CacheCrazy.Com: October 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FALLing in love again

My God, I just can’t believe its fall! What happened? Mother nature you sneaky bugger! I turn my back, take a short trip out west and BAM, there goes another season! Time waits for no man.

I figured before the season ends I had better get out this weekend and do some geocaching and I know just the one I want to do! Can’t wait! The leaves are just about done in some areas but still peaking in others. If you drive just 40 minutes south of the Poconos it’s just getting close to peak. Near Allentown, it’s about one week away but all in all it’s coming and going too quickly if you ask me. Oh, I know I’ll be raking up that HUGE leaf pile and jumping in it with the kids, fun! Which makes me wonder what folks will think when my kids are all grown up and moved away and I’m still doing it? I always love the way the leaves smell when the warm afternoon sun heats them and you get your nose right down in there! Man, that’s living I tell ya! It all falls on the same lines as “stop to smell the roses”. Live your life my friends like it’s the last day everyday! I wish I followed my own advise.
In the spirit of the season I switched up the blog page to put you in the mood (no, smelling your computer screen won’t give you the same results dummy, lol). All of the wonderful colors of fall are more brilliant this year than in years past. Some say it has to do with the dry summer while others say the heavy rain at the end of the summer peaked them. I really don’t know if there is truly a scientific answer and quite honestly, I really don’t care. I just love to look at them, feel them, smell them taste them (you got a problem with that?) and play in them. While most folks look at their yard full of leaves and curse, I see them as nature’s toys and like all toys, once your done playing with them you have to put them away and get ready for new toys, snow!

I do know that seasonal conditions and chemical changes in leaves are the key factors in the timing and color of fall foliage. Generally, clear, sunny days and cool nights with temperatures in the 40s bring about the most striking autumn color. Here's a sampling of the leaves that will be setting NEPA’s landscapes ablaze with color this fall. Try to see how many you can find and have fun!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Signature Items

For as long as I have been geocaching I have been adding a signature item to most of the caches I find and even make some custom pieces for FTF prizes that really go over big with the finder. My two standard mediums are 2 inch wooden coins which I wood burn by hand and sculptors hardening clay that I mold and scribe then finish.
I have seen many types of signature items in the field. Most are business card types with some personal info or a message on them; others are elaborate creations with an artistic flair. All are cool in my book. When a geocacher introduces them to you through a signature item, they are saying “hi, this is who I am and I’ve been here”. How cool is that? I have a friend who collects items and puts out a pretty neat coin of his own. It goes beyond the matchbox car and the crayon set, it’s a personal gift with the intensions to be known that the cacher was here and now that you are finding this you can keep it or move it on to another cache. Most of these types of items are not travel or traceable but I have seen one that looked like a sig item but in fact was a travel bug.


In any case, these are neat little items that leave a personal impression on the sport and gets your name out in the field as well. In 2011, I am going to release a CacheCrazy Bloodhounded coin to promote the blog site and my team.  So when you open up your next cache and rummage through the contents, look for an item that was put there by someone who wanted you to find something special! If you can find that cachers profile and send them a quick note on it, wow, that would just make their day. Every little personal touch makes all the difference in this game of hide and seek. Maybe, I have inspired you to make one of your own? Feel free to share your ideas and your signature items with us.
Have fun and cache safe (it is hunting season you know).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bloodhounded's Own Chili Recipes

I really like to cook and I don't hide it (notice the bulge around the waistline). I get the family involved sometimes and my son Michael is really turning out to be a pretty good cook and baker. I have been in food my whole life and consider myself a certified "foodie". Hey, it could be worse, I could be a druggie or worse right? Fall temperatures and cooling winds bring about an insatiable craving for CHILI, that famous Texas concoction of meat, chili and spices that has become America's favorite stew.

The principal ingredient of chili is meat, usually beef, although pork, venison and other red meats are sometime used. Chuck is a good choice for chili and the preferred cut is �" cubes although chili grind is also acceptable. Chile is the predominant seasoning, with the dark reddish brown Ancho chili being most commonly used. Other popular chilis that are sometimes used include New Mexican, Mulato and Pasilla. "Chili powder" is actually a commercial blend that usually consists of ground Ancho and/or New Mexican chilis, cumin, oregano and garlic (bet you didn't know that did ya?). Pure ground chilis are also available and are preferred by many aficionados.

Cumin or "comino" is another seasoning used in nearly all chili recipes and gives it that distinctive "chili flavor". Red pepper or cayenne is used to add heat to chili. Add it to suit your taste or for a smokey flavor that really meets the taste buds head on, use a form of Chipotle pepers which are a smoked jalapeno. Buy it dried and work it in in crumbles to taste, wow, to die for.

Here are 2 chili recipes for you to enjoy.

Bloodhounded's Own Texas Chili

  • 2-3 lbs. round or sirloin steak, cut 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 2-3 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped

  • 1/4 cup dark chili powder

  • 2 tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 cup dark beer (Guinness)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup masa (or cornmeal)

  • Cut the steak into 1/2-inch cubes.


For a real treat try it over  Frito Corn Chips
In a heavy skillet, brown the beef with the onion. Drain off excess fat, add garlic and stir over medium heat another minute.

Transfer beef mixture to the crockpot. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, beer and water. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Stir masa or cornmeal with enough water to make a smooth paste. Stir paste into chili. Turn crockpot to high and cook uncovered for additional hour.

Serve over corn chips and top with shredded cheese and chopped onions for a traditional Texas favorite.

Masa is finely ground cornmeal used in tortilla making. It is used to "tighten" the chili and adds flavor. It can be found in the grocery store with the flour and cornmeal. If it is unavailable, you can substitute regular cornmeal.

Serve with hot cornbread and grated cheddar cheese for garnish. You can also add drained, canned kidney beans or red beans if you like.


For something nice and different try a white chicken chili. I first had a bowl of this masterpiece at Ruby Tuesday's and said to myself "hey, I can make this". After a few different tries this one is the best.



Bloodhounded's Own White Chili


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock

  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken, cubed (I like the breast, but dark meat works just as well)

  • 3 cans (16 ounces each) Navy beans

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes. or until the vegetables are softened slightly.

Add the chilies, cumin and cayenne and cook for about 10 more minutes. Add 4 cups of the chicken stock, the beans and the chicken and cook over low heat for about 1 hour, adding stock if necessary. If using canned beans and pre-cooked chicken, add the beans and chicken after about 40 minutes and cook 20 minutes to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated cheese, if desired.

Note: To pre-cook chicken, boil it in water until cooked. Allow it cool and remove from bone. You can either coarsely shred or chop it. This may be done a day ahead.

 Bon Appétit (which means happy eating or happy appetite)

Do you have a recipe that you would like to share with the friends of Bloodhounded? Send it to me by email or post it here and I'll add it to the new "Recipes from Bloodhounded and Friends"

Bloodhounded

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hi everyone, I’m back from my business trip to Chicago, Il.

So, let me tell you a little bit about me and what I have a passion for. No I’m not going to tell you about my wife and kids, my part time cooking position or even geocaching. I’m going to tell you about my “day job”.


My official title is USDA Commodity Program Director for a company named Preferred Meal Systems, Inc. The company is the single largest producer of school lunches in the country. We serve over 500,000 kids every day in breakfast, lunch and after school programs. The company is both a manufacturer and food service management company rolled into one. I have been with this company for just over ten years working out of the Moosic, PA facility of which I was the Plant Manager for five years. Moosic in one of four manufacturing facilities and 18 distribution centers across the country complement the company’s commitment to freshness.

Chicago really is a beautiful and clean city

I am kind of a middle man who facilitates the USDA donated commodity foods program for the company. I work closely with the government and state agencies to insure that every kid gets to eat a lunch everyday regardless of their ability to pay. I fight for these kids because many of them will only have that one meal all day and I want to be sure that it is nutritious and delicious. This program is part of the Leave No Child Behind act and I ensure that the company is using it as effectively and extensively as possible. So, I guess what I do for a living is feed less fortunate kids lunch. What a great job! Of course I don’t do this alone; I have a wonderful team of commodity management and materials managers whom I lead. I have developed quite a successful team and they are the best for putting up with me!

So all of this week I attended a Strategic Planning Meeting and Symposium in Chicago where our corporate office is located. We had some small breakout sessions and a large session in the conference center where we stayed. My portion of the meeting was to roll out a new program called PCCP (process control certification program). It will help all of the facilities process USDA commodity foods without the need for an onsite USDA grader along with other benefits that will realize first year savings of over one half million dollars. Along with those saving I am asking that they reinvest 35% back into the program so I can expand to other states and feed even more kids a free lunch. I think I nailed it!

So that’s what I do for a living and I invest about 60 hours per week into it. The income is above average and the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a real difference is the greatest! In addition to this position I cook at a popular local restaurant in the sauté station on Friday’s and Saturday’s. I love to cook! Even as a young man I was always experimenting with food. I watch the food network all the time and can make a mean Veal Franchisee. That money helps with odds and ends but I really do enjoy it and was fortunate to be asked to work with this culinary team. They are all talented in their own way and I continue to learn from them and them from me, it’s really fun!

So, now I’m back and ready to do some new posts with all my free time, lol! Watch for some new stuff coming next week!

Thanks for checking in and following my blog!

Friday, October 15, 2010

We Did it!

Well, we that found and logged a cache on 10/10/10 are now part of the history books! The most geocaches EVER logged of all time. Very cool! This is from Groudspeak News Letter.

Congratulations! Geocachers answered the challenge to break the record for number of accounts to log a geocache in a single day. The previous record, set on April 18, 2010, stood at 56,654. The date 10-10-10 commemorates ten years of geocaching and ten years of Groundspeak in 2010. Geocachers bested the single day record by more than 20,000. The record for Geocaching.com accounts to log a cache in a single day now stands at 78,313.


Watch a new Lost & Found video showcasing 10-10-10 footage from geocachers around the world. Find the video on the official Geocaching.com Blog, Latitude 47. See even more pictures and video from 10-10-10 on the Geocaching.com Facebook page.

I know I haven't posted much this week and likely next week either. I am at meetings and conference however, I'll be back with more goodies. If anyone would like to "Guest Blog" to my blog that would be great! Just send your information to me and I'll post it up quick. I would really appreciate your help!
Thanks,
Bloodhounded

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Creative Cache Pages….do they really make a difference?

So far on this Blog series we talked about maintaining the swag level to insure a “treasure hunt” and placement location of a geocache.


Today I want to talk about an often overlooked feature of a geocache and that is it’s cache page.

A cache page posted on geocaching.com is a permanent representation of the cache in detail, location, description and of course the coords. What most folks don’t do is jazz up the cache page to add another element to the cache itself. Early on when I just started I read everything! In some cases I was glad I did because there was specific cache information within the cache page text that really helped in nailing the find. At other times they were just amusing to read a little bit about the history or location related information. I knew that I wanted to do something “neat” with my cache pages and those HTML classes I took in college really paid off. I started by trying to tie a theme to the caches. My caches are all dog themes because of our teams caching name, Team Bloodhounded. So when I place a new cache a dog theme goes with it such as Barking Up The Wrong Tree, let Sleeping Dogs Lie and all Dog Go To Heaven just to name a few. When I did my Scooby-Doo where are you series, I used Scooby as the main “dog” in the series and built around it with five mysteries without dog themes such as Lady Of The Lake, and The Mystery Of The Lost Boy Scout Camp. Finally, there were some locations that a dog theme may have not been appropriate but I wanted to capture some of the rich history such as my Bear Creek Village Cache and Grace Chapel/the Lewis Family Cemetery which are part of the “Friends of Team Bloodhounded” series.

With the theme in mind, I wanted to build a story and possibly display some historic facts of that area. In some caches I do a little of fiction along with facts and tie them all together. I love to write, even though I’m not very good at it and my grammar has a lot to be desired, I still love it! So I started to write fictitious stories around these caches that led the seeker to an experience rather than just a cache. Some of these stories were rather long and detailed (see No Pets Allowed )while others were short and sweet (see Giants Despair  ).I also wanted to add some humor to caches to make the seeker laugh even before they even set foot outside the door (see Help Lost Puppy ) to add a little levity to our sport.

The finishing touches for me were to add some cool pics that related to the story and the theme of the cache. I also do some hyperlinks to hints and puzzles, links to alternate websites that are beneficial, coords checkers so that you don’t need to find out that you may have done the puzzle wrong in the field and some fun additions of backgrounds and stuff. It’s a lot of work! I personally enjoy it and it’s a great time consumer for me to keep me busy and productive but, I guess what has me a little bugged is this question; does anyone really read this stuff? I wonder because I do get some comments but few on the cache page itself. Some folks really like the stories and others the cartoons but relatively speaking compared to the overall number of finds, it’s less than 10%. So why do I even do it? Why would I work on perfection of these pages when only a very small percentage of cachers comment? To spend three to four hours on the page alone seems crazy don’t you think? Maybe I’ll just bag it and add simple text to my pages to make it easy and quick.

NOT! I am never going to compromise on what I feel MY caches should be as an experience for the seeker. From the time that the seeker opens my cache page to when the cache itself is open, I have an expectation of myself in hopes that my hides can be an example to new cachers as the standard in the sport. I am on a mission to help shape the future of the sport of geocaching one cache at a time and it all starts with MINE. Never feel that once your cache is published, you are done with it. Obviously maintenance is important to fulfill the experience but you can also go back into your page and edit it. If you would like to add a picture, do it! If you want to access many of the simple HTML tutorials and try your hand at it then go for it! You can add colored text and layouts very easily. Try this link for some quick and easy help.

In the end there is no limit on what you can do. Geocaching is an outlet for expression and if you don’t do any of these things that’s ok too. By placing a cache you have added to the future of the sport. How you want to present it is totally up to you. I am not here to say my way is the right way but only to display what works for me and how I personally approach the presentation. I don’t sleep too much so I may have more time available where another might be pressed just to upload the cache. The bottom line is to keep those caches coming. Never feel that you cannot participate in the hiding portion of the game. After you post your cache and it’s approved, you can always add later like I said before. I am here to help anyone with any part of what I speak of in this post so feel free to ask questions, comment or just send me an email. Together we can set the standard in a specific area that grows as quickly as the game itself.

Your friend in caching,

Bloodhounded

Friday, October 8, 2010

The "Cache Tip" of the Week

Today’s Caching Tip is an FYI for you to get involved in a record breaking event this Sunday 10/10/10....


Help Break a Geocaching Record on 10-10-10














The big day is almost here! On 10-10-10, geocachers around the world will join together to try to break the record for the number of accounts to log a geocache in a single day. The current record stands at 56,654. It was set on April 18, 2010. Since we are counting how many accounts log a cache rather than the number of caches logged, all you need to do is find and log a single cache on 10-10-10! So, get out there, get involved, and let's set a new geocaching record.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Cache Of The Month
October 2010
Where The River Bends 
 GC2BNYR
A cache by: B.A.K.               Placed: 7/13/2010
N 40° 56.745 W 075° 41.508



Congratulations to B.A.K. and their geocache Where The River Bends selected as the cache of the month at CacheCrazy for October 2010! Bloodhounded contacted team B.A.K. and asked them some questions about their cache and their team. They were willing to participate and here is the dialog.

Team B.A.K.
Q: Congratulations on your Cache of the Month award! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your caching team?


A: B.A.K. is myself (Bridget), my husband (Kevin), and our 3 daughters (6,10,15). But mostly it has turned into something that my husband and I do together when its just the 2 of us. We live in the Poconos and are new to Caching.


Q: What was your original thoughts when you placed this cache and why did you select the location?


A: The reason we put this cache where we did really ties into why we love caching. We love caching because it brings us to so many special places outdoors that we may not find on our own. The way we look at it is... if we show you our favorite spot then other people will share theirs and we all will enjoy the out door even more.


Q: What kind of reactions are you getting from the logs? Tell us one and who it’s from.


A: We have gotten all really positive reactions but the ones from people that are familiar with the area and did not know the spot are my favorite... This is our favorite log to date.


On July 29th, 2010 Log by walnut-tripper - One of the best hiking caches I have done in quite some time. I would also like to add that it provided one of the best views EVER, and I would award it the "best view in Carbon County". Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! I will definitely bring the hubby here in the fall when the leaves are in color. Words cannot express how gorgeous the final for this cache was. Coords were good for both stages. I am actually jealous that I did not know about this place first. It would have been a perfect spot for the Enjoy, Enjoy Carbon County cache. I'm also wondering why Larry Getz didn't know about it either. He seems to know all the good spots in Carbon County. I took the Piglet TB and a lottery ticket (no winner) and left a car tb. Of course, I did not have my camera other than the one on my cell phone.
If you keep hiding caches like this, you definitely have a finder in me!!
TFTC


Q: So now that you own this awesome cache, what can we look forward to in the future? Any plans for another hide?


A: Yes, we have 2 or 3 in mind. We are feeling a lot of pressure to outdo this one and I don't think it will be easy to do that. We hope to get them up and going soon. It’s really hard to get a day off with my husband and me together so we can do it together.


Well, it sure will be tough to beat this awesome cache but don’t let that stop you. There is a lot of beautiful land out there yet to be explored and a cache just waiting to be hidden. A special thanks to Bridget who so graciously accepted my request for an interview and taking time out of her busy schedule to add a personal touch to this feature at CacheCrazy.

Thank you!
Bloodhounded

   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photos by: Thanatos 57

CacheCrazy Cache Of The Month is brought to you by Team Bloodhounded and is selected based on the discretion of the Blog owner with a criteria of other cachers experiences, popularity of the cache, cache logs, photographs and the personal experience of Bloodhounded and Team Bloodhounded respectively.  If you would like to nominate a Cache Of The Month, please EMAIL me.
All rights reserved. © 2010 Team Bloodhounded, Bloodhounded, CacheCrazy, cachecrazy.com. For permission please contact me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What’s new this week? How about a new arrival!

Looks like we have a brand new geocacher to add to the already powerful cache team of “TheRockBandits”!









Alexis Mae Murphy, daughter of Troy and Teresa was born October 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm.  She weighed 8lbs. 4oz. and was 18 inches long. Isn’t she a beauty? Troy tells me everyone is doing fine and we at CacheCrazy wish them all the best!
Now no cache will get by them. With big Troy handling the high stuff and this little bugger covering ground level along with the rest of the family, we hiders don’t stand a chance!
God bless you guys and thanks for sharing!
*Have an announcement that you want to share? Send it to me via email and we’ll get the word out to all our friends.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The cache tip of the day

It’s that time again for The “Cache Tip” of the day!

Today’s cache tip is more related to safety but hey, that’s important too, right?

Nothing can ruin a perfectly good geocaching adventure quicker than a personal disaster such as a serious injury or a trauma situation to one of your family members, friends or pets. Yes, it can happen so fast and even when you are very careful. If you are like me, any distance cache that I hike or when I know I’ll be more than a half mile away from my vehicle, I wear a geopack. On longer jaunts I bring a geobackpack. Oh, inside the pack are all kinds of things that can help me with the find. I bring tweezers, a multi tool, a compass, spare batteries, lots of swag, a few extra baggies, logs and a flashlight. But, I’m not listing the most important item of all. Do you know what it is?

Benadryl, that’s right the little pink and white allergy medication that most folks use to fight occasional rag weed, golden rod and pet allergies. I am fortunate not to have any allergies (that I know of). This is brought along in case of emergencies. Poison ivy for instance doesn’t even bother me. I can roll around in the stuff and just walk away. While others just get close to it and suffer days of discomfort. Now if you’re allergic, you have a real problem on your hands. The more common example hides, nests and looks for the same areas that a geocache might be hidden. Small crevices, holes, rock formations, hollow trees, brush piles and just about anywhere else that provides cover from invation and keeps the elements at bay. Yes, bees. Oh, not just bees but hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, ground bees and even honey bees can have a lethal sting to someone who is allergic. Even if your not allergic and you receive multiple bites you could be in trouble. spiders can have the same effect on people and annamales so, don’t forget about your geodog too. They can get into areas we can’t and not understanding the danger right away could lead to a serious situation. That’s where Benadryl come in. It blocks the receptors to slow down and in some cases eliminate the allergens.
I have at least six capsules in each of my packs and in my glove compartment. The capsules are important because you can break them open fairly easy and pour it right in the mouth for the quickest results. Part of the symptoms of a reaction is the swelling of the throat; see where I’m going here. I once saved our dog that walked right into a ground bee nest and was stung multiple times. In no time she was pacing and scared. I knew in short time what was happening and broke two capsules into her mouth and ran her to the vet. The vet said that I saved her life and there was no further treatment necessary.

So, do yourself a favor, along with all of your other “stuff” build a small first aid kit and include Benadryl. It literally may save your life or someone else’s someday. If you cache with kids it’s a good idea to carry a few alcohol wipes, band aids, antibiotic ointment and some tender loving care. These can go a long way in the field.

And that’s my caching tip of the day…..        

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