Three Turkeys Two Days. But is this stuff really food?

asaxon

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3 Birds/2 days but the question remains, is it food much less cheese?

RJ and I headed up for country NE of Sacramento for some turkey hunting and gourmet dining. As we drove up the 99, we kept seeing signs for Bravo Farms which featured all sorts of stuff but most interestingly was “Vintage Cheese”. We made a plan to go for the vintage cheese. However, we got to “talking turkey” about the big Tom RJ had bagged earlier near his home so we were 60+ miles past the Bravo Farm exit when we realized we had blown it. Thus began the hunt for vintage cheese. Google searches for “cheese shop” or “vintage cheese” on the way toward Sacramento were “fails” so we checked out the places we stopped for fuel. I first found Cheetos (Photo 1). RJ declared that anything where the first ingredient is not cheese does not qualify. We ate the Cheetos anyway. At the next stop I found Cheez Whiz (Photo 2). Both of us declared that given the list of ingredients, it was not cheese and we were not sure it even qualified as food (There is NO cheese in Cheez Whiz). http://nationalpost.com/opinion/michael-moss-the-day-they-took-the-cheese-out-of-cheez-whiz We left it at the store. We were later clearly informed by LTD, the safety officer at Camp Pendleton that nothing with the word “Whiz” in it should be considered food. Fortunately, near our motel was a Safeway where we bought Keri-Gold Dublinder, Asago and Wensleydale cheese. Yes, Wensleydale as made famous in Wallace and Grommet (Photo 3). That, a couple of salamis and baguettes of sourdough bread and we had gourmet dinner plus breakfast/lunch for the next two days.
Out the door in the dark after some salami & cheese and sitting listening to lots of Toms gobble in the trees by 6 am the next day. It was gorgeous just to sit thru sunrise Photo 4. There must have been a lot of hens around for we never saw/heard a single Tom or hen after they flew down. About 10 am, RJ and I decide to walk, call and look for birds. As we do so, we spot a “What is that” coming our way. Coyote, deer? No, a large rust colored dog – bigger than a yote but smaller than a wolf but clearly a dog. And following about 100 yards behind are three Jakes. Those turkeys must have known the dog was there yet as we watch, they are following it. Very weird. We figure it might be a “Judas dog” as in Judas sheep. We drop down quickly beneath two trees with me facing downhill and RJ behind/uphill from me with a decoy between. However, the dog made us and trotted away. In response to RJ’s hen calls, we hear gobbles both in front and behind of us. We also hear insistent hen calls that make RJ think there are other hunters near that should not be on this private property. But no, it is real deal Jennies calling in competition. Those girls won/found their mates as the gobbling in their direction stopped. As I sit against a tree not moving, I keep hearing gobbles behind me when all of sudden: BOOM. First thing I felt was relief that RJ hadn’t shot me. I turn around and see him pointing at a bird flailing up on the steep hillside. This bird proceeds to tumble down the hill thru tall grass, a distance of probably 40 yards. As it had rained hard the night before, by the time I stop the rolling bird, it is soaked and totally bedraggled. Looked like it had been put through a washing machine. Thus the picture of RJ kneeling on it (so it doesn’t float away) rather than the typical turkey spread (Photo 5). RJ tells me he had three Jakes (younger males) going back and forth above him for more than five minutes till he finally got the biggest one into a firing solution. Probably the same birds that were following the Judas dog as Jakes so all sorts of dumb things just like teenage boys.
We hiked back to the car for what else but salami & cheese. RJ’s bird was “so big” that he had to hang it like a deer to skin/butcher it (Photo 6). Therein we got a shock; the breast meat in front of the keel on the right side was green. And I don’t mean light green but St. Patrick’s Day green (Photo 7). As I dissected this away from the breast bone, the color got darker until right up against the crop, it was brown. There was no evidence of infection (pus) nor any shot there or nearly. I looked to me as if the bird had gotten a small leak (fistula) between its crop and the muscle probably from swallowing some very sharp/pointed thing. The pigments from the food in the bird’s crop would have leaked out and diffused into the surrounding muscle. To paraphrase Oscar Madison in “The Odd Couple”, Green… – It’s either very new cheese or very old meat”. We decided it was definitely not vintage cheese so we cut out the “green meat”.

We then hiked in another direction and when cresting a hill, saw two Toms at the edge of trees 80 yards ahead of us. But we were out in the open. Despite calling and crawling, (RJ is a good caller but even better crawler = 30 years as a Marine), the Toms headed off downhill. We hustled down behind the hill to get below them and got set with me laying in the tall grass and RJ calling behind. It is gorgeous green country (Photo 8) Ten minutes later, I see five gobbler heads appears over the rise on the other side of a small gully, two mature Toms and three Jakes. The Toms hear the calls but simply walk away. However, the three Jakes are interested but confused. We could just see their thoughts; “Hey, you hear those girls?” “Brush up your feathers.” “Do I, look cool?”
“Where are they?” “Are they pretty?” “Let’s go check them out?” “You go first.” So they mill about under a tree where I can’t get a shot at them for several minutes. Finally, the largest one takes some tentative steps from under the tree onto the Grassy Knoll. Bamm. I dispatch him (Photo 9) with a round full of depleted uranium shot as it is now illegal to use lead shot in Kalifornistan for upland game birds except dove, quail and snipe. Where does one get depleted uranium ammo you ask? First you buy a used Mark 1 Abrams tank, take off some of the depleted uranium armor…. Oh look it up on U-tube.
Dinner that night was NOT salami & cheese but great BBQ at Poor Reds in El Dorado with the NWTF biologist for CA and NV and his wife. Last year they had ‘pack goats’ but now they have Kunekune pigs named Ham and Smoke. These pigs are a breed from New Zealand that do NOT root in the ground due to their weird facial structure. I forgot to take Ham and Smoke’s picture so I substituted a picture of an internet picture of Kunekune pig and her brood (Photo 10)


01 Is this cheese.jpg02 Is this cheese 2.jpg03 Wensleydale.jpg04  IMG_3235 - Copy.jpg05 Jim & Bird.jpg06 Skinning bird.jpg07 Green meat.jpg08 IMG_3240 - Copy.jpg09 Bird 1.jpg10 pig.jpg[FONT=&quot] picture so I substituted a picture of an internet picture of Kunekune pig and her brood (Photo 10) [/FONT] picture so I substituted a picture of an internet picture of Kunekune pig and her brood (Photo 10)
 

asaxon

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PART 23 Birds/2 days but the question remains, is it food much less cheese?

Next o’dark thirty in morning after our ration of salami & cheese, we stopped in at Denny’s for coffee. Lo and behold, in the lobby was one of those “grab the stuffed animal” crane things with what I swear looked like a turkey in it. RJ said it was an octopus but it looked like a turkey to me. RJ tells me I was delusional at this point from too much cheese (Photo 11). Soon after, I am headed out to the fence where we’d heard all the birds the morning before. I hiked out in the very dark using a couple of trees as guideposts then after 15 minutes, I realize; “I am freakin’ lost”. Ten more minutes wandering about and I recognize I am close to where RJ shot his bird the day before and not near the fence line. So as it was getting light, I simply set up under a tree and waited for dawn. Here there was even more gobbling in the trees (males gobble on the roost before they fly down around sunrise.) Yikes, I am surrounded by turkeys. But again after sunrise, all goes quiet and no birds are to be seen. So I decide to move and as I do, I see a turkey’s head some 30 yards away– I can see it is a male from the head which makes it legal but I don’t know how big. Bamm and down goes the head on what turns out to be another Jake. I’m done. Later when I meet RJ at the car, which by this time could clearly be located by the odor of the remaining cheese, he took a picture of bird #2 and me in the same spot with a very similar pose as with the first turkey as the birds looked like twins (Photo 11). We also put the cheese out of its misery by eating before it got up and ran away.

RJ related that he was hunker down real good (Photo 12 & 13) but only had a Jake with a Jenny come in (Photo 12 and 13) but since he’d shot two birds already this spring - he was holding out to try to shoot another big Tom. Thus we headed for S. Cal. with big plans to get off at exit 106 where we’d mapped out Vintage Cheese - Bravo Farms. But disaster struck. RJ is following his Google maps and I am dozing. I awaken to notice a sign saying exit 485. WTF? Oh no, Sponge Bob! Google maps has taken us down the 5, not the 99 so were going to miss Bravo Farm. I’d never seen a former Marine Master Gunnery Sargent cry before.


No animals were harmed unnecessarily in the telling of this tale and we still don’t know if Cheez Whiz is officially food.


11 There is a turkey in here.jpg11  Bird 2 wide.jpg12 RJ Recon.jpg13.jpg14 Jake & Jenny.jpg
 
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THE ROMAN ARCHER

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Wtg asaxon, u know the sayin " Cut the Cheese and get to the Chase"....lol...tra


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KTKT70

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Always a great post. Thank you Andy. Sometimes I can't believe the trips you do. But than I remember just who we are talking about and I know you are living the dream. The good part is you always rub i mean share with us all. This time I'm more interested in the cheese hunting. I need to plan a who,e trip up north for just that. If you guys have not already had it. Check this out this cheese called Challerhocker. Great stuff I happened apon at a market in la. http://makertomonger.com/challerhocker
 

asaxon

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Cheese hunt

Always a great post. Thank you Andy. Sometimes I can't believe the trips you do. But than I remember just who we are talking about and I know you are living the dream. The good part is you always rub i mean share with us all. This time I'm more interested in the cheese hunting. I need to plan a who,e trip up north for just that. If you guys have not already had it. Check this out this cheese called Challerhocker. Great stuff I happened apon at a market in la. http://makertomonger.com/challerhocker
Yo KTK170 - I looked up that cheese. "Challerhocker's literal translation is "sitting in the cellar" which is exactly where the cheese develops its depth of flavor. Dense and creamy, Challerhocker tastes like a medley of melted leeks, brown butter and sweet cream. Savory flavors with a bit of caramel sweetness in the finish makes this an ideal cheese for the colder months."

Where did you find it in LA? You don't have to give me your 'honey hole", just a general idea as I live in LA. RJ and I are planning a cheese hunt and we'll just skip the damn turkeys. We figure we don't have to get up in the dark and most cheeses don't even re quire you to wear camo to approach them. Are there any on public land? Any intel would be greatly appreciated.

Andy
 

KTKT70

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Wow. Finally something to horse trade with the master. What kind of hunting do we get to do if I bring the cheese? Lol jk. I would be more than happy to tell you about the shop. I'm betting you already know about the place. I will have to look up the name of the place but it is inside the farmers market at The Grove. Hope all is well with y'all. Thanks again for the great post you share. It's nice to read about such fun family and friend time.
 

KTKT70

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image.jpg Looks so good. I often just get some fresh cuts and the cheese with a fresh baked baguette. Than munch on it as we walk around. The shop is named Monsieur Marcel. I hope you like it Andy. Can't wait to hear your review of the market. I feel like I have gone to a different place or time when I'm there.
 

asaxon

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Cheese and Deflated daughter

Thanks KTKT70. I will see if I can get down there this week and check out the cheese. May have to postpone as my older daughter (the "inflated one" in the story) gave birth this morning to the Admiral and my first grand child. So i was wrong, it was not a football in there as I had suggested in the "deflategate story" but a gorgeous baby girl.

The Admiral and I are stoked.IMG_20180520_091242 - Copy.jpg
 
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KTKT70

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Nice Andy. That's so cool. Congrats to you all. I wish you guys all the best.
 

asaxon

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I finally found THE PERFECT CHEESE. What can I say?
IMG_5090.jpg
 


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