Our latest project is ready for its debut. It’s called “Michael Pearce’s Taste of the Kansas Outdoors Cookbook.” We’ll be having a book signing from 5-8 p.m. Friday in The Eagle’s parking lot as part of our Haunted Food Truck event. More information below.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism documented a mountain lion in Labette County. The animal was photographed by a trail camera in late September. The photo is certainly clear enough to identify the animal. It’s the 10th mountain lion documented in Kansas since 2007, but the first in the past two years.
Fall fishing has been pretty good for those who’ve been going, though water temperatures are a bit warmer than during most late Octobers.
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Still getting encouraging reports from farmers out cutting fall crops in regards to quail and pheasant population increases. Again, it won’t be a great year anywhere but there is hope for the future. Central Kansas reports still seem to be the best for pheasants.
Reports say some flocks of geese appear to have migrated southward a bit earlier than normal this year, but the flocks of larger ducks, like mallards, pintails and gadwall seem to be lagging a bit. That can change, of course, pretty quickly.
Some people are starting to see some small whitetail bucks prowling around during daylight hours, a sign that the rut is probably running about on time. That means about Nov. 1 bowhunters should be in the woods and motorist need to slow down and drive more alertly because bucks and does will be much more active, but paying less attention as they cross highways.
Sunday’s front page of The Eagle is scheduled to have an article on the shortage of game wardens in Kansas. We may be the most poorly patrolled state in the nation, and their are several regions in Kansas without a game warden. In fact, one area larger than Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island combined will have two full-time game wardens through most of this fall’s bird and deer seasons. The story looks at why there is such a shortage.
Sunday’s Outdoors page should also have a feature on a buck that was poached in Pawnee County earlier this month. Such crimes are always a waste, but this buck is particularly so. For one thing the poacher left the antlers and all of the venison to rot while taking only some of her deer’s genitals.
It was also killed on a property that’s managed for Life Hunts, a Larned-based group that annually hosts two kids with life-threatening illnesses on trophy deer hunts. There’s a pretty good chance Life Hunts could have gotten one of the two 13-year-old kids a shot at the trophy class whitetail when they come in December. Both of this year’s guests are from the eastern U.S. One is a girl with an inoperable brain tumor. The other a boy who is battling cancer.
It feels good to finally have the cookbook out and for sale. Actually it’s more than a cookbook, since it’s more than 180 pages, has about 150 photos, more than 50 outdoors recipes and several of my favorite stories that have run in The Eagle through the years. Bo Rader, our senior photographer, did a great job of adding some photography of the cooked dishes to the cookbook. All of the other photos were taken in Kansas, mostly by me, and all are of Kansas scenery and/or wildlife.
I’d hate to guess how many hundreds of hours we have invested in the cookbook. It would be a bunch. Make that a BUNCH. Bo pretty much worked exclusively on the food photography for a few weeks, plus had to wade through a few thousand of my outdoors photos to come up with what went into the cookbook.
Sports editor Kirk Seminoff also worked editing the cookbook into his regular duties. Sherry Chisenhall, our executive editor, was active in the process from the beginning and dedicated one of her rare free weekends to helping with the project.
Most of the recipes are ones I’ve used for years, but I also had to cook up and test quite a few to complete the cookbook. That ate up three weekends and working on the text must have taken close to 100 hours of time. It was also a family affair. Kathy helped with some of the cooking, and a lot of the cleaning. Jerrod, a fine wild game chef, donated three great recipes to the project, too.
Honestly, though, it did turn out very well.
Our goal, which started as a comment I made at a staff meeting in April, was to come up with something that was more than just a “add this, stir in that, and cook for this long” cookbook. The idea was to share much more of the outdoors experience, through the photography and the text. We’re hoping it will do well as a Christmas gift for those who like to hunt, fish or just enjoy seeing the Kansas outdoors. The price is $19.95.
So far, so good as far as comments from those who’ve seen the book.
I hope you get a chance to look at it sometime soon. If so, please let me know what you think.