Pioneer Potluck: About Dad, trout fishing and cactus

About fishing for brookies in Poudre Canyon

The foothills north of Fort Collins, Colorado


About 1950

Written by my sister Ginger.

A fellow rancher of Dad’s, Pat Ferree, had his ranch in the foothills just north of Fort Collins. On the ranch was a secluded small lake that was full of native cutthroat trout. The only way to get to the lake was on horseback and even then it was not easy as part of the terrain was very steep. The trail went through fields of huge cactus plants and sagebrush, but Dad loved to fish, especially for trout, couldn’t refuse the invitation to join Pat on a fishing trip back to the lake.

Pat supplied the horses and they had an uneventful trip to the lake. They spent the day fishing for the beautiful trout. The fish were good fighters and before long both men had caught their limit and it was time to leave. Part of the trail out of the valley was extremely steep and while dad had managed to not tumble forward over the horse’s head on the trip into the lake he did manage to slip off the back end of the horse going out.

He landed on his butt exactly in the middle of a huge patch of prickly pear cactus. The kind with 3 or 4 inch thorns! He had dozens of these sticking into his buttocks and even after he and Pat had tried remove them, it was too painful to even think about getting back in the saddle. He walked out leading his horse. No doubt a painful trip. They didn’t get back to the ranch until after dark.

I guess the reason Dad never kept his promise to us kids to take us to the best fishing spot in the state was because it was just too painful to think about. He just plain didn’t want to talk about it, EVER!


Fort Collins, Colorado

About 1948-1950

A warm Sunday morning, a huge clan of McClures and various relatives had staked out a camp ground by the side of the road in Poudre Canyon. We were fishing for brookies in several small streams that fed into the Poudre River. The best eating in the world were these little trout that Dad cleaned and Mom dredged in cornmeal and fried in bacon grease in an old cast iron skillet, over in the open campfire. Mom always made sure that each one of us had a big thick slice of homemade bread with butter to ensure against any bones getting stuck in our throats. We were having a wonderful time.

We must have made quite an unusual sight, as a lady driving her car up the canyon couldn’t quite resist staring at us. The campground was at a bend in the road but she was so intent on seeing what we were doing, she drove her car straight off the road and up the mountainside where it became high centered! She was looking to her left and turned the steering wheel to the right, never once, taking her eyes off of us.

Dad muttered several descriptive, condemning words, like busybody, lookie loo, woman driver, flatlander etc. etc., as he sauntered across the road to where the car was stuck with its nose looking upward and one tire over a large boulder. He asked her very seriously, “Just what in the Sam Hill (the only “cuss” word he ever use!) did she think she was doing?” With the help of the other guys at our picnic, they managed to dislodge the car and get it back onto the highway. She drove off, with a wave and a thank you.

It was not until they walked back to the camp ground, did the hilarity and the retelling of the story begin around the campfire. It always involved Dad’s visual demonstration, with the head staring intently to the left while his arms turned the imaginary steering wheel to the right! He retold this many times through the years, with just as much fun and laughter as the first time he told it!


Thank you Ginger for such pleasant memories.


This is a very pretty salad.

Serve in a glass salad bowl-layer the following:

4 cups clean-washed and dry fresh spinach-remove stems. Tear into bite-size pieces

1 red onion cut in rings then is fourths

2 to 4 large ripe tomatoes cut in slices and then cut in fourths

1/2 head iceberg lettuce shredded and chopped

2 cups frozen peas do not thaw

2 cups cocktail shrimp cooked and chilled

4 hard boiled eggs-cold, sliced

2 green onions sliced thin

Layer into glass bowl in order given.

Frost with the following:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (I use the mayonnaise made with olive oil)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Thin very slightly with milk or buttermilk (preferred)

Spoon “frosting” over top of salad making sure to seal the edges. Sprinkle with paprika, parsley flakes and cracked pepper. Chill up to 12 hours. The frozen peas in this recipe keep this salad crispy. Can be used after 6 hours, but will be OK after 12 hours.


Shrimp Crab Oriental Salad

Line 4 chilled salad plates with finely shredded lettuce or red and green cabbage.

Place 1/2 cup crab and 1/2 cup salad shrimp on each plate.

Sprinkle with finely chopped green onions

Toast very lightly for 1 min.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Sprinkle over salad. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Rice Wine vinegar of top and serve.

OR for Pizzazz: Mix 1 cup Rice Wine vinegar with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar and drizzle over salad.



Seafood is good for you! Curry is good for you! You can’t go wrong with this salad.

Use the local seafood such as salmon, halibut, shrimp, crab, squid, and scallops, all poached.

Prepare up to 6 hours earlier:

For poaching liquid:

4 quarts water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup salt, 1 tablespoon lemon pepper. (Or lemon juice and ½ teaspoon cracked pepper)

Bring water to boil, stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Place about 1 cup each shrimp, scallops and half cup squid in boiling water, turn off heat and cover for 4 to 5 minutes. Take out and drain. Bring liquid back to boil and place 1 to 2 cups each salmon and halibut pieces in boiling water, turn off the and cover for 5 min to 10 minutes. Do not boil seafood! The crab that you buy is already cooked. Prepare or use imitation crab. Place cooled seafood in refrigerator until it’s chilled about two hours. Left over seafood is excellent in this recipe also.

Prepare dressing:

In a blender or by using a whisk

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

In a glass measuring cup place the following:

1/8 teaspoon each black pepper, garlic salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, cloves, and cardamom.

Heat 3 to 5 seconds in the microwave. Add to the oil.

Add 1 teaspoon curry powder

Blend until well mixed-keep in blender - place blender in refrigerator to chill until serving time.

Blend a combination of different types of lettuce or use the handy dandy packaged variety found in the grocery store. You will need two packages. Wash and dry and place in Zip Loc with a dry paper towel in bottom to absorb moister and keep lettuce crisp.

You should have about 6 cups of cooked seafood.

4 to 6 red ripe Alaskan tomatoes cut in 6 to 8 wedges

To assemble the salad:

On 6 chilled individual salad plates arrange lettuce:

Arrange a combination of seafood to make one cup on each plate. Place tomatoes wedges around seafood.

Buzz the chilled dressing in blender and drizzle 2 tablespoons dressing over each plate.

This can be done on a large serving platter with tomatoes arrange around the outside of plate. Drizzle with dressing right before serving. Serves 6.


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