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Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Big Game Hunting Season








Well folks another PA Big Game Hunting season is upon us. I want to make sure everyone takes this into consideration when they are out caching. The statewide firearms Bear season just opened up on 11/22 and runs until 11/26. Then our statewide firearms whitetail deer opens up on 12/1 and runs until 12/13. These are the times when there are the most hunters in the woods. If you decide to cache during any of these dates please be cautious and follow a few simple rules.



1. Cache on Sundays if possible. Hunter's can't hunt deer and bear on Sundays.




2. Hunters are required to wear orange and so should you. Jacket and hat.



3. Don't wear anything that is brown or dark in color.

4. If your only chance to be out is during the week and you see a hunter in the woods it would be a good idea to come back at another time and try for that particular cache.

5. If you don't like hunting don't go in the woods during the season just to "get even" with the hunters. Some of them really are just trying to feed their families.

6. If you are a cache owner consider temporarily disabling your caches that are in areas where hunting is allowed.

If we all try to abide by these rules we can have safer times out searching for caches. I know that there are some people who don't like hunting, but then not everyone caches either. We can all get along and enjoy the sports we love so much and be safe doing them.

If you are a hunter please be aware that there may be folks out caching while you are hunting. Be courteous and don't yell at them. They are just enjoying their sport too.

So happy hunting to all of you hunters and may you fill your freezer with lots of game. And, happy caching to all of you Geocachers and my you fill many FTF while you're doing it.

Big Al

Sunday, November 2, 2014

CEMETERY CRASHING; I MEAN CACHING

Recently I was on vacation with my family and we were visiting my sister in Ohio. What made this trip special was that my oldest sister and one of her son's were going to meet us in Ohio at my other sister's house. This would be a little family reunion. We would also be getting together with other family members we had not seen in a few years.


While we were there my nephew and kids decided to check out some "haunted" places around where I grew up. They had lots of fun and I think the next time we go out there I'll have to join them in the haunt. These are some of the haunted places:
  • Crybaby Bridge - Just east of Troy, this local crybaby bridge is where LeFevre Road crosses Lost Creek before you get to North Children's Home Road. A baby can be heard crying from beneath the bridge late at night. Legend says that in the 1930s a couple were crossing the bridge and were involved in an automobile accident. Their baby was ejected from the car and was never found.
  • Polecat Road - This old country road was the site of a motorcycle accident years ago. The man was not wearing a helmet and was killed when he veered off the road and hit a tree. Driving down the road at night, you can sometimes see a small green glowing orb off to the side of the road in the trees. On the same road, about a mile away from the accident site, is an old roped-off trail. Supposedly this is where KKK members hold meetings and sometimes hangings.
Since this trip was "just for fun" meaning there were no school activities planned since we homeschool, we decided to check out a lot of cemeteries where some of our departed family members have been laid to rest. My nephew was able to come up with all of the cemeteries we needed to visit in Ohio as well as into Indiana. This was a neat idea because some of these relatives we had never met since they passed on well before any of us were ever born.

We were able to find grandfathers, great grandfathers, great-great- grandfathers, and great-great-great grandfathers and so on. We were able to take pictures of the headstones and even get information from some of the cemetery workers, as well as lots of info from some good websites like Ancestry.com and FindAGrave.com. If you're looking for info for your Ancestors be sure to check these sites out. I know it sounds a little weird that folks would take a vacation just to check out cemeteries, but it sure was fun.

As we drove by our first cemetery we noticed that someone had crashed through the fence. We drove around and into the cemetery and then began the drive through it trying to find our first headstone. We parked at the correct lot marker and began looking. It didn't take us long to figure out that where the car had crashed through the fence was the spot we were looking for. It was all taped off with caution tape. Low and behold there was the headstone we were looking for right in the middle of the crash site. Whoever did this really did a lot of damage to the headstones even moving some of them off of their bases. We took a number of pictures and then headed on to the next place.






Well being a Geocaching family I knew there had to be several caches either in the cemeteries or at least near them. Bingo! One of the cemeteries landed us two nice caches even though the GPS was really acting strange. Does your GPS act strange in a cemetery or is it just me?  Now mind you that each cache we find draws my nephew into the game even more. (He later signed up for a GC account.) Hooked another one.


No Carl is not dead. He is showing where one of our relatives is buried.

While in Indiana we stopped at a historical museum and saw that they were closed. But then there was a guy who came out and talked with us. After telling him what we were doing he let us in to take a personalized tour. It was lots of fun.






                   This is an actual wreath made of human hair. It was a little creepy.
                     President Roosevelt on the train in Connersville, IN. He arrived just a little bit before we did.


                        Here's a nice display. I was interested in the flintlocks.

                     What a lovely couple. Oh, and look, they found a Geocache


We ended up coming home to my sister's house and having a cook out and a campfire. Ummm, I love a good smore.

Tune in next week as I relate how I surprised my wife for our 30th anniversary on our first day of vacation while in Ohio. 




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY? - FREE GEOCACHING LOGS

WELCOME TO CACHECRAZY.COM
FREE GEOCACHING LOG PAGE

All logs include the "Congratulations,You Found It! Intentional or not!" information page. You can download and share these logs with your friends on Facebook and Google+.

A special thanks to George (ggggeo) who made these beautiful logs and contributed them to CacheCrazy.Com. Tell him your appreciation in the comments and have fun!
Bloodhounded






Friday, October 17, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup


I was bummed out when I found out that Italian Wedding Soup has NOTHING to do with a wedding at all! In fact, it’s not even really Italian! Madona Mia, in my mind I envisioned Italian chefs preparing the minestra maritata ("married soup") for Italian mobsters daughters weddings and if it wasn’t done just right, minga da faccia, they ended up in the soup!

Actually, The prized Italian Wedding soup derives from Spain where they crafted it out of dried Spanish lettuce, broth and any meat that one could find. They “married “the flavors of the meat and greens to make a meal that would sustain the hard working men and women who made their living the hard way, with their muscles and their hands.

Years ago, when I first learned how to cook, I worked for a true Italian master chef at an upscale, 5 star ristorante named, The Library Lounge and Restaurant. He taught me techniques that I still carry with me today. Even though I do not cook as my sole profession, I still love to make the Italian Wedding Soup from the recipe that he taught me and everyone loves when I do. It has a buttery smooth taste and what I call, “plate appeal”.

 

Over the holiday’s I decided I would put the finishing touch on our “food fest” with a big pot of his mastery. My wife was shopping for ingredients and was surprised how I could just pull the contents off the top of my head (I mean come on, I’ve only made 10,000 gallons of this stuff in my lifetime). She laughed and wrote down the list:



 

I do not use a starch in my soup such as Acini di pepe,  Ditalini or rice as some cooks do but you can if you wish. I also add some “chopped” chicken to the soup in addition to the beef and pork meatballs to get the true “married” effect of different meats. Finally, I use escarole as my green of choice because it adds flavor unmatched by kale or endive and it cooks up tender and holds together nicely for appearance. Whatever you do, do not add spinach! It will ruin your soup and the leaf resembles “seaweed” in texture when cooked, yuck!

 

The very basic cooking instructions are:

 

  • In a 3 gallon soup pot bring 2 gallons of water to boil
  • Add one chicken breast skinned and split
  • Let boil for 40 – 60 minutes
  • Mix 1lb of ground beef with ½ lb of ground pork, parmesan cheese, one egg, 2 teaspoons of quality garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of parsley, salt and pepper. Sound familiar? Yes, your making meatballs without the bread crumbs BUT roll these meatballs nice and small. Remember, they will be part of the marriage not the main course.
  • Remove your chicken breasts and season broth with some good quality chicken base. Not too much, just enough to complement the natural chicken flavor. You can add a little in the end too if it’s not flavorful enough but too much and it’s game over. You're in the soup!
  • Then start to drop your meatballs in the boiling stock. Keep it at a rolling boil by adding them slowly and be careful not to splash. Cook for a short time.
  • WASH YOUR ESCAROLE several times in a full sink of cold water. Cut it into 2 inch section 3 inches from the bottom stalk. Add your escarole to the pot and lower the temperature. It’s time to slow things down. 

  • Remove the chicken from the bone and start to chop. Not slice or dice, chop your chicken against the grain so some of it shreds while some stays intact but not diced. More like shredded or torn by hand.  
  • Cook until the greens are dark and tender. 
  • Taste your soup. Too strong? Add more water. Too weak? Add some base. Go back and forth until the pot is exactly the way YOU want it in flavor and in the quantity you want. 
  • Then add the chicken and simmer for 30 minutes covered. 
  • Let cool before you serve it and if you can resist, wait until the next day to eat it!

 

Serve in a bowl with a nice balance of greens/balls/chicken and broth. Top with grated parmesan cheese and bon app├ętit!


So what does this post have to do with anything outdoors or geocaching? Nutten, but Madona Mia, is that good or what? Enjoy……

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cache Crazy Camping exCursion (Part 4)

By: George aka ggggeo2
Welcome back to the exciting conclusion of Cache Crazy Camping exCursion! We last left off on Cache Crazy Camping exCursion (Part 3). This was the final day of our camping adventure, so we wanted to make the most of it. We started out with a breakfast of cereal (for easy cleanup) then headed over the parking area for stage 2 of CCGT2012- State Parks (we found stage 1 way back in Cache Crazy Camping exCursion Part 2) and began the hour or so long hike up, up, up the mountain.
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Microcachers on the move
It was a pleasant temperature, but this was a tough hike, especially for 5- and 6-year-olds, so we took several water breaks to drink and rest. It was still cool, but starting to warm up. When we later got back to civilization, I uploaded the GPX track:
State Parks Terrain Track
Why yes, that is our track with a 450ft (140m) elevation gain!
Whew, no wonder we were tired by the time we reached the summit! There was a little bench on which we took a break, and soon after reached the area where the cache was supposed to be. We searched all over, deep in the thicket for a good while. We were starting to worry that it would elude us, but we really didn't want to head back without making the find. Finally, Team Firenze called out a joyful "FOUND IT!" and we all dashed over to see. Yeah, we had all passed it several times. And yes, it was an ammo can. The microcachers swapped out swag, and Geo-Ben dropped in a SEPAG (SouthEastern PennsylvaniA Geocachers) pathtag, then we replaced the cache and took a few father-son pictures and a few pictures of the valley and lake at Parker Dam State Park below.
2013-08-25 10.46.20
View from the top – our campsite was on the other side of the lake

2013-08-25 10.46.45
Team Firenze and RealIronman

2013-08-25 10.47.30
ggggeo2 and GeoConductor

2013-08-25 10.47.50
Geo-Ben and Geo Wot Wot
Then, after we were sufficiently rested, it was back down the mountain for us. On the way down, Geo-Ben started singing camping songs from his scouting days. We joined in on the songs we knew, but soon we ran out of songs. But before we know, the 80s nostalgia songs started. All the dads were soon singing the theme songs from Gilligan's Island, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, and several other songs. (At least the words we could remember-it mostly worked out like "Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you….blah blah blah blah nyeh nyeh…"
We eventually made it back down the mountain to our geomobile. About 20 feet from the car, RealIronman took a spill-our first injury of the trip. He managed to pull through after some attention from dad, and we were on our way again. We stopped at the ranger station/gift shop on the way back to our campsite and got some souvenirs. I got a hiking medallion for my hiking stick, and we got several other pins, stuffed animals (not the real kind) and several other knick-knacks. We went next store to the education center and checked out all the stuffed animals (real ones) and other exhibits they had. Then, back to the campsite to pack up.
We packed everything up then had a quick lunch of sandwiches and were finally on our way. We had a few more local caching stops before we headed home, though. We hit our THIRD Earthcache for the weekend, Eastern Continental Divide. Team Firenze and Geo-Ben tried to answer the questions but ended up confused and confounded (Earthcache answers have been blurred out.) Side note: some of you may not realize that Earthcaches don't have to follow the same proximity guidelines as other cache types. The sign below is both the site of an Earthcache AND holds a traditional micro cache. Two active caches, legitimately within several feet of each other. Way cool!
2013-08-25 14.24.56 Continental Divide Blurred
"I think it's this way…" "No, it's definitely THIS way!"
We stopped at a local virtual cache with 700+ finds honoring a fallen geocacher, Grizz. It took a few minutes but we finally found what we were seeking. We spent a somber moment with Grizz, then headed to another nearby cache (virtual answers blurred.)
IMG_1423_Blurred
Rest in peace, buddy!
We headed on into the town of DuBois to find another local favorite that several of our new friends from the geo-event the day before recommended as a must-find cache: Would You Like Fries With That? Hold The Muggle. It was a great cache, we were glad we decided to grab this one. Geo-Ben even found the greatest cacher in the world at this cache! (We didn't have the heart to tell him it was just a mirror labeled "The greatest geocacher in the world.")
We then left town and were on our way home. We stopped at all the east-bound rest stops with caches on I-80 on the way (we couldn't get them on the way there as we were west-bound.) Finally, we got to where we had to go our separate ways and grabbed some grub before splitting up. Team Firenze and RealIronman dropped GeoConductor and me off at our home, then headed off to home. They even managed to snag an FTF on their way home that had just popped up! RealIronman was pretty worn out from the trip and didn't quite hold up all the way home:
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RealIronman snuggled up with his souvenir deer. They were just resting their eyes.
At some point during the weekend Team Firenze found a meteor which imbued him with super powers. He is very proud of this but is a little hush-hush on the details, probably because he wanted to keep the super powers for himself. The next day it was life as usual, but we all had a great time on our Cache Crazy Camping exCursion. We travelled hundreds of miles, hiked a few more miles, and ended up netting 40-50 caches for the weekend (some of us had already found some of the caches we hit.) We are already looking forward to our next adventure!

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