Scrapbook Fifty Eight…

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APRIL 2014

Dear Forrest Fenn,

terryprofilepicture

Terry Campbell

I know you will most likely never read this email but feel compelled to tell you about a gold hunt I created in 2012.  I was in a residence art program called Redline in Denver Colorado.  Each artist was given 2.5 grams of gold and asked to create a piece of art.  I’m a painter but didn’t want to use the gold to create a painting.

When I was a child my mother invented a game called captain.  She would make me pirate hats out of newspaper and draw pictures of places in the house.  I would go from clue to clue eventually finding a prize.

I wanted to recreate this experience for other people.  I used my gold to create a gold hunt where people would go from clue to clue in the hopes of being the first to find my gold.  When I created this adventure I thought the experience would inspire me to create a piece of art.  The gold hunt didn’t happen the way I thought it would.  What I thought would be a fun adventure that I casually mentioned on Facebook got out of hand right away.  The gold was only worth about 150 dollars at the time but many of the participants had no scruples in double-crossing one another and tricking me into giving information.  I don’t know why I thought there wouldn’t be cheating but there was a lot of it.  No one wanted the game to end so the finder of the gold bought more gold and created new clues to keep the hunt going.  I was then able to look for the finders gold and became a hunter.  The hunt become even stranger and took on a new life.  No one seemed to know where it was headed.  I had to complete strange challenges involving rolling craps and speed hammering to get me to the gold.  Things got even further complicated when a token that could have been turned in for gold was broken into 4 pieces each possessed by a different person.  The game eventually ended and I didn’t get the gold.

The gold hunt became a piece of art.  The legend was better than any documentation of the experiences.  The stakes were so low but some people wanted to win at all cost.

Many of the participants and I wondered what would have happened if there was more gold involved.  I’m recreating the gold hunt again and pulling out all the stops.  There will be nine thousand dollars in gold this time.  I‘m creating clues that will make it harder for people to cheat.  I am also looking forward to seeing how people figure out how to cheat.  I have been working on promoting the gold hunt by telling people the story of the first gold hunt one person at a time.  I’m raising money to buy gold and will have a new gold hunt in July.  There will be 20 clues this time.  Each participant will have to work much harder. Participants will have to be able to research and problem solve.

If you end up reading this email thank you for your time.

Thank you,

Terry Campbell

Terry Campbell - The Choices Made

Terry Campbell – The Choices Made

You can see Terry’s work, watch interviews and hear more about his treasure hunt at the links below

http://terrycampbellart.com

http://redlineart.org/art/redline-alumni/terry-campbell.html

 http://www.bmoca.org/2012/03/bmoca-at-macky/

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Fifty Seven…

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MARCH 2014

Dear Forrest-

My husband Ken and I  Iive in Forest City, Ontario Canada. In few weeks from now we are heading to New Mexico  to see if we can locate the treasure.
A few months ago, I contacted Dal.  I had a  few thoughts and I sincerely hoped  it might help him find the treasure. I wanted to share my ideas to give them away , truly happy that he would be the one to benefit. He dissuaded me from sharing and encouraged my own journey, he planted the seed so to speak and did not want me to give my ideas to him…He expressed how much joy it was for him to hopefully find it himself.
After my email exchange with Dal, I found myself completely drawn in to the thrill of the chase and more and more, by researching and attending to the hints you have given, I excitedly shared with my husband a determination that we had to go to look for it ,at least once.
At first we were committed and I felt the reborn excitement of a child believing in buried treasure imaging the moment of finding it. To me ,as a child, every fossil find with my father was amazing, important historical artifact  and every wet rock plucked from a cold stream, was glistening with ribbons of  gold and sparkling diamonds. Back then I was so rich with the joy of imagination. Adult life is dull by comparison.
I grew up in a home where my parents worked on deciphering cryptic crosswords and where everyday conversations  usually lead by my father, were more  puzzling queries and pondering  to get us to think outside the box or to satiate his own indomitable curiosities in life. He made us go big in our wonderment but always grounding us  firmly  in simple logic. I have applied those life lessons in the research in preparation for the Thrill of the chase.
Following the decision to go, I was fraught with the stress of work  and came home not feeling so successful about my job ,with the end result I wasn’t feeling very good about myself.  For a couple of days it impacted me greatly to the point  I reconsidered the trip, thinking I was not worthy or deserving of such an indulgent spontaneous adventure, I was talking myself out of going.   Then my husband just went ahead and booked it. So we are heading down very soon and I’m so darned excited.
I  have always lived my life believing that experiences such as this become the character building fibre of one’s life or…one heck of a story to share  :)  and so from that perspective I embrace this fully as it was fully intended.  I have read so much in preparation and learned so much history and geography all the while developing a strong desire to see the area and this, completely aside from the desire to find the treasure. Every clue uncovered fills me with an incredible excitement which leads me to believe  and conclude there is nothing to lose. The failure, a good friend once told me ,only comes when you don’t try… So we are going to try, unfortunately  I  haven’t a clue what  to do with it if Ken and I are successful in finding  but we certainly do giggle like children at the thought of that welcome predicament.
Forrest,  I hope our paths might cross in this journey I’m hoping to come to your gallery at some point and I have very much enjoyed this gift you have given to me. I know it is intended to inspire the whole world for years to come, however, you have inspired me personally and so, I ‘d like  to  I thank you personally  for the gift you have given to  me. I know for one, regardless of the treasure  I have been blessed even before we travel to go there. It is an escape from the daily stress of work and the awareness of that profound dichotomy also inspires me to think about getting a new job…lol

Do you think an Irish girl from Forest city could be lucky enough to find the treasure, perhaps it’s meant to  be but  who really knows?. Finally I wish to thank you so kindly for the thrill of the chase. It is and will be a thrilling adventure for us I can’t get there soon enough.
Kindest Regards

Kay

 

Kay,

Reading your email was refreshing to me and to see how you put words together makes me think you should go into some kind of business for yourself. When you are headed in my direction please give me a few hours warning so we can arrange to meet. I use every chance I get to see Canadians. Sure, you have a shot at finding the treasure and, to me, you are what the thrill of the chase is all about. ff

Scrapbook Fifty Six…

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MARCH 2014

Last Saturday Shiloh rented a plane and flew me to a party at Suzanne Somers’ home in Palm Springs. The weather departing Santa Fe was terrible and for the first 100 miles I kept my eyes closed, deferring to Shiloh to keep me alive. How can you fly under clouds that are kissing the ground? I didn’t want to know.

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Suzanne’s house doesn’t have an address so we received email directions and pulled up to a huge green gate, and rang the bell. After convincing the security staff we were not terrorists the gate opened and we drove a few narrow winding blocks to a secluded parking area surrounded by 10’ high oleanders and palo verde trees. It was like a jungle.

Strangely, there are no roads within 300′ of the house, (all of the building materials were carried up by burros). So the “walkers” put us in a small open-air tram and pushed a button. Two minutes later we were half way up the side of a rocky mountain that’s full of mountain sheep, bob cats and rattle snakes. Suzanne doesn’t like rattlesnakes.

Our greeters at the top were George Hamilton, (He made 57 movies) and a lady with an unforgettable face who lived with Elvis for seven years. (Sorry, I forgot her name) George wanted to know about the hidden treasure and couldn’t stop asking questions about it. Shiloh was impressed and I tried to appear indifferent.

Then Suzanne introduced us to a few of her friends: a dashing shipping magnate who wore a white hat and a matching white tie. He owned three, 300’ long ocean freighters; a slight, soft-spoken man who recently stepped down from a job making $200.000.000 a year running Occidental Petroleum; and a guy who sold Google one of the three city blocks he owned in downtown Seattle.

I decided to back into a corner and make notes while Shiloh, who was thirty-years younger than anyone else at the party, flirted with Suzanne’s divorced daughter, Leslie, and a billionairess widow lady who financed many of the civic organizations around Palm Springs.

Barry Manilow, who remembered me from my gallery days, wanted to talk about the treasure. He said that if he could get out of a contract he would go looking for it.

A ten-piece orchestra played Cuban music non-stop in a natural stone amphitheater that abutted the house. The singer moved to the music, and I swear, her body shook in places that I didn’t even know existed. She had to take frequent breaks. You know how Cuban music is.

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Suzanne’s favorite bathtub, a gift from her husband who is an avid photographer

At dinner I sat next to Suzanne and she HAD to introduce me to everyone who came up to chat, about a hundred in all. I felt like a dime at a dollar bill convention.

When the candles burned low Shiloh took me to our motel. Then he went back to the party and stayed until the candles died of old age. He denied it but Leslie told me.

At breakfast the next morning eight of us sat around Suzanne’s kitchen table while her husband, Alan Hamel, cooked eggs over-easy on corn pone cakes and grits that were decorated with bitelets of bacon. Suzanne served healthy glasses of a severely green liquescent she described and “a blend.” It was made of eight different fruits whose names were foreign to me, except bananas, and I didn’t taste them in the mix. I drank it like it was good and I’m sure it was because Suz is a health nut.

I didn’t know the man sitting on my right but when he was introduced as Arnold Kopelson, I said “Oh,” pretending to understand. Suz knew I didn’t, so she whispered that he had produced 29 movies and received an Oscar for Platoon. I smiled and sat up straighter in my chair.

At 10:30 Shiloh and I jumped in the Cessna and pointed it 060 degrees for Santa Fe. The strong headwind didn’t help so we stopped at Sedona for fuel and a buffalo burger with grilled onions and a small fries. With the time change and an hour lost, it got dark fast and Shiloh couldn’t see the flight instruments. After fumbling with the switches he got the lights working just in time for us to land at a very dark airport. No one was around anywhere. It was nice.

In my car driving home Shiloh noticed we were almost out of gas and there were no stations close. But a few minutes later we coasted into my garage and closed the door. It had been a good trip.

For an aged kid from a small town in Texas, the Palm Springs experience was both ego shrinking and mind expanding. It was fun to see how some people lived. But it was nice to be at my computer again with a little pinon smoke coming from my fireplace. There is no place like home.

ff

 

Scrapbook Fifty Five…

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february 2014

Brinley and her brother with dinner

Brinley and her brother with dinner

A BOOK REPORT BY BRINLEY, 10 YEARS OLD.

The Thrill of the Chase, by Forrest Fenn.  The book is full of stories and adventures about Forrest Fenn.

The book is about the life of Forrest Fenn and all the different places he has been.  He was born during 1920, in Temple, Texas.  His dad was a teacher and then the principal.  During the summers, they would go to Yellowstone for all of the summer, driving 1,600 miles at 35 mph.   Then after the summer ended, they would go back to Texas and he would go to school.  He joined the military and travelled a lot of places, and was in the Vietnam War flying a jet.  After retiring from the military, Forrest, his wife Peggy, and his two daughters moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Forrest hated school so much that he didn’t even go to college.  He liked to play marbles and he would make marbles out of rocks and sell them to the rich kids.  He would buy Frito’s, Coke, and fried pineapple pies with the money.  He didn’t like being in class and he would sleep and sometimes sneak out a window.  He liked being out doors and especially liked FISHING!  He liked playing with Skippy, his brother.  Forrest liked to collect things.  When he was little, he collected bottle tops and string.  His ball of string was so big it couldn’t even fit through his bedroom door.  Later in life, he built an art gallery and collected lots of art and old Indian artifacts.  He sold the art gallery and now owns an old pueblo site today that he is excavating.

Skippy was Forrest’s big brother.  He did crazy things.  He was inventive and built things.  He flew a plane and landed on a lake and also drove a car from Yellowstone to Texas with out a driver’s license.  Skippy didn’t like to go to bed and would stay up.  His father would give him a spanking.  At age 50, Skippy died in a scuba diving accident.

Forrest loved going to Yellowstone during the summers as a kid and loved FISNING!  One summer, he sold newspapers for 1 cent but got canned when he had sat down to rest and his boss drove by seeing him sitting.  Forrest didn’t know what canned meant and thought it was a good thing.  His mom later told him that he had been fired and Forrest cried.  His mom helped him get a job washing dishes.  He would get up at 4:45 AM to be on the job at 5:00 AM.  Forrest would work for 16 hours and would make 8 dollars.  One day, Forrest stole a pie and snuck out behind a tree and ate the whole pie.  The manager caught him and told him that he was fired.  The waitress asked who was going to wash the dishes then.  Every one said they weren’t going to.  So the manager told him he was not fired and told him to get back to work.

When Forrest was in the military, he flew a fighter jet in the Vietnam War and he almost died.  He got shot down twice out of 238 runs he made.  While making the flights and dropping bombs, he discovered a waterfall in the middle of the jungle that he later got a friend to fly him to.  While there, they tripped over some gravestones in the tall grass.  The gravestones were of French soldiers from a war fifty-six years earlier in that area.  The second time Forrest got shot down was supposed to be his last flight before going home right before Christmas.  After being rescued, and getting to go on one more flight, he left and got home to Texas on Christmas Eve.

Forrest got cancer when he was 58.  His doctor operated on him for 5 hours and said he had a 20% chance of surviving.  While being treated and getting chemotherapy, he had an idea of something he could do before he died.  He would take gold, jewels, and other items and hide them in a bronze chest, and then let other people look for it.  He had everything planned but then he got better and is still alive today.  When he got to be eighty, he finally decided it was time to hide the treasure and wrote a poem that people could use to try and find the treasure.

One lesson that Forrest learned was when Skippy and Forrest drove home by themselves from Yellowstone to Texas.  While driving, they got in an argument and Forrest told Skippy to pull over and let him out.  Skippy did and he left Forrest in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming.  Later when it started to get dark, Skippy came back and got Forrest.  They didn’t ever fight again after that and Forrest realized how much he loved his brother.

Another lesson that Forrest learned was when Forrest completed a transaction with two men.  After, his father looked at the paperwork and told him that he made more money in 15 minutes than his house cost and that it took him 20 years to pay it off.  Forrest realized that his father made a difference in many peoples lives and he could only make money to take care of himself and his family.  Forrest realized that his life was only important to himself if he could positively affect the lives of others.

A personal connection I made to the book was the story about a buffalo named Cody because I went to Yellowstone last year and saw a lot of buffalo.  Skippy, Forrest, and their friend took Skippy’s old car to chase a buffalo that wandered out of Yellowstone.   Forrest tied a rope to Skippy’s car and then threw a lasso over the Buffalo’s horns.  Then Cody wouldn’t move so Skippy honked the horn a couple times and he would just look at them.  Then Cody noticed something odd when the rope got tight.  He jerked his head from side to side and started jumping up and down.  Cody started snorting and running and pulling the car.  Skippy was trying to not run into the trees and finally they went down into a stream and stopped with a hard jerk.  The front axel of the car broke off and was bouncing wildly behind Cody as he was running.  Later, Cody was shot and his meat was made into buffalo burgers.  It made Forrest really mad and he never ate at that restaurant again.

Another personal connection I made to the book is fishing.  Forrest loved to fish and I also like to go fishing.  The book has pictures of Forrest and his family fishing a lot and I want to go fishing a lot too.

I would recommend reading this book because it tells you about secrets to life and how you can be happy and make others happy.  There are lots of funny stories and you will laugh a lot if you read the book.  There is also a treasure mystery in the book and he gives clues on how to find the treasure that he hid.

 

Scrapbook Fifty Four…

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JANUARY 2014

RENELLE’S MEDICINE BUNDLE

 

Because I’ve received so many emails from searchers who are curious about the bronze jar we’re raffling for Renelle, I thought I’d add to its contents and make it even more mysterious. I enjoyed selecting what relics to include, and will admit to having sneaked in a few pieces from my personal medicine bundle. Some passions might derive a judicious sense of power from these ancient treasures. For me, it’s the mystery associated with whose hands made them, and exactly when and where. And more importantly, what depth of relevance attached them to their creators. When used properly, imagination also can be a treasure. Sometimes I have deep feelings about olden things, especially when they reek with the history of how the world used to be.

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Click on this image to view it larger

jc01a

Click on this image to view it larger

THE ARTIFACTS FROM BOTH PHOTOS ABOVE WILL BE INSIDE THE BRONZE JAR

 

With the simple drawing of a raffle ticket these artifacts will pass to a new custodian, and in time others will inherit what influence comes with their ownership. I am happy to let this bronze jar go in deference to this special cause, and with its transfer I will ask only that it be treated with the same respect and loving care with which it was formed. If kept intact it will endure a million years, and then ten-million more. ff

The Bronze Jar With Butterfly and Dragonfly

The Bronze Jar With Butterfly and Dragonfly

To see a partial list of the jar contents, click here.

TO BUY RAFFLE TICKETS, CLICK HERE.

 

Scrapbook Fifty Three…

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december 2013

INTREPIDY

 

Most of the fair-weather treasure searchers are in hibernation. They probably are resting by the fireplace drinking spiked apple cider, or something worse. Some are sitting on the kitchen counter with their feet in a sink full of hot water. Anything to keep warm. Right?

Nope, not true of the Gypsy from Georgia. The first week in December she filled her black Ford 250 with gas and aimed its radiator at Montana, a gazillion miles away. Blinded by a flush feeling of anticipation, she had an idea that couldn’t wait until spring. Her husband said she was “born goin out the door.”

The Gypsy from Georgia

The Gypsy from Georgia

Alone, and with a financially under privileged budget, the Gypsy struck across the guts of America: Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri,
Nebraska, and Wyoming, where next to zilch could endure the -38 degree temps.

Wyoming – 80 mile winds here

Wyoming – 80 mile winds here

“In Cheyenne,” she said, “I was so cold I had to go to Cabela’s and charge me some warm clothes. Kept tags on so I could return them after my adventure. I went out to eat one morning, lil ole man pointed out I had my tags still attached to my coat. I said I’m Trying to bring the Minnie Pearl look back. :-)  Lil did he know I even still had the tags on my under amour :-)”

The wind howled across Wyoming where the Gypsy put chains on her tires. “It was so cold,” she said, “I huddled tight against the wind and pretended there were four of us.”

(click on “WIND” below to see short video)

WIND

All of the rest stops in Wyoming were closed for the season

All of the rest stops in Wyoming were closed for the season

The Georgia Peach was making mental notes about western road travel. In Rock Springs, she noted that the hotel mattress was better on the side away from the phone. And nearing Pinedale, where she hoped to visit the Mountain Man Museum, she learned not to drive on an icy road while eating a Subway sandwich. She said, “My Ford 250 spun around, dodging semis, and landed in the median; my tuna sandwich still clinched tightly in my fist. I put that baby in 4-wheel drive and gassed it. The thought in my head, as I was spinning out of control, ohhhhhhh damn, this is sure gonna hurt :-)” There were signs on the road saying how many ppl died on the highways for 2013. The whole ride I was like, omg I don’t wanna be number 349.”

Mountain Man Museum was closed for the season

The Gypsy saw this sign as an omen

The Gypsy saw this sign as an omen

“I was on my last 7 miles to West Yellowstone, on the home stretch coming down hwy 20. At the last moment, I see 2 semis sitting in the left and right lanes. I couldn’t stop. I totally lost control again thinking ohhhhhh hell I’m gonna hit a loaded tanker truck. Somehow, my 250 manage to miss them, but I landed in a 4-foot ditch of snow. The semi drivers were rude and a lil slow minded. They had no dash at all. A cop, a handsome cop from Michigan helped me dig out as much as we could but then I got a tow truck. The driver, he asked what I was doing in Yellowstone. I said I must be lost. I didn’t dare say I was looking for Fenn’s treasure. Lol. He didn’t believe me so I stood on my tip-toes.”

Will someone please tell me why I’m here?

Will someone please tell me why I’m here?

“I was really wanting a hamburger and a hot bowl of chili at The Gusher in West Yellowstone, but it was closed for the season.”

When the Gypsy finally reached her isolated search spot near the north side of Hebgen Lake, she said, “Nothing was watching but me and the wind. I sensed the treasure was right there – and all of the clues fit perfectly. The blaze was winking at me and grinning, and I was grinning back.”

Hebgen Lake – no searchers in sight

Hebgen Lake – no searchers in sight

When a grizzle of an old man told her the ice on Hebgen was 4’ thick, she wisely decided to wait until spring. “The treasure chest was probably frozen in for the winter anyway, and I didn’t have a jackhammer. LOL.”

On the way to Bozeman, the Gallatin River

On the way to Bozeman, the Gallatin Rive

The easiest way out of the ice was north. “I cut up thru Bozeman and took 90 toward Sheridan, Wyoming.  80-mile winds plus icy highways made for one hell of a ride. I got thru a bad spot where 18 semis were tossed on their sides. I counted them. I made it thru right before they closed 90 :-)”

Long and forlorn

Long and forlorn

“The distant warmth of summer was on my mind, and I was 2,600 miles from John Wayne.” (her rooster) The Gypsy said she enjoyed being alone on the long journey. She had time to think and she learned a lot. “I found that experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it. I won’t make some of those mistakes again.” She said she was anxious to get home so she could return her coat to Cabela’s. Everyone loves a happy ending. ff

 

 

 

Scrapbook Fifty Two…

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december 2013

SURVIVAL NOTICE FROM FORREST

 

Winter is upon the Rockies from the Canadian border in the north to Santa Fe in the south, and the many lofty  mountain tops that are jammed in-between. Most searchers have retired for the winter and are saving money for expeditions planned for spring when the mountain laurel will again bloom above 5,000. Others complain about the cold but continue searching favored locations. For those who are still active, please heed the rules that govern cold weather survival.

snow tree
Some fireside researchers have ganged together on the blogs hoping to find flaws in my character that will miraculously lead them to the treasure. It is interesting also, that crazies continue to surface. I have emails from both police and doctors suggesting that I stay alert. Being Forrest Fenn is getting harder all the time, but it will continue to be fun as long as I have a tree to hide behind, maybe a tree with an f carved in its trunk. ff

 

 

 

Scrapbook Fifty One…

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december 2013

BLOWBACK

Italian Citizenship Page2 - Redacted

blowback

Syllabification: (blow·back)

noun

  • the unintended adverse results of a covert operation that are suffered by the aggressor.

Sentence:

  • The blowback was significant

————-

Blowback 2Forrest met with America’s favorite ex-CIA agent at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe to celebrate her shiny new spy thriller, “Blowback”.

At left, Valerie Plame, Forrest and Sarah Lovett pose with  Valerie’s and Sarah’s first cowritten novel, “Blowback”.

You may remember that Valerie was a clandestine CIA agent when she was outed by then Vice President, Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby. Libby spent some time in prison for his actions and Valerie wrote a book about the travesty titled, “Fair Game: My Life As a Spy”.

Some are saying that “Blowback” may not be entirely a work of fiction. Is it just a coincidence that Plame’s protagonist, CIA agent, Vanessa Pierson has the same initials as Valerie?

blowback

Over at Amazon the book is getting high marks for excellent writing, splendid storytelling and riveting reading.

The plot centers around nuclear weapons in foreign hands and one woman’s attempt to keep things from going ballistic. A very timely scenario.

Forrest wrote this about the book:
“I have read Val and Sarah’s book Blowback and liked it a lot. The heroine is a CIA agent and they already started working on a new book with the same characters. f”

So…if you’re ready for some cerebral adventure while you’re waiting for the snow to melt in the mountains north of Santa Fe, you can get a signed edition of “Blowback” from Collected Works in Santa Fe. You can order plain old unsigned editions through Amazon or just about any bookstore that keeps spy novels on hand…Oh..by the way…you can read a bit of it and see what you think on the Amazon site…

dal…

 

Scrapbook Fifty…

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NOVEMBER 2013

SEARCHING FOR MONEY GALORE

Treasure searchers are an inventive lot, and industrious, and energetic. I guess it comes with the genre. A pretty, blond-haired woman from Georgia has made the long driving trip to New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana, more than a few times. Last summer she spent four days treasure searching in one spot on the Madison River. Sleeping in the car doesn’t bother this gal and I think the griz are afraid of her.

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the actual ’67…what a beauty..

A recent email from her illustrates why we don’t need an Equal Rights Amendment in this country. She bought a ’67 Ford for $400 so she could tear it up and sell the parts. “The radiator alone is worth $450,” and I suspect she knows about which she speaks. Just think what she’s going to get for the grill, generator, air conditioner, tires, rear-view mirror and tail lights. If I were a betting man I’d bet on this woman. She has a pet rooster named John Wayne that she might sell to raise additional funds. Her neighbor brings her corn and “he wants the chicken.”
ΩΩ

rooster 

 

 

Scrapbook Forty Nine…

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NOVEMBER 2013

SWEET FRAGRANCES

It’s blustery outside and my wife has gone grocery shopping so I decided to revisit a fun time I had when I was a kid. My mom let me smell the different spices and herbs as she stirred them into recipes she was making. I enjoyed the interaction with my mom, and the wrinkles in my nose indicated to her how much I liked or disliked each aroma.

Just so you’ll know the difference, spices are dried seed, root, fruit, bark or vegetable substances. Herbs are seeds, roots, leaves, flowers, resin, and berries. OK?

So I removed my wife’s metal spice drawer from the cabinet. It was heavy so I rested it on our kitchen table. When I sat and pulled the drawer toward me something sharp on the bottom scraped a gash on the wooden tabletop. I’ll try to fix it with wax before my wife gets home. I hate those things when they happen and I can’t blame them on my dog.

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There were 72 bottles in the drawer, each about 4” long and generally round. I read the labels and sniffed the contents of each jar. Then I stuck my finger in each spice to taste the flavor. It’s funny how some smells are so different from the way they taste. If you don’t believe me, just go in the pantry and smell your vanilla. You’ll love it enough to take another whiff, but don’t take a taste, and that’s fair warning.

I quickly learned that some spices smell like others so I don’t know why a cook needs so many different kinds. Most didn’t make much of an impression but here are some notes and observations about those that did.

Turkish Ground Cumin
“Use on Middle Eastern & Mexican dishes.”  They say it’s a must but it doesn’t do much for me. If I ever try any Middle Eastern dishes I probably won’t like them. I love Mexican food but I’m not going to put this stuff on my enchiladas.

ClovesIMG_0584 Smells bizarre and strong. The taste has a bite that comes with a lasting sting. It took three seconds to feel the full impact of the flavor on my tongue. It was terrible. I felt jaundiced and had to suck on an ice cube. Stay away from cloves – that’s my advice. Are you sure it’s something to eat and not some kind of disinfectant?

Oregano
The label is supposed to say what it is but it doesn’t so I don’t trust it completely. I think you put it on spaghetti, but maybe not. Some herb makes spaghetti sauce good though. Oregano has a bitter taste and it numbed my tongue a little. I know it’s used on pizza. I like pizza if it has pepperoni, cheese, bell peppers, onions, anchovies and oregano on it.

Poppy Seeds
“Ancient civilizations used them to add color and texture to food.” Yeah, I know what’s made out of  poppy seeds and it doesn’t need color or texture. It might be embarrassing to have this little jar in my house if the drug enforcement guys come nosing around. I’ll speak with my wife about it.

Mace
It’s smell is stronger than it’s taste. Makes me suspicious. “Use on puddings and spinach,” it says. I think the person who wrote that may have been sniffing poppy seeds. It says mace grows on the same tree with nutmeg and it tastes warm. OK, I like things that taste warm.

Garlic Powder
When I unscrewed the lid, fine white powder spilled all over my lap. It smelled like something that might rust the lid. I don’t like garlic unless it’s on toasted bread and I’m eating spaghetti. It’s fun to grow garlic in my garden because it’s educational to watch.

Cloves
Another jar. Why would anyone want two full jars of cloves?

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Anise Seeds
These are cute little gray seeds but hard to bite. They taste like liquorice. The label says something about pastries but is faded and I couldn’t read more. It’s probably okay. When I was a kid people tried to give me soft sticks of liquorice. They came in black and an ugly red/maroon color. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like liquorice then. I probably still don’t.

Paprika
I can’t tell if I like it or not. It’s the “Ground dried pod of the sweet chili pepper.” That’s what the label says and I really don’t care one way or the other. “Mix lemon juice, celery, crab and mayonnaise together and spoon into hollowed tomatoes, or use as a sandwich spread.” Sounds like something they serve in expensive restaurants. Not for me, but thanks anyway.

Cayenne
“A dash awakens dips, soups, salads, sauces and entrees.” Awakens? (maybe that’s a typo) I used to like a little cayenne pepper on Texas chili but haven’t tried it in a while. Maybe I should stop reading the labels.

Lemon Pepper
It’s made of ground lemon peel and “hardy coarse-ground pepper.” I absolutely love it on grilled steaks and hamburgers. They say it has Riboflavin in it for color. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to add color to a hamburger. Sometimes I sprinkle a little Lemon Pepper on my arm and lick it. All of my grandkids think I’m weird, except maybe little Piper.

Allspice
It’s made from the berry of an evergreen tree but it smells a little like cloves. I don’t dare taste it. When the label suggested that I put it on squash that was enough for me. I screwed the green lid back on that jar and hid it on the bottom of the pile. I wonder if my neighbor would like to have it.

Ground Turmeric
“Belongs to the ginger family.” I don’t want to talk about it. The label doesn’t say what it is but something in there is dead. Google says it’s active ingredient is curcumin and it’s used to treat cancer. You probably need a prescription to buy it. I’m throwing this stuff out fast. I think I need to speak with my wife again.

Pickling Spice
“Use with boiling beets, sour beef, pickling and cabbage.” I just don’t know what to say. I’ll bet someone’s making a fortune with these things.

Ground Cardamom
This one is pungent. “You can add it to hamburgers and espresso.” I would never use it on both. I use onions when I want pungent and I don’t drink espresso. It’s a drink for girls.

Rosemary
You should sprinkle it on the charcoal just before you start grilling the chicken. That’s an herb? I don’t like it because it reminds me of a girl I once knew. She threw rocks at me one day when I was walking home from school and I never forgot it. Heck with her.

Thyme
This one has a funny name and a routine aroma. “It is the essence of French cooking and is used as a background flavor.” Background flavor? What does that mean? “It’s good with creamed onions” I don’t like creamed onions. In fact, I don’t like French cooking and I feel better having said that. I think the French believe they invented food. “Thyme was the symbol of courage in ancient Greece.” Now I remember why I’m not a chef.

Celery Salt
Very salty and tastes like celery. I like both so I guess it’s OK. The Indians may have used it to help tan skins.

Whole Nutmegs
They look like small pecans before you take the hulls off. Not much smell. You’re supposed to grate them on top of hot chocolate and things like that. I may try it later tonight. It will impress my wife if she doesn’t look closely at her kitchen table top.

Bay Leaves
These smell good. They look like plain old leaves to me, are about 3” long and crisp to the bite. They are hand gathered from bay laurel trees and “carefully dried to insure superior quality.” I wonder why they have to be careful, they’re just leaves. You’re supposed to cook them in soups and other things but remove them before you serve the dish. I would sure hope so. They must grow near water.

Why does my wife have three bottles of cloves?

IMG_0581Arrowroot Powder
“Easily digested – may be substituted for cornstarch.” If that’s true then why would anyone buy cornstarch, which is more expensive? I think this spice company should be investigated.

My favorites are Lemon Pepper and Ground Saigon Cinnamon. I don’t remember any of these spices from when I was a kid. Maybe I’ll just stick with sea salt, black pepper and Tabasco.

I hear my wife pulling into the garage so I need to hurry and get the wax. I wonder if she bought another jar of cloves. ff

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