Month: August 2019

Bears and Berry picking

Went berry picking the other day. It was just me and thousands of raspberry stalks, all thorny and stabby. The place was dead quiet when suddenly I heard chatter from at least a few people.

“Oh NO!” I thought, “My berry picking patch is ruined. a crowd will stomp down all the bushes, causing the ripe berries to fall to the ground.”

I headed towards the voices, only to discover they were both coming from the same person, a very old man, chattering loudly to himself. I went over to talk to him.

“Anyone else picking berries besides me and you?” I asked.

“Nope” he replied, and went on talking to himself.

“Um, Sir, who are you talking to?” I asked, almost afraid of his answer.

“Nobody” he said.

Just when I was about to high tail it out of the area, in fears the guy was insane, he went on to say:

“I ain’t talking to nobody. There’s nobody here but you and me. When I am alone, I talk loudly so if there is a bear around, he will think someone else is here and maybe chase them. I figure I have a 50% chance he will go after the other guy.”

I guess he did have some logic, albeit a bit insane.

“Gangway!’ he yelled, as he ran past me.

I began running as well. “Who we running from?” I asked.

“The bear” he said, “he is coming behind us!”

“So” I said smartassedly, “You logic didn’t work. The bear didn’t chase the other guy, he chased you!” I said.

“Nope, my logic makes perfect sense. The bear IS chasing the other guy, which happens to be you!” He said this as he ran to the left, leaving the bear hot on my heels.

I got out ok that day, but I learned a valuable lesson. Never try to figure out logic, and never interupt people who talk  to themselves.

 

 

 

 

“Sit

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Cajun Dogs…Get your Cajun dogs

it was around 8 or 9 years ago when I was attending a community studies program at a local college. I had just met my now wife, and we were members of a group working on a fundraising project.

Our group decided to do a BBQ to raise money for victims of a recent flood. All the supplies were donated, all we needed was to provide the BBQ and fuel. I had an older BBQ and decided to loan it for the cause.

I had asked a friend of mine with a truck to deliver my BBQ to the site. Unknown to me, he failed to tether the thing in the back of his truck, and ended up losing the ‘Q on the highway. When we started the thing up, we had flames going everywhere.

Here we were with a lineup of hungry customers, and no way to control the fire other than turning off the gas. We had over 30 weiners on the grill, all blackened from the flames.

At first we figured we cut our losses and go home, but given the need for funds by community members, I came up with a plan.

“Cajun Dogs, Get you Cajun Dogs” I chanted. The crowded parking lot suddenly got even busier, as a bus load of kids from a remote community hauled into the lot. Kids got out and began running towards us.

“Wow, we never even heard of a cajun dog before” expressed one kid, as he bit into the burned weiner. The buns were even more charred. Soon, everyone on the bus and even some of the other people were lined up for our unique food.

We cleared $1500 after the sale ended. Of course my BBQ was trash, but we managed to help the community, and I ended up with a funny story to tell my friends.

Pine Beer and Bikers

a few years ago, my friends and I found out what Americans were made of. This story began in my basement, and with our home made beer recipe. This was the summer that the beer companies all went on strike, therefore, no beer on the island except some Old Milwaukee crap imported from the states, not the strong, hardy beer we Newfoundlanders are used to drinking.

On this particular weekend, we decided to make our own beer. All the stores were closed, and we needed a brewing bucket. My friend said that his mom worked at a local school, and she should have plenty of plastic 5 gallon buckets lying around. When he showed up at the house, he had a white plastic bucket under his arm. The bucket’s label read “5 Gallons of Pine Sol.”

Before we had a chance to ask him if he had cleaned the bucket, the guys began the beer making process. I later asked him about it, and he replied, “How much cleaner can you be than Pine Sol?” Hey, we were thirsty for some beer, so what is the worst than can happen? It is funny how that answer to that question always comes back to haunt you.

Anyway, we mixed all the ingredients in the bucket, which smelled like Pine Sol. The boys noticed the strong smell, but guessed that the alcohol would probably dissolve any odors anyway. When all the ingredients were mixed, we sealed the bucket, being sure to cut a small hole in the cover of the bucket, and attaching a balloon to the hole. This allows air to circulate but not leave the bucket.

The weekend of the Shallaroo was just two weeks away, giving us time to bottle the beer and allowing it to ferment just right. (The Shallaroo was a local music festival celebrated in the Codroy Valley area of the province. The festival featured many local entertainers and a few from the mainland.) On Friday evening, the guys came up to the house, and together with the big plastic bucket of beer and about 6 dozen empty beer bottles that we painstakingly washed out, we began bottling our beer. One of the boys could not resist a drink of the warm ale, and with that, he almost threw up. “Tastes like pine air fresheners, the kind I have hanging from my rear view mirror in the truck” He said.

We began to worry. Here it was, just two weeks before the festival, and our beer tastes like pine air freshener. Like the brave Newfies we were, we said the hell with it, kept bottling the stuff, and stored the bottled ale in the refrigerator. (These were the days prior to my meeting my fiance, and beer was a staple in my fridge on numerous occasions.) One of the guys said “If we are ever out of beer, we will always have this stuff to drink”

We had a few parties at the house afterwards, but we always managed to stay clear of that beer, choosing instead to drink Whiskey or rum. One of my friends, who was either braver than us, or dumber, chose to drink the Pine beer we made. In no time at all, he was caught holding his stomach, crying out that he seen a bear under my step, only to find that it was just a garbage bag. He was hallucinating seeing wild animals that turned out to be household items. We blamed the beer.

On the day before the festival, the guys came to the house with their trucks, and loaded the alcohol we bought into large coolers and of course, the pine beer; anxious to get the weekend started. When we got to the Codroy Valley festival fields, we found a great site and began unpacking our gear. When our tents were set up, we opened our coolers, and carefully avoiding the horrible pine beer, we started drinking.

Just then, a gang of bikers came up along the road to the field where the festival was being held. One of them came over, saying that he was from Michigan. He bragged about all the Canadian beer they had. One of the guys informed us that the strike was over, and liquor stores began stocking our fine ale once again. Under their arms they carried each a six pack of beer. One of the bikers asked whether they could store their beer in our coolers, because they didn’t enjoy the thought of drinking warm beer on such a hot day. We reluctantly agreed to their offer.

Well, we didn’t actually agree to their offer, instead, we had our own agenda. I had an interesting idea. How about we store their beer, but we give them our beer, the Pine beer. “How will they know the difference?”¬† “They probably never drank LaBatts beer anyway, maybe they will think it does taste like Pine Sol.”

As the night went on, the music played loud, and the entire field was filled with partyers, drinking and whooping it up loudly. Around 2 am, we could hear our biker friends in the site next to us, they were carrying on like they were insane. Several of them were heard in the woods vomiting loudly, but they kept drinking anyway.

The next morning, we were greeted by four very big guys, dressed completely in leather, with skulls and crossbones on the backs of their jackets. The biggest guy was as green as a cabbage, and with that, he said “We have to hand it to you Newfies. We noticed you guys drinking all night, we only drank about six beer each, and yet, you guys are perfectly healthy this morning, and we are running around like we drank poison.”

“We learned a valuable lesson today” said one of the bikers. “Your beer tastes nothing like our beer, but it leaves a fresh taste in your mouth and it kicks like a bull”, “We plan on buying more to bring to our friends in the states” they said.

We never told them that they drank beer brewed in plastic Pine Sol buckets. They probably did drink poison.