Greg Koelker

Koelker

The Big One held out all kinds of twists and turns for hunters around here: bitter cold, high winds, rain, flurries, bright sunshine, warm afternoons and nap-perfect blue bird days to end it. I never saw a deer until Saturday morning when I was driving to the dump. It was a nice buck standing in a neighbor’s driveway. Mountain Man Ben shot the only two taken on our place — that I am aware of at least.

Our family bunch down at Burton butchered 12 on Monday of opening weekend and then butchered six more this last Sunday. El and I missed the annual start to the holidays with all the excitement and work of getting ready for, going to, and getting out in the woods for the hunt. She enjoyed seeing pictures on the cellphone and hearing a few stories. We will be hunting with them again next year for sure.

As I tap this out early Monday morning, there is a dump truck load of rock waiting for something to do up in the turn around. Today El’s brother Bill and his brother-in-law Jesse Sahr are coming up to set up and pour a new driveway that will be flat to our patio, making for easier access for Ellen when she visits and ultimately comes home. It will be nice for my mom and others who are challenged by hills and such, too. The forecast bodes well for us and it might even be fun.

Our friend Mike Bilot turned me onto grilling turkey this last week, explaining how he puts 25 charcoal briquets on either side of his bird in a Weber kettle and as they burn down, adds eight briquets to each side every hour for five hours. I don’t have a kettle, but I do have a Weber gas grill and a 13-pound Butterball to play with. I found some old bread pans El discarded years ago. I cleaned them and drilled them full of holes. I was able to put one on either side of my Weber Genesis gas grill and lit ‘em up. While the charcoal got hot, I removed the gas tank for safety. I then washed, oiled up, and seasoned my bird with Lowry’s and pepper. I placed the bird in the middle on the regular steel grate for indirect cooking and closed up. After four hours of adding briquets, the bird looked fantastic. It did not reach 180 degrees though, so I will finish it in the oven this morning. I can’t wait to try it.

Until next time, get out — I may still get out with my muzzleloader this week. We don’t need the meat, but I imagine someone does. I took shoes and sock in for my darling girl because the physical therapist is going to have her walking today using parallel bars. She is doing so well, my heart just gets full whenever she sees me and pulls me in for a hug. Our goal is home by Christmas. I can never say this enough, thank you all for your well wishes, support, and most of all, prayers. Enjoy.

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Contributor

Greg and his wife Ellen Koelker are retired and live on Grouse Hollow Farm near Stoddard. He is chairman of the Vernon County Chapter of Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

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