver a great dish for our friends.

Monday, July 8, 2013

In Search Of John Mueller......

As I've become more interested in BBQ I find myself seeking the unique. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and truly good BBQ is somewhere between rare and non-existent. Even excluding the rubbish served by the National chain restaurants most of what one does find trends toward the Kansas City style. The sweet/spicy, sticky, tomato & molasses based sauce is what most people associate with "BBQ" hence that is what most purveyors produce...especially in an area such as this where BBQ is scarce.