Archives for September 2014

Hunger, Hunt Harvest

Fall has arrived. What a beautiful time of the year. What does fall represent to you?  Do you find special meaning in it?  Or is it simply the end of summer? The coming of winter?

Hunger1Fall is my favorite season. I wait with great anticipation for September to arrive every year.  As the days get shorter and the evening air starts to get that cool crispness, I start to get restless, and feel bursts of energy and adrenaline rushing through my veins.  I can’t wait to get to a wild place–celebrate the Kaleidoscope of brilliant colors splashed across the landscape. The perfect, magical collision of greens, yellows, reds, oranges and browns seem to shout out “this is what nature is made of!”   An amazing fanfare “goodbye for now” to the migrating birds, hibernating bear, and the scores of the summers young adult animals that will soon be facing their first winter.

Most people I am close to don’t share my excitement. They feel quite the opposite, for many reasons.  Apparently one reason is because I tend to disappear come fall time.

Well, um, of course—-after all, it’s hunting season, right?

And although it’s not been pressed by anyone, I am sure there is a dumbfounded struggle for some to understand why, oh why, why, why, do I choose to go out and trudge through the woods, fields, prairies and swamps, in search of wild animals like pheasant, turkey, deer, and more? Why am I so devoted to getting out there, long before the sun is up to long after sundown, day after day, after day…..after day……

How can I be gone for weeks upon weeks all alone, foregoing all else, choosing a solitary life away from civilization, focused on eat-sleep-hunt until the seasons close?

Gee, I don’t know. I just know I have to do it.

For me, it’s not at all about just getting out there and killing something. It’s a passionate lifeline to the outdoors.  A simple walk down a logging trail can unfold into hours of humble awareness and appreciation, reveling in feelings of peace, security, resilience, and forgiveness.   Standing alone in a forest—are we really alone?  Every fiber in my body zings with aliveness, super charged senses.  I am dialed into the animal tracks in the dirt, the breaking of a branch, the aroma of earth and dry rotted wood.   Aware of the snap of a raccoon branch, versus the snap of a deer branch.   Aware of the incredible blending of grouse feathers against a cluster of stumps.  Aware of the most delicate crunching of leaves just 10 yards to my left, for the last 10 minutes, and when I stop, it stops….the exhilaration is indescribable.  No, I am not alone.

Sure, I suppose whatever it is could be hunting me as well. That’s part of what makes it all so enticing.  I accept natures challenge.  The rules of the game, the consequences for playing.  There is no other place on this earth where I feel more like I belong.

Time becomes irrelevant in wild places. “Things” become irrelevant.  Opinions, issues and ideas, all become irrelevant.  Surroundings and choices become beautifully simple.  Spending a day alone with nature can be an earth shattering, deafening-loud experience, with the crashing of waves to shore, the clinking of leafs falling to the ground, the cries of the birds, howling of the coyotes,  scores of buzzing insects, wind ripping through the woods and the thunderous crack and thud of a falling tree.  The landscape surrounding me is what’s relevant.  Nothing more.

And if I am so fortunate as to be presented a shot, it is with grace and gratitude that I take it. We are both doing our best in this wild environment.  My quarry is trying to survive.  I am too.  If in fact we are at this point where everything is exactly as it should be to execute a perfect shot, then it was meant to be, for both of us.  While my heart aches for the loss of a beautiful precious life, I also rejoice in knowing I am sustaining my own life. My opportunity to take game may present itself in one day, after several days, weeks, months, or not at all. But either way, I’ve connected at the core to the very heart of nature.

There is no describing the feeling of self-sufficiency, whether it’s harvesting a crop of beans, a hillside of wild blueberries, a pheasant or a big game animal. I take humble pride in knowing I can provide for myself.  The planning, the endurance and execution of the hunt, not to mention the enormous amount of work afterwards, the physical strength to bring that game home and then prepare it…well I wouldn’t trade that world for anything.

On a purely rational level, I can’t explain it. But I can tell you that 24-7, 365, there is a hunger inside me, an all-powerful, all demanding hunger to immerse myself into an authentic realm of being one with nature.  It’s been there as long as I can remember.  Most of the year, it can be nurtured with virtually anything outdoors, not just hunting. It could mean fishing, gardening, hiking,biking, canoeing, or simply sitting on a log and breathing in the wild around me.  But come fall time, that hunger rules my very soul.

To suggest I not go, or not go as often, would be like saying “just don’t breathe air for the next few months.”

I’ve met many women frustrated with their husbands each fall because they take off for a week during rifle season in November.   Or they book a hunt with “the buddies” out west for 10 days.  Or, they grab the dog and take to a field every chance they get….

I can’t comment much about that. You see, there was a time in my life where I was just like those women.  It tore me up inside when the man I loved took off to the woods without me.  When he didn’t want me with, over and over.   Leaving me to take care of the house while he did the very thing I live and breathe for.

Yes, I can relate to that feeling of being left.

Well, that doesn’t happen anymore. For years, it’s been just me–and my dogs.  Sure, it would be awesome to haveHunger2 a great guy to share the outdoors with.  Sure, but until that day happens, I’m living my life as I was meant to, walking those serene trails with or without that guy.

Connecting with nature is a critical component to making me who I am. I understand it’s not just a hobby—it’s a way of life—the very core of my life.  It feeds me, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Those who truly know me, know and respect that although I will disappear for weeks on end, eventually I’ll be back.

First and foremost, I am a passionate outdoors woman. I will always live to fulfill my hunger to hunt and harvest.


You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”. Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in my personal perspective, and PR Brady AdVentures.


Erecting a Screen Porch – Improvising

Welcome to a short bit on my ongoing trailer follies, and DIY skills….

Despite everything I’ve gone through with it, I do love my Toy Hauler. One thing that would make it better would be to be able to finally drop the back down and pop out the screen tent for added space.  In the whole time I’ve owned this Toy Hauler, the screen tent expansion has been up about 6 days total. That’s because the screen tent is so cheaply made that it cannot endure any weather whatsoever.  Nothing.  Yes it’s still brand new, barely used.

The conditions are perfect here on the lake in North Western Minnesota, to set it up this visit. No rain in the forecast, and sheltered from any potential wind, it’s time to open up the back and set it up.

Or so I thought.

A big challenge parking my rig on this lake property (see Angles Curves and Mounds Part 1) was getting it level. Not only was there a severe slant left to right, but also, a serious downhill pitch front to back.  When I dropped the back of the trailer down, even fully extended, the “legs” were about 16” or more too short!

How do you close over a foot and a half of distance and maintain sturdy stable support?Improvising1

Step 1, find a good, tall “green” stump (or two). As luck would have it, there was a stock pile of oak stumps on the property (yeah, I had a close encounter with one of them on my first visit (see Angles Curves and Mounds Part 2).  I already had to enlist a stump under the back right leveler leg, which has been working out just fine.

An important consideration for leveling is to use objects that will hold and distribute the weight being placed on them safely. After close scrutiny of my choices, I rolled an enormous, solid oak stump across the property over to the left side of the trailer, and stood it upright under the corner. The height was perfect to work with the adjustable deck leg.  I found another stump, even bigger and taller, to roll over to the right corner, where there was even more of a pitch.  Perfect!  But in trying to place the pedestal legs on top of the stumps, there was a serious problem.  The stumps were so big around, they sat at an angle on the ground, forcing the adjustable legs to sit crooked, making them far from sturdy.

Step 2, find an object (or two) to level the downhill side of the stumps, to make them solid and sturdy. Yes, I searched the property high and low, trying to find something just the right size to slide under the downhill side of the stumps to level them out against the hill.  All I could come up with were two, very long, 2 x 4’s.  I slid them under the stumps, checked the level, and presto, my “deck” is now a sturdy, high rise balcony.  Added bonus is that fewer wild critters can reach that high to crawl up there!



Within minutes I had the screen porch set up and secured as tightly as possible to keep out creatures (and keep mine in). To my dismay, the thin cheap tent fabric was riddled with holes across the top, although I do not understand how that could happen so soon.  But, a little strapping tape patched the holes quickly—we’ll see how well it holds up.



Improvising3It could be said that my project looks somewhat “amateurish”, but hey, if it gets the job done, who cares? My improvisions cost me nothing but time and a little manual labor, and now, I have a spectacular view from my high rise screen porch!


You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category–I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.


The “I Blew It!” Post-Interview

You did your homework, got to the top of the resume pile, were called for an interview, made a stellar impression, and it all seemed to be going great. The department manager gave you all the cues that you are a “shoe in” for sure.  They will be wrapping things up in a matter of a couple weeks.  You shake hands goodbye and  leave the building filled with excitement and anticipation.

You get home and fire off an eloquent “thank you” that same day.

A couple weeks come and go.

You fire off an email reiterating your interest in the position….

Two more weeks with no response…..

And then you find yourself crying out “I blew it! I don’t know how, but I blew it!  I didn’t get the job! What did I do wrong???”

Sound familiar?

Why is it that we always go for our own jugular, blaming ourselves? What if they blew it?

It’s easy to feel rejection during the job seeking process. There’s no room for speculation if you have the rare fortune of receiving an actual rejection letter.  But the truly frustrating situation is when it all seems to go ‘from hero to zero’ the moment you walk out of the interview.

That dreaded dead air space of no post-interview communication whatsoever.

Think through your interview experience carefully one more time. Walk through the communication exchange. Do you feel confident about everything said and done?  Then unless you picked a great big green goober out of your nose prior to shaking the interviewers hand on the way out, or something equally awful, there is no reason to assume the lack of post interview communication is because you blew the interview.  There are many other possible reasons why you haven’t gotten to that next step of the process yet.

Consider just some of the real alternate possibilities besides “you blew it” for starters.

Shortly after the company’s hiring team had their great interview with you:

  1. The company put a freeze on hiring until further notice.
  2. The decision was made by someone above the interviewer to hire from within.
  3. The decision was made by someone above the interviewer to hire the CEO’s kid.
  4. The original plan to expand operations, develop the new department and positions was derailed or delayed.
  5. Budget cuts eliminated the ability to fill the position entirely.

Without a doubt, the polite, responsible, and “right” thing to do is to not leave a candidate hanging. But that isn’t always taken into consideration. Who isn’t overextended these days? And not all companies have a culture that includes that kind of courtesy to their job candidates. Truthfully, in any or all of these situations, the last thing on anyone’s mind at that company may be to follow up with job interview candidates, especially if it’s to say they’ve been usurped.  Perhaps the company works under a “hire by committee” format , or crap is hitting the fan in the office. And in that case, do you really want to work in that kind of environment??  If you are certain that your stellar interview was in fact, stellar, then all you can do afterwards is continue to do your best to keep that positive connection going:

  • During the interview, ask the interviewer for a timeframe when they expect to reach a decision. (let’s say they will reach their decision in 3 weeks), and get his “agreement” for you to keep in touch regarding status.
  • Send that eloquent thank you on the interview day.
  • If you can come up with a compelling, question or statement about the company or position, email it to the interviewer halfway to that 3 week decision date—further demonstrating your interest in the company and position.
  • After that 3 week decision deadline, reach out via email first thing in the morning, and ask if you are still being considered for the position. Include the heads up that you will also follow up with them by phone at XXX time (should be late that afternoon or before noon the following day).
  • Call them at XXX time with a short message reiterating the content of your email (your interest in the position and status of where you stand in the hiring process).
  • If there is no response in a week, email the interviewer again, reiterating a key point you saw eye to eye on and how interested you are in the position. Include the heads up that you will also follow up with them via phone on XXX date–make that phone call date a week later.
  • Call them on XXX date. If you get voicemail, be prepared to leave a short, well stated message including your interest in the position and a request for an update on the process.
  • Wait another 2 weeks. If there is no response, make the phone call, reiterating your interest in the company and position, ask if the position is still available.
  • Wait another 2 weeks, email the interviewer again, asking for an update on if the position is still available and the status of the hiring process.
  • If still no response, make a note to email the interviewer in about 45 days, checking in to see if they have placed someone yet, how the chosen candidate is working out—and do they have any new positions coming open any time soon?

If your interview was with an HR “minion”, your efforts could end up not making much if any difference.  But if your interview was truly with the decision makers, these steps will remind them why they felt you were a good fit.

Keep your head in the game, and keep the communication going. Not hearing back on an interview that went well doesn’t automatically mean you “blew” it. Always remember there is only one you, and you have great value! Rejection is not always about you—it could very likely be about them. Always be positive and at your best!


PR Brady AdVentures is ready, reasonable, and available to help you with your job search process. Message me today. Feel free to share with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

Breakfast Pie

Some might call this a mutant quiche, but I call it a pie! What a yummy “garden to table” breakfast or brunch, and so very easy to pull together.  Sure miss having chickens….or I could say the only thing that wasn’t harvested with my own two hands is the cheese, salt and pepper.BreakfastPie


1 C Shredded Zucchini
½ C Chopped Onion
2 Chopped Tomatoes
½ C Sliced or cubed Venison sticks*
1 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 Eggs
1 Sprig fresh Tarragon—cut or torn to small bits (this should amount to about one heaping Tablespoon)
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper

*if you are fresh out of venison, your favorite summer sausage will do just fine.


  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl
  • Grease a 9” round glass baking dish, and preheat the oven at 325
  • Stir salt and pepper into mixture
  • Add eggs and mix well
  • Fold in tarragon, and pour mixture into baking dish
  • Bake at 325 for approximately 1 hour
  • Pie is done when toothpick comes out clean
  • Serves 4 to 6


Sound yummy? If you try it out let me know what you think!  Check out more great recipes under my Killer Cookin’ blog category, and please feel free to share with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!



Buddy—A Series Of Adventures–The Power of Purple

The moment I cracked the front door open, I could feel the energy. A pent up, turbulent sort of air seemingly connected to the disarray of the house in general.  Bedding on the living room floor.   Dog toys and bones scattered everywhere. The smell of dog and all its potential meanings. Remnants of chaos, the flurry of packing and dashing out the door.

We are back home. I step into the house, immediately drawn to the couch.  You are not on the couch, waiting for me.  I catch my breath, trying not to cry. I bend over to unleash the girls.  Even being sick, they clamor through the doorway, sliding across the hardwood floor, grabbing at toys along the way, heading to the back door, eager to get out and check for chippers.  I slowly move through the living rooms’ maze of dog debris, looking back at that couch.  Looking down at where the futon was.  Noticing everywhere that you now…. aren’t.

Is this just a dream? Is this maybe, just maybe, not really happening?

I can’t do this.

I pull my arms around my chest in a big hug, and stand in the doorway to the kitchen. Your water bowl is there across the room.  More bones and toys are scattered across the floor.  It’s time to accept that you are still basically everywhere, yet, you are not in the kitchen, spinning wild circles of excitement at the idea of ‘dinners’, or going for a walk, or going to get that chipper.

Oh hell, I can’t do this. I just can’t.

I open the back door and the girls burst outside. I stand in the kitchen and listen.  Listen for the slightest sound of you.  Nothing.

Angel is poking her head through the dog door, spying at me from outside.  Towards the end, you couldn’t manage getting through that dog door, so I would prop the entire screen door open for us all. And even then, you would lay down on the step before coming into the house, lay down in the back doorway before going outside. I stand in the back doorway, looking down at your food bin.  It’s half full.  Suddenly I am in a frenzy of pulling treat containers and dog necessities and miscellaneous “stuff” off of the shelves in the back doorway.  Dog toys come tumbling down from the upper shelves.  Among them, your very special soft purple toy.  Gasping for a breath, I bend over and pick it up from the floor clutching it hard to hold back the tears.

Remember when I gave you this purple toy? You had been stealing the girls soft toys and eating them.  Bad, bad boy.  Two trips in 4 months to the vet with tummy issues, you were developing a very expensive, bad and dangerous behavior.  So I thought maybe if you had your very own toy, you’d leave theirs alone.  You carried this goofy purple thing everywhere for a few weeks.  Slept with it, sat with it, cared for it, and defended it.  Then one day Angel got ahold of it for few minutes before I caught her in the act.  I gave it back to you and scolded her.  Seconds later, you started that old familiar bad dog look you’d developed when you were about to eat a toy.  You were going to eat that purple toy.  That was it, the purple toy went up on this shelf, never to be seen again.

Funny how you never ripped on live birds. Just soft, plush dog toys.

I set the purple toy on the kitchen counter, prop open the back door and step outside.

The patio is still in one piece. That’s a relief.

Tomorrow will be the next of my series of Happy Hump Hours. Maybe I was wrong to host a “party” so soon?  This will be the first one without you milling about, begging for treats.  How can I party without you, Buddy?  It’s going to rain tomorrow, and be very cold.  I am going to have to clean the house up to entertain inside.  Clean the house?  OMG.  How can I possibly disturb any of this?  How can I take away the bits of you all over this house?

I sink to the ground, crying.

I knew this day would come. I knew this time would come.  Somehow, I was hoping it would never actually get here.  Perhaps….just “skip” us….somehow, just let me take my boy out one more hunting season…..but no.

I sit back on the patio and look out at the yard. Major mowing to do.  Suddenly a blast of white fur blazes past me out into the yard.  A jumping, twisting, wild blaze of white fur.

“Angel!” I cry out, wondering what’s got her so riled up.   She stops, halfway across the yard, and turns around, showing off her prize.

Your purple toy.

With dozens of perfectly good toys scattered throughout the house, she somehow manages to nab your one, very special purple toy. How did she get it down from the kitchen counter????????????????????????????????

She refuses to come to me with it. I get up to take it from her.  The chase begins.  This is not like her at all. She runs around, and around me, dancing and taunting me with it, just like you would.

When I almost reach her, she kicks into hyper speed and tears away, running a big circle around me, just like you would.

As she makes the sharp curve of the circle, she digs in and gives a little grunt, then stops cold and looks at me, like “is that all you got?

Just like you would.

Angel has completely distracted me. I am huffing and puffing, determined to catch her.  But oh my, she sure has suddenly become quite the contender, this little girl.  She maintains her distance, drops her front end down, shakes that toy a good few times, then springs up, and runs past me into the house.

There is no getting that purple toy away from her. She has claimed it, thoroughly demonstrated she is worthy of it, and has become a “different” dog with it.   She is behaving like you.  Where is this coming from???

I am stupefied.

I am exhausted.

And….hey…..that was pretty amazing, and fun, too. I plop down on the swing. Sunny Girl rushes over to me and paws my leg.  I smile, “Yes, girl, mama loves you too!” Angel is now in the house, peering out at me through the dog door, still with your purple toy in her mouth.

???????????????????????????????What does it all mean? Maybe nothing, maybe something.  Is this your doing, boy?  The passing of the baton, so to speak?


The power of purple.



Buddy Boy McBrady

Gone Forever Bird Hunting as of Monday, Sept 1st 2014 at 3:30

“Find us some good fields up there, boy, and I will see you again soon.”


You can read all about my boy… there are lots of stories under “Buddy – A Series of Adventures” in my blog category, “Words From The Wild”. Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in our journey together.



Buddy—A Series Of Adventures—One White Box

It’s time to go home; time to leave the peaceful serenity of the lake. The time has come, to take care of business back home.  I am reluctant to go.  I sit in the gazebo where you spent your final hours.  I will never forget this space.  I am reluctant to leave the vivid essence of you here.  But I have to.  Really, I have to.

Your sisters have both become quite sick. It has been very challenging, to continue to go without normal sleep for so many nights.  First with you these last few weeks, and now with them.  They have not eaten for days, have had bleeding runny bowel movements, barfing, and now they too, have met the vet I brought you to on Labor Day.  We don’t know what’s wrong.  He has given them both antibiotics and Loperamide, hoping their symptoms are simply from getting into some bad drinking water, something called Bacterial Overgrowth Gastroenteritis.  God I hope that’s all it is.  Please let that be all it is. I can’t lose anyone else. I boil hamburger and rice for them.  They refuse to eat it.

We are all alone up here. We have to head back.

I pace around the gazebo, putting things away in their places. I pace around the cabin, doing the same.  Tears come hot, hard, and often.  Everything I touch holds a memory of you.  Straightening things up doesn’t mean I am getting rid of you, and yet it feels like it.  I load up our gear and situate the girls into the truck, then make a final swing through the Toy Hauler, locking things up.  My bike and the Red Flyer Wagon are still out.  I move them into the storage building.  Somehow, I can’t let go of that borrowed wagon just yet.  No, I can’t let go just yet.

I climb into the driver seat and start the engine. “D” for drive.  Come on, now, let’s get on the road.  Drive.




Or just sit here and weep for a while. That works too.  I think about Cindy and Clark.  They opened up their beautiful  lake place to share with us, and spent their much needed vacation here with us during this difficult time.  What kind, amazing people they are.  They were right there through everything, helping me care for you.  What would we have done without them?  What in the world would I have done when the truck broke down and Clark helped me to get it to the mechanics in Walker?  What would we have done without Cindy?  I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  There is always some light.

Heavy sigh. I wipe my tears, shift to “D”, pull out of the driveway and onto the road—destination home.

The drive out seems so desolate. We pass the foot path you and I walked up looking for grouse.  My eyes well up with tears.  Do you remember that day, limping up that path in your Thunder Shirt and home-made boot?  A true hunter to the end– you were so determined to point something for me.  That same day, you spied a chipper on the woodpile and closed in on it with the girls, terrorizing the hell out of it.  It was a good day.

We stop in Walker at the vet office. The girls instantly become anxious.  They know where we are, and they know they don’t want to go in there again.  No worries.   I walk up to the desk alone.

“do you have… “

“Oh! You are here!”  the receptionist says with relief.  She jumps up, runs into another room, then returns with a white metal box, 4 inches by 4 inches by 5inches, carefully handing it to me.

Eight days without you. But at least I have you now.

I clutch the small white box to my bosom and go back to the truck. It all comes down to this.  Your silky soft body, your countless sweet expressions, your athleticism, your natural ability and hunting instincts, your wildly enthusiastic nature and willingness to please, it all comes down to a box of ashes.  Once again the tears fall hard and heavy until I cannot breathe. Until I am out of air and gasping for a breath.

There is complete stillness in the truck. The girls are both intently looking at me.  They begin to gurgle “pre-barks” of concern, adding in half a tail wags.  I wipe my face and blow my nose, and give Angel a pat on the head.  I am not feeling quite so alone.  I need to take care of your sisters. And now you are still with me, big dog, and we are all heading home.   I place the box between me and Angel on the front seat.  Sunny Girl lies down in the back seat and will soon be fast asleep.  Hopefully we will not have to make any messy stops on the way home.

We drive straight through the string of tourist towns all the way to the last 30 or so minutes of the trip. I hesitate as I take the exit at 25.  It looks much different in the daylight.  It looks much different when it’s not raining.  I slow down.  There is no one behind us.  I slow to a crawl, searching the far side of the road for a sign.  Just a sign.  Oh…there it is.  I’m sure of it.  I pull off to the side of the road, flashers on, park, and get out.

I shouldn’t be doing this. I run across the road.  I’ve found the spot, the exact spot where we stopped on the way up north that Thursday before Labor Day.  Nothing else has been here since that day.  The small bits of garbage and sticks are all still right there.  There are my muddy sliding footprints on the hillside.  I kneel down and touch the ground where we had been.

It was raining pretty hard, but you so politely let me know you needed to “go”, so we stopped. What a horrible experience it was, there on the side of the road.  The rain pelting down, and you were barely able to limp out of the back seat of the truck to get out and go.  It took all the energy you had, and then you lost your footing, and rolled down the ditch.  Oh my God I felt so helpless!  You lay at the bottom of the ditch in the weeds and grass. The girls were contemplating jumping out to explore.  I was yelling at them to stay the hell in the truck as I rushed down the hill to your side.  They stayed.  You were exhausted, and just laid there in the wet ditch.  The look of humiliation on your face was heartbreaking. We were both soaking wet.  I tried to lift you up.  I wasn’t strong enough.  And all the while, a steady stream of cars whizzed by at 55+mph, spraying water on the side of the road.  Not one vehicle even slowed down.  I’m surprised an area resident didn’t call 911 hearing my mighty, desperate scream “GOD PLEASE HELP ME!” as I tried one more time to pick your tired body up out of the ditch.  And then, somehow I gained the strength to get you up that hill, and back into the truck, where you collapsed until we reached Leech Lake.

Sorrow fills my heart, and I sit crying in the ditch, remembering it all. “I am so sorry boy, so sorry that you went through that. I am so sorry I wasn’t stronger…smarter.  I should have done something differently.  Oh, my boy, I miss you so!”  I am pulling tufts of weeds out of the ground as I sit sobbing, barely aware of the passing cars.  Suddenly I notice a metallic flicker in the grass down to the left of where our struggles took place.  I get up and walk towards it.  It is my silver, battery operated lantern light.  I pick it up in disbelief and turn to look up the hill.  There is our traveling water dish, water bottle, and one of my red ratchet straps.  These things must of all fell out of the truck as I wrestled the elements to get you back in.  A gentle breeze blows my hair across my face, then, all is still.OneWhiteBox

“Thank you, Buddy. Thank you for bringing me back here.  Good boy.  Let’s go home now.”

And we are on the road again, with you, in one white box.


Buddy Boy McBrady

Gone Forever Bird Hunting as of Monday, Sept 1st 2014 at 3:30

“Find us some good fields up there, boy, and I will see you again soon.”


You can read all about my boy… there are lots of stories under “Buddy – A Series of Adventures” in my blog category, “Words From The Wild”.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in our journey together.



Stewart’s Automotive

What do you do when your vehicle breaks down in the middle of no-where, in the north woods of Minnesota? Well if you are anywhere near Walker, you’d best be calling Stewart’s!

I had the great misfortune of having my truck act up when I was at my friends Cabin on Leech Lake. I had arrived on Thursday evening.  Friday mid-morning I was planning to drive into town with Buddy to see the vet, but as I approached my truck, I was met with a sound as though the truck was already running.  I looked around the truck, jumped in to verify the keys were not in the ignition and sat dumbfounded for a second until realizing that, the truck itself wasn’t running, but the heater fan was running full blast in my truck.  Even though the dial was turned to “off”.  And I couldn’t turn it off.  There was no way to stop the fan from running.  In fact, it didn’t matter what switch or lever I moved, nothing changed.  And the air was not hot, or cold, just air. Oh my, it was probably on ever since I parked on Thursday—and running all night!  I tried to start the truck, but it wouldn’t turn over.  I tried several times, to no avail.

Well I had no internet reception. Phone was marginal at best.  I tried to call friends back home for advice, but got voicemail.  For now, I was stuck at the lake.

When Cindy and Clark arrived Saturday the sound was down to a clicking noise. Clark tried pulling fuses one by one to see which one would stop the fan.  None of them did.  Eventually the noise stopped–the truck died completely.  Battery was drained.

Cindy and I drove their fancy red truck to town to run errands on Tuesday and were referred to Stewart’s Automotive.   We stopped in just to give the place a look-see.

Now, they could have given us women a whole string of B. S. about what may or may not be the issue when we explained what was going on, but instead they gave us some sound advice of how to troubleshoot the situation, and assurance that they could come and get the truck if we can’t get it to them. What a rare treat to not feel taken advantage of right out of the gate!

Since Clark had already done the exact troubleshooting they suggested, it was a simple matter of getting cables on the battery, giving it a good jump and driving to their shop for service, which we did several days later. Turns out I needed a new Blower Motor Resistor and 7 pin Pigtail Connector, my unit was shot.  They were able to call in for parts to be delivered same day while we shopped in Walker, and had repairs done in a few hours for only $200.  And there was no “scary laundry list” of additional stuff for hundreds of dollars that I also have to have done.  Wow.

Stewart’s simply fixed the problem, and now my fan system for the heat and air seems to be working better than ever! I am grateful for the fast, superior no nonsense service I received at Stewart’s Automotive in Walker.  In addition to being all that, they were kind enough to let me sit in their waiting lounge and do some computer work using their WIFI.  That’s when I had the opportunity to talk with Troy, the owner, and discover our hunting backgrounds and “people circles” indeed crossed.   I highly recommend Stewart’s Automotive if you find yourself in need of a mechanic up north!

Talk to Troy and tell him PR the bowhunter from Minneapolis sent you.


You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category–I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information.




I haven’t baked bread in years. Dad and I used to bake zucchini bread together every fall for years, and give it away as gifts.  The best medicine for feeling blue can most definitely be baking.  It’s easy to get out of control with this recipe—seriously—I say, 24 loaves later…..ZucchiniBread

4 ½ C Flour
3 C Sugar
1 ½ t Baking Soda
1 ½ t Salt
2 T Cinnamon
1 t Allspice
3 C Shredded Zucchini
5 Eggs
1 ½ t Vanilla
1 ½ C Cooking Oil
Optional TREATS—1 ½ C of your favorite treat, like:
Chocolate Chips, Chopped Walnuts, White Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, etc……use your imagination!
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a big glass bowl and stir to blend thoroughly.
  • Add all wet ingredients and stir to mix until there is no powder left visible.
  • Let batter sit for 5 minutes, then stir again.
  • Add treats to batter and mix well again.
  • Distribute batter evenly into 3 greased loaf pans.
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  • Loaf is done when toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • One batch produces three amazing loafs!

Sound yummy? If you try it out let me know what you think!  Please feel free to share with others and check out more great recipes under my Killer Cookin’ blog category!





Sole Rider

The hot sun pelts down on my lotion smeared back, legs and arms. Two tires generating a soft hum on the otherwise Ride1barren road, my steady fast pace creates a slight breeze—the only thing keeping me from melting on the spot.  The only thing keeping the black flies away.  To stop would mean certain death by flies.  I power on down the narrow tar road lined with heavy birch, pine, poplar, and scrub oaks.  Lined with wild flowers, ferns, weeds and shrubs.  I can feel my heart beat up through my chest and down my arms to my hands.  That and the vibration from the road tingles my senses.  I feel alive.  Free.  Strong.

I’ve made the first two miles, bringing me to my 2nd right hand turn. Not one car to be seen yet.

Oh these little hills tend to sneak up on you! Didn’t see that one coming.  I shift down a few clicks to make it up a slight incline.  Pull up with toes, pull up, and push down to peddle hard.  Almost there…almost….now at the top, I pick up the slack and shift back into 2nd, and then 3rd gear.  Finally.  Leg burn.  As a biker, I wait with great anticipation for that feeling of leg burn.  It somehow is a pinnacle turning point of achievement in the ride.  Once that leg burn hits, I am elevated into another realm of peddling.  There is no more pain.  I’ve hit that euphoric state of Zen riding.  Powerful.  Unstoppable.

There are no cars. No houses.  This next 7 mile stretch of road opens up to prairie and swamp and will bring me to the main bike trail that will take me to Walker, my destination.  My GPS tells me it’s 26 desolate miles to Walker.

Piece of cake. I got this.

Ride3And there’s the main road. Left. I’ve found the trail.  The Paul Bunyon Bike Trail says Walker is 12 miles away.  Cass Lake is 9 miles the opposite direction.  Good to know.

Not many folks are on this bike trail. In fact, none.  This is my trail.  My paved path.  I fly down the trail, wheels humming against the heavy brush walls.  I revel in the smell of fresh woods, fresh wild flower, fresh air.  An occasional whiff of not so fresh swamp water.   The path offers cover from direct impact of the blazing sun, but there are still those pesky flies and squeetos to deal with.  Bug spray on top of sunscreen.  Now there’s a healthy combination—not!

I power down the paved path, a gentle cross breeze keeping my arms cool. The wind blows through my muscle shirt, causing it to flap against my body.   This is where there is no need to think about things.  No place to worry about things.  All of my energy is focused on breathing, endurance, awareness of what’s around me, and peddling.   I am self-reliant.  I am healthy.  I am blessed with a beautiful day to enjoy outside.  Dragon flies are riding shotgun at my side.  Stay with me, guys!  Ward off those squeetos and flies!  My skin soaks in the light of the day.  Feeling nourished by the elements around me.  As the path curves and dips, my senses are heightened– on alert for a crossing critter at any moment.  Pull up with toes, pull up, and push down to peddle hard.

The sole rider, I glide along the trail with ease.

Time becomes an indistinguishable blur. There is no time, only the self-made breeze against my skin, managing the warmth of the sun.  The inclines occasionally take my breath away, but I am quickly rewarded with a moment of coasting downhill in return for that hard work.  Two hours go by quickly, bringing the beginnings of civilization to both sides of the road.

I have arrived to Walker.

Navigating from the bike trail into town requires some calculating and observation, forcing me to slow down to a stop. The abrupt shift in energy creates a lightheaded feeling, and pulsing of my heartbeat down into my handlebars.

Love that rush!

My legs begin to tremble with sudden awareness that I am standing on concrete ground. Exercise to muscle failure—perfect!  Time to dismount from my self-propelled chariot and walk for a bit.  I am thankful for something to hold onto, as I meander up one street and down another.  It is sweltering hot in this town!  Every pore of my skin opens up to try to cool my pumped body down.  I slam an entire bottle of water and continue walking—and dripping—soon finding myself at Village Square Pizza.

Yes, I am very hungry, and they have outdoor seating!

I am so ready to be taking a two hour rest and food break, I lock up my Cannondale and take a seat on the patio. I made it to Walker in just about 3 hours.  It will be at least that heading back. Providing myself this time to re-cooperate, replenish, and recharge, will ensure I am able to actually make the return trip back to the lake. The dozens and dozens of tourists milling about the streets of Walker makes for fantastic people watching.  My waitress appears, delivers me a menu and a pitcher of water, and gives me huge praise when I share my mornings adventure with her.   When my food arrives, I devour it like a starved savage, throwing all traces of table manners aside.  I lean back relaxed and contented with glazed eyes, in a foodie high.

What a perfect day.

RideThen it’s time to get back on the road. Back to the solitude of the trail.  Back to the feeling of a gentle cross breeze keeping my arms cool.  The wind blowing through my muscle shirt, causing it to flap against my body.   Back to where there is no need to think about things.  No place to worry about things.  All of my energy focused on breathing, endurance, awareness of what’s around me, and peddling.  Feeling my heart beat up through my chest and down my arms to my hands.  That, and the vibration from the tar ground tingling my senses.

Feeling alive. Free.  Strong.   Powerful.  Unstoppable.

Into the setting sun. Racing the sun.  I glide along the trail with ease.  The sole rider.


What kinds of activities rock your world? What’s on your bucket list? I’d love to hear your comments.  You can read about many more of my adventures, under the blog category “PR’s Amazing Adventure Update” section.  Perhaps something will spark your interest in scheduling an adventure with me.  What are you waiting for?  The opportunities are endless!  And please feel free to share with others that may find value and interest in PR Brady AdVentures.


The Village Square

Village 1Scores of people clad in shorts, flip flops and “UP North” tee-shirt swarm the little café, hoping for a reprieve from the sweltering heat and burning sun. They’ve come from all over—from coast to coast, from other countries, and from just a few hours south, in Minnesota.  The primary attraction is Leech Lake.  Next, seems to be The Village Square.  Owned and operated by generations of a local Walker family, this hot spot has been in business since 1979.

Yes, this little coffee shop and bistro is hopping with hungry, thirsty, vacationing customers. After my long bike ride into Walker, the idea of air conditioned cold seems a bit extreme, so I remain outside.  I am fortunate enough to have secured a table with an umbrella before the overflow of indoor crowds burst out.  Service is fast and friendly.  My waitress brings me a pitcher of ice water, and gives me all sorts of ideas of where else to ride while I am in the area.

What an impressive menu! From pizza to pasta, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and an array of apps, plus a full service bar, full service coffee shop, AND an amazing ice cream counter!   On top of all that, they host live music, cater events and offer carry out.  As I pour over the many food choices, I am thinking, “yes, I will be frequenting this place”.   My waitress returns to take my order, and I anxiously await delivery of my much anticipated meal. GreekChickenWrap

The Greek Chicken Wrap is simply delicious. A huge tortilla, filled with fresh cooked and seasoned chicken, lettuce, tomato, olives, feta cheese, cucumbers, pepperoncini, and a light vinaigrette to keep things moist.  Along with a side of fries–wow, what a grand mid-day meal for under $10.00!

As tempting as it was to ‘wrap up my wrap meal’ with one of their home made parlor milk shakes, I resisted the urge, and instead carried out a menu to ponder over for future visits. And there will be many more visits.  They brew fabulous coffee, offer free WiFi, make a mean Bloody Mary from what I could see, and are open 7 days a week, from at least 8 am until 9 pm.  Not bad for a small town.   Yes, I don’t just give this place a thumbs up…..I give it two thumbs and 8 fingers up! High TEN!Next time you find yourself driving through Walker MN, be sure to stop at The Village Square!


You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under the “Whats New” blog category–I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning more.