Mid America Buckskinners Info Page

Archived Info

Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas

No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn

Instead of just using up space, I am in the process of making this page almost useful. Please bear with me as I revise it until it begins to take final form. If you have any suggestions on what you would like to see here, let me know

Links to other parts of the MA Bip Archives

Archived Notices that may still apply

Clubs and Contacts
These Names and numbers are from old postings. They may or may not still be good. The list will be updated as I get new info.

Archived "2 Cents Worth" (A sample of the better ones)

The public pin-up board
They can still use the info or trade. They are just slowly losing hope of a reply......

Underhammer Rifles!
I am interested in any examples or different styles of underhammer rifles and action types that anyone may have, or pictures they would share. I have built a couple from scratch myself but I am always interested in any new ideas for an action and /or trigger system that deal with underhammers or possibly mule ear/sidehammer styles. I really like the direct ignition idea they offer and how simply they are made. I already have a copy of Hersel Logans book on underhammers and Sam Faldala's black power hobby gunsmith book that has info on sidehammers but as I said, I am always looking for new or different ideas.
Send mail to: Marlow Westerbeck


I'm still looking for a CVA flint lock that came with the kits before they quit making them. The .45 cal Kentucky 2 piece stock kits came in flint or cap. The locks were interchangable. I'm willing to trade the caplock, drum, ect for the flint lock if you have one for trade. I may even throw in a gen-u-ine world famous hand netted potato(e) bag. If you know of someone that still has one, let me know
Hey, JP, I gotta lock!


Back to the top of the Page


NMLRA Field Representatives

Rod Gates
Rt 1
Chross Timbers, MO 65634
(417) 998-6535

John W. Hammond
608 Joyce Ann Dr
Manchester, MO 63021
(314) 227-9089

Larry D. Sunby
201 Farm Road 1120
Monnett, MO 65708
(417) 235-5897

Jerry R. Jameson
5425 Hunter
Raytown, MO 64133
(816) 353-0443


Fort Osage

Fort Osage Muzzle Loaders, Inc
Kansas City, MO
contact: Jerry Jameson (816) 353-0443

Pine Ridge Mountain Men
contact: Terry Linebaugh (816) 263-1283

Pomme de Terre Rendezvous Association
Hermitage, MO
Contact: John Wagner (417) 282-5642

Missouri Fur Company
contact: Pat Payne (501) 273-3270

St Francois River Black Powder Club
contact: Randy Warner (314) 546-6354

Fort Hill Ramrods
contact: Frank Martin (314) 487-6336

Grand River Muzzleloaders
contact: Julie Barber (816) 233-8137

The Trappers of Starved Rock
contact: Fern Whitaker - Secretary

Strothers Freetrappers
Contact: Les Whiteside (816) 430-5323
or........Richard Dale (816) 240-8338

Know of another Club? Let me know. Hey.JP!
Back to the top of the Page


NMLRA Field Representatives

Clinton Fraley
Rt 2
Sioux Rapids, IA 50585
(712) 283-2588


The Turkey Foot Longrifles
Waterloo, Iowa
contact: President - Duane Hartwig (319) 352-1719
Thomas LeClere

Timber Wolf Rendezvousers
Bloomfield Iowa
contact: Kelly Schoot (515) 682-3091

Chichaqua Free Skinners
contact: Craig Hartman (515) 292-1016

Know of another Club? Let me know. Hey JP!
Back to the top of the Page


NMLRA Field Representatives

De Carlson
PO Box 100
Crofton, NE 68730
(402) 388-4912

Gary Miller
808 N 11th St
Norfolk, NE 68701
(402) 371-7279

Kathleen A. Wood
501 Road East
Ogallala, NE 69153
(308) 284-4275


Eastern Platte Muzzleloaders
Murray, Neb
contact: Fred Rieser (402) 330-3579

Pawnee Free Trappers Club
McCook, NE
The Pawnee Free Trappers Club is a group of men and women who are interested in muzzle loading firearms and who enjoy the kick of the gun, the smell of black powder and the wonder of the great outdoors.
The Club is NRA affiliated and has 20-25 active members. We host at least two invitational shoots each year.
Our range is located along the scenic Republican River with plenty of shade for both primitive and modern camping. Wood and wash water available. The range features a covered firing line. Paper and novelty targets are shot at 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards. Percussion rifle, pistol, flint, hawk, knife, and shotgun matches are available for men, women and children.

Contact Person -- Lana Lashley
1108 West 12th Street
McCook, NE. 69001
(308)345-5256, home
(308)345-4836, work
Or, email Cheryl Bales
Nebraska Muzzleloading Rifle Club
contact: Roger Grim (308) 226-2578

Wyo-Braska Muzzleloaders and Buckskinners
contact: Lawrence Snyder (308) 235-3822

Know of another Club? Let me know. Hey, JP!
Back to the top of the Page


NMLRA Field Representatives

Dan and Ginger Small
5549 SW Shumway Road
Eldorado, KS 67042
(316) 775-2628

Phil Hinger
1850 22RD
Plainville, KS 67663
(783) 434-2488


Fort Scott National Historic Site

Smoky Hills Trading Company
contact: George Kuntzman (913) 349-2656
Glen Blanken (913) 238-6084
Candi Holding (913) 238-1878

Capital City Gun Club
contact: Thomas Rork (913) 232-2818

Chief Black Dog's Trail Muzzleloading Club
contact: Dale Hall (316) 421-5103
Steve Dunn (316) 674-3290
Jane Head (316) 421-2529

Swan River Muzzle Loaders
contact: Tami McDonald (913) 755-4106

Walnut Vally Muzzleloaders
contact:Troy Nordman (316) 775-3691

Know of another Club? Let me know. Hey, JP!
Back to the top of the Page

My 2 cents worth
Opinions and musings of JP Finn. I did it, so it must be my fault.


A little background on me (very little):
I bought my first BP gun in the fall of '69. (.62 cal smoothbore caplock -"made in Spain" brand) Nevada jackrabbits learned to hide that winter.
Played in the hills of North Idaho / Montana off and on for a couple decades, decided I wanted a little more summer than was offered, and moved down to Florida. Fell into the North Florida/South Georgia reenacting circuit as a ner-do-well/deer hide trader in the 1790 time frame. (I was the guy out on the edge of the camp that nobody knew) Soon as I got comfortable at that, I packed up and moved to Missouri. Now, I'm trying to move up to the 1810-1830 era. Old habit are hard to break.


I was asked about why I do this page and what I get out of it. If one person asked a question, there must be dozens (ok, two or three) that haven't asked. For those, I will address these burning questions

What started the page?
I started this page because when I was transferred here I was unable to find a local group or doin's. After a few months, I decided that there was a need for a central point that listed events and contacts by regions.
A few gun shops and the local Tandy Leather store puts up fliers, when they get them. The Black Powder Journal, Smoke and Fire News and Muzzle Blasts have listings of events. It seemed that they listed either the large national events or ones to far away to attend. I was looking for local clubs and events, in any case.
Every time someone would mention hunting, muzzleloading, trapping or museums, I would ask about 'skinner groups. (And now you know where the "No, it's not skinning bucks...." comes from) As it turned out, I ran into my first lead at a lake in Kansas. I had made a run over to see a demonstration by a bow club of bare bow shooting (that I was unable to find). I did see a couple teepees across the lake. Over I zipped, only to find a weekend encampment at the park headquarters building. The camp had something to do with the County Historical Days Celebration. I found a person that had a friend that knew of a group located in St. Joe. That group had a person that had heard of a name of a trader that had attended the Market Days at Fort Osage. Out to Fort Osage, went I. There, I found the Fort is a County run Park and exhibit. They had some names, but no phone numbers or addresses.
By now I had a better idea of the locations of the surrounding towns. Muzzle Blasts included the listings of all the Charter Clubs in that months issue. None were listed in the area that I am in, but I called every one that was in 100 miles, asking for information on a local group. As it turned out, there was one that was listed that has a range only 20 miles from me. Off to a shoot, dues were paid and the big search was over.

Why Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas?
I figured that I would start with the four States that I would be willing to drive to. It sure would have made finding the 'skinners easier had it been up when I moved here.
It would be nice if several other people would pick the area that they are in, and duplicate the concept for their area. Just think of the idea of locating the doin's in all the States and/or Countries with geographical based pages. Going to visit the in-laws in some far away place against your will? Check the listings, pack Old Betsy and attend a shoot ...... Go to a Trade Fair.....
In fact, a schedule for the year for every Club in the four States is my goal, along with a link to Club or 'skinner web pages. I just don't work at it very hard. It would be a grand page, though.

Why didn't you list the Doin's of my Club?
I only list the events that I am asked to list. Or, put another way, I list what I am told about.
There are several good listings of events, some national, some local-regional. Smoke and Fire News, Black Powder Journal and Muzzle Blasts all have listings that cover the Nation. For a good Mid-West listing try The RendezNous Newsletter; Gemini Sales, 1427 Summit View Drive, Holts Summit, Mo 65043; $12 a year. Another publication is The Powderhorn News; PO box 428, Aurelia Iowa 51005-0428
I thought about just copying the listings, but decided against it. My reasoning is that they are hard at work trying to make a living supplying information and entertainment. To copy what they have spent time and money to develop would be wrong (IMO). Even though my personna is a ner-do-well, I will have to it the hard way. Until I am offered the free use of the information (by the owner/publisher), I will continue with the method I now have.
Late breaking news: I have been given permission to copy the listings from the RendezNous Newsletter. Things should be looking up.
This does not mean that there is not a use or need in getting your own subscription! There is much more in the RendezNous than I copy here. You'll have to get a copy to really be able to tell the difference.

Want your event listed? Send a message and it will be posted.

Do you make any money out of your page?
The MA Bip is not a commercial page. There is no charge for a listing, posting or comment. I am not affiliated with any commercial ventures. Sorry, I make no money out of the MA Bip. However, if anyone would like to send free goods or cash, send an e-mail and we can "do lunch".

So what do you get out of it?
An occasional e-mail. Location of a new link. News of a doing in my neighborhood. As a shy and retiring type, I meet people from all over the place that I never would otherwise.

Why aren't there any pictures?
I like pictures. I have none for two reasons. I just don't like waiting for the page to load so I can see them. I have thought of putting up a gallery. The pages would still load as fast, and those that wanted to see a picture would have that option. To do that, I would need a scanner, which I don't have. For those that want to know what I look like, I am the short, fat, bearded one, usually in need of a haircut, wearing the upper lower class, late colonial era clothes, with a leaning toward bright wool half leggings. If you see this person clutching an untouched target after a match, you will know for sure it is me.

Why do you mention your Mother so much?
My "poor old grayhaired Mother" and my Grandson, Christopher, are my normal Rendezvous camping partners. Because this is about Rendezvous, and to show by example that this hobby is a multi-generational doin'.


July - Aug 1996
The summer finally got here. Enjoy it, winter is acomin'
Ever notice how reluctant you get with the sissors when you are about to cut up a bought deerhide? I'm gunna make a pair of leggings. Soon as I develop the courage to cut up these hides. Made a paper pattern. Made another paper pattern. Laid the pattern on the hide. Moved them around some. Wrapped the hide around a leg. Wrapped the pattern around the leg. Adjusted the pattern. Laid the pattern on the hide. Trimmed some of the dangles off the hide. Tried the patten back on. Decided I would want to wear the leggings over my wool half leggings this winter. Put on the half leggings. Wrapped the hide around the half legging covered leg. Twisted the hide around until it seemed to work. Tried the pattern on over the half leggings. Pattern needs adjusting. Pattern tore. Got another sheet of newspaper; made another pattern. Tried on the pattern. Put the pattern on the hide. Hide shrunk - pattern to big now. Worked when I wrapped the hide around legging covered leg!?! Wrapped hide around leg, marked hide with chalk. put pattern on hide to align chalkmarks. Pattern doesen't fit marks. Put whole mess up. Used dangles to repair old leggings.


Aug 1996
I've been reading the alt-living-soc bulletin board. There is a thread listing the humorous things that have been said or asked during Visitor Days or Living History events. I'm sure the most common question of all time (for me, anyway) is "Did you really sleep there?" The one that made me stop and really pay attention was, "Is that a real fire?" This by a couple with a herd of kids that wanted to touch everything. Then there was the time that I was fixing supper when a gentleman stepped up with a video camera, and asked if he could photograph me in my camp. I was impressed that he asked, until , as he set the camera on his shoulder, he said in a very loud voice, "Do something historical!" I thought frantically as I heard about four camps snikering, waiting to see what I would do. Quick, do something historical, something so well documented that no one would ever find fault in the action, something that anyone that ever watched this film clip would instantly know that I was a true reenactor of the finest kind! Smoothly I turned away, bent down and stirred the pot of soup.
But, by far, the story on the bulletin board that I enjoyed the most was when the Lady, after spending several days at a Reenactment was asked "Are you alive?"


27 Oct 96
I've been practicing reenacting of the fine art of goofing off. You have to practice or you give a stilted, boring proformance. My loving wife claims that I practice more than I need to get it down correctly. She doen't understand that goofing off is a fine art. I must practice so that I will be prepared for any possible distractions. I see very few at the Roo's that have the fine art down as well as I do. Oh, there is the occasional feeble attempt. They are easily side tracked into some productive pursuit, however. If you happen to see me at one of the upcoming events, you can reconize me even though I have no pictures posted on this page. I will be the short fat bearded one wearing the upper lower class, late colonial era clothes, with a leaning toward bright wool half leggings, doing nothing worthwhile. See you there!

5 Jan '97
I've not been doing any leatherwork for a while. The orders are building up. I need several things, the Wife wants a couple, and I have to make new moccasins for the grandkid. He can grow out of a pair in a month. If kids feet are like puppy dogs; an indication of the final size of the critter, he is going to be huge.
I usually construct a copy of the moccasins worn by the Lower Creek Indians, in the 1790 - 1800 time period. This was during the split into the Creek and Seminole styles, and due to the intermingling of the two groups, the Creek influence was still quite strong. My personna is a North Florida / South Georgia deerhide trader and ner-do-well, relocated to the junction of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. I go with the theory that what was learned early would be continued wherever one went. There are referances to indentifing tribe affiliation by type of clothes, weapons and footware, so I believe that it is a viable theory.
If you are interested in learning to construct a pair of moccasins, but didn't know where to start, I have a few tips:
I have found that using the directions and patterns in the "Craft Manual of North American Indian Footwear" by George M. White, and the fitting directions in "The Book of Buckskinning III", a decent pair of moccacins can be made. Begin by making a pattern out of kraft paper or paper grocery sacks. There are a lot of measurements that can help get the size close, and paper is easy to write on. After the paper pattern is made, make a cloth moccasin. A lot of people use felt for the trial and then use them as a liner. That isn't a bad idea, but I use pellan for the trial. Pellan (a brand name) is interfacing, picked up at your fabric store. It stretches and acts like leather, while felt, as a woven material doesn't. Make all the adjustments, trimming and shifting, until you have the moccasin just right. I usually work on it inside out, on the wrong foot, until it is right and then trim the excess seam edges. Turn it right side out and put it on the correct foot to check the fit. Keep working on the trial moc until it is perfect. Disassemble the trial moc and use it as the pattern to cut out the leather for the real moccasin. Use chalk or charcoal to mark the leather. I use charcoal. Ink pens leave a mark that can not be removed.


12 Jan 1997
I have a brushpile in my back yard. We bought the place in the late summer of '95 and worked on the house until the late fall, when we moved in. It had been empty for some time before we bought it. There are several walnut trees, four pear trees, two mulbery trees, an elm with an 8' diameter trunk and assorted ornamentals. Shortly after we moved in, I pruned them and started the brushpile. Three of the pear trees were more than half dead. One was cut down leaving two suckers that were about 1-1/2" in diameter starting at the first fork, so I believed they were not from the rootstock and would have good pears. The main limbs past the fork were 6" and 8" diameter and dead. Between the tree, brush and vine prunings, I had a pile about 8' wide by 12' long and 5' high. I had plans to use the wood for smoking meat, so I tried to keep as much off the ground as I could. A couple rotten fence posts were on the ground and the rest was piled on, alternating direction as each layer was tossed on. I wanted lots of air flow through the pile so it would dry instead of rot.
As winter set in, and the time for smoking wood was reached, I wandered out to the brushpile to collect some. I discovered that my pile had become home for a rabbit family, and several dozen "little brown drab birds". The wood was gathered from another dead pear tree that I had left standing.
Over last summer the grass grew up in and around the pile, more prunings were tossed on so the shrinkage was replaced. More brush and vines were tossed on to make it a little more waterproof.
It snowed here last week and I was in the "back 40" (half acre) the next day. I noticed rabbit tracks and where the birds had scratched under the low trees and the bird feeder. Squirrels had been digging buried walnuts. A cat had wandered through the backyard. I saw where a hawk (?) had caught a mouse, complete with a wing featherprint in the snow where he had grabbed the mouse. I checked the brushpile and was amazed at the traffic around it. It has become an wildlife apartment building in the suburbs.
I set out feed for the critters in the winter; birdseed , several ears of corn, suet and such. (Mice eat the seed that hits the ground, I see) More importantly, I set out water. Finding drinkable water after several days with the highs in the teens can become a real problem. Set in the ground with about 1" of the sides above ground, next to the detached garage is a old metal pan. It may have been an oil changing pan way back when. It's about 3' in diameter and 6" deep. A heat strip is wrapped around it (underground) and plugged in when the temps are predicted to remain below freezing for a couple days. It has a constant series of visitors, both from the resident critters and those that come from somewhere else. I have to refill it every other day in the winter, to keep it half full or better.
What's the moral of these ramblings? Make a brush pile in a corner of the back yard, plant vines to cover it up (gourds were on mine last summer) so the neighbors won't complain, put out a little food and make sure there is water and you will have a constant source of entertainment for your viewing pleasure. Beats most of what I see on TV, anyway.


26 Jan 1997
Trapping has been a part of my life forever, it seems. I started the first trap line that I can remember in the front yard. It wasn't much of a trap line, but it gave me great pleasure. Perhaps that explains why I am the way I am today.
Somewhere I had heard of Burmese Tiger traps. A pit was dug, and the top covered so the Tiger, not noticing anything amiss, strolled across, only to fall in. Knowing, even at that tender age, there were no Tigers in my woods, I made smaller pits, hoping for a dog or cat. Preferably a cat. Instead I caught my little Brother. My Mother made me fill in the holes. That was when I decided that the average dog or cat must be smarter than my Brother. And front yards were a bad place for traplines.
By the advanced age of nine, I was running a line of box traps for rabbits and snares for squirrels. Because that was generally the families' main meat supply, I don't recall getting in trouble over that trap line.
When I was 11, we moved into the mountains. There wasn't much small game, but I discovered that allowances were handed out on Fridays. I had caught a couple chipmunks in the old box traps, and everyone wanted one for a pet. I ran the trapline on Wed. and Thurs. to get my supply up, ready for the Friday sale. Everyone seemed to get a quarter for their allowance, so that set the price. The chipmunks escaped by Monday, so I even had repeat sales. After a while it was possible to identify the individual chipmunks, and I was forced to start charging a 15 cent capture fee instead of the quarter for a new one. This cut my income to an unbearable level.
I had managed to get my hands on a couple "real" traps. The trapline became directed for Raccoon and Opossum. Much more money in 'coon and 'possum hides. I still think we moved to North Idaho because of that trapline. You couldn't leave the drying hides outside; the dogs would drag them around and chew on them. I didn't think they smelled all that bad , anyway. And they were under the bed, out of the way. We never did find that dead critter under the house, by the way.
By the time I was 13, I had discovered girls. That was a major turning point in my life. This meant I had to go for the big time. Thus the Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline was born.
The #1-1/2 long spring traps that I had been using for 'coon and 'possum were cleaned, oiled, dyed and smoked. New chains were installed and areas were scouted for Wolf and Mountain Lion sign. Found no sign. Asked everyone that I could find that would talk to me where they might be. My Mother decided that I couldn't move to Alaska, and she sure wasn't. I figured that I didn't have all that great of a desire to move farther out into the sticks than I was, anyway. All the girls were in town.
The plans for the spending of the fortune to be made from the Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline were made. Very good plans, too, I might add. The traps were set with great care. I had reviewed everything I could read on the subject and had talked to anyone that couldn't run faster than I could. I even talked to a couple people that could run faster, but not longer.
It didn't take long to check traps on a three trap line. I tried not to check them more than three or four times a day. The plan for spending the coming fortune got more detailed as I waited for the coming flood of hides.
After the second dozen civet cats were fleshed, stretched and dried, I was not allowed into the stores in town. After the fourth or fifth, the school called my Mother to see what could be done about the new perfume that I had begun to wear. That didn't bother me near as much as the fact that the girls had started avoiding me.
The Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline was shut down by higher authority. The local Game Warden stopped by. I sure didn't know that there were unprinted limits on "bycatch" that only applied to Wolf and Mountain Lion traplines. The plans for the fortune to be made evaporated. I did get to sleep in the house again, though.
Now that I had discovered that Wolf and Mountain Lion trapping had some minor drawbacks, I drifted into the field of "nuisance trapping". I caught squirrels that had taken up residence in attics, and feral cats that hung out at bird feeders. The pay was a little lean, but the girls didn't avoid me like they had before. I discovered that when the Mother liked me, the Daughter did too. Now I limit my trapping to the fall. The nights start getting cool, downright cold at times. Won't be long till the first frost. All the critters are busy setting that winter fur, and looking for a warm place to set out the cold months. I have cleaned the traps and checked out the areas that look like the best places to set them. The fall ritual has begun. Each year it is the same....The Wife calls me into the kitchen, opens a cabinet, hands me a jar of peanut butter and points. "Is that MOUSE droppings?"

As the iced cracked, I had a flash of what I had done wrong.
I have been cursed in this way most of my life. The second after the point of no return comes the realization of what I had started. From that point on, there are no surprises. I know exactly what will happen to the smallest detail. And I am never wrong. Why that point can't come before the event, I can never figure out.
Back in the mountains, back in the olden days, when the world was new, and I was young, I had gone out to smoke traps for the Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline. There was a small creek across the road from the mining camp where we lived. I had made a camp spot on the creek the summer before. The smoke from the fire wouldn't bother anyone, and there was a supply of cut firewood stacked next to the lean-to I had built during my fishing expeditions.
I had been told that campfires belonged in camps after the Burn Barrel Bonfire of '62. The fireman was very clear in his explanation of the end result of his next trip out to our house. I believed him.
The Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline seemed to be having a minor problem. Civet Cats liked it. I had yet to lure a wolf or mountain lion into a trap. When running a Wolf and Mountain Lion Trapline, it helps to catch wolves and mountain lions. Anything less was a disappointment. The smell seemed to distract the girls that I was trying to impress, also.
I had read everything I could find on trapping wolves and mountain lions. I had talked to everyone I could find that had ever heard of Wolves or Mountain Lions. I got to the point where if they had read Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, I used them for research. It did no good. All I could catch was Civet Cats.
Every trick had been tried. Only the traps themselves could be the problem. They had been dyed and fine tuned. Perhaps the smell was lingering on them from the stupid skunks. I had quit smelling the perfume some time earlier, but wild animals have a much better sense of smell. I decided to boil and smoke the traps in case that was the problem.
At the camp, snow was brushed out of the fire ring and tinder laid. Kindling was split from the stored wood, and the fire soon blazed away. Dumping the traps out of the bucket, I grabbed the hatchet and stepped over to the stream to get water. The pool that I used in the fall had frozen over. Setting the bucket on the ice, I balanced on a rock and chopped a hole in the skim ice. The hatchet was tossed up on the bank out of the way. The bucket went into the hole and back out only half full. Swinging the bucket of water over to the only flat spot in sight, on the ice, I found myself off balance. Thump, went the bucket with me following close behind.
Sure was glad I built the fire, first!

16 March 1997
It had to happen. I whined enough that I have a "Guest Editorial".
You too can become a world wide read author. Contact me for details.

by Florence "Mama" Seward

A Dutch oven is an indispensable tool for the camper. In these wonderful pots, you can boil, fry, braise, stew, or oven bake. Like an old friend, they are solid and dependable, and get better with age. With a little care they will last a lifetime.

Choosing the right Dutch oven for campfire cooking is important. They come in a range of sizes and are made in cast iron and aluminum. A 12-inch diameter pot will enable you to serve six to eight people. Unless you have weight limitations, buy the cast iron, because it provides more uniform heating, which is important when using an uneven heat source like coals.

Your Dutch oven should have three legs, which will help elevate the pot above the coals to avoid burning the food on the bottom. The lid should be flat and have a loop handle, with a vertical lip around the edge to help keep the coals on top in place. Inverted and placed on the coals, the lid also makes a handy griddle for eggs or pancakes. A heavy wire handle should be attached to the sides of the pot. Flat-bottomed Dutch ovens with rounded, self-basting lids and long handles on the side work great in the home kitchen, but are a poor choice for outdoor cooking.

A cast iron Dutch oven, or any other cast iron cook ware, will need a little care before its initial use and throughout its lifetime. An oven must be seasoned properly to seal the metal pores and prevent rusting. A new pot should be washed in soapy water to remove any protective coating applied by the manufacturer and allowed to air dry thoroughly. Season by applying a thin coating of cooking oil all over the pot and lid, inside and out. Pour a small amount of oil in the pot, and place, covered, in a 250 degree oven for two hours. Wipe off the surfaces. Always leave the lid off a hot oven to prevent moisture condensation inside.

Clean the oven as soon after cooking as possible by rinsing with water and wiping with clean towels. Don't use soap or metal scrubbers, as they will remove the protective coating of oil. If food sticks to the pot, fill it with water and bring to a boil, scraping off particles with a wood scraper or spoon. Never put cold water in a hot pot, cooling it too quickly may cause it to warp or crack. Let it air dry and cool, uncovered, then wipe the inside with a thin coating of oil.

For baking, most of the coals should go on top of the pot, which heats the air in the oven and browns the food. Too many coals below will burn the bottom of your baked goods. A good rule of thumb is: one-third of the coals below, and two-thirds above.. Be sure to preheat your oven with the lid on for a few minutes before placing the food in to bake. Another good baking practice is to put your food in a pie tin and raise it off the bottom of the oven with a few washers or a metal grate. You can bake directly on the bottom, but be careful to regulate the heat below. For stewing or boiling, two-thirds of the coals go below the oven, with one-third on top. For browning or frying, remove the lid.

If you have comments about this 2 Cents Worth for Florence "Mama" Seward, send them to me and I will pass them along. I will send any replies from her to you. (She is not on the net, I will just be the Post Carrier)


I have long had a desire for impressive journals of my Adventures. You've seen those journal entries in the magazines. The ones that were written by quill on parchment by firelight. The descriptive phrases and word pictures just flow into that little book after a hard days trek.
I tried to maintain the (to be famous) Journal. That didn't work. Words don't come easily when I am hot or cold, wet, hungry and tired. Even when they do, I find either my hands don't want to write long interesting insightful passages, the light is bad, or there just isn't time after enjoying all the wit and humor bandied around the campfire.
I tried copying my friends journals, but they attempted to downplay my brilliant role in our outings. Some of my friends even seemed to take offense in the corrections and additions of their oversights that I made in their borrowed journals. This left me only two choices. Either forget keeping a journal or develop a system that would work for me. Once I get my mind on something, I never let it go. It may appear that I have forgotten it, but back in the recesses of the mind the problem is being worked on. It was just a matter of time before I came up with a system.
Perhaps my system may work for you too. I begin by making a small notebook. Take three pieces of regular sized paper and fold them in half. I use "on sale" brand typing paper most of the time. Sew them together through the fold in three places, one in the middle and the others about half an inch from either edge. Make a cover from a paper sack or other heavy rough paper and fold it around the booklet. The cover should be slightly larger than the pages. Now sew the whole mess together through the fold in two places to hold it all together. Reinforce the cover by gluing the facing page to the front and back inside covers.
I have used the cardboard back from tablets, light leather and wood for covers. I find the attempt to stiffen the booklet for ease in writing not worth the effort. It is, after all, just a notebook for one use. The back of my wooden trencher makes a fine lapboard to write on. This method also ensures that I clean the dishes instead of leaving them for tomorrow.
Three pieces of typing paper may not seem like much, but the finished booklet will have eight pages to write on. I usually put the date and the plan of the outing on the inside of the front cover. The names of the participants also go there, after we have started. The back inside cover collects a map of the area we will be in. If it is an area that I know, I draw it in before I leave. If it is a new place, I either copy a map of the area or sketch in the major landmarks and planned route as I go. I find some of my maps are more interesting than the journal entries.
Most of my Adventures are for a weekend. If I am going for a week, I either take a couple booklets or make a thicker one. The thick booklet is made by taking two or three groups of three folded and sewn pages and sewing them together sideways right at the fold. A one inch wide piece of paper is glued down the outside of the fold area, making sure to glue the back of the folds to the strip. A cover is made and the front and back pages glued to the cover, leaving a little gap in the cover at the folds so it can close. A thin leather cover made like a large checkbook cover will make the notebook look a little better to the passerby.
I am sure this is not an authentic method of constructing a notebook. But then, I use a store bought drawing pencil without an eraser to write in it, and I expect it is not genuine period either. My only excuse is that a pack of typing paper will make around 30 booklets. This is a years supply for me. The paper grocery sacks are free. The thread and glue are normal household supplies. This makes for a yearly cost of under five dollars for materials. My wife likes that.
When I get back home, the notebook is tossed on my desk and a new one takes its' place in the bag. Sometime in the next few days, the notes from the booklet is transcribed into the Journal. This is where the expansion and agonized over phrases and explanations take place. The notebook is just notes, sketches and bits and pieces of details I don't want to forget before it is put down in the Journal. It collects names and addresses, dates and places of coming events, notes and sketches of gear that catches my eye. Occasionally, I even scribble down something that has to do with the happenings of the day.
This system also has the advantage of allowing the Adventure to stew and take on a flavor before being set down in ink. That little comment or unimportant happening that might not be noted in a regular journal, at the time it happened, may be the cause of a major event in a day or so. Hind site and all that. Besides, after a couple days, that Adventure may have been more interesting than it seemed at the time. You may have noticed that phenomenon yourself.
There you have it. The JP Finn Method for Correct Journals. With my system, you too, can have a Journal of Adventures that you can be proud of.


I wandered out to the gun range the other morning, to develop a load for Ol' Thunder, a 50 cal flint Thompson "hawkin".
It seems that I have been invited to a buffalo hunt. It is scheduled for early - mid November. A guy at work set it up and asked if I would be interested, since he doesn't hunt. He wants the hide and some of the meat. All the rest is mine, including half the fee. The hunt will be on a 24k acre ranch in South Dakota. The owner raises buffalo on open range, and sells them on the hoof. My job is to locate the herd (should be easy - the owner should know where they are), sneak up on them, pick one out and shoot it. But he won't allow roundballs. He's not had any black power shooters out there yet. His rule is 1500 fps and 250 gr bullet, minimum.
Out I went to the range; 50 cal with 95 grains ffg, topped with a 385gr Hornaday Great Plains bullet was to be the first one tested. Posted 2 targets at 25 yds and 2 at 50 yards. Figured , since I have never shot anything but roundballs for about 25 years, I'd shoot a couple and then adjust the sights, zero in at 25 yards, then shoot off the bench at 50 to tighted the groups up, finishing with a few at the last target offhand to see how much practice I'll need to put in. Don't you just love a plan?
Cleaned the grease out of Ol' Thunder, and loaded her up. Haven't shot that rifle for about 3 years. Grease seemed to do the trick - no sign of rust. Felt really funny, not putting in a patch.
There was a sit down bench on the 25 yard line. Wanted to take the target in to work and show off, so I sat down. Elbow on table, bottom of rifle above my eye. Sit up straighter. Hold endcap and lean way forward to line up the sights. Touched her off. Snap..... Pricked touch hole again. Changed flint. Back to the bench. Snap, poof, KA-BOOM!, crack,crack..AHHHHHHHHHH!
I'm not sure what the crack, crack was, but it felt like I broke my shoulder. Whole arm went numb, then, when the feeling came back, it HURT! Rub, Rub. Check to make sure Ol' Thunder didn't lose any parts, like the breech plug. All still there.
Guessed that I leaned forward enough that the butt sat on the top of the shoulder, instead of the crook. Reloaded and stood up this time. Took a rest against a tree on the firing line. Snap, poof, KA-BOOM...AHHHHHHH! That first shot must have left a bruise!
Well, at least both holes were close together, about an inch apart, but low and to the right. Adjust sights and reload. Time to get this right.
Snap, poof, KA-BOOM!......was that a flinch? Quick review of shot...Cock, align sights, set trigger, finger on trigger, hold breath, realign sights, squeeze trigger, cock starts to fall, jerk head back - pull butt back as hard as I can, poof, can't see sights - but get a good view of flash, KA-BOOM! Yeah, I think that may have been a flinch.
Time for a review of past flinches. First time I shot a flint lock, I didn't flinch. Everything happened so fast there was no time to do anything but watch. Second shot was a different story. Somewhere in the brain a recorder had made a film and ran it through seveal hundred times. When the cock started down, the little guy in charge of the review jumped up and started screaming "There is going to be an explosion 3 inches in front of your eye!" The guy in charge of the eye swung it around to see if that information was true. It was, so he shut the eye. The guy in charge of the head sent a signal to yank the head back. It took several dozen shots to convince those guys that it was ok. If it wasn't those guys, who might it be?
Rub, rub. Even hurt to swab the barrel. Must be time for a break. Wander down to the targets like it would help to see those holes up close. At least they were all on the paper. Found myself looking for patches on my way back to the firing line. Laughed at myself, a creature of habit.
Prime, sight, Snap, poof, cringe. Ah-Ha! It's the shoulder guy! I felt the shoulder tense, twist and everybody else act in sympathy, yanking and jerking to show their support. Wipe down lock; flint, battery and pan. Prick touch hole. Reprime. Snap, poof, cringe - jerk. Now what? No powder? Dig out ball puller. Sure did forget the powder. And the bullet. Gather erverything up and go home.
What a day. Now I have to beat the flinch before I can worry about accuracy. And I was worried about working up a load for buffalo. I wonder what 40 grains fffg under a spit patched 45 caliber ball would do to a buffalo?

It turns out the the exercise was all in vain. He backed out. Now I just have a really good flinch with the semi-annual Club shoot coming up. One day everything is going to work out and I won't be in the last three at a match. But I expect it will be another time.....


It's coming up on deer season, so I thought I would post a few other uses for Bambi's parents, besides roasts, stews, steaks and ribs.
These directions are like Grandma's recipes - it just looks right. You may have to adjust the proportions to make it look right to you. After a try or two you will start to go by proportions and texture as well as measures. Also, these are somewhat messy and smelly. You might want to try this outside.

How do you make sinew from intestines?
Intestine is made of multiple layers. One of these layers is called the submucosal layer (if memory serves). This is the one you want. It is commonly called cat-gut and was used as violin strings, tennis racket strings and surgical sutures...... hog and sheep gut was the most common raw material until the synthetics appeared
Get a smooth board. Split a length of intestine and pin it on one end to the board. Scrape the inner layer off. You should be at the layer you want. Flip it over and remove the outer layers and then the muscle layers. (I've not had good luck trying to peel it, scraping works better for me.)
Strip the gut into ribbons and let it dry. From there you just treat it like long sinew. Dogs really, really like the stuff while it is drying. (hint, hint)

How do you make hide glue?
Plan on taking 24 to 36 hours to make your glue. I find that works out to 2 or 3 full days.
Scrape or sand your untanned (but dried) hide. I use the trimmings - dangles, the thick edges and irregular pieces on the hide after stretching, fleshing and all, just prior to tanning. The hides are too hard to come by to use the better parts! You want it ground until it looks like thick sawdust. Add the sinew scraps that you have - also chopped and pounded into as fine pieces as you can. You will need about 2 or 3 cups of shavings at a minimum. I try to fill a coffee can to the lowest ring.
Place the shavings in a old pan. (I use a 3 lb coffee can) Add hot water from the tap and simmer for a few minutes. Pour off the water and add new. This cleans out most of the trash and dirt. Or at least it makes me feel like it does. All that is left is to simmer for a couple days. Add water as the old evaporates. After sometime next to forever, it will turn into a honey colored syrup. Let it boil down until it is as thick as you want. I like it to be like warm honey. Strain through an old T-shirt or other cloth to get the parts out that didn't melt. (sinew pieces, trash and thick chunks)
Use as is, or dry and store. I usually make a lot and then reconstitute it and use it as needed. To prepare the glue for storage:
Pour into a square cake pan - foil lined if you don't have one set aside just for this type stuff. I like it to be about 3/8" thick, more or less. Let cool, then place in the fridge. It will set up like thick Jell-O. Cut it into 1" squares while in the pan and return to the fridge. Leave it alone for about a week. Pop it out of the pan, run a yarn needle loaded with string through each piece (like stringing beads), make sure that they don't touch, and hang it up to finish drying. It will take about 2 weeks. They get hard and then are good forever. Store in the famous cool, dry place in a glass jar.
To use, put one (or more) in a bowl and cover with warm water overnight. In the morning (or whenever) put in a double boiler (or put the bowl in a pan of hot water). Add water and let heat until it is like a thin syrup. It should be warm, but not hot.
Smear it on , clamp the parts together and let it set.


I was at a doing and heard from several people that they couldn't cook. Then I spoke to a person that only attended for the day for the same reason. For those people, I dedicate this 2 Cents Worth.

Learning to cook, if that is the proper term, is just a matter of practice. The clean up afterwards is the part that I don't care for. I don't have a problem when it is just me, but when there is a crowd..... That may be why I manage to be the cook at most of my outings. The excuse that "I cooked, you wash the dishes" seems to work most of the time!
Most doin's are for a weekend. That means, usually, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner. Breakfast is scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage, or, my favorite, oatmeal and biscuits. Lunch is apples and cheese, or other such ready to eat stuff. That leaves dinner as the only meal to really cook.

Easy Dinners

Polish Sausage and Cabbage
about 45 minutes cook time
salt (about a spoonful)
Head of cabbage (remove the outer leaves and cut remaining into quarters)
Potatoes ( I figure 2 per person and an extra one for every 2 people - or 2-1/2 per person. Less if the potatoes are big) Peeled and cut up
Carrots (one per person) Cut off both ends, scrape the skin off and cut up
Polish sausage, precooked. Big if there is a crowd, small if there isn't. Cut into 1-1/2" long pieces

Put water in pot (1/2 to 2/3 full), add carrots and put on fire to boil. Let boil about 15 minutes. Add everything else. Simmer (just barely boiling) until potatoes are done. (Potatoes will break easily)


about and hour and a half cook time - longer is better
Salt and pepper (a spoon of each)
1/2 cup of flour (any kind)
Deer meat , elk (my favorite) or beef. cut into bite sized pieces
A couple spoons of Crisco, lard or cooking oil
Potatoes ( I figure 2 per person and an extra one for every 2 people - or 2-1/2 per person. Less if the potatoes are big) Peeled and cut up
Carrots (one per person) Cut off both ends, scrape the skin off and cut up
Large onion, peeled and chopped up
Celery - a lot if you like it, a little if you don't ( Something in celery helps make meat tender. If you don't like it in your food, do like I do - add big chunks and pitch it when the stew is done.)
Can of whole tomatoes
Can (single serving size) of corn and one of peas
A handful of barley and/or lentils. (not needed but I like it, makes the stew thick)

Put oil in pot and put pot on fire. roll meat around in flour (in a plate) and drop flour coated meat in the pot. Keep stirring until the meat is browned. Add everything else. Add enough water to fill the pot. Put on a lid and let simmer until done. Add water as it evaporates


Tough Squirrel
about an hour - longer if you have time
One squirrel per person, cleaned and cut up into chunks
(or pork chops - without the flour)
A couple spoons of Crisco, lard or cooking oil
Salt and pepper (a half spoon of each)
1/2 cup of flour (any kind)
Large onion, peeled and chopped up
Can of Cream of Mushroom soup
Put oil in skillet and put skillet on fire. Roll meat around in flour (in a plate) and drop flour coated meat in the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add onion. Sir-Fry until brown. Add can of soup and half can of water. Let simmer until meat is tender.

Boiled Potatoes
Potatoes ( I figure 2 per person and an extra one for every 2 people - or 2-1/2 per person. Less if the potatoes are big) Peeled and cut up
Salt and pepper (a half spoon of each)
Put everything in a pot. Add water to fill pot. Boil until done. Drain water.

Use soup as gravy on the potatoes.


Try these at home. Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste. Make up a different reason why you can't camp. Or tell the truth - You are afraid of the dark!


We all know that many of the things that were common were not written about. That is why there is debate on the use of toilet paper on the frontier. Lately, I have heard a lot of discussion about priming horns. Seems that there are not many paintings showing two horns hanging from the riflemen. Inside the pouches that have been discovered there has been a lack of priming horns also. The argument mentions that the military used the main charge powder to prime with, and the civilians could have done the same.
I think more important issues need to be researched. Such as, how did men keep their breechcloth from falling down? As a turnip shaped "experimental archeologist", I can see the need for much more research on this subject.
I have stared at many pictures of Indians and can see no hint of suspenders. There are some examples of overweight or larger than the Hollywood slim trim examples that are wearing a 'clout. They seem to be having no trouble in the pictures. Then again, you don't know if they had hitched 'em up just before the picture was taken. This may be the mystery that will never be solved.
If you have a clue, let me know! Just remember, being overweight was a sign of easy living and wealth that I don't care to give up. I must keep up appearances, you know.
For those shaped like me that have thought of wearing leggings and a breechcloth, I give you my cardinal rules.

1. Always wear a long shirt.
2. Wrap the thong two or three times around you before tying. It helps
3. If you are going to do anything that causes movement, like walking, wear trousers.
4. Tie nothing to the thong that you absolutely don't have to.
5. And last, always wear a long shirt.

If you ever saw me shirtless, wearing a breechcloth, you would agree; not everyone should be allowed to wear such a thing in public. Not in mixed company or around small children, at least. It does seem to cheer up my Wife when I wear a 'clout. She laughs a lot, anyway.


Billy "No-Crumbs" and the Mouse Attack

The setting:
2 am, in a north Florida cattle pasture is a British Infantry Rev War bell back tent.

The Characters:
Billy (our hero)
The Mouse (the villain)

Billy camps with us at the Southeastern. This year he borrowed the new tent, both to maintain a little privacy and to see if it was the style of tent he was looking for. (A week in a tent is a good way to check it out)
Everyone brings too much stuff to a Rendezvous. The little tent was filled. Then, during the last of the week, his Parents and Kids stopped by for the day to see what it was that he was up to. They thoughtfully left a "Care Package" in the tent. Kids being what they are, sampled some of the goods - peanut butter crackers, in this case, and when leaving, left the opened package under some gear. (That's his story and he's sticking to it)

The Story:

Storm clouds whipped across the sky. The wind tugged at the silent and dark tents, pulling and pushing the canvas, looking for a loose piece to flap and pop in the night. It hummed in the guy ropes and worried at the little green flag that snapped like a bullwhip in protest.. Suddenly, the moon beamed through a rip in the heavens, lighting the field like a silent flash of lightening.. Seconds later the light was snuffed out as the driven clouds closed the momentary opening, pitching the camp into an even blacker darkness than before.
Scratch, scratch.
Billy sat bolt upright. He had become accustomed to the sound of the wind. This was a different sound!
Scratch, scratch.
"Opossum! It must be a 'possum in the tent to make that much racket!" Billy thought, as he tried to peer through the darkness.
He reached out for the period correct BIC lighter. Half way to the box at the foot of the pallet he froze. "And what if I grab a handful of 'possum, instead?"
There he sat, stretched out, frozen, peering into the darkness.
Scratch, scratch.
He grabbed at the box top, feeling the lighter and his 'hawk handle. "Ah-Ha!" he thought. Feverishly he spun the fire wheel, to no avail. Childproof!
Scratch, scratch.
Laying the hatchet on his legs, he worked the little lever, grabbed the hawk, raised it high, and struck a flame.
"Eeek!" roared the cracker-stuffed mouse.
"Ahhhhhh!" squeaked the 'hawk wielding buckskinner.
With a flip of his tail, the vicious rodent dashed under the tent flap into the impending storm.
Billy lit the candle lantern. Keeping the 'hawk close, he investigated the previous location of his vanished foe. Discovering the cracker crumbs, he gathered every trace of eatable goods and placed them in the plastic storage box at the foot of the bed. That finished, he lay back down, holding the tomahawk close, and tried to fall back asleep.
The wind blew through the camp, tugging at the silent and dark tents, and the lit one, pulling and pushing the canvas, looking for a loose piece to flap and pop in the night.

Billy "No-Crumbs" may have a rebuttal to this tale, but let it be known that he is very careful of exposed foodstuffs near his camp now-a-days.


On the way back to the junction of the Kaw ands Missouri Rivers I stopped in the little town of Chamberlain, South Dakota. There, in the heart of Sioux country, next to the Missouri river (Lake Francis Case) is the St. Joseph's Indian School, home of the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center.
Akta Lakota Museum
St. Joseph's Indian School
Chamberlain, SD 57326
Hours: 8-6 Mon-Sat & 1-5 Sunday in the summer
8-4:30 Mon - Fri in the winter
Free Admission (donations acceptided)
Plan on at least a day to visit!
The School was founded in 1927, and the Museum opened its doors in 1991. Each has a fasinating history.
The Museum and Cultural Center was developed to teach the kids about their heritage. It contains items donated since the School was founded in 1927, and also houses a rotating Native American Artist exhibit of artifacts and artwork.
The exhibits come in two main types; static displays (things in cases), and set pieces (dressed maniquins doing something). There is the buffalo hide pictorial history of the Fetterman Massacure (original), a hide hunting/warpath tipi, a diorama of the aftermath of a buffalo hunt, several family groups doing everyday tasks and display cases filled with original artifacts. There are audio/visual presentations that explain everything from the symbolism of the designs on clothing to how food was prepared.
The buffalo and the tipi are major points at the Museum. I discovered that I have several new projects to complete, while checking out the tipi furnishings. It is amazing what can be made from a little hide, a few bones and a stick or two.
So what can you expect to see?
Original Weaponry, Tools, Ceremonial Dress, Beadwork & Quillwork, Doll Exhibit (check out the fully beaded mocs - 1/2" long, with beads no bigger than a grain of sand!), and the Diorama (with props used in "Dances With Wolves"). Then check out the displays on the Buffalo, the Tipi, and the Audio/Visual section. Wander over to see the displays by contemporary Souix artists. There you will find reproductions of most of the things in the museum, Lakota paintings, carvings and sculptures. Many are for sale in the Collecters Gallery. Books, music, silverwork, prints of the paintings, star quilts (Owinja), pottery, clothing, and much more is available at the gift shop.
The School is also worth the trip. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, and visit the Our Lady of the Souix Chapel.

As a last plug, let me mention the Tipi Press. The School has a small press that makes prints, calendars, note cards, stationary and Christmas cards, illustrated with traditional and contempory artwork by Souix artists. They can be reached at the above address, phone 1-800-229-5684. Prices are very reasonable and the quality very good.


If you want to plaver, do so. Talk

Back to the top of the Page

Back to the Main Page

On to the Rendezvous

Links to Interesting Places