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Christmas Show, Dec. 17, 2012

December 18, 2012

Whitehall with snow Feb 2010

This show may be heard  following its broadcast date by clicking on the following link: If it is not the current show, it is still  available as an archived show and on iTunes.


This special edition features a reading of Hovey’s original Christmas play, “A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus,” a cold Christmas at Copper Center, Alaska, making Southern cornbread dressing, recent activities and a sign-off from the Christmas Chipmunk.

Auntie Thresa Claus, Santa's not-so-nice sister.

Auntie Thresa Claus, Santa’s not-so-nice sister.

The uninterrupted reading of the play is sponsored by Velcro Wall, the leader in child suspension systems, who introduces the “Rent a Dungeon” for the 2012 holiday season so you can hang up your kids for a couple of hours while they play Dungeon in a sound-proof room. Velcro also reminds listeners of their “Kid Harness Division” which allows kids to be harnessed up for doing healthy work such as pulling sleds, carts and plows, rather than getting no exercise while being transported in cars or being pushed around grocery stores in shopping carts.Updates are given for Ursus, a once overweight yellow Lab, that has successfully undergone knee surgery and weight reduction; hunts related in the Blunderbuss Chronicles; an interesting deer-save with an 1858 replica percussion revolver and the still-pending results from Hovey’s standing for a re-examination for the renewal of his license as a Professional Geologist.

Ursus and Bill Krantz

Although looking embarrassed and “hang-dog” in this photo, Ursus is now completely recovered and up and about his “activities of daily living.” The operation resulted in a complete recovery.

It is bad when you are an old guy and have only one ball and loose it. It is even worse if you are also considered to have a screw loose. The situation is terrible  when you are a young blunderbuss out to make your first kill on a big game animal and suffer both maladies.  On a hunt at Georgia’s Ossabaw Island I had a deer at about 20 yards, shot, and only the wadding was ejected towards the deer.  During the previous hauling around and walking the ball had dropped out of the gun’s barrel. Although I shot 2-inch groups with an unpatched ball at this range and had no problem with the ball remaining against the powder, the gun had not been subjected to the vibrations caused by walking miles over dirt roads and woods. Admonished, I now loaded a wad over the top of the ball and a month later on Cumberland Island, I had a shot at a big hog at a range of about 15 yards. This time there was a ball in the barrel, but it flew off to parts unknown and failed to hit the hog. This time the barrel retaining screw had fallen from the gun and the loose barrel discharged its projectile somewhere in a downward direction, but not into the hog.  These blunders with blunderbuss have now been corrected with over-ball wads and several wraps of electrical tape to hold the barrel on the gun. Hunting continues as I try to get this unusual gun its first kill on big game.

The Traditions Blunderbuss is only available from the Sportsmans Guide catalogue company.

The Traditions Blunderbuss is only available from the Sportsmans Guide catalogue company.

After the blunderbuss’ failure on Ossabaw Island, I hunted with the CVA Optima .50-caliber single-shot pistol. Using the gun’s Red Dot sight I sighted in on a deer at about 50 yards and shot. The deer went down at the shot. but was “lively.” The spine-shot deer managed to struggle to its feet and start to move away. Taking a 5 1/2-inch Pietta .44 revolver imported by Traditions, I fired five of the gun’s six shots at the departing deer. Three of the five struck the deer. One was in the rear flank, another clipped the top of the spine and the fatal shot penetrated both lungs – killing the animal. This was a tiny doe with a field dress weight of 53 pounds. Although the Sheriff’s model gun did what was required of it as a back-up gun the load of 30-grains of FFFg and a round ball failed to penetrate through the deer. The bullet was recovered under the skin after it had passed through the ribs and a bit of shoulder-blade. I am now using a more powerful load of Hodgdon’s TripleSeven powder in the gun for better shot performance.  I have another Pietta revolver of the same caliber, but in stainless steel, with adjustable sights and a 12-inch barrel that is imported by Cabela’s. This gun is much more effective and will develop energies on the order of 500 ft./lbs. When using revolvers as a primary hunting gun, I prefer to use the longer barreled Cabela’s Buffalo stainless revolver. Recently, I took three hogs with four shots with this gun.

Making Southern cornbread dressing is featured on the cooking section. This is cooked in an external pan and consist of crumbled egg bread, hoecake, onions, celery, salt, pepper and some of the drippings remaining from cooking the turkey. Usually the breads are made up the day before and the dressing cooked on Christmas morning so that it can be served hot at the table. Both the egg bread and the hoecake are best cooked in a seasoned cast-iron frying pan. Although the hoecake may be cooked on top of the stove (traditional) it may also be cooked in the oven. Homemade biscuits are often substituted for hoecake or added to the dressing mix. My mother would also throw in 4 slices of toasted white bread into the mix.

The end result of a successful hunt for a wild turkey.

The end result of a successful hunt for a wild turkey.


2 cups white self-rising biscuit flour, 1/4-cup of shortening (lard), 2 tablespoons margarine, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon baking powder if regular flour is used.

Mix the ingredients and make up the dough. This should be a stiff sticky ball. Cover with more flour so that you can pat it down flat into the bottom of a frying pan. This should be a layer about 3/8ths inch thick. Put in oven at 350 degrees and cook until brown at the very edges of the pan, but still mostly white with perhaps the first hint of brown on top.  Crumble when cool or else everyone in the house will consume it before the dressing is ever made. As this is something that is likely seldom or never seen in the house, go ahead and cook two pans so that you are assured to have some for the dressing.

Cornbread (Eggbread)

2 cups yellow corn meal (or 1 1/2 cups meal and 1/2 cup white flour), 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon melted shortening, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 cup of milk.

Throughly grease 12-inch frying pan. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk and shortening and mix. This dough should be just liquid enough to pour from the bowl into the pan. Add additional milk as needed. Once mixed, immediately pour into pan. Shake to remove bubbles and put into pre-heated 350 degree oven. Cook until brown at the edges of the pan and feels solid to the touch. In a pre-heated oven this should be about 10 min. When cut it should still be steaming slightly and a little moist. As with the hoecake, it is best to make enough for the family to cut wedges and have warm with butter and syrup. Crumble remaining Cornbread as soon as cool enough to handle.


1 pan crumbled Cornbread (Eggbread), 1 pan crumbled hoecake, 4 toasted slices  crumbled toasted white bread, 4 eggs, 1/2-cup finely chopped celery, 2/3 rds cup finely chopped Spanish onions, pan drippings from roasted turkey, chicken, goose or swan.

The desired product should be thin enough to spoon out into a pan, but not thin enough to pour. Sufficient stock should be added so that when a spoon is run over the top of the dressing dough, the mix should immediately glisten with oil. Save the remaining turkey stock for gravy. In two or more frying pans make a layer about 1/2-inch thick. This mix will not rise. Cook in oven at 360 degrees. When brown on top and celery is done, remove from cooking pans, slice into about two-inch squares and serve while warm.

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