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Coffee pots Old and new

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Luke’s old camp coffee pot finally sprung a leak after many years. He will put the handle from the old one on the new and keep the tradition going. Photo by Luke ClaytonLuke’s old camp coffee pot finally sprung a leak after many years. He will put the handle from the old one on the new and keep the tradition going. Photo by Luke Clayton

By Luke Clayton
Outdoors writer

We outdoor types have a habit of getting the most out of the outdoor gear we use. My friend Larry Weishuhn has been wearing a comfortable pair of handmade shoes for as long as I can remember. Several decades ago, he had them made by a cobbler while hunting and shooting a TV show in Africa. He says he has never worn a more comfortable pair of shoes. Another old friend still hunts with the Model 94 Winchester 30-30 he used while in his teens.

Twenty years ago, I was gifted an old enamel coffee pot by my friend the late Dubb Wallace. The age of the pot is undetermined, but Dubb was well into his 80s and he had used the pot for decades and it showed.

That old pot was so stained from past campfires that it was next to impossible to determine the original color. I think it was blue enamel, like the old pot that always set on the stove at Marshall Dillion’s office in the TV serial “Gunsmoke.” I had watched Dubb make camp coffee on the pot for many years and one day he just up and handed it to me.

“Here Luke, this is yours, you are the coffee maker from now on,” he said. I was at first hesitant to take the ancient old pot, but Dubb knew I would take good care of it and more importantly, use it. The old pot has served me well and became a staple in my outdoor cooking arsenal, right next to my old cast iron skillet with lid that I’ve used all over the country at many fishing and hunting camps.

But last fall, Dubb’s old coffee pot gave up the ghost, it sprang a leak. At first, I did some research, looking for some sort of epoxy that would plug the pin hole leak and not taint the coffee. I found several possible solutions but none that I was convinced would work long term and the last thing I wanted was to be the coffee maker at camp and have the old pot fail me. So, I began looking for a replacement “old pot.”

I found many on the internet at varying prices and then stumbled onto a brand-new pot that held about 20 cups and looked very similar to my old standby.

After placing my order on Amazon, my new pot arrived in 3 days. There it was all shiny and new, a far cry from my stained, battered old faithful. But it was solid and seemed to be well constructed. But it had a thin diameter wire handle which somehow just didn’t look right. I promptly replaced the inferior handle with the one from my old pot, which has a wooden grip that makes handling much easier over brewing coffee over a campfire, which is how I usually make coffee at camp.

It will take some time for my new pot to gain character; it will have to be used many times at various places before it takes on a persona of its own. The old handle will be a constant reminder of the good times and great coffee that was created by its predecessor.

I gave “New Blue” its inaugural run a couple weeks ago at our Luke Clayton’s 50th Annual Campfire Ron De Voux at Top Rail Cowboy Church In Greenville. After brewing and serving three full pots which equated to 60 cups of coffee, my “New Blue” is not officially broken in, it’s beginning to take on some of the characteristics of “old blue,” but it will take many exposures to campfire flames until “New Blue” is fully accepted into my outdoor cooking arsenal.

Possibly you have an old coffee pot that you’ve used making creek or cowboy coffee for many years. If so, you understand how one can become attached to such an item. Old Blue is no longer fit for making coffee, but the old pot has turned out eye-opening brew for many of my friends through the year, there is no telling just how many gallons of stout coffee it’s brewed.

The old pot is now hanging on a nail under the porch of my little cabin nestled in the trees behind my house. Its days of coffee making are over, but I will keep it right there as a reminder of my old friend that gifted it to me and the many hunting and fishing tales its brew sparked around many campfires.

How to brew good coffee

In order for coffee to reach its full flavor, the grounds have to be heated (boiled) and there is no better method than using an old-fashioned pot and placing the grounds directly into boiling water. I begin by filling the pot with fresh water and bringing it to a rapid boil. Next, I toss in a handful of coffee grounds (you be the judge as to how strong you want your coffee) — about a tablespoon of grounds per cup will make coffee that will get you motivated quickly.

Allow the grounds to boil a couple minutes at a rapid boil and then take the pod away from the heat and pour a little cold water into the pot, this caused the grounds to sink to the bottom. Boiling will release the oils in the coffee and result in a full flavor coffee that is a far cry from what your standard electric coffee brewer can create.

White bass run

Runoff from rains a couple weeks ago coupled with much warmer than normal temperatures created an early push of white bass into creeks. I haven’t heard of any heavy stringers in north Texas just yet but several of my friends have caught fish in creeks.

Guide David Cox with Palmetto Guide Service has been enjoying great action in the Trinity River above Lake Livingston for the past couple of weeks. Reports of white bass in the creeks above Lake Fork and Tawakoni are steadily coming in. The Sabine River below Toledo Bend is also stacking up with spawners.

The key is locating clear water and sometimes this requires going into tributaries feeding the main channel. Small Roadrunner jigs in black/yellow (for stained water) or white/black in clearer water is a good bet. A very slow retrieve, just enough to get the spinners turning is usually best, and I like to toss baits parallel with the bank.

Make sure and carry extra bait because getting snagged is common with creek fishing. I carry a plastic 5-gallon bucket for my gear and the fish I catch. With warmer weather ahead, expect more and more white bass to pack into creeks above lakes with a good population of white bass.

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