Friday, December 30, 2011

Flamethrowers, Street Skiing and Tree Fishing

Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the nation.  We love the outdoors.

Sanders, my long-haired former-hippie neighbor turned libertarian, is one of those people who could look 50, or 25, depending on how you turned your head and what frame of mind you were in when you were looking at him. He acts like he’s 15 and sometimes wears funny hats or severe-looking heavy framed tortoise shell eyeglasses, which produces in me an odd combination of fear and amusement.

“Dude, you gotta get one of these!” he shouted as he cranked up the flamethrower he was wielding.

We were standing on his deck imbibing 471 Small Batch Double IPA's from Breckenridge Brewery, and when the blast hit his Weber kettle grill, I had to admit it did an admirable job catching the coals on fire. I also noted the singed branches overhanging the deck, and I made a mental note of the blackened portion of his guttering and soffits. He caught my casting glances and chuckled in spite of himself.

Of course I ignored his advice. I’ve got a gas grill anyway. The guy just ain’t all there. He’s got a medical marijuana prescription due to an injury he sustained when he hit a parked car while skiing. How did that happen? It wasn’t up at Monarch, where if you got really, really wild coming down Gunbarrel it could be technically feasible; it happened (appropriately) on Race Street here in town. His girlfriend (or ‘old lady’ as he refers to her), got him a nice pair or Rossignols for Christmas and he just couldn’t wait to try them out so he strapped on and headed down the street, in boxers, a ski jacket and WW II pilot aviators goggles an uncle had given him.  

I can’t really knock him for it. I’ve done some dumb stuff myself. Every spring I test out my fishing rods by casting down the street with a one ounce weight attached. Almost put out a mail truck’s windshield once, and I accidentally tore a birdhouse out of a neighbor’s tree with my Eagle Claw open-face. I use the extra heavies to get the bale to completely unwind, but it can have negative and far reaching consequences.

My friends and I did some street skiing back when I lived in Denver. We were supposed to take a day trip up to Keystone, but ironically, a blizzard hit and all the snow closed I-70. I don’t remember anyone wracking themselves up like Sanders did, but I do remember us falling down laughing when Dave did a nice kick turn off of Jamaica Street onto Colfax and passed a snow plow that was diligently chugging along. Jim from next door came out with one of those huge bottles of Jack Daniels. After some generous chugging, one of us, can’t remember who, slid into a neighbor’s house, causing her to poke her head out the front door and threaten to call the police. That’s when we decided to go back inside.

If we weren't suppose to eat animals, how come they're made of meat?

Anyway, I started out wanting to post on grilling, and I guess I got sidetracked. If you enjoy grilling, smoking or BBQing, The Ugly Brothers have some pretty good tips on their web site. Their Grillosophy Page is a treasure trove of outdoor cooking wisdom. Whether you’re new to the grill or an old hand, you’ll find some worthwhile stuff there.

I’m grilling beer butt chicken and smoking ribs for New Years, how about you?


98ZJUSMC said...

I’ve done some dumb stuff myself. Every spring I test out my fishing rods by casting down the street with a one ounce weight attached. Almost put out a mail truck’s windshield once (...)

*Raises hand sheepishly with knowing grin*

bunkerville said...

You brought back some great memories, and some not so great. Thoughts move to Spring when the grill comes back into action.

Ducky's here said...

Big surprise, I'm a vegetarian.

Not doctrinaire about it, I occasionally eat meat but I feel cutting it out of the diet is healthy and the amount of resources required to produce meat protein is very inefficient. Lot of forest destroyed for grazing land for the McDonald's crap.

Silverfiddle said...

It's your right, Ducky, and I don't eat McDonalds crap. We rarely eat out. I grill all year 'round, and Mrs S is an awesome cook who, though not vegetarian, is a health nut and pushes the veggies pretty hard.

She pulled the standard trick on me of asking if I could grill them. Of course I went for hit, hook, line and sinker. I'm up for anything I can do outside with a beer in my hand...

Ducky's here said...

Beer and fishing, now, surprise, I get behind both though not simultaneously.

Nothing better than when the blues are running off Cape Ann.

(((Thought Criminal))) said...

If we weren't suppose to eat animals, how come they're made of meat?


In my neck of the woods, we've got a massive coyote problem, exacerbated by a park that is trapping them to protect their own animals and wildlife, then releasing them outside their park (instead of killing them, because in PETA America, coyotes have more rights than you do).

These coyotes have already mercilessly killed and eaten seven goats off of my family's property, and probably split all the chickens with the hawks that occasionally carry off small dogs.

I guess something will be done when these coyotes take off with someone's infant child or toddler.

A recent freeze broke a pipe on our pond's drain, so the water drained out and we lost around 300 bass fish...

December was rough on our meat supply. We had venison for Christmas dinner though. :)

Trekkie4Ever said...

You have a very interesting neighbor, seems harmless, though.

I think I will be coming over to your house for New Year's Eve. We never do much at my house, normally I turn into a couch potato and watch the Twilight Zone marathon.

I have church the next day, so won't be staying up to greet the New Year.

Unknown said...

BBQ? Damn straight. Could be 100 deg or 5 below, doesn't matter.

I do both gas and coal, depending on the meats that I am about to devour.
I have my method though on steaks. 4 burner Gas grill with a smoker box. Seer both sides over two center burners, 3 minutes each side. Fire up the other 2 outside burners, kill the center burners and grill by radiant heat. All done with consuming 3 beers. Once the 3rd beer is done, they are ready. Perfect pink inside.

Z said...

I love this "If we weren't suppose to eat animals, how come they're made of meat?" :-)
I saw a food channel show today where the chef got teary saying he couldn't live with himself for serving meat and never having slaughtered he did. Big time tears. interesting take on it.
I know this sounds NUTS but my mother was grilling vegetables 40 years ago; A lot of us think she was doing it before it became 'the thing to do' ..and MAN, are they delicious with a little olive oil and garlic powder S&P on them! Your wife's crafty with the grilling veggies thing, SF, I like her!
I haven't really entertained since Mr. Z died 2 years ago and I'm having 14 for dinner Wed night and it's giving me my first ever 'pre entertaining' STOMACH ACHE !!! When you don't do it often anymore, you lose the timing, the pace of it...and I'm going to have to get back into that FAST! Wish me luck! Come grill for me! One of my dishes is a kind of vegetable lasagne using grilled eggplant and zucchini... :-)

Finntann said...

I always thought the problem with vegetarianism was that we aren't herbivores, to each his own though.

From a health perspective, I don't think the problem is meat, the problem is too much meat. I try and limit myself to 2-4 oz portion sizes.

Ducky's right about the cow farms... I say farms, because a ranch is a place where the cattle can roam around. It's amazing the difference in taste between processed grocery store beef and free range and I think there is a distinct difference between grass and corn-fed beef. We have a local mom and pop grocery that stocks some wonderful tasting Buffalo from a local ranch.

As to McDonald's...what makes you think that's meat?

The grill is indespensable, temperature doesn't preclude our using it although sometimes the wind does. Lately we've been going Mediterranean style, there are some interesting Lebanese recipes for beef with cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom.

Hmmm.... gotta go fire up the grill.


(((Thought Criminal))) said...

Mmmm... grilled asparagus... WITH STEAK!

Ducky's here said...

As to McDonald's...what makes you think that's meat?

Because soy burgers have more taste.

Anonymous said...

Hey, SilverFiddle!

Please ask your kooky friend where he got his flamethrower. I want one too.

Got LOTS of potential uses for it here.

Unexpected solicitors who ring the doorbell unbidden will never get a chance to ring twice.

What larks we could have at Halloween!!!


~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

"Because soy burgers have more taste."

Ducky, I gotta hand it to ya.

That was brillyunt.

~ FT

Teresa said...

You reminded me of going out on the boat fishing and crabbing when I was growing up. I lived a half-hour from the ocean but with living in Western Pa now I don't find much opportunity to go out anymore, unfortunately.

Have a great New Year's Silverfiddle!

Anonymous said...

Z stole my thunder. I had planned to tell of the joys of charcoal broiling eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions dusted with garlic powder, S&P, then marinated lightly in olive oil.

Wonderful served with thick slices of French bread, or made into toasted sandwiches with Provolone cheese.

Great things can be made with tofu too. Asians can work miracles with it. I have read that Tofu has all the positive protein value of red meat without any of the health risks associated with it.

I often eat two or three vegetarian meals a week very happily -- could even be a vegetarian -- if I had to.

I just can't abide political vegetarians with their stern finger shaking and sour-faced lectures on the Environment, Animal Cruelty and the Costs to "Society" of Clogged Arteries.

That just makes me feel like going right out to kill something with my bare hands, so I can eat it raw with blood dripping from my fangs in front of their horrified faces.


Yeah! Nothing brings out the beast in me faster than a slap on the wrist or a crack across the knuckles.


~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...


The Delaware beaches at Lewes and Rehoboth are not all that far from western PA. Maybe you ought to consider heading down that way for a weekend every now and then?

I used to live there long ago. Don't know what it's like today, but the fishing used to be great. Best enjoyed in the Off-Season, however. Summers are always crazy crowded down there.

The Chesapeake is even closer if you want to go crabbing.

Follow your dream!

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Z, would you be kind enough to share your Veggie Lasagna recipe with us? If it's the one from The Sunset California Cookbook, it's a WOW.

I used to know it by heart, but zee memoree, eez nat whut she used to be, Hélas!


~ FT

Silverfiddle said...

FT: We eat a lot of meatless dishes around here as well. Not out of wanting to save a pig or whatever, but just because we like salad with tuna, or a grilled salmon, or even just plain ol' rice and beans.

Anonymous said...

Grilling chicken can be deadly dangerous if you don't drain excess marinade.

Once upon a time I decided to produce enough Chicken Orientale for 30 people. The thighs, wings, breasts and legs were marinated in safflower oil, soy sauce fresh pureed garlic, minced fresh ginger, red pepper flakes gin and sherry then refrigerated for three days before the Backyard Event of the Season.

HOO BOY! I was all set for a great culinary triumph having heated the charcoal to glowing white embers. Anyway, I brought the chicken out with a flourish, placed it quickly in the large charcoal brazier, and --- WHOOSH!!! --- instead of broiling, as i assumed it would, the whole darned thing suddenly turned into a TOWERING INFERNO. I means it was SCARY.

Good thing the grill was out in the middle of the lawn and not near the house.

Thank God, someone with more experience -- and a good deal more sense -- than I was somehow able to save the chicken from being totally incinerated, or we would all have had to go to McDonald's.

The bits of bird were jet black, and looked more like tree bark than chicken, but I have to say they really did taste delicious.

A blessing that my friends were all very nice people.

It seems funny now, but it wasn't at the time -- at least not for me.

I still love grilling. Everything tastes better when it's cooked outdoors over charcoal.

~ FreeThinke

Alligator said...

When we go to the afterlife, God will greet us while He is standing at the grill, turning the top sirloin and baby back ribs.

Siver - if I give you my address can you FedEx some smoked ribs out here?

Teresa said...

Free Thinke,

Not far? You and I definitely have different interpretations of what constitutes far. That's about 7-8 hours away from Pa. I could probably make it to Garrett County Md more often and fish though. It would just be a matter of finding a pier or renting a boat.

I used to live in Salisbury and crab right outside of Ocean City when my dad had a boat. Have to admit I enjoyed crabbing more so than fishing.

KP said...

Love this post!!

I have a buddy I occasionally ride bikes with in Colorado. More often we exchange ideas relative to medicine, mental and physical health, ethics and endurance sport. He is one of the smartest most well read people I know. He has walked the Pacific Crest Trail, 2650 miles, from Mexico to Canada a few times. Here is what we agree on:

CODE of the caveman:

Eat live a caveman -- avoid eating food in packaging or food that contains more than one ingredient. Eat food that was recently ALIVE.

Train like a caveman. Go out all day and see what you can discover for yourself; go primal! Eschew ALL electronica and get in tune with your own frequencies.

On self-awareness, get in touch with your fears. As they say, fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.

Make mistakes. They will likely not cost you your life, so go on, make them. Then, more importantly, learn from them. If you're too afraid to make mistakes, I am sorry.

Get lost. Go somewhere new, somewhere unfamiliar, and get acquainted with it and with yourself. Leave the city of comfort and find the wilderness of your intuition.

Sleep outside, under the stars. Talk about feeling insignificant! If you don't think this will have an affect, you haven't tried it. Those same stars are the very ones your caveman cousins gazed at each night and I'm willing to bet they knew more about them than you or I do. While there, ponder the big mysteries of life. It'll do you some good.

If you lack raw physical or mental talent, try making up for it with lots of long and hard work. Throw hard work at almost any problem and the problem is no longer a problem. Of course, it's the hard work that then becomes the problem, but only if you abhor it.

If it can't be done, give it a shot. Find out for yourself whether it's true or not. Those who repeat that it can't be done are almost always interrupted by someone doing it. Just as it was back in the days of the caveman, rules are constantly rewritten.

See if you can do this once every so often and perhaps more than just a day; maybe a week, a month, a year, a lifetime.

Anonymous said...

I suspect, KP, that you are a savant. Very stimulating testimony. You are -- as one of my friends, now 89, would say -- "alive."

Of course, I Alas, being almost militantly sedentary -- not entirely by choice -- would say that it doesn't matter very much what engages your attention and stirs your passion as long as you find absorbing occupation -- something that fascinates you, challenges you, urges you forward, makes you eager to get out of bed each morning, and start the search, continue the battle, simply enjoy new sights, sounds and tastes, or revisit old scenes with a keener sense of perspective.

Not sure why, but along with the generally whimsical tone of this thread your post reminded me of this poem by John Donne of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" fame. Be sure to note his dates. This had to have been written shortly before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock:

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

~ John Donne (1572-1631)

A mischievous and presumptuous streak in me has long wanted to revise the last bit so that it reads:

And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, at two, or three to get her.

Though it's heresy to admit it, I do believe that slight revision makes an improvement on the original.

I wonder what Donne would say to that, if he were here to defend himself?

A very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, KP.

~ FreeThinke

KP said...

Ha! I dig yer stuff, FT. Servantism; I haven't heard that one before but I wouldn't rule anything out.

You said: "it doesn't matter very much what engages your attention and stirs your passion as long as you find absorbing occupation -- something that fascinates you, challenges you, urges you forward, makes you eager to get out of bed each morning, and start the search, continue the battle, simply enjoy new sights, sounds and tastes, or revisit old scenes with a keener sense of perspective."

I agree. Additionally I have a strong sense that we should be challenged. Not just questioned; but really challenged. No matter how passionate we are about subjects unless we are made uncomfortable we may fail to learn the entire lesson. It is why I enjoy reading differnt opinions.

I highly recommend the book "DEEP SURVIVAL: Who Lives, Who Dies, And Why" by Laurance Gonzales.

Happy New Year, FT.

Silverfiddle said...

KP: I love the Code of the Caveman. Is that yours, or did you find it somewhere?

I'd like to use it for a future post...

FreeThinke: Beautiful poem. Donne was quite talented, and I like your revision.

Good poetry can say so much when words fail us. When Silverfiddle Jr. started High School with the usual trepidation of a young man going from a small middle school to a big institution, I taped a copy of "If" by Rudyard Kipling on his door before going to work.

Anonymous said...

I didn't hear anyone mention the joys of eating fresh roadkill! What delicacies await by just taking an early morning ride!

Anonymous said...

Hello, SilverFiddle.

Did you know that "If" was one of the late Christopher Hitchens's favorite things?

I heard him quote it once -- the whole thing from memory -- on a panel discussion about children's literature and other influences that mold character. Very touching. It was only a couple of years ago.

Of course, Hitchens had to maintain his image as a "bad boy," so later on he spoiled it all by making a travesty of A.A. Milne's "Vespers" saying:

Shut up! 

Nobody cares.

Christopher Robin

Just fell down the stairs.

Everyone laughed, of course -- including me.

The original has been so cherished a copy has been included in the Library of the Queen's Doll House since the poem first appeared in 1924 as part of Milne's collection for children “When We Were Very Young” -- something everyone of my generation grew up with.

Maybe you know it? Good only for tiny tots -- and aging grown-ups with fond memories. It would never do for teenagers. 

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.

Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!

Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy! I know thats right.
Wasn't it fun in the bath tonight?

The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot. 

Oh! God bless Daddy! -- I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,

I can see Nanny's dressing-gown on the door.

It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.

Oh! God bless Nanny! and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,

And pull the hood right over my head,
And shut my eyes, and I curl up small,

And nobody knows I'm there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.

And what was the other I had to say?

I said, "Bless Daddy!" so what can it be?

Oh! Now I remember. God bless me!

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,

Droops on the little hands little gold head.

Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!

Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

~ A.A. Milne (1924)

I guess you can see why Hitchens felt he had to hate it? I suspect, however, that in his heart of hearts it was a relic of childhood he secretly loved -- a feeling he could never dare to admit, even to himself.

Hitchens may have been a cynic who felt it his duty to be an iconoclast, but I know, just as sure that I know I am born, that he didn't have a vicious bone in his body.

What is a cynic after all but a secret idealist who hopes to be proven wrong?

And a HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!

~ FreeThinke

KP said...

SF, those of us in the Ironman Triathlon world (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, followed by a 26.2 mile run) have been discussing Caveman stuff (diets and lifestyle) for a decade. But this special one is my pal, ChuckyV's list. He is the good soul that walked the Pacific Coast Trail. As well, a former professional cyclist and triathlete who won Ironman Canada. I was there racing myself. I will find the link and send it to you.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

How was that beer butt chicken and the ribs? Sounds great. Sorry to say, I have tried some of those crazy stunts in my youth and I am none the worst for wear. You know what they say, "The Lord protects fools and idiots." Must be true, there are a lot of us around.

Silverfiddle said...

Hi Reverend! They came out pretty good. It was my first time cooking on a new grill. It wasn't quite up to my standards, but nobody complained!